So I’m looking through my archives, and confirmed what I suspected: that I have achieved the One Year Mark as a blogger, give or take.  Happy…blogaversary?  Is that right?  It does, actually, feel like an achievement.  I can’t believe it’s been a whole year.  Consequently, I’ve done what any reasonable blogger would do on a celebratory Sunday night, and I have popped a cork.

If I’d thought of this before 8:00 on a Sunday night, I’d have thrown a party. I’d totally have called you. I’d have poured bubbly drinks for a crowd, instead of just for my kitchen chicken Otis, because although he is pretty and does not drink my cava when I am not looking, he also doesn’t say much.

Last week I got invited to a museum event for local bloggers.  My favorite moment was when the security guards dutifully stopped someone in our group from taking a picture, and the staff was all, “It’s ok, they’re media.  They’re press.”  That stood me up a little taller in my red cowboy boots.   That felt good. That made me feel like the moment in The Jerk when the guy says, “The new phone books are here! THE NEW PHONE BOOKS ARE HERE!  See? My name is in print! I’m somebody.”

The other bloggers at the event were great.  They were articulate and focused.  When they asked me questions like, “What’s your blog about?” or “What does ‘Carolina Gypsy’ mean?”  I realized that I need to work on my elevator speech, because I still have long, rambling, unfocused answers to those questions.  Other questions for which I need a better elevator speech are “Wow, how did you go from teaching to architecture?” “How do you like being an architect?”  and “Why aren’t you married yet?” (Bloggers, of course, are way too polite to have asked that last one, but contractors aren’t.) There are a lot of topics for which I need a “cocktail party” answer instead of a “bottle of wine on a porch swing” answer.  All of that is a separate post.   And a separate bottle of wine.

WordPress will tell you that the most successful blogs are tightly focused, and I’m sure that’s true, as a rule.  My blog is not tightly focused.  My blog will never be tightly focused.  The blogs I love to read are the blogs that tell stories; big stories, little stories, visual stories, emotional stories, frivolous stories, life-changing stories.  So that’s what I do.  That’s what I write.

Subject matter aside, I started writing for some well-defined reasons.  I wanted to hold myself accountable for getting off my couch and doing things, rather than wishing I were doing things, and  I have not regretted that for a second.  Not even on the rare occasions when getting off my couch turned out to be a bust for any particular event.  I also wanted to see whether writing was something I thought I’d enjoy but tire of quickly, or something I’d enjoy doing for the long-term. The answer, after a year, is bigger than either of those guesses.  Turns out, it’s not a question of enjoyment, but need.  I do enjoy writing, but it’s not a choice.  I write because I have to write.  It’s how I process.  It’s how I communicate.  It keeps me sane, and it keeps things in perspective, and it keeps me balanced.  It’s not a conscious choice; neither is sleeping at night, or drinking when you’re thirsty.  You just do it.

A year ago, I was mulling over the idea of making some changes; talking  about getting out more, trying new things, maybe writing a blog, when the tornado hit last April.   The sky went black, the power went dead, I was in the closet with a funnel cloud passing over me; things started thunking into the side of my house. I had a moment of clarity: none of us knows how much time we have on this earth.  The time to get busy doing things you love is right now.

I haven’t mastered any of this yet.  I still have whole swaths of my life that I haven’t figured out, but that’s ok; I’ve gotten busy trying.

Don’t worry, I won’t make you re-read the whole blog, with or without the alcohol I’ve just poured.  I will, however, walk you through a few of the highlights, because of the alcohol I’ve just poured.  (Join me, won’t you?)

First post: Twister

Post with the most hits: Phil Cook and His Feat (the double rainbow probably didn’t hurt)

Other popular posts: Rare and Vintage Beer Tasting, Haw River Ballroom, Yum Yum Supper Club, Cooke Street Carnival

Posts about experiences which turned out to be ridiculously fun: Cooke Street Carnival, Shenanigans, Team Bacon, Hopscotch 1, 2, and 3, Hitched, Rules

Posts in which I was obviously working through something, even when I couldn’t quite explain it: Pedal Steel Always Makes Me Cry, Apparently, Van Down By The River,  Art Therapy, Out of Sync, North Carolina State Fair

Posts about Epic Musical Events: Old 97’s

Total weeks, 52; total posts, 178; total posts about music, 73; total bands heard, 222

Total “out and about” posts, 82; total romances gotten off the ground, 0, total Handsome Cowboy encounters, many; total crushes, about a dozen

Total “Life List” posts, 2o; total items checked off this year, 18; total items in progress, 22; next item on the list,  “have shrimp and grits and honeysuckle sorbet at Crook’s Corner” (who wants to join me Wednesday?) followed shortly by “walk the High Line

Total excursions, too many to count; total friends, increasing; total enjoyment, immeasurable; total progress towards overcoming shyness, fear, and inertia, measurable; total lessons learned, more than I’d have guessed possible in a year; total items on the to-do list for the year ahead, growing rapidly; total new restaurants and food trucks sampled, dozens; total pounds lost in a year of culinary enjoyment, fifteen; total hours of sleep, not quite enough; optimism about the upcoming year: surging; total number of readers, I really don’t know, but I appreciate every single one of you, every single comment, every single word of support, and every single click.

Thanks for reading, y’all.

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