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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Interview with Melanie of Artful Kisser

Neil Kramer of Citizen of the Month has introduced the Great Interview Experiment, where people volunteer to be interviewed, and in turn to interview someone else. I was interviewed a couple of days ago by Nathan at Okay City. He did a great job and I was really proud of the result.

Now it's my turn to interview Melanie of Artful Kisser. Melanie is from Melbourne Australia where she's a fairly new mom to the very adorable Eddie (Edwina) and partner to The Partner. Melanie says about her site, "A newish mother in dire need of a creative outlet for all the thoughts running amok in her head. Juggling an active and vivacious toddler, a verbally dyslexic partner, a shambles of a career and her youthful dreams into the harsh reality of now being a thirtysomething. I promise no insights or anything remotely interesting."

Even though she promises nothing insightful or interesting, she posts some really amazingly indepth tales about her life, politics, pop culture, and her delightful daughter. I'm new to her site, but in order to do the interview I read her entire archives and now I think I know her like a sister. So, here's my brand new sister Melanie!



1) Explain your Andy Dick attraction.... please!

Do you ever have those moments when you're blogging and you think "Should I write this? Is this what I'll be remembered for? Do I want to be remembered as the only woman in the world who wants to get horizontal with Andy Dick???"

I need to preface my explanation by saying my statement was in the context of naming 5 men I would be deeply ashamed to admit to my friends that I would like to shag. A shame file of sorts. I was probably thinking of Andy Dick's days on News Radio. The skinny, geeky, bumbling, naive, lisping, foppish, bespectacled hopeless case appealed to me. Recent footage has bumped him down the list somewhat. For shame...for shame....

2) You write a lot about becoming a mom. Now that you have a couple of years of parenting under your belt, what's the one piece of advice you would give an expectant mother?

That first year was incredibly hard for me. If I could go back I would tell myself "Don't have any expectations and don't even try living up to other peoples expectations. Enjoy every moment for what it is. Each day is a wonderful new adventure and housework, schmousework! In the whole scheme of things who gives a flying fig when those dishes are done? And most importantly avoid other blogging mummies who only ever post Stepford Wives photos of sheer domestic harmony because they will bore you to tears and ultimately do your head in."

3) I see you're a big Nigella Lawson fan (I've met her father and Uncle, BTW). Do you have a favorite recipe from Nigella you can share?

I feel like I've practically met her now through you, Margalit. Small world... I can't say I've ever really used her recipes, other than her watermelon daiquiris. Delicious on a balmy Melbourne day.

100ml (or to taste) white rum
Juice of 1 good-sized lime
4 teaspoons icing sugar
Approximately 10 x 5cm cubes of frozen watermelon

Put all the above ingredients in a blender and blitz to a pinky foamy puree, it will look like a liquid sorbet. Pour into four waiting martini glasses. Add mint leaves for garnish.

4) You've posted about your stats and about the blogosphere being less than kind. Do you worry about all these undertones or do you shrug it all off? Do you see any changes in the blogging community as we move forward?

I've always been curious about stats, when it appears that someone from Timbuktu, for instance, returns to my blog and spends a good deal of time surfing without ever commenting. Who are they? And what am I writing that interests them? It just seems kind of absurd to me that anyone outside of Melbourne, Australia would derive anything entertaining or valuable from what I've written. And most would probably agree!

In terms of the blogosphere being less than kind, I've learnt that many people fail to behave online the same way they would behave in person. I've also learnt that gut instincts are often fairly accurate, even if you have only a vague sense of something being not quite right. I committed social cyber suicide by refusing to cover for a married girlfriend (whom I had known pre-blogging) when she sprung it on me of her liaison with a foreign blogger. It wasn't my place to judge or out her and I didn't, but I was livid that she put me in that position. I paid for it in the blogosphere, but if I could survive that, I can survive anything now.

I do feel the blogging world today is not so controlled by the chosen queen bees and king dicks as it was a few years ago. There are more players in the game. It's much more of an open forum and there's a greater sense of community. Not to be the suck up, but Neil's ideas, including this interview experiment are an example of how things are becoming more inclusive. The times they are a changing.

5) Who is responsible for the Pavlova, the Aussies or the Kiwis? And please, a recipe?

Ooh, controversy. I believe at the time that Pavlova danced in Australia and New Zealand, chefs were whipping up desserts in her honour willy-nilly and over the years what has evolved is the Pavlova we have today. I'm not sure it can be claimed by one or the other, though that never stopped Australia. Just ask Mel Gibson, Split Enz, Nicole Kidman, Olivia Newton- John, Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts etc etc etc. I think Stephanie Alexander's recipe is the best which you can
find on Nigella's website (http://www.nigella.com/recipes/recipe.asp?article=136) funnily
enough.

6) Speaking of food, every Aussie I know is insane over Tim Tams. Describe why, please.

Put quite plainly, there is nothing in the world that will make you feel better before or during your period or during a break up the way a Tim Tam can. It's just two chocolate biscuits with a chocolate filling dipped in chocolate, but man, they must put some good drugs in there. Great with red wine. You bite the ends off the Tim Tam and suck the wine through it. That's only if it's a particularly nasty break up though.

7) Talk about Elizabeth Hasselback. I know you love her so.

The darling of American daytime telly. I do watch The View, mainly for Whoopi and Joy, but Elizabeth just drives me crackers. I'm all for open dialogue and giving everyone a voice, particularly those with different opinions but Elizabeth brings nothing informative or remotely entertaining to the table. And yes, she just gives me the irrits.

8) You've posted about your lack of love for other bloggers "About Me" section on their blogs. Can you give some constructive criticism to help bloggers improve their "About Me's"?

Probably not... I guess it does come down to self loathing. I have an aversion to people who love to describe themselves a la "I'm such an insane person! I have a fabulous personality. I have the bestest sense of humour. Wanna hear a joke?" But aside from that I really do dislike reading an "About Me" that is lifted word for word from every other blog I've ever seen. My advice would be to be honest about who you are. Be concise and punchy. Omit pfaffery for pfaffery's sake.
And leave your ego at the door before you touch the keyboard.

9) Your partner is Polish. Are you teaching Eddie Polish? What Polish cultural things are you imparting to her?

She picks it up at family gatherings where Polish is the main language spoken. I can mostly understand conversations but can't converse. I discreetly use it at the supermarket when my nerves are a little frayed. "Cicho" (quiet) gets used often. Culturally they're keenly aware of retaining their customs through language, food, music, dance, festivals and obviously the church and religious holidays. I'm not sure if they're cultural things or it's just my partner's family, but
they are very loud, exuberant, open, welcoming and eternally hungry people and she does get that from them, not so much from me.

10) What is Kransky and how do you make it?

My partner's family probably refer to it more as Kielbasa and it is essentially every part of the pig minced up with garlic and seasoning and encased in the pigs gut. Unbelievably delicious boiled and at Easter when it's freezing outside.

11) Are you following the US Elections? Who do you hope will be the next US president and why?

It's very hard not to follow the US elections, given the length of campaigning in addition to being genuinely interested in the outcome given the effect it will have on the rest of the world. I'm all for having someone in Office who can inspire the common person and create hope in a nation and I think Obama does that, but certainly I admire Clinton. She's got guts and she's already demonstrated her ability to do the job and do it well.

12) You blog about Australian politics. If you became Prime Minister, what are the three changes to government you would make?

  1. Become a Republic. It's crazy that we're a Constitutional Monarchy and that the Queen of England is our Head of State.
  2. Revamp the Constitution to reflect Australia today.
  3. Most particularly recognition in the Constitution of Aboriginal people and for our rights to be enshrined in the Constitution. There is currently nothing there and it's a big reason why we're at such a disadvantage today, compared to the Maori in New Zealand, for instance.

13) You're an illustrator by trade. What kind of illustrations do you do for work? For pleasure?

I would love to be a professional illustrator, but am actually a mediator by trade, ie. resolving disputes between parties to a conflict. I draw anything and everything but lack the discipline
required to ply it as a trade. For pleasure I am prone to being inspired by things I see in everyday life but inspiration is momentary, lasting maybe a couple of weeks at the most. Currently I'm inspired by the effect of age and weather on old signs and replicating that in illustrations.

14) What book and recording has made the most impact on your life. Tell us why.

This is the most difficult question to answer, because I could ponder on it for hours and never come up with a solitary answer. I'm a firm believer in books meaning different things to me at different times in my life and I'm sure I've read tonnes of books that I just wasn't ready for. Those that touched me at the time included:

  • The Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky. I was 3 and learnt I could achieve great things even if most people and logic told me I couldn't.
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen. I was 16 and such a romantic it's embarrassing.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I was 18 and still utterly hopeless.
  • The White Hotel by D. M Thomas. I was 22 and enraged with the world and its atrocities.
  • Voss by Patrick White. I was 26 with a broken heart but my ideals still in tact
  • Birth by Catherine Price & Sandra Robinson. My bible for a year during pregnancy and birth.
  • A Heart So White by Javier Marias. A recent discovery. I'm simultaneously mesmerised and pulverised by his words.

A recording that brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it is
"Weeping in the Forest" by Archie Roach, an Aboriginal Australian
singer. He has the most powerful and compelling voice filled with
beauty and pain that speaks for generations of Aboriginal people.
Archie's voice demonstrates how dispossession, denial of culture and
family tear a race apart in ways that words alone are unable.


Thank you so much Melanie for being such a great respondant. I can't wait to read more of your blog.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Artful Kisser said...

Hey sis. All those questions! I was expecting maybe 6, but you outdid yourself. Great being interviewed by you.

29/1/08 7:55 PM  
Blogger HeyJoe said...

What great responses, AK. Very thoughtful.

30/1/08 11:42 AM  
Blogger Whit said...

Nicely done, both of you.

AK, I have a funny Andy Dick story for you. Remind me to tell you some time.

3/2/08 12:44 PM  
Blogger i am the diva said...

Well done ladies! great interview! Great questions and great answers!

12/2/08 2:07 PM  

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