broadsideblog

Tell me a little about yourself?

In behavior, blogging, life on August 13, 2013 at 1:09 am

By Caitlin Kelly

Now that Broadside is past 6,500 (!) followers worldwide, it’s time for some more introductions.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of you off-line — Lorna, Michelle, Danielle, Anne, Niva, Elizabeth, Cadence, Charlene, Jael — but am curious to know a little more about y’all.

Lurkers, yes, you!

I’ve enjoyed comments from new followers like Georgia and Darlin’ in Austin — whose blog Key + Arrow I’m loving, and Kathleen R., who teaches in Germany and Grace, a college student who writes Cultural Life.

I know, from checking the gravatars and profiles and blogs of every new follower, that many men also visit Broadside and some consistently comment, like New Zealand author Matthew Wright, DadofFiveboys, Rami the student/writer, Nigel, an Australian writer,  and Kentucky schoolteacher Paul Barnwell.

But there are legions of you who still — silently, comment-less — remain ghostly presences…

Who are you people?!

With a hat-tip to Lisa Kramer, of Lisa Wields Words, for the idea, please tell me/us a bit about you!

— Where do you live?

— If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach?

— Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers?

— Do you have a pet? Type? Name?

— What’s the view from your front window?

— Your favorite food?

— Dream job?

— Favorite author(s) or books?

— What’s a perfect Sunday morning?

I’ll go first…

— Tarrytown, New York, a village of 11,000 people 25 miles north of New York City, right on the Hudson River. It was named one of the nation’s 10 Prettiest Towns by Forbes magazine.

— I attended Victoria College at the University of Toronto, studying English, French and Spanish (English major), with a goal of becoming a foreign correspondent. I loved the intelligence of my peers and the high standards of my professors. The school is huge, with 53,000 students, which felt impersonal.  I worked as a reporter for the campus newspaper, which jump-started my journalism career.

— Tough one! Joni Mitchell, Bach and Aaron Copland. (Also, Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones, Keb Mo, et al.)

— Just my husband!

— The Hudson River, the west bank of the river and the towns along the water’s edge. We also see the Tappan Zee Bridge, now under re-construction, with the noisy hammering sounds as they dredge the river bottom.

photo(16)

— Maple syrup, closely followed by very good, creamy Greek yogurt. Great combo!

photo(18)

— Running my own magazine with unlimited funds and a super-talented staff.

— Alexandra Fuller, Jan Morris, Edward Abbey (non-fiction); Tom Rachmann, Richard Ford, Balzac (fiction.)

— Waking up healthy beside my husband…cranking up some blues or rock and roll…blueberry pancakes and bacon…the usual three newspapers, in paper: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

Let the introductions begin!

  1. Hi: I’m a fellow journalist, author of MIND GAMES, and co-author of William Edwards and the Wizardly Glasses. Love Tarrytown!

  2. Not exactly a lurker, but here goes.
    I live in LA. I love it more and more.

    I teach math. I could probably teach a lot of things, because I just like teaching. But I do like math.

    Favorite musicians: Sanam Marvi, Qurat-ul-ain Baloch, and Meesha Shafi. All from Pakistan.

    Cat. I write about her from time to time. I try to protect her anonymity, so no names. :)

    View from the window. (There is only one. It is most of the south wall). The 110 freeway below, St. John’s Episcopalian Church, and St. Vincent’s Catholic, plus a rather impressive Triple A building that looks historic but may not be. Also a selection of fast-food signs I pretend aren’t there. Plus two building sites–complete with an enormous crane–and a horrible block of new apartments that now obscures the rest of the street.

    Dal and chapati. Or just chapati really.

    Teaching a small group of kids with amazing facilities in whatever way I think will be most engaging and effective with a group of teachers who are actually team-players on more than paper. Never going to happen, but I can dream, can’t I?

    Currently Dan Ariely. I like his ideas.

    Coffee. Reading something interesting. No place special to go.

    • Thanks!

      I had no idea you were in L.A…If I get out there (to go dancing at Harvelle’s with Niva), hope I can find you for a drink!

      Now I’m really intrigued by your musical tastes…what sort of music is it? The only Pakistani musician I know is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and love his music.

      Math teacher. So cool. I recently took a personality test (for a story) with simple math questions. I sweated bullets and couldn’t do most of it. Terrifyingly embarrassing.

      • As much as I love it here, I am hoping to leave. But if you are ever in the same town/state/country, I’d love a drink!

        I think it is all a Sufi-style of folk singing, similar to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but Qurat-ul-ain Baloch has a bit more rock sensibility. I made their discovery through Coke Studio Pakistan (not to be confused with Coke Studio India, which is clearly inferior). Despite being a failed state and struggling in nearly every other area, Pakistan has an amazing musical heritage.

        Yes, math has a way of making you feel stupid like nothing else can. I feel for my students.

      • Where would you like to live?

        Math. Oy. I would love to be good at it but I literally feel like my brain shuts down in panic. So attractive. I’m good at a lot of things, so this utter devastation is annoying.

      • Well, there is this vague plan of actually living in the same hemisphere as my girlfriend, so I’m working on that in a very gradual kind of way.

        I have actually applied for the job in a Far Away Country (which I haven’t named, because I’m paranoid. (Would you hire a teacher who wrote a blog like mine? I’m not so sure…) I should find out in a few weeks if I make it through the last step of the approval process. Crossing fingers…

      • Fingers crossed!!!!!

  3. Love this idea!

    I live in Knoxville, TN.

    I’m currently a PhD student at LSU, although I’m finishing my dissertation remotely.

    Good lord, I have so many favorite bands. Ones I that have yet to wear on me: Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, and The Civil Wars.

    I have a ten-year-old lab mix named Daisy May. She was my first child.

    My view isn’t that interesting, really. Just my neighbor’s house across the street. They have a great magnolia three, though, which used to have a tire swing on it. Don’t know what happened to that.

    I could eat a grilled-cheese sandwich everyday of my life and not get bored. Even better right now with home-grown tomatoes.

    I’m on the fence about staying in academia. Tenure-track positions are so scarce, and we really want to stay near family. I honestly think I’d love to lead literature discussions with community groups, or something. Talk about something I love with people who want to be there.

    Shakespeare. Huge fan of adaptations of classics, like Wide Sargasso Sea, which tells Bertha Mason’s side of the story in Jane Eyre.

    Waking up reasonably early after a good night’s sleep. In a cabin somewhere remote. Good coffee. A bit of quiet before everyone else gets up, then lots of sitting around and talking. Not really a party animal.

    • I’ve never visited your town/city, and it’s been on my list. Congrats on your Phd!

      I’m selfishly getting all sorts of great ideas for new music here,thanks! Familiar only with Mumford and Sons (so far.)

      Sitting around and talking is bliss, isn’t it? Jose and I spent this past Saturday in a friend’s garden eating delicious food with her friends — most European, all artists, none of whom we had met before. It was a perfect afternoon.

  4. I love the view from your place!

    You already know the answers to some of these but…

    – I live in the beautiful, seismic, constantly moving (literally and figuratively) city of Wellington, New Zealand! :)

    -I went to undergrad in Southern California and law school in the Midwest (I despised law school but love the friends I made there and love my job now (most of the time))

    -I love all types of music except death metal (or any kind of metal for that matter). I tend to be a Top 40s kind of girl but I don’t discriminate against eras! I love the “top 40″ music from pretty much all eras … 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s…

    – Just my boyfriend (or “partner” as they say in NZ), Matt! ;) I love cats and well-behaved dogs though!

    – My apartment looks out over the city, harbo(u)r and Oriental Bay. It’s a pretty nice view except that I find the buildings in Wellington exceptionally ugly. My boyfriend, however — the structural engineer — thinks they are a masterpiece of structural design and safety. *sigh*

    – Does wine count as food? No? Okay then. My favorite food is sushi (and chocolate souffles!), although maple syrup and Greek yogurt sounds amazing! I start off nearly every weekend with a coffee (flat white) and a sweet muffin topped with Greek yogurt from the local coffee shop — love it!

    -Dream job is running my own travel business and writing for someone who would actually pay me for it. Like, in dollars. Not gold stars or compliments.

