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OBITER DICTUMING WITH A VENGEANCE
Topics of Discussion Between Martin & I During Our Evening Walks Yesterday & Today: Greek, Indian and Norse Mythology, Whether Trickster Gods are Good or Bad, Why Some Kids Are Bullies, Which Book to Read Next After Oz3, Whether Watching Harry Potter Would Scare Him Now Since Narnia Didn't.

I've always loved Greek mythology. I took several courses in it, along with Art History, during college, and still have several reference books on my shelves. I think my love goes back to a particular book (although it could just be because of Wonder Woman on TV when I was an impressionable tot, who knows?) that I checked out of the library over and over again when I was growing up: D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. O how I loved that book! I got lost in the smudged lines of the brightly colored charcoal illustrations, poring over every detail, memorizing names and stories, wishing MY family tree was half so interesting as Zeus'.

I found the book again as an adult and Martin and I are planning to read it either next or after we read The Magician's Nephew. We got on the subject because of centaurs, which Martin is fascinated with, and because Martin's class has apparently been doing some work with different mythologies. Tonight, as we walked our half-circle around Flyinge, we talked quite a bit about all the different kinds of half-man-half-beasts and half-and-half-beasts that ancient peoples came up with to help explain their world and tell stories about. Centaurs, minotaurs, griffins, mermaids. I told Martin most of the story of Theseus and the labyrinth, but realized to my dismay that I didn't remember all the details, so it will be fun to read the book again with him and rediscover some of my first loves: Athena and Artemis, Pegasus, Echo, Perseus and Medusa, the 9 Muses, and all the rest.

After a week of staying up too late, getting up too early (darn that day job!) and not sleeping well inbetween, I finally crashed yesterday. Martin and I walked immediately after I got home, I battled my drooping eyelids during dinner, did some AWC work and finally gave up at 9:15 and went to bed with Robert Heinlein (another one of my first loves). He couldn't keep my attention long though; I was asleep within minutes, which is why there was no entry yesterday. No blog for the weary.

Stefan Geen, whose blog I've run across once or twice in the course of things, mentioned my journal a few days ago in a list of those writing in the anglo-Swedish blogosphere, along with several others whom I read or consider friends. He defines the following 3 Lessons for Better Blogging:
  1. Choose a genre and exploit all its possibilities
  2. Blog what you're passionate about
  3. Find a niche and dominate it
In perusing those 3 lessons, I think I probably fail dismally at his definition of what makes a better blogger. I also think that Lesson 1 and Lesson 3 are kissing cousins, if not actual siblings.

I haven't chosen a genre or found a niche, much less dominated it. I'm passionate about a lot of things, but rarely to the point of obsession or single-mindedness. In fact, I often feel I'm all over the place, all over the map, flailing wildly about, pausing here, jumping there, popping up in unexpected places.* If I have a voice that unites my writings, I suspect it's serendipitous. I know what kind of blogger I'm NOT, but I find it very hard to define what kind I AM. Personally, I'm rarely drawn to the types of blogs that are fixated upon one particular subject, that are topical, or one-track. I'm most often drawn to the WRITING, the personality and voice, the PERSONALIZING of anecdotes and stories and overheards. As I've said before, I'm drawn to beauty, that's my drug. I work hard* to provide it here, if not on a daily basis, at least with some sort of consistency, but whether or not I succeed is not always up to me. It's up to you.

*Hence the name of this journal.
**I write! I delete! I re-write! I edit! I research! I link!...and sometimes I just let it flow. :)
 rejuvenated
mood: rejuvenated
music: Frente—Accidently Kelly Street


Comments

Frankly, I think that advice only applies to people who really need and want recognition of the type that comes from blog awards and such. I find niche blogs are often incredibly dull because you never really get to know the personality of the writer beyond their little niche. I much prefer personal journals that are all over the place. Or maybe I'm just a jealous because I never win any awards *lol*. I don't think so though. I have a hard time reading a lot of the more popular blogs because they don't offer a personal connection.

I like some niche blogs, like Gizmodo and Drawn! but for the most part, I find myself looking at them now and then, and not subscribing to them. Same thing with communities here on LJ. I suspect, as you say, that it is mostly because they tend to be so impersonal.

Those rules of blogging might be making a distinction between blogging and journaling.

I may be wrong, but it was explained to me once that a blog -- a "true" blog -- was actually supposed to be a combination of reporting and commentary. You'd link to some article, be it news, entertainment, sports, whatever, and then you'd write your take on it. You didn't write content about your day, or your family, or your childhood, unless it somehow specifically related to your take on the situation on which you were reporting (or, more accurately, the situation about which someone else reported, which you then pointed out via a link).

If you go with that definition of a blog, then his rules probably have some merit. The best of those will probably have specific issues they're passionate about, so it's like turning to a TV station such as the NFL Network, or the Game Show Network -- you know what you're going to get.

If you're journaling, then I don't see why it matters.

I think you're right. It's probably because so many people have their web journals on BLOGGER or BLOGSPOT or whatever, that the terms become confused.

To me, you are the type of blogger where you reflect your own true personality in your blog and that lends me to want to read it. By the way, I'm well aware that that might be happily naive of me because, of course, just because you know someone's blog it doesn't mean you know the person - you might NOT be reflecting your true self in your journal and that's fine. That aside, your blog seems to ME to be a reflection of you. How could you just dominate one area given all the different dimensions to one's personality. YET, your personality is both wonderful and unique. So for me, the line 'find a niche' is perhaps misworded if you already 'have' a niche, that being you and your uniqueness :)

"how could you dominate one area given all the different dimensions to one's personality" : excellent point!

What do you get if you cross a mermaid and a centaur - a sea horse? :-) I reckon the latter also is a mythological creature ridden by Neptune.

Once I played the text-resolution computer game Nethack, which is a dungeon game where you slay your way and gather experience to finally end up as a demi-god. When you start a new game, you get a pet to follow you, either a cat or a dog. In the game are many magic items, including a few that lets you or some other creature morph into something else. By accident I once had my cat morph into a (tame!) minotaur, which was very practical to chase onto the monsters and shopkeepers. ;-)

Martin was making up his own half-and-half beast combinations, which was really funny. We decided the half-kangaroo-half-rhino wouldn't be very happy.

Your niche is writing well and from the heart. And I agree about the journaling/blogging differences as well.

I have been thinking about this lately too as I feel like mine is all over the place and needs some direction and a makeover.

Or maybe that is just me who needs the overhaul.

; D

Well, going in ANY one direction for too long gets boring. It's kind of nice to switch around.

Here's what I think makes for better blogging
1. a good layout (check)
2. good writing (check)
3. then I become fond of the blogger, so that finally I wouldn't care if they published their grocery list (double check!)

Do you take a walk every evening, and how far do you walk? (I figure if you can do it there where it's 30, I can do it here where it's 50 :oP

I'm walking for a half hour at the moment, although I hope to up that once the weather gets a bit better. If it's pouring rain I don't go, but otherwise I'm trying to force myself. Martin has been great about going with me, but if he or Karin won't I'm walking by myself anyway. I missed 2 nights this week, once because of rain and once because we were gone all evening, but otherwise I'm trying to walk as soon as I get home from work, before dinner, because otherwise it's too darn easy to sit down on the sofa or in front of the computer and never get up again. :)

(Anonymous)

What a great gift..to have a child love the same kind of books as you do!

A great blog (for me) is one that makes me laugh out loud (thanks to you for finding Magazine Man- who always does that to me); one who makes a heart connection with beautiful writing and photos (You, of course!) and, of course...one who makes you think....ummmmm, that would be dittos again.
Thanks for all the thinking and smiles! Lizardmom

Thanks, mom :) XOXO!

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

Are you saying I'm SWEET??! :D :P hahahha

i think your kids are lucky to have you as their mom. and we are lucky to have you as our blogger.

I do my best! :D

How cool that you're imparting your love of magical creatures and Greek mythology to your son and that he's curious and inquisitive about it. The rest, with blogs and being on somebody's list is pretty flattering but way less important in the overall scheme of things. A lot of people enjoy what you write and like to read about it regardless of any, all or none of the rules that it follows.

Both kids fought over who got to take D'Aulaires' to bed last night to look at while they fell asleep. :)

Itr's great to foster reading in your children, share discoveries and watch the love of literature blossom. As you know, I'm as passionate a reader as you are and I revelled in passing that on. In my case, my daughter was the first to take off and soar. My son took longer, but it was Roald Dahl's The Twits that finally cracked it for him.

I love reading what you write and hope you never stop. As for rules...well, they were made to be broken.

I love that you had such a neat conversation with your son! Very cool mom. I hope he'll always want to confide in you.

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