Thanks, Readers, for Your Comments

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Whenever I get an e-mail saying I have a new comment on my blog, I get the same feeling of enthusiasm I used to get when I would hear the mail truck stop in front of my house as a little girl. I’d dash out the front door and flip through the envelopes, hoping there was one addressed to me. The thought that someone would have taken the time to write always excited me and still does.

I’ve gotten three blog comments in the past month or so that struck me as being particularly meaningful. They serve as reminders of why I keep this blog up. Sure, I do it for myself, but I also do it for my audience, small though it may be. Knowing that about 100 people turn to my site every day keeps me motivated to blog regularly in the hopes that what I write will resonate with readers and prompt them to discover something about themselves, think deeper about an issue or respond to what I have to say.

Below, I’ve listed the aforementioned comments. The first two are from readers who I don’t personally know, while the third is from a cook who taught the cooking classes my mom and I used to attend years ago.

From Richard Gilbert, in response to “How Do You Motivate Yourself to Write Personal Essays?”

“I love your blog, and this is an interesting post. An idea: having an audience helps a lot. I keep a “writing journal” by emailing friends my ideas or experiences as they come up and pasting my jottings into a Word file.

“In your case, these are great essay ideas, and you might just write about them on this blog, or on a companion blog. You don’t try to be perfect that way, but you do get something down, which you can later expand for separate publication somewhere, or not. In my case, for the last four years I have been writing and rewriting a memoir and I break out stand-alone essays as they occur and as I notice them. For me in this phase, essays have mostly been a byproduct of a larger work. And I think that’s helpful, whether you are writing things for a blog or for a book . . .”

From Helen B, in response to “Spotting Signs from Loved Ones Who Have Died

“After my Dad’s funeral we came back to their sweet little house with all the memories and my Mom sat there listening to laughter, stories and jokes about my Dad. It helped her so much. My brother left the house and needed time to be alone so he walked down the driveway and stood under a grove of mulberry trees my Dad had planted. Later he told us that he looked up in the night sky and saw a shooting star and a few minutes later he heard an owl hooting. He had read somewhere that in some cultures the owl was a sign from loved ones who have died that they are ok. With tears in his eyes my adult brother said out loud where no one could hear him … ‘Is that you Dad? I love you and miss you.’

“Four months later we buried our Mom who had a broken heart losing her best friend of 67 years. I had a hard time returning to church with memories of her casket up there near the altar but little by little she must have asked God to bring me back and stay close to Him. Several years before my Mom died she said ‘when I am gone, don’t grieve for me too long. I spent my whole life waiting for that beautiful day when I can be with God.’

“With tears in my eyes I am writing this, thanking all of you for sharing your memories and signs. I lost my Dad and Mom 4 months apart after two years of caregiving them through cancer, blindness and Parkinson’s. I grieved for their loss but thanked God they were suffering no more.

“I did grieve and I continue to miss her and my Dad but it has gotten easier. My parent’s graves are under a big shady tree and when I visit them the birds are chirping and leaving their droppings on their grave stone and I feel their presence and their sense of humor bringing me laughter again. The gravestone was carved with my Dad’s name on the left and my Mom’s name on the right. A week after the burial we realized my Dad had played a trick on us from Heaven. My Mom was mistakenly buried on the left under my Dad’s name and my Dad was buried under my Mom’s name. We thank our parents for that last joke from Heaven and it has comforted us.”

From Elie Deaner, in response to “Looking for Suggestions of Where to Go in Costa Rica”

“Dear Mallary,

“My husband recently ‘googled’ me and your blog from June 08, regarding comments and memories found in cookbooks, came up with your mention of my first cookbook, ‘From Ellie’s Kitchen to Yours.’ As soon as I saw your name it brought back fond memories of you and your mother, Robin, sitting very attentively in my cooking classes at Roche Bros in Millis. I believe that your Mom was already ill at the time, but I’m not sure. However, I admired the fact that she faithfully brought you to all the classes and you were always very interested and well behaved. Your Mom was a lovely woman and I was sorry to hear of her passing.

“I read about you and what you are doing and thought that you might find it interesting that I have Dan Poynter’s book on self publishing and found it very helpful when publishing my second cookbook, ‘So Easy, So Delicious.’

“I left Roche Bros more than 10 years ago and currently give private cooking classes and lessons, as well as corporate culinary seminars and team building events.

“In case you are still interested in cooking you are welcome to check out my website, or my blog, You are also welcome to sign up for my complimentary monthly e-newsletter, which contains recipes and culinary tips.

“Your upcoming vacation sounds great and I hope that you have a wonderful time!

“BTW, I’d be curios to know if you have any memories of your lessons at Roche Bros, so long ago!

“Best regards,

Ellie Deaner”

What keeps you coming back to this blog? What type of posts do you want to see more of? Less of? I hope you’ll share your thoughts in a comment!