Interview with My Blogging Buddy, Mara Eastern

A few weeks ago I participated in WordPress’s Blogging 201. Participants received daily assignments and one of them was to find a blogging buddy.

Mara Eastern over at Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog posted an advertisement for a blogging buddy (you can read the advertisement HERE), which I replied to, and to my surprise she replied with a, “Yes”. Yay me!! 🙂

She interviewed me (read it here) and I her. Here are my questions and her answers. Enjoy and please stop by her blog and check it out.

20/20 Hines Sight: What is one of your fondest memories of growing up Eastern Europe?

Mara: That would be the overall experience of living in one of the Soviet Union’s satellites. The communist regime was clearly a nasty one, but it provided a stable environment for a person to grow up. It was sufficiently colourful, like my favourite lantern procession on May Day, and as a child you don’t realise the political implications.

20/20 Hines Sight: How would you describe your hometown?

Mara: It was a home village rather than a hometown – one long street with a few side streets, some of them running into adjoining villages and becoming part of the other villages at more or less random points. No street names, not even village name signs. I have no idea how any strangers chancing in the area ever found their way there. (Hmm. That sounds like my neighbourhood before all the development. We had cattle farms and cornfields and dirt roads and no street signs. I hope your village has remained pretty much unscathed by development. It’s kind of disheartening to see that go away.)

There was literally the end of the world too – if you drove along one particular road for several miles, it would stop at the end of a village with a natural barrier, and all you could do then was to turn and go back.

20/20 Hines Sight: This is a multiple part question. What made you decide to major in English Literature? Do you have a favourite author? If so, who and why?

Mara: I didn’t even deliberately decide to major in EngLit – it accidentally happened and I just didn’t protest. I went to study English at college childishly thinking that I would learn the language and become a translator. It turned out that English at college is pure theory, language and literature. As I found myself writing good literary essays, it seemed logical to pursue literary studies. I became irrationally passionate about Scottish literature, and since then it’s been a clear deal. (The reason I asked this question is because I did my undergraduate studies in English Lit. I have to agree with you on the fact that it is nothing but theory.)

Sure I have a favourite author, it’s Alasdair Gray, Scottish iconoclast. His writing is precisely what I would write if I could: sometimes smart, sometimes silly, and always playfully tongue-in-cheek. (I’ll have to look into him.)

20/20 Hines Sight: You are 281 days into your Photo Project 365, what have you learned about yourself with this challenge?

Mara: I stubbornly refuse learning any lessons; but if Project 365 taught me one, it would be something akin to acceptance. I’m notoriously unhappy with life in my country in general and in my village in particular, but the many surprisingly complimentary comments I receive on documenting life here almost managed to persuade me that it’s not so awful. Maybe. (Looking at your photos, it seems your village is very beautiful.)

20/20 Hines Sight: Having finished Blog U 201, what advice would you give a new blogger?

Mara: Just one – not to give it up. I haven’t been around for too long myself, but I’ve already seen too many blogs having a great start and then ending up abandoned after a few months. It always disappoints me.


If I’m allowed to speak without being asked, I’d like to say a huge thanks to you for the opportunity to be your blogging buddy and for your excellent questions – they made me think, and they plunged me in a pleasant reminiscence. Thank you for this!

Thanks. I’m glad the reminiscence was pleasant.

I have to really say, “thank you” for agreeing to be my blogging buddy. If I’m being truly honest, one of the reasons I asked is because after perusing your blog it seems we have quite a bit in common. I get the impression you’ve got a lot a fire in you and that you’re rather spunky and speak your mind. And it’s okay if you like cats. You know we can’t have everything we want in a blogging buddy. Maybe next time I’ll advertise for a dog loving blogging buddy. 🙂


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