    -My favorite authors are probably David Sedaris and Elizabeth Gilbert (original, I know, but I love them). I also adore Ishmael Beah. His book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I highly encourage anyone and everyone to read it (check it out here: http://www.alongwaygone.com/)

    -A perfect Sunday morning (in Wellington anyway) is waking up to a beautiful, warm, sunny day, leisurely strolling down to the coffee shop with my boyfriend (or a close girlfriend!), reading for pleasure while enjoying a flat white, strolling around the bay to Beach Babylon, a beach-side restaurant, to enjoy a hearty meal with an ocean view, maybe stopping for an ice cream on the way home, and not having a plan or agenda for the rest of the day — just blowing with the wind! :)

    • Sigh. It all sounds glorious! I loved NZ on my visit there in 1998 and intend to get back there…someday.

      I think wine is def. a food!

      • Thanks for the shout-out! And very cool that you have two readers from Wellington NZ – my city also! That’s 0.02 percent of your readers, whereas Wellingtonians make up but 0.00021 percent of the world population. OK, a bit of ducks and drakes there with statistics… but it is, indeed, a wonderful city (as soon as it stops rocking and rolling).

      • I love having a Broadside contingent Down Under….are we “Up Top”?!

  5. Thanks for the mention Caitlin. And by the way, do you remember that you helped to inspire a short story I ended up writing?

  6. I’m currently living in San Juan, Puerto Rico although I’m originally from Union City/Hoboken, NJ. I studied in TX and had a Public Relations career there. Homeschooled my two children last year although I don’t call myself a teacher. I am a writer and had my first book, Red Circle Days, published just this year. We have two rescue Labs, one black-one brown.

    Favorite food is Thai and we are hoping to make it to Thailand next year. My dream jobs have changed through the years, but I am happy to focus on writing these days. It makes me whole in a way no other job ever has in the past.

    I read just about anything, recently venturing into Urban Fantasy and being pleasantly surprised. A perfect Sunday for me is one that includes my happy, healthy family by my side. As often as we’ve relocated, lived with an ocean between us, etc. I’ve come to appreciate those Sundays more than anything.

    • What an interesting life! I’ve never been to Puerto Rico but I did get to Thailand in 1994 and loved every minute of it. Well worth the endless flight…

  7. Okay so its my turn. First my name is Isaiah Jackson and I’m a Semi-Minimalist, Blogger, Online Marketer, and I was in the military.

    Now to answer your questions:

    — Where do you live?

    Indiana right now

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach?

    Not in college (just didn’t want to go, I’ll write a blog post about that soon)

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers?

    Hans Zimmer
    Eminem
    Chamillionaire

    I can honestly name more than three but I’ll stop there.

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name?

    Yes
    Cat
    His name Neo

    — What’s the view from your front window?

    House across the street, my green grass, moms charger in the driveway

    — Your favorite food?

    Don’t really have one.

    — Dream job?

    Is it really a dream job if you love what you do?
    I’m working my dream job right now actually, remember
    I’m an Online Marketer.

    — Favorite author(s) or books?

    Napoleon Hill (Think & Grow Rich, Outwitting The Devil, Law of Success in 16 Lessons)
    Robert Greene (48 Laws of Power, Art of Seduction, Mastery)

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning?

    Waking up in the morning looking out the window, making some tea then going for a walk.
    Just relaxing the whole day :)

    Well thats pretty much it for me, I enjoyed reading this and writing this comment.

    – Isaiah Jackson

  8. Hello! I’m new as of today so not really a lurker- I promise..but would love to participate.

    Look forward to following your posts and thank you for reading mine and commenting today!
    I’m in Vermont. I live on a cute little trout stream in a valley and that stream and trees and a little mountain is what I see out the window. No neighbors. Just wilderness around…
    Former marketer. Trying to decide what’s next…writing hopefully part of the mix.
    Favorite musicians- Jay Farrar, Gillian Welch, SteveEarle…way too many to mention– love music.
    Pets: Labrador, ferret, bearded dragon, snapping turtle and many more creatures that my 8 year old brings in and rotates.
    . Favorite authors: Kate Atkinson, Haruki Murakami, Tana French, Richard Russo, Michael Pollan…many more..
    Favorite Foods: Red wine. Coffee (Peet’s), molten Chocolate lava cake….
    Perfect Sunday? Husband lets me sleep in and he worries about the boy and pets. brings me coffee and I can have peace and quiet for a few hours with my kindle….followed by more time to work out in peace. You can tell I’m a mom eh? Need that lone time!

    Oh! And I did a short stint near you autside of White Plains so used to visit Terrytown– such a beautiful place.

    • Love your view! I lived in Lebanon, NH in 1989 for 18 months and did a lot of driving around Vermont. It’s such a gorgeous place…

      I recently read Broken Harbour (and enjoyed it) and also liked Russo’s Empire Falls. I’ve not yet read the other authors, although I know they’re popular.

      Welcome to the party!

  9. I live in beautiful North Wales quite close to the coast but surrounded by fantastic countryside.

    My fave musicians is so much harder in view of my age, we’ll leave out the court musicians to Queen Victoria and go for Judy Collins ( I like Joni too), James Taylor, Queen and of today’s offerings Adele.

    I have four rats which are looked after by my niece these days, they’re called Penny, Amy, Priya and Bernie. Intelligent and loving. There’s also the horse sized spider who keeps dashing across my floor ‘Septimus’ who I’m hoping to evict soon.

    My front room window overlooks a courtyard shared with neighbours which is very quiet most of the time until the children are back in school when it’s used as a short cut to and from by the youngsters and their parents and is full of excited chatter then.

    Food, probably bangers and mash with peas or baked beans.

    Dream job…The final arbiter of what makes the cut in my own publishing house.

    Favourite Author, Oooh difficult. I think these days I’d have to say Harlan Coben though there are lots of authors whose books I enjoy. I love reading and always have done.

    My perfect Sunday morning would be balmy ( rather than barmy) and with my wife at my side we’d be exploring car-boot sales for books and all the little collectibles she used to love so much when she was still alive.Coins and walking sticks for me.

    Very nice to meet you Caitlin though I’m sure I’ve commented before.

    • I’ve never been to Wales and would like to…I’ve heard it’s very beautiful. My name is Welsh…pronounced Cawthlin there…Kate-lyn here.

      I like that your spider has a name.

  10. — Where do you live? I live in Chicago and have just moved into the first floor of a two-flat. It’s a little smaller than my last place and so not quite comfortable at this time.

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach? I teach legal writing classes at a law school and teach various classes for two universities’ paralegal studies programs.

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers? I don’t have a favorite in any of those categories. I like many kinds of music. But, when I am feeling low and want to listen to something that will make me feel better I play the very long Kenny Loggins song Too Early for the Sun.

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name? No pets at this time.

    — What’s the view from your front window? I look out at a well traveled street through a screen of green leaves and a green gate. Across the street there is a restaurant. At night I can watch people leaving for a walk on a warm night.

    — Your favorite food? I like chicken egg foo young.

    — Dream job? I’d like to continue what I now do but have a full-time job.

    — Favorite author(s) or books? I have many favorites: The Stand by Stephen King, The World According to Garp by John Irving, the Angelique series of over-the-top romances by Sergeanne Golon, Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Possession by A.S. Byatt. I haven’t even begun to list the books I like to read again and again. is there ever anything better than a good story?

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning? I wake without an alarm, spread Dean’s small curd cottage cheese on a piece of toasted rye bread and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. I watch CBS Sunday Morning and then catch the various political talk shows. All the while the sun is coming in the front windows on my back.

    • I love how specific you are!

      John Irving is great…he snagged one of Canada’s top agents and whisked her off to Vermont as his bride. I agree that a great book/story is hard to resist. I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction, though.

  11. — Where do you live?
    Brisbane, Australia

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach?
    I’m currently studying a Diploma of Sustainability and I am a qualified retail trainer.

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers?
    Sufjan Stevens, Jeff Buckley and Death Cab For Cutie

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name?
    Bixby, a persian who is the spitting image of Garfield and 2 rats – Betty and Veronica

    — What’s the view from your front window?
    A park and lots of trees – bliss!

    — Your favorite food?
    Japanese food

    — Dream job?
    I’m living it! Retail Sustainability Project Manager

    — Favorite author(s) or books?
    Johnathan Franzen or Jose Saramago

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning?
    Sleep in, snuggles with Bixby and brunch with friends

    • Sounds like a lovely life!

