Blogging is such a 21st Century thing to do, but despite my 20th century reservations, a while ago I took the advice of my publisher and some of my younger friends and gave it a try. To be honest, though, I was truly convinced to blog only after I considered all the things I wasn’t prepared to do in the name of shameless self-promotion . . . Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok. (Tik Tok!!!)
In November 2021, I published my second book Expecting the World, a memoir of my thirty years working in international development, which took a solid four years to write, rewrite, revise and edit. Although people now ask “So what’s your new book going to be about?” I reply in alarm: “New book?? No!! No more books!! I’m 70 years old. Surely I’m not required to write another book.” And yet . . .when I’m not writing, I miss it. Even if I’m not up to writing another 300 page book, maybe I still have things to say, stories to tell, ideas to share. My memory is still pretty sharp, but they tell me it dulls with time. Maybe blogging will help?
In 2019, my husband Terry and I bought a house in a tiny village in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Since then we’ve been dividing our time between Europe and the farm in Pennsylvania.
Although I’m the first to acknowledge my embarrassment of riches, whenever I am in one house, I miss the other. When I spend lovely times with friends on one continent, I miss my friends on the other. Blogging helps bridge the gap.
When I was twenty, I lived and attended university in Paris. I remember a close friend coming to visit from the United States and marveling at how Parisians just went about their business without even noticing that they were in this incredibly beautiful city. He was astonished by such apparent indifference to their surroundings. “How can they be so blasé?” he asked.
Well, fifty years later I live in another beautiful place–Portugal–and I have no intention of being blasé about it. I want to take note of what is beautiful about our house with its flowers and fruit in the backyard, our medieval village Porto da Espada with its steep hills and cobblestone streets, our sturdy (if ancient) neighbors who encourage me to learn their language since they don’t speak a word of English, not to mention the castle next door. And I want to share with the people I care about what its like being in Portugal (when I’m here) and being on the farm (when I’m there). So . . . now I blog
Of course, there are many ways to stay in touch . I can do it close up – spend time on our farm, visit friends and family in the U.S. , invite them visit us in Portugal and I can do it remotely via Facetime or Zoom. Or . . . I can blog!
To my delight I’ve learned that blogging encourages readers to comment on what you’ve written. It allows the kind of back and forth that writing and publishing a full-length book doesn’t. Much as I love to write, it’s even more fun when readers write back. Suffice to say I’d love you to subscribe to my blog (if you haven’t already). It’s easy – scroll down to the bottom of the Home Page, fill in your name and email, press Subscribe and you will be alerted every time I post something. And if you subscribe, I’ll be motivated to keep blogging.
It is the 21st century, after all!
What gorgeous photos!
Looking forward to reading your blog, Jerri! Agree with you about the hardships of writing a book…but keep on blogging.
Thank you, Mary. I will, I will! Your encouragement very welcome!!
Although the blog is about ostensibly about writing, and you write in a very engaging and readable fashion, I join Sarah in finding the exquisite photos also very inviting.
Does the blog software allow you to create a gallery of the photos if you were so inclined?
An interesting question! I try to keep my posts fairly short (no more than 500 words) and include at least 3 or 4 photos in each one. I’m not sure if they could be reconfigured into a separate gallery. Although I’m woefully lacking in Social Media skills, I believe Instagram is where people put more pictures and fewer words! Maybe I’ll have to post there, too!
A heart divided between two homes… is that a song title?!
I love reading about your life in Portugal and the natural beauty that surrounds you wherever you are!
This makes me so happy, Paige. Being able to share my life with others is the best!!
Hi Jerri, I would live in two countries if I could, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like New Zealand. Regarding you writing more; it doesn’t just have to be fatal. Writing fiction can be a lot of fun. A friend in my writing group is currently in her second house in a French village, and our group is writing a short story for a competition. Just an idea. Vivienne
Dear Vivienne, what an intriguing idea to write fiction. I’ll have to give it some thought! I just wish I had a writing group myself. And if I could live in three countries – New Zealand would be at the top of that list!! Thanks so much for reading . . . and reacting! This is what makes the blogging so worthwhile!
I love seeing the brightness and beauty and life of or your life In Portugal! After being in Maine for most of my life, the color and vibrancy of the homes has me wanting to paint my house!!!! I can only imagine what scents come through your morning window, being so close to so many fruit trees! So blog on, Jerri, for now I will have to be content to smell the blossoms on my son’s lime tree!
Thank you, Lucy. Thank you! Enjoy the smell of those blossoms on your son’s lime tree and keep posting your beautiful pictures and optimistic thoughts on Facebook. They (and you) are so uplifting in hard times.
Looking forward to more entries about you wonderful life and the beautiful places you live! xxoo
Thank you, Ann! It’s so good to know you enjoy these posts! I shall persevere!
You must wonder what? ‘fatal’ should read ‘factual’!
Hahaha! Glad of that, Vivienne! I’d hate it if writing had to be fatal!!
If commenting on my
Immense sense of envy at these gorgeous views and warm words will keep it all coming…. Then comment I will!!
Yes ,your commenting will indeed keep me posting! Thank you, August!
I understand very well your feelings when you say that when you are in Portugal you miss your american home and when you are there, you miss your portuguese home.
Both houses are beautiful and cozy. In both places you have good friends and a happy life.
I feel exactly the same, between Lisbon and Colares!!!
Yes, it’s true! I am incredibly lucky to have two places where I have such a happy life. And friends are my favorite part of life–which is what makes you and Miguel essential to my life in Portugal! Thank you both . . and we’ll be in touch shortly! Beijinhos,
Next 22nd April it is my next exhibition’s opening, if it is ok for you to come, why not? It will be at MU.SA (MUSEU DAS ARTES DE SINTRA)
I don’t know if it is worth while because I will exhibit many of the paintings you already saw last December, but there will be some new paintings after all.