Sundays are my most guarded day. It’s the morning that I get to write. Then, throughout the day I do the prep and caring duties of laundry and cooking and bills and other what-nots necessary to be ready for the coming week. Also, Sundays I take time to read other blogs.
Several Sundays ago, while reading the variety of words that my friends at the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop gang created, I thought, I learn so much from this scattered group of writers. So, I popped an email to the fearless co-leader, Kristi and said, let’s talk about this. So here we go!
Lesson #1 – Accept the Challenge
Let’s begin somewhere near the beginning, and also, I put these lessons in alphabetical order. (When in doubt on how to sort a list, start with A.) Anyway…The first blogger I “met” from the FTSF group was Kerri. She ran a series called My Challenge and she invited me to share. I did, I shared that my challenge is: I am Afraid of Monsters.
At that time, Kerri’s blog was titled, “Undiagnosed but Okay” or maybe it was “and Okay”…either way the point is: for many year’s Kerri’s daughter, Bridget, was undiagnosed, but showed general symptoms and developmental issues, without a name for the combination of unique challenges that she demonstrated. (Except Bridgetitis, which her mother coined.) Together, Bridget’s family took the arduous steps to the discovery that Bridgetitis equals a rare genetic syndrome called PACS1, for short.
DUDES, since I met Kerri online she has been through it, celebrated, sometimes accepted, sometimes not accepted, and generally rocked the free world. So, my first blogging lesson learned was, to accept the challenge. (Thanks Kerri for asking and encouraging.)
Lesson #2 – Brevity is Wit
Some of us writers have a hard time keeping it short. This blog, for example, is exhibit A. I admire bloggers who can get to the point, make the point, and go. Kenya is one of these and this year she has co-hosted the FTSF blogs which one week each month includes a five-minute free-write. FIVE MINUTES! I’m not great at these, so this is an area I’m definitely still learning.
Lesson #3 – Clarks, Scotts, and Rogers – I’m a Clark.
Soooo, blog hops are a risky proposition to me because, well, I’m quite often just too much the odd-mom-out. I learned from the FTSF blogger Wakefield Doctrine, that I am perhaps a “Clark” and by nature, I will always feel outside.
And it’s true, I do not choose to be “normal” even if the chance were to arise.
But still, when a writer writes, she wants to be read. She wants to connect…somewhere…right? And I’ve found that the FTSF may just be my Island of Misfit Toys, we’ve got a few more Clarks than Rogers in the gang, and in that, this group tends to get me…now and then at least. I feel less odd-mom-out and more a unique perspective. Unique perspectives are for listening to and may even be cool, that’s nice. I like that.
Lesson #4 – I Hear You.
I understand what it’s like to be the parent of an adult with a disability, like the FTSF friend writing Taking a Step at a Time. I understand what it’s like to be the mother of a son. Like Kristi and like Kenya. I’m sure I read a blog where Kenya talked about fears for her son, and I remember commenting…though my fears comes from a different experience.
I do not claim to know – I claim to learn.
I understand what it’s like to feel a “Rubbish Parent” because a stranger said so. You are not Rubbish Julie; you and your daughter are blessed to have each other. To do what you can with what you have.
I feel the feelings of not enough, never enough…and yet
Lesson #5 – Life is life is life is…
Meaning we keep going, don’t we? I’ve been blogging for five years now. This means I’ve been reading blogs for…more than five years. I started before I started writing, getting the vibe, learning the trade, so to speak.
In five years, I’ve watched your children grow bigger, some see diagnosis, some not. I’ve seen your styles change, your words deepen, your truths come out. I’ve learned that we all just do our best living the day to day and life is a fragile, delicate thing. Words are delicate too, we must nurture and cultivate them. While also, I have seen that words are strong. Words have power, and this leads to
Lesson #6 – #MeToo, and me, too and me too.
Take lesson four plus lesson five, wrap in rage, fear, and gratitude and what do you get? A lesson in “What is most personal is most general.” When my fellow FTSF writers share what moves them, I learn that though we are in some ways a band of misfits, in other ways we are the people who lock arms to change the world. Or at least dream of it, shout about it, and give voice.
Lesson #7 – Philanthropic sharing and reciprocation.
The reason this hop feels different, feels a community instead of a link, is simple: fellow writers are readers who comment and share. Voices are validated. My rants are given merit by proving they were read. Thank you. THANK YOU dear FTSF friends who read and comment, your thoughts on the thing you didn’t ever think you’d read that day. I love reading and sharing your words, learning your passions, watching your children grow up and soaking in the gratitude of your mother’s hands. Just lovely.
Lesson #8 – Savor the words.
Swallow my Sunshine. Where do I begin? I’ve never seen a throw away word on her blog. I’ve cried, I’ve related, and also, I’ve learned about challenges and gratitude from a culture and experience not my own. I’d direct you to a favorite, but you will find your own.
Hillary Savoie, another incredibly talented wordstress. You can find her around the interwebs, but sometimes she joins in the FTSF with a blog and I learn.
Lesson #9 – Style.
I’ve adopted a style shift or two over the years from reading other bloggers. My favorite is picked up by Kristi, of Finding Ninee – our FTSF-in chief. And that is
Change of thought, change of mood, just change.
Moving on, same but different, are you following me? Drop a few markers between paragraphs and go again. I like it.
Lesson #10 – Writers Write.
Write to write. Write to share. Sometimes I let my guard down and remind myself, it doesn’t have to be an essay every week. Sometimes we write to remember the week, to jot down the history of it. That’s how blogging got started, right?
And yet, got to keep up my game to run with this crowd. These are a fine bunch of bloggers, and I don’t want to be left in the dust. They say (You know…they) that you can judge a man by the people he keeps with. I want to keep up. I want to be worthy of the reading, reciprocating, of the sharing.
I’ve learned about unique medical needs. I’ve journeyed through different cultural experiences. I’ve wept for children’s hospital journeys and parent’s fears. I’ve whispered encouragement through the ether – does it make it? Does it matter? I don’t know, but I cannot stop as I am grateful for those who have the courage to put their journey to words and share. We are writing our living history. These stories we weave together are the tapestry of this moment.These stories we weave together are the tapestry of this moment. Click To Tweet
Here are two more honorable mentions. SONGS, I’ve found cool new-to-me music sprinkled among the blogs over the years. Love that bonus. And one thing I haven’t learned how to do, but think is cool, is great photos and/or illustrations. Tamara does lovely photos. And Kenya and Kristi both do fun animated things that are beyond my knowledge base. Maybe in the next five years…
Friends, it has been several years now of swapping words, and today’s Finish the Sentence Friday is Ten things I’ve learned from the FTSF Bloggers. There are so many blogs and bloggers I didn’t mention, that I have enjoyed and respect. There are over 200 members in the Facebook group and we all have real lives to keep us going between weekend attempts at sharing the words. I’m thrilled to co-host this week because I’m excited to read what ya’ll have to say. Again!
What have you learned?