Thursday, February 2, 2012

Real Toads Interview With Margaret Bednar


Well, look who’s riding in from the farm! It’s our fellow Toad, Margaret Bednar! She’s looking mighty fine perched atop that horse of hers, but it’s making this Mouse a tad nervous, I gotta tell ya. Margaret has graciously agreed to give me some tidbits about herself, so let’s give the horsey a sugar cube and get started!

Lolamouse: You tell us in your profile that you are a wife, mother of 6 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and now 2 horses! By my count you also list 7 blogs on the sidebar of your primary site Art Happens 365, some of which are creative writing blogs, some photography blogs, some sketching, some cooking, and some combinations of the above! You also have a website, Margaret Bednar Fine Art, where your art may be purchased.

Margaret, where do you find the time?!!

Margaret: I really only have three main blogs, (Just Horses) being a natural extension when I bought two horses this past summer. The other blogs I created more for a “journaling” format - an easy way to showcase, or present, certain subjects instead of “linking” posts and they are found on my sidebar.

As far as finding the time? I watch very little TV... maybe two hours a week. I also have my handy dandy I-Pad and I get busy with it while waiting for my children after school, during math tutoring, theatre, dance...

Lolamouse: You say you've been on Blogger since 2010. When did you start writing? How about photography and sketching?

Margaret: I’ve always been interested in sketching. My “formal” art training is two years of high school art class. In my late 20’s I drew my infant son and it took me ten years to fill up one sketchbook, hiding it in my closet the whole time. My insecurity was not a good example for my children. I want them to embrace exploring their talents and that takes perseverance and lots of practice. Being good at something doesn’t happen overnight, so I needed to change my approach.

I started blogging to keep a journal of my drawing (Art Happens) and to help me get over my insecurity. I realize composition is key in a painting and that is why I took up photography (Art Happens 365). My interest in poetry took me completely by surprise as I have never been a reader of, nor been exposed to it. The first poem I wrote was in October, 18, 2010 and I have never stopped.

I plan on getting back to drawing and painting. I hope that my photography and poetry will translate into art pieces with layers of meaning, sentiment. We will see...

Lolamouse: So, do you consider yourself primarily a writer, a photographer, an artist, or some unique blend of all of these?

Margaret: Which do I consider myself, a writer, photographer, painter? I get so embarrassed when my children say “My Mom is a poet” or “My Mommy is an artist”... I don’t make a living by it nor have I been formally educated in the arts. I will say I am a person interested in and who has fun dabbling in all three, a blend.

Lolamouse: Your blogs appear amazingly organized and easy to follow. Any advice or tricks you'd care to share?

Margaret: My “organization” has been a gradual process. I am not very computer literate, and I have stumbled my way along. I am now in the process of labeling my past posts to a sidebar gadget. My advice is to study what you like about other blogs and then work on creating it. Send a message asking how something was done if you don’t know how.

Lolamouse: Is there anyone, either famous or personally, who has influenced your art?

Margaret: I have to answer that my fellow bloggers have been the guiding force. I learned watercolor techniques from blogs I followed. Poetry has been all about reading blogs and soaking in creativity. I am one who enjoys reading the comments and I have learned so much about how to read poetry, how to understand it! Instrumental in my learning process has been the feedback from fellow bloggers and my studying other blogs as well.

I have started reading famous poets. I am currently intrigued with Raymond Carver, due to his prosy approach to poetry. I have bookshelves of artists but off the top of my head, I would say Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, Will H. Bradely and... (I have so many, how to narrow it down)... Winslow Homer.

Lolamouse: It's the same with me! Other bloggers are really an inspiration! What do you enjoy about blogging and being involved with sites like Real Toads?

Margaret: Magpie Tales was the first poetry blog challenge I attempted and I don’t think I have missed a weekly challenge since. My very first poem written for MT is still one I am very fond of. It’s on my sidebar under “Top 2 Posts of All Time”.

Lolamouse: It’s so beautiful I had to reprint it here as well:

Mother’s Pearls Remembered

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens, 11-10-10

Memories come flooding back

On the anniversary of my Mother’s death

Today as I place these gems around my neck

Hoping to feel her presence

Entertaining the idea of

Replicating her elegance in me

Stillness envelopes my soul

Perhaps it will be enough that they remind me of her

Enhanced by her inner beauty am I

As her physical beauty faded with time

Resplendent these icons stood guard

Lustrously gracing my mother’s neck

Standing watch as she breathed her last

Reflecting her eyes, their bluish tinge

Every shimmer adding beauty to

My appearance this day

Enormous love floods my being

Memory recalling her wisdom and

Bright engaging laughter

Every life lesson learned I from her

Recalled in this ornament which surrounds my neck

Eagerly I approach this day, celebrating

Desiring the true beauty these pearls represent

Lolamouse: What other groups do you follow?

Margaret: One Stop Poetry I stumbled upon, and it influenced me greatly both stylistically and structurally. It is no longer in existence but one can dip into their archives. dVerse, IGWRT’s, Poetry Jam, and the pithy “Friday Flash 55” with the G-Man keep me motivated and excited about learning.

Lolamouse: Do you have another poem that you’d like to share?

"Tattered Jackets" by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens, May 16, 2011

Soldiers standing upon my shelf

Stoically gathering dust.

These tattered jackets I so trust

to guard my soul, my inner self.

Pressed together, well worn leather

musty and old. The smell itself

reminiscent of wanderlust.

My mind's journey upon my shelf.

Lolamouse: Have you found any drawbacks to being involved in blogging and/or blog groups?

Margaret: The only drawback I can see is that dVerse and Magpie Tales gather a huge response, with often over 100 links. If a person felt they had to support every single link, it would be overwhelming.

I believe blogging has given me an increased internal happiness. I am naturally an outgoing person, but I do crave solitude now as I like to ponder poetry and study nature and figure out what perspective would best set a scene off to advantage. I mean, how many people want to stand around while I jot a word, phrase, or idea down and watch me take 50 photos of one object?

Lolamouse: Solitude? With a husband, 6 kids, 3 dogs, and 2 cats?!! Good luck with that! Is there anything you'd like to share with the Toads that may surprise them about you?

Margaret: Hmm. My two favorite video games are still Pong and PacMan.

Lolamouse: Oh my! I remember playing Pong on my family’s Atari! We must be around the same age, Margaret! Thank you so much for taking the time out from your horseback riding to mouse around with me!


Kerry O'Connor said...

I really draw courage and inspiration from someone like Margaret, who manages to pack so much creativity into her life.

Thanks so much to Lolamouse for setting up the interview, and to Margaret for the insight into her wonderful life and art.

Cathy Feaster said...

Great interview! I loved reading about Margaret and all her creativity.

Mary said...

Margaret, it was a pleasure getting to know more about you. Since you have an iPad and enjoy games, let me suggest Luxor!!! It is MY iPad addiction. I enjoy both your photography and your poetry and also admire that you can stay so active in the blogosphere with your large family (including pets). Lolamouse, thank you for the interview.

Maude Lynn said...

Margaret is incredibly creative. I don't know how she does it!

Great interview, and Pong rules!

Kay L. Davies said...

What a wonderful interview. Lolamouse and Margaret, you both inspire me.
If I couldn't remember having been a busy person myself, I would be overwhelmed by the number of creative things Margaret manages to work into her life.
Good work, both of you, and I'm looking forward to more.

Unknown said...

I've been a fan of Margaret for some time now,so I really appreciate getting to know here a little better. She is a dedicated artist and it shows in both her visual and written works. Thanks for a great interview.

Susie Clevenger said...

Lolamouse what a wonderful interview with Margaret..Love the picture of the toad riding a horse! Margaret, I applaud your creativity. I have several creative fires going and I have a hard time keeping up, but nothing like you have and kids still at home to boot!! It is good to know more about you...the person behind the camera and pen.

Scarlet said...

What a lovely interview. I admire Margaret for her many talents and ability to do so much creative work with all the family obligations.

Great interview and kudos to Lolamouse and Margaret ~

Margaret said...

I am truly humbled that people I admire so much have said such lovely things. Thank you.

Fireblossom said...

I love Margaret's photography, and especially enjoyed her weekend prompt here recently.

I think it's so cool that Margaret's kids say "My mom is a poet" and stuff like that! They're proud!

I used to really like Lolamouse, but not since she started doing haiku. Nope. Now we are mortal foes. :-P

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my goodness. Margaret, just reading about all the kids, animals, and creative pursuits you juggle makes me want to lie down for a snooze. Hee hee.Just kidding - My hat is off to you, kiddo. I am so glad that you continue to pursue your passions while mothering - that is setting a FANTASTIC example for your kids. Your poem for your mother is really lovely. I especially liked the peace that filled you as you put them on. Like your mother's arms around you.

Lolamouse, great interview. I love that question about something that may surprise readers. I might just steal it!!!!!

Cloudia said...

what a cool blog

Warm Aloha from Hawaii
Comfort Spiral

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Betty Manousos said...

awesome interview!
margaret is soo creative! i do admire her.

i love your blog!

Mary Ann Potter said...

Lolamouse, you sure know how to do an interview! I enjoyed this. Margaret, thanks for sharing part of your life here. The poem about your mom's necklace is so lovely. I have my mother's wedding ring and wear it with my own. My critters here on the farm send their best wishes to y'all and your critters! Have a creative day!

shawnacy said...

excellent interview! so glad to get to know you, margaret! as a mom of many kids, it's bolstering to find there are others of the ilk. :) very much enjoying your blogs!