I don’t usually respond to these cluster-bomb blogging awards things, because they’re often little better than a chain letter. However, this time a friend of mine, the adorable Agnes Bookbinder (who you really should follow on twitter), asked very politely if I would participate and it sounded like fun.
So, breaking the rule of a lifetime (rules are meant to be broken, right?), here is my contribution to the Sunshine Blogging Award, which was an idea originally started by Lo-arna Green (you should follow her on twitter, too. She’s excellent value).
For those of you who don’t know, “a Sunshine Blogger Award is a recognition bloggers bestow upon one another. Anything that builds community in a positive way is a very good thing,” as Agnes says.
Here’s a link to Agnes’ blog (you should read it):
The deal is you have to answer 11 questions put to you by your nominator, then nominate up to 11 people yourself and send those people 11 of your questions. I am struggling with the second half of this, but here are my answers to Agnes’ questions:
- What is your greatest source of inspiration for writing?
Reading. Seriously. When I read interesting ideas, they usually spark interesting ideas of my own, usually as “what if” extensions to the ideas I am reading. I’m always extrapolating and manipulating thoughts and ideas, looking at them another way and connecting them up with seemingly unconnected ideas, but ones where I can see a connection or a pattern. I’m a curator and then a synthesiser of writing ideas.
- What did you have for breakfast this morning (if anything)?
I had Greek yoghurt with blueberries and a little granola.
- What was the first book you remember reading by yourself?
The How and Why Wonder Book of Electricity https://www.amazon.com/how-wonder-book-electricity-books/dp/B0007EAOWI . My dad’s job was to generate electricity and I wanted to know how he did that.
- What is your favorite color and why?
My favourite colour is Orange, because it’s warm, vibrant, inviting and exciting. I aspire to be those things too.
- Where would you visit in your transporter?
I would visit all of my far flung friends and family, at will, whenever they wanted to see me.
(Aside: I learnt to drive and took my driving test in a VW Transporter. It was a sky blue 1974 Type 2 Volkswagen Kombi)
- When would you visit in your time machine?
Usually around 6PM, just before tea time.
- What is your greatest strength?
Resilience is my greatest strength, I suppose. That was thrust upon me, not a choice. I discovered I was resilient, rather than setting out to be resilient. Fortunately, it turned out that I am. Otherwise, I’d have been sunk (several times over).
- Who do you most admire (living or dead) and why?
Although he was an imperfect, fallible human being like the rest of us, I most admired Carl Sagan, because he introduced rationality in a gentle, digestible and interesting way, to a population that was clearly hysterical, delusional and insane. We need more of that. That job hasn’t been completed yet.
- Okay, MacGyver – save the world. What will you use & how will you do it?
I would use what Carl Sagan used: writing, video and rational thought, with attention-grabbing infographics. I’ll also use music and painting. I’ll save the world by getting the people that cling most to their power and privilege to snap out of their fixed ideas, delusions, myths and fantasies and realise that they need to behave radically differently, or it will be “game over” for all of us. They’re under a spell that must be broken, or they’ll never act in a way that will be benign to all. If they don’t own their personal responsibility for what they’re doing, they’ll never change, even when it’s too late to change.
- Which vice? Which virtue?
Guitars are my vice. I confess. My virtue is, I hope, kindness. I don’t think you know your own virtues or can lay claim to them, really. It’s for others to point them out to you.
- What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
I read a lot of popular science titles, books on economics, conspiracy theories (they’re wonderful fictions, usually, but often with a small nugget of hidden truth buried within them), books about innovation and ideas, books about how to make music, biographies, books about artists and their art, books about guitar building, electronics books, history, poetry. Heck, I read too much.
I like to write things that are (hopefully) imaginative, inventive, inspiring, creative, enlightening, encouraging and edifying.
Here’s what I would ask, if only there were people that were willing to respond in their blog (please volunteer – that seems fairer than insisting somebody take part):
- If in doubt, how do you figure it out?
- What’s your best sensual pleasure?
- What’s your shoe size?
- How do you stay true to yourself in a world that doesn’t want you to?
- When and where were you happiest?
- What one thing could I do that would absolutely delight you?
- When you run out of enthusiasm, what restores it?
- If you could have one super-power, what would it be and why?
- Who do you know that has that super-power?
- If you had a chance to address a million people, what would you say?
- Why do they even make decaffeinated coffee?
Anyway, it’s all just a bit of fun. Fun is good.
Update: Here are Agnes’ brilliant replies to my questions: http://agnesbookbinder.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/michael-topics-topics.html