After just a few days of planning, I started Alexigraph on January 8, 2017. It took me nearly a full day to set up the site, but then I made my first post and I was off and running. It’s hard to believe I’ve been at this for a full year! I love sharing my thoughts and experiences with you, and I truly appreciate you taking the time to read them, respond, and share.
In celebration of one year of blogging, I’m rounding up some of my personal favorite posts from the past year (in no particular order). I know, it’s a long list — I had trouble narrowing it down! Read more
A friend who has two young children asked me to write about some positive things my parents did when I was a child that have shaped who I am today. So many things contribute to why we are the way we are, from genetics to early friendships to traumatic experiences in our youth, but there’s no denying that our parents’ choices, behaviors, and attitudes have a significant impact on the people we become. Reflecting on our childhoods is valuable for all of us, and it holds particular value for me at this moment, as I prepare to become a parent. Read more
The Grammar Girl podcast did a great show this week on how to write an apology. For a while now, I’ve been meaning to write a post about making tough apologies, so I thought I’d piggyback on Grammar Girl’s discussion. The show advised listeners to avoid four kinds of non-apologies (the “if” apology, the passive voice apology, the reverse apology, and the florid fauxpology) and to follow a formula for apologizing effectively:
- Acknowledge the offense clearly
- Explain it effectively
- Restore the offended parties’ dignity
- Assure them they’re safe from a repeat offense
- Express shame and humility
- Make appropriate reparation
(Credit to Dr. Aaron Lazare and his book On Apology.)
In the wake of my father’s death, I received a number of cards from friends and family members expressing their condolences. I truly appreciated these tangible expressions, which came in a slow stream over the course of several weeks. I could read the cards and display them in my home to remind myself of the sentiments they shared, and I didn’t have to immediately come up with words to reassure the sender that I would be ok. Unlike when I received a call or text message, I didn’t feel the need to say anything.
Receiving these cards led me to think about letter-writing, something I used to do fairly often. When I was in college, before texting had reached its current level of ubiquity but well after emailing had taken hold as a common means of communication, I regularly exchanged letters with long-distance friends. Reading and writing them took time, but that time was enjoyable. Rather than dashing off quick texts in the middle of everyday activities, I would set aside half an hour or so to think about what my friend had written to me, respond thoughtfully, and share what was most important in my life at that moment. I had no real expectations with respect to these letters. Sometimes a friend would respond fairly quickly, and other times I would not hear back for weeks, or longer. I didn’t take the delay personally. I understood that my friends were busy people who were living their lives and would respond when they had the time to do so. Receiving a letter in the mail was always a pleasant surprise that brightened my day; it was never something I expected.
I believe in the therapeutic and transformative value of writing, and I’m a big proponent of telling your story. Today, I’m happy to share an essay that was submitted by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. I hope you enjoy it. If you have a story you’d like to share, feel free to send it to me using the “Contact” link in the menu bar.
When my twin brother got married, I made him a big scrapbook. Full of pictures of us growing up together, it took me a lot of time and money to make. I put in pictures of him playing sports, us playing soccer and wiffle ball in the backyard, us opening presents on Christmas morning. I put in pictures of our childhood dog, pictures of us graduating high school together, and pictures of us holding hands as babies.