#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

#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!

#BlogtownTuesday: Interview with Hopeful Patience

Continuing our stroll around #Blogtown, today we’re visiting with Michelle at Hopeful Patience. Like most of our #Blogtown friends, we haven’t met in person, but we’ve known each other online for a few years. As always, I’m asking 5 questions, and as today’s guest, Michelle is sharing her answers below.

How did your blog gets its name?

One day, I was describing to my brother that I was beginning to feel able to imagine and hope for something that wasn’t possible yet but might be possible someday. He called what I was describing “hopeful patience.” A few months later, I was creating my blog, and I found that that phrase encapsulated what I wanted my blog to be about.

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

This question follows nicely on my answer above–the goal of my blog is to practice hopeful patience myself, and, as much as I can, inspire others to wait hopefully in whatever struggle they find themselves in.

What’s your Favorite Thing about Blogging? Least Favorite?

I really love having an avenue to publish my writing and to share some of my ideas and encouragement with others. It gives me a concrete way to make writing part of my life. That’s important to me because I have always seen myself as a writer, but for many years I didn’t have any tangible way that I was acting out being a writer. The only negative part of blogging I can really think of is when I fall into wishing I had a wider audience.

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

Unlike other writing I might do that is more for myself, blogging is specifically a way to share what I’ve been pondering with others. I really like socializing through writing because it allows time to think carefully about what I want to say. I’m much more comfortable with writing than, for example, talking on the phone. It also means a lot to me to interact with people in meaningful ways online because most of my life is spent at home, and I don’t have a lot of opportunities to socialize in person (most of my in-person socializing is crammed in after church on Sundays).

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

A. I was planning to become an author since before I can remember.

B. Vermont was my favorite place to visit during summers as a kid.

C. In early high school, I dreamed of attending Oxford University, studying the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and becoming a professor.

Thank you, Michelle!

You can connect with Michelle at Hopeful Patience. See you in #Blogtown!

#BlogtownTuesday: Interview with Metanoia Bum

It’s #BlogtownTuesday – time to meet another member of our community. Today we’re visiting Nic at Thoughts of a Metanoia Bum. As I do each week, I’m asking 5 questions. Here’s how he answers!

How did your blog gets its name?

In college, one of my favorite books was Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, which was largely about Kerouac and his friend, poet Gary Snyder, wandering in the mountains and exploring Buddhism, amongst other things. I loved the book for a long time, but when I became Orthodox, I joked that the Orthodox version would be a “metanoia bum”- metanoia being the Greek word for “change of heart.” I’ve used the phrase ever since as a social media username, and it seemed appropriate when I started this blog in 2017. 

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

I would say that a characteristic feature of my blog is that it contains a strong sense of observational wonder about the world around me. Things often happen out of nowhere, and I write about them to highlight the glory and joy of how we are truly connected as children of God.  I’d also say that a willingness to be open about struggle, emotions and conflicts – largely with myself! – is also a standard part of the experience. The blogs are for the world around me, but also, in some cases, essays to myself. 

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

I love two things: (1) being able to help people through sharing my own experiences; and (2) the challenge of trying to say something really meaningful within a short format; it has challenged me to think about how I communicate ideas to the world. The thing I dislike is when I have an idea, and it gets stuck. Not being able to get it onto paper, and then often realizing that it may not be ready for the world, is hard. But it’s also helpful.

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

I have built a really strong community because of blogging, not only virtual, but also in-person. Things I have written become centers of conversation in my own home community, and virtual connections have become in-person physical friendships that are real and tangible. It’s fun to see who likes things, who comments, who shares, and how those shares reach other people outside of my own world. My most-read piece, “Guys, You Don’t Have to Be a Priest,” made it outside of the Orthodox world, and was read by Catholic, Anglican, and many other denominations. That impact allows me to feel connected to the bigger world. 

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

My notebooks are full of cars, imaginary cities, and maps. That is still the case.

I started college with the idea of being a physician or a physical therapist. 

I was a tech theatre and classics geek in high school, and once got a 1st place award nationwide for one of my projects!

Thank you, Nic!

You can connect with Nic at Thoughts of a Metanoia Bum. See you in #Blogtown!

