For this past Christmas, a friend curated a “themed” bag or basket for each of the members of our friend group, centered around an idea of who we are within the group. She created a basket for our resident woodland witch, our middle grade heroine, and our manic pixie dream hobbit. But I was not prepared for the bag I received.
Her bag dubbed me the title, “Keeper of the Wood Between Worlds.”
If you’ve followed me anywhere on the internet for any amount of time you probably know two things: I love Narnia more than I can express and I have a lot of interest in a lot of different fandoms. “The Wood Between Worlds” is a concept from The Magician’s Nephew of a place that’s basically the gateway to other worlds and lands. It’s where Digory and Polly end up after using magic rings and where they discover the dying world of Charn and the newly birthed Narnia. Having a title right from one of my favorite book series was awesome to say the least.
But then I thought about what being a “keeper” of the Wood Between Worlds would really mean. The bag my friend gave me was full of different items themed around different stories and fandoms I love. Anything from a Peter Pan inspired notebook and Wonder Woman elastic to a LOTR bookmark and fictional national park stickers. Clearly, the bag proved that I am the keeper of the world between worlds. That I am somebody that collects different fandoms, not choosing one or two to be my ultimate focus, but obsessing over everything and anything that I enjoy. That I enjoy a lot of different things—worlds of different things.
In college, one of the girls in my dorm hall told me she was confused why I had a superhero pillowcase, Disney princess blanket, and Lord of the Rings map posters. I didn’t understand her comment. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t like all those things. I didn’t know why I had to choose between them just because they were wildly different from each other in taste and genre.
The more I think about the title “Keeper of the Wood Between Worlds,” the more I think that this is me. This is who I am. The person who loves different stories, different fandoms, different mediums of entertainment. I can be just as excited about a shiny superhero blockbuster film as I am about a TV show about a guy who coaches football in the U.K. as I am about a video game about a raccoon who is a thief. I’m the person who tries to read different genres, whether they’re my favorite or not. I’m the person who also writes different stories and different genres and doesn’t stick to just one type of writing.
At the end of college, I had to create a senior portfolio of my writing. This was supposed to be the culmination of what I worked on in college, something that tied who I am as a writer together thematically. But as I compiled what I wanted to include in my portfolio, I couldn’t just settle for a few chapters of a fantasy novel and a few short stories that leaned into fantastical. I wanted to include poetry and pieces that weren’t fantasy. I wanted to include everything that screamed “me.” Thus, I stole from the brilliant Lewis Carroll and titled my portfolio “Of Shoes—And Ships—And Sealing Wax—Of Cabbages—And Kings” in order to explain why I had several sections of short stories and flash fiction, a section of a novel, and three appendixes of poems (yes, including hobbit-inspired poetry). Basically, my portfolio included everything but the bathroom sink. (Or maybe that was in there too, who knows?) It was everything I had written. Everything I was proud to share. Everything I had learned and strengthened during college.
Basically, I was already proving myself to be this keeper of all the worlds. This person who dabbles in all the fandoms and all writings and reads all the genres of books.
I’ve always had a hard time connecting the two sides of my blogging life. When I first started a blog in high school, I would post whatever I wanted—book reviews, random thoughts, things I did in youth group, musings, etc. I didn’t think too hard about it. Some of the stuff is definitely cringeworthy. But it was all me.
But then I got more into book reviews and I felt like it didn’t mesh together with my snippets of writing and reflections on life. It didn’t work. So I separated them. Books and Waffles for book blogging, The Dancing Lawn for everything else. Only I found myself not posting the “everything else.” I would go months without a new post. I would struggle to come up with something to write about, something that seemed clever and fun and “me.”
So I tried to combine them. I started posting writing snippets and Hump Day Happiness lists on Books and Waffles and I didn’t like it. The vibe or aesthetic or something was off. So I separated again, trying to figure out content for both blogs without burning out.
And it didn’t work. I didn’t work.
I had a long conversation with a friend about what to do with my blogs. I have enough content for book blogging, but my other blog feels empty. I can’t decide if people care enough to read my musings or random snippets or writing exercises I’ve come up with. Basically, the conversation convinced me to once again try to combine the two blogs into one. To talk about books I adored, to make fun lists, to share writing snippets and life musings and whatever else I come up with. If I don’t keep to a strict schedule, that’s okay. If I don’t feel like doing the Top Ten Tuesday prompt, that’s okay. If I don’t have anything to say, that’s okay.
But I don’t think it will work under the umbrella of Books and Waffles. Like I mentioned, I tried it before and something about it didn’t mesh well. I even attempted to change the name to Jaime Writes Words and Waffles and I didn’t like that either. Maybe it was the title, maybe it was the blog design, maybe it was just my mind not being content with anything.
As I was talking over what to do with the blog, I thought about the themed bag my friend gave me. I thought about what it means to be the Keeper of the Wood Between Worlds and I had a thought. What if I changed my blog to fit that theme? To be a keeper of all the worlds. Of books, of writing, of random fandoms and life musings and everything in between. What if I just jumped into it all and didn’t care?
So if you’ve noticed the change around this area, I’m still Jaime. I still love books and waffles. I still like to write and to muse and to dance with the fauns and dryads all night long. But I’m going to also be the gatekeeper to all the things I love and not try and pick and choose. Because that isn’t me.
This is me.