I snap pictures of kids’ Star Wars T-shirts in the store and declare that I wish they came in my size. I seek out ways to startle and pester my girls. I pretend I’m the Great Brown Hope of NASCAR when I drive on the Interstate (but I never speed).
But those things don’t render me childish.
Well, not all by themselves.
My blog is quite like a kids’ book, which makes me childish.
In this post, I’ll outline the top three ways it is. Then I’ll tell you about three books I’ve dug up from the shelf to read in 2015. My boss gave us an assignment over the break – read something. Read anything. This is tough. Who has enough time?
My blog could be so much better if I could just find the time to reciprocate the reading love so many magnificent bloggers give me here.
But, I can’t. I’ll look back on posts from a few months ago and read engaging comments from talented writers and think, “where has she been?” And all it takes is a visit to her blog or an invite to the 6 Words, and we’re rekindled – for a while.
But I know it takes much more than an occasional visit. The engagement on display at Tamara Camera and Confessions of a Mommyaholic prove that.
They’re a study in how talented writers and giving souls venture to your blog and add value. They read and listen and come back, even if you can’t do the same all the time for them. That’s why their comments are taller than a Dagwood sandwich.
So here’s part one.
How My Blog is Like a Kids’ Book
Stormtroopers and quotes
Whether I write about race or conversations about animals mating, you can count stormtroopers on to go with it.
The first image I found, of stormtroopers scaling a toilet paper roll, hooked me. There are enough on photopin.com to sustain my habit.
Quotes are words with extra cheese. Quotes in graphics are like extra cheese, butter crust and a place to put your feet up. With quotescover.com, they even become pinnable.
I add them to the bottom of every post. You know those kids books with a ladybug or tiny dinosaur on every page? My girls loved to search for them.
I hope my readers know they’re home when the stormtroopers and a Beau Bridges quotes load on their screens.
A worthy kids’ story has a hidden lesson. My posts don’t, always, but I try. It’s just a story about swoony Olympic athletes or how I fail at dad some days. I love to tell a story, though.
That focused look a kid gets, mouth agape when you’re into both an alluring book?
If just one of my readers finds herself there in a post about coaching or a conversation with my 8-year-old self, my job is done.
We grownups read at the eighth- or ninth-grade level, studies show. Read at a high school level, and you could be a physicist, sadistic villain or even the Broncos offensive coordinator. I love Ernest Hemingway’s work. It’s concise but not robotic. It’s descriptive but not flowery.
It knows when to say when like a small stack of cookies or reasonable binge on vintage Malcolm in the Middle. It’s how I aspire to write.
I use the Hemingway app on every post. (It says this post reads at a Grade 5 level).
I aim for short graphs and ample art. Oh yeah, and a tone closer to Hemingway’s short stories and further from the latest Facebook user’s agreement. Blog reading should never become laborious.
Three books I’ll sneak in for 2015
Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
The Garden of Eden, Ernest Hemingway
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
Aww, Eli your blog my friend is simply perfect as it is just like you!! Seriously, I keep coming back for second and thirds always 😉
Thanks Janine! I like how it’s evolved – someone once said they enjoyed my writing, but had to read parts more than once to understand … I never want someone to have to work that hard doing something that should be fun.
Your daughters’ questions and your sport stories and your writing keep me coming back. May not always comment (pls don’t hate)…will always read.
So glad you stick around! I would never hate for you not to comment … I’m grateful to you for reading me!
I hope you aren’t apologizing for it being this way! I think you have the perfect balance of silly/serious and voice for everything that you share.
Never an apology – just a recognition, really. To be like a kids’ book is nice company, and you know how awesome a core of readers can mean to you! So glad you’re in my circle.
i so understand this, eli. i am very much the same with my childlike approach to the world. i really really really keep hoping they invent light-up shoes in adult sizes. keep doing what you’re doing, and we’ll keep reading and just write and read when you can –
i thought you might, beth. you are pretty childish, too. they had the coolest r2-d2 shirt in walmart, but of course, not in men’s sizes.
i’ll be by as much as i can, beth. thank you.
You’re writing is easy to relate to- and as long as you’re not in line with “My World” as far as children’s books go…you’re in great shape. I still can’t figure that book out for the life of me.
