Greg – No 2.

Bunratty Castle, Co Clare

Greg lives in central Dublin but dreams of having a house by the sea. His favourite writer is Chaucer and, not surprisingly, when he grows up he wants to be a lecturer/researcher in medieval literature and culture. In the meantime, he keeps himself entertained listening to a bit of progressive rock and watching Fringe, Breaking Bad and Peep Show. Oh and finishing his thesis. Although Greg did admit that the questions were difficult and took some time to complete, I hope he is happy with the result.

1. Tell me about your favourite pet. 

My dog Mulder, who died last February aged 14. He was a springer spaniel with a gentle nature and a sixth sense for when you were upset or ill. He was also absolutely bonkers (often more blur of fur than dog) and liked to smell (and occasionally eat) flowers.

2. Describe your perfect day. 

A Saturday. I’ve gotten everything done the day before, so I can take my time over a nice breakfast. Then spend the day reading, chatting, avoiding the news, trying something new, watching something funny and then meeting some friends for a glass of wine in my favourite place in Dublin.

3. What are you most grateful for?

That I have dependable people in my life.

4. At what time in your recent past have you felt most alive?

In a good way – on my wedding day last July. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so many things simultaneously.

In a bad way – when I was 27, I thought I was having a heart-attack. I’d been having bad chest pains all day, then they got much worse. I was brought to hospital where they discovered a virus that simulates a heart-attack by inflaming the muscles around the heart. I was absolutely terrified.

5. What is the one thing you like most about yourself?

My obsession with medieval history and culture.

6. What are you most proud of?

That as I’ve grown up, I’ve cared less and less about what the wrong sort of people think of me. Still a long way to go, though.

7. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Tried to be someone I’m not for people I didn’t even like.

8. What’s your biggest regret so far?

That I didn’t have more fun growing up.

9. What has been your lowest point?

Not being able to help a loved one who was going through a very difficult time.

10. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

I want to speak at least 2 other languages fluently. I could blame time, but it’s really my own fault.

11. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Take out a massive loan and write a travel book (I have the idea & everything).

12. What are you most afraid of?

Losing control over myself when I get old. I want to know who I am and be able to look after myself.

13. Think of the last time you were angry. Why were you angry and how did you react?

I got angry at an aggressive, misanthropic colleague in work. I reacted by arguing with him because he was being obnoxious and wrong.

14. Is there something you’re ashamed of? Are you prepared to share it here?

I’m ashamed of my younger self. He wasted so much time and thought he knew it all. What an eejit.

15. What have you learned that you think other people should know about?

Spoil/treat yourself when possible, not just on special occasions. You deserve it. And keep trying new things, big and small.

16. What did you dream of being when you grew up?

A paleontologist. I was obsessed with dinosaurs.

17. What have you been thinking about lately?

How I’m going to get to September without going mad (I’m submitting my Ph.D thesis).

18. What gives you butterflies in your stomach?

Daydreams about the future.

19. What’s the one thing you’d like to change about the world?

For people to realise how their words, actions and choices affect others and the world in general.

20. What do you like to do in your spare time, on weekends?

Chat, read, watch tv, do housework, play videogames (good for giving the brain a break from work thoughts), plan the week ahead.

21. Name one thing you’ve done that has made a positive difference to someone else.

I introduced them to Mulder. Until meeting him, they were afraid of dogs.

22. What one question do you wish I had asked you today?

Why do good things happen to bad people?

 

 

Again thanks a million to Greg for being a part of this project.

 

 

Contact me on –

Email : STWYMO@gmail.com

Twitter : @NiamhSTWYMO

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New question

As I was reviewing the questions, I realised there was something missing.

Fear.

I did consider this in the early stages and then thought the question “What are you most afraid of?” would only result in spiders, heights and MRI machines. But since I’ve added it in the last few interviews, it has proven one of the most interesting answers of them all. So it stays.

Looking forward to hearing your story soon.

 

Contact me on –

Email : STWYMO@gmail.com

Twitter : @NiamhSTWYMO

Or leave a comment.

