Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I always enjoy getting to know other bloggers: idiosyncrasies, little things that make them tick, hopes, dreams. What better way to learn about others in Blogdom than by interviewing them?! My friend, Kat, over at Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes has interviewed me. To follow are my responses to her questions:

What made you decide to start a blog?

I can't remember a time when I didn't love to write things down. I’ve kept journals for years, but there were actually two reasons I started a blog. In September of this last year I was going through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way again, and I set a goal to write something thoughtful each day. My blog posts, incidentally, are a pretty fair representation of my journaling.

My problem has never been putting words to paper; my issue has been sharing it with others, actually letting people read what I've written (a throwback to a mean-spirited grade-school teacher). Facing my “monster,” I decided to brave it and post my thoughts on a blog as a daily exercise. Initially, it was only going to be for me; then I expanded that to family, which was my second reason for starting it. Spread all over the country, this has become a way of staying connected with my far-flung family and of re-tying the threads that time and distance keep trying to unravel.

What began as an exercise soon took on a life of its own as I've met friends in Blogdom—those who have similar passions and interests, as well as those I don't have as much in common with but who intrigue and enlighten me daily with their viewpoints and perceptions of the world.

What is your fondest memory of when your kids were growing up?

My three children are each eight years apart. (I know! What was I thinking?!) Lindsey was in high school before Corban was born. Because of that age span, it's hard to choose one favorite memory that incorporates all three of them. Of all the places we've gone, things we've seen, adventures we've enjoyed, and family time we’ve shared, there is one thing I've enjoyed with all of them—read-aloud time.

This has been a constant in our family from the beginning, an undercurrent, a continuous cadence. As a young mom, armed with Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook, I set out to pass on my love of books, reading, and words to my children. This might seem a tame choice to an observer. After all, there are no fireworks to report; no ribbons, parades, applause. There is only that soft and lovely time spent close to my children imparting a love of books. My fondest memory? It’s when my children are with me, all at ease on a down comforter of well-being, opening a book together.

If money/time/political situations were no object, where in the world would you like to travel?

Eighteenth-century Scotland. What? No time travel allowed? Oh, sorry. I'm not much of a traveler. I detest tourist-crowded places and the commercial sameness that seems to infect so many places today.

Having said that, I’d love to visit Scotland and Ireland. I not only have genealogical roots there, but enjoy immensely novels and historical fiction set in these locales. The history, lore, castles and myths all intrigue me. They seem the perfect destination for someone, like me, who is drawn to wild, remote places of extraordinary beauty.

If Fahrenheit 451 were a reality and you could only save one book, what would it be?

This is a cruel question to ask a serious reader! Only one book? I can't do it. I gave this a lot of thought, and I just can't do it. Like in Fahrenheit 451, my air vents are big enough for at least three books, so here are the three I would risk saving:

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – Reading Shakespeare aloud, giving voice to his words, is, as Frank McCourt so well put it, “like having jewels in my mouth.” I would save this book for the sheer beauty and expression of language.

The American Heritage Dictionary – Ever the optimist, we’d need a plan to rebuild from a book ban of that magnitude. With a dictionary in hand, we'd have a sure source of words, meanings, definitions, pronunciations—all things we'd need to turn people back into readers and writers. Before we can have readers and writers, though, we need thinkers. And for people to use their minds in this way, they’d first have to stock them. This would be my re-stocking tool of choice.

Bible – Unlike the downriver vagabonds in Fahrenheit 451, I could not memorize this book, so I would risk hiding and saving it. It includes so many of the things I enjoy—poetry, history, genealogy, wise quotations, prophecy—and I can read it over and over and always get something more out of it. But mostly I’d choose it because it has a power to show people who they are, what they've become, and what they can be (a true mirror, which fans of F-451 will understand).

If you could be any age, which age would it be and why?

I can easily identify certain times in my life when I made point-of-no-return decisions that closed some doors while opening others. What would be different in my life today if I could relive those moments and choose differently?

