Monday morning: Tall White Chocolate Mocha Non-fat in hand, I enter my password and open my Outlook e-mail window for the first time since packing my apartment for the 7-hour pilgrimage back to my native North Carolina. Instead of the typical quarantine summaries, summer e-mail correspondence, final paper feedback, the cramped un-read pile of 7 or 8, no less than 347 bolded [Life-Measured-in-Coffee-Spoons] subject lines greet me. I frantically scroll down my WordPress account from the Independent Study blog I was absent-mindedly typing into only moments before, switching to my personal blog window. 90 comments awaiting moderation. 176 likes on your post “All About That English Major Life.” Mind blown.
Only after approving and replying to a wall of comments did I stumble upon the magical, logical, and completely unexpected phrase “Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.” Like any seasoned WordPress-inaugurated blogger, I’d heard the phrase, seen the tab, and perused the articles of interest whenever free-time and fancy aligned, as one might the front page headlines of The New York Times. To appear within the authoritative and elite selected works of the blogosphere was an honor so far removed from my expectation that it seemed I had won the lottery without even purchasing a ticket.
After logging in and navigating to the Freshly Pressed screen to confirm, performing an enthused victory dance of embarrassing proportions, and systematically deleting notification after notification to the tune of Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams (Come True),” the next order of business was a Google search on how to disable e-mail notifications. What followed was an extensive, elated reflection on my first year as a blogger (after which I’m still WordPress illiterate enough to have never opened the settings before).
Last August, on a whim and a bit of a Virgina-Woolf-induced high, I opened a WordPress account, borrowed from my poet crush, T.S Elliot, and scribbled away. I still remember the shock of the first like on my second post, centered around an, ahem, culturally vital exploration of Socially Awkward Penguin. Completely oblivious of the surrounding universe of blogs (apart from those run by several writing-inclined friends on Blogspot), I hadn’t imagined anyone would read my posts aside from a few curious friends and a few more desperate procrastinators latching onto a link embedded in their Newsfeed. My Musings on Life and Literature had very loose to no formal structuring, and for many months I wrote one or two posts a month on whatever inflamed my interest enough to draw me away from my papers and coffee dates: an eclectic array of Stephen Chobsky, the socially awkward such as myself, and people watching. The theme of an emotionally exhausting January comprised a few displaced misogyny-provoked rants on a FoxNews Marriage article and Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar prowess…so much so that my roommate came to recognize the gleeful, self-satisfied gleam in my eye and the steam streaming from my ears as I composed this particular breed of post. In this past school year, I wrote irregularly on no particular subject matter, just variations on the theme of things that interest me, that raise me out of my sleep-deprived stupor for a few hours into an enflamed vivacity.
It wasn’t until the end of April that I discovered the community waiting a mere window away. I explored the sites of my few followers, read my reader feed, even branched out beyond the like button to a few comment exchanges. But nothing prepared me for the overwhelming response of encouragement, support, and generosity that now resides in my comments’ section. From someone who has resorted to reading the comments sections on politically subversive articles to procrastinate, the concept of a stream of uplifting responses on a blog post seemed an unprecedented modern miracle! For those of you reading this post, forgive my delayed responses. I’m working as hard as I can to reply individually to each and every one of your kind reflections and wonderful stories.
I began by talking to myself in August, and was startled to glance at my computer screen this past Monday to find that, in fact, I’ve been speaking to many.
And in that startling spirit of the second person pronoun…
A huge thank you once again to those who have re-blogged my posts and nominated me for blogging awards in the past few days. I’m writing this post in a Word document in hopes that when I stop in town for some breakfast, I can copy and post this with some help from the friendly neighborhood Wi-Fi…I planned on taking the summer off from blogging, as I *gasp* don’t have internet at my house, but after this beautiful surprise, I’m determined to continue posting at least a few times a month. I’ll be waiting until August to accept and pass these awards along, as I want to spend an adequate amount of time on my nominations, which will require some highly-anticipated, endurance-training blog reading. Until then, have a wonderful summer and I’ll do my best to keep the posts coming!