I first became aware of Neil’s “Great Interview Experiment” through reading V-grrrl and Di‘s efforts. Being the outgoing, sociable guy that I am, I decided to jump in and take part. The idea is simple – Neil’s point is that everyone is worthy of being interviewed, not just people with a book or movie to promote, so bloggers add their names in the comments section of the above-linked post, and then interview the person who comments after them. I got Tiffany of The Would-Be Writers Guild, which was a lot of fun. The results can be found below. [I’m still not entirely clear on whether it’s better to post this here or let her post it over at her own blog, but Neil said “Each person should then put their own interview on their own blog, or on the interviewer’s blog, or both (your choice!) “]
Simon: First and foremost, why do you blog? Is it simply related to the writers’ group you run, or would you blog anyway?
Tiffany: I think I blog for several reasons. First, I use it as my writing “practice.” I use to use paper and pen to write something (anything) every day to keep my creative mind awake. A blog allows the same thing, but with some instant feedback. And let’s be honest–who doesn’t like that? It’s like writing in your journal and then sending a copy out to hundreds of people. Secondly, I have found that blogging is a pretty amazing medium. It has allowed me to grow closer to my friends and family (some blogging topics just don’t come up in conversation) and also to form friendships with people I’ve never met. Finally, I’m grateful that I am keeping a record of my life and family. I would definitely blog regardless of my writing group.
Simon: Is there anything you would never blog about, or are all aspects of your life potential blog fodder? Have you ever regretted posting something, or deleted a post?
Tiffany: Though I haven’t ever made a specific list of taboo subjects, I know there are some I avoid. I avoid writing much about my job, even though I love it. I think it’s a good practice to keep a separation between job and blog. If I’m writing something personal about Ryan, I make sure it’s okay with him first. More than anything, I want my blog to be an enjoyable place to visit. Although I don’t know the thoughts and census information of all of my readers, I do know that there is a good sampling of people from all different walks of life, and I think about that often when I’m writing. If I find myself writing about something that could offend someone, I stop and ask myself if it’s worth it. It never has been. I think the world has enough of that already.
I don’t think I have ever deleted a post, but I do regret the time I made fun of people who give little Christmas gifts to their neighbors with tags that have bad puns on them. (For example, giving a bottle of Sprite with a tag that says, “May your days be merry and ‘Sprite!'”) I was surprised at how many people took offense, and I felt genuinely bad about it. I thought I was just being silly. Note to self: don’t make fun of gifts.
Simon: Have you discovered anything about yourself through your online writing?
Tiffany: Going along with the last question, I have definitely been surprised at the readership of this blog. I have some consistent readers from all over the world, including men, women, and teenagers. I sort of thought that my mom and Ryan would be the only ones to keep coming back. So, I guess that I have learned through blogging that my voice and what I have to say must be resonating at some level with a fairly wide range of people and that has given me a certain amount of confidence in my writing. Also, I am much funnier in Blogland when I have fifteen minutes to think up a punchline.
Simon: Some of my favourite posts on your blog have gratitude as their theme – counting your blessings and feeling good about your life. Is this something that comes naturally to you, or do you sometimes feel like ranting, moaning and whining, like many other bloggers do?
Tiffany: Really? I didn’t know that was such a theme around here, though I think anybody who knows me well would say that I am naturally optimistic and cheery. I can be an amazing ranter, moaner, and whiner at times (which always makes for a good story) but I guess I can’t help that I sincerely love and appreciate my life. I am always trying to capture a “real” window into my life when I write (often including unflattering details) because I think that’s what I appreciate in my relationships with other people. It has to be real. Let’s not pretend things are better than they are. Life is anything but perfect around here, but it sure is good.
Simon: What’s your earliest memory?
Tiffany: I have a distinct memory of not being able to see above the kitchen counter, and it became a source of frustration because it seemed that the countertop was the hub of activity in our house. Everybody in my large family was picking stuff up, dropping stuff off, or finding a snack on the counter and I couldn’t see a thing! I’m guessing I was about two-years-old.
Simon: What would be your perfect meal (as many courses as you like, and you don’t have to prepare it yourself if you don’t want to)?
Tiffany: Hmmm, let’s see. It begins with a fresh salad with sliced strawberries and candied nuts in it. The dressing is on the side. Next, a round of rosemary flatbread with goat cheese and roasted tomatoes, followed by a Greek gyro with chunks of juicy chicken, onions, tomatoes, and my favorite red and white sauces. My next course would be my favorite sushi roll called the “Sunshine” because when I eat it, sunlight bursts out of my ears–it’s that good. I’d top things off with some sweet and spicy Thai chicken curry with chunks of soft potato and carrot served over rice. And for dessert? Key lime pie, of course.
Simon: Tell me about some of your travels. Preferably ones outside your own country, but anything will do. Do you travel well?
Tiffany: I have traveled more in the last couple of years than ever before, although I have only been outside of the country once (to Vancouver, BC). Ryan and I love to travel and look forward to having more opportunities to travel abroad in the future. My kids are also amazing travelers. By car or by plane, they both can be quietly occupied and never whine and complain. Maybe it’s because we make them drink a bottle of Benedryl and then duct tape their mouths shut, but I think they are just good kids.
Simon: Seriously, what’s with you and winter? Snow, Christmas, log fires – what’s not to like?
Tiffany: I should clarify–winter is magically wonderful, right up until December 26th. I’d like to be able to pack it away with all the Christmas decorations. Winters in Utah linger like that weird uncle at the family reunion. In January, February and (usually) March, everything here is gray, mucky, and covered in a thin sheet of salt. (They salt the roads here to melt the snow and ice.) I probably have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Too bad I don’t know any psychologists. Wink, wink.
Simon: You said in your post “100 things I want to accomplish” that you’d like to visit Europe. Imagine you could only visit one country in Europe – which one would you choose, and why?
Tiffany: Eeek! Only one? That seems so unfair! I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and her description of Rome (particularly the food in Rome) makes Italy a definite frontrunner, but I had a friend who visited Prague once and I think I would really enjoy that city as well. To make a final decision, I would have to learn more about the food in Prague.
Simon: What are you most (and least) looking forward to about moving to Delaware?
Tiffany: For starters, I am excited to be closing the graduate school chapter of our lives. If I haven’t documented it well enough, having your spouse in school for eleven years can get…….what’s the word? Oh yeah, stale. I am viewing this move as an adventure, an opportunity to learn about a new place and about ourselves while we’re at it. I think that there are things you never learn about yourself if you never leave your comfort zone, and I would say that living in the same general area for 31 years is something of a serious comfort zone.
I am not looking forward to missing my family, friends, and the familiarity of my surroundings. I think my new best friends will be a GPS in my car and my free long-distance cell phone minutes.
So there it is. I’m no David Frost, but Tiffany more than compensated for my lack of experience with the honesty, wit, and astonishing speed of her replies.
I in turn have been interviewed by Karen of A Day In The Life. I’ll link to her chat with me once she’s posted it.