Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

Today is not my birthday.  Neither is it the birthday of any one of my friends (to the best of my knowledge).  Of course someone, somewhere, must be having a birthday today, and if you happen to be that person, well, many happy returns!

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.

Thank you.


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.)

Summer Header:

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)
Pageviews: 74,943
Followers: 198
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*


Maria Elisabeth said...

Congratulations, darling!

Kendra E. Ardnek said...

Congrats! I've been blogging for four years now ... though it's only just been gathering attention in the last year and a half ... but it had been mostly for family before then ... so ...

Congrats again, and hope you manage to find posts to post for many years to come!

Miss Melody Muffin said...


Hmmm, no one's birthday today that I know either, although my brother's birthday was yesterday.

Awwww, I'm so glad you started blogging, too! Without you I wouldn't have read Les Miserables quite so soon, or known about some period drama movies I had never heard of before reading your reviews!

Animal rights activists foaming at the mouth... what a satisfying, er um, interesting, thing to imagine!! :)

A happy second year of blogging to you m'dear!

Jessica said...

Happy Anniversary Miss Dashwood! Its' been a brilliant year of posts etc... I am so glad I found your blog *giggles at squirrel joke*


beastsbelle said...

Congratulations on one year! :D Keep up the good work. :)

Lady Bibliophile said...

Many congratulations, Miss Dashwood! :) I have been following your blog for some months now, and I feel like I know you! I love your style of writing; it puts a smile on my face every time. In fact, I am quite addicted to reading your back posts, and your Lorna Doone review has inspired me to read the book. :)

Have another wonderful year blogging! Here's to you, and with a wish for many more posts to come. :)


Lydia said...

My older married sister and I have followed you for quite some time and enjoy reading your blog. I was wondering, feel free to say no, but I have been thinking of starting a blog but couldn't come up with a name I liked. But I love the name "shelves in the closet" so I was wondering if I could use it for my blog when I start one. Let me know, I don't want to take a name that you came up with unless I have your permission. And if you do say no that is totally fine with me. Keep on blogging!!!!!! I love reading your posts!!

Jessica said...

Congrats on one year of blogging! :-)

Jemimah C. said...

You and your blog shall forever remain wonderful! Happy blog anniversary and congratulations for reaching this far.

Melody said...

YAYAYAYAYAY! You've been here for a year now! Congratulations, dear, you are no longer a new blog.

*cough* Okay, that happened along time ago. *glances at followers box*

Anyway! So HAPPY! For you, I guess, but also for me, tootuz if you had nevah started your blog... O_O Unhappy thought indeed. Heehee.

I wish I could think of something really witty or meaningful to say... but... I caun't. *sigh*

So I'll just once more say...

CONGRATULATIONS! (I should have spelled it with a D just to annoy you. Oh wait, it was me who said she was annoyed by that. Well, it proberly annoys you too. :P) Here's to your continued success in the blogging world! :D

Your Nonsensical Girl

P.S. I'm still immensely happy I was the first one to comment on and follow your blog. It makes me feel Important. :P BAHAHAHA. I still remember seeing a new follower in my box and clicking on her name and going to her blog and seeing it was a new one, and leaving a comment, and meanwhile SHE was leaving a couple on MINE... and then answered the one I left on HERS... heehee. Which pleased me very much. ;)

Melody said...


I was going to say... loooooooove your header!!!! :D

Molly said...

Horray for Amy! Congrats on your blog anniversary!
Oh, and I loved the part about;
"sits back and twiddles thumbs while waiting for the animal rights activists to foam at the mouth with rage hard to surpass." Hee,hee. :)

Miss Dashwood said...

Awwww, thank you so much, everyone!

Lydia-- you are most welcome to use Shelves in the Closet as a blog name! I didn't technically make it up, after all-- it really belongs to Andrew Davies. :P

Caitlin said...

Congrats!!! Your blog is one of my favorites and never fails to make me smile. I think we would be friends if we new each other!
Does that sound creepy?

Hayden said...


I love reading your wonderful blog and wish you many more wonderful years of blogging to come!

And *I* thought the joke was funny. :)

I know one too.
"There was this mollusk, and he walks up to this sea cucumber. Normally, they don't talk, sea cucumbers, but in a joke everyone talks. So the sea mollusk says to the cucumber... "

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BLOGVERSARY!!! (I think that's what it's called....) Anywhoz, you introduced me to the wonderful world of blogs because I'm pretty sure I found your blog, loved it, clicked on your profile, and went, "Oh, my stars - she follows other blogs that look just as amazing!!" : P I am forever thankful. : ) (It was also your blog that encouraged me to blog more. Whether that's a good thing or not, I still have to find out....)

(Loved, also, your random picture of Sir Percy - cuz what's a blog post without one?! - the random song lyrics, and the awesome joke. I thought it was funny, too....)


Alexandra said...

A very merry you!
A very merry unbirthday...for you...for you!
So blow the candle out, my dear, and make your wish come truuuuuuuuuuuue.........
A very merry unbirthday toooooooo yooooooooou!!!


SOOOOOOOOO glad I stumbled across you...or is it the other way 'round? Anyway! I would never have found such a kindred spirit! Love you BUNCHES and congrats a million times! Let this be the beginning of many years of lovely blogging!

And LOL about the whole Serious Blogging. Sounds like my blog...a loooooooooong time ago. Hehehe. ;)

Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

Congratulations, Amy! I'm so glad that I clicked the follow button a year ago (I can't believe it's been a year!).

I can totally relate to what you said about blogging and how it introduced you to so many new people. That is exactly how I feel about blogging! And to imagine, it all came from doing some reviews! :-D

"It is lightning that arrives in bolts. Also fabric" I love this!

Again, I'm so glad to have met you through the blogging world and worked with you on posts! Here's to many more years of blogging!

Mal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Holly said...

A HUGE congratulations to you, Amy dear! You deserve each and every follower, page view and comment you receive...I love your blog, even though we don't quite agree on some movies! ;)

Rhoswen Faerie Wrose said...

Congrats on a year!
I'm glad I found your blog. It's definitely one of my favorites.
May your blog continue to be blessed and grow. :-)

Charity U said...

Oh my...the joke at the end was the cherry on the sundae. :) Love your blog, even though I've only found it more recently! You're awesome, and so is this blog. :) <3

Lily of the Valley said...

Dear Amy,

Three huzzah's for you!! *pumping fist in the the air* This is quite momentous, and I am very happy for you! You and your blog have been - and are - a delightful addition to my life, and you are quite an inspiration. Indubitably! : )

birdienl said...

Congratulations on your first blog-o-versary! I've enjoyed reading your posts very much and I'm sure I'll continue to do so in the coming time. I often find myself laughing out loud when reading your blog, which leads to strange looks from my colleages when I read at work!

Keep up the good work and enjoy this day!

Jack said...

Congratulations!!!!!!!! This is wonderful! A full year. I hope the next is as fun!


Abilaine said...

Really, I am so glad that you did not change your name. After all ... it would not be the same if it 'twas shelves in closet.

Or would it?

You know what I mean .... I think. Anyway, congrats on your 200 follower mark! You deserve to have that many girls following and reading your deeeeeeeeeeeeelightful posts. :)


P.S. Please follow my new blog!

AnnaKate said...

A most enormous and hearty congratulations. You and your blog absolutely make my day. Where else can I fangirl to my heart's content?

Rachel (Cynthia) Heffington said...

Huzzah and lots of cake and icecream for you, my darling! I am so glad you have this's such a great little happy-go-lucky corner of the blog world...always makes me happy and content to visit. :)

Bekah said...

Congrats on your second year of blogging! :)

Both my blogs have been going for a year now, but I haven't even reached 100 followers on either. :-/

I love to blog though, so I have no intention of stopping, but if you have any suggestions on how to advertise, do share ;)

Kiri Liz said...

Congratulations!!!! It's time again to break out the virtual confetti!!! (because confetti makes every party better even when it makes a huge mess and it's a pain to clean it up afterward, but virtual confetti doesn't make a real mess so you don't technically have to clean it up unless you feeling like cyber cleaning and now I'm babbling...) I hope you have many more years of wonderful blogging! Love your blog, Amy! :D

Margaret Hale said...

Congratulations! My sister and I have really enjoyed reading your blog.

I liked the joke at the end. :)

Anonymous said...

Miss Dashwood,
I've only recently discovered your blog - thank you for beginning it "way back then"! (Incidentally, 'twas MY birthday on the day you began this blog!)

Your writings have been a pleasure to read; I am especially fond of your "In Defense of..." series, and your Homeschool Edition of Emma is simply AMAZING!!! I am greatly looking forward to reading the future chapters!

Have a lovely day!
~An anonymous Austenite ;)