A Spark In The Dark

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it

is like wrapping a present and not giving it”

[William Arthur Ward]

The first award I ever received was at a YMCA day camp on the Cape. It was an honesty award. I was eleven years old. I don’t remember exactly why I received it, but it had something to do with lot’s of drama. The kind of drama that only a prepubescent girl perceives as vital to her own existence.

Over the last couple of weeks you kindly bestowed awards on me without me having to flood the Atlantic beforehand to receive them. I’m grateful for that: For the awards and for unnecessity of prepubescent drama (well mainly because I’m not sure I’d still know how to channel it – completely).

Yesterday, Papa Sakura of Sakura Lights bestowed “The Versatile Blogger Award” on met, yet again. Although I’ve already received it twice (once by Patrice here and once by Quieter Elephant here), it humbled me.

Especially, since his criteria for the nominations were growth and change, which I am both trying to achieve. I’m not sure, I’ve met them yet, but I see it as a vote of confidence on his part that I will receive them in the future. I’m grateful for that. It’s incredibly uplifting having people believe in you. If you know me (or at least have read a couple of post or comments of mine) you know I’ve already found a lengthy and winded way to thank him for this nomination on his award post (if you don’t well go see for yourself!).

Obviously, that doesn’t mean I can’t seize this opportunity to thank him again in my home. I felt the best way to do this was to post my favorite art work of his.

NY State of Mind - Sakura Lights

If you wish to check this wonderful painting out on his blog, which I highly recommend, you may do so here (in case you were wondering, I tried linking this pack to him directly, but it somehow wrecked its dimensions).

Although, I feel extremely grateful towards him for bestowing this wonderful Award on me yet again, I really wasn’t up for another Nomination Post. In all honesty, I don’t have anyone to nominate that I haven’t nominated before (except maybe Quieter Elephant and he already received it – obviously) and I’m pretty sure you’re all still recovering from my last seven random, dirty secrets.

So I decided to design a new Award, which I could bestow on a bunch of people I deem worthy. This proved to bit quite a bit of work. Not only because I couldn’t come up with a name at first (“Because of you” and “Je ne said quoi” – Award just didn’t cut it) and also because Phil had to help me a bit with the design in Paint.net (which I use because I’m to cheap to pay for Photoshop, if I can have something equally as good for free). I finally settled on this:

I guess, it would be more fitting to call this tribute as opposed to award, because that is, what it is.

Every single one of the following writers (I didn’t say “bloggers” now did I?!) has light the way for me on this journey. They are sparks for me (and not just me I’m sure) and this would be a dark, dire and lonely place without them. I don’t know, how to thank them enough for what they have done for me, but I hope to find a proper way some day in the future. Until then, this little jpg – file will have to suffice.

Rules for accepting this award: None. Honestly, this is yours and yours alone. Grab it and stick it on your blog or don’t. Share it with people you deem worthy or don’t. Make your own set of rule when awarding it or don’t. I said it before, this is more a tribute than an award and I can’t attach rules to a tribute (well maybe I can, but I don’t want to).

[However, I should add, that in order to spotlight the nominees the way they deserve, I chose to only nominate three writers this time. This time obviously implying, that I plan on awarding “The Spark Award” again in the future]

List of nominees (in chronological order of appearance):

Patrice was the first writer I met here and she was kind and understanding and genuinely interested in what I had to say. Above all, she thanked me for sharing my story.

Please let me repeat that:

“This wonderful, extraordinary and lovely writer and person thanked me for sharing my story”

She never gave up on me. Even when I stopped blogging for a while, even when I didn’t respond to comments. Even when I disappeared into thin air without a word of explanation. Through all of that, she never gave up on me. I don’t think I will ever find means to thank her for that.

