Playing 20 questions … or just 11

Last week I was surprised and pleased to be nominated for a blogging award by a fellow blogger, Joyce Hopewell, in the UK. I very much enjoy her blog posts at Eyes in the Back of my Head, in which she reflects on life, nature, travel (when it was possible), philosophy, history, and, perhaps most interesting of all, astrological psychology. I was especially gratified that Joyce considered my posts to have positivity, since some of the topics I write about don’t easily lend themselves to feeling positive. I do try to interject some positivity into dark topics rather than just rant, so I’m glad that has come through, at least for her.

The requirements for accepting the award are simply too challenging for this old brain, so I have decided to decline the nomination, but take up the first part of the challenge, which is to answer the 11 questions she has posed to each of her nominees. Just so you know why I declined the opportunity to add the Sunshine Blogger Award decal to my blog homepage, it not only requires that you answer 11 questions, but that you make up 11 new questions to ask the up to 11 new bloggers who you nominate. Phew.

I decided to answer these questions so that you, the reader, could think about what your answers would be. Personally, I found some of them easy and some of them quite hard. My guess is that some people’s easy questions will be other people’s difficult questions and vice versa. Once you think about your answers, think about how easy or difficult you’d find it to come up with 11 new questions. I decided that, for me, it was too difficult!

OK, here goes.

What motivated you to start your blog? I guess that what motivated me was that blogging gives you a reason to sit down and write. I had never heard of a blog or blogging when I took writing workshops two summers in a row way back in 2010 and 2011. I had just retired and was starting to write stories for my grandchildren (hence the Robby Robin stories). I signed up for writing workshop courses – and also drawing courses so I could try to draw my own Robby Robin illustrations. I learned about blogging from fellow participants in the workshops and so signed up for a blogging workshop the second summer. That was a game-changer for me. What would I be doing during this global lockdown if I didn’t have blogging to keep me occupied?!

What one thing would you like to see more of in the world? Compassion, compassion, compassion. Where has it gone??? The world needs you back. Yes, individuals and communities show compassion, and leaders in some countries, but other world leaders are bringing the world down with their vitriol and lack of compassion. It’s 75 years since VE Day and it seems all the lessons the world learned have been forgotten.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? This was one of the hard ones for me. If it means close to death of others I loved, the answer is: too many times. But I’m guessing the question refers to my own death. I’m happy to say, not too close. The closest I can think of is when my husband and I were camping in the wilds of Botswana with our son and daughter-in-law and could hear the lions roaring as we lay in our sleeping bags in our little pup tent. Of course, that was nothing compared to our son and daughter-in-law the following year while still in Botswana; they had a lions-outside-their-tent experience that left them with a tent pole with lion teeth marks in it as a souvenir. They should be the ones answering this question!

If you were an animal, what would you be? Well, my very favourite animals are the polar bear and tiger, but both of them lead a precarious existence, becoming more precarious every day. I’d be a domestic kitty cat, with my husband as my human. He believes that cats should be allowed to go outside (which is why we didn’t get another cat) and that when she’s inside she should sit in his easy chair with him so he can stroke her while he reads. And I know he’d remember to feed me and clean my box. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What is your favourite meal? My favourite meal is freshly boiled lobster with plenty of melted butter and lemon juice, and warm rolls and cole slaw (not warm) on the side. Unfortunately, this rich meal doesn’t agree with me too well anymore (when my parents used to say things like that I always wondered how food could not agree with you!), but I could happily settle for some perfectly cooked fresh Atlantic salmon and freshly picked corn on the cob.

What is your most treasured possession? This one took me awhile to figure out. I was thinking about which item that I had of my Mom’s I’d choose and then it struck me – my most treasured possession is my Canadian citizenship certificate.

If you could time travel, where would you go? This is another hard one. I do believe that having grown up in post-WWII North America is about as good as it gets in history to date, even with the pandemic. I wouldn’t prefer living in another time or place, except for visiting, and time travel couldn’t help me with one thing I’d really like: for my husband to be able to meet my father, who died before they could meet. I can’t help but think that if I time-traveled very far into the future, I’d witness the carnage that will be befalling our planet due to climate change, and I don’t think I’d like to see that. It would, however, be interesting to time travel far enough into the future to visit a post-human earth. That may not be as far in the future as we’d like to think, thanks to our head-in-the-sand approach to climate change at the moment.

Which person had the greatest influence on you when you were growing up? This was the easiest question of all, for me. My Mother. Simple. No hesitation. For the good.

What is your favourite blog post out of all that you’ve written? I have a few, and they’re all about family and very close friends, people I’ve loved. There are five or six. For the very favourite I think I’d have to choose Grandmothers, granddaughters, and the Circle of Life, although it’s a close call with the others.

