Mark A. King, the man behind the curtain at #Flashdogs HQ, nominated me for the Liebster award. It’s an opportunity for other folks to get to know a writer/blogger better. And with most of us writers being a touch narcissistic, I’m sure this concept will sweep through Twitter like florid prose across the vellum.
* 11 random facts about me.
* I’ll answer 11 questions provided by the regal Mr. King.
* I’ll compose 11 new questions for the 3 people whom I shall nominate.
Random facts about a man named Chris who feels blue frequently. *cough* (Blukris)
1– I have never eaten an apricot. Ever. I’m troubled by this, as if maybe I’ve missed my shot at salvation or true love that may have been found in its succulent flesh. Or maybe it just tastes really good.
2– At 6’4″, I’m the tallest member of my family. I’m also single, fractured and my heart is on the prowl. (Accepting applications)
3– I played tennis for my high school many moons ago.
4– I once obtained the autograph of golfer Jack Nicklaus. I followed his group during the practice round of the PGA Championship at the Valhalla golf course in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. I had to elbow some senior citizens and toddlers in strollers, but I got the Golden Bears’s scrawl. A win for me. A loss for humanity.
5– I’m introverted, crave solitude and feel awkward at times in social situations until I get to know someone. I abhor small-talk and my shyness has been misconstrued as being rude or aloof. Good times.
6– I’m awful with grammar and punctuation. If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you have noticed. And put your red pen away. Gracias.
7– The first time I felt like a writer was when a story of mine was accepted by the Molotov Cocktail online journal. This was almost exactly a year ago and I’ll never forget the pure elation I felt when I read the acceptance email. Tears of validation.
8– I’m an obsessed Washington Nationals baseball fan. I’ve been following them since I was kid when they were then known as the Montreal Expos. Seriously, I’m obsessed. I will cut you if you mock them in any way. A stiletto to the abdomen with a smirk on my face. Tread lightly.
9– I’ve dealt with clinical depression for years. The only reason I’m mentioning this is to shine a spotlight on a debilitating disease that tends to hide in the shadows. If you know someone who is being too quiet and withdrawn, sleeping more than normal, acting more emotional than they usually do, reach out to them. Ask them how they are doing. Offer support. Be understanding. Let them know you care about them. Be the person that doesn’t look away. It makes a difference. Trust me.
10– I never slip on ice. I’m not sure if it’s a genetic mutation that gives me this rare ability to trek across slick surfaces with the balance of a high-wire walker or not. But I do feel as though the X-Men could use a lad like me.
11– I loathe yams/sweet potatoes. Makes me nauseous just thinking about it. I could really use an apricot right about now.
Questions from Mark. I’m slipping into my Blukris persona to answer these.
1) You are allowed to invite ten people to dinner. You can choose anyone from any point in time. Who do you choose and why?
Johannes Vermeer, Anne Frank, Oscar Wilde, Martin Luther King, Axl Rose, Charlotte Brontë, Dashiell Hammett, Charles Darwin, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Bukowski. If I gave reasons for each, this post would on for pages.
2) Who is your favourite villain from a fictional book? Explain why.
My memory is not the greatest, so I’ll go with a villain I read about more recently, Anton Chigurh, from No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. A relentless and remorseless psychopathic killer who occasionally flips a coin to determine someones fate. And he uses a captive bolt pistol. Badass to the core. And chilling.
3) Please pick a story from someone you know that you wish you had written. Provide a link (so we can enjoy it). Explain why you’ve chosen it.
It will cost you a mere $0.99 to read but I have to go with Jack’s True Story by Jacki Donnellan. Creepy, haunting and steeped in the macabre, it’s a story that stayed with me long after reading it. Perfectly executed and penned by a writer I truly admire, this story was the winner of the Poised Pen Frightening Flash Fiction competition. A must read.
4) Please pick a character from any story you have written and think about the actor/actress that you’d like to play them. Explain your choice.
Henry, my dapper sociopath from a few of my stories. Christian Bale would be my first choice but he’s already played a monster in the appropriately titled American Psycho. I’ll go with Clive Owen. Brooding, charming, smoldering eyes and a British accent. Translation: Yummy.
5) Do you prefer print books or EBooks?
Print. I have fond memories of my dad’s bookshelf lined with John D. MacDonald novels. The titles always had a color in them which indicated that they were a Travis McGee story. And being a writer of flash fiction, when a story of mine appears in print, it always tingles the skin.
6) Name a writer that you admire that lacks the recognition they deserve
Grace Black. Her prose is sophisticated, luminous, multi-layered and bathed in searing emotion. When I read one of her tales, I can see the passion behind the pen, the fire in her bones. Grace understands that you have to make the reader feel something and she never fails to do just that. And she inspires me to work more diligently at the craft of writing. I expect big things from her in the future. You heard it here first. Get on the bandwagon before it gets overcrowded. She has the spark, folks.
7) Please state your favourite first line, last line and mind-blowing line from a book
First line from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”
Last line from 1984 by George Orwell: “He loved Big Brother.”
Mind-blowing line from the Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett: “The boy spoke two words, the first a short guttural verb, the second “you”.
8) Please re-write the ending to a film where the ending annoyed you
I’m going to cheat a bit here. I didn’t mind the ending of my favorite movie of all-time, the English Patient. But Katharine dying alone in a cave shattered my heart. I would edit the ending and have Almásy make it back to her and nurse her back to health and they go on to live happily ever after. I’m a softie underneath my gritty exterior. And don’t even get me started on the “thimble” scene in the movie. I’ll come undone.
9) Remove a character and make a film or book better (you’re not allowed to pick Jar Jar Binks, far too obvious)
How about just removing Vin Diesel from all films. And those horrific movies of his, the Fast and the Furious franchise, can go away too. Not a fan.
10) How much time do you spend a week on writing, reading and tweeting?
I’m always reading, whether it be articles, essays or fiction. I can’t go a day without consuming some prose. I’m creeping on Twitter way more than I should. But there’s a plethora of talented people on there, so it can be somewhat difficult to unplug. I’m a slow and methodical writer and I’m not all that prolific. It usually happens in bursts. I might write everyday for a couple of weeks and then turn around and not write a word for a week or more. Just depends. I’m always typing stories in my mind though.
11) We catch up with you this time next year, this time in five years and ten years – tell us what you’ve been up to.
Hopefully I’ve written a bevy of stories that people truly enjoyed. Maybe I’ll have penned a novel by that time. If my grandchildren are born in the next few years, that would make Blukris quite happy. The Washington Nationals have won a World Series and I cried hysterically. I finally tasted that temptress known as the apricot. I found love again and she tolerates my neurotic mind. And maybe she wears my thimble around her elegant neck.
Questions for the condemned
1– What is your greatest strength and weakness as a writer? Explain.
2– Describe yourself in 15 words or less. Your answer must be in the form of a three-line poem.
3– You can be anywhere in the world and you have one hour to yourself. Where are you and what are you doing?
4– If your life was made into a movie, who would play you and what would the title of the film be?
5– From a reader’s perspective, what do you look for in a piece of flash fiction. What makes the story sing?
6– What is your favorite quote? Explain why.
7– What is your greatest accomplishment and your biggest regret?
8– Should writers of flash fiction/poetry be compensated or is the exposure of being published in a magazine its own form of payment? Explain
9– The apocalypse has arrived and you are forced into a bunker for an indefinite amount of time. You can bring only one of each: A book, movie, beverage and food. What do you choose?
10– Why do you write? Explain thoroughly.
11– What is your epitaph going to say when you punch the clock one final time?
The envelope please… You have been summoned. My nominees: