Blogger Spotlight

I’m About to Expose Myself in Public and I Want Others to Join Me

Naked in Public 1

The Premise:  Multi-talented Kah at Kah Choon’s Blog recently nominated me for The Liebster Award, a “Discover New Blogs” kind of thing where one blogger gives a shout-out to 11 other bloggers they find interesting (or at least not-annoying). Since I enjoy reading Kah’s blog, where the topics range from light-hearted to serious and therefore you never know what you are going to get (and this is a good thing, folks), I greatly appreciated the nomination. So, first and foremost, thank you, Kah, for selecting me from the billions of bloggers out there. I wish you the best of luck with your blogging endeavors. (Dear Readers, this is the point where you should click on Kah’s link above and expand your horizons. I will be prompting you to make many clicks during this post, so I hope you’re sitting in a comfortable chair and that you have a satisfying beverage on-hand to assist you in your journey.)

The Hesitation:  Things like this make me a little squirmy. While I understand that the purpose behind these various “awards” which are lobbed about in the blogging community is to help bloggers grow readership, they are, by default, a bit exclusionary. If I nominate 11 blogs that I like, what does that say to the hundreds of other blogs I follow that I don’t ding with a ping? We’ve all been there. We see one of our blogging friends post that they’ve been nominated for one of these follower-boosting awards, and we excitedly scroll through the list of their nominees. Only to find that not only did we not get a shout-out, we don’t know anything about the other people nominated. The message is painful, especially if you thought the nominated blogger was someone who would surely give you a high-five, and they didn’t.

In a sense, it’s the equivalent of being back in junior-high, where we were first learning how to navigate the complications of social interaction. (Elementary school doesn’t count, at least not for my generation. Those primary years in public school were mainly a whirlwind of figuring out where you classroom might be, where the all-important bathrooms were located, and whether or not you had enough paste in your cache of school supplies to adequately sculpt a decoupage bobble-head of George Washington. We had no concept that we should rank our friends. We only knew that we had friends.) It was secondary school where I learned that people expected you to make choices.

I don’t like picking my favorites. I want everybody to win.

The Reality:  Sometimes we take a tiny thing and make it much bigger than it really should be. (I am fully certified in this particular skill, because my mind never shuts off and I lay awake at night, bandying about the pros and cons of everything I should be considering. Some people can check off a box with relative ease; I wonder why the box was created and why there needs to be checking. Why are there labels? Why are there rules of worthiness? Shouldn’t we all just pass the mashed potatoes when someone asks for them, and assume that the potatoes will be passed to us when we need them? There doesn’t need to be a checklist of who is worthy of the potatoes.)

On the flip side, I have been contemplating for some time that I should do a blog roll, wherein I trumpet the blogs that I really like. Doing so means that I have to make choices, cutting and balancing my options (and therefore my friends), something that is anathema to me. But I suppose that I should get in the spirit of things, accept the fact that social-networking is the new “picking teams for Red Rover on the playground”, and just go with it.

  Editor: “Do you have any idea how your neurotic issues are turning a simple blog post into some Greek Tragedy that is blown all out of proportion?”

  Me: “I’m guessing that you were always picked in the first rounds of Red Rover and you never had to be the single leftover who had to sit on the sidelines and hope for another day when somebody might actually call your name.”

  Editor: “Oh. I didn’t realize that there were people who were left out in that game. Are you sure you were playing it right?”

  Me: “And both of those concepts are exactly my points.”

Anyway, (a word that “writing experts” say we should never use to start a paragraph and therefore I do so as often as possible), I decided to take the plunge this time around. I still feel a bit of unease in doing this, but at the same time I know what it’s like to put your heart into a blog post, shove it out into the world, and then tumbleweeds blow by and no one reads the damn thing. So, maybe, I can help somebody out. And here we go…

liebster-award 2

The “rules” for a person nominated for a Liebster are as follows:

1. Write a post to show your award. (Doing that.)

2. Share 11 random facts about yourself. (Oh God.)

3. Answer the 11 questions you were asked. (These are asked by the person who nominates you.)

4. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (Done.)

5. Select the 11 other blogs you want to give the award to and have them answer 11 questions. (This is where the heart palpitations kick in.)

The 11 Questions Asked of Me:

1. “What is your favorite book and/or movie?”

I can’t answer this one with a finite choice. There are so many books and movies that are favorites, but for very different reasons. I think I’ll take the easy way out and simply refer you to a recent post of mine: 51 Things about 49 Movies.

2. “Who has been the biggest influence in your life?”

Anyone I’ve ever met who knows the pain of being different, and yet still remains true to themselves.

3. “Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?”

In a place where I can do what I want, when I want to do it, and my best friends are there with me.

4. “Describe your ideal Autumn.”

It’s Halloween, every day.

5. “Describe yourself in 5 words.”

Passionate, Accepting, Yearning, Dreaming, Inspired

6. “What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?”

I’m still waiting for that moment.

7. “Zombie attack or alien invasion, if one had to happen, which would you prefer?”

I survived growing up gay in Oklahoma. I think I can handle either one of these situations with experience and jazz-hands.

8. “How long have you been blogging?”

8 years. (Funny how the 8s worked out on that one. I swear I didn’t plan it.)

9. “Do you have any goal for 2016?”

The Tea Party goes down in flames in November, finally.

10. “Do you have any regrets for 2015?”

Many. This is what makes us human. Well, most of us, anyway.

11. “What did you want to be when you were little?”

The one who actually got to make the decisions instead of the one who had to deal with the ineptitude.

11 Random Facts about Myself (Wherein I get a bit more serious about things than I usually do):

1. In my youth, I would go into my bedroom closet, shut the door, turn off the light, and then use a flashlight to read Stephen King novels. This upped the creepy factor for me, and I loved it. (I also used this same method to play with my Lite-Brite, but I soon lost all the little colorful pegs and that avenue became pointless. I stayed with the Stephen thing, though. Well, at least the reading part. I came out of that closet a long time ago.)

2. In that same youth, I lived across the street from another boy named Brian, who was slightly younger. We were known as Big Brian and Little Brian by the other neighborhood urchins. (You know, back in the day when kids actually played outside and you had to use your imagination to entertain yourself and not an online password.) I choose to believe that the “Big Brian” moniker was an acknowledgement of my seniority and not the fact that I was a bit portly as a child.

3. I could spend a lifetime in a second-hand bookstore, wandering the aisles, looking for treasures.

4. I wrote my first book when I was 12, banged out on a crappy typewriter that somebody, I no longer recall who, shoved in my direction as a diversion to keep me occupied. This glowing example of literature was lost many decades ago. I really would like to read that thing now…

5. My concept of ideal fashion involves jeans and a worn-out t-shirt. I’ve never been interested in the packaging, only in the contents.

6. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in my senior year of high school. Such innocence, then, even on my own part. The hope and the promise, diluted by time. Still, I have embers that will never go out…

7. I love falling asleep to the ocean waves rolling in, incessantly. I don’t get to do this very often, but maybe, someday…

8. If someone asked me to pick my favorite life moment, I couldn’t do it. We are a composite of fleeting images, trickling through our fingers, and it is impossible to point at one thing and say “there, that was it…”

9. I am grateful for people who understand that they are not the only person in the world who matters. I am mystified by the sheer number of people who cannot grasp this concept.

10. Every time I hear the Cat Steven’s song “Father and Son” the relevancy in my own life is overwhelming. (“I have to go…”)

11. There is something about sitting on my patio, alone, late at night, hearing the wind rustle the branches of the nearby trees that speaks to a part of me that I cannot explain.

11 Questions for the Bloggers I Nominate:

1. Do you spend a lot of time editing a post, or do you simply bang it out and think “well, that should do it”?

2. Do you get anxious when you get a notification that someone has made a comment on one of your posts, wondering if this person liked it or if they said something that cuts?

