I love the definition of the word "liebster" because my name means the same thing! Thank you, Barb and Groundwell Farm for nominating me for this award!
For those of you who don't know what a Liebster Award is, it's an award given by bloggers to other bloggers to help discover small blogs and give them recognition. It works a bit like a chain letter (without the dire consequences!) in that each nominee gets to pay it forward by nominating other blogs they like; there's also a fun question-and-answer section that I'm looking forward to.
Eleven questions I got asked
Here are the questions that were put to me, and my answers:
1. What do you think about sheep?
I do not get to meet very many, but there are two sheep that will always remain in my memory. They had the most serene, beautiful faces. I would sit by them every afternoon and sketch them. I was 16 or so at the time. I did not realise that the reason they were tied up behind my landlord's house was because they had been selected for sacrifice on Eid Al Adh'a (this sacrifice is a reenactment of the prophet Abraham's sacrifice, and performed on the last day of the Haj pilgrimage). The halal ritual (similar to kosher) involves calming the animal down, being gentle with it, praying and giving it water to drink first. It is quick and painless in comparison to the usual type of commercial slaughter. I once read of a German study that compared the two methods, which found that when animals are stunned first they die slowly and painfully, but with little outward expression of pain, due to being stunned. The animals slaughtered in the halal method lose consciousness - and consciousness of pain - within a few seconds, and pass quickly. Outwardly, however, from a human's perspective, there is a lot of blood flow, and the animal's muscles continue to have involuntary contractions even after the heart and brain have stopped. I had no knowledge of all this at the time, so needless to say I was horribly traumatised by the sight before me. I was even more horrified later that morning when the landlord's driver showed up with a gift of fresh mutton for our family - a gift made out of my two serene, beautiful friends. For a while after that incident, I became a vegetarian. Whenever I think of sheep, I remember these two.
2. Identify your most unloved possession. How did you acquire this thing?
My grandfather's sword. A ceremonial British Army sword - he was the Inspector General of Police (in the days of British India) and used it only in parades. I doubt it has seen blood, but I, being a writer and a stumbling follower of non-violence, have always thought of the pen as being mightier. My cousin inherited it, but when he moved to Australia, he gave it to me.
3. Why did you think you needed it?
I didn't, but as it belonged to my mother's father, I have kept it out of some sense of obligation. Although I do hope to pass it on to my brother or nephew at some point.
4. How did it disappoint you?
It didn't, but a weapon, even a ceremonial one, is an ugly thing to display. So it somewhat distresses me that I have to store it in my home. Its length makes it hard to put away in a drawer! So I'm forced to let it lay flat on top of a cupboard or cabinet, and worry about whether or not it's being correctly stored, and also have to dust it every once in a while.
5. What is your favorite gardening tool?
I have to say, my hands! My gardening is limited to potted plants on the balcony, and I like interacting with them gently. As far as actual tools go, the one I've enjoyed most was a pick axe I used to dig great big holes in my backyard in Bahrain, in the year 2000. I was in the midst of psychotherapy to process my childhood sexual abuse experiences at the time, and I would come home shaken, disturbed and relatively spaced out. Digging the holes felt great, and let out a lot of anger and pain. It was hard work, but made easier by pretending that I was digging graves for the relatives who sexually abused me. Of course, pretending is as violent as I get: the holes were actually intended for tree saplings. I planted seven, and heard recently that they have all grown into fine ficus trees.
6. What got you started blogging?
I really can't remember! I've just been a huge fan of the internet from the start, so as soon as I discovered Blogger, and found it easy to use and with nice features to organise everything by date and with labels and widgets, I jumped on. I originally had close to ten separate blogs, until I decided it made more sense to consolidate them into one - this one - as they all had something to do with art, earth, ink, and/or soul.
7. What is the best way to build community?
I think you need to personally be what you want to achieve for a community. And to me that means feeling and acting with sincerity, compassion and respect for everyone and everything. You start with yourself and then the people nearest to you in heart, blood or proximity. And you move outward from there. You don't need grand gestures or huge investments, you do it like a ripple, and somehow that connects and saves the world.
8. When was the last time you grew something and produced a yield?
I would love to be able to answer this question differently, but all I've done lately is plant mint cuttings. I use the mint in salads and tea, and my little bird Hello likes to sit on top of his cage and have me feed mint leaves to him.
9. Did you save seeds from your yield?
It has only just struck me, after reading this question, that there might be something in existence known as a peppermint seed.
10. The last time you entered the wilderness, what brought you there?
I know this refers to the actual wilderness, and that would be I-don't-know-when. I'm not sure if carefully preserved US national parks count, but if so, then it's Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. Otherwise it would be picnics with friends and family out in the Bahraini desert, when I was younger. That phrase, though, "entering the wilderness" has a whole different meaning for me, as I have Major Depressive Disorder, and on the occasions when I've had a severe depressive episode, this is what it feels like: entering the wilderness. (I am not there now).
So it was ten questions I got asked. But here's an 11th question: Where is my 11th question?
Eleven random facts about me
1. I sometimes forget to brush my teeth.
2. I have three piercings in each ear, but don't usually bother with earrings.
3. I had the reading level of an 11-year-old when I was 6.
4. If I could live a long and healthy life on pizza and vanilla ice cream, I would.
4. I am a huge Harry Potter fan.
5. I do not know what my purpose in life is.
6. I used to work as a clown.
7. I would like to be immortal.
8. I once tried to kill myself.
9. I talk to myself, and I reply too.
10. I collect unusual alphabet books.
11. I have been scared of swimming in the deep end of the pool ever since I saw Jaws.
Eleven blogs I nominate for Liebster Awards
And now, here are my 11 nominees (in no particular order):
Which Main? What Cross?
Diary Of A Street Coin Collector
Home Is Where The Art Is
Infinite Souls Farm and Artists' Retreat
Letters of Note
Eleven questions for my nominees to answer on their blogs
here are my 11 questions for you to answer if you choose to accept your Liebster Award (scroll down after the questions to see the rules and guidelines for how to go about accepting the award).
1. Does your mother know you're here?
2. What do you like shopping for?
3. What is your favourite time of day to sit down and blog?
4. What is the most magical place you've ever visited?
5. Have you ever cried with joy?
6. If you could meet me, would you want to?
7. What inspired you to start this particular blog?
8. Have you ever written fan-mail to a celebrity?
9. What's the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up and open your eyes?
10. What's the last thing you do at night before you close your eyes and go to sleep?
11. Where are your keys?
The Official Rules of the Liebster Award:
(thanks to Lorraine Reguly for providing this information)
"If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. List these rules in your post. (You can copy and paste them from here) (and link to Lorraine's blog to thank her if you like, as I've done above - Naz.)
Once you have written your post, and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)I would like to add that you can nominate someone who already has been given this award, as long as they have less than 1000 followers/subscribers. The idea behind this award is to recognize new bloggers and help promote them! The benefit is that you get from doing this is that you get some promotion, too!"