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565th Friday Blog Roundup

One of the claims to fame of my state is that it is the final resting place of Edgar Allan Poe. He was born in Boston, but his grave is in Baltimore. Every year on his birthday, someone used to leave three roses and a bottle of cognac. No one ever knew the identity of the person, called the Poe Toaster, and the tradition went from 1949 to 2012. The torch may have passed to more than one person during that time.

But for the last few years, the Poe Toaster hasn’t shown up.  The Maryland Historical Society is holding auditions to revive the tradition. I don’t know how I feel about it.

My first instinct was to enter, but then I thought, doesn’t the tradition lose something in turning it into a contest? There was something so sweet, so heartbreaking, about an unknown person leaving behind these sentimental objects on the grave.  A contest in the style of American Idol?  Doesn’t the tradition lose something in the process?

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda are also buried nearby, too.  Don’t I live in a fun, literary place?


I did a guest post this week over at One Step at a Time.  You can check out my thoughts on parenting after infertility.


Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

A Half Baked Life has a gorgeous post about feeling helpless in the face of troubling moments around her.  The sound of crying emanating from a house, twins who have lost their mother, a friend assaulted, and a small girl needing 7 sutures in her chin.  Please go over and read the whole thing.

My Path to Mommyhood both remembers the only time she was pregnant (and wondering if it would be the only chance she would get) and considers what if she had released herself from pursuing pregnancy earlier.  She writes: “Sometimes I think about how much the desire to be pregnant took over navigating our journey, and if I hadn’t wanted that experience so badly, if I could have seen the baby for the bump instead of the forest for the trees, we could have been parents sooner.”  It’s an emotional post.

Hapa Hopes has a post about doing a FET and sorting out how she feels about being back at the clinic.  She writes, “I just know that I stood at that desk scheduling FET class and words like saline ultrasound, E2, FSH, and PIO were pouring out of my mouth like second nature again and I hated it.  We’re heading down the gauntlet one more time and I fucking hate the gauntlet.”  There is so much to connect with in this post.

Mrs. Spit has a post about being knocked off balance.  I love this: “My mistake was thinking of grounding as one and done, fire and forget, steady state.”  It’s an important read about embracing those times when we feel off balance.

Lastly, Articulation has a post about needing a pause button.  As someone who often feels too full, who wonders how it will all get done and if I’m even doing it “right,” there was so much I related to in this post.

The roundup to the Roundup: The choosing of the Poe Toaster?  I did a guest post.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between October 2nd and October 9th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Charlotte { 10.09.15 at 8:13 am }

The fact that the Poe Toaster was annomyous and mysterious made it special. Holding an audition for someone to get the “role” and knowing it is going to happen every year?? That just ruins it for me.
Back in highschool I volunteered at the Poe House. Had you ever been? It was run like a playhouse and an actor dressed like Poe would do readings of his works. It was always around his birthday. There were refreshments and you could buy all kinds of different versions of his writings. It was really awesome. Sadly, it closed years ago due to funding I believe. It is such a shame.
My favorite Shakespeare company, The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, also had to close several years ago due to funding and it makes me sad. It is a great loss to lose these local, affordable ways to bring great literature to life. Tying into your last post…feeling very nostalgic right now.

2 illustr8d { 10.09.15 at 8:55 am }

I think they waited 3 years and noone came forward & started it again, so why not a contest? At least it will revive a charming tradition.

3 A.M.S. { 10.09.15 at 9:02 am }

Maybe if the roses and cognac just started showing up again, they wouldn’t “hire” someone to do it. I agree that ruins it. It takes the romance out of it, and E.A.P. would not appreciate that one bit.

It’s that whole crowd phenomenon where no one does anything because they assume someone else will. A Poe fan just needs to pick up the drippy black candle ( Poe fans wouldn’t use a torch!) and just do it.

4 Cristy { 10.09.15 at 9:38 am }

The idea of an audition doesn’t sit well with me either. After all, the whole point behind the Poe Toaster is the anonymity. But I also get the fact that after 3 years it’s clear the tradition has died and they want to reincarnate it. The problem is, how does one hold auditions for an anonymous practice? Also, isn’t this an opportunity to start new traditions?

5 Heather { 10.09.15 at 12:24 pm }

That contest it totally lame. The Poe Toaster is supposed to be someone who wants no congratulations, no pat on the back, no recognition for his/her gifts. The Poe Toaster did it because they appreciated and loved Poe and his work. The whole idea of a contest leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

6 mijk { 10.09.15 at 1:18 pm }

I think of You love the idea then you must start! How would You even audition for that.( look I am invisible?)

7 Justine { 10.09.15 at 1:26 pm }

I love literary places. 🙂 Do you actually like Poe?

And thanks, as always, for the shout out … love to you and to this community who helps me remember that even when I’m feeling helpless, at least there is something I can do.

8 Valery Valentina { 10.09.15 at 4:10 pm }

I missed my own tradition of going to my cousin’s grave on his birthday and planting a small rose or flower. (summer holiday got in the way) I still feel guilty, even though it is not anonymous. I plan to go on a random date now, but somehow that is so much harder to pick.

9 StacieT { 10.09.15 at 10:49 pm }
10 Jess { 10.10.15 at 5:13 pm }

Hmmm, tough one. I feel like the Poe Toaster came from the heart, and a contest might not replicate the same feeling. It does seem to cheapen it a bit. I think new Poe Toasters should just come out of the woodwork and make the contest moot… You DO live in a fun literary state! (Thanks for including my post in the roundup, it was definitely emotional and I’m glad it stood out to you!)

11 jjiraffe { 10.15.15 at 12:23 pm }

Sometimes, the best and most wise writing can come after years of silence. Case in point: this moving and lovely post from one of the most eloquent ALI bloggers I know, Bodega Bliss, who came back to her space for the first time almost three years after her daughter was born.

While talking about parenting after infertility and loss, she sums up the feeling of gratitude, while also acknowledging it can be hard. And I love that she recognizes the resilience that she has gained.

” I’m proud of the woman I have become. The battle gave me that. Surviving the war gave me that.”

This post both resonated with me and inspired me. Read it here: https://bodegabliss.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/battle-wounds/

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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