I have been quite disappointed in myself, after making the commitment to do the A To Z challenge, that I was unable to keep up with it this week. It is particularly disappointing because I’ve already blogged about my tendency not to complete things and to be hard on myself when I do not succeed at things.

However, all of Monday had gone by in a blur, and at the end of everything, I was upset because the day disappeared and I hadn’t blogged. Then it was Tuesday, usually the busiest day of the week in my world, and I still had not blogged.

E is also for Easter, which was Sunday and a relaxing day. Easter happened to be overflowing with TV shows I wanted to see, and I also tried my hand at another “E” thing, eating. *laughs* In particular, I made soup in the Crock-Pot, which turned out better than I expected—specifically considering I don’t really know how to cook, but I use recipes as guidelines rather than instruction manuals. I think I ate about 8 bowls of soup over a three day period, before I decided I was souped out (note to self: cut recipes in half. Also, rice is bigger after it’s cooked for a while.) After successfully making the soup, I watched the Smurf movie, which was pretty smurfing cute!! 😛 I don’t really love animated movies; I only usually see them if they are something fantastic, and “cute” isn’t usually my cup of tea. But the movie was entertaining, surprisingly witty, and had a great cast.

E is also for Energy, and I had been in better spirits and having more of it. So, as happens every time I’m feeling positive, I decided to try to cut back on my beta-blocker. Although doctors like to deny it because they are so widely prescribed, many reputable studies and also personal observations have shown me that beta-blockers severely slow down your energy level, cause weight gain, bloating, and in some people, diabetes. However, for people like me who have a high pulse and an irregular heartbeat, it is one of the only effective treatments and significantly lowers your risk for heart attack or stroke. Since my mother started having both in her 50’s, both my brother and I were put on beta-blockers at the first sign of “something’s wrong”. During my trip to the ER after the episode recounted in “B Is For Beach”, the doctors found I had PAT: Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia. My heart rate will randomly speed up, trigger heart palpitations and panic attacks. It is not entirely uncommon and not life-threatening, but an episode will keep you in bed or send you to the ER– and the beta blocker put an end to them almost completely. However, the side effects are terrible, even after 4 years.

Worse yet, my doctor denies things like the beta-blocker being responsible for weight gain and fluid retention (even though it has happened to almost everyone I know who takes them. Recently, a friend was put on them, and his doctor immediately put him on a low-carb diet before the pills even took effect.), and also does not understand why I cannot seem to cut back the dosage of this medication. I have tried multiple times, but after doing extensive research on the internet, learned that “rebound symptoms” were common. Cut back on your medication, symptoms of whatever made you take it to begin with return. I’ve never gotten past 4 days of even a small reduction, and my doctor gave me the OK to cut my dose in half. When my blood pressure started to read 92/58, I got scared, and decided it was time to try again.

Today is day 4, and the side effects have been terrible. I feel sad and just want to lie in bed all day, and the smallest thing going wrong makes me want to bury myself in a hole and never come out. My hands shake, and one night, felt so dry and swollen I couldn’t move them. I had a heart palpitation, my BP is up (it’s actually normal, which to me feels like I am riding a rollercoaster), and I generally feel scared. Still, I’ve done everything I can to stick to taking that little piece of pill away every day. It made me feel comforted to know at the same time, another friend has been struggling to cut back on his terrible smoking habit, and his symptoms and struggles aren’t much different. I try to remind myself that if I keep focused on the goal and don’t panic, I can do this thing that will help in the long run. But it is hard on my mind, my body, and my emotions.

I almost quite trying on Monday evening, when E was for Emergency. I had a text from my brother saying my dad was in hospital again. One of the things that scares me about my own health is how unhealthy my own parents are, in their mid-60’s. My dad has stage IV prostate cancer that’s spread to the bones, and is currently doing chemotherapy and injections to shrink the tumours. He also suffers from Lymphedema, is over 500 pounds, and has been confined to a bed and wheelchair for about 6 years. One of the side effects is an inability to get enough oxygen into his body, and although he has a machine to help with this, he doesn’t use it. So, when trying to get into his wheelchair, he fell, and the doctors discovered his carbon dioxide level was at 95%. He is currently in a medically induced coma while they get his body balanced. It is perhaps the third time this has happened. Yet, my dad refuses to go to a nursing home where trained professionals can give him 24/7 care. It is a very tough situation, and it upsets me that my own health issues keep me from being able to travel to see my family.

I try not to beat myself up for forgetting to blog in the midst of all this, and my body struggling with itself to even do simple tasks—but it does feel a lot like “F”, which is failure.

At this point in my life, I need a win. I need something to go right. I need to do something I didn’t screw up along the way. I need to fight for every day to be a good one, even if my quality of life isn’t what it used to be and may never be the same again. It’s too easy to give up hope and not find anything to smile about when you wake up in the morning, when everyone should be smiling just because they woke up in the morning. There is so much in life I don’t have the means, ability, or knowledge to control, making sure that there are little successes where I can find them is important to me–even if it just means writing on this blog every day.

I may only be able to live a “C” kind of life these days, but it’s way better than an “F” kind of life.

Today, the United States government has entered a state of partial shut-down, and I anticipate that things will be at a standstill for some time before they begin to look up. I’m not intending to write about this very current issue, even though it is relevant to all of us. However, I did post a statement on my Facebook page explaining why I’d be keeping oddly silent through a period of controversy, something that is not like me at all. It reads as follows:

“I don’t comment on political things much. It isn’t because I don’t have opinions; on the contrary, I have very strong opinions. But I also have the irritating ability to see both sides of a situation and discuss a problem from that perspective, which seems to annoy both “sides” of any issue. I look for ways for people to compromise and work together whenever possible, and those who see things in black and white tend to get angry with me, because I rarely do. So, I will spend tomorrow avoiding all commentary on the current political issues or partisan “blaming” conversations. I will say, though, if there were more people like me on our Congress, we wouldn’t have an “us vs. them” mentality that eliminates the idea of compromise for the greater good, in favour of behaving like children playing a game where winning is the only thing that matters. That is all I have to say about that.”

So, yes. Although I do not work for the government, it feels a bit like it should be a holiday today. I mean, why I am I meant to sit around being productive today? Instead, I thought I’d head over here and say hello to you guys. I haven’t done as well with keeping up on my blogging projects as I should, and I’m appreciative of the regular readers who drop by to look for new stories, even when there are not any.

For those who missed it, my latest project has been an involvement with Nerdy Minds, an online magazine for all things geek-culture related. They were initially delighted to have me as a contributor, because they really didn’t have someone on staff who wasn’t your “typical geek” writing about the culture from somewhat of an outside perspective. My very first post,
The Myth Of The Geek Girl
, stirred up a good deal of controversy and debate on Facebook and amongst the geek community at large. In fact, the response (both of a positive and negative nature) was so immediate and inspired so many strong opinions, I was asked to write a follow-up piece.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it: writing for an audience that is not yours and expressing opinions on the internet is a bit like wandering into a minefield. When you write on your own blog, you have a bit of a security net. When you write a book, you have a finished work or a character or something to hide behind. When you write an opinion piece based upon your own life and share it with the world, there is no hiding. People judge. The commentary can get personal. You need to be a thick-skinned person to put yourself and your opinions out there in an authentic, vulnerable fashion and not be affected by the backlash. I, admittedly, am sensitive to the point of being overly sensitive. I take things personally when they are not meant that way. You might imagine how I react to the things that are most certainly meant that way.

Yet, throughout my life and my writing career, I’ve had the following pointed out: “You know how to make friends. You know how to get people to like you. If you just employ those strategies and hold back on sharing so much of yourself, you’ll find it easier to ingratiate yourself with any group of people. You’re a charming person; does it matter so much to be authentic and to have your voice heard?”

The answer is yes, of course it does. I addressed this issue in a snarky piece about
Surviving The Social Scene In 2013
at the beginning of the year. If you are an artist in any way shape and form, you understand that none of the aforementioned suggestions apply to you. They simply cannot co-exist with your identity as an artist without one suffering greatly. As an artist, it isn’t your job to make people like you. It isn’t even your job to pay attention to what your readers say, what your critics say, what your friends and family say. It isn’t your job to explain yourself and become a more beloved person. The job of an artist is to get people to examine how they think, how they feel, and how that is reflective (or not) of society. The job of an artist is to evoke a response and initiate dialogue. If acceptance is always the ultimate goal, one must embrace conformity much more than I am willing to do. I like acceptance. I like to be liked. However, the comments that meant the most to me were hearing from women who’d encountered all sorts of experiences that made them uncomfortable, and thanked me for sharing mine. The comments that meant the most to me were from people who wanted to reference my pieces in their own work and discussions on the topic, the people who validated me as an artist with something to say, not as a likeable girl.

Perhaps I don’t need to be liked enough that I believe the only important thing I have to say is on the topic of “Why Yellow Is Out In 2014″. Yet, the truth is, I do care, and when people make personal comments or actively dislike me, I cry. It doesn’t matter if I do not know or will never meet that person. Judgement hurts. However, it doesn’t hurt enough to make me believe toning down my personality, expressing myself a little less strongly, or working to keep the peace and making certain everyone will like me is worth it. I dislike conflict, but I cannot mold myself to the expectations of others to avoid conflict and live a life where I am more “accepted” by all. I cannot refuse to stand out because it makes others uncomfortable.

A good friend told me yesterday that he was quite concerned about me, because he always sees me as a bright shining light in the middle of a world that isn’t equipped for such a thing. He is afraid that the people around me who are not as open and adventurous as I can be, the people both in my personal and professional life who’d like to see me knocked down a peg or two, the pressure to live in a society whose mantra seems to be “conformity and pleasing others is the ticket to success”, and the difficult situations in my life one might characterise as “The Challenging Process Of Growing Up” are all things that will ultimately dim that light. It was the right thing to say, because my reply was along the lines of, “Don’t underestimate me. I may not be too strong or too special, but I’m a fighter. You never have to worry. I will cry and feel bruised and battered, but I’ll always get back up. I have to. ”

I do not consider myself “provocative” or “ballsy” or even “confident”, but I thank those who give me credit for being such a strong type of person. I don’t think there is anything particularly special about me. I write about things that are relevant to me, and things I believe others might read and think, “I can relate to that.” I say the things I think people should be saying, even if not everyone wishes to hear them. And, however much it hurts, I can’t change that desire for authentic self-expression simply because someone doesn’t like me or judges me. After living my life online for 13 years, I’m quite familiar with what it’s like to be a polarising personality. I’m also quite familiar with how important it becomes when someone tells you that you’ve left a positive influence in that person’s life, simply by being yourself. If you have that gift, and most of us do, why should fear keep you from sharing it?

In fact, the experience has rekindled my passion for blogging, and reminded me to pay more attention to my own. In October, I will be bringing back the ever-popular “Literary Libations” segment, and will be creating a group on Goodreads to bring together authors, bloggers, and others who realise that building a brand, marketing a book, or getting traffic to a blog isn’t something that can be accomplished in a bubble.

I’ll also be attending the annual SIEGE Conference this Thursday through Sunday, where I’ll be helping to handle registration and bringing my own unique version of sunshine and rainbows (i.e., snark, vodka, and glitter) to a really diverse and fun crowd of people.

And did I mention it’s October? That, of course, means Halloween—more events, more costumes, and more zany adventures when possible. If you’re not yet my Facebook friend, I urge you to come on over and join me and my unique crew of peeps, and share in the adventures.

See you all soon!:)

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been around much for the past 6 weeks or so. Perhaps you didn’t notice, and I give myself more credit for having consistently interested readers than I deserve. *laughs* In any case, I haven’t been around the blogosphere too much. I’m not sure why, other than I have been feeling overwhelmed with actual day-to-day life. While my usual compulsion is to share all these things, it just hasn’t been that way. Frankly, I haven’t felt much like writing at all. My bank account looks sad and desolate, my paper journals haven’t been touched by ink in weeks, and while I did manage to start a short story for my upcoming collection (short story currently 20 pages and counting), it’s looking like my goal of having another published work out by December isn’t a realistic one.

I wonder if we all go through these crises of being, where we wonder if we have anything worth saying or creating, or if we are in fact people that anyone else cares about at all. I’ve been struggling with feeling irrelevant. Perhaps I haven’t been inspired to write because I’ve given up the idea that there’s an audience that cares, or that I have anything to say that hasn’t already been said before, and in much more compelling and eloquent ways. I’ve been struggling with feelings that in my everyday life, I am not only irrelevant but inadequate, and it’s turned me from a vivacious extrovert to someone who has become resigned to being a wallflower. I have not been as social as usual, preferring the company of my closest friends to parties, and feeling as if organizing things to do has become an obligation rather than things I can look forward to each week. I feel I am not interesting enough, not intelligent enough, not beautiful enough, not thin enough, not likeable enough, and not skilled enough in social situations to keep being the me I have always been. I do not know where this self-doubt comes from, but I have been paralyzed by it in many ways. I have this feeling that those in the world I love do not love me in return, and if they do, they should not, because I am too damaged and inadequate that anyone should spend time, emotion, or anything else on me.