Although worthy of contemplation, I don't want to go back and have to repeat anything, and I certainly can't go back to remake decisions without irreparably altering my present, which I would never want to do. I love my life and adore my family. Over the last two years, some pieces of my life have come together in interesting ways, resulting in a happier and more complete me; more content and appreciative. It’s taken years to accomplish what Thoreau calls ‘making a whole of the parts’. I’ll stay, hopefully with more wisdom and grace, right here at 47.

Would you like me to interview you?

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I will post a list of those who have agreed to an interview so everyone can follow along.


Raph G. Neckmann said...

I really enjoyed reading your interview, and also other posts in your blog. (I was interviewed by Willow, and found it a really valuable experience in putting my thoughts together). I really identify with your last answer in particular.

You've introduced me to two poems I hadn't read - I love the 'frolic architecture of the snow' phrase! And the Dove poem is beautiful.

Elizabeth said...

Such a lovely thoughtful post.
Yes, as a keen reader it would be awful to lose so much of what one loves!

Peggy said...

RGN, thank you so much for stopping in today! I visited your blog to read your interview and left a comment there for you. :-)

Elizabeth, hypothetical questions about choosing one book are almost impossible for me! To lose books, Ahhhh! Hard to fathom! I always appreciate your comments.

Poetikat said...

Your answers are thoughtful and elucidating. I'm really impressed with your answers. You seem to have a real sense of contentment with who you are and what you're about. By the way, we are the same age. I quite like this age too - but for the hot flashes! I will post a list of those who are doing interviews as soon as I've had more notice of completions.

Thanks very much for agreeing to this.


willow said...

Peggy, this interview is excellent! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you a bit better. :)

Peggy said...

Kat, it was a pleasure. Thank you so much for including me. By the way, those aren't hot flashes; they're power surges!

Willow, thanks so much for dropping by. :-)

Bee said...

Peggy, thanks so much for visiting my blog! I am so pleased to "meet" you.

I wanted to share with you that I've met Jim Trelease a few times. I completed a Master's degree in Education (with an emphasis on Reading) a couple of years ago, and he was friends with a beloved professor of mine. Have you ever heard Trelease speak? He is so entertaining and passionate about the importance of reading aloud. My youngest daughter and I just finished Caddie Woodlawn . . . one of his recommendations.

Also, The American Heritage Dictionary never leaves my desk!

Peggy said...

Yes, Bee, I heard Jim Trelease speak at Hope College in Holland, Michigan about 16 years ago. What an amazing man! It's so nice to meet another fan of his! Thanks for stopping by today. :-)

Joanne said...

So nice to read this interview. Our reading aloud started with a newborn infant propped in my lap twenty-three years ago, and we've never stopped, sharing amazing passages from books, sharing books themselves, reading each other's writing. There is such peace in that reading connection.

sizzie said...

As usual, your choice of words to form into a thought gentle me. I am calmer for having visited you. : )

julie king said...

peggy, this is such a wonderful post full of your insight on life. you are a very special woman!!

Sherri said...

Peggy, this is so interesting--and another coincidence. I mentioned before that Johnstone was my maiden name. And my mom was Peg. Well, my Dad's brother Frank, who lived in Evanston and Winnetka Ill until he retired to Sarasota FL, had a wife named Mary Jane, who would get pregnant with another baby about the time she sent one off to school. So my cousins were all 7-8 years apart in age. Aunt Mary Jane needed to have a baby at home. I only remember the two oldest ones, Tully and Heather. I can't remember the younger ones names.

Maybe this is more common than I had thought. Loved the interview.

Peggy said...

Joanne, I agree wholeheartedly. There is magic in read-aloud time with kids, not just for the parent, but for the child. It gives me warm-fuzzies just thinking about it! :-)

Peggy said...

Sizzie, thank you! It's so nice to have you as a friend.

