Monday, August 11, 2014

Blog-thinking -- More than just a Nana's Photos?




For a variety of reasons, I've been feeling a bit disinclined to post lately. Primarily, we've had house guests whose presence I've wanted to savour, but I'm also feeling that some of the things I want to write about take more commitment than I can muster at the moment. I worry a bit that I'm leaning too much lately into writing as a Nana, as much as I know that I probably balance that out over the year. And I'm also aware of, perhaps a bit sensitive to, the sheer volume of content that I put out here, and what I question as a law of diminishing returns given the statistics I occasionally review.  As it probably should be, many readers are outside enjoying the summer, taking vacations with their family, or hosting guests as we have been. Still, being human, I do sometimes compare the time and energy that gets spent here with the number of "Followers," and sometimes I am petty enough to wish for a few more subscribers. . . .

Often over the years, I've found that when I hit a bit of a desire-to-blog slump, I contradict myself within days by seeing or hearing or reading or thinking about something I want to write about. Similarly, at the moment I have any number of post ideas burbling their way onto paper, in cryptic short notes that I may or may not be able to decipher when the motivation and discipline to develop them finally catches up.


The camera, 'though, is ever handy, although I wish I could wield it more effectively. At any rate, I find I want to share some photos I took last week of our toddler granddaughter. The combination of the early morning light coming through our northeast-facing windows, the terra cotta tiles and blond wood, seemingly purposed directly to enhancing this wee redhead's colouring, even (especially?) the shadows. . . . all insisted I get down on the floor and snap, snap, snap as often and as quickly and as discreetly as I could manage. In the background, Granddad was making up the day's fresh loaf of bread. It was as idyllic a half-hour as I could imagine.

Sadly, when I went to check out the results on the screen, I realized that my eye had adjusted that shadow right out of the picture, but the camera hadn't followed suit. So I took some liberties with the editing program and was pleased to reveal this smile -- it doesn't take a doting Nana to see how delightful this is. . . .

I'll close with this PicMonkey collage and with the recognition, yet again, of something I tell myself regularly and often share with my students: Trust to Process. The simple process of writing my reluctance onto a screen, of trying to analyse and explain it, briefly, the gradual discernment of my own wish to share a few photos, the process of sorting through and choosing from my Pictures file, of briefly describing those as I organized them into place -- and I find that I have a post after all. Yes, it's another Nana-dominated post, but through my process, I reminded myself (see above) that I balance these out over the longer term.

































I do sometimes wonder where I'm going with this blog overall, what direction I should be taking or whether a direction is necessary. My son, who works in social media-marketing affiliation suggests that there are ways to maximize the work done by the content I generate -- although he quickly acknowledges that my goals might be quite well met by my current approach. And I'm quite aware of the looming rentrée which will use up so much of my time as to render all this consideration moot.

Meanwhile, let's all rejoice in toddler smiles, wherever and whenever we find them. Comments? You know what to do, right? And I hope you know how much you'll be appreciated. . . .

39 comments:

  1. We all have moments when we're too busy or tired or lazy or just not into it (for a dozen different reasons). The way I manage those is just by not posting. Truthfully though, I blog because I must write. That anyone reads is a wonderful, wonderful thing - but I write for myself. The activity is meditative. It reminds me that I have a voice - and I am so fucking grateful to have a voice. When and if the compulsion leaves me (and I hope it never does, but who knows?) then I'll move onto something else. But I do try not to worry about the glitches. I struggle in so many ways to take the long view. With writing, my most selfish pursuit, the long view doesn't seem so hard.

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    1. It is quite wonderful to know I have a voice, even if I sometimes can be quite self-critical of it. It's the oddest of compulsions in some ways, the most rewarding of others. Thanks for reading and for writing, a kindred spirit.

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  2. Nana posts are delightful. Your little redhead has such a sweet smile. Oh, blogging. Sometimes I wonder why I carry on. What does it all mean? Like K. Line above, I must write and it's delightful that a few people, most of whom I've never met, read my words. It's a little bit of a personal journal (although not too) and a way to connect with other like-minded writers.
    Your writing is always thought-provoking. Enjoy the Nana moments, for as you've said, other time commitments loom.