      If you haven’t read my book about retail, you might enjoy it…I think retail is pretty much the same world-wide. But maybe not…?

  12. Caitlin- What a fun project. I loved reading about everyone above!
    Here’s mine:
    Where do you live? Alexandria, VA … 5 miles from the Capitol (and capital/Washington, DC), in an historic town first settled in 1695. They call this “The Fun Side of The Potomac”… fun sure isn’t happening over the river in Congress!

    —University? Though not teaching now, I taught undergraduate level International Business in Russian and English in addition to running my own business while I lived in Azerbaijan.

    — Favorite bands/musicians/composers? As a global nomad, I like music from all over. In my travels I learned to enjoy Turkish pop in the 90s from Mustafa Sandal; classical piano from Rüya Taner; Russian folk music (Balalaika) and developed an appreciation for Azerbaijani Mugham. But, when I’m having trouble with jet lag, old country western melodies (esp. Jim Reeves) are just the ticket (I am from Texas after all…)

    — Pet? None now. When I married my husband 4 years ago, he was caring for his late wife’s 5 cats (yeah, that’s what I thought too!) They were old, so now we just enjoy all the wild birds.

    — The view? Lots of green at the moment… Oak trees, Crepe Myrtle, dogwood, maple and hemlock. Love the fall colors- lovely here (as they must be where you are too!)

    — Favorite food? I’m a sucker for great Italian, northern or southern. My “least” favorite meal was a conference breakfast in Moscow where they served beef stroganoff… I became a “vegetarian” for each breakfast thereafter so I could be served “gretchka” (steamed buckwheat) instead.

    — Dream job? Teaching foreign kids about the world. I loved my 10 years abroad and would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

    — Favorite author(s) or books? “No Dudes, Few Women,” by Elizabeth Ward (my grandmother).

    — Perfect Sunday morning? Sitting out on the deck, watching the sun start to filter through the trees; all the birds coming to the feeders … and life is good.

    • What a life! I now feel REALLY provincial and dumb! :-) Teaching IN Russian?!

      Jose lived in DC for many years (was a White House Press corps photographer for the NYT) so he knows the area very well indeed. It’s beautiful.

      What is Mugham?

      • :-) I was thinking the same about YOUR life… so much I admire about your pluck and tenacity!
        So, What is Mugham? Hmmm…Think Jazz, improvisational and expressive, but 1000 years old, a combination of Caucasus and Persian influences. Try this link: http://bit.ly/PVAGcE from the 2012 Eurovision songfest- see if your toes don’t start tapping!

      • Thanks! I am now officially intrigued.

        I learn a lot from the amazing people who stop by here!

  13. -I currently live in Chicago, I grew up in it’s suburb of Oak Park.

    -I’m studying Emergency Services Management in college as time allows.

    -Favorite Musicians, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jean Luc Ponty, Muddy Waters, Gordon Lightfoot, George Thorogood, Webb Wilder, Herb Alpert, Debussey, Handel, Massive Attack, Bonnie Raitt, Hank Williams Sr., Carlos Santana, B-52’s, Midnight Oil, Beethoven, Swing out Sister, OOPS! Supposed to stop at three! sorry!

    -One a mixed breed lab/chow Freya is her name. She’s 7yoa, I also have fish from time to time.

    -Typical Chicago side street Brick Bungalows with a few brick 2 flats, Trees, grass, a lot of vehicles, crooked sidewalks and well worn streets

    -Asian, Sushi, stir-fry, dim sum, Fish, a lot of fish… ;)

    -Fighting against social and economic injustice. Not the flavor of the day junk that’s plastered on the TV and other media. I’m talking returning employee rights, salary caps for top level positions, regulating lending laws, taking insurance companies out of the health care system, the hard stuff that no one seems to want to tackle.

    -Noam Chomsky, George Orwell, Edgar Allen Poe, Isaac Asimov, Samuel R Delaney, St Thomas Aquinas, Chaucer, David Sedaris, Freud,

    -I normally work Sunday afternoons, so sleeping in and hanging a around the house until I have to head off to work.

    • Separated at birth!

      I love all the music you named — OMG, JLP! Midnight Oil are amazing.

      I admire your zeal for social justice, which is what my new book proposal is also about in some measure. It’s at my publisher now awaiting a decision so it’s a nervous time. I want to get ON it and address many of the issues you name here.

      We read Chaucer at school in Middle English, out loud. So fun!

  14. I’m not a lurker (thanks for linking to my blog!) but this sounds fun so I thought I’d take part.

    —Where do you live?

    Currently I live in the U.K. but my goal is to move to either the U.S. or Canada at some point within the next decade. Next year I will be living in Spain for a year, teaching English, and I want to travel and live in as many places as possible!

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach?

    I’m studying linguistic science and Spanish. I love both subjects but linguistics has really caught my interest and my goal is to become a college professor in linguistics, hopefully teaching in the U.S. or Canada (see goal above!)

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers?

    Hmm, this is tricky as they tend to change. At the moment, I love the new album from The Civil Wars. I also enjoy music from Lana Del Rey and any good salsa music.

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name?

    Yes, one cat with the highly imaginative name of Kitty. ;)

    — What’s the view from your front window?

    I look out onto a small creek (or beck, as we call it in the UK) with grass banks. Country living within the reach of a city suits me but I would like to live in a city at some point and I’m sure I will.

    — Your favorite food?

    Anything Greek: a mezze of spanakopita (filo parcels with spinach and feta), gigantes plaki (baked lima beans in tomato sauce), Greek salad, tzatziki and green beans, with baklava, halva and fresh watermelon for dessert. I have spent time in Greece and I love it there; the food is amazing!

    — Dream job?

    To teach linguistics and do research. I love the world of academia and I want to spend my career in it.

    — Favorite author(s) or books?

    I grew up reading classics by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters and I still love their works. I also enjoy Russian literature, especially Chekhov’s short stories and Boris Pasternak’s wonderful “Doctor Zhivago”. In terms of modern-day authors, I enjoy David Rakoff, Ron Rash, David Sedaris, J. Courtney Sullivan and Curtis Sittenfeld, to name just a few.

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning?

    A lazy morning with pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast and the weekend newspapers to read.

    • Your weekend sounds like mine!

      What an interesting career…I studied French for three years and Spanish for four at uni. and even did some French linguistics. Language is fascinating and I’d like to get my Spanish back into shape. For a while it was strong enough I worked as a volunteer interpreter for Chilean refugees coming to Canada.

      If you choose Canada, you’ll be choosing a very different place than the U.S. I lived in Canada from birth to 30, and in NY since then. I like them both, but very different in some fundamental ways — most evident in public policy.

      • Yes, it doesn’t take long for language skills to get a bit rusty.My Spanish has definitely slipped after taking a year out. I need to start getting back to it in preparation for starting uni again.

        I’ve noticed some of the differences between Canada and the U.S., particularly the differences between health care systems and gun safety laws. Are there any other major differences you can think of?

      • That’s a LONG blog post. There are many…

  15. I love this idea, and although I try not to be a lurker, I do not comment often either, so here I go ;-)

    — Where do you live?
    In Rhenen, a small city near the Rhine, in the Netherlands. I was actually born in Rhenen, in the hospital that was here in the middle of the woods, while my parents lived in a town nearby. Six weeks later they (we) moved to a village, and a year ago I moved back. I was born in a city between the trees, and look out over a green and rural valley now. I love it here!

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach?
    I just dropped out of university, where I learned to be an English teacher. I loved the English (still do), and if I could’ve gotten my degree with only English I’d have stayed, but I did not like teaching. There are two levels of university here, if I had been a level higher I could’ve gone on with only English. One day I might. I am hopeful now, since my pronunciation was horrid and never seemed to cease being horrid, but over about a year time, since I’ve been with my Eirophile fiancé, it went better so quickly. (well, he loves the English language too, the country not that much xD)

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers?
    I like a lot of music. Fiancé made me being into the Dubliners, but Antestor (I warn you, don’t look it up on youtube, it’s black metal) is great as well, and so is Saviour Machine. And Ayreon. And a lot of classical music.

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name?
    No, not yet. We would love to have a rabbit, but are still looking for one. And deciding if we have the money to keep one. Meanwhile I am the pet ;-)

    — What’s the view from your front window?
    The smaller part of the ‘Gelderse Vallei’, a valley between the Veluwe and the hills of Utrecht. We live on some of those last mentioned hills, somewhere on top, and can look over the meadows all towards the forests of the Veluwe.

