Versatile Blogger Award

Marilyn Armstrong:

A big thank you to Tim Neath for giving me a great start to 2014! If you aren’t already following him, he does fantastic movie reviews. Check him out. And thanks again, Tim!

Originally posted on timneath:

The Vesatile Blogger AwardWhat a way to start the year, only a few posts in and I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger award, thanks to vinnieh. A big thanks to the fellow film fan, please check out his thoughtful reviews!!

This is not the first time I have received the award, which entails a list of short tasks to carry out and spread the love that comes with the award.

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Include a link to their blog.
  3. Select 15 bloggers you follow and want to pass the award onto.
  4. Nominate the 15 bloggers and inform them of it.
  5. Finally, list seven interesting facts about yourself.

With the first two checked off I shall announce my winners below. Of course there are many more than 15, which always make it harder to choose.

  1. patternsthatconnext
  2. Serendipity
  3. In Search of Lost Pictures
  4. Painters Progress
  5. Russel Ray…

View original 186 more words

WE’VE COME A LONG WAY

When you look back at your blog on January 2, 2015, what would you like to see?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us PROGRESS.

I like the way my site is developing. I like the people who visit, the folks  I’m getting to know. I even believe I’m making progress with writing shorter, pithier pieces — with fewer typos — but it wouldn’t be Serendipity without a few mistakes, right?

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A year from now? I hope WordPress has added more formatting options for text, especially the ability to change fonts and font sizes on the fly. Otherwise? I’m a pretty happy camper!

One REALLY big wish: WordPress, are you listening? Please make the reader part of the statistical hit count. It’s a great tool, especially when you follow a lot of blogs and have limited time to visit, but the bloggers you visit via the Reader don’t get the “credit” for your visit … which seems kind of unfair.

Otherwise, I think I’ll just keep on doing what I do and hopefully will still be around to worry about it a year from now. Blog happy, my friends.

SERENDIPITY’S 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW – FROM WORDPRESS

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. It always amuses me that my most popular post — for two years in a row — was that article on the 2012-2013 première episode of Criminal Minds. But my analysis shows that though they don’t get viral numbers, other pieces have done well — and have had a surprisingly long shelf life, with people searching them out and reading them long after initial publication. It’s been a fun 22 months with Serendipity. Now, with Rich Paschall aboard and maybe about to have a little more written input from our own Garry Armstrong, we’ll be even better in 2014.

Hope you’ve having a great New Year … and keep having it for years to come.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 78,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

BYE BYE 2013 – THANKS TO ALL MY FRIENDS!

As we approach the final days of 2013, I looked at the numbers for 2012 and 2013. It’s hardly a fair comparison. I only started blogging in February of 2012 and didn’t get serious about it until late summer. Moreover, November of 2012 was an amazing month for bloggers. Between Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election, the Internet was firing on all cylinders. Almost everyone was involved to some degree. I got my highest ever numbers that month. I’ll probably never get higher numbers, unless we have another set of overlapping events that rivets national attention on the media.

Overall, this has been a good year. Not a vast number of visitors each day, but faithful followers who really read, look and share. I know there are more out there who read the emails and don’t visit my home planet and others who use the Reader and thus don’t register in the statistics (why is that? Anyone know?) … but regardless, I’m satisfied. As Mercutio said “Tis enough. T’will serve.”

STATS 2012-2013

December isn’t finished yet, but it will be no better than the low-end of average. The holidays were slow on balance, at least for me. I wrote less too as I got busy with other things.  I’m beginning to cut down on the number of items I post each day. Not only can I not keep up that pace, but I was beginning to feel like a spammer. Time to ease back on the throttle.

I got 77,000+ hits this year and long since passed 100,000 total hits. When that happened, my internal pressure dropped. I had made my point, at least to myself. I had an audience. When I passed 1000 followers — and the number keeps growing to my amazement — I felt I’d arrived pretty much where I wanted to be. I have readers, people who regularly visit and like my work.

I’m better, too. Practice and all that, my photography and writing have improved. Writing is tighter, crisper, more to the point. And shorter, which makes it less daunting to write and read. I have a couple of co-editors — Rich Paschall and my husband Garry — to help carry this site forward and give it some variety and texture. Ideas and stories from someone who isn’t me. I’m hoping to find one more steady contributor, but I can take my time. To quote Michael Valentine Smith, “Waiting is.”

