W Is for Why We Blog

“In journeys at sea that took place before radio or radar or satellites or sonar… [logs] helped navigators surmise where they were and how far they had traveled and how much longer they had to stay at sea.” ~ Andrew Sullivan, “Why I Blog”

Why do we blog?

Andrew Sullivan answered this question in a 2008 Atlantic article in which he began by discussing the original of the word “blog” and its similarity to a ship’s log:

“As you read a log, you have the curious sense of moving backward in time as you move forward in pages—the opposite of a book. As you piece together a narrative that was never intended as one, it seems—and is—more truthful. Logs, in this sense, were a form of human self-correction. They amended for hindsight, for the ways in which human beings order and tidy and construct the story of their lives as they look back on them. Logs require a letting-go of narrative because they do not allow for a knowledge of the ending. So they have plot as well as dramatic irony—the reader will know the ending before the writer did.

Anyone who has blogged his thoughts for an extended time will recognize this world. We bloggers have scant opportunity to collect our thoughts, to wait until events have settled and a clear pattern emerges.” Read more

When I first read Sullivan’s piece several months ago, it changed my relationship to blogging. A blog’s value for the blogger often lies in its inherent imperfection and “letting-go,” in its day to day immediacy.

For example, even in a very busy month like this one, the A to Z Challenge is a way for me to think throughout the day of how a specific letter of the alphabet relates to the rest of my life. However long or short the resulting post (and even if I fall a day behind), it is a record of those thoughts, of where I am at this moment.


WThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. 

V Is for Viktor Frankl

“If we seem to be idealists and are overestimating, overrating man… we promote him to what he really can be.” ~ Viktor Frankl

Following up on a couple of posts recently about Holocaust survivor and existential philosopher Viktor Frankl, this clip from 1972 shows Frankl explaining the value of presupposing a will and search for meaning in others:

Being idealistic about others—assuming that they, like us, are trying to figure out the meaning of this thing called life, even when it looks as though they aren’t—also is a matter of choosing trust over pessimism. Doing so while keeping healthy boundaries and not allowing ourselves to be taken advantage can be tricky, but I keep trying to find that balance.


VThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. 

U Is for Unraveling (via Joy Navan)

I’ve toyed with several ideas for U entries (unruly, unfiltered blog post, uber), and they all are rather lame, especially in light of my friend Dr. Joy Navan’s post: “U Is for Unraveling.” It makes sense, therefore, to send you over to her site today. Enjoy.

“What are some of the knots, the conflicts, that gifted elders experience that are waiting to be resolved in the final stage of our lives?

Untying involves setting one’s agenda for the years (days/months?) that remain. Agenda-setting or goal-setting involves taking stock of our resources and proposing goals that respond to those realities. Thus, having surveyed my resources, I will never run a marathon, but I do intend to train as a marathon writer and to finish the three books that are in different stages of writing, to publish a book of poems, to read, to connect with loved ones, and to maintain my mobility during my final years. I will call on all the resources at hand to assist in untying and resolving those goals.” Read more


UThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. 

Goodreads Giveaway for The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley

I am happy to announce that Kathy Chauncey was the randomly chosen name to receive a signed copy of The Adventures of a Sparrow Name Stanley! Thanks to everyone for your comments and participation. A Goodreads Book Giveaway for Stanley ends May 8th, so there are more chances to get a signed copy (please share the link below with anyone you know who loves children’s books).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley by Betty Sydow

The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley

by Betty Sydow

Giveaway ends May 08, 2016. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
 

Enter Giveaway

T Is for Trust

“Could making the effort to see the best in others—even for just one weekend—help me rein in my cynicism enough to stop mistrusting the world?” ~ Alina Tugend

What would happen if we consciously trusted more? Alina Tugend, who admits her instinct had been “to be wary of just about everyone,” writes about her personal experiment in trusting more and being less pessimistic, with some unexpected benefits:

“I was letting go of some of the pessimism I’d allowed to build up in my life. Freeing myself of my ‘everyone’s a jerk’ mentality was indeed feeling like a far less taxing way to live, and as the day went on, I noticed that I wasn’t getting as heated over little perceived injustices. In fact, later that afternoon, when another driver pulled into a parking space I was about to take, I didn’t immediately assume he intentionally stole it from me. Instead, I took a moment to see it from his view—maybe he thought I was just idling on the street or that I’d stopped to make a phone call—and it actually seemed like an honest mistake. By the time I found a new parking spot, I was over it. The draining, time-consuming anger I would normally have felt in this situation had vanished.” Read more

There’s only so much we can do to increase our physical energy, especially as we get older, and we can’t create more hours in the day. Tugend reminds that what we may have more control over than we realize, however, are the “draining, time-consuming” emotions that so often interfere with getting the most out of daily life.


TThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. 

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