It often happens when I am struggling with something I really love, a pause helps me remember its joy. I didn’t consciously decide to take April off from posting on my blog, but a gut feeling of needing to focus elsewhere decided for me.
Spring has affected me in a funny way this year to the extent I just don’t want to be inside. And though I am reading a lot, I cannot seem to sit down to write up reviews. We had one of the rainiest winters on record and so many days were spent inside that I think I need to remind myself what a trail looks like and what sun on my skin feels like. I have taken lots of day trips, cooked more and visited with people I have missed. It’s been glorious…and shows me how unbalanced the last several months have been if I have let these things I also love, go.
But this morning I wanted to write, so I sat down to write up a blog post for Zola Addiction that will go up Tuesday. I also noticed a new Spin has been announced and even in the pausiest of pauses, who can resist a Classics Club Spin? These may be the only posts to go up this month, though. I am taking the need to step away seriously, but now with each passing day, the love of reading AND writing is building back up.
Anyone else struck with Spring Fever or something else that made you pause?
A few ways I have been spending my time this month:
2018 was a veritable reading bust for me. Health and personal challenges left me lethargic in writing up books from the beginning of the year. Frankly, I almost gave up the ghost with Relevant Obscurity…
I am away for the holidays letting my mind ramble as I explore. I am seeing places in my personal life where I feel a similar lethargy and places I feel somewhat constricted. My ramblings have shown me this same constriction has bled into my blogging life by what I post and what I leave out.
I started Relevant Obscurity 3 1/2 years ago to concentrate on the classics. But reading reviews of other bloggers has opened me up to wider reading interests and I want to go with that flow, instead of sticking with self-imposed limitations.
Here is my projected approach to reading and writing in 2019:
Biographies. Some writers have particularly interested me during these 3 1/2 years and I want to know more about them, including Edith Wharton, Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Madeleine L’Engle and CS Lewis
The 19th and early 20th centuries. My favorite time period, which seems to be a hot topic in monographs these days of people and events. Yes, more nonfiction
Series and major works. I want to complete the Chronicles of Narnia, write about LM Montgomery’s Emily series (why isn’t Emily as well-known as Anne?), finish Henry James’s major work and read as much of Madeleine L’Engle’s nonfiction as possible
Contemporary fiction. “Yes, Laurie, step into the world of 21st century contemporary fiction.” So far it hasn’t hurt
Plays and poetry. I am neglecting these by concentrating mostly on novels
Spanish-speaking countries. Last winter I posted about starting German with the Babbel app. It soon became apparent that I could actually learn a language with this program, so I switched to Spanish. There is logic in there somewhere, but it’s a long story! I have become obsessed with Spanish creating my own reading challenge of Spanish literature, history and culture. And I dream about an adventure to Chile or Spain…
…..I didn’t think it would take this long to read and post again, but life threw some curve balls forcing me to take a break. I do intend to finish my Classics Club Spin, which I got 1/3 of the way through (Sir Walter Scott’s, Rob Roy) before things went south, and I hope to finish Persuasion and may attempt to write up why I did not like Pride and Prejudice. Yikes, I really did just say that!
I believe my health and other issues are now taken care of. I didn’t post anything for Banned Books Week, but I read through many of the books I own (The Diary of Anne Frank…really???) that have been challenged, and Instagrammed a few as well as some books I found at library sales. This is a stimulating week for me, it gets my ire up. I think it is important to see what classic and contemporary works were or continue to be under fire so we can support them. It is not up to some named or unnamed power to withhold knowledge or information from us or our children, because they think they know better. Only we can know for ourselves what is important to read and why.
I am gathering up my RIP choices for the month and will post those this week. I can’t think about scary books during September when it is still warm here and I am so physically active outside. Once the Equinox comes, the days cool off and it’s darker at night then I can feel the fear…..!!!!
I will continue to post for BTS* on the last Sunday of the month. Nature, through words and images, inspires me and heals me through every big and small thing. And today’s offering feels like a nice way back in.
I look forward to spending some time today seeing what you have all been up to!
* as a way to share what is spiritually inspiring to me at the moment.
I spoke briefly about my adventures with skin cancer last Fall. Another fallout from growing up in Southern California and years of sun exposure–I am old enough to have spent many summers frying my skin because the words ‘sun block’ were not a product–is the development of a non age-related cataract in my right eye. These types are determined as such by the fact that the damage is on a different part of the lens. They are also fast growing. My eyesight began to change in April and by the end of May it was time to call the doctor.
I just had the appointment and I hope to have surgery next month. I was scared when this first began, but now I can’t wait to have it taken care of, because it has affected my ability to read. You may have noticed I am posting less; that’s because I read slower and, oh my, this is frustrating! I also find my laptop screen is sometimes blurry, which is why I am not commenting on your posts so much.
I am going to do myself a favor and take time off Relevant Obscurity until sometime in July. I don’t know what the recovery period is for cataract surgery…I won’t leave altogether, because hey, I am right in the middle of Persuasion (and liking it SO much better than Pride and Prejudice…oops, I did just say that, didn’t I?) and I know I will want to blog about it. I will continue to read slowly and do the best I can. And I know I’ll “Like” and pop up on your blogs if I can. Fortunately, I see very well off the page, so other parts of my life can continue as usual.
And may I just leave you with this: Wear sunscreen and a hat, as well as uv protecting sunglasses!
I just want to make mention that this month’s Blogging the Spirit will be on the 29th.
Everyone is welcome to share through a blog post, a Tweet, an Insta or wherever your social media lives on any aspect of what inspires your connection to God/Source/Nature/People.
Books, music, art, film, photography, poems, a liturgical passage, a personal reflection. You decide!
Use the hashtag #BloggingTheSpirit on Twitter and Instagram so we can find you. You can also come to this blog on that day and leave the url in the comments of the post I will put up. Go here for more information.
I am wrestling with the focus of my blog. I fear I have limited myself to writing almost solely about 19th and early 20th century classic literature (which does make up the bulk of fiction that I read) and wonder if there is room for the history, pop culture and religion I also read?
The phrase relevant obscurity has always been directed at me personally, because the emphasis on the above nonfiction for most of my life made me so suspicious of fiction (I would like to write a post on that) that I am discovering classic literature for the first time. The relevance of these books and how they help me see the past and a period of history I love has added so much to my life.
And yet, I have been reading books on religion and spirituality since I was 12 when I was given a book on Hanukkah; that brought God into my heretofore agnostic worldview and set me on a seeker’s path of which I still walk. And the Medieval history I majored in and the American studies courses I took later still figure strongly in what I read now, though I don’t share any of that here.
So, I am going to try some new kinds of posts throughout the next few months to see how comfortable I am about sharing more of my life through the various books I read, the thoughts they provoke and even some non-book-related musings, because while I have thought hard about starting another blog in addition to this one, oh man, that seems like a lot of work! But also, like many other bloggers and readers, I am multifaceted offline, so why pretend otherwise online?
I would love to know if anyone else feels their blog, either by its title or focus, is too restrictive to the broader range of what they want to share?
What did you decide to do about it or are you still wrestling with it?
I see that many of the book bloggers I follow have more than one blog; that they like to keep their book blog separate from personal writings or other types of content.
I adore wordpress for its ease of posting and receiving comments, but if I use this platform for another blog, I have to log out of Relevant Obscurity and log into the new one. It is a pain and sometimes I forget and comment on someone’s book blog only to find I am still logged into my personal blog.
So, I am looking to set up another nonbookblog and need some advice on platforms.
For those of you who have more than one blog, how do you maneuver from one to the other? If you have two wordpress sites do you have the problem I do and how do you overcome it? (Or do you have different problems with more than one wordpress blog)?
If you have a blog on other than wordpress or blogger platforms what is it and do you recommend it? Or do you have any other type of suggestion or advice that might help me?
You can also email me privately,
Thanks so much!
This is one of my favorite times of the year. I really get into the ‘letting go of the old and making plans for the new.’ And there is so much to let go of this year personally, professionally and from what I take in from the larger world.
I won’t beat around the bush on that last one. The election of Donald Trump has driven me into a frenzy of panic and lashing out at times. I have used Twitter to bash and malign, using turns of phrase I didn’t know I had in me. I have mimicked and mocked liked the best of them. Then I got up from my laptop feeling sick, icky and like I needed a really hot germ-banishing shower. Just because I CAN say those things, doesn’t mean I have to. While I am not stepping out of the Trumpian fray altogether, I am not going to use Twitter like that anymore.
I don’t make specific resolutions. Each year I look at what worked and what didn’t, what needs to be let go of or maybe just needs a tweak. In these last few months I have been creating a business that has had its ups and downs, so I am working hard on those tweaks. I have found myself rather isolated because of that, which has put my ‘work to socializing’ indicator out of whack, so I want to balance that out.
I also need to hike and trail walk more and get out on my bike regularly. I will continue to buy my bread from my favorite bakery (so I take that back, I did make this resolution in 2014 and I am still doing it!) and take more day trips.
In regards to Relevant Obscurity, I am so happy with the connections I have made with other bloggers, the conversations we’ve had and the posts that taught me something new. I enjoyed the challenges I participated in that expanded my knowledge of authors and their work, which in turn has helped to shape what I want to read next year. I plan to expand my posts a bit to include some of the nonfiction history, biography and religion I read. I’ve entered several new challenges, which will all necessitate a more regular posting schedule…thinking positive about that!
I am sitting here as the rain falls in San Diego, one of my favorite places to visit. I am surrounded by my dog and her doggie cousin, two cats, some fish and Daisy the Russian tortoise is upstairs. I am about to get a bagel from the best bagel shop anywhere and will spend the day cozied up with books, and a movie or two. Tomorrow, even if it rains, will find me on a trail somewhere in Mission Trails on my annual New Year’s Day walk. It’s my birthday and there is no better way to spend that day and the first day of any year than out in Nature.
I wish all my book blogging friends a Happy, Prosperous, Life-Loving 2017!
I only started book blogging the previous September and was still getting the lay of book-blogging land when I saw the announcement for the challenge. I thought it would be a good way to read some classics I’d missed along the way.
I could not have chosen a better first challenge. Not only did I finally read Little Women and The House of the Seven Gables, I forced myself to read a horror novel and a book by someone I’d never heard about. I even bought a map of New England to track where the books were set!
One of the benefits of doing a challenge like this is being introduced to writers with whom you are unfamiliar. If you were to tell me when I started one of my favorite experiences would be reading the aforementioned horror story, I would have called you daft. Or, that The Country of the Pointed Firs, a book by an author I’d never heard of would end up my favorite book of the challenge, I’d have been stunned. But both are true. I will be reading more of H.P. Lovecraft next year (during daylight hours, of course 🙂 ) and I have already read a short story by Sarah Orne Jewett (“A White Heron”) that was beautiful.
Other highlights for me: “Our Town,” Little Women, getting to know Nathaniel Hawthorne through The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance, discovering one of my favorite films “The Haunting” was based on a book, The Haunting of Hill House and enjoying it as much as the film, and while I had mixed feelings about A Separate Peace I now know why a close co-worker finds it to be his favorite book.
Thank you, Lory, for all the work you put into this. It was a great experience with lasting effects!
I am extremely thankful for this year of book blogging, not only for the wonderful books I have read, but for all the book bloggers and others who have taken the time to ‘like’ or comment on my blog. Thank you very much.
I have loved the discussions and conversations, the wonderful posts you write about the books you’ve read forcing my tbr pile to grow and grow! The challenges and readalongs have been fun as well as enlightening.
I wish you all a wonderful day, however you celebrate (or not).
It’s a beautiful day in Southern California and I am about to hit the road to spend the day in San Diego, a city I love, with the people I love, in scenery I love love love!