Monday #52: The Finish Line?

The 52nd Monday!

Sometimes when I read a really good book that I love, love, love, I get to the last page, take a deep breath, close the book and then open it up to the beginning to read the first few pages all over again.  I’ve never actually read a book twice in succession, but the urge to go back to the beginning is strong when the experience is so good.  When I started the 52 Mondays blog, I had no idea what direction it would go in.  It was just an idea I had one day while running down my favorite road–a road that will someday soon (but, not yet!) be clear-cut, paved and bordered with McMansions.  I don’t usually go back to these posts when they are done but I figured since we are at the end, like those good books, it feels pretty right to go back to the beginning.

Next Monday, I’m going to embark on a project.  I’m going to take a photograph of the place I love every Monday for a year.  But 52 Mondays is going to be more than that, although it’s kind of hard to put into words just yet, mainly because it’s like a million ideas swirling around in my mind.  It’s going to be about nature and environmental stuff,  fitness of mind and body, thoughts on my stories and art, reflections on education, exercises in art journaling, inspiration, creativity, literacy and more things than I can list here!

Funny, it still seems like I have a million ideas swirling around in my mind! Or at least 999,999.  On Monday #1, in a post titled, “Curiosity & Questions,” I asked myself four questions about this blog project.  Now that we have come to #52, I’m going to see what answers I can come up with…

1. Why am I doing this?  At the beginning, I don’t think I had any particular reason to write a blog except that I felt like the photography project of shooting the same place each week needed something to go along with it.  Now I believe I did it because I am a writer and, well, writers write!  It is one thing to talk about what we are interested but another thing to write it.   Just as the artist in me wants to create art, the writer in me wants to create words.

2. Does anyone care?  This is where you come in, my dear, dear readers!  What an adventure it has been for me to connect with so many people– you nice, thoughtful and encouraging people!  Thank you for all the ways you have let me know you care.  I love to write but it is, indeed, a dream come true to have readers.  I am grateful for all of you… my old friends and my new friends, wherever you are.  All of you!  Every time I get a notice that someone has become a subscriber, it is like a little gift.  Thank you.

3. Will I be able to meet my goals?  Well, the first goal was to take all the pictures.  One picture, same spot, every Monday.  But, sometimes it was tricky.  I missed two of the Mondays completely, and cannot seem to find a third, so there are only 49 Monday pictures.  Other times, I took it on Tuesday, or Sunday…or Wednesday, but not very often.  And, one winter Monday, it was so snowy, so blustery, that my road was impassable by car.  On this Monday, I bundled up and leaned into the wind to trudge a mile, through the drifted snow, up to my spot.  It wasn’t easy to get out but once I was there, the winter was so beautiful to see and hear and I was really glad that I’d gone.  I tried to post each day by 10:00 a.m. because I found that my readership was higher if I could get it up by then.  It wasn’t always possible, however, and a few times it was after lunch by the time I got it ready to post.  Someone asked me how long my posts take to write and it’s usually a solid two hours.  But I didn’t miss a single Monday–even last week when, for the first time, my entire written draft disappeared into the ether of the blogosphere, never to be found again!

4. What will I learn?  Wow.  This is truly the million dollar question.  I learned so much.  And, maybe, this was all an awesome adventure in learning because, each week, as soon as I thought of a possible topic, that topic was everywhere I looked and the strands of the blog would often come together in the most serendipitous way. I learned that having an idea for the week made me more aware of the world and more inclined to find out new things, to learn about about amazing people and to think about my own life in different ways.  Through this learning, I was able to exercise my writing skills and the hours spent on these posts gave me focus and purpose, two really great things for writers to engage themselves in.  I love learning, love it with every fiber of my being, and having to write each Monday provided an ideal opportunity for more learning in a year than I had imagined happening when it all began.

There are other interesting things, too….

Dar & Suzanne Kazi, Principal of Princeton Academy

The most read post?  It was Monday #27, “Boys Will Be Boys.”  This post must have struck a chord with people and I’m glad because how our boys fare in our schools is a little bit of a “cause” for me–mother of two, teenaged boys.

Dar's Running Shoes, Nike Zoom Structures

The next most-read post was Monday #34, “Born To Run.”   It’s the story of how I became a runner and, given that a big part of this blog has to do with running, I’m happy that this post came in at the top.  I have received sweet emails from some of you who are trying running this year for the first time and if I had any part in this, I’m elated and humbled.  I hope you keep it up until you love it and crave it as much as I do (and, not that you will feel that way every time you do it, by the way!).

Dar's Book Club

The third most-read post was #43, “This Is How We Do Book Club.”  As a lover of books and, more than that, a lover of stories of the human condition, I am thrilled that this little primer on my wonderful book club came in at the top 3.  My book club is one of the best things in my life.