I love the name and the design of her blog, so I’d like to share the facade of her blogging / writing home with you here:

I’ve put together a list of my favorite things about Patrice:

Search for Post: "I love Gandhi, too" - Drawn by her daughter

My favorite Post Not only is this brilliantly written, but it’s honest and deep and it make’s me feel like she just invited me inside her mind, soul or heart. It touches me deeply, when someone finds it in themselves to share such depths with random strangers. I strive to be like that.

But this wasn’t the first time, Patrice invited me in. I went back in time and found our first conversation here, so see for yourself:

If you want to read up on the post, which you should (actually you should read up on all her posts!) you may do so here.

So my dear Patrice, I hope you accept this token of my gratitude knowing it stands for much more than a couple of bits and bites pressed into a jpg-file.

Paprika is one of those writers, of which you can proudly proclaim: “I knew her before.” This wonderful, witty, caring, empathetic, honest and insightful Lady has been struck by lightning recently, – in a good way. This post of hers was “Freshly Pressed” and rightfully so.

Through all the buzz and excitement, she still carved precious time out of her day to read my ramblings and to comment on them. And guess what?! Above all, she makes me feel, like I’m the one she should be grateful to for “being her personal cheerleader” as she put it.

Let me repeat that:

“This rightfully renown writer is grateful to me.”

Paprika has a list of reader’s favorites on her blog (which may be found here), but strangely it didn’t include my overall favorite post and my favorite post regarding my funniest comment (If you want to know what it is, you’ll have to go see for yourself. I promise it will be worth it. Maybe not for the comment, but definitely for the post!)

Once again, I love the design of her writing home: It’s so simple and clean. But don’t trust me on that, judge for yourself:

The first conversation we ever had, was back in September 2011. Nothing can bring two gals together faster than a mutual agreement on their utter attractiveness (is that a word? Well now it is.). Since you weren’t a part of this historic moment, I’ve included it for you here (however this is another posts of hers you really should read up on).

Paprika for all the times you’ve made me laugh, for all the times you’ve made me smile, for all the times you’ve made feel special and for the wonderful that is you, please accept this award, knowing that this place wouldn’t be same without you.

Erik. Erik came to me, when I was but a ghost. He found me in the in-between, when I had stopped posting and before I took it up again (I have Patrice’s nomination for the “Liebster Blog Award” to thank for that).

Something about his comment on my About page touched me deeply and I felt compelled to return. As I am not going to force you to open another tab in your browser and look for the comment, I’ve posted it here (well at least the beginning of it, if you want to read more you may do so here):

One of the things that struck me first about Erik (apart from the sincerity of his words), was the calm and serene beauty of his writing home. Please judge for yourself:

I know, I know, this is rather superficial of me, but it is looks that make the first impression (just because you don’t like this fact, doesn’t make it less true) and this first impression was one of peacefulness and beauty within.

Although, I enjoy all of this modern-day James Joyce‘s posts, I’d have to say, that the Resiliency – Series are my favorite. I’m not sure why, but I love the discontinued feel of continuancy to them (and if you don’t know what I mean you haven’t read them yet – do so now!)

In all his talent, kindness, wit and cutting openness, he still praises my honesty.

Let me repeat that:

“This incredibly talented writer, who shows so much of his soul on random strangers, praises the honesty in my writing.”

My favorite posts of his is “Hannah” as part of the above mentioned resiliency-series. It’s moving, it’s powerful, it’s sad, it’s beautiful. I guess you could say it’s life.

This, in case you were wondering, is the first conversation I had with him on his home turf (on this post of his):

Please, Erik, accept this award knowing, that this can only begin to express the gratitude I feel towards you.

Let me finish this post with two words in the english language that are completely overused and at the same time rarely uttered in earnest:

“Thank You”

[“Tribute (The best song in the world)” – Tenacious D]

14 thoughts on “A Spark In The Dark

  1. I CALL B.S.!!!

    And I quote: “…I do recognize myself in many trades you have listed (except maybe the artistic part, trust me I’ve tried every medium you can get your hand on, there just nothing there) ;)”

    First of all, the fact that you can use an digital design program like, pfff, PAINT[!] of all programs and create screen shots, crops, jpgs, etc… C’mon! I don’t buy your “just nothing there” statement. I want to see more of your attempts at different mediums. You say I’m good, then let me judge your work! 😉

    Thank you, again, for the mention.