I never did have a specific point to make. I didn’t start blogging for some special reason or in support of a particular cause or viewpoint. I don’t think I could stick to one thing and do it every day. I’d get bored. I can’t even decorate a room in one consistent style. I once thought to satisfy my eclectic artistic sense, I would need a huge house or castle. I’d have to decorate each room in a different motif. Then it would be like The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. You could walk through the house and each room would represent an historical period with appropriate furnishings, architecture, art and artifacts. Wouldn’t that be awesome? It’s a nice thought, yes?

When I get down to reality, not merely do I not have that kind of money, but who would clean that museum? The dusting alone would require a small army. Nope. Just have to keep life smaller.

Thank you all for coming to read my stuff, look at my pictures. Your comments, feedback, votes of confidence have meant the world to me. You fuel me with ideas and it’s often in responding to your comments I know what I want to say. Without you, it would be a dull and disconnected life.

BEFORE YOU ASK, YES, IT’S A DIFFERENT (SLIGHTLY) TEMPLATE

This is a slightly different template. I wanted something with just a bit more structure and a bigger selection of post styles. It’s not a lot different from the previous one, even wider than Able (this is Zoren). It’s very wide and I notice it mostly when I’m writing because the lines are much longer than I am used to. I haven’t decided whether or not I like it, but I need to work with it for a while to see.

Zoren template

Otherwise, it’s got the column on the right rather than the left and what I think are somewhat easier to read typefaces. I like the layout of the blog title above the graphic. The template allows using a full-size picture below the title, but I’m trying to keep them small to make loading the blog less difficult for people who use portable devices.

I welcome feedback!!

My WordPress wish list includes a nicer holiday template to use for the next few weeks. They only have one — a bit squinchy for photography. Oh well. Let it snow!

999 BEFORE THE CRASH – STATS AND STATS

Stats OverallShortly before our ISP crashed and burned last night, I took a look at my statistics. Just before midnight, I had 999 followers. WordPress followers. Not including comment followers, Tumbler, Twitter, Facebook or anything else. On my most active day in November — a good month statistically and quality-wise — I got 300 hits from 162 people.

Where are the other 838 followers? I know I’m not the only one to ask this question. I have no doubt more than half of them are spammers, hoping to find a way to hook me for some nefarious purpose. Some are impulse follows. They liked a picture or a post and clicked follow, but have no enduring interest and never visit again.

Let’s say that accounts for 75% of what today’s statistics show as 1004 followers.

Despite the rolling peaks and valleys of hit counts, the number of people who visit Serendipity is relatively stable. Typically, it runs between 75 and 150 individuals, averaging around 100 on a “regular” day, almost all of which come in during the late afternoon and evening.

What changes more is how many articles they read, how many pictures they click on. Sometimes, the number of visitors is quite low, but the hit count is very high, meaning that each visitor hit 3 or more posts per visit. I feel very successful when I see that. Raw numbers are one thing, but seeing what people really read gives me an idea what you appreciate. If it’s something I’m especially proud of, I’m doubly pleased.

Who is everyone else? Are you real? Do you look at the email but never come to the site? Are you following through the Reader from which statistics do not count? And why don’t Reader hits count? Does anyone know? I love using the Reader. It’s a great tool that lets me identify stuff I want to spend more time exploring, but also gives me a chance to “say hello” to others bloggers without eating my entire day. But, great tool or not, I’m hesitant to use it — saving it for when I’m most pressed for time — because I know it doesn’t register statistically.

We may deny we track our stats … but we all track our stats, one way or the other. It’s the only way to get a grip on how well we are doing.

Big Stats

No answers. Still, I’d like to know who you are and what you liked that made you follow … and why you don’t participate more actively?  I’ve never been Freshly Pressed either (are you embarrassed to visit an unrecognized site?). I think am close to a world record for non-recognition.

Whatever brought you to me — spammers, you may leave the room — thank you. To all who come and visit, to everyone who reads the emails or checks me out in the reader. Whatever your reason or method, you are welcome and I hope you find what you are looking for.

