Ask me anything …


Can I tell you a secret?  It’s weird, keeping a blog.  I post photographs and snippets of poetry — sometimes shamelessly personal prose.  I dream in blazing black-and-white, and then I come here and splash those dreams on the screen.  Still, though …  There’s so very little you know about me.  

And you know what else?  There’s probably even less I know about you.

So today I thought we’d try to change that.


My proposal is this: ask me anything.  Pose whatever question you’d like in the comment section — whether it’s serious or silly, profound or profoundly mundane — and I’ll try to answer it, either there or in a separate post.  In exchange, all I ask is that you reveal something interesting about you. 

(Think of it as a meeting of new friends around a big, round table.  Imagine there’s coffee.  Or a bottle of your favorite wine.)

As always, I reserve the right to delete any comment that makes me uncomfortable.  That said, I’ll sincerely try to meet whatever genuine and thoughtful question you throw at me… whether I get two questions, or twenty.


Cheers, friends… Here’s to many sweet conversations to come. ❤



106 thoughts on “Ask me anything …

    • Well hi there! 🙂

      While I’ve got a traveler’s heart, I’ve spent my entire life using various cities in Virginia as home base, and I currently call Roanoke home.

      My favorite spot, without a doubt, was my tiny studio in downtown Norfolk, where I lived alone (for the first and only time) in my early 20s.

      I have a little theory that everyone on the planet has an ideal amount square footage that makes them feel at home. For me, 450 square feet was it! I lived in a renovated roaring-20s hotel on the water, on a leafy cobblestone street. My little crash-pad had fifteen-foot ceilings, enormous windows, and wall-to-wall closets, and I furnished it as a nest of Art Nouveau glitter and shine. I had everything I needed and nothing I didn’t — and I was paying the absolute lowest rent in the most glamorous neighborhood in town … walkable to my job and all the city nightlife I could ever want. In that season of my life, it was perfect for me.

      Sometimes I still miss the sounds of the foghorns in the harbor at night. 🙂

      Okay, then. Your turn!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Dormis Aeternitas says:

    hello. Which would you rather have – a million dollars or a twin flame?
    hmmm interesting, well let’s see. I’m ambidextrous but would have been a leftie if it wasn’t for the nuns forcing me to be a right hander. I brake with my left foot too. I’m a published author and published poet but I prefer to remain anonymous because it suits me. No sense in asking as I won’t budge on that point. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • First things first: I understand the need for anonymity — more than you know! 🙂 So do keep on being your mysterious self – I promise I’ll never ask. 😉

      A million dollars or a twin flame? I guess I’d have to go with the million — only because I have absolutely no room in my life for any additional soulmates! 😉

      And I love that you’re ambidextrous. I always wanted to be — many years ago, I tried to train myself to take the hurdles both left- and right-footed, and it was always a disaster. I’m jealous!

      I’m assuming you don’t drive a 5-speed?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dormis Aeternitas says:

        *L* nope automatic – I write poetry in my mind as I drive. oh no I wasn’t going there with you (twin flame) – I merely wondered what you valued more, money or love. “*L* nope automatic – I write poetry in my mind as I drive. oh no I wasn’t going there with you (twin flame) – I merely wondered what you valued more, money or love. “*L* nope automatic – I write poetry in my mind as I drive. oh no I wasn’t going there with you (twin flame) – I merely wondered what you valued more, money or love.
        “I was born in a big grey cloud
        Screaming out a love song
        All the broken chords and unnamed cries
        What a place to come from…”

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hi Dormis — oh no! No romantic advances suspected, at all. Ha!

          I love that you work up poetry in your head while you drive — I’ve always thought that driving puts me into a creative space, too.

          Keep on screaming out those love songs. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Dormis Aeternitas says:

            well the subconscious mind takes over doing mundane tasks (driving) and the creative, conscious mind can create. Oh BTW my answer would have been my ‘twin flame’ but then I am a foolish romantic at heart…

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Dormis Aeternitas says:

    oh I had a 1000 posts and almost 1000 followers but deleted all posts several months ago for several reasons, among them – they allow graphic physical violence to women on this site. I’m funny that way…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Reagan, I thought your name was Ashley!

    Who has been the biggest influence in your life? And secondly, do you believe in dreams having hidden meanings?

    As for me, my mum has been my biggest influence, a wonderful woman who taught me so much. Sadly she’s now in an assisted facility and she can’t talk anymore but I still see her as much as I can and treasure my memories of how she was.

    I asked about dreaming because I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping and when I do get to sleep I’m having the most bizarre dreams. Things so unrelated to anything in my life. I’ve thought of keeping a dream diary but haven’t got around to it yet.

    Love your blog. And what a great idea for a post. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Miriam!

      Actually, I *am* Ashley — I was just conversing back and forth a bit with a reader named Reagan, actually.

      Hmm… Dreams with hidden meanings? I *definitely* believe dreams can reveal a lot about the topics our subconscious is puzzling over, while we’re not looking… A little bit like a script running in the background, so to speak.

      I am a chronic insomniac, and have been my whole life (I’ve written about this unfortunate state of things here: As a result of that, I don’t dream the same way other people do. I have a lot of (truly awful) night terrors, and sometimes even hypnopompic hallucinations (dreams layered over the waking state, usually paired with sleep paralysis). That part kinda sucks. On the upside, I also spend a lot of nights in a weird netherland between waking and sleeping, and so my subconscious and I do a lot of talking. The silver lining is that I probably know myself better than most people do, and I consider that a blessing.

      But as for dreams meaning something on a deeper level? I’ll never say never. I hope you treasure the vividness of your dreams — it sounds amazing! And yes, I really do hope you keep a dream diary. I did that once upon a time, and it gave me the most amazing, surrealist creative fodder. 🙂

      (Wow, that was a long answer to your first question).

      As for influences: I’m a perfect marriage of my father’s joyful, extroverted optimism and my mother’s careful, quiet introspection. As I get older, I’ve come to have a profound appreciation for my parents, who filled our house with laughter and song and people and creativity. My mother taught me to read at a very early age, which is quite seriously the very best gift anyone’s ever given me. My father taught me to believe in impossible things, and to see the best in everyone. He also introduced me to the Beatles, CCR, the Dylan and Donovan. It’s because of him that I know all the words to the long version of American Pie.

      I think of you and your sweet mother often, Miriam. I hope you know that. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Ashley, I’m so sorry about the mix-up with your name. I was tired yesterday and it was a moment of confusion with your reader, I realised after I hit the send button. (Don’t you hate it when you hit ‘send’ and can’t undo it.)

        Anyway, that aside, thank you so much for your lengthy comments. I read your post on insomnia, which really resonated with me. Last night I actually slept ok but most nights I lie awake tossing and turning, a million thoughts churning through my head. If only we had an ‘off’ button that we could press when we went to bed.

        Your parents sound like amazing role models who have instilled in you wonderful values and given you gifts of a lifetime. I feel the same way. Although I lost my dad nearly 17 years ago he had such a strong work ethic and a quiet determined strength and humor that I remember still. And my mum is still my inspiration, no matter what.

        Thanks again for letting us get to know you better. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Miriam! Absolutely no worries. I, of all people, understand. 🙂

          Your kindness always shines here. ❤ I think a lot of kind people are the offspring of kind parents … Sounds like it's the same with you.

          Have you written any tributes to your parents? If so, I'd absolutely love to read.

          In general, I try not to write about many people from my everyday life — it just seems simpler that way — but my father makes a brief appearance here, if you're ever interested:

          Thank you for reading, as always. I absolutely love having you here!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. avvocatolo says:

    Firts of all let me say this idea is absolutely GREAT. I think I am going to do something similar on my blog (actually I did something similar but much less wide, since I asked people to tell me the entire “story” of all the books they loved and why). So let’s come to the point… have you ever wanted to have a baby? (If you do have one the “backup” question would be: is there anything in particular that you love in your partner?). Kisses 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well hey there, old friend. 🙂

      Babies … *sigh.* It’s a complicated question. I think about children from time to time, but as the years pass I’ve learned to accept that my timeline is just going to look different from other people’s. If I ever do have children, I’ll probably adopt a while houseful when I am in my 50s. 🙂 I think in that case I’d give up city life and buy a great big mountain chalet where my little tribe could run wild in the woods.

      As for T, there’s no question: I love his steadiness and stability. I feel such a tremendous safety and trust with him — which is a product of that stability.

      I’m lucky. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        • You’re too sweet … T & I are both pretty lucky we found each other. Most people who meet us in real life comment that we are very clearly a good match. We’ve been married almost ten years — together for thirteen. It still blows me away. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Ashley 🙂 I love this post idea!

    I’m not sure if this is too personal a question to ask (and if it is, please don’t feel obliged to respond!) – why do you believe what you believe? And relatedly, how does your belief shape the hows and whats and whys of your writing? I know you don’t often speak explicitly of your faith in this space, but it feels to me as though that brighter sight of reality which you seem to have permeates your writing and thought. That has brought me real hope in a season of meandering doubt and grasping at things that are – where? – and I’m incredibly thankful for that. Truly.

    Anyway, here’s a bit about me! I’m from the annoyingly sunny island of Singapore (where it’s perpetually raining at present), and I split my time between being the clumsiest barista ever and holing up in the university library instead of going to class. *sheepish grin* Pursuing a philosophy major is exciting, but truly? I would much rather be a cat. (The general consensus is that my transformation will be complete as soon as I get over lactose intolerance.)

    Oh, and another (more important) question – because food is, of course, more important than matters of belief and living. What’s your favourite go-to recipe? 🙂 Dinner, dessert or brunch (who needs lunch?) – doesn’t matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great way to meet new people! Taking the time to connect by reading someone else’s blog can be an intimate experience. Have you ever “fallen for” someone after reading their blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is such a great question!

      I’ve never fallen for a blog . While I’m a words person by birth, I’m a little mistrustful of words, too (they’re tools, after all, and they can be used to heal or to harm, to lie or tell the truth).

      I’m also one of those people who *really* values touch, voice, nonverbal cues. I love the intimacy of face-to-face conversation — a hand on my knee. My head on a friend’s shoulder. Because of that, I have a hard time imagining true intimacy without those things.

      Still: I often hear people say that they’ve met “real” friends and even significant others on blogs, so there must be something to it.

      Okay: now you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • One on my friends introduced me to the term “post-literate society.” At first I was curious. Then when I realized the disappointment of living in an era when the value of print is diminishing.

        I don’t read as much as I should, but I am eager to get my own words out before they disappear from my thoughts. I love my own words as they gain meaning in my own mind. Sharing them is intimate for me. Imperfect, and sometimes impotent, my ramblings resemble my fumbles in the real world.

        But when I read someone else’s blog and I can relate to the author’s expressions and reflections, a hole in my heart is filled.

        I yearn for a connection. It’s personal. Reading offers an experience of some semblance or understanding. That’s when I fall in love. Sometimes it’s a one-night stand. Other times it’s a slam-bam thank-you-mam! But either way, when I read a well written piece, I feel.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Yes!! I actually do understand that. I’m constantly humbled by the beauty of what others are generous enough share on their blogs, and often moved by it, too. It’s a different kind of intimacy from “real-life” intimacy, but you’re right — it’s deeply personal, just the same.

          Do you have any favorite blogs that you find especially affecting?

          And P.S. I actually love the “imperfection” you talk about in blogging. Keep on fumbling, friend … It just makes you more real. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Ines says:

    Hi! Nice ideia 🙂

    > Did being published in the “freshly pressed” section of WP changed the way you were blogging? Did you felt you had to address your posts in a different way because you gain a bigger audience?

    > Something about me: I was born in one country, raised in another, always lived exposed to two cultures. I have two nationalities and although I feel home in both places I also feel like a foreigner when I’m here and when I’m there. Weird!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ines!

      I love the thought of your multinational upbringing. 🙂 I had a guyfriend in highschool who had dual citizenship in Zimbabwe and the States, and I always thought that his being caught between two places made him a more thoughtful, worldly and well-rounded person. I’m jealous, although I can see how the situation might feel difficult sometimes.

      As for your question: the Freshly Pressed experience honestly did destabilize me for a little while. It was *completely* unexpected — kind-of like opening up your front door to find hundreds of people arriving to a house party you hadn’t planned. And that was fun, but it was a little overwhelming, too.

      Lots of folks tell me that my writing here feels very intimate, and that’s because I always imagine myself writing to a small ground of people I trust — usually as many as I could fit around my dining-room table. So, after a few weeks of inflated readership, I just decided to keep doing exactly what I’d been doing and imagine that same old tiny, friendly audience, even if the stats reflected something different.

      The hardest thing, honestly, was that I did pick up a handful of honest-to-goodness creepy-stalker types after FP. They freaked me out for a little while, but I ignored them, and they went away. *Phew!*

      Ines, I’m curious: are you bilingual, too?


      • Ines says:

        I understand what you mean, I like the “open front door of a house party” metaphor you used. I guess in a way we all secretly wish we were published on the FP section and get some exposure… but the reality must be quite overwhelming indeed! I’m always sad to read when people tell stories about creepy stalkers on the Internet, ignoring is the best thing to do – happy that you don’t have to deal with them anymore!

        Yes, I’m bilingual 🙂 My mother always spoke to me in Portuguese and my father in French, I always understood and spoke both languages.
        + I speak English, because like almost everyone else: I learned it at school, I kept hearing it on movies/series, I have foreigners friends & I worked for English speaking companies.
        I think being bilingual helps when you want to learn new languages. Do you speak any other than English?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Portuguese, French and Spanish — what a beautiful combination. I’m so very jealous.

          I hate to admit it, but, like a lot of Americans, I’m limited to English. Once upon a time, I could speak comfortably fluent Spanish, but I have so little opportunity to use it that it’s mostly all gone now. I feel a certain sense of poverty about that, and sometime when I have the time and money to invest in myself a bit, I’d love to learn French and Italian.

          Do you have a favorite of the three languages you speak??


          • Ines says:

            Portuguese, French and English – no Spanish 😉 although I’m able to understand it a bit since it’s so similar to Portuguese.
            I don’t think I have a favorite, but I can say I’m really confortable speaking Portuguese because I did all my studies in PT and it’s the language I speak at home with my boyfriend.

            If you have the opportunity you should try to invest in learning a language you love, however it’s like you said above: if you don’t speak it regularly you just end up forgetting it!

            I’m enjoying your replies to other comments – have a great day ☼✿

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ah, Ines — I knew that English was the third (of course). Sorry; must have just mistyped.

              I honestly can’t say I’m sure that I’ve ever heard Portuguese spoken in person. And you’re right: speaking a new language is all about finding opportunities to use it. Sometimes, you just have to make them! 🙂

              I’ve so enjoyed learning about everybody and getting to know a few of my readers better. Thank you for taking the time to comment and showing me a little piece of your world! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi! You are tremendously brave to offer so much of yourself so openly and honestly. I struggle with being so vulnerable. Honestly, I don’t think I could come up with too many questions that you didn’t already answer. Do you have brothers or sisters? Pets? What about career?

    For my part, I’m single, and am finally at peace with it. I never was really the marrying type, but I always assumed that there was something wrong with me, and that I’d be happy if I was in a relationship. Turns out I was wrong, and now that my life is full of good, wonderful people, and I can see the goodness in myself, I feel satisfied! If it ever happens, it happens, but I’m not too troubled by it, and I’m not looking. I have a brother and sister-in-law back in Connecticut, a big extended “family” of friends I’ve known for decades, and a cat, Pangur Ban, who is named after a poem, of course. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all: I hope you know how beautiful it is, that you’re accepting yourself just as you are — complete and whole. I’ve seen too many dear friends get married just because it seems to be the thing to do. I love that you’re different. 🙂

      I have one little sister, who’s my opposite in every way: bold when I’m gentle. Tough when I’m soft. I love all this about her.

      I have a sweet puppy, Sophie — an 8-pound shih tzu who wears dresses and bows. I never thought I’d be the person with a clothes-wearing dog, but lo and behold, I am. 🙂

      Like a lot of writers, I’ve had a strange career: a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated jobs, cobbled together within the spaces where I’m not working creatively. I worked in journalism and editing for awhile. I was briefly a teacher. Now I work in property management. Who knows where the river may take me? 🙂

      I love that your cat is Pangur Ban. He sounds like a fitting companion. 🙂

      Keep turning the darkness into light, sweet friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much Ashley. I haven’t written about my parents although at some stage I think I’d like to. For the moment though I’m much like you in that I’m not writing about people close to me. Too personal still. I’m still guarding my privacy but maybe one day. I will have to come back and read the post on your dad. Now I’m off to pick up my son from school! Have a wonderful week ahead. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Ashley
    I don’t have a specific question for you but I do welcome this opportunity to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. You may remember we exchanged messages some time ago.
    I live in England and I am 67. I retired early from a demanding job with an international services company. On retirement, people told me I could make some money from photography, so I am now a self employed commercial photographer. I only do a few assignments each month. The money is nice but I do it because I enjoy it and I have met some fantastic people.
    My blog is all photos with very few words, and I don’t post very regularly.
    Thank you for connecting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rhys! I remember you! I follow your blog, actually, and I always enjoy your light-filled landscapes, and also your photos of small British towns and especially some of the very old architecture.

      I love seeing photos like these, which always help my little world here in Southwest Virginia feel a bit bigger. Thanks for sharing your corner of the universe with all of us! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this idea and your courage and willingness to spend the time. Interesting that another blog I follow just did a post telling more about who they are. It must be in the air! Your concept seems more sharing and personal, as you have opened up to anything someone would ask. I have felt the need to become selective, for a time at least, about the blogs I really read in depth…yours is one I look forward to. I could ask many things because I am the person that loves a real conversation…not the general chatter about the weather and someone’s new shoes! My question will be this…what is the most common subject that comes to mind when you are out on one of your walks and enjoying the silence of nature?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love this question!

      I suppose I start with my troubles. Sometimes I feel those so viscerally that it almost hurts, and I pray. But then I walk, and walk, and after awhile I don’t think or feel much of anything, except a general sense of contentment and peace. If I’m shooting, I just *see* — It’s almost as if I don’t even have any other senses for awhile. If I’m *not* shooting, I still mostly just see — and in an hour or two, or a day or a week or a year, whatever I saw coheres into thought and symbol and words.

      The “meaning” or “truth” of the images — if we can call it that — always comes at me from my periphery, when I am doing other things: laundry. Cooking. Cleaning.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As mentioned in previous reply, what you said does resonate with me. I do take walks, but not as much as I could use out in more remote places of nature. Before we moved, I could go down the block in a couple of directions and feel like I was out of town. I meditate and find some things to be meditations of their own…sewing, washing the handwash dishes, things like that. I need to have some quiet time each day. I am a thinker…I bet you are too. In learning to meditate, I realized that many make it so hard by believing you have to stop thinking. We just have to let any thoughts go for a time, which can be hard. After all, if we are not thinking, we are probably brain dead! All the best to you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I couldn’t agree more — I love what you’re saying here. 🙂 It’s about letting certain thoughts go *for a time.* That makes sense to me, especially since the time of empty space just makes room for new thoughts — most often, those lightbulb moments we love so. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Ashley – what a wonderful idea for a blog post! I may have to copy this some day. (Imitation as flattery, of course!) 🙂

    Question for you: I second the question above relating to faith. Is there any specific genres or threads that you ascribe to in your spirituality? Any particular rituals / routines in your life that generate that “connection” that I can see and feel so intimately in your writing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love this question. I think I may try to write a post about this subject, only because I do think it matters to my sense of creativity, and that shows in my work.

      And please do imitate! I’d love to hear more from you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Please do write a post with this topic!
        And imitate I shall… at some point 🙂 Thinking of doing a post like this freaks me out! I will have to give myself time to psych up the courage. Thank you for blazing an honest and intimate trail here in the wild, wild west of the interwebs!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Joseph! Right now I’m soaking in two little volumes of Mary Oliver that I checked out at the library: West Wind, & What Do We Know?

      (I realize that ultra-literary types are supposed to thumb their noses at Mary because she’s so mainstream, but I like that about her–she strikes me as generous and unpretentious).

      T also started a book club among our little milieu. One of our friends is the prima ballerina in an upcoming local production of Don Quioxote, so we’re all trying to read and discuss Don Q before we see her dance. It’s quite the beast of a book: I’d forgotten how large! But it’s making me laugh, which I appreciate.

      What about you? 🙂


  13. What is your best accomplishment that you are proud of?
    Mine would be I had about 6 months alone on a mountain where I had nothing to distract me to finally deal with my past. I finally reflected on what I had done and grew from it. I realized that person I was, I didn’t want to be anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! That’s quite an accomplishment, Danielle! 🙂 I can’t imagine spending six months alone … But what a clarifying experience!

      Hmmm … Most important accomplishment? It sounds negative, but a long time ago, I left someone I loved dearly, but who was hurting me badly.

      It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done — ever — but it opened the way for me to have a happier life than I’d imagined was possible.

      I’m grateful. ❤


        • Me too …

          I often say it here, but I really believe it’s true … We’re all so much stronger than we think.

          Since that hard season, I’ve been loved extravagantly by my Creator and very tenderly by my husband, T, and I’ve had a lot of time to think through what real love looks like and how easy it is to fall for its imposters.

          I’m profoundly grateful for the opportunity to learn, and also to know what I have … Which is precious indeed. 🙂

          Wishing you well today!


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