Saturday, November 21, 2009

Six Quick Picks

Today I present, in no particular order, the first (only?) installment of "Six Quick Picks," a handful (well, hand + one fingerful) of items on the Interwebs that caught my eye this week:

1. Last Friday Sarah at Momalom proposed a question: "How do you ask people to stop and take a look at your blog for five minutes a day, ten days in a row, so that you can have a chance at proving yourself?"  And a mini-phenomenon was born.  All week, bloggers have been coming together to create a community of ideas at Momalom's Five for Ten.  And the indefatigable Sarah and Jen have been returning the favor at all of our sites.  How do they find enough hours in the day to write so thoughtfully, film TV appearances, raise their kids, and maintain their senses of humor?  Like the secret of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, the world may never know.

2. Have you met Lindsey at A Design so Vast?  Lindsey serves up my daily helping of poetry in prose form.  On Monday, she posted about the experience of loneliness and her words have haunted me ever since.  I could not possibly do justice to her post with a quick summary; please go and read it.

3. A new arrival on the blog scene, I was not familiar with Anissa Mayhew until I learned this week that this writer, an Atlanta mother of three, had had a stroke.  I've read several moving testimonials about Anissa's strength and bravery during her daughter Peyton's battle with leukemia and the resiliency of her family on the occasion of this, her second stroke.  But the piece that made me sit still and contemplate the paralyzing weight of the situation was BigLittleWolf's Thursday post: "I'm writing as fast as I can..." at her Daily Plate of Crazy.  About it, she writes, "An event whispered: slow down, you move too fast. This isn’t life or death. And there are children still at play. Navigate carefully. Balance momentum, and the moment."  Thank you for that reminder, BLW.

4. When I first contemplated leaping into the blogosphere, I told a friend about it over e-mail.  She later sent me a link to Ivy League Insecurities, and said "Maybe you could do something like this?"  I clicked on over to Aidan's land of Starbucks, Pinot, humor, and insight and wrote back: "Yeah, something 'like' that.  Or maybe I'll become a novelist and whip up something 'like' Pride and Prejudice."  Needless to say, Aidan sets the bar mighty high. This week she wrote a birthday message to her mother that was a masterful reflection on love and the relationship between parents and children.

5. As a rookie blogger, I have struggled - as perhaps we all do? - with the question of how to build a community of like-minded writers and readers.  I've understood from the outset that comments are the building blocks of the blogging community, but I hadn't established criteria for myself about when and how to leave comments.  I hadn't, that is, until Jane's post on Friday at Theycallmejane's Blog.  Jane used the occasion of receiving her 1000th comment as a time to consider her evolution from "lurker" to "comment whore" (love it!) to someone who comments when she has "something to say."  And I realized upon reading about her journey that I had become stuck in comment gluttony (as I put it in my comment on Jane's post) - commenting on everything and forgetting, as commenter Steven Harris so eloquently stated on that same post, that comments are best when they are like a "conversation" in which "sometimes we listen and sometimes we contribute."

6. It's cloudy here again, friends, but it's Saturday.  And although I have previously discussed the ways in which the New Saturday is not the Old Saturday, I thought we could all use something a little lighter to pilot us into our weekends.  Do you watch Project Runway?  I do.  And I agree with most other pop culture afficianados that the just concluded Season 6 was the worst one yet, with the (spoiler alert!) victory of "Meana Irina" serving as no consolation.  Nevertheless, Tom and Lorenzo made the season much more palatable with their snarky, but knowledgable commentary at Project Rungay.  If you are, or were, a fan of the show, treat yourself to a dose of their clever cattiness.


  1. Kristen,
    I am honored to be included here. Thank you!
    If you like Tom and Lorenzo, have you read the Fug Girls?
    They are hilarious.
    Thank you again for your exceedingly generous words - I will try harder to live up to them!

  2. Kristen,

    I would also like to add my thanks for the mention and links. There is great stuff to read and learn from and how wonderful that Sarah and Jen have helped to connect us all!

    By the way - Anissa updates are now being posted here:

    And we are reminded not only to cherish the present, but that the toughest battles are often fought through stamina, endurance, and belief over the long haul. That is what Anissa's husband is telling us in his latest update. We need to remember that for her, for her family, and also for our own families. We all have struggles. We all fight to do right by those we love.

    Life is rarely what we expect it to be, but that doesn't mean it can't be a good life all the same.

    I have learned this the hard way. And it seems to be a lesson that I am learning over and over again. Reminders help.


  3. Hiya. I owe you like 12 quality emails, don't I? Yup. I do. I know it.

    I feel the need to set the scene before I start my comment here. Do you mind? Really? I'll be quick.

    Jen's middle child just awoke with a nightmare. I scooped her up and nearly made it out of the bedroom before the youngest woke up. Fortunately, said youngest doobie went right back to sleep after a forced cry. Middle child is tucked into the corner of the couch under a blanket and, though I promised to bring her back up to bed later, I think I just might make a nest on the floor beside her and call it a slumber party. What does all this mean? I'm sitting in the pitch black and the glow of the computer screen is so bright that I have to squint.

    And also? Number Five. Conversation. It's what I crave. My husband just loves how when we are at a bar I have the nerve to ask people the strangest things. And it's pretty funny, you know, because even though I was always somewhat outgoing I was always shy and introverted at the same time. Not sure how that works. Haven't paid for therapy. Don't care to. I'm happy.

    So yes. Number One was a result of Number Five. And, I'm not sure that the comment I am leaving is all that specific to this particular conversation you have started with this particular post - due to all the completely benign details - but there you have it.

    Conversation. Connections. When you have something to say. And yes, I want to spend my time going to the sites where I DO have something to say...because those sites, those writers, inspire me to say something.

    This post was more important than you probably thought, huh?

  4. Kristen - Thank you so much for the mention here. I am genuinely honored. I am so thrilled to have found you in this bloggy wilderness. I always love coming here and reading your textured words, your compelling questions. It is so heartening to know that there are kindred souls out there who are plowing through parenthood and personhood with a similar existential lens and longing.

    Thanks again!


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