3. What actor/actress would portray you in a Lifetime movie about that time you did something you shouldn’t have?

4. Have you ever deleted a post, thinking maybe you shouldn’t have said what you did?

5. (This one has a multi-part answer, brace yourself.) Do you spend a lot of time figuring out what tags you should use with a post? Does it annoy you when you see another writer’s post that has 472 tags, indicating they are trying to hit every demographic on the planet even though their post doesn’t address 471 of those tags?

6. How many incomplete posts do you have in the “maybe I’ll finish this later” folder on your hard drive?

7. Have you ever participated in one of those “post your work and let others critique it” sites, such as Niume, Scriggler and Writer’s Beat? If so, was it helpful or soul-damaging?

8. Have you never been mellow?

9. If you were stranded on a deserted island, would you rather have a Kindle (assuming the island has Wi-Fi) or an endless supply of paper and pencils?

10. Are there any authors whose next book you would buy without any hesitation?

11. Are you happy?

My 11 Nominees for the Liebster Award:

Note: I have linked to the “About” pages for these blogs (when possible), which creates a true “pingback” that alerts the writer of the connection, something that doesn’t always happen with linking to the home page. Once on the site, please click on the “home” page to get the full flavor of the blog, as some of us are a bit shy on the bio page and you don’t get the true flavor of the blog until you see the full site. (By the way, this list is arranged in random order. No one at the top should feel especially haughty, and no one toward the end should feel slighted. Namaste.)

Christi at Feeding on Folly

Anne Marie at Monsters and Angels

Claudette at To Search and to Find

Millennial Girl at Diary of a Millennial Girl

Blair at The Shameful Sheep

JC at An Unexpected Muse

Margo at That Little Voice

Lily at The Incoherent Ramblings of a Moose

Lorie at Lorie Schaefer

Sabiscuit at Sabiscuit’s Catalog

Anna at The Mischief Memoirs

Note to the people I have nominated:

Don’t panic. You do not have to participate in any way. As I babbled about above, these nomination things are not necessarily my cup of tea. (I have been nominated in the past, and I quietly pretended that I didn’t notice it.) If you prefer to simply click “like” and then go on about your life that is perfectly fine. I only ask that you consider two things: One, are there certain blogs that you really enjoy and would like to spread the word about their existence? Two, could you make a blog post of this kind fit into the flow of your blog? (I fully understand that some people are very selective about what they post. Throwing in something off-key can wallop the balance.) But if your answer to both of these questions is “yes”, perhaps there’s something you can do to help out your fellow writers…

Note to the people I did not nominate who are surprised that I didn’t:

I could only nominate 11. Trust me, the list fluctuated considerably as I fiddled around with this mess. I finally settled on a mix of various formats and viewpoints. In the process, I realized that I can’t do just one of these posts, so there will be more in the future. Please set your DVR’s for the next episode.

Note to the other people who have made it this far in the post:

Thank you for taking the time to do so. Maybe you could do a bit of clicking? You just might find something you didn’t know you were missing…



Big Brian (The Boy Who Read in the Dark, Looking for Light)

P.S. If you are wondering why I used such a severe pic of myself for this post, let me try to explain. Those who know me well fully understand that this is my generic expression for every situation in my life, from complete euphoria (“We’re going drinking on Bourbon Street!”) to utter defeat (“The toilet is clogged again and I don’t have the strength to deal with it”).  I chose this pic to emphasize the fact that first impressions are rarely what they seem, and we should always dig deeper to get to the heart of the matter…


56 replies »

  1. Thanks for the nom/shoutout. I can tell you truly thought about it and took it into consideration so, I gotta say… I feel pretty honored. I love your answer to #2 about your biggest influence. It resonates with me. I’m always nervous to leave someone out, too. I never do the awards, but maybe I’ll make an exception this time 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Blair! Yes, I did spend a lot of time messing around with the nominations, adding and removing folks, but in the end, I really wanted the mix to include your unique voice. I admire your fearlessness and the way you embrace who you are, sharing it with the rest of us…


