October 9, 2011

My 100th Posting!

This is my 100th posting to ProSe!  It seems hard to believe, at least to me, but I've been adding to this blog since August 2009.  I thought it might be worthwhile to spend a moment or two and look retrospectively at what I've done and ask myself several questions--
First, am I still being faithful to my original intent in creating this on-line 'writer's and reader's notebook'?

Yeah, I generally think I am.  I started ProSe because I wanted a place to journal about and discuss the great literature that I was reading.  If anything, I think that through my own use of this blog, and my interactions with other book-bloggers and readers, I have actually become a better writer, reader, and much more adept at critical thinking.  So, in retrospect, whilst the blog has matured, so have I as a reader and a thinker.  Those are very good things.

Secondly, what could (should) I do to improve the overall quality of ProSe, and my own personal on-line blogging experience?

At first blush, the obvious answer is to participate more consistently week-in, and week out.  When I look at my record of posts, it is a record of fits-and-starts.  I'll be really active for a few weeks, even a few months, and then I'll kind of go on an extended 'vacation' for two or three months.  I think I need to become a more disciplined writer and actually make the extra effort to maintain my on-line 'writer's journal,' i.e., this blog.  Hey, I don't ever stop reading great books for weeks or months on end, so why stop writing about them?  As I said above, maintaining ProSe has made me a more complete writer and reader.

I think another area in which I can improve is to make more of an effort to link subjects, topics, and discussions that I feature on ProSe with similar topics and discussions that I encounter among all of the rest of you.  It never ceases but to fascinate me when I encounter postings from other bloggers that are reading, or have just read, the same books that I am reading or just finished.  It is so cool to be able to read your experiences while still mulling over my own.  So, I think making more of an effort to bring your pertinent thoughts and observations into the discussion and connecting them with my own can only continue to make me a better reader and critical thinker.  Also, I would be remiss in not pointing out that it has been through my interactions with all of my fellow book-bloggers that I have been regularly turned on to some really terrific books over the past couple of years.  Thank you, my friends!

Thirdly, and this is a rhetorical question, why is it that postings about poetry are almost universally ignored?

Now, I am sure that this a gross over-generalization, but it seems to me that 99.99% of all the postings associated with literature that I am encountering on-line are about fiction and non-fiction books, and virtually nothing is being posted about poetry.  As most of you are aware, poetry is probably my favorite literary art-form, followed by fiction.  Part of my rationale for creating ProSe was to give me a forum to post and discuss some of my favorite poets and their works.  I am always somewhat amused though at just how little attention these poetry postings of mine receive.  I think there are only two conclusions that I can draw from this: (1) I am a terrible presenter and that my scribblings about poets and poetry are about as boring as watching paint dry; or (2) poetry is just not something that most readers are interested in these days.  Let me qualify that last observation by saying that I am most certainly not casting any aspersions, nor am I being judgmental.  It is what it is.  Rest assured, I plan to continue postings here that involve and feature poets and poetry, as it is a very near and dear art form to me.

Finally, I would like to invite all of you to grade ProSe and my performance as a blogger.  Are there particular things you'd like to see me change, or include?
Well, there it is--my 100th posting.  Personally, I'm proud of myself, and I'm proud of what ProSe has become over the past 26 months that I have been blogging.  This is the dawn of a new phase for me as an on-line writer, as a reader, and for ProSe, and I am hopeful that my next 100 postings will continue to show the growth in my writing, reading and critical thinking.  I also want all of you to know just how inspiring you have been, and continue to be, to me.  I have made some wonderful new friends, and found many, many of you that share many of the same interests that I do.  As I move forward into the future I am very much enjoying the ride, and hope that some of you will continue to join me.  Cheers!

P.S.  The photograph I've included with this posting is one I took at dawn on the shores of beautiful Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana.  I spent a lovely morning there with my wife and oldest daughter a few years back, and looking at it always brings back such great memories.  Please feel free to 'click' on it for a much larger view.


  1. I don't plan to grade you, as your blog is a writer's journal -- much like mine is a reader's journal. One cannot grade another's journal. :-)

    Poetry? I think the issue may be simply that poetry is such an introspective experience. Jane Eyre is easy to discuss -- it can be a "group" experience because it's about a story. Poetry is often more about the inner response, if that makes any sense?

    I don't often find people discussing the sensations created by literature on reading blogs, so much as the plot, characters, etc. Which isn't to say they shouldn't be recorded -- just that those records aren't likely to be as widely discussed? (I think?)

    That said, I should really journal my responses to poetry/literature more often. I tend to discuss the extraverted parts, and leave out the analytical. If this is any explanation: I'm an introverted thinker, and an extraverted feeler. So while I express emotion (reaction) often, all my analytical processes (which are just as frequent) are often kept to myself. Poetry is a rather analytical appreciation, for me; novels are an emotional explosion. So novels are easily discussed, while poetry is quietly pondered but not expressed.

