My Courses Last Semester

My Courses Last Semester

Courses I Took Last Semester

I realised some time ago that I hadn’t really talked much about what courses I took last year and my university experience last year. I have talked about it a little bit in passing but not on a post on its own and since some people have been asking me about it I thought I could write a post and talk about what courses I took, what I learnt and my experiences with online classes.

As you guys know last year was interesting to say the least. Due to the pandemic all my courses were fully online. This was my fourth year which meant that I would now focus on my major and did not have any elective courses. We have to take four fourth year history courses this year and up to two third year history courses. Since this was my first time doing online classes I decided to take only two fourth year courses last semester.

At Brock, your fourth year history courses have a seminar like structure. You don’t have lectures and instead the focus is on discussing both primary and secondary sources with everyone else in your class. It’s significantly more reading compared to the other courses since the emphasis is on sources so that was what mostly kept me busy for the last few months. The discussions are normally student led and we are encouraged to participate as much as possible.

I used to dread seminars in my first semester because as someone with anxiety speaking up in front of everyone is not really something I’m awesome at. However, I am so glad we have seminars and are forced to participate- we aren’t exactly forced but you need to participate at least a few times to get a decent grade. It really helped bring me out of my comfort zone and it helped me develop a lot of skills that will be super useful for me in the future. I am pretty comfortable speaking in groups now in this kind of setting, I have better leadership skills since we have to lead some seminars and I am a lot more confident about my thoughts and opinions. If you knew me when I first started university- my followers who have been following this blog since the beginning will remember- you would never expect me to be okay with this kind of thing. But thanks to my anxiety decreasing significantly due to CBD oil and meditation along with getting used to speaking up I have actually really started enjoying seminars. It helps that I get to be in my pjs for the ones that I don’t have to switch on my camera lol!

Anyway that’s just a little background information about fourth year courses at Brock and how the history ones generally work. Here are the courses I took last semester and my thoughts about them:

History Of Slavery

I have had the professor who was teaching this course for another course and he is probably one of my favourite professors because the stuff he teaches is exactly the kind of history I am generally interested in learning. I took an American history course with him last semester and really enjoyed it. He is just super chill and understanding and has a really great vibe. He is also super understanding and tries to make sure his courses aren’t too overwhelming so we did not have a lot of assignments and stuff which was amazing.

I have learnt about slavery before in other courses. Before this course I had learnt about slavery in Rome, Africa and America but that was about it. I had never taken a course that was specifically about slavery so I was very curious to see what we would learn in this one and I was not disappointed. I learnt so many eye opening things that I had never learnt about before.

I loved that he also had multiple classes on slavery in the Caribbean because that was something that a lot of courses do not really talk about a lot. We also talked about slavery that is currently going on which was a bit difficult to read primary sources about because they were truly heartbreaking. Most of us know that these things are happening but when you learn about them in detail its just different and much more difficult to digest. I’m glad he added that because it was something that was hard to learn about but also important to learn about.

Apart from that we did the general stuff that one usually thinks about when we discuss slavery like slavery in America. I think out of all the courses I have taken so far this was one of the most difficult one because of the primary accounts of slaves or former slaves. It’s really hard to read some of the things we did. I’m not going to share in detail what they were as some very extremely explicit and disturbing.

Overall, this course was amazing and I truly ended up learning so much.

History Of Food

As you guys know there are three things that I love- food, history and writing- and this course was a combination of all three of these things. Out of all the courses I have taken this was the one I was most excited about and I was not disappointed in the least bit. The professor I had for this course was really great and I had a really fun time with this course. She was also super chill which was amazing.

We do not often think of history and food together- at least most of us don’t. I mean some historical events such as famines etc. make us think about history and food together but when we think about general history we often do not think about food. For example, when we think about the Cold War the first thing we think about is usually not food. This course showed me that maybe we should think about food a lot more than we do when it comes to history because it plays an insanely large role in most of history.

The best part of this class was that we get to recreate a recipe from history as part of our assignment and we can base our final research paper on it to except obviously our final paper is much more detailed and about the topic in general not just the recipe.

