#BlogtownTuesday: Interview with Cynthia June Long

Today’s #BlogtownTuesday guest is one of the original members of this virtual neighborhood. Cynthia participated in #bloginstead, and we’ve known each other online for years now. I’ve always been fascinated by her “Faerie Librarian” designator, so this interview ought to be interesting! As always, I’m asking 5 questions. Here are Cynthia’s answers.

How did Your blog gets its name?

There’s already a different “Cynthia Long” who writes for the National Education Association; and at least one other creative writing/poet/songwriting Cynthia Long and/or Cynthia J. Long. So I use my middle name to distinguish myself from those others.

My tagline is more descriptive: Faith, Myth, Folklore, Literature | Faerie Librarian. By profession, in my “day job,” I’m a librarian. For fun I read widely in folklore, the fantasy genre, and contemporary literature about faeries. That makes me the Faerie Librarian.

What would you say is the defining characteristic of your blog?

The intersections between faith, myth & folklore. Christian references in folklore. My two favorite examples are “Priest Communes Good Werewolves” from the 12th Century and “The Priest’s Supper,” a~18th or 19th Century Irish tale in which a parishioner relates to his priest a question from the fairies: Will the faeries receive eternal salvation? I shared “The Priest’s Supper” in my presentation at Doxacon 2017; you can listen to it here, starting around minute 11-12:12.

Faerie folklore is my specialty, but I’ve branched out on my blog to occasionally include book reviews of non-faerie books and I sometimes also discuss other literary or personal topics. As a former children’s librarian, I also review select children’s books.

What is your favorite thing about blogging? Least Favorite?

Favorite: Faith-and-Folklore is a niche topic, but it’s my niche. I love it. I could talk (or write) about it all day.

Least favorite: the time required to produce high-quality blog content, and continuing to do so, preferably on a regular schedule, which I haven’t quite been able to manage. Yes, I’m a perfectionist, but let’s face it: good writing requires re-writing. Editing. Formatting. I’ve been disappointed in the posts I’ve thrown up in a rush. Even when offering an opinion, I want to present my best work. And then I’ll go find engaging photos to accompany it. My quest for “the best” accompanying image can sometimes get carried away.

You’re a member of #Blogtown, a social blogging collaborative. How is blogging social for you?

We know the old koan: If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? Is a writer a writer without a reader?

In college, my best friends were the folks who stayed up late debating philosophy and discussing the meaning of the universe. A blog re-creates in written format all those late-night obscure, esoteric conversations. (The best kind of conversations, I might add!) The increased deliberate interactivity of #Blogtown turns a blog post from a soliloquy into a conversation.

Tell us 3 things we’d know about you if we’d grown up together.

  • I have two older sisters; I’m the youngest of three girls. We grew up in “The Brady Bunch” era. Our hair color was lighter as children; I was a blonde or ‘dirty-blonde’ for my first four or five years. (Please don’t call me “Cindy.”)
  • I was a Girl Scout. I loved Girl Scouting. I loved camping. The smell of crisp autumn leaves gets me nostalgic every fall.
  • As the youngest child, I suffered from not-old-enough-yet syndrome.  The proudest moment of my first 4 years was when I was the Star of Bethlehem in the church Christmas pageant.  I wasn’t old enough to join the heavenly choir of angels like my sisters and the other cool big kids, but for once, I got the better deal. I was the Star of Bethlehem.

Thank you, Cynthia!

You can connect with Cynthia at Cynthia June Long. See you in #Blogtown!

#MakersMonday: An interview with Kristina Tartara

I’m more than usually excited about this #MondayMakers interview because Kristina Tartara is the illustrator for St Ia Rides a Leaf, the board book we just contracted with St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press! Kristina and I met at a conference, bonded over our shared love of guinea pigs (because all right-thinking people love these little creatures), and we are truly enjoying our first professional collaboration. Kristina works hard. She’s always learning, always polishing her work, always growing in her art. I respect that. As always on #MakersMonday, I’m asking 5 questions. Here’s Kristina, with her answers!

Tell us about your work. What do you create?

I am a children’s book author, illustrator, and graphic designer. In the Orthodox world, I authored two board books (What Do You See at Liturgy & What Can I Do at Divine Liturgy) as well as a matching game (My Orthodox Matching Game). The illustrations were photographs because I wanted children to see other kids participating in the Divine Liturgy. If children are able to practice how to do things at home, then they will be better able to participate at church. The books also show things that they would see around the church to help them learn church vocabulary and spark interest in the world around them. In the near future, I’m hoping to create other Orthodox things to sell on my Etsy shop, such as gifts and greeting cards with my illustrations. I have a blog where I post activities for young children that have an Orthodox lesson. 

