Thank you–I think

I think I’m in trouble.

Yesterday, I received a Daisy Award from a fellow blogger at Word Press.

“I have followed Monica for only a week, but I thoroughly enjoy her blog.  It is homey and humorous, like eating pie and ice cream at a family reunion,” she wrote about me.

I like that. “Homey and humorous” is a good thing to be. I especially appreciate it because sarahmandl is a good writer. Her blogs are thoughtful, clever and creative, and I enjoy reading them.

Via Bing Images

Now comes the hard part. She nominated me in response to having been nominated herself. She explained that that’s how the game is played: anyone nominated should thank the nominator, nominate a few other worthy bloggers, and tell their readers seven unusual things about herself.

I don’t write those kinds of blogs.

The thanking part I can do, and have done. The rest I’ll have trouble with. For one thing, I don’t read that many blogs, partly because I don’t have the time, and partly because most of the ones I’ve checked don’t interest me at all.

I find that there are an awful lot of bloggers out there who are extremely narcissistic. They write to draw attention to themselves, to spew or pronounce, to be shockingly sarcastic or crude or to denigrate. Their blogs are more like graffiti sprayed across the internet wall, or personal cork boards made public. They think up a line or two that tickles their own fancy, and then put it out there for the world to see. Some of what they write seems to be for effect, or to sound avant-garde or trendy. Those kinds of people lay down words, but they’re not writers. I admit that some of them have a lot of followers, or get a lot of comments, but I haven’t figured out why.

Some bloggers are just as nice as they can be, but they’re not very interesting. Either the topics they pick are too so-what, or they’re more suited to personal diaries. If they could take ordinary parts of their lives and make them resonate with me, or make me feel some camaraderie–like Erma Bombeck did so well (does anyone remember her?)–then that would be different.

So who do I read online? Well, I suspect the reciprocity awards are meant to be given to other Word Press folks, and I do follow a few. Saramandl, as I said before. She creates delightful word pictures and says things in fresh ways. Two others I follow largely because I’m a Benedictine Oblate. One is A Monk’s Chronicle, written by a member of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn. His are launched from his observations of the world around us, but always come back to the Rule of Benedict, helping those of us who follow that ancient wisdom to use it to make sense of the secular world on our spiritual journeys. They wouldn’t be for everyone, but they are definitely insightful and well written.

The other is Monastic Musings Too, written by my own oblate director, Sr. Edith, from St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minn. Her blog is an eclectic mixture of Benedictine life, and observations taken from her experiences as a college professor.

Another blogger I read regularly isn’t on Word Press. He writes for a number of online sites, but I usually find him at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Here’s a link to his latest:

This guy, who calls himself the Trout Whisperer, is one of a kind, and breaks a lot of “rules.” He pays no attention to punctuation or even to spelling sometimes, and his sentences tend to run on. Besides that, he writes about fishing–or at the very least, about the outdoors–again, not something everyone is interested in. But he mines the depths of those outdoor experiences for meaning that applies to everyone. He’s an observer of human nature who recognizes the commonality of each of us in whatever milieu we happen to reside. He’s also a true wordsmith who can coin a new word or phrase with seeming ease, and say things in fresh ways. He makes me laugh, he makes me think, and sometimes, I admit, he just makes me scratch my head in puzzlement.

As far those seven unusual things about myself that I’m supposed to reveal, I do so hesitantly. I like to think that my readers don’t need to know those things to enjoy my blogs. I write in the first person because I write about my take on things, but the blogs aren’t about ME. And if I do mention personal things, it’s usually because I’m poking fun at my idiosyncrasies, or trying to address something I know others can identify with. The fact that I always wanted a brother, that I play the piano poorly, or that I once considered entering a religious order, aren’t things that should make my blogs any more readable. (Three is all you get.)

Having said all that, I don’t want to appear churlish, or a spoilsport. I don’t want to have gotten myself in trouble with the nice folks who read me, or to appear ungrateful for the recognition. After all, writers write to be read and, hopefully, to be reread. It’s just that the rules of this game have resulted in a blog such as I wouldn’t normally write. I’ve tacked up something on a public cork board, which I don’t usually do, and I’ve said things some people may not like.

On the other hand, maybe it was good for me. Sarahmandl, what have you done?


About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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