Spammers, please ignore this message.

A REMARKABLE THING HAPPENED

Something happened yesterday that never happened before. An angry exchange became friendly. Because I was able to step back, realize that my “opponent” was not my enemy. I pulled back and gave him a chance to back off too. We both benefited.

SwansWatercolor_05 - Marilyn Armstrong

It happens all the time on the Internet. We get into heated exchanges and forget we aren’t enemies. I have hot buttons. If someone pushes one of those buttons, I react. Without caution or intelligence. Ungraciously, I lash out because I was a battered child and sometimes, battered wife.

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The shadows of bad experiences don’t completely disappear, no matter how much therapy we get, how much we forgive. Fear and rage seem to come out of nowhere. Sometimes, I see someone else reacting like me. Which lets me do what I did yesterday — step back, take a breath and cool down.

It reminds me of one of my favorite creaky old science fiction movies, Forbidden Planet (1956). In the end, the civilization of the Krel was destroyed by monsters from the Id, by which they meant the unconscious. We are more sophisticated today and use different terminology, but the concept remains sound.

I am always in danger from my personal demons. The nasty ones I don’t even know are lurking. Everyone has demons — no one has lived a pain-free life.

A remarkable thing happened. Yesterday, a fight ended without bitterness before anyone said something unforgivable. How cool is that, eh?

TOO MUCH INFORMATION? AN INTERVIEW WITH ME.

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I’m not sure how much more anyone could possibly want to know about me. I suspect this post may wander far into the realm of “too much information.”

However, suzie81′s Blog suggested these questions. They’re interesting and I’ve never answered anything quite like them before. And why not, eh?

Here goes:

1. Why have you chosen your blog name?

I’ve always loved the word “serendipity” and the way it feels between my teeth. It’s a very satisfying word and it’s so me!

2. When you have an hour of free-time, what do you do?

I’m always doing something. Reading for a review, listening — for other reviews. Taking pictures, processing pictures. Writing my blog, reading other blogs. But I’ve always been busy. Idle time is a frame without a picture — my job to fill it up. This is not a complaint. I like the stuff I do. All of it. Except paying the bills.

3. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what would it be?

I want my 66-year old head, but I’d be happy with my 16-year old body. Put them together? What a gal!

4. If you could learn to do something, what would it be?

I’d like to learn to use my Wacom Tablet. It’s the first computer gadget that has defeated me.

5. What would be the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

I wouldn’t buy anything. I’d pay my bills. I’d do my best to finally, at long last, be entirely debt free. Forever.

6. What is the thing that makes you absolutely unique?

The number of chronic conditions and diseases that coexist in my body simultaneously. I may hold the international record for major surgeries and near-death experiences. Also talking to God — or someone doing a really good impersonation of a deity.

7. What is your favourite blog?

I’m glad you asked! I know this is off the beaten path, but allow me to introduce you to: Tallhwch ~ The pursuit of history using the newest and most creative methods necessary. This is a blog that focuses (mainly) on the British Isles between 500 and 700 AD, “the Arthurian period.” Those were the real dark ages for which little solid archeological evidence exists. Reading his posts is my dessert, my reward. I save them for last and read them until I’ve got each post almost memorized. Better yet? If I ask him to write about a particular subject, he will research and write about it, just for me. Isn’t that fantastic?

I read a lot of blogs. Many of you make me laugh, others make me cry. All of you inspire me, make me think about things I might otherwise never consider. Tallhwch tells me stories of hidden history and magic and mysteries. I love it too much.

That’s it. Seems like either too much or not quite enough. You can judge.

I encourage you to do your own self interview. Check out suzie81′s Blog for yourself. Maybe you’ll find out something about yourself you didn’t know.

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LABEL ME YESTERDAY 2013

International Label Day is a holiday created by WordPress based on a Daily Post prompt in 2012. Technically, the Day was yesterday, but I have no problem being a dollar short and a day late. Time is an illusion and any case, we live in a parallel reality. Trust me (heh heh).

So this is officially an Annual Tradition. A brand new one. Which is an oxymoron, but who’s keeping score? We live in an oxymoronic world, so why should the blogging universe not reflect this?

