Versatility: flexible fine-tuned fabulousness.

A valued commodity, this versatility. My old Oxford Dictionary says it’s the ability to turn easily or readily from one subject from another, a many-useful thing.

And once, shrouded in the mists of cybertime, someone dreamt up an award which celebrates the blogger who has all this.

Where it came from, no-one knows: rather like Nanny McPhee it materialised, no-one is quite sure when, and stays, one is not certain how long.

A Google search just turns up some of the thousands, possibly tens or hundreds of thousands, who have received it. No hint of its origin.

In my head I imagine the first batch of awards, and how quickly those awards fanned out into the blogosphere, like fingers reaching clutches of bloggers in their little networks. It must be evolving organically. Soon, I sense, we will all have one. We are reaching the Versatile Blogger Endgame.

It asks for seven things.

It is not the first to do this. Rome had seven Kings, Constantinople seven hills. There’s the seven dwarves, the Seven-Year-Itch, we’ve all been freaked out by The Seventh Seal and Agatha Christie’s Seven Dials. Seven things, if you believe the Bible and JK Rowling, are sexy.

I have seven things: who doesn’t? But it’s which seven things to choose: the most seminal? the most mysterious?The most profound ? The most idiotic?

Seven things for seven bloggers, without further classification,is a bewildering charge. But from my dear old blogging friend Pseu, and my wildhearted romantic historian Paul at Sons Of Thunder, l gratefully accept the accolade.

Now for Thing One and Thing Two.

Thing One: I can do a perfect impression of Julie Andrews. Thing two: when I call the dog’s name in the forest with full projection, people put their hands over their ears.

Thirdly, I have a laugh with similar punch: more of a shout-out, really. Great for warming up parties. Fourth, I adore small rodents, especially Β voles. Thing Five, I was once a composer, and Thing Six, I own a shoe ‘last’ which I found in a little antique shop in Greece but was made in the north of England. Thing Seven is simply that I know deep in my soul that pairs of earrings are part of an inanimate conspiracy, and, using a corner of physics I, and the rest of the scientific world, have yet to encounter, they repel each other..

With an air of verdant optimism, the emerald award ventures to ask for 15 nominations. I have visions of a university research project which started this off to investigate the maths behind its dissemination.

There is no obligation to pass my award on, today. Some of you will be far too busy. Life is short, yada, yada.

It is pleasant, though, to point folks towards some friends who turn easily from one subject to another.

Especially with bloggers like Rosemary. She has a greater breadth of knowledge and experience than mine and presents fascinating perspectives interspersed by the most stunning pictures. She has a very British taste and style. Easy on the eye, her blog, and totally absorbing.

And who could resist a Provencal blogger? Earlybird loves to cook but her appreciation of her life, so fully lived, is engrossing.

For utterly divine writing, Elizabeth Yon is your woman. An occasional poster, each post is as warm and exotic as a Klimt. She handles the language masterfully. Je l’adore.

Some Machiavellian corner of my psyche fancies a similar social experiment to those who set the versatile ball rolling: I wonder how long it would take to disseminate the Volatile Blogger award?

Volatile organic compounds react strangely to normal, room temperature conditions. They have a very low boiling point and even at room temperature their molecules leap airwards, and become airborne.

I don’t mean a blog which evaporates rapidly, I hasten to add, as I read Oxford’s definition with consternation. Rather, it is the qualities of liveliness, of changeable, surprising wit and overriding fearlessness that define a few writers. I’ve found one in the last fortnight: Andra. She’s no stranger to writing and publishing and her work is frankly brilliant, with a quality of chemical volatility, an immediacy which takes the breath away. Sharon’s another: a clever, quickfire wit which makes me laugh out loud. She makes me think, dammit, why can’t I write like that?

Or there’s my friend TomΒ : utterly grounded and with a wonderful writing voice and a strange old take on life. He’s volatile because of the element of surprise. He’s quite sure he’s been here before, in the sixteenth century, and writes about it and a frillion other things with such engaging pragmatism that I have read, captivated, day after day.

Versatile, volatile bloggers rule.

I am proud to know so many.


37 thoughts on “Versatility

    1. Yup, Tilly. It was my major during my music degree aeons ago. I loved it but one only has 24 hours in a day and I like to teach, write, sing, act, mother and play in the odd orchestra. We’d all like nine of us to follow each path, but we all have only one.

