Sooooo, I’ve had this post drafted for forever and a day, but there were, like, three questions that were giving me so much trouble that I just kept ignoring it, oops! When I originally started writing this, it was literally the beginning of July, when Holly @ Nut Free Nerd actually tagged me, but now here we are at the end of the month. Thank you for tagging me so I can casually procrastinate real work, haha!
1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?
Even though my name is super short, I have a lot of nicknames, but in that way that only certain people are allowed to use them. My sister (Amy) and best friend literally since the day she was born (Jenna) both call me Mare or Marebear, and I SWEAR TO SATAN one time my boss called me Mare and I was like “bro I will throw this entire cubicle at you.” Don’t ask me why, but no one else is allowed to.
My dad also occasionally calls me Scary, as in Scary Mary, but just drops off my actual name.
2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?
The only time I doodle is when I’m in boring work meetings, and usually that’s just filling in the empty spaces in letters on print-outs. Honestly, I am way too busy to spend time doodling. If I have free time, I’m usually reading.
3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive?
Okay. Guys. I’m about to tell a story I’ve never publicly told. So, I write, we all know this, but it’s constantly on my mind. When I can’t sleep, I just casually slip into the mind of one of my characters and act out an entire story line in my head (that usually revolves around them being in a bed) until I drift right off. However, this is not just when I can’t sleep. It’s honestly every night? And also when I’m driving alone. The distance doesn’t matter–either a 20-minute commute to work or a 4-hour drive to Maine, I’m gonna pretend I’m one of my characters and occasionally have full-blown conversations with myself.
Wow. That sounds stupendously crazy.
4. Do people consider you to be talkative or quiet?
It depends on who I’m around. I’m naturally a very quiet person, but if I’m around friends or family, you can’t get me to shut up.
However, I had a family reunion this weekend, and it was made very clear to me that it also depends on the friends/family. Because I stuck to my aunt (on my mom’s side) like glue. She’s also one of my favorite people in the universe, so that might be part of it, but I literally sat down next to her when she arrived and only got up once she was leaving. Look at how cute we are, though, can you really blame me?
5. What makes you cry?
Everything. Sometimes, I look at my cats and I cry a little over how much I love them.
6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Also, everything. I’m such a grouch, I swear, but the thing that ticks me off the most is when people are late to something with a pre-agreed upon time.
7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?
This is probably conceited, but probably a lot. Obviously, when I’m making sure my hair doesn’t look like a birds’ nest in the morning, but I also double check every time I use our work bathroom to make sure all my clothes are in order. The worst is at the yoga studio, though, because it’s usually right where I’m stationed, so I just find myself glancing over whenever I’m talking to someone. But I swear it’s not in an oh damn I look good kind of way (it it sometimes because we all need a little self-confidence), it’s mostly an oh shit is my shirt on backward.
8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
Not only did I believe that there was a magical forcefield around my house that would prevent lightning from striking it, I convinced both of my siblings that this was the case.
9. What is the guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?
Ummmm? Holly said Instagram, and I think that’s probably my worst one, too. I spend way too much time on there, but all I’m really doing is taking yoga or book pictures, so how bad could it really be?
One year ago, however, this would have 100% been TV. I spent so much time on Netflix and binge watching seasons on regular TV that I’d recorded, and now, it’s just not a priority for me. I’m also so stupid busy all the time that when I do have free time, I just want to spend it with my parents or a book or lying on top of one of my cats because I miss them so damn much, but watching TV is just not something I’m like MUST DO anymore.
10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?
Oh, my mom, for sure. She works on a coalition to provide knowledge about & prevent underage substance abuse in our city, and she’s been invited to DC every year for the past, I dunno, decade or something because she’s that cool.
11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?
Don’t @ me, but I don’t read the newspaper at all. Or watch it. The most “news” I get is whatever NASA is doing at the moment because I put them on my “see it first” or whatever on Facebook, so unless it’s space news, ya girl ain’t hearing about it.
12. Which animal scares you the most?
BUTTERFLIES! And moths. And beetles. And ladybugs. And every single damn bug with wings that isn’t a bumblebee. Eff all of y’all.
I’m not joking. I will run for the hills from a butterfly. I have been dive-bombed by ladybugs. FUCK BEETLES. Also, stinkbugs are the literal worst.
However, in the wildest turn of events ever, Laini Taylor used moths in Strange the Dreamer and wow, I’m high key in love with Lazlo Strange for the rest of my life to the point where I was like “okay I could maybe wear some moth jewelry to support him.” I MEAN WHAT
13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage with it?
My claim to fame is that I have exactly FOUR hills that I am willing to die on (women’s rights, vaccines, climate change, abortion), so I will 100% engage for any of those. Anything else, I’m pretty whatever about it. I’m not interested in drama.
That’s so not true. That is the biggest lie I’ve ever told. I have FIVE hills–anything regarding Tibet, the West’s cultural appropriation of yoga, or Buddhism is a hot topic for me.
