Sunday, April 5, 2009

A HUNDRED AND COUNTING!

This marks my one-hundredth blog posting—a milestone of sorts, though nothing to get excited about when compared to the efforts of my favorite fellow bloggers, many of whom have posted their way several times beyond this paltry score. Yet, it is more than I thought might prove the case when I first began—a real fear which I admitted in my very first blog entry. All previous attempts at journals, diaries, and similar forms of regular record-keeping over the years have, one-and-all, petered out in appallingly short order. It is because so many of you have read and commented that I’ve continued—and it’s this friendly interchange and support that has made the whole business so much fun. Of course this blog isn’t really a journal, though given the bulk of my chosen subject matter, it can’t help but follow the course of the seasons and their effect on me and the world around my riverside cottage. And in truth, it’s more of a nature blog than I intended…though I probably should have known better. What I’d originally envisioned was something a bit meatier—commentaries and essays rooted in ideas and beliefs, philosophy and arts; a deeper delving into the interconnections between life and the shape of spirit and individuality, cast against the matrix of daily activities and the natural world. What I wanted to avoid like the plague was a nature column which was nothing more than a recounting of scientific knowledge. (Plieated woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker in Eastern North America. Their wingspan can exceed 30 inches. They hack out characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants.) Facts, facts, facts. And nothing much more. I don’t like reading nature books that prove more textbook than tale. They are valuable, certainly, and necessary; and I do think any good nature writer has to keep up with the current field of knowledge. (And yes, I have shelves of the things, have waded through most, and refer to them regularly. ) But I don’t so much want facts in my recreational (as opposed to research) reading as I do essence. Tell me a story, work the facts, if germane, into the narrative. I really don’t care how much you know about plieated woodpeckers—and I truly don’t need to have every scrap of that burdensome knowledge passed along right this moment! Entertain me, make me think. The world isn’t a bundle of facts but of things, events, a past, present, future, with love and death and mortgages and recipes for apple pie. Get some of that in there when you write about pileated woodpeckers and I’ll be a lot more prone to read your stuff. In the end, I guess I want to know about the writers behind the writing. I want to know what they think and feel, what moves them, their beliefs and notions, likes and dislikes. I want to feel like we’re sitting across the campfire from one another, talking, telling about this or that, recounting something we found interesting or funny or tragic—with life and personality and nature resonating throughout. More than anything, I want to be who I am on this blog—to be honest and open, to relate my experiences and ideas. I don’t expect you to always agree, and you don’t even have to like me. I don’t like myself sometimes, either. I’m still learning the ropes of blogging; still trying to accomplish my original vision. I hope, one of these days, to be able to write another piece like this marking my 200th posting. I do sincerely appreciate each and every one of you who give up a portion of your valuable time to stop by the riverbank and read the latest dispatch. Unseen lurkers and regular commentarors, I thank you. As for what's ahead, we’ll all have to wait and see…for as the Book of Proverbs wisely reminds, “thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

30 comments:

Gail said...

I, for one, come here to be amazed at your photos, intertwined with memories of your life, spattered with the humanities - tragic and miraculous alike, - the 'real' feel I get envisioning you with your black tea and "steel slivered oats", watching and learning from nature every day and bringing your appreciation of it to me - stories of "Moon" and your foster dog, your "great room' and your awe of sunrise and sunset - and then I stop for a moment and think - dream - breathe - surrender - and see my little corner of the world even more magically. And that is why I come here.

Love Gail,
peace.....

p.s. congrats on the 100 posts, and here's to the next 100. Cheers!!

Lynne said...

Happy Cente-blogi-nari-versary!! (??)

I'm so glad to have found you here. Your writing enriches my days and has been a comfort as well.

Deb at Sand Creek Almanac sent me her for the first time. Thanks Deb.

Val said...

I come here to know you. Your photographs and words, your posts and replies to comments give me a little tiny piece of the picture that is you... and I enjoy getting to know you.

Keep 'em coming Grizzled... you sure do have a lot of people interested in your story.

: )

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Thank you for visiting and commenting. If I pass any single theme along on this blog, I hope it's my sense of awe and wonder.

The granddog has been picked up and Moon has the place to herself. The morning sunshine is now clouds with rain for this evening turning to snow. And I've spent a couple hours changing a flat after figuring out where to get the tire repaired on a Sunday. Ah, life.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lynne…

I'm glad you found your way here—a kindred buzzard watcher! And have I got some vulture tales (and pix) ahead for you!

