December 31, 2012 by LeVoyageur
The year 2012 is when my desire to blog on a regular basis really took off. The project I began in September 2011 to complete two seminars spawned a second, more creative blogging project originally called Aller-Retour. Aller-Retour became Daily Returns in early 2012 and gained steam ever since.
While I maintained my original focus of writing about events, travel, and our life in London, I also began to write about genealogy, heritage, and identity, particularly about French Canadian heritage. Over the ensuing months, these topics really fleshed out my blog and as we come to the end of 2012, it is these subjects which are my main areas of interest. To that end, I gave my blog a new identity in November – The Red Cedar, an image that more vividly represents the landscape and history of my interests.
In 2012 I encountered old friends who also had an interest in blogging, such as LaVagabonde with her blog Postcards from Budapest and a friend whose interest in Kurt Vonnegut led him to create the blog areallthenamesusedup. Another friend whose interests intersect with mine in many ways blogs at Trainee Golem Builder. Having friends, new and old, who share the creative drive that is blogging has made this a community building experience as much as a creative one.
In August I was delighted to be featured on the front page of WordPress.com as “Freshly Pressed.” This led to a day and a half of greatly increased traffic to my blog and some new followers. In the Fall, I undertook my first collaborative effort, exchanging blog space with David Vermette at his blog French North America. He featured me on his blog in October with my article The French Canadian Presence in Michigan and in November, I featured his article Memory, Culture, and Franco-American Identity. It was a great way to share the creative endeavor and to share the resources we have built up in our own reader/blogging communities.
August’s “Freshly Pressed” status turned my post A Fiddle’s Tune into my most popular post. On genealogy, it was part of The Tree – a series of posts on genealogy which has proved to be very popular in general. Following this in terms of garnering the most interest, were my posts Jo Labadie and (Radical) Michigan History, Growing up French-Canadian, a book review of The Voyageur by Grace Lee Nute, and my reflections on Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, featuring the artwork of Kakwirakeron Ross Montour. Featuring in the Top Ten is my post on the lenten sculpture Die Harder and a very old post, from my original blog project (for my abandoned doctoral program), Sexuality, Kabbalah, Ritual, and Meaning in Jewish Tradition.
I have enjoyed sharing some old photography this year, such as in my posts Three Polaroid Images of Chicago and Some Old Photos. I wrote about photography on a number of occasions, spurred by the Instagram phenomenon. I have also engaged in a new project, rewriting old French Canadian folktales in my stories The Wild North Le Loup Garou, retold and The Flying Canoe, La Chasse-Galerie, retold.
2012 has been a great year in blogging as I have continued to develop my writing voice. This is due in part to the practice of writing, but also through responding to comments from readers and the most important person in my life, Alex, who is always supportive and willing to share my work with others. In 2013, I hope to continue to develop my blog, increase readership and engage others in more of a conversation.
This last item is one area which I have yet to figure out: how to increase comments on my posts. To that end, I have recently created a Facebook page for The Red Cedar which will alert subscribers to my new blog posts before they are generally broadcast. Additionally, I will use that space to share other articles and resources related to the topics I cover and, hopefully, to provide another forum for readers to share their thoughts.
Finally, and most importantly, Thank You for reading my blog! I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2013.