I blog because…

Today’s DP topic: Why do you blog?.  The question seems simple, but is loaded.

First I want to make the distinction between blogging and writing.  It’s easy to talk about why we write, but why, specifically, do we want to use this forum to share our ideas with the world?  What is the difference between writing publicly and privately?  (I’ve already talked about this here, I just think it’s a really fascinating conversation.)

I blog because I have this urge to get all these weird ideas that I have out into the world in a way that hopefully makes sense and is interesting enough that others can appreciate it.  The best is when other people read me and it makes them talk and think about the world differently.  I definitely like to challenge people’s assumptions about things.

Writing in general is the main way I exercise my brain, but when this morphs into connection, conversation, dialogue…I am blown away.  It’s so inspiring.  I love doing this face to face as well, but there is something so unique about conversing via the interwebs with virtual strangers.

I blog because I like to talk about myself and am not ashamed:  I mean come on, admit it, don’t we all?

Also, though, I like snooping.  I really like getting into other people’s heads, hearing about why you write, or, just making that guess myself based on some of the stuff you write about.

Here are 5 random picks of blogs I follow and why I like them.

  • I like Play Outdoors’ various details about how she came to blog, especially how blogging is good for writing about screwing up and laughing about it.
  • I like reading about hobbies that other people are passionate about, even if they are not things that I personally do (check out Stacey’s Knitting!).
  • I like how the act of blogging is an avenue to be admittedly self-involved but at the same time we are still offering this amazing gift to others.
  • I like how bloggers like Wisejourney  share bits and pieces about their own creative processes, including photos and tips about writing.
  • I admire bloggers like Knocked Over By a Feather for being so open and raw in writing of her struggles with depression and Fibromyalgia, while still keeping an awesome sense of humor.

It’s such a strange phenomena, being able to share our personal details with the world like this.  The ways that blogging can connect us (sometimes on a very personal level) and forms little communities with people we might never otherwise meet is just the coolest thing ever.


Small changes are the best (most of the time)

Today, the Daily Prompt question is: You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally? 

Oh man, I am definitely NOT the queen of big, fast changes.  Not. At. All.

At least, I think I’m not.  I am constantly craving change at a faster pace than it happens, but then I look back and realize, OK, so my life was pretty different a couple of years ago.  Still, I want more variety!  I’m constantly trying to find ways to fit change into my regular routine.  At least, I’m always trying to take a new course, or do a new activity.

I am the queen of ideas, sometimes making them happen and sometimes not.  Most of the time, I don’t have the time, money, heart or focus to make (bigger) changes happen fast, so they take a while by default.

Take school for instance.  I get free tuition (to an extent) but I also always work full time.   So I am obligated to take one course at a time, thereby taking forever to get the next certificate, diploma or degree.

One thing I’m bad at cold-turkeying (for better or worse– OK, mostly worse) is relationships.  A break-up should really be a straight up split – no talking, no contact, no nothing.  I get too flaky about this kind of thing, and wish I had more discipline.

I think that regular small changes are so important, though.  To use a somewhat trite example, a new hair cut /color can do wonders!  I’m not the queen of dramatic hair changes, but I like to make small ones regularly, and then once every few years do something a little drastic.

I’ve been waiting for that big leap-of-faith change for a while.  I’ve been craving a complete turnaround, wanting to make a move that’s spontaneous and crazy, surprise and inspire myself and everyone.  jump

Not just talk about it, but actually make the move.

Hopefully my capacity for this gets greater as I grow older.  I want to be braver and jump in with both feet more frequently.

But there is something to be said for taking the slower, more cautious route.  Creating the space for new things to come in naturally (rather than forcing fast  changes for the wrong reasons) can be healthy too.

I think that our Western society is much too ‘goal’ oriented: we want things fast, we want things now.  We forget that making one or several small changes leads to – or, is essentially the big change.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect: practice is perfect.  

