Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Riehlife Report Card Year One

Janet riding Copper. This is the photo my father originally wanted for the cover of “Cattle Country.”
Janet seated on Copper, our family American Bred Saddle Horse, riding tall at 15 hands

My web log "Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century" has grown into my vision of it more fully over the course of the year. I run it as a magazine format, in which you hear several voices, and multiple topics, not just my small musings. I want to give you both a larger and a deeper view to give us courage when we must crawl, rather than leap, across the chasms that so often needlessly divide us.

I believe the magazine format grew out of my pattern of divergence and convergence. My mind and heart spins freely out into the world, making connections, finding friends who share in these considerations and fascinations...then, I converge and bring all the connections into one point, as a product to a book or a blogpost.

My favorite-ever job was as newsletter editor for "The Inland News," an in-house corporate communications newsletter for ComputerLand Corporation. I developed it extensively during my few years there, adding an anonymous 3-dot gossip column, profiles, and a cartoon series drawn by a young man who worked in the warehouse. Everyone in the company had a voice in the newsletter...from the president to the warehouse workers. I made the "InLand News" a tool for connection to the extent that folks lined up eagerly to receive their copy the days we distributed it.

A consulting colleague once said of me that I have "simultaneous loose-tight properties"...meaning that I can both spin freely with my right-brained intuition and then bring it into form in a very left-brained, on-task way.

Thus, Riehlife has busily been about its business of creating connections through the arts and across cultures and generations. E. M. Forrester's declaration, "Only connect!" is one I believe in and once had taped to my computer screen.

This way of running Riehlife in which Afghanistan rubs its shoulders against a new poem by my 92-year-old father and African American cultural institutions in St. Louis and film reviews and the appearance of talented, commited, passionate friends...and the reader cannot predict what she might find on a given highly contra-indicated by the prevailing internet marketing gurus who say that "niche, niche, niche" is the way to build a following for our missions and passions. In my lifetime I've seen the path of the generalist as paramount give way to the path of the specialist as the only channel to a rather narrow definition of success. By taking connection as a theme, I give myself room to follow the thread of passion and intention wherever it leads. Connection as theme provides room for to explore.

Hungry by Alethea Eason

Here's a piece of news recently received that thrilled me. Alethea Eason told me that the Riehlife post for her book "Hungry" had been widely picked up and subsequently her book sales went up! This was a big meaning pay-off for me and made me glad I invested effort and meaning into Riehlife so I had a tool to help talented friends like Alethea.

In looking over posts from 2007 one of my most treasured series of posts are the poems Arletta Dawdy premiered on Riehlife, poems that might not have been created without Riehlife as the connective tissue. Arletta and I met through Women Writing the West. I saw her in Santa Rosa, California once during a doctor marathon. She came up to Lake County for my Land Trust reading. From those two physical meetings emerged a warm email correspondence and a series of fine poems first read on Riehlife. Nurturing creativity, being a creative catalyst is one of my life roles, and when it works out in round-robin giving and receiving, what could be richer?

In addition to reviews and interviews in 2007, Riehlife participated in two book blog tours: Donna Druchunas' Ethnic Knitting, and Eric Maisel's Ten Zen Seconds. Riehlife will once again participate in a blog tour for one of Eric Maisel's books next week on Tuesday for, "Van Gough Blues," recently released in paperback.

I only recently gained access to Riehlife's webstats and I find them of interest. Here's what I've gleaned.

In February 2007 Riehlife had 325 hits and 50 visits per day on average. In December, at year's end, Riehlife had 2,700 hits per day and close to 400 visitors on average.

In the last year Riehlife has entered 405 posts in 17 categories with many guest writers, authors, and interviews with artists in multiple genres. I only recently acquired tagging software. We now have 660 tags.

23 blogs link to Riehlife. Technorati shows 136 blog reactions to Riehlife. The Google page ranking for is 4 out of 10, coming up from 3 when I checked it last Spring.

So, we are small fish, but...good eating. Aren't you glad you caught us to today's supper?

All the best to all you readers. Beyond the webstats, the best thing Riehlife has provided me in these past twelve months of sometimes tumultuous transition is a meaning anchor and a tool for connection in both cyberspace and my new place on earth, St. Louis.

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6 Responses »

  1. Dear, Dear Janet,
    I was reading thru the post and beginning to think of a comment when you blew me outa the water! Your lovely tribute moved me to tears, or as close to that as I come these days. As you know, these are hard days on the Dawdy homefront. To have you reprise our experiences together is a very special gift for which I send you love, respect and appreciation.

    Congratulations on the growth of the blog. Your insights, amazing collection of friends, experiences and deeply committed mission are clearly seen in your varied entries. You have found your "niche" which is to be open to the world, its peoples and their expressions. Thank you for all that you give to us!

  2. I love your theme of connection, providing room for adventure and room to explore. Keep it up, you are a light out there for all of us.

    You've given me an idea of something to add to my I QUIT new years about I QUIT...solitude and solemnity

  3. Happy 4th Birthday, Riehlife! What a great post to show where you've been and where you're headed into the future.

  4. Janean,

    Thanks for honoring Riehlife's fourth birthday. As I read through the post I was rather amazed myself!



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