Five questions from Denmark

One of the great benefits of blogging is that you get to meet new friends from all over the world. I get really excited when I check my Google Analytics and discover that my blog is being read by people I'll probably never meet.

It has also led connections with some people I really hope I do get to meet, like Julie from Moments of Perfect Clarity.

One of the blogs she was reading had taken part in an interview game, she followed suit, and now it's my turn.

Like all these blog chains, there are some rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So here goes: my five questions and answers:

1. You're a freelance journalist -- what kind of assignments do you get?

I'm not sure if I am a freelance journalist, although that is actually the shorthand title that I use for what I do. My real title is probably media slut (I'll work for almost anyone who pays).

The company I started Of Course Media employs freelancers (including myself) and we do a whole range of creative things (hence the name). I seem to spend more of my time editing and project managing than actually writing. I worked on newspapers for years, mostly as a sub editor (including the FT in London). The assignments we get tend to be for things that interest me, especially science, medicine and poverty and development issues.

2. I've just read Paul Theroux's "dark star safari" in which he postulates (and quotes others who postulate) that aid is causing more problems than it's fixing in africa. What are your thoughts?

I'd tend to agree. There is a definite culture of waiting for handouts rather than harnessing talent in Africa. I think that the needs are huge and that the intentions behind the aid are of the best, but the result has been a continuation of the paternalism of colonialism. And there are many instances where the aid has filled the coffers of corrupt regimes rather than reaching the people for who it is intended. The present situation in Zimbabwe is a good illustration of what can go wrong. The mad Mugabe is able to continue to ignore his dying population because he knows that the "evil westerners" will step in and provide the medical attention and food etc that his regime is not capable or willing to provide themselves.

3-4. it appears from your blog that you haven't been blogging for very long...what coaxed you into the blogosphere? and how do you think it affects your journalism?

You're right, I only started last year (although I did register the blog about a year before I started because I was planning it as a marketing tool). I thought I wouldn't have the time or the motivation to blog regularly enough, but I have discovered that it is totally addictive. I enjoy having a soapbox for my opinions and I love making contact with people i wouldn't normally reach. My office is at home, 100km from Cape Town, and most of my contact with other people is through email. The blog gives me a chance to say "hey! You know what I think?"

I think it helps my writing in general because it keeps me thinking and writing and prevents me turning into an admin drone. the discipline of it is good and I also use it to get a wider audience for some of the things I am writing about as well as what my company is doing. So I suppose it is a marketing tool in a way.

5. will you share some of your paintings and talk a bit about what inspires you?

This is probably the hardest question you've asked, Julie! I don't consider myself an artist, and sharing my work is pretty scary. I was thrown out of art class at school (long story) and didn't think I could draw or paint at all until I went to my friend Leonie's art class. I started painting again last year when Eskom's powercuts were frustratingly frequent and my laptop battery kept running out before the lights came back on.

I think the thing I enjoy about painting is that it forces you to look at the world differently. It forces you to notice light and shadow and nuances of colour. And it challenges the perfectionist in me that is never completely happy with anything I have produced (except my sons).

Up till now I have only used acrylics but I'd like to try painting in oils.

This is my first attempt at painting an animal. It was from a photo I took when we were at the Addo Elephant Park in September 2007. What inspired me? I'm not sure... just the challenge of painting an elephant! It looks ok from a distance.

This is a painting of my friend Greta's favourite sand dune at Melkbos, with Table Mountain in the distance. She asked me to paint it for her and I was so flattered that she thought I could, that I did. There are lots of things about it I'd like to change but I'm happy with the footprints.

So that's it. Now its your turn. Anyone want to be interviewed?


julochka said…
super cool paintings, i'm so glad you shared! i took a painting class last winter and we used oils..i definitely now think that acrylics are the place to start...the paint stays where you put it a bit better. i got really intimidated by the oils.

i'm so glad you played along, it was fun for me--composing the questions and even more fun reading your answers. :-)
Interesting answers to interesting questions. I found you through Julie's site and can't even remember what led me to hers, but I follow it now after reading her hilarious narrative about a trip to IKEA. So greetings to you from Gig Harbor, Washington, USA.
Lynne said…
That's what I'm enjoying about blogging... these serendipitous (is there such a word?) meeting across the globe. Good to meet you Meri! And to see that we have a similar love for biooks, music, art. I'm going to enjoy reading your blog.
Iris said…
I like your paintings, especially the elephant. You did a really good job with the reflection in the water. I've just started using acrylic but I don't know that it really counts as "using" it since I'm only on black so far. lol. I really like chalk pastels but the drawback there is the tendency to rub my fingers raw blending.

I also found you through Julie's site. I'm so glad she did this 5 questions thing. I'm finding out she has some really cool readers. Nice to "meet" you and "hey, hi, and hello there" from Iowa.

Iris said…
Likewise, thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog!

Hey Lynne,

how are you doing? Did you decide on what 2 pieces to submit for the job app?
I want to be interviewed please.


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