This was my tenth year doing the A to Z Challenge, and my eighth with two blogs. For the third year running, I didn’t begin writing my posts till March. In years past, I researched, wrote, and edited my posts many months in advance.

I did the posts on my main blog first, since I knew they’d take more time and effort than the short and to the point posts for my names blog.

I began putting my list of topics for this theme together in March 2016, knowing I had five more years to prepare for it. Fittingly, in March 2016 I was finishing up writing and editing A to Z posts about names from The Divine Comedy for my secondary blog. I suppose I could’ve saved that theme for Dante’s 700th Jahrzeit (death anniversary) year, so both my blogs’ themes in 2021 would directly relate to him, but it is what it is. My names blog featured Medieval Tuscan and Italian names this year, which is relation enough.

Topics I considered but opted against included Purgatory, Quaestio de Aqua et Terra, Riccardo Zandonai, the Dante Society of America (which I’m a member of), and Eclogues. My choice of topics was somewhat more limited, since my theme was so specific, and Italian doesn’t have certain letters.

Luckily, I found art, music, and concepts related to Dante for some of the trickier letters.

For whatever reason, I’ve tended to have bad luck when clicking on links in the master A to Z list the last few years. Many bloggers gave up early or never started, and I even found one without a link. The theme sounded great, but there was no way to check it out from a hyperlink!

Also annoying are blogs without the option to comment or where we have to sign up with a unique-to-the-blogger commenting service, or a really uncommon commenting interface.

As other people have been noticing, participation does seem down in recent years. Then again, the medium of blogging itself has undergone a lot of changes over the past decade. Many of the bloggers I knew 5–10 years ago have entirely stopped blogging or moved to a much more infrequent schedule.

Post recap:

Dante Alighieri
Beatrice Portinari
The Battle of Campaldino
The Divine Comedy
Empyrean
Florence (Firenze), Italy
The Guelphs and the Ghibellines
Hell
Italian language
Jacopo Alighieri
Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss
Brunetto Latini
De Monarchia
Prince Guido Novello II da Polenta
Ovid
Pietro Alighieri
Quartan fever
Ravenna, Italy
A Symphony to Dante’s Divine Comedy
Terza rima
Count Ugolino della Gherardesca
Virgil
The Wood of the Self-Murderers
Xenia
Yesterdays
Zealotry

Since this is Dante’s 700th Jahrzeit year, I’ve got a bunch more thematic posts on tap for the upcoming months. I’m also working very hard on memorizing all 136 lines of Canto I of Inferno (up to the first 43 lines as of 11 May), in both Italian and English, and if I master them in time, I’m going to make a video of myself reciting them on Dante’s Jahrzeit.

I have at least seven more future A to Z themes on tap for my main blog, and I hope I can eventually resume more research-heavy themes on my names blog.

6 thoughts on “A to Z Reflections 2021

  1. That’s a bummer there were people on the list who never started or had blogs with no way to comment.

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  2. Congratulations on completing the A to Z challenge. You had a wonderful theme this year. When I start work on my demons and devil’s book I am going to come back here to get myself back up to speed on Dante and his Divine Comedy.


    Tim Brannan, The Other Side

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  3. Congrats on doing not one, but two A to Z’s, brilliant! I tried it in 1 year but I know now that for me, one is more than enough 🙂 so big respect!

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  4. Congratulations on completing the Challenge succssfully, on not just one but two blogs! And you say you have seven more of these planned? That’s organization!

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  5. Congratulation on your completion of the challenge… though I had no doubt 😉
    I remember reading in the past that you write your challenges so much in advance, and I’m so in awe of that.
    I loved your theme of this year, not just the information you wrote about, but also the pictures. Some of them, I’ve never seen before.
    And I love your plane for this year anniversary and for D-Day (as we call it here in Italy, Dante’s-Day).

    I haven’t taken part in the challenge for as long as you do, but I, too, have seen a steep decline in participation in the last couple of years. But I’m not sure why that is. Yes, I see many new bloggers making simpler, maybe less committing challenges, but this was true for me too when I first took part. It was the challenge that taught me a lot about blogging.
    There seem to be a lot fewer initiatives around the challenge. Three or four years ago, a hashtag on Twitter drummed up the excitement for the challenge some two months in advance. That was a blast, but I haven’t seen it done again. I think the lack of these initiatives might have added to the decline of participation because fewer people know about it. The AtoZ is a serious commitment, and I think many bloggers hesitate to participate, whereas they may be more willing at least to try if more excitement were built during the year.

    But anyway, these are my two cents about it 😉

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