In the secular world, I’ve illustrated four books that were authored by someone else. These will be published in the late spring/early summer. I’m also scheduled to illustrate 2 Orthodox books this year, so keep an eye out for those.

How did you learn to do this kind of work?

Ever since I was in elementary school, I’ve wanted to write and illustrate children’s books! When I went to college, I ended up studying early childhood education, even though I always wanted to write and illustrate. That might seem backwards to some people, but having training in education helps me understand how to support readers through the illustrations and text. I’m so glad I did it. 

In the past, I would research publishing, and I thought I would never be able to do it. Everything seemed too difficult and too competitive. Then life took a turn I didn’t expect. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that left me struggling to use my hands, and my brain was a mess. As part of my recovery, I read that it helps to learn something new to retrain the brain. I took a colored pencil class at a local art studio, and I haven’t stopped creating since then. Getting sick was the most difficult thing I’ve been through, but it motivated me to do what makes me feel fulfilled – draw. Be grateful for the struggles you are faced with and find ways to use them to glorify God. We only live once, so go for it. Do what you always wanted to do even if you might fail or it seems difficult. 

What do you find satisfying about being a “maker”?

In every job I’ve had, all I could think about was creating. I love being able to say – I have to work which means I’m drawing all day. I want to create things that have a positive message and help kids learn about the world around them. 

What’s your favorite memory associated with practicing your craft?

My favorite memory is probably with my grandma. She’d buy crafts and have them waiting for me when I visited. She also had a bunch of DIY craft magazines from the 50s that showed how to upcycle used items into something else. I loved looking at them and trying to make things out of nothing. She knew I loved crafts and always encouraged me to be creative. 

Share a photo of a favorite piece, and tell us the story that goes with it.

[Melinda’s note: Kristina gave me several pieces to choose from, and I did – I chose all of them!]

Here is some art from my colored pencil class. This one is actually graphite. It is of my Papou. My grandparents suffered a lot during WWII in Greece, yet they never stopped praying and believing in God. Their example is what carried me through my illness. 


And here is one of St. Basil’s in Russia. It is such a beautiful church and maybe one day I will get to see it in person. 🙂 

The jaguar is looking to the future with hope in his eyes. There’s always hope even when you think you’re lost. 

Thank you, Kristina!

You can see more of Kristina’s art, including her adorable illustrations for children, by viewing her portfolio HERE.

I’ll be sharing Kristina’s work as the illustrations for St. Ia Rides a Leaf develop. She’s crafting the storyboard this week, and I can’t wait to see it!

Funny memory: A cow on the Oregon Trail

What a coincidence! I wrote this down four years ago and ran across it again this morning. Pretty sure many of us are feeling like this cow on the Oregon Trail!

Here’s my 9-year-old, discussing the perils of the Oregon Trail journey at dinner.
“Say this is a covered wagon.” (Picks up piece of biscuit and sets it on top of second piece of biscuit) “And this is the raft it’s floating on, on the river.”
Aligns a broccoli floweret with one end of the biscuit wagon-raft.
“This is the cow pulling it.”
Begins pulling the broccoli. “Mooooooooooooooooo.” (In a deep, cow voice.)
Pulls broccoli cow to edge of plate. Knocks it over the edge. “Good-bye cow.” (Grimace)
[Pause, in which the broccoli cow plops onto the “States of the US” placemat under the plate-river.]
“Hey” (Speaking once more in the deep cow voice) “I’m in Montana.”

My wish for you today is that if you do fall off the plate, you land somewhere lovely, like Montana!

COVID-19: Finally, an excuse to relax

The coronavirus situation burst upon our region just before a weekend that promised to be a scheduling nightmare. Between us, my family had first three and then four conflicting events, two that were approximately 12 hours long and two overnight, out-of-town trips for work. I tackled the problem – set up rides and a sleepover, relegated the dog to the pet hotel, bowed ungracefully out of my work trip, and stared wearily at the solution for a few shining hours.

And then, LIFE happened. Not life in the sense of “a series of events Melinda has organized” but actual life – the chain of events over which we have far less control than we’d like to believe.

It’s Thursday now, the inaugural day of that wild jig-saw-scheduled weekend. Of the four events, only one remains, a board meeting my husband is attending solo.

All that coordination I did? Unnecessary.

All those conflicts? Cancelled, with prudent nods at COVID-19.

