Tag Archives: Blogs

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.

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/

The Missing Link

                                                          The Missing Link

IMG_4820                                                              Leave a Link?

In the past few months, I’ve started leaving a link when I comment on other people’s blogs.  I had done this in the past, thinking it would make it easier for them to find material written by me that is pertinent to what they have talked about in their blog.  Then I read an article on a blog advice site that said this was tacky and made it look like you were just reading and commenting on another blog to advertise your own.  Embarrassed, I stopped posting any links.

Very promptly, a viewer complained, asking why I hadn’t included a link as she had grown to depend upon them.  I used this as permission to resume the practice.  Since then I have never had a complaint about leaving links, but I’ve had at least a dozen bloggers thank me for doing so.  It makes it so much easier to find the correct spot on my blog that I think they might be interested in, or in some cases, just helps direct them to new material they might have missed if they posted after I did.

I’ve found that this has given birth to so many more conversations and in fact I’ve found the blogging world to be a warm and caring and interactive place–partially due to the facility with which people can find my own thoughts about topics they themselves have written about.

So, dear blogging friends and friends to be, if you are making a comment to me about a specific blog of your own that I’ve commented upon, perhaps you’d consider including a link back to that post on your blog, since by the time I receive your comment on my comment, I’ve probably forgotten the name of your post or how to find it.

I’d love to comment on your comment and since there is so much to write and see and read each day, the less time spent searching the better!  The same is true when you read my blog about a topic you’ve written about.  I would love to read your thoughts.  Help me out by giving a link!!

I’m interested in how you feel about this matter.  Do you feel “used” when I include a link with comments?  That is not the intention.

And now, here is a link back to the Daily Post site:  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/daily-ritual/

My 1000th Blog Post

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                                                                     My 1000th Blog Post !!!!

When I made my first blog entry on NaPoWriMo, taking the big step to commit to one posting a poem a day for 30 days, it seemed like a task I might not be able to complete.  I made the pledge to myself nonetheless, perhaps knowing my own nature and my dislike of not fulfilling obligations.  I made it, sometimes in the nick of time.  I think one posting was made at 65 seconds before midnight, thanks to a power outage and earlier obligations which kept me from posting first thing in the morning, as I usually did.

My days during that first month of daily postings went pretty much as they go now: 8:30, let the dogs out and see if the prompt was posted yet.  9:30–last possible moment to feed the dogs without Frida going into an apoplexy of barks.  By noon, my poem was usually written and posted, but sometimes the internet went out.  Sometimes workmen came.  Sometimes the electricity went off.  Other than these mitigating circumstances outside of myself, posting was always first priority.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was my first ever picture posted on my blog, on September 12, 2012. This fountain of a Mayan woman is long deceased, having been knocked into the pool by a visiting workman, repaired and repainted, then again knocked in by either my gardener or dog–a different report according to who was speaking. This time, she was unrepairable, so parts of her reside separately in different parts of my garden.IMG_8669_2-1I didn’t post any more pictures until March, 2013.  This is one of the pictures I posted then that I used for the cover of my book, Lessons from A Grief Diary–which was initially my purpose in starting a blog, but after my initial posts and a few replies by readers and friends, my posts were few and far between until April, when I participated in my first NaPoWriMo.  After that month of posting a poem a day, I made  almost no posts again until April of 2014 when I again participated in NaPoWriMo.  It was at the end of that 30 day period that I decided to just keep going by doing the WordPress daily prompt, initially posting every day, then gradually adding photo prompts and occasional challenge prompts from viewers, up until the present day, when my record total number of posts per day reached 9 one day this past week.

I had no idea I had made that many until I read it on my stats page. I was sure they were wrong, but they weren’t. So it is official.  I am obsessed by blogging.  Not only writing them but reading them and conversing with other bloggers.  I love that I am in daily communication with interesting bloggers from India, Nigeria, Australia, the States, Canada  and other points all over the world.  Iceland. Greenland, Mongolia, Kenya and Indonesia.  Too many more to name.  I know what is going on with women’s rights in India and Journalist’s rights in Saudi Arabia.  I know that this week a Nigerian king cannot be buried because the man who has been raised from birth to accompany him to the grave (and by this euphemism, I mean to be buried alive with him, as in the style of Egyptian pharaohs) has run away!

