I have to give it to the folks at WordPress: they do know how to keep us engaged, with writing and photo challenges, daily prompts, grammar pointers and blog dissections. Oh, and Freshly Pressed, the holy grain of the blogging platform. I won’t deny it. When the constant “ping” of e-mails started coming in on a Friday afternoon, alerting me to some unusual activity going on, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
It’s mighty nice to see viewership spike up by the minute and those “likes” and comments coming in; even a touch overwhelming but, at the risk of sounding trite or a bit cliché, the biggest pleasure is, not only to be read, but to discover who these readers are.
Sofagirl and I religiously check out the sites of everyone who comes to visit us and we got hooked on many blogs we ended up linking to ours. Furthermore, Freshly Pressed presented me with the opportunity of compiling some highly personal and unreliable statistics:
- It’s fairly common knowledge that stating your intentions and talking about your goals to anyone who will listen will increase your probabilities of attaining them. Which might explain the mushrooming of blogs by people who are documenting their weight loss journey. Anyone looking to shed weight, before committing to Weight Watchers, might get some inspiration from this community that is willing to share their actual weight, pictures, suggestions, recipes and fitness routines.
- There are more people I ever thought possible into knitting and sewing. I am slightly envious as, despite the good intention of my domestic ed teacher (there was such a subject at my high school), I never went beyond learning to sew a button. And not very well at that.
- Not that I spend a lot of time thinking of other people’s hobbies but I was intrigued to find out there is a worldwide association of “trikers” – people who drive trikes. If you don’t know what a trike is here is a picture
- There are professional travellers aplenty and people who just pick up and start a new life: the couple who left the rat race and moved to Norfolk into a 17th century home, those who moved to Sardinia, the lawyer who left it all behind to go on a world tour, those who buy second homes in unlikely places. This tells me that courage is not such an under estimated trait in most of us.
And then there were those who kept me hooked, whose blogs led to the “I’ll read one more post before switching off the light”, well into the night. What they all have in common is that they are all penned by women, a link I didn’t spot until I went to compile them for this post. I guess they drew me into their worlds more forcefully than some of the great boys who stopped to visit or, maybe, it was just the state of mind I was in.
My Two Moms deals with a reality extremely far away from mine: a new mother parenting her child with her wife. Her post on tackling the DMV on the simple matter of registering her new name (something that newlyweds do as a matter of course) zeroes in on the challenges that gay couples still face, even in as liberal a place as Los Angeles. Plus, it’s pretty funny.
Expat blogs abound. Anyone moving to a new country needs all the help they can get. Don’t I know it. But Homesick and Heat Struck caught my attention because it’s hard to imagine a Brit having to move to an unnamed Middle Eastern country and adjust rapidly. This blogger describes the seasons as “hot and hotter” and, as time goes by, how easy it is to start looking at your native land with rose-tinted glasses, a feeling shared by many expats, I am sure.
And then there are the dark ones, those written by people who are writing to make sense of what is happening to them, to maybe help others through similar experiences, while waiting to come out of the tunnel somehow intact. Deliberate Donkey and The Temenos Journal fall into this category. The first deals with domestic violence: how the writer breaks free of it, relocates herself and her children far away and the legal and emotional battles that ensue. The Temenos Journal is written in the aftermath of a woman losing her husband to pancreatic cancer – some of the entries are from the journal she kept during his illness and subsequent death, while some are of her life now. Both are touching in different ways.
And to leave you with something more upbeat and visual, I really enjoyed (I heart art), which is all about contemporary art in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Most of all, to all of you who found us through some of our writing, a huge thank you. I am constantly awed by the support that total strangers show us on a daily basis. Because if the act of writing starts in isolation (and sometimes frustration), it does come alive when eyeballs everywhere commit to that published sequence of words.