September 28, 2010

Celebration Time!

Simply the fact that it is the end of September calls for a celebration around here (see previous post), but even more so, it is time to bring out the chocolate layer cake, balloons and sparklers for two other reasons:

1)  it is my birthday
2)  this is my 70th post and the one year anniversary of Letters to the World. 

Let's start with my birthday.  I am turning forty-one this week.  While last year I celebrated my fortieth with a big party and plenty of fanfare, the celebrations are much more low-key this year.  I have instructed my family not to make a fuss; I purchased a beautiful digital camera (a Canon Rebel) and a new bicycle this year and those seem like presents enough.  In pondering my entry into my forty-second year of life, I have visualized a skating rink as representing my fourth decade.  At thirty-nine I entered the arena and rented my skates.  At forty I sat on the bench tying up my skate laces and wondering how the ice would feel.  At forty-one I see myself as starting to glide around the perimiter of the rink, gradually getting more comfortable and adjusting my balance.  Perhaps by forty-two I will be attempting some jumps and figure eights.  Who knows? Please don't ask me why I see my forties as a skating rink - I have no idea.  It was just an image that came to me.

Now on to the First Anniversary of my blog.  While my good friend Tracey at is going for two hundred posts by her first blogiversary, and I wish her much success, I am truly blown away by the fact that I have actually written seventy in one year.  The reason I am so pleased with myself is because in a good year, before I started my blog, I may write ten pieces and feel pretty good about that.  But seventy?  Utterly amazing, as far as I'm concerned.  Oh, I know my posts haven't all been masterpieces, by any stretch of the imagination, but overall, I am extremely pleased with the fact that I have stuck to my goal of producing at least one piece every week.  And I have had an increasingly good time doing it!

Once, when I was a teenager, my neighbour Vicky, a bookstore/cafe owner asked me what I would like to do when I grew up.  I said, "I would like to write a newspaper column, one that would be, like, my take on things.  It would be a bit serious sometimes, and, like, maybe funny sometimes, too."  Vicky thought that sounded great.  I had encouragement in writing from one of my high school English teachers and especially from my parents, but the idea of a newspaper column had by then been buried under new ambitions for a scholarly career.  When I went to college, my English 101 teacher, Pauline Butling stopped me in the common room one day and suggested I take the Applied Writing course because I showed some talent in that area.  I told her no, I had other ('bigger') plans, and off I went to pursue them.  Those bigger plans materialized in my going off to the University of British Columbia, meeting my future husband, getting married, and starting a family directly.  So much for the scholarly career, but I plugged away at the writing, producing a novel, several journals, and the odd poem or short essay. 

When I joined the local arts council in 2003, I volunteered to write a monthly column in the local newspaper about our programs and events.  I interviewed artists and wrote feature articles to promote their shows and workshops at our art gallery.  I enjoyed the work and it helped me greatly in learning to edit and to get my point across quickly and with style.  The monthly column was well received, but after a few years, it was time to move on when I became immersed in other things.  The itch to write, however, never left me.  From that, there was no 'moving on'.  A friend suggested I start something called a weblog, which was a way of self-publishing my writing.  My dad had started one the year before (he's the Kootenay Ranger on my blogroll), and I had found the whole concept of a blog fascinating, but for me?  I wasn't sure.  Last fall, after attending my parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary family reunion, I became overwhelmingly inspired to create a blog of my own with the idea that it would be a weekly column of sorts.  It would be my take on things, sometimes serious and sometimes a little humourous, and I would call it Letters to the World.

So here I am, now beginning the second year of my blog and on my seventieth post.  I almost cannot believe how much more settled into the craft of writing I am, compared to a year ago.  What the experts say is true:  to be a writer, one must simply write.  Once a post is finished to my satisfaction, I am already thinking about the next one.  If this blog accomplishes nothing except for the increase in my confidence and belief in myself as a writer, then, in my view, it has been a success. I really do not know what this next year of blogging will bring - hopefully, at least seventy more posts written with immense enjoyment and hopefully received with some of the same.

