Here Comes The Sun

What a lovely surprise!  A great big-grinned thank you to Katie Drury-Tanner over at My Cups of Tee for nominating Shine Memoirs for the Sunshine Blogger Award! 

The Rules
1. Write 11 random things about myself.
1. Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
3. Nominate my favorite bloggers for this award.
4. Write 11 questions for them to answer.

11 Random Facts About Me:
1. I am a library addict and I frequently hit the limit of 50 books checked out.
2. I am a Libra born in the Year of the Tiger and I am a middle child.
3. I spent six months working for a London wine shop on Portobello Road where I received an excellent education in champagne.
4. I collect ABC books.
5. My favorite artists at the moment are John Singer Sargent, Thomas Gainsborough, and Giovanni Boldini.
6. I studied ballet when I was young and still sometimes dream of being a professional ballerina.
7. I spent three summer seasons working as the "adventure concierge" aboard a Russian ice-breaker taking small groups to Antarctica.
8. I love period dramas and two of my favorite films of all time are The English Patient and Out of Africa.
9. I am hopeless at math.
10.  I love to throw dinner parties.
11. My favorite color is peacock blue.

Questions From Katie:
1.  What initially inspired you to begin your blog?  I wanted to record my family's stories for myself, my young son and my extended family.  And I have long wanted to have a more regular writing practice and this form has been excellent motivation for me.

2.  How has your blog evolved over time? When I started writing this blog, I was sitting down to craft essays.  Now I use it more as a working journal of memories and inspirations I want to share.  In other words I have learned to take the blog, and myself, less seriously rather than more seriously.

3.  Please name a writer or two whom you admire. I have so, so many writers I love and admire, how to limit it to only two?! I inhale everything Diane Ackerman writes as I admire her blend of art, science, memoir and poetry. And I adore M.F.K. Fisher and Nancy Mitford and Frank O'Hara and...oh I could just go on and on.

4.  Besides blogging, what other types of writing do you like to do? I find making lists extremely satisfying.  I keep a memory journal for my son of his milestones with written snapshots of our life.  I write post cards.  Occasionally I try out a poem. 

5.  How did your school experience impact your interest in writing or shape the way you define yourself as a writer?  I loved my English and Literature classes and I was the editor of my high school newspaper.  At university, I majored in History which gave me a lot of practice researching and gave me an appreciation for back story, but I wish now I'd studied Poetry as well.  I always considered myself a reader more than a writer, as I used to think writers were a rare and special breed.  Now I know that writers are simply people who write.  An anecdote about school:  my older brother cautioned me, "Don't let school get in the way of your education."  I took that to heart and embraced lifetime learning all over the place. The Academy can be useful, but it isn't the end-all-be-all.

6.  Has any response you’ve received to your blog made a significant impression on you?  In the past month one person teared up when she told me how much she appreciated my posts and another told me she cries over each one.  Upon hearing this, I was surprised and touched.  I don't think of my writing as being tear-inducing, so hearing that the blog hits an emotional nerve for people reinforces my belief that in today's crazy fast-paced world we are all starving for more connections, stories and time to reflect on our life.  Doesn't it seem like the more ways we have to connect via phone, email, text, skype, facebook, instagram, twitter that it seems harder and harder to actually have an uninterrupted hour-long chat with people we love and cherish?

7.  What kind of future do you envision for your blog? I want to begin to showcase other people's stories here.  I want the blog to be about more than just me and my family.  I think these kind of stories are universal, it is the details that are particular and special for each person, each family.  Also, I am building a website around the blog.  Stay tuned! 

8.  What have you learned about yourself from blogging?  There are moments where it feels daunting to put my words and stories out in the world, but it is immensely satisfying for me to germinate an idea, mull over it while I do the dishes or take a walk, write it down and then share it.  The process is a much-needed creative outlet for me personally and the huge bonus is that it connects me to a community of storytellers. 

9.  How does your current life experience mirror the expectations you had when you were younger? In grade school, a friend and I used to write letters across town as our glamorous adult alter-egos.  We each gave ourselves multi-careers (such as fashion designer/model/lawyer), handsome successful husbands, children with five middle names, houses on a few continents, beloved imaginary pets and a stable of horses. My life hasn't actually become quite so fancy-schmancy, but when I look back I realize I have had multiple careers, I do have a handsome brilliant husband and a beautiful son (with only one middle name) and we do get to travel a fair bit.  Incidentally my friend turned into a gorgeous woman, works for Pixar and has a wonderful family.  We now laugh about how our imaginative young selves manifested pretty wonderful lives.

10.  How does your current life experience look different from the expectations you had when you were younger?  I've always wanted to have a whole pack of kids running around underfoot. 

11.  When are you most likely going to manage a return trip to Seattle to visit the most fantastic Americanized Brit you know?  We'll be home in mid-February!

Bloggers I Hereby Nominate:
Irene Latham - Irene Latham
Patti Digh - 37 Days
Geraldine DeRuiter - The Everywhereist
Rebecca Cowen - Rebecca Plants
Jessica Shaool - Fat Vegan Baby

11 Questions for My Nominees:
1. What inspired you to begin blogging?
2. What are your writing habits?
3. How do you reignite your creativity if you are in a slump?
4. Who are some of your favorite writers?
5. Describe your perfect day.
6. Tell us about an "aha" moment you've had recently.
7. What is one of your most cherished memories?
8. What person in history would you most like to invite to dinner?
9. If you could transport yourself to one place in the world right now, where would it be?
10. Tell us one thing you would like your obituary to say about you.
11. If you could click your heels and make the world a better place, what one thing would you do?

Keep spreading the sunshine!


  1. Dear Sarah, thank you THANK YOU for including me here! I am a huge fan of your blog... and we must talk about your Antarctica experiences! (I just sold a book of poems for kids set during summer in Antarctica... only I have never been!) And I am thrilled to hear that you are developing a website. You are studying poetry NOW. Keep going. Love to you, friend. xo

    1. Ooohhh I can't wait to read your new book of poems! I worked with One Ocean Expeditions and I tried to set up an artist-in-residence on the ship. I invited Mary Oliver to come after a reading! If you want to get down there, I may be able to swing a friends and family discount....http://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com/ Think about it!