Meet Shanmarie: An In-Depth Look
It seems that I might be more prone to accepting challenges than I thought. After accepting Bill's challenge to The Woman on the Mountaintop, I was pleased with the responses I received - especially since it was a different approach to writing than I normally take. Also, since doing that challenge, I have come across some others here that intrigue me for various reasons.
This particular challenge to interview yourself was issued by Availiasvision. One of the reasons it interests me is that I love to read/hear about the things that make other people tick. The process of getting to know someone else is fun, interesting, and meaningful to me. Blame it on my fascination with psychology. Or maybe that is the reason for my fascination. . . Haha. . .
Anyway, for those people I consider to be friends and that hopefully consider me a friend as well, it has an even deeper meaning. So, if you haven't already, I also challenge you to take her up on this great experience. Just click the link above to do so if that's your prerogative. As for me, some of this is so far outside my comfort zone that I can officially say I have most definitely been challenged. Here goes nothing. . .
Shannon, or shanmarie as she is known by some on HubPages, is a wife and mother of three. Aside from all of the demands that come with that, she writes web content for clients as a freelancer, poetry, and song lyrics. She also does her best to maintain a personal website, Country Music Notes, which discusses country music related things. She particularly enjoys doing interviews with artists and learning the stories behind songs. This is her story. It's her turn to be interviewed. Come along with her as she explores herself more in depth.
This song pretty much sums up Shannon's feelings about most people in her life and life in general.
Actor's Studio Questions
1. What is your favorite word?
Do writers actually have favorite words? (laughs) I love words in general. I love the way that they can change a meaning of a concept or a sentence. The wrong word or one that is perhaps too vague can be a bit ambiguous, but using a synonym with specific connotations associated with the synonym or with a definition that clarifies intentions allows the reader to better imagine the situation being described. Does that make sense? Of course, it all depends on context.
2. What is your least favorite word?
I'm not sure that I have a least favorite word. When it comes to words, the ones that annoy me the most are the non-words. Like when my mother says 'kinchen' instead of 'kitchen' or 'warsh' instead of 'wash'. I give her a hard time every time she says it. (laughs) Or when someone uses the wrong word that should know the correct word to use. I don't mean someone that does it by accident once or twice, but when it is repedidly done. Uh, oops, I mean repetitively done. (giggles) That was by accident, I promise. But, it does prove my point, doesn't it? Also, my children like to say 'anoring' when they mean 'annoying' and it totally bugs me. I'm beginning to think that's why they still say it wrong.
I don't know. . .other times it is fun to just make up a word. Just because. My friends used to call those Shannonisms. I'm a walking contradiction. What can I say? (laughs and shrugs)
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Those things all kind of go hand in hand. My emotions motivate and influence a lot of the poetry that I write. For that reason, mostly, I used to not share it with many people. However, I've since accepted the old adage 'write what you know' to be accurate enough. I mean. . . let me put it this way. . I love music. I love the way that lyrics combined with a great melody can illicit such strong emotions, really move me to tears or joy and a wide range of emotions in between. Poetry can do that too, and I've found that my best poetry and lyrics are those that have at least been inspired by the particular emotions I was feeling when I wrote them. So, even if they are fictional, they are still truthful - if you know what I mean by that.
And, um, if I become inspired by a particular idea, I. . .uh. . .I just go with it. Sometimes I even have to write down my thoughts or an entire poem in bed so that I don't lose the thoughts to sleep or further thinking. I've also learned to draw from my own experiences, thoughts, and perceptions when writing. It helps when I have to put myself in someone else's shoes to an extent, as with writing song lyrics that may not be so personal.
I don't know. . .really, I kind of feel like anything an author pens is personal even if it's not. Know what I mean? It's all a part of how our minds think and work. It's our imagination at play, our thoughts, our concepts, our personalities (and, yes, I mean multiple personalities of each author and not plural author personalities). (laughs)
So, yeah. . uh...what was the question again? Oh yeah. Spirituality and emotions are tied together for me. And they both heavily influence much of what I write and much of who I am as a person in general.
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Oh gosh, lot's of things. I am very turned off by people that are so negative so much of the time. I mean, the kind of people that carry so much of it in their hearts that it spews out of their mouth and out of their actions. I don't include people that are genuinely hurting and trying, but people that seem to just embrace the anger as a way of life without compassion and without caring. Just constantly instigating and spreading more of it. At the same time, it's very sad to me. I don't know. . .it's just so very hard for me to explain my thoughts on this matter. Because we're all human and we all hurt sometimes and feel all the ranges of emotion there are to be had.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound of a baby's laughter. Children's laughter in general, actually. I love the sounds of birds chirping, running water such as a river or a fountain, a cat's purr, someone saying 'I love you' . . .thunder, I love thunder. Oh, I could list so many sounds. Joyful sounds mostly, I suppose, or music. Music that moves me to feel something deeply, especially.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Oh, geesh. You really wanna know? (laughs) I can't stand the sound of someone chewing or smacking their food. There's a word for that and it's supposed to be an actual brain disorder, but who knows? All I know is that the sound REALLY irritates me. Oh my gosh, you have no idea just how much it does either. I mean, doesn't it annoy everyone? (laughs) No? I guess not.
