Under the Influence

mixed media drawingWhen I hear that phrase, of course I’m immediately reminded of its use to describe those persons, so much dimmer witted than a barnyard fowl, who drive or operate heavy machinery or otherwise behave inappropriately (and most likely, quite dangerously) because they are under the influence [UTI] of drink or drugs. Personally, I would go further, with my concept of UTI encompassing other, equally dangerous things like ignorant social, political, religious or philosophical views that give their disciples delusions of superiority, imperviousness, entitlement, and so forth.

But it behooves all of us to remember that the phrase isn’t inherently negative, for one can be under positive influences as well. Even better if one can manage to be a positive influence. It’s notable enough in a long and active life if one succeeds in generally doing no serious harm (intentional or otherwise, and to be in fact benevolent and able to enact good and fine things, why, that’s remarkable and admirable stuff indeed. I know people who can do so right here in the blogiverse, teaching and leading us all to do and be better versions of ourselves, and doing so not only by sharing their stories but by being living examples of what they teach. My years of classroom teaching proved to me that I was better suited to being a student than a leader, yet tutorial and mentoring settings gave me a much greater level of comfort in that they allowed me to operate as a fellow learner and thus engage more deeply and without as great a fear of steering anyone (myself included) astray.

The bloggers I most admire, immensely entertaining and humorous and dramatic and artistic in ever so many ways, are always, at heart, teaching, whether it’s overtly and with carefully designed pedagogy and prescriptions or it is so inherent in their natures that it comes fully interwoven in the fabric of their posts. These favorites include, but are not limited to, logophilic, ecological, travel-oriented, cuisinal, community-building, arts-centric, historical, and in many cases, wildly multitasking blogs. Some bloggers are small fry like me, known only to a cozy circle of great friends who come by to read and sometimes comment, and some of those I greatly admire are large-scale bloggers, people with lots of published work elsewhere or major accomplishments in their fields (whether related to their blogging topics or not!); a few have multiple blogs and the amount, whether on one blog or many, of posts published varies from one every few weeks to daily. There may, in fact–given electronic media of all kinds nowadays–be people putting up posts every few minutes, but I haven’t the time and energy to keep visiting such volcanic sources and tend to keep to my group of favorites with an occasional foray outward.

So who are my influences among bloggers? Friends who give us invitations to visit them at places like The Bard on the Hill, Spanish-English Word Connections, and Year-Struck, Just a Smidgen, The Valentine 4, David Reid Art, and The Complete Cookbook, like Bardess DM Denton, The Kitchens Garden; like the blogs Cooking-Spree, O’Canada, Nitzus, Peach Farm Studio, and  Bishop’s Backyard Farm, like Blue Jelly Beans, One Good Thing by Jillee, Road Tripping Europe, My Little Corner of Rhode Island, Promenade Plantings, L Scott Poetry, Poetic Licensee, and Gingerfightback, and blogs like From the Bartolini Kitchens, Rumpydog and The Human Picture. There are many more I enjoy and admire, but each of these, whether longtime blogging friends or a site new to me, have proven to be influential and inspirational for me in many ways, both as bloggers themselves and often as encouraging and educational commenters here at my own place. We don’t always agree, which is part of what’s so powerful: the diversity of the world and its ideas and passions and hopes and loves, this potent brew is what makes the fellowship of bloggers such a joy.

That we can share it with so many, most of whom we know only in and through this forum, is a great gift indeed. Also shared among fellow bloggers: awards and recognitions. Some accept them and participate with great alacrity in sharing them, and others are happy to be complimented thus but have no interest in or simply no time for such things. All quite acceptable responses. This post, in fact, is in response to my having been ‘tapped’ by the gracious and yes, influential blogger Samina Iqbal, whose Forum for police support is a notable effort by one passionate blogger to garner greater recognition and appreciation for those who serve and protect the populace as members of the police force–indeed, a job few of us would dare or relish, yet most have great reason to be grateful that there are the admirable folk who do so on our behalf. She was named a Most Influential Blogger and has passed the torch here.