You’ve received a surprise windfall of £20,000. What will you do with it? For the record, that’s about $35,000 Canadian dollars. I’m fortunate to have what I need, so I’d donate it to my two favourite local charities. Sorry, kids.

Who is your favourite author? Nearly all my favourite authors are Canadian. But my very favourite is Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve been a huge fan ever since I read The Poisonwood Bible. Ann Patchett isn’t far behind, and then come so many amazing Canadian authors, starting with Carol Shields.

So there you go. I hope you enjoyed not so much my answers as thinking about what your own answers would be. And how about coming up with 11 new questions of your own to ask others? Do you have any good ones?!

Thanks again, Joyce. That was fun.

This entry was posted in Just wondering, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Playing 20 questions … or just 11

  1. Inkplume says:

    It was a pleasure reading this post and getting to know you a little better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thank you, Linda. Fortunately, there were no questions like “what is your favourite thing to bake”, or there wouldn’t have been much to write! 😏


  2. Dr B says:

    I turn down all blog awards too, seems like nothing but a modern version of chain mail to me!


    • Jane Fritz says:

      In some ways, yes, but I think it’s just meant to serve the dual purpose of being fun and letting fellow bloggers acknowledge their enjoyment of another’s blog. No harm done.


  3. Thank you, Jane, for going ahead to answer the questions I set, and being prepared to be honest too! I found answering those I was set a challenge, and I understand you not wanting to do the whole award requirements (although I did bend the “rules” a little!). I guess being in lockdown made me think I’d have more time to do all the work involved – didn’t quite turn out that way but is was satisfying nonetheless and I was glad (relieved!) to be shot of it. Phew! It was interesting and pleasing to see that you’d like to see more compassion in the world. I put that same question to friends and family back in 2009 when I took part in sculptor Antony Gormley’s project to create a work of art (using 2,400 people) to stand for an hour on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London. Many people who responded to that question chose both compassion and love – we still need plenty of both. Perhaps I should be writing a blog post about this event – or checking out if I did write about it some time ago – a little follow-on project for me! The roaring lions experience sounds terrifying – even more so for the experience of your family. And yep, I’d give my windfall to charities too! Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would have taken a pass on that nomination too. One of my questions would be “What is your greatest regret in life?” Ironically, I can think of many for me, and yet I feel as though, if I had the opportunity, I wouldn’t change a thing. My experiences have shaped me into the person I am today.


    • Jane Fritz says:

      Francine, what a great question. And answer! Our mistakes or missteps ARE part of what makes us who we are. I’m glad that wasn’t one of the questions I was supposed to answer. I wonder what I might have answered. Hmmm!


  5. LA says:

    I love stuff like this…answering questions about things you don’t normally articulate….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So thrilled to be a small part of such a blogosphere and meet so many interesting people from all over the world. I have always been fascinated by people, their motivations and choices in the many different aspects of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I agree, Wayne, the blogosphere is a special place. It sounds like maybe you should answer these questions in a post of your own, or make up some questions to be answered by you and/or others!


  7. It’s wonderful getting to know more about you like this! Congratulations on the award! I have added your favorite authors to my Goodreads file and plan to look them up soon. Happy Mother’s Day, Jane!!


    • Jane Fritz says:

      I keep giving away my secrets, don’t I, Rita?! I’m glad you noted my favorite authors. I think you’d especially like any of Carol Shields’ books. They’re set in small town Ontario and are really good at bringing out the crux of human relationships in a non-dramatic way.


  8. dfolstad58 says:

    I carefully read your answers and enjoyed your answers. I liked your charity answer but I must admit I would have used the money for a holiday supremo with my family. I also want to thank you for the link to Eyes in the Back of my Head. I visited there and spent a pleasant 30 or so minutes this morning. – now for coffee ! – David

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, David, glad you enjoyed the Q&A and Joyce’s blog. Your use of the money is excellent; we actually did that with our families 2 years ago or that would have been my choice. Worth every penny.


  9. Love the “Sorry, Kids” coda. That cracked me up. 🙂 Great answers, Jane. I think about the time travel question occasionally, and my answer is that I’d like to somehow travel back to see my parents meet and go out on dates during college in the late 1930’s. A sort of fly-on-the-wall experience. OMG, your son and daughter-in-law had lions outside of their tent?! That’s a nightmare if I’ve ever heard of one. I’m glad nothing bad happened! – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jean says:

    I too, loved Carol Shields novels and short stories.
    You’re probably the rarer Canadians who love seafood as their first comfort /luscious food choice. I find a lot people don’t choose any seafood at the top of their list. I’m a seafood lover. …so I approve of lobster and salmon. I had my lobster from the lobster pound in Nova Scotia on our bike trip. 🙂

    Have you read Michelle Obama’s latest autiobiography? Recommended.


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