Category Archives: Blogs

Crossings

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Crossings

A river between us, each high on a ridge.
If we’re ever to meet, we must build a bridge.
But it’s hard to accomplish unless we take hand
to collect the cement, the gravel and sand.

So those of us tired of  manual labors—
not given to chitchatting much with our neighbors—
can go on our blogs to find our own kind,
constructing bridges purely of mind.

Blogging is great to bring folks together
on separate continents, in any weather.
We can be lazy, me here and you there,
building our bridges with ease, through the air.

Not over yet! Now click on this URL:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_8KpR49bFI

The prompt today was “bridge.”

Murder, Migraine and La Manzanilla

Murder, Migraine and La Manzanilla

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Feet up at the Tequila Sunset Bar!

Murder, Migraine and La Manzanilla

When I was asked what my three most successful blog postings have been, I hadn’t the foggiest idea how to find out for sure. I knew it had something to do with the stats page, but I didn’t know how to go about finding out the total of views for each post over the years. I accepted the challenge, however, and found that the three topics that have created the most views over the two years plus that I’ve been blogging all start with the letter “M!”

First of all, as my title so clearly states, anything having to do with La Manzanilla, Mexico, where I spend two months of my year, garners immediate views. This is probably because most of my postings about La Manzanilla have been linked to their incredibly popular message board which has a loyal following. If you need something in La Manz from a ride to the airport three towns away to the loan of a charger for your camera to information about your computer, your house or your life—go to the La Manzanilla message board. And, for sure, if you took pictures all along the beach of different campfires and parties on New Years Eve and posted them on your blog, mention it on the La Manzanilla message board.

The third most views I garnered for any one post was a piece I wrote about the murder of two friends, and as the investigation into their murder continued, the international interest in my blog continued. I think the dearth of other information (since the murder occurred in Mexico whereas their families and lifelong friends were in Canada) contributed to people picking up on my blog from Google and Facebook. This is a sad way to earn views and of course that was far from the reason why I continued to write about this most tragic occurrence, but for some reason I wound up as a liaison between Mexican and Canadian friends of the couple, local police and higher up government officials and one local woman who relentlessly pursued the ones she knew were responsible. In the end, one of the men  was caught and sentenced, but I keep hoping that one day I’ll surpass the day’s total for views for one of the days I wrote about their deaths, as every time I see that number in my “top three,” I am reminded of the sad topic of that post.

Also high in the ratings over the past two years was a blog I wrote about migraine headaches. I remember my friend, proof-reader and fellow blog administrator Skyping me that I’d had hundreds of views from Great Britain in the last few minutes and upon investigation, I decided that this must have been due to a web crawler picking up on the work “migraine” and distributing the URL for my blog to its participants. I hope in writing this that I’m interpreting correctly how and why a web crawler works. I can only say that it is exciting to see the numbers mounting, but I don’t delude myself that it was anything but a fluke.

In summary, I guess what I’ve learned from surveying my stats is that what is most important in attracting views is to write about a timely topic you have personal knowledge of—especially if no one else is writing about it. Or, to choose a topic of particular and clearly-defined interest and to find some way to get news of your posting to the particular group that has an interest in it. This might be through your choice of tags, where else you establish a link to your blog or the luck of being picked up by some service that disseminates information to its subscribers.

Ironically, this is something I rarely do and which in all of these cases happened more or less by accident. I think if I were to make these concerns my main consideration in blogging that all of the fun would go out of it. I love the more hit-or-miss option of writing about the Daily Prompt and posting pictures on the daily or weekly prompts given by a handful of prompt sites. If you look at my blog, you will clearly see which ones they are and I furnish links to all of them at the bottom of my posts. It is wonderful to be widely-read but I’d rather have the freedom of writing about what I want to write about and in the style I want to write. In my case, I think the label of my blog could best be described as eclectic. That’s how I like my life and that’s how I like my writing and photos.

The starlings come back to La Manzanilla. (Perhaps they’ve been here all along, but a lack of a stunning sunset in the west last night brought our attention to the southeast, where a lot more was going on thanks to the clouds and the murmuration of thousands of starlings, which I took for bats until Daniel straightened out my thinking by saying they were birds. Meanwhile, he took a break from smoking his cigar to smoke his cigarette.  More about this in a later post!

(Click on first picture to see enlarged photos.)