14. What is the most recent compliment you’ve received?
I’m sure every other person at the party yesterday told me that I looked great because that’s the kind of thing family does when you haven’t seen them in a while, but I also kind of deserve it because I’ve lost 40 lbs since the last time I saw most of them? So hi, a small person disappeared from my body, of course I look different.
Did you know you can lose shoe sizes when you lose a lot of weight???
15. What question are you tired of hearing?
It’s more of a conversation.
“What is your book about?”
“I just can’t get into those, never mind.”
The amount of times I’ve actually been able to tell someone what my books are about is slim to none. And on the same vein (this is going to sound terrible, but WAIT), I hate the: “Can I read your book?”
Look. Here’s the thing. There are two ways this question is asked. The can I read your book people just think it’s cool that I wrote a book and are not actually going to read it. You know who you are. It’s a waste of both of our times, especially because I’ve learned to say no every single time now. And then there’s the oh, I’d love to read it someday, if that was okay. You know who you are, and I love you. (Chelsea, Jen, Alex, Becky, Bethany–I love you so damn much.) Because the people who don’t ask if they can read it, but just say they’d be interested–for some reason, those are the people that are actually gong to read it and give feedback.
16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?
Sushi? I think raw fish is definitely the weirdest. But not just sushi, when they put the tiny fish eggs on top. You know, the orange or black ones.
Look. I am an adventurous eater up to a point. I don’t eat weird things if I know what they are. But if you put a weird thing in front of me and don’t tell me what it is, I’ll probably eat it.
17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?
By nature of my work (yoga), I do have a bunch of acquaintances, students that I see at least weekly and keep in vague touch with. But mostly I have a few very close friends, all of whom live far away from me, and it’s really rude, but whatever. I just went to California to see one of them! And one from Maine is coming down to visit next month.
18. Do you have a catchphrase?
This also depends on the person. I say that’s dumb to Erin so frequently that she calls it a “Mary response” when she sees it in my writing. I have this one student who asked me how my work day was, and I said, “It’s a place that I go to,” and now so many people at the studio who use that phrase. (It’s great because you immediately get the vibe.)
19. What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Why?
SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS! What do you mean whyyyyyyy? Um, DUH.
I’m wearing a knit hat because it was FREEZING out at the beginning of April, but this is pretty much me every week, in Salem, outside the Hawthorne, with a Jolie travel mug in hand, living my best life. Honest to Satan, I’m in Salem every single Saturday, very occasionally after work on weekdays if it’s a particularly crap day, and sometimes for dinner whenever. I love Salem not just during October and for spooky reasons, but because they have the best witch shops ever (COVEN’S COTTAGE, WHAT’S GOOD!), Jolie Tea Co. is my literal favorite place on the planet (they gave me a birthday gift, how cute is that), and some of my favorite food (Life Alive, Howling Wolf, Passage to India to name a few).
20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?
Okay, I recognize that I’m being stubborn, but I wouldn’t. I love my first name. I’m named after my dad’s mother, my grammy, whom I never met, but whom I’ve been told I am very similar to.
21. When was the last time you lied?
Uh, yesterday, probably? No, it was the weekend, I wasn’t around people I didn’t like, so probably Friday.
22. What’s something that amazes you?
Getting to wake up able-bodied and with a sound mind every single day. Honestly, I start my day grateful every morning, and I’m just so amazed at the gift of life.
23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?
SELFISHLY, first person to explore a planet. I mean, ffs, I have an entire tattoo sleeve dedicated to an astronaut, all nine planets, the moon and the sun, and galaxies.
But unselfishly, well, duh, of course I’d like to cure a disease and save people.
24. What is your favorite amateur activity?
Would hiking be considered an amateur activity? I have zero clue what I’m doing half the time, but I’m happiest when I’m on a summit.
25. What was your first thought when you got up this morning?
holy magic I love this cat because Grace had just pressed her tiny, pink, wet nose against my hand to ask for love.
alternately, wow I do not want to wake up and workout right now, but I DID IT ANYWAY
26. What is your favorite song (at least at the moment)?
At the moment, probably Angela by The Lumineers. Of all time, This is Gospel by Panic! at the Disco.
27. List someone you know and describe them in five words.
“crystals in all the orifices”
Actual words sent to me by Erin yesterday, which is hilarious, and I think describes her pretty perfectly because she is a nut.
Also, I see her in 17 DAYS, and I am Very Excited.
28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?
OI. I know I’m supposed to think up something profound, but I keep circling back to Oscar Wilde and “How gay was it all really?”
29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?
Um? No one that I can think of, but literally everyone thinks my aunt and I are sisters. Including family, soooo?
30. What do you want me to know?
I WRITE BOOKS! Not published ones yet (though two of my short stories are), but if anything on this tag or this Pinterest board interests you, keep my name in the back of your head and just wait. Someday, hopefully in the kind of near future, my Saints will be on a shelf near you.