I've been taking a photography course, and one of the technical aspects that we've discussed is "depth of field." Small f-numbers allow a lot of light into the aperature -- which limits/allows the photographer to capture a narrow range or close-up view. You want a small f-number if you are trying to capture the intricacy of a flower, for instance. Large f-numbers let in less light, but you can include a much wider range of subject matter and maintain the clarity. If you want an entire field of flowers, plus some sky, you would want to increase your f-number.
It's not a bad metaphor for blogging, really.
When I first started blogging, my f-numbers were pretty small. I had a tight circle of friends, and there was definitely a feeling of intimacy. There was time to check in every day, and I never missed any of the posts of my regulars. Over time, my blogging circle has become more like a complicated web of interconnected circles. My f-numbers are expanding all the time! And although I love the greater reach, I sometimes have trouble maintaining a focal point. I miss the close-up view in the attempt to see so much. I am constrained, not by space, but by time.
In the past couple of weeks, I have been very touched to be the recipient of several awards. (I apologize for being so tardy in acknowledging these kind gifts!) Although one of them is from a well-established blogging friendship, the others come from relatively new acquaintances. Even though I occasionally make a time-preserving vow of "no new mates" (as a Northern friend used to say), I don't actually stick with it. Truthfully, one of the chief pleasures of blogging is the discovery of a fresh voice. You never know which link, casually or curiously followed, will become your new favorite person. So in that spirit, I offer linkage to some friends of mine -- some old, and some new.
Thanks so much to Dancing Doc Design for the Excessively Diverting Blog award. Like so many, I'm an Austen fanatic -- and being compared to one of my favourite authors (even in the smallest of ways) is a great honour. The Dancing Doc is an American living in the south of France, and her blog celebrates beauty -- and the occasional serious issue -- in turn.
The aim of the Award is to acknowledge writing excellence in the spirit of Jane Austen's genius in amusing and delighting readers with her irony, humor, wit, and talent for keen observation. Recipients will uphold the highest standards in the art of the sparkling banter, witty repartee, and gentle reprove.
Jane Austen famously described her work as: the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour. Some blogs remind me of the portrait landscape setting on a camera in that they narrow in on the author's life -- and yet encompass so much.
Just a Plane Ride Away -- because she writes with such warmth and humor about her expat life in England with Mr. DJ, Roxi and Trudy (her beloved dog). Also, because she loves Persuasion -- one of my favorites, too.
Whittering On -- because, like Jane, Janey writes every day amidst the bustle of family life. Her writing has an eye-twinkle and a cosiness which I find incredibly appealing.
Nimble Pundit -- because she has an elegant turn of phrase. Although she might seem shy and retiring, she has Austen's sharp eye.
The irrepressible, warm and witty woman known as Fhina at A Woman of No Importance bestowed the following award on me. As Fhina is known for breaking into French, I will say Merci Beaucoup and Je t'embrasse. Although the award is meant for 15 people, I don't have Fhina's energy -- plus I have to do the school-runs soon. Therefore, I will bestow it in my turn upon two worthy bloggers who have the output of at least 15 people between them.
This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.
The rules to follow are: 1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link. 2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Julochka at Moments of Perfect Clarity -- because she is smart, funny, and creative . . . as is
Julie at Tangobaby. The two Julies (one based in Denmark and the other in San Francisco) have also embarked on The Julie Project together. Fairly recently, Julie has been thrilling me with her personal portraits at I Live Here: SF. Both of these women hold down full-time jobs and have creative projects all over the place. Clearly, neither sleeps much.
One of my new finds, Catherine at A Thousand Clapping Hands, also gave me a Premio Dardos.
I vividly remember the first post that I read at Catherine's. Let me just say that she lays a beautiful table -- in more ways than one.
Another blogger who hooked me from the very first post is Tessa at AN AERIAL ARMADILLO. Tessa, like me, lives in England . . . but originally came from a warm climate. Tessa is a wonderful artist, with a treasure chest full of memories and pictures. A visit to her blog is highly recommended for armchair travellers.
Muchos gracias to Barrie Summy for this stylish badge!
Barrie, whose Book Review Club I participate in every month, is the author of I So Don't Do Mysteries -- and the upcoming I So Don't Do Spooky. She also manages to mother four children, attend a lot of sporting events, and regularly update her blog.
Barrie has passed on a challenge to discuss five obsessions . . . and then pass it on.
In general, I would say that I'm not a particularly obsessive person -- but there are a few areas in which my behavior is not entirely normal or restrained.
- Buying books. I cannot go into a bookstore without leaving with something -- or some things. I should use the library more, but I love to buy books.
- Baking. I was telling a friend that I had been out of my baking groove lately, and my oldest daughter butted in (as they do) and reminded me that I had made butterscotch brownies, sugar cookies, oatmeal/cranberry/white chocolate cookies, honey cake, gingerbread and butterscotch rice pudding . . . all in the last two weeks. I'd like to set up a charitable concern which distributes baked goods.
- Flowers. In my garden and in bouquets all over the house. The spring bulbs are my favorites -- except for roses, of course. And peonies.
- Ironing. I find ironing very soothing. I iron almost everything, and it has been commented upon as unusual behavior. I will concede that it doesn't make sense to iron clothes before you pack them, but I cannot bring myself to pack wrinkled clothes. (This may fall under the rubric of obsessive behavior, actually.)
- Cards. I love to buy cards and postcards. Sometimes I even send them to friends! (But a lot of them get tucked into books or stacked on my desk.)
I offer a short-list of five fabulous friends -- who don't mind the occasional meme. Please collect your awards!
Now someone send out the vaudeville hook! I think that this acceptance speech has gone on way too long . . .