gathering beauty

I spent a while this afternoon moving my internet reading list from Feedly to Bloglovin. For a long time, Feedly was an acceptable enough replacement for Google Reader, but its constant glitches wore me down in the end.

In the process of organising and moving links, I was surprised and saddened to see that at least half of the weblogs I used to follow are now closed. At first I thought this was evidence that blogging is dying. But as I explored new weblogs through Bloglovin, I realised it is mainly that a type of weblog is fading away. The small, personal, diary kind. Dreamers, drifters, artists and wonderers. Also, mothers who used to write about homeschooling but whose children are growing up now.


a photo from my own old homeschool journalling days


I often think how I can promote and grow my own little weblog, but today showed me that it's unlikely to ever happen. The majority of the blog-reading audience is looking for something different than that which I offer. Never mind, I shall continue to write, drifty and dreamy though I am. I love my audience.

In my e-travels today, I found some lovely things, and so would like to share them with you now ... it is a very eclectic list, I'm afraid! ...


A map of Middlemarch.

Aspiring Homemaker - Mia has announced she will be journalling again soon. Her way of life may not resonate for everyone, but it's beautiful how she chooses it and honours it so deeply.

Aboriginal elders share a sacred songline with the world.

Choose love : beautiful and inspiring words by Jim Carrey.

Twelve facts that will astonish you.

Films for Action - documentaries to get you thinking. A wonderful high school homeschool resource.

Walking directions to Mordor.



Follow my blog with Bloglovin

23 comments:

  1. I wonder if many blog makers have drifted away to Facebook and Instagram. I did this myself as I found it quicker and took up less time but then I found myself missing the lovely community of blogging where people do take more time and it feels a more engaging place. I think many more people will come back again too after a while. I'm so glad to see that my favourite bloggers are still here. :) x

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    1. We had a long conversation about this here recently, FB and instagram are definitely major culprits! But I've been interested to see what kinds of blogs thrive where others creep along or fade away.

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  2. glad you are finding bloglovin better. It is a sad thing isn't it? about less bloggers I mean. I am afraid that I am one of those people who have moved away from blogging. I tick all of your reasons above and yes, Jess, Facebook and instagram *seem* like good options .... but I am not sure they fulfil us like a good blog does ;-)

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    1. They certainly don't fulfill me :-) Although FB in the way I use it has benefits.

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  3. Thanks for the bloglovin link. I'm always looking for better ways to follow my blogs. I tend to see my blog as a digital book, but I find that most of the readers who like my writing are not blog readers. They read on their Kindle or pick up feeds on social media from time to time. I still like the medium of the blog. It feels intimate. It feels like my own house.

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    1. How interesting - for me it is the opposite. The majority of my book readers are my blog readers, and the majority of the minority are from others' recommending the books. (Thank you to those who do! ♥) Very few come from social media links. Even in blogging, I get many blog visits from FB links, but that's in my private feed. Almost none from twitter - infact, it was funny the other day, people were retweeting a link of mine left, right, and centre, but none of them actually visited the link themselves!

      Pinterest was a little better, and I'd like to give Instagram a go (but I don't want the phone).

      Your weblog is beautiful!

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  4. I've been on bloglovin' for quite some time, but I haven't ever been able to really get into it. It's far prettier than feedly, but I find it much clunkier, less intuitive. Really, let's just get Reader back, eh?

    I will always love blogs and as long as you continue to write, sarah, i will continue to read.

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    1. Definitely wish Reader would return!

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  5. I love your blog just as it is. :)

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  6. I miss so many of those original blogs, too. And I still wonder, sometimes, if I made a mistake when I combined my author site with my homeschooling mom blog—I mean, I did it from the beginning, but I've wondered if I should have kept the identities totally separate. But every time I tried, it wasn't workable at all. My identity as a writer is absolutely tied to my identity as a reader which is interwoven with my mothering self. I can't tease them apart. I couldn't have written honestly about homeschooling, I think, without admitting to the writer parts of my life. And my author site without the personal/reader/homeschooling stuff would have been so devoid of, you know, personality or depth. I know some writers can do it very well—their blogs are interesting but not personal—but I'm just not wired that way. My books are written in this cauldron of lively family life and I can't separate any one ingredient out of the broth. They've all dissolved together, molecules intermingled.

    ...but? I do think there are readers out there still for drifty, dreamy blogs. And chatty, hodgepodge ones like mine, I guess? In fact, I think we may see a tick of the pendulum back toward that kind of conversation as some of the new-platform novelty wears off and people get tired of the FB visual and mental onslaught. Instagram is certainly resonating with folks who like to communicate and share best via images. But there are a lot of us word folks still out there. :)

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    1. I am glad you combined all your threads into one weave, because not ony does it make for interesting reading, but as a writer it inspired me that I could do the work no matter that I lived in a busy homeschooling house - although not as busy as yours, considering the ration of child: parent, lol! - and also that I could comfortably be both.

      Something I've been wondering is if the blog shift is a generational thing. Like how FB has become for older people instead of teens now, but the opposite for blogs. I'm not putting this well. It seems to me there are actually plenty of drifty, diary-like blogs - but they're on tumblr, and they're mostly kept by younger women. Whereas older women have perhaps moved on? I see that so many women now use blogs for practical purposes - sharing about homemaking, renovating, culture, homeschooling, wrting. Maybe the initial bloom of diarising was when we were all younger, and learning to use the platform, and now we've become more focussed?

      I don't know, I'm rambling. I could honestly write about blog culture and nothing else and still produce a post a day. They wouldn't necessarily be coherent, intelligent, or informative though!

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    2. No, I bet they would! I'm so with you. It's a fascinating chapter of communication history. The sense of community that flourished so rapidly and beautifully in the mid-Aughts was fascinating to behold, and I miss it. I especially miss the little blog-rings we used to have where you would put a "previous" and "next" link for the ring in your footer, and people could click through from one blog to the next. Remember those? I was in several I think, all homeschooling related.

      And that silly "ecosystem" thing that was popular for a while. I remember being pleased when I evolved from Slithering Reptile to whatever was next. Flappy Bird? ;)

      I like your theory—intriguing notion! You're right about Tumblr. Thriving, varied, loaded with content. Just not as satisfying an interaction for me—the whole reblog-reblog-reblog thing with layers and layers of nested comments. Also it's another case of handing over your content to a platform owner, like FB. Not that they "own" it, but if Tumblr goes away someday, so will people's content (unless they are able to export it). I really really like being the owner of my platform, the controller of my own archives.

      Back to early blog culture—I recall with amusement the skepticism one friend met my suggestion that she might enjoy blogging. She reluctantly decided to give it a try, and now her site is hugely popular and I think she does pretty well with ads and affiliate income. Like so many of us, she found the platform suited her temperament wonderfully well. Perhaps the bloggers who closed up shop simply found that other platforms fit their needs (or available time) better. Even I find that if I need to get news out, FB and Twitter are much better vehicles for that than my own site.


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    3. Blog rings! I loved them! I even started one of my own (soulful homeschooling) which went on for years after I myself left.

      I tried tumblr but I really can't support anything that allows such wanton copyright theft. I was constantly worried that my words and pictures would spin out into the wilds of the internet, without my name attached, and I would lose all control and context. That's actually a really good word for what a blog provides - context.

      I was so skeptical about blogging myself, I truly sneered at it. I wish I could remember what I was thinking when I decided to give it a go. I'm very glad I did!

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    4. Yes, ten years ago I was so excited by blogging, but the online climate has changed, it seems like the world moves too fast for blog posts nowadays, (like seeing the rise of snapchat, twitter etc.) and it does feel like a generation gap - maybe it has something to do with the way younger people are educated nowadays, which assumes that their attention span is limited? catch 22 situation perhaps? no wonder people have migrated to FB. Makes me feel rather old and grumpy ...

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  7. I love your image at the top of your blog page! And I love how your blog has weathered the changes, I think you have beautifully and naturally allowed your blog to grow with you, and I have grown up with it, from young beginnings when I was looking for encouragement and like minded souls in my early parenting and had time of a strange sort on my side... to now with children rapidly growing their own wings and a new freedom for ourselves to pursue our more personal interests and ideas. The connection I have felt here has always remained, and I think it speaks to the strange friendships that are to be found when souls that resonate recognise that spark, no matter the medium, and would follow where they call, blog, facebook, etc. But with a blog, it is a far more intimate but also open space than the other formats. It feels welcoming and personal, but not intrusive. I am so glad you are still here.

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    1. And I'm so glad you are here too. ((Hugs))

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    2. Also thank you about the header image, my girl drew it for me and I love it, and doubt I will ever change it. :-)

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  8. It's so funny, last night my daughters and I were just talking about how blogging has changed! And, yes, we are sad about it, too. We have noticed that many of the blogs we like are linked to commerce in some way: either selling a product or service or promoting a product or service sponsored by others. In other words, part of the reason/purpose these bloggers keep going is financial.

    I have stopped writing on my own blog because I have nothing to offer beyond a glimpse into my family's very ordinary days. I confess that the opinions of other bloggers about the worth of my kind of posts have affected my ability to share as I once did. It seems that it is okay to write about your family to market a product or service, but is considered an invasion of their privacy if there is nothing else attached to it. It is very confusing for my simple brain! I think maybe there is less pressure to "be something" on Instagram where people are allowed to share snapshots of their lives without too much commentary on the value of doing so.

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    1. Everyone has to make decisions about their family and their privacy for themselves. A high level of privacy is important to me - it never used to be, but our circumstances changed. I now tend to look askance at people who blog all about their children's lives, feelings, etc - *especially* those who do it for commercial purposes. But that's just me. I learned the lesson about it, at least for my family. You never know when your circumstances will change ... even years down the track when your children may want to run for public office, and you've blogged all about their tantrums and potty training ... and you may regret doing so. I have my regrets. But I don't think they should inform what anyone else does.

      I have thought a lot about the financial aspect of blogging, and decided that I applaud women who have found a way to make money from home while raising/homeschooling their children. I wish sometimes they wouldn't use their children as part of their product, but again that's just me. I am overly cautious in my old age! I would love to blog more about my own family and our interesting life ... but it's not worth it in the end.

      I miss your weblog :-) I think what you offered was definitely worthwhile! Infact it was like treasure, inspiring and encouraging.

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    2. "I wish sometimes they wouldn't use their children as part of their product"

      That's what prevented me from pursuing an income from my blog. At first, it seemed only sensible—after all, I write for a living, and here I am doing all this writing, so why oughtn't it to contribute to the family income? But as soon as I accepted a few sidebar ads (way back in 2005 or 2006), I realized how they changed the dynamic. Suddenly you have an obligation to sponsors to keep your traffic up. And since I wanted to blog honestly, spontaneously, from the thoughts that bubbled out of our daily life, it became clear that accepting ad sales would mean "selling" my family experiences, to some degree. It altered my feelings about the endeavor and I dropped ads pretty quickly. I would never want my children to feel like product.

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  9. And there me, feeling increasingly frustrated with Feedly. The settings were so wonky all last week that it had me wondering just what I had done wrong NOW. I will investigate Bloglovin.
    I miss those themed blog days too. My own blog seems to ramble most of the time, from gardening to homeschooling to random humour, but I keep it on because I love the lengthiness of the venue. FB is so hard to revisit, Instagram I love simply because of the visuals, but I do love writing those long blog posts. I love rereading them as well. I love that I can look back at what they were doing three years ago without having to scroll for 10 minutes. And although life is still funny and fun, I don't have the same urge to document the kids as I did before. Maybe it's me getting older. Now I'm more fascinated by the garden, growing. The kids already have.

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  10. Liz in Missouri USAFebruary 3, 2015 at 4:48 AM

    For the record - I love your blog and I love your STYLE of blogging. I hope you continue on for a long time to come. :-)

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