Monday #10, Monday #30 and Monday #40

Perhaps nothing reveals the magic and mystery of nature as much as photographing the same place repeatedly over the course of a year.  Environment, light and temperature change with such extremes from season to season but, in our busy lives we often don’t make note of these changes in a way that honors the full majesty of Nature.  You may decide to view all the photographed Mondays at my Flickr site and the slide show on YouTube, but here are my three favorites for their distinguished differentness from each other.  Coincidentally, they are all “decade” Mondays: 10, 30 and 40.

An old suitcase.

Finally, behind the scenes in WordPress, I am able to see search phrases that have led people to my blog through search engines like Google.  Some of them are just plain odd… “air hosta blue print movies,” “drawing of when a person visit to moon from earth,” “children’s book about a clock and a raccoon,” “fish with hands,” and “dear dar your mom.”  But the one search term/phrase that came up time and time again was “old suitcase.”  Why?  I can’t figure it out.  Each month, a substantial number of people in this world put “old suitcase” into Google and, in doing so, stumbled upon my #10 entry, “Personal Baggage.”  In my entire life I don’t think I have ever wanted to learn about or see a picture of an old suitcase, but apparently a whole bunch of other people do.  Weird.

So, last week, one of my readers said:

Good Morning … I just realized that this is Post #51 … Please tell me that you will continue to write these amazing postings for ANOTHER 52 Mondays … Peg Jarvis

Fellow runners know that running and races are often metaphors for life.  In keeping with this metaphor, I have sometimes said that the only thing you’ll find at the finish line is the beginning of another race.  So I think that, for me at least, continuing to write each Monday is a given and, anyway, I don’t want to stop.  But I think if I weren’t already determined to stay with my beloved Mondays, Peg Jarvis would have convinced me to do so with that one, single lovely reply.  Thank you, Peg.

Well, I have an idea… it’s the 52nd Monday, my friends… shall we return to the beginning?

TRY THIS WEEK:  Look forward to 52 more Mondays.  And, I really and truly hope that you will join me!

About Dar Hosta James

I am an artist living in New Jersey. I write and illustrate children's books, paint, draw, blog, coach, teach and speak about creativity.
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9 Responses to Monday #52: The Finish Line?

  1. Peggy Doyle says:

    Thank you Dar for 52 weeks of inspiration and insight! I read all of your blogs but sometimes read them on Tuesday or Sunday or even Wednesday. I was so happy to read that (sometimes) you took the pictures on those days too! Proof that goals can be accomplished with a little flexibility. I am really looking forward to another installment of 52 Mondays. Well done!

  2. Lisa says:

    Congratulations on a wonderful year of Mondays! What a great way for all of us to start our week. So grateful for our new found friendship. I know that there will be continued success for you in all that you do!


  3. Pam Swallow says:

    I’m happy that you’re signing on for another 52 blogs, Dar. They’re thought-provoking, inspiring, and informational. I look forward to them each week. Gold star!

  4. don says:

    As you know Dar, letter writing is an important part of my life as an artist, be it digital or pen and paper. That keeping in touch with friends is essential for me – the fuel to maintain white heat. Thanks for all you’ve written this past year and being a creative spark each week.

  5. Kelly says:

    Hi Dar,
    Thank you for 52 great Mondays. .Every week I look forward to reading your blog and being
    able to explore the passage of time with the picture of the trees. For those of us who are teachers,
    September is the beginning of a new school year , so Happy New Year and please keep writing.

  6. Dear Dar Your Mom says:

    Dear Dar Sissy,
    I love these reflections of 51 Mondays and was pleased to read that this wonderful journey will continue. I giggled when I saw dad’s “old suitcase” picture and that this phrase, for some reason, has been sought out in Goggle — now your dad’s old suitcase is famous! As far as the “dear dar your mom” phrase I found some Alanis Morissette lyrics at that could have been the trigger….but it got them to your lyrics too! To me your overall package — your pictures, your meditative runs, your blog, your focus — are just some of the behaviors that epitomize your further creativity in creating mindfulness exercises for yourself and sharing them with others. “Dear Dar Your Mom” is so, so beaming with pride.

  7. Peg Jarvis says:

    What a surprise to find myself quoted at the end of this beautiful posting. Now, when I say “I”m having a real Monday!”, it’s a GOOD thing.
    Peg Jarvis

  8. carlasonheim says:

    Awesome, Dar. Loved every word of this post and so many of your Monday posts this past year. Thank you, thank you!!

  9. Pingback: Monday #2: Labor of Love | Dar Hosta's 52 Mondays Blog

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