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My Fifteen Minutes of Fame? I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award

Liebster Award for up-and-coming blogs

Connie Rossini of Contemplative Homeschool
blog has kindly given me the Liebster Award. It’s given to up-and-coming
bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.  You modern linguists will already know that “liebster” means “favorite” in German. So, in bestowing this award on me, Connie is proclaiming that my blog is one of her favorites (thank you, Connie!) and suggesting that it might become your favorite, too, if you’ll just give it a try. So welcome to any new readers — please poke around, you’ll find a little bit of a lot of things, and quite a lot about the moral imagination, which seems to be one of my favorite subjects and, also, the subject that attracts the greatest number of readers.

Here are the “rules” for The Liebster Award:
  1. List 11 things about yourself.
  2. Answer the questions that the nominator has posed for you.
  3. Nominate 11 up-and-coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.
  4. Create 11 questions to ask the nominees.
  5. Go to the page of each nominee and tell her about her award.

Here are 11 things about me you probably didn’t know:

  1. I was expelled from kindergarten for being “socially immature.”
  2. I didn’t learn to ride a bike or swim until I was 10 years old.
  3. In first grade, my penmanship was so poor that one of my teachers once said my writing-practice paper looked like it had been walked over by a hen with muddy feet.
  4. I once played the “Henry Fonda” role in an all-woman version of Twelve Angry Men.
  5. I was a National Merit Scholar.
  6. For two summers when I was in junior high, I took part in the Governor’s Program for Gifted Children in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
  7. I once had to walk two miles barefoot through Madrid because the high heels I had left home in proved to be too horrendously painful to wear. (I bought a pair of cheap, ugly, flat shoes before I went home at lunchtime.)
  8. I am probably the only person ever to attempt to write a novel about practicing Catholics in the 29th century at the far edge of our galaxy.
  9. When I was a youngster, some of the things I wanted to be when I grew up included: a diplomat, an interpreter, a world-traveler, a novelist, a commercial artist, a naval intelligence officer, an archaeologist. I’m still working on a couple of those.
  10. For eleven years, two possums used to come into my second-floor apartment every night to eat my cats’ food from their dish in the kitchen, and I discovered this only a couple of months before I moved out of that apartment.
  11. I was baptised and confirmed in the first parish ever to be dedicated to Saint Frances Cabrini. The bishop who confirmed me had been a student in one of the schools Saint Frances Cabrini founded, and he met her when he was a child. I took her name in Confirmation.

The questions Connie gave me are:

1. What is you favorite painting or sculpture?
It’s hard to pick a favorite! I’ve visited many art museums and seen many beautiful works of art — those that impress me most are not always the most famous. For instance, once when I was in the Louvre in Parish, there was a huge crowd, about 6 people deep, trying to get a peep of da Vinci’s La Gioconda (a.k.a. Mona Lisa); I’ve never cared for that painting, but found that right next to it was a very beautiful painting of St John the Baptist (it may have been this one). I’m fortunate to have had ready access to the very wonderful Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth, where I can see this beautiful painting of a Spanish knight by one of my favorite painters, Diego Velázquez. (I am a sucker for great portraits, and when I lived in Madrid I spent hours ogling Velázquez’s work at the Museo del Prado.) I’ve already written about the sculpture that I’ve found most striking, Nike or Winged Victory.

2. What is your favorite book of the Bible? 
This one is easy: the Gospel of St John, hands down! If the rest of the Bible were to be obliterated (which God forbid), this Gospel could stand in for all the rest. (Of course, without all the rest of the Bible, no one would really understand John’s Gospel, so it’s a good thing you can’t just pluck one book out and ignore the rest.)

3. What was your worst subject in school? Physical education. At least, that’s the only class in which my classmates actually threatened to beat me black and blue for being so lousy at it. To be fair, though, I was actually pretty good at folk dancing, bowling, and calisthenics (if you don’t include push-ups); unfortunately, PE teachers tend to skimp on those units and spend way too much time on things that involve catching or hitting (or kicking) flying objects, which my monocular vision made it very difficult for me to do.

