Five Years

About two months ago, in mid-May, WordPress sent me an automated note to congratulate me on becoming a blogger five years ago.

I found my first blog post and read the date it was published – 20 May 2012.

It was my first solitary winter in Wellington.

I wrote few more posts since.

Some, arguably, better than the others, but all written to pierce small holes in silence left behind after my daughter left home. Which in our case simply meant living in the same house.

Where I can come into her room in the morning and inhale scent of my sleeping child.

In five years, I have not learned how not to long for it.

I fear I never will.

As I haven’t learned in more than forty how not to long for a shabby little house with an old-fashion wood burner in the kitchen corner and frost flowers on the window panes in winters.

I am a slow learner.

It took me a long time to learn how to string a few words together. By which to remember.

And by remembering hope to understand.

What happened to me.

All of which makes me somewhat of a writer but none of a blogger.

It is for that reason that light of the lantern is dimming.

On some nights, when winds are merciless, I stroke its old-fashioned, fragile glass gently and lower the feeble flame close to oblivion.  

In the everlasting darkness, we are both at peace.

Still mornings arrive;

Some are bouncy with urgency of getting to work, and

Some are those of Sundays,

A friend comes for a coffee bringing biscuits and pineapple in case I am sick, or

We go for a long drives along deserted winter beaches where even seagulls are too freighted to loiter while we eat greasy fish and chips in the overheated car balancing scalding parcels on our laps.

Few days later, in a small café above the central city’s only library where I am usually joined by the fine assortment of homeless, pensioners, students, refugees and parents with bored children, I would order a black coffee and try to recall those scenes to write them down.

But then I would get distracted …

By the two men sitting next to me who speak French and might be lovers, (story prompt – one of them is hiding a terrible secret from the other and is looking for a way out …)

A young woman with purple coloured hair and clownish looking stockings as she opens her book up-side-down and pretends to read, (story prompt – she escaped from an institution where she has been held against her will which dictates that she follows her calling as a street performer …)

While I (‘somewhat of a writer’) pretend to write.

 

And so, it goes.

Five years has passed in this fashion.

No ‘grand’ novel. Or even a ‘tiny’ one.

Only a story here and there.

Handful of poems.

Mostly about love and pain and loss,

In the time-honoured female tradition.

 

While winter storm is raging outside and

I imagine a lonely cabin standing in a deep southern snow.

 

Signs under the lantern.

 

Makeover!

After 183 posts and 44 months of blogging – Lantern Post has well and truly deserved a makeover!

And so one has been duly administered to ensure the old girl remains, if not exactly in the vogue, at least not completely dishevelled either -:)!

Makover

New, more up-to-date garments have been obtained and matron squeezed into them with rather much less ceremony than it was the case in her youth!

Sleepy streets of old Zagreb she nestled against in the background for almost four years, have been replaced by Wellington’s sunset.

It is, after all, what we see every day … sun setting over the harbour, shaded lamps casting glows over benches in Botanic Garden.

Where we sit and smile sentimentally to the images of a city we once knew, gliding across our inner vision, briefly; like a snow-flakes drifting across frozen glass-pane in the winter morning.

Then we walk to the ‘Room with a Balcony’ thinking nothing at all.

Just the two of us;

The Lantern and

The Keeper.

In a new City.

Gravatars

_5SC7831_BW
‘librarian-ish’ look

Few days ago a very good friend of mine commented how the black and white photograph I used for my original Gravatar looks rather dull.

A little bit too ‘librarian-ish’ and not enough like the ‘real Daniela.’ I instantly thought; ‘Hmm, I would like to meet this ‘real Daniela’ so to finally discover who she is and where was she hiding all these years!’

Jokes aside, I honestly believe we are all made of numerous parts; some obvious to many, some only to few and some that remain a little bit of a mystery to even our own selves … or it might even be the case of mustering the necessary courage to become aware of and embrace those parts.

Since I do take note of my friends’ views, and in any case am rather prone to ‘thinking things over’ at even the slightest nudge, it was only a matter of time before I started experimenting with my Gravatar. For better or worse the outcome is rather obvious!

Daniela
‘new and improved’ look

Let me know what you think; was the old, ‘librarian-ish’ Gravatar better than the current one or not? Would the Lantern Post be the same or even better blog without the face of its keeper? How important, if at all, is to see the person behind the blog?

gravatars

When I first started blogging, I struggled with those and similar questions.

My early attempts at creating a blog neither featured my picture, nor did I create my profile. In those days I was convinced that the blog ought to speak for itself and therefore the author’s profile is irrelevant. After all many people blog anonymously.  However, it was not long until I changed those views.

The change occurred while reading other blogs and noticing how much I like seeing the person behind the blog. Writing and sending your words into the vast and unknown cyber space requires some courage; making yourself visible alongside your words even more so. It is to stand behind your words and all they convey, to claim them in your own name and image. While, like most of us I probably lack many desirable qualities; whoever was in charge, was rather generous when it came to dishing out the courage:)! So I decided to claim my words in my name and image, come what may!

Other side of it all of course is how others perceive us. Because regardless of the type of message or idea we intend on communicating, those who come across it will inevitably form their own views and sometimes maybe arrive at the meaning we never intended.

The same I guess applies to our image; how we see ourselves versus how other people see us. Even after many years, I still clearly remember that day I was on the receiving end of commentary about my looks, including my height. The first thing I did was to find the closest mirror in which to examine myself trying to see what they saw … and not seeing it. But that might be a story for another day!

‘To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.’ (Thich Nhat Hanh)

First Year!

Today is exactly twelve months since I published my first ever blog postfirst

After some initial searches for the suitable platform and  identity, the Lantern Post was created on Zagreb’s virtual street, and ignited 137 times since, with posts written from my little ‘Writer’s Den’; nestled inside a leafy suburb of Wellington. A bridge between two distant worlds; half of my life left in each.

As every émigré knows; those halves do not feet into each other naturally, one must build a bridge between them. Otherwise they separate even further and split one apart. Never to be whole again.

If I could paint or draw, I would have painted them a bridge with delicate, exquisite ornaments, arched over the vast waters. But alas, I do not know how to paint or draw such a bridge. All I could do is to write them one. To bring them a bit closer. To bring me a bit closer. And to pierce the silence.

That was then.

Twelve months on, I am walking over the bridge utterly astonished and above all truly grateful. For each and every one of you who stopped to read, comment, like, nominate, and write emails. Ask questions, offer support, make suggestions … and much more. I thank you all. While the stats page tells me that more than 1000 people have decided to follow the Lantern and over 25,000 visitors passed under its soft glow … numbers are not what is counted on the Lantern. Footprints are.

Coming from every corner of this world, you helped me build a bridge. And pierce the silence, even when as thick as mist over the grave-yard.

I learned much about myself, writing and what does it mean to me.

I learned much about our common human conditions … we all have stories. We all need someone to hear them. To recognize our footprints.

And while much of it I still do not understand … in the words of Paulo Coelho; Love does not need to be understood. It needs only to be shown.’

                                                                        Thank You!

Word Press Family

There has been some time since I have written a post to honour an award. While receiving an award from fellow bloggers never fails to make the Lantern sparkle little bit more brightly and her keeper smile little bit broadly … it is nevertheless true that writing an award-honouring posts has potential to develop a life of its own, and consume a blog in a way not otherwise envisioned.

However, on this particular occasion, I have decided to write a post in honour of ‘The Word Press Family Award’. There are two very good reasons for that:

  1. The award was passed on to me by one of my favourite bloggers who always extends heart-felt support for my blog, and (in her own words) my ‘heart-wrenching stories’ … for that alone I thank you very much my dear. It is of course ‘Virginia Views’ from http://countryliving4beginners.wordpress.com/ Once again thank you very much! 
  2. Second reason is in the meaning of this award. ‘The Word Press Family Award is reserved for those folks in Cyberspace who are unceasingly kind, sympathetic, encouraging, and open to laughter, and who keep each other going by sharing, commenting, and making personal connections even though they may actually be virtual strangers.’ When I was reading these words for the first time, my whole blogging experience suddenly washed over me. In some 13 days it will be a year since the Lantern was first ignited … almost accidentally, but most certainly unaware of what lies ahead. While I will be writing a separate post for the Lantern’s first birthday, on this occasion I can only say that being thought of as ‘kind, sympathetic, encouraging, and open to laughter’ warms my heart to no end -:)! Because on the Lantern, just like in my daily life outside Cyberspace, those are some of the attributes I value most and strive to live by … humanity above all. If for anything, this is what the Lantern stands for. And for the sheer magic of a written word. 

Now back to award! As we all know well know, no award is worth its salt without rules!

 So here they are:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your Word Press experience and family.
  4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them. 

 I have to say that nominating 10 bloggers who have an impact on my Word Press experience and family has been a challenge.  Because there are so many more than 10 bloggers who have made my experience on the Word Press a wonderful one. And that does not mean that it has all been plain sailing … just like in the ‘real’ life; sometimes dark clouds gathered, but sun never failed to appear even if one has to gaze into clouds for some time!

But the rules are rules, so here are my 10 nominees:

http://julieisrael.wordpress.com/

http://sharechair.wordpress.com/

http://thenicethingaboutstrangers.com/

http://whoisbert.wordpress.com/

http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/

http://tchistorygal.wordpress.com/

http://essenceofdubrovnik.com/

http://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/

http://debreilly.wordpress.com/

http://chrisbkm.wordpress.com/

 

Christmas Wish!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, wherever in the world you, and whichever language you speak; this simple message wishes you peace, love and happiness … it wishes for a smile on every child’s face, for peace in every country, for laughter around every family’s table, for forgiveness in every heart, for generosity in every hand, for gratefulness in every mind. NZ

The best wishes have been brought to you by Santa in jandals, carols singers in shorts – soon to head down to the beach and have a cold beer around Christmas barbecue … it is Kiwiana Christmas!

Kiwi
Santa in New Zealand -:)!

Christmas in Wellington
Christmas in Wellington