The recipe I decided to recreate was from a cookbook written by a former slave called Abby Fisher and the cookbook was called Mrs. Abby Fisher Knows Southern Cooking. You can check out an online version of the cookbook by clicking here. This was the second- formerly believed to be the first- cookbook published by a freed slave and an African American woman. She herself nor her husband were able to read or write so the recipes were dictated and written by someone else.

The reason I chose this particular cookbook was because since I was taking a course in slavery as well I was already interested in slave food, eating habits and how what is now known as soul food is inspired by slave food. Therefore, I thought this would be very interesting to recreate and also her recipes were super simple and easy to recreate which was helpful. I personally chose to make her ginger cookies recipe and they turned out pretty good although slightly dry so I would recommend adding oat or coconut milk for anyone who may want to try recreating it as well. That’s how mine turned out:

This course really helped me thinking of food as more than just something we put in our body but rather as something that helps define who we are. What we eat says much more about us than we think it does. For some of us it allows us to connect with our ancestors and our culture, for others it allows us to reminisce about different times and for all of us it helps us create new memories.

Your Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit more about the courses I took last semester and my experiences with them. Have you ever taken any similar courses or are you currently taking any similar courses? Would you try historical recipes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or simply stop by and say hi!


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Blogger Interview With Vincent Smarra

Blogger Interview With Vincent Smarra
I have gotten so many interview requests and I wanted to thank everyone for their interest- I will definitely respond to each email just give me some time as I’m pretty busy with university at the moment. Thanks again!

I hope you enjoy this interview with blogger Vincent Santino Smarra! As always feel free to leave your comments below telling us what you thought about the interview or simply stop by and say hi!

1. Thank you so much for being a part of this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself, your blog and what it is about.
I’m Vincent Santino Smarra, better known as ‘Who?’, or Sonny, to my friends. I always enjoyed language, I’m a prose person that considers writing art. Love it all, except grammar, which I accept like a good-intentioned yet annoying family member. My online platform is my way of sharing my work with the world.

2. When did you start your blog and what made you decide to start blogging?

Sometime in my childhood, this idea popped into my head that I’m meant to be a writer, and never left. So I write because I have to, but my blog, portfolio, whatever the proper term, was another step entirely. I started regularly sharing my work online about 7 years ago when I first felt confident enough that a stranger who might stumble across my writing would enjoy it. I was an idiot for thinking that back then, an overconfident 18 year old – unique, right – but I’m glad I made the decision.

3. I noticed that you blog about multiple topics and have different categories on your blog. What is your favourite topic or category to write about and why?

I never considered how categorically scattered my content is, but now that you’ve pointed it out, I can see you’re right. For me, the main focus is the flow of the writing; I share prose I think has merit, simply because of the way it’s written. The writing style I enjoy the most though, maybe spontaneous prose, Kerouac’s stream of consciousness
style. Sometimes I can post the pieces whole, sometimes I chop them up to use piecemeal, and regardless of their practical use, it’s always cathartic to get it onto the page.

4. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by blogging or like you are running out of ideas? If so, how do you deal with it?

I never feel overwhelmed by writing because no one asked me to do this. It is a weight with undeniable presence but it being there makes me, me. If I run out of ideas, I write about what I see. If I don’t like what I see, I write about nothing; it’s never as pointless as it sounds, though. I think.

5. What is your favourite part of being a blogger?

I put a lot of myself into what I write, and the best part about sharing my work online is knowing I have the chance to communicate my innermost thoughts with complete strangers. Whenever I read good writing my brain absorbs the essence, not an intentional remembrance like when studying, more of a ‘Oh, I already knew that, didn’t I?’ I might not remember the words verbatim but their impact is certain, and the chance to provide that for another person means a lot to me.

6. Who and what are some of your inspirations for writing?

So far as literal writers go, my top 3 inspirations in no order (yes I’m afraid of offending dead men) are Jack Kerouac, Herman Hesse, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. I draw a lot of inspiration from other places too though, especially music: Bob Dylan, Mac Miller, King Fantastic, to name a few.