Thanks, AD, yours too. And I know nothing about “My World” … so I think we’re good there. I’m not missing anything, right?
After a long day talking to toddlers, reading at even a 9th grade level can seem like a stretch. 😛
Reading like it’s a conversation with another adult, though? That’s refreshing. It means I can pretend, throughout a crazy day, that I get to interact with people who are tall enough to go on Space Mountain.
After a long day of writing business blogs, reading at a ninth grade level can seem like a stretch, Kim!
Conversational blogs do feel best – yours definitely is like that. And your personality shines through. By comparison to toddlers, I’m way mature. So yeah, slip the kids a little Nyquil mid-morning, and come join me.
I knew there was a reason you appealed to me so much! I’d rather say we are both “child like” – because that just means we never stop looking with wonder, and seeking adventure; whether in pages or on the game field. I never want to lose the awe of a child’s eyes, or how big their heart opens and expands to be filled by so much.
As for books: Midnight in the Garden…..fantastic!!!
Have you ever read The Game by Ken Dryden? It does detail his life as a professional hockey player, but he’s a smart writer and he makes a lot of comparisons of hockey to soccer: and of course, life. It’s one of the best sports books IMHO.
I always love the tone and feel of your posts,Eli. And those stormtrooper photos always make me giggle. My brother loved Star Wars growing up and had all the action figures laying around so it makes me think of my childhood which is always a good thing 🙂
Thanks Letizia – I wouldn’t know how to write any other way! The stormtroopers are sentimental – my dad gave me the figure I often feature in the photos I take on one of my most memorable birthdays as a kid.
And I’m glad it means good memories for you. Grace asked for (and got) big figures of Darth Vader and a stormtrooper, and they’re laying around, too.
That’s lovely that you still have the stormtrooper your father gave you as a kid.
Some things you just have to hold onto, you know?
Love this… Great book selection. Midnight in the Garden is a very VERY good book. can’t wait to hear what you thought.
Thanks Yanic, they’ve been sitting on my shelf for ages. I got Midnight because it’s set in one of my favorite cities. I’ll be sure to post about all three when I’m done.
I am new to your blog but I must say, I like child-like!
My reading blog and some time YouTube looks a lot like that. I think it is wonderful! Keep it up!
Happy New Year!
PS. I like quotes too!
Thanks Naila – and I appreciate you being here! Childlike was never an insult, in my book. Happy new year to you, and I look forward to reading you again!
(Quote rock, don’t they? They’re so … quotable.)
All three excellent book choices – can’t wait to hear what you think of those. The Berendt is one I may have to revisit.
Not a single one has pictures, either. You liked the Berendt?
I’m trying to squeeze in two more books before 2015 hits. Reading simultaneously. One is an historical, one contemporary New Adult. Maybe I’m not childish, just young at heart?
Anywho…there are awesome adult tees to be had:
Must be a storm troopers shirt in the online shopping mix somewhere. You would rock it like no other.
Those are awesome! I love the banana-peel trap one especially. Normally, I don’t like modern times mixed with Star Wars, but that one is exceptional.
I saw a classy yet understated stormtrooper watch at JC Penney, and could have seen that on my wrist.
How do you manage reading books simultaneously, Carol? I used to have a book upstairs and one downstairs, but that was years ago.
I definitely consider you young at heart.
I rarely read simultaneously, but when I do I usually choose different time periods or genres. One book done, one half finished. I’m off to read.
The watch sounds like you. Classy, understated, but with a bit of whimsy.
I like the way you think, Carol!
The world is serious enough as it is, so any playful (much nicer term than “childish”) element is most welcome.
I like your posts that provide a glimpse into your everyday life best. Dates with your girls, emergency stuff you carry in your car, how you got your first Christmas tree, midnight snacks…
I agree, blog reading shouldn’t be hard work. Currently I am behind on my blog reading, so I skipped the football section in your Go Ask Daddy 😉 However I posted something featuring the Green Bay Packers myself, unbelievable, right!
Glad you like what you find here Tamara – I love the posts you write about your adventures with C.
I’m changing how I read a little, and getting to some more faves. It feels good already. You’re welcome to skip the footy stuff. I saw the Packers pajamas!
I bet Aaron Rogers sports some like that.
Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil is one of my favorite books ever. I loved it. I do hope you get to it. Regardless of whether or not your blog reads like a children’s book it’s fabulous. You have a true gift and a super likable personality that shines through. Keep doing what you’re doing, Eli.
Can’t wait to get into it, Sandy. Savannah is one of my favorite cities. I probably will read that one first.
Thanks for the kind words about my blog, too. I love doing this, and so much of it has to do with this community. I will keep on keeping on this way because it’s what I know!
I miss your writing, big time.
I always love the pictures and quotes here – and if your blog is like a kids book then all the better!!!
BTW – Beach Music is a great book!!! I haven’t read the 3rd book but I think I saw the movie years ago (unless I’m thinking of something completely different!).
I’m kind of proud of it actually, Kim – that’s how I meant it! Conroy seems like such an interesting person anyway – can’t wait to read Beach Music.
I started to read Pat Conroy back when he was a teacher on an island and he wrote about “Conrack.” I love the movie, which was made from his romantic life, where “Prince of Tides” I believe had Barbara Streisand and also, Nick Nolte… I have read the third one, but wish it didn’t have such a twisting plot, you will see… It has been years since I read Hemingway, I admire his works.
I like the Squidward in the photo, inserted between the Star Wars stormtroopers. My grandkids love Sponge Bob Square Pants… I never would judge another’s style of writing, differences make the world go round! smiles!
Hemingway appealed to me the summer after high school. I went on a beach trip and took Sun Also Rises with me. It’s been on every trip since.
“Prince of Tides” had to be an intense book – the movie was incredible. Better or worse, in your opinion?
Grace, my youngest, loved Squidward’s appearance on the blog. She loves all things Spongebob.
I think there’s a universal appeal to kids books. If I can capture a bit of that magic, I’m happy with that.
A great post to finish the year on Mate, love it. You’re definitely not childish but you are in touch with your inner child. Mine will ring you shortly and we’ll go out for pop and Dagwood dogs.
Thanks brother. My inner child drives this car most times. I’m always down for pop and Dagwood dogs. I’ll drive.
Kind of like my inner race car driver drives mine. You’ll definitely be driving after I’ve had a feed of pop and dogs.
Might as well have a pint if that’s the case, Laurence.
I actually had a pint the other day, it was very nice.
A pint’s my limit, mate – otherwise I get talkative.
I came for the storm troopers, I stay for the story telling!!! Best wishes for a healthy New Year that brings more of them.
That’s the quote of the day, Kerri! Thank you for all you do, and for allowing me to take part in your My Challenge series. As a result, I’m going for a run in the morning.
If more people took a childlike approach to life there would be less conflict and sadness with more naps, puppies and birthday cake. You rock, Eli!
I think an understated (slightly) version of the birthday cake should be acceptable on days that aren’t our birthdays. You most definitely rock, Michelle. Even as a Patriots fan.
EXACTLY…with extra frosting!
I always help clean up the corner frosting, Michelle – it’s like a public service.
Oh man! The corner frosting is the BEST!
I have a draft post sitting in my dashboard with “frosting” in the title. Perhaps it’s time to dust that off…
Dedicate it to me?
I love your blog and while I am usually trying to fit in time to blog myself, I read the ones that appeal to me! I believe as adults if we don’t add some childlike behavior into our daily lives, we become very, very boring and the days all run together. There is being child like and there is keeping the child alive in ourselves! Wonderful post!
Thanks Tiffany – I love your blog, too. I think our joints deteriorate and our eyesight worsens if we get older and stop expressing that inner child.
Who needs that?
Here’s to the kid in us, Tiffany.
If Stormtroopers are wrong, I don’t wanna be right!
I’m honored to join the ranks of Janine here. She is a whole world of her own, and I’m often a week or two behind, but I am all about the engagement. It’s like cookies!
your blog is as busy as the kale table at the farmers’ market. that’s exceptional.
What you said about engagement really hits me. It is tough to read it all and comment on it all. I love your writing though so don’t ever change.
Thanks Allison – I wish I could just spend a day reading and commenting. Not out of duty, but because I’d love to catch up on everyone’s blog – yours included.
Thanks for the kind words – I don’t think I could change even if I wanted to!