Thus, I have been largely quiet on the blog, because people read blogs for interesting and inspiring stories—or at the very least, to be amused. I’m terribly un-amusing lately.

I will catch everyone up in longer posts on individual subjects, but here are some of the things that have happened to me during the past two months.:

* I’m sure I haven’t been gone thatlong, but I spent half of July reviving Alayna’s East Coast Tour. I was able to spend a week at the beach, visit my family, and see some of my favourite people who don’t live near me in Philadelphia, NYC, D.C., and Raleigh-Durham.

* Shortly after returning to Atlanta from visiting my family, I got news my mother was in hospital. She had yet another stroke and possible cardiac event, and for almost two weeks, did not know simple things like what year it was, who anyone was, and was unable to speak coherently without effort or get around without a wheelchair. Fortunately, she recovered, and was moved to a rehab facility. After she completes rehab, my mother will be moved to a permanent nursing facility. I cried after I left my family home, not only because of how they were living, but because I felt I’d never be back. I am an intuitive person, and it was a loss that hit hard, even before my mother ended up in hospital.

* All sorts of family drama ensued regarding power of attorney over my mother’s medical and financial decisions, her personal wishes, who pays the bills for her treatment, my 92-year-old grandfather’s will, etc. It is sad that when something happens to someone, the response from others seems to be “How does this affect me? How do I benefit?” I do not want to be involved in any of the family drama, and for all intents and purposes, I am happy that I was “written out of everyone’s will” many years ago. In my mind, it was the price of freedom and being able to live life on my own terms without being accountable to the idea of how others would have liked me to live. (yeah, how’s that working out for me? :P ) Yet, it makes me sad to hear how selfish and petty people are, people who are my blood relatives.

* Once all the family drama settled down, it was time to concentrate on costumes, house cleaning, event planning, etc. for DragonCon. I am very thankful that a good friend of mine was able to stay at my place and look after Trixie (my 13-year-old Lab/Beagle mix.), and that The Guy I Am Currently Dating took care of a lot of the trip planning. It was fun, but exhausting. It did push me past my physical limits right now, and was a reminder to be more careful about doing what’s best for my health and well-being, rather than being concerned about being a disappointment or liability to others.

* September is the month of events, as I have something going on every weekend until mid-October. Then, a short break, and it’s time for Halloween!

* As always, I’ve been addicted to my summer TV shows, and have watched a lot of Big Brother. It is the 15th season (the 13th year), which makes me feel quite old, because it was Season 1 when I was an alternate for the show. It’s funny to remember how young I was then, and what I would have been like to watch on reality TV at the age of 20. I thought I was the most interesting person in the world back then, and for many years following. Now, I feel inadequate in almost every way possible. It’s interesting how things change.

Sadly, my favourite contestant will likely be given the boot from the show tonight (marking the first time that my favourite hasn’t ended up winning in a few years.), and my original favourite contestant will likely be following her shortly. Just like in life, the smartest or most determined people don’t always win.

* Other shows I’ve been into include Lifetime’s “Project Runway” and “Dance Moms”, MTV’s “Catfish” (I still have a huge crush on Nev Schulman, and find it amusing that his older brother went to school with me, something I didn’t know until sending out a friend request on FB! What a small world it is!) and “The Challenge”, and a few others I watch sporadically. I’ve been reading, although not as much as I usually do. I finished Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Princess”, and am currently working my way through the letters of Simone de Beauvoir, after reading a biography of Sartre and de Beauvoir given to me by a friend. (although polyamory and open relationships have been around as long as time itself, it seems these two were the first to really define it as a lifestyle that worked—well, most of the time– they needed some work in the honesty department, it seems. *laughs*)

The Guy I Am Currently Dating got me into two shows we watch together: “Wilfred” on FX, which ranges from crude to absurd to philosophical, and “Ray Donovan”, which is the kind of drama I like quite a bit. If you get Showtime, I highly recommend it.

I haven’t yet seen “The Great Gatsby”, but I’d like to, as soon as I have some free time. I know it isn’t fabulous, but I do love the 20′s and Leonardo DiCaprio. *laughs*

* Oh, and yes, I finally did get money refunded from the hotel fiasco in Manhattan. It only took a month, and you can count on the fact that there will be a blog about that coming up shortly. ;)

For those who also follow me on Facebook, I’ve definitely been around, even while kind of ignoring my blog. I’ll have to try to be a little more inspired in the future. ;)

Life has been pretty overwhelming this week, between an increased pressure regarding work/money/practical things, social obligations, trying to keep up with “optional things” like the workshop over at Writer’s Village I’ve been taking and wish I had more time for and this blog, and making time for the people I care about. I’ve been going to bed exhausted, and waking up extraordinarily early.

It’s fair to say I don’t do well with stress, because it turns me into a person I am not, a person who becomes overwhelmed by worry and anxiety and has trouble completing goals because they seem too large. You don’t have to know me outside of this blog to know that I am a bit of a bon vivante–I enjoy life and a little dash of the finer, more memorable things, and living to the fullest. When every day, practical matters get in the way, I become bogged down and overwhelmed by them. I feel as if I am carrying around a heavy burden, and my creativity level is practically non-existent. In a different era, I’m sure I’d have been the typical highly-strung artiste, but in today’s world, the kindest way to put it is that I am not the best with practical matters and a little flighty when it comes to taking care of them. It’s actually not because I’m terribly flighty by nature, as I’m not—I’m intelligent and have a pretty decent head on my shoulders— but I wish to largely avoid the stress that comes along with all those “adult problems” whenever possible. Therefore, I excel at procrastination and find it difficult to focus on goals that seem too unrealistic and large, and am rarely surprised when the things I want to happen simply don’t work out, or I screw up in some major way. In the freelancing world, this can be a challenging character flaw, because no matter how talented you are, deadlines and rule-following are typically valued a bit more. I have, sadly, had to learn this the hard way. However, I don’t operate well under deadlines—the stress of the deadline blocks out the creativity or the motivation, and anxiety keeps me from allowing my brain to rest.

I am either by nature a very type-A personality who has learned to live life differently as a coping mechanism for anxiety and what is common labeled “too many feelings”, or someone who is not at all focused and driven that’s forced to handle very challenging situations from time to time, with too few people to help. I am not sure which. Either way, since I got some news earlier this week about a lot more pressure being put onto my shoulders, I haven’t felt like myself.

