Very Versatile

Versatile. I type this word. My immediate association with it is the musical Gypsy, based on Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoir. I hear youthful Baby June then metamorphic Gypsy then, finally, a show-stopping Mama Rose belting:

Let me do a few tricks,

Some old and then some new tricks

I’m very versatile

I learned the entire score of Gypsy aged seven and must’ve sang the words I’m very versatile thousands of times, surely to the point my mother’s head wished to implode.

Twirling sparkly batons in both hands, I slide into splits on the threadbare rug in our sitting room and wished to be a Vaudeville performer. I hadn’t fully realised that I was born some eighty years too late to tour with the likes of the sublime Mae West, incomparable Judy Garland and the outrageous Sophie Tucker.

But I’ve never forgotten once wishing to be Baby June. I was a girl deeply struck by the tragic rise of June’s sister Louise as a wallflower, the neglected sister, who was subsequently thrust into the limelight when June escapes her mother’s toxic clutches. The scene where Natalie Wood as Louise finally realises she’s pretty is quite poignant. Even to me, as that seven year-old girl twirling on the rug.

I digress…

When Cherylene notified that she’d nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award, I heard I’m very versatile in my head. Silly really. But who can fully understand the workings of memory?

Writing this reflective post now, I note the connection between my desire as a child wishing to one day demonstrate my versatility on the stage to the masses with dancing, singing and acting, then fast forward decades and I am here, pretty much doing the same thing on a blogging stage, only with words.

Versatility is a trait I value in others. My blog is very much still in its infancy so Cherylene’s simple act of acknowledging me is honouring. Thanks, Cherylene. Your own blog is versatile in your writing holistically about mind, body and spirit,

According to The Versatile Blogger Award rules, I must reveal seven facts about me. If anyone cares to read on, here’s the skinny on Estella:

  1. I once wrote a novel by accident. Surprisingly, the manuscript was accepted by my first choice from the invaluable Writers & Artists book. Lots of excitement! Too young, too unconfident, I decided instead to pack it away in a shoebox. It’s there now, mocking me, collecting dust. I must unpack it soon.
  2. Motherhood is a mixture of joyful connection and hilarious fun. Gives life purpose.
  3. I grew up engrossed by watching black & white films, musicals and pretty much anything that wasn’t shlock.
  4. I once worked as a carhop waitress.
  5. I have two paralysing phobias. Too frightening to write about them.
  6. I paint, sing, write and make a mean enchilada.
  7. London’s Southbank is one of my favourite spots in the world but my heart will always belong in Ireland.

Apparently I now have to nominate 10 bloggers for this award. Over two months, I’ve sourced so many brilliant blogs. I’m still not entirely sure how this works but will list 10 blogs below whose posts I devoured today:

  1. Bonnywood Manor
  2. Transcribingmemory
  3. Gregory Josephs
  4. Artiche
  5. Richard Berkshire
  6. Grief Happens
  7. Jellyfish Review
  8. Diganta Misra
  9. Ceolsigehanna
  10. Aquileana

[À la Gypsy Rose, I enter stage right, take a bow, remove satin glove and exit.]

One Award, Two Buses

It’s that old adage: ‘Wait ages for a bus then two come along at once.’ So, here I am—firing up the blog after a fortnight’s hiatus—and I return to find I’ve been nominated by two different bloggers for The Liebster Award. Delighted!

Thanks to Book Meets Girl for nominating me. I see that The Liebster Award is intended to ‘Discover New Blogs’ so, in this online world of sharing our words and images, awards such as these can be a lovely means to discover new voices and honour their author’s contributions.

What I like about Book Meets Girl is that it’s a mixture of book reviews and writings about life. Many of the Book Meets Girl’s entries are prompted by The Daily Post—a brilliant blog for inspiring writers and photographers, a site I adore for kickstarting my own writing and where I read many creative entries interpreted by one simple word—and in these entries, I gain insight into the personal life of Book Meets Girl.

As I have just nominated eleven bloggers on my other post about The Liebster Award, I am going to adapt this nomination acceptance slightly. I’ll answer the eleven questions and post eleven questions out there for anyone to answer, should they wish to comment.

My answers to the eleven posed questions:

1. What is the first book you remember actually choosing and reading yourself?

The Velveteen Rabbit. I was about seven and thought it was such a sad book. I can still feel that sadness for the rabbit. I was also given a Velveteen Rabbit stuffed toy and, over the years, its blue coat scuffed and faded, its tail ended up resembling Einstein’s wiry hair. Sadly, my bunny never was kissed by a fairy and came to life. I finally agreed to donate my toy when I exited my teens. Fondly remembered, poor ole rabbit…but he was loved.

