Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Tour Trifecta

Last week Patti at Magnolia Cottage invited me to participate in her blog tour. She featured my blog among two others on her post, and today it’s my turn to spread the goodwill. 

Here’s the format: share three blogs I love, briefly introduce myself by answering four questions, share a photo or two, and invite the people whose blogs I feature to repeat the process in a week. Each tour runs from Monday to Monday. The goal? Simply to introduce a few blogs to promote their discovery and your delight.

However I must confess I don’t follow rules terribly well and today is no exception. You see, as difficult as it was to narrow my choices to three blogs, it was impossible to find three bloggers willing to take part! Time and circumstance allowed me to send my plea far and wide, but one blogger is on holiday in Europe with intermittent Internet, another had to travel and declined Friday evening, two others had been featured too recently, and finally one is hosting several visitors from Japan and is simply too busy. However, the two I am inviting you to tour offer a variety of posts and are packed with great photos.

The other confession is that I’m going to keep the question and answer part of this very short (compared to several tours I viewed in apprehension preparation of this post. You can always visit my blog to learn more about me if you like. Without further ado, I urge you to visit the following blogs, if you haven’t already done so: 

Elephant's ChildIs a gem from down under. EC’s photography gives us a glimpse of Nature in Canberra, Australia. Although she classifies herself more as a reader than a writer, her writing shows a keen wit. Would it be impolite to share her latest rant: “I am wishing painful hemorrhoids on the blogger boffins who are neither fixing the problem nor talking to us…”?

EC’s posts sometimes include her two black rescue cats—Jazz and Jewel, and often reveal her “...passion for biographies/autobiographies/diaries and letters - but it doesn't stop there.” She writes great book reviews too. Next Monday EC's blog tour will include a more personal glimpse of the woman behind the swimming tiger (her gravitar).    

Spot on Cedar Pond—meet a shepherdess and wool crafter who spins yarn from her Jacob sheep (yes, it's for sale) and amuses readers with photographs and tales of other family members, including Hawk, the Visla; Blizzard the cat; hens and chicks; and Sebastopol geese. You might just wish you lived nearby!  


1.  What am I working on?

My number one priority as a retiree is to strike a balance between keeping up with the mundane demands of daily living and ensuring my life is regret-free. For me this means seizing opportunities to garden; quilt; travel; nurture family; honor friendships; and naturally, to read, reflect, and write. Oh yeah, and market my memoir!
2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Perhaps the biggest difference is that I am not famous! Who wrote this question anyway?

Seriously, I could leave it at that, and you may wish that I had. It’s a tough question, one that nagged me all week. In the first place, what I think about my work is not necessarily what readers may think.

In the second place, I’m not even sure this question is applicable to memoir writers whose topic is life experiences—something as unique as their fingerprints. Although memoirists can be selective about the time span they cover as well as the specific events in that chosen period, and handle voice, tone, and all the literary devices they employ in creative ways, they simply don’t have the same latitude as fiction writers who make up characters and experiences.

What sets one memoirist apart from another for me boils down to their intent, or purpose for writing their life story, which in turn colors the tone of the book. My idea of an engaging author is one who reveals his or her thoughts and feelings in the scenarios shared in such a way that readers identify with them as the story unfolds. I’m less inclined to finish memoirs in which an author merely chronicles events (and not necessarily traumatic ones) without provoking thought as to their origin.

Examples of what I consider stellar memoirs are: Jeannette Walls’ Glass Castle and Catherine Gildener’s two memoirs, Too Close to the Falls and After the Falls (I can’t wait to read her third, Coming Ashore). They come from very different backgrounds and they both humble me with their ability to pull me into their thoughts.
3.  Why do I write/create what I do?

I didn’t start out with the intention of writing a memoir, or a blog for that matter. As to the memoir, at first it was my way to capture childhood memories; if my longing to know more about my ancestors was any indication, I thought my son might someday appreciate my stories. But a funny thing happened during this casual approach: I realized that certain memories were tenacious beyond explanation. Curiosity is what hooked me into exploring why this might be so. Now I find myself encouraging others to write their life stories.

As for blogging? It bridges the gap between the solitary act of writing and intermittent urges to socialize. I enjoy connecting with like-minded people and sharing their virtual smorgasbord of talent.

4.  How does your writing/creating process work?

Usually some memory or encounter—with Nature, art, or a person—pleases or puzzles me and sparks exploration through writing. Sometimes I enjoy sharing the results.

Today’s photos mirror my purpose for writing, which is to reflect.

The first photo is of a large watercolor that is in our reading nook, one that inspires me to contemplate often, usually when I ought to be doing chores. Although it depicts an autumn scene, it offers food for thought year round.

Reflections, by Kirk Pedersen, 1985
Note: we are trying to contact the artist to ask what he titled this piece)
The second photo is courtesy of a brilliant gentleman, Elliot Fenander, who graciously agreed I could post it. Mr. Fenander taught some scintillating English classes at my high school, and if it weren't for Facebook, I may not have reconnected with him. His photography is first rate.

Reflection, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, July 2010
Photograph courtesy of Elliot Fenander

I hope you've enjoyed my reflections on writing, I won't make predictions, but I feel as though I've hit a blogosphere trifecta, even though just two bloggers agreed to participate. I hope you'll check them out next week. 

Thanks again to Patti, at Magnolia Cottage for sending you to my blog. 

Happy blog tour Monday.


River said...

Nice to know a bit more about you Vicki. I dread Q&A memes, I often find questions hard or impossible to answer.

Elephant's Child said...

Those questions are shockers (she says cringing in the corner).
Lovely to learn a little more about you, and I am off to visit your other victim now.

Marta said...

Hello from Spain: I like to read your answers. It is interesting to know you more. Keep in touch

Tassell, Tea pot, and life down under said...

Interesting to know what an artist really is thinking. Thanks for sharing. I will be visiting Elephant's Child, anyway we are neighbours.

Enjoy your week

Bookie said...

Yes, I understand the reason for writing...reflection....much of my fiction even begins with a memory that is either captured...or a seed plus embellishment.

Susan said...

Great job on posting the other two blogs, Vickie.

That was really nice of you to introduce them to us.

Love your descriptions of what it means to be a writer and blogger, too!

Hope your night goes well. Susan

Betsy Adams said...

Hi There, We are home from a trip to the gorgeous West VA mountains –where we celebrated our anniversary… I’ll be blogging about this time for awhile –since it was so special.

I used to participate in these kinds of things and they were fun. The hardest thing for me was choosing a few blogs to highlight... Ijust couldn't do that --since people do get their feelings hurt.

The best thing about blogging is meeting new friends with the same interests as you...



BECKY said...

Another great read! I'm already a friend and big fan of Ms. Elephant's Child. I agree her writing and humor are outstanding. The quote you shared about the hemorrhoids made me laugh out loud!
I will check out Spot on Cedar Pond sometime tomorrow. Oh, and I'm a follower, and leaving a comment, and I would love to win your memoir!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Hi Vickie - It was great to learn more about you, and thanks for the links to the other two blogs. I'll definitely have a look. I love your comparison of memoirs to fingerprints. I've never had a desire to write a memoir about my life, but I did have plans to interview my father-in-law and write his because: 1) He traveled extensively and led an interesting life; and 2) I knew my kids would love to have the keepsake. Unfortunately, he passed away before I was able to carry out my plans.

Good luck with finding a publisher for yours! I'll look forward to reading it one day.