"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A Very Inspiring Blogger


Sherry Ellis has one of the best blogs going around. Her blog Mama Diaries contains little almost-daily stories about her kids and the innocent mischief they get up to. I was pretty blown away when she named me as an inspiration. It was my skydiving video that did it: made her want to get out there and do something death-defying herself. We here in the Think Tank* applaud that attitude and I can't wait to see the results.

*That's the first time I've tried to name this place. What do you think?

Anyway, being an inspiration and all, she decided to hand me an award. The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is normally given to those who save a fellow soldier's life on the battlefield. If the person awarding it doesn't know anyone who's been to war (and let's face it - we're writers, not fighters), then it's to be given to those you find inspiring. Sherry decided I'm one of those people.

If that wasn't good enough already, the award found its way back to me again a few days later. One of the other great blogs of the internet - Cherdo On the Flipside - had gotten it from Chrys Fey who had in turn gotten it from Sherry. She thought it was fitting to hand it to me a second time because you know what? I'm just that darn good.

The award comes with a few rules attached:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog. (check!)
  2. Display the award logo. (check!)
  3. Mention three things that have inspired you over the last few weeks (can do)
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and link to their blogs. (15?!?! I barely even know 15 people!!)
  5. Go to their blog and leave a comment telling them they've won. (15?!)
 Okay, little steps. Name three things that have inspired me.

The first (and most cliched) is the friends I've made so far on this blog. I've mentioned once or twice before that I used to have a different blog which fell by the wayside when life got hectic. I accidentally deleted it and some of the best parts of my history disappeared along with it. It was actually my friend Sarah who pushed me into starting up a new blog. She told me how much she missed the old one and how she enjoyed my humour and liked knowing what's going on in my life. It hadn't actually occurred to me up until that point that anyone really cared. A few months later, I had the idea to do the New Experience Challenge and a blog was born. Most of my friends from the old blog have disappeared from the internet, but I'm making some really, really great new friends who are inspiring me to be more proactive and creative with my writing. I owe the gaining popularity of it to them.

The second is my acting agents, Nick and Carina. They agreed to represent me late last year and I'd been doing acting workshops with them until about a month ago. Every time we'd run a scene, they'd talk about past experiences that can be used to draw from in order to get the right emotion or reaction. They've led the most incredible lives. They've had soaring highs and crushing lows and in the short time I've known them, I've already seen them go through both. One particular evening we had just finished working a scene and Nick got onto the topic of a very depressing stage in his life. It was such an engaging and emotional story that it made me start to think about my own life. The thought process went something like this:
  • They've gotten hurt a lot in the past, and it's made them the fantastic people they are today.
  • I've been through my fair share of suffering, but I haven't had many painful experiences for a couple of years.
  • That sounds good in theory, but it means I'm not growing. I'm just coasting through life in a state of purgatory, not moving forwards or backwards.
  • The biggest difference between Nick & Carina and myself is vulnerability. I don't really put myself out there if I think I'm going to fail. I'm scared of getting hurt. So I don't allow it to happen. They on the other hand open themselves up, wear their hearts on their sleeves.
  • I need to allow myself to be vulnerable again.
The next morning, I messaged some of my friends to tell them how much they mean to me. I've allowed myself to be more affected by sad things and even cry from time to time. I've tried saying I love you to my parents and sister, and although they find it just as awkward as me (well, except Mum), it's something that in our family, we constantly need reminding. I hope I can get better at this until my fear of pain, embarrassment and weakness completely subsides. And I have Nick and Carina to thank for setting me along the path.

The third thing is the improv classes I've been taking. By this stage in my life, I'm getting pretty good at making people laugh when I want to. But I'm also fascinated with stories and would love to be able to engage people with stories of my own. Improv is a great way to practice creating characters and conflicts. And because you have to do it on the spot, in the spur of the moment, it sharpens your brain for that kind of thing. I also love being so in-the-moment and the excitement of that sink-or-swim environment really gets the adrenaline going. I always come off-stage wishing it had gone longer.

Now... As for nominating other bloggers. 15 is way too many. One person nominates 15 people, all those people nominate another 15... That's already 241 bloggers covered. Keep that going and you'll either have all of Blogger covered in ten rounds, or you'll get A LOT of multiples like what's happened here.

So I'm going to nominate four people, two for each award. Hopefully they respect the power and responsibility that comes with it.


  1. Jimmy Fungus at JimmyFungus.com - Jimmy has created a great little niche in YouTube and shares his videos on his blog. He's got a good eye for pop-culture and current events.
  2. Pat Hatt at It's Rhyme Time - This guy's somehow managed to come up with a new poem every single day, all making fun of a different aspect of life. That's over 1400 posts. I didn't even know there were 1400 things to talk about.
  3. Jacquelineand... at Cheapskate Blethering - Hilarious and engaging, the two things I try to be with my blog and in life. To her it comes easily.
  4. Debra at She Who Seeks - Another person who's hilarious and engaging. She has a great ability to connect with people from all over the world, no matter what their culture.
Go forth! Inspire!

56 comments:

  1. Congratulations. To you and to all the people who inspire you. Indeed to all the people who offer ANYONE inspiration.

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    1. Inspiration is an underrated commodity :)

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  2. Always lots to be thankful for if we look. I'd find it awkward saying I love you to siblings, no thanks, name calling is more fun haha Congrats on the award and thanks a lot for nominating Pat and the cat. We always find something to yap about. The exact count is 1621 posts so far as we are done posts until July.

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  3. Wow, congratulations on your award, and thanks so much for nominating me. I know how many blogs you follow, so that is really an honor to be chosen. I do try to inspire others. Hopefully, I will live up to this new responsibility, and not disappoint.

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    1. As long as you try, that's all we ask :)

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  4. Oh, you make me blush, Michael! Thank you so much for the award, I really appreciate that you thought of my blog. I will post it on Sunday!

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  5. Congrats! It's always fun winning awards.

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  6. Thank you Michael, that was definitely an 'AWWW' moment for me, and one I'll share on Friday. A huge congratulations to you, and isn't it eye-opening to realise that you are touching people's lives?
    I just wonder why they don't, say, have a 'Curiously Scurrilous' award? That would surely be a fun one!
    Oh, and my idea? It was actually for a bit of improv (or you could do it in really real life if you're feeling exceptionally adventurous) based on navigating life in public as a 'mover and shaker'. Translation: As someone with a movement disorder like Parkinson's or Essential Tremour. There are plenty of youtube vids which show the movements, to learn from. Really, it would be a moving experience!

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    1. Is this something you think I should do?

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    2. Should? Hmmm. I think it would be eye-opening, and not just for you. Did you ever read the story (or see the movie) 'The Red Shoes'? A young woman puts on a pair of, usually illicitly gained, red shoes and can NOT stop dancing, nor remove the red shoes. That's what life with movement disorders can be like. Now think about how that affects things like eating, (soup in public?? lol) moving safely around other -often impatient- people. Not to mention the looks, people assuming mental disability goes along with physical, and the opportunity for a certain type of person to publicly humiliate, or worse, someone with an obvious disability.
      If you hadn't thought of those things previously Michael, don't feel bad; most people don't unless they or someone they care about is affected. So, thinking about it, I'd like to see someone - or many someones - do improv, etc... based on movement disorders; I find most people want to learn or want to try to help, but don't know who or how to ask for information. You have the intelligence, humour, and compassion to do a good job of it Michael; I worry a bit that you might feel it too deeply, if that makes sense...
      My best tool and defence in dealing with it, by the by... humour!

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    3. Oh! And I think it would be great improv/theatre but doing it in real life might be perceived as hurtful rather than educational.

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    4. Well Michael J Fox has done a great job of helping the public to understand what it's like (as much as they can). What I was picturing was to make a YouTube video so I could play my own part in educating people. Kind of like when people are asked to to walk around with blindfolds so they know what it's like to be blind.

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    5. I love that idea!

      Michael, Muhammad Ali, and others have done a great job... but like the blindness example, it's a whole different ballgame when experiencing it for yourself. =)

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  7. Congratulations, Michael, on a well-deserved award. I loved your list of the three things that have inspired you. I look forward to following your blogging journey.

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    1. Thanks Mr Existentialist. I've enjoyed coming across your blog, it's kind of what I originally imagined my own blog to be.

