Aloha, friends and fellow knights. It's time to pull up a chair to the Cosmic Table! For this month, our selection heralds from the inviting tropics of Hawaii, a fellow who is well known throughout the Blogosphere for his generous spirit, unfailing humor, and capacity to make every day a story in its own right. And he's also the one responsible for introducing me to my first can of SPAM. Ever! Tis a feat which no one had ever thought possible in this realm. Based on these many merited virtues, I hereby dub thee, Sir Mark Koopmans - Knight of the Cosmic Table!
MK: Well, good morning, your Royal Knightness, it is such a pleasure to join the esteemed ranks of the Cosmic Table!
I am still acclimating to my new suit of armored coconut skins I received in the last mail call, but I'm sure the itching will stop soon.
Originally, I sought to discover and bring forward to you the wonders of potatoes, the printing press and the Internet - but some heathens beat me to it - therefore, I'm glad to have introduced SPAM to your mighty palate.
(Looks at small horse, who's interrupting the knightly train of thought...)
Quiet, foal, I'm talking.
DPK: It was a mighty can of tasty SPAM, I can assure you! A prize from your Got Green Blog O'Hop, if I'm not mistake'n. Give a starving writer food and he will remember you for life, right?
And yes, the itching will stop soon.
If not, we'll send you a salve, or something ...
Now, you are a resident of the isles of Hawaii, but I understand you weren't always from there. Where in the cosmos did you come from and what inspired you to live on a rock in the middle of the ocean?
MK: Aye m'lord, I come not from these here parts, but from the Isle of the Irish.
Originally part of the ancient side order of the McKoopmans's's clan, I left no fair maid behind when I made my maiden voyage to new lands nearly twenty-five years ago.
(Takes off flower lei helmet... wow, now I feel old, cheers, mate :)
My early adventures brought me to the kingdoms of Holland, Spain, France and of course, England. There I lived with the serfs of York, Leeds and Nottingham. I also enjoyed an evening of camping in the Sherwood Forest, but alas, was hood-winked by that Robin fellow.
One day I heard of the voyage of Christopher Columbus and knew I had to see this place, this America, with its fine cities of New Amsterdam and Bah-stan.
I arrived in 1996 and the rest, as they say, is medieval history.
DPK: So basically, you traded one island for another? Fair enough!
You're more traveled than I thought. I would love to hit Europe one of these days, but it will have to be on a soft patch of Europe - I don't want to hurt my fist. Actually, those gauntlets should be coming in any day now, so it ought not to matter!
Tell us a little about your writing journey. When did it start? I understand you have a biography that is dying to be read, but what other projects have you in that handy-dandy satchel of yours?
MK: Ye gads!
I've not mentioned my handy-dandy satchel to anyone.
Your reach knows no ends, sire!
I am like many who thought they could possibly write, but never followed up. I remember writing many small stories as a kid, but never entered them for competitions, etc.
In 2003, I was given the opportunity to write a feature for a new "green" magazine in Orange County, Calif.
That one "clip" (and apparently "the best cover letter" the recruiter had "ever read") allowed my left foot through the door of a weekly newspaper in Florida.
Years later, I followed that up working as a beat reporter with a daily near San Antonio.
I would *highly* recommend any "young" writer - regardless of age to work for their local newspaper - should the opportunity present itself. I learnt so much about my craft.
PS: The man with the Witness In Protection (WIP :) program said it was OK to mention the above.
My first book, a memoir about opera singer, Donald Braswell, heads to a professional editor next week.
Then I jump into WIP#2 (a 20th century historical romance à la a certain Mr. Sparks - I hope!:)
DPK: That is quite the impressive resume! It sure beats working for a tavern and an asylum *looks about with shifty eyes* Here's to this professional editor getting blown away so we can read about Donald!
Let's get to blogging - when and why did you start, and how has it influenced you as a writer?
MK: Blogging has been the "other piece" of the puzzle for me.
My first post was Sept. 11, 2011.
I knew I wanted a social media imprint of some kind and Blogger was (and is) perfect for me.
It's been such a pleasure "meeting" so many awesome writers here in the Blogisfear. Trust and relationships have blossomed over the last three years, and friends such as your good self have helped me become a better writer - that's for darn sure.
DPK: It's been a pleasure, for certain, and there's more where that came from! Blogger was the same for me as well - it worked for me. That's pretty much how things work. If it works for you, it works, and you'll find a way to work it. Have I said "work" enough?
As to your knighting, I'd like to know what a knight means to you?
MK: I know there are many you could choose from, and it is an honor, as I have mentioned.
I shall, therefore, strive to uphold all health codes of conduct while at the Cosmic Table and will Pay It Forward to new bloggers who wander the forest seeking guidance and support.
DPK: That's the spirit! Navigating through that forest is tricky business - what with all those dwarfs throwing burning pine cones and Varmints-Of-Unusual-Size. I honestly don't believe the latter exists *slays one as it flings itself at me* I stand corrected!
Final question: I am told that you are laden with super powers. What are they, and tell us an adventure about your exploits?
MK: Now that I am a father of three boys, I have the superhuman abilities of losing my hair at a moment's notice. I'm also excellent at recreating the fetal position and weeping upon command.
Folks, *please* don't try these at home. (Be like me - I normally go to the mall.)
Thank you, Sir David, for allowing me a covered spot at the Cosmic Table - and much success in *your* upcoming adventures later this year:)
DPK: Thank you, sire! I will certainly keep you posted on how the chips fly as the year goes on. Now that you have proven your valor and wit, I present to you this badge, proving your awesome knighthood. Please copy and paste it however you see fit, and be sure to bring your own utensils for the next little while. We're having them polished.
MK: Cheers, Dave :)
You are too kind and a true gentleman and scholar :)
* * *
I beseech my crew to visit Mark's blog here. Lend your patronage. Mark is one in a billion, and you won't find another gent like him!
In other news, I'm glad to say that I'll be back to blogging on July 1st. I was able to take a large portion off my plate, and while I'm still munching on vegetables, I can add a healthy serving of blogging on the side. We're one member away - ONE member - from a benchmark that I plan on celebrating with a giveaway. Let's make it happen!
I'm David, and who ordered these suits of armored coconut skins?