Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Welcome Merril Smith #wouldyourather

182 Comments

Today I’m happy to welcome friend, poet, author and blogger Merril Smith. For several years, Merril and I have followed many of the same blogs. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her. Since she’s the first poet to play along, I was excited to read her answers. Thanks for playing, Merril!

Thank you very much, Jill, for inviting me to play “Would you rather?” I always read these posts with great enthusiasm, and I’m pleased to be on this side of things today. I see the world in many shades rather than simply black and white, and as you’ll see from the way I’ve answered these five questions, I’m not good at answering survey questions because I want to add disclaimers or ask, “but what if?” to every response.

I guess I’m full of contradictions though because I’m also good at taking and writing tests.

Would you rather be able to freeze time or travel in time?

I would never want to live in one moment. Wouldn’t that be boring? I would love to travel in time, but I would only want to be an observer. I wouldn’t want to risk changing any timelines, and I enjoy my comforts: running water, indoor plumbing, coffee, and chocolate. I also wouldn’t want to risk being hanged as a witch because of the things I know. However, I would love to be able to go back to see some of the couples I wrote about in my dissertation/first book, Breaking the Bonds. History is written based on the facts we have—but there is generally little documentation for ordinary people of the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century. Of course, I’d also like to “go behind the scenes” with famous people—Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Ben Franklin, and others.

Would you rather always have a healthy heart or always have a healthy brain?

This is a tough one. I don’t want a mental OR physical decline. But it was sad to see my mom not really with it, and I don’t want to be like that. I’d have to say I’d want a healthy brain, and hope that I’d also have a healthy body till my heart stops.

Would you rather speak all languages or be able to speak to all animals?

Hmm. . .if I spoke all languages, wouldn’t that include animal languages, as well as those of alien space creatures? If not, I would still choose to speak all languages. I’m only fluent in English, which is just sad, and makes me feel like the Ugly American. I do my best to communicate with animals, even if I don’t speak their language.

Would you rather live in a museum or a zoo?

So . . . anyone who knows me, knows that I love museums. I love animals, too, but I don’t like to see them in cages (though I know that’s not the standard now). I’d pick a museum with gardens, and I’d probably pick an art museum with a large and varied collection. And if I also have that language skill above, it could be anywhere in the world! I’d certainly have lots of material for ekphrastic poems and stories.

While answering this question, I was reminded of a StoryCorps story of a man who grew up living in a library because his father was the custodian. He could go and read any book after hours. I love this story, and I think living in a museum would be a similar situation.

StoryCorps story:

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/22/696578424/encore-how-living-in-a-library-gave-one-man-the-thirst-of-learning

Or there’s this animated video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNeFhMnP7dA

Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or fly?

Breathing underwater would be a very useful skill, but I would love to see what it’s like to fly.  I love watching birds fly, and it looks so easy for them, but it seems incredible, too. Of course, since I have no sense of direction–and I get motion sickness–flying could be a problem.

 

Merril’s Bio:

Merril grew up in the Philadelphia, PA, suburbs and now lives in New Jersey, near Philadelphia. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, Doug, and they have two grown daughters. She taught pre-school for a few years, then went back to school to get a Ph.D. in American history. She’s written and edited many books on history, sexuality, and gender, and she is also a freelance test writer for TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication). She began a blog several years ago, vaguely intending it to be a history blog of some sort, but the poetry muse took hold of her, and the blog has become a mostly poetry blog. Some of her poems and short fiction has been published in Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Wellington Street Review, Twist in Time, Vita Brevis, and Ghost City Review. She is working on a poetry collection.

Connect with Merril D. Smith:

Blog: Yesterday and Today https://merrildsmith.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @merril_mds

Instagram: mdsmithnj

Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write contemporary stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers and artists. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. I write stories filled with love, faith and happy endings for Harlequin Love Inspired. What can I say...I love happy endings. My sixth book Searching for Home will be in stores December 28, 2021, details can be found at JillWeatherholt.com. I've sold seven sweet romance stories to Woman's World Magazine. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010, 2012 and 2016 winner of the National Novel Writing Month Contest. I love to connect with readers. Visit me at jillweatherholt.com and sign-up for my newsletter. Follow me on Amazon.com and Bookbub.com.

