My Blog and the Three “R’s”

I hit the one year mark with my blog this month.  This  brought to mind a line from an old song, “School Days”, which listed “reading and writing and ‘rithmetic” as fond memories. (The song was already old when I learned it 50 years ago, so the reference may be mine alone.)  Those three categories sum up my blogging experience.

‘Rithmetic.  (No real math, I promise.)

My goal when I started was to write at least twice a month.  With 21 posts in 12 months, I didn’t quite make that modest goal.  But I am in good position to beat that number of posts next year, and 21 soundly beats the previous year’s 0. I had a list of things I wanted to write about that had been on my mind, and though I wrote less than half of my original list, half of my posts were not part of the list at all.  Meanwhile my “to write” list has tripled.  (That is a story problem for anyone wishing this was about math.  How many ideas were on the original list?  And when will the train arrive with the apples? or oranges?)

Writing
I came to blog in secrecy, thinking that after a few posts I would tell family and some friends about it so they could read if interested. I was writing for the joy of writing. Imagine my surprise soon after my first post to find people reading, commenting, following my “secret” blog. Just a few, but still a surprise. I am writing about a variety of things that interest me, so a reader who liked my posts on Alzheimer’s might be bored with the posts on books and so on. I understand the value of sticking to a topic to attract readers, but I will continue to write variety, and hope some continue to tune in from time to time when a topic strikes their interest, too. I hope so, because being read increases the joy of writing. And I will tell my family soon. After so much time passed, it seemed logical to wait a year. Having learned others did the same when they started blogging helped me feel more normal, or at least less alone, in secrecy.

As I wrote, it was interesting to me how often a post veered off in a different direction than I had originally planned, and how many just popped up suddenly to be written ahead of the ones brewing in my thoughts for a long time. There are ideas on my list I look forward to working on, when there is time. In addition to blogging this year, I am finally starting “Mom’s Memories” stories for my grown children. I don’t want them to be left in the situation my sister and I are having, alone in piecing our childhood memories together for some kind of family history. So I am challenging myself to write outside the blog, for them.

Reading
In addition to the happy surprise of people (anyone!) reading my blog, I have found some wonderful posts to read, blogs to follow. I have spent too much of my writing time reading. But what a wealth of creativity, a diversity of lives and ideas I have found in these blogs and bloggers.

And so I’ll end on my 4th “R”. My life is richer, thanks to this year of blogging.

Literally, No Thanks

It would please me to eliminate the word literally from general usage. It will be easy.

Say what you mean in a literal way. Drop the redundant use of literally at the end of your statement. “Hundreds of people were there,” can stand alone. Use a specific number if you really want to be literal about it.

Go ahead, create a hyperbolic description to make your point. Don’t ruin it by adding “literally” when you mean it figuratively. Misuse of this word is one of the little things that drives me crazy. Not literally – I usually just get irritated, maybe rant a little.

But hearing this sentence is what finally pushed me over the edge when it comes to the use of “literally”. (Hyperbole alert – I was not standing on a cliff and no bones were broken.) “That literally exploded my brain and blew off the back of my head.” Really. But it was a medical miracle, because that person with brain and skull missing just kept talking and talking and talking… It literally seemed they would never stop.