The last few weeks of the year are the perfect time to look back and reflect on our most memorable work, so we asked a few bloggers to tell us about one blog post they put together in 2015 that they especially liked. Here are their responses.
Myfanwy, myf draws apparently
Favorite post: “How I experienced the life of a model, with Gudrun Sjoden”
I think I’d have to say that my favorite post was my account of traveling to Stockholm in Sweden to be an unlikely fashion model; it describes a rare and treasured couple of days, and then I got to relive the pleasure all over again by drawing and sharing it on WordPress.com! The comments were so warm and appreciative that I really got the feeling I’d added just a little bit of joy to the internet.
It was a welcome affirmation that people enjoy my view of the world, even if that view comes from a middle-aged aficionado of thrift shopping. That’s one of the real pleasures of blogging: showing who you are, and finding the people that appreciate that.
Sarah E. Bond
Favorite post: “Searching for the String: Labyrinths in Classical and Medieval Art”
My favorite post is actually about labyrinths. When I was younger, my favorite movie was Labyrinth (1986). The film spoke to my already steadfast love of muppets and no doubt fostered an early appreciation for David Bowie, but it was the movie’s maze — a character in the movie in its own right — that stuck with me year after year.
After graduating high school, I decided to become a classicist, and began to learn more about the ancient origins of the labyrinth. Although mazes and even the word labyrinth predate the myth, it is the Greek tale of Theseus and the Minotaur that gave us the famed Labyrinth of Crete (as it turns out, Jim Henson was also a fan of the myth.) In Greco-Roman antiquity, the symbol of the labyrinth became popular on coins, in mosaics, and in various literary works. Although you might think the pagan myth would die out in the transition to the early Christian period, it was again adapted for new purposes well into the Middle Ages and again in the Renaissance. The labyrinth, in its various iterations, often served as a metaphor for life in general. Whether a Greek or a medieval pilgrim, any person can relate to the feeling of being lost and searching for the string that Ariadne provided Theseus to allow him to escape.
In my own professional quest, I moved four times in the past six years: Chapel Hill, Lexington, Milwaukee, Iowa City. Along the way, I have gained and lost relationships, lamented how long it would be until I saw my family again, and wondered if there was any real purpose to this academic labyrinth. It took a lot of heartache, but I finally feel like I found the string I am supposed to follow. The reason the labyrinth has remained a malleable symbol for so long is that it speaks to humanity’s persistent questions of purpose, salvation, and creation. At the end of Labyrinth the movie, young Sarah realizes her own power to solve the puzzle and to escape the grasp of Jareth (David Bowie). She discovers that she is the heroine of her own story, and I guess I had to learn something similar. Perhaps that is why this is one of my favorite blog posts this year.
Favorite post: “Our Old Dog”
You always hear that you should tell people how much they mean to you before it’s too late. I’m not sure how this applies to pets, but I wanted to write something about our dog, Fred, before he got to the end. He was such a big part of our lives. After I wrote this piece I heard from readers all over the world who shared memories of the pets they loved. It was one more moment of beauty that Fred was responsible for.
Catherine Ryan Howard
Favorite post: “I’ve Been Bursting To Tell You: I Got a Book Deal!”
I remember quite clearly setting up my very first WordPress.com blog in early 2010. A few months earlier, I’d made the drastic decision to quit my awful, soul-destroying office job and use what little savings I had to go “all in” on my dream of being a published novelist. Part of my plan was to self-publish some non-fiction and use the proceeds to keep myself in coffee grounds and ink cartridges (both crucial novel-writing tools, I’ll have you know), and the blog was where I was going to publicly chronicle my self-publishing (mis?)adventures.
I had to admit why I was doing it, which meant I had to publicly declare my goal of being a published novelist. I remember thinking, What if it never happens? What if I never get to write “the” blog post? What happens if the end of this journey is a quiet fade into public failure?
The next five years were one hell of a ride. My posts about self-publishing were a hit and they helped make my self-published books hits too. I began to speak on the subject, got a job working with a major publishing house as a social media marketer, and connected, through my blog, with fellow writers all over the world — some of whom became good friends in real life.
Then, in May of this year, I got to write the blog post I’d been dreaming of writing ever since I started my blog back in 2010, the one in which I shared the news I’d been dreaming of having all my life (as evidenced by the photo I included in it, one of me aged 7 or 8 banging away on the typewriter Santa gave me while Barbie’s Pink Magic Van sits to the side). Now I’ll be using my blog to chronicle my next adventure: my debut thriller will be published by Corvus/Atlantic in Ireland and the U.K. on May 5, 2016.
Where will your blog take you?
Sarah Kelly, Extra Dry Martini
Favorite post: “The Beach”
Extra Dry Martini is my diary. I document my life, and in particular, the challenges inherent in navigating an uncertain future while trying to heal from tremendous loss and grief. My writing is raw and honest, but also, I believe, hopeful, and ultimately about redemption. This year has been a rollercoaster — with incredible highs and lows — so when WordPress.com asked me to pick my favorite post, it felt a bit like asking me to pick my favorite moment from the whirlwind that was 2015.
I settled on “the beach,” a piece I wrote this summer that’s essentially a love letter to the place where I grew up. It’s a place where all of my happiest childhood memories are contained, but also a place that harbors a great darkness underneath the sunshine and saltwater and sea air. I didn’t realize it at the time of publication, but the beach would also end up being the place I’d travel to a mere six weeks later to see my beloved grandfather through hospice.
In good times and bad, the beach is my constant. Writing this post made me realize just how important this place is, both in my life, and in my writing.
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