While I think she is over-generous in her estimation of what happens here at my blog, I am happy to carry out the task of sharing the aforementioned blogs and their authors with you, because they really do deserve the attention and I hope you’ll visit as many of their sites as you’re able; you, too, will find many things to influence you: ideas and passions, skills and arts, love and human drama and many a good belly laugh in the mix. Best of all, under the influence of these luminaries you will likely pose no additional danger to the general public if you should, say, get behind the wheel of a car. With the possible exception of the belly laughs, which could cause you to steer right into the ditch. But at least you’d be guffawing all the way to the emergency room, possibly accompanied by some helpful police officers. And don’t blame me!mixed media drawing

18 thoughts on “Under the Influence

  1. I enjoy the WordPress. We can learn so much from people from all places. I wish for the days when words were powerful and education was the key to life. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Interesting that the modern conveniences of electronic media have made it more possible for us to regain something of the joys of those older times! Perhaps we’ll continue to improve on that, if we’re fortunate. 🙂

  2. I can’t believe you think my little blog deserves a place among those wonderful sites! Thank you very much. Sometimes I can’t keep up with the reding of the blogs I follow, but I make sure to always visit a few. Among them is yours and curiously several of the blogs you mentioned above.
    Thanks again! Have a great day 🙂 and keep living under the influence…

    • Thank you, dear lady. You *do* inspire me, you know, and I’m quite certain from their comments that you do so for many others as well. Life is richer when shared, to be sure!

  3. Thanks Kathryn – you are right there is a lot of great insight, nonsense, humour and humanity out here – it has taken me by surprise – glad I found your work too! I love chickens as well. Cheers and best wishes.

    • After all, you have shared the astounding Saturday Night Fever Disco Chicken with the world! Hard to beat that for fabulous chickenhood. 😀 Thanks for all you do!

    • Yes, you and Ms. Blue have some excellent characteristics in common, along with the many distinctions that make each of you wonderfully unique. No wonder you would find affinity in her blog. 🙂 Bishop just sent me a photo of another handsome rooster, so I may have to do some more poultry portraits soon! xo

  4. Thank you for the inclusion in your list of favorites……and, if you don’t already know it, you occupy a lofty spot on my list of favorites. Bishop

  5. My father used to say “Every teacher is an English teacher,” meaning that even in subjects like math or chemistry, high standards of language should apply. It’s a comfort to see your impeccably edited English here. (And an unfathomable mystery: peccable is in the dictionary, but why doesn’t anyone ever seem to describe anything that way?)

    • That’s easy: nobody ever really wants to admit to being peccable, do they? Or are people just mistaking it for a threat that they’re ‘peck-able’? Come to think of it, the two *could* be related. Me, I’m probably more closely related to a peccary, being a bit piggy and more than a little feral in nature.

      • When it comes to being afraid of having those animal traits, especially that last one, your fear’ll serve no purpose. Fear serves no porpoise well, either. I’d better stop and not hog your comments.

        • Sounds like a good name for a garage band, ‘Fearful Porpoises’. Are they, by the way, any relation to the ‘fretful porpentine’?

  6. Thank you, Kathryn, for including me. Yours was one of the first I found and followed when I started blogging. You are a woman of many talents, and I enjoy your generosity in sharing them with us.

    The roosters are fabulous, by the way.

    • The company of gifted fellow bloggers like you has been my chief joy in blogging right from the beginning, my friend!

      The roosters were among a whole flock of (literal) prizewinners at the Western Washington State Fair that I admired at great length on a visit some time ago and photographed as best I could through their cages so as to immortalize them in portraits later. I have (ahem!) a Thing for Chickens, delighting in their beauty. Always glad when people who actually have the skills to raise them share them with poultry-less persons like me.

  7. Oh, I am so honored and humbled, Kathryn to be included in the lists of blogs that had offered something inspirational and positive to you. I am ever amazed at your reflections, poems, and drawings, your wit and wisdom and observations, and of course am drawn to your heartfelt connection to music and its making! Sometimes I stay away too long – the moment I arrive again I know I will be pleased to my core that I made the journey. Blessings my dear friend! Diane XO ♥

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