Blogging is the New Black

I’m part of the class of 2012. Five months of writing and blogging, and someone called me a seasoned blogger. That surprised me, as I still think of myself as a beginner, but since the posts have now racked up to fifty plus, I suppose I am seasoned.

I still look with awe at archives that have the magic number 11 on them, and am even more impressed with archives that go back years. What commitment, what hard work, what character and persistence!

The longer I blog, the deeper my understanding of this extraordinary phenomena becomes. It’s a new world which is developing, and establishing its own conventions and customs inside WordPress’s intelligent frame work. Bloggers find their own communities of like minds, and at the same time we stray across the boundaries to visit other small villages in the blogosphere.

I now know who to go to for hilarious blogs, and sardonic wit and humour, who will soothe my soul with the sweetness of animal life and farmy rituals, who’ll give me the inside running on events that are shaking the world today, and who’ll remind me of historic events, past and recent, that I’d almost forgotten. I know where to go to find out about fashion, and there’s that refuge for dreamers, the blogs with beautiful interiors, and the glorious recipes for foodies like me. There’s music and art, history and travel.

I know who to go to for photos of beauty and extraordinary depth and soul, and likewise for poetry which plunges deep and stirs the heart. There are the moving stories of lives overcoming incredible odds, and the accounts from others of making a difference in various parts of the planet. I live vicariously in France, in Spain, in Cornwall and Hampshire, in Colorado and Florida, Hawaii and Mexico, Canada and Nova Scotia, Melbourne and New York.

This is the magic world that only those with the courage to enter it discover, unknowing of the challenges of time and commitment. In Joseph Campbell’s lingo, we are the heroes on the hero’s journey creating a new world, and we have no idea where this new concept of planetary connection and friendship is taking us.

Will we one day be able to look back and see that we were the pioneers for the new consciousness; the global village where we all care about each other, and know that when we pollute or exploit our corner of the globe, it will impact on everyone else, and our planet too. Will we be the first hundred monkeys to wash our potatoes?    (Everyone knows the hundred monkey story, don’t they, when a few monkeys start washing the sand off their potatoes, and when it reaches a hundred monkeys, suddenly everyone does?)

When I look back at my first posts, I can see how much blogging has helped me to improve my writing. This is mainly because the blogging world offers encouragement and acceptance. A study in Vienna in the thirties in which groups of children were either encouraged all the time, criticised all the time, or received the normal see-saw of encouragement and criticism that most people get, produced interesting results.

The work of the criticised group deteriorated and fell behind the level they had previously reached, they had become so discouraged. The half and half group made normal progress. The group who only received encouragement streaked ahead, enjoyed their work, and produced great results.

So the unstinting encouragement that we bloggers receive from each other has a powerful outcome. It gives us the confidence to write from our hearts directly and honestly without fearing we will be put down, criticised or rejected. I know that I’m writing much more spontaneously now because I have the confidence given to me by other bloggers.

‘Likes’ and ‘comments’ are the joy of a blogger’s life, especially when it’s the sort of remark or comment that pushes the blog a bit further. Writing is only the one half of blogging – the response, the understanding and the interpretation – completes the act of creation, rounds out the concepts, and the writer and the reader are a symbiotic partnership in a way that readers of a newspaper or even a book never experience.

And unlike a newspaper, our blogs stick around, people go on reading them when we’ve moved onto the next posts, while the joke in newspapers is that today’s  story will be wrapping the rubbish tomorrow. So blogs are a halfway house between the longevity of a book and the ephemeral life of a newspaper.

Bloggers enter the lives of their fellows with courtesy and sensitivity. There’s such good manners and kindness in all the comments I read – witty, pithy, but never any word that steps over the line. Rather, there’s a concern for the well-being of each other, and support for those who are facing challenges, however the challenges may come. So we are reaching deeper levels of respect and compassion, sensitivity and insight into other cultures and communities. I’m sure we all had these qualities already, but blogging seems to exercise them daily.

So I’m a blogger, and I feel a bit like a bodger. In another post I mentioned bodging… a bodger was a craftsman who carved the legs of chairs in the woods in England, a hundred years ago and more. He worked alone in the beechwood, perfecting his skills, and that’s how it feels for me, sitting in my remote little fishing village in the Antipodes, finding the right words to express as accurately and truly and beautifully as I can, what I want to say.

I feel I’m a bodger too, a craftsman working alone. But I don’t feel alone- for the craft of blogging reaches out into the lives of all those other kindred spirits and great hearts around our beautiful planet. Namaste – I honour you all.