Regina – No 1.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATrumpets! Fireworks! Champagne! OK, maybe not champagne. On this blog’s budget, more like fruit cordial. Anyway, the point being, it’s ready! The very first responder has responded. A huge thank you and some sort of medal (may not actually contain a medal) goes to Regina from Tipperary, a kind and funny lady I follow on Twitter. She emailed her answers and is happy to get the ball rolling. And so, over to Regina :

 

1. Tell me about your favourite pet.

He’s my current one. Sir Gawain, a grey and cream lop-eared rabbit, who holds my heart in one comically oversized paw. He has eyes bright with mischief (seriously, you should see what he’s done to the couch upholstery with them needle-sharp fangs) and a sweet and utterly lovable disposition. Seeing him never fails to lift my spirits.

2. Describe your perfect day.

Time with the land, time with the people I love, at least two pots of TAAAAAAYYYYY and something home-baked. An absorbing read. Rachmaninov on the wireless.

3. What are you most grateful for?

The constant is the people in my life. The other ones are tea in the pot, the time spent making things from other things, the fact that Betty White is still getting work, continued decent health, enough to eat.

4. At what time in your recent past have you felt most alive?

In a good way, on honeymoon last year. Sitting having breakfast in Carcassonne with my new husband, my back to the most glorious morning sun, eating croissants with jam that tasted like sunshine in a jar. In a bad way, during a house fire a few months later.

5. What is the one thing you like most about yourself?

Um.. I’ve a really nice fountain pen?

6. What are you most proud of?

I made it this far.

7. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Thought “expect little, forgive much” was a good way to live. (Kids! It’s really not!) I was *shudder* very young.

8. What’s your biggest regret so far?

I didn’t take that helicopter ride cross-country. Other than that, I regret any cruel or thoughtless words and/or deeds.

9. What has been your lowest point?

The period coming up to and including the death of a loved one. It was an absolute sustained punch in the gut, that whole time; I floundered. I didn’t know how to be at all.

10. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

Learning to swim. I’ve always wanted to swim outdoors. What’s holding me back is the practical (finding the time and money, health woes) with a little drop of fear.

11. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

I’d make my music public.

12. Think of the last time you were angry. Why were you angry and how did you react?

Someone was taking the piss in a professional setting. I laughed it off with someone else there and fumed for a solid hour. Bah!

13. Is there something you’re ashamed of? Are you prepared to share it here?

Yes. I’m ashamed that there is so much I don’t know that other people take for granted (see: swimming).

14. What have you learned that you think other people should know about?

Use the best china, as life is painfully short as it is. Use your “no”; it really is okay.

15. What did you dream of being when you grew up?

A feminist Tanaiste who made all her own clothes.

16. What have you been thinking about lately?

Change, the nature of being stuck and getting unstuck, living life with fewer things.

17. What gives you butterflies in your stomach?

Himself.

18. What’s the one thing you’d like to change about the world?

I’d like there to be easy access to clean water for every world citizen.

19. What do you like to do in your spare time, on weekends?

I make things from other things (knitting, papercrafts, jewellery making, baking), I walk, I read, I watch films and some very dodgy TV.

20. Name one thing you’ve done that has made a positive difference to someone else.

I told someone the truth about themselves (as I saw it) and it gave them a lift at a difficult time.

21. What one question do you wish I had asked you today?

With two such magnificent legs, how is it you weren’t in show business?

 

 

Again, thanks to Regina for making it easier for the rest of us.

 

Contact me on –

Email : STWYMO@gmail.com

Twitter : @NiamhSTWYMO

Or leave a comment.

The Questions

file8471256893407This is the list of twenty-one questions we’ll use during our conversation. They start off gently with some nice easy ones, get a bit tricky in the middle and then we finish up with a few interesting ones.

There is only one question which could be answered with a yes or no: no 13. This is by design as I feel it is the most difficult question for most of us to answer truthfully. However, even acknowledging this in your answer, is enough.

Look through the list and answer them for yourself anyway. Then, when you are ready to chat about them with me, contact me at showthemwhatyouremadeof@gmail.com or on Twitter @NiamhSTWYMO.

  1. Tell me about your favourite pet.
  2. Describe your perfect day.
  3. What are you most grateful for?
  4. At what time in your recent past have you felt most alive?
  5. What is the one thing you like most about yourself?
  6. What are you most proud of?
  7. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?
  8. What’s your biggest regret so far?
  9. What has been your lowest point?
  10. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
  11. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  12. Think of the last time you were angry. Why were you angry and how did you react?
  13. Is there something you’re ashamed of? Are you prepared to share it here?
  14. What have you learned that you think other people should know about?
  15. What did you dream of being when you grew up?
  16. What have you been thinking about lately?
  17. What gives you butterflies in your stomach?
  18. What’s the one thing you’d like to change about the world?
  19. What do you like to do in your spare time, on weekends?
  20. Name one thing you’ve done that has made a positive difference to someone else.
  21. What one question do you wish I had asked you today?

