Thursday, April 7, 2011

Layers of you: are you onion or cake?

Donkey: Oh, you both have LAYERS. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions. What about cake? Everybody loves cake!

Shrek: I don't care what everyone else likes! Ogres are not like cakes.

In my world, the more layers to dig into, the better. Cakes are generally limited to two or three layers. Onion layers go very deep. And they make you cry. On the other hand, cakes are sweet, with even sweeter frosting layered in between....

I'm probably losing you at this point.

So last week I started working through this amazing Online Persona Workshop via the Shrinking Violets Promotions blog  -
which is a happy place for introverts.  I visit there quite often.

I got all excited about this concept of developing an online persona instead of an online platform, since platform seems much scarier to me. And the analogy relating "persona" to a writer's "voice" totally hooked me.

Week 1 helped me identify why I want to be on-line. Primarily to connect with other people - and not just an occasional "hey how are you?" but to really connect.

Like, "come over to my blog and have a cup of tea with me while we chat over life and encourage each other" kind of connection (oh, you say you didn't know about virtual tea parties?) And "next week we'll savor coffee and books and writing craft over at your place." (ah, virtual coffee houses!)

So now I'm reporting on Week 2, which is entitled the Many Layers of You.

Which is how I got distracted talking about onion layers versus cake layers.
Sorry about that.

So anyway, I created this list of all the roles I play (work, family, hobbies, etc), things I care about, and personality traits. In order to "explore all those different facets of ourselves and look for fertile ground from which to create our online persona."

Next step: Go back over your list and look for "traits or layers that feel unique and fresh to you, something that you haven’t seen someone else do already, AND that gets a little flutter of interest or passion moving when you think about it."

Okay, that was hard. I wasn't seeing anything unique on my list.
But I did get a few passionate flutters:

From my list of things I'm intrigued about:
mythical creatures (My regular readers will not be surprised about that one)

From my list of favorite things to do:
Having "soul-talks" with friends over tea (or coffee. Or virtual chocolate. Which is the best kind because it has no calories. Well... "best" might be up to debate.)
"Soul-talks"? you ask. You know, conversations that go beyond the weather or the cute things our kids did last week (not that I don't love kid stories! don't get me wrong!). But I also like to go a little deeper... what we've learned, from our kids. Or from that great book we just read. What we're still trying to learn. Awful things that have happened. Wonderful things that occurred because of the awful things. Realizing that something just changed our perception of how we see the world, or some small part of the world.

From my list of work-related things:
I'm a software trainer and university lecturer (GIS and geography). I'm always looking for ways to engage students - helping them see how to apply  geographic concepts and GIS tools to their own work or research needs.

From my list of personality traits:
"Introvert" was too obvious, so I picked "slave to my moods". Yeah. That explains the chocolate addiction. And also the "I can't deal with life right now; let me escape to my corner with a book for a while" attitude.

With your highlighted items, the Workshop says to look for connections:

A Shrinking Violet's list includes.... unintentional collector of clutter, research geek, writing craft junkie, poor housekeeper. However, looking over that shorter list I also know that there are a TON of other writing oriented blogs out there already, so I would probably cross that one off. I would also suspect there are other blogs out there about being a poor housekeeper, but is there one that combines that with being a writer? IS there a way to do that?
Unfortunately, I didn't get very far with online personas like:

 Margo's Moods,

or  Margo's Inspiring Geographic Analogies,

or Margo's Soul Talks, A little scary, don't you think?

or Margo's Mythical Creatures?  Oh wait a minute, I'm already writing a novel about that and don't want to give it all away too soon (grin).

But then, THEN! I started working on Week Three! And there were Discoveries! Revelations! Fascinating Connections Were Made! All to be revealed in next week's installment.

Since I've already violated my 500 word blog post limit by, like, 267 words and counting - I have one last thing that's be on my mind to mention.

Elizabeth Taylor. The passing of a legend. She was always a memorable character in my life because my father often referred to my mother as "his very own Elizabeth Taylor." 
 I'm happy to say that my mother is still in great health and full of life, and this picture reminds me a bit of a down-home sort of Liz:

Which layer analogy do you like better, onion or cake or...?


  1. I like all these ideas. I'm really wanting to connect more online too. It's harder than people make it look.

  2. Chelsey I can't figure out how to reply to you! Blogger says your profile is unavailable, and there's no email link. I do hope you come back and give me some way to get in touch with you.

  3. I didn't know you were a software trainer. The things you learn! Your mother is very pretty. Beautiful skin and eyes.

  4. I think the Shrinking Violets blog is very interesting, and you're disciplined for going through the process! Looking forward to hearing what you discovered...

  5. I love this post. You know why? I connected with it. We have so much in common!!! I forgot I was reading someone else's blog, just grabbed a hot cocoa and settled in. So it's nice to know at the end of the day, when my house is a mess, and I'm indulging in drinkable chocolates, that I'm not alone debating between layers and mythical creatures that I pray don't exist.

    No blog right now. It's in limbo. (You know that mythical place between heaven and hell-- yeah-- you know.)But I never second guessed the name. It haunted me for twenty years, and I had nothing to apply it too. Life's like that! LOL

    Fire me an email, so we can chat up a storm, sounds like fun.

  6. I'm afraid I don't have too many layers. Or else I've been too busy to try to figure out how many I have (hmm).

    Thanks for the cup of coffee (we need a few after all that wine over on our blog!).

  7. Onions. Definitely. I like the dirty, painful, and sometimes surprisingly sweet parts of life. Cake is too perfect.

    Great post!

  8. I love this post! And I'm definitely an onion girl. Cake is too sweet, too perfect - to much and it makes you sick. Onions, on the other hand, can spice things up, make you cry, make things good, make them bad.... So versatile.

  9. I'd like to think I'm both onion and cake!!! I'm a moody introverted so and so but also showy and sickly sweet and dripping in gooey sugariness when I want to be! LOL!!!!

    I love your self analysis!!! Your persona is amazing!! Your mum btw, is BEAUTIFUL! Take care

  10. wow! that sounds like an extensive process! but i bet you're learning so much from it! mythical creatures, soul talks, and poor housekeeping- i think we're going to get along just fine! :D looking forward to get to know you!
    oh! and you're mama is gorgeous! r.i.p. liz

  11. I think I'm more like a Durian fruit. I have a formidable thorn covered husk and my fleshy insides emit a strong odor that people either find pleasant or overpowering and offensive. Yeah, I think that analogy works...

  12. Also, thanks for pointing out the Shrinking Violets blog. I'll have to check it out.

  13. How about a Vidalia onion? They're sweet, have lots of layers, but still have a hint of that onion spice/kick. And, really, they could make people cry if you throw one at them :)

    I loved this post, Margo! So much fun to read about Shrinking Violets. And your Mama is very pretty!

  14. I already love who you are. I don't think you have to come up with any gimmicks, just be yourself. :D Though I could sure go for some coffee and chocolate right about now...

  15. Soul talks. Love that name. I have very few people I can do that with. My sister, a couple of friends, a couple of writers.

    Never thought of cake layers. I liked the onion layer analogy in "The Blind Side" movie.

    I think I'm an avocado. I try to have a shell of protection on the outside to protect my soft center. (Don't want to smush.) In the middle is a large pit (heart).

  16. I'd like to think I'm an onion. A carmelized one. But I'm probably not that deep. I'd love to have a soul-talk with you though. That would be fun!

  17. I like the analogy of a tree with many rings - the tree gets more layers as it grows.

  18. I think both onions and cakes are necessary in an analogy about writing - making you cry is important, but so is sweet.

    I love your idea of soul talks, and would happily engage in a virtual tea party with you!

    Name the time...

  19. I prefer cakes for eating and onions for this layer analogy; as God and Shrek intended! I will have to go look at this week's homework, though making lists is never a chore. Next week I will actually publish my post with my favourite blogs from the first week. I am taking part, I'm just behind!
    - Sophia.

  20. The Online Persona Workshop sounds facinating. I'm always a work in progress when it comes to 'persona' on-line and off-line. And definitely relate to 'slave of my moods.' I look forward to reading more about your journey.

  21. Fascinating stuff here, Margo. Very thought provoking. Interesting that you feel shrinking violet, but you can put on your brave self when you give your college lectures. I'm a parfait girl. I love it when Donkey says, "Everybody loves a parfait." Wait, I love a good onion as well.

  22. Layers are what I have! Lots and lots of layers. It takes a lot to get to know me. And your mother is absolutely beautiful! :)

  23. Well, I like cake better, but I'm sure I'm personally more like an onion. :p Sounds like a fascinating site. I adore personality analyses, and you had me right from the words "happy place for introverts"! Thanks for sharing.

  24. This sounds like a wonderful site! It's crazy how little time most people devote to understanding themselves. (It's all focused on the outside world.)

    I'm an onion, I think! :0)


  25. Can I be both? I like all those oniony, papery layers, but much prefer cake in all its sugary, moist, numness.

  26. I would prefer an onion. There are more layers there and more room for intrigue and depth. Cake is sweet and nice, and does not have much mystery. Btw…you resemble your mother a lot. :)

    On another note, your comment on my post on writing prompts (you were looking for ideas for short stories) made me realize that there is another post that could help you. It was in September last year about unleashing our creativity, this game gives us lots of ideas for short stories.

  27. Sounds like you learned a lot from that workshop! Your mom is beautiful. Her eyes have such a soulful look to them. Hmmm, I think I'd pick cake over onion for an entirely inappropriate reason: I'm a fatty, ha.

  28. Soul talks! I've never called it that before but I LOVE those types of conversations with people. I love when you get into conversations with new people and you realize how much you have in common.

    Mmm cake. :)

  29. I didn't get to comment yesterday because I was at work and for some reason it won't sign me in to google and leave comments. So...forget my drama. Onions. I like the layers. Unpeeling, unwrapping, exposing the many levels. So much better than cake. You can mix onions with so many different things. Such as garlic. Cake and Garlic. I think now. Love the post!

  30. I got interrupted by hubby. I think not, is what I meant to say. So many different ways you can peel an onion. I'm loving your exploration through the online personal workshop and may try it myself, when done with The Artist's Way.

  31. Nice post!

    I love cake. ;)-



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