I know that a good blogging friend’s beloved dog has passed away but I also know intimate details of the most important dolls in her life.  I know that my friend Judy King, who lives here in Mexico, had a Tiny Tears doll, as did I and I know the worries of a sixteen year old girl, a friend again looking for employment, the sadness of a twinless twin.  I have met nomads, travelers, photographers, introverts, shut-ins, journalists, and those fighting bravely for the security and safety of their transgendered friends.  It is incredible how the world has opened up for me in the nearly two years I have been seriously blogging.

A friend told me very early in my blogging life that she didn’t get it.  To her it just looked like an exercise in ego to be posting a blog each day.  I don’t think she’s ever looked at my blog.  Nor has another close friend who likes all of my books but who says she “Doesn’t do blogs!”  Other friends read and comment, knowing that even though a message isn’t sent exclusively for them and to them that it can still be personal and interesting and true.

In blogging we expand our circle–like a group telephone conversation on Skype or a support group or interest group. Blogging is the corner bar minus the drinks, the pot party where no one inhales, the slumber party not limited exclusively to girls. Very rapidly, it has become one of the most important parts of my life.  What I wake up for.  Where I go when I need advice or I’m feeling blue.

Some blogging friends have moved through my life and disappeared.  Most of them are mothers with a lot else to do, so I understand.  But others have come to take their place and I am constantly surprised by what it is that they respond to.  A recent posting with pictures of my favorite dolls of the past, posted exclusively for a friend who collects dolls, drew interest from men and from Judy King, whom I mentioned earlier–a journalist friend who wrote pages in my comments section–a wonderful story of her favorite doll that I hope she develops into a story some day.

Every day when I force myself to leave my house and go back out into the physical world, I meet people who, when they hear my name, say, “Oh yes.  I read your blog!”  People I did not know in my own small community as well as surrounding towns have become supporters, occasionally noting on Facebook or in my comments section that they are daily readers of my blog.  I’ve heard from kids I went to high school with, college friends I haven’t seen in 50 years–even one old boyfriend of my sister’s (when she was 12)  whom I had never even met when we both lived back in South Dakota.

I have reconnected with my favorite cousin’s wife and daughter, my high school principal’s ex-wife, who it seems was a friend of my older sisters in high school and who was there when those pictures of me and my friends in Johannsen’s dam were taken.  She and my sister were the ones who had driven us to the dam to swim!  And, in a remarkable coincidence, I’ve heard from Douglas Johannsen, whose uncle owned the dam!

Long story short, I’m not accepting the charge that I am writing a blog purely out of ego.  Yes, in writing it I am recording a life, but I am also making one.  And what a big big life it has turned out to be!

Thanks to all my funny, smart, loyal, dedicated, varied, weird, uncategorizable blogging friends.  I wish I could send you all a piece of cake or glass to lift.  Instead, I send you a slice of my life because you have sent to me so many slices of yours, and they were delicious!!!

And so, on to the next 1000!!!!

# (Today’s prompt is to pledge allegiance to what you believe in, so I pledge allegiance to the United World of Blogging!)

NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 4: Internet Appetizers

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Internet Appetizers

Casting our nets wider,
we gather matching minds and hearts
like small silver fish–
just a tiny bite, each one,
trying to fill a big appetite.
No big fish
to struggle to land.
Just nibbles,
one after another,
taking the edge off our hungers.

The Prompt: Write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows. Try to write a poem that expresses the feeling of love or lovelorn-ness without the traditional trappings you associate with the subject matter.

This subject seemed to grow when it came time to do my Daily Post on WordPress.  To see more of what I’ve said, at greater length, go HERE.

