Persephone is a minor deity who was born in Edmonton, Alberta, to British parents. She holds an undergraduate degree, a diploma, and a master's degree and has been told that she is wasting her education. She considers the source when refusing to respond to such accusations. Her body is in Ottawa, Ontario, with her long-suffering husband and two courageous daughters. Her heart is in Victoria, British Columbia. Her head is in the clouds. Her internet hideout is at Post-It Notes from Hades. Persephone is a theist (obviously).
Why do you blog? > I was seduced into it. I stumbled upon blogs while googling for something else. Soon, I summoned up the courage to leave comments. Then, I thought, 'Well, why not try it for a couple of months?' That was 14 months ago. (Short answer: to fill in the gaps in my written journals, and for the community that blogging brings, if you wait long enough).
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > The same I'd give a novice diarist: 'For Pete's sake, you don't need to write every day!'
What are your favourite blogs? > I've never wearied of Marie Phillip's blogs yet. I started with her Struggling Author and continue to be a fan of The Woman Who Talked Too Much. Maybe it's because we have the same birthday.
What are you reading at the moment? > I'm a very inefficient reader. I generally have one book in the bathroom (The Medical Detective by Sandra Hempel), one by the bed (The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson – I'm on a bit of a cholera-epidemic-of-1954 fetish at the moment, could you tell?), one in my bag for the bus (The Shack by Wm. Paul Young – trying to force myself to finish it; I don't really have a problem with the theology, but the prose is so clunky), and an audio book in the kitchen (Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson; my younger daughter is on the autism spectrum and this fellow grew up with Asperger's). In addition, I dip into other books as well; it takes me weeks to finish any one book.
What is your favourite poem? > I love poems that are short enough for me to memorize, because then they are always with me. 'Prayer to Persephone' by Edna St Vincent Millay is one such poem and it heads my blog. Another is 'When You Are Old' by William Butler Yeats. I like longer poems too, of course, and my favourite play, The Lady's Not for Burning by Christopher Fry, is in verse.
What is your favourite movie? > I have about 35 favourite movies, but I keep coming back to Hal Ashby's Harold and Maude which is my comfort in dark times. I started out understanding Harold, and as I age, I understand Maude better.What is your favourite song? > Oh please! Can anyone just choose one? I have 273 of my favourite songs on rotation at my Facebook profile. Here are the five displayed today: 'I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono' - Dar Williams, 'Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters' - Elton John, 'What a Good Boy' - Bare Naked Ladies, 'Walking on the Sun' - Smash Mouth, and 'Mean to Me' - Crowded House. That may give you an idea, and at the same time, it's totally misleading.
Who is your favourite composer? > Mozart. Who's beaten him, really?
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Euthanasia. When I was younger, I just thought it was wrong and I worried about people being pressured into it, either by others or by their desire to 'not be a burden'. I still worry about that, but I have more sympathy for those who choose that path.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > I heard the Dalai Lama say this in Toronto many years ago: 'Help others. And if you can't help them, at least try not to hurt them.'
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Sometimes A Shining Moment by Eliot Wigginton, which changed the way I saw education and learning. I read it before his life fell apart.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Our failure to see others as real, breathing human beings.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > What best point would that be? I sincerely hope the best is yet to come, because until we have a world that is operating with better justice and fewer 'isms' (sexism, ageism, racism, etc, etc), I'd hesitate to use the word 'best', ever.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Pick your battles.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > The ability to see other points of view.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Those who are convinced they know what's best for another person. They're almost never right. (This is rich, coming from a mother.)
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > If it involved saving a life, or preventing a heart from breaking, I'd have no qualms. It also comes in handy when planning surprise parties.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Wealthy blond mums in mini-vans. I'm not proud of this.
What is your favourite proverb? > '"Assume" makes an "ASS" of "U" and "ME".' It's also my husband's favourite, which is highly ironic. For both of us.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Golf mystifies me, as do reality TV shows.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The gremlins that corner me at 3 am: the environment, killer meteors, health and money matters, my daughters' futures, deadlines, etc, etc, etc.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I wouldn't move to Ottawa.
What would you call your autobiography? > Real Balletomanes Throw Bouquets.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Anyone who reads my blog (all seven of them) will know the answer to this: Victoria, British Columbia.
What would your ideal holiday be? > I'd take a flat in London for a year and every third day I'd go on a London Walk. The rest of the time I'd visit museums, do family history research, and line up for rush tickets.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Millicent.
What talent would you most like to have? > Musical talent, particularly the ability to play the guitar and an irresistible singing voice. I have a fair singing voice, but it's resistible.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I think I'd make a fine librarian, with the proper training.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd provide my daughters with the educations best suited to their very different needs; I'd buy a dog (preferably one trained to be a companion to those on the autism spectrum); I'd move back to Victoria and buy a charming older house near downtown and my mum, and I'd hire someone to decorate it in Arts and Crafts style which is the only style that has ever appealed to me or held my interest. Oh, and I'd take that holiday in London I described earlier.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Eleanor Roosevelt, for her knowledge, passion, and experiences; Anne Frank, to find out what the camps did to her spirit; and David Tennant, because he'd probably be perfectly comfortable in the feminine company and charming enough to pay attention to all three of us.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]