“In the end, writing is like a prison, an island from which you will never be released but which is a kind of paradise: the solitude, the thoughts, the incredible joy of putting into words the essence of what you for the moment understand and with your whole heart want to believe.” ~ James Salter
I was thinking about what I wanted to write about today, and it occurred to me (while I was in the shower contemplating how very little hot water is available from our hot water heater) that before I jump into 2010 I should probably pause to reflect on my blog itself: As in, is the format readable? Does my header grab a reader’s attention in the 10 seconds or so in which it flashes on the screen in a blogroll?
You know, earth-shattering questions such as those. So I decided that I would try to look at my blog with a critic’s eyes, find its weaknesses and strengths, etcetera.
Need I really explain how fruitless an endeavor this was? Being my own worst critic, I began to rip apart my blog (in my mind of course). Why this font? What’s up with that positioning. Why such a long title? Realizing that I could not accomplish what I wanted to do alone, I decided that I would turn to you, dear reader. Hence, the following questions for which I would appreciate true answers.
“Writing is the most personal form of prayer.” ~ Franz Kafka
Before I begin, let me step back and explain a few things of which you may not be aware:
The title—Lola’s Curmudgeonly Musings About Life, Love, and Other Trifles—is long, but not really if you are at all familiar with my writing. Lola is my alternate ego, so to speak. She is the one who rants and raves about politics, ignorance in society, and unbelievable atrocities and events happening all over the globe. Curmudgeonly is perhaps the one best word to describe both Lola and myself. I do not suffer fools gladly. The last part of the title, musings etc., arose from the fact that I realized that my blog was going to be about a little bit of everything.
Since I began writing, I have found that Lola does not appear nearly as often as I thought that she would. Instead, Poietes, the moniker with which I dubbed myself years and years ago seems to be the name with which most people are familiar. Poietes is an ancient Greek word meaning poet or maker, maker of words. I have had POIETES on my license plate for almost 16 years, the only exception being currently as our vehicle is not actually ours, and I cannot get the plate that I would like. People recognize the moniker as being me, both in print and in person.
One other thing, my blogs are actually blongs, i.e., very long blogs. I know this. I acknowledge this. I realized many, many entries ago that I could not say what I wanted to say in 300 words, 500 words, or even 750 words. On average, my blogs are about 1300 words long, with quotes. As for the quotes, they did not make their appearance immediately, but they have since become a mainstay. As I have said, I have collected quotes for years. I have pages and pages (translated to Word files) just filled with quotes on different topics.
“Writing is nothing but a guided dream.” ~ Jorge Luis Borges
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that background information out of the way, here are the questions that I would like to pose to you. I understand that most of you don’t have time for deep thoughts about someone else’s blog as your deep thoughts appear on your own blogs, but I really would like to know what you are thinking. That being said, who knows how much I will alter my blog as I am fickle (pun on name, yes), but your feedback is always appreciated.
- Should I change the title of my blog to something shorter and catchier? What about the word musings?
- Should I change Lola to Poietes?
- Do you have a suggestion as to how to combine Lola and Poietes (no, this isn’t a way to get all of my various personalities in check)?
- How about the format? Should I change to a different template?
- I’m asking about the format as I am considering buying the upgrade for the CSS so that I can personalize the format, change default fonts, colors, etc. Would you recommend doing that, or is my current format readable?
- What do you think of my use of quotes?
- Are there any topics that you think that I should tackle?
- Is there one particular subject that you would like for me to write about in a post?
- Should I make my tags more creative?
- How do you feel about my use of images?
Bonus question: What was your favorite post and why?
“The only time I know the truth is when it reveals itself at the point of my pen.” ~ Norman Mailer
To be perfectly honest, though, how this blog looks may seem to be insignificant, but I have found from years of experience that the old maxim content dictates form is actually true. Those of us who write blogs usually do so because we want to share our thoughts with other people. We want other people to read our words, and if we are fortunate, people make comments about what we have written, which lets us know that someone out there somewhere is reading us.
Yes, the content, the words, are the most important aspect. But if something about the format makes it hard to read the words, then something needs to be altered to remedy that problem. For example, white on black lettering is extremely hard to read. If you believe in color psychology, and I do, red backgrounds appear to be antagonistic. San serif fonts are supposed to be easy to read, but books are never published in san serif fonts. These are all considerations.
“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” ~ Stephen King
So keeping all of that in mind, what do you think about how my blog looks? But more importantly, what do you think about the blog’s content?
Admittedly though, I would continue to write this blog even if no one read it. This forum has become immensely important to me as a means in which to voice my personal truths, to share my thoughts, to expound on that which is important to me.
And so it become a creative circle of writing and reading, reading and commenting, commenting and creating.
As 2009 closes, I send my thanks to those of you who have taken the time to visit, to comment, to support, to nudge, to engage. Years ago when blogging began I thought that it was one of the stupidest things I had ever heard of—putting your journal out there for anyone to read. Now I realize that blogging is so much more. Blogging has become a mainstream means of communicating about everything from recipes, to travels, to politics, to biographies, to history, to celebrity, to sports and on and on.
Thank you for sharing your lives and opinions with me. My world has been enriched through the words, images and music that you put out there for the world to see.
More later. Peace.
Loreena McKennitt, one of my favorites, performing “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which is based on the poem by the same name written by Christina Rossetti in 1872.
In The Bleak Midwinter (first stanza)
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter