Dragonfly Publishing

Survey

I haven’t done one of these surveys in a long time. Some background: After Dad died, some of the women in my family and I drew closer than we usually are. At that time and now, we all lived far apart, ranging from Los Angeles, the Chicago area, Vancouver, and central Indiana. For about 2-3 years we did surveys with each other, online, generally privately. Today we stay close in other ways, but I miss the surveys. They tended to bring us into each others’ lives on an everyday basis but also in a more philosophical way. What made us tick these days? What did we enjoy, learn, read, watch, and so on? Sitting inside while a snow-covered day surrounds me, I figured I’d do a new one here at this blog. This is a survey we did back in 2010. I wasn’t too surprised to find similar answers in some cases.

Scroll down for the 2010 answers.

Today’s survey

1. Name your favorite:

  • Color – Green
  • Scent – I love certain smells outside–the smell after a rain, and the growing things in our yard: flowers, pine and cedar trees
  • Season – I like the beginnings of each season, and love summer, but fall is my favorite.
  • Book – This changes constantly. My most recent favorite novel is Fauna by Christiane Vadnais.
  • Movie: My all-time favorite will probably always be Fried Green Tomatoes.
  • Song: This changes all the time too. Joni Mitchell’s Free Man in Paris is up there.
  • T.V. show: It’s a toss-up between Lost and Game of Thrones. Unlike many people, I enjoyed the ending of both.
  • Beverage: Red wine
  • Main course in a meal: This changes a lot, but I love seafood–so shrimp or scallops!

2. Have you learned anything new lately?

Not entirely new, but I got a new guitar for Christmas after having to leave my old one behind. I am taking the instrument more seriously and learning a lot of new chords as well as strumming.

3. Pretend it’s a cool fall evening. What’s on your agenda for tonight?

I’d probably make a cozy dinner, light a fire inside (or a bonfire outside), and hang out with Morgan. Whenever Covid starts going away, I’d have friends over.

4. Where would you like to visit someday?

I’ve always wanted to visit southern Spain, but in all honesty, the next big trip we’re thinking of is back to Ireland and also Scotland.

5. Where do you live, and why do you like it?

I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. This home fits me perfectly. Housing was affordable, and we were able to buy our own house and 2.2 acres. The house itself is built with some of the things I’d always wanted in a home: hardwood flooring, crown molding, wooden frames, French windows and doors, a bay window,  woodstove or fireplace, plenty of room for guests to stay over. The yard is big, and there was room to plant lots of vegetables as well as 28 trees. The previous owners loved roses and statues/bird baths, so we have those as well as a pavilion and some arches to walk under. As lovely as all this sounds, the house was absolutely less expensive than anything at all in almost the whole of British Columbia. Much cheaper than even renting. And while I miss the mountains of the west, we’re near a wilder ocean, many forests, trails, cliffs, and an older culture than BC.  There’s so much to do here, but obviously with Covid (which hit right when we moved cross country) we have not been able to get out as much as we’d like to.

6. Name something that has moved you lately.

I loved hearing sweet Amanda Gorman deliver the inauguration poem recital. Her words brought home so many beautiful things.

7. What do you do with your time, mostly?

For the first time in my adult life, since last March when we moved, I haven’t held a job. The move was a way to start over, but then Covid-19 happened, so it’s tough to find a job right now. I’m still working though. My original publishing company closes next summer, and I haven’t taken on new books–but am still dealing with the current books. This opened me up to write more, so I recently published a new novella and am working on two other novels. I’m also volunteering at an environmental place as a copy-editor and will be writing a piece in there in the next few months about ecofiction. I get a lot of opportunities to write about my studies in ecofiction; a recent one was for the Chicago Review of Books.

Depending on the season, I also spend a lot of time outside on our property: planting, harvesting, canning, weeding, watering, etc.

8. What are your past-times and hobbies and interests?

My biggest hobby is Dragonfly.eco, which has been around since 2013 and has expanded quite a bit. It is a wonderful resource for writers and readers interested in fiction about ecological and climate realities. I generally do a minimum of one author interview a month as well as keep up a lot of features, including the new Indie Corner, Turning the Tide: The Youngest Generation, and more. I am constantly posting new novels/short stories at the site, and the database has well over 800 titles. The newest part of this project is a Discord community, which I run with Lovis Geier, whose Youtube Ecofictology series is one of the best resources around for this literature. She’s thoroughly engaging and a great speaker, whereas I work more behind the scenes quietly. Nearly 60 folks have joined in, and a few of us are doing word sprint writing every Sunday.

Outside of that, I’m also a nerdy gamer, am starting to run again, am planning a lot of spring projects for the house, and often spend evenings learning how to play new songs on the guitar. And I read. A lot.

9. If you had 50 dollars and had everything you needed, how would you spend that money?

I’m thinking of a new project that reminds me of Fitzpatricks Pub (see the featured image) in Doolin, Ireland, from when we visited a few years ago. The hangings on the wall and stuff on the teal shelving were these old time things, like a butter churn and other old kitchen and other items. I remember a lot of these things at my mammaw and pappaw’s house from the Appalachian hills in eastern Kentucky and would love to do something similar in our kitchen or dining areas. I have already gotten a few things at the local Thrift shop, but fifty bucks would buy quite a bit.

