On the Shoulders of Giants 20


When Sally Cronin included me in her list of 10 nominees for The Miranda Sings Award – A chance to say I Love Me! A list of 7 things you like about yourself. I admit to quaking in my boots.

 Smorgasbord: Variety is the Spice of Life

Sally’s piece had all the unmistakable qualities that characterise her as a wordsmith par excellence: that beautiful, fluid, economic style she uses to reach into the heart of each story without ever letting the reader stray, and the effortless aria-like leaps from analysis to emotion and humour she accomplishes, often on no more than the turn of a single phrase. Read her piece here:


Shehanne Moore : Smexy Historical Romance

Then Shehanne Moore came along with her unique brand of clear intelligence and absurdist surreal zaniness. Cleverly (What else would you expect from Shehanne Moore?) she got one of her secondary characters to answer the 7 things she liked about herself. Highlighting the trap many new authors fall into: For a book to hook in readers it’s not just the primary characters you need to believe in, it’s all of them. Read her piece here:

Shey and Sally’s approach to using words as psychopomps (guiding you through labyrinths of mind and emotion) may be chalk and cheese but both are equally brilliant and equally devastating for any poor bugger who has to follow them! No matter what I did at this point, I would be no more than a pygmy standing on the shoulders of giants.

To make things worse, I’m not a great one for opening up about myself, but that’s ok because one of the things I like about me is I’m bashful. I like that I’m happy too. Ok, I know I can be dopey and even grumpy sometimes, but that’s only when I’m sleepy, or sneezy, or maybe even a little doc.

So here it is… a list of 7 things I like about myself.

The first has to be my brain. Over the past decades it’s been promoted to my favourite organ. I like my brain so much I recently added it to my Organ Donor Card, so someone less fortunate can benefit when I’m gone.

The second is my sense of humour, even though I am aware if you have to spend a full five minutes explaining the joke, it can’t have been that funny in the first place.

Third: I’ve worked my way through all 7 deadly sins. To be honest I was never very good at wrath. And at this time of life I don’t think I’ll be revisiting lust anytime soon. But I’m still pretty good at envy and greed, and absolutely knockout in the gluttony and sloth department. As for pride: well, if you’re good at something where’s the harm in bragging a little?

I think I deserve some brownie points for working my way through 7 deadly sins, and the bulk of the 10 commandments. There are a couple I’ll never crack, like ‘thou shalt not kill’ for instance. Not unless you’re strictly Buddhist and count marmalizing bluebottles with fly spray. And then, there’s coveting thy neighbour’s ass. Although to be honest, when I was young and moved into my first apartment one of the neighbours did have a lovely ass.

Fourth are my green fingers (if you are British) or green thumbs (if American). I don’t care if it’s prideful or not, I have a green hand! Hell! I have two green hands. Perhaps I’m the whole Green Man.

Dichroa Febrigua, Campsis Radicans, Fushia Arborescence, Passiflora Mollisima, Brugmansia Aurea, Iochromia Australis

Although I say so myself, considering I’m 700 feet up a hillside in the Brecon Beacons I have pretty good success with seeds and cuttings, and over wintering plants from more favourable climes in this other Eden; this demi-paradise; this fortress built by Nature; this precious stone set in the slate grey sky; this blessed plot of earth; my realm, my England, or at least my Englishman’s garden in Wales.

Fifth is the fact that come sun or rain, mainly rain it must be said, I feed the birds every morning. I really don’t do much to make the world a better place so I am proud of doing this. It makes me feel like St Francis of Assisi. I still don’t know how he managed to preach to them. Every time I open my mouth, they scarper. Since living here the sparrow population has exploded. When I’m out in the garden for any length of time they sit on the fences and in the bushes scolding me because they can’t get to the food. It’s quite unnerving, like something out of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’.

In addition to the birds we also feed a shrew, a mouse and used to feed a rat until one day two turned up. Now believe me rats are really cute. So cute you just want to grab one and cuddle it, if you don’t mind losing a couple of fingers. But two rats. Oh no. Two rats is a recipe for bubonic plague.

Six, I like the fact I’m evasive and never give a straight answer about myself. Believe me it’s an art form.

And last but not least, has to be my writing. I mean I must have something. You’re all really smart and I suckered you lot into reading to the end!


The last rule is that I have to nominate 10 more bloggers. No easy thing to do because I don’t really know 10 more bloggers who are not already nominated. So thanks, but I’ll pass. If however you are moved to confession then feel free to nominate yourself in the comments boxes below.

The rules are:

Announce your win with a post, and link the blogger who nominated you.

Include the featured image on your blog post.

Nominate 10 bloggers (or as many as you can think of) and link your awardees in the post.

List 7 things you love about yourself. (This can be about your appearance, your personality, your achievements, etc.) Don’t use negative connotation (i.e. Don’t say things like – “I’m prettier than an average person.” or “People have told me I’m smart.” You are pretty. You are smart.)

20 thoughts on “On the Shoulders of Giants

  1. Reply Christy B Oct 7,2017 8:06 pm

    Oh your humour! “Green hands” are needed here as I have not even one green finger 😉 A birdie told me that it is your birthday and so here I am to say that I wish you a wonderful day!

  2. Reply D. Wallace Peach Oct 2,2017 2:01 pm

    Lovely, Paul. I like the humor regarding your efforts at beating the deadly sins and complying with the commandments. Love the garden photos and the Poppins-esque feeding of the birds. Life is pretty grand with an attitude of appreciation. And I read to end, so writing is up there too. It was fun to learn more about you. 😀

  3. Reply Shehanne Moore Oct 1,2017 11:29 pm

    Paul, you stole nothing. you don’t have to. Your post is brill xxxx

  4. Reply sally cronin Oct 1,2017 7:56 pm

    A great way to finish off Sunday Paul.. Love your seven reasons and I was going to say that I am sure Shey would join me in saying that you can stand on our shoulders anytime but it sort of sounds a little weird! But you are very kind to mention us in such glowing terms and like you guys we are responsible for a sparrow populations explosion and they sit in our hedge muttering when David is working out there. I have just started putting fat balls out there in a holder and it looks like Cirque Soleil.. we counted 10 on their yesterday and prayed the twine would hold. Thank you once again for a fabulous response and will reblog in the usual way later in the week… hugs my friend. xxxxx

    • Reply Paul Oct 1,2017 8:14 pm

      I do love birds Sally and love them even more now I know they are dinosaurs in disguise (what can I say I’m a big kid). Standing on yours and Shey’s shoulders.. the image left me feeling like I was the prettiest one in the cheer leading squad. What a lovely feeling! Cirque des moineaux? Hmmm! Nice idea but not quite the same punchy ring! Although the aerial acrobatics would be something to see! And soak up that praise my lovely friend because it is so well deserved. Much love Pxxxxx

  5. Reply Robbie Cheadle Oct 1,2017 6:55 pm

    Seven great things to know about you, Paul. You have a similar sense of humour to me [some would say it is slightly warped (grin)]. Your writing is superb so you have ever right to be proud.

    • Reply Paul Oct 1,2017 6:59 pm

      Thanks Robbie, it is nice to know someone else shares my twisted (and sometimes abject) humour! Px

      • Reply Robbie Cheadle Oct 10,2017 7:37 pm

        HI Paul, I can’t seem to like your comments but this is just to let you know that I do read them.

        • Reply Paul Oct 10,2017 11:13 pm

          Thank you for liking the comments. My blog is self hosted and I am struggling to get some of the basics sorted. It is part of my major refurbishment plan over this winter when I naturally spend more time at the computer. Px

  6. Reply BRIGID GALLAGHER Oct 1,2017 12:04 pm

    It was a tonic to read about your 7 deadly sins on a Sunday morning Paul. I do believe you are much more like St Francis of Assissi. I loved your flower collage. I did not realise you lived so high up the mountains. You are indeed a Green Man. ?

    • Reply Paul Oct 1,2017 6:06 pm

      And you are the green woman Brigid so that is a compliment indeed! And actually more like Peter Cooke in Bedazzled than St Francis I am afraid!

  7. Reply Shehanne Moore Oct 1,2017 10:17 am

    Oh PS, the two rats is hysterical. I feed the birds too and the squirrels but like that one day a mouse turned up…..

  8. Reply Shehanne Moore Oct 1,2017 10:15 am

    Paul, this is absolutely brilliant. I dunno about Sally but I am pygmytised! SO funny and yep nicely evasive. (The real reason I set the dudes and Mrs. F. on that post x

    • Reply Paul Oct 1,2017 6:08 pm

      I sort of guessed Shey (which was brilliant incidentally – told you I would steal something) but it wasn’t my place to say!

  9. Reply Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC Oct 1,2017 8:51 am

    Very clever (and if those flowering beauties are your plants you have a green hand indeed!) I salute you – indeed ALL of you – for having the organizational and time management skills to squeeze the requirements of this award into your otherwise writing-busy days. Something else to like about yourself, perhaps?

    This has been a delight to read – and I’m pleased to see that you were able to OWN your considerable writing talent, albeit modestly (and while I’m not fond of braggarts, you have MILES to go before you even approach that line)

    • Reply Paul Oct 1,2017 7:24 pm

      Dearest Madelyn. You are lovely. Glad you like the plants, they are mine. (All grown from seeds or cuttings.)
      I can’t speak for the other two (who are not such huge fans of sloth and indolence as what I am like!) but you have to remember you have a deeply emotionally draining (not the right word – it is more like you are a metal cup that people fill with their troubles and that resonates like a Tibetan bell with their vibrations- my goodness that was poetic!) and high pressure job in helping people in one of the most important industries there is- the mental health and well-adjustment of others. Your counseling work and your articles providing, by necessity highly researched, in-depth, accurate specialist information (because, quite literally, people’s lives depend on it) is something I certainly could not manage while dashing off the odd frivolous piece. I used to work and write and it was crippling. These days I work very hard at being lazy! Organisationally and time management wise you three guys are head and shoulders above me! To beat the metaphor to death with a great big stick (Remember: thou shat not kill!) I am but a pygmy not even up the knees of giants! And no I’m not being modest! Loads a luv Px

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