Loud noises such as the fire alarms being tested in the store I work at the other day. It hurt my ears, for goodness sake, and gave me a headache! Most everyone else, too, I believe. And they couldn't just test it once or twice. Oh, no. Had to be four or five. (laughs) Yeah, you get the idea. Loud noises just bother me. Even loud music. It's a wonder I want to go to concerts (which incidentally is not that often, so...probably a good thing, given my dislike of loud noises).
I also very much dislike the sound of anger and people yelling. Of course, I'm not perfect and have done my share of it in my lifetime, but it bothers me. Anger is a human emotion, but it drives people apart and so many do not handle it right or handle the anger of others well. It makes me sad.
7. What is your favorite curse word?
To be honest, I don't much like cussing. I try to avoid being around it in excess whenever possible. Certain cuss words particularly grate on my nerves more than others. But, also being honest, if I am to cuss I'm most likely to use 'shit' as a cuss word.
Of course, one can also get quite creative with those expressions of frustration. (laughs) Have you seen that Tim Hawkins video about Christian cuss words. It's quite amusing.
8. What is your least favorite curse word?
I absolutely hate hearing the 'f' word. Just can't stand it or any form of it. I also don't like people using God's name to curse.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Teach. Isn't that a terrible thing to say? I mean. . .well. . .I love children. I even enjoy teaching. I've done some student teaching, worked in daycare centers, babysat, etc. Children are fascinating - the way they think, the way they apply their pseudo logic in a manner that is so logical, the way that they grow in general. They are little miracles and they have such innocence about them that many adults have long since given up on. I'm not talking about the naivety they have, but the pure and simple joy and wonderment that life has to offer. The curiosity and passion for life.
So, anyway, I used to want to teach, but I found that it is a high stress job and the support system that should be there is not. The red tape that comes from people that are not in a classroom on a daily basis is a bit too much for me. I suppose that I could do it and it would be job security. I know that I would love the rewarding parts of the job. . .but. . .well. . .yeah. . .I also did not get to finish getting my degree. I don't even regret it as much as I used to. I still would like to get my degree, at least in something, but my focus has since switched mostly to writing.
On a bad day, I might venture to say that I don't even like that. (laughs) You know, dealing with editors that are hard to work with and things like that. No job is perfect, though, or without its faults. Even if you are your own boss. I know that from experience, too. Dealing with people that can be quite rude is never easy. Any job in retail or telemarketing....heck, any job. . .But what can you do? Shake it off and try to do something you love to do most of the time.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Oh gosh, probably what every child wants to hear from a parent. Something along the lines of "Welcome home, child. You are loved."
1. In the film version of your autobiography, who would you like to play yourself?
Oh my gosh, that's a hard question. Me, of course. Acting is fun and who better to do me than me? Of course, I'm also a fan of Jennifer Aniston. There is a lot of versatility to her talents.
2. What quality or talent do you wish you could cultivate?
Tough question. Besides writing, of course (there is always room for growth on that), I would say something along the lines of counseling. It makes me feel so helpless to see people that would otherwise get along well choose to break up or end a friendship over differences that are really just a matter of differences in perspective. It especially pains me when it happens to me and I am aware that that is the biggest issue.
I don't know. . . I used to think communication was the key. That and both parties making an effort to see things from both perspectives. It just sort of seems to make the differences not matter so much when there is an understanding and acceptance on both parts. Sometimes it dissolves an issue simply by knowing things are not what we imagine. But I probably don't make much sense. It's not easy to fully articulate my thoughts on the matter. I just think of it sort of like marriage counseling in which both people are asked to understand one another better through discussion. They often find out the differences are not so big after all, just misunderstood. Misunderstandings and misinterpretations happen, yet seem so unnecessary to me. Too bad everything is so subjective and that it really does take people willing to talk about things in order to put minds at ease.
I can think of so many times when friends have come to me about problems with another friend and, having heard both sides, I'm not at liberty to tell the other party what was said, but I think 'oh my gosh, this could be solved so easily because they are both just misinterpreting one another's intentions and actions.' So, yeah, I wish I were better able and wise enough to mediate those things. It's not always easy to know when to share and when to hold back, when to urge people to talk and when to just let them sort out their own problems even if it means a friendship ending over something that seems so unnecessary to me. It's sad.
