What better way to end the old year and bring in the new than to hand out a bright shiny award?
The last time I did The Rambling Beard Awards was 3 years ago. After stumbling across them recently, I was surprised to find many of the previous recipients no longer blog regularly, if at all. Time then for an update.
This award is an entirely self-induglent affair. It's my award to give to whom I wish and no one else gets a say in the matter. It is purely in recognition of those who have gone beyond the call of duty in brightening up my blog across the past year, or causing me to reflect in ways I wouldn’t otherwise have considered.
So in no particular order, I shall present The Rambling Beard Awards for 2010 (drum roll please...)
Conny is an amazing photographer. You cannot help but smile warmly when looking at the portraits she takes. She also takes a lot of photos of children, young adults and families of people with Down’s Syndrome. But the fact they have DS becomes completely irrelevant. We just enjoy looking at photos of smiling, happy people, whose laughter is infectious. She has done more towards ridding the world of the sense of “other” about people with DS by her photography, than 10,000 worthy papers, articles and blog posts. Away from the blog, she has also been a great help and supporter of my own photography, never failing to make me feel better about my abilities or remind me not to undervalue myself.
Erika – The Flight of our Hummingbird
Quite simply, Erika astounds me. She lives in a world of snot, mucus and unbelievable stress due to the physical condition of her beautiful daughter, Izzy. And yet, her blog is so beautifully written. It is not one depressing post after another, rather is a testament to life, love and finding pleasures in the face of adversity. So impressed with her writing was I, that earlier this year I asked her to guest post on my blog.
Ron – Retired in Delaware
Retired and living with his lifelong partner (or “significant other”), Bill, Ron is a prolific writer. Whereas I usually struggle to post twice a week, Ron posts pretty much daily, and sometimes even twice a day. Everything from his daily routine to gay rights to whatever is crossing his mind that moment. Inevitably his writing is improving too. A year ago, sometimes it felt a bit like wading through a shopping list, but these days all his posts are well constructed and thought through. A regular commenter here, Ron never fails to massage my ego when it comes to my photography.
Debra – From Skilled Hands
Debra lives and works in the town of Peninsula, population 602. For such a small population, there is always some kind of carnival, festival or event going on. Debra is a potter and ceramicist and creates the most beautiful things. Earlier this year I was fortunate to win one of her mugs, which now takes pride of place in our kitchen. A blog award is the least I can do in return.
Adila – Tales and Typos
Adila is a superb, although erratic, writer. I really wish she would blog more often. She has great warmth and always looks beyond the surface layers. I look forward to discovering more of the way her mind works.
Hope – The Road Less Travelled
Hope is one of my most prolific commenters and, rather like the moniker she uses, her messages are invariably positive and always welcome.
V - Learning to be Selfish
Her blog is a place to write about her frustrations and life's difficulties, but behind the scenes she was a wonderful help back when I was trying to get press releases sorted out for my Staring Back Exhibition.
Allen – Allen’s Zoo
Allen is an extraordinary artist. I’ve never been absolutely clear on what it is he does, but I think he comes up with conceptual sketches of characters and creatures that are then developed by other people. Perhaps if he reads this post he’ll confirm or correct my understandings.
Jayne – In Jayne’s World
Bold, brash, unapologetic, energetic, challenging. Jayne takes no prisoners. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she was constantly called into the headmaster’s office when at school, for being caught smoking behind the bike sheds, or getting into fights with anyone wearing a Republican badge. Always a good read.
Mapstew is a pal, a mate, a bloke who will laugh at your stupidity while leaping to your defence the moment you are in trouble. A proud father and family man, he oozes natural charm, decency and friendship. The world feels slightly safer when he’s around.
Savannah – Savannah Marsh Mama
Sweet Southern Charm personified. Always a warm word of support and encouragement, she’s like the mad aunt the rest of the family faintly disapproved of but was forever your favourite.
RG and I have been blogging pals for many years. She was the first person to ask me to guest post on her blog, and the first to guest post on mine. Some technical hitch prevents her from figuring out how to comment on my blog at the moment, but she still reads and comments in private emails. She is a superb writer and well worth a visit.
Carole – Dry Bones
Carole and I are at different ends of the spectrum in terms of politics, sport and religion – any one of which would cause most relationships to irreparably break down. And yet we seem to connect at a level outside these things, and I greatly value her friendship.
Mary – Resident Alien
The only person in the whole of Scotland who loves the excessively wet weather we have here. Mary’s writing is wonderful. Every blog post is a self-contained world - she never assumes her readers know the back-story, so anyone can dip into her writings at any time and not be left wondering what’s going on. In the space of a few hundred words she draws us in, fills us up and leaves us satisfied, again and again and again.
Eryl – The Kitchen Bitch Ponders
I love the way Eryl’s mind works, the way she sees the world, the angles at which she extracts information. She is a philosopher – nothing is to be seen or dealt with in the way it appears on the surface. She is also a brilliant writer, a lot of fun, and one of my favourite people to photograph.
Pat – Past Imperfect
Every time I think of Pat, I feel warm inside and I smile. On the outside she is the image of propriety – a kindly, well turned out, octogenarian grandmother. But what so many people miss is you don’t get to be an octogenarian grandmother without experiencing an awful lot of life. There are great depths to Pat, and under it all you know she cares. She has commented on more of my posts than any other blogger and with Pat, I feel loved.
Charlie – Professor B. Worm
Well, I couldn’t miss out Charlie, now could I? I recently dedicated an entire blog post to the old codger…
If anyone needs instructions on how to stick their award on their blog, then just send me an email.
In the meantime, I wish every reader, commenter and lurker the very best for 2011.
May your gods be good to you.