The Cool House: Q&A: The Great Interview Experiment

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Q&A: The Great Interview Experiment

Neil Kramer of Citizen of the Month is celebrating bloggers by challenging his readers to interview one another. I was interested to take part because I figured it would be a great way to find blogs on topics other than houses and design - and I scored lucky. Meet Nat (and her brain) from Ottowa, an "urban working mom" who runs, writes and quotes lyrics. I asked her seven questions to find out why she communes with the interwebs and what makes her tick. I hope she excuses the final question, I didn't ask it just because she is Canadian...

What made you first want to write a blog?
Honestly, I haven't a clue. Well, the first blog was on LiveJournal. A friend of mine sent me an invite. I don't think I stuck with it for very long -- it was mainly to keep up with my other friends online. I was going through some dark times, I suppose it was an out. A quiet spot to make sense of it.
Now, I blog because I write silly corporate stuff all days and there are editors and people who say "Yes, but we think we want to say this instead... " and did I mention the editors? Blogging me allows me to say what I need to say. (Within limits naturally -- thou shall not get Dooced.)
I write because I don't think I'm all that creative yet part of me needs to create. I don't know how to write music. I can't draw. But once in a blue moon, the words flow. (Waspageddon is an example of not much thought -- just flow.) I just throw words together on a page. Part of me needs to create... so this allows me to do that. And get feedback... god I love the comments.
And where else can I was poetic about Cohen or go on ad nauseum about how much Pearl Jam rocks or that I found this terrific little band called Great Lake Swimmers (maybe they aren't so small anymore). And every one shares their passions and loves... and there is a bit of a dialogue created.

Do you have a specific audience (or person) in mind when you write?
I am completely self-conscious about the blog. I am self-conscious about my writing (less so the corporate stuff.) As a result, I try not to think about readers. If I think about the readers too much I get freaked out. And I try to please. The blog is not so much about my readers, it's about me. (Selfish eh?) It's about me and the words. Maybe it would be a better blog if I thought about it.
That being said, I love love love the comments and the feedback.. and the friends I've mad through blogging. Amazing group...
I have met many bloggers of late, mostly from Ottawa. It forced me to reconcile the blog voice with the real voice. If you'd asked me there weren't much different. But I suppose... in real life I don't have a delete key. And my loud obnoxious voice doesn't come through...
I did Blog Out Loud Ottawa, this summer and found that people were open and receptive. (Although I must admit three of my good friends showed up and I just about died.) I would in fact do it again. Even though it scary and out there. I love bloggers I really do. (Not normally this sappy.) Such is the life on extroverted introvert. It opened up a new world of things I'd like to do...

You're obviously a really busy person. Do you try to set aside a particular time of day to blog? Do you micro-blog?
I actually don't think I'm all that busy. When I think busy I think, for instance, Barrack Obama is busy. Me, I'm just trying to find a bit of work/life balance. (And failing miserably at it this week.) I would be less busy if I had more time. Right now I'm off kilter. I know how to make it better. But it involves starvation which the other members of this household might have an issue with. I want to live the life I've imagine... unfortunately, it will involve a tonne of hard work, and yes, a lot of time. I read somewhere about an author writing her first book between 4 and 6 a.m. because it was the only time she had. That's busy.
All this being said. I don't want the blog to feel like something I have to do. Often it's just a sentence or something happened. Or a song that I adore. A great night with a friend or time with The Boy. I write when I feel like it. The goal is to write three times a week. (Embrace the contradiction.) Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less. But if I have things happening I can't blog about going on (like work for instance), I find it hard to write anything at all. (Hence the drop in frequency.)
I do micro-blog: @natsbrain on Twitter -- micro or macro I tend not to do much of either with regularity.
I am however a total Facebook junkie.

When you read blogs do you look for those written by people with similar experiences to your own or are you looking to escape your world?
Wow. Good question. A little of column A and a bit of column B. I don't think I read blogs to escape, it's like reading I read the blogs to catch up. Hilly moved to Florida or Allison has squirel issues. I get vested in their lives. Then again, some blogs I read just to read.
This spring I ran a 200 mile relay with a group of runners. The head organizers were from the heart of McCain country in Arizona. I'm a bleeding heart liberal (small l) from Ottawa. In their books, I'm sure I nearing the communist end of the spectrum. Running and blogs brought us together. Suprisingly it worked and we had a really great time. I'm not sure where else I'd meet people like that. So you don't have to think like I do but common goals and activities make it easier to understand where people are coming from...Maybe that's why I love the running blog. (I used to have a running blog but it's been on ice while I heal my heel.) Blogging has allowed me to meet people I would never every meet otherwise.
My favourites are usually really good creative writers. The writers I'd like to be. As it turns out, Mayberry Magpie (on my must reads) work in the same field and both run. There is Stella who has a boy too. Then there are any number of people I read for various reasons... they make me laugh, they inspire, even if, in real life, we'd have nothing in common. I love the great story tellers.

What three things make your day better?
I suppose The Boy, The Man don't count eh?
So things:
-- Great big velcro hugs from The Boy. I want to carry that feeling in a pill, I could take whenever it all gets too much.
-- iPhone, people and music in one. Stupid how much I love that thing.
-- Coffee. Really. I love coffee.

Are you running to or away from something?
Depends on the run. Sometimes I run to run. Sometimes it's an excuse to listen music really loud on my earphones.

Big Leonard Cohen fan or huge Leonard Cohen fan?
Does a size 14 make me big or huge. ;) I'd say big. Odd fact, Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man is the only CD I have in common with my grandfather. We both related to him on a very different levels. Let's sit in that thought...


Nat said...

I love Leonard Cohen, it's a fair questions. I view him as more of a citizen of the world.

Montreal has created some wonderful artists. (Fabulous place.)

Thanks for the questions. Great job.

Princess of the Universe said...

Anyone who can create that Hallelujah song is a God in my mind...

The Maven said...

Nat is hands down awesome. She just is. And I am proud as anything to call her a friend. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I am very fond of Nat. I like her outlook on life. Her taste is music is just WOW. As we say in Australia, she is good value!

Anonymous said...

And I meant to say taste IN music. Even though I write for a living I am the world's worst typist. It is becoming embarrassing. Sheesh.

Kevin Spencer said...

"Sometimes it's an excuse to listen music really loud on my earphones."

Good a reason as any I find ;-)

delmer said...

Nice interview and answers.

I wonder if I could trade velcro hugs for the bone crushing hugs my middle boy gives. (Though all hugs are good.)