I’m a slow one, I am, but I catch on eventually. When I started A Napper’s Companion almost a year ago, it was a selfish endeavor. Editors were taking forever to get back to me about book submissions, and when they did, the answer was “Nope.” My morning writing discipline, nourishing as it was, occasionally felt like solitary confinement. So I stuck my neck out there with a blog, wanting mostly to get my stuff under somebody’s nose rather than letting it rot in my laptop’s guts.
As the months have passed, I’ve received several nominations for blogging awards. The first time it happened I tried to track down the source of the award. Dagnabbit! Every road led to another blog. “Ah ha,” I thought, “this is a blogging gimmick.” So I settled on a policy: say thanks, be polite, but don’t engage.
But then something completely unexpected happened. Part one: it dawned on me that it was selfish to expect other bloggers to read my work if I didn’t read theirs. So I read and came to regard reading not only as an ongoing pleasure, but a responsibility. I don’t schedule blocks of time for keeping up with blogs I follow, but a couple times a week it happens: Coleman sits with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and has great fun with my friends. Yes, I said it: friends. That’s part two: I never ever expected to find such a wealth of cool, funny, thoughtful friends in the WordPress community. I don’t suppose we’ll ever actually meet; hell, I don’t remember where most of them live. A few of them don’t pay much attention to my blog, but that’s okay. We’re comrades and considering the likes and comments some receive, they could spend several hours a day just following their followers and commenting thoughtfully. Not possible. Love them anyway.
Anyway, I’m accepting an award nomination today. I’ve known for decades that “writing is a quiet game”—can’t seem to track down who said so originally. What I’ve learned lately is that the blogging landscape is lovely, but, damn, is it crowded. WordPress stats say, “Over 409 million people view more than 13.1 billion pages each month.” Holy crap! But in the midst of all these voices, I’ve come to really connect with a little choir. In between reading posts, I think about my blogging mates (Australian lilt required). I hope they’re doing okay, and for some walking in the valley of the shadow, pray they’re still among the quick.
Among bloggers, awards are a way of patting each other on the back and extending genuine appreciation. Do we hope to increase our traffic a smidgen? I suppose so. But I’m accepting a nomination from blog bud nap time thoughts (I’ll do the same for another from kerry’s winding road in a separate post) for a human reason. She’s saying thanks, and I’m responding, “You’re welcome. And thanks back atcha!” I’m spreading and feeling the love.
I’m accepting a nomination for “the Quintet of Radiance Award,” which is actually a bundle of five awards. What the hey, why not go for a bundle? “Most Influential Blogger Award,” “Awesome Blog Content Award,” “Inner Peace Award” (by which my friend must mean “the Chunky Neurotic Dude Award”), “Sunshine Award,” and “The Versatile Blogger Award.”
My only obligation is to describe myself using the alphabet, but because I’m a sunshiny little pain in the arse, I’m going to use the letters to describe things I like. This may at times read like a shopping list:
A: Abiding Hope family (the church I serve as pastor), avocado, asparagus, artichoke hearts, anything Alfredo, art, America’s Test Kitchen, atheists and agnostics (see last item in this series), and agape (Greek for God’s unconditional love)
B: basil, books, blogging, cat Baby Crash, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, the Buddha, Big Band, David Brooks (best right-of-center columnist), and Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”
C: (so-cute-you-just-want-to-poop-your-trousers-along-with-my-grandson) Cole, curry, cardamom, cilantro, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, Chipotle Mexican Restaurant, Julia Child, contemplation, and compassion
D: Desitin (should I join grandson in pooping), E. J. Dionne (best left-of-center columnist), dill weed, delete, dude, and dang
E: (wonder-daughter) Elena, eggplant (dredge in egg and flour, fry in grease, delete nutritional value), El Canelo Mexican Restaurant, and eros (Ew! This from a pastor? You bet. Gift from God!)
