2010 Canadian Weblog Awards Exclusive Nominee Interview with Tornwordo of Sticky Crows

Tornwordo authors Sticky Crows, which has been nominated in the LGBTQ category of the 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards.

Why blogging?

Like many bloggers, it started out as a way of keeping family and friends up to date. Since I come from California, I got tired of repeating myself and paying so much in long distance, so blogging seemed a logical money saving idea. Little did I know that I'd be bitten hard by the blogging bug. I can remember at the beginning rushing home from work to see if there were any comments. Such a thrill. I still get a kick out of comments, but I don't rush home anymore to see them. For the first few years I blogged every day, but now it's a few times per week.

Where does your blog fit into your creative portfolio? Is blogging your primary outlet, or do you publish/create elsewhere?

I'd like to think I create elsewhere. I play the piano and write music, and I invent games and activities for the classroom, but I don't publish anywhere else. Unless you count the comments I leave on other people's blogs.

This is your fifth year blogging at Sticky Crows. How has your blogging style/content/attitude changed since you first started?

I think I tried harder at the beginning. Not only did I post every day, but I went in for Half Nekkid Thursday and posted lots of videos of me and the city. I have sung and danced (shudder) on the blog and built up a library of videos on Youtube. I think it's thanks to doing those things that I continue to blog. It's like a living scrapbook of sorts and although the march of time seems slow, one click to a post from five years ago can really highlight how much changes. I'm none too happy about aging, but what are you gonna do? The blog these days is much more of a laid back journal. I don't try too hard now, but I've kept a certain approach since the beginning. Write like you are sitting down with an old friend over coffee, eager to share the news. I think that's what has helped me build a following (albeit small) as people "feel" that through the writing.

You weren't born in Canada. How did you come to being a Canadian from your American roots?

Ah yes, the perennial question. I did a series on that question called "The Road to Montreal", because everyone wants to know the same thing.

In a nutshell, gay bi-national couples (spouse is Canadian) cannot live legally together in the US. Canada actually gives special consideration to couples in this situation when evaluating immigration requests. So, yay Canada. I hate to say it, but I really do feel more Canadian than American. I don't feel like a traitor either, I feel more like the US betrayed me.

Did you suffer any culture shock when you moved to Canada? Are there any particular Canadianisms you've noticed? Do we really sound like we say "aboot"?

Living in Quebec was definitely a culture shock. It is unlike the rest of Canada in that the people here generally consider themselves Quebecois first, and Canadian second. Plus, of course, the language. Upon arriving here, I enrolled in French school and have become fluent, although it was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. There are definite cultural differences between anglophones and francophones. A simple example, when English speakers decline an invitation, we always offer an excuse, even if it is untrue, whereas French speakers do not. This was hard to adapt to at first but now it feels liberating. If I don't want to do something, I can just say, "no, I'd rather not" and leave it at that. I have made a few anglophone friends and there are a few words that sometimes jump out at me as different. Mostly it's the "ou" pronunciation in words like house and out. To me it sounds more like how-oose and ow-oot. So yeah, a bit of an accent. It's funny though, when I go back home to California to visit the family, they say I've adopted a Canadian accent. I don't see why not, Madonna has done the same thing from living in London. It's probably natural.

What are your must-reads?

Oh my. I'm not going to list the 130 blogs on my reader. But I do keep up on all of them. I hate to mention any for fear of insulting someone, but here goes anyway. I keep up on the gay news via Joemygod, and I keep up on a lot of issues in Canada via We Move to Canada. Of course, I love the Yarn Harlot, too.

As for personal blogs, I never miss Rox's posts, a true blue (red?) Canadian in Alberta, and I enjoy Lyvvie's blog, another American expat now in Australia. Those are just a few of my faves. I have many more. Sometimes I click the "next blog" button on blogspot blogs and surf. I've found some great blogs that way.

If you were to impart some knowledge to an aspiring blogger, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that to have a successful blog, have something to say. Post consistently. Don't let weeks go by between posts. But don't post twenty five times a day either with any little thought or thing that pops into your head. There's Twitter and Facebook for that. And the golden rule applies. You generally receive as many comments as you leave around the blogosphere. Have fun and ignore those (always anonymous commenters) who dump on you or your writing. Good luck!

Tornwordo is a 44 year old man married to his longtime partner, Serge. They share life with Georgie, their one year old beagle. Torn teaches English as a second language in Montreal. Originally from the US, Torn immigrated to Canada in 2000. He enjoys working out, Scrabble, botanical gardens, and he is a total weather geek. His blog, Sticky Crows, journals life in Montreal as an expat.


Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They have been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health, Woman's Day, and Flow magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.