More is Better
I’ve been watching my “blog habit” grow over a semester of studying new media with Dr. Jennifer Bay at Purdue University. I now read an expanding list of blogs aggregated to deliver daily feeds through Bloglines, and I contribute actively to building three blogs beyond the one you’re reading here. When, at the beginning of the semester, Jen told me about blogs, her mention then of tracking 250 blogs on her own list scared the liver out of me. Times change. Though I’m not yet a big feeder, I now track about 50 blogs, and there’s fun in watching my “table manners” when it comes to the order I impose on reading.
I always begin my "meal" with those blogs I approach as staples, foundational – something along the lines of an obligatory responsibility to health: various aspects of news with the NYTimes and accompanying editorials that prompt me to chew a while on the issues, to think through them more deeply – the meat, so to speak, (though I’m vegetarian, too, Alice). Vegies are next, those reads from scholars working in the worlds of education, rhetoric and composition, and electronic literature. With these blogs I’m learning to read the complexity of my profession – rewarding work if it is nonetheless overwhelming at times. I keep a stack of “dinner roll” blogs on the side to complement the meal, to nourish aspects of self that can too easily be sidelined by the work I’m doing at school: Ronni at Time Goes By on the politics of aging, Lisa at culturekitchen for the wild and lovin’ it woman me, and a new friend in Ken at Digital Common Sense who “gets it” in a way that resonates familiarity.
The tasty rewards of this blog “diet” are in the dessert, however, and I’ve been fascinated to see a pattern develop … always the same feeds left for the end to savor, to linger, to lounge in. There’s Alice’s blog – a window onto the world from a soul-rich point of view with courage to feel out loud where the rest of us might keep quiet; here is crunchy apple cobbler or the certainly messy pleasure of a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day – don’t forget to add nuts. Then there’s Kat’s blog at Keep the Coffee Coming, a narrative of each next day punctuated in turns with introductions, remembrances, and unexpected musical connections; here is sometimes embellished cheesecake, sometimes giant cinnamon rolls hot from the oven with frosting strizzled on top but always terrific coffee on the side - I'll take mine strong with cream and sugar. Finally, there are words from my daughter, my Tommi at Sentinel 47: Keeping the Gate on duty in Iraq. This read I hold to last – anticipation enriching the pleasure while allowing time to reason with myself against the tricks of mind suggesting these words could be all there is left of my daughter. They will not be: I have to believe that. She is still there, and this read is choice - delicate chocolates, Bavarian fruit torte, and fresh “Scott” baklava.
I write all this for you tonight because, well … I’ve had great feeds today from all my favorite places, but I had the joy of dessert times two (or three or more) from my friend, Alice. She posts here of my daughter’s new blog and reflects so thoughtfully of Tommi in the writing that all but my mother’s heart fell away from me today with the reading – deep gratitude for the honor extended. Dr. B followed with engaging remarks, and Kat spoke friendship from her visit to The Gate, too.
The copter downed yesterday near Tommi’s base in Iraq sent pressure on security there sky-high today. I hold my breath and wait. Word from her will come; another post will come. There is strength knowing others are with her. With me. Thanks, Alice. With thoughts toward dessert, "more is better."