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I Wonder as I Wander

Venice1 copyA number of years ago a friend and I took a trip to Italy.  We were on a guided bus trip, but for us that just meant transportation and sleeping accommodations.  Our real guide was Rick Steves.  We had his Italy book, and he was our guru.  When we arrived in Venice, Rick said, “Get lost in Venice.”  His point was that the best way to experience that place was just to wander.  It’s an island, for heaven’s sake, you can’t really get lost! He was completely right, of course, and wandering the streets and backways of Venice was the most charming and memorable part of our whole trip.  All these years later, I can still picture the quiet little squares lined with ancient houses and enticing shops and cafes and bordered by canals with boats out of your dream of Italy. And guess what? We made it back!

That experience popped into my head more than once while navigating the assignments for these two days, which were to visit new blogs, browse, view, read, and possibly leave meaningful comments.  Heading into the complicated web of streets that is the blogosphere (and not even the entire blogosphere, just the WordPress portion of it) felt like getting lost.  One blog or link led to another where you might pause to visit and admire or have a chat, then to another where you might look in briefly then pass on by. In many instances, I couldn’t tell you why I arrived at a particular location or how to get back to it. Finally, since we were asked to link to some of our favorites, I began making notes about some blogs that I loved so that I and others could find our way back to them.

As with any good travel experience, I learned a lot. I learned about some of the people who blog.  I learned about what appeals to me when I’m spending my time in the blogosphere. I saw a variety of formats and styles in both the way people express themselves and the way they present their material.  Some of what I saw and read inspired me to examine and improve my own blog.

Great Destinations: Blogs I Loved

I like to read blogs that are well written and articulate.  I love visual interest – photos, drawings or other art work, interesting typography and formatting.  And, of course, topics that appeal to my interests – travel, art, photography, reading.  Here are a few that I found and plan to follow:

Deformedly Gracious

  • Stories both fictional and nonfictional accompanied by delightfully whimsical drawings
  • A favorite post: Moscow Metpo

My Truant Pen

  • Writes about everyday life, weather (she lives in New England-snow central), and my favorites – books and writing
  • Well written, nice photos

And, importantly, the blog listed and linked in the comment below

All of this brings me to part III of today’s post:

An Open Letter to Michelle and Blogging 101

[The format of the below is inspired by and with great respect for one of my new favorite blogs, Sincerely, Becca.  This blog is beautifully written and illustrated and alternates between completely moving and hilariously funny.  One of the writing formats she uses is the letter written to individuals or organizations.  Here’s one I particularly loved: “Dear eHarmony, Should I Talk about Back Fat in My Profile?”]

Dear Michelle W. and Blogging 101,

I can’t decide whether to hate you or thank you!  On the one hand, you have given me the tools and motivation to reactivate my blog and experience other people and even other places.  You’ve encouraged me to think and write more creatively and to communicate with other bloggers.  I feel more mentally stimulated than I have in a long time.  My blog is looking better and better. And I’m super excited about all that I’m learning.

On the other hand, I’m spending hours thinking about what to write, writing, grooming my blog, and strolling through the labyrinth of other blogs. And you’re feeding my technology addiction.  Now, in addition to checking Facebook and email on a regular basis and getting lost in all that information, I have blog checking to add to the distraction. Furthermore there’s the increased vanity, not to say self-worship, of checking all these locations to see if anybody’s talking to me or admiring my clever comments and creative genius.  In the meantime, my house is beginning to look like someone broke in and ransacked it.

OK, so let’s see: learning, new writing and creativity, mental stimulation, and communication with others vs. a clean house and a less inflated ego.  Hmmmm…. THANK YOU it is!!!