Bloginstead

#BlogtownTuesday: Interview with Anna at The Brown Dress Project

In today’s edition of this #Blogtown tradition, we’ll be visiting with Anna at The Brown Dress Project. Anna is someone I know in real life, in part because she’s one of the co-authors of my story-telling devotional, Seven Holy Women, coming out this fall. As always on #BlogtownTuesday, I’m asking 5 questions. Here’s what Anna says!

How did your blog get its name?

The Brown Dress Project came from the life and work of St. Marcella of Rome (325-410). During her widowhood, she drew together other Christian widows and unmarried women into a collective who focused on living simply despite their wealth. They adopted a sort of proto-habit of plain brown linen or woolen gowns to mark their ascetic choices. I adopted the title to show that living one’s faith as a woman in any era is attainable.

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

The overall goal for my blog is to bring the stories of women saints into the broader conversation of the Orthodox Church. I want to help women identify with the broad expressions of our lived faith. Wherever a woman finds herself, at whatever age or station, there are saints who have walked that path before her. As a historian, I am fascinated with how the Church remembers the saints in a unique story-telling pattern called hagiography. How we tell the lives of the saints is as important as what we say about them. 

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

My favorite aspect of blogging is being able to work out ideas in writing and finding connections between past and present. My least favorite thing is the writer’s perennial struggle to translate the ideas into text.

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

I thrive on feedback for my writing. It is like beacons along a rocky coast, pointing me to the good harbor of truth. I also enjoy hearing requests for specific saints’ stories or a thank you for highlighting an obscure saint. I have met and made more Orthodox friends that way through word of mouth than through regular social media.

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

The Chronicles of Narnia were my bedtime stories with Dad from age 6 until 9. Mom read the Anne of Green Gables series to me in the morning before school. Thanks to my parents, I am a confirmed Anglophile and ruined for common literature. 

I began collecting hobbies from a young age. I was fascinated with baking, sewing, knitting, spinning yarn, growing gardens, etc. Not your average childhood in the Midwestern suburbs! I begged Dad to get a goat or chickens. He did build square foot garden boxes as a compromise. 

Ballet and dance in general were my main after school activities up through high school. I still love to dance, though more sedately, in historical English Country style, like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. 

Thank you, Anna!

You can connect with Anna at The Brown Dress Project. See you in #Blogtown!

No thank you to the blog marketing tips

Dear Stranger,

If you are following my blog because you have a blog that’s going to increase my blog following, expand my brand, profitize my prose, et cetera and so forth, please do not trouble yourself.

Your cursory glance at my blog indicates that I am building a community of bloggers.

This is true.

We even have a hashtag. #bloginstead.

Also true.

But you missed something.

I’m building the community because I want the community. You know how you do something because you enjoy it, and then you find other people who enjoy it too, and you spend time together enjoying it?

That’s what I’m doing.

I’m not looking for quick tips on expanding my brand so that my viral blog will attract advertisers and enable me to quit my day job and subsist on sponsored posts.

Big nope on that.

Yes, I write books. Orthodox Christian children’s books, actually. I’m doubtful this is the target market your tips and tricks are intended to reach.

Yes, I will talk about my books on this blog. I like writing my books. I like having them published. I’ll never get over the enchantment of seeing them illustrated.

More than that, I like people to buy my books. I hope they read them till the covers fall off, that they find them again when they’re all grown up and hug them spontaneously for all the good childhood memories attached to them.

I market Orthodox books for a living, and I know for a daily fact that people can’t read a book if they don’t know it exists. I know the value of spreading the word and finding an audience and building a brand. All those things. But I see NO value in doing those things for their own sake.

I don’t want to lose the value of being a human person who likes to write, who enjoys talking to friends, and who wants to recapture the kind of internet space where that was, and could still be, possible.

Life is complicated. Intricate. Interwoven. I can’t separate my writing self from my author self, my community-seeking self from my book-promoting self. Not completely. There is one me, and all aspects of my life connect, one way or another. But I can decide what matters most and choose it every time I have the choice.

That’s what I’m doing here. And that’s why I won’t be following your “how to win big in online marketing” blog.

No, thank you.

P.S. If you know the guys on social who believe that a friend request from a total stranger leads to romance, even from a total stranger who looks miraculously like numerous other total strangers dressed as retired admirals and possessing adorable dogs, please inform them that I already have a more-than-satisfactory retired officer and adorable dog of my own. Thank you.

Welcome to Blogtown, Annie!

In English I hear “be attentive.” In French it means “wait.” In Latin it actually means “to stretch toward.” Sort of like you do when you’re waiting and being super attentive, listening so hard you’re about to fall out of your chair? Ah. That’s the word I’m looking for then. Because I’ve noticed a glaring lack of this in my life.

Annie, blogging at Rural Time Warp

#Blogtown has been up and running long enough that adding a new member on our original list didn’t seem practical. What if you aren’t checking back to the list? You would miss Annie!

Annie’s blog is called Rural Time Warp.

Don’t you already want her Blogtown, just from the name??

Annie said she wanted to join, so I hopped over to Rural Time Warp, and there was a post about being attentive. It fits so well into the whole #bloginstead mindset. Blogging is slower, deeper, more human-scale. You have to pay attention in longer increments to blog than to post on social media, if you want to be coherent. And we do! We do want to be coherent!

So, welcome Annie! We’re glad you’re here! You can find a list of other people to follow HERE, and everybody – please follow Annie!

Remember, you can add neighborhoods to Blogtown. Start your own list. Recruit friends. Follow each other. Talk to each other. That’s how #Blogtownneighborhoods are built.

Why Blogging? — This One Life

It has been interesting returning to the blogging space after a few years of hiatus. I have had to confront my former blogging motivations, why I left, and what has changed. It feels a little bit like coming home again, or wearing an old sweater again, or maybe visiting college well after graduation. Things are […]

Why Blogging? — This One Life

If you’re reading this, you probably know that the original #3daysinthewilds, in which a group of intrepid friends leaped off social media and tried to #bloginstead, has grown like a stream running downhill. Now it’s a river, and it’s one I plan to stay on, rowing along with my eyes open for other small craft making the same peaceful journey.

The post I’ve linked above is from Amber at This One Life, one of the #bloginstead pioneers. This post is honest, and I believe MANY bloggers (and former bloggers) will recognize themselves in her look back at why she started blogging. I’m so glad she came back, and especially that she came back AS SHE IS NOW. I believe our redemption lies in communication for its own sake – for the sake of sharing information, perception, faith and hope and love.

Well, I’ve got a hammer

And I’ve got a bell

And I’ve got a song to sing

All over this land

It’s the hammer of justice

It’s the bell of freedom

It’s a song about love between

My brothers and my sisters

All over this land

If I Had A Hammer – Lee Hays, Pete Seeger

How to Join #bloginstead: Move to Blogtown!

It’s Saturday morning. We’ve completed the #3daysinthewilds that comprised the original plan for #bloginstead, and we’re happy in this growing community. The pioneer members have decided to unpack the wagons, build houses, plant gardens, and stay a while. Would you like to join us?

We hope you will!

If you want to move to Blogtown and participate in friendly, human-scale community online, just follow these simple steps. We’re looking forward to welcoming you!

  1. Read about how #bloginstead got started (HERE).
  2. Learn how Blogtown works (HERE).
  3. Do you have a personal blog? If you read about Blogtown in number 2 above, you know we’re personal bloggers. Nobody’s a brand here, and that’s important. If you don’t have a blog, make one. Personally, I like wordpress.com. But it’s your blog. Do what works for YOU.
  4. Follow the blogs listed HERE to join the current group.
  5. Start your own neighborhood in Blogtown. Invite real-life friends to revive or create personal blogs, and then follow the same procedure – everyone in the group follows everyone in the group.
  6. Start writing posts, and start reading and commenting on your friends posts.
  7. You’re in Blogtown! Welcome!

Remember, this isn’t the glamorous world of influencers and the one-finger scroll. This is people talking to people. Don’t worry if you can’t write deathless prose that will shock the world with profound insight and prodigious beauty. Write the way you talk. You have something to say. Just type those words onto your blog. Plain or fancy, they are your words. What makes you an important part of the group is YOU – your voice, sharing your experience and conversing with your community about their experience, too.