Saturday, January 20, 2018

Reflections on 700 Posts in 7 Years

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Yesterday's blog post was Lola & Zoe's 700th(!), and Feb. 1st will mark the blog's 7 year anniversary. Putting this in perspective: I've been blogging for almost the entirety of Brendan and I's relationship and for nearly one quarter (22%) of my life. Over the years, I've had many friends ask me for advice on starting a blog, but when I reflect about why I blog, it isn't for the reason most people choose to. I don't want to sell anything, the blog isn't part of my "brand," I'm not trying to make money or even get free stuff (though on occasion, I have earned some referral credits), most of all, I'm certainly not going to impress you with beautiful photographs of food, fashion, or home decor.

In other words, I'm probably the last person you want to ask about starting a blog!

While this blog has recipes and maybe an idea that's useful now and then, there's no real focus to it. Now you know why I always refer to you as "faithful blog readers" (because, well, you keep coming back despite the chaos). This blog is bits and pieces of our lives tucked into a random corner of the internet. I started it mostly for our families, but I've continued it because I enjoy the act of writing (and of looking back). It's a convenient place to come when I can't remember what recipe I made for Valentine's Day dinner 3 years ago. It's like being able to do a Google search for your own memories (which is weird and sort of wonderful). Mostly, it's a scrapbook of our lives together. I can go back and see my apartment in Lake Charles, photos from when we lived with my parents for six weeks, I can remember how we celebrated all the jobs we've ever gotten, what dress I wore when we got engaged, the details of planning our wedding, what our old apartment looked like, how we've celebrated every anniversary, what the house looked like before we could afford to furnish it, what we did that day in Namibia (or wherever), what museum it was that I really liked in Amsterdam (or wherever). You get the idea.

Perhaps the best part of blogging has been the chance to connect with other people, but specifically, with people that are actually interested in whatever it is I'm writing about. Unlike posting a long story or reaction to a world event on social media, I can link to a blog post, and I know if someone reads it, it was because he or she wanted to. And many people have reached out to me as a result of a post, and I've felt a greater sense of genuine connectivity because of it. Blogging has taught me how much of humanity is a universal and shared experience. Life is wonderful, but it's hard too. 

So would I recommend blogging? Absolutely. But mostly what I would recommend is blogging leisurely and writing what you feel like just because you can. I would recommend blogging without purpose. It's a nice way to calm your mind, to procrastinate, or to enjoy a glass of wine (I miss wine).

I don't know that this blog won't be wiped from the internet one day, so I can't say it'll be permanent, but I do hope to be writing it for a long time.

And I'm thankful that it's given my life a little more context. I can pull up a photo and really remember almost everything about a day or a night.

This photo was taken in February 2011 at a McNeese M.F.A. party (we called that house "the pleasure dome" though neither of us know where that name came from) for visiting writing Gary Jackson. Brendan and I had been dating for about 3.5 months at the time. Thanks to the blog, I could tell you absurd details such as what lip gloss I was wearing and where I bought that shirt (Target). Thanks to my memory, I could tell you how happy I was because of the people in that program and because I was so so in love.

There's a poem that our teacher from McNeese, Amy Fleury, wrote. It's called "The Wound You Need," and it's published in her collection Beautiful TroubleI've read it with many classes of students, and it always makes me feel deeply. My favorite line is the last:

                   "That was long ago, my friend,
but you can still get there from here."

I love this line, and I talk about the concepts of time and place so often that Brendan merely tolerates my musings on those topics.

So, maybe that's what these 7 years of blogging have really been about. No matter how wonderful, difficult, insignificant, or weird a day was, this blog is like a map I made myself to find it again.

What is the purpose of all this? I still don't know, but I'm glad you're here asking with me.

Here's to you, faithful blog readers. Thanks for letting me share.


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