Ten Years On The Road

“Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been” ~ the Grateful Dead

Despite being aware that April 14 would be my ten-year anniversary with WordPress, the nice, congratulatory posting in my notifications tab took me by surprise.

In the past, these anniversaries have come and gone with little more than a glance, a moment of reflection, and recommitment to another year of writing. But ten years is ten years, and something more in the way of acknowledgment seemed appropriate.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to republish three of my favorite posts, interspered with new material. This one, slightly revised from 2013, describes how the title of my blog — The Task At Hand — came to be.

In 2007, wanting to learn how to post images to the web, I established a page in the blog section of Weather Underground. I’d joined the site during the 2005 hurricane season — the year which brought both Katrina and Rita — and I was comfortable there. At that point, I didn’t think of myself as a blogger. I simply was exploring: experimenting and learning.

My first entry included a recipe for pecan pie, with a few photos of the Texas hill country thrown in for good measure. My second post, a short entry detailing a trip through Kerr and Kendall counties, veered off into memoir. Surprised by a few positive comments, I posted a third time, and then a fourth.

Two months and a few posts later, I joined a group known as the Bay Area Writers’ League. I’d never thought of myself as a writer, but I was curious to see what people who defined themselves as writers might look like.  

As it turned out, they looked very much like me: intrigued by words, eager to tell their stories, willing to listen to the halting efforts of beginners, and open to learning from published authors.

At the January 2008 meeting, I was introduced to the concept of flash fiction, and decided to participate in the monthly contest: a challenge to respond to a photo posted in the group’s newsletter with no more than a hundred words of either poetry or prose. 

When the photo was published, I recognized a modern Sisyphus immediately. Too clever for his own good, Sisyphus may have brought his punishment upon himself, but images of his plight have compelled artists for centuries, and I thought this was a good one.

Unfortunately, as I gazed at my first challenge, I had no idea how to cross the gap between image and words without falling into cliché.

(The photo, I now know, comes from Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Texas)

Days later, while I hand-sanded a boat rail, thinking about nothing in particular, a fully-formed line came to mind: Even the right word takes effort. 

Looking at the teak hand rail, the sandpaper, and my hands, I considered. Over the next few days, as I worked and word-shaped, recording phrases on the back of used sandpaper, I discovered — quite to my surprise — that I’d written a poem titled “The Task At Hand.”

Even the right word takes effort.
Quarried from a crevice of the mind
it stumbles into context from a surprised tongue
then slips again toward silence.
Breaking chains of metaphor,
pulled from its page by the gravity of doubt,
it defies similitude
and heaves past frail allusion,
blocking passage after passage
with its heavy presence
until turned and nudged and tried again
for perfect fit
by one who never tires —
the Sisyphean poet.

At that month’s meeting, my poem won the little contest, pleasing me immensely. When April 14 came and I registered my new blog at WordPress, there was no question that its title would be The Task At Hand. Though still a non-writer, it nonetheless seemed to me that I’d written a writer’s poem: a poem with room for all of the discipline, surprise, faith, and teeth-gritting perseverance that writing requires.

Meanwhile, back at the Bay Area Writers’ League, I followed the custom of reading my winning poem aloud at the next month’s meeting. After I finished, a fellow wearing a plaid flannel shirt and mismatched socks came up to me. “So,” he said. “This your first poem?” I said it was, and that I’d just started writing. “Then let me tell you something,” he said. “That poem’s like a suit of clothes that’s two sizes too big. That’s ok. Don’t worry about it. You keep writing, and in a few years you’ll start growing into it.”

Remembering his words today, I smile with new understanding. He didn’t say, “In a few years, you’ll have grown into it.” He said, “In a few years, you’ll start growing into it.” He was right.

After about two years, when I changed the tagline forThe Task At Hand  from A New Writer’s Search for Just the Right Word to the slightly different A Writer’s On-going Search for Just the Right Word, I received an email from a reader who asked an interesting question.

She wrote, “Whenever I search for your blog, my first instinct is to look for The Task at Hand – A Writer’s On-going Search for the Perfect Word. I couldn’t help wondering why you chose right instead of perfect. I look at perfect as having more of an emotional component to it — the satisfaction that it is just the perfect word with the perfect feel. The word right carries with it a sense of correctness or strictness. I was just curious about your thinking.”

The question intrigued me. My first impulse was to say that nothing in our world is perfect: no person, no flower, no performance, no meal. Imperfection is woven through the fabric of life, and to demand perfection in words is to risk bloodless writing.

But it also occurred to me that the phrase itself matters. “Just the right word” suggests not only the end but the means: the process of writing itself. Hearing the phrase “just the right word” takes me back to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In the version I learned as a child, Goldilocks tries out the Bears’ porridge, chairs, and beds, finding them in turn too hot, too large, and too hard. Only after going on to experience too cold, too small and too soft was she able to say of her final choice, “This is just right.”

For years, it’s seemed to me that Goldilock’s experience is a wonderful analogy for the experience of writers who sit and sift through piles of words, rejecting one and then another as being too long, too short, too foreign, too street, too archaic, too hip. Eventually, whether from a dictionary, a doodle, or the crevices of the mind, a word emerges. With a sigh of deep satisfaction the writer eases it onto the page, saying, “There. That’s just right.”

It’s critical for beginning writers – or accomplished writers, for that matter — to recognize the truth that a search for just the right word signals neither inexperience nor inadequacy. Even the best among us hint at the necessity of that search, leaving the record of their words to nourish us as we continue the process of growing into our own.

The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph.
                                                            ~ from “Little Gidding” – T.S. Eliot

142 thoughts on “Ten Years On The Road

    1. And I’m so happy to be sharing this little journey with you. Bird-lovers of a feather gather together, don’t you think? I’m looking forward to the years to come!

    1. I hardly can believe ten years have passed. What tickles me is that I set a casual goal in the first year of posting once a week. Lo and behold, when I did the math tonight, I discovered that I’ve posted every 7.7 days on average. I had to laugh — I might have been closer to every seven days if I hadn’t taken up photography!

    1. It does make a difference. Not only that, the searching is fun, and the discoveries are delightful. Now that I think about it, there are some similarities to roaming the world with a camera, which may help to explain why I enjoy both as I do.

  1. Congrats on your 10th blogaversary, Linda! You’ve come a long way and yes, still going strong (stronger even). All the best for another 10!

    1. You’ve been there since the beginning, Arti. Amazing, isn’t it? Both of us have shifted focus in some ways, but on we go. Madeleine L’Engle helped to bring us together, and we’ve both learned something of the wisdom she expressed when she said, “Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.”

  2. Congratulations on 10 years of writing for WP. That is quite an accomplishment and one that you should be extremely proud of. Yours is a blog that has never grown stale and always has a message and something informative. I don’t think anyone can match your skills and honestly I am not trying to stroke your feathers- much.

    I remember reading a part of that post in which you had described criticism from, I suppose, a veteran writer. I wonder about his identity.

    Right and perfect are just about synonymous. Actually if something is right, who are we to argue that it is not a perfect outcome. If it were wrong then that is vastly different and an imperfection. As I have said before. you have a smooth way with words that slide from one to the next in a perfect flow. I don’t think one can ask for anything better.

    1. If you’re thinking about the same post that came to my mind, that critical reader was from long ago, before I began posting at WordPress. It was a woman, and one who criticized more than she wrote. But if you mean the fellow I wrote about here, I took his words to be affirmation, not criticism, and have appreciated them through all these years.

      It still amuses me that my biggest worry in the beginning was that I’d run out of things to write about. So far, so good. The way things are stacked up in my draft files, I could go another two years without finding a single new topic — but that’s not likely to happen.

      Humor aside, thanks for your good wishes. This little endeavor still is fun — that’s the important part.

    1. Thank you, Shimon. People ask sometimes if I enjoy my work with the boats, and I tell them, “If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t still be doing it after twenty-eight years.”

      The same applies here. Some people fill their blogs with complaints about blogging, but I find the writing itself enjoyable: a source of pleasure and delightful learning. My one absolute requirement for a topic is that it shouldn’t bore me. If I’m bored by my writing, you would be, too — and we can’t have that!

    1. I had a great-aunt who was given to malapropisms, and one of my favorites always has been her amusing Tempus fidgets. I’ve always taken it as a reminder that too much fidgeting around simply wastes time — so on with it!

  3. Where have the last ten years gone, and in our case, eleven plus, as I knew of your writing before WP.
    Congratulations on your tenth anniversary, and I wish you many more to come.

    Remember this?

    ‘Enter this room with an open mind.
    Discipline yourself to listen carefully.
    Structure your work to show your thinking clearly.
    Remember it requires effort to learn and make progress.’

    I think you have definitely learnt, and made progress!
    Well done.

    1. I still have those words framed and sitting on my desk. In fact, they’re going to be featured in the next “anniversary post.” Wisdom is wisdom, and it endures.

      I certainly have learned a good bit, and expect to learn even more in the coming years. One of the best changes I made was moving from my old theme to the one I have now. Other changes have been less visible, but no less important. A growing confidence comes to mind.

      Now? There will be more changes, and new directions, emerging when the time is right. But I’d best not wait too long — age means the window is closing!

  4. Thank you … for being you and … sharing yourself with us. I find myself thinking of ya like a good cup of tea.

    1. Now, that’s a compliment that warms my heart. It reminds me of that trite but still true phrase I see now and then on plaques in gift shops: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

      It’s been such fun to know you, and to enjoy your tales of your travels. I was thinking of you last night when I read about the storms around Meridian. I’m glad to see you, and hope you weren’t up at such an hour because of bad weather.

  5. In a way, writing is a lot like building a dry-stone wall. While the end result is to make a wall, you’re making it from rocks that have to stay put without mortar. That makes choosing the rocks important. You’ve got to find the rock that is the right shape not only to fit in the place, but that fits in such a way it holds the rocks around it in place as well. Choosing the right word entails not only finding the word that means what you need it to mean in the context of the sentence , one that says what you mean to say — but it’s got to fit in with the other words in the sentence and help hold the sentence together. It’s got to be the right shape and size to do the job you need it to do.

    But, here’s the thing: Language was an “ear” thing, living in the mouths and ears of speakers and listeners for millennia before it ever became an “eye” thing read and written on a page. And every reader and writer begins life as a listener and speaker. You can’t get away from that mouth-ear connection. It’s hard-wired into our brains. Sometimes, a writer changes a word, not because the shade of meaning isn’t quite right, or doesn’t fit the context quite right, but because it clunks when you read it. The sentence doesn’t speak. And it’s not just at the word level that this happens. Sentences get reworded, paragraphs get rewritten so that they speak more fluidly to the mind’s ear. There’s a craft to writing — the nuts and bolts of grammar, syntax, vocabulary, sentence and paragraph construction, — and a good writer knows her craft. But what separates the master craftsman from the journeyman is an ear for language. You’ll know the mot juste when you hear it.

    1. That’s a great metaphor. Building a dry stack fence or wall certainly is an art. In fact, it’s a bit of an endangered art, which is why classes in traditional rock wall construction were being offered in Kansas the last time I was there. Watching a crew working down the road from where I was staying was fascinating. It’s not fast work, and it requires some deliberation. Still, as the worker becomes more skilled, it becomes easier to spot just the right stone.

      I went digging into my files to find this, from an article on Kansas stonework: “There are a few problems with the dry stack stone wall. First, there are few structural engineers interested in understanding how dry stack performs relative to contemporary building codes. Second, there are few craftsmen who can construct them.”

      Not to push a metaphor too far, but it seems to me that some of those same dynamics are at play in the world today when it comes to language. Few are interested in knowing how it works, and even fewer are skilled in finding ways to link words together in a way that will endure.

  6. Congratulations Linda. It’s always a pleasure to read your blog posts and I always come away from them feeling enriched in so many different ways. Your writing and your friendship are a blessing to me.

    1. I feel as though I’ve known you for the whole ten years, Amanda. I certainly have learned from you, and have a few images from your posts I’ll never forget, such as the bull on the piano, the borage in your garden, and Myrtle, the purple turtle. Whatever the next years bring, it will be a delight to share them with you.

    1. In a way, I’m less proud of my ten years than I am astonished. That’s not a bad thing in some ways: an astonished person’s easier to live with than a prideful one! We’ve certainly had some fun over the years, haven’t we? I thought of you when I passed the sign for the National Museum of the Pacific War recently. That’s gone on the agenda for a future post.

