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Hansel and Gretal Offterdinger_Hansel_und_Gretel_(1)Blog posts are like a trail of bread crumbs leading you back through a misty past. They tell you where you were, not where you’re going. I can’t say I’m unhappy to leave 2014 behind. And if a few of those bread crumbs get gobbled up by birds, so much the better.

Still, it’s instructive, looking back before you plow forward. Here are a few trends, challenges, and highlights from my last year of blogging.

Is Less More, or Just Less?

I wrote fewer posts on this blog in 2014 than in previous years. But I’ve always been a slow blogger. Even at the beginning in 2012 I was posting only twice a week. Eventually it turned into once a week, then every ten days of so. I’ve gone as long as two weeks between posts now. I seem to be racing toward some decline. But it worries me. I don’t want to stop blogging. I don’t want to lose you, the readers who have come to mean so much to me. I love blogging. I want less to be more. Is that possible?

Into the Pit and Out Again

One reason I’ve blogged less is because I’ve been challenged more–both personally and professionally. Early last year, I thought I lost my son to addiction for good. I’d given up hope. In desperation, I created a new, anonymous blog, just to vent all the rage and grief and craziness I was feeling. And it helped. It brought me back from the brink, and him as well. Now he has 8 months of recovery behind him and still going stronger than ever. Still, we take it one day at a time. There’s no other way.

Professionally, I was thrown down into the pit as well. I finished the last draft of my novel in December 2013.  2014 was supposed to be the year I sent this darling out to agents and publishers. I put it aside for a few weeks so I could re-read it fresh. That’s when it all came crashing down. I hated my novel!

I was devastated. After so many years of tender loving care, this baby too was lost to me. In a frantic, I reached out to a few writer friends and researched the web, searching for a life-line, hoping this was a normal reaction. Did all writers end up hating their novels? It turns out, most don’t, but some do. It’s not uncommon. I found a new beta reader and, working with her strong encouragement and deep insight, went through the draft one more time. (Thank you, Kerri!). Now I’m back on track again. I’ve finished what I hope will be my final draft, and set it aside for another read. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I won’t hate it this time.

I had one more personal crisis in 2014, but I’m saving that for another blog post. All this did slow me down and drain away some of the energy and inspiration for keeping this blog going. In retrospect, I’m surprised I wrote as much as I did. Maybe I’m more resilient than I thought.

Now for the 2014 highlights:

Most Viewed Posts: A Blast From the Past

According to my WordPress Annual Report, my most viewed posts in 2014 were written in 2013. Hmmm. What does that mean? Well, I could take it sunny-side up: My writing has staying power, or so WordPress euphemistically suggests.  Or it could mean my best blogging is behind me. Well, time will tell. Here’s my two most viewed posts:

Binge Blogging

Series are all the rage now, both in television viewing and reading. We love characters who linger, whose stories become our stories, who return to us day after day, week after week. Even season after season and book after book. We boast of our binges: mine was Downton Abbey last week. I re-watched all of Season 4 during the afternoon, then watched the premier of Season 5 that evening. I went to bed fully sated.

Binge blogging, sadly, is not quite the same. It’s done less for the pleasure of readers and more to accommodate long-winded writers. Like me. I take more pleasure in my series than my readers do. It’s a guilty indulgence.

The first one was a 4-part literary deconstruction, tying together the themes found in the writings of Milton, Wordsworth, and Lacan. (I know, ouch!) The first and last posts in the series are listed below.

The next 2-part series on Annie Dillard’s writing and my own was much more popular:

Hu-More, Not Less

Three personal favorite, which readers also seemed to enjoy, were attempts to lighten an otherwise overly heavy and oh-so-serious blog load. Not to mention, help me lift my head out of those pits I mentioned earlier, if for just a moment. It was quite refreshing. Maybe I need to hu-more in the future.

Freshly Pressed (Again!)

I’ve been freshly pressed three times now. Each time is a surprise and delight. Gifts that come from out of the blue. The last time was in June 2014. This one’s about marriage: drifting apart, pulling together, and finding that magic balance.

My First Guest Post!

I was also honored, and delighted, to be invited to write a guest post on poetry for the lovely Luanne’s blog, Writer Site. I posted it on my site as well.

Your Favorites and Mine

Surprisingly, and happily, some of my readers’ favorite posts were mine as well, and several featured my poetry. I can’t tell you how gratifying that is. I haven’t written much poetry in my life, but all of it is deeply personal. I think sometimes that to truly know me, who I am at heart, you would have to read my poetry. And you have. Without blogging–without my poetry being read–large, intimate parts of me would remain relatively unknown.

Three of your favorite posts featuring my poetry:

Two of my favorite posts featuring poetry from my favorite poet, Wallace Stevens:

Two of your non-poetry favorites this year was a photo-essay on fallen oak trees, and a list and lament about all the books I’ve abandoned this past year.

Hugs and Kisses

Thank you for bearing with me through this long post, and through this last challenging year of infrequent posts–those bread crumbs scattered along a dark trail with its few gleams of light, and rare laughter.

Your comments and encouragements have meant the world to me, and made all the difference. May you all have a truly marvelous 2015.

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