several books

Speed Reading

I’ve been speed reading blogs lately. My apologies to anyone with whom I haven’t done a good job of keeping in touch. Somehow, I got behind (I say it somehow like I don’t know how, but we all know how life piles up sometimes). Then with notifications that I had 200+ blogs to read, just from the blogs that I follow, I endeavored to speed read my way through.

Interesting thing though. When I did that, I got a glimpse of the bigger picture of our collective writing. Something like flipping through a book with a drawing in the corner to get the feel of animation. I picked up Word Press like a magazine to thumb through and get a sense of what kind of publication it was.

We all have a story to tell

It’s magical when we are treated to another person’s story. We get a little moment of being able to inhabit someone else’s shoes. In the posts I sped through, I found so much vitality created by writers opening up a vein, to steal from Ernest Hemingway, and leaving a bit of themselves on the page.

The narratives range from trauma to kindness, optimistic to pessimistic, factual to fiction which makes it hard to figure out what this collection has in common. But my speed read led to an a-ha. What binds it together is a rich tradition of story-telling.

We are trying mightily to understand what it all means

To borrow another writing quote, Anne Lamott said “Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave.  They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” There is something in the practice of putting words on a page that defines the outline of what we are trying to live. And as we draft new versions, we keep reshaping what that looks like. We are writing things into life.

It seems this was even more palpable during the beginning of the Covid pandemic when we were faced with something most of us had never seen in our lifetimes. Collectively we were trying to understand the landscape of socialization and security as conditions changed. We faced fear and grief by writing about it.

Now that those concerns have receded, or at least become a familiar backdrop, I see us wrestling with love, parenting, the state of our planet, success, family, aging. Sometimes with humor, and other times with tears, but we show up on the page as real people writing it out.

There is a beautiful persistent vibe of trying to get better

That leads to the final gem that I gleaned from the pile of posts I sped through. There was a consistent spirit of trying to share knowledge. The collective is telling their stories, processing life through writing, and when we learn a lesson, we memorialize it in words.

This might be the highest hurdles of our collective writing. How to offer up the individual lessons so that others can heal and learn. What I noticed is that we are learning through teaching. Often humbly, and with a dose of personal perspective, but as Yale sociologist Nicholas Christoff says, one of the incredible things we do as humans is cooperate with genetically unrelated individuals, “We teach each other things. People take this for granted, but it’s actually unbelievable.

We are publishing a magazine every day. A lifestyle magazine. An inspirational writing journal. A guide to healing. I’m sorry I’ve missed your individual posts but I’m glad for the opportunity to thumb through this magazine. Well done.

My recent time crunch has led me to want to review The Quality versus Quantity of Time on my personal blog.

I also post on Mondays at the Heart of the Matter blog, a great shared blog of personal storytelling with a podcast that highlights inspirational creatives. My book about my journey to find what fueled my dad’s indelible spark and twinkle can be found on Amazon: Finding My Father’s Faith.

You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @wynneleon

(featured photo from Pexels)

37 thoughts on “Speed Reading

  1. I agree with you that blog writing is a kind of magazine, a lifestyle guide, and a healing manual. It’s a place where one can share stories, process , experiences, and offer support and guidance

  2. I love that you inadvertently did a ‘meta-analysis’ of your blogging friends’ work. Beautiful! Love your conclusions and observations about purpose: sharing, making meaning, trying to improve. 🥰

  3. I love the concept that we’re each authoring our own magazine, often with recurring themes, but always with a intention to share and learn. No matter how “boring” our lives may sometimes feel, we’re still creating something by showing up. Well done, indeed!

  4. I think that you’ve come back to the heart of blogging here Wynne. People a bazillion years ago wanted to connect and share and tell stories and this weird world of webpages and the internet was a way to grow our personal communities, to see who and what was out there…safely, maybe tentatively and maybe with a lot of trial and error, but offering ourselves to the world just the same.

    1. Oh, what a brilliant comment tying us back to the start of the world wide web. This is so great, “safely, maybe tentatively and maybe with a lot of trial and error, but offering ourselves to the world just the same.” Right!

  5. I never thought of it like that . . . but that’s exactly how I view it, publishing my own lifestyle magazine each day. What do I want to say to others? What stories do I want to tell? How do I want them to feel and walk away from site? What shared message or experience do I want to touch on? I love how you nailed it. Thank you for explaining me to me! Ha, ha.

  6. I loved this: “Something like flipping through a book with a drawing in the corner to get the feel of animation.” What a great description of clicking through our posts. I’m thrilled you came away with such good thoughts about what we’re trying to do. Hopefully, we add to each other’s life and offer support and comfort when needed. You make me want to try speed reading through to see what I discover.

  7. I love this Wynne, especially the part about the vibe of constantly trying to get better. I often think back to when I started blogging and how much I’ve learned in the past four years—about myself, writing, and so many other topics. Some of the lessons were self taught—sort of an evolution. Others came from the wisdom of this wonderful community.

    1. Ah, what a great comment about how much you’ve evolved and learned – the parallel paths that are offered. Yes, such a wonderful community. Grateful for you, Michelle!

  8. Oh Wynne what a fabulous post! You have encapsulated the heart and soul, the very essence of us—individually and collectively—and told our story in a way that expands our minds and opens our hearts. What a blessing it is to be a part of a community of like-minded, heart-centered people who are seeking to find the best within themselves and share their life lessons so that others can benefit—the joys, the sorrows, the embarrassments, the healings, overcomings and vulnerabilities. Thank you to you and Vicki for enriching our lives through offering a platform of pure, unconditional love.

    1. Expands our minds and opens our hearts – what a great way to put it, Julia! Makes me want to put together an actual magazine that captures the essence that you so beautifully describe and are part of!! You are amazing!

  9. Wow 200+ blogs! I can barely keep up with the few I follow. I love the collective lifestyle magazine idea- I actually set up and envisioned my personal blog that way, but my staff of one was not able to keep up with production 😁

    1. What an interesting comment, Todd. Makes me think if we could create an editorial structure so that we weren’t all a staff of one, it would be fabulous!

      1. It really would be great! I used to dream about building the blog up to the point that it could become a full fledged digital magazine with a full staff of writers- but that seems more fun to dream about than to actually attempt- sooooo much work! 🙃

  10. Oh, my gosh. At first, I loved this post for its perspectiving; then, at your beautiful-persistent-vibe section, something beyond simple perspectiving. Whatever it is you call THAT thing, I’m grateful to have touched it in your words this morning. (I’ve seen glimmers of this, too, but with no idea what, exactly, the nature of the magic I was seeing. This.)

  11. Yes, I sometimes wonder how many blog posts I can read in a day. I attempt to read and comment on at least one post per week for each blogger I follow. I enjoy seeing what’s up with people, what makes them tick, which often turns out to be just the kind of encouragement I need to read. We’re all just walking each other home, one post at a time.

    1. I like your approach for trying to touch a post a week – because you must follow so many blogs. And your observation that it often turns out to be just the encouragement you need to read. So good!

      1. I used to try to read everything everybody wrote, but decided I’d rather know a bunch of people cordially, check in on them weekly, rather than focus on a few people in-depth all the time. In blogland we find what works for us.

  12. The quote – we teach each other things – by Nicholas Christoff is so true. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are learning from the others. This is something we all should be grateful for. Beautiful post Wynne!

    1. You’re right, Cristiana – sometimes we don’t even realize that we are learning — and how unique it is. Thank you for reading and for all I’ve learned from you, my friend!

  13. Interesting that the speed readings actually gave you a different scale of insight, Wynne. I very much like the knowledge-sharing aspect of WordPress you noticed.

  14. Awesome blog post here my friend. I indeed agree with you that writing is interesting and we as Writers have a lot on our plates because life gets in the way and getting the time to write is daunting especially if you are busy as a bee. As an Author, I enjoy writing and sharing my blog posts with my audience and I like to treat myself as a Professional Blogger specializing in one niche which I do well being “MEN’S FASHION & STYLE”💯🙌

  15. I’ve been doing much the same Wynne. I didn’t open my computer when I was traveling except to write a few notes on my experiences. Even then, it was brief notes. Now I’m home and trying to spend an hour each day just catching up but it’s almost impossible, there’s so much material. I hope all is well with you and whatever is crunching your time is manageable. Hugs, C

Leave a Reply