4. Which modern convenience would you find it most difficult to live without?

Eyeglasses from Zenni Optical

If I lived in some pleasant, rural area and had plenty of room for books (although the codex was once considered a “modern” convenience), instead of being stuck on the periphery of a huge metropolitan sprawl, where everything I want to do and everyone I want to visit is 20 or 40 or 60 miles away via a spaghetti soup of freeway, I could live without almost all modern conveniences. Except, perhaps, eyeglasses. I could do without them, too, if I didn’t have to kill my own food. (No, I do not currently kill my own food, but if I lived rurally without mod cons, I might have to.)

5. What is the farthest you have ever been from the place you born? According to this calculator, 5625.89 miles or 9054 kilometers, give or take. That is the distance between Alexandria, Louisiana, my natal spot, and Pompeii, Italy, where I once climbed to the top of Mount Vesuvius, in the company of several dozen high school Latin students. I’ve been grateful ever since to Pliny the Elder for having immortalized that volcano’s most famous eruption.

6. What is your favorite day/season of the liturgical year?
Passion/Palm Sunday symbolPalm/Passion Sunday, which encapsulates beautifully the God Made Man and the human race’s bipolar attitude toward Him. That, or Good Friday, which beautifully expresses that same God’s unwavering and undying love for the wretched creatures whom He patiently wills to become like Him. Shucks, just give me all of Holy Week, while we’re at it, especially if that includes Easter. And by “Easter,” of course, I mean all of Eastertide. Especially if that includes Pentecost.

7. What virtue would you most like to be remembered for practicing? Humility, the foundation of every other virtue. But that’s not very likely. The one I’ve been working on longest (even before I knew what a virtue was) is Wisdom. I’ve probably made a little more progress on that one, but only because I got started sooner and have pursued it with greater zeal. Mea culpa.

8. What one word would your friends use to describe you?
Smart. By which they would mean, “We can ask Lisa anything and she’ll have some sort of answer that sounds like it makes sense. Or if she doesn’t have the answer, she can tell us which book to read or web site to visit to find out.” {sigh} I’ve been known as a walking encyclopedia for more than forty years, malgré moi (when I was 7 or 8, I actually read the World Book Encyclopedia cover to cover). But, as I’ve always said, it’s not what you know or how “smart” you are, it’s what you do with what you’ve got. I’m still working on that.

9. Would you describe yourself the same way?
No, I’d say I’m philosophical, which means “seeking wisdom.” (Are we starting to see a trend here?) Being wise is not the same as being “smart” — there are plenty (too many!) “smart” idiots in the world, and I hope not to be one of them, even though I make plenty of stupid mistakes all the time. But life is a journey, not a resting place, and Truth is a broad and deep country, so I keep questing, higher up and farther in.

10. Do you speak any language other than English?
I speak Spanish well, and French not-so-well. I also read (listed in declining order of proficiency) Latin, Italian, Old French, and a smidgen of German, without being able to speak them. Oh, and I once had a college roommate who told me I spoke Russian in my sleep (maybe I did, I took a year of it my senior year of high school).

11. What is your favorite novel for adults?

Inklings portraits pen and ink

I don’t do well with “favorite” questions. Also, I don’t really distinguish between “novels for adults” and “novels for anybody else.” A good book is a good book. There are too many novels I really like, or have really liked at some time in my life. Here are some that have been my favorites at different times in the past (in no particular order): Where the Red Fern Grows, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Tunnel in the Sky, The Daughter of Time
, Love In the Ruins, The End of the Affair, The Inheritors, Dandelion Wine, The Lord of the Rings, Below the Salt, Islandia, The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, That Hideous Strength, The Place of the Lion, Otherland
, Time and Again, Alas, Babylon, A Town Like Alice
, Lucky Jim. Most of these are not “great literature,” but they have all been, for me, captivating tales, prompting multiple readings. There are some recurring themes her, which astute readers will discern.

But enough about me. I’ll be pondering who my own nominees will be. If you would like to be considered for the coveted Liebster Award, let me know.

©2013 Lisa A. Nicholas

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