F: feta cheese, friends, Food ala Floyd, and fubsy (which means “short and somewhat squat”)
G: gravy (any denomination, salty and fatty, bitte), guacamole, Greek olives, and gentleness
H: the Harvard comma and Phil Harris
I: India pale ale and irregardless (which isn’t actually a word; it’s just regardless)
J: Jesus, Joe’s Cheese House (Marinette, Wisconsin; cheddar aged 16.5 years; eat or use to remove warts), and jogging (ten years ago I’d have said “running”; oh well)
K: Kathy (wifely; good Lord, how has she tolerated me for 33 years?), (“I’ve Got a Gal from) Kalamazoo, and Graham Kerr
L: lime, Louis CK (one is bright and refreshing, the other vulgar and hilarious), lasagna, Lutheranism, and love
M: Micah and Matt (son and son-in-law; proud as hell), meditation, monasteries, and music
N: nasty (a word I use for fart, as in “Oh, my dear chap, did you just emit a nasty?”; the actual item I can live without—really), “Nessun Dorma” (see T.), and napping
O: oregano, olive oil, the Oxford comma, and Mary Oliver
P: pesto, pinot noir, pizza, the Palmer (walk and wiggle your hips like one of those girls in Robert Palmer music videos), Louis Prima, Jacques Pepin, poetry, prayer, and peace
Q: query (wrote a ton of those dang letters)
R: Ricardo’s Restaurant (best filet mignon in Erie, Pennsylvania), roasted red peppers, Leon Redbone, and Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto
S: Siestas, sleep, shalom, shamatha, cat Shadow, Starbucks, Star Trek (original television show), Star Wars, sour cream, salmon, the serial comma, Paul Simon, and Steely Dan
T: operatic tenors (opera not so much, just take me to the mountain top) and tomatoes
U: uvula (just a fun word for the phlegmy stalactite hanging from the back of your throat)
V: Victory Chimes (a schooner in Maine) and singing along with Viagra commercials (“Viva, viva, Viagraaaaa!)
W: dog Watson, white pepper, E. B. White, weenus (slang term for your loose elbow skin), wine, The Writer’s Almanac, and writing
X: X-rays (thank God; they eliminate exploratory drilling)
Y: yield signs (permission for rolling stop granted)
Z: Zen, Zoloft, and Brother John Zuber and his fellow monks at Gethsemani.
Okay, that was genuinely fun, but it’s time to move on. (I just know I’m leaving something really important out.)
I’m also supposed to nominate other bloggers for the “Quintet of Radiance Award.” I follow lots of blogs and am nominating only those I think might welcome such a nod. If I’m wrong, please forgive. Here goes, friends:
Congratulations…you wrote a lovely first acceptance speech! I like your spin on the alphabet game, those are some good things to like 😉 Thanks for sharing the blogs you like too, they are all new to me and all look very interesting.
Thanks, Kerry. And this week I’ma take your nomination, too. Fun and gratifying. Peace, John
Thanks for doing this.
You are the heart of my little blog community, the people that have somehow wiggled into my heart and become my friends. You’re not alone in wondering how it happened.
You’re one of the few people that I let see me, and not just the misadventures I post on my blog, and your writing touches me in a way that can balance me when I’m off, or kick me off balance when I’m busy doing other things. Thanks for that, too.
You don’t have to answer anymore of these silly awards- they are silly. We know, believe me, but now you understand all the other good stuff that they are. It’s simple: we think about you and respect you, and believe me, not a one of us can touch your skillz, (sorry guys) even when you’re not here.
Okay, I’m done. I enjoyed your a-z, fantastic improvisation, and ummmm… just by the way, if I were in a terrible accident? You’d be the one to staunch the blood flow with your hands, feet, and face. (I felt it was only fair to answer my own liebster question)
And thanks for needling me along. Not only has this really meant something, but it was actually fun. I’m still thinking of stuff I like, alphabetically speaking. As for staunching blood, I’m your man! Turns out I have surprisingly absorbent hands, feet, and face–especially my cheeks . . . it’s like, “Stop squeezing the Charmin!” And, hey, I appreciate the compliments. No “aw shucks” here. I’ll take ’em. As for your blog, I have to say, without exaggeration, it’s the funniest I know of. Why? You’re humor comes off as effortless, which, of course, it’s not. I read lines in other blogs and think, “Ah, you’re trying to be funny there.” Never get that with yours. That, muh lady, is skill. Peace out.
Awwww… You’re so sweet. That means a lot. Thanks John.
Now THAT is an award post that was a joy to read!
More awed by your style with each post, John.
Why thank you, sistah! I had great fun with that one. Peace.
Your sermons must be beautiful. Can you compile a book of your sermons?
Hey, Sally. I’m flattered that you’d think my sermons might be beautiful. I do know they’re weird and unpredictable. Yesterday’s sermon opened with me kicking an empty can down the middle aisle. I have the feeling lots of what I do in very animated, improvisational sermons might get lost in the translation. I do have a book coming out sometime between mid-May and early June, though. It’s called “Your Grandmother Raised Monarchs . . . and Other Wonders Before Your Time.” It’s a collection of notes to my future grandchildren. I’m hoping (praying!) there’s enough beauty there that folks will want to buy the darned thing. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Peace, John
Ah yes, I can imagine the in-the-moment aspect of sermon performance art connecting with listeners may not translate to a book – good point.
I am looking forward to buying your book and reading it!