Delights and Downsides of Dabbling Dilettantism

You’ve heard of a square peg in a round hole? That’s not me. I’m more like the most boring bit of a Tinker Toy set, the little stick that connects to ANYTHING. Or–going literary–I’m Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, trying to play all the roles: “Let me be the lion too!”

Which is why Wing’s World is sometimes a travel blog, sometimes a food blog; sometimes focused on poetry, other times social justice. Or music. Or sports. Or dogs (when Maya takes over). Or something completely random, like the way everybody starts sentences with “So” now.

You might have noticed.

(for example)

My guess is, I pay in readership for this inconstancy. I can tell by comparing Wing’s World’s comments to those in the blogs I follow. For example, this recent one by Rachel Mankowitz, about life challenges, poetry and dogs: 107 comments!

Or Raven & Chickadee, a dedicated travel blog by two folks on a years-long, slo-mo road trip, which regularly gathers dozens of comments.

Etc. I’m sure y’all know many more blogs on many of my favorite topic where the comment section is hopping.

But you know what? I am OK with my own lack of internet sizzle. Two of my favorite blogs, written by fellow Lopez Islanders, fill me up with ideas and inspiration every time I read them, and sometimes their comment section is as modest as my own. (But just in case you want to be filled with ideas & inspiration yourself and you don’t already follow these, check out:

Fact and Fable for ALL things book-and-story-related

Like this book nook! (image courtesy, via Fact and Fable)


the blog of Iris Graville for questions of spirituality and environmentalism.)

Photo of Tahlequah and Phoenix by Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research, via Iris Graville

To summarize:

Downsides: my ego needs to look elsewhere than my blog for any extra inflation.

Delights: I get to write about whatever the heck I please–like this!

So…any requests?

6 thoughts on “Delights and Downsides of Dabbling Dilettantism

  1. I resolved the nagging guilt behind “being a dilettante” some time ago. I came across a book called “Strengths Finder” by Tom Rath. It had the best explanation for the way my mind works that I’ve seen so far. The book included a test, after which, it tells you what your strengths are. For me, the top one was “ideation”, which means making connections between ideas. That’s the heart of poetry, music and humor, if not philosophy and theology and other system-oriented thinking. Right behind that, my second strength was “intellection”, which means the drive to absorb facts from all directions. Vacuum cleaning. That’s what feeds the ideation! I could be wrong, but I think maybe that’s how your mind works too. Music, poetry and humor are the integrating lenses between sometimes wildly disparate factoids.

    There are limits to my curiosity. My eyes do tend to glaze over with accounting, the writings of Paul the apostle, St. Augustine, and celebrity worship.

    Speaking of poetry, one of my go-to people of late has been David Whyte, who lives up there in Puget Sound, sometimes on Whidbey. Every other month or so he does a live seminar on three consecutive Sundays discussing various things, like the mythopoetic tradition in western Ireland, or “Half-a-shade brave” (how to use tiny disciplines to get through the pandemic). He reads his own poetry (which is fantastic), discusses his own life and friendships (especially with John O’Donohue), and sometimes has musicians. He has a worldwide audience and does a Q&A with it at the end. Pure spiritual food for me. Do check it out if you haven’t already. I think his next one is in May.

    If you want a request to write about something, let me suggest this: you’re suddenly a teacher again, a little bit in the future, with a classroom full of high-school students who know nothing about what it was like during the pandemic of 2020-2021. What would you say that you learned? What would you say that the world learned? What do you wish you could say we learned? Just a suggestion 😉

  2. Your writing prompt makes me think you would have made a stellar teacher, John. As for the poets, I have read & heard them both, but never live, so thanks for that–yes, Mr. Whyte is just across the water from here! I will tune in next month. Also thanks for “ideation” and “intellection” in a more positive form. We are definitely fellow vacuum cleaners.

  3. I appreciate that you write about what interests you. Although I started our blog primarily as a travel blog to keep track of our adventures and to stay in contact with friends and family, it quickly evolved to encompass our overall journey in life and the challenges and joys along the way. Hence, just in the past couple of years our blog has been travel, interspersed with the challenges of caring for my elderly parents, losing them, and a pandemic—and with a few posts focused on poetry and humor to keep me sane.

    It may be frustrating to someone who is trying to follow our travels, but I need to write about what I want to write about in the moment. I’m grateful for those who read our blog, but the reality is that readers and commenters are fickle…so I’d say just keep on writing about what feeds your soul!

  4. Very true. To characterize your blog these days as “travel” doesn’t do it justice. I like how the idea of journeying fits so well with what all of us are doing, whether we leave home or not.

  5. Gosh, thanks for the mention of my blog, Gretchen. I, too, love the freedom to write about whatever I want on my blog and to not fret about comments (or their absence). I’ve heard and read many times about the importance of a themed blog to build an author platform in order to sell books. While there are common threads running through my blog (the Salish Sea and the climate crisis, writing, spirituality, Quakers, and essays are tagged repeatedly in my posts), I often have to add a new category to include a topic I’ve written about. If any of that helps sell a book or two, that’s a bonus. For me, the fun and reward of writing a blog (and of reading yours) is the freedom to pursue lots of topics. Please keep writing about whatever the heck you like!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s