A few words before we move on and see what Keri Peterson has to say about life, literature and imagination. About what is beautiful. I found her through one of her facebook groups, Reading with Benedict Cumberbatch, and she is a great example when it comes to people you might never meet in person, but who will gently nudge you towards the right path when speaking of strength of character, creativity and curiosity.
I know that you are a woman who shows interest in various fields, all linked to beauty and creativity. How do you keep your curiosity and imagination alive?
Keri:I was born with a very active imagination. I cannot remember a time in my life where I wasn’t on some adventure or spoke to my imaginary friends. I still do that. Talk to my mind friends. Some would call him spirit, but he’s been there all my life. As for my curiosity? Curiosity is what keeps us asking questions. Without curiousity, without asking questions, like,”How does that work?” or ”What if?” or even ”What’s behind that door?” curiosity wouldn’t have given us all the wonderful inventions we have today, the beautiful characters we read in a book, or even the villain we watch on the movie screen. Can you imagine a life where there was no imagination? We’d all be that of a caveman. We were given curiosity and imagination for a reason.
What do you do in your free time?
Keri:Freetime? Well, I have three young adult children living at home (aged, 24, 17 and 15), so between soccer, work, running, dogs, errands… I have a very healthy life. I enjoy my friends, I go running, hiking, walking. Every season change I celebrate with my group of friends for celebration circles. I enjoy reading, singing, writing, drawing, creating and cooking, entertaining. I train to do obstacle courses and 10 km races. I did the Tough Mudder this year and it was the hardest physical and mental challenge ever. I will do it again. I have also done the Spartan and the Warrior Dash. I enjoy the feel of the earth and mud under my feet and hands.
You are the admin of various groups on facebook, Reading with Benedict Cumberbatch being one of them. First of all, how did you discover Benedict Cumberbatch? What made you become a fan?
Keri: I had heard of him through all the hype for the new Star Trek Into Darkness movie and I knew I was going to see it because I loved the first one so much (I love Sci-Fi/Fantasy, it is my favourite genre). And whilst watching the movie, I thought, god, he makes a great bad guy and he’s not so bad on the eyes. Then, this past January, I came down with the flu and was given 3 days of bed rest, so what does one do? Watch Netflix. I found Sherlock season 1 and 2 and I watched and I was hooked and I was mesmerized. Now, to go back to my imaginary friend, he’s always been a tall man, dark hair, blue eyes and when I watched this man on this show, something connected, I recognized him. My soul actually recognized him. From that point on, I have been researching and looking for everything I can find on him.
Each group where you are part of the admin team is special and has its own theme. Please, tell us their stories. Who came up with the ideas, when were they created… and why?
Keri: I admin/created several groups, each one a branch from the original, which is Reading With Benedict Cumberbatch. In my research of him, I learned of his passion for reading and wanting to spread it and share it. Reading isn’t just for the privileged, it is for everyone. If you have the ability to be able to get your hands on a book, a magazine, or even read a simple ad. I want to share, teach, encourage reading to everyone, young and old.
It actually started by me being in someone else’s group, and for reasons I won’t get into, I was uninvited from that group and I thought, well, that’s fine, I’ll just start my own group, but it will be a different group. In this group I want everyone to be able to share their ideas, their love of literature, to be able to quote poetry and music and use their imaginations and promote inspiration. So I gave the members in the group carte blanche. Let them post at whim, but that being said, I didn’t want it to be a fan page, I wanted it to be an instrument of educating, sharing, and helping each other. Before I knew it, it took off. We created the Book of the Month. I may make the final decision on what is read, but I ask and choose from what people want to read. And today, I actually had someone request literature works from their country. Why not? It is a global group. Everyone should be heard and everyone should have a choice to read what makes them happy.
I also run Where In the World is Benedict Cumberbatch which is sort of a travel group. We live around the world, most of us travel. This group is for the benefit of those of us who don’t have the opportunity to travel or would like to visit other parts of the globe but are unable to, or want a little information before they go. We get to share photos of where we’ve been, where we want to go, or what’s in our very own back yards. It is actually a very beautiful group.
There is Sincerely Yours, Benedict Cumberbatch, it is a pen pal group. Letter writing has become a lost art. Pen, paper and making new friends. E-mail is so impersonal. Handwriting on paper you chose with pen is powerful. It creates friendships and new bonds. And who doesn’t enjoy going to the mailbox and finding a letter in it instead of a bill? I know I do.
Then someone asked me about a group for writers. That idea had been in the back of my head for a very long time. I have been a short story writer since my early teens. Mostly for my own pleasure, but I do plan on publishing one day. I have a lot of friends who are writers, so why not create a platform wherein writers can exchange, share or pose ideas. Somewhere where they can talk it out, get opinions.
Others I run are Dear Me. Live, love and laugh your Ass Off, that is a health and nutrition group. It’s Not All About Benedict Cumberbatch for those of us who actually would like to talk about non-related BC subjects.