Since I haven’t been writing anything myself lately, nor keeping up with promoting and networking and blogging, I’m happy to have this week’s “Literary Libations” finished ahead of time and ready to go! I’m afraid I’ve been less communicative with this wonderful author than I typically am with my interview subjects, but fortunately, she is a very level-headed and organized type who managed to send everything I needed, regardless. ;)

For the very first time, I’ll be chatting with an author in the genre of children’s fiction, the lovely Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. While a majority of my readers are single, urban types without children, I thought it would be nice o have Deanie stop by for a visit to provide a bit of a new and fresh perspective to the blog. She is friendly, creative, and quite accomplished. I, for one, am thrilled to have her here, so I hope you’ll pull up a chair on this Sunday morning (whatever time it happens to be for you), and settle in to meet her.



tailscover orignial
1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

I spent my childhood in the tiny town of Easton CT, where my parents owned a riding school. The farm was called Sweetbrier and life there was always exciting, as well as challenging. Presently, I live in New Fairfield, CT, but I lived in FL for several years as well. I miss the FL weather in the Winter, but my husband really disliked the hot, humid Summers there. I’m working on another book for the Charlene the Star series called Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog. My sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, beautifully illustrates my books.

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

My newest published story is called Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes. Charlene the Star is a stunning red horse, who is becoming renowned for her jumping talents, but she and her friends are looking for something exciting to do in their spare time. They start an amazing new career, which helps other horses. The story is told from Charlene’s point of view and the animals all discuss their problems and work together to find astonishing, creative, solutions. Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes is amusing, entertaining , and it emphasizes the value of friendship, teamwork and setting goals.

3)
When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.

It’s most important to me that my books promote positive messages for children. I want them to realize that they are all unique. In my book, Charlene the Star, Charlene comes from a family of famous race horses so everyone assumes that will be her forte. But what happens when she doesn’t like racing? She goes to great lengths to show her trainers that she is completely bored with running in circles! She even considers becoming a model at one point. Her career takes a completely different turn. After that, I wanted to create something different for Charlene and her friends. Some of the same characters are in both books, but they set different goals in Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes. It was fun to create the story and I certainly hope that children enjoy reading it. I make every effort to assure that each of my books is my best effort, because that’s what my readers deserve.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

I chose to self publish because I wanted to retain the rights to my work. I was aware that I would need to do my own marketing and promoting, but I don’t mind doing that. In my experience, most traditional publishers will not consider publishing your work, unless you’re already famous. Also, many traditional publishers are not accepting submissions, so I believe that self publishing was the best course for me.

5) Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first publication?

I took two writing courses with the Institute of Children’s Literature. I learned a great deal from their excellent instructors. But I didn’t have the confidence to actually try to publish anything for some time. One morning, I had a strong intuition that I should write a story for children that would be inspirational so I created my first book, Tails of Sweetbrier, which is an autobiography of a little girl who wanted nothing more than to become a champion equestrian, in spite of her handicap. I can’t give away everything that happens, but the story does show that anything is possible if you persevere. This book was chosen “Most Inspirational” by the staff of the Pawling Book Cove in 2009. Tails of Sweetbrier was published in 2009.



Hattie in jpeg
6)
You’re the first person I’ve had occasion to interview on this site who is a children’s author. What drew you to that genre, rather than writing for young adults or an older audience? Do you illustrate your books, as well?

I love children and I thought it would be a tremendous amount of fun, as well as a challenge, to write stories that would inspire and encourage them. My goal is always to write funny, exciting, stories that would have helpful, positive messages for children.

7) What would you say is the most challenging aspect of writing for younger readers? What do you consider to be the most rewarding?

I think it’s challenging to find new ideas for stories. There are so many children’s books that it’s necessary to find different subjects and/or innovative ways to present your ideas and characters. It’s also important to have sufficient action and lively dialogue to keep young readers turning the page. Some of my readers are kind enough to send notes, telling me how much they enjoyed my stories and what they will remember most about them. That’s a huge reward!

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

I love books by children’s author, Sherry Ellis (That Baby Woke Me Up Again! And That Mama is a Grouch!) They are adorable, fun to read, and have good messages. I am very impressed with I Spy a Dragonfly and My Name May be Peanuts, but I say Nay to PB&J, by Carla Burke. Both of these authors are award-winners and they do a fantastic job. I’ve had the honor of interviewing Carla. We had a great time together discussing her books.

9) Is writing a full-time career for you, or something you do in your free time? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer?

Yes, writing is a full-time job for me. My goal is to continue to write stories that children enjoy. Of course, I hope to inspire them as well.

10)
Do you experience “writer’s block”, or a point in time when your imagination simply decides to turn itself off? If so, what do you do to get past that mental stopping point?

Yes, sometimes that does happen. I find that taking a break is helpful. If I take some time away from writing, I can look at it with a fresh perspective, and that’s helpful. Sometimes I ask advice from my family, which is often enlightening. Eventually, the creative side of my brain wakes up again so I can get back to work!

11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favourite things?

I love watching equestrian events, such as jumping, horse racing, etc. Also, I enjoy watching figure skating, swimming, and gymnastic competitions. Additionally, I’m a baseball fan, especially a Yankee fan.

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

I’m a Libra.

13) If you were to give advice to young or aspiring writers who are looking to write for children, what would be the most important lesson you’d wish to share?

I believe that if writing is your passion, you should pursue it, even if some of your friends are discouraging you from that. You must have the passion, in order to make your work outstanding. I think we should never abandon our dreams. Of course, it’s also important to keep writing, because the more you do, the better you become at it. I would also advise aspiring authors to remember that revising your work is essential. It’s rare that your first attempt is your best effort.

14) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.

My website is: www.dhdunne.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Childrens-author-Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/574820065875628

Book Titles: Tails of Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse (Kindle), Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes

All of them are on Amazon.com. You may also order them directly from me by emailing; www.dhdunne.blogspot.com. Soon you will be able to order signed copies of my book from my website.

Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Alayna. I’ve really enjoyed our time together.



Charlie's cover from Amazon

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is a children’s book author with four books published at this time: Tails of Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, (now on Kindle) Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes (now on Kindle). All of her books offer positive messages for children. Her sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, beautifully illustrates her books. She and Holly are currently working on their fifth book together,” Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog.”

