I am delighted to have received another Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, this time from Caz of mentalhealthfromtheotherside! If you’re looking for a hard-hitting evaluation of the mental health profession with a sharp wit, please stop by Caz’ blog. She writes pieces revealing the challenges and problems in mental hospitals from first-hand experience as well as examining different mental health diagnoses and taking on the myths around them. Not the kind of myths I cover, the kind that hurt. Funny but true, she nominated me around the same time I nominated her on my first Sunshine post! Thank you, Caz. You are an amazing, courageous person and I appreciate you giving me this award!
- Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
- Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
- Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
- List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
Questions from Caz:
1. What influenced the name of your blog?
Ah, that’s a bit of a story. I wanted to find a phrase that sounded mythical but that could relate to media as well. Originally I had thought about using “The Idiot’s Lantern,” but it turned out that term for “TV” was almost entirely limited to an episode of Doctor Who by the same name. So I decided to think up my own term.
I was also reading Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series at the time. The fourth book, Blackveil, includes an encounter with a mysterious jester or fool who wears a mirror mask. Thinking about that mirror gave me the phrase “Fool’s Mirror.” The more I turned it over in my head, the more appropriate it seemed for today’s media. The mirror mask is treated as entertainment, but people don’t like to look too close or too long because it reveals truths about their deepest selves. Karigan, the main character of the series, later learns the mirror has the ability to show the threads of possible futures and alter which one comes true. The stories we tell don’t quite have that power, but by playing out alternative futures, presents, and pasts, I think we ask ourselves what we really want, what is most important to us.
So then I had the “Fool’s Mirror.” I researched that phrase to see if anyone else was using it and discovered it had been used in an essay on King Lear and The Fool’s Mirror, a historical fiction novel by Alex Dylan. I also discovered it was the name of a tarot spread designed to deal with life’s grey areas. You can read more about that in my first post, Beginning. The symbolism was just too perfect, so I stuck with “Fool’s Mirror” and, after wrestling with various adjectives, added “Illuminating” to make sure people searching for my blog wouldn’t just find the novel.
2. How long have you been blogging and how are you finding it?
I published my first post in August 2019. It’s a lot of work because I like to do a lot of research for articles, but it’s also fun. Discovering the support and energy of the blogging community has been my biggest and happiest surprise. I’m really enjoying getting to know people from around the globe!
3. Who would your blog appeal to or who would you like your blog to appeal to?
I don’t think I have a specific audience demographic so far, although I’m perplexed at the number of “illuminati” blogs that have followed me. I guess they see “Illuminating” and think that’s the same thing? So far, they seem harmless, but I never follow them back.
I also don’t have a specific demographic I want to appeal to, but I write for anyone who enjoys stories and the stories behind stories. They may be the old stories of myth, legend, and literature, or they may be the new stories told in film, TV, and novels today. Or really, any medium. I write for the curious, who like to keep exploring new territory in the realm of imagination. I write for the delvers, who want to get to the root of our stories and what they really mean. I write for anyone who wants a break from everyday life but also still wants something more than trivia. I write for those who like comparative mythology, who appreciate seeing not just one story but how it might connect to something entirely different.
Quirky connections are a bit of a specialty for me. When I was in college, I made a comment about how the vision of California in Grapes of Wrath seemed like a Kali-fornia, a bountiful mother earth transformed into a devouring mother goddess by human greed. One of my classmates commented that only I would connect Hindu deities to John Steinbeck. I took that as a compliment.
4. Tell us about your most current job and one thing you liked/disliked about it?
I work at a library. As you might guess, I’m a book-lover, so I was shocked to find out how many books end up getting thrown away in libraries. For most of them, there’s a good reason for it. The things I’ve found in books…But that’s another story. Still, I have a hard time tossing books. The only time I personally threw a book away was an anthology of cat stories that were gross and portrayed cats as mostly evil. Normally, I believe in donating any books I don’t want so that more people can read them, but I hated that book enough that I didn’t feel right giving it to anyone else.
5. What’s the last book you read about?
Well, due to my habit of reading more than one book at a time, I recently finished both The Storm of Life by Amy Capetta and Kitchen Curse by Eka Kurniawan. If you want to be precise, Kitchen Curse was more recent by a few minutes.