182 thoughts on “Welcome Merril Smith #wouldyourather

  1. Lovely to meet you, Merril. 🙂 I very much enjoyed reading your answers and the story of Ronald Clark. What a childhood, to grow up in a library! Thanks for the introduction, Jill.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Merril is one of my earliest and most devoted followers, almost from the very beginning. She is multi-talented in many genres, has encyclopedic knowledge and a wellspring of poetic musings. This I found both amusing and insightful: “I also wouldn’t want to risk being hanged as a witch because of the things I know.”

    A prolific author, Merril was an early reader of my memoir manuscript and devoted to her own craft. I admire her for many reasons, including the family challenges she’s faced recently. Thank you, Jill, for featuring her this week! I look forward to her poetry collection soon. 🙂

    I love seeing StoryCorps stories on PBS and will definitely click on this. now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings and commented:
    Jill Weatherholt invited me to play “Would you rather?” Stop by to see my answers!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so good to see Merril on here. It is a brave woman who would like to be behind the scenes with Henry VIII 🙂 My mother is more or less contemporary with Merril’s so the brain/heart question made me flinch a bit. My mum is now very frail with a healthy brain, so I’d agree with Merril.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Lovely to meet you, Merril, and great answers to some tough questions. Waving to Jill. Have a wonderful weekend! 🥰

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jill, you know I love these would you rathers. I really enjoyed Merril’s answers. She and I are also connected on a couple of platforms, but this gave me a chance to get to know her better. I also really enjoyed the StoryCorps story. I didn’t know there was an animated version so I’m thrilled to find that out. Thank you for a great start to my morning!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Welcome, Merril! I enjoyed your lovely poetry at your blog. So nice to learn more about you here. I also would love to see ordinary people in history and how they lived.
    Hope you both have a great weekend!
    Thank you for hosting, Jill! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great to meet you Merrill! The head-body question is always a toughie. My husband says if your head goes, you don’t know what’s going on. If your body goes, you do. Anyone who has seen dementia firsthand would be hard pressed to choose.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Nice to meet you, Merril! I’d choose a museum also – unless a library was on the table. I’d love to live in a library.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jill, I always meet such interesting people on your site – and isn’t it something to have a blog-relationship because of following the same blogs and comments? Only in the blogosphere!!!!
    Merril, I relate to your answers. I lifted a quote from your answers if you don’t mind…so true
    “History is written on the facts we have.” Helps to have perspective on the eras etc and I guess being an historian that grand thought is ever present in your way of thinking. The world needs that bit of wisdom, too!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Laura. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. When I started grad school–long ago now–it was right after the new wave of social historians who were looking at history “from the bottom up,” the stories of ordinary people. So, I suppose I’m very conscious of who is telling the story and what sources they’re using. There are always biases. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Laura. We learn so much about each other by exchanging comments. I think I might know more about some of the fellow bloggers than my own family! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jill, it was a pleasure to read your “Would You Rather” interview, thought-provoking questions. And it was equally as fun to read Merril’s answers. I have not “met” Merril in the blogosphere yet, and am heading there now. Thanks to you both.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Another fun “Would you Rather,” Jill, with some new questions.
    Hi Merrill. I’m with you on the healthy brain until the heart gives out. That’s a no-brainer! Lol. And yes, many Americans are monolingual, me included. It is embarrassing, isn’t it? Time to learn a new one – while the brain’s still working. Have a lovely Friday and weekend. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I really enjoyed reading the thoughtful, nuanced answers. I, too, am monolingual even though my mother didn’t speak English until she was five. French was her first language.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I think I agreed with every one of your answers, Merril. And you started with the perfect line–“I want to add disclaimers or ask, “but what if?” to every response”. Me too! Most of life can’t be answered in one sentence, can it?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you for the introduction to Merril D. Smith, Jill!