Is labeling good? Maybe. Sometimes. Is refusing to label things better? It depends on what you aren’t labeling. Fish? Veggies? Spices? Medicine? Label away please. I want to know what I’m getting. People are a bit trickier. Even fictional people can be slippery. A labeling challenge.

I took this as a visual challenge, an exercise in creative photography. What image could I create that would scream ME ME ME. It took two images, a lot of editing and Photoshop to get it done, but here’s the official ME ME ME picture.

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Does it scream? I hope so. It took me long enough.

People shouldn’t be allowed label themselves. Too close to home. But who then should be the labeler? If any one is going to label, no one but me will do. Who else would understand? As far as “me” goes, everyone but me is uninformed. Prejudiced pro, con or both. Other people have axes to grind. I resemble a grindstone.

So labels are a terrible idea for people. But they are a bad idea whose time has come. We get labeled by everyone all the time. We might as well get a shot at putting our own oars in the water. Right? Of course I’m right. I’m always right. I know because my husband said so, just the other day. Okay, maybe he said “Why do you always have to be right?” But that’s the same thing, isn’t it?

NOT FRESHLY PRESSED? HELP IS ON THE WAY!

What is Freshly Pressed? It is the opinion of editors hired by WordPress. It promises that some blogs are better than others, deserve special recognition and indicates that these people know what good is and have assigned themselves the task of giving out this recognition.

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I believe in merit. I also believe in fairness. While some awardees have created funny, creative, original material and have earned recognition, that is far from universally true. Many other recipients are nothing special, writing stuff that has no social value and little relevance. It’s not especially funny or even interesting. But it is whatever pleases WP’s editors — and they answer only to themselves.

Freshly Pressed gets dangled in front of bloggers not only as an award, but as the opportunity to gain a broader readership. They will promote you, put your material where everyone can easily see it. For those of us who have labored long and hard, produced a lot of really good material only to have it ignored, it’s a virtual slap in the face and it hurts.

Why are the same sites recognized over and over again while others, as deserving or more so, are shut out? Some of us apparently can never meet whatever ephemeral standards are being applied. Because the judging standards are never stated, you can never object to the judgment. There are no criteria to be met, just that somebody noticed you and deems you worthy.

This kind of thing makes many people, including me, feel sad. We aren’t just blogs. We aren’t faceless corporations. We are real live people doing something for which we get no reward except the chance to have our words read, our photographs reviewed. Yes, we crave recognition. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want the validation of being Officially Recognized? Even if it’s by a self-appointed board of recognizers?

I’ve appointed myself an official recognizer. Allow me to present my bona fides.

I spent more than 40 years as a professional writer by which I mean I got paid to write and my work was published by the people who paid me to do it. There is nothing which screams professional more than that. I also wrote and published a book that still, to this day, actually sells a few copies here and there, though it was published originally in 2007. Just last week, Amazon notified me that I have earned $10.24 in royalties this past quarter (be still my heart)!

I am a real editor of real books and a pretty good photographer, if not the most skilled user of Photoshop. However, my skills are improving and towards that end, I have created an award. It’s the “I deserve an award,” award. You don’t have to pass it along to any specific number of people. You don’t have to reveal 12 inner secrets you’ve never revealed before. You can send it to people you think would like to have it and deserve it. Display it on your site and maybe this thing will catch on.

Have fun. Remember, guys and gals: We do not need validation or approval from WordPress. Their opinions as to what constitutes quality are no better than mine or yours. It is merely their opinion. If people like you, read you, visit your site, look at your pictures, comment on how they appreciate what you do? That is validation. That is approval. That means something. Don’t let a lack of “official” recognition sour you. Don’t stop having fun doing what you do!

This badge is 375 pixels square and should fit comfortably into a column or footer. I’ve put one on my front page so you can see if that’s the size you want. If you want a badge in a different (smaller or larger) size, I can fix it for you. Let me know what you want.

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I’m going to pass this to a few of you and leave it to you to pass it to others. Use discrimination and give it to sites that do quality work, help others, rescue dogs, provide important medical information that can be hard to find. Give it to those whose pictures make you say WOW, whose posts make you laugh and cry and think.

