Last August Amanda Socci, my friend and creative writing "drill sergeant" had profiled me and posed 9 questions to me for each of my five blogs (3 of which are retired), as part of her 10 month "I know I Can" training series for Nina Amir's Write Nonfiction Now and Write Nonfiction in November efforts.
I am now answering those questions at last (Series introduction).
Mad Macedonian (Oct. 2007 - Present)
(1) Why do you think it’s a good idea to stir up controversy? How do you benefit by bringing negative press upon yourself?
I have always been outspoken and opinionated in my writing ever since I began blogging, in 2002, and don’t believe that discussing issues of interest and concern to me is something I should be afraid to do just because what I have to say may ruffle a few feathers.
If I let the opinions of others stifle my right to express myself then I am letting them hinder my creativity.
That being said, when I began I spent 5 years writing a lot on politics on my first blog, and 7 years on cycling on my 2nd (both covered in upcoming parts of this series); I eventually realized that I was, in a way, hindering my own creativity by such a focus on politics when there are far more people online, with larger audiences, doing a better job than I could to share the same views so moved on to my current blog, Mad Macedonian, with its change in focus to a variety of interests (many carried over from the 1st blog). This led me in a new direction with my cat blogging, eventually giving birth to a cat blog, The Opinionated Pussycat (also covered in an upcoming post).
(2) You seem to use the word “ain’t” a lot. Is there a specific reason why you rely on this word to get your point across? Do you think your readers enjoy this word?
Hey, if it was good enough for Mark Twain….hee, hee!
What readers I have, have for the most part, kept silent on the issue of their enjoyment, or lack thereof, of my use of the word.
(3) How do you manage to get such amazing photos of you near interesting surroundings all the time? If a person helps you take these photos, do you tell the person how to take the photo and what to include? Every photo seems to be at a fascinating angle; each photo has its own stories. Would you consider publishing just your photos along with captions as a series of photojournalistic storytelling?
There are 4 ways I get my photos:
A. I politely ask someone to take a photo for me, telling them where I’m standing and how I’m posing, and how to frame the image on the camera screen.
B. I have a mini-tripod that I can set up on a flat surface, or a surface the legs can be adjusted to grip. I then look through the screen at the scene and figure out where I should stand and how to pose, hit 10 second delay and run like hell.
C. Same as B except I have a tripod on the handlebar of my bicycle.
D. I have a walking/hiking stick that I can stick in the ground and attach my camera to the top. I then look through the screen at the scene and figure out where I should stand and how to pose, hit 10 second delay and run like hell.
(4) You have a knack for finding interesting public art installations. Your points of view are interesting to read. What inspires you to visit these installations and write about them? When did you first begin to admire public art? Did you take art lessons in school? Art appreciation classes in college?
I first began taking my camera out and about with me, on a regular basis, in the 90’s, when I began taking long bike rides and also found time to explore southern Ca. more on days off and vacations from work.
I think my interest in sharing images of myself next to public art, on my blogs, had its genesis in my visit to the Reagan Library, in my early days of blogging (2004).
I took no art lessons, or art appreciation classes, in school or college. I think my love of art began at an early age, just as my creativity did.
I grew up in Claremont, Pomona and Upland, Ca; the first was a college town with a century old college, and 2 nearby younger ones, and the awesome old buildings and sculptures found on all the campuses (My dad and godfather were groundskeepers for the 1st and 2 uncles helped plant a legendary row of trees, as groundskeepers, at one of the others); the 2nd has Second St., once the main street of town, then turned into a pedestrian friendly few blocks, with a medical college on one end and antique stores in 70 year old buildings, has a few public art installations that are sculpture/fountains; the 3rd has the Madonna of the Trail statue and the nearby legendary Sycamore Inn, an institution on Rte. 66 since 1848.
(5) Your blog, Mad Macedonian, offers plenty of witty observations and pop culture references that make your writing fun and enjoyable to read. Would you consider compiling some of your blog entries into a nonfiction book that is devoted exclusively to your references in pop culture? Do you think your readers would get a kick out of reading your stories if they are assembled by similar categories in a book?
