On October 14th 2007 I posted for the first time on this blog – “It Begins” – who knew that 10 years later I would still be writing here. Back then my blog was called “Unwed Human Female,” a Futurama reference that confused pretty much everyone. Later I (begrudgingly) changed it to its current title “Ms. Brigitte’s Mild Ride.” Ten years is such a tremendous amount of time; blogging has completely changed since then, but I am really happy to have experienced the ‘golden age’ of blogging.
When I started teaching High School in 2013 I got completely freaked out by the idea that my students might be able to find my blog, and so I gutted most of it. I think I deleted about a fourth of my posts and made the remaining half private. Considering that, all told, I currently have close to 1,600 posts (about 400 of which are still private), that was a massive cut. It tanked my Google rankings (which were great), and essentially put my blog into hibernation, which was fine because my whole life became teaching (ie: miserable because I hated teaching High School). My posts all became teaching-related, specifically literally, which is now the most popular part of my blog.
Now it’s 2017 and I think it’s pretty neat that I’ve been here for so long. Some of my most popular posts are things that I’m truly proud to have written. Most of them are literature, because I think that a lot of high school and college students are Googling things instead of reading them, but I’m still happy to help. Below is a list of my top ten posts of the decade and a little blurb about each.
Top 10 Posts of the Decade
1. Top 10 Reasons that the Novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Better than the Movie (2010) – Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote was, for a long time, one of my all-time favorite novels. I recently re-read it, and while I’m a little less enchanted by it than I once was, I still think it’s better than the movie. Hence the list, which I’m still rather proud of, and I love writing lists.
2. Sab by Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (2013) – I was assigned this novel several times throughout my schooling, and I wrote this after the most recent reading. At the time the novel was hard to find and I loaned my duplicate copy to a student, who I hope read it, because they never returned it. I also published a paper I wrote about the novel on the site, but this synopsis gets the most traffic. Interestingly, the novel was banned in Cuba, where it was originally published.
3. Big Cartel vs Etsy vs Storenvy (2010) – This is one the older posts on this list. I wrote it when there was a boom of online shop hosting services attempting to compete with Etsy. I think the guide has become less useful over the years, but is still somewhat helpful. I’m really appreciative of all of the comments I’ve received, too, and I regularly update it.
4. “Looking for Zora” by Alice Walker (2014) – I added some of this information to Wikipedia and it was deleted; a weird piece of trivia, but something I take oddly personally. This is a short summary (which I should probably expand, seeing as it’s so popular) of Walker’s article covering her quest to find Zora Neale Hurston’s grave. When teaching, I use it as a companion to Their Eyes Were Watching God, but it’s much more than just that.
5. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Chapter 1 “Between Timid and Timbuktu” (2013) – This post is a long, detailed summary of the first chapter of Vonnegut’s novel, The Sirens of Titan. It goes through characters, symbols, themes, and has a lengthy synopsis of the plot. It’s a bit of a love letter to the novel, and was also to help me in my own teaching. I think it’s basically like SparkNotes for Ch. 1, but I’m proud of it nonetheless.
6. “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” by Chinua Achebe (2013) – This, too, is a longer post, and another I’m proud of since I really hate Heart of Darkness and Achebe agrees. When I wrote this I was in grad school, assigned the novel for the second or third time, and had an older, male teacher who corresponded with Achebe. He was like “Achebe is wrong, lol,” so I immediately read the article even though the professor hadn’t assigned it. That same professor later made me cry at my thesis defense, so I’m even happier to have disagreed with him, and had that disagreement viewed by thousands of people.
7. The Martian Chronicles, “Usher II” by Ray Bradbury, Summary and Analysis (2016) – This is a detailed summary and analysis of Bradbury’s short story/chapter “Usher II,” using the template that I developed for the Vonnegut novel. It was/is my goal to have a post like this for every single chapter of The Martian Chronicles, but I’ve only done a few so far. Still, I love the novel and I think the post was worth my time since writing it helps me learn the story (that I love) so much better.
8. 23 Things You Should Actually Do Before You’re 23 (2016) – This is the most recent post that has appeared on this top 10 list. I’m actually a little surprised by it since I had it in draft for the better part of a year and published it on a whim. It’s actually a reaction to an advice post that went viral and which I thought was terrible. As a High School teacher I was used to giving teenagers unsolicited advice, which is what inspired the post. I’m flattered that people are actually reading it.
9. The Female American by Unca Eliza Winkfield (2013) – I’m extremely glad that this is on the list because I truly love this novel and my writeup of it is extensive enough that I’m proud of it. The novel is a female Robinsonade and is a truly enjoyable read.
10. The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless by Eliza Haywood (2007) – I was assigned this surprisingly long novel in graduate school, where I assume it is being assigned to this day, fuling these views. I don’t blame you at all. It’s kind of a hilarious novel in its own way, just because of how women were portrayed. At one point the eponymous Betsy is ‘thoughtlessly’ standing in a hallway, and thus is almost raped. That’s what happens to hallway-standers, Betsy. This is also the oldest post on my list. Congratulations, Betsy.
This blog has been with me through two major illnesses, four homes, five relationships, eight jobs, and nine years of graduate school. It has been an odd constant in my life and, looking at it as the culmination of a decade of my life, I’m really quite proud of it. I was recently listening to an interview with Simon Sinek on millennials and happiness, among other things. In that interview Sinek made the point that some of the only things that give life value are the things that take sustained effort over long periods of time. I can honestly say that this blog is one of those things for me, so thank you for reading my writings over all these years. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.