I’m picking a few of you to get the ball rolling, but many more of you deserve it. I am just flu-ridden and too tired to pick through the many worthy bloggers I know. I’m not ignoring anyone, honest. I have the kind of chest cold that makes me feel a poke in the eye with a sharp stick might be more fun. You know, wheezing, coughing, can’t breathe, eyes running headache, fever and even more body aches than usual? I’ve gotten this far, but I can’t go another inch. I’m done and used up. Love you all!!

You don’t have to do anything with this if you don’t want to. And anyone reading this is welcome to join in and pass this to others who you believe have been unfairly overlooked. It is entirely up to you.

Let’s encourage each other. Be strong and blog on!

ENCHANTED SEASHELLS: Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

The Library Lady and Rosie Bear: Humor / Book reviews

4 writers and readers

Catnip of Life

Sunday Night Blog

Sweetwildflower: Recipes, Crafts, Tips, Writing

THE SUNSHINE AWARD POUR MOI … TIMELY INDEED!

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things

Thanks  znjavid!

I love that you thought of me for this award. She and I have had fun chatting about her children’s book, my husband’s clothes, and the differences between grocery stores in Dubai and Salt Lake City. Check out her blog at:

A Mom’s Blog http://zainabjavid.wordpress.com/

— And NOW — From me …

October 2013

October 2013

Thank you to The Library Lady and Rosie Bear, a delightful website that you absolutely should go visit. She writes about life with a light touch, about writing, her travels and more … with charm and grace.

I’m pleased and proud to receive this award. I’m not giving it out to a bunch of people because I’ve been slinging awards all over the Internet recently — an embarrassment of riches — and I’ve run out of steam.

I’m absolutely CERTAIN beyond any possible doubt that all of you who follow me, even occasionally, know more than you could possibly want to know about me. Too much information is my middle name.

So thank you. I’m honored and proud and congratulations to all you other winners! It’s a good day to be me … or you!

See on geanieroake.wordpress.com

WHAT’S THE SECRET?

Closing in on 2 years of blogging, with more than 1500 posts and over 100,000 hits … I’ve think I’ve finally figured it out. The secret to getting more readers, more followers, more hits, better stats is that there is no secret.

Just do it.

Post interesting material often. Include graphics. There is a direct correlation between number of hits and number and quality of posts. Although some posts go bigger than others — often not the ones you expect — the difference isn’t huge, more incremental than geometric. Most of my posts get reasonable hits. Some do better, some get ignored (I rerun these, often with much better results second time). A few posts generate big numbers. Every once in a while, something hits a hot button, but typically the number of visitors per day doesn’t change much. What changes is the number of articles each visitor reads when they visit.

Some of my biggest days have been those with low visitor counts, but when each guest accesses 3 or more posts and/or pictures.Visitors average around 100+/- 15 — so between 85 and 115. Hits that come through the Reader or email do not count in the totals so you can reasonably assume you have more people reading you than stats indicate.

If guests hang around and read a lot, open pictures, poke around, you get the bigger hit counts.  I’m betting the same people come almost every day. If they find interesting things to read and view, they hang out. Which is what you want them to do.

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There are slow days of course. Everyone has them. And hyper-active days. We all have them, too. On a very active day, I might get 150 visitors, but that doesn’t mean the hit count will be 50% higher than on a day when I get 75 visitors. On a high visit count day, each visitor may only read (hit) one post while on a different day, each visitor may hit 3 or 4 times.

For example, on a day last winter when a blizzard was on the way, I had more than 250 visitors, but each one only read one post … the one about the coming storm. So it was a good day, but not extraordinary. My highest hit days were specific posts where a lot of people — thousands — came to see a single post. Every other high hit day included a normal number of visitors who spent more time exploring my site. No hocus pocus, no magic recipe.

Putting out the welcome mat.

The design of your website matters. You will absolutely get more people to stay long, read more stories, look at more pictures if you make it pleasant and easy for them. Make it easy to find past posts by subject, date, key word search. The more ways you help your guests find stuff that interests them, the better.

When I am on a website and can’t find a search box, no list of previous posts, no keyword search, I give up and go elsewhere. The web is infinite and gives us uncountable choices. Make your site accessible — transparent — and visitors will stay.

What I’ve figured out.

