Though today is, for me, an unbirthday, it also happens to be an anniversary. Because it was on this day in 2011 that I took a deep breath, clicked "new post" on my newly created Blogger dashboard, and wrote an introduction, or preface, or foreword, or whatever you want to call it. On this day in 2011, three lovely young ladies hit the "follow" button on my sidebar (Melody, Miss Elizabeth and Miss Laurie, y'all thrilled me exceedingly that day!). On this day in 2011, a certain young lady left the first two comments on my blog, sending me into perfect raptures (because someone was READING my BLOG!).
When I started blogging, I truly never thought it would become such a big part of my life. Oh, sure, I fantasized a little about becoming one of those Big-Name Bloggers with several hundred followers and posts peppered with comments. But I never dreamed that blogging would introduce me to so many amazing people, that I'd make friends I can now hardly imagine living without. I never imagined that a few movie reviews and favorite books might be the link to connect me with kindred spirits hundreds of miles away.
Here I am, standing on the threshold of my second year of blogging, and the word that first comes to mind is overwhelmed. Because this blog has grown by leaps and bounds from what it was when it began. I've written far more than I ever thought I would, read books I might not have tried if it weren't for other bloggers' recommendations, seen movies I wouldn't have known about if it hadn't been for y'all... and even went so far as to reveal my first name. (I, who thought I'd always be the mysterious and anonymous Miss Dashwood...)
But following close on the heels of that "overwhelmed" is the second word (okay, two words), which are thank you. Look, let's be frank. If I had written that first post and no one had responded or commented or followed, I probably would have soldiered on anyway. For a little while, at least. But if still no one visited Yet Another Period Drama Blog, I probably would have given up.
As you can see, that didn't happen.
I'm not an art-for-art's-sake kind of girl. I write because it makes me happy, yes, but if it didn't make anyone else happy, I might not be so enthusiastic. It's all of you--your comments, your emails, and above all your friendship-- that have made this blog continue for one full year. (And there will be many more to come if I have anything to do with it.) I have lectured you and rambled at you and been silly with you, and you have borne it as no other company of people would.
You, my friends, are amazing.
Looking back over a year's worth of posts, I can see a definite change in my writing style. In the early days, I was rather stiff and prim and proper. Blogging, after all, is a Solemn Thing and must be done with Proper Decorum. At the beginning, my posts followed a somewhat-strict format-- I wrote sensible movie reviews without a lot of gushing, did a series on period drama heroines that I never actually finished (eh... heh...) and dutifully posted a Quote of the Week each and every week. This was a period drama blog, and to that subject it would stick. Unyieldingly. I read lots of other blogs about period dramas, you know, and if I wanted to do well, I had to be just like them! Right?
Then, as more people began following my blog and I in turn began discovering new blogs, I was introduced to the concept of lifestyle blogs-- people who journaled about what they did and how they did it, with several scoops of Random thrown in the mix. What fun! So I tried putting some of that into my blog. Because everybody likes a random person, and if I wanted to do well, I had to be just like them, right?
Shortly after that was when I became aware of the dizzying number of blogging genres out there. Photography blogs! Sewing blogs! Fashion blogs! Cooking blog! Movie blogs! Book blogs! Let-me-tell-you-about-every-single-little-detail-of-my-life blogs! (I didn't follow any of those.) And my head began to spin. Because I couldn't decide where my blog fit in. Was it, strictly, a period drama blog anymore? I didn't think it was. So I set up a poll and asked y'all to help me choose a new name. "Shelves in the Closet" won the poll, but many of you told me that you preferred the name I already have.
In case you hadn't noticed, I ended up keeping this one.
Why? Because I like it. That's why.
And because after a year of blogging, after a year of scrambling to fit in, it's hit me like a thunderbolt (a thing that does not exist, by the way. It is lightning that arrives in bolts. Also fabric.) that I don't have to fit in. I don't have to be part of a genre, to squeeze Yet Another Period Drama Blog into a box and market it to the General Public. I'm blogging about what makes me happy, and if it makes you happy too--well, how swellissimus! Let's get to know each other!
Now, never fear, I have not become a representative of the International Discover Your Inner Cuckoo Clock Foundation. I'm not going all "be real! be YOU! don't conform!", don't worry. I'm just saying that I'm looking forward to this next blogging year with incredible excitement. Will there be movie reviews? You betcha. Will there be tons of period-drama-related stuff? Of course. Will there be other things totally unrelated to all that? Indeed there will. Is that okay? Indubitably.
So... here's to another grand and glorious year. Here's to you, and here's to me. At the shrine of friendship never say die--
--all right, all right, I tried. I really did try to make it through this post without sticking song lyrics in anywhere. But I didn't make it. And you know what? Bursting into song randomly is what I do. In my head, and on my blog. So be it. Join me, won't you?
(And though that would be a delightfully fitting way to end this post, I simply can't do so without making record of some of this year's stats. Because I always consider that sort of thing great fun.)
Autumn Header: (yes, it doesn't look autumn-ish, but it's Emmer-ish, and that was the theme I chose--and I've been trying to change the background image to match, but it doesn't seem to be working. I appreciate your patience with the odd color scheme at present!)
Posts: 207 (including this one)
Most Popular Post: Defending Mr. Darcy
Most Popular Traffic Source: Google Images
Most Popular Search Keyword: "jane eyre"
Most Ridiculous Search Keyword: "philip quast caterpillar eyes" (Not kidding on this one. Now I'm just waiting for someone to arrive here from "colm wilkinson grasshopper nose.")
Movies Reviewed: 18 (see list here)
Books Reviewed: 4 (see classics club list here)
Events: Jane Austen's Birthday, Anne of Green Gables Week, Les Miserables Week (co-hosted with Payton)
Contests: Birthday Cards for Jane Austen, Captioned Pictures, Keep Calm With Jane Austen
Friendships Formed: too many to count or try to do justice to here!
And as I read over this post once more before publishing it, I'm realizing that it has a sad lack of jokes. Hmmm. Pity, that.
--Ooh! I know a joke. A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, "I forgot to store nuts for winter and now I am dead." HA! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.
*sits back and twiddles thumbs while waiting for the animal rights activists to foam at the mouth with rage hard to surpass*