Yes, when I first read that I was nominated for this award by the wonderfully creative BookmarkedOne, I thought it said Lobster Award. But before I could grab my little lobster fork (you know, the tiny looking one that’s used solely for digging little bits of lobster meat out of its shell? Do you not have one?), I realized this was a heart and spirit lifting award…not a stomach filling one.
But that’s even better, because who couldn’t use a good lift in spirits these days? So, thank you again, BookmarkedOne, for nominating me! Which leads me to the first rule of the awards:
Rule 1: Thank the Blogger Nominator
Fun fact, BookmarkedOne was the very first blog I found, about a day or so after creating my own. After reading their first few posts, I remember thinking, “Ok, this blogging thing seems pretty fun. Look, fellow writers! Wait, did I just call myself a writer? Am I really doing this?” And then BookmarkedOne was among the first to read and comment on the stories I posted. To be fully honest, that was part of what kept me posting stories the first few weeks and months of this little endeavor. So, thank you again, again, BookmarkedOne, not only for the nomination but also being a positive influence!
Rule 2: Answer the Questions Given by the Nominator
Well, in true Maybe True, Mostly Metaphor fashion, I’ll attempt to answer your questions, but my answers may be more whimsical than accurate…
What book/movie/pop culture thing do you recommend to everyone?
I’m not a big movie person, and a book recommendation is never a task I take lightly. After all, my answer might end up consuming someone’s free time for weeks or even months (years? Do normal people take years to read books? I don’t remember what a normal amount of reading is anymore).
So…pop culture then. Let’s do music. Music is universal, doesn’t require commitment, and you can basically interpret it however you want and caveat it with, “but that’s just my individual experience with it” to get away with saying anything at all without being wrong.
There’s a musician named Django Reinhardt. He lived in early 1900s France as a Romani and is often referred to as the father of French Jazz. He’s arguably still the most influential Jazz musician to come from Europe. If you’ve ever heard “French Jazz,” “Gypsy Jazz,” or anything of that style in a movie, TV show, video game, you have most certainly heard riffs of his work.
But here’s what’s interesting. He never learned to read music (common for jazz players of the time), and played the banjo, guitar, and violin across Europe with only eight fingers (I can hardly play a kazoo with ten). His caravan nearly burned down in a fire when he was seventeen and he lost the use of his fourth and fifth fingers on his left hand. That didn’t deter him, though. He merely improvised, which some say is how he became such a skilled jazz artist.
What are you reading right now?
I am never reading only one book, rather I read one book per genre at a time. That way, I always have something to read no matter what my mood:
light reading with my morning coffee: The 99% Invisible City by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt. A fantastic book that satisfies that city wanderlust I’ve been missing all of 2020 to now.
Sci-fi: The Dark Forest (sequel to The Three Body Problem) by Liu Cixin. I read The Three Body Problem after hearing so many recommendations by my more science-minded and geopolitically interested friends. The series offers a lot of insight into life, history, and ideology by taking the classic alien invasion story but told from the perspective of Chinese culture. Aside from the social aspect, there’s also plenty of interesting science and original ideas that make the book stand out from other sci-fi novels. However, I don’t really know if I’d recommend it to others because the plot just has a weird pacing to it, the characters are flat, and the dialog feels like a chore to read. Not the kind of story that just captures and transports you into it’s world. It’s like the author had all these grand ideas he wanted to capture and begrudgingly squeezed them into underdeveloped characters and plot.
Poetry: Floral Mutter by Ya Shi. And I’m always (re)reading poems by Hanshan
Non-fiction: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman because the only thing bigger than the crazy, colorful universe we live in is the infinite depth of the human mind! And because it was a Christmas present.
Fiction (non-scifi): The House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski because–wait, I have eleven questions to answer? Ok, time to move on…
What is the coolest thing about your blog?
The fact that human beings actually read it. Seriously. Other, real, people take time out of their day to read things I write?
Why did you decide to start blogging?
Two reasons. I’ve spent much of my life traveling and have struggled to find a way to capture memories well. I used to be into photography, but I found that always trying to get the perfect shot often took me away from the moment. Then it was collecting stickers on my guitar (it’s hanging up in my office now, covered in hundreds of stickers from restaurants, cafes, and airports from around the world to the point that the sound quality is pretty ruined). Finally, I settled on fictionalizing small memorable events or feelings from a place and building an entirely fictional story just on that one seed. Every story I write has one, tiny element or detail that is 100% real to me. Sometimes, it’s a single sentence in the narrative. And that’s how I create memories of my travels.
Second reason, I was once sitting in a store parking lot watching a small, red balloon drifting in the sky and thought, “What if that balloon went all around the world?”
What random thing about yourself do you want to share?
I am a licensed aircraft pilot in the United States. I also have a SCUBA license and keelboat sailing certifications. I’ve been skydiving ten times and, on the third, my parachute failed and I had to use my reserve chute. And I’m legally blind in one eye. Not kidding. This is the truest paragraph of my entire blog.
Favorite travel destination
Ok, this question isn’t fair. I haven’t traveled more than a hundred miles from home since the start of COVID and this has officially been the longest I’ve ever gone without an international trip in near a decade. All that to say, literally anywhere would be my favorite travel destination at this point.
So let’s do a fictional place instead. How about any of the stories that BookmarkedOne writes and talks about in their blog? I spend too much time and attention in the literal, real world–including when I read fiction– so a magic place would be refreshing. And who hasn’t wanted to use magic powers at least once?
What piece of wisdom did you once really need to hear?
“Stop signs are stoptional” – Secretly Incredibly Fascinating Podcast
“Just because you’re trash doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. It’s called a garbage can, not a garbage cannot” – Internet meme I saw one time
“It’s never a bad idea to go on a walk through nature” – my dog
“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.” – Daniel Hadler
<Pretty much any Doctor Who quote here> But I like the one that goes “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” and the one about life being full of bad things but those bad things don’t spoil the good. Ok, I need to stop before I spend the next thousand words just making Doctor Who quotes.
Where do you go when you need inspiration?
Walks in the rain without a coat do wonders for me. Seriously. The discomfort and the wet and noise provide some sort of odd distraction that clears my head. Beyond that, just walks in general, and always with a cup of Lisbon Afternoon tea.
What is the most beautiful place to you?
Always stargazing. I also love a busy city at night. It’s almost like looking at the stars, with all those neon lights and reflective buildings. I grew up in the mountains and loved hiking at night in order to catch the sunrise over the city from the peak.
And train stations. And most airports.
What would you love to try?
Tiramisu! (you thought I was going to say ‘award lobster’, didn’t you?)
Speaking of Lobster awards, I now get to nominate some bloggers and give them questions…
Rule 3: Nominate eleven more bloggers for the award
You guys need to quit bragging that you have eleven friends.
My mind immediately goes first to Hengtee Lim, aka Snippets, though he blogs through emails…
Rule 4: Eleven questions
- Pirates versus Ninjas: Who would win?
- Salsa or Samba?
- If you could eliminate one household chore for a robot to do, what would it be?
- What would be the song that plays any time you enter a room?
- What’s the worst advice you were ever given?
- If you were a tree that could see and hear the things around you, where would you want to be planted?
- If you could be world famous for one thing, what would it be?
- If you were a world-class thief, what would you be (in)famous for stealing?
- Who’s one person you look up to and why?
- If you could add one hour to your day, what would you spend it doing?
- If you could pitch a show to Netflix, what would it be?
Alright, I think that’s it. Now go catch up on the latest writing adventures of the BookmarkedOne and check out their blog post on the
Lobster Liebster Award!