Tails of Sweetbrier is an inspirational autobiography about a little girl whose one desire was to become a champion equestrian, in spite of her handicap. Tails of Sweetbrier will show children that anything is possible if you persevere. This book was chosen “Most Inspirational” by the staff of the Pawling Book Cove in 2009. Tails of Sweetbrier is in the process of being published in a second edition. Deanie’s other books, Charlie the Horse, and Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, are amusing, fictional tales, which contain important life lessons.

Deanie is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, as well as a member of Cambridge Who’s Who. She has been featured on several author websites and she is administrator of Claire Power Murphy’s group, the Pen is Mightier than the Sword and Claire’s group on Womens Radio.com, called “improve Every Year” She has completed four radio interviews on www.womensradio.com. Her last interview with Claire, “Building Character Through Children’s Stories” received top billing on www.womensradio.com.

Deanie enjoys watching equestrian events, and figure skating competitions, music and singing, spending with her family, and their dog, Elliott. She is also an avid Yankee fan.Deanie has just been selected as “Author of the Year” by Geri Ahearn. Additionally, she has been nominated for the following blogging awards: Sunshine Award, The Best Moment Award, The Dragon’s Loyalty Award, The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, The Leibster Award (twice) and the Super Sweet Award, and the Shine On Award.

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Thanks so much to Deanie Humphrys-Dunne for stopping by to be our guest on “Literary Libations” this weekend, and I hope many of you will be inspired to check out her lovely and imaginative creations. Deanie is also part of the Goodreads author community, as more and more independent authors are, so I highly recommend checking out what others are saying if you happen to be part of the website.

Stay tuned, as I’ll be featuring not one but two other interviews this week with talented authors from around the globe, and keeping you updated on some of my own endeavours! As for me, I’ll have to bid you a fairly early good night from my part of the world, as we have a trivia tournament tomorrow and I’d like my brain to turn itself back on. ;)

Sweet dreams, and a lovely Sunday from over here at
Jaded Elegance.

On Thursday night, I experimented with sleeping half-naked on the floor of my apartment. It was kind of like camping at Burning Man, but without a tent, and completely sober. It was, for the record, far less fun.

This sounds like a classic Alayna-type story of “Something that should not have happened”, but it was definitely not my fault.

As always, life has been a little crazy lately, and so today’s “Literary Libations” is not getting itself posted today. It will be postponed until Monday, when I’m a bit more awake and stuff. I think I exhausted myself a little, between some fun social events, deadlines, and what was likely the most uncomfortable night in recent history. Not sleeping is OK for a little while, but at some point, the gas tank most definitely hits “E”, for exhausted.

Thursday night seemed like an ordinary, low-key night. I had a bunch of articles with a deadline of Friday afternoon, and needed to get everything out of the way before my events on Friday night. I had also been set to participate in the “All Authors Blog Blitz”, basically a day where independent and self-published authors each posted a guest post on one person’s blog, and hosted another author on their own blog the same day. Obviously, that didn’t work out for me, but more about that later. I will be posting about the Blog Blitz, and featuring my guest author on Monday’s blog.

I managed to get my guest blog written at somewhat of the last minute, and made my way through about half of my assignments, when tornado warnings began to come through. Tornado warnings and strong thunderstorms are common here; nothing at all like the storms I’m used to in the Northeast. I actually *love* thunderstorms, as long as I can watch them from the inside or under a covered porch. I think they’re romantic and beautiful and never fail to remind me of some of the better moments of my life. (Ironically, I will always remember watching rainstorms from a daybed in New Orleans, and feeling wistful and sad and happy all at once. I thought it was really the kind of city I wanted to call home, even though it was small and Southern. I didn’t, of course, but New Orleans had some problems with water that were not at all romantic, so it’s interesting that I think of that city and remember how beautiful the rain is. Most people will always remember the devastation in following years.)

Tornadoes are a different thing entirely. We get a lot of warnings regarding them, but I don’t take them too seriously. I once threw an event in the middle of a tornado, thinking nothing was going to happen. Meanwhile, across town, the tornado hit Downtown Atlanta. I’d like to think my penchant for not taking things too seriously helped keep people safe. *laughs* On Thursday, I saw the alerts on TV, heard thunder, and assumed there was a storm.

Then, of course, the power went out. Fortunately, it was still somewhat daylight, but I became alarmed when the thunder started to shake the floor of my apartment. Ornaments fell off my Christmas tree. I went to hide in the little area of space that serves as a “closet” in my Zen room. Of course, I could still see the storm from my window, and my phone made the horrible emergency alert noise that always makes me feel really anxious. It said, “Emergency alert—danger imminent. Take cover now.”

That did not make me feel better, as the giant tree in front of my window started to shake, loud thunder seemed to be in the apartment, and the blackest storm cloud I’d ever seen was staring me in the face. Even on my beta-blockers, there was definitely an adrenaline problem, because I was alone in a closet and went from “Oh, storm, la la la…” to “Holy crap, we’re all going to die!”. My dog hates storms, so she’s really not a calming presence when a tornado comes through.

The storm ended, nobody was hurt, but the power was out. It was, of course, hot. It was 92 degrees that day, like it has been every day, and humid, and not a fan or AC unit to be had. At 8 PM, they said the power would be on by 9:15.

By 12 AM, I was starving (realising I had no food other than candy that didn’t require cooking), and walking around lighting up the apartment with my Kindle. By 1 AM, I was annoyed that The Guy I Am Currently Dating didn’t come to rescue me, because I’d used up my phone battery with the sporadic messages I was allowed to send (cell networks were also down) and calls to the power outage hotline. At some point, they didn’t give an ETA and my phone went dead.

By 1:30, The Guy I Am Currently Dating scared the hell out of me, because I’m sitting in a pitch black apartment and hear someone rattling with the knob at the door. I immediately think of every horror movie I’ve ever seen, but fortunately, he showed up with McDonald’s, which I ate in about 7 minutes. (If you know me personally, you know it takes me forever to eat food, so this is an important indication.) He also brought a flashlight, which was good, because the phone died and the Kindle was down to 15%. (I did read a book during the power outage, which was kind of nice. If it had not been hot and dreadfully uncomfortable, I would have appreciated the alone, non-electronic time.)

By 3 AM, I wanted to sleep, but couldn’t. The porch door was open, because it was 10 degrees cooler outside than inside. Walking the dog was particularly weird, because the lights were out EVERYWHERE. It was rather like a post-apocalyptic scene in a movie, and I felt like I needed a bow and arrow or something in order to channel my inner Katniss. The Guy I Am Currently Dating later told me that 200,000 people lost power, and there was not a light in the entire area.

