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Putting “Surprised By Joy” In a Headlock and Refusing to Let Go

August 10, 2009

(Excuse the lack of the traditional photos. WordPress is doing some “technical work” and won’t allow me to upload anything. Boo, WordPress, boo.)

Whenever people find out that I am a blogger, they always ask me what I blog about. Being a (hopeful) writer, you’d think I give some really deep, meaningful answer that made them stand back, clutch their chests, and go “Wow” (and possible applaud or burst into tears).

Well, I don’t.

I tend to get nervous that I’m expected to give this powerful, soul-defining answer, and instead, I fumble and mutter and stutter out something like, “Uh, just life and what life for me looks like and God and journeys and stuff.” If anyone would want to read my blog based on my exhilarating descriptions, I’d be shocked. I wouldn’t even want to read a blog about that.

Hence my new header! (I really am extremely proud of designing it all by myself — it would probably be good for my self-esteem if you agree and tell me so. Just kidding…a little.:p)

I initially named this blog “Surprised by Joy” due to my great and overzealous love for CS Lewis. Wanting to be as amazing and relevant and human as he was, I decided to be entirely unoriginal and name my blog after his autobiography. I suppose I never stopped to really think beyond that until this weekend, when I ran into a friend while camping, who asked what the name of my blog was. As I told her, I realized that I had no real idea what that title meant. Does my blog have an identity or is it just a hodgepodge of whatever happens to be floating around my brain that day? A hodgepodge didn’t sound like something A Serious Writer would go on — I needed direction, I needed clarity, I needed an idea and a concept to grab hold of and wrestle with.

So I thought about it. And came up with my own definition of what “Surprised By Joy” means to me — so now, when someone comes to my blog, they can immediately see what my intention and purpose is in writing it. I am going to mull more on this as the next few days pull on, and think intentionally about what this blog could and should look like for me as a writer and a daughter of God, at that. I ordered a few more writing books today — On Writing by Stephen King, and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, as well as two books that have nothing to do with writing but whose style I am interested in — Lauren Winner’s Girl Meets God and Jason Boyett’s Things You Should Know By Now: A Mini-Life Manual for the Quarterly Aged. (Since, coincidentally enough, I will be 25 in a few weeks. Hey-o!)

So what do YOU think about the new header/identity of blog?

What would you like to see more of? Less of? Instead of?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    August 11, 2009 9:19 am

    LOVE the new header and your thought behind it. Looking forward to more from you.

    And Girl Meets God is a great book. As a man, I felt funny reading it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has lead me to be a big Lauren Winner fan (Mudhouse Sabbath & Real Sex are both good as well).

  2. Misterwrite permalink
    August 12, 2009 3:57 pm

    I like the new header, too. And good definition–thought-provoking (makes me realize I’m becoming an old fuddy-duddy).

    I just like the way you write, so I don’t have a big preference. I like this one and the last one a lot, kind of a journaling style, I guess you’d call it.

    The King and Lamott books are two of my favorites on writing; I’ve recommended them a lot. And I also loved Girl Meets God, a very honest, easy-to-read testimony.

    Last week while you were on Lake Michigan I was on Lake Superior. It was in the 80’s and humid at home, while I was enjoying mid-60’s in a light sweatshirt. Grand!

    And are you making blueberry pancakes in your facebook picture?? They’re the best!


  3. Caroline permalink*
    August 12, 2009 4:23 pm

    @ Uncle D!

    Thanks! 🙂 I always appreciate your steady encouragement — are you sure this isn’t guilt from the time you dropped me on my head when I was an infant? Oh wait, that was Rachel, not me. 🙂

    (And it’s apparent that writing must be genetic, because I always enjoy your posts as well!)

  4. Caroline permalink*
    August 12, 2009 4:25 pm

    @ Mike!

    An old fuddy-duddy you are not — well, at least via my online exposure to you, you don’t seem like one. 🙂 An old fuddy-duddy wouldn’t have a blog.

    I am certainly making blueberry pancakes in my Facebook picture (or was…I just changed it). Yummmmm. Being near the lake and camping made them taste all the better. It was also quite chilly most of the weekend — I wore a fleece zip-up 85% of the time. But it was better than hot and humid, that’s for sure.

  5. August 17, 2009 6:28 am

    Love the new header.

    Also, I love love love Lauren Winner. You will really dig her stuff.

    As to the content of your blog, I wouldn’t wish for huge change. I like to read blogs that are thoughtful and honest, and that’s why I already like yours. 🙂

  6. Caroline permalink*
    August 17, 2009 9:11 am

    @ Sabrina!

    I have heard Ms. Winner’s praises sung left, right, and upside down lately! I am getting pretty excited to read her book, once I finally get it. 🙂

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