The Wine Dark Sea Turns Five!!! (and so does bonny glen!)

The Wine Dark Sea Turns Five!!! (and so does bonny glen!)

Five years ago today I wrote my first blog entry here at The Wine Dark Sea. I was a different person then. I was Melanie Scott, eking out a living as a part-time professor of English. I’d been living in Massachusetts for five years and it was starting to feel a little less like a foreign land. (I still hadn’t got used to the winters, though) I was dating this guy I’d met at church and I had a suspicion that he was The One but it was several months before we’d become engaged and eight months before we were married.

I was frustrated with the online class management software and this great boyfriend of mine offered to build me a website that would be easier to use. (Thus the highly literary name—I’d originally wanted something that referred to T. S. Eliot but I’m so glad I didn’t go with The Waste Land.) He also offered to make me a personal blog on the same site. I didn’t really want a blog. I had a little Live Journal page on which I occasionally tapped out little weather reports and musings about this that and the other while sitting at the ancient Macintosh that sat on my office desk in the college library’s basement. (I needed a way to type things and have them available both at school and home and a Live Journal was a pretty nifty way to do that. The only people who ever read it were my sister and a couple of friends. I remember I was worried that my students might find the personal blog. I remember I was a bit freaked out the first time someone I didn’t know commented at my blog. (I think it was probably someone who came over from Dom’ blog.)

I go back and read those first blog entries and marvel at how different this space was! Even when I was pregnant with Bella and she was born, I hardly blogged about it here. Nothing at all like I blogged about every detail of Sophie and Ben. I think Baby Francis changed a lot. I realized how fragile life is, how I wanted to capture it all, even those first few months of pregnancy, because I never knew how much time I would have. And of course getting a digital camera of my own and learning how to upload my own photos made this a very different sort of spae, much more full of action and color.

This morning I was delighted to find that my blog was born on the same day as one of my all-time favorite blogs, Here in the Bonny Glen, one of the first homeschooling/mommy blogs I ever read. I started reading about the Bonny Glen clan back when I was pregnant with Bella and was doing intensive research on homeschooling to fill the hours after I’d quit teaching and was home all day long. (I know I was reading as early as May 2006 when I linked to Lissa’s blog entry about Tidal Homeschooling.) Lissa has changed so many of my preconceptions about homeschooling, widened my vision about the possibilities and been a sort of mentor to me. She’s introduced me to many wonderful books. And though I started as a reader and sometime commenter, she has become a dear virtual friend. I’m even lucky enough to have a gorgeous quilt square made by her own hands! So happy birthday, Bonny Glen, I am so glad you came into my life!

And that’s what this blog here has brought me: so many dear, dear virtual friends. Some of them I’ve even been lucky enough to have met face to face. My dear readers have become a community who have welcomed each of my children, mourned with my losses, prayed with me during the hard times, rejoiced with me during the good times, shared wisdom and insight and understanding, parenting tips and gardening tips and good books and songs and movies and music and so, so, so much more. Thank you, all of you, who come here and keep me company (whether you comment or not) and lift my spirits and join in the conversation. You have been a blessing to me and I thank you. And I want you to know I keep all of you in my prayers every day.

And so although it might be silly and I know I risk being a little vain, I ask anyone who reads this post to give me a little blogiversary present and leave me a comment. I know National Delurking Day was last week. I didn’t participate because it seemed a bit self-indulgent. But I’ve changed my mind. It’s as much about satisfying my ‘satiable curiosity as anything else. Google Analytics tells me how many people visit here each day and I know that the ones who comment are a fraction of those who don’t. I always wonder who is out there. (You can use a pseudonym if you don’t want to leave your name.) Just say hi and maybe tell me a bit about yourself, or tell me how you got here or what you like about this little blog of mine: is it the cute kid stories or the book posts or the fabulous links to everything that catches my magpie eye or a hope of seeing another glimpse of Sophie in pink boots?

My primary purpose in writing here has always been to keep a record for myself, a place to hear myself think,  and because I can’t not write. But then readers happened—a marvelous gift that has changed the way I write. Yes, you have changed this blog and me for the better. Sometimes it’s difficult to see my work the way others see it. So I throw it out to you, dear readers: What am I doing right with my blog? What could I be doing better? What are your favorite kinds of blog entries? Do you have a favorite piece of writing that I’ve done?

But most of all, thank you and please keep coming back for I plan to be here five years more at the very least.

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  • I am on a binge reading with Godden myself. I feel the same way about her Indian novels—not my favorite. I LOVED China Court. I wasn’t sure I would with the sliding timeline, but it was just really, really good.

  • Thanks for the recommendation.  In This House of Brede has to go down as one of my favorite novels ever and definitely one I will revisit again and again.  I have wanted to read more Godden but I wasn’t sure where to start—I will look for The Kitchen Madonna soon.

  • I read and discussed it with an old wonderful literary friend, and we loved all things Godden… I think the book brings up how divorce was being treated so casually then—and how it could bring disaster. Aside from the Parent Trap, I can’t think of any work where a divorced couple gets back together. I like happy endings.

  • funny, I am reading China Court too! found it at half-price books about a year ago, just picked it up about 3 weeks ago, reading it in little sips instead of wolfing it down. The time shifting / memories intermingled with current happenings, is a little confusing, but beautiful.

  • Mom, I look forward to talking about it with you when you finish.

    Ana, yes, I’ve read Villa Florita. It didn’t touch as close to my heart as much as some of her books do. But I strongly suspect it’s one of those books I will like and appreciate much more the second time through. Especially if I have someone to talk about it with. Can you tell me what you liked about it?

  • Thanks so much for recommending these books.  I loved them, as did my eight year old daugher.  I especially loved the “Holly and Ivy” book.  I am adding it to my list of gift books.  Take care.