The Old Ones Deign to Tweet

The Old Ones Deign to Tweet
(With Character Counts)

Immanuel Kant
on the subject of building “platforms” for
blogs, websites, Twitter accounts or Facebook:

. . . the favor of the multitude is seldom got by honest and lawful means.
Seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.
(140)
*

Charles Dickens
on the subject of tweeting, texting , e-mailing, or other social media:

Electric communication will never be a substitute
for the face of someone who with their soul
encourages another person to be brave and true.
(140)
*

Mark Twain:
On the subject of those (like me) who resist
tweets, texts and ubiquitous handheld devices:

One who stops learning is old, whether 20 or 80.
One who keeps learning stays young.
The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young.
(140)
*

Me:
And, a further comment about those tweets:

Mind without heart conveys no wisdom.
Where brevity is the only rule,
larger truths may be lost. (96)

We must remember that “character” has two meanings
and count our truths as closely
as we count our keystrokes.
(109)

How to Make your Blog a Viewer Magnet! by Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh

Make your blog writing top heavy. Leave your introduction and exposition and background and picture and video for the end of your blog piece. A lot of people use the WordPress Reader to decide if they will read or like your story. If all they see is a picture or a reason why you wrote the piece instead of the writing itself, people (I know I have) will skip your piece. For example, if it’s in response to a writing prompt or exercise, put that information at the end.

Also, the most important sentence or stanza is your first one. Make it count. Make it interesting.

Try it! If you see a difference in your stats after a few days, let me know!

If you would like me to check out a specific piece by you, check out my About section for details.

Thanks for your time and attention. I hope I find you in times of great creative energy

Want More Attention? Episode 1, 22 ThursdayJan 2015 Posted by in Writing.  Be sure to check out  her blog.

Note by Judy:  The above short essay by Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh gives such good advice that I’ve reblogged it here. I’d like to add that your title is all-important.  If your title is just the title of the prompt, there is nothing to distinguish you from 100 other posters.  Make your title a magnet that will draw in your reader.  I always scan the response page to the prompt, looking for intriguing titles.  I read those first, then go back and start at the end and read backwards, thinking there might be more meat in pieces that haven’t been dashed off immediately as soon as the prompt is posted.  There are exceptions, of course, but with so much to read, this approach works for me.  In addition to The Reader, of course.  Happy blogging!  Judy

Romancing the Word

The Prompt: Oil, Meet Water—Of the people who are close to you, who is the person most unlike you? What makes it possible for you to get along?

Romancing the Word

Scrabble, Dice and Mexican Train—
I play them once and then again,
while he won’t play a single game
of any sort or any name.

I like to travel. He sits at home.
Walmart’s as far as he will roam.
Won’t go to movie theaters, clubs,
exhibitions, galleries, pubs,

museums, fiestas, meetings, for
such crowding makes him hit the door.
Tourist attractions leave him numb
and make him wonder why he’s come.

I fill my house with Mexican art
that drains my purse but fills my heart,
but my artful clutter makes him frown.
His décor? Purely hand-me-down.

I like people. He sits alone.
His desk chair is his chosen throne
where he supervises the internet—
the biggest nerd you’ve ever met.

I dance whenever I’ve the chance,
but you might have guessed—he doesn’t dance!
He’s six-foot-two. I’m five-foot-six.
Yet tall and short just seem to mix.

I know our friends and family
find us an anomaly.
for these differences are just a start.
We’re 1600 miles apart!

So how can he be my best friend
when our differences never end:
a scorpion talking to a crab,
a Chihuahua running with a Lab?

What makes our congress less absurd?
We’re both addicted to the written word!
We both love puns and definition.
Apostrophe errors? Pure sedition!

While other folks discuss Obama,
we dissect uses of the comma.
We discuss dashes from en to em,
and how the world misuses them!

Splitting hairs but not infinitives,
sound editing advice he gives
for everything I write online.
If words were grapes, he’d strip the vine

of sour grapes and slugs and weeds
and after he had done these deeds,
the wine would pour more sweet and rare,
culled out by his loving care.

