"I miss you too much," my Mom said and yet her voice over the phone crackled bright with excitement. She, along with her companion Leonard and my Sister, Robin, had a surprise for me. They had pooled their money together to make it possible for me to visit for the fast approaching Thanksgiving holiday and my Sister's birthday. There was no room for me to protest and why would I? To know that they were there to share with me what they could to bring me closer...as the realization sunk in, my eyes filled with tears. I looked down at my hands and they were trembling.
Sharing is an incredible word, one of the most beautiful I know.
Whether it is to share in a moment of joy or to share a burden...
...to share a life together...
...or to share a story.
Sometimes it is just as simple as that.
I have an embarrassing confession. One that might surprise you. Initially, I really looked down my nose at the idea of blogging. I was a professional travel writer at the time and they just seemed...silly. Silly me. When my assignments dried up, it was Remi, my wonderful companion, who quietly and consistently encouraged me to reconsider my opinion. And so two years ago, I started writing Lost in Arles. And while I write and photograph for myself (and am nudged back in that direction whenever I stray), I quickly understood that being able to share my life here was really appealing. To know that it was going out and away but would also come back.
I still shout out the number every time a new member joins, as does Remi, who could not be more supportive in my efforts. My blog remains relatively small and so each person that signs on to read is especially precious to me. Often I joke about being the Little Engine that Could but I am certainly not alone. So, let me open the door on three blogs that you might not know of, for they are too wonderful not to share...
Some of you might remember my previously mentioning Jennifer, whose wonderful blog Gustia (not to forget The Auntie Times), I consider to be one of the most under-rated on the blogosphere. Gustia, a food and lifestyle blog, has only 18 members and yet she prepares and photographs each post with all of the care as if it were going out to thousands. Take a look at her most recent effort (with its irresistible piglet photo) and you'll see what I mean. I love that she opens up the exclusive realm of Monaco, where she lives for most of the year, in the least pretentious way possible and often with a point of view that is ever so slightly off-kilter. Similarly, while she is a vegetarian, she is the truest foodie that I know (she just made her own olive oil, as in literally, in her kitchen) and she will open your mind without any preachy nonsense. I recently had the good fortune of meeting Jennifer and can promise you that she embodies the wonderfulness that her blogs exude.
And while I haven't met Nancy Kate, her hysterically funny blog, Bread is Pain, leaves me feeling as if I have, so pitch-perfect and immediate is her writing. She is also in the tiny zone, with about 30 members. Will you just trust me on this one, hop over, you won't regret it and as she only puts out a few posts a month, you won't be inundated either. So few writers can really nail the wacky intricate details of French life in a way that is capable of making you laugh until you hiccup without a trace of meanness. If anything, the joke is often on herself as in her recent post about the horrors of figuring out exactly how to properly give les bises. And if you aren't immediately tempted by the title of "Congratulations! You're having a cheese baby" or "Can bacon be a vegetable?", then at least take a gander at her very first post to see why bread is indeed pain. To top if off, Nancy Kate, an American living with her French husband in Grenoble, is a girl after my own heart, who loves her food and wine, to the point that she will eat anything, including having tried brain...twice. Wow. Chapeau!
Loree may have a comparatively whopping 125 members (as I did not long ago at all), but I still feel that she is not on the radar as she should be for her writing is as warm as the sun on the island of Malta, where she lives and sends out her Stories and Scribbles as well as dreamy Snapshots of an Island. Her phrasing is gentle and yet as fragrant as the mysterious Smell of Violets that she so beautifully evoked recently in a gorgeous essay that brought back the memory of her Nanna Rose. There is something about what Loree does that is so simple and yet I can never quite put my finger on it, which always keeps me coming back. We all need a dose of goodness now and again.
Speaking of, I would like to say yet again how grateful I am for all of you. In recent emails and comments, many of you have reached out to share too. Things beautiful and painful. Thank you for your trust...as well as your respect concerning my previous post regarding today's elections in the United States. While I have lost subscribers, they are relatively few and I was interested by all of the thoughts that were expressed. The irony that the only truly nasty comment came from a French person did not escape me either! Did it make me sad that so many of you applauded me for my "courage" to speak out? Yes, a bit, that our society is at that point but again, I just hope that all of my American friends will go out and vote!
We all have much of importance to share and the future is right there in front of us. A new time, every day to make choices about who we are and where we want to go, no matter our age or where we live on this amazing planet. So, open the door and let the light in.
Today's exceptionally lengthy post was my contribution to this month's "By Invitation Only" series. The theme involved the concept of sharing and passing on the torch to under-appreciated blogs as a means of getting the gift-giving season started! The photos are my own, as always (so please no borrowing or Pinning), taken during my recent trips to the Luberon. More of that series to follow.
To discover the other participants of this International Blog Party, please click here.