 

A generous friend with time on his hands sent me links to my top eight most-viewed blog postings.  These are the links he sent:

#1  https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/10/24/la-manzanilla-after-hurricane-patricia/
#2  https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/01/01/sand-in-my-sangria-happy-new-year-2015/
#3  https://judydykstrabrown.com/2014/02/11/upon-the-violent-death-of-a-friend/
#4  https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/10/25/two-more-videos-of-hurricane-patricia-in-la-manzanilla-mexico/
#5  https://judydykstrabrown.com/2014/02/13/nina-discombe-and-edward-kulars-deaths/
#6  https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/11/29/internet-infraction-bogged-down-in-blog/
#7 https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/08/13/dizzy-representative/
#8 https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/03/19/post-migraine-depression/

 

The Prompt: Go to your stats page and find your three most successful posts.  What do they have in common? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-stat-connection/

Ritual

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No “cauldron boil and cauldron bubble” for me.  I’m too busy with a different sort of ritual.

Ritual

Up at eight, feed the dogs.
Back to bed to write some blogs.

Around noon, finally rise.
Open drapes, survey the skies.

It’s really time that I got uppa,
donned some clothes and had a cuppa.

Pull on Levis and a blouse,
Make my sojourn through my house.

Blend a smoothie, drink it down.
Get in my car and drive to town.

Do some shopping, have some lunch
or meet up with my writing bunch.

Go back home to meet my fate–
three dogs barking at my gate!

Throw Morrie’s ball, pat other dogs.
Go back inside and write more blogs.

Post more photos, read the Reader,
then to the garden to be a weeder.

Take some pictures of some blooms.
(Cee’s daily flower posting looms.)

Post the picture, read blogs of others:
Serendipity’s and Mother’s.

Go out to dinner or to dance,
then home to have another chance

to catch up on the blogs I’ve missed––
To see if I’ve been “liked “ or dissed.

By now you’re probably all agog
at how my ritual’s mostly blog!!

 

The Prompt: Just Another Day–Our days our organized around numerous small actions we repeat over and over. What’s your favorite daily ritual?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/just-another-day/

Blog-out

 

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Blog-out

Dark genius sits there pondering and staring at the screen.
His features in reflected light glow a sickly green.
He works his cyber screwdriver slightly to the right.
His only tool––the keyboard––is his weapon in this fight
…………………………………………………………as every blog on WordPress skews slightly all at once.
He’ll show his third grade teacher for calling him a dunce!

He tugs a little here and there, adjusting cyber screws.
And just for fun, he adds a few zeroes to my views.
He knows that I am watching and he senses my excitement.
He chuckles that my false success has been at his incitement.
Then he shuts down the internet––Facebook, WordPress, Twitter.
and my seconds of great happiness turn just as quickly bitter.

Bloggers the world over are turned back onto themselves.
Photos trapped in media files or stacking up on shelves.
No place to reach out for a friend for shut-ins who, once freed
to roam a universe of blogs now sit in dire need
of someone just to talk to. To realize they are there.
They sit staring at their screens, though all of them are bare.

Week after week we wait for our deliverance from this blight.
We miss the internet all day, and even more at night.
I’m thinking about former friends, now lost across the miles,
tripping over poetry surrounding me in piles,
thirsting after comments about every brand new thought.
Having no fast outlet, my brain feels like it’s caught.

Bound up in old creations that have no place to go,
with no easy outlet, the thoughts are coming slow.
Jammed up creativity is worse than constipation,
for writing with no readers is just mental masturbation.
It’s true that I have friends to call and writers’ groups as well.
But they have not the patience to hear all I have to tell.

A blog gives me an avenue to fill out a whole world
with thoughts that for a lifetime, I’ve kept inside, tightly furled.
For those of us who always have felt slightly alone,
the Interweb has seemed a placed created to atone.
In the darkened hours when others are asleep,
we live that midnight life we’ve kept within us, buried deep.

History moves ever onward despite glacier, war or flood.
We see it trailed behind us in footprints etched in blood.
So we’ll survive the cyber war when it comes to pass
by spending more time with our friends, calmly smoking grass
or sharing drinks at Starbucks, devoid of texts or apps,
but we’ll miss our midnight family filling in the gaps.