    — Your favorite food?
    Besides chocolat? Raw herring… my mother comes from Scheveningen, one of the Dutch fishermen’s villages, and I grew up eating… yes, raw fish. At two years old I ran after my granddad, begging for more herring haha

    — Dream job?
    I have always wanted to be a writer, or an artist, or at least something with a lot of books concerned. I am kind of a self-made writer now, with my blog, and I try to get some translation-jobs and own a webshop with selfmade things. Now the job in a bookstore and I am all happy ;-)

    — Favorite author(s) or books?
    Ever-lasting favourites are Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and the Brontë sisters. I love the poems of Emily Dickinson too, and I start to appreciate Terry Pratchett. With that too, my tastes are pretty broad, as long as I can read – preferrably in English – I am happy.

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning?
    Sunshine, fiancé who woke up way more early and baked bread, coffee on the balcony or in my parents’ garden… walking on the heather and loads of time to read

  16. — Where do you live? New Zealand
    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach? I teach 8 year olds. Love it.
    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers? At the moment am obsessed with Daley, Carter Burwell and Jessie Ware.
    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name? Nope. Me and animals . . . we’re just not meant to be!
    — What’s the view from your front window? The rose garden in the front yard.
    — Your favorite food? I just love food!
    — Dream job? Librarian, writer, art historian, artist – any of these would be grand.
    — Favorite author(s) or books? Pretty difficult to answer – there’s not enough space or time to do so.
    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning? Sleeping in followed by brunch with my favourite people. Or not having to get out of my pajamas :)

    • Eight is a neat age….Nice to hear from someone (many here) who really enjoys her work.

      It’s interesting to me how many teachers read this blog.

      I work alone at home, and there have been (rare) days I don’t even get out of my PJs. Mostly, though, I do.

  17. — Where do you live? I live most of the year in Auburn, MA which seems to exist as a place for three highways to meet. We moved there two years ago and so I still don’t quite call it home. I spend summers in Okoboji, IA working at Okoboji Summer Theater.

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach? I am adjunct faculty at various schools. I mostly teach theatre courses, but I have also taught for writing and education programs. I also teach after school drama programs to children.

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers? I can never answer this question. I love music of all varieties but I’m not good at naming names.

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name? Two dogs. Lizzy is a hound, lab, shephard mix. Jasper is shephard mixed with something bouncy like Tigger (he can leap 6 foot tall fences).

    — What’s the view from your front window? From my front window at home I have a view of a reservoir separating us from the highway. It’s actually quite lovely. From the theatre home I have a view of the back of the theatre.

    — Your favorite food? It depends on the season. As we switch into fall I levitate toward anything with cinnamon, caramel or apples.

    — Dream job? Something flexible which allows me to work on projects I am passionate about with people who care, whether its writing, teaching, directing or something else. I just need to be doing creative things.

    — Favorite author(s) or books? Too many to list.

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning? Sleeping in, waking up to read and move at our own pace, including a brunch of bagels and lox or something more decadent.

    • I like your life — that you can divide your time, as they say, between places and ways of being.

      Your leaping dog sounds amazing!

      And thanks much for the correction…This WAS your idea.

      • We learned about his escape artist tendencies the hard way . . . about two weeks after we got him from the humane society he leapt the fence, got hit by a car, broke two legs and became a permanent, expensive part of the family. :)

        I love that idea of dividing my time between ways of being.

      • OUCH!!!!! Both to poor pup and your bank account…Hope he is OK today.

        I cannot wait to “divide my time” between US and France, my retirement dream/goal.

      • Now that’s the life I’d like to live. I would love a home in Europe . . . I could give up Iowa.

        Jasper is going strong and never learned his lesson.

      • I’ve never been to Iowa, although all the Big Name Writers have taken the workshop there.

        I like Jasper already. :-)

  18. I’m in Edinburgh via New York via Dallas, but you knew that. I have two halves of two degrees, which doesn’t equal one whole one. And an entirely Geeky husband, who is my pet penguin. We live above a bus stop and a shop, but want to move to the ‘burbs and then back to the mountains. I’m s’posed to be helping a dude start up an accessible travel website, but I haven’t seen any money yet, and I’m getting kinda fed up over here. Neil wants me to finish my books while drinking lots of coffee and listening to country music with head-phones on.

    My current writer crushes are on AM Homes and Ruth Ozeki, but I read crime novels too, so my mother-in-law and I have something to talk about.

    Can I yoink this for a future post?

  19. Live in Darien, CT. Favorite musicians are Joni Mitchell, Mary Chapin Carpenter and James Taylor. No pets, but I had a beagle named Mike and the night he died was about as sad as I’ve ever been.

    Our house has a front porch and the view is a typical suburban street with a lot of kids and dog walkers. Our backyard has the occasional deer, which is why we don’t have a vegetable garden.

    If I were facing a firing squad, my final meal would be Ipswich fried clams. On a daily basis, I prefer strawberrys, blueberries and peaches.

    Dream job would op-ed columnist for the NYT.

    Favorite authors: Jane Austen, Tom Wolfe, Robertson Davies and Willa Cather.

    A perfect Sunday morning would include a walk to the beach, reading the NYT, going to church, where we’d sing Amazing Grace, and my first nap of the day.

    • We’re practically neighbors…

      Yay, Robertson Davies — Canadian. Met him once. Thick beard!

      Love your perfect Sunday morning…my favorite hymn (hard to choose) is All Thing Bright and Beautiful, or Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee. You can happily belt them out. And naps are the best!

  20. Hmm, I’ve commented before, so perhaps not a lurker- but like others I can’t resist the game.
    — Where do you live? Hoffman Estates, IL (suburb of Chicago)
    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach? No current formal learning for me, but learning is an antidote for what ails you so I am always curious to learn things, usually informally so that I can avoid the institutional thinking aspects.
    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers? I have eclectic tastes, the radio for newer stuff… Then Fleetwood Mac, Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett, Natalie Merchant, Chopin, Vivaldi…Christmas music of all kinds
    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name? Cats are cool, current one is formally Anastasia but Missy for everyday discussions
    — What’s the view from your front window? Tough, front windows are bedrooms… but my family room sliding door looks out on the Grandma Garden that we put in to honor my mom – where I can still buy her presents of flowers, shrubs and garden statues. (Love this question, simple yet telling)
    — Your favorite food? Chocolate, but I’m trying to reduce sugar intake. My son loves to cook, so many of his new creations end up on my favorite list too
    — Dream job? Sharing knowledge with others, writing, learning, solving things
    — Favorite author(s) or books? This one could get longer than the music answer, reading is my very most favorite thing that I’ve ever learned… I can’t name just one – currently reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and I’m enchanted.
    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning? Waking up slowly, new blog post ideas popping, then tea and the newspaper.

    • Thanks for playing!

      This is the most fun I’ve had here…

      I was going to mention Benny Goodman, so am glad you did, too! You might try to hunt down a very early Fleetwood Mac album, Kiln House, before they hit it big. I used to listen to in in high school and there’s only one not-great song on it…

      Love the Grandma Garden. What a neat idea.

      Dream job — sort of what I do now. :-)

      Our front view is ever-changing and we never get bored…today it’s POURING rain and all I can see is a wall of pale gray, the river, bridge and world invisible. It amazes me to live somewhere so pretty. I really miss it when we’re away and that never happened when I lived in Toronto or Montreal or even NH.

  21. Definitely a male lurker here, though I have commented a couple of times. I live in a village in South Wales, in the Neath Valley. The view from my front window consists of two of my neighbours’ houses, no wide open spaces I’m afraid, but this valley I call home is truely beautiful. We, Elizabeth, our three grown up sons, not forgetting Tipsy the cat, all live here. I’ve been a Beatles fan all my life, but there’s so much musical choice out there now, and so many very talented artists as well, it’s hard to bring favorites down to just two or three. Amazingly I’ve just discovered the Who, never really listened to their music until a friend of mine downloaded some to a CD for me to play in the car. My third choice has to be Jamie Cullum, just seen a live concert of his in Amsterdam, sadly only on TV, fantastic.
    My dream job is to be a bicycle mechanic, though I am very impatient and bad tempered when I try to fix anything that goes wrong on my bike. I am not an avid reader, until fairly recently, I hadn’t read a book in years, but have begun reading travelogues of various bicyclists, as they travel all around the world, in blog or book form. We have one such traveller here in this valley, http://www.blueonabike.com . I long to go off on such travels myself. My favourite food, without doubt is a good curry, we are fortunate here, to have a good choice of lovely Indian restaurants quite near. Though, I must admit these good curries may be quite different from the authentic versions to be found in the mother country. My perfect Sunday morning would be filled with sunshine, as I gently rode my bike down this beautiful valley at the start of my own round the world cycle ride. Cheers.

  22. thank you for the mention, & we are loving your blog as well! i’m partaking in the survey {i’m a sucker for questionnaires // does this make me narcissistic?!}

    — Where do you live? {austin, tx // in our perfectly located, tiny 500 square foot efficiency apartment}

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach? {i attended southern methodist university // first studied acting, & then switched my major to english & creative writing after a professor encouraged me // i received my m.ed in literacy & now i teach 7th grade language arts… eek!}

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers? {three is difficult, but here goes… howlin’ wolf, etta james, & junior kimbrough // they make me move!}

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name? {buddy is a catahoula mix & he is our everything // it’s pathetic}

    — What’s the view from your front window? {a fence + rooftop // i once peered out to see a grown man sitting on top of a children’s bounce house behind that fence, peeping into my apartment… it was frightening! // yours is lovely, btw!}

    — Your favorite food? {anything involving avocado, a fried egg, & hot sauce… all three, of course, is a bonus // or chocolate}

    — Dream job? {you stole mine! when you start running your own magazine, maybe i can work for you {wink! wink!}}

    — Favorite author(s) or books? {it changes all the time // my first love was john irving // now it’s the power-author-couple, nicole krauss & jonathon safran foer // the history of love is one that will stay in my mind forever}

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning? {yours is perfection! // a morning walk with georgia & buddy on a nice day {on the way to brunch of course} // blueberry pancakes + bacon + black coffee + a french cocktail {because why not} // & the waiter tells us it’s all on the house // we give him a good tip}

  23. Great post idea. I’ll bite:

    — Where do you live? Cedar Rapids, IA. Corn not potatoes.

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach? English, journalism, grant-writing. Enjoying is a term I’d use half the time. Dealing with the bureaucracy kills the joy the other half.

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers? Band: The Pretenders. Musician: Melissa Etheridge. Composer: Mozart. I know, how cliche.

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name? Yes! Half lab half pit mix rescue. Hank. I wuvs him.

    — What’s the view from your front window? A church. Ironic to be sure.

    — Your favorite food? A ribeye fresh off the grill.

    — Dream job? Something that allows me to take Hank with me wherever I go.

    — Favorite author(s) or books? ….too…hard…to…choose…ugh, I think I just had an aneurysm

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning? Morning? What’s a morning?

    Ok, so I’ll start a magazine with you. I want to start one called “Rejection Letter” that is a forum for writers, who can’t seem to get their foot in the door. All submissions are only a dollar, and most everything will be published. We handle the volume by setting up a state-by state chapter. If your submission is just to horrible to publish as is, we’d have a team of well-trained English majors to honestly, but positively critique your work; so that you can tweak it, and resubmit it. We improve the writing community one dreamer at a time. With the volume of submissions, at only $1 each, we’d still have enough to cover expenses while offering the magazine for free online. Printed copies available at a higher purchase price; printed with recycled materials from each division, of course.

    Imagine how many stories the world is missing because the publishing racket is too elitist. I want to beat the snobs at their own game. Provide jobs and knowledge for every community.

    Sigh, maybe someday…

  24. First, I’m honored that you mentioned me. Second, here is my story.
    — I live in a small town near Frankfurt, Germany. I am a teacher in an International School.

    — Can I just say…eclectic? I love a lot of things. It depends on my mood, time of year, etc. Neko Case is a favorite, but so are the Rolling Stones, U2, Wilco, Bach, Joa Gilberto, see it’s complicated.

    — We have a German Shorthair named Cady. She lives with my sister. She loves to run and needs a lot of land…not the best apartment dog.

    — From the balcon we look at trees. From the bedroom we look out over the fields. A mixture of apartment buildings, cathedrals, wind turbines, and grassiness.

    — My husband’s Pizza. He is an amazing cook. And Steak…don’t get any steak over here in Deutschland. Too expensive.

    — I don’t mean to sound cheesy, but what I am doing now. I love teaching kids Humanities, I love teaching in International Schools.

    — Favorite Books of all time: To Kill A Mockingbird, Angle of Repose, Fahrenheit 451

    — Sleep until 7ish. (Never can sleep in anymore) Have a cup of coffee in bed with the husband. Then have a slow breakfast. Catch up on what is going on in the world via Google News, NY Times, Facebook, and WordPress Reader. Then we usually go for a hike or bike ride to a Biergarten somewhere.

  25. Where do you live? Minnesota

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach? Degree in Professional Biology

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers? Bon Jovi, Styx, J.S. Bach

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name? Two cats

    — What’s the view from your front window? Paper birch sitting in a lawn that needs some TLC.

    — Your favorite food? Ham

    — Dream job? Retirement!

    — Favorite author(s) or books? Currently, Kevin Hearne – Iron Druid Chronicles

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning? Sitting on the deck with coffee and English muffins watching the loons, blue herons and Ospreys harass the schools of fish on the lake.

  26. I’m very flattered to be mentioned. I thought you dreaded hearing from me.

    I live in a little country town about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, which i almost never go to as I loathe big cities and crowds. Currently my musical tastes has evolved (Or de-volved according to my wife)into blues guitarist, especially Joe Bonamassa. I am the proud father of 5 sons, all destined for greatness and two boxers named Lucy and Odin who are convinced they are cocker spaniels and therefore entitled to reside in my chair and on top of me as soon as I am in the same room as them. The view from my front window isn’t nearly as wonderful as out the side looking out over my neighbors farm that provides the most amazing sunrises here in Chester County. I’ve travelled all around the country and haven’t found many places much prettier than here in Chester County with the possible exception of southwestern Virginia around Blacksburg. My dream job I suppose would be having enough money and time to be able to go around and fix up people’s houses that can’t afford it without having to charge them as a ministry. I’ve been a General Contractor for about 35 years and love working with my hands. about five years ago my oldest son and I started a custom laser engraving business together doing contract engraving for commercial machine shops and such and we also do trophies and plaques which means I get to interact with kids which is my real passion in life. i work with inner city kids thru a bus ministry at our church on a weekly basis. all my kids are pretty much grown with my youngest in his second year of college. Been married to the love of my life for 35 years this October who tolerates my imperfections and foibles on a consistent basis even though I seldom deserve it. i don’t read much fiction but I love to read anything with an historical theme and of course I spend a great deal of time reading my Bible, which I’m sure you’re thinking…’that explains alot”.

    If you’re ever in Southeaster Pa shoot me an email, I’d love to meet you and buy you and your husband a ‘real’ cheese steak. PS: don’t tell anybody from Philly but the best sandwiches aren’t found there. Loved your piece on the kitchen remodel, that’s kind of my expertise. Steve

    • I never dread hearing from you — the opposite, actually. I know I smack down hard sometimes in reply, as we are quite often on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but I think it’s great you find this blog (still, nonetheless) of value and interest. The only way to understand “the other” is to talk to them!

      General contractor! Wow. That’s a seriously cool job. I’m in awe of the skill it takes to find, manage and retain great work crews; our contractor (same no. of yrs in business more or less) has tile men from Turkey and I like his on-site manager, Ray, so much I gave him a big hug when he came by last week…They did our (only) bathroom, 5 by 7 feet (!) back in 2009. I LOVE designing spaces and they so liked the bathroom I did they suggested I come work with them. My neighbor down the hall needs help designing his (equally tiny) bathroom so I hope he’ll let me do it. Three = a portfolio!

      Not sure when we’ll get to SE PA.but possible — we love to come to the Philadelphia Art Museum.

      • Ah, tile men from Turkey! The best…I’m envious! Impress them some morning and tell them Mehreba (Hi!) or Gunaydin (Good morning), followed by Nesilsan? (How are you?) Maybe you’ll get special points in the tile department for your reno… ;) Ask where they are from and let me know!

      • Cool! Will do. Last time I made sure to bring them many cups of tea. I know that making them feel welcome is the way to go. I am happy to have them…last time, one was cutting tile (!) on our balcony in February….nowhere else to do it.

  27. Thanks for the shout-out and the feeling is mutual. I had not heard the word “lurker” until today! I also love the party atmosphere on this blog. Not one to ever sit out a party, here goes…

    — I live in almost-always-sunny Los Angeles, 1 mile away from the famous Mann’s Chinese Theater, but I never drive through that area if I can help it because it’s a tourist clusterf*%$.

    — I am getting a P.H.D. in the School of Hard Knocks. Kidding. Not in school, nor teaching, (unless training my dog counts). Have a day job I can’t wait to quit.

    — Have more than three but when I write, I listen to Chopin and the soundtracks for The Hours (Phillip Glass), The Last Temptation of Christ (Peter Gabriel), The English Patient (Gabriel Yared).

    — Do I have a pet? Do I ever! Ruby, the 13 month old pitbull mix, smartest, prettiest, most loving dog I’ve ever known. I blog about her among other things.

    — Trees and next door neighbor’s windows, which are thankfully mostly obstructed by the trees.

    — Favorite food – again too many to name but I loves me some good soul food.

    — Dream job is getting paid to write (and direct) movies, television, books. Working on it.

    — Ernest Hemingway, Paulo Coelho, Octavia Butler to name a few. I also just started reading Linda Marsa’s FEVERED!! :) (She read in Santa Monica this past weekend and I waited in line for her to sign my copy, we both gushed about you!)

    — Perfect Sunday morning is spent hanging with my brother and sister, their spouses, kids and pets… this actually happened at the beginning of this year when I flew with the pup to NYC before heading to Vermont and spent New Years in a house full of family, children and dogs. It was craziness but I was in heaven.

    Looking forward to our drink one day, Caitlin!!

    • I love that you met Linda! Isn’t she a hoot? SO smart and so passionate about many of the same issues…

      I am SO inspired by your musical choices I will now go download them. I recently watched The English Patient again. Is there a more romantic and heart-breaking film????!!!!!

      Just had dinner here with a young friend moving home to L.A. so we will definitely be out there…next spring? You know the freelance life…who knows?!

      If the bloody book sells (hate waiting), I’ll have a much clearer idea what happens after that.

      • Totally. The English Patient is a gem of a movie, and gets me every time. The music is also exquisite. I am obsessed with these soundtracks. Enjoy!

        And yes, Linda is a hoot. I could have listened to her speak for much longer than the 20 minutes she did. Thoroughly enjoying the book too.

        Btw, this post idea was brilliant. So many interesting people! It really is a wonderful community.

      • It’s one of those movies I’d like to see more often but it’s so heart-breaking I can’t. One of my favorites (old) with an amazing soundtrack is The Year of Living Dangerously…Fantastic film…and Sorcerer, whose entire soundtrack (Tangerine Dream) was composed without seeing any of the film. Yet it fits perfectly.

        Glad you’re enjoying the party. Wish I had champagne for toasts.

  28. Great idea! With your following, I am thankful that you have stopped by my blog from time to time. I live in Vienna, Virginia outside of Washington DC. Vienna got a nod in Forbes Magazine too as a livable town among the tense boroughs in the Beltway. I am no longer in university life, but would love to find my way back into a university, on either side of the desk. My three recent favorite musicians are Pete Seeger, Mahler and the Silk Road Ensemble. Three cats, Ross, Sarah and Camille–all shelter cats. My front window overlooks my condo’s rolling free space between courtyards. Lately I have been on a kabob kick for my favorite foods. My dream job is to be James Burke or Keeneth Clarke or some other popularizer of western civilization studies. Preferably at a mouldering liberal arts campus. Or perhaps a Opretta conductor. Or a paid travel writer. As for books and authors–Bill Bryson, Christopher Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, Wendell Berry, Douglas Adams, Lewis Lapham and Edmund Morris among others. A perfect Sunday morning in the summer is in the Shenandoah mountains, away from the urban heat island, with a pile of back issue magazines and coffee, with endless Blue Ridge mountains in the horizon.

    • I’ve been to Vienna, VA! When I was 12 and my cousin’s husband was in the diplomatic corps…they were living there then before moving overseas to various posts.

      I like all your authors and am embarrassed that I have only read Lewis Lapham and Bill Bryson, and not a lot of either.

      Love the sound of your perfect Sunday morning!

  29. I live in Bozeman, Montana. It’s gorgeous and cold most of the year, but I love it.

    I just went back to school to pursue my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. This has been a goal of mine for many years, so it feels good to be learning about something that is a passion–despite all of the reading and writing.

    I love the music of Mumford & Sons, Neil Young, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

    I’m one of those childless people who’s dogs are their kids. I have two dogs, Loca (toy poodle) and Pancho Villa (boxer/golden/mix)…and recently lost Sake (shihtzu/poodle) :(

    My view is just a street with some trees and houses on it, BUT I don’t have to move far out of my front door to see majestic mountains and big skies!

    I love curry and just about anything Mediterranean!

    My dream job is to have my very own mental health show–think Dr. Fraiser Crane on the radio or Dr. Phil on TV. I would even settle for a syndicated column…maybe I’ll start with a podcast!

    Favorite author is hard, but I will go with who I can read over and over, everything they’ve written….Anne Lamott, Jeanette Walls, Jane Austen.

    As cliche as it may sound, I adore a Sunday morning drive, but not before making a ridiculous breakfast and listening to a disc from whatever Harry Potter book we are on.

    This was fun! Thanks!

    xo, Tobi

    • Oooooooh. Montana. Oooooooh. Jealous! I am dying to come out to Montana/Wyoming/Idaho and camp and horseback ride and hike in mountains.

      Sorry about Sake. It’s terribly sad to lose a doggie.

      Love the eclectic women on your authors’ list.

  30. It’s been so fun reading everyone’s responses, so now I should not lurk and provide my answers.

    — I live in Brooklyn, New York, in a small, fifth floor walk-up.

    — I have an MFA in creative writing. I’ve taught literature and composition at the College of New Rochelle’s campus in Harlem and adult continuing education classes at The Loft Literary Center. This is a side gig though as are my freelance editing projects. By day I work at a big 6 publishing house.

    — The Decemberists have been getting a lot of play lately. Jack Johnson and Brandi Carlisle.

    — One adorable English springer spaniel named Reggie. He has taught me more about how to be a good human than most humans.

    — I wish I could say Central Park (ha!) but no, it’s the building next door.

    — Anything with avocado. There is a restaurant in the city that serves the best guacamole. I can only go with people I know well because it’s embarrassing how much I eat.

    — My novel is finished and nearly in the hands of my agent. It is difficult to turn over control to someone else for a project I’ve been pouring my heart into for years and years. I’m just realizing now as I type this that I work 4 jobs (freelance editing, writing fiction, day job, teaching). So if I could *only* write fiction and freelance edit, well…. wow.

    — I just finished TransAtlantic by Colum McCann and I am now his newest fan. Brilliant work. Also love Margaret Atwood and Marilynne Robinson. Amor Towles’s debut novel The Rules of Civility was terrific.

    — Sunday brunch in Brooklyn with close friends is always fun. But homemade blueberry pancakes with a steaming cup of coffee while reading a good book…can’t beat that!

    This was a great idea!

    • Congrats on finishing the novel and getting into an agent’s hands. Huge!!!!!

      So interesting that you’re inside the machinery of publishing as well; my proposal is now at Portfolio and I am awaiting a reply. Gah!

      Loved Rules of Civility!

      Have you read Cat’s Eye, by Atwood? It made me so homesick for Toronto, where she and I grew up. She attended my high school and she became my first celebrity interview for the high school paper! She had then just published Surfacing and was just starting to gain fame…

      • I just read an interview with Margaret Atwood and thought of you. She recently did a sketch on a Canadian comedy show about “how to stop a puck.” She says, “My high moment was when I was passing the puck back and forth with some pros who said, ‘Hey! You can skate!’ I said, ‘Well, yes, I can skate — I’m Canadian.'”

        Love that!

      • I saw that…so fun! And true. I’ve seen 2 and 3 yr olds skating. It’s a great sport.

        Maybe we can do it next year at Bryant Park’s rink?

      • I would love to! I’d have to do some practice to hold my own next to a Canadian. :)
        Bryant Park is my favorite city park. Maybe it’s the library or those cute little tables they have set up in the summer.

      • Fun! We have to go RIGHT when it opens, first thing in the morning, or it’s clogged with people so SLOW you can’t actually move freely.

      • I checked their site and the rink reopens as early as the end of October. The thought of skating under the autumn leaves in Bryant Park is wonderful. First skate is 8 am!

        I’m game. :)

      • Cool! So exciting… It used to open only in November or December, I think. I’ll def. be back in touch by then, or vice versa.

  31. I live in the smallish town of Pflugerville, TX. It shares a city line with Austin to the South and Round Rock to the north. It’s kind of blah, and I’m glad to be leaving it in the near future.

    I’m finishing up my Associates in Journalism, and probably another in History. It’s only two more classes that I can squeeze into this next school year, so why not? After graduating, I’m planning on transferring to Texas State to get my Bachelors. Still undecided on Masters and Doctorate. I LOVE school. I hope to NEVER stop going to school. Discussion courses that make me think. Younger students (I’m 38) that make me feel either like a wise man in comparison with their rashness or simply like a kid again. Professors that actually respect their students. And the KNOWLEDGE. I LOVE IT! Going back to school has made me feel alive inside and I’ve begun meeting the most stellar people.

    I’m a bit of a metalhead. Favorite all time band is Five Finger Death Punch. They’re followed closely by Metallica and Rob Zombie. The speed and heaviness of the music just drive me and make me feel powerful and creative. When I’m listening to them, my mind goes off into another world and I can write fiction, poetry or just daydream for pleasure. It should also be noted that Norse metal band, Amon Amarth, is slowly pushing Metallica out of the tie for #2.

    We have a Carolina Dog named McKenna. Most people have never heard of the breed, but if you look it up in a Google image search, they all pretty much look the same. She’s a little manic right now as we’re packing and getting ready to move.

    It depends on the time of day. There’s a tree out in my front yard that’s surrounded by slightly unkempt flowers. I enjoy gardening but despise the Texas heat, so there ya go. You can usually see the corner of my maroon Honda CRV. But that’s during the day. At night, you notice the streets. We’re right at the top of a T intersection, and we can see all the way down the mast of the T. There are mailboxes on the left side of that road from where we stand at our front door. At night, there’s usually a car or SUV parked there, and we can see customers occasionally come up to buy weed. We’ve reported him to the cops several times, but no luck getting rid of him thus far. Yet another reason to be happy about the move.

    I think pop culture says I’m supposed to say “bacon” here. In reality though, it’s double cheeseburgers. However; last year I got sick and had to take some serious antibiotics which messed my stomach up pretty bad and I’m now gluten intolerant, so double cheeseburgers are off the menu, or anything wrapped in delicious, yummy, floury bread. *sigh* On the plus side, since the gluten intolerance has forced me to avoid beer, I’ve found some really yummy things. Like mead. I’d tried a few different types on my trips to the various renaissance (a word I never seem to spell right the first time – I always think it’s two N’s and one S) festivals. Lately though, when I go visit friends, I bring along a bottle or two of mead instead, and some friends and I are looking to start brewing it to see what tasty concoctions we can come up with.

    I’d love to do anything in the publishing industry that helps get other people published while being able to write myself. I know the competition is tough and people who dream of being writers coat the globe like syrup on a waffle, but I can’t bring myself to give up a dream I’ve had since I was eleven.

    I don’t think the internet has enough storage for a list of all of my favorite books and authors.

    Piers Anthony definitely ranks among the top 3 favorites of mine. I’ve had the good fortune of having him respond when I asked him for assistance with a class assignment last fall, and talking to him was one of the most rewarding experiences ever. He treats his fans like people and showed me respect even as I geeked out about the fact that he called me. He gave me an enormous amount of advice about writing and the publishing industry in general, and he sort of reminded me of my dad in the way he spoke. (That’s really the only similarity. I think they wouldn’t have gotten along well. Piers is extraordinarily liberal while my father was extremely conservative.)

    Piers would be followed closely by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. They’re a team that wrote the Dragonlance fantasy series together. Their work is often considered a stereotype for modern mass-produced fiction, but it gave me a lot of comfort in a lot of hard times and their characters became some of my closes friends during those times.

    I also enjoy Terry Brooks, Heinlein, Poe and a zillion others that cause me to argue over whose name to type first, so I’ll abstain.

    Getting up and the house is cold. I love the cold. Wandering around quietly with only the dog to pester me for breakfast. Sitting on the couch reading for a few hours. And knowing all the while that I don’t have to go in to my State job ever again. (It really does suck being a Libertarian working in a conservative state’s government. But hey, it’s a job.)

    • You won’t believe this, but I know Pflugerville! I wrote for the NYT about an amazing young woman who started a company there, Community Cars, for people in wheelchairs, as she has been from birth.

      How cool that you are so enjoying school. And what a fantastic experience getting so much advice from Piers…It’s a great thing when someone accomplished is so generous.

      Good luck with the move!

      • Ha! You’re probably the first person I’ve come across online that’s heard of P’ville. There’s a lot of generous folks in the area like the lady that founded Community Cars.

      • Hey this is big news, Hans… Make that two who know about P’ville!

        (Though I confess, it wasn’t such a big stretch for me as my family is up on Lake LBJ, outside Marble Falls/Horseshoe Bay. But still…)

  32. I am late, jet lag :)
    I am very honored you want to know us.
    So, first, as I am French, I am sorry for my English :)
    – I am living in Rueil-Malmaison which is at 15 kms (don’t know how much in miles) from Paris. In the west… The town is known because Napoléon 1er used to have some vacation here.
    – I never went to university. I started to work at 18 in a bank. And 30 years after, I am still working there! (like that you know my age !) French doesn’t change often job.
    – I love all kind of musics. I learnt to appreciate Classical with my husband and Metal with my 2 daughters…
    – No Pets
    – View on my little garden where I try each year to cultivate tomatoes and lettuces. I say “I try” because each year, lettuces are eaten by snails!
    – I love all kind of foods. But I really love cheeses, French cheeses, of course!
    – A dream job? This is what I am trying to find now :)
    – Last year I read “Eat, pray, love” from Elizabeth Gilbert and I like it very much. And I just finish “Kolyma” from Tom Rob Smith, different but I like too.
    And if someday you come in Paris, tell me: I would love to take a coffee with you!

  33. Hi, my name is Jenn, and I have been following your blog for about a year now (or almost a year, not sure).

    Current Location: Tennessee
    My husband’s active duty army. I’m a stay-at-home-mom of three children (13 yrs, 11 yrs, and 9 months old). We just recently started homeschooling July 2013.

    I have a master’s in English. I miss graduate school terribly. I miss writing, so I’m trying to back in “the swing of things” and work on my writing. Right now, I just blog about my family life. I journal, too. Maybe once my children are a bit older or I feel ready, I will actually write, for real. I’m really modest (terribly shy) when it comes to my writing. I’ve only shared my blog with three people who know me. I’m that shy!

    I like reading your blog because your writing makes me think! I also like your writing style and I love your blog postings about writing and helping others improve their writing skills! Thank you for that!
    I also love how you interact with your followers. I’ve had a hard time finding blog writers who actually interact with their followers. I’ll love their writing and reply, and they either won’t reply or barely acknowledge my existence. Thank you for taking time to notice us. :) You’re a really good writer!

    Two cats named Sasha and Milli.
    View from my window: the nosey old lady who lives across the street. She’s always complaining if anyone parks in the grass or even has a smidgen of a tire in the grass. She’s annoying.

    • Thanks for following — and staying with it! :-)

      I bet it’s very difficult being a single mom (often) plus/minus the creative and intellectual community that grad school offers. Have you been able to take any local classes? I would shrivel and die without my writing peeps, even if they are (as they are) scattered from L.A. to Halifax!

      I’m a little, a lot, shocked that more bloggers don’t respond to their readers. It just seems really rude, no? My feeling is this: we all have VERY limited free time and attention (certainly anyone with 3 children!) and attention is a resource — like air, water, sunlight…I do NOT ever take readers’ scarce/divided/distracted attention for granted because it’s a gift. Everyone could disappear!

      Blogging, for me, (and maybe this is part of the problem you describe, inherent narcissism?) is NOT just a soapbox/platform/ego boost. I already get paid to write for a living and millions of readers read my stuff. Meh. I’m glad for the income, of course — but there is never a dialogue or exchange of ideas. It gets dull.

      Blogging is a party — and who ignores their guests?

      • Good idea! I was thinking about signing up for a class on campus here. I talked to my husband about it, and he thinks I should go for it. Right now, things are really busy with the baby and homeschooling our older children. Hopefully, I can take a class soon. I really miss the fellowship with other English Lit people.

        I’m also trying to motivate my husband to start college. He wants to, but he is really intimidated. I don’t know why because I think he’s brilliant! I know he would do really well. Hopefully, he will enroll in a university by January 2014.

        Being a military spouse has its challenges. There are many aspects of the military I do not understand, and I’m not even going to try to understand. I just try to be very supportive. Right now, my husband is injured and dealing with his injury and the medical/work aspect of it has been a big eyeopener. I feel like we entered another spectrum of the Army.

        I agree with you in regards to “blogging is a party”. Great way to put it! When bloggers do not reply to their readers, it does feel a little rude. And not just the simple “Thanks for stopping by” line. Ha. I love the dialogue and discussions. I know I love it when someone reads my writing and comments. I enjoy the interaction. I almost wish blogs were as interactive as Facebook. Almost.

        I honestly do not share my blog on my Facebook. I feel there’s a particular audience my blog is reserved for.

        Thank you for replying to me! :)

      • Sorry to hear about your husband’s injury. You have a lot to deal with!

  34. Well, that’s flushed the lurkers out of the woodwork.

    Ghostly presence? My dear Caitlin, the one I admire so much: Be careful what you wish for. At least ghosts know how to keep shtumm.

    I live in Southampton, UK. By which you may not deduce that I am British.

    Oh, how I hate to be nailed down to three. If you must: Beethoven, Bach, Motorhead.

    I currently don’t have a living pet. Only hates. Kept dormant and chilled as best I can.

    Vista from my window? A Parisian cafe has nothing on me. And since no one ever bothers looking UP a facade no one knows they are being observed. It’s heaven. Apart from those two gargoyles right opposite, staring at me. At all times. Unmoved.

    Favourite food? Let’s just say I might decline Anthony Bourdain’s invitation to accompany him in the jungle.

    Dream job? Dreaming.

    Favourite author or books? In the words of the incomparable John McEnroe: “You can’t be serious!”

    Should you and I ever find each other vis-a-vis on a Sunday morning, may the papers rustle.

    U

  35. Great idea, Caitlin – and man, what devotion to your readers! A lot to ask for, since you comment on every post! Not that I’m going to lighten your load any…

    — Where do you live?
    Sherman Oaks, CA. New to the Valley – it’s alright, but I miss the beach terribly.

    — If you’re in college or university, what are you studying? Are you enjoying it? If you’re a teacher/professor, what do you teach?
    I taught several semesters of developmental and remedial writing/reading/English courses at both community college and university. I far preferred community college, especially in Long Island’s Suffolk County, where students ranged from 17 to 70 and came from many walks of life. I work at a water district now, as a strategic planner, but always with an eye towards going back to teaching. I wouldn’t want to do the adjunct thing again, like I was, and getting a full-time teaching gig at college or university is a tough deal, especially in my fields, especially now. So, we’ll see. But I do miss it.

    — Who are your three of your favorite bands/musicians/composers?
    First three to mind: Bob Dylan, Jack White, Taj Mahal.

    — Do you have a pet? Type? Name?
    I grew up with dogs, but we live in too small a place and are gone so much that we recently rescued two cats, Gus (Augustus), a Maine Coon, and Oscar, a Himalayan/Siamese/White Something mix.

    — What’s the view from your front window?
    The courtyard of our 1970s apartment complex/our patio with bistro table, bicycles, tomato and pepper plants, an improvised workbench and a hummingbird feeder.

    — Your favorite food?
    Ajiaco – Colombian (Bogotan) stew/soup. You need to find a place and try it if you don’t know it, but I imagine my love of it is deeply steeped in nostalgia and home-away-from-homesickness or home-in-another-life-sickness.

    — Dream job?
    Novelist/travel writer/university professor.

    — Favorite author(s) or books?
    Like the music, first three to mind: Tom Robbins’s Jitterbug Perfume, John McPhee’s Encounters with the Archdruid, Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

    — What’s a perfect Sunday morning?
    Up early to write for two-three-four hours, until Erin wakes up, then coffee in bed with her, greeting the day together, then either an omelette in or brunch out, both with the (paper) Times (LA&NY), followed by a run or yoga or a poolside lounge.

    • Tom Robbins! I loved his stuff. Have never yet (!) read McPhee. Blasphemy, I know. :-)

      • Robbins was a game changer for me – I first encountered him right after a bout of existentialists following a spate of Beats, and his humor was (and remains) such a welcome relief.

        McPhee is best to read when you’re feeling generous and expansive. His writing is so good, and his “writer’s life” is so idyllic, that he – in keeping with your 8/19 post – is way too easy to envy…

      • He is a hoot. The cowgirl with the oversize thumbs?

  36. Hello! My name is Jenny, and I am really enjoying your blog. I realize I’m a little late on commenting to this post, but I’m working my way through my blog inbox this morning. Your blogs, your life, are giving me an inside view as to what my life could be like if I started to pursue other career paths — always a scary thought, and one met with hesitation for me.

    — I live in Middletown, a small suburb of the northeast side of Cincinnati, Ohio.

    — I studied art education (undergrad) and art history (graduate) at Ohio University in Athens. However I am now a yearbook rep, which is fabulous, because I now teach design and layout, photography, and journalistic writing to several staffs across the western part of Ohio.

    — With a varied music taste (one never knows what to expect to hear when I connect my phone in my car!)…my favorite would be AC/DC (thanks mom, for the concert tix in 2000!), Yo-Yo Ma when I’m writing or designing, and upbeat party-like country when I need a little bit of my hometown roots.

    — My girls, Emma and Glinda, are schnoodles. They are sisters, my mom and dad have their momma, and I first held them when they were four hours old, they’ll be eight this Halloween. I don’t have human children, but I know what it is like to be a mom, to have “toddlers,” and to both love unconditionally and be frustrated beyond belief all at the same time.

    — My Prius parked on the street. I much prefer the side window of my bedroom, the bottom of the window overlooks the treetops, and the top of the window is full of whatever beauty the sky has created at that time.

    — Tiramisu. Having been to Rome four times, I’m a little critical of the taste and texture here in the States, for instance, in Boston’s Little Italy, an upscale restaurant should be able to serve up a good piece…the worse creation I’ve ever had on a plate in front of me. Just sad. As odd as it is to say, Olive Garden has the best and closest comparison to the wonderful dessert. And coffee…can never forget the coffee. It is my favorite food group.

    — My dream job is a toss up…either design and layout editor for a fantastic, stylish magazine — probably about travel, or the lead photographer for the same great magazine. If the magazine really is about travel, I would probably lean more toward being the lead photographer!

    — I love historical novels. They are actually difficult to find…a dying breed? Maybe I’m not looking for the right terms in Amazon? I love Elizabeth Kostova’s Historian, and Dan Brown’s series (Angels and Demons, The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol [though I still haven't been able to finish this one...I just can't get into it...], and I just received Inferno in the mail this week.)

    — Coffee, front porch, puppies playing in the yard. Checking up on the blogs I follow, editing some photography from the week, and beginning to think about the week ahead.

    • Love this…and thanks for commenting!

      I enjoyed The Historian, too.

    • Jenny- I’m glad you made this comment. Everybody has chided me for the same sentiment about Olive Garden’s Tiramisu! I was beginning to think I was crazy.

      We don’t go there often, but when we do, I always come away with the same thought, “If Olive Garden can do this, why is it so hard to get a good Tiramisu in the city (DC)? Really…

      Caitlin- I am fascinated by the diversity of your world here. Thanks for doing this and giving us all the chance to meet each other. Love following you… you give us lots to think about and discuss! Kudos to you.

      • Thanks!

        I’m honored, intrigued and intimidated by what a smart, worldly, accomplished group of people chosen to visit, follow and comment.

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