The Storm of Life is a YA fantasy novel, the sequel to The Brilliant Death. On the outside, it’s about two shape-shifting teen stregas (people with magic) fighting an evil man for control of their Italian-inspired world. However, in many ways it’s more about a young woman finally confronting her childhood abuser, her brother, and figuring out her relationship with a person whose nature defies boundaries and definitions. That absolutely boundless shifting is what drew me to the first book. Cielo and Teodora can take on the forms of different types of people, animals, elements, and even colors. It’s a fluidity of experience I envy.
Kitchen Curse is an anthology of short stories, so it’s again hard to say what it’s about. Some stories have strong or mild supernatural elements while others are based strictly in the earthy real world. The story that caught my eye, “Caronang,” follows the ultimately tragic events of a man bringing home a mythical dog-like creature home. It was interesting, but I ended up most fascinated by “The Stone’s Story.” A stone enraged at being used as a murder weapon plots revenge and ends up illustrating the futility of avenging violence with more violence. “Rotten Stench” was hard to read, but I am impressed at how hard-hitting it was considering it was about 9 pages of a single run-on sentence. The book left me with many questions. I haven’t read much Indonesian fiction, so I was curious, but the thing about reading fiction from cultures I haven’t experienced is that they’re a bit of a Schrodinger’s read. Until I research, I have no idea what is literal truth, what is hyperbole, and what is complete fantasy. But that just means an excuse to keep learning!
6. Tell us two truths and one lie (just for fun) about you?
Ooo, fun! Guess which one is the lie!
- My first sewing project using a sewing machine was making an Arwen costume with my mother’s help.
- I have been to Stonehenge in Britain.
- I have no tattoos.
7. Who was your last conversation with and what was it about?
My last conversation was with my mother, as are many of my conversations. We’re pretty close, and we like a lot of similar topics. I think our last in-depth conversation was about the habits and ecology of geese.
8. Who would you like to have dinner with, dead or alive, and why?
I would like to have one more dinner with my grandmother, who passed away a couple years ago. Though she didn’t die very suddenly, circumstances still conspired to keep me from being at her side when she knew she was dying. I sent her a letter thanking her for everything, but I still wish I could have had one last conversation with her. She was so full of stories, and I miss hearing those now.
9. When was your last belly-laugh and what was so funny?
That’s a bit complicated to answer, because I laugh a lot and when I’m comfortable, I laugh hard. My mother is the only one who will sit next to me when we watch a comedy because she finds it fun watching me guffaw and sometimes fall onto the floor if things get especially funny. I got a pretty good laugh this morning when I made a funny noise while stretching, which led to remembering an outtake from The Forbidden Kingdom where a solemn scene was repeatedly interrupted by a whiny-sounding bird.
10. Where, when and who was your last picnic.
I have a friend who really likes picnics, so last spring we met and had one in a park. I’m not a big fan of eating outdoors myself. I have an uncanny ability to sense bugs in or near my food, so you can imagine how distracting it can be trying to eat outside with wasps, flies, and ants all drifting closer toward the picnic spread.
11. What would you do if you found a £50 ($ or €) note?
If I had any way of getting it back to the person who lost it, I’d take that route. If I were in an isolated place with no lost and found, I might take it home to see if some perfect use for it suddenly appeared. If the universe is offering me a gift, I’m not going to refuse it. But if no perfect use for a $50 bill appeared, I’d like to try something I read about: Looking for someone who is down on their luck and clearly struggling, then pretend they dropped it and give it to them. I know it won’t do much for anyone where I live, but it might provide a meal.
My questions for you:
- If you get all the items on your to-do list crossed off, what do you do?
- What is a food or drink that you really enjoy but you know it’s not good for you?
- Do you prefer to talk things out or silently mull?
- How often do you look at the stars?
- Given the choice, would you rather travel by car, by public transportation, or on foot?
- Where do you go barefoot?
- Would you feel more nervous walking alone at night down a city street or a country path?
- What device would you have a hard time living without?
- How often do you read translated books or watch subtitled film?
- What is one thing that surprised you about blogging?
- If you could pick a legacy to leave behind, what would it be?