10. You are hosting a party with a few close friends. What would you serve?

It really depends on the season, but right now I’m thinking of springtime. I’d host a light dinner on our faerie-lit back deck and would serve crab dip (the recipe from my husbands grandma, who lived to 103) and baguettes, caprese salad, mushrooms sauteed in garlic and butter, beets, our own canned green tomato/carrot/onion condiments, and red and white wine.

11. What kind of conversations do you love?

Lately I’ve been meeting with my best friends from high school once a month on Zoom. Not sure exactly how it started, but I’ve always thought of these wonderful women with love. I did wonder how politically or otherwise what we might have in common, since our high school years were mostly about having fun and were so long ago, but it turns out we’re still on the same boat politically, musically, and in so many ways–and it’s just nice to resurrect these old friendships and make them active again.

12. Name a favorite teenage memory.

Speaking of high school friends, the above said girls and I were best friends. We all worked together at Ponderosa but also knew each other from high school. One of my favorite weekends was a trip up to Michigan with them; it’s something we did often because most of the parents had a cottage up there or in Wisconsin. This particular time we were traveling to one of the girl’s parents’ lake cottages and on the way saw some cute guys driving north on the highway. We were yelling out our car windows to them, and vice versa. We eventually pulled off to have lunch with them, and they were Canadians headed home after some time that summer spent in the US. We melted over their accents. Little did I know then I’d someday marry a Canadian.

13. Name a favorite childhood memory.

Most of my favorite childhood memories deal with spending time with cousins down south, in either Eastern Kentucky or near Chattanooga, Tennessee. My cousins and I also all still keep in touch, and got to see each other in 2017 at a family reunion that wasn’t either a wedding or a funeral. One night my cousin Chrissy and I were drinking wine out on Mom’s back porch, which overlooked a forest, and we recalled this memory. I was the youngest of all the girl cousins, and we had been to a basketball game at their high school, where I fell in love that night with a player named Curtis Kelly. My head was in the clouds as we all walked back to my oldest cousin’s (Patricia’s) car, and we were giggling and acting super goofy, and I opened the back seat car door of what I thought was Patricia’s car. Turns out there was a couple in there getting it on, and pretty hot and heavy. I screamed and shut the door after apologizing, and my cousins never let me forget it. It was funny to recall this memory that night, many years later.

14. Name a favorite memory about someone in your family.

I can still see Dad wearing a pink shirt grilling burgers on the back deck of our house at Twin Oaks. It’s a memory that comes to me often.

15. What are you looking forward to?

Basically, warmer weather–though not particularly the black flies. I’m also excited about learning how to do cyanotype printing. I have a starter kit and some receptive paper on the way. Called solar or photosensitive artwork, it involves mixing potassium ferricyanide and a  solution of ferric ammonium citrate and brushing it onto a receptive paper or cloth and then letting it dry in a dark place. On a sunny day, then take out the dried paper and cover it with plants, really anything. I’m going to create art with the flora I find from our yard and meadow. After exposing the fabric/plants to sunlight, you later rinse off the paper or fabric and wala. Someone in our Discord pointed out this “nature art,” and I am so excited to try it and decorate our home with it. We have so much going on in our yard to express in art, and I look forward to using part of the sun room (and the patio outside of it) for my workplace.

16. Have you acquired anything interesting lately?

My new guitar (see above).

17. Where do you picture yourself 10 years from now? (Favorite Dad question!)

In the past, I’ve always dreamed that I would be somewhere else as far as a physical location, but in ten years, I hope I’m in this house, with my husband–though also perhaps with a new job or creative opportunity.

18. What is your view of heaven?

We don’t truly know what happens in the afterlife, but if there was such a thing as heaven, I’ll answer as my dad told me what he thought it was: a place with pristine forests, lakes, flowers, mountains, rivers.

19. How do you like your chicken?

Southern-fried, baby.

20. What one thing would you change about yourself?

Not sure, though sometimes I wish I would have studied something different in college. My other dreams, outside writing and English and anthropology (which I did study) were studying some kind of science or a combination of journalism/political science.

21. Are you afraid to die?

I guess I’m afraid of any pain involved, and the sadness of leaving this world. I am much more afraid of my loved ones dying.

Answers from a little over ten years ago

1. Name your favorite:

  • Color – Blue
  • Scent – Depends on the weather. Right now, it’s rainy and I lit a coffee/hazelnut candle.
  • Season – Autumn
  • Book – Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Movie: Lord of the Rings (trilogy)
  • Song: Mostly classic rock
  • T.V. show: LOST
  • Beverage: Red wine, iced water, and fresh lemonade
  • Main course in a meal: Gosh, chicken, I guess.

2. Have you learned anything new lately?

I’ve studying other cultures’ beliefs on life after death. Funny how there’s a common thread among all religions. You die, there’s a crossing over period, and then there’s rebirth of some kind — usually related to how you lived your life on earth.

3. Pretend it’s a cool fall evening. What’s on your agenda for tonight?

Nice cozy sweater, warm buttered rum apple cider, sitting on the balcony watching the sun set over the treeline and mountains, then watching for stars.

4. Where would you like to visit someday?

Old villas in Spain. I would love to see the windmills like in Man de la Mancha area.

5. Where do you live, and why do you like it?

We’re getting ready to move to Port Moody, but still in same area. The area around here is in a temperate rainforest. It’s lovely. I don’t mind the rain. There are plenty of hot sunny days too. The mountains and nearby fjords are beautiful. Vancouver itself is a great city. There’s one pocket of homeless for several blocks near where I work, and the rest of Vancouver is pretty much crime free. Really no big ghettos or gangs, etc.

6. Name something that has moved you lately.

The television series Lost. I cried like a baby at the finale. I was so emotionally drained. I won’t spoil it for others. I think this show really was one of those things in life that has really enhanced my life.

7. What do you do with your time, mostly?

Work: I am finishing the last of my decade-long Jack Magazine, reading through book proposals, working on Moon Willow Press, and working as Director of Operations and Outreach for Fraser Riverkeeper.

Play: I read like all the time. I can’t just sit and do nothing. I hardly watch much television (except for when Lost was on!). I am always reading news, books, forums, articles, you name it. My brain is pretty all over the place. I do consider that play! I also love to get outside, walk and hike, swim and play in water, and go to the occasional movie. I am starting to get more interest in my garden area too. I like photography and messing around on the guitar and piano. I am always trying to write. Maybe if I could say focused, I’d do something like a novel.

8. What are your past-times and hobbies and interests?

Ha, see above.

9. If you had 50 dollars and had everything you needed, how would you spend that money?

I’d probably just buy more plants. Or a very good book.

10. You are hosting a party with a few close friends. What would you serve?

Depends on what time of year, but I do love to host small parties. I have done everything from grilling bison burgers to making a complete authentic Spanish meal. I’d most likely try something new, maybe a southern type of meal in the summer, topped off with sweat tea and mint. Or in the winter a hearty stew or soup with home-made bread and endive salad.  I’d serve wine for sure.

11. What kind of conversations do you love?

The most fun conversations are when one of our friends who is a biologist teacher and his girlfriend come over. We get into all these either political or deep philosophical/scientific conversations that easily last into the night. I love those. I also love hanging out with family, and had such a good time in California with Kristal and others last year. Another fun time was Katie’s wedding shower at Mom’s when we played those hilarious games.

12. Name a favorite teenage memory.

One time I went up to Green Bay, Wisconsin with my friend Nancy and her family. After the weekend in Green Bay, where we were visiting her sister, we drove back home to the Chicago area. Nancy fell asleep in the backseat. (Her parents were in the front seat.) I was watching the sun set, and there were the most beautiful cloud formations I was very moved by it. I will always remember how much I loved that quiet ride, the sunset, and the odd clouds.

13. Name a favorite childhood memory.

John and I used to get the members of the neighborhood together– Kenny and Kathy, Bobby and Vonna, Pete and Debbie (and before them the Livesays), and sometimes Lana — together to either pretend we were in a band or make up our own version of  tv shows.

14. Name a favorite memory about someone in your family.

Dad guiding us on hiking trips and yelling WHOOP WHOP!

15. What are you looking forward to?

Mexico in June, and then moving in July, along with Turkey Run in early July and also Mom coming to visit in late July and us going camping with Morgan’s family!

16. Have you acquired anything interesting lately?

Morgan and I got these t-shirts with Hurley on them, and at the bottom of the shirts it says DUDE (for Lost fans). I also just bought a lot of plants, and I’m still happy with the wind chimes I got last summer at the Enchanted Forest.

17. Where do you picture yourself 10 years from now? (Favorite Dad question!)

Same place, probably publishing some books every year! I might try to get a degree in oceanography or ecology, though we’ll see.

18. What is your view of heaven?

My view comes from something Dad told me when I was little. See, I was worried if he died before me, he wouldn’t remember me much if several years had passed. He said a second in heaven was like a lot of years on earth, so I was assured by that. Another time he had a dream that he’d gone to heaven and it was a beautiful, pristine forest with rivers and perfection. He said something along the lines that heaven was what we wanted it be. I like this view, and it’s supported by near-death experiences across the world. People’s experiences who come back from death are largely dependent on their cultural beliefs and religion ideas. I’m glad Dad planted that idea about the forest in my mind, because the great beauty of the outdoors is how I would love heaven to be.

19. How do you like your chicken?

Fried or grilled.

20. What one thing would you change about yourself?

Probably nothing. I figure my imperfections were there and are there for some reason. We have control over our dispositions, so mine are always changing and hopefully for the better. Any other changes that we have no control over I don’t want to wish for.

21. Are you afraid to die?

Fear isn’t the word when I think of dying. I am not afraid to die. I think dying is really a peaceful process that leads to rebirth, even if there is some pain beforehand. When I think of death I don’t think of fear, but of sadness for leaving this life and the people I love.

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