A huge thank you to all my wonderful, loyal readers.  Without you and your feedback, this blog would not be nearly as much fun! 


Rebecca S.


  1. Happy Birthday Rebecca. Happy Birthday Blog.

    Another year older and hopefully none the wiser!

    For the first anniversary of crivens jings I posted some links to posts I was most proud of. What would your top 5 be?

    {And I use a Canon Rebel too!!!}

  2. Oh Happy Birthday Rebecca! As a seasoned 41 year old I can welcome you to the clan. It's quite a good age I think - I'm enjoying it. And yes, many congratulations on your blog. I love reading your posts - yours is really a blog to be proud of. I'm looking forward to another year of posts. It is uncanny that I also got a new camera and a bike around my birthday time. Enjoy!

  3. I can relate to much of what you've written, and I've learned to acknowledge that writing is a gift (mine, yours...) and that one must simply write as you and the experts say. It doesn't matter how well (or not) we do it; it matters that we desire to express our thoughts with pen, pencil, paper, and keyboards and that we share.

    Thank you for being a member of this club. Continued success to you!

    Happy Birthday! :)

  4. Congratulations on both wonderful events! I very much like the skating rink analogy and love that you are already contemplating the twirls and figure eights in your future. And as for the 70 blog posts -- yes indeed that is a terrific accomplishment! I completely relate to your journey becoming a blog-writer, since I have a similar one -- not so much in the fine details, but in the desire to write and the circuitous route to writing a regular post that has readers (and isn't that such a fun part of it!). I'm happy to have shared most of the last 70 with you and hope to read many, many more!

    Best wishes!
    And PS--I meant to thank you for your thoughts you posted on the concept of home always belonging to you no matter where you are, so you don't actually have to be there. I really liked that and it helped me with my thinking.

  5. What a nice gift to us on the occasion of your birthday - a nice blog to read. Only commenting as Anonymous because I don't know how to do this any other way. I wrote a long letter to you last evening and mailed it this morning. Love Monica

  6. OH YAY!!!!! I only got to read the first sentence cuz my husband is sick and he insists I come to bed right this second, so I can be awake all night while he flops about feverishly. But, I can'T wait to come back tomorrow. Will there be a recipe for that cake?


  7. Okay, I am back.

    I loved this post, as I have loved all sixty-nine before them. Your writing always makes me think of green, cool, calm places. I love that. And, though we are the same age, you possess a wisdom that must come from already having taught all of your children the proper use of cutlery. Or some such.

    Thank you for the mention. I am only fifteen away from two hundred, but many of my posts have been quite short, and snarky, which is much easier to toss out there than well considered and well written work like yours.

    Enjoy your bicycle, your camera, your cake, your skating rink, and your year!!!!

  8. Hello all. It does my heart good to receive all these lovely comments and good wishes. Thanks!

    Alistair: I think you have given me an idea for my next post! Canon Rebel users unite!

    Kate: maybe bikes and cameras are just a 41 year old thing. My daughter insisted I name my bike, so I did. Her name is Iris, because she is so stately, upright, and white.

    Anita: It's very nice to be part of this little online community. Thanks!

    DFG: Thanks for your lovely, kind thoughts, and I'm glad you understood what I meant about 'home'.

    Big Sister: A letter, on paper and everything? Yay! I'm looking forward to visiting with your husband when he swings through town next week, too :)

    Vince: 'Brevity is the soul of wit' (Alexander Pope). Thanks :)

    Tracey: I hope you got some sleep last night! Your quip about the cutlery further illustrates the fact that you are the new Erma Bombeck.

  9. I too love your blog ...but being a bookie libarian I want the paper copy beside my bed or on my lap as I curl up with morning coffee before the rest of the house awakes....lets turn it into smooth crisp paper memories.

  10. Clare: That's a very nice thought. There is a way to do that...we'll talk.

  11. Congratulations Becca, on your year of blogging and sticking with the writing. A great achievement. And of course, happy (belated) birthday too.

  12. Thank-you Toni! It was great talking with you on my birthday.


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