      1. Laughed out loud, Pseu πŸ˜€ Yes, you have rumbled me. I have been a closet composter all my life. Cannot resist lurking around at the bottom of the garden.

        Ever considered Twitter? You’d so enrich the tweet stream….

  1. I agree with all of the above. Well done, Kate. And thank you for your sweet words! I’m now going to discover the other people you’ve mentioned.

    1. You’re welcome, Earlybird and thanks so much for your posts. If I can’t live there, then at least I can follow someone who does, and who writes about it so beautifully πŸ™‚

  2. Dear Kate – Congratulations. Those of us that visit you regularly know how true your versatility is. We love the people (and dog) that inhabit your blog – Maddie, Felix, Phil, McCauley and not forgetting Big Al.
    Thanks for your very kind comments. It was your blog that inspired me to give it a go.

  3. Why am I not surprised you’ve had one of these before? Very well deserved and this has to be one of my top three favourite acceptance posts. And thank you, you’re nice to me.

  4. Congratulations! I can’t think of a more deserving versatile blogger than you, Kate, and your acceptance is a model for why you have earned it. Well done, dear blogging friend, well done.

  5. Loved this post, Kate. Especially:

    Where it came from, no-one knows: rather like Nanny McPhee it materialised, no-one is quite sure when, and stays, one is not certain how long.

    Wonderful acceptance speech. You are a versatile virtuoso of the virtual cyber-world. πŸ˜€

  6. Loved this! How gracious you are! One of those friends to whom you ‘pointed’ today, Andra, is the blogger who prompted my curiosity about you (and yes, she IS talented). I am grateful for that connection, as I am thoroughly enjoying your posts and anxious to read more.

    1. Karen, how lovely to meet a friend of Andra’s! It’s been compelling stuff over at hers recently. I’ve been on the edge of my seat, I can tell you…thanks for taking the time to come and say hello.

  7. Kate, I love your seven things. It shows your versatility and breadth of interests. Thanks, too, for introducing me to more bloggers I might like to know (and for including me in your list………….which got me thinking……… does one accept a Volatile Blogger Award? Has it ever been done? Hmmmmmmmm. In the next week, I guess we shall see.)

    1. Andra, I never once thought that someone might wish to accept the Volatile Blogger Award. I think one might have to accept in a suitably incendiary way: create a rumpus, in the style of the nominated blogger, so to speak.

      Volatile bloggers are a rarer breed, so nominating three would be quite enough.

      Incendiary artwork:something from Louis Stephenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, I think. I’ll root around and post it up, just in case anyone feels unutterably brave and decides to accept.

  8. Wildhearted, Romantic…Historian..? Yeah, that’s about it.. or, Hopeless Romantic, probably more accurate…and don’t forget…Me and Big AL…Are so easily entertained…I not only LOVE Lightning McQueen, but your post about Big Al’s birthday touched me in more ways than you can imagine…
    One, because I felt Al’s elation, and your kindness through your well written article about his birthday…and two, because I actually had a cousin we called Big Al, 10 years my junior who passed away from cancer this year. And your description of your big Al fit my memory of my cousin pretty much to a T…
    Oh, I think I see a BUG on your keyboard… I took care of that problem when it reared it’s ugly head on mine, as seen here:
    Love ya in blogger terms…

    1. Funny, everybody loves Big Al. So sorry to hear about your cousin’s passing: our lives are filled with friends who are with us for a time, and have to leave, and they leave a yawning gap behind. But very glad our Al made you chuckle. My turn to have him tomorrow. Erk.

  9. Well, I’m new to all of it, and having quite a time reading and learning from so many of you. It’s a delight! And Kate, you are tremendously inspiring. I enjoy connecting through the stories of your family and your abundant sense of place and time. Congratulations, indeed! Debra

  10. Thank you for mentioning my blog, Kate, and congratulations on the award. I’ve been nominated today, coincidentally (I love coincidences!) which is very flattering indeed, and I like the sound of your Volatile Blogger award. It may take off! πŸ˜€

    1. James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Joseph Heller, Martin Amis : some of the greatest novelists, playwrights and poets of all time were volatile to the point of incendiary. It is the highest compliment I could accord πŸ™‚ I wish I had it myself but as you see, I am hopelessly domestic….

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