It’s been a bit of a grim summer. With the relentless news of an economy trembling on the brink and a political divide that seems to grow uglier by the day, a gloomy pall has settled over our collective psyche. We’re fatigued. We’re weary. We’re increasingly frustrated with a situation that is, by and large, impossibly out of our hands. There is a pervasive sense of scarcity and fear across the land. In such an environment, it’s easy to succumb to cynicism or despair.
But there is still reason to believe, or plenty of reasons as a matter of fact. Out on the blogosphere, some very creative people are kicking some very serious ass. These are writers, artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs and rebels who have taken matters into their own hands and have crafted new models for how we live, work and think. These are people who have met chaos with creativity and in so doing infuse fresh life into a troubled world. The following is a list of seven extraordinary bloggers who epitomize bold possibility and fierce optimism. These are the people that I turn to when the quagmire of fiscal dread starts to get the best of me. Without fail, these brilliant souls give me something amazing to chew on every time I read their blogs.
In no particular order……..
1. DARRAH PARKER (www.darrahparker.com/blog)
Nobody has inspired my life more this past year than the lovely Ms. Parker. She is more than a photographer; she lives her life with full senses and open wonder and encourages others to do the same. Through her “Slice of Life Tuesday” series, Darrah challenges her followers to set forth into the world with cameras in hand and to capture day-to-day images that relate to a weekly theme. The concept is deceptively simple yet powerful. Getting people to pay closer attention to their lives? Huge.
2. AMANDA OAKS (www.kindovermatter.com)
There is nothing complicated about the premise of this blog. It’s all about kindness. Amanda Oaks has created a lovely online oasis for inspiration, encouragement, art, beauty, whimsy and love. While Amanda’s gentle vibe permeates this lovely site, it is further enhanced by contributions from guest bloggers and other artists. This blog appeals to the best in everyone. It is one lush garden. (Tomorrow-August 13-is Amanda’s birthday! Drop into the blog, say “hello” and celebrate with her!)
3. ASHLEY AMBIRGE (www.themiddlefingerproject.org)
I effing love this woman. And I would give both breasts and my favorite pair of Fat Baby boots to write like her. For real. She’s insanely smart, beautifully irreverent and spit-coffee (or ginger ale or vodka)-out-your-nose funny. Her entrepreneurial chops are rock solid and if you’re looking to do your own thing on your own terms, she will ramp your ass up like none other. She’s one of my main gurus. Ashley also has one of the most inspiring stories that I’ve ever heard. At one point, she was living in her car and writing on her laptop. But she went on to create her own empire. She is living proof that we can survive our worst-case scenarios. (Ashley announced just today that she’s taking a brief hiatus from blogging. No worries, there are plenty of gems in the archives to keep you busy until she gets back.)
4. LORI DESCHENE (www.tinybuddha.com)
I visit this blog almost every day. As Lori succinctly states it, “Tiny Buddha is about reflecting on simple wisdom.” The posts are quick, well-written reads but penetrate deeply. In the midst of a busy day, a visit to Tiny Buddha is a little like a short meditation. Although Lori is the driving force behind Tiny Buddha, people from all over the world contribute to the blog. It is like having the wisdom of the world in one spot. I love that I can grab little bites and carry them with me throughout my day. In some respects, Tiny Buddha is inspiration on the go. That said, it is a blog where one can easily get lost in for hours.
5. ERIKA NAPOLETANO (www.redheadwriting.com)
Erika Napoletano is a no-nonsense blogger and online strategist. She’s feisty, hilarious and quite motivational in a snap-yourself-out-of-it kind of way. In fact, one of the features on her blog is “The Bitch Slap,” a weekly kick in the pants for her followers. She’s one straight-talking sister and she drops the F-bomb as much as I do. Just like there’s no whining in baseball, there’s no whining at Redhead Writing. This is my go-to blog for those occasional days when I’m feeling sorry for myself. Erika always gets me square again. And to be clear, this site is not all hard edges. There is a depth of humanity here, articulated with grace and elegance.
6. SEAN PLATT (www.ghostwriterdad.com)
Sean Platt is a successful writer who has dedicated his blog to “helping good writers makes a GREAT living.” I recently bought his book “Writing Online,” and felt an immediate kinship. Sean really gets how the mind of a writer works and he understands the challenges-both internal and external-that a writer comes up against in the evolution of a career. His approach is friendly and accessible and his tone is refreshingly free of marketing speak. When I read his book or his blog, I feel like I’m reading a note from a friend. One other thing I will say about Sean is that he’s an outstanding ambassador for other bloggers. On any given day, he frequently retweets posts and gives shout outs to links that might be of interest. Sean Platt inspires me to keep writing, which is about the best antidote to gloom that I can think of.
7. KATE NORTHRUP (www.katemoller.com)
Kate is a self described CEO or “Creative Expansion Optimist,” who is “dedicated to the art, science and practice of loving life.” Her blog exudes a certain spunk factor that I quite enjoy. I’m just now getting into Kate’s blog. However, after reading her post “It’s Not Going to Turn Out Like You Thought,” I was instantly hooked for life.
In case you’re wondering, I came across most of these bloggers on Twitter.
Although we are presently inundated with dark news, there are other stories out there. Strong and brilliant forces are hard at work, countering fear and pointing us in alternative directions. A big wave is coming. The people on this list are part of it.