Friday, March 13, 2009
One Year, or The Longest Post Ever
This is perhaps my favorite picture of all I've taken since I first began this whole blogging gig. The Mathews tourism people like it too, because they are using it in some of their promotional material, free of charge. It's a weird feeling when you pick up a brochure (in this case FYI Mathews - the Fall and Winter 2008 edition) and see your picture in it. But that's just one side benefit of starting this blog.
One year has passed since I started this blog, and one year is how long it will take you to read this post of mine. I figure since I'm celebrating Life in Mathews' birthday, I'm entitled to go on and on even more so than usual.
For the abbreviated version, here are the three main points: Sometimes the darkest times of life open doors to unexpectedly wonderful and rewarding experiences. Laughter is really, really an essential ingredient in this recipe called Life. And ants have no business having a life inside my house. (I don't really talk about this below, but still.)
For the sleep-inducing version which stretches from here to Annie in Australia, keep reading.
A little over a year ago, I didn't know what a blog was and had to look the word up on Wikipedia. Then, I did a search on "the best chocolate cake recipe ever" for my daughter's birthday and stumbled upon the Pioneer Woman's blog. I was instantly hooked and spent hours in front of the computer reading about her life. So really it's her fault that I am addicted to blogging.
Eventually I found Bossy's blog and discovered a world that was guaranteed to make me laugh, no two ways about it. I started making comments on both of these sites and came to know another blogger/commenter, tj, one of the dearest, kindest people I've never met. She convinced me to start a blog, and with the help (or was it coercion?) of my friend Kathy, a blog was born.
About the same time, my entire life changed drastically and unexpectedly. The world that I knew, one that I thought was reasonably stable and secure, was turned upside down, chewed up, spit out and left for dead. Although I've endured many difficult periods in my life, this one was the worst. Indeed another whole blog could be filled with that true story, but I do not allow that part of my life any room here on this one.
This blog was created as a diversion from the horrendous life events I was going through. I decided I could either let what was happening do me in--and it very well could have--or I would channel all my emotions elsewhere. Thankfully, all of my energy was tossed in this bucket.
I'd never used a digital camera before, never taken any pictures other than snapshots of my kids. All of a sudden I discovered the ability to look at things most people would find ordinary, boring even, and frame it in a way that made it different.
And that pretty much sums up the undercurrent of this blog: ordinary life stories put under a microscope and examined a bit further or looked at a little differently, as in through a slightly-off-balance woman's eyes. Well, some days that's the undercurrent. Other days, some might argue that it's too many days, it's just a current of hot air.
My original goal was to share some of Mathews and our life here with _______ --fill in the blank. (That blank would likely be my children; my family; maybe a few friends, that's about it). Little did I know there'd be people from other states--never mind other CONTINENTS--reading about our little community and our rather lackluster lives.
Over this year or so, I have met some pretty incredible bloggers--in person. Bossy made a cross-country road trip last spring and stopped in Richmond. I drove 150 miles round trip to meet her and am still unable to believe I spent several hours talking to this incredibly ingenious writer. Bossy makes me laugh like there is no tomorrow, and she's a beautiful person inside and out.
During my summer vacation last August, I was honored to meet Meg who got to see first hand just how technically inept I am. In spite of the fact that she erroneously thinks she's Harry Connick Jr.'s girlfriend (because he's all mine), we had a lot in common both coming from small towns. When we figured out we were going on vacation the same place, the same week, we met. She let this internet-deprived person use her mouseless laptop, and I was so thrown off by the lack of mouse I couldn't operate it. My 9 year old daughter had to help me....but my point is she was as delightful as I imagined.
Foolery. Heavens. Her comments on Bossy cracked me up, and we went from complete strangers to her calling to wish me a Merry Christmas. (My own family doesn't even do that, btw.) She sent me the most delectable almonds I've ever tasted, and I'm hoping she brings a boatload of those to Blog Fest. She's another comic genius, brilliant like Bossy.
Big Hair Envy. She lives a hop, skip and a jump from here and is as wonderful in person as she comes across on her blog. I've enjoyed getting to know her while planning for our little blog fest this summer. It's so nice having a fellow blogger so close by.
Mental Mamma and Grandma J.? I feel like I've known them my entire life and we've never met. (That will change come July.)
All of these wonderful people share a few key interests, not the least of which is humor. They make me laugh after the longest, dreariest days.
Last but certainly not least are the people who live (or have lived) in Mathews. Their contributions in the comments section make this whole thing enormously rewarding. Some of my guest contributors, such as Anonymous Mathews Native and Mathews Mountain Man, for example, really help convey what it is like living in the last frontier, one of the few places with no Wal-Mart, no McDonalds, no traffic, no Hectic. (I just made "hectic" a noun, a proper noun even.)
So, we go from "What is a blog?" to a whole new world which will crescendo this July, when bloggers from all over the country descend on little old Mathews. People from Canada, California, Washington, Connecticut, New York, Texas, Maryland, Maine--from all over--are traveling hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles just to meet their fellow bloggers. It's really incredible.
As far as the future of this blog, I cannot say. It's very rewarding in every way except financially, so I can't see stopping it, but I can see slowing down some. The pace I've set for myself is strenuous and time-consuming for a person who is already stretched thin. I don't see my readership growing any more, which is fine with me really, but I do hope to keep the two or three that I have. I truly thank you for reading.
Well, that's enough hot air for today. I've learned there are many good, brilliant people in the blogosphere, and I've learned that love and laughter is what this crazy life is all about. Stuff happens, and you either let it win or you laugh at it, it's your choice. (Choose laughter, you won't be sorry.)
One year of blogging has been incredibly good to me, and hopefully it has been for you, my one dear reader, the only one able to survive the length of this post.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a great, immensely rewarding year.
Love and laughter,
Chesapeake Bay Woman