The construction and deconstruction of this weekend resembled the experience of falling backwards down stairs – bumping every step, pretending some effort of will can steer your skull away from what might fracture it.

And now?

Eventless, coordinating nothing but the order in which I’ll read my library books on Saturday, I draw a swift, sweet, breath of relief.

I call someone, and we share our relief. We count over the chores we’ll have time for now. We plan full nights of sleep for our families. We gaze at the top-heavy pile our lives have become, revealed more plainly now that it has toppled.

Our relief is complex, almost guilty. These thoughts float uneasily behind the careful calm, the prayers, the wincing curiosity for knowledge we’ll probably regret. We grieve for the suffering and the dead, and for their loved ones. If only everyone could close this virus out. If only we all could release ourselves to an afternoon of completed tasks, good books, cushions, and tea without the dark forces that make this respite possible.

COVID-19 will change us. When we return from our cloistered waiting, who will we be? Will we return, forgetful, to the habits of a lifetime? Will we never be the same again?

This afternoon in a parking lot, I overheard two students talking with a teacher about an upcoming performance. “I hope it won’t be cancelled,” the girls said. “I hope so, too,” said the teacher. “Everyone put so much effort into it.” It sounded odd, suddenly. Could the effort weigh against the risk?

Decision-making is brutal now – very hard and very simple. We’re trying to leap into our future and look back at ourselves, to make the choice now we will wish then we had made. When we arrive in that future, what will we think?

Quarantine doesn’t look much like it did in, for example, 1918. “Social distancing” might better be termed “physical distancing” when our virtual society continues unabated. We already talk to our friends more online than we do in person. Is it our social distance that is changing? Or will our last finger-hold on real life slip closer to the edge as we lose the opportunity to interact in any way but virtually?

I don’t like social media, although I see its usefulness during a contagious outbreak. But I can’t forget that sense of relief, felt and observed, as the daily grind evaporated. Sometimes, when you begin to let go, you wish to continue.

Why did it take a pandemic to stop us? What good might come out of this great evil?

Corgi Seven Leaf: Book Projects Update

This is a happy year in my writing life. I have three books coming out in three genres, from two publishers. I love that!

Corgi

The first book out is actually a third book – it’s the third book in the #SamandSaucer trilogy. The first two, Shepherding Sam and The Barn and the Book, introduced us to Sam, his corgi friend Saucer, and his friends and adventures at the Monastery of St. Gerasim. Sam struggles hard. Sometimes he’s angry, sometimes he’s happy, sometimes he wants to be left. alone. please. Saucer, corgi that he is, loves Sam and follows Sam around and barks at him and pats his foot and even, when occasion demands, takes a good mouthful of Sam’s pant leg and hauls him along where he needs to go.

Corgi standing under a blooming cherry tree
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

I just handed in my second round of revisions for this third book, and most of what’s left now will be copy-edits and minor adjustments. This book happened in layers, more than the last one did. I originally thought there wasn’t a third book, but with some prodding from my editor, I discovered there was indeed a third book. Like all my books, it fell out of the sky and hit me on the head. This is perhaps not the most dignified writing process, but it works for me! I wrote the story all in one gasp, so to speak, and then set it aside because there was time before the release date. The editor read through her pile and got to my story, and we started in on her first round of big-picture suggestions. The book gained several chapters, the characters gained depth, and it went back to her again for another round. She pointed out a few other adjustments, and that’s what I sent back to her last Sunday night.

I liked working on the characters this time around. They’re two years older than they were in the first book, and I did a little research to help me build out Sam. At no point in the books do we have a name for Sam’s particular kind of struggle. Many people have suggested that he’s on the autism spectrum, and my researched honored that suggestion. However, life has taught me that people with labels and people without labels have more in common than they think. This third book puts Sam together with Macrina, his arch-nemesis. Macrina would be the first to tell you that there is NOTHING the matter with her. But as the story developed, I realized, along with one of their mutual friends, that Macrina and Sam have more in common than either of them would like to admit. Perhaps we all do. For that reason, Sam still does not have a label. Macrina doesn’t either. There’s something in each of their struggles that most of us can relate to.

This book, like the first two in the series, will have a cover and three interior illustrations by the friendly and talented Clare Freeman! And that means I’ve also sent in a detailed list of information for the illustrations – listing scenes I hope will be chosen for pictures, and details of setting, clothing, facial expression, etc, Clare will need to create those pictures.

Seven

Seven Holy Women is a story-telling devotional I’m writing with a group of friends. All told, there are eight of us involved, but our math still works because the book focuses on seven women saints. It’s unique in my experience, for two reasons. First, I’ve never written a book with a group of friends before! Second, I’ve never run across a book like this one. Perhaps one exists somewhere, but it hasn’t popped up yet. Our book is unique because it uses short stories written in the second person to help our readers grapple with their own connections to these saints. “You are Morwenna,” the book begins. YOU. Your brain is wired to read those words and drop your imagination into the story, gazing out at the events as if they were your experiences, in your life. You aren’t Morwenna, of course. You are several centuries too late for that, but when I started writing the four short stories that were the root of this book, I loved the mental and spiritual exercise of trying to stand in these holy shoes, for a few moments only.

I needed help to make this book all that it should be, and that’s where my friends come in. Each of them took one of the seven saints, befriended her, and wrote about her. Each section includes personal surveys and a journaling opportunity, and as of this month, all seven sections are in the manuscript. The only remaining task is for me to write the final chapter, and that’s what I’m pondering now. I’ll wander back through the sections written by my friends and then I’ll have to make up my mind just what that final chapter needs to contribute to finish the book neatly and completely.

Leaf

St. Ia Rides a Leaf, the board book just contracted with SVS Press, is now in the storyboard stage! Kristina Tartara, the illustrator, has sent me the first illustration of Ia, and we’re talking over the color of her dress. This is a story set by the Irish Sea, so nearly every illustration will include shades of blue and green. Ia is a red-head, good Irish girl that she is, and we’ve tried four dress colors, drawn from our research on the dyes available to her in her place and time, and social class. Ia was a princess, so her clothes would be more colorful than those of neighboring peasants.

Meanwhile, Kristina has the final text, and this week she’s breaking it into pages and sketching the rough outlines of the scenes that will appear on each one.

I truly love watching the illustration process. I’d enjoy it for anyone’s book, and to watch my own story appear in pictures is one of my favorite parts of the writing life. It will never grow old! It’s especially delightful when I get to work so closely with the illustrator. Kristina communicates with me often and kindly sends me sketches and snatches at every stage. It makes me happy.

BLOG

And of course, my other writing project is this blog! I am so glad I came back to blogging. I’m finding all kinds of interesting people here in the blogosphere. I enjoy your words and pictures, and the ways they stretch my mind. Thank you for being here!

#Blogtown Tuesday: Interview with The Live Script

Today’s #BlogtownTuesday guest was a toss up – she’s a maker and a blogger, so should she be on #MakersMonday or #BlogtownTuesday?? I asked her. She thought about it, and she picked #BlogtownTuesday. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out her handmade soap. It smells so good I’m always tempted to take a bite. However, rather than eating soap, I’m asking Sarah at The Live Script my 5 questions, and these are her beautiful answers.

How did your blog get its name?

The Live Script name comes from my sense of being every moment within a narrative taller and wider and deeper than what meets the eye.  Script means not only handwriting, but also a crafted story, and adding “live” speaks to the experience, the immediacy of being present within the story and observing it closely.

What would you say is the defining characteristic of your blog?

This question is quite hard for me to answer.  I know that when I write I am sort of “waving over” the one that comes to read, saying, by my words, “Here, look at this with me.  Experience this scene, this thought; do you see what I see?”  Topically I range from poetry to theology to parenting to cooking, and many stops in between.

What’s your favorite thing about blogging? Least favorite?

I greatly appreciate having a place to spill some of the thoughts that otherwise bang around my head and heart until they’re assembled and given a home.  Writing is crucial for my own understanding and processing and the blog format allows feedback that writing in my journal does not.  Thus far I haven’t experienced any negative aspects of blogging; I’m not well known so I’m not a target for trolls.  My obscurity has been a gift.

You’re a member of #Blogtown, a Social Blogging Collaborative. How is blogging social for you?

Though it can never replace the intimacy of a face-to-face conversation, there is value in the regular reading  of each other’s work.  Even if it is only our thoughts that reach across the miles, there is still connection and community.

Tell us 3 things we would know about you if we’d grown up with you.

  1. I am happiest in or near water, be it the ocean, a creek, or the river in Montana that runs through my parents’ land.  The sound, the smell, and the refreshing buoyant coolness of it never fails to delight me, and I am always the last one out of the water.  
  2. I would rather be up in a tree, or on a bicycle, or sitting in the woods, than playing organized sports or pursuing success or seeking entertainment (movies, concerts, plays).  My parents didn’t know what to make of me; I was not motivated by money nor achievement, but just wanted to be up in my tree, writing and thinking.  
  3. There was never an art form that I wasn’t interested in trying.  Growing up I loved drawing, painting, sculpting, doing collages, sewing, and photography.  As an adult that has expanded to soap making, candle making, miniature pottery, quilting, watercoloring, jewelry making, weaving, and soon, carving wooden spoons.

Thank you, Sarah!

You can connect with Sarah at The Live Script. See you in #Blogtown!

#bloginstead

#MakersMonday: An Interview with Pelikan Icons

My #MakersMonday guest today is an iconographer! Elina of Pelikan Icons and I have met in real life at conferences, and we’ve known each other online for years now. I’ve seen her dancing and art-journaling and book reviewing, but the craft she’s sharing today might be the crown jewel of her skills. As always, I’m asking 5 questions, and Elina is answering, with words and pictures!

Tell us about your work. What do you create?

I am an Orthodox artist, and my most important work is as a byzantine iconographer, which is what I’m mainly talking about today.  Along with digital art and various forms of art, I produce icons of all sizes in various mediums for homes and churches. Iconography is unlike any artform I have ever worked with, as it is more than just the paint and board or canvas that I am working with; it truly becomes a window to something deeper and greater, a cooperation with God and His saints.  In visual art I used to feel most fulfilled when sculpting – I love working in 3 dimensions, but in iconography the third dimension is the very real and present spiritual dimension. 

How did you learn to do this kind of work?

Ideally iconography would be learned by spending years as an apprentice to a master iconographer, but in North Carolina, that’s simply not available.

I began learning about the process of creating icons before I converted to Orthodoxy, learning from others intrigued by this ancient artform, and eventually flying to Greece to learn from a master for a few weeks while my first child was 8 months old.  I took her with me and my amazing mother in law came and spent time with her while I worked. It was an incredible trip. After converting, amid having 3 more kids to add to my 2, I was blessed with several opportunities to learn from other masters, including my most influential teacher and favorite living iconographer – Daniel Neculae.  Traditional byzantine icons are made with egg tempera on laboriously prepared icon boards, so the process is very specific and rather difficult, but intensely satisfying.

What do you find satisfying about being a maker?

Creation!!  Iconography is interesting because it is not creative in the same way as the other artforms that I do.  I’m not trying to innovate, to make something uniquely mine – quite the opposite. My goal is to take what has been handed down and reproduce it, but the process is nothing short of life-changing.  

What’s your favorite memory associated with practicing your craft?

I think my favorite memories are from the courses, where I’m spending 8+ hours working on the craft under the direction of a true master.  My first course with Daniel was strikingly different from other classes where they spent a lot of time talking – we spent more time doing. The thing that struck me was that at the end of the course, the internal change I felt was even deeper, as if the lines themselves of these holy faces were writing their way into my very person.

Share a photo of a favorite piece, and tell us the story that goes with it.

This is a difficult one, because my first impulse is to choose the icon from my first course with Daniel – of my patron saint, Archangel Gabriel – because the course was so moving, but I think I’m going to have to choose my largest work – the icon of the Theotokos hanging behind our

altar at St Raphael Orthodox Church in Fuquay Varina – my home parish.  Being asked to do the icons for my parish was a great honor, and also something very intimidating.  These are icons that I see multiple times a week, and they are the faces that surround me as I enter into worship.  This particular icon was not only my largest work, but several other firsts. It was my first time practicing marouflage, which is the technique of affixing paintings on canvas to the wall with paste.  The icon is 11 feet tall, and was primarily painted in my living room which is only 8 feet tall, so naturally it was quite a challenge. To add to that, I am not normally allowed behind the altar, so to spend the time back there when I was installing it, to be high on a ladder (I don’t love heights, tall as I may be) was memorable to say the least.  It was also my first time applying gold leaf to canvas, and to do so vertically, on a ladder, behind the altar made it even more exciting. I felt very solidly God’s help and the help of the saints (as I was constantly asking their help) as well as the prayers of my church family, and it was clearly something bigger than just me and my art, and that is really I think what makes iconography my favorite artform – the participation in the divine.  This is present every time I create, but uniquely here in the sacred work of iconography.

Still True: Lent for Creatives

Two years ago, a half-decade of observation boiled over the rim of my mind into a list of 5 hard lessons I’ve learned about creativity, publishing, and success in the Orthodox media field. I wrote out my list for the company blog in Lent 2018, and because all 5 are still very true, I’d like to share them with you here also.

