I’ve been remiss. I’ve committed a cardinal sin against the blog gods—one that would not necessarily threaten access to the pearly gates of Freshly Pressed, but one that might alienate other pilgrims posting their way along the writing road to blogging bliss.
What have I done?
I’ve neglected the sacrament of blogroll. I’ve neglected it by not adding writers who have come to mean the most to me. I won’t mention how long it’s been since I have done the “write” thing. I don’t even know—don’t want to know.
However, last week my friend Lisa over at “Notes from Africa” gave me an opportunity to make amends. She gave me (and you) a gift.
She gave me one of those blogging awards—
—the memes we all abhor.
However, this one is different. The Seven Links Award not only allows me to inventory my archive and direct readers, new and old alike, to posts of mine they might have missed, it also gives me a chance to pass the prize along to blogs that frankly I adore but have not acknowledged publicly before.
So today I offer links to seven posts of mine you might enjoy and highlight a number of brilliant blogs you simply must explore.
(Note to recipients: You have a chance to do your own Seven Links post and pass the award to other deserving bloggers, or you can simply sit back and enjoy the attention—bask in the glory. This award obligates you to nothing.)
The Seven Blogging Virtues and Seven Posts that Model them:
- Most Beautiful:
The Seven Links Award asks me to share what I consider my most “beautiful” post. However, I’m struggling right out of the gate—not knowing which one to select. I’ll suggest you read “Surviving the Port-au-Prince Airport: A Shining Example,” not because the bulk of it lovely, but because it ends with a poetic twist.
This post describes my arrival in Haiti during the first week the national airport reopened following the earthquake. It describes the disaster of a country in chaos (as manifest upon arrival), narrates my struggle to get through immigration, and shares what that experience means to me.
- Most Popular:
This is easier to identify, since only three weeks into my blog’s existence “A Tale of Miserable Failure: Moanings of a Second Language Learner” was Freshly Pressed. Long after its spot of honor on the WordPress home page, this post, about my struggle to learn French—Haiti’s second language—as well as my own—continues to get a lot of attention and more hits than it, quite possibly, deserves.
- Most Controversial:
Just before moving home to the US, I had a chance to interview the former Haitian dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier, known to many as “Baby Doc.” I write about this in a series of three posts: “What Does One Wear to Meet a Former Dictator,” “What Does One Wear to Meet a Former Dictator (Part 2),” and “Variations on Exile (Baby Doc, Part 3).” This series describes a semi-secret night-time rendezvous and visit to Duvalier’s home in the hills overlooking Port-au-Prince, as well as my unexpected response to meeting the man.
- Most Helpful:
It’s also difficult to identify this post, as my blog does not focus on advice or try to share information meant to make life easier. Rather it tells stories.
However, the two posts I did about trying to celebrate Thanksgiving in Haiti, may help you appreciate some of the creature comforts available to us in the US, not only on holidays, but everyday as well. Read “Figuring out Thanksgiving from Port-au-Prince” and “Thanksgiving Haitian Style: A Shopping List” to understand the challenges we faced trying to first track down the ingredients necessary for a Thanksgiving feast, and then prepare the meal itself in an oven without a thermostat and a kitchen with only a few hours of electricity a day.
- Most Surprisingly Successful :
I was exceedingly surprised by reader response to “It’s Official. I’m Fat.” This post describes, in a way I think most women can relate to, the agonizing effort to weigh oneself, sharing the ridiculous and outrageous things I do to weight as little as possible. This post might make you laugh, if not at yourself, at least at me.
- Most Under-Rated:
Lisa specifically asked me to not omit from this survey the posts I did when we were living in Vietnam two years ago. “Babeled by it All” shares the culture shock I experienced during my first weekend alone in Saigon—not only my laughable efforts to use the language—but more importantly, my complete dismay at how different it all was—how lost I felt, drowning in a sea of strangeness, on a planet I thought might not be my own.
- Most Worthy of Pride:
On this blog I’ve shared the story of my ongoing struggle to recover from bipolar disorder—an effort that has largely been successful, as no one who met me now would ever guess how sick I once was. “Leaving the Seclusion Room: Some Not-So-Crazy Notes on Recovering from Mental Illness” was picked up by my local news paper, the Lexington Herald Leader, and used as an op-ed for Mental Health Awareness Month. It describes an experience of in-patient psychiatric care and how I overcame the challenge that involved.
Some Seriously Brilliant Blogs whose Archives you should also Explore (Seven Links Award Winners):
Lisa is one of my favorite bloggers. A theater professor, a wife, a mother, Lisa is first and foremost a seeker. In her blog she shares, she vents, she makes peace, she makes meaning happen. You can’t help but love her. Please read especially Lisa’s post about doing a drama project with developmentally disabled adults.
2. Mark my Words:
My friend Mark is a father and free-lance writer, about to publish his first book. “Mark my Words” will make you laugh, will make you laugh hard. From Portland, Oregon, Mark writes about everything from cross-country trips to haunted houses, from VCRs to cow appreciation on perfect summer days.
3. A Mind Divided:
Sandy writes about mental illness, especially her ongoing battle with bipolar disorder. Though “divided,” her mind is brilliant, as she shares with humor her efforts to live fully and with passion, even with a chronic illness. Sandy is also an artist, who includes collages in most posts. What she writes about gratitude will move and inspire you.
Penny is also a brilliant blogger with a wicked sense of humor. From Ireland, Penny writes about efforts to recreate her life, following the painful end of a relationship with another woman—a relationship she says was her “single greatest achievement”—being willing to risk for the sake of love.
5. Zona Pellucida:
Dana blogs about living and working on beautiful Vancouver Island with her artist husband, Marty. The “zona pelllucida” is the outside covering of a female egg that selects which sperm will pass through her membrane and which will not. In this regard Dana blogs about choices and how they make us who we are, who we aren’t, and who we want to be.
6. A Mother’s Tonic:
From British Columbia, Deanna dedicates her blog to her father, who died of cancer when she was only 22. Now, a stay-at-home mom in middle age, Deanna recently lost her brother to the same disease. I especially enjoy her Motivational Monday posts and ones about her brother. Deanna writes about loving large even when it means losing big.
7. These are Days:
Terri is a kidney donor from Minnesota, who titles her blog after the 10,000 Maniacs song of the same name. As such, she writes, not only about bowling and the challenges she faces at work, but also about being a mother and enjoying each precious moment we are given with the ones we love.
Marianne writes about her journey to find meaning, a grander, more magnificent life. Because she struggles with the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, Marianne also addresses a number of healing modalities that might interest you.
9. Life in the Bogs:
From northeast Ohio, Robin blogs about her love of nature, sharing stunning photographs of her adventures living on 8 soggy, boggy acres near Lake Erie. She’s engaged in a year-long challenge to spend time outdoors each day and share her discoveries with readers. Her photos are, indeed, amazing!
As the brother of Lisa (Woman Wielding Words), Steve nicely rounds out this list. A brilliant and insightful mind, Steve is, like his sister, a seeker who shares deeply and meaningfully. You’ll want to read Steve’s blog and have him read yours, as he leaves staggeringly insightful comments that will make you think in new and exciting ways.
There you have it, folks—seven posts of mine enduring the indignity of archival obscurity and a number of deserving blogs whose archives also merit your perusal.
I may have been a lazy blogger, but I hereby confess the sin of sloth, hoping the sacrament of Seven Links will absolve me of my sin and encourage the recipients of this most spiritual award to forgive my error, as well. This may not get me past the pearly gates of Freshly Pressed, it may not impact positively my Technorati rating, but now I can, at least, stand clean before the blog gods, knowing I have done the “write” thing by the bible that is blogroll.
Long live the purity of blogging. Long live the sacrament of Seven Links. May it redeem the Meme!
(Thanks to my friend Heather at “2 Summers” for sharing the Seven Links concept.)