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

Friends are dropping in mid-morning on their way north for the holiday weekend, so it’ll be hot scones and strawberry jam to have with their coffee. For four of us I use eight oz self raising flour and about three oz of butter rubbed in like pastry. Beat an egg into a few tablesps of milk, plus a pinch of salt, and use this to make the dough. If you need more milk, just add a little as you need it. Don’t bother to roll it out, just quickly drop the dough on the bread board, and with as little handling as possible shape it into a flattish round or square about an inch and a half thick.

I then simply cut it into squares, instead of bothering with a pastry cutter. Put the little blobs of scone mix onto a buttered floured baking tray, cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Just before the guests are due, I pop them in a hot oven, and they cook in about fifteen minutes. I take them out when they still have very little colour, because they are so light at that stage.

Eaten hot with butter, strawberry jam and whipped cream, they always disappear in double quick time. If there should happen to be any left over, I slice them in half and fry them with bacon for the old chap’s breakfast. You can add sugar, cheese, sultanas, herbs, whatever you fancy. But I don’t feel you can improve on the classic scone.

Food for Thought

Suddenly from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery.

It takes more than a moment to fully realise this is Earth … home.

Edgar Mitchell from ‘The Home Planet’,  Astronaut, born 1930

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65 Comments

Filed under bloggers, cookery/recipes, food, great days, life/style, philosophy, spiritual, Thoughts on writing and life

65 responses to “Blogging is the New Black

  1. I wish I knew how to nominate a post to be WORDPRESSED. This is an excellent post and should be WordPressed!

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  2. You are a such a faithful friend – thank you so much. I hope all is well in your world , I haven’t seen any posts recently – warm wishes, Valerie

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  3. I adore you. This is brilliant. Your writing enriches me. Thank you.

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  4. Lovely post and the scones sound delicious! Keep on blogging!!

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  5. The blogosphere is, indeed, a world where we all have a care for one another. Perhaps, as we reach critical mass in blogs, that virtual caring will spill over into actual caring. In the meanwhile, I’m grateful to count you in my community, Valerie! xoM

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  6. Well said…Congratulations – Class of 2012!!! I foresee that there will be other milestones as we go along…

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  7. Thank you for this beautiful and honest post about your journey into the seemingly nebulous blogosphere. I love your observations about mutual encouragement in the blogging community: “So the unstinting encouragement that we bloggers receive from each other has a powerful outcome. It gives us the confidence to write from our hearts directly and honestly without fearing we will be put down, criticised or rejected.” Thank you and keep at it! You’ve been an encouragement and inspiration!

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  8. I absolutely agree that the loveliness of endless postive reinforcement has become a force of its own. it seems an unwritten code that people try to keep it real and joyful in the comments section. This surprised me, and that surprise is still active. I mean, I still smile and chuckle and feel supported when I read my comments and see the likes. I admit I was a cynic at the beginning but now I am just happy to pop in and out of this secure, cheerful and instructive world we are creating.. have a lovely day Valerie and thank you for a great post! c

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    • Thank you Celi, lovely to hear from you as ever.. it is an amazing experience, isn;t it, and you just can’t explain it to non-bloggers!
      You have a lovely day too… I always wonder what the time is there – are you up at the break of day at the moment, or winding down….XXX

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  9. You always make so much SENSE. I love what you write. I am so grateful to be part of this blogging community. Everyday I am amazed how we can read and be read by others from around the world. I never imagined how this would be……. 🙂

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  10. Thanks Valerie, you expressed exactly how I too feel about blogging. From one who used to scoff and think it all a little silly, i actually now believe it is quite a profound form of global communication and support. Lovely post

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  11. Very thoughtful post, Valerie. I echo your sentiments on the blogging community and how supportive we are of each other. It is indeed fulfilling and inspires creativity that is honest and spontaneous. I would like to think that it brings out the best in each other. I always enjoy reading your posts and your Food for Threadbare Gourmets and Food for Thought is just the icing on the cake.

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    • Thank you so much Lynne for that wonderful Bloggers Encouragement!
      Yes, I’m sure it does bring out the best in us all, and also makes us really appreciate what each person is doing in their blog – I love yours,

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  12. Words fail me when I read a post like this. I’ve nodded in agreement with every word you have said and the comments all reflect what I’d like to say too. Picturing myself sitting in your garden tucking into those scones, may bring a few blogging friends too. When do you want us? lol

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  13. Sandie let me know how many so I know how many scones to make… would you mind fig and ginger jam if we ran out of strawberry.?. I think we’d sit on the veranda as the white wisteria which hangs over it, is coming into flower, and has a beautiful scent… X

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  14. Glad to be a part of your Class of 2012, Valerie! Your posts truly do enrich the blogosphere – and my day. And I agree, there’s something magical about being alone as a writer, yet knowing that your words are not only being read, but are part of a dialogue. I often wonder what Emily Dickinson, recluse that she was, would have made of all of this…

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  15. Thank you dear friend…Yes, I’ve often tried to make sense of the choices that Emily Dickinson made, and normal psychological norms just don’t seem to cover her personality… her life seemed such a deep powerful experience judging from her poetry. As you say, what would she have made of all this – would she have joined the dialogue… Somehow I don’t think so… she might have published her poems, but we would have to take them or leave them, no ticking other people’s likes, or bothering to read their blogs!!!
    And yet when I read her life, and the ways they lived then, I sometimes feel rather envious….
    So good to hear from you, and go well XXXX

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  16. A beautiful post Valerie … and my mouth is watering at the thought of your scones 🙂

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  17. Oh, so touched by your writing today….chills, you have really found our “center”, the touchstone of our being..together, and our striving, our Heart….such sensitive and beautiful understanding shared, I lived it as I read and I loved it; I feel so complete part and “with you” as one of the Hundred Monkeys!! love, Linda

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    • Hello Linda, thank you again for your comments, It feels so good to know when people like you really understood what I’m trying to say, I so appreciate your words…and wonderful to know that we’re all potato washers!!!…Love, Valerie

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  18. Hi Valerie

    How lovely to meet you. I followed you here from Linda’s blog, that’s how it seems to work isn’t it?

    Like you I have been blogging for about 5 months and share many of your experiences. Blogging has turned out to be so much more than I ever expected. The posting of the blog isn’t even the half of it is it? The opportunity to become part of this wonderful blogging community and to share experiences and build friendships with people from all over what now seems like a global village is awesome.

    I didn’t know the monkey story but wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could effect change just by the connections that we make. I look forward to staying in touch during our journey.

    Lovely writing, Valerie. I really enjoyed the post.

    Corinne at soulsnet

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  19. I thank you for the time and beautiful sentiments that go into your posts. I know here that I will be treated to wonderful writing and insight. I couldn’t have expressed the thoughts you have here better myself.
    xx

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    • Lesley, thank you so much for what you say, and I really appreciate what you say about my posts – they do take time to make sure they’re fit for consumption, don’t they!!! I can see the same meticulous care in your beautiful posts. So glad you enjoy mine, warm wishes…

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  20. THis was so wonderful You said many of the things I’ve felt–only better. I’ve lived vicariously too through other people’s travels, become aware of how we pollute the earth, felt a sense of community and got encouragement. I am also about as old as you as a blogger. I felt the global village too. I loved your lyrical, evocative style with which you brought out emotions in me about blogging that I know I had but I needed to read something like this to become aware of it.

    There’s one thing that I’m scared of–being about as new/old as you in the blogosphere. How long does the flow of writing from our side continue? When will the fount die? How long will the support continue from the readers’ side before an inadvertently spoken word or a strongly expressed idea rattle someone as is common in “real” life? Guess bloggers who’ve been around longer will know.

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    • I was so delighted to hear from you – I always enjoy your thoughtful interesting posts. And I was so touched to read your very beautiful comments,- and reminded yet again of that symbiotic relationship that blogging and comments are.

      I don’t think you need to worry about the flow of writing continuing – as long as your heart is beating you’ll always have something to say and to share, even if it isn’t the same stuff that you’re writing now!.

      And I can’t imagine you ever saying anything that rattles anyone – and if it did, it seems to be the unspoken convention that we just move away from that blog without saying anything – or if we say something it’s in such a way that it isn’t a criticism of you, but simply another opinion.
      So I hope I’ll still be reading your thoughtful posts in the distant mists of the future… warm wishes

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  21. Hi Valerie, I’m here from Celi’s blog The Kitchens Garden. I just read your about and that is quite the story; such adventures, good and bad.
    I’ve been blogging since 2007 and never really appreciated the world of bloggers until two years ago when someone commented on my blog and I finally figured it out. I had no idea of the genuine kindness, support and solidarity there was in this blogging world of mine, but I am sure happy to have found it. Particularly when the real world seems so mean and hostile.

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    • Eva, thank you so much for coming to my blog – any friend of Celi’s is friend of mine! Aren’t we all so lucky to have each other! And thank you for your appreciation… how amazing that you’ve been blogging for five years – that’s a real achievement… I’d love to hear how that has been… and what the journey has been like for you over five years…your insights and realisations…warm wishes

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      • Hi Valerie,
        Thank you kindly for calling me a friend, I am quite honored.
        I began blogging as when my husband and I decided to renovate and add 100 square feet to our tiny kitchen in our craftsman-style 1928 house in Toronto. I originally blogged to document the process but it ended up as pretty much of a rant over 6 months. Ironically, I so enjoyed the process of writing (which I hadn’t done to any degree before) and the introspection that I had to do to tell the story that I decided to continue blogging. My second (current) blog is about food and my stories around it. It’s been only about a year or two that I found the reciprocal commenting to be so gratifying; it certainly is a hell of a support structure! Now, this support is why I continue to blog and share recipes. Hopefully one day my niece (8) and nephew (12) will be interested enough to read it and find out a bit more about me.
        I hope you can drop by my blog and see what I’ve been up to. If you scroll back, you can see we’ve recently been to Europe and I met up with fellow-blogger Charles (Five Euro Food) in Paris! We also took a cooking class in Lyon and I’ll be recreating the recipes at home and blogging about them.
        Eva

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  22. Hi Valerie, I’m also here from Celi’s blog. I’m thrilled to have found you and look forward to keeping in touch. You write so beautifully – I love this post, and I’ll be here all day reading your older posts. What a lovely way to spend a rainy spring day 🙂

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    • Hello Janet, lovely that you’ve bounced on from dear Celi… and you’re here in NZ too – I wonder where….Thank you so much for the lovely comments you made – hope you enjoy the other posts – it doesn’t feel very springy here, with chill gales and sharp showers… have just been watching from the cliff the Labour Weekend Auckland to Russell yacht race – very blowy for them… So good to hear from you, Valerie

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  23. And I am yet another who happily too the cue from Celi to pop over, and also because I felt the similarly about blogging – the first hundred monkeys analogy echoes my belief that one post, one comment at at time blogging is moving us toward one-world 🙂

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    • Hello, Ella, is it?
      I’ve just found your message from so long ago in a Spam list I didn’t know was here. So regret not having found this and replied to your lovely message before.
      And I so agreed with what you said.
      Hope all is well with you and a happy new year, Valerie

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  24. wonderful post – you cover so much ground and so well, with a few stories thrown in and a recipe to measure — glad I found your blog and you can add me as being from Kingsville in southwestern Ontario in Canada, also known as the bananabelt or SunParlour of Canada.

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  25. What a wonderful and accurate post this is! You should get blog of the year for this post, for in your post today—you expressed what each one of us try to say every day that we post. You put it into words, you brought out the hidden and made it shine. We are all a warm community and I feel grateful to be part of it. I feel very, very happy that you could write what I feel.

    Thank you so much Valerie!
    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

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    • LInda, what a beautiful and heart-warming response from you, Reading your warm and lovely words reminded me of that symbiotic relationship between the blog and the comments, and how often the comments illuminate the blog, as I felt yours did, and I felt very privileged that you interpreted my blog in such a profound way.
      Aren’t we all lucky to have each other!…X

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  26. Amy

    How inspiring–“…we were the pioneers for the new consciousness; the global village where we all care about each other.” And, you eloquently said about our blogging village. Thank you so much, Valerie!

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  27. Amy, thank you for commenting, so glad those words meant something to you… we are so fortunate to be part of this groundswell, aren’t we, XX

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  28. Valerie,

    We do indeed connect through blogging, making new friends with the encouragement of people we have yet to get to know. You express everything so well. I’m blessed to be part of this community as we share our lives with each other.

    Sunni

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  29. Thank you so much for your comment Sunni, I’m glad you enjoyed the post… yes blogging brings so much richness into our lives, doesn’t it….

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  30. wow its good to see someone who feels the same way i do about blogging including the comments

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  31. Pat

    Lovely post and lovely blogger! Agree with all of this.
    And interesting that you cut your scones into squares. I don’t both with a pastry cutter either, but I bang it all out into a rough circle and cut wedges, so my scones are triangular.
    Are we lazy or just brilliant?

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  32. What a perfectly lovely way to great the morning! I am glad I didn’t reach this till I had the time to read today, scones one of my favorite foods to break fast with but something I have never learned to make. Wonderful.

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