  2. I got nominated for an award way back when was new to blogging… I didn’t accept because I was still too lost. This time I’m very much, seriously considering it. Thank you so much for the nomination Brian!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re very welcome, Anne Marie. I fully understand the hesitation to participate in these things, so there is no pressure here at all. (Side note: I’m headed to New Orleans toward the end of March, and I definitely plan to get some more photos for future Steven spotlights. Yay!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG. Congratulations. Great post, with lots of interesting details about you. Very cool. I’m such a fan of your work, it’s an honour to have this recognition. Thank you. (((Warm hugs))). SB

    Liked by 1 person

    • Warm hugs right back at ya. And I’m a fan of YOU, especially the free-verse poems and the images you create and/or find to accompany your words. And then there’s the artwork (the “Dahlia” series!) and your fiction and… wait a minute, why aren’t you famous yet? Or ARE you famous and posing on WordPress as someone else? Hmm. I might have to do some googling here in a minute… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A massive humble (can you be massively humble?, that sounds a bit egotistical actually) thanks for including me, as I never would have expected it. I was really interested in the questions you asked, as they are a bit more “solid” than ones I have seen previously when I have been involved in these things (6 times). I thank you for the nomination, and I will work it all into a post, but as I have recently taken part in a “tagging” challenge with quotes, I’m not ready to do another so soon. Usually with these things I don’t play by the rules anyway, so lets just see what my brain comes up with. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Claudette! I’m especially happy that you liked the solidity of the questions. One of the reasons I haven’t participated before in these “award” things is that I thought the questions seemed a bit lacking, so I made sure to try and get some substance behind them this time. To be honest, I’m thinking of creating my own blogger award of some kind. This sounds kind of pompous and reeks of delusional grandeur, but I just think there needs to be something that isn’t so formalized and obviously geared to celebrate the person making the nominations instead of the people being nominated. (If you’re serious about promoting others, promote THEM, not you. And I say this knowing full well that I just typed 2,000 words about myself in the above post. Oops.) Anyway, I’ve already seen your “breaking the rules” response to my nomination on your own blog, and I salute you for going your own way. THAT”s why you’re on the list, because you get outside the box and this thrills me… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Huh, you’re easily thrilled then 🙂 and can I help it if boxes make me claustrophobic? Well, some boxes. I actually like some bxes I made for myself, they are kind of homely and lived in, and snuggly and secure, but I still do occasionally flatten then out because I don’t want to get TOO secure in there. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Think I followed about 5 – which is a massive thing for me as I haven’t collected any new blogs for many, many, many long time. Quirky stuff appeals, but so does normal – it was a good selection. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I refuse not to be haughty! I’m on top, I’m on top! Yea for me! I prefer being on top for so many things (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)!
    But seriously, thank you for this. Especially as this is the best written awards post I’ve ever seen, I am honored to be included.
    I have always ‘politely ignored’ these awards too, but now you have me considering it. And I shall click your links dutifully.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Christi, I firmly acknowledge your winking and nudging. (The mental images that accompany this acknowledgement are things that we shan’t discuss until a later time.) I have instructed the staff at the Awards Dinner to make sure that you have the highest-elevated seat in the serving arena, in the Cleopatra section where you can adequately survey your queendom. (For those who don’t know Christi, I’m merely joshing, she is the sweetest thing ever. As long as she gets her way.) But seriously, round two, there’s a 7-word phrase you’ve written above that completely made my day. I think you’ll figure it out, but if not, I can send Marc Antony over later for some winking and nudging and explaining… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Three 3 of crappery which have led me away from ‘my precious,’ (yes, I did say that in a Gollum voice) and the first thing I find when I log on is this!! Thank you so much you beautiful man, I am sincerely humbled. It especially means a lot coming from someone who is such a talented writer.
    I really enjoyed reading your answers. They have so much depth and substance behind them, so thank you for sharing.