Julie, how very kind of you to say that! Isn't it wonderful to get to know each other better?! It amazes me how quickly we can develop that feeling if kinship with fellow bloggers.

Peggy said...

Sherri, I'm going to have to call my husband's father, who is the genealogist on that side of the family, to see if there are some family connections here.

I can tell you that I didn't plan on having another baby at 39... It was just one of those (big) surprises. However, I do know women who want more children when their "babies" start school. I was NOT one of them! LOL Having said that, I wouldn't trade my experience as an older mom with Corban for all the tea in China!

larkspur said...

Peggy....Wow! What thoughtful and eloquent responses. Your blog (and you) are becoming very special to visit. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy said...

Larkspur, you are too kind. You make me blush! Thank you so much for your sweet words. It's a pleasure to count you as one of my bloggy friends. :-)

Derrick said...

Hello Peggy,

Although I had glimpsed your blog before, this is my first 'proper' visit (via your comment to Raph) and I also enjoyed reading your interview.

You may be aware that 2009 has been declared the year of Homecoming in Scotland, when it is hoped that all those with a connection will return/visit. So, now's your chance! You will find beauty and welcoming hosts.

I also enjoyed the Dove poem and your piece on Garrison Keillor. I recently heard his CD with Frederica von Stade, Song of the Cat(?). Can't say I enjoyed all the songs but they are very clever.

I look forward to visiting again.

Peggy said...

Derrick, how very nice of you to stop by! I did not know about 2009 being the Year of Homecoming to Scotland. How exciting! I feel some impetus to make that happen now. Thanks so much. :-)

High Desert Diva said...

I couldn't choose just one book either.

I love your last answer.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks for the nice comments and dropping by the mouse.

I've thoroughly enjoyed your interview and discovering your blog - I look forward to exploring it more.... you have a thoughtful and delightful 'voice'

steviewren said...

Your response to the Fahrenheit 451 question was just right. Perfect answer! Losing our great books seems as though it would result in a terrible loss of language. use of the dictionary would be the way to resurrect meaningful words and thoughts as you said. The Bible and Shakespeare's works would be their examples.

neetzy said...

I found your interview through Poetikat. I loved it. The Artist's Way inspired me to paint again after a long absence. I haven't kept my daily "pages" but I "started" blogging.

Peggy said...

Steviewren, my thoughts exactly! :)

Neetzy, welcome! And you're right, blogging may replace my morning pages soon!

Carol said...

Peggy.......Wasn't this interview thing fun? I really enjoyed yours. Kat came up with great questions ! I agree, the Bible but the other two...I lost all my books in 1968 in a house fire.It has taken me 20 years to build another 'Library'I don't even want to think about giving up my books again! Thanks for stopping at the Porch!

Peggy said...

Carol, thanks for dropping in! Yes, this was a fun exercise. OMG! I can't imagine losing all my books. How horrible for you. You experienced your own accidental Fahrenheit 451, didn't you? My heart goes out to you. :-(

Bdogs said...

What beautiful and thoughtful answers to her questions. It must have been an amazing journey spanning sixteen years with 3 different children. Different slang, clothes, and all the electronic gadgets. You've really participated in the world. My half brother was 17 years older than I and I loved him dearly.

kenny8blog said...

Hi Peggy,
Like the look of your blog.
Great taste wanting to do Scotland
& Ireland. My no2 son d in law &
super grandbairns live Fifeshire
coast.What about that fantastic
Hudson River story,uplifting is
not quite the right summation.
I'd love to answer your 5 ?

Peggy said...

Bdogs, it's been an adventure, to say the least! Do you have any idea how disconcerting it is to be with my oldest daughter and youngest son when people assume Corban is Lindsey's child?! Ah, the agony! LOL

Peggy said...

Kenny, welcome! I'll hop over to your blog this afternoon and then send you five questions, okay? Be on the lookout! :-)