#BlogtownTuesday: Interview with Cynthia June Long

Today’s #BlogtownTuesday guest is one of the original members of this virtual neighborhood. Cynthia participated in #bloginstead, and we’ve known each other online for years now. I’ve always been fascinated by her “Faerie Librarian” designator, so this interview ought to be interesting! As always, I’m asking 5 questions. Here are Cynthia’s answers.

How did Your blog gets its name?

There’s already a different “Cynthia Long” who writes for the National Education Association; and at least one other creative writing/poet/songwriting Cynthia Long and/or Cynthia J. Long. So I use my middle name to distinguish myself from those others.

My tagline is more descriptive: Faith, Myth, Folklore, Literature | Faerie Librarian. By profession, in my “day job,” I’m a librarian. For fun I read widely in folklore, the fantasy genre, and contemporary literature about faeries. That makes me the Faerie Librarian.

What would you say is the defining characteristic of your blog?

The intersections between faith, myth & folklore. Christian references in folklore. My two favorite examples are “Priest Communes Good Werewolves” from the 12th Century and “The Priest’s Supper,” a~18th or 19th Century Irish tale in which a parishioner relates to his priest a question from the fairies: Will the faeries receive eternal salvation? I shared “The Priest’s Supper” in my presentation at Doxacon 2017; you can listen to it here, starting around minute 11-12:12.

Faerie folklore is my specialty, but I’ve branched out on my blog to occasionally include book reviews of non-faerie books and I sometimes also discuss other literary or personal topics. As a former children’s librarian, I also review select children’s books.

What is your favorite thing about blogging? Least Favorite?

Favorite: Faith-and-Folklore is a niche topic, but it’s my niche. I love it. I could talk (or write) about it all day.

Least favorite: the time required to produce high-quality blog content, and continuing to do so, preferably on a regular schedule, which I haven’t quite been able to manage. Yes, I’m a perfectionist, but let’s face it: good writing requires re-writing. Editing. Formatting. I’ve been disappointed in the posts I’ve thrown up in a rush. Even when offering an opinion, I want to present my best work. And then I’ll go find engaging photos to accompany it. My quest for “the best” accompanying image can sometimes get carried away.

You’re a member of #Blogtown, a social blogging collaborative. How is blogging social for you?

We know the old koan: If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? Is a writer a writer without a reader?

In college, my best friends were the folks who stayed up late debating philosophy and discussing the meaning of the universe. A blog re-creates in written format all those late-night obscure, esoteric conversations. (The best kind of conversations, I might add!) The increased deliberate interactivity of #Blogtown turns a blog post from a soliloquy into a conversation.

Tell us 3 things we’d know about you if we’d grown up together.

  • I have two older sisters; I’m the youngest of three girls. We grew up in “The Brady Bunch” era. Our hair color was lighter as children; I was a blonde or ‘dirty-blonde’ for my first four or five years. (Please don’t call me “Cindy.”)
  • I was a Girl Scout. I loved Girl Scouting. I loved camping. The smell of crisp autumn leaves gets me nostalgic every fall.
  • As the youngest child, I suffered from not-old-enough-yet syndrome.  The proudest moment of my first 4 years was when I was the Star of Bethlehem in the church Christmas pageant.  I wasn’t old enough to join the heavenly choir of angels like my sisters and the other cool big kids, but for once, I got the better deal. I was the Star of Bethlehem.

Thank you, Cynthia!

You can connect with Cynthia at Cynthia June Long. See you in #Blogtown!

#BlogtownTuesday: Interview with Metanoia Bum

It’s #BlogtownTuesday – time to meet another member of our community. Today we’re visiting Nic at Thoughts of a Metanoia Bum. As I do each week, I’m asking 5 questions. Here’s how he answers!

How did your blog gets its name?

In college, one of my favorite books was Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, which was largely about Kerouac and his friend, poet Gary Snyder, wandering in the mountains and exploring Buddhism, amongst other things. I loved the book for a long time, but when I became Orthodox, I joked that the Orthodox version would be a “metanoia bum”- metanoia being the Greek word for “change of heart.” I’ve used the phrase ever since as a social media username, and it seemed appropriate when I started this blog in 2017. 

What would you say is the defining characteristic of your blog?

I would say that a characteristic feature of my blog is that it contains a strong sense of observational wonder about the world around me. Things often happen out of nowhere, and I write about them to highlight the glory and joy of how we are truly connected as children of God.  I’d also say that a willingness to be open about struggle, emotions and conflicts – largely with myself! – is also a standard part of the experience. The blogs are for the world around me, but also, in some cases, essays to myself. 

What’s your favorite thing about blogging? Least favorite?

I love two things: (1) being able to help people through sharing my own experiences; and (2) the challenge of trying to say something really meaningful within a short format; it has challenged me to think about how I communicate ideas to the world. The thing I dislike is when I have an idea, and it gets stuck. Not being able to get it onto paper, and then often realizing that it may not be ready for the world, is hard. But it’s also helpful.

You’re a member of Blogtown, a social blogging collaborative. How is blogging social for you?

I have built a really strong community because of blogging, not only virtual, but also in-person. Things I have written become centers of conversation in my own home community, and virtual connections have become in-person physical friendships that are real and tangible. It’s fun to see who likes things, who comments, who shares, and how those shares reach other people outside of my own world. My most-read piece, “Guys, You Don’t Have to Be a Priest,” made it outside of the Orthodox world, and was read by Catholic, Anglican, and many other denominations. That impact allows me to feel connected to the bigger world. 

Tell us 3 things we’d know about you if we’d grown up with you.

My notebooks are full of cars, imaginary cities, and maps. That is still the case.

I started college with the idea of being a physician or a physical therapist. 

I was a tech theatre and classics geek in high school, and once got a 1st place award nationwide for one of my projects!

Thank you, Nic!

You can connect with Nic at Thoughts of a Metanoia Bum. See you in #Blogtown!

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