June has already come and gone. It’s amazing, sometimes, how fast a month can fly by when others sort of drag. As I’ve gained a number of followers this month, it’s probably best to point out that I’ve been doing a blog post like this every month this year, reassessing where I’ve been and what I’ve done in an effort to overcome the negative, and so as not to take the good things for granted. In the past, I’ve dropped links to things I post about, which I’m told is a good thing, probably because people are too lazy to explore their own curiosity otherwise. I think I’m going to forego that this time. My site’s pretty well organized and cross-referenced with many such links on many pages, and there is a search function there for anyone who wants to explore it. I hope you do.
I was nominated for the 2018 Liebster Award this month. I don’t really know that it matters who wins that in the end, it’s wonderful to be recognized and to see blogs with low follower numbers get spotlighted. Helps to build that community. Sometimes I forget that I’m not alone out here while I type. It’s something I’ve discovered over the years, that typing is something of a focused meditation for me. So while I’m in the process of posting, I write solely for me in most regards. It’s only when I’m ready to hit the publish button that I realize how many people will read… which means I go back and proofread, edit, and otherwise polish up a few things where appropriate. Suffice to say, between gaining some new followers, making some new friends, losing no readers so far as I’m aware, and this award nomination, I’m rather pleased with how my efforts have turned out recently. It’s immensely gratifying to know that there are so many wonderful people out there who are interested in what I have to offer. Likewise, it’s been just as gratifying to discover some new voices out there that I might not have otherwise have found. Oh, internet… how did we ever function without you?
Having come out of the closet online and to a number of people on my own side of the screen in May, June is most important for me claiming my own name publicly and officially. I blogged about this the other day when the documents arrived, but I’m officially recognized as a Scottish Lady, and by the name I’ve chosen for myself. Lady Emily. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? I know no one else takes it seriously, but I don’t really care. As much as reality sucks sometimes, a little fantasy to smooth out the rough edges seems warranted. Much like with my knighthood, I’ve worked damned hard to achieve it, even if it’ll never be formally recognized or taken seriously. It’s the effort I put into it and the reason behind it that counts most. Though… admittedly I did purchase the noble title as a final step in achieving the knighthood. That seems historically accurate to me. lol. It’s been requested by a reader that I blog up an explanation on all of this. More than happy to do so!
I was fashionably late to the party for Solo: A Star Wars Story. That in itself is wrong for a Star Wars release for me, but it’s become my new norm for pretty much all movies now. I’ve since blogged about the art book, the score, and the film itself, all of which I gave approving marks. Another big movie win for me, which I saw late this month but haven’t blogged about, is The Greatest Showman. This is one fantastic musical. I was truly impressed. The other big deal for me on the film front is that, having finally acquired the 1932 horror classic Vampyr on restored Blu-ray, I sat down and watch it. Win some, lose some. This one’s no Nosferatu. Few things could be.
On the whole, I’ve cut my screen time down considerably, and I find I’m much happier for it. More books, more audiobooks, more music. And the more I discover, the more I share. I’m working towards the idea that maybe I can blog with deliberate purpose every single day. I hold no expectation that this will happen, but I feel like if I put forth that effort, it’ll be worth it on a number of levels. Maybe I miss a day here or there. Maybe I blog up a bluestreak another day. It doesn’t really matter. It’s not about quantity of content. It never has been. I hope to explore — and to provide — quality. I want to add value to my life, which is why I explore the arts and strive for continued improvement in my own life. I hope that my blog largely reflects that and offers something of value to your world as I go.
Books are an ever-important part of my life. In a span of five days, I hit a record number of titles that I discarded before finishing, some of which I’ll likely revisit at a later date. I was particularly hard on one of them, and this bears repeating: I don’t regret the experience of trying something new. It’s only in testing the waters that we can ever know what works for us and why. On the whole, however, this is been a spectacular month for books. The Tolkien project has kicked back into gear with Unfinished Tales (the first post of which drops tomorrow). The weekly Sherlock Holmes read continues to be a grand way to wrap up a week. There was a new Star Trek: Discovery novel, I finally read the original Peter Pan, and I’ve properly discovered the Brontë sisters, having now been presented with the entirety of their poetry. I’ve started digging into King Lear for my Shakespeare project.
Perhaps most importantly on the book front, I’ve begun assembling a library of titles in the name of Freedom and Equality. I realize that in this day and age, most people aren’t looking at individual sites anymore. They subscribe to feeds, and that’s that. Even so, I’ve got a page dedicated to this list in the hopes that it will inspire others. Worst case scenario, it’ll continue to inspire me and keep me moving forward with an open mind and an open heart. That’s important as my country continues to march itself towards fascism, with socialism barking at our heels in polar opposition. I have many fears in this regard. I hold just as many hopes that we can turn this around through a reclamation of moderate voices, somehow, someway. It won’t happen through identity politics. It will only happen through a recognition and exercise of our basic humanity, when we open our hearts and end this reliance upon worship of the almighty dollar. Our system needs money to lubricate the wheels. Money isn’t everything. It’s certainly not the most important thing. Greed and lust for power ends freedoms. Corruption eats the best we have from the inside out. The only way to hold on to those is to first understand the most important values that we hold dear, and why we hold them. From there, the real test begins, when we are called upon to sacrifice in order to hold on to those values. What are we prepared to do in the shadow of overwhelming opposition? Food for thought, and this is why we have books.
My explorations into religion and spirituality continued in a couple of different directions. I’ve properly introduced myself to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, revisited a few forms of Paganism, and dipped my toes once more into the treacherous yet oh-so-attractive waters of Angelology. My meditative practices keep lapsing into irregularity, so I’m working towards smoothing that out. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve finally put a label on my personal beliefs. For lack of a better term, I’ve started thinking of myself as a pantheist. While I may not hold to the dogmas of any given belief system, I’ve experienced far too much in this world not to understand the power of faith and the underlying truth that connects all religions. There’s a lot of beauty there, for one who is willing to see it. And if I’m being honest, recognizing that beauty is, in large part, a great deal of how I’ve come to terms with who and why I am how I am. It’s been a difficult road, and it will continue to be so, but I’ve also come to understand that even if I don’t always see it, there is a purpose to my experience. However that unfolds, it’s always going to fly in the face of the fundies in any sect, religious or political. That’s unavoidable. Not my monkeys, not my circus. I have my own path to walk, and if I inspire anyone along the way, it’ll be through positive example, just as I’ve been inspired by such people.
That’s more or less where I stand as June comes to a close. Even though I’ve said I’m going to try to blog everyday or as close to it as I can get, I am going to have a semi-dry spell here over the long July 4th weekend as I’m taking a retreat out to the country. I won’t be completely silent, of course. I want to continue to open up my world and be more sociable. For an introvert like me, that in itself is a win.
Love and happiness to all of you, wherever you may be.