Reflections on the A to Z Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2015] - LgThis April I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the third time, sharing a selection  of what I described as “Interwebby Wonderments.”

The first year I decided to join in the bloggy fun was 2012, and I fell and whacked my head on the sidewalk when I was a few posts from the finish line. (Fortunately a few friends banded together and finished for me.) In 2013 I made it to the end, exhausting as as that was. My experiences in both years should have taught me some important lessons, but as you’ll see below. I don’t learn so quickly.

This year I decided to sign up even though I was, by ridiculous coincidence, in the process of recovering from another “head meets sidewalk” fiasco–because I’m just that coordinated–but I still managed to finish. And I think I’ve finally learned some of those important lessons:


Other than deciding on a handful of topics, I didn’t do much pre-planning, and I didn’t pre-write any of my posts. That was silly for all kinds of reasons, but primarily because it meant the time I spent researching and writing my posts was time I didn’t spend visiting other blogs. I still managed to visit somewhere between 10 and 40 blogs a day, depending on how rude life decided to be about rearing its intrusive head, but my brain felt pretty explodey by the end of some days. And by “some,” please read “most.”


Please understand, I’m not talking about anyone but myself here. I actually like long posts, even during the challenge, but I realize that others don’t, and to all of you, I apologize! You’d think that without pre-planning my posts would have been, by necessity, brief. You’d be so wrong. It would seem that I am nothing, if not verbose. Case in point? This post. Sorry again.


I knew from previous years that a lot of people aren’t terribly reciprocal about blogging challenges. They love your visits and comments, but they don’t feel particularly obligated to return the favour. This year I went in prepared for this, and for the most part it didn’t bother me. I have my own cunning strategies for finding people who will reciprocate. It did annoy me, though, when I saw that some people who were so diligent about visiting a lot of blogs and commenting often received almost no comments in return. No wonder so many people dropped out along the way. That must have been so disheartening.


Okay, I didn’t learn that this year, but oh, good grief, that got annoying. Half the time Blogger managed to lose my comments while I was doing the whole captcha sign in thing. After a while I learned to copy my comments before trying to post them, which saved me from banging my head off the keyboard.


My apologies to anyone who ran into difficulties trying to comment on my blog, which kept pretending it hadn’t received the comment or that the comment was a duplicate, or even worse, hijacking the comment into comment purgatory because it didn’t like one of the links. I wanted to switch themes to see if that would help, but I didn’t dare do anything during the challenge in case I messed up everything.


For me this challenge is about connecting–with the bloggers I’ve met in previous challenges or through social media, and with new bloggers whom I probably wouldn’t have found without the challenge. I was going to try to name and link to some of those blogs, but I know I’d end up leaving someone out, and I don’t want to do that. I’m pretty sure there are quite a few blogs I meant to follow and didn’t. I’d drop a comment, move to the next blog, and then wonder, whoops, did I click “follow”? I’ll be rectifying that as I browse through the reflections posts.


To Arlee Bird, the co-hosts, and all the minions, a huge and heartfelt thank you for giving us this yearly opportunity to go blog-bonkers together.

The Z to A of A to Z

This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”

To celebrate the long anticipated and much yearned for arrival of the letter Z, I hereby declare the Blogging from A to Z Challenge to be my interwebby wonderment of the day. And what makes this challenge so darned special? I’m so glad you asked. Allow me to present my Z to A list on that very topic:

  • Z is for catching Zees now that the challenge is over. I’m Canadian, and we say Zed, but catching zeds isn’t an expression anywhere, so…forgive me, fellow Canadians, and all you other zedders.
  • Y is for You, dear bloggy friends. As I said yesterday, it’s all about you.
  • X is for astonishingly difficult letters. We love you X, but wow, you sure made us dig deep.
  • W is for Writing, writing, writing, and still more writing. This is how we hone our skills and develop fluidity and (we hope) find our blogging groove.
  • V is for Very glad to have signed up and Very glad to be saying hello to Z.
  • U is for Understanding and supporting those who had to drop out along the way. Sometimes life just doesn’t cooperate, and that’s all there is to it. 
  • T is for Thinking our thinky thoughts and sharing them with others. We all have something important (or amusing, or whacky, or fascinating) to say, and the challenge gives us a forum for doing so.
  • S is for Supporting one another, leaving encouraging comments when a fellow blogger starts to flag, letting our bloggy friends know that their unique voice has touched us.
  • R is for Reading. And reading. And reading some more. Twenty-six days of dashing to blog after blog to immerse ourselves in the funny, the sad, the uplifting, the scary, informing, the inspiring.
  • Q is for Quotations, and Quizzes, and Quirkiness–three of my favourite things that manifested themselves in abundance during the challenge.
  • P is for Planning ahead. Ahaha!! If only. I had a very few posts roughly planned out in advance (by which I mean I’d decided on the topic and maybe had one link to accompany it). Composing a new post (almost) every evening left me less time for commenting, which meant less time for getting to know people, which meant missing out on the very point of the challenge. Note to self: don’t do that again.
  • O is for Oh, shoot me now, because we all had those moments, right?
  • N is for the Nerve-wracking panic resulting from not doing P and having to wrestle ideas out of an obstinate brain.
  • M is for Memories of fabulous people and their fabulous posts.
  • L is for Laughter, whether it be the laughter elicited by amusing posts, or the hysterical laughter that bubbles up as we struggle with our beleaguered brains on the 24th day of the challenge to come up with an “X” post that won’t completely humiliate us. (Of course, those of you who planned ahead will be laughing at the rest of us at this point.)
  • K is for Knowing a whole lot more about a whole whack of subjects than I did on April 1. That’s a big A+ for all you knowledge enablers.
  • J is for leaving holier-than-thou Judgement at the doorstep and overlooking the typos and grammatical waywardness of posts composed at two in the morning, and refraining from engaging in political, religious, or any other kind of argumentativeness for the duration of the challenge.
  • I is for Insomnia, or, as I like to call it, who needs sleep anyway?
  • H is for Hello to new friends and Hugs to old friends for putting up with your A-toZ-ing buddies through this hectic month. Oh, who am I kidding? Hugs to all of you!!
  • G is for Gratitude–for your friendship, whether you were part of the challenge or not; for a challenge that’s kept me me on my toes, entertained and inspired throughout the month; for all those who visited and commented; for all those who visited and read, even if they didn’t comment; and for reaching Z with sanity (more or less) intact. t
  • F is for Fun! Come on, now, this was fun, wasn’t it? Much easier to say that as we reach Z than it was when we hit K, but fun nevertheless.
  • E is for the Encouragement that kept us going.
  • D is for :
  • C is for Community, which takes us back to this being all about wonderful, welcoming, supportive you.
  • B is for Bloggy marathons that sap every ounce of our endurance but make us all kinds of happy when we reach the finish line.
  • A is for Acceptance, Appreciation, Admiration, Affection, Attachment, Amusement, and all those other fine A-nouns inspired by spending April in your bloggy company. Oh, and let’s not forget the awesome-sauciness of each and every one of you.

Big squooshy hugs for all of you–unless you’re not the huggy type, in which case, meaningful looks and buddy punches on the arm for you. See you in May!

You! It’s all about you!

This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”

Today, dear bloggy friends, it’s all about YOU.

For those of you doing the A to Z Challenge, here we are, closing in on the finish line, one letter to go before bidding insanity goodbye for one more year. (Unless, of course, you participate in National Novel Writing Month, in which case, best not think about that right now.)

For those of you not participating in the challenge, you’ll be heaving a sigh of relief as your Twitter and Facebook streams return to challenge-free normal, and your online friends stop angstifying about whether they’re going to crash and burn before the letter Z shows its welcome face.

Before we get to Z, though, I wanted to take a minute to thank each and every one of you for being the wonderful, warm, generous, talented souls that you are. It’s been a joy (albeit an exhausting one) to visit your blogs, read your comments, treasure your encouragement and enjoy your virtual company.

To thank you for your astonishing you-ness, I wanted to make you a cake as tall as the Tokyo Skytree, but then I realized a whole bunch of you probably have gluten issues or lactose intolerance, so instead I made this you this Wordle. It doesn’t taste as good as chocolate, but it’s every bit as sincere.

For you:

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 8.00.25 PM

X is for balance. No, really.

This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”

X is a nice, reassuring letter, isn’t? Discerning–you can’t make any old word with X, no, indeed. Both feet planted firmly on the ground, both arms raised to greet you with joy and celebration. None of the other letters are ever quite so happy to see me coming. I’m not saying they don’t have their own delightful qualities; I’m just saying that X is pretty special.

Another thing about X is how well-balanced it is. I, T and Y have a pleasing symmetry too, but you don’t get that satisfying feeling of solidity from them as they perch on their pedestals. A strong wind, you feel, might tip them right over. This is even more of an issue with wobbly old V.

There’s always A, but I don’t know. That pointy head smacks ever so slightly of aggression, which is also true of M, I’m afraid, and W with it’s points reversed. You’ll be saying, hey, what about H? Now there’s balance for you. And solidity. True, very true. But there’s something a bit too solid about H’s balance. It’s stolid, isn’t it? A bit too…I don’t know. Uninventive, perhaps. Unwelcoming, even. You get the feeling that H could take or leave you, doesn’t really care whether you show up at the alphabetory gathering or not.

No, X is the clear frontrunner when it comes to balance. And if you’re looking for balance, acceptance, and unfettered joie de vivre, X is your letter.

The only problem with X is that there just isn’t enough of it to go around. We only have to look to the headlines to know that our world, our countries, our cities are clearly out of alignment. War, genocide, rape, torture, police brutality, gang murders, people living in the direst of poverty while others send iPads to their wedding guests in lieu of invitations, teens bullying teens to death, both sides in every “armed conflict” slaughtering civilians like they’re so many bubbles in a Pop-It game, atrocity upon atrocity, hate upon hate.

So, yes. More X, please. Anytime now would be good. Both feet on the ground, arms up and open in celebration, acceptance and awareness. More of that.

I leave you with just one interwebby wonderment today: this short animated film, Balance, by twin brothers Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein.