Liebster Award Nomination

liebster21A sweet and wonderful idea:                 I know that this is a sort of chain-mail idea but at the end of it, having another blogger nominate you or list you as one of seven blogs that they particularly enjoy – is still a big deal for little old me. With this in mind, I conclude that there can be no harm in passing that feeling of being appreciated onto a few other bloggers like myself. So allow me to introduce you to the LIEBSTER AWARD.

The Liebster Award Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the award somewhere on your blog.
  3. List 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
  6. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers.  (You many nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
  7. Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.

Here I go then:

Thank you so much Planted In The Sky for nominating Poui Season.

Head over to this blog, my fellow readers and writers, and enjoy sweet posts about the adventures of moving to and living in Italy. It’s a blog about travelling, settling down, not settling down and discovering ourselves and others.

11 Facts About Myself:

  1. I’m the eldest, of the eldest, of the eldest – that’s a proud line of 1st places. Winning is in my DNA. So on a scale of one to ten, I’m Monica Level Competitive.
  2. I have two tattoos. Both are on my spine. I giggled profusely for two hours while I got the last one. The first tattoo has been turned into a drinking game – if you guess it wrong you have to drink. I have put quite a few people under the table with this game. I refuse to get it covered up.
  3. I’ve owned my own company now for just over three and a half years and the single thing that I’ve learned from it is that you can love and hate a thing with equal and extreme amounts of both emotions.
  4. I’ve been to India. I will go again.
  5. I’ve read everything written by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. And I did it before I turned 20.
  6. I’m writing a book. It actually has a name (The Inescapable Silken Earth) and a first draft of almost 200 pages. I may never finish it.
  7. I am bad at finishing things.
  8. I’m an absolute romantic but I’m not a very good flirt.
  9. I’m a total Fashionista, a bit of a Minimalist and a lover of the femininity of a shifty dress. Audrey Hepburn is my absolute in elegance.
  10. I’m not a very big drinker anymore – I like a gin and tonic once in a while or a glass of white. Mostly I drink coffee! I don’t know what this water thing is that people speak of and I’m certain that I’ve never seen an actual water up close.
  11. I have a cat. Oh, wait. A cat has me. We don’t argue over ownership – we just feed one another with lots of love. Also I feed her cat food and she feeds me cat fur. A healthy and balanced relationship.

11 Questions From My Nominees:

  1. Why do you write? Because I think that I have something to say that can move people. That sounds conceited but it is as basic a truth as any, I guess. On a more emotional level, I write because the greatest love affair of my life has always been with words.
  2. What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Stretch. Like a cat. Like a giant, lazy, cat. Then I head for the litter box.
  3. Do you have a personal motto or philosophy of life? What is it? Not really. That’s bad. I should get a motto. Life is so complex – I could never settle on any singular philosophy to guide me through.
  4. Is there anything you will never write about? My last boyfriend (unless I want to put people to sleep). Honestly, I think that to say that I would never write about something is very difficult. Writing is emotional and current, so it depends on the time and frame of mind. Something I may not write about today may become important to me a year from now. So no. There is nothing that I can think of that I would absolutely not write about.
  5. Tell me about a defining moment in your life. What changed? My father dropped me off at his brother’s house, when I was 17. He said he was coming back. He drove to the airport and left. It wasn’t the first or last time that I would feel abandoned. It was, however, the pivot point – my life changed after he left. The façade of childhood security revealed itself to me and though it would be many years later that I finally settled down, that was the day that I always think about, when I consider myself a survivor. I survived my childhood. One day I will write about it.
  6. What makes you really happy? Love and acceptance and gratitude. Things every human being deserves, I think.
  7. What makes you really angry? The kind of blind ignorance that allows for discrimination.
  8. If you could live one day in somebody else’s life, who would you choose? Jane Austen – she’s my favourite.
  9. What’s your favourite quote and why? “Come to the edge, he said. We are afraid, they said. Come to the edge, he said. They came to the edge, He pushed them and they flew.” – Because we are at our best when pushed.
  10. Which of your posts are you most proud of and why? What It Means To Be A Guyanese Emigrant – because I touched so many people with it and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do when I write. Touch people – make them feel connected to one another somehow.
  11. What do you do to get yourself writing when you are feeling completely uninspired? Complain about being uninspired and pace. Reading something of good quality usually inspires me the most.