I tried to sleep in every room, on every piece of furniture. I think I successfully got about 4 non-consecutive, uncomfortable hours. It really sucked. I am not a fan of summer power outages, for the record.

The next day, it only got hotter, with the apartment reaching 82 by 1 PM…and no power. The Guy I Am Currently Dating showed up again, drove me to McDonald’s, and tried to find a place to charge my phone. The parking lot was full of people who looked like they hadn’t showered, brushed their hair, eaten, slept, and were aware it was 90 degrees out. It was a cranky day. Finally, by 5 PM, a little girl shouted “The power is on!”, and you could hear a huge cheer throughout the apartment complex. I was lucky, as I had enough time to shower and get ready to go out, but I was exhausted.

Not everyone was so fortunate. On Saturday night, we saw a news headline that said “Parts of Atlanta Still Without Power”, so it could have been worse. I don’t know if I’d have survived another day.

(Interestingly enough, as I’m writing this, a thunderstorm is running through the area….)

While I still had access to my phone, I got the news that winners had been chosen in the short story contest over on Mysti Parker’s blog, and my little story I wrote at 4 AM one night won first place. YAY!! I’m totally honoured that my story, appropriately entitled “All That Glitters”, was something that stood out and captured attention. If you haven’t read the story or visited Mysti’s site yet, I totally recommend it.

In an example of synchronicity, Mysti is one of the mentors for the online writing class I’ve been doing at Writers’ Village University. I am not in her class, but it was one of her posts that pointed me to the community. Since she’s my friend on there, and my screen name is “PrincessAlayna”, I figured she knew it was the same person.

She laughed when she found that out, because she didn’t put the names together. (there aren’t that many Alayna-s floating around, and I have a photo posted, so that makes it even funnier.) An even greater example of synchronicity is that I received copies of books written by people I’ve actually met through the class, which I only started two weeks ago. Even cyberspace can be a small world.

Writing isn’t always something that gives you much validation. You publish a book, and as someone posted recently, “Oh, I sold a book this year, which is one more than last year. Things are looking up.” is not an uncommon scenario. For all the promoting people do, nobody is actually BUYING books, which makes it seem like a gigantic exercise in ego-reinforcement. I am not sure whether anything I write is good or not, ever. I am also not sure it matters, because everyone with a computer is an author these days, and what I’d really like is a paycheck. The things you receive paychecks for are often written in a drone-like fashion, without your name attached, and feedback is rare and almost always focused on punctuation. (Apparently, I suck at adverbial clauses and the use of commas.)

So, small things like someone you’ve never met liking your story actually count a little in the “You don’t totally suck” department. :) Are all the little bits of positive feedback enough to convince me I’m talented enough to actually be a successful writer…and does it matter if people don’t really read? I don’t know. But it’s cool to be appreciated now and again.

It’s the little things, like ice, Chicken McNuggets, and winning short story contests that make a hot June day without power a little bit better.

For the record, electricity is my new favourite thing.

Today’s blog is immensely self-centred, because it’s more about ME! ;P Today, my guest interview is with the quirky and expressive Anita Lewis, who asked me to write about becoming a writer, and how my book came into being. It can look a little daunting because I didn’t double-space paragraph breaks correctly….but I promise it’s entertaining and informative.

I discuss learning to write, being a “gifted child”, feminism, Shakespeare, and the downside to life as a “manic pixie dream girl”. If that’s not a mix of topics to interest you, I don’t know what is.

Please stop by and visit, comment, share, Tweet, and also like on FB, or simply say that I am funny, interesting, or cool!! :P Visit Anita, and hear from your favourite wayward muse

Earlier in the week, I did a guest blog over at Faith Colburn’s page entitled “People Watching”. It’s about my nasty habit of eavesdropping, and then silently mocking others in my head. (or, later, out loud by sharing with friends. Or the Internet. Nobody ever said I was the nicest person on Earth! :P )

If you missed any of my earlier appearances, read Troy Jackson’s well-done interview with me about the writing process and Ophelia’s Wayward Muse. Or, you can read a more in-depth Q & A session,courtesy of the Savvy Indie.

Don’t forget to look for “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse” on Amazon, friend me on Goodreads to talk about what you’re reading and writing, and to leave a review if you’ve got a copy of the book sitting on your shelf. ;)

One of the conundrums I’ve always faced as a blogger whose primary subject of interest is me is exactly how much of my life to put out there, and what’s better left unsaid. When I first started blogging, frankly, one of the things that set my blog apart from others was that I had a level of openness in my writing most people weren’t willing to exhibit to strangers on the Internet.

While this gained me a number of fans and I’d receive letters from strangers commending me on my honesty, I also received a disturbing amount of hate mail. Being the oversensitive type, it was difficult to deal with being someone whom others would trash on their blogs after reading my blog. I wasn’t prepared for people to use my vulnerability against me, and I should have been, as people certainly do that in real life.

I also wasn’t prepared for the fact that my willingness to open up to the world would win me admirers, and even stalkers..and also people determine to use this medium as a way to attack me in a manner that really affected my normal day-to-day life. At some point, I had to learn to put some walls up to protect myself, and to stop writing to the Internet as if I were writing to my diary. Although “Jaded Elegance: The Uninhibited Adventures Of A Chic Web Geek” tends to get more personal than most, it’s a much less personally revealing site than it was.

I attempted to counteract these issues by starting a friends-only blog that only a handful of real-life friends were able to access. Twice, someone I trusted enough to allow access to that blog printed out those entries to use against me in ways that were hurtful and destructive. Fool me three times, I’m a freaking idiot, so now I keep a paper journal and write letters in addition to blogging.

One of the issues I’ve always had is dealing with blogs, close friendships, and relationships. Those who matter the most to you are very likely to become a subject of your blog, but you don’t want to be that person who passive-aggressively uses a public blog to discuss a private issue. You don’t want to go on a date and blog about it the next morning, unless something momentous happened. You don’t want to use it as a forum to trash your ex, your boss, your parents, whoever—but at the same time, you want to fulfill the purpose of having this type of blog in the first place–authentic self-expression.

An interesting verbal-sparring partner (we don’t seem to see eye to eye on much, especially when it comes to relationships and gender issues and the like, yet we seem to discuss really complex ideas in a very intelligent fashion without personally insulting one another—something that’s rare to come by!) and long-time fellow blogger Bill Cammack has what I hope is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek guide to dating those who have some level of internet presence or are “microcelebrities”. While he discusses things on a whole different plane than some of the conundrums I’ve encountered as a blogger— he’s discussing what to do when you’re always going to end up on social media with someone, but you’re dating multiple people, and I’m more concerned with how much of your relationship is appropriate to share with an audience—there is some truth and some overlap. At some point, anyone with a noticeable social media presence will have to deal with this issue.

