Of cats and Flashdogs

Welcome to this new blog tour.  It’s called the  Liebster awards, and I have been nominated to take part. It’s supposed to be a fun thing, a way to get to know each other better.  Thank you, but I wish you had asked me first, Mr. Mark A. King. I respect and admire you as a writer and  enjoyed what you wrote, but you ask such difficult questions!

You can read his engaging and entertaining post, here.

So, here’s  how this  works. You tell 11 random facts about yourself. Then you answer 11 questions.Then you come up with 11 questions for 3 other people!  Let’s get started—

1. Voima Oy is my pen name.  Many things about me can be found in my stories.

2. I live in an unassuming brick bungalow on the western rim of Chicago, along the CTA Blue Line and the Congress expressway. The train goes into the city, and all the way out to the airport.

3. At present, I work at an animal shelter, herding cats and dogs.  It’s rewarding work, and good people.

4. I worked as a proofreader in a law firm  in downtown Chicago, in the heart of the financial district. I have also worked at Rizzoli Books (now closed)  at Water Tower Place, and the bookstore at the Art Institute of Chicago.

5. My late husband and I went on a spiritual pilgrimage  to Providence, RI to pay our respects to H.P. Lovecraft.  We found his grave  in the  Phillips family plot–the  tombstone reads, “I am Providence.”

6. I am a Gemini, which may explain a lot. In the Chinese zodiac, I am a water dragon.

7. I love thrift shopping,  you never know what you’ll find. Most of the things I have are second-hand.

8. I am a very amateur astronomer.  Nature inspires me–the stars, clouds, trees, weather.

9. I write left-handed. I use scissors with my right. Tai chi is good for balance.

10. I do not drive, or own a car. But  I would like to get a bicycle–with a big basket in the front and coaster brakes.

11. I do not have a fur coat–unless you count all the cats.

Well, that wasn’t so hard, was it?  I could tell you many stories…But now on to Round 2 –the difficult and exasperating questions-

1) You are allowed to invite ten people to dinner. You can choose anyone from any point in time. Who do you choose and why?

Does it have to be a  dinner party?  What if they could just run into each other  at a time cafe, a mix of periods and eras?  Surrealists  mingling with  Renaissance artists… poets meeting scientists—tonight there’s Lady Murasaki  and William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton,  Alan Turing, Emily Dickinson, Rod Serling, Josephine Baker and  Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, and Marie Curie…Imagine the comings and goings, the conversations and possibilities!

2) Who is your favourite villain from a fictional book? Explain why. Dracula. Because, Dracula. Again, the possibilities….

3) Please pick a story from someone you know that you wish you had written. Provide a link (so we can enjoy it). Explain why you’ve chosen it.  

Here are 3 recent pieces from 3 writers I  admire. They are also my 3 nominees–

Stella Turner–“Thoughts.” Utter perfection in its  understatement.

David Shakes–“Blood from the Start.”  This is a story that flows like…

ImageRonin — “The Festive Season.”  Incredible writing, powerful story.

4) Please pick a character from any story you have written and think about the actor/actress that you’d like to play them. Explain your choice.

I could see Anthony Hopkins as the main character in “Exit Strategy” (the story is in the FlashDogs Anthology). He is such a subtle actor.

5) Do you prefer print books or Ebooks?  

I love the feel of books. They seem almost alive to me.   I don’t have an e-reader, but I  read articles and stories online. I  like the digital immediacy, but I don’t think books are going away, just yet.  To hold the paperback copy of the Flashdogs Anthology or  the Luminous Creatures Anthology is very special. They are  beautiful things.

6) Name a writer that you admire that lacks the recognition they deserve

Any number of flash writers–you know who you are.  And an absent friend, Mr. Karl A. Russell. One of the best.

7) Please state your favourite first line, last line and mind-blowing line from a book.

first line–“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”  One hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

last line–“The cults of the famous and the dead.”  White Noise, by Don DeLillo

mind-blowing line–“The joke’s on you, Earthman…I am not even from your Earth world!”  The  Cosmozoids, by Robert Trallins. This is so bad it’s something else entirely.

8) Please re-write the ending to a film where the ending annoyed you  

This is really hard question!  I thought about Seven Samurai, and  I watched it again. It’s such a great film, such a sad story. I just wish they didn’t all have to die. Especially Kikuchiyo, played by Toshiro Mifune.  Kikuchiyo was not samurai class; he was a farmer’s son. He made mistakes, but he had  great spirit, and the village kids loved him. Maybe he could have stayed, married the girl he was cutting the rice plants with,  and made a life with the farmers–but that would be a very different story.

9) Remove a character and make a film or book better (you’re not allowed to pick Jar Jar Binks, far too obvious)

I would just delete the Star Trek re-boot.  Why re-do?  Do a new story!

10) How much time do you spend a week on writing, reading and tweeting?

Too much and not enough. Twitter can be an art form, and a way to connect. There are many outlets and distractions–it’s a golden age for writers!  There’s #Losslit,  #vss and Friday Phrases, Paragraph Planet, Visual Verse, Flash! Friday, Angry Hourglass, 99 Fiction,  Three Line Thursday, Microbookends, Finish That thought and Last Line First, to name just  a few. I  try to write something every day.  Currently I am reading the Flashdogs Anthology, and  “Defining the Wind” by Scott Huler–the story of William Beaufort, creator of the Beaufort wind scale.

11) We catch up with you this time next year, this time in five years and ten years – tell us what you’ve been up to.

I try to lead a  simple life.  I have been so blessed by connection with the flash community and the flash dogs. The cameraderie and inspiration have changed my life. I want to continue to explore the possibilities of flash fiction.

As for the future, who knows? Maybe I would be a hostess in  a cat cafe, riding my bicycle, and  teaching tai chi.

 Now it’s my turn. Here are my questions–

1. What book or story  changed your life?

2.What is your  favorite movie?

3.  Do you read nonfiction– if so what–history, science, etc.?

4. If you could visit any period in time, past or future, when would it be?

5. If you could meet a fictional character,  who would you like to talk with?

6. You have 3 treasures. What are they?

7. What kinds of music do you like?  What are you listening to these days?

8. Would you ride a dragon?

9. What if you won the lottery? What would you do with this fortune?

10. What’s on your grocery list?

11. What (or who)  inspires you?

My 3 nominees–

Stella Turner @stellakateT

David Shakes @TheShakes72

Image Ronin @ImageRonin

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