An honest reply

I’ve seen the Liebster Award on other blogs I’ve admired, and thought, “That’s kind of cool. But it looks like kind of a gimmick.” And then there’d be the usual twinge of it’s not like I’d ever get an award grumble grumble sour grapes.

Then JF Owen nominated me for one, in his post “I’m Surrounded by Talented People.”:

Fine Feathers – Heather writes a blog about balancing life, writing and being a parent.  Her blog is interesting, witty and honest.  I enjoy reading her viewpoint on life.

He went on to give the best explanation about the Liebster–actually, the only–I’ve ever seen.

The Liebster was originally intended to allow bloggers an avenue to highlight new and interesting blogs.  Along the way, the Leibster and other similar awards have developed a “chain letter” type reputation.  There’s no doubt that accepting and participating in the process is a time consuming effort and many, if not most, nominees elect to pass on the opportunity.  I get that and I want to make sure that none of the good folks I mention feel any obligation to take on a job that they really don’t want to tackle.

To JF, I can honestly say: I’m honored. To be included in this thoughtful and thorough nomination was more than I expected, and now that you have access to my full interior monologue, more than you might think I deserve.

But as you yourself said, I’m nothing if not honest.

I’m going to take JF’s approach to responding. Partly because I think the award deserves a thoughtful reply, and I like the snack break in the middle. Partly because I spent 8 hours today sleeping off a migraine, so this is the best I could do. This constitutes my announcing the award, posting the logo, thanking my nominator (thank you, JF!) and my deeply honest replies to to his 11 probing questions.

Next week, look for my nominees, who will hopefully be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

1.    If you could live anywhere on earth (and take whomever you wanted along), where would it be and why?

JF, this is a loaded question. My husband reads this blog. Occasionally my mother does. And you’ve accused me of being honest.

But honestly? I’d live right here, in Durham, North Carolina, conveniently located near my friends and family. We have four seasons, but very little snow. This year it never even hit a hundred degrees. We have mountains over here, and the beach over there, all within a couple hours drive. We have hundreds of restaurants, a thriving local food movement, and are the Tastiest Town in the South!

And I’d make my parents move down here 🙂

2.    What is your best childhood memory?
Curled up in my father’s leather armchair, swallowed by a book. Any book–I often brought several, and passed hours this way. I could shut the whole world out. (Ask my mother.)

3.    What’s your pet peeve?
The word “peeve”. And “irk”.”Irk” and “peeve” irk me. If I indulge my many peeves too much, my natural peevishness ascends, and people stop telling me how cheerful I am.

4.    Who is your favorite author?
Neil Gaiman, because he writes brilliantly for both children and adults whether he’s being funny or serious and almost always makes brings tears to my eyes, either way. Robert Heinlein, because his books made me want to be a better person and the world a better place. Jim Butcher, because while writing the coolest urban wizard series in the world also published an equally amazing fantasy epic without missing a beat. Scott Westerfield because he creates worlds and characters as easily as other people create outfits. Or at least, he makes it look that way. And I can’t even create cool outfits.

5.    If you had to live in an era other than the current one, which would you choose?
Easy. Steampunk. I may struggle with today’s fashions, but I look good in leather, lace, and buckles.

6.    What is your favorite line from a movie and why?

Scarlett O’Hara, last line of Gone With the Wind: “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Why? Because tomorrow, she was going to get Rhett back. You just knew it.

I would have looked good in a hoop skirt, too.

7.    For your vacation, would you prefer a cabana at the beach or a cabin in the mountains?
Mountains. Plus raging river and kayak. Those were the days…

8.    What is the biggest obstacle you have faced in your life?
Obstacles imply immovable objects. So I almost said “Not getting into medical school the first time,” but the immovable object in that scenario was ME. I was too stubborn to give up, and all the angst, heartbreak, and stress was self-induced. Trying again was humiliating and hard, at the time. But it was a choice, at least, and it paid off eventually. I made it through all my training and worked as an anesthesiologist for five years.

Over two years ago, I developed a headache that never went away. I fought it (and it was a battle) by going through invasive medical tests that led to more headaches. I fought those by getting treatments that either failed, or caused headaches of their own.

Or, in the end, it turned out…I just had a bad headache that wouldn’t go away. Thus the chronic migraine diagnosis I now have, which took me about three months to accept.

Obstacles don’t go away. They can’t be abandoned, negotiated with, or bashed through.

Somehow, this one turned me from a doctor into a writer.

9.    What will be the title of the story of your life?
Headaches and Hoop Skirts. Starring Vivien Leigh.

10.    What’s the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Yak ear soup, in Western China. It was on a medical mission. I thought it was just a really tough, chewy noodle.

11.    What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?
I’m doing it. Writing was my first love, and always something I said I’d do “someday.”

There is no someday. Despite the headaches, I feel extremely blessed. (The problem with growing up in the church of science fiction is, I have no idea by “what”…or what sacrifice they’ll demand, someday. But you know what? For this job, I’ll pay it.)


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