Bart: Dad, what’s the point of this story?
Homer: I like stories.
At some point in the future, I expect to have this exchange with at least one, if not both, of my children. (Although I do hope they call me ‘Mum’ instead of ‘Dad’.)
I like stories. I really do. In fact, I find it difficult not to tell stories.
I’m that person who, when asked a yes/no question, feels the need to answer ‘sometimes’. And then explain that answer. At length.
I’m that person who, when asked to rate my opinion on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree), wants to get into a discussion on the finer points of the question, and then tell a story to explain why it’s not a simple question.
Yes, I’m that person that you really do not want to answer your survey.
This need for storytelling happens all the time. I can’t just tell you I don’t have an eReader — I have to write a poem. I can’t just say that I don’t tell my children Santa is real, I have to explain my reasoning. I can’t even make a flippant comment about having to kill a spider without making a song and dance about it.
I bet you thought that was just for the blog, right?
Nope. Ask my husband. He’ll back me up.
Everything has to be a story. I can’t help it.
And that’s why, when faced with a series of 10 questions (from Inside the Actor’s Studio), I am highly unlikely to be as amazingly concise as Bridget, Kim or Tricia. These three lovely ladies answered the following ten questions as part of a Monday Listicles Link-Up, and did it simply and succinctly. They’re part of a great Monday Listicles Link-up (that I’m not cool enough to be part of), but I couldn’t resist answering the questions anyway.
I swear, I will attempt to be concise.
But I make no promises.
1. What is your favourite word?
There’s nothing like starting with a hard one for a lover of words. There are so many great ones. For simplicity’s sake, I’m quite fond of the word ‘Yes’. It’s strong. It’s open. It’s affirmative and proactive.
But it’s not my favourite.
I particularly like words with a strong sense of onomatopoeia, like susurrus, or words that are challenging (and therefore exciting) to use in everyday conversation, like zeitgeist.
But they’re not my favourites. Not anymore.
Now, I love to hear my words come out of my 4-year-old son’s mouth. I love it when he says things like: It’s getting quite dark outside, indeed. Or: I’m not hurt, I’m just feeling a little embarrassed and sad right now. Or: Daddy will be so proud of me when he sees what I’ve accomplished.
But my absolute favourite word is one, simple syllable.
Even when I’ve heard it 375,892 times in a single day, and I want to change my name. Hearing my little boy call me Mum is my favourite thing in the world.
(Especially when it’s followed by: I really love you.)
2. What is your least favourite word?
That’s hard, because I think every word has its place. Every word is perfectly suited to a particular time and place. So choosing one that I don’t like is really dependent on what I’m doing, where I am, and how I’m feeling.
There are phrases that I abhor (like “kill time”), but I can’t honestly think of any words.
So let’s just say that I detest words that are used incorrectly, or pronounced incorrectly.
3. What turns you on?
Words. Stories. Language. Surprises. Honesty. Compassion. Proactivity. Humour. Love.
Wrap those things up in physical form, and I’m a happy lady.
4. What turns you off?
Dishonesty (even about little things). Whinging. Lack of Self Confidence.
And, on a more physical level, bad breath. Ick.
5. What sound do you love?
The tap-tap-tap of my thoughts and ideas turning into words on a screen.
My children laughing.
Music. Stories read aloud.
The hush that falls over the house when my children (finally) fall asleep of an evening.
6. What sound do you hate?
The silence that immediately precedes the question, “What are you doing?” and the answer, “Nothing.”
The deafening silence of an empty house.
The silence of a sleeping baby that breeds a fear only a parent can know: Is he still breathing? Is everything alright?
The awkward, angry silence that follows an argument.
The silence of tears that have been shed.
7. What is your favourite curse word?
This is an easy one. Although I have been known to drop the “C word” in the right circumstances, my all-time favourite has to be the ever-popular m*therf*cker. (Or emmer-effer, as Mr Wendig is want to say.)
8. What profession, other than yours, would you like to attempt?
I started university 4 times. I began with psychology (I wanted to be a child psychologist). Then I went to education (I wanted to be a high school english/maths teacher). Then I moved to straight english. (I wanted to be a writer. And I am.) Then on to an arts degree focused on Latin and Philosophy. (Clearly, I wanted to be unemployed.)
Overall, I’m glad that I didn’t finish any of those courses of study. In fact, in most cases, I barely started them. I’m happy to have had a twelve-year career in retail, where I learned management, leadership and sales. I’m happy to be a mother (with on the job training!) and a writer.
But if I could do anything at all, regardless of skill, ability or talent, I have a secret profession wish lurking at the back of my brain, long hidden from the harsh light of reality.
I’d like to be the lead singer of a Power Metal band.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
What, particularly? Like, not all the millions of jobs that I have no interest in (like doctor, lawyer, and waitress), but something that I particularly do not want to do under any circumstances, and being forced to do it would be akin to being flayed alive?
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“You should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque. Valhalla’s down the road.”