A Salmon in Uncharted Waters

Fotor applause collageBy Guest author, Fiona who blogs at Fiona’s Favourites

Next week it will be seven months since I published my first post. This “blogging thing” is new to me, although writing is not. Also new, is writing what I want to write about; my “un”-professional voice. When I mentioned to Tom that I had an opportunity to write a blog about blogging, he looked at me as though I had just crashed in from another galaxy. So if I haven’t, after seven months of blogging, been able to explain it to him, I wonder if I know, myself.

After we moved to McGregor, Facebook became the way I shared our evolving home and garden with friends we had left behind, and from further afield. As we settled into village life, I shared less about the house and garden and more about what I was cooking – usually with produce from the garden. People started asking for recipes when I posted pictures. Suddenly there were conversations and questions about what I had cooked. Facebook didn’t seem to be the appropriate platform for sharing recipes. Besides, the recipe was often in my head.

All this got me thinking, so I chucked some ideas against the aforementioned resident sounding board. He has long been of the opinion that I should be more disciplined when I make something new, and that we like: I should write down ingredients, quantities, method and make it again. Sometimes I manage to, but after a long day, and with a full tummy, the last thing I’m going to do is to put pen to paper…. He has also been encouraging me to do something constructive with my photographs – taken with either my phone or an obsolete Kodak digital camera – very amateurish, but which are encouraging me to “see in pictures”.

(Youtube video inserted by timethief.  Uploaded by Kanaal van MyAmbrosius on Jun 24, 2011.Some pictures of this African province with its famous Table Mountain and Cape Town.)

At the same time as mulling over these things, I was trawling for writing opportunities, and became increasingly aware of blogs and blogging. Suddenly, I was seeing blogs everywhere. A school friend, who now lives in Scotland, has an award-winning blog. The winner of the 2013 season of Master Chef South Africa is a blogger, and a good friend was also toying with the idea of taking her free, online magazine, which I had helped to edit, into a blog.

To blog or not to blog, was becoming less of a question; it seemed that a blog was the platform I was looking for. I could share how I had cooked something without cluttering my friends’ Facebook timelines. I also thought that it might be useful to learn about the platform, and see how difficult and different it is from the back ends of websites that I sometimes work in. At the back of my mind was (and remains) the potential of “putting something out there……” almost like a risky investment.

So I began my paddle into the waters of the blogosphere, conscious that I didn’t really know what I was doing or where I was heading. Not being one to follow the rules (or instructions), the paddle became a headlong dive into the unknown: I chose a platform without much, nay, any, research, chose the name and found a theme. All of a sardine, I had published my first post, and then the second, the third, a fourth… all of which really focused on how to cook something, but with a little extra. Then in my fifth post, I turned things on their heads, and wrote about how “our” swallows had built their nest. That was a why-the-hell-not moment.

wine glassesThe reception was wonderful. At that time, most of my readers were people with whom I have regular contact – they loved the stories! They wanted more, and said that they thought that the stories should be shared. I hadn’t consciously thought about the stories, let alone sharing them beyond that circle of friends. I had simply (or so I thought) decided to not just post recipes. That’s what recipe books, Google and the Cooking Channel, etc., are for (with apologies to our own Giggling Gourmet, Jenny Morris, Katie Caldesi and a few others….)

So, with each post, I was beginning to swim deeper into the blogosphere, and a direction was being spawned: my blog was turning into a virtual breaking of bread and a celebration, and I was relishing it. Strangers were finding and reading my blog. Wow!

I thought that I might run out of things to write about – I have not. And I’m stockpiling. The challenge now, as summer approaches in South Africa, is rather like the proverbial chicken and egg: I need (and want) to continue doing the things that inspire my posts. And the site itself: it’s a work in progress. I’m on my third (I think) theme, and will incorporate other bits and pieces into it, and as I’m easily bored, will probably change the theme again.

fiona_23nov2013I’m enjoying the marriage of so many different things that I enjoy – cooking, gardening, writing and sharing reflections. This last has been part of the discovery, and along with that, I realise that blogging can be what you want it to be. Like life, as we learn about ourselves, and choose to be the people we are, accepting – or not – the influences of others, so my blog is a personal reflection on life and, more importantly, the people (and sometimes the creatures) who make its fabric so fabulous – flaws and all.

