This week marks the first year of my blog. My opening entry, “A Real Live Garret!” which described my attic apartment in Lisbon, appeared on September 23, 2012. Since then, I have written 62 additional entries, counting this one, on a variety of subjects. Several dozen posts describe my experience of living abroad in what was my first foray into expat life, though I suspect it will not be my last. Others explore my thoughts and experiences of being a writer with a novel about to come out, or one just published, with (hopefully) some insight into the writing process and my relationship with readers young and older. Still other posts present elements of my Lego city, Little Brick Township, and the dramas and dilemmas of its residents that may shed light on our own lives (see “Teshuvah”).
I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the people who encouraged me, including my mother, my husband (whose post “Dining in Lisbon” remains one of the most popular of the blog), my Portuguese professor in Albany, Kirsten Cappy, and my classmates at Vermont College of Fine Arts. This is not my first attempt at blogging. Before this one, I started two blogs, one of which failed within a month, and the other which limped along for a year and a half but only because I didn’t post for months at a time. There is only one post from that blog that I consider worth keeping.
I began this blog with few expectations. While I learned from my two failed blogs, I saw my new blog primarily as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends while I lived abroad. I started hearing how much my family and friends enjoyed reading it regularly (thanks, Mom!), which only encouraged me further. I approached my return to the United States with some trepidation, wondering how I could keep the blog interesting when I wasn’t in another country exploring a different culture and learning a new language. Then I signed up for another Portuguese class, and the very creative Professor Danielle gave me new ideas and challenges, not the least of which was a final project that involved writing a short story in Portuguese. Beginning with my travel photography in Portugal, I developed my skills as a photographer and found Lego photography to be a good way of adding color and interest to my posts. I was also able to organize my Lego minifigures to throw me a wonderful launch party for my novel Rogue. And this past summer, Kirsten Cappy of the author marketing firm Curious City told me she thought my blog had outgrown its old iWeb template and needed a more visible and searchable WordPress template. Basically, she said, my blog had grown up.
In the future, I plan to explore in more depth why this blog made it while my other two did not. I have other plans for the coming year as well. I’ve posted stories from Little Brick Township on my Instagram feed and gotten a great response. But not everyone is on Instagram, so I’m setting up slideshows of the interrelated stories. I’ve also translated into English several flash fiction pieces I wrote for the Portuguese class and will publish them as well. In general, the blog format has not worked well for fiction, but I’m not sure that has to be the case. It’s worth a try.
If there’s anything else you’d like to see in the coming year, please let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for all your encouragement and support over this past year.