    • Hah! Well thank ‘ye kindly, Sir 😉

      Well to me using a design program isn’t really creation and talent – it’s simply a matter of knowing the right commands (kind of like driving a stick) 😉

      Also Phil was of help chosing the font and stuff, so it’s not all my work of art either 😉

      Still, thanks for the complement – I appreciate it – especially when it comes from someone as talented as yourself 🙂

  2. Can I just stop the world right now? Pause it right now at this exact moment… I’ve already rewritten this reply so many times. so many times.
    Just pause. Let me revel for a moment.

    That’s what I need to do. Soak it up and pause. I’ll be right back after I’m done, reeling in this awesome tribute, and can write something coherent. 🙂 Pause…

    • Sure soak it up – it’s your award / tribute you can do whatever the hell you want to do with it (except maybe link it to underage porn sites) 😉

      You’ve deserved this. You really have. Thank you!


      • Unlike Patrice and Paprika, I’m not sure I’ll be able to come around and talk about the full impact of this, that you and Phil have done, for quite awhile. I know it’s just a blog… But it’s not.

        It’s one thing to try and affect someone positively, it’s a whole other thing for a person to turn around and publicly create a tribute… All the while I’m like, hey, um, I didn’t do anything. really, it was the guy next to me, or that girl over there, actually what is she talking about, it’s she that’s kind of saved me! but that aside.

        This is beyond a blog. or our writing, or our comorphing into wroggers’. Or anything else. I accept your gratitude, but beware, this is not something I do lightly, and as such, the connection of this innerspace world we created is only strengthened and nurtured by this.

        Thank Phil for me (and yourself), I know how it is to work in this medium (actually tell him there’s a free photoshop app called GIMP, that’s kind of painful at first to work with but is just as feature rich as the full blown photoshop)…

        I am lucky to be in the company of Patrice and Paprika (can’t believe I fit into their class but that’s ok…), everything they have said and *more* is what I am feeling.

        OH and the tribute video? once it’s grown on you? there’s no turning back. 🙂 Great choice.

        • Seriously, I’m going to have to ground you here for a second. – You did more than you think you did (because I should be the judge of that, right) and I probably did less, than you think I did, but since you have to be the judge of that, I won’t stress that part of it. 😉

          I’m thrilled this means so much to you, but I don’t want it to choke your words out of you either 🙂

          Regarding GIMP. I wasn’t aware it existed, but Phil says in his opinion it’s not as good as Paint.net, because you can download a gazillion apps for it or something. In any case for me it’s quite irrelevant, since I only play around with a bit and don’t really need anything fancy. I think this might just come down to Appel vs. Microsoft 😉 But thanks for mentioning it 🙂

          I love that version of the song (it’s not the original clip obviously, but I think it’s pretty stylish)! If you’ve enjoyed that you might want to follow it to YouTube to see the whole 10 min. length of it. I used the shorter version of it here, simply because I wasn’t sure, if any of you would be up for a lot of Jack Black or not 😉

          Thank you for being humble, Erik, it’s an honorable trait for sure. 🙂


  3. I’m still blushing as I type this reply. How amazingly creative and generous of you (and Phil) to create a tribute badge. I believe I said, in one of our many comment conversations, that you make me feel like i just got a gold star sticker for my writing. Now you’ve gone and created an actual badge/sticker for me to place on my blog. I am honored.

    I know you started reading my blog shortly after beginning yours when you were not in a happy place. You took the time to leave a comment and to tell me how much you enjoyed the story and how it made you laugh. It is heartwarming for me to know that the stories I chose to tell and the words I used to tell them brought you a smile and a bit of laughter. Truly, there is no greater compliment you could have offered me.

    **Dicslamier – I’d like to let anyone who reads this post to know that I, nor any member of my family or circle of friends, have compensated you for saying such wonderful things about me. It came from your sheer kindness and generosity.

    • I’m glad you like it 🙂 Really. I was a bit worried you (as in the general you) wouldn’t approve of me borrowing immages from your site, just for the record you know I’m fine with taking anything down, if you don’t feel comfortable with it – I’d just substitute it with pictures of penguins or something 😉

      I remember that. Isn’t it neat, that although my mental state has gotten a bit less dire, you still make me laugh? I think that says it all! What really blew / blows me away about you though, is that although I know that you are crazy busy, you really do take the time to reply to every single comments on your posts (and not just in the “oh yeah thanks for stopping by way” either). That’s class right there!

      Regarding the disclaimer: There was talk about a cheerleader at some point in time, but it wasn’t linked to this post and we never fully agreed on it, so yes. No funds were exchange and or privileges promised. You’ve rightfully earned this one 😉

      Thank you for the 7×7 award by the way! I really appreciate it and I’ll have to scour my blog for some nice links (I think the controversial one should be a tough one for me too) 😉

      • I think the images you used are great. This post must have taken a long time to put together. I know when I am writing a post that has links and images, I underestimate the amount of time it takes to add all those in.

        Thanks for your comment about me answering my comments. I really make an effort to answer each one, unless it’s from someone I see in my day to day life, then I feel like I can slide a bit and respond in personn. If someone takes the time to read and then even more time to leave a comment, they deserve to be acknowledged with a response.

        Sadly, the cheerleader position I mentioned is not a paid position. Hope that doesn’t change your mind 🙂

        • Yet it took a bit more time than I thought it would take – Phil was nice about it though and didn’t start whining about dinner until around 9:30 – ish 😉

          Nope, I’ll take it unpaid every day – 🙂 I might want to have some hammocking lessons in return, but I’m guessing those could be arranged 😉

  4. I’m finally in a better place to absorb this amazing tribute, wine and dog by my side as I go, Man oh man oh man, this is so cool. A tribute award, a new one, and I get to have it? When I first saw this i was rushing to a staff meeting and I burst into tears in my tiny windowless office and had to pull it together, which I hate doing, that’s like not any fun at all. I couldn’t wait to come home and reread.

    You know I still remember standing in the grocery store, in the bulk section, confusing myself about legumes yet again and thinking, I’ll just send her a quick email, just to let her know I’m thinking of her and I thought, oh my god, she’s going to think this American orphan is quite the stalker. But that’s what orphans do, right? They taste the blood of another open soul and they can’t forget it, just can’t let it go. And then she did return. She did. I told the world (my blog world) just a few words about her, and it was like a flare had gone up and the others who recognized themselves in her went kindly knocking on her door, convinced her to come back. It was that simple. It’s good not to forget people 😉


    • Legumes can be confusing. I’m write their with you. 🙂

      I’m glad you never gave up on me. I really am. For a while, I thought it would be better, if I just stored everything back into boxes and I was about to delete the blog too (at which point Phil intervened b.t.w.).

      I’ve realized that the two of us aren’t the only orphans out there. I think many people feel this way regardless off if they have two parents in their lives or not. Plus, I am so grateful, that you introduced me some of your other favorite writers (not limited to but especially including Worrywart – she grounds me!).

      I will have to check out this whole email situation some time today. I think it may be the same adress, but for some reason I’ve had trouble with comcast – accounts in the past (my aunt has one), so I’ll have to figure it out. I know they go through eventually. Sometimes it just takes a couple of tries. 😉

      I’m so glad you liked this tribute 🙂 Just for the record, if (for some reason) you are not okay with me borrowing some of the content from your site, you’ll know I’ll take it down right away, right?! I’ll replace it with some talking dog clips from YouTube or something similar 😉

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