    Anyway, I have no idea if this makes any sense!! But that's my two cents.

    As for the blog, if it's a journal, you should grade yourself: Are you learning? Are you growing? Are you happy to be interacting? These are for you to say. We readers are only an accessory. :-)

  2. Thanks for your observations, Jillian! It really means a lot that you took the time to provide such detailed responses to some of the questions/observations I've raised. I have to say that I probably misrepresented my blog just a bit--it is actually very much a writer's and reader's journal type of blog. In other words, I do enjoy writing about my own reading experience with whatever I have my nose stuck in at the time.

    Also, I think you are on to something with the whole poetry experience thing. Maybe reading poetry really is a much more personal experience, and that that experiential nature (i.e., the personal response to the poem) is just that much more difficult to quantify and describe. Having said that though, I do enjoy sharing poetry that I just profoundly like, as I think that is actually worth sharing. In other cases, I do enjoy kind of digging into the poem (and the poet) and looking at it from an analytical and/or critical perspective.

    Anyway, great thoughts, and you've given me some things to mull over in my own mind too. Thanks for stopping by! Cheers! Chris

  3. Christopher,

    I enjoy your blog, even the poetry entries. I don't often comment, because I'm intimidated by the material you cover in such astute depth.

    I am guilty of being a fiction reader, very limited to fantastic fiction. When I venture forth from my comfort zone, I experience mixed results. I did enjoy the few classic Victorian novels I read last year, but I have never had the fortitude to read the ancient classics as you do.

    I don't know what's up with poetry. Thirty years ago, I aspired to be a poet. Now, real life seems to have crushed my creativity so rather than depress myself and everyone else, I resist the urge to was poetical.

    This blog post of yours also reminded me that my WordPress blog celebrated it's first birthday last week so I wrote a retrospective to be published later today. While I managed to post over two hundred times, I would have to say all one hundred of your posts are well thought out, substantive and interesting. Please continue to provide elucidation at your own pace.

    Thanks for sharing!


  4. Jon, thank you ever so much for your lovely comments! Your validation of my efforts here mean a lot to me.

    As you well know, I love reading good fantasy fiction myself. In fact, were it not for you, and others, I'd have not rediscovered and fallen head-over-heels in love with Stephen Erikson's "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series. Interestingly enough, I now see significant parallels and connections between Erikson's heroes and anti-heroes and those described in the myths and epics of antiquity. So, my advice is to not be too reluctant to move out of your literary 'comfort zone.' You just might surprise yourself at what you'll discover, and you just might really like it! ;-)

    I'll drop by later today and have a look at your own retrospective about your own blogging efforts. Thanks again for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. Say 'Hi!' to the rotts for me too! Cheers! Chris

  5. Congrats! I am close to my 100th post as well. I enjoy reading your posts.

  6. Congrats on your 100th post! I'm responding all out of order on this post, so I apologize for the disjointedness! :)

    re: poetry -- do you read Savvy Verse & Wit? Serena reviews a great deal of poetry and has a weekly poetry circle (that I don't participate in enough!). I think poetry is not being read/appreciated universally (sadly) although I suspect there's a spike when it makes the news (ie, a poet wins the Nobel). I also suspect there's some uneasiness with poetry, the idea that it is dense/scary/hard to understand/obtuse. Which is unfortunate because I've found the opposite to be true -- there's such great poetry out there, new and old!

    re: regular posts & blogging as a reader or reading as a blogger: I try to review every book I read now because it's fascinating to have the record of my thoughts immediately upon finishing. Recently, I was asked about a book I'd read last year and I was super dismissive -- but when I went back and read my review of it, written a day or two after finishing, I was shocked to find I loved the book! So I've been chewing over what has changed for me, now that I've had some distance from the novel. Without that original review, I never would have had this revelation. Same goes for books this year I was so-so on, but now rave about -- clearly, a novel ages in my mind, for good or bad!

    And finally -- I love the picture. One of my most fond memories is from a family vacation to Glacier Nat'l Park -- gorgeous. The picture made me nostalgic!

  7. I agree with Jillian on the poetry. When I started reading Leaves of Grass in January I anticipated posting my thoughts regularly. However, aside from some biographical information and a story about how I unknowingly recited Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain" in my high school drama class, I haven't had much to say. I chalked it up to my inexperience with reading poetry, but I think it could also be that responses to poetry tend to be more personal / emotional and therefore harder to write about (but I still think inexperience is also a factor).

    I enjoy your blog very much - it's one of my favorites. As a novice classics reader, I appreciate your insight and experience.

  8. Thanks, Nicki, that means a lot coming from you. I enjoy your thoughts and observations on the books you're reading for much the same reasons. I think I mentioned it above, but I have yet to take the time and fully experience Whitman. I'm thinking that "Leaves of Grass" is a book of poetry that I need to explore in 2012. Cheers!