The "next blog" feature on WordPress is a lot like playing an iPod on shuffle, except you're shuffling through the library of someone whose taste in music diverges wildly, but not always unpleasantly, from your own. Many of the blogs are in languages I don't speak: Greek, Arabic, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Tech. Some are so clearly private that after reading a few words I close my eyes and click on "next blog," the way you look away when you see someone trying to get lettuce out of their teeth. Sometimes you feel as though you've picked up someone's diary by mistake and in a moment of horrible weakness read it. All of it. All about how they got together and then broke up and got back together and then broke up and then…. (Sorry, it's hard to stop.) Some of them are just plain insane — like the blog of a guy who records his moments of flatulence and the movement of his bowels in astonishing detail. (Although I must tell you that when I described this blog to my three boys, they howled with laughter. What works for some, does not work for others.)
Some of the blogs I come across are just plain wonderful. I'm giving myself half an hour every Saturday morning for this "next blog" browse, partly because it's so addictive I have to put a limit on it. Here's what I found today:
Slice. The author of this blog writes a haiku pretty much every day. This is exactly what you should do when you want to get good at something: do it every day. Slice's most recent haiku is called "Sanity Brigade." It's very good.
Quirk. This former journalist, current fencer, thinker, water colorist is a fine writer. His thoughts on how blogging has changed the way he writes and thinks about writing can be found in this essay. http://fencer.wordpress.com/2006/05/05/writing-like-this
Animentored. An unexpected delight. The person who does this blog is taking a class in animation. The things he's fooling around with are charming. His sketches are playful and accomplished. My children spent a lot of time laughing and clicking through his work. It was fun to see his work in progress and to get a little window into a world we don't know anything about.
See you next Saturday.