I have described the blog this way: “The creative writing, observations, experiences, and opinions, on life, and the world around him, by Kiril Kundurazieff; taking one step at a time on the Journey of discovery, and enlightenment, that every individual must take from the cradle to the grave.”
Until the last 2 years, the notion of turning my writings into books never really registered on my radar. Your encouragement, and the encouragement of others as well, the fact I’ve done Open Mic poetry readings, done guest blog posts, had essays published in newspapers, been accepted into the Cat Writers’ Association, been paid for my blogging for the first time, read my poetry on a poetry podcast, and had a piece published in an online magazine have all given me reason to believe that maybe I can do more to reach a wider audience.
(6) You write about your problems with a keen sense of humor. No matter what you are going through (unemployment, seizure, malignant tumor, relocation to a new state, etc.), your sense of humor is intact. You obviously see the rainbow on the other side of your difficulties. Where did this sense of humor come from? Were you born with it? Have you had it all your life? Did it come about after a particularly serious problem? How do others react to your sense of humor in the midst of problems?
Was I born with my peculiar sense of humor? Maybe; I think inherit it from my mothers’ side of the family as her brothers shared a sense of humor that is/was as off kilter as it is/was often off color. One, who has since passed away, was even a Southern Baptist Minister!
The first time my sense of humor showed itself, I think, was in middle school, and may have been a response to the difficulties of my life at that time; father a mental patient and my being picked on a lot in school. Not to mention I was not interested in many of the things my peers were and didn’t socialize much beyond school hours.
Though I was a volunteer with a neighborhood watch-type group in my high school years, friends with co-workers and bookstore customers and went places with my family and relatives, I was mostly a loner well into my 30’s, finding ways to entertain and amuse myself according to my interests and available funds.
How do/did people react to my sense of humor? It’s always been favorable as far as I can tell.
In my senior year of high school I was runner-up for class clown; how that came about is something I still don’t understand to this day.
At work, at a bookstore for 17 years, then at other jobs, customers have always appreciated interacting with an employee who cared enough to engage with the customer.
Ever since I first went online, in 1998, and began to come out of a shell in ways that led me to become less of a loner, engaging people online via communities and email, meeting people for dinners, taking my first plane journeys to 4 day weekend gatherings, becoming a blogger, going to conferences and more, my sense of humor played a part in helping me become a person far different than I was in the first 20 years of my adult life.
I became a better, more outgoing, person, one who people enjoy engaging with in a variety of ways.
(7) Some of the things you write about do seem quite odd, such as your alien story, almost as if they’re intended for an exclusive audience. What is your goal in posting odd thoughts such as that? What type of comments would you like to receive?
As a creative person, with a peculiar sense of humor, I am not afraid to let my muse take me on a journey to sharing odd thoughts. I don’t believe my writings are meant to attract just one type of audience; I believe my writings are for anyone curious enough to explore what I have to offer, regardless of the subject and I hope that people are not afraid to express their opinions, whatever they are, not just in my comments, but elsewhere, as they share my posts, via their own blogs and other social media.
(8) You currently have 20 categories on your blog. Do you think your categories clearly identify what your blog posts are about? Do you think refining the categories might make it easier for your readers to follow along? Would you be willing to add a sentence or two describing what exactly you mean by each category?
I think the 26 categories on my 1st blog were self-explanatory, as were the 34 on my old bike blog, however, upon reflection the 20 on Mad Macedonian needed a little work so I did a little adjusting.
I think part of the problem is that I cover so many things and thought each needed their own category. Not sure how best to refine or consolidate and adding a sentence or 2 of description might only serve to clutter up the sidebar.
(9) Defining you as a person or writer is impossible, because you do so many interesting and creative things. Some may refer to you as a funnyman with a nutty personality while others may cite you as a source of inspiration for writing about deeply personal problems with grace and humility. How do you see yourself? What role does your blog play in defining you?
Those 2 definitions apply, I suppose but, as a poet, storyteller, journalist, commentator, travelogue writer, photographer and reviewer I use my peculiar sense of humor, my creative sense and my personal views and experiences over 54 years of life, to, I hope, inform, educate, and entertain readers.