Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The other day lovely, gracious, talented Lori Degman honored me with a "Versatile Blogger Award."

Thank you, Lori! (sweeping bow here) I'm honored. and I'm so pleased to know you. Readers, you'll want to know her too. She's awesome. And she too wrote a zoo book! That's right: the award-wining picture book 1 ZANY ZOO.

And the whole thing got me pondering that word "versatile." According to the Free Online Dictionary, it means  
"1. Capable of doing many things competently. 2. Having varied uses or serving many functions"

I like it. It's about what one is able to offer the world.

It seems closely related to another word I like even better: ECLECTIC.

Again, according to the Free Online dictionary, it means
 "Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles"

 I don't know why I like this word better. Maybe because it's more artsy, less utilitarian-sounding? Eclectic, to me, feels like getting to the source of things.

Eclectic feels like a centerpiece whereas versatile feels like something you store in the kitchen drawer and pull out from time to time.

 And as I was having this conversation with myself about the difference between the two words, I thought, hmmm. Lori is exactly the kind of person who would appreciate the difference. And there are a number of other bloggers I can think of who would too.

So in honor of that, I hereby take the liberty of altering this award. I'm giving it a new name and altering the "rules" ever so slightly. Because that's what we versatile/eclectic bloggers do!

The new rules:

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy. 
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.  
  •  Next, select 5 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. 
  •  Nominate those 5 bloggers for the Eclectic Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site. 
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 5 things about yourself. 
 For those of you who care about such things: the original rules said to select "15" bloggers and tell "7" things about yourself. Ummmm, I'm introverted, okay? Even "5" (of either thing) is a bit of a challenge for me.

So. Here's the five bloggers I would like to recognize for their amazing eclectic-ness:

Pat Weaver at Writer on a Horse: Pat writes about gardening and getting older and horses and chicken hawks and you just never know what! She makes me laugh and cry.

Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference: Tabatha's blog is an artsy feast of music and visuals and written words. I always leave inspired.

Linda Baie at Teacher Dance: Linda has got to be one of the most gracious, generous spirits in the blogosphere. I love the real-life things she chooses to write about... teaching, living, saying goodbyes, bullying... really good stuff.

Team Swagger: Okay, to be fair, it's easier to be eclectic when you're a team. I love all the voices here and suspect you will too!

Another blog I want to mention even though it's food-centric, so not exactly eclectic, but the person who's writing it certainly seems to be and I have enjoyed the heck out of it since discovering a short while ago:

So Delushious!: Here's the tagline: "personal random ramblings from a girl who loves bacon and can't be fat." This blog is written by model Chrissy Teigen. There's something about that contradiction: model who loves to eat and also love spicy language and Pilates and taking up-close pics of food that really appeals to me. Warning: SPICY LANGUAGE.And try the chipotle marinade. Yum!


1. Once upon a time I gardened. Not anymore.That's because I realized I don't really like it. I don't like the sun, the heat, the weeds, chiggers.... so if you've got extra veggies, I am happy to give them a plate to momentarily rest upon!

2.  I'm thinking about taking a comedy/improv class. It scares me. Which is the biggest reason I want to take it.

3. I'm also thinking about taking an iron casting class at Sloss Furnace.

4. I dream about a country road like this one:

5. I love to rearrange the furniture.



  1. I agree, a comedy/improv class does sound scary, but good for you for even thinking about it! And THANK YOU for this lovely start to my day! Considering that I woke up to a broken coffee pot, your award definitely helped, Irene. Being eclectic is highly interesting. I will have to take this on all the day to see how it feels. Have a terrific day!

  2. Congratulations, Irene, and thank you! (Isn't it just like a wordsmith to seek out the perfect word to name the award?) It sounds like you are thinking about challenging yourself in interesting ways. I don't know what iron casting is, but I'm intrigued. Thanks again! :-)

  3. I completely agree with your inner monologue about "eclectic" vs. "versatile" - and yay for changing the name!

    AND....YES YES YES YES to the improv class! I wholeheartedly believe that anyone who has to be in the public eye for any reason should take an intro to acting or improv class, even more so than public speaking. If it's a good class, it will free you, Irene, and I know you'll just love it. If you do it, please blog about it - would love to hear how it goes. :)

  4. Hi Irene!
    Team Swagger thanks you for the shout out. We really enjoy you too!

  5. Fun post! (And I bet you didn't color in the lines when you were little, either, Oh Eclectic One. Neither did I. Actually, I didn't much like coloring in something someone else had drawn at all - just drew my own pictures!)

    Are you going to Hester's Show-Don't-Tell retreat? I think it's going to be terrific.

  6. I love that changes you made to the award, Irene - way to think outside the box! And I totally appreciate the difference between versatile and eclectic!!

    I know what you mean about gardening - I don't do nearly as much of it as I should. Luckily, we don't have a big chigger problem in the north! You don't happen to know my niece, Kim Fasking, do you? She live in Birmingham too.

    At the SCBWI LA conference last year, Bruce Coville said that all writers who are going to do public speaking and school visits should take an improv class, so I took one last year - two sessions actually. I loved it and I know you will too! It definitely helped me feel more comfortable in front of an audience.

    I have no idea what iron casting is but it sounds intriguing! What is it?

    PS - thanks so much for the kind words - I feel the same about you!!


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