One More From the Archives: My Favorite Posts

I feel that I need one more list to round out my recent explorations into my blog archives (to go along with the already-completed most-viewed posts & most-liked posts lists.)

And that would be: My Favorite Posts.

But wow…that’s a really hard list to make! I’ve been mulling it for the last few days.

The issue for me is that I like different posts for different reasons – often for completely different reasons. I simply have no particular standard, content-wise, format-wise, good-writing-wise, that I’m trying to adhere to in this space. It’s an anything-goes proposition when I sit down to blog, basically.

So how do I impose some sort of list-like order on that?

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What I finally came to was a compromise: I compiled 5 themes that I see, looking over the archives, have recurred (unplanned) in my writing.

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Now, I’m not talking about “photography” or “divorce” or any straightforward themes like that. I’ve done a pretty good job of categorizing and tagging, I think – and so those things can be found easily by anybody who goes to my sidebar and looks at the category bar or the tag cloud.

The tag cloud is nice especially, as it tells you at a glance where the heavier weight of my blogging attention has gone. “Photography”, for one, is gigantic in size! That’s because I write about photography a lot – my thoughts, my efforts to improve, examples of my images, etc. Whereas “anxiety” is something I’ve written about a few times (hence its appearance within the tag cloud at all), but not enough to make it more than a tiny little word in the cloud. I like the visual of the tag cloud!

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What I’m getting at is that it would be redundant in this list post I’m trying to create to lay out blogging themes that can be accessed via my category and tag organization. I wanted to do something more interesting. I wanted to find a way to organize this “favorites” list in a way that complemented that other organization, not copied it.

So, here’s what I came up with: A thematic list of posts that have, for one reason or another, meant something important to me. These are definitely the ones I’d most regret losing if I woke up tomorrow and found my blog had disappeared!

(Note: I numbered them only to make them easier to look at. They’re in truth in no particular order!)

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MY FAVORITE BLOG POSTS

1-The Ones Through Which I’ve Found Myself Looking at Imagery & Image-Making with a Different Eye

WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge is helpful in this regard, as far as my own photography. As in these:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

And then there’s the impact of film/video on my photography. I captured one of the most pivotal of these instances here:

Perceptions

Recently there have been some new intersections, film-wise:

Adele’s ‘Hello’ and Photography

And then there’s also the fact that the entire act of photography is, for me, intrinsically tied to the way I’m drawn to move through the world. That’s been a hugely, hugely important connection for me to make – and I can see the dawning of that realization in these:

Photography and Presence

Don’t Forget to Breathe, Part 2 

2-The Ones Through Which I’ve Used Media as a Tool for Tracking Where I’m At

These, I have to say, are the posts I have the most fun writing. I love stepping back and examining what I’m reading or watching or listening to – because it pretty much always says something interesting about where my head and/or emotions are at any given moment. Why have I had R.E.M.’s “Find the River” on repeat for the last three days? In between re-reading Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, no less?? That combo says something pretty particular about my mood and headspace – if I just stop and notice it. So I try to do that now, because it’s interesting (and often helpful.) And then I blog about it – because that’s fun!

I write random, usually off-the-cuff, posts of this nature when I feel like it (which is every few weeks, roughly.) Posts like these:

The Most Heartwrenching Song I Know (inspired by a single song)

2 Books, 2 Movies, 7 Songs (about a grouping of items on my radar)

The Lists of 5 posts I do are probably the most concerted, comprehensive and lengthy versions of this sort of thing that I do. I don’t put much commentary into those – but the act of compiling the lists is always a pretty interesting and insightful exercise for me. Here’s the most recent one of those, from last August:

Lists of 5: Round Four

And then there’s the occasional nostalgia kick I get on for one reason or another. These are always fun for me!

Besides amusing myself, the nostalgia ones are also really interesting for me, in that they give me a framework for examining the things (and these usually tend to be music-based things, but not always) that meant something to me 20 years ago – and the chance to see if they still do. If they do, why do they? And if they don’t, what does that mean?

It tends to be about myself and the ways I’ve changed over time – but it’s also about what music, books, television, films, etc, in my experience, have longevity. And about trying to put my finger on why I think that is.

Here’s one of those:

Nostalgia-Tinged Ramblings on (Some of the) Entertainment of My Past

I have so many of these media-type posts. It’s hard to pick my favorites!

3-The Ones That Have Marked (in hindsight) Significant Breakthrough Moments in My Life

It’s really intersting to look back at some of my posts and realize I was truly struggling with something as I was writing – but that I ultimately made a choice that was exactly the right choice.

I want to go back to the person who wrote those struggling posts and high-five her or something – because I’m so pleased she trusted herself and went with her gut! It changed a lot of things for the good (as trusting yourself and going with your gut usually will.)

Captured most notably on the blog has been my giving myself permission to embrace phtoography. As seen in these two:

The Convoluted Contents of My Head

Sometimes You Just Have to Get Out of Your Own Way

More recently, it’s been about moving forward with some of my entrepreneurial ideas – and just moving forward in general. Being bold, being fully present in my own life. As seen here:

Presence is the Key

Seth Godin is My New Hero

4-The Ones in Which I’ve Blogged My Way to Better Self-Understanding

This blog has been such a help to me a few times – times when I’ve had things tangled up inside and I’ve needed to get them untangled, to understand myself, to make some choices. There’s something about blogging – its nature, as an expressive form that rides the fence between intimate and public – that is just perfect for me sometimes for figuring myself out.

I wrote the other day about the fact that, when I blog:

“I don’t forget that this is a public space, not a diary – and I think a lot about things like privacy. This blog is consciously not the equivalent of me in my pjs curled up in my bed and talking intimately to someone.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the nice-looking, polished, put-together professional version of me either…

…What this blog is is something of a middle ground. It’s a public space – but it’s the kick back on the front porch and shoot the breeze with friends (over wine!) version of me. Maybe I’m not makeup-free and in my nightgown on that front porch; but I’ve definitely fixed my hair and have the nice-fitting jeans on! (You know what I mean?) This blog is a public version of me…but public among good friends. It’s “safe” public. It’s a place I can say something silly or maybe not entirely thought-through and not feel judged. It’s a supportive place.”

Reading over that again, I realize that yes, that’s exactly how I feel about blogging. Venting into a diary isn’t helpful to me. Sometimes maybe…but not usually. That kind of complete giving-over to the emotion of the moment (as my Live.Snap.Write. partner, Jenni, puts it, the “vomiting of your soul”) doesn’t really help me much. What I need usually, when I need something, is to understand myself better. I need balance…I need to center. I need to find that still place inside, from which you can move forward mindfully – and in the way that’s best for you. Venting doesn’t give me this. Talking to friends helps sometimes – but sometimes somebody else’s opinions can get in the way of finding that inner place. Not always…but you have to really be talking to the right person.

Blogging almost always gives me what I need in this regard. And the posts below mark some of those moments:

A Valentine’s Letter for the Person I’ve Never Met

Weekly Writing Challenge: GOLDEN YEARS (or, I’m Turning 40 This Summer!)

Unequal Terms

5-The Ones Through Which I Can Track My Growth as an Aspiring Photo Essayist

I still have a long way to go, both as a writer and (especially) as a photographer, to get to where I want to be as a photo essayist. But that’s my ultimate aspiration, creatively and career-wise: to be able to weave together words and images in a way that truly speaks and resonates.

It’s interesting to me to see the way I’ve progressed thus far in this. Like I said, I have a lot of ground yet to cover (I’m pretty ambitious!!) – but I’m pleased with the growth I’ve made from #1 to #6 here. (#6 actually lives at my new blogging project, the collaborative site, Live.Snap.Write. Please check us out if you get a chance! 🙂 )

  1. Summer Places: The Nicest Backyard I Know
  2. More Thoughts on Conscious Uncoupling
  3. Revisiting Manassas Battlefield Park
  4. Sunrise
  5. A North Carolina Ocean
  6. A Holiday Visit to the US Botanic Garden

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I’ve been keeping this blog regularly since about late-October 2013 – and the time from then to now has been hugely significant for me, as far as peeling back layers and acknowledging what I really want from my life.

It’s really kind of fascinating to look through the archives and trace that through my posts.

I love blogging! 🙂

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(The featured image, in case you were wondering, is from the sculpture room at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It made a brief part of my post “Perceptions,” one of my links under #1 above)

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