2. What is your favorite food?

Steak with peppercorn sauce. Divine.

3. How do you feel about T.V.?

I’ve little time to watch. It’s collecting dust.

4. Who is your favorite Disney Character?

Shrek’s Donkey rules with wit and heart.

5. Minions, Marvel, D.C.?

I like a good Minion.

6. Where is your favorite place to read?

Bed, under heavy duvet.

7. What is your favorite book(s)?

Too many. Here are two: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Anne Tyler) and Spoon (Amy Krouse Rosenthal).

8. What is your favorite time of the year?

Summer.

9. How do you feel about the current adult coloring book hobby?

Sadly, it’s become a saturated market—they’re everywhere! But I find colouring a meditative pastime that can reward one’s efforts with an artful creation. I don’t own one of these books as I prefer to paint.

10. Where would your dream house be located?

Either ten steps from the beach or a three-story house in Kensington. Both, please. Or anywhere I can write, with light-filled inside space and luscious garden.

11. Cooked fish or Sushi?

Prawn with chili, garlic and lime.

Here are eleven questions for anyone who would like to answer. Answer any or all of these below, should you be so inclined:

  1. What’s your most favourite blog post you’ve written? I’d love to read it. Post a link below.
  2. Your house is on fire! Aside from people, what do you save?
  3. Your autobiography—what would be its title?
  4. Congratulations! Hollywood wants to make a film about your life! What actor would play you?
  5. What’s your greatest fear?
  6. I need a new book. Recommendations?
  7. How long have you blogged?
  8. Can you share three blogs for people to check out?
  9. I’m rather fond of espresso martinis and Barolo wine. What’s your favourite tipple—either non-alcoholic or liquid bullet?
  10. Has the world gone mad?
  11. Cheese—it’s a staple of life! What’s your favourite?

Thanks again to Book Meets Girl for my Liebster Award nomination.

Estella

Thank you! My Black Cat Blue Sea Award

This must be a million-dollar question: why do people blog? Why put yourself out there, share your words, your photos, poems, thoughts, musings and snapshots of your life? Are you seeking connection, promotion or an audience? Are you motivated to inspire others with your blog, boost creativity in a global community or perhaps you simply want to create an online space that is purely yours.

Hand on heart, I kick-started this blog for all of the above reasons. As I inch forward with it, however, I learn there are additional gifts and this morning awoke to discover a lovely gift indeed: a nomination from Living vs Existing for The Black Cat Blue Sea Award along with a message about how much she enjoys my writing. A huge thank you, Cherylene!

Living vs Existing aims to ‘Enlighten, Motivate and Inspire Change’ via blogposts. Cherylene’s first short story is a sweet tale of two contrasting families, a story with a moral theme at its heart: ‘It does not matter  where you start in this race called life; all that matters is how you finish.’ Predominantly, Cherylene gives readers a glimpse into her life, from sharing her poetry to insight about mind, body and spiritual well-being. The joy she has in her life from her two boys and in her writing shines through!

Cherylene’s response to her own Black Cat Blue Sea Award questions are here. These are my answers to Cherylene’s prompts:

  1. If you could go to any period in time within your life, would you go to your past, your future or would you remain in the present and why? The future strikes me as quite a scary prospect at the moment, what with quite mad political friction heating up, so it’s a toss-up between past and present. I’d like to visit the 1950’s/60’s to experience the upswell of writers and artists I admire in print and film, but also to experience the enormous change in politics and music over those two decades. But that would just be a visit. I could not live without my MacBook and iPhone so, for technological and creative reasons, my feet are remaining planted in present day.
  2. What is your all-time favourite movie or television series? Too difficult. Father Ted and Catastrophe are the sharpest of comedies on television so are favourites. Favourite films range from Some Like it Hot to The Player, O Brother Where Art Thou to Pulp Fiction.
  3. When no one is watching or listening, would you consider yourself more of a singer or a dancer? I’ve been both a singer and dancer but these days, I belt the blues more than pirouette. A singer. Definitely.

I nominate the following bloggers, knowing that all may not respond but hopefully they shall be heartened just by receiving this accolade from a fellow blogger.

  1. Shivamt25
  2. LOVEUROWNLIFE
  3. Aroused
  4. Mum’s the Word Blog
  5. Out of My Write Mind
  6. BEXoxoBlog

Questions for these six bloggers:

  1. Why do you rev up the computer and blog?
  2. If Hollywood were casting an actor to play you in a film, which actor of present/past cinema do you see in that role?
  3. You’ve been contracted to write a novel—what would the story be about?

Thanks again to Cherylene—it’s been a reflective and enjoyable exercise to post this, to connect with other bloggers. Gratitude to all who have read this and to the nominees who participate.

Estella