When I made my return to blogging a few weeks ago, I mentioned that “Joanie Tales” was my new blog’s default title only because I couldn’t think of anything better. I also needed something I could come up with quickly before I lost my courage to start blogging again.
“Joanie Tales” seemed like a fitting spin-off from “LabTails” (my blog from years ago for which I was known best), a name that could be easily remembered by those who know me, and one that suited my wear-my-hair-back-in-a-ponytail style.
It worked as a starter name. But only as a starter name.
I don’t, however, think “Joanie Tales” fits. It isn’t accurate.
To begin with, “Tales” doesn’t work. I want this blog to be about things that are real and true in my head, heart, and world. The word “tale” is often equated with exaggeration or falsehood or something that’s difficult to believe (a tall tale or fairy tale, for example). It can hint that what follows is an imaginative, creative fiction (A Knight’s Tale or Canterbury Tales or The Tale of Peter Rabbit). When I think tale, I think fiction: A Handmaid’s Tale, A Tale of Two Cities, or Tales of the South Pacific.
I don’t want to spin yarns or tell tales here. That’s not what I’m about.
“Joanie” doesn’t really fit either. Though I actually prefer “Joanie” to “Joan” (most friends and family don’t know that), those who call me “Joanie” are few and far between. Most of the world knows me as “Joan” — my legal name, the name I sign to official documents, the name that shows on my by-lines and book covers from ages past.
“Joanie” doesn’t feel right.
So I got to thinking about a name that would better define the content here. But it had to follow some self-imposed guidelines:
- My title couldn’t be misleading. The title had to accurately describe what I hope to do here. (The “Tales” in “Joanie Tales” felt misleading.)
- I’m not interested in becoming a “brand” (been there, done that, had the t-shirt and gave it away). So nothing trendy or too catchy or “brand” specific.
- Whatever my title, it had to reflect my limited-audience intention. I am not aiming for a ginormous readership (that’s too much pressure). Modest, small, and intimate is more my style.
- During this season of life, less is truly more for me. I don’t want anything complicated (no bells and whistles; no click-bait; no short-attention-span visuals, no bling). I want plain old-fashioned writing space in the simplest of formats. (Hehe, that alone will limit my audience! See, there really is method in my madness!)
- I’m not interested in selling anything or monetizing my blog. Even after all these years, I continue to resist commercialization in Blogland; I don’t want to corrupt the pure intention of my writing with advertising. I want my readers to experience an ad-free zone, even if only for the moments they’re visiting my blog.
- My blog title had to reflect me, the real me; not some stylized version of me.
- My blog title had to be broad enough to include a wide variety of possible subjects, but narrow enough to give an accurate representation of what a reader would find here.
After weeks of wrestling, and entertaining (and eliminating) dozens and dozens of possible blog titles, I’ve landed here:
Dirt Road Ramblings
So why a dirt road?
- I’m a country girl. Life may have taken this girl out of the country (and dumped her in the middle of suburbia), but it never took the country out of this girl.
- Dirt roads are low tech and old-fashioned; they resist “progress,” much like me.
- I grew up with dirt roads, I travel dirt roads. I hike dirt roads.
- I love dirt roads and their rustic, unfinished promise….
- Dirt roads trigger wonderful emotions and memories for me.
- Our retirement cabin, the one I talk about in Field of Dreams, will be built on our dirt-road-access-only land. In just a few short years (God-willing), I’ll be living along a dirt road out in the boondocks on land that is literally the land of my roots. I hope to still blog from there in years to come.
And why ramblings?
- I’m middle-aged. Truth be told, middle-aged minds wander. I often feel like my thought process, especially early on in the creation of a blog entry, rambles without defined direction. Oh, to be sure, it eventually settles into its focused stride, but the process feels more like a rambling stroll than an as-the-crow-flies directive.
- To ramble, by definition, is to walk for pleasure. I often rambled on the dirt road you see pictured above. That road runs through our newly acquired property, the same road that I rambled when I was a girl. Rambling is something I equate with happiness and a gentle, unhurried pace of life — a pace I hope to reflect here.
- A rambling path is one that winds in various directions. I want this blog to cover a variety of topics, whatever happens to grab hold of my meandering mid-life mind.
Oh, I suppose I’ll end up rambling now and then, too, by that other definition of the word (blathering on or becoming too wordy or inconsequential). That’s a risk every blogger takes.
But the rambling I plan to do here is a pleasurable meandering through various topics that represent this country gal’s heart, mind, and view of the world in which she finds herself living each day.
So there it is: Dirt Road Ramblings, the new name for Joanie Tales (not worry, joanietales.com will still get you here, but dirtroadramblings.com works now, too).
I think it will stay that name for a while.
At least until something better comes along.
‘Til next time,