7. Tell us more about “symphonic prose” and what inspired that.

A couple years back I put my pen down and end up with My Mixtape, stories based on songs split into sections by scrapbook poems made of song lyrics. I put it aside, not knowing what to do with it. A couple weeks later I forgot to do an assignment for a class, and turned it in hoping for the professor’s mercy as it didn’t quite satisfy the project parameters. Fast forward again, I have to meet him during office hours to get it back; he wants to talk. Like a good teacher he let me know it was rough and needed work then passed me with a very generous ‘B’ because he’d never seen anything like it. Proffesor Branscum said he saw potential in the form, and encouraged me to keep developing it. Meant a lot to me. Since then I’ve released 3 additional projects of the same ilk: Jam Session, Ringtones From The Radio, and Music From The Microcosm. The stories, named after songs, are meant to be read before, during, or after listening to the namesake music, and song lyric scrapbook poems serve as thematic breaks, all in the name of communicating the usually impossible to verbalize feeling music can provide. Symphonic Prose is my answer to people’s question of, ‘Why do you like that song?’ And since metatextual games like this are present in almost all other mediums today, I figured, why not literature?

8. What is your favourite food?
Raw onions, garlic, and pickled pepperoncini peppers. Taste and smell.

9. What is the weirdest situation you have ever been in?
One time in the bar some dude made eye contact with me, and I was convinced he was coming to fight, so I made the first move; smashed a plastic cup full of long island across dude’s face. It was a crowded night so the splash hit more than just him. Two guys plus the one I hit start pummeling me and I’m against a wall, I don’t fall but I don’t move either, they just hitting, hitting – I get two black eyes and a busted lip before my friends tackle them off of me. Then, the bouncers come, and decide I was the only person that needed to be kicked out. They were probably right.

10. If you had to live in only one country for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?
It’d be America, which is boring because that’s where I’m from, but if I knew I couldn’t leave I’d make it a point to travel and take the whole thing in. This place is big enough to be a few countries; sometimes it seems like it is.

11. What is one of your favourite memories?
Our high-school graduation was outside, and afterwards, me and a friend snuck into the building. We were on the top floor, looking out on the roof, and we’d always talked about wanting to go out onto it; then we realized we could and no one could say anything. So we did. I smile every time I think about that view.

12. Thanks again and please feel free to share anything you would like to add or share with the readers.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Pooja. These were good questions, I had fun
answering them. If Symphonic Prose piqued anyone’s interest, it’s free to read:
https://vincentsantino.com/portfolio/symphonic-literature/ 

If you enjoyed this interview don’t forget to stop by Vincent’s blog by clicking here. 
If you would like to be interviewed please send me your name (optional), the name of your blog and a link to your blog via email to insomniacwithanaccent@gmail.com
I’m a little busy at the moment and have quite a few interviews ready to post so please don’t worry if I don’t respond immediately. I will definitely respond as soon as possible.
If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment!
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Musicians I Discovered During My Break From WP

Musicians I Discovered During My Break From WP

As you guys know I had taken a few months off blogging not by choice but because WordPress decided they wanted me off their platform for some reason lol (can you tell I’m still salty about it?)! But I decided to think about it in a positive way and try to do new things to keep myself occupied since I had more free time. During this time I ended up discovering a lot more new (new to me not new in general) music that I was and am still very much into right now.

I know a lot of you really enjoy the posts I make about music because I have gotten a lot of great responses in my older posts I have made about music and I have also gotten a lot of people asking me to make more posts about music so I decided this would be a good time to do it.

I have also for some reason got some pretty negative comments on every one of my music posts so I just wanted to say that some of the songs below contain explicit material. If that offends you than please don’t watch the videos. Since this is my blog I will be posting whatever I enjoy and leaving negative comments isn’t going to change that.

Anyway hope you enjoy these amazing artists!

Teamarr

So I discovered Teamarr at about the same time I made my last post in October. I was feeling kind of down about the whole situation and her music was so funny, quirky, honest and amazing it really helped me feel better! I genuinely feel like me being able to discover her music at that time was a small gift from the Universe because it knew I was going through a lot. What I love about her is how brutally honest she is in her music and it’s so relatable because she keeps it real. She allows herself to be vulnerable which is not easy to do. I also love some of her funnier videos which are still brutally honest but quite funny. Oh and she’s soooo pretty! I really don’t care what musicians look like in general because I’m just here for the music but she is so pretty I was like blown away.

I think you will probably enjoy her music a little more if you’re a millennial or younger but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it if you’re older so give it a try! I’ve added videos to both her more amusing songs and her more serious ones so you can get a feel of what they’re both like.

Willie Nelson

I have heard one Willie Nelson song before which I loved. It’s called Buddy and it’s quite popular so I’m sure a lot of you will have heard it or at least heard of it. I heard it on Parks And Recreation and I was super into it so I listened to it a few times on my own. I never want further than that and really got into Willie’s other music though until recently.

I took a course on Country music last year and although it was amazing I’m mad that we didn’t spend more time on musicians like Willie, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash etc. We talked about them in passing but I feel like they are such a vital part of country music they deserved more time. That being said I get that the course is only a couple of weeks and the professor probably did not have that much time to discuss everyone.

Anyway back to Willie Nelson. For some reason one of his songs was in my recommended on YouTube and I ended up listening to it and loving it and I started to listen to his other songs and now I’m officially a big fan of his music.

I love the energy his music has- he has such a calming voice and presence. He’s also super funny which I appreciate. I also love the activist work he has done. I feel like I not only enjoy his music but his presence and personality too. Hope you enjoy the videos I’ve added below as much as I have over the last few weeks!

The Kinks

I’ve always been a fan of The Kinks but I hadn’t heard a lot of their music. I kind of had been sticking with the few songs I did like. I discovered them back in High School which I hate to admit was a long time ago and I had kind of forgotten about them until I took a course on The Sixties. I started listening to them again after that and I really got into their music again.

Like the others on this list I just really like their vibe and energy and the lead singer has such a unique raspy voice that I love. My favourite song by The Kinks used to be Well Respected Man but now it’s Lola.

Old School Hip Hop

I have always been into Hip Hop and although there are some amazing artists out there that I really enjoy listening to I just have a soft spot for old school Hip Hop. So I ended up listening to a lot of NWA, Wu Tang, Beastie Boys and more. I love country music but at the moment I’m really into Hip Hop too.

Apart from music I have recently also been enjoying spoken word poetry from the 60’s and 70’s because even though it was obviously written during a different time it is still extremely relatable in a lot of ways.

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni is my favourite right now. The first thing I heard by her was Ego Tripping and as a women and a WOC in particular I was obsessed. It just made me feel so powerful and reminded me how strong and incredible us women are. I love anything that is powerful and uplifting so Ego Tripping really hit the spot. Since I liked Ego Tripping so much I decided to look through some of her other work and I have really enjoyed all of it so far although Ego Tripping definitely remains my favourite.

Langston Hughes

The first thing I heard by Langston Hughes was Freedom Train. I heard it in one of my History classes- it was taught by the same professor who taught the Sixties class- and it really stuck with me. After that I started listening to more things by him and I found myself really enjoying his work.

These days I try to listen to inspiring spoken word poetry before I go to sleep because it calms me down but also inspires me to work harder the next day.

Thoughts

Let me know in the comments below what you thought about the videos if you decided to listen to them. Do you listen to any of the artists I mentioned? I would love to know your thoughts or simply say hi in the comments below because I always love hearing from you!


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My Week So Far

As you guys know this has been my first week back to school so it’s been a little hectic and even though I did have a post planned for today I didn’t have time to finish it. So instead of not posting anything I wanted to check in on you guys and say hi! How are you guys doing? How is 2021 going for you so far? I’m doing good and I’ve been weirdly calm about everything- am I getting used to university or is my anxiety getting better? Either way I’m good. I’m still having weird dreams but now I just try to enjoy them instead.


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Dysfunction is Evidence of Our Humanness (Guest Post)

Dysfunction is Evidence of Our Humanness (Guest Post)

By Dr. Robert F. Mullen 

There is a joke that circulates among mental health professionals. Why do only 26% of people have a diagnosable mental disorder? Because the other 74% haven’t been diagnosed yet.

We are all psychologically dysfunctional in some way. “Mental illnesses are so common that almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their life” (Scientific American).

Why do we treat the mentally ill with contempt, trepidation, and ridicule? We are hard-wired to fear and isolate mental illness, and we have been misinformed by history and the disease model of mental health. There are four common misconceptions about psychological dysfunctions. They are (1) abnormal and selective, (2) consequence of behavior, (3) solely mental, and (4) psychotic.

Let us deconstruct these misconceptions, beginning with the latter.

A dysfunctional person is psychotic.

There are two degrees of mental disorder: neuroses and psychoses. When someone sees, hears, or responds to things that are not actual, they are having a psychotic episode. While few persons experience psychosis, everyone has moderate-and-above levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. We are universally neurotic. Since the overwhelming majority of mental disorders are neuroses, we are all dysfunctional to some extent.

A dysfunction is abnormal or selective. 

A neurosis is a condition that negatively impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life but does not necessarily impair or interfere with normal day-to-day functions. It is a standard part of natural human development. One-in-four individuals have a diagnosable neurosis. According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of those reject or refuse to disclose their condition. Including those who dispute or chose to remain oblivious to their dysfunction, we can conclude that mental disorders are common, undiscriminating, and impact us all in some fashion or another. Many of us have more than one disorder; depression and anxiety are commonly comorbid, often accompanied by substance abuse.

A dysfunction is the consequence of a person’s behavior. 

Combined statistics prove that 89% of neuroses onset at adolescence or earlier. In the rare event conditions like PTSD or clinical narcissism manifest later in life, the susceptibility originates in childhood. Most psychologists agree that they are consequence of childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. Any number of things can cause this. Perhaps parents are controlling or do not provide emotional validation. Maybe the child is subjected to bullying or from a broken home. Behaviors later in life may impact the severity but are not responsible for the neurosis itself. It is not the fault of the child/adolescent, nor reflective of their behavior. There is the likelihood no one is intentionally responsible. This disputes moral models that we are to blame for our disorder, or it is God’s punishment for sin.

A dysfunction is solely mental.

To early civilizations, mental illness was the domain of supernatural forces and demonic possession. Hippocrates and diagnosticians of the 19th century looked at the relative proportions of bodily fluids. Lunar influence, sorcery, and witchcraft are timeless culprits. In the early 20th century, it was somatogenic. The biological approach argues that dysfunction is related to the brain’s physical functioning, while pharmacology promotes it as a chemical or hormonal imbalance. However, the simultaneous mutual interaction of all human system components—mind, body, spirit, and emotions—is required for sustainability of life and sustainability of dysfunction.

The disease model focuses on the history of deficit behavior. The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) brief definition of neurosis contains the following words: distressing, irrational, obsessive, compulsive, dissociative, depressive, exaggerated, unconscious, and conflicts. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the APA, uses words like incapable, deceitful, unempathetic, manipulative, difficult, irresponsible, and incompetent. 

Moralists and the ignorant assume the ‘mental’ are weak and dishonorable, their behavior bizarre and illogical. The urban dictionary labels us silly or stupid. Adolescents derisively assign the term mental to the unpopular, different, and socially inept. These negative and hostile aspersions on our character are supported by public opinion, media misrepresentation, the mental healthcare industry, and the disease model of mental health.

This ‘defective’ emphasis has been the overriding psychiatric perspective for over a century. The disease model is the chief proponent of the notion that the mentally ill are dangerous and unpredictable. We distance ourselves and deem them socially undesirable. We stigmatize them. The irony is, we are them.

  • Over one-third of family members hide their relationship with their dysfunctional child or sibling to avoid bringing shame to the family. They are considered family undesirable, a devaluation potentially more life-limiting and disabling than the neurosis itself.
  • The media stereotypes neurotics as homicidal schizophrenics, impassive childlike prodigies, or hair-brained free-spirits. One study evidenced that over half of U.S. news stories involving the dysfunctional allude to violence.
  • Psychologists argue that more persons would seek treatment if psychiatric services were less stigmatizing. There are complaints of rude or dismissive staff, coercive measures, excessive wait times, paternalistic or demeaning attitudes, pointless treatment programs, drugs with undesirable side-effects, stigmatizing language, and general therapeutic pessimism.
  • The disease model supports doctor-patient power dominance. Clinicians deal with 31 similar and comorbid disorders, 400 plus schools of psychotherapy, multiple treatment programs, and an evolving plethora of medications. They cannot grasp the personal impact of a dysfunction because they are too focused on the diagnosis.

A recent study of 289 clients in 67 clinics found that 76.4% were misdiagnosed. An anxiety clinic reported over 90% of clients with generalized anxiety were incorrectly diagnosed. Experts cite the difficulty in distinguishing different disorders or identifying specific etiological risk factors due to the DSM’s failing reliability statistics. Mainstream medical authorities cite the poor reliability and validity, and inattention to human experience of DSM criteria. The recent head of the National Institute of Mental Health believes traditional psychiatric diagnoses have outlived their usefulness and suggests replacing or augmenting them with easily understandable descriptions of the issues.

Because of the disease model’s emphasis on diagnosis, we focus on the dysfunction rather than the individual. Which disorder do we find most annoying or repulsive? What behaviors contribute to the condition? How progressive is it, and how effective are treatments? Is it contagious? We derisively label the obvious dysfunctional ‘a mental case.’

Realistically, we cannot eliminate the word ‘mental’ from the culture. Unfortunately, its negative perspectives and implications promulgate perceptions of incompetence, ineptitude, and unlovability. Stigma, the hostile expression of someone’s undesirability, is pervasive and destructive. Stigmatization is deliberate, proactive, and distinguishable by pathographic overtones intended to shame and isolate. 90% of persons diagnosed with a mental disorder claim they have been impacted by mental health stigma. Disclosure jeopardizes livelihoods, relationships, social standing, housing, and quality of life.

The disease model assumes that emotional distress is merely symptomatic of biological illness. The Wellness Model focuses on the positive aspects of human functioning that promote our wellbeing and recognize our essential and shared humanity. The Wellness Model emphasizes what is right with us, innately powerful within us, our potential, and determination. Recovery is not achieved by focusing on incompetence and weakness; it is achieved by embracing and utilizing our inherent strengths and abilities.

Benefits of the Wellness Model

  • Revising negative and hostile language will encourage new positive perspectives
  • The self-denigrating aspects of shame will dissipate, and stigma becomes less threatening.
  • Doctor-client knowledge exchange will value the individual experience over the diagnosis.
  • Realizing neurosis is a natural part of human development will generate social acceptance and accommodation.
  • Recognizing that they bear no responsibility for onset will revise public opinion that an individual’s neurosis is the result of her or his behavior.
  • Emphasizing character strengths and virtues will positively impact the self-beliefs and image of the afflicted, leading to more disclosure, discussion, and recovery-remission.
  • Realizing proximity and susceptibility of dysfunction will address the desire to distance and isolate.
  • Emphasis on an individual’s value and potential will encourage accountability and foster self-reliance.

The impact of neurosis originates in childhood; recovery is a long-term commitment. The Wellness Model creates the blueprint and then guides and supports throughout the recovery process by emphasizing our intrinsic character strengths, virtues, and attributes that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover.

The biblical adage treat others as you want to be treated takes on added relevance when we accept that we all experience mental disorders. In fact, dysfunction is evidence of our humanness.

robertfmullen.com

Dr. Robert F. Mullen is the director of ReChanneling Inc, an organization dedicated to the research and development of methods to mitigate symptoms of psychological dysfunction and discomfort.

A referenced copy of this article is available via rechanneling@yahoo.com.

For more from Dr. Robert F. Mullen click here.


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Blogger Interview With “Dumbestblogger”

Blogger Interview With “Dumbestblogger”
I want to thank everyone for all the positive feedback on the last interview and for supporting the blogger I interviewed that truly means a lot. I have also gotten so many interview requests which is so awesome but it is a little time consuming so if you have emailed me about an interview and I haven’t gotten back to you yet please give me a few days and you should receive a reply soon.
I hope you enjoy this interview with Ian– it was a great experience interviewing him since his blog is one of my favourite blogs to read!
1. Thanks so much for agreeing to be a part of this interview! Please tell us a little about your blog, what it’s about and why you decided to start blogging. 
I was living in a basement, working a backbreaking blue-collar job and not doing anything creative whatsoever. One evening I was like, “I’m gonna do something.” so I wrote an absolutely ridiculous recipe for Mayonnaise Cookies and posted it on my blog. I got a few likes on that post, so I decided to keep going and write more ridiculous stuff. I’ve always been a creative person, but what’s really held me back is the fact that I haven’t always been disciplined about my creativity. Through blogging I have created a structure of discipline for myself. I think of myself as having two separate jobs, one job is being the creative mind that comes up with content, the other is serving as the publisher that publishes that content. I post every day, currently at 8:30 PM Central Standard Time, the creative side of me doesn’t always want to have something ready at that point in time, but the publisher is like “we’ve got a deadline, buddy. Get off your ass and write me something!”
2. Your blog name “Dumbestblogger” is very interesting and definitely unique- what made you decide to pick that name?
Back when I first started my blog I didn’t know very much about blogging. I knew a couple people who had blogs, but they were mostly really terrible and written by people who took themselves way too seriously. I didn’t want to take myself too seriously, so I chose an unserious name. I like the fact that by using that name I set the bar really low for myself. I get comments all the time that are like “this actually isn’t the dumbest thing I’ve ever read,” and I’m like “cool.” I love surpassing expectations.
3. When did you create your blog and in what ways has it changed since you created it if it has changed?
I wrote my first post on January 8th, 2014. I’ve dinked around with it on and off ever since, but I’ve only been disciplined about it in the last year. In 2018 I didn’t publish anything, and had a grand total of three views for the entire year. It turns out that if you don’t write anything very few people will read it. Now that I post regularly I have a pretty steady group of committed readers, and that’s something that’s really satisfying.
4. The short stories you post on your blog are very amusing and witty but I’m sure it can be difficult to come up with such stories on a regular basis. Do you ever experience writers block and what are some of the ways you use to fight writer’s block?
One of the most popular posts I wrote last year was about my writer’s block. It measures approximately 8″x4″x5½”. It is uncured red oak which was milled with a band saw blade. But no, in all seriousness I never worry about writer’s block. I think this is another advantage of setting the bar low. There’s always something to write about, even if it isn’t particularly good.
5. What inspires you to write?
I’m not sure what the line is between inspiration and perspiration, but I know that I’m a very public writer compared to some. It’s hard for me to write something that no one else is going to see, I crave the adulation of the masses.
6. Which is your favourite post on your blog so far?
There are several that I like for personal reasons, or that were really fun to write, but the one that I think is objectively the best is a short story called “Shooter And The Kid.” It’s based on an Ancient Greek Play.
7. Who are some of your favourite authors who have influenced your writing and writing style?
Probably the most influential in terms of my blog has been Bruce Goodman, who wrote over 2000 flash fiction stories on his blog. When I found his stories it struck me that he was doing something similar to what I wanted to be doing with my blog, so I paid a lot of attention to what he was doing, and was certainly influenced by it. I’m a big fan of Rod Serling, Harold Pinter, G.K. Chesterton, Louis L’Amour and The Onion. Recently I’ve been getting into Agatha Christie, and I also learned that Mindy Kaling wrote the monologue from “The Office” about Michael Scott getting his foot caught in a George Foreman grill, so she’s definitely in the top ten. Homer is really good, and knows how to tell a great story. What you should take away from this list is that I have no sense of taste whatsoever.
8. What is your favourite movie and why?
If I had to pick only one movie to watch for the rest of my life it would probably be “Raising Arizona.” It’s funny, but also serious, and the ending is so weird. I love it. But I would be really bummed out about not being able to watch “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Good Burger,” and “No Country For Old Men.”
9. What is your favourite food?
A medium rare rib-eye with mashed potatoes.
10. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Cats are cute, but to me they always seem like they’re operating in their own little world. I feel like I understand dogs, and that they understand me. I like dogs.
11. If you could do anything you wanted for a day with no consequences what would you do?
Probably take a spaceship and fly as far out into space as I could.
12. Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?
Fly.
13. Who is your favourite superhero?
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, Batman!
14. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
I’d like to meet Harry Truman. I think we would have had a lot in common as midwestern farm boys who believe in hard work, honesty and responsibility. I’ve always felt a bit of a connection with him. I think he would also like steak and mashed potatoes.
If you enjoyed this interview and be sure to stop by and check out Ian’s blog by clicking here.
If you would like to be interviewed please send me your name (optional), the name of your blog and a link to your blog via email to insomniacwithanaccent@gmail.com
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