3. Who is your favorite fictional character ever?
Wow. I don't think I've ever really thought about this before. Who is my favorite fictional character? Oh my gosh, I don't know! Really have not a clue.
However, I can think of one fictional character that has inspired a project I am working on. Well, in a way, anyway. The Star Trek: Voyager series was on television when I was in high school. I always admired the captain's character. Not only was the series the first to feature a woman captain, but her character was strong, yet also very human. Moreover, the actress portraying Captain Janeway, Kate Mulgrew, had a way of bringing that character to life. Her acting skills impressed me. The many sides of being human from strong and in control, to vulnerable and full of emotion - she played the part well.
So, one day something on YouTube caught my attention. It was Kate Mulgrew describing her experiences with her mother's Alzheimer's disease. My grandmother had dementia, so this caught my attention. Her speech was so incredibly moving that it inspired me to write a novel in which the main character is going through having to take care of her mother after finding out that she has the disease.
Unfortunately, though, that has been a work in progress for far too long now. It's been over a year. Actually, two now, and all I have done is the first chapter plus some research. I've been very intent on the research because I want the characters to seem authentic. I want to tell a story that seems real, you know? I want people to relate. And then I hope it is good enough to sell well enough to be able to donate to Alzheimer's research. It's easy for me to pull reader's in. I'm a bit worried about being able to keep attention throughout. We shall see, I guess.
4. If you could have the career of any author, who would it be?
I don't know. I suppose that most author's want to be remembered for something that becomes a classic. That would be nice. It would be nice to make a difference somehow. To move or inspire others.
But, off the top of my head, I would say that I would not mind having the career of one of my grandmother's favorite author's, Gilbert Morris. He writes Christian-based novels, mostly historical fiction. My grandma used to read his books and then pass them along to me. He tends to write several novels in a series. He has something like twenty of them and each of the series has a certain number of books included. My two favorite series of his are Cheney Duvall, M.D and The House of Winslow. The first series I mentioned, which he wrote with his daughter, is about a woman doctor when women doctors were not accepted. However, in the first book in the series, she finds a job aboard a ship and finds herself with a nurse that is a male. The other series follows a family through generations from the Mayflower to WWII, I believe is where that series ends so far.
But, anyway, he's just a very accomplished, award-winning author. At the age of 85, he has published over 200 novels. He's one of the most popular Christian authors around. He's just had a very successful career. Who that writes for a living could ask for more?
5. What inspires you?
Lot's of things inspire me. Life inspires me. Love inspires me. Those things mostly. Of course, life is very vague, but think about it. There is so much beauty and wonder around us. So many emotions to experience. Things to experience. People inspire me. My faith and hope inspire me. Positive, up-lifting people inspire me. You know, those people that are still very human and know it. They embrace their emotions and accept that they are human, but they also are strong and confident. At the same time, negative emotions can inspire me, too. It's all part of life.
6. When did you first realize you were a writer?
Oh. I've loved to write for as long as I can remember. Even in elementary school. In middle school and high school, teachers praised my writing ability. But I was very self-conscious about it then. On the upside, though, I was the kind of student that could write her essays in ten to fifteen minutes during lunch hour and still make an A on them. Reading, Writing, and English. . .they were always my favorite subjects in school. It just came naturally to me.
I remember. . .my junior. . . maybe senior year of high school. . .we had an assignment in English to write a particular kind of poem. . .Gosh, I can't even remember the name of what it is we did, but it had two parts. Two poems. Two poems to say the exact same thing, only different. Different perspectives, I guess you could say. And I remember doing it from a soldier's point of view. One poem was told from the point of view of a new soldier excited about the honor and adventure. The other one talked about the perspective of a soldier that has been at war and how it really is not such a glorious thing.
The amazing thing is that I wrote them so quickly during lunch. I really couldn't believe it turned out so well. I did have a little help from friends when I needed suggestions for articulating a particular thought or finding a rhyming word, but mostly, I did it myself and I was quite proud of the way it turned out. And even more surprised by the response I received from my classmates. We had to read our poems out loud and after I read mine, I was met with a stunned silence. Not a bored silence, but they actually looked sort of awed. I was really shocked that I did that. I wrote something that moved people. It was an amazing feeling. The teacher asked me to publish it in the school magazine for extra credit, but I lost them. Oh my gosh, I lost them! I was soooo disappointed that I did. I wanted to keep them and then they were gone. Plus, I had to report back that I'd lost them and would not qualify for the extra credit points after all. (laughs)
A Christmas song that brings Shannon to tears.
The song about songs stamping lives.
One of her all time favorite love songs.
Shannon relates to this song on a personal level.
Shannon absolutely adores the chorus to this song.
Shannon remembers performing this one with her cousin as a duet for family.
A favorite classic of Shannon's.
1. What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is green. I love the darker, rich greens like emerald or hunter green. I also love many of the browns. Brown is calming to me. Something soothing about it. Of course, I love color in general, too, especially when I am working with it.
2. What is your favorite time of year?
Now! I love Christmas time. I know, I know - for someone that does not like the cold much, I could totally do snow this time of year. White, magical Christmases.
I just love the idea of spending time with family and friends, the spirit of giving. It makes me so happy to make others happy. Gifts, to me, are not things to take lightly. I don't give them lightly and I think a lot of them when they are given to me. I guess I'm just sentimental, but giving a gift is as much for me as it is for the person I give it to. I thoroughly enjoy taking the time to give a gift that is hopefully meaningful to the person that I give it to in some way. It really does - it makes my heart so happy to delight someone else or have them be touched by a gift!
And then the magical part of Christmas as seen through a child's eyes. Pure delight. I've also been the recipient of a few Christmas miracles, so I appreciate the season even more for them. They boosted my faith even more, as well. It's just a wonderful time of year. Too many Scrooges around, though. (laughs)
3. What is your favorite song?
Really? Did you just ask me that? I can't possibly pick a favorite song. Music is too important to me. I love the way it has the power to illicit such powerful emotions. Happy, sad. . .the entire range. It moves people. It has the power to really move a person. Plus, it's just cathartic to me. Give me a song on the radio that I can sing along to and it is instant stress relief. I can get lost in the song. I want to do that. I want to be a part of that. Even if it is mostly just in writing the lyrics and letting someone else do the music part.
As far as favorites go, though, I am often drawn to songs of inspiration or love. Songs that encourage and inspire are real to me. And, of course, in the words of one particular song, 'we all have a song that somehow stamped our lives, takes us to another place in time.' There are always those certain songs that make us think of someone else or some other time in our lives every time we hear them.
I listen to a wide variety of music and genres, but country is probably my favorite because of the way that it handles a lyric. Country music tends to be so authentic in the way that a story is told, the way that it illicit the emotions of the listener through the use of a story. Of course, like I said, other genres have plenty of songs that move me as well. I'm not limited to my lifetime either. (laughs) Songs from many time periods also have that kind of power over people.
Lately, I've had "Winter Wonderland" stuck in my head. It's always been a favorite Christmas song of mine. I mean, can't you just imagine it? The wonderland? How beautiful it it is. Plus, it reminds me of a story I wrote when I was in 5th or 6th grade that took place in such a wonderland.
4. What motivates you as a person?
Love. Compassion. My favorite Bible passage is I Corinthians 13 and I don't like to see people suffer and hurt. Love does not always seem like it's enough, but it really is the ultimate gift. It's one I can't take back either. Not without feeling like I'm also losing part of me. I mean, I can think back years to people and friendships lost for various reasons or just to normal drifting apart and still feel some affection for those people.
5. What are your hobbies?
Aside from writing, you mean? Yeah, I know. In a way, I still consider it a hobby even though it is so much a part of me.
Um, I make jewelry. I enjoy making it to give as gifts and to sell. I also love making it for myself, though I usually give it away before I keep it. It's creative and it's fun.
I love, love, love interviewing artists for my website. I have been neglecting it as of late because I haven't had the time to do everything I want to do. But, when it is really up and running, I get to interact with music artists and find out what inspires them. I love that. I've made a few friends that way, too. It was weird. I just thought one day, 'Why not? I can do that. Why not ask someone for an interview and start a blog doing that. Why not?' And so I did. I was pleasantly surprised when they agreed and I just kept going from there. Mark Wills, Aaron Tippin. . .who knew? I never thought I would ever speak with them when I was growing up. And other incredible people. I just love it. I hope to be back at that full time again soon. Well, as close to full time as I can. I go in search of artists and sometimes they come in search of me. It's still somewhat of a surprise that someone would ask me to interview them or review and album or song. To think that managers of these people are reaching out to me. I'd love to really make something big enough to get the interviews from the big name artists, too.
6. What can fans expect from you in the future?
Well, it's funny you should ask that, actually, because it is the same question I always end my interviews with music artists with. I mean, the fans wanna know. It's my duty to give them the answer. (laughs)
I certainly hope that fans expect me to keep on writing and to publish more here on HubPages as well as on my website. I hope that they expect me to do more interviews and stories behind the songs. And I hope that folks aren't disappointed by what they read! Gosh, I hope I have fans in the first place! (laughs)