    I loved that story about the man who grew up in a library. What an education!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Fun! 🙂 Yay Merril for being such a good sport besides! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. What a wonderful interview! (Of sorts…) Interesting questions, that is for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I enjoyed your answers Merril. I also enjoyed the StoryCorps presentation. I think living in the library would be the greatest. Thanks, Jill for having Merril here today.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Fun to read your answers to the questions, Merril. I like your attitude toward talking with animals. I try to communicate with them, too. Sometimes I think they’re easier to talk with than people.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Hi Merril. Nice to meet you. There are two things that fascinate me, psychology and history. I love that you have a degree in history. Do you have a favorite time in history? You mentioned going back to see Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn. I think I’d like to go back to meet Mary Queen of Scots, but like you, mostly sit back to observe.

    I like your answer about being able to speak all languages and having it include animals.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks to Jill for introducing Merril. You both have a nice weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s my pleasure, Lori! I love to connect fellow bloggers. Thanks for popping over. I hope you have a peaceful weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Lori. Thank you for reading. It’s funny, but I don’t think I have a favorite time. I’ve always been fascinated by Tudor England, but my dissertation covered eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Pennsylvania. I’m not an expert, but I’m also interested in the 1930s, which we seem to be reliving in some ways. 😔.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Great to learn about Merril. I would rather be able to fly, too. I often dream of flying and wonder what that means about me. haha! Wonderful interview. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Nice to see you being featured here, Merril, as I’d only seen you in the comment section before, here and on Marian’s blog (and probably others too). Like you, I had a lot of “extra thinking and contemplating” going on when answering the questions. Maybe my difficulty with choices and decisions might have to do with that. I enjoyed reading your answers! Flying would be an amazing talent to have, but I hear you about lack of direction and motion sickness!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m happy you learned more about Merril, Liesbet. Yes, she gets around on WordPress. LOL! I have no sense of direction either. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you and Mark have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for reading, Liesbet. Maybe it’s a creativity thing about not being able to answer without qualification because we can see so many ways to go. 😀 It’s funny, we’ve been doing a Friday night dinner Zoom with our daughters, and I was telling them some of the questions–they also had to qualify their answers.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Interesting questions and answers Jill and Merril. I’d probably have to qualify some of them too – some of them are very hard choices!!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. My former residence was right around the corner from that library! It’s a beautiful building, and was recently renovated to increase the space for children and teens. It’s been an anchor in the neighborhood for a long time. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Hi, Merril. Great getting to know you better on #WouldYouRathr with Jill today!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Hi, Merril – You had me at ‘chocolate’! It is a pleasure to meet you here. I greatly enjoyed your answers. They each made much sense to me!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Excellent Q&A, Merril.

    We grew up in Monmouth County NJ & lived in Cherry Hill & Haddonfield for 8 years. One of our favorite fueling stops in Philly was Dickens Inn in Headhouse Square. We only went to the Philly Zoo once. That was enough ~> too many tightly caged animals with too little room to roam. I agree with you there!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Heavens, I thought I’d got here early but I’m still a runner up. 🙂 🙂 And all I was going to say is ‘nice to meet you Merril’. It’s maybe a good thing we don’t get to make the choices in real life.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Merril, so lovely to see you here! And, Jill, thank you for hosting Merril 🙂
    Merril, I had to laugh when you wrote that flying like bird might not be a good choice because you get motion sickness and have no sense of direction. I’m the same way, but I never thought about it in this context. Now I imagine myself as a rather disoriented hawk with a queasy stomach 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  30. I enjoyed meeting Merril and getting to know a little about her from your always enjoyable “Would You Rather” feature!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I’m glad to get to know you, Merril. I agree with all your answers, especially I would rather to have a healthy brain until my heart stopped. What a great line of the StoryCorp story: “Library gave me a thirst of learning.” I wish every child has such a thirst and desire for learning. Thank you, Jill, for hosting Merril!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Hi Merril. It’s nice to meet you on Jill’s blog. So sweet that you’re married to your high school sweetheart. I haven’t had a flying dream for a long time. Too bad.

    Jill, your wouldyourather game has been lots of fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Nice to meet you, Merrill, and I enjoyed reading your answers. Some of those questions were tough. Thanks for the introduction, Jill! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Nice to meet you, Merril. I enjoyed reading your answers to these tough questions. To be able to fly like a bird would be incredible. I like similar home comforts and good old reliable internet service please. Thank you, Jill, for introducing Merril to us. Have a wonderful Sunday and upcoming week!

    Like

  35. Interesting answers to quite challenging questions, Merril. I would love to be able to fly and also chat to my backyard birds and animals. I wouldn’t mind having a couple of additional languages up my sleeve for when we are able to travel again. How fabulous to spend one’s childhood with access to a whole library! What an education. Great to meet you Merril and well done to you Jill for such great questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Nice to meet you, Merril. I am so with you on not liking animals in cages. I’ve never visited a zoo in my life and I don’t expect I ever will. To mw, the only use for a zoo is to save endangered species from extinction.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Hi Jill and nice to meet you, Merril, You make a great point on seeing the world in many shades versus simply black and white. A very poignant answer on healthy heart or healthy brain. You made me smile on getting motion sickness when flying. I can relate to this first hand. Great answers and interesting perspectives!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Hi Jill and Merril – it has been great reading your responses to Jill’s tough questions, Merril. I’m like you in that I always look forward to reading how everyone chooses between two tough options. You also picked some questions I didn’t and that’s always fun to see how someone handles the ones I thought were too hard to answer. Healthy heart or brain – that’s tough, but I think I would also pick the healthy brain. And I’ve become obsessed with birds this spring because we put a bird feeder right outside our kitchen. There’s a lot of action out there and watching the birds come in for a landing and take off seems so effortless. Hope you both had great weekends!

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Another fabulous interview, Jill. These questions certainly result in some amusing and interesting answers. I also get airsick so flying would probably not be an option for me either.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Hi Merril! Thanks Jill for adding Merril to your Interview “fold.” As expected, her answers give me pause as I think about her words. I hadn’t heard the question before about “brain or heart.” After our experiences with our moms, I think we’d all wish for a healthy brain until our last days.
    I feel the same way about only knowing one language. Embarrassing. When we visit other countries, I’m always so impressed that children are taught several languages in school. It’s the way it should be.
    May we all suddenly learn to fly with the birds. I keep trying as I watch the birds in my front yard, but they just peer at me sadly, stuck with two feet on the Earth.
    Oh, and Merril, never knew you taught pre-school for a time. What a difficult profession (I have several friends who are/were pre-school teachers). They work SO hard with the little ones and get paid little in money and appreciation for the important work they do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Pam! Thank you for reading and leaving such a wonderful comment. Yes, I know you understand about our mothers.
      You can see I didn’t stick with teaching preschool–or teaching at all for that matter. I’m much better writing at home than I am before “an audience.” 😏 One of my good friends was a preschool/kindergarten teacher and supervisor. So knowledgeable and dedicated!

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s been my pleasure, Pam. I’m happy you enjoyed learning more about Merril. Yes, sadly we share that common experience with our mothers. Some days, I think my heart will last longer than my brain, but hopefully it’s from lack of sleep. 🙂 Thanks for popping over. Enjoy the weekend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  41. It is very nice to meet you, Merril (I love your name!) and I enjoyed all your answers to Jill’s difficult questions. I was so interested in the StoryCorps recording; I’d have given anything to have lived in a library when I was young!
    Thank you for the introduction to Merril, Jill – I hope you and Derek are well xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Museum is the best answer, a zoo is just a fancy prison but a museum, especially those rooms with all the exhibits not often wheeled out, that would be the best inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Merril, as I’ve said before, you and I have so much in common it’s almost scary. This just proves my case. Jill, thanks for hosting Merril!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. More excellent questions! I’m going backwards through these question posts, though, so I guess that answers the question about time travel (time travel for sure, I have questions).

    Merril’s answer about having a healthy brain was spot on for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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