#BBAW: Day 4, Get Connected

 

I’ll be honest, sometimes I feel like a poser book blogger. I’m sure if someone were to happen upon my blog they could tell I really like books… but, book blogger? Sometimes I’ll go weeks without a review and there are all kinds of oddball topics in the mix at Fig and Thistle. My blog is truly an eclectic blog sprinkled with bookishness.

I call myself a book blogger because book lovers are the people I feel most connected to. There are baking blogs, mommy blogs, mental illness blogs, knitting blogs, library science blogs, etc…, but you book people, you are my kindred spirits.

When approaching the topic of “how I stay connected” as a book blogger I really had trouble of thinking a creative way to write this post. Oh yes, I love readalongs, readathons, challenges, Twitter, Instagram, snail mail, and meetups. But don’t we all?

Instead I thought I’d be a rebel and tell you all about why I started blogging and how that connected me to a marvelous group of people.

I graduated in May 2004 with a BA in English. College had been super hard on me. When I graduated that May I had a preschool-aged daughter, two part-time jobs, I survived and four psychiatric hospital stays under my belt. Most of my support system in college was composed of very encouraging faculty and staff and my amazing college friends. But then we graduated and everyone moved except for me. Friends moved back home or left for graduate school and I spent the summer working part-time in a bookstore and part-time at Blockbuster. I didn’t have a car, I had very little money, and my daughter was living with my parents while I got myself together. It was lonely and depressing. I had a boyfriend at the time, but I pretty much only kept him around because I was so damn lonely and depressed. My little town in northeast Georgia was bereft of people my age who liked books (side note: I did, at this time, notice a hot art nerd in a coffee shop and six years later I married him).

I was getting depressed again. Drats. I wondered how on earth I would find friends. I remembered that the summer before I spent a fair amount of time on some bookish Yahoo message boards. Once I began my autumn I courses I didn’t keep up with the group and I had, but now I was homework free and my hours were more regular now as I had traded juggling part-time jobs for a full-time library gig. I logged back into Yahoo and discovered that some of my favorite peeps (Andi, Heather) from those bookish message boards were doing this blogging thing. I opened a Blogspot account, named my blog The Blog Jar, and the rest is history.

I quit blogging once for a few months when crappy boyfriend and I were breaking up, but besides that I’ve kept up with blogging in some fashion. After Sam and I were engaged I thought The Blog Jar didn’t really fit my personality any longer and I changed my name to Fig and Thistle.

My “blog” friends have been with me through a terrible break-up, the beginnings of a new romance, a wedding, the birth of Atticus and Persy, three moves, several illnesses and other highs, lows, and everything in between. I’ve had hugs, visits, notes, emails, comments, and tweets filled to bursting with joy, support, and love from this community.

I’m in a very different place from that lonely spot in 2004. I have local bookish friends, a car, a stable relationship, and three amazing kids. What I’ve found is that blogging was not just a way to crawl out of isolation and communicate with other humans in the least anxiety-producing way, it is a way to truly connect with other kindred spirits. Blogging offered me a chance to thrive and as a result I’ve grown as a reader, a person, and a friend.

That, my friends, is connection.

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9 comments

  1. Love this post! I can completely relate to the feelings of isolation, which I tend to bring on myself. They come and go in spurts but feeling connected to these bookish people keeps me going…which is why I recently joined twitter! I hear it’s the place to be =)

  2. I love this Amanda!!! And your description of being a book blogger really resonates with me. I often feel like I’m on the periphery as well, but all of my regularly commenters are book bloggers and all the blogs that I read and comment on are book blogs (I will always think of you as a book blogger). But like Amanda says above, my favorite blogs are the ones that go beyond books–because we’re so much more than that, aren’t we?

    And totally agree with the benefits of blogging. It has truly enriched my life! Hugs friend. 🙂

  3. Aww this is beyond wonderful. I’m so so so glad to be a part of this community. Shoot. Now I’m getting teary. (And not just a little because Heather and Andi too talk me off the crazy ledge on the regular!) WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS, AMANDA? Big love to you, boo. Yeah, I just called you “boo.” This is what happens when I get emotional.

  4. You are not alone! I do blog mostly about books…and that’s how I end up with long, long silences on my blog. If I’m in a slump., or simply haven’t made time for reviews or to participate in something like Top 10 Tuesday, then I just don’t write anything. The thing is, I want to write about more, and as the others have said, those blogs that combine both are some of the best. Knowing more about a person helps you know what kind of reader they are, too.

  5. This was lovely. I especially like your last sentence – this connection. And we all do it in our own way, with the amount of time that we have, and how it’s comfortable for us. And we do connect, don’t we? 🙂

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