11 Questions For My Nominees:

  1. Why do you write?
  2. Are you an introvert or an extravert?
  3. What’s the one thing that you’ve read that stayed with you always?
  4. If you could pick and move to any place in the world, where would you go and why?
  5. What’s your idea of a perfect first date?
  6. Roller coasters – how do they make you feel?
  7. What’s the one super power you’d want to have?
  8. What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you (yep – I’m making you spill the beans)?
  9. What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you?
  10. Pet peeves?
  11. If you could re-live any day in your own life, what day would that be?

The Blogs That I Nominate:

  1. The Big Big Tangent
  2. Red Boots
  3. WriterlySam
  4. Dis Place, Dat Place
  5. Peace, Love & Patchouli
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Gold

Chris Cleave Books

A few years ago my mother, acutely tuned into my taste in reading material, gifted me Little Bee by Chris Cleave. If that book had come with a straw it simply would not be on my bookshelf today. I would have slurped it down in giant gulps. Even without the straw I felt like I had inhaled that book into my very veins. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed at one point, so unhinged and so emotionally invested in the characters, in the beautiful melodic and tragic but strong voice of Little Bee, and in the guilt-riddled narrative of a British woman’s struggle with her own failures, that I forgot momentarily to lean back, to relax, that it was just a story. More surprisingly, it was only at the end of the book that I took a moment to consider that a man had written these two extremely compelling female voices. One Nigerian and one European. The characters are so extremely different, yet they are both two powerful female heroines in their extremely heart-rending lives. A story of human compassion, dislocation and desolation, I cried continuously. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

A few months later, still reeling from the experience of Little Bee, I slunk into a local bookshop and promptly slunk out with a copy of Incendiary, desperate again, to climb up into bed and become consumed inside the pages of this man’s fictional landscapes. And BOOM (pun intended), as expected, off I went.

So I developed this habit of comparing current things I’ve enjoyed reading to the literary fiction prowess of Chris Cleave on a regular basis and so my boyfriend gifted me Gold last year. It sat in my pile of books to be read under The Book Thief.

Perhaps this did it a small injustice, because I read The Book Thief before I read Gold. And possibly because Little Bee and Incendiary had left such an indelible mark on me.

It just seemed like Gold didn’t quite resonate with all the awesomeness (yes, I just used that word seriously) that his first two books had captured so effortlessly.

Now this is not to say that the writing was not excellent because it was, and that the characters and story were not interesting. They certainly were those things. Sophia wrenches at your heartstrings with every Star Wars reference to ratify a young girls battle with a life threatening disease. You rally with her and want to whisper into the ears of her parents constantly. Kate seems like a sucker for punishment and has a capacity for empathy that borders on almost superhuman. While Zoe seems to take the road most travelled, one of blind self-gratification and instant satisfaction, she also vibrates with a certain humanity that is present in all of us. They are certainly extremely human characters in extremely real and difficult situations.

So why do I feel like this is the least of Chris Cleaves apostles?

My ex had read Little Bee and had come back to me in the end, with the words, “I don’t see the point of this book. There was just so much suffering. It felt like torture.”

I know quite a few people who share the feeling that, “If it’s not rainbows and happy endings, then I don’t want to read it.” Truth be told, I think I’m the complete opposite of this. I enjoy the agonies of human struggle and I feel like failures are part of life. It textures in more reality to me, more honesty.

Like Nabokov said, “Some people—and I am one of them—hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam. The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically.” This is particularly so for me when the ending feels almost forced into a happy conclusion.

And perhaps this is why Gold felt almost anti-climatic as it wound down. The conclusion (and I don’t want to give away any spoilers) feels almost absurdly fair. Is real life really that just? Or did someone say to Chris Cleave, “Well your last two books were so dark, maybe you should write something a little happier,” and thus we got this mildly cliché ending, that while I smiled and bounced out of bed after reading, didn’t leave me with any profound sense of life in earnest.

Then again, this is just my opinion, and I still gave the book four stars, and I’m absolutely still going to purchase his upcoming book.