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  8. awesome! You are so thoughtful and I applaud your friend Sarah for getting you into blogging!! You are a great writer.

    I love this too: "The next morning, I messaged some of my friends to tell them how much they mean to me." Something we could definitely do more and more of.

    And yes, I can't believe that Pat comes up with a new poem EVERY SINGLE DAY. no idea how he does that!

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  9. 'grats on your award. I know Jacqueline and Pat's blogs. Good stuff. We've got a few Pat Hatt books in our library too. :)

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    1. You know, that's something I haven't done yet: buy a book from one of my blogging friends.

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  10. First, thanks so much for your kind words about me and my little blog! And yes, you are awesome, not just because you got nominated twice, but because you go out and try new things. That's living life! I didn't know you did acting classes. That's cool. Maybe someday I'll see you on the big screen!

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    1. I'd probably be the next Jonah Hill! (after he lost the weight)

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  11. I mean Improv classes. That could still land you on the big screen! ;0)

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  12. I mean Improv classes. That could still land you on the big screen! ;0)

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  13. First, thanks so much for your kind words about me and my little blog! And yes, you are awesome, not just because you got nominated twice, but because you go out and try new things. That's living life! I didn't know you did acting classes. That's cool. Maybe someday I'll see you on the big screen!

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  14. Well deserved award, indeed! I didn't get to know you until late in the year last year, but reading through your blog, I find your zest for life inspiring. Your weekly adventures made for some great reading! And I know a few of the people you sent an award to as well. Great choices!

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    1. Yes, not many people knew about this blog until Robyn decided to promote it :)

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    2. I believe you were one of the people who came over from that post :)

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    3. Yep, we have Robyn to thank for that ;)

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  15. Congratulations!
    I'm impressed by anyone who can do improv. I imagine does keep the brain sharp.

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    1. That's one thing I love so much about it!

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  16. Well deserved, so nice you get it twice.

    Ironically, the name of my home school cooperative (for the past 9 years) is Think Tank.

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  17. Congrats on the winnings and bravo to the new winners. I cant wait to hear our favorite cat rhyme about it.

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  18. Yeah, nominating all those people results in an exponential explosion of numbers. My head hurts.
    I love Sherry's blog. What a nice, normal person with a nice normal life.

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    1. I have no idea what that must be like :P

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  19. Your blog is very inspiring and entertaining! Congratulations on the award! And way to go with landing two acting agents. I have the feeling your going to be a great actor one day, and everyone will know your name. (And if they don't, they will be idiots!) ;)

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    1. Oh, and by the way...I had wanted to nominate you too, but I saw Sherry did. So you could've been nominated three times!

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    2. Hey, I wouldn't have complained about that ;) Thanks for the kind words :)

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  20. Congratulations, Michael. You inspire, and you picked some winners.
    I imagine improv helps with your writing too, and in all sorts of ways. I think I'd suck at it, because I need to think things through for so long, sometimes just to come up with one word. That's probably why I should try improv.

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    1. It's a very supportive environment and once you learn to let go of inhibitions and just say the first thing that pops into your head, you'll be surprised how well you do :)

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  21. This is great. I had you on my list to nominate on Monday. I had narrowed my list to five, but it can now be four...nope, wait, you've also picked someone that I picked. LOL... I better hand out cookies.

    Congratulations - well deserved! (hmm, Think Tank*) If you're going to request the roller coaster ride of life, remember to hold on to the bar! (smile)

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    1. Hahaha sorry to steal your thunder there Dixie :P I'm sure your cookies would be just as appreciated ;)

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  22. Congratulations! I think most people need to allow themselves to feel things more deeply whether it be love, sadness, or whatever. It makes us more human.

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    1. You're right. And allows us to experience more of life :)

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  23. Improv sounds like something I should be doing. I considered it last week. I'll probably follow through. Eventually.

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    1. It's great fun, but don't do it for the girls ;)

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  24. Congrats on your well-deserved award, Michael! You truly are inspiring, as well as incredibly thoughtful. Telling your friends how you felt says a lot about your character. Pat is amazing, and I'll have to drop by the other blogs! Keep up the great work in improv!

    Julie

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    1. I'm glad I have that image, I find it inspiring myself :)

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