That’s it. Easy-peasy, right? 😉 Looking forward to hearing from you.

By the way, in the next post I’ll be stepping up to the mark. Well, I can’t expect other people to volunteer if I haven’t sacrificed myself first, can I? Cue sweaty palms and palpitations….

Email : STWYMO@gmail.com

Twitter @NiamhSTWYMO

Or leave a comment.

How does it work then?

So down to the details. This is an interview blog. I have compiled a list of twenty-one questions which I chose in order to explore some of the emotions we all experience most commonly. The facts of your answers are secondary. It’s your feelings and thoughts surrounding the details of your life that I’m interested in. For example, you might not be able to tell me that you ran over your neighbour’s cat in case they find out but you can tell me how you felt when “this thing” happened.

file000470641314I will need to record our conversations so as to do justice to your answers and not rely on my note-taking or memory alone. I feel that it’s easier to connect with people when you can see them so I will try to speak with you face-to-face. The ideal would be to meet in person (hopefully with some tea and cake involved) but I know that may not be physically possible so the next best option will have to be recorded Skype conversations. I may need to reassess this in the future but for now, that’s the plan. I would love it if I could publish some of these conversations as videos on the blog. I think if someone can see your eyes and facial expressions when you are speaking, it’s easier to make a connection. For the moment, I will leave this as optional. If you feel  it’s something you wouldn’t mind doing, please let me know.

So let me outline the good bits and the, ahem, less good bits.

Good Bits

  1. You will be doing a good thing. Someone who feels alone or isolated may read your story and feel less alone and isolated. So it’s like being a super-hero with very little physical effort. Sort of.
  2. How often do you get to give an interview without being some sort of celebrity/expert –type? I’m just interested in you and I want to hear your story.
  3. This is entirely voluntary.
  4. I will publish the twenty-one questions in my next blog post so it’s really like one of those open-book exams. You can swot up before you’re asked anything.
  5. You can change your mind at any time after offering to take part.
  6. You can pass on any question but I won’t publish the interview if there are five or more passes.
  7. I will email you your interview after it’s completed and before publication so you can change anything you’re not comfortable with. I will also show you your video interview, if you choose to do one, before publication so you can opt out at that stage.
  8. You can ask me to take down your interview at any time after publication.
  9. I will approve any comments made on this blog before they are published – so no nasty trolls to deal with.
  10. I’d rather if the interviews were not anonymous but I’m open to negotiation on this one.

Slightly, you know, awkward bits

  1. The questions are not easy. Even the positive ones are hard. I’ve answered them myself and there’s one I had to pass on.
  2. You will feel uncomfortable answering some of the questions. There’s no way for me to make that easier for you I’m afraid.
  3. People (hopefully lots of people) will hear your story.
  4. There may be repercussions from your bravery. Mostly positive, but possibly some negative ones too.
  5. If you are a naturally private person, as I am, this will be really difficult. I understand this completely and appreciate the effort it will take to do this. Even if we don’t get a finished product for publication from the interview process, at least you tried.
  6. Some of us will never be able to get over the fear of being vulnerable. We may dress it up as being “cautious” or “sensible”, but it boils down to being afraid of an adverse outcome, mainly that we will be judged by our peers to be unworthy and be rejected. If you are unable to take part in an interview, I ask that you do one thing. I ask that you think about the fear that stops you and how much better the world would be if we didn’t have to feel this fear. There are enough scary things out there besides being terrified of the opinion of our equally flawed, equally scared neighbour. And maybe pass this blog address to that person whom you are most afraid of judging you.

So that’s basically it. To be honest, I was holding off on publicising this blog until it was an all-singing, all-dancing, fireworks-shooting-out-of-your-USB-port phenomenon. But then I realised that I wasn’t helping anyone as long as I was labouring over every word. It’s a pretty simple idea. We have a chat, I pass it on and someone else hopefully reads it and feels better because you shared your story. So let’s get started.

Contact me on –

Email : STWYMO@gmail.com

Twitter : @NiamhSTWYMO

Or leave a comment.