Lent for Creatives: 5 hard lessons

At Ancient Faith, we believe that the spiritual life and the creative life are woven together. The fact that we are an Orthodox Christian media company is proof of this conviction. We exist to promulgate the Gospel through the work of people who use their creative gifts to affirm and explore the life of faith, in the persistent hope of edifying and encouraging our fellow human beings on their journeys.

During this Lenten season, we are all engaged in spiritual struggle of one kind or another, and it seems a good moment to share what I’ve learned in the last five years about the intersection of creativity, struggle, and media publishing. With this goal, I’ve created a list of five hard lessons we all seem to encounter on our way to producing high-quality books and podcasts. If you have already been published, this list will be familiar. If you are still trying to be published, it may be even more familiar! I pray it will be helpful, no matter which side of that fence you occupy.

don’t be an “idea person.”

Almost nothing will shut you out faster than those fatal words – “I’m an idea person.” Many people describe themselves this way, and in our experience, an “idea person” is one who can come up with an endless list of inspiring suggestions but is not able to follow through on them. An idea is like a flame without a lamp. It burns brightly and then vanishes, unless you provide a wick, some oil, and a vessel to hold the oil. Your idea needs a plan. It needs background research. It needs the ability to make and meet deadlines, foresee and overcome obstacles. You and your idea both need a significant amount of staying power, so that your publisher knows you will put in the effort to bring your idea to life – real life, enduring life, the kind of life that will justify the expenditure of staff time, resources, and just plain stamina required to publish a book or produce a podcast. If you were telling yourself that you could hand your idea to a publisher and staff members would provide the wick, the oil, and the lamp, please stop. No publisher can or will be a replacement for the diligent effort you should have dedicated to your idea before we ever heard of it.

KEEP READING HERE FOR LESSONS 2-5.

#BlogtownTuesday: Interview with Summer Kinard

Today’s #BlogtownTuesday visitor is one of the first members of #Blogtown. She’s one of the group who did #bloginstead with me, and her posts in those 3 blissful days were so good to read. I’m talking about Summer Kinard – blogger, yes, and also author, speaker, and what you might call a cultural bridge for people who are differently abled.

How did your blog get iTs name?

My current blog is just my name, SummerKinard.com. I’ve had other blogs over the years, but this is the best way for me to keep my ideas together online.

What would you say is the defining characteristic of your blog?

I try to always write with a recognition of the presence of the Incarnate God. My writing, whether personal reflections or about silly stuff with my kids, or resources for living the faith with disabilities, always comes from my heart and the knowledge that God is with us.

What’s your favorite thing about blogging? Least favorite?

Blogging gives me an opportunity to share what I have learned in a creative nonfiction format without the burden of monetizing it. I love the opportunity to share insights that I can discuss with people with whom they resonate. I can also tell when an idea is salient by watching how it spreads. That’s a big part of connecting with my readers. The part I don’t like is the pressure to blog often. My kids have high stakes special needs, and I have to put them first. I give myself permission to take a few days or weeks longer than I initially planned to post on the blog when the delay allows me to address my family’s urgent needs.

You are a member of #Blogtown, a social blogging collaborative. How is blogging social for you?

I read the Blogtown posts in my WordPress reader at least a couple of times a week. I enjoy listening to other people tell their beauties and their truths. Sometimes I can only tap “like,” but I try as often as I am able to be online to engage with their thoughts or just let them know they’ve encouraged me. I don’t forego other social media in order to blog, but blogging is my favorite type of online platform. I love stories and always have. I even love the stories of recipes on cooking blogs! To me, the most salient part of socializing is bearing witness to goodness and truth and beauty in the world, which includes exploring the process of discovery. I want to know how you noticed a particular rock in the forest or why sea salt and coffee changed your chocolate cake and your life. I love to see how the love of God grows in every crevice of life! Stories are where it’s at.

Tell us 3 thinGs we would know about you if we’d grown up with you.

It’s almost impossible for me to get lost. I used to be an eloper (though I didn’t realize it), and I would spend hours walking into the woods with my dog and finding my way home as a challenge. My mind absorbs details rapidly, giving me an instant map of places I go. I can pay unbroken attention to one activity for hours on end. I used to build houses for doodle bugs out of sand and sticks so I could train them to navigate the hallways. I love to laugh, and I love wordplay. My family had a custom called “shooting the breeze” where we would entertain each other with wordplay and stories. That laughter was a big part of my training in joy.

Thank you, Summer!

You can connect with Summer at SummerKinard.com. See you in #Blogtown!