    Not by design, most of the blogs I follow tend not to accept these awards, so not sure what the Britney Spears I’m going to do!
    Thanks SO much Brian. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ah, my dearest Lily, it’s been far too long since our last session of literary slap and tickle, and the days and nights have been empty and hollow without your presence. (Or maybe they have been hollow because I haven’t had enough fiber in my diet. I’m getting old now, and it’s hard to remember who or what to blame. Just trust that there has been an emptiness. Or a blockage. Something.) You know I love your blog (It tickles my fancy; I no longer recall where my fancy is located, but it’s being tickled) so of course I would include you on this list. I understand if you can’t coerce your errant blogger friends into participating, not an issue. The real point is to get a few folks clicking on your blog, and I hope that works out with at least minimal success. On an unrelated note, I think we should do a blog post together. Something bizarre. Have your people get with my people and we’ll work something out… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh, I made an error. That was meant to read ‘three WEEKS’ of crappery. I really need to cut down on the crack.
        Love of my literary life, you are too kind. It really has been too long. My heart flutters at your poetic words, though that could also be because I have tachycardia, and I am aflame with joy…wait…no, that’s heartburn.
        Apologies for tickling your fancy. It was dark and my hand just kinda slipped.
        I’m so grateful for the mention and am excited about checking out the other blogs on the list.
        And yes, we should definitely do a post together. I’ll have my people get back to your people, who will then get back to my people, who will then get back to you…via your people…I’m getting a sense of deja vu here. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks, Brian. I did this back when I was new to WP too, but might do it differently now. Look at me, one year of blogging and all sure of myself and all. And I just sent off two chapters to my critique group, so I might have space for something else in my brain. We’ll if I can come up with anything meaningful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey, Lorie. As I’ve mentioned in my other comments above, please don’t feel any pressure to do anything outside of your comfort zone. I’m already in awe of your past literary accomplishments, so there’s no compelling need to do anything further. Except for the bit about a “critique group”. Interesting. How does one gain access to such? In the past, I’ve ignored this pathway, a philosophy which is probably a big part of my abysmal book sales. I have loads of “chapters” sitting around that could use some cultivating. Again, no pressure, but I’m very curious about your creative process… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm. Sounds like THAT could be the topic of a blog post. I am lucky to have found a well-established and well-respected critique group at my local community college. I’ve heard there are some online ones, but I have no experience with them. Lone Mountain Writers have been meeting every other week for over twenty years. I joined about five years ago after finishing a NaNoWriMo, believing I had a nearly ready manuscript. Ha! While I’d been writing personal narratives for years, I learned that fiction has its own distinct rules–things like POV and story arc. Jeez. Now I’m plodding and rewriting my way through version 2.n. Old dog, new tricks. Actually, I think a blog post is a good idea. I’ve even got a cute pic to go with. Stay-tuned.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Thanks for the nomination. I accepted a few when I first started blogging but then felt it was almost an honor not to be nominated. I agree with you if you can make it a natural flow of your blog and not have it look like a weird commercial break. I might try something since your acceptance was so natural to your blog. At first, I thought you were making it up.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “The one who actually got to make the decisions instead of the one who had to deal with the ineptitude.”

    Oh, honey, preach. PREACH.

    PS: That photo makes you look like a constipated mob boss. Fuckin’ smile. Think about Scalia grabbing his chest and hitting the floor like 280 pounds of wet dough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been preaching all my life, hands in the air, so I don’t understand why I still have to pay taxes, unlike the mega-church down the street that has their own broadcast studio and a line of Dead Sea Cosmetics. (“The salt content in the blush alone will help your eyes look convincingly watery during the Gospel Roundup finale! Yee haw!”) And yeah, that photo, It’s my basic pose.Just give me a drink and leave me alone…


      • Excellent point. We could settle our debt with China if we made the Bible thumpers pay up. And Glenn Beck.

        You could start your own church. How about Jazz Hands for Jesus? JHJ makes a nice Yiddish-looking logo that would scare the shit out of half of Texas so there’d be an immediate pay-off.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hmm. “Bonnywood Manor” is already an official business recognized by the state of Texas, a legal thing I pursued when I innocently thought that the books I self-published would lead to immense incoming wealth that might need to be manipulated, tax-wise. Perhaps I could convert my business to a Roth IRA just like the other mega-pastors have done? And while I admire the Yiddishness of the JHJ logo, I must confess that I am already a member of the High Five for Jesus! (HFFJ!) congregation, a group that we established on my back patio after tequila made its debut. This might be a conflict of interest. Oh wait, so was Scalia…


    • Yes, I see it in my inbox, but there has been no perusing as of yet other than to note that it was quite detailed. (Yay!) Please don’t perceive my delayed response as an avoidance issue. I try to work on my writing during the day, then do the social media/email/other stuff late in the evening, after my partner has trottled off to bed. I’m a night owl, which annoys some people, but that’s just the way I tick. Stay tuned! (I don’t know why I’m being perky with the exclamation points. I had some pumpkin-spice cake earlier whilst we were watching Dexter, maybe it’s the sugar talking…)


  10. Really enjoyed this post – and others I’ve perused (have to WRITE too – lol). But really like some of the questions you gave for your nominees! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Laura! I’m glad you’re having a swell time and I do appreciate you taking the time to check out some of the older pieces. As for the questions, I’ve been thinking about that the last few days. Several of the folks I nominated privately asked if they could just do the question part, and not the bit about nominating other people. (And I fully understand that, as having to highlight some folks and leave others behind is kind of a squirmy situation.) Since getting to know other people is actually the most interesting part of these “awards”, at least for me, I’m considering doing blogger/author interviews and posting them. These can be tricky things, but I think the right questions with right people could be fun…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you Brian. Yes the blogger awards are fun, but agree trying to find more nominees can be daunting.
    And you would SO be the right writer to do blogger/author interviews. Can’t wait to see that.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I simply loved this post. I have come across some Award Posts in my limited time here on WordPress and it was heartening to read one like this. Great questions from your part, and those 11 facts made me sorta blurry eyed. Your flair for writing extends so far beyond satire and humour. I look forward to reading more of the same some time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. He he he.

    Well, since my blog wasn’t given an invite to the party, doesn’t mean I’ll hold some grudge or stop reading your blog. Vengeful I’m not. I was born with my eyes open, and my head up with a well constructed ego firmly in pace. No need for mutua,ahem, stroking. But I do imagine there are those who write to quench their hungry bottomless souls with prizes and the regard of other amateurs (yourself not included in the later). Or, as the Germans so eloquently spell out in a word, and with consonants en masse, das geltungsbedrftig, may use your personal information to their advantage. Some for good others, more neurotically engaged, not so good. I will not cackle with scadenfreude whilst basking in the glow of your squirmishly posted apologies to people with whom the selective process won’t sit well.

    All kidding aside, great writing with consistent tongue in cheek humor is hard to find anywhere not just in the primarily amateur ranks of our own blogosphere, myself included, but in the published author book kind of places, too. You deserve it, and I’ll be sure to check out the nominations you’ve made as I am sure you’ve picked great reads.


    Liked by 1 person

    • To be fair, this original post is well over two years old, so I don’t think we were quite writer buddies just yet. (This might be a lie; please do not research too extensively.) I’m still on the fence about this nomination business. I do enjoy initially seeing my name (who doesn’t enjoy a wee bit of recognition for something GOOD you have done?) but I am not a fan of crafting a response unless the nomination post is extremely clever. As soon as I see a phrase along the lines of “don’t feel compelled to participate” I am out of there before anybody changes their mind… 😉

      P.S. That intrusive-elbow action can make one a bit tense, yes? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely no doubt we all need a sweet push of recognition for our efforts, and being tongue in cheek sometimes doesn’t come across as such since my cheekiness comes across as inappropriate. However, I know you’re very profound and you get it. No guilt no matter what the circumstances- choosing sucks because it feels discounted to some who don’t have the best intentions of writing for the sake of itself, which is why I love your blogs so much. You’re humor and honesty shine shine shine, as do you Brian. You’re a gift.
        With love and a tickle to the ribs (elbows hurt!)

        Liked by 1 person

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