The welcome mat is down so be sure to pay Fiona’s Favourites a visit.

Related posts:
Personal Blogs Tell Your Story
Another Update

13 thoughts on “A Salmon in Uncharted Waters

    1. Hi there, Linda! And I’ve headed over to your blog and followed, too! We do have quite a few interests in common. Very interested in your asparagus! Happy gardening and blogging!

  1. Like you, I started blogging with very little idea of what it was I thought I was doing. A large part of my enjoyment of writing a blog is the surprise factor. What I write about now I would have never imagined sharing publicly when I started. And I did not in any way anticipate developing relationships with other bloggers, which is now equally as important as actually writing. And then there is the wealth of writing and art to stumble upon every day. I hope you continue to enjoy the discovery of all the things your blog can be.

    1. Yes, indeed, this has been such a surprise. Even personal writing has an audience, I realise, and I guess it’s the boundaries between intimate, private and personal that one explores as well as how to traverse them. I’m sensitive to the people in my life who are intensely private, and who see the internet as a terrifyingly, “invasively” public place. Becoming part of a virtual community was completely unexpected, and another facet of this journey of discovery. Thank you for reading this piece and for the encouragement.

  2. Dear Fiona,
    It’s great to have you following my blog and I’m enjoying my visits to your blog. We live in such very different parts of the globe, but we share a love of growing vegetables, flowers and arranging them, and of good food and wines. Thanks so much for sharing your progress on your blogging journey. Best wishes for more happy blogging experiences.

    1. Timethief, thank you for the opportunity, for your and for the follow. I am thrilled we have other things in common and look forward to coninuing virtual bread-breaking, wine-quaffing and gardening as I continue this journey

      1. I’m looking forward to that too {clink of cyber wine glasses}. I found a youtube video that gave me a mini-tour of the Western Cape and I inserted into the post. I hope you like it. :)

        1. Thank you for posting that video, and for “prettying” up my text! We lived in Cape Town for nearly 20 years before moving out here, so there are many places and things in that video that are familiar. BTW, the music at the beginning is our beautiful national anthem which begins, “God bless Africa…”

          1. Hi Fiona,
            I’m so glad you liked the video. I love to sing, Fiona, in any language. I particularly like to sing spiritual music and chant. I know the South African National Anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. I was in a choir and when the Soweto Gospel Choir came on tour we learned the anthem to sing it with them when they visited.

            The Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in Soweto, South Africa by David Mulovhedzi (†) and Beverly Bryer, two choir directors. The 30+ member ensemble blends elements of African gospel, Negro spirituals, reggae, and American popular music. The group performed at the first of the 46664 concerts for Nelson Mandela, and has since toured internationally several times.

            Soweto Gospel Choir – Nkosi Sikelel (South African National Anthem)

            Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the hymn “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” and the former anthem “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika” (The Call of South Africa). The fact that it shifts and ends in a different key makes it compositionally unique. The lyrics employ the five most widely spoken of South Africa’s eleven official languages – Xhosa (first stanza, first two lines), Zulu (first stanza, last two lines), Sesotho (second stanza), Afrikaans (third stanza) and English (final stanza).

          2. Wonderful. They are a fabulous choir. The most beautiful renditions of Nkosi Sikileli that I have experienced were of the original version, before democracy. Usually spontaneous singing, with no accompaniment, and the tempo dictacted by the occasion and always with beautiful harmonies between the men and women.

            We have a wonderful and eclectic music tradition here. Cape Town is the home of jazz and host to a fabulous annual festival.

          3. That would be wonderful – I keep promising myself, too, but “stuff” happens! It’s around Easter each year. One never knows…. ;)

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