 

The prompt: Life after Blogs– Your life without a computer: what does it look like?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/life-after-blogs/

Okay, I must add a comment here, where everyone can see it.  See that fifth line in the first stanza, where the line is skewed over to the right?  WordPress doesn’t let you do that.  Every time I put spaces in to make that happen, they erased them.  So, as usual, I prevailed upon my tech expert/volunteer co-blog-administrator okcforgottenman to find a solution.  As you can see above, he found one and I’m not surprised.  What I am surprised about is his solution, that was nothing short of genius!  His solution was to put in a line of periods in front of the line until it was out where I wanted it and then to CHANGE THE COLOR OF JUST THOSE PERIODS TO WHITE!!!!  Tell me that isn’t genius.

How to Write a Blog with Bite!

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How to Write a Blog with Bite!

Have you ever had a hot dog without mustard, onions, relish?
What is a hot dog, after all, but something to embellish?
The same is true of blogging. It has to have some spice––
an interesting title is my opening advice.
Remember your first sentence should invite us in.
An opening poorly stated? The worst blogging sin.
Don’t start you blog apologizing you have naught to say.
If you have nothing for us?  Just don’t write today.
Make your first line snappy, original and clear.
Don’t show your indecision, for you’re the expert here!!!
Nobody else can possibly know where you’re going to go
if you write about a topic where you are in the know.
Hook them with your opening–confident or funny.
Your readers are the buzzing flies. Give them a little honey!
Start right in with your topic with no wandering around.
We shouldn’t have to search for where the real message is found.
A blog is like a fine-tooled belt that you have carved from leather––
not just a pile of sentences that you have heaped together.
Do not use tired comparisons that you have heard before.
Each sentence that you write should be like opening a door
and finding yourself in a world that’s fresh and new and bright.
And then you’ll have a hot dog blog that we will want to bite!!!


Here are some links to just a few of the exceptional blogs that never give short shrift.  Read them every day and their excellence will pull you along with them. Set your standards high and you will soon have a readership that will make you want to excel,  just to keep them happy!! (photo is a stock photo from shutterstock.)

https://redswrap.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/the-old-days-of-big-wine/

https://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/

http://teepee12.com/

https://momshieb.wordpress.com/

okcforgottenman.wordpress.com

https://ourrumblingocean.wordpress.com/

https://yournibblednews.wordpress.com

https://helenmeikle.wordpress.com/

http://thegadabouttown.com/

 

 The Prompt: What’s the key advice you would give to new bloggers:?

Excuses, Excuses

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Excuses, excuses

Posts that wander here and yon
and just go on and on and on
telling why they haven’t “writ?”
Just grab the theme and write of it!
I’m sure that you have much to say,
I look for it day after day.
But please desist your bitch and moan
lest you wind up here alone!
Daily excuses make us yawn.
If you don’t stop, we’ll all be gone!!!

I must admit that I’ve been that blogger who complains about the Daily Prompt.  I’m not talking about the occasional healthy complaint here, but the very few bloggers I’ve found (of course, not you) who seem to have established a blog mainly as a grounds of complaint about why they can’t write!.

The Prompt: Yawn! What bores you? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/yawn/

Familiar Names and Faces

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                                                             Familiar Names and Faces

The extent of my doing something “scary or stressful” nowadays pretty much extends to public speaking, and it is pretty obvious that being surrounded by friends is a definite plus in this situation.  To have an audience devoid of friends probably indicates that one’s friends are not too interested in hearing what one says, and I’m afraid this wouldn’t be too encouraging, would it?  It would be like writing a blog and not recognizing one familiar name on one’s “Like” list or comments. Only the uninitiated dare stray there.

When I return to a blog I’ve written, it is reassuring not only that there are “Likes” and comments, but that in addition to a few new readers that the old familiars are listed there. Some of you have been reading my blog since I first started writing it, and I hope you realize how welcome your regular appearance is.  As blogging takes over my life, you give reassurance that this is not an activity practiced in vain.  Someone really is out there listening–their invisibility shattered by simply hitting the “Like” button or penning a comment.

Perhaps it is vanity that causes us to return here again and again to spill our thoughts across the screen, but I don’t think it is only that. I see us all as members of a vast worldwide audience who are simply taking our turn to try to bring what we can to this great internet stew.  Like the old “Stone Soup” story, each of us brings what we can to add to the brew and in doing so we create an incredible and rich dish to share with all!

Thanks for being my familiars.  I have been enriched by being yours as well.

 

The Prompt: Witness Protection–When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/witness-protection/