A Blogging Shift

Life is short. I would rather sing one song, than interpret a thousand. ~Jack London

Two interesting things happened this week, and it’s only Wednesday. One, is that a post about my hair got more attention than my posts about books. The other is that while I was having coffee with a friend I greatly respect and admire, she said, “You should write more about life.”

I often have trouble finding just the right niche. When the group is doing one thing, I most frequently am doing another. Being out of tandem with everyone else is a common experience for me; finding myself rather alone has become so normal that I used to joke at school, “Smith, party of one.” I’m not saying this as pity, in fact, it’s rather a point of pride. When are the masses ever right?

That does, however, leave a question about my purpose here. I started a blog twelve years ago with a name which doesn’t even relate to books because I didn’t really intend to write a book blog. Dolce Bellezza was supposed to refer to “Gentle Beauty” as in “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” (1 Peter 3:4). I was always going to write about life as I know it (faith, teaching, reading, everyday thoughts). And then I met Lesley, and we started to talk about books we’ve read, and before you know it I had veered into a book blog because it was so much fun.

Blogging about books has greatly enriched my life. I have discovered authors that I’d never heard of let, let alone read, even though I consider myself a fairly well read person. I have received such a plethora of books to review that I will never, ever be able to read them all. I have hosted eleven Japanese Literature Challenges, and I have had the utter joy to be a part of the IFFP Shadow Jury, the Man Booker International Prize Shadow Jury, and the Booker Shadow Jury. I would trade none of those experiences. Nor do I intend to lay them all down.

But, now that I’m retired I’m wondering if blogging mostly about books suits my purpose. I think I’m more interested in exploring the world outside of the classroom. I think I’m more interested in expanding my blog to something other than the narrow confines of merely reviewing literature, which is only an interest of mine, and never an area of expertise.

In an effort to “sing only about one song, rather than interpret a thousand”, I am planning to blog more about life and less about the thousand books which are lying in wait for me to read. I will still be reading. I will still write about what I’ve read. But, only when I want to. Only when a book has called to me in a loud, clear voice. Other than that, let’s journey onward to broader roads which beckon and call. Let’s explore more thoughts outside of the pages. Are you with me?

40 thoughts on “A Blogging Shift”

  1. I think that is a great idea. I started out wanting to do a book blog but found reviewing books was done much better by other people. I do like to share my books but I also like to share my travels and it doesn’t matter if those travels are only around the neighborhood. We should do what we love and write about that. I love having people follow me but I dont care if they don’t. I think of my blog as a life journal. I look forward to what you do.🤠🐧

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  2. I really agree with you That although books are really interesting but thinking and talking about real life is more interesting than book reviewing.
    Although am late to your blog I am with you and encourage to discover other aspects of your daily and write what you thought about it.
    Wish you and your blog happy future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems more interesting, somehow, to write about what I have to say than to write about what others’ have said in their books. Not that I dislike reviewing, but I don’t want to minimize my own voice, either. I’m glad we found each other to blog with!

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  3. Can’t wait to read anything you decide to write about!! 🙂
    We do a post with our friend called Off Topic Tuesday and it has become so much fun to write about something other than books! -Ashley

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    1. Off Topic Tuesday sounds like a great way to incorporate more of who you are and what interests you! I can imagine how much fun it must be to write. Plus, you have the added joy of writing with a friend.

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  4. I am delighted! And in fact, I read your quote in a different way. “sing only about one song, rather than interpret a thousand” I think your new idea is the latter rather than the former. Instead of writing about books alone, you will be writing about the thousand things of your life!! I wrote about this very idea on the first anniversary of my blog. I went searching for it, so I could show you.
    https://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2007/11/year-of-letters.html
    I am sure your new idea will reap wonderful harvests, blog entry after blog entry. I so look forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so good to hear from you Nan, I’ve missed you! I have become more and more intent on my bookish thoughts, almost to the exclusion of the rest of my life, and I’ve deviated quite a ways from the early days of blogging when we would discuss every day events and thoughts much more. That was foolish of me. I like your point about really, it’s the reverse. Instead of just writing about books, I’ll be writing of more (“a thousand”) things. It is a pleasure to blog with you and be your friend. Thanks for always being there.

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      1. Honestly, I haven’t been able to read “my” blogs as often, and even if I do, I don’t have time to comment. I am in fact sneaking in right now while Hazel is watching Ninjago!

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    1. Laura, I love having your comments on this blog! How wonderful to hear from you here; you know your thoughts have always been, and will continue to be, so valuable to me. Xo

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  5. I admire you for being able to change course so gracefully! Also, I’m relieved for myself that you are making the deliberate change and yet planning to continue writing on your blog, because it’s always a bit sad when people just fizzle out as their focus changes. God bless you, Bellezza!

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    1. It is sad, isn’t it, when we “lose” the friends we have made through the course of our blogging. There are people I miss terribly, even though I have been a lousy commenter of late. Claire from Kiss a Cloud, for example, is a voice I greatly enjoyed. However, we will carry on, you and I, and I hope to have many more discussions about faith and family and journaling (and whatever else comes along) with you.

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  6. While I enjoy reading your bookish posts, I really love reading the ones in which you share more personal details about your life. My blog started out as an online book journal and has evolved into a mixture about books, travel, photography, recipes and daily life. In a sense, it’s a journal of my life, which just happens to include books. I’m all for change and I’m thrilled that you have chosen to continue writing, rather than saying goodbye to the blogging world. Here’s to new beginnings! xoxo

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    1. You have always been so good about writing about so many topics, Lesley! From food to your travels, you never narrowed yourself to simply writing book reviews. I have LOVED all the bookish talks we’ve had, you alone were so helpful in opening the book blog world to me, and it is a gift I will always treasure. Yet, as I said to Nan above, it will be so fun to discuss broader topics now. Again. 😉

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    1. Thank you, Karen, because you’re so right: I was sorely tempted to abandon ship altogether. And then, when I happened upon this idea of simply shifting gears it seemed to give me a lot of peace. I feel energized to write posts again, and visit/comment on blogs again whereas I was in such a slump before. For like, two years.

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    1. It is, isn’t it? Someone asked me once why I was always either smiling or laughing, and I said, “Because life is so damn funny! You just can’t make this stuff up!” Now we’ll have to discuss it more here, the wonder and humor of it all.

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        1. I knew what you meant; I always have to read around my own typos. Or, auto-corrects. Somehow parchment and quills were much easier. (I once referred to my “dear” aunt, and auto-correct put “dead” aunt. It still upsets me.)

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    1. Yet you have been so wonderful consistent in your translated literature pursuit. You are one of the bloggers who have greatly stimulated and abroadened my reading, and I thank you for that, Stu. I have loved translation literature especially since you welcomed me aboard the IFFP Shadow Jury panel.

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  7. In a time of transition, be like the butterfly and do what comes naturally, transform and yet be more authentically you than ever. Bravo to you my friend, I find my creative inclination has taken a turn and it feels good and right, the past has been good practice for where we are at now, new seeds are being planted, go tend to them! 🌸

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  8. M, I’m with you. I’d love to read anything you write 🙂 I say go for it – I can’t wait to read your new blog posts about life (and books). I find that the personal posts I write about my anxiety tend to get so many more views and comments, than the ones about books. I guess people do find life a bit more interesting, eh? I’m excited for the new direction you are headed in with your blog. xxNadia

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    1. It’s true, isn’t it Nadia, that our personal posts are really what is most interesting to people. It’s so fun to share our personal experiences, our thoughts and our lives. That makes me feel a much deeper connection than simply reading someone’s opinion about a novel. Xo

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  9. As the others have said, I think this is a great idea. When we write about books, I think, based on the book probably, it only appeals to certain people. Like you, when I write about ‘life’, more people interact with comments, etc. I have moved in and out of this because I do like writing about books and suggesting books for others. I know, however, that I’ll likely have a subset of the people who read my blog talking about the books or interacting. I’m OK with that. Occasionally, I’m inspired to share something else. I say do what works for you at your time of life. I’ll completely enjoy whatever you’d like to share with us. You are finding your new balance in life and that’s a very good thing.

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    1. I know that I for one, have truly enjoyed your personal posts, Kay. I’ve loved reading about your journeys and adventures, your questions and thoughts. For example, seeing you and Lesley together was so fun! Imagine us being able to connect in real life. Thank you for the honesty and openness with which you comment and blog. Xo

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    1. If this is the Adrienne with whom I have worked for many years, please know that I love receiving a comment from you here! Thanks for taking the time to visit and leaving a resounding yes. It is greatly encouraging to me, as you always are. Xo

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  10. I like it when a blog includes all aspect of the blogger’s life. A little life, a few books, etc. Keeps it interesting and makes it more personal.

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  11. And you were worried about not having a focus as the start of the new school year was approaching? Already sounds like fun and I’m with you!!

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  12. I think so many of us started thinking we will write about more generic subjects and then got caught up in all the lovely bookish things happening around us. However. I do think it is wonderful if you shift the perspective a bit and share some of stories from your very extraordinary life!

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  13. Bellezza, it will be interesting to see where your new blogging journey takes you! There’s more to life than books, but there’s also a lot of life in books. Books, reading, and writing provide a wonderful focus, which can lead you in many fascinating directions, but there are other ways to approach blogging as well.

    My blog is primarily book-based, although I have written about other things as well over the years (especially in RRT posts), although my posts are less frequent these days. I plan to post a new review soon, and then I have a post or two in the works. I need to make more time for blogging! 🙂

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  14. Well, you know how I feel about it. I’m rejoicing to see what I remember as the “old Bellezza” re-emerging. We’ve known each other long enough now that I remember the time when it wasn’t all about books in your blog, and I’ve missed reading your thoughts: not to mention your origami instruction!

    When I began my own blog, my commitment to myself was clear: I wanted to learn how to write, and I would do that by writing about what interested me. No market research, no going with the trends, no received wisdom about what would or wouldn’t work. If someone else wanted to read, or comment, that would be fine, but I wasn’t writing to build an audience.

    When I look back now over the topics I’ve covered — the things that have piqued my interest — I wouldn’t change that focus one iota.

    I think you’ll find some new freedom in your new approach — to your blog, as well as to your lovely hair!

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