In praise of the mundane and slow blogging

My condo building in Jamaica Plain, Boston

My triple decker condo building, on the right, Jamaica Plain, Boston (Photo: DY, 2014)

Commenting on my previous dramatic, pathbreaking post about coffee (NOT), one of my friends remarked on Facebook that I had a knack for making even mundane subjects sound engaging and interesting. That’s a real compliment for a personal blog — thank you, Holly!

That said, “mundane” isn’t exactly what inspired blogging, which first became popular roughly a decade ago as a way to publish breaking news and commentary on major events. In addition to serving that journalistic purpose, blogging also has grown into a medium for synthesizing information and for sharing analysis and opinion.

In any given week, I read a fair share of blogs for all of these purposes. And through my professional blog, Minding the Workplace, I attempt to contribute to that dialogue by writing about issues of employee relations, workplace bullying, and psychological health at work. On occasion, I even help to break a story within my realm of work.

However, I also find myself increasingly drawn to blogs about everyday life, hobbies, travel, memoirs, TV shows, books, sports, avocations, and anything else that isn’t about hard news, analytical thinking, and conflict. They offer interesting, entertaining, and sometimes fascinating windows into our daily lives. And since launching this personal blog last fall, I’ve come to enjoy writing about some of the more common or ordinary aspects of life, two words often used to define mundane.

Understanding “slow blogging”

To characterize these less momentous uses of blogging, I reference the term slow blogging, the philosophy and practice of which has been beautifully articulated in the Slow Blogging Manifesto by software designer and writer Todd Sieling. (He hasn’t updated his blog in years, but this post alone is worth keeping it online.) Here are a few snippets:

Slow Blogging is a rejection of immediacy. It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly, and that many thoughts are best served after being fully baked and worded in an even temperament.

***

Slow Blogging is a reversal of the disintegration into the one-liners and cutting turns of phrase that are often the early lives of our best ideas.

***

Slow Blogging is a willingness to remain silent amid the daily outrages and ecstasies that fill nothing more than single moments in time, switching between banality, crushing heartbreak and end-of-the-world psychotic glee in the mere space between headlines.

The happily mundane

Maybe we need to make a more prominent place for slow blogging about the common and ordinary. We all want to live good, rewarding, purposeful lives. Many of us have a tendency to frame this in terms of milestones, such as major work accomplishments or family events. But perhaps we should spend more time appreciating and reflecting upon the everyday stuff as part of our search for that meaning.

So I leave you with this photo of my three-unit condo building in Jamaica Plain, Boston (“JP” to locals), taken on a dreary, wet, overcast day earlier this year. Having moved there in 2003, this is the longest I’ve lived anywhere since my childhood. Although my condo is nothing elaborate in terms of space, views, furnishings, or architecture, it’s a good home.

Equally important, as someone who doesn’t own a car, my place is a quick walk to subway (aka the “T” in Boston) and bus lines. The T’s Orange Line takes me into the city’s downtown area. Logan Airport and South Station (Amtrak) are short T rides away, a boon to frequent travelers such as myself.

My home is close to JP’s shops, stores, and restaurants. And when I’m hungry and don’t want to cook heat up something, I can bop across the street to the City Feed and Supply Store for a sandwich, order a pizza from Il Panino, or call in for Chinese delivery from Food Wall.

The photo above doesn’t capture the beauty of JP, a diverse, picturesque neighborhood in the southwest region of Boston. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I slept past my subway stop and got off at the next station, still in JP. To get home I walked along the Southwest Corridor Park, a linear park that runs roughly parallel to the T tracks through a long stretch of the city. It was a beautiful walk, the kind that makes you think “urban oasis.”

These are simple things that can make for an enjoyable day, and pleasant reminders — even for those of us too caught up in destinations at times — that the journey counts for a whole lot.

 

2 responses

  1. I like this idea of “slow blogging” a lot–it gives me a way to think about what I’ve been doing on my own blog. Thanks!

    1. Kerry, thanks for your steady readership and comments!

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