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    1. Another kindred spirit, in a different way. You're all such gifts, the readers here, and the community, and I so appreciate the kind words. And the understanding of this odd compulsion we share. . . ;-)

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  3. I don't blog, but I love your's -- travel, nana, food, books, life or whatever. She's beautiful and it's amazing how she has grown. My youngest moved to his first apartment today, and I have mixed feelings. I too am both looking forward to and dreading returning to the university in a couple of weeks.
    Lynn

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    1. Ah, when the last one moves out.... I was ready for that, after raising four, nine years from top to bottom, but it's still moments. Probably just as well you're distracted by term start-up. . .

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  4. Oh I could write a case or two on this, and I would still be on my feet. Oh I would still be on my feet:).

    Clearly I should just visit so we could talk. Your granddaughter is super cute, and there's nothing wrong at all with relying her to pull you through a drought. We don't mind one bit:).

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    1. Oh Joni . . ;-)
      Why don't you? And we'd talk and talk and talk, probably sort the world out while we're at it...

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  5. I am in a blog-slump just now too. I value the discipline to "just write" every day and I feel that daily activities can be of interest to others but my non-travel days have a sameness about them. However, every once in a while, there is an insight and someone replies that she can relate to my post and I feel the connection. Your little girls are so bright and expressive-looking that they make me smile. Having visited your island long ago and remembering happy times with good friends, I really enjoy your "beach chair pictures."

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    1. Those feelings of connection are surprising and lovely, aren't they? Thanks for the kind words.

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  6. Do you really *need* a direction for your blog? I guess if you wanted to monetize it you might, but I'm not sure that's what you are looking for. When I think of my favourite blogs (yours is definitely one of them!), what they have in common is a sense of a community built or being built around them. It happens very organically, I think, and it's lovely.

    Anyway, despite your disinclination, you have cobbled together a very nice post indeed! You always do!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement from a longtime reader. Are you all moved in? And is oldest son getting ready for uni start-up? Youngest is still in high school?

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    2. Hi Mater - we are moved in, but not settled in yet. Still trying to unpack and put everything in its place.

      No. 1 Son is taking a break from uni, working for now, No. 2 Son is getting ready for first year at Ottawa U. We are almost empty nesters!!

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  7. Well, I'm in a stage of very random blogging. I have ideas but don't have the energy or the interest or the focus to devote the time required to flesh them out. At least you have these wonderful photos, and they are lovely to share.

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    1. What you posted today belies this comment, my dear. Xoxo

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  8. The light, that smile...it captures magical in the quotidien. I'm reminded of a Vermeer, if Vermeer had painted toddlers. ;-) I think with any creative endeavor, it's natural and normal to question direction, motivation and response (or occasional lack of it). If it's any consolation, I've found my status also drop during the summer. But I've also often been surprised at what generates a lot of views and what doesn't, and how chasing page views often doesn't work and sometimes gets in the way of the flow of creativity. Sometimes I take the "just show up and work" approach when inspiration lags. I agree with Patricia, maybe it's fine to just let the blog take whatever direction feels natural, unless you have a specific goal in mind.

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    1. You're too kind, but I did think the light as magical and the smile pretty great as well.
      It's true that it's very had to predict what will catch readers' attention, and since I'm not interested in monetizing (although never say never) I've been guided by my whim...and that whim has been skewing unite Nana lately. Sometimes feels a bit like cheating, but honestly, it's very central to who I am at the moment

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  9. I think it is natural to have a few slumps now and again...the summer holidays are responsible for my sporadic writing and reading of blogs. I do read yours regularly though...enjoy your grandchildren and Nana time. We'll still be here after they have gone home.

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    1. Thanks, Leslie. My commenting has certainly fallen off in the summer, although I still enjoy reading.

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  10. The Nana Moments, enjoyed and shared and then enjoyed again are worth your effort to document - really. Summer brings a natural slump, I think. There's not always time too write or to read. I just know that I'm always happy, when I have a moment these days, to read/see something beautiful. Like this post

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    1. They're magical moments, aren't they? I love to share them,hope I don't overdo it. Thanks so much for the kind words.

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  11. Please do not stop blogging in a random way. The thought that you might have to maximise your output in a planned way makes my jaw clench (no good will come of that) and is complete anathema to the blogging concept. That's why I switched blogging allegiance some months ago - bored with dull but perfectly executed images with nothing to say. Onwards!

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    1. I've been sad to see the switch overall in the blogging environment over the past 10 or 12 years. I'll try not to make you clench your jaw...;-)

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  12. I love reading your blog! And there are only a few I really enjoy and look out for when I go online, but I do agree about the summer slump. We all enjoy a bit of positive feedback, but ultimately it's just you and the computer screen and what you want to say and how you want to say it. A snapshot of a life, a moment in time, a beautiful place or a glorious smile. She is adorable btw!

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    1. I so appreciate your kind and encouraging words, Marianne. Thank you!

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  13. I am not a bloger but a blog reader and yours is one of my favorites. Your writing is wonderful and I love the randomness of the posts. You give us glimpses of your life, your family, your style and your island. I love it all! Your granddaughter is beautiful and this was a delightful post - cobbled together or not :)

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    1. Thanks so much. These kind words all mean a great deal. Happy to hear that random is working for many readers.

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  14. As a somewhat younger academic, and mother of a young child, I treasure all aspects of your blog; as one view of what seems--at least from here--to be a complicated, full, and reflective life. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. Ours is a field which often seems to push all other aspects of our lives to the margins, so I've really wanted to foreground The Rest Of Life. I'm so pleased to know you find it worth reading.

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  15. Sometimes I have an idea or an outfit, it could be anything, which I want to share with other people, and a blog is like a giant show and tell. I love sharing my enthusiasm for something and when I feel inclined to stop blogging, I remind myself of this. I don't show my work in galleries at the moment but I know I could share them with people who drop by my blog and that gives me certain comfort.

    There are ways to get Followers, you join me/I'll join you, but where's the friendliness in that? You really do have such a strong sense of community here. I hope you keep sharing whatever you feel like. We clearly enjoy your thoughts and photos when we're not out in the sun chasing summer butterflies... Everyone will come back in the fall.

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    1. Ah, big hugs for this. Another kindred spirit. I don't do the academic publishing I "should" (something like your shows, right?) and I miss that feedback loop sometimes. But the blog community can be so much more rewarding in such very different ways. And yes, the organic increase appeals to me way more than the more mechanical ways to get followers although, to be honest, I wouldn't mind a few more readers. This comments threD, though, makes ever so clear that the ones I have are Quality, Pure Gems!

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  16. Ahh, you seem like the loveliest person and I am sure that the dear toddler above adores you. I've been in a year-long blogging slump, for a variety of reasons, and hope (hope!) that I'm pulling out of it. Time will tell, I guess!

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    1. Too kind, I'm blushing...
      I've noticed, happily, that you're blogging more. Love your eye, your erudition, and above all, those puns!

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  17. The meditative daily-ness of your posts are part of what I enjoy the most.

    The pictures made me think of Vermeer too, partly the beautiful skin/hair colors no doubt.

    And as a Nana myself, I don't understand the concept of "too much Nana"? How can that even be?

    Ceci

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    1. Ceri, thank you for the kind words, but even more, for making me laugh! You're absolutely right! How could there be too much nana?

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  18. I'm mom to 2 teens/1 early 20-something, a non-blogger and I adore your writing. My husband and I are longtime Francophiles who are lucky to get there once or twice a year, so I l especially love your travel posts. But I enjoy all your entries and thought you should know. Thanks, Joan from Chicago

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    1. It means a great deal that you would take the time to say you like my writing, Joan. thanks so much!

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  19. I'm with Ceci. I'm not a granny yet but the sweetness of your Nana posts shines through and yes, too much Nana is not a possibility.

    More than that, I love the randomness of your posts on whatever your intelligent eye lights upon. I too have cast aside the Here I Am Looking Lovely blogs, in boredom. (Although that is not say that I wouldn't love a peek at your new shoes/bags/coat every now and then) I turn to your blog in anticipation of a newsy letter from an eloquent friend. And if you don't feel you have anything to say or would rather be out there doing it rather than writing it, then that is fine by me

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    1. Thanks so much, Ceri. I can't seem to help being random, so it's really good to now that intelligent and thoughtful readers such as yourselves occasionally find me eloquent. . .

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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