  7. Some bloggers work to a rhythm that’s circadian. You’ve now reached a point that’s decadian. And you’ve reached it honestly, by continuing to post throughout the 10 years. I wonder how many of those congratulatory notifications go out to people with blogs that are still up but inactive.

    Did you ever notice that the presumably unintentional acronym for the Bay Area Writers’ League is BAWL?

    Your description of the way a fully formed sentence came to mind while you sanded a rail matches my repeated experience of doing something and having a phrase suddenly pop into my head. I wonder how common a phenomenon that is. Might it happen as often to people who aren’t concerned with words as to those who are?

    1. If I’m working to a decadian rhythm, that means I have three cycles left, at best. Time’s a-wasting! And speaking of honesty, I was thinking this morning about my most honest critic, who left us far too soon. If EllaElla still was around, she’d be giving me her squinty-eyed look and saying, “Yes, yes. This is all well and good. Now, when are you going to get down to work?”

      I wondered if someone would pick up on that acronym. They actually use it in their promotional materials. I suspect the humor’s unintentional, but it still makes me laugh.

      That unconscious/subconscious work of the brain is amazing. Shimon and I were talking about the phenomenon recently; it happens for him, too. Just last night I went to sleep after trying without success to find the right title for a new post. This morning, it was waiting for me when I woke up.

      I wonder if it’s less related to words, specifically, and more related to a person’s willingness to give the mind some raw materials to work with: plenty of raw materials, as a matter of fact. I’ve always thought the kaleidoscope was the best metaphor for the process. We gather up the shiny little bits, dump them into our me(n)tal container, and then let the mind go to work, twisting them into new patterns.

      I’ve heard Gary Myers and Lisa Brunetti talk about the same dynamic in their work as visual artists. They doodle and doodle, and then out of nowhere the solution comes. It’s interesting in the extreme.

      1. That phenomenon of letting go of a problem for a while and then having a solution come unbidden is well known. As you noticed in mentioning Lisa Brunetti, the phenomenon doesn’t apply only to words. I think I first became aware of it four decades ago in connection with the mathematician Henri Poincaré, who mentioned it in his essay on creativity. I’m reading a fascinating book by Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, which looks at the broader framework encompassing that and much more. It has to do with the interplay between the intuitive and the logical mechanisms of the mind.

        1. I may have mentioned Jonah Lehrer’s article for The New Yorker, “The Eureka Hunt”. Written in July 2008, in the days before his downfall due to plagiarism, it’s still in my files, and worth an occasional read.

          I noticed today that Henri Poincaré is mentioned in the article, along with a cognitive neuroscientist named Jung-Beeman who’s quoted to the effect that,“Language is so complex that the brain has to process it in two different ways at the same time…It needs to see the forest and the trees.” That sounds as though it might be analogous to fast and slow thinking, and it also sounds as though I’d enjoy Kahneman’s book.

        2. I just found this in the Lehrer article, which made me laugh out loud, heartily:

          “As Jung-Beeman and Kounios see it, the insight process is an act of cognitive deliberation—the brain must be focused on the task at hand—transformed by accidental, serendipitous connections.”

  8. Now I’m going to spend all day thinking about the difference between “perfect” and “right”! It seems to me that, in addition to all you’ve said, there’s a difference in that “perfect” seems universal and all-encompassing, while “right” is more personal. Goldilocks picked the bed that was “just right” for her but it might not have been just right for you or me. A pearl might by perfect but a small stone my husband picked up and polished might be “just right” for me.

    Congratulations on your decade of working toward the right words, and giving us lots to think about!

    1. Context makes a difference, of course. The right word in an academic paper might not be the right word in a newspaper article, and the right word in a sonnet might not (probably wouldn’t!) fit in a rap song. So, choosing the right word demands paying attention to the context, too: the audience, the purpose, the topic itself.

      Of course, wrong words often are used, especially big, multisyllabic, arcane words. As Stephen King so neatly put it, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” That’s one reason writers have to read. It’s a natural way of expanding their vocabulary: filling up the toolbox, if you will.

  9. Congratulations for keeping it going for 10 years. I found your blog while looking for Texas gardeners, but I have come to enjoy your excellent writing and stories of people and places. And throwing in some stories of plants and animals keeps me coming back.

    1. I enjoy being able to post about whatever’s caught my interest, even though the lag time on some stories can be a year or two. But my interests are wide-ranging enough that there tends to be something for everyone — at least, from time to time.

      The goal, of course, is to try and make every post interesting to everyone — even people who thought they didn’t care at all for the subject matter! I’m certainly glad you’ve found things here to enjoy. There’s a series on native plants coming up that may be especially appealing.

  10. Mazel tov on your 10 years! I like your rumination about choosing the “right” word–it’s subjective, isn’t it? Dependent upon mood, season, voice, experience, this business of story telling.

    I’ve so enjoyed reading you–wishing you many years of choosing just the right words!

    1. Thanks, Tina! In many ways, growing a story is just like growing a plant. There needs to be good seed to get things started, attentiveness as the narrative line grows — and a willingness to weed out what doesn’t belong!

      It’s been fun getting to know you and your backyard. Here’s to many more years of happy growth, for both of us.

      1. Back atcha!! I think you’re a wonderful writer. You weave your words beautifully, without pretension and with honesty. There have been times I’ve started reading a post of yours, thinking to myself, “This won’t interest me” and within a paragraph or two, I’m hooked: I must know where your words will take me, even if I initially thought the subject wasn’t for me. So thank you for that and know that few people have that gift and skill.

  11. Happy anniversary, Linda! I never tire of reading about the process of writing so I appreciate you re-publishing your favorite posts. The story of how you chose the blog name is wonderful and I love the sentence, “Even the right word takes effort.” You are a skilled writer who manages to put a fresh twist to the topics you choose to showcase with your dedication to craft. Love your blog. You need to write a book.

    1. And the truth is — I still write on used sandpaper. No moleskin journal or Montblanc needed here, particularly since they wouldn’t impress the pelicans or cormorants. A keyboard’s the right tool for getting things done, but for musing; exploring; getting the ball rolling? Anything will do.

      As for putting a fresh twist on topics, it was John McPhee who gave me some insight into my own process when he wrote this, about one of his first pieces:

      “What you hope is that some subject will interest you, and then you will have to deal with it on its own terms. I get involved with an idea, and then get a little more involved. I went to Florida to do a very short piece on oranges. This intrigued me because the color of orange juice changes over the course of a winter. I wanted to find out what was going on.

      I went into an orange grove down there and found 190 Ph.D.’s studying oranges. There was a library nearby with 50,000 items on oranges. “Oranges” ended up about 60,000 words long.”

      When I read, “I get involved with an idea, and then get a little more involved,” I laughed. I’ve not gone full McPhee yet, but I know the impulse.

  12. Love the poem. Did not know how you came up with your blog name until this morning. I want/ need to work harder @ not using clichés myself . Thanks for the gentle nudge. DM

    1. Given the natural turnover in blog readership, I think it makes sense to republish certain posts from time to time. I first posted this in 2009, and then again in 2013. Four of the original commenters still are around, but others, like you, never have heard the story. I’m glad you stopped by to read it, and I’m even more glad that you like the poem.

      I do enjoy coming up with titles. I wasn’t sure about using Lagniappe for my other blog because it’s almost a cliché itself. But I like the word, and it suited what I wanted to do, so I went with it. It still pleases me – proof, perhaps, that sometimes a cliché can work.

  13. Good Morning Linda,

    What a great post to greet the morning with. Just reading this makes me want to do something with words. You have that effect! I love your first poem and you did make big shoes all on your own to fill with that one.

    The idea of perfect vs right on word selection reminds me of the agonies of SAT exams. You know, which is the best definition for a word among choices that are so close. Not sure if nuance is learned or felt when it comes to understanding of what words mean and what they convey. There has been more than one occasion when my understood meaning and usage was 180 degrees..wrong…like with hoi polloi!!

    Congratulation to you on 10 years of beautiful work and congratulations to us on being lucky enough to have discovered you!!


    1. I’d say we were lucky to discover each other — and all because of a little purple shell. Between the herons, and Plato, and the cards, and all of our experiences with our parents, it’s been quite a decade.

      I was happy to see your new post today, although I haven’t been by to visit yet. I suspect it won’t be long before you’ll be back in your familiar haunts, enjoying the birds and inspiring us. As for me? I still have your email with the “special template” sitting in my inbox. I look at it every now and then, and haven’t forgotten it. Maybe this will be the year to do something with that.

      Just don’t forget that those words that are 180 degrees off can be a lot of fun. I mentioned my malapropistic aunt somewhere up above. She was forever coming up with phrases that left everyone in stitches, and those phrases were her legacy. “The House of the Seven Grables” comes to mind, along with “fig newton of the imagination.” If we can’t have a little fun with our words from time to time, all the nuance in the world isn’t going to matter!

  14. 10 years! Me too, my tenth year writing my blog. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer though I’ve been complimented a time or two about the way I write. And yeah – sometimes searching for the right word, the best word. Can’t always dredge it up until further down the page it will occur to me. I started my blog as a journal or memoir for future generations (if I’m lucky enough to have some) when all that is known about me is my name and dates of my existence as I wonder about the lives of my great great great grands.

    1. So you’re one of the group, Ellen — the ones who began this blogging journey a decade ago. In the past week or two, I’ve discovered that several people I’ve met over the years are celebrating the same anniversary. There seems to be something about the ten year mark that makes people want to acknowledge it.

      A blog as a kind of extended letter to the future is a wondeful idea. It certainly is better than the shoeboxes full of photos without names that most of us have. While that never was my intent, I have thought a time or two that if I can get some of these memories and stories written down now, when my mind finally starts to go (or the process speeds up) at least I can read my posts and say, “I did that? No kidding!”

      Another thing that comes to mind is the way your blog’s become a record of your art. I’ve enjoyed every one of your posts about the process you go through, and what it’s like to be an artist in a somewhat unusual medium. Once things have settled and the rebuilding is done, it will be interesting to see what direction you go.

    1. The great thing about searching for words is that you never have to stop. It’s not like an Easter egg hunt, where someone finally finds the last egg and brings the game to a close. There are good words and great words hidden everywhere, and the best thing is that anyone can find them — if they’re willing to go a little farther into the weeds.

    1. It’s been great fun, and it still is. Of course there’s been a lot of work involved, too — but who ever said work couldn’t be fun? Now, it’s time to add a new coat of paint, tie on a pink ribbon, and welcome a new season!

  15. Wow – 10 years! – my blogging anniversary is this month also, but my little spot and I stand at a mere 4 years, and I’m quite sure I have not even started to grow into any attempts that bridge images, ideas, and words. Congratulations to you!

    1. Well, I’d beg to differ with you on your ability to bridge the gap between writer and readers with your words. You’re one of the most interesting travel writers I know, and perhaps the only one who’s tempted me to get a pair of really good hiking boots and hit some trails.

      But thanks for your congratulations, and best wishes for your own coming years of exploration and writing. While excerpting from a poem is a little risky, I’ve always found the introduction to Sandburg’s “Four Preludes On Playthings Of The Wind” to be strangely bracing. It’s been “one of those years” in so many ways — but isn’t this good?

      The woman named Tomorrow
      sits with a hairpin in her teeth
      and takes her time
      and does her hair the way she wants it
      and fastens at last the last braid and coil
      and puts the hairpin where it belongs
      and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?
      My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
      What of it? Let the dead be dead.

      1. That was both a wonderfully uplifting and soberingly sad comment to read this morning. I can’t bear to post anything official yet, but we said goodbye to our dear, sweet dog yesterday, and I thought of you, strangely, a stranger who had also recently had her heart broken. Somehow I will take off for Italy tomorrow, a trip I expected to take with my pup greeting me home at the end. :(

        1. Lex, I’m so sorry. I know you’ve been anticipating that this would happen “some day,” but when the day comes, there’s nothing that can prepare us. I’m so glad you have those photos from the bluebonnet fields, and honestly? I’m glad your dear pup didn’t leave you while you were traveling. I’ve thought so often of what it would have been like to lose Dixie while I was off somewhere; it would have been even more awful.

          Blessing to you, and safe travels. I’ll look forward to seeing what you discover in that wonderful country.

  16. Congrats on the 10-year anniversary. I heard a report on public radio this morning that encapsulates the life of those pursuing whatever art they are drawn to. A recently released recording of Cuban music drew the attention of the reporter. Turns out, it was made in Cuba. It was tried in New York, but it didn’t work. In a famous studio in Cuba, it worked. Cuban musicians rehearse four to five days a week, for four to five hours a session. That helped make the record. Where I’m going with this is that your discipline over 10 years shows. Keep up the good work.

    1. Dallas likes to claim it’s the “Big D,” but there’s no question that discipline ranks right up there.

      For that matter, we could add deadlines. In the very early months of my blog, after I’d rejected the common wisdom that it’s necessary to post at least three times a week to gain readership (never going over a three hundred word limit, of course) I decided on the once-a-week schedule. For the most part I’ve been able to hold to it. It’s been invaluable, especially when a topic is time-sensitive, like Christmas, but it’s more than that.

      Annie Dillard’s a great nature writer, but her small book devoted to the writing process is equally good. I came upon this passage early, and took it to heart. I’m glad I did.

      A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.

    1. I can pinpoint it, Wendy. It was in the weeks following the Deepwater Horizon explosion. My friend and I were at the camp in DuLarge when that happened — April 20 of 2010 — and I think you started following shortly after, when I was writing about alligator scutes, gar scales, and the swamp.

      Honestly, it seems like yesterday, not eight years ago. So much has happened since then. Thank goodness we still have some years left for even more happy events! it’s been too long since we watched that chicken chase — I need to get over there again, soon.

    1. Thank you, Sheila. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know more about your part of the world, and look forward to sharing more of mine with you in the coming years! Now, if we just could get spring to show up in your neighborhood…

  17. Ten years and a massive amount of work, Linda, with each word carefully chosen. Congratulations and thanks for sharing so many well-thought-out and beautifully written posts. I’ve enjoyed sharing your world— and your words. –Curt

    1. What I didn’t know in the beginning, Curt, was that research would become as time-consuming as the writing. In a way, I’ve used this blog exactly as I use my camera: as a way of seeing more of what’s going on around me. Inevitably, questions get raised, and questions demand exploration, whether or not firm answers are found.

      Of course, the impulse to share what I see is a motivating force, just as it is for you. Both of us are much like our ten-year-old selves, running back to the house with the really cool [fill in the blank] and yelling, “Hey! Look what I found!”

      Here’s to many more years of doing just that, for both of us.

      1. “Both of us are much like our ten-year-old selves, running back to the house with the really cool [fill in the blank] and yelling, “Hey! Look what I found!”
        I can’t think of a simpler or more elegant way of putting it, Linda. There are few things more valuable from my perspective than the ability to see the world with the wonder and joy of a child. And to share that joy. It is a wondrous place we live in.
        Like you, I enjoy research. The blog provides an excuse to learn new things, as it does to go on adventures and spend a lot of time with camera in hand. I rarely take a photo but I don’t think about the blog. –Curt

  18. Wow! Ten years already — what an amazing journey, Linda! Congrats on your blog-anniversary and here’s to many more interesting, educational posts. I can’t remember how and when we “met” online, but I’m delighted we did. I’ve learned so much from your posts, particularly how important it is to choose the right word and use it in the right way. Keep ’em comin’, my friend!

    1. It was about six years ago, Debbie — July of 2012. (I didn’t remember that; I had to look it up in the comment record that WordPress provides to us.) We both were visiting HippieCahier at the time, and whatever you said in her comment section, I thought it was interesting enough to stop by your place. The rest, as they say, is history, and it’s been a good one. Hippie hasn’t posted since January 2017, and it looks like she’s left Twitter, too, but I left a note in her blog.

      It crossed my mind that this writing business is a little like your bead-stringing. We only have to put one word after another: about 50,000 times in your case! But even Neil Gaiman agrees. As he put it, “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

      Speaking of — how’s that second book coming?

    1. The minute I read your comment, John, this song came to mind. I’m a sister, not a brother, and I don’t claim to offer salvation, but I sure do like to travel, and I’m happy when people come along — like you!

      Ten years hasn’t been quite long enough to accomplish everything on my list, so I guess I’ll just keep the show on the road for a while longer.

  19. Congratulations, Linda. Ten years is quite a milestone especially where writing is concerned. It is a difficult thing and you make it look easy. Your work is gracefully written, deeply researched and always informative. It has my been my great pleasure to enjoy your work for many of these past ten years. I look forward to many more as you continue to grow into your writing suit.

    1. That’s a wonderful set of compliments, Gary. As with varnishing, so with writing, I suppose. I’m often told by the dock-walkers that I make varnishing look easy, and I suppose I do. But I’ve got twenty-eight years of experience behind me with that, not ten, and a lot of knowledge about how to make it work.

      You have reminded me of one of my favorite quotations: “Easy reading is damned hard writing.” I used to think it came from Nathaniel Hawthorne, but its source is older and more complicated than that.

      In any event, Maya Angelou attributed the words to Hawthorne in an interview in The Paris Review, and what she said made me laugh in recognition and delight:

      Nathaniel Hawthorne says, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” I try to pull the language in to such a sharpness that it jumps off the page. It must look easy, but it takes me forever to get it to look so easy.

      Of course there are those critics—New York critics as a rule—who say, “Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer.” Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing.

  20. Well, Linda, I share your incredulity re the ten-year anniversary since mine comes up next month! Although I have moved on from my original blog into other Web avenues, it’s been a great pleasure to me that we still drop into each other’s posts from time to time. i still think you are one of the very best writers on the Web. That quest for just the right word has borne much fruit – not least in the devoted following you have built up over those years and the friendships which have arisen therefrom.
    Keep on truckin’ !!

    1. So you’re another one who’s been at this for a decade. It’s been interesting to watch how long-term, active bloggers reshape and redefine their work. I suspect those who don’t change in one way or another are the ones who fall by the wayside. Both of us have enlarged our online presence, in different ways, and you’ve no doubt been as invigorated by your changes as I’ve been by mine.

      I must say, I enjoy your Twitter presence tremendously. Many of your regular posts are beyond me, for obvious reasons (so much detail!) but your more meditative posts, and your ability to find things like that aurora dolphin are wonderful. Here’s to life on the edge!

    1. Thanks so much, Biff. It took some time to get things rolling, but after about three years I started to feel more comfortable with the rhythms of researching, writing, and posting. Strangely, I had some firm ideas about what I wanted to do, and how to go about it, so I ignored teh received wisdom about how to be “successful,” and stuck with my own program. It’s working out well, and I certainly will be interested to see what the next ten years bring, too!

  21. Congrats and keep on sanding, trucking’, and writin’!
    (Goldilocks is the right analogy for writing – perfect bed to find yourself in – and to pen a few things along the way)
    YEA YOU (and why is anyone inside today? Only taking time to say cheers to you!)

    1. With R. Crumb and the Dead hanging around, maybe we should complete the trifecta with “Keep Blogging Weird.” I don’t think Austin would sue for copyright infringement, do you?

      Now, we’ve got the sunshine and we’ve got the perfect temperatures. If this silly wind would finally lay, it would be just right!

      1. Well, the wind is at least blowing the encasing mildew off the palms and the palms are getting wind assist to get their fronds open. A good number of the Queen palms that looked so pathetic are making a valiant effort for a come back. (Our local squirrels are happier – they eat the fruit in the summer and love the lounge on the bark elbows)
        Hawks are up and out this morning. But this wind is really drying – bound to be fire danger

    1. There are so many wonderful places to visit. I still have a list that needs tending to, as well. It’s all work, all the time for just a little while longer, but then I’m hoping to wander a bit myself, and do some writing as a result. If you ever get down toward the coast, let me know. Internet chit-chat’s great, but a good conversation can’t be beat.

    1. Just like with Paul Harvey, now you know “the rest of the story.” After ten years, I’m still happy with the title, so it must have been the right one. Thanks for your good wishes — they’ll help to carry me forward.

  22. Well done Linda, and congratulations.

    The putting down of words is something that you excel in and I am sure encourages many to keep going as well.

    Back in 2007 or so, after getting a few articles published on our Australian Broadcaster Commission, the ABC’s blog, I was asked to keep contributing which I did. (and got paid for it)

    Writing can become quite contagious and that has to be a good thing.

    1. I love your idea of writing being contagious, Gerard. We speak of things on the internet “going viral,” but that’s slightly different. Videos or articles that go viral may be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, but that’s the end of it. From what I can tell, the viewers just click and move on, essentially unchanged and not inspired to do anything in response.

      Writing, especially good writing, is different. It engages thought, and may even move the reader to respond somehow. You can “catch” the urge to write by reading others — probably the reason so many authors say that reading and writing belong together.

      I remember when I first realized the ABC might stand for something other than the American Broadcasting Corporation. Though I can’t remember the context, I know I was reading your blog. It must have been great fun to contribute to their site, and satisfying to be asked to continue on. Of course, a check never hurts, either.

  23. That was quite a poem from one who wasn’t a poet.

    That you continue to care about your word choice is a thing of beauty (LOL, thought I would describe your word choice in rather mundane terms…) Using the “right” word is often the difference between reader clarity and confusion. Doing so takes focus, drive, and energy to find the words which convey our ideas.

    Your long list of loyal and energetic followers is a testament to the exacting way you write. Your topics are informative and throb with curiosity.

    As a blogger for ten years myself, I say to you, “Cheers!”

    1. Ironically, it wasn’t quite my first poem. I wrote our class poem in 1964, after being elected high school class poet. Obviously, I was writing back then, too, but I don’t remember much of it. In fact, once I remembered that I was class poet, I had to call my high school and have someone in the administrative office dig around to find and send me a copy of what I’d written. There’s a story there that will show up in the blog someday.

      It’s no mistake that I quoted Mark Twain over at Lagniappe. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from him over the years, and his remark to George Bainton in an 1888 letter is perfect: “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

  24. Congratulations on achieving 10 years of WordPress posts, Linda. Finding the right words is not easy (whether non-writers believe it or not). Its not just the right word either. Its sentence structure, paragraph length and the gift of painting pictures with words.

    I enjoy your posts every time I read one, whether it be new or old. Love you poem The Task at Hand.

    With so many bloggers lasting 3 years or less, 10 years is certainly a milestone to be celebrated :)

    1. It’s interesting about that three year mark. I’ve read that a high percentage of businesses fail by that point, and when I started my own business, it took about three years for me to be able to turn a sufficient profit to support myself. By that time, my savings was depleted, but I managed to survive.

      Just for grins, I went back into my files to see what I was writing about three years down the road. It was quite a year: my mother died, and the Mississippi River flooded in a way it hadn’t since 1927. But both of those led to travel, and some of my first travel writing. It wasn’t the easiest year, but I kept to my posting “schedule” — and learned a lot in the process of that, too.

      I suspect there are new lessons to be learned down the road, and some old ones to be reinforced. I’m looking forward to it — thanks for your encouraging words!

  25. Congratulations! I just love the Eliot poem that you end with, and that points us so nicely back to the beginning. I remember doing some work with Aquinas some years ago, and his use of the word “apt” in pointing to what fits just so. The concern is not perfection, but relation. There is something to that, I think.

    1. I think so, too. Apt is such a good word, as is fitting, defined as “suitable or appropriate under the circumstances; right or proper.”

      Flannery O’Connor is one of my favorite writers, and I was reminded recently that she was a bit of a Thomist herself. I pulled out her collection of letters to re-read, and have had a hard time putting them down. Her views on the nature of words and the writing process itself aren’t presently systematically, but there are some gems embedded in the letters. It just takes a little digging to find them. This may be my absolute favorite:

      Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

  26. Your first poem set a high bar. Congratulations on maintaining your excellence! You delight in choosing the right word; I delight in avoiding the wrong word! As a result you produce perfect words and I produce right words – hopefully. I am a debtor to you as you challenge and teach me. Thanks.

    1. Whether we call it the right word, or the perfect word, or even the so-so word, what’s important is that the words we use communicate: that they serve the purpose we intend. In the same way that Ecclesiastes said, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven,” we might add, “For every meaning there is a word, and a purpose for every sentence in a paragraph.” The trick is finding those words, but once we do, I think we usually recognize them.

      And if we fall short? There’s always another post to write, and share, and enjoy — that’s part of the fun.

  27. Happy Anniversary dear Linda, to know you, to meet on this blogging world with you is one of the most beautiful things, I think it’s been such a long time for my blog too. Thank you for sharing with us, Thank you for being there… It is always so interesting and enjoyable time to be here. And also you are such a nice person, you were there with me when I lived a problem or a fear in my country, I can’t forget this. Blessing and Happiness, Love, nia

    1. It has been quite a decade, hasn’t it Nia? The writing has been enjoyable, the photography always is fun, and the cats? Well, the cats are with us to make us happy. Sometimes there have been times of worry — I don’t have to tell you about that — but we still are here. That’s a blessing.

      I hope our next decade is one of peace, and that some necesssary changes will come. In the meantime, we can enjoy one another’s company across the miles! Thank you for being such a constant presence in my life!

  28. Yes, Goldilocks…that’s exactly how it is when I’m struggling for the ‘right’ word. Congratulations on your 10th Blog-iversary! I find it quite an accomplishment to continue blogging for that length of time. Most folks stop after just a couple of years. And kudos to you for setting the bar high in your writing, it shows.

    1. You know the old saying about how it’s “better to be lucky than good”? Perhaps there’s a corollary that says it’s “better to be persistent than good”! I have persisted, that’s for sure. And it’s true that I’ve made progress toward some goals that I set myself. Learning to write is more than correct spelling and syntax, after all — important as those are.

      Browning put it well, I think, in “Andrea Del Sarto: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” That’s just another way of suggesting the power of a high bar — and the need to reset from time to time.

  29. Linda, your posts are always among the most rewarding to read, and to think over. Sometimes people talk about the “craft of writing” — I think striving to make the leap from doing a workmanlike job, to real artistry, is a beautiful thing, and a wonderful, lifelong goal. And I appreciate more and more, economy, one of your admirable qualities. Meaning the discipline to self-edit, and the artistry in distilling things down to essentials. (There, I’ve run on too long again, see what I mean?! something I have to work on! :) )

    1. When it comes to craft and artistry, I like to think about the relationship in terms of building a home. Nice curtains and a cool rug on the floor are great, but if you add them before the framing’s complete and the roof is on, there’s trouble ahead. You can hang a lot of plot, emotion, and argument on a good structure, but the structure has to be there.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean strict adherance to the kind of outlines we were taught in school; structure can develop in different ways. I’ve read about John McPhee’s practice of covering a wall with index cards containing thoughts and nascent paragraphs, with a push pin stuck in the one he’s working on so he can find it. That’s funny, and familiar. I’ve got more than a few drafts with paragraphs that are waiting for the rest of the post to show up.

      Still, structure alone isn’t enough. I’ve read pieces that were structurally perfect, and perfectly boring. On the other hand, we’ve all come across pieces that were all decoration: sometimes fluffy and sometimes baroque, but unreadable because they were piled high with too many fancy, decorative words.

      As for editing, it would be fun to know the ratio of deleted words to published words in my posts. There’s no doubt more have been deleted, and by a good margin. Self-editing is tough, but necessary. We all have to work on it, all the time.

  30. Congratulations! I think you are a very talented writer, and photographer. I often become so engrossed in your posts that I am unable to adequately comment!xxx

    1. That you get engrossed is far more important than that you leave a comment! It delights me beyond words that you enjoy what I write — and the photographs, too. I’ve found that a learning curve is a learning curve, and many of the lessons I learned while varnishing transferred to writing. Now, writing lessons learned are transferring to photography. It’s so interesting, and so much fun.

    1. Thanks, Brig. It’s always great to see you here. With luck, I’ll keep this up for a while: good Lord willing, creeks not rising, and all that.

      I hope all’s well in your world: spring-y and sweet. I imagine you hanging around a barn like one of those in your most recent post — that would be pretty darned enjoyable, too.

  31. Congratulations on the milestone! I’m in the club, too, started a WordPress in 2007. I don’t post but once a week, but I am steady at it.
    I wonder if the right word is heavy or light. The wrong one heavier, perhaps, hard to move, until the right one falls lightly into place.

    1. Once a week posting has worked out well for me. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull off a photo blog, too, and I still haven’t adjusted things perfectly, but it’s coming along.The important thing is that I’m still enjoying both The Task At Hand and Lagniappe, despite the time they require.

      Your comment about the relative weight of words is intriguing. After some thought, I decided it might be possible for right words to be either heavy or light. The best narrative flow probably includes both, like your photo of the cataract at Mt. Tam: nice, heavy, immovable rocks combined with light, free-flowing water. It was just the right combination there, and it works pretty well in writing, too.

  32. Keep on trucking’ Linda, and congrats on your 10 years of blogging. I enjoyed your poem, and your blog touches on so many different subjects.

    1. One of the great delights I’ve experienced since starting this blog is the ability to go where my interests — or my curiosity — take me. When I think of all the topics I’ve written about that I knew almost nothing about when I started, it’s astonishing. I suspect you’ve had the same experience with your blog, too. There’s so much to learn, we’ll never run out of subjects.

  33. Congratulations on hitting that ten-year anniversary; I remember your Wunderground snippets during hurricane season, and most likely I read every one you wrote when Katrina was spinning her deadly web.

    Thank you for sharing the behind-the-scenes story of ‘The Task at Hand’ and for the beautiful stories you’ve shared over the years!

    1. I know that you use WU as a source for weather information on a regular basis, but I had no idea you were lurking around back in the day. Snoopy me went into the archives to see if you might be there under one of your current screen names, but you aren’t. Of course, my entries are gone, too. A lot of us deleted everything before the site closed down, so even our screen names are gone.

      I was sure I still had the series of entries I posted when I live-blogged our evacuation for Rita, but I can’t find them anywhere. No matter, I suppose. I remember every detail of that horror-filled night perfectly well — some memories are quite humorous at this point! — and I might turn them into a how-not-to-evacuate guide one of these days.

      Who knows what’s coming next? Let’s hope we get a rest from earthquakes and hurricanes, so we can get on with other things!

      1. Back when Katrina rolled thru the Gulf, it was very difficult to get much information in Costa Rica; I found Wunderground as one of the best sources, though it was the thread that usually worked best — I certainly couldn’t add anything useful from my vantage point, but definitely learned a lot – especially those radar images people loaded to the comment section… and even offline, the image continued to roll thru the animation…

        the weather continues to be crazy – did you see where hawaii received – i think it was 27 inches of rain in 24 hours in the past few days?

        1. I didn’t know the total in inches, but I’d seen some photos. Kauai’s where we anchored for three days before leaving for Alaska. It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen, with rainbows everywhere, every day. It’s not paradise right now, unfortunately.

          1. What a wonderful memory of your three days there, such a contrast to what they’ve received this past week. Rainbows everywhere – sounds like a wonderful experience!

            Looks like lots of places are getting extreme rains right now – I saw photos of Cali Colombia – whew!

  34. Brava, brava! What a wonderful group you happened into. There’s nothing like that where I live. Your commentary on “perfect” and “right” struck a chord, It is the same with my collage efforts—I sit with a few elements, staring at them and pushing them around until the placement seems “right.” Perfect, however, suggests something preordained, but the process is actually one of discovery, and indeed, without that, the engagement in the making would hardly be worthwhile.

    1. A jigsaw puzzle came to my mind as one metaphor for the word selection process while I was writing this, but now I realize that a collage would be a much better choice. Finishing a jigsaw is a matter of achieving that preordained “perfect.” But the collage? There’s no telling what perfect might look like, until the “just right” has been revealed

      I had another thought about the relationship of your collages to the writing process, but I’ll save that for a comment on your most recent post.

    1. I’ve wondered from time to time if I’d chose a different title today. I suppose there might be one that’s not quite so cryptic, but on the other hand, every time I hear someone use the phrase “the task at hand,” I giggle. That’s worth something!

      Thanks for the good wishes. I appreciate it!

  35. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your words with us. Jim and I hit five years at WordPress recently, and both of us have time in before that. Persistence is rare in this, I think.

    1. I think so, too, Melanie. On the other hand, I’ve said several times that varnishing taught me patience, perseverance, and attention to detail long before I came to blogging. I suspect your experience with quilting might have been similar. Transferable skills are the best!

    1. Mostly! There certainly have been changes over those years: life changes, platform changes, community changes. I read tonight that Flickr has been bought out by SmugMug. What, if anything, that’s going to mean for Sandi and the crew is hard to say. Maybe nothing, or maybe something. But, as Steve Winwood sang so well, it will be just one more time to “Roll with it, baby.” Here’s to another ten years of doing just that!

  36. Congratulations on ten years! I appreciate the story of how your blog and title came to be. It is also wonderful to hear about the progression of things – I was just telling someone the other day how my writing skills had evolved since my first post back in early 2011. Life has changed too, and with it my stories.

    I continue to learn from you, Linda. You bring up subjects that I find myself pondering and considering as I do my day’s work. And, most of the time, I learn something I had no earthly knowledge of before, which many times, may cause me to research and explore more. I often find the comments just as interesting.

    Your writing is such a gift! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and prose.

    1. Thanks, Lori! One of the best things about having a few years invested in anything is being able to look back and see how we’ve developed. Interests change, skills develop, but even if no one else notices, we certainly do.

      One of the interesting differences between activities such as writing and life in general is that while we notice our writing (or photography, or land management, or varnishing) getting “better,” life doesn’t necessary get better in the same way. It changes, and becomes different — but that doesn’t mean that the past was worse. It just was different. In a sense, I’ve lived four quite distinct lives, and I’m sure you’d say the same, whatever the specific number.

      When I started writing, one thing I decided early on is that I only would write about what interested me. You’ve taken the same approach, and it makes your posts so interesting, even for those of us who live in quite different worlds.

      I really appreciate your comments, but I confess I had to grin at your mention of having “no earthly idea” about this or that topic. I share that experience. There have been plenty of time when I’ve been interested in something, but knew almost nothing about it. So, I had to learn in order to write. That’s a great part of the fun!

  37. You composed poetry on the back of used sheets of sandpaper? That is one of the best images of authorial agony in the history of language. As good as chiseling words into stone. Thanks for the origin story. Congratulations on ten years. Even bigger congratulations on continuing, with or without sandpaper.

    1. The sandpaper story amuses me, but I didn’t think a thing about it at the time. Finding a pen or pencil was the hard part. I’ve upped my game; now I carry a drugstore tablet and ballpoint pen in my tool bag.

      As for continuing on, that’s been pretty simple, too. I set the template in the first year, and it seems still to be working. It’s McPhee-ish enough that it might even work for more than a blog.

  38. Happy Anniversary, Linda! I was glad to hear the story of your “official” beginnings as a writer, but I’m sure a lot of possibly invisible groundwork had been done in your good mind from an early age. We are all reaping the rewards of your building on what was given to you. Thank you!

    1. I did quite a bit of writing in junior high and high school, and had hoped to major in English in college. But, at the urging of everyone around me, I gave that up in favor of a degree in social work, and stopped writing. Writing wasn’t practical, couldn’t lead to a steady career, and so on, while an English major necessarily implied teaching, which I considered a horror.

      The great irony is that I’ve done quite a bit of teaching over the years, and enjoyed it immensely. Now, I’m writing, and enjoy that, too. I’ll never make up for all the lost time, but I can make a run at it.

  39. I remember liking to write in high school, but I got no real guidance in that — no teachers who actually were writers themselves and could be mentors. It took many years before I figured out that when I had something to say it was satisfying to work at it.

  40. You know, I don’t think I ever knew how you came to name your blog or how you began blogging itself. It’s a wonderful tale — a true, honest tale of introspection, thought, mastery. The right word. Ten years — I think we’ve “known” each other for most of them, haven’t we? And yet this is a story that is as fresh and new as any post you’ve ever done!

    I’m not surprised you won the contest with that poem. I’m pretty sure it was far from your first but perhaps the first on which you so thoughtfully labored? I’m not sure what I would have done with that photo — but I know I wouldn’t have won the contest!

    Congratulations on your tenth. I look forward to many, many more (and your next review posts!)

    1. I’m sure we’ve shared almost those ten years. I suspect we met through Write on Wednesday (was that the name?) although it might have been through Oh! It doesn’t matter, of course. What matters is that we met.

      Introspection, thought, mastery? I’m laughing. I just read through the next “how I started blogging” piece from the past I was going to post, and almost chickened out. Then, I got intrigued. There’s a certain tone to it that surprises me even now, even though I can’t quite find the word to describe it. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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