500 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. . . Or is that 99?

Can’t you just hear the music? That grating, endless round we sang as kids, that we used to purposely irritate each other as teens, and again in college? Hell, I don’t even like beer, but I can picture everything from pale ale to dark lager as soon as I catch a measure of that tune.

Of course, if memory serves, it was 99 bottles of beer and not 500, and my personal preference would be for French wine no matter what the number. But now I’ve got that damn ditty stuck in my mind – and apologies if I just inflicted it on you.

Incidentally – have you ever Googled 500? As numbers go, it’s quite a milestone, immersed in lore (and lure) of its own.

Apparently, there really are people who’ve taken the mind-numbing 99 bottles of beer on the wall to new lows by ratcheting the count up to 500. Then there’s the Indianapolis 500, 500 ways to look at modern art (thank you, Art Institute of Chicago), 500 Days of Summer (yet another movie I’ve missed), 500 ways to annoy your roommate (what’s not to love about that?) – and though I never found 500 ways to meet a French man in urban America, my morning meanderings were all about this particular preoccupation involving one five followed by an 00-la-la of zeroes.

So please pick your poison and raise a glass (Dixie Cup, favorite mug) and join me in a moment of navel-gazing at my Daily Plate of Crazy for my 500th post.

Of course, in reality, it’s more. Not known for my lack of rambling (or rhyming), there are pages of paragraphs that were whisked away to subtler spots – tidbits on everything from a libido questionnaire, to recipes, to making love with chronic pain.

Why on earth have I written all this?

Sometimes I wonder. Really. Yet it is – and always was – about stretching, about adherence to self-set deadlines, about a writer’s necessary practice. And it’s much more – a desire for whimsy, for whatever catches my fancy, for engagement – words wanting their out, and a place where I may learn from their lead.

Many of us have elaborated on why we care so deeply about this form of expression in a conspicuously public forum. We expose our sorrows, seek solace in others, paint pictures, ignite discussion, solicit advice or give it. We participate in non-dialog dialog, offering vulnerability on the altar of anonymity, occasionally self-indulgence, and more frequently – community, even intimacy – both of which may be scarce in our frenzied, overflowing, emotionally isolated lives.

As for my writing ritual, I noticed the numbers on my dashboard indicating this would be my 500th published post. It’s hardly “news at 11” though it may be cause for a glass of Moet, Bordeaux or that frothy beer. It’s a minor milestone, to me – a reflection of commitment, of obsession, of discipline and even diversion.

If I struggle through mornings that maul my much-favored verbs (forced to tiptoe through the mine fields of lesser parts of speech), I still insist on showing up, on remaining faithful to my muddle of mischief mixed with meaning, to pontificating on the perils of parenting, worrying about women’s real lives, and exploring my passions – hoping to hook you, just a little.

500 published bits of online writing?

No – 500 self-serving statements that I. am. here. And possibly, connective tissue, plucking at a refrain that is anything but jaunty:

500 attempts to never say die, 500 assertions that I retain a voice, 500 glimpses into a life like any other, 500 reminders that we may each contribute to clarity, 500 ways to whisper – I am not alone.

© D A Wolf



    • BigLittleWolf says

      Thanks, Nicki, Jane, SM, Jack! “Pounding out” is right, Jack. And I’ve got the worn keyboard (and lack of fingernails) to prove it. (And I wait for most movies to hit cable, Jane. Only the most exceptional will get me into a crowded theater at the ridiculous price of a ticket, not to mention some popcorn.)

  1. says

    500 posts is “news at 11” for me! Congratulations – especially after my oh-so-non-scientific-research revealed how many (lots and gobs) bloggers go belly up after just a few posts. Oh, and 500 Days of Summer? It seemed clever in the first 15 minutes or so but then went downhill fast for me. If you have cable, wait for it there.

  2. says

    That’s beautiful! I am very proud of your accomplishment. I just started my blog, but now that I have I enjoy the release of the words because it helps just getting them out there. I think, for me, the blog is about that, but also about growing and figuring out who I am, really, on a deeper level than just a mom and woman. It seems like you’ve gotten something back for your time and writings–at least personally–and that’s really all any of us can hope for! Here’s hoping to another 500!

  3. says

    Keep up the good work. I pound out posts by the dozen, but I am not sure that the quality is always what I would like it to be. There is merit to producing less of a higher quality.

    You do it quite well.

  4. says

    Your tweet said “Milk and Cookies? Wine and cheese? Pale or dark lager?” and I just had to stop by and say “Pale AND dark lager”. In other words a “half and half” or “black and tan”. There are lots of variations, but the next time you are in a pub and up for trying a beer, try it out. Half Guinness and half Harp. When done well, the the Guinness floats on top of the Harp, making for a nice visual effect too. Happy 500th!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Half Guiness-Half Harp, CCD? For real? That’s not like mixing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir? (I may have to try it just for the interesting visual!) Nice to hear from you.

  5. says

    Congratulations 500 is huge. Since we don’t often get past 20 in my house without skipping something or circling back for a repeat of 16, it seems gargantuan. Hooray for retaining our voices and using them.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Thanks Kate. I’m not generally a “quantity” woman (I’m more about quality), but the number struck me this week, as I was about to reach it. And yes – let’s hear it for using our voices, and preferably for something good!

  6. Angela says

    Congrats to you, keep up the good work. You could have also added to your list a lager top (beer with a splash of lime added to the top) next time your in a pub you can try it.

  7. says

    I’d call that a cause for celebration, BLW! I admire you for your prolificness (apparently that IS a word) and the quality of the writing and content of your posts. I would love to one day have the time to click through your archives as I’m sure there are hours of laughing, smiling and deep-thinking there for me. xo

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Well Belinda, if I actually liked beer, I could open one. Maybe I’ll crack a bottle of red after all. . . and thank you for the good words. Likewise – your site is rich with provocative posts. Oh, for time to sit back and enjoy.

  8. says

    Félicitations! :-)

    500 is a really big milestone! And though you may be more interested in quality over quantity, you should still be proud because the quality is never compromised. Bravo!

    And, although I do enjoy a cold beer (or two, or three!) sometimes, I definitely prefer a glass of red wine any day!

    (and LOL @Stacia and her bottle of Merlot!)

  9. says

    I am a beer (dark, preferably amber) and wine (red please) type. You, my dear, deserve both for your 500th. OK, maybe you should just stick to your preference, but you know what I’m saying :)

    And this? “500 attempts to never say die, 500 assertions that I retain a voice, 500 glimpses into a life like any other, 500 reminders that we may each contribute to clarity, 500 ways to whisper – I am not alone.”

    AMEN. 500 times. 1000 times. AMEN.

  10. says

    And we are so glad you keep going. So bravo! Your wisdom and perspective are a brightly light in my day. I can’t always make it here (thought I wish that I could), but I never regret when I do. And this post is particularly timely for me. I’m only 140 in and I’m struggling, struggling to figure it all out and even if I should continue. Really. I don’t know. A part of it is about discipline for certain, and for a person like me (and you) who actually write for a living it’s a creative outlet to grow my talent and write what I want to write. But it has other problems, problems that aren’t so easy to move beyond. So thank you for this – once again you’ve helped to create some perspective for me.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      You are incredibly kind. Thank you, Christine. (And believe me, it’s a struggle, many days, but I’ve made writing my morning vitamin. Now I’m dependent!)

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