The big change might just happen quietly, subtly, more slowly and perhaps more naturally than an ‘all or nothing’ change.  It doesn’t need to be too painful or too scary.  The path to the eventual big change might just teach you the importance of space, discipline, patience, consistency, faith.  Baby steps are OK too!

Don’t underestimate the power of small, consistent changes (if you don’t smoke for just today, it matters), or the importance of spontaneity and risk (ask that girl you like out already! do it now!), if the latter is what your heart wants.

A massive change, a clean slate – well, that can be a terrifying and fabulous thing.  But it’s not always the only – or the best – way through.

Being a naturally cautious person (who yearns to be more exciting), a nice balance of this is summed up in one of my favorite sayings: plan to be spontaneous!

Daily Prompt: Rooms with Views, please

Today’s daily promptA genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?

When I first read this, I couldn’t help but think that, with a few basic essentials, I could pretty much write in any kind of space.  For me, inspiration comes from a sense of place (eg: a sense of culture, a feeling), more than my immediate space (eg: the immediate aesthetics or locational coordinates).  So, this genie would grant me a year of writing rooms throughout the world.  In tow I would have a few clothes, some books, laptop (consistent internet access), tons of music (and speakers/headphones), a camera.  Pens, pencils, notebooks (obviously).  With these things, and somewhere (clean and warm) to eat/bathe/sleep, I could be almost anywhere.

My first stop is a hotel in Paros (Greece), a sparse, white-walled  open air bedroom with a huge, arched window overlooking the Mediterranean.   The room itself would not have to be very large, so long as it had plenty of natural light and the window opened to the warm ocean breezes.  A comfortable bed, a small writing desk, a comfy chair, a clawfoot bathtub.  Every day, I would roam the country roads and swim on the beach.  In the evenings, I’d eat olives and drink wine at the local beach bar (even if it is a little touristy).


My second stop: Paris (it might seem too obvious, but I could not resist).  This would be the quintessential Paris hotel room, a teeny, narrow, old, slightly stuffy room in a pension.  It must have a balcony, and a view of the narrow, odd-angled streets.  It would have a teeny, ugly old couch, the kind where the springs dig into your butt if you sit on it too long – which is OK because it’s really cool (it’s vintage, pea-green velour).  The bed is small, and the bedspread definitely involves brown flowers.

What makes up for the fact that the bathroom is shared is that at the bakery below the hotel, the-most-amazing-croissants-in-the-world are made, and I eat one every day for breakfast. The maid would be cranky at first, but she’d come every day, and she’d warm up as she understood that I tipped her well.  I would be so thankful to come home to a  clean room after a long day of meandering in museums, and photographing and interviewing anyone who looks interesting (because, you know, the genie would also grant me the ability to suddenly speak fluent French).

Photo from the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

My third stop: Old Havana, where the walls are peeling and textured, leaking out layers upon layers of mysterious history.   Oh to roam the streets and soak up the warmth of the music, watch old men playing chess in the park, take photos of castles and fortresses.  Revel in the colors, the building-shapes and textures.  Walk along the ocean, find cats in narrow alleys.

Rum! Cars! Cigars!

Oh, I haven’t described my room yet (I got a little excited).  Well, so long as it had a fan/A/C, a half decent bed and hot water, I really wouldn’t care.  A bar/restaurant downstairs, yes, that would have to happen.

The room is not important, but the hotel would come with a hot man that is ready to teach me Spanish and take me out dancing every night.  He’d introduce me to some local icons, some friends of his, bring me to the secret music and dance hotspots.  So, he’d generally be at my beck and call, keep me company and teach me everything there is to know about the culture without expecting anything in return.  Is that too much to ask? 😉

Photo from the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

So those are my first three stops..where to next?  There would be so much more to this, stories and experiences (that weren’t all pretty) that would spring from each moment, walk, person, store, bar, stop.

Oh, and a bonus of staying in a succession of hotels:  daily housekeeping!  A year off of cleaning sheets, of washing floors and vacuuming.  That would allow time for much more writing.

Well, just imagining this was as close to the dream that I’m going to get to for now, and I have to say that it’s been pretty fun.