I used to blog about everything when it came to my relationships, especially if things weren’t going well. It didn’t occur to me that this was making things worse, and even if I don’t name names, people KNOW who I’m talking about. In fact, because I can share my thoughts and feelings far more rationally in writing than via uncomfortable conversation (which may often end up in me walking away at some point because I’m too upset to deal.), I thought putting it all out there in an honest way was helpful. After all, you want your partner to know what you’re thinking and feeling, right?

It wasn’t until 2005, when I was dating someone who said, “Look, it’s either this blog or me, because I think you thrive on the drama and like me better as a character than a person”, that I took a step back. At one point, I was actually offline (except for my “secret” blog) for a bit over a year.

Obviously, I’m back, and I still write about my personal life. It turns out, that guy wasn’t worth taking the blog down for, in any sense, and it’s not a mistake I’ll repeat. Anyone who loves me should love my blog. In fact, I actually take it as a slight and a sign of utter disinterest that I have one or two people in my life I consider important to me, and they flatly refuse to read this blog. It’s hard not to think, “Really? You can log in to check your e-mail and surf pictures of Grumpy Cat, but my blog isn’t worth reading?”

This evening, I realised I felt very minimalised when I asked The Guy I Am Currently Dating over dinner whether he read my latest author interview. He said “Well, I looked at it, but no. It seemed the same as the others.”. I pointed out that many of the questions were different, and he said, “Well, it didn’t look that way, so I didn’t check it out. Sorry.”

Maybe it’s just me and my co-dependent, easily-infatuated-for-a-certain-period-of-time type of personality, but when I’m really into someone, I read everything they write. I read everything that’s out there about them (and given some of the people in my past, that’s not always been a small feat! :P . I look at the pictures they post and listen to that random song they shared because they listened to it 12 times. I’m not that crazy stalker kind of girl, but many years of dating have augmented my liberal arts education. My horizons have been broadened through the people I know, and the fact that me taking an interest in a person means taking an interest in whatever that person is up to. I won’t pretend to like it or understand it if I don’t—I could never end up with a guy completely devote to, say, baseball—but when I care about someone, I’m really invested in learning more about them and their life and their thoughts and feelings.

To have someone who won’t read my blog, or a different someone who doesn’t read interviews where I talk about random stuff, or someone who never checks out anything on my Facebook page….I can’t help but read, “I like you, but I’m just not that into you.” And, in some of the aforementioned cases, that’s exactly true. But when it comes from the person I’ve been with for years, it’s a little less acceptable.

Anyhow, this post had a point before it got sidetracked, as I so often do. The point is, I’m never sure what to do at times when there’s so much going on in my life and I’d love to be able to write about it and process it here, but it’s all of an intensely personal nature, but I can’t.

This week, before all the chaos unfolded in Boston (I have family who lives up in the Cambridge area, near the MIT campus, and they are fortunately all well, if a bit skittish these days.), I had some situations pop up in my life that threw me for a loop. I’d been feeling blindsided by people in my life, people I was willing to wear my heart on my sleeve for…and there were three separate and meaningful incidents with people I care for that made me feel hurt, angry, neglected, or betrayed. For some time, I felt the need for drastic change. It’s tough to look at the people you care about more than anything and say, “I know you’re nicer to me than you are to most people, but the way you’ve treated me in this situation, I can’t ignore. I deserve so much better, and if you don’t know that, I *really* deserve so much better.”

It’s been hard for me to internalise these feelings and these situations, and to generally feel lost. I sometimes feel like an idiot for caring too much, for investing in all the wrong people, for falling for people who will always have limitations on our relationship and developing friendships with people who view such things as far more disposable and replaceable than I do. And when you’re hurt in a way you don’t see coming, or suddenly abandoned and you don’t know exactly why you’re so easy to toss aside, you start to re-evaluate everything and everyone in your life.

This week, it’s been a very lonely place to be—and with the shock of national tragedies thrown in the middle, dwelling on my personal problems seems self-indulgent at best—but I do rather miss those days where this blog was the place I was allowed to be self-indulgent as I pleased.

With age and experience may come wisdom, but wisdom doesn’t always lead to greater happiness.

That being said, one thing I do not do is blog about political issues. My doctor actually advised me to refrain from discussions on political topics or watching shows that were likely to make me irate, because some of the things people say contribute greatly to my anxiety and sense of anger and injustice towards the world. If you know me, you know what my politics are, and for a socialist hippie type of girl, they’re actually more moderate than you might think. I’m not into blame, I’m not into stereotypes, I’m not into vengeance and wishing people would die and name calling and battling one another because being right is more important than being happy. I often see multiple sides to an issue, and while I have firm convictions on some subjects, I understand and respect why others do as well. I’m all about finding commonality, compromise, working together for the common good, and understanding the human psyche.

As a result, I dislike politics, and I even more greatly dislike those who use any platform or national incident to call attention away from those suffering and toward and political agenda. I dislike the media, which has become more about sensationalism and less about facts or empathy. I think that, in a way, our current President and I are similar types of people…and I’ve always said “I don’t know if emotionally invested idealists can ever really make the best politicians.” I’m sure that if I were President, my focus would largely be on compromise and working together and taking down the political boundaries that divide people. I’m also sure people wouldn’t care for me much, because so many people don’t want that. It’s more of a world with winners and losers, rather than a place where there are complex issues to handle on a daily basis, and I can’t agree with that.

I’ve had to ignore a lot of social media, and even actual media, since the Boston Marathon attacks. Some of what I read is ignorant, divisive, infuriating, discriminatory, and makes me so disappointed in my fellow human beings. So much of what I read is just false. So, I’ve not been commenting on the tragedy on my Facebook page and I didn’t blog about it here.

This should not be mistaken for apathy. My heart goes out to everyone in Boston, and the families of the victims, and the families of those who perpetrated these acts. (everyone always forgets that behind every person who does something unthinkable, there are grieving loved ones who suffer all the more for the shame of not feeling entitled to grieve.) I do care, a great deal. I just don’t find it a time for politics, which I dislike, or opinions, which everyone has. It is a time for humanity and empathy, and sometimes, the best response to loss is silence and introspection.