And so it goes here on my blog.
In its machine he is a cog—
mending lost links and feeling free
to cut that spare apostrophe.

To wrestle errant prepositions,
question faulty suppositions,
to polish off each word writ wrong
until a ditty becomes a song.

We meet each day on the cyber page
that is the parchment of our age.
While you meet others of your type
at coffee bars, we meet on Skype.

Our discourse clever, funny, rare.
We do not pine and ache and stare
eye-to-eye hour after hour.
For us, it’s words that carry power.

(Here) is another response to this prompt that I loved! It is by Sam Rappaz.  Check her out!

Vanity Depressed

Today, I received the below email from a well-known organization that reviews children’s books:

Dear Judy Dykstra-Brown,

Thank you for your interest in XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Unfortunately, we can’t review books from vanity presses like CreateSpace*. For more of our submission guidelines, please see our website here: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

XXXXXXXXXX
Editorial Assistant
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

*note from Judy: CreateSpace is a company within Amazon that aids self-publishing authors in formatting,, printing and distributing their books.

My feelings about being labeled a “vanity press” author will be best expressed by displaying here the letter I wrote back to the assistant who had written the letter:

Dear XXXXXXXX,

I thank you for your prompt reply to my inquiry.

Although I certainly understand your reasons for not wanting to consider privately published material, I would like to bring one matter to your attention.

I have been writing for over 50 years. I have written and published three books, published nearly 40 articles in print and online magazines, won a national first prize for my poetry, edited a poetry journal and now coordinate a popular poetry series. I am in the process of having five more children’s books illustrated and working on a novel and two poetry anthologies. In my early career, I taught literature and writing for ten years and edited a teenage poetry anthology.

I mention these facts to explain why I feel it is an insult to have my decision to publish my own work called a “vanity”. Certainly, I am aware of the term, just as I am aware of other racial and physically derogatory terms that were once considered the norm but which in an enlightened age have come to be recognized as insulting and prejudicial.

May I ask your group to consider not using the term “vanity press” as a blanket term for self-published material?

I thank you for your efforts to reward excellent work in the field of children’s literature.

Best Regards,
Judy Dykstra-Brown

I would be most interested in other bloggers’ thoughts about this matter. Is blogging, also, considered just another “vanity” means of expression? I know that a great deal of status is attached to being published by a recognized publishing company, but do all writers who choose another path deserve to have their efforts considered as mere vanity? Is that our main goal?  Is that what we deserve to be labelled as?  Is it too much to ask to be labelled as what in truth we are—self-published?

Frida Kahlo had two gallery exhibitions in her entire lifetime. One of her paintings just sold for 5 million dollars!!! Were her artistic endeavors, in her lifetime, mere vanities? What of Van Gogh? Or Emily Dickinson? Only a few of Franz Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime. Johann Sebastian Bach was widely known as an organist, but his fame as a composer occurred after his death. Henry David Thoreau could not find a publisher for many of his works.

Certainly, I am no Emily Dickinson or Henry David Thoreau, and those who go through the rigors and humiliations of trying to find an agent and publisher certainly deserve plaudits for possessing determination as well as talent. I admit that I have neither the inclination nor the energy to jump through the hoops necessary to find a “legitimate” publisher. I just want to write, and I will not accept the label of “vanity” being attached to my writing.

Yes, I am proud of my efforts in doing all of the work myself that a publisher and editor normally do. Yes, I am proud of the fact that I have continued to write for 50 years with very little monetary recompense. But I don’t think my need to be heard is prompted by vanity any more than the determination of professionally published authors is.  We write because we need to write. It is a drive and what, in my case, gives meaning to my life. If that is vanity, then long live vanity! But please say it behind my back—not as an official representative of your guild or company or association or library or agency or board of merit.

Now I will climb down off my soapbox and get back to work on what I do for love, not vanity. If I’ve struck a chord, please add your voice to my protest by publishing your comments on my blog.

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