Then I have a page What Would You Cook for Benedict Cumberbatch. I love to cook, I want to share recipes and try new foods. Why not use this platform and expand?
Then there is the Cumberbitches. I was asked by the senior admin if I would help her with this group. It had gone slightly off the tracks and if I would help admin it with her and one other. It is a wonderful group. The people in it are amazing. As long as you stay true to your platform and ideas and not deviate, people will appreciate it. If you give respect and listen to others, then you will get it back tenfold. We are all here for the common purpose. We all love and respect Benedict Cumberbatch. We will not allow anything disrespectful, no copyright infringement, no photoshopping and if we find out something has been pirated or illegally obtained, it is not allowed in our group. We care and we want it to present that way.
About Once upon a writer‘s dream you say: “A place where the written word is a galaxy of information and every mind is a universe of knowledge”. What does literature mean to you? What role does it play in your life?
Keri: Without literature I wouldn’t have this wild imagination that I love and cherish so dearly. To be able to read gives us the opportunity to open our minds, learn new cultures, dream larger dreams. Learn about how other people live, we learn of other places not our own, countries, cultures and for some religions. It has helped with human rights, charities and an overall wealth of living better. If we didn’t read, we wouldn’t be able to expand our horizons. Literature is the ticket to travel anywhere in the world or to visit new worlds. It is everything. Can you imagine, no literature, no internet?
What are some of your favourite books?
Keri: Oh goodness, there are so many of them. How about authors? I love Terry Brooks and his entire Shannara series. Nora Roberts. I probably own every book/novella she has ever written. David Eddings, again he is a fantasy writer. Tolkien (who doesn’t?). Dan Brown – The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Digital Fortress. Anne McCaffery – Dragon Riders of Pern. Nicholas Sparks. Books on Astronomy. George Carlin, Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, Comic Books. The list goes on and on and on. One of the reasons I started the Reading group was to expand outside of my own reading comforts. Catcher in the Rye, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Homer. I have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!
What would you say to those who claim that reading is a waste of time?
Keri: I feel so bad for these people. Ignorance must be bliss. I find those who are less book educated, don’t want to read, or unable to read, are the ones whose minds are closed tight and live very lonely lives. Just think about how much better this world would be if all our minds where open to suggestion to make things better for everyone. There is no reason why someone shouldn’t be allowed to read or just shouldn’t read.
What other artists do you admire or maybe even had a say in the way you see certain aspects of life?
Keri: I love Harrison Ford. My favourite movie is and always will be Star Wars, original release 1977. It changed my world, and to this day, I would say, it saved my life. Han Solo? Come on. Aside from Han Solo and Indiana Jones the two biggest action heroes of all a time and the same man played them both.
I admire women of strength and vision. Gloria Steinam, Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, Melissa Etheridge, Angelina Jolie, Laura Secord, Emily Carr, Pink.
Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, musical composers, writers, visionaries.
Each person has somehow shaped my life and the way I live. Without any of them, we would still be living in the dark ages. For each visionary past, present and future, I thank you for giving your gifts to us so we could all live this beautiful life.
Finally, Benedict Cumberbatch said at one point: “Looking for happiness is a sure way to sadness, I think. You have to take each moment as it comes“. What makes you happy, what makes your life beautiful?
Keri: Gosh, this resonates. I understand this now. Once I did not. To me it means, don’t go looking for your happiness, it will not work out the way you want it to. It will lead you to your sadness. However, if you create your happiness, be yourself and let things happen the way they are supposed to, go about your life and just not judge, no expectations, be happy, live to the fullest, then your life will be bountiful. Goodness will come to you. That is what he is saying (at least, that is how I interpret it). Be true to yourself and goodness will come your way.
What makes me happy? Everything, challenging myself to be better, grow and learn. I have lived in darkness. I have been so very unhappy. But I have grown, lived and I take nothing for granted anymore. My children are my everything. I am a single parent and I have struggled to make ends meet since my youngest was 17 months old. I have learned to take things as they come. Everything happens for a reason. Laughter. I love to laugh. I find humour in everything. I think if I didn’t laugh, I’d be totally and completely lost.
I sing every chance I get. Dance, I’m not a good dance, but it makes me feel good.
I have a great job which I enjoy going to every day. It gives me purpose. I am self-reliant. I shoulder children, job, rent, food, bills, everything.
My friends and my beliefs. I am not religious, but I am very spiritual. I believe in Goddess, Spirit, Guides and Angels. All who help guide me and shape me. Without them, I would not have healed into who I am today.
So, Live, Love, Laugh, Dance, Believe and Respect Yourself. They’re all very important tools to happiness. If you respect yourself, others will respect you. If you respect others, then it will be returned ten fold.
I have a blessedly good life. It is rich and full. I have much to offer. My forever man is on his way to me. I know this. I welcome it.
However, if Benedict should show up on my doorstep, I wouldn’t slam the door in his face.
by Elena Atudosiei