(An interesting side note, for those who are amused about all the little ways in which I say I am somewhat “psychic”, the day of the Boston Marathon, I woke up early. I never do this, but I couldn’t sit still. I decided it was the day I had to conquer my fear of walking in wide-open public spaces and getting my heart rate up, without having a panic attack. I haven’t been able to walk the area outside my apartment complex for two years. The day of the marathon, I walked about 2.7 miles…again, the longest distance I’ve been able to cover since getting ill. When I returned, the bombs had just gone off and the tragedy all over the television. I was so happy and elated about being able to conquer a huge fear/obstacle and take a step forward in my recovery, and then immediately crashed into a state of shock and sadness. I don’t know why that was the day I felt compelled to walk and overcome a fear that has been daunting for me for such a long time—I wasn’t even aware it was the day of the marathon. But I do believe there was energy in the air that day that told me “This is the day to appreciate life and push yourself forward.”. )

I hope all my readers out there, and their loved ones, have been safe and well this past week. I know events have taken a toll on so many, and I hope we can now start to return to a time of greater peace and even more appreciation for all that matters.

Yesterday, I took some time to go through the over 800 unmoderated comments sitting on this website. It was a slow and arduous task, but finally, I’ve gotten myself caught up.

You see, I initially made the decision to keep comments moderated because I have my fair share of enemies, people who don’t share my life perspective, and people who, quite frankly, aren’t shedding any tears over my stories of days that go less than well. However, it turns out that’s less of a compelling argument for moderating comments than the fact that I am somehow constantly being attacked by spam-bots. They leave at least 5 spam-oriented messages per day, and it’s more than a little annoying.

In the midst of going through the tons of spam, I realised I’d had some actual comments on entries, most long outdated. Some were from friends I know and love and speak to fairly regularly, but others were from strangers asking for advice on things. Since it interests me that a stranger would care to visit my site (I mean, many of my closest friends don’t read my blogs.), it’s even more mysterious that someone would ask my advice on something. But, since I had a few questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.

* Question: “How do you go about getting past writer’s block in order to write for a living and be productive every day?”I’m not going to lie, not every day is productive, particularly since I’ve developed this illness, which affects both my creativity and how fast I can work. Much of the work I do, it’s easy to become creatively challenged, because you see a lot of repeat requests for what’s essential repetitive advertising copy. I try to have more than one project going on at a time, so if one really bores me to the point of being uninspired, I can switch gears. Sometimes, I’ll ask my boyfriend for ideas, and he’ll say something that will spark a sentence and get me writing again.

One of the best cures for writer’s block, for me, is letting things flow organically. Writing on here, in my journal, or an e-mail to a friend doesn’t require too much thought or worry over being creative or interesting enough. It’s just second nature. Taking a break to blog or Facebook or e-mail helps, as long as I don’t get sucked into the vortex of spending hours on Not Work.

* Question: “Are you afraid people will judge you when you write so much personal stuff on your blog? Why don’t you just stick to less personal topics?” The answer is, of course, I’m afraid of that all the time. But every time you put yourself out there, you’re in a position to be judged. If you let that fear of being judged limit your expression of yourself, you can’t be an artist. I’ve been doing this blogging thing for over a decade now, and from the moment I started, I was always willing to be more personal and more real than others. I get notes from people on FB telling me I should limit what I share, or friends angry about being written about on this blog. On the other hand, I get people…some friends, some those I barely know, and some complete strangers…write to me about their personal struggles. One thing I’ve learned over the 10 years is that openness can engender resentment and fear, but it can also engender even more openness. The fact that an article I posted about my life would inspire a teenage girl I’ll never meet to write to me about her struggles with an eating disorder, recovering from sexual abuse, dealing with depression, or engaging in self-destructive behaviour absolutely stuns me. On a selfish level, it makes me feel significant. So, I’ll keep sharing.

*Question: “Why don’t you put pictures of yourself and your life on your website?” This is an easy one. First off, there have to be some levels of privacy in every online space, and mine has always been that I’m most comfortable letting my voice speak for me. I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting photos of other people in my life on here, and I’m not really interesting, bizarre, or attractive enough to make daily pictures of me anything anyone would care much about. I do love art and photography, and you’ll see some interesting visuals on this site…just not of me; unless, of course, I happen to appear in someone’s art show or something. *laughs* If you friend me on Facebook, I’ve tons of photos on there, so you can verify I’m a real person. But, truly, I’m just an ordinary girl. You couldn’t live vicariously through me without being bored.

* Question: “Who is Christina Perri dating?”. You know, I’ve absolutely no idea. While I love Christina Perri and we share a lot in common, I don’t actually know her in person. Maybe if I’d spent more time in Philly our paths would have crossed. I do know much of her material on her album comes from her experiences dating someone with BPD (borderline personality disorder.) It seems that’s complicated enough without press getting involved.

* Question: “Are you really polyamourous and can people actually be happy living like that?” An odd question, but the answer is yes to both. I’m currently in a monogamous relationship, but I suspect that a certain amount of “wiring” goes into determining whether or not one is suited to a polyamourous lifestyle. I was non-monogamous for about 7 years, and then I met the right someone, and things changed…but I sometimes suspect that, at heart, my beliefs and outlook on the world might allow for less traditional relationship arrangements. Acting on those beliefs is a different story. Many people are happy in all types of relationships, and the poly lifestyle can be a rewarding one, but it’s not for every person nor for every couple. I refer anyone who’s interested in learning more to “The Myth Of Monogamy” by David Barash. Also, watch the film “Kinsey”. :)

* Question: “Do you meet a lot of creepy people at Meetup?On occasion, I’ll run into the bizarre, rude, or just plain disturbing person. It’s the exception, though, and not the rule.

* Question: Did you meet your boyfriend through Meetup.Com?” Yes, I did. I also met some of my closest friends, including my current and former roommate. It’s a great resource I can’t say enough about.

* Question: “I like the pictures you post of costumes and arty stuff. Can you do a Halloween costume blog with suggestions and stuff?” I wish I’d seen this a month ago when it was posted, but yes, that’s a good idea. I love talking about costumes.

* Question: “Are you willing to have guest posts on your blog by writers that want to get their name out there?” I’ve never done that before, but I’d be open to it, if your posts fit the theme of my blog, which is largely about relationships, pop culture, entertainment, and surviving life as a young person in an increasingly impersonal digital age.

If you guys have questions for me in the future, I strongly suggest sending them to me via e-mail: ladyguenevere@gmail.com. It won’t take 5 months for me to see your comment, and you won’t think me rude for ignoring you.

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