Dina L. Relles

writer. editor. curious + common.

Last week, I wrote a post reflecting on these first months of writing. I loved writing it, sharing it, and reading people’s reactions. As circular as it may seem, writing (and reading!) about writing is one of my favorite things.

{A brief digression, because my setting as I write this seems worth mentioning: I’m sitting in the rocking chair where I nursed my sons, window open, with a view of our local park. I haven’t written here before; I’m not sure why. Perhaps because it’s all the way on the 3rd floor of our vertical row home, but truly, it’s perfect.}

In that post from last week, I mentioned that I was considering changing the name of this blog from Coffee, Kids, and Common Things to simply “Common Things” and asked readers to weigh in.

The original name had grown cumbersome, and, I felt, didn’t truly reflect what the site was about. It was more of a distraction that a draw. Of course, I love coffee. And I love my kids. And they both fuel my writing more than most anything. But after a few months of writing regularly, I’ve realized that the recurring theme, the real heart of my content are “common things” – either finding beauty in the ordinary, mundane, everyday, or reflections on those things we all have in common, that bring people closer together—like fear, love, parenthood, a desire to feel less alone.

Then, my wise, thoughtful uncle (-in law, actually) George, from his corner of the world clear across the country, left a comment that said simply:

As for the title, if you decide to change it, consider “Commonplace.” This is perhaps an archaic term but it fits. I keep a book of Commonplace on my computer, a collection of quotes and ideas that contain wisdom and meaning…much like your writing.

Aha! Light bulb moment. I read his comment before a long walk, and as I traveled the distance between 17th & Spruce and home, I fell in love.

I love that this new name evokes many things:

This blog.

Which I always hoped would become a place where people could virtually gather, feel understood, and know that they are not alone—that we’re in this crazy beautiful life together. That at least someone out there “gets it.” After all, while done in solitude, reading and writing is, at its core, about connecting with others through words.

Our beloved stoop-sitting.

Which transforms our private home into more of a common place indeed.

Parenting groups.

As a first-time mom, my weekly parenting class and breastfeeding support group became key sources of support and strength. The voices of those other new mothers and our insightful facilitator are still the ones in my head as I navigate parenting, one day, one decision at a time. As a participant with my third son, parenting class was where I first worked through my epiphany that I wanted to change direction and do prenatal and postpartum support work—including facilitating similar groups for the next generation of new mothers.

At their core, new moms (or dads) groups serve the critical purpose of bringing new parents together, of giving them that common place to feel supported, less alone—and realize that, indeed, their concerns, fears, struggles are shared, commonplace even. Burdens feel lighter when you share them with others.

Making the world feel a little bit smaller.

Which arguably is the central theme of this blog, my writings, energies, and thoughts. My writing, this site, is about creating community, finding common ground, discovering that which is universal despite difference.

For years (and still today), I snapped pictures of windows and doors wherever I’d go. New York City doors, Santorini, Greece doors, Florence, Italy doors. I found these to be consistently and breathtakingly beautiful, everywhere.


Italy Door

There is truly beauty in the everyday; meaning in the mundane.







Parenting itself challenges and inspires us to find the beauty in the often rote routine of our daily lives, in the seemingly smallest moments–to see the world anew through our children’s eyes.


While writing this, it occurred to me that I had used this very word—commonplace—in a different post just last week, when I was describing why I’m so committed to sitting on our front stoop with my kids. The exact quote was,

“I want them to marvel at the commonplace, the everyday. To not need anything more. The landscape of our city street, these passers-by, this steady rhythm of life being lived. This is entertainment enough.”

Commonplace. Yes…the more I thought about it, the more perfect it felt. Given my recent career shift, I truly believe it’s never too late to make a change–if it’s what feels right.

It’s fitting that the name of this site would be communally conceived. In the comments section. Where it’s not just my voice, but collective wisdom that governs.

Together, we can discover the beauty in the everyday, that there is more that unites us than divides, that we are more alike than we are different—that we share this space, this place.

This Commonplace.

Welcome home.



3 thoughts on “Welcome (Back) to Commonplace

  1. It’s so wonderful when we come upon something, like this name, and then realize we had already used it/known it in some way. Commonplace is perfect. xoxo

    1. Yes…like it was right there with us all along. But I love that it took another person, a reader, to draw it out and hold it up before me. There’s something magical about the way our words can affect others, who in turn affect us. And how sometimes it can take another person to help us see ourselves clearly.

This is your place, too...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: