Here’s how it works:
- Post the rules (um, check).
- Answer eleven questions the tagger posted for you.
- Create eleven new questions.
- Tag eleven people to answer them.
- Let them know you’ve tagged them.
The questions Elizabeth devised are so fun that, even though I’m five months late, I figured I would play along. So here are Elizabeth’s questions followed by my responses:
1. What book has moved you the most in recent history?
That would have to be Dani Shapiro’s Devotion, a spiritual memoir about her quest to understand her own beliefs. One of the few books I read and reread, Devotion is not only beautifully written, but it also addresses subjects that obsess me: religion, family relationships, finding meaning in rituals, home. I was very lucky to have the chance to study with Dani last year at Kripalu. Learning from Dani about memoir and its possibilities helped expand my understanding of my own writing so now Devotion is both story and object in my life: a memoir that moves me and a physical book that reminds me of the lessons I learned from its author.
2. What’s your favorite way to spend idle time?
Reading. Without a doubt.
This summer I traveled to New Mexico to visit Elizabeth and attend the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. We “met” online shortly after I started blogging and then met face-to-face for the first time last year when we attended Dani’s workshop at Kripalu. There and then we vowed to attend a writing workshop together each year.
This year I was thrilled to have the chance to visit New Mexico. Our July workshop had been a beacon on my calendar since we booked it during the winter, and it became an even brighter highlight after the beginning of my summer didn’t exactly go according to plan. Elizabeth, a New Mexico resident, planned a terrific long weekend for us and I couldn’t wait to meet her at the airport in Albuquerque to start our adventure.
Enter Southwest Airlines. (Cue ominous music.)
First my original flight to ABQ was canceled due to a maintenance issue. Then they rerouted my originally direct flight through Chicago and Houston. I thought I was in business when I talked my way onto the last standby seat on a direct flight to ABQ from Chicago that arrived only a few hours after I was originally supposed to. But, not surprisingly I guess, my luggage – which I had foolishly checked because Southwest still allows bags to be checked for free – didn’t arrive with me.
Luckily, Elizabeth furnished me with enough clothes to get me through the weekend (which was a good thing because the van that was supposed to bring my suitcase from ABQ to Taos broke down en route and I didn’t end up getting my bag until 12 hours before I flew home).
This is a picture of us in the courtyard of Elizabeth’s house, me wearing her t-shirt from when she first went to the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. The picture always makes me smile because I look so goofy, scrunching my nose and holding a piece of sidewalk chalk that Elizabeth’s daughter Abra had just bestowed upon me, while Elizabeth looks so pretty. And it reminds me of the wonderful weekend we had, even though I spent most of it in borrowed clothes.
(Here’s a beautiful post Elizabeth wrote about her experience at the workshop.)
4. What astrological sign are you? Do you believe in astrology, or think it’s a bunch of hooey?
My birthday is December 24 so I’m a Capricorn. I know Capricorns are supposed to be practical, prudent, and disciplined with good senses of humor. I think I’m all of those things, plus pessimistic and grudging (the not-so-good qualities common to Caps).
So do some of the descriptions fit? Sure. Do I believe that everyone born between December 22 and January 20 shares these qualities? Not so much.
5. What is the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
The footlong “veggie delite” Subway sub I ate when I was in what I thought was false labor with my oldest son. As soon as I ate that sub, my contractions made it known that this labor was not so false, and my husband and I were on the way to the hospital. We met our first child later that night and nothing has been the same since.
6. Do you believe in fate, or that we’re the masters of our own destinies?
I usually think of myself as a rationalist, but the older I get, the more convinced I become that anything is possible.
7. What is one of your favorite memories from childhood?
I remember hearing my younger brother laugh for the first time. We were out eating at a diner and while my mom was paying the check, my dad took my brothers and me out to the parking lot where my older brother, dad, and I started trying to hit a telephone pole in the field behind the restaurant with rocks. I can’t remember who hit the metal pole first – my older brother? my dad? I know it wasn’t me – but when the rock hit the pole and made that musical “Clang!” my baby brother started to laugh. Every time one of us hit the pole he would laugh and laugh, like it was the most original, most amazing thing he could imagine.
My brother has hydrocephalus spina bifida and spent much of his early life in the NICU, but I have far more memories of his chubby cheeks and wild blonde curls than I do of him in the hospital.
8. If you know it, what is your Myers-Briggs type? If you don’t know it, would you characterize yourself as an extrovert or an introvert?
I’m pretty sure I’m a ISFJ and I’m definitely an introvert. I recently heard a definition of extroversion vs. introversion that really helped me understand the concepts. The writer (wish I could remember where this was!) said that a lot of the difference comes from how you recharge your batteries at the end of the day. Extroverts seek social connection to refresh themselves, while introverts need quiet and solitude.
Based on the rave reviews of several friends, I just bought Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and can’t wait to read it.
10. No one can ever believe that I’ve never seen The Princess Bride. What movie have you never seen that everyone else seemingly has?
Gone With the Wind
(I didn’t see The Princess Bride until after college if that makes you feel any better, E.)
11. What quote or motto best describes how you endeavor to live your life?
All you need is love. (And a good night’s sleep.)
Want to play along? I’m no good at tagging people so please feel free to join in if you’re so inclined. And let me know if you do! I’d love to see your responses to the following questions:
- Who is your favorite contemporary writer?
- If you could have any job, regardless of how much it pays or how much training you’d need to have it, what would it be?
- Name one celebrity whose personal style you idolize.
- If you could live anywhere, would you prefer to live someplace rural, suburban, or urban?
- I can’t stand the feeling of sand on my feet (especially between my toes; eek!). Do you have any sensory quirks of your own?
- I’m a middle child. How about you? Do you believe that birth order plays a role in determining personality?
- I believe that the inventor of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup should be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. What is your favorite comfort food?
- Have you ever tried meditation? How did it make you feel?
- What one piece of technology could you not live without?
- What space in your home do you feel like you need to hide when company comes over?
- What is the greatest journey you’ve ever taken?