Maine women blogging

August 25th, 2011 by Cathleen Miller

If you’re reading this, then you probably already understand the multitude of ways that writing has changed with the advent of social media.  We share more often, more personally, and to a much wider audience than was ever before possible. We synthesize information so differently now, and we are finding community in unexpected places like twitter.  Over the past few weeks, I have watched an incredible community coming together online to support food blogger Jennifer Perillo, whose husband died suddenly a few weeks ago. I find this online outpouring of care and concern magical because it illustrates that, despite all this technology that some theorize alienates us from one another, we are still simply vulnerable creatures searching for meaning and community.

I read many blogs in my spare time at home and the personal voice of the medium is what keeps me reading. I enjoy peeking into other people’s kitchens to see what they are canning or making for dinner. I like to read about people’s creative processes–either in their writing or their lives–and to marvel at the ingenuity (and great failings) of the human species. I read to get ideas about ways I might shift my habits or thoughts, or even to gain new skills.  No matter why I follow a blog, I find myself caring about that writer.  I see the connections between us, and I am often moved by the ways that we share so much in common, no matter how different we might seem.  This is the real power of technology, and these factors motivate me to follow the work of many women bloggers here in Maine.

I try to carve out some time each week in my schedule to look at what is happening in the world of online writing, since this is such an important piece of the writing community.  Over the past year, I’ve been working on creating a list of blogs written by Maine women, which are linked in the sidebar of this blog.  I am sure that I’ve missed scores of them, but I wanted to share a few of the wonderful blogs I have stumbled upon, or been pointed to, this year.  You should know that this list is biased by my own personal interests and the limits of my time.  I urge you to check out all of the blogs that are listed in the sidebar under “Maine Women Bloggers,” and please, send me more to add to this list.  I want to create as comprehensive a list as possible.

The following list is in alphabetical order by blog title:

American Witch is poet Annie Finch’s blog, which I enjoy for its mixed flavor–sometimes, the focus of Annie’s posts is poetry-related; other times, she writes about herbal medicine or earth and goddess-based spirituality. Occasionally, there will be something else entirely. Annie was one of the first poets I met when I moved to Portland.

Black Girl in Maine offers a witty, sometimes cynical, look at life in “the nation’s whitest state.” Shay Stewart-Bouley is a native of Chicago, who writes about parenting; economic realities; social inequities; race, class and gender, as they play out in Maine and the culture of the nation as a whole; multiracial families; and politics in general.  After moving to Maine from Philadelphia, I was drawn in by Shay Stewart-Bouley’s analyses of social issues and her “keepin’ it real” style. I first enjoyed her columns in the Portland Phoenix, which I look for as soon as I open the paper.

The Blueberry Files is a delicious food blog–need I say more?  I love to check out what Kate McCarty is cooking, canning or eating because she posts many photos, reviews food she orders at restaurants, and generally makes my mouth water.

Dawn Potter writes amazingly beautiful posts about literature, everyday life, and publishing, among other things. Occasionally you might find a poem there waiting.  I started reading Dawn Potter’s blog because I always get excited when I find another poet’s blog.  The variety of her posts suits me perfectly, and Dawn’s use of language approaches the sublime. I also love that she, too, has a western Pennsylvania connection.  I feel kinship when I read her words.

eat! craft! live! contains luscious photographs; simple, delicious recipes; posts about being a parent; sewing and canning advice; and much more.  It’s also written by our cataloger, Laura Taylor, with whom I spend a lot of time talking about food preservation, gardening, and living frugally.

Human.Nature is Hannah Holmes’ blog on humans, nature, and human nature.  It is well-written and researched, in addition to being smart and funny.  Today’s post is titled AN OSTRICH, A PLATYPUS, A NEANDERTHAL AND A HURRICANE WALK INTO A BLOG. You get the idea. I always learn something when I visit this site.

Julie True Kingsley‘s blog is full of lovely photos of Maine, food, and family. I only recently found Julie True Kingsley’s site, but I was hooked by the photos and description of making a blueberry cake in a cast iron dutch oven under hot coals from the fire.

One Canary Sings is Jennifer Lunden’s account of living with chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivities, and severe food allergies.  Her blog’s subtitle, notes from an industrialized body, speaks to the widespread toxins that weave themselves into our fibers.  While Lunden doesn’t post as prolifically as some writers, her posts are thoughtful, honest, and ask important questions about how our own bodies have become indicators of the immensely damaged ecosystem in which we live.

Passage West is Caitlin Shetterly’s account of moving from Maine to California and back again, after the recession hit her and her husband hard.  She writes about family, the economy, writing, politics, and the business of making a living. I was glad to find this blog, especially given the state of things right now.

Soule Mama posts often, and continues to wow me with how much she is able to do.  Amanda Blake Soule preserves food, builds root cellars, mothers a brood of 5, keeps chickens and turkeys and pigs, and somehow manages to write books and blog posts, too. What have I been doing lately?

Surviving the Suburbs is Wendy Brown’s blog about suburban homesteading.  She raises rabbits and chickens, grows and preserves food, and offers her thoughts on the economy and the instability of the large systems upon which we rely.

There from Here is Jennifer Finney Boylan’s blog. She writes about being transgendered, about memory and family, and about writing and teaching. Jenny’s posts are peppered with sarcasm, but are open and easy to read. She makes me think as much as she makes me laugh.  I’m thrilled that Jenny has agreed to be the keynote speaker for our 2012 conference “Identity, Memory, Testimony,” which will be held at UNE on March 30-31, 2012.  More details to come.

I hope you enjoy these selections from my frequently-read blog list.  I look forward to hearing about more blogs that I should add.  Happy late-summer reading!