I know a few things and here they are:

  1. Articles about technology have a long shelf life. Reviews of cameras, computers, telephones and other techie stuff don’t get a lot of hits when they are first published, but continue to get hits for months, sometimes years. As long as the technology is in use, people who are shopping will look for reviews.
  2. Book and movie reviews (unless they are particularly “hot”) don’t usually go big initially, but will continue to get hits forever, as long as the search engine can find them.
  3. News and current events get a lot of hits when first published, but have no long-term interest.

If you are in this for the long haul, the backbone of your blog will be articles of enduring interest. Perhaps not the sexiest stuff you write, but stuff that contains information people need, reviews people look for. Pictures — properly tagged — get hits forever.

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Buried treasure.

If you post a lot, older posts become hard to unearth. Even when you know the name of the post and search for it by its name, items older than 6 months old may not turn up. I don’t know if there’s anything you can do about this short of opening a new site.

What I do? I sift through archives, pick out the best pieces. Re-edit and re-publish them. Doing this prevents them from disappearing forever.

How often is often enough?

I’m going against common wisdom. I am sticking my neck out here and saying that a post a week isn’t enough. One single post per week, unless you are brilliant, writing about a subject with a guaranteed audience, are already famous so anything you post will get lots of attention — once a week isn’t enough.

Who makes a success of once-a-week blogs? Historians. Scholars. Well-known authors (though most of them post much more often). Newsletter writers. Everyone else?

You need to make visiting your website worthwhile. That means stuff to read. Entertainment, information. Great pictures. If you really don’t have time to create sufficient material to feed your readers and keep your site humming, maybe consider joining forces with other bloggers and take turns producing content? Without enough content, your site isn’t going to do much.

The formula is simple. Write well. Post often. Include pictures.

And finally: HAVE FUN! If you aren’t enjoying it, making friends, forming relationships, what’s the point? Successful writers and bloggers have verve and enthusiasm. You can’t fake that.

 

THE INTERCONNECTNESS OF ALL THINGS

sunset with hawk

The late great Douglas Adams (who shared my birthday, March 11th — I’m sure that means something, but I have no idea what) created a character that I dearly love. Dirk Gently (also known by a number of other names, including Svlad Cjelli), was the owner/operator of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. It operated based on the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things.” I believe in Douglas Adams and Dirk Gently. We all operate, knowingly or not, on the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.

More than half the posts I write — including this one — are born while commenting on someone else’s post.

We are intricately and intimately linked. I wonder if we take for granted how bound to others we are in this strange cyber world we have created. I have read and heard much talk about the isolation of each person, alone and lonely with their computer. It has been put out there as a metaphor for the estrangement of people from each other, the symbolic isolation of individuals in the technological world.

I don’t think it’s true. For me, for many of my friends, for my husband, isolation would be life without the Internet. Without computers. For anyone who suffers a chronic illness, for those of us getting on in years who can’t get out as much as we want and whose friends have died or moved far away. For young people whose studies, work, happenstance or life choices have settled them long distances — continents and oceans — distant from old friends and family, electronic communications are a godsend. Skype – and programs like it — make it possible to see the faces we love.

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If we cannot share a hug, we can share face time. Electronic communications are fast or instant. Texting, IM, TwitterFacebook, even YouTube let us share in ways that were science fiction just a few years ago.

Without my computers, I would be truly isolated. The fibromyalgia, arthritis and heart condition make getting around difficult. Without electronic connections, I would be a squirrel up a tree without fellow squirrels to hang with.

This post was inspired by Dawn Hoskings on whose post I was commenting when I realized — again — how lucky I am to be living in a world that lets me enjoy virtual travel and participate in a larger world. I’m glad — proud — to be part of a community of bloggers, a community of friends around the world. And deeply grateful. How about you? I’d like to hear your stories.

Satellite Communications

IMAGINE THAT! THE IMAGINE AWARD COMES TO SERENDIPITY

Dawn Hosking, a woman who hasn’t let fibromyalgia (ouch!) stop her … or even more than slightly slow … her hurtling passage through cyber-space, has honored me with a brand new award created by the lovely Jenny at My Fibrotastic LIfe.  

How can I not admire Dawn’s site? It looks a bit like mine, after all. It is one of the few blogs I can visit that has sufficient white space. