Still Dawdlering

Another Sunday’s come and that means it’s time for Rory’s Garden Dawdler — nine questions posed once a week for our answering pleasure. And since the garden is in bloom, I’m accompanying my answers with some flowery pics.


What do you find yourself splurging on the most?
Probably food, dining. I really enjoy good tasty food. I don’t mean expensive, fine dining. Sometimes that’s fine, but I’m much more interested in great flavor. This also extends to coffee.

What is your top writing tip?
Write everyday. It doesn’t need to ever see the light of day. It doesn’t even need to make sense. Making writing a daily practice is my healthiest habit. It not only keeps me writing, but it keeps me (relatively) sane.

Are you a regular recycler, and if so, what are five of your top recycling tips?
In Shanghai, recycling is mandatory so we definitely regularly recycle. One recycling tip is to know the local requirements wherever you are. When I was visiting my mother in the US their system could only recycle a much narrower range of plastics than we do in Shanghai so it was important to sort the recyclables from the non-recyclables to not clog the system with garbage. The biggest advice I would have is NOT to recycle if you can help it. What I mean is that recycling should be almost the last resort. It takes a lot of energy to recycle, especially when it comes to plastics, and if you can first reduce what your using or re-use it then that is the better option. I read somewhere (and I don’t have a source so read and understand at your own risk) that it was the plastics industry that funded a lot of the recycling movement because it would encourage continued use of plastics by even those that wanted to protect their environment. With all that said, we should definitely recycle if possible when the only other option is the trash heap.

Are you someone that wants to be or needs to be heard and seen, or are you content to be found behind the scenes?
Ah, what a probing question Rory! I’d say that I’m someone that want’s to be heard and seen sometimes but is also happy to stay behind the scene other times. The key is that I want it on my terms. If I’m proving to be invisible when I’m trying to be seen then my ego can get all up in a twist. Likewise, if I’m trying to hide in the background but am pulled into the light I can get very uncomfortable and grumpy.

How approachable do you think you are in real life and away from the keyboard, and do others feel the same way about you?
I try to be approachable, especially in my professional life. But if I’m honest there is enough evidence that I might not seem that way to some others. In an effort to be accessible I often set up 1:1’s with all the members of my team. Some of them are clearly nervous during these sessions despite all my attempts to help them relax — especially the more junior ones. Socially, my shyness can sometimes become a barrier as well, but I’ve been getting much better over the years. I give myself a B mark for being approachable, because at least I’m trying.

Do you sit more on the fence or the edge of the knife?
I’m not sure I fully understand the choice here. I definitely am not a fence sitter. I make decisions quickly and decisively and only change them when I’ve new information that warrant’s a rethink. The only decisions I don’t make are those that don’t need to be made by me (of which their are plenty more than I might at first think). Sitting on the edge of a knife sounds painful, but if that’s what being decisive means, then there’s the answer.

What do you remember the most about your grandparents.
My dad’s dad — no memories; My dad’s mom was super sweet and kind toward me. I especially remember the huge blueberry pancakes she would make when I visited. Yummy. My mom’s dad seemed sad; My mom’s mom was funny about money and a terrible cook. My mom’s parents had a sailboat and I remember sleeping on the sailboat once or twice and having the best sleep of my life.

How important to you is validation from your readers to your written content — do you need acknowledgement from others to create?
These questions go deep this week Rory. Your getting us to open up our souls — haha. I’d say validation is pretty darn important to me but not a requirement for me to create. I greatly appreciate a comment or review (or that very rare of rarities and actual sold book). It energizes me and feeds my soul. But I can work with validation in small doses. One insightful response is enough to keep me going. I think I would still create even with no feedback, but probably not as often.

What is it you would have liked to have been asked about your life but have yet to be?
I don’t know how to answer this one. If I have something to share I feel able to share. I guess I wouldn’t mind being asked someday how I managed to become a globally renowned author…but that answer kinda busts my answer to the previous question. So I guess there really isn’t any answer for this question.

Thanks Rory for the interesting questions once again. I look forward to reading everyone’s responses.

Be well,



  1. I loved reading this Monty and getting a glimpse of the person behind the pen (or keyboard). I especially enjoyed your recycling answer. It’s very interesting that recycling is mandatory in Shanghai. I wish it was here too. It’s a good point about knowing the guidelines in different places. Our Ontario government is working on harmonizing recycling programs across the province. Time will tell if they succeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Shanghai went to mandatory recycling several years ago. They converted the entire city from the waste facilities to the trucks all the way to the community bins. It was quite impressive. Gone were the old garbage trucks and their was a whole new fleet of smaller trucks each dedicated to their respective pick-up charge. We have commingled recyclables, kitchen scraps, and residuals as the basic groups. For recyclables their are also hazardous waste and some other speciality items that I’m less familiar. It’s not perfect, but it’s impressively good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow that is really amazing, Monty. Our region has a very well-developed recycling program, too, but nothing like that. (In fact, the blue recycling bins were invented here!) It’s one of the reasons I’m a bit skeptical of the new provincial system which is being phased in and will hit our area next year. We’ll see how it goes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish we Did recycle here, more. They used to have separate bins and pick ups for that, but I guess it depends on where you live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Yes, very dependent on local laws and capabilities .


  3. murisopsis says:

    Love the answer to Q#2. Practice does make perfect!


  4. Good morning from me to you Monty and appologies for my delay, but l am here now.

    Interesting answers, l was fascinated with the recycling in Shanghai however so many other countries are so better prepared for it, but l have read years ago like you that the plastic industry finances recycling industry and l see this happen in so many industries these days, a case of robbing Peter to Poison Paul to Help Peter.

    I agree, writing daily is not only good medicine but a great way to keep your hands and mind able.

    I remember being asked Q9 in an interview in my thirties and l sat there and thought ‘How am l supposed to answer that question. I responded with, “What would you answer this question with because each person’s life is different to the next, how can l know if something hasn’t been asked if it has yet to be asked by you? So l guess the answer to your question is “This question.” I got the job as a recruitment profiler.

    Good answers my friend, received with thanks and wishing you a lovely day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Haha – smart answer to Q9! I understand why you got the job :-). Never a need to apologize. I appreciate the dialogue we have — no matter for the timing.

      Liked by 1 person

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