As I told you before, your blog, Deb's and Nina's were the three I admired and followed long before I began Riverdaze. Both inspiration and example.

I hope you continue to find something worthwhile here. Thank you for your kind words.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Val…

We sure have had some nice and interesting exchanges, haven't we? I'm always glad you come by—and I enjoy immensely your curiosity and attitude.

And congratulations again on getting accepted into law school! Way to go!

Deb said...

What you have said about blogging, and nature blogging in particular, is exactly how I feel about blogs. If I want the facts there are plenty of sources for them on the Web and otherwise. I like bloggers like yourself who let me into their world, who share their own unique experience and perspective, with a sense of humor.

Happy 100th Grizzled. I look forward to many more!

KGMom said...

First, congrats on blog post 100.
I think the rewards for blogging are many--not the least of which is instant publishing. The feedback from friends in the blogging world, of course, helps.
When I first stopped by your blog and commented, it was to challenge something you said. I stand corrected.
I have come to realize (coming up on 300 posts myself) is that I blog for the discipline of writing. Blogging is a way to polish my craft. Writing gives me great pleasure--and blogging is the outlet. The readers--all of whom I appreciate--are the proverbial frosting on the cake.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Deb…

I'm glad you feel this way about blogs and nature blogging. I'm not at all interested in writing—or reading—blogs which sound like academic papers. I want to know the blogger, to have them tell me about nature (or whatever else) through their eyes and experience, personality and beliefs.

Thank you for saying this, for stopping around, and for your own blogging which is somewhere I'm always glad to visit.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Hey, you can challenge me all you want (the "kindness of strangers" quote and Dunkards/Dunkers wasn't it?) and I'll defend, stand corrected, or wiggle mightily. I think if you're serious about writing—and God knows I'm serious!—you need to accept the responsibility of what you say. If I don't know absolutely that something I'm saying is correct, I research before posting—just as I do prior to publishing for the articles and columns I write which earn my income. Nevertheless, I can, and do, make mistakes. And really, I appreciated the other day when you told me about the word verification thing being turned on…I had no idea, and wouldn't have caught it on my own.

Anyway, I stand in envy of 300 postings. And I'm always glad you read and comment. I want folks to find something of interest here. Thank you.

The Solitary Walker said...

Well said, Grizzled. That's exactly the kind of blog I like too. Here's to the next hundred! I for one am looking forward to reading them.

giggles said...

One hundred congratulations, Scribe!

(Having stumbled upon your place as I began my exploration of blogging, and admired your devoted following, I would have thought you had posted many times that amount! It's all good!)

gleaner said...

Congratulations on reaching 100, and hoping for many more!

I enjoy reading about your riverside environs but its the roguish element and the hearty exchanges and comments which I really enjoy.

I confess, your post on the washerwoman in your shower and your reflections on friendships are my all-time favourites.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

"Write what you'd want to read," that's my aim. Not highbrow, lowbrow, nature, humor—but just try to write well in the allotted time, using the available attention and energy, through whatever talent you have. And be honest.

Sometimes, I hope, the planets align.

I do appreciate your fine blog and your comments here. Thank you.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Nope. I just motor-mouthed (motor-blogged?) to the extent less seemed like more.

You've contributed to the excess on more than one occasion, inducing/tempting/teasing me into bantering back and forth to the point that the comments section replies were probably longer than the actual posting—and about a mile off-topic. Which, it being my blog, is just fine. If it ceases to be fun, I ain't playing. You've made these first 100 fun.

Thank you. And I WILL get a better pileated shot!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gleaner…

Well, 100 is about 95 more than I expected/feared I'd manage. But you know what, it is fun and interesting and keeps you open to possibilities and always thinking: "How can I use that on my blog?"

The Lady of the Washrag shot was pure luck, and half the people I showed it to thought it was just silly. "No one cares about a washrag." But I did, and apparently, so did you. So I thank you for telling me.

As to the friendship blogs—and I'm assuming you're referring to the pieces about Frank—he was a very important person and model in my life, and his passing a deep loss. I wanted to share something the man, our long relationship, and what he meant to me on this blog. I wanted to write about him while the hurt and pain and loss was fresh and raw. I wasn't blogging for sympathy or attention. I just wanted to say what I felt. I wanted to write as much for me as anyone. But I'm so glad you liked the pieces. And the responses if received from readers, their lovely comments, helped me deal through the days.

Thank you for all you've said—and I'm looking forward to your first 100!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Congratulations on your first hundred, Grizzled! I look forward to reading the next hundred.

I found it interesting to read how you originally envisaged your blog. And also that it's the interaction that encourages you to continue.

The interaction with fellow bloggers is something I appreciate so much - and hadn't really anticipated. I didn't activate my comments facility for several months - I wasn't sure if folk would want to talk with a giraffe! I'm so glad I have, because it has been such a life-enhancing experience.

Your blog is one of my favourites and has given me much food for thought and enjoyment. Thank you!

(PS Do pileated woodpeckers have mortgages?!)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Raph…

You are a perfect example of why I blog—who woulda thunk, pre-blog, that I'd ever have the opportunity and pleasure to correspond with a giraffe? And a WITW loving giraffe, to boot!

I'm so very glad you followed the trail to this riverbank. Thank you for all your comments.

P.S. Yes, those pileateds lacking sufficient ready cash typically carry mortgages on their tree cavities.

giggles said...

Yes, I've had so much fun "commenting" because you actually comment back.... Many other bloggers don't talk back, and I, being the extroverted sort, need people to talk back to me. I am so hoping that the witty reparte your commenters are enjoying is at least somewhat accountable to our back and forth!!

I also checked out of the library, with the intention of reading, Wind In The Willows. Now, I have recollections as a kid trying to read this book, probably more than once...but I don't think I ever made it all the way through, not once.... So, reading about it here... I will try yet again.... I'll picture you and the cottage and all the critters as I read.... (I'm thinking, way back then, it was way over my head....sense of humor and verbage not manageable yet.... I'll "get it," now, with any luck and more life experience to put it in a different perspective....)

And I'll wait for more piliated shots, although, I'm tellin' ya... I was not disappointed with your first one. Really!!

(PS... Do you mind being called "Grizzled" as opposed to "Scribe" when we all abbreviate your moniker?)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

One of the pacts I sort of made with myself when I began this blog was that if someone was willing to make a comment, I'd respect that with a reply—even if I didn't agree with what they said or could say nothing more than a simple "thank you." That seemed, at the very least, the polite thing to do.

As I've said before, I'm a gregarious loner. I truly like people, enjoy conversation and repartee. I don't blog to elicit comments so I can bask under a bit of praise. I like the engagement a blog offers. Just as when I speak to different groups and organizations, or teach at workshops and such—my favorite part is the questions and answers. It's fun, unpredictable, occasionally a bit wild, and often the most informative or insightful part of the entire gig.

Of course my occasional downfall is that I seldom know when to shut up. Being quick-of-wit is handy; being a quick-witted-smartmouth is dangerous. You might think this wouldn't apply to such slower-processing exchanges as letters and emails…but I can assure you you're wrong.

Now, re. your latest attempt at reading The Wind In the Willows. I would say this is a book which requires a certain mind-set to read and enjoy. You have to initially suspend some of the beliefs in your head without suspending other beliefs in your heart. It is a timeless, universal tale, though not often so much for the story as the characters. It has to be taken in through your inner child using an adult's intellect and knowledge. Not an easy thing for some to do, I think. Not all books are suitable for all readers; try as you might, you can't force a fit. I also think (because it's certainly true for me) that you have to be in the right mood and place in your life, sometimes, for a book to resonate. For example, there's a certain book which recounts, in a daily journal entry style, the round of a year with a strong emphasis on the natural world—birds, gardening, flowers, plus Pennsylvania Dutch food and culture. I'd picked up this book somewhere along the way, and first tried reading it maybe 30 years ago; couldn't get more than a dozen pages in. I tried again a year or so later…and again…and again over the next couple of decades. It just didn't work. Then, a few years ago, the winter after my mother's death when I was staying in her house, sorting through 94 years of her and my father's accumulation, I tried reading the book once more. Why this time was right and the others hadn't been, I don't know. But the book was perfect, so good that I forced myself to limit the number of chapters I'd read of it each day—that way stretching the book to perhaps a week. I've since read it at least a dozen times. And I still don't know, exactly, why it so appeals to me—but if I were to pick a hundred favorite books from my several thousand, this would be one. I hope, this time around, TWITW is that book for you.

Finally, call me what you will, "Grizzled" or "Scribe." (The image I have of myself when called "Scribe" is of a cowled monk hunched over a desk in a scriptorium, scribbling away; the "Grizzled" appellation conjures a bulky woodsman-geezer, squatting before a campfire in a dark forest, eying a haunch of something bloody and red sizzling on a spit over the glowing coals. Both are equally appropriate.)

giggles said...

Oh gosh... I hope I'm not a quick-witted smart mouth! (I was when I was a kid... My mom always used to say "Don't get smart with me!" I was sassy and disrespectful to her that way...like my oldest is starting to get with me... I'm sorry mom!)

Sand County Almanac?

Yes, I've start the book and I have already suspended expectations...the forward helped.... I was gonna skip it, but it was insightful...so I am pretty sure I'm gonna enjoy the escape!

Carolyn H. said...

Congratulations! 100 is a big milestone. I've blogged for several years now--some days it's easy as getting up in the morning. Some days it's, well, not. I just try to get going at it and hope I can get through the tough days quickly.

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Well, I'm sorely tempted to say "takes one to know one,"…but I won't. (See, that's what I mean about never knowing when to shut up.) Nope, I was talking about me, clearly, not you…you must make that own determination/admission for yourself.

I will say two smart-mouths in the same room can make each other miserable exchanging pot shots…though on the other hand, they can have a fine time picking at a common victim, trying to top one another at the expense of the poor slob who has to endure their childish behavior.

Nope, I've read Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac" and "Round River," and they're excellent; but the book I was referring to was "The Round of the Year," by Fredrick Klees, a professor of English at Swarthmore, who also wrote an excellent regional history, "The Pennsylvania Dutch." But be forewarned, this isn't any great shakes as a nature book. What appeals to me is the charm of the author, his delight in flowers and weather and countryside, his pleasure in birdsong, his love of simple fare such as shoo-fly-pie. Like I said, I tried it several times before and couldn't get very far…until that period in my life when everything clicked, and it became personal and wonderful. I don't know exactly why.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

Well, you know the old saying…writing is inspiration, perspiration, and discipline. As my grandfather used to say, the "want to" has to be there.

I know exactly what you mean about easy and tough days. You appreciate the first because you wade through the second. But speaking as reader, your postings are always interesting and thoughtful and well-done, and I certainly can't tell whether they came easily or not.

Hitting the century-mark is just a measure of quantity; the work comes in striving for quality. It's bloggers such as yourself—and your comments here—that keep me on track and moving.

Thank you.

JMS said...

Happy Hundred, Scribe. I came here to track goings on in my part of the world but I'm pleasantly surprised to have found so many friendly voices with so much in common. Many happy returns.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

JMS…

We Buckeye riverbank scribblers gotta stick together. You look for ramps, I look for buzzards.

I appreciate your comments muchly (new word) and I expect to be congratulating you on your 100th post about July or before.

Rowan said...

I really hope that you do make it to 200 posts and well beyond, I enjoy reading about everything that you see and do - especially I like to visualize the riverbank where you live. Judging by some of the comments I'd enjoy reading some of your archives too. The trouble with finding a blog that you enjoy is that there isn't really time to delve back and read every post - at least not unless you spend 24 hours a day at the computer. Some are worth taking the time for though and I think yours is one.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rowan…

Well, I hope I make it to 200 posts myself, and I sincerely thank you for your encouragement.

I also hope you do have the time to occasionally read an earlier post. I was just thinking recently, when Weaver of Grass marked her 300th (!) post, that while I've read many of her excellent entries from a bit earlier than when I became a "follower," I've not read them all—and I want to do so. Time is the rub, of course, but even if I just add in one older post of hers per day, I'll eventually manage to catch up. And there are several other bloggers whose earlier posts I'm also reading.

I say that not to make a case for myself and my own earlier posts, but because in so many ways blogging is really getting acquainted with other people via their posts. The more you know about a blogger, the more you can "bring" with you when you read their latest dispatch. Which at least adds perspective, and might even enrich the experience.

Thank you again.

Martha said...

I just new at doing blogs and reading them. I spend most of my time either workinig outside, working in my flower garden, picking the flowers to photograph or working them up in my computer. (I just wish I could paint.) Do you blog every day? I'm trying to blog an image a day and briefly describe how I got the image. I hope I have at least a few worthy of exposure....but a 100?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Martha…

Hey, I just looked at your blog and you do really fine work. You'll reach 100…just keep plugging away. And to answer your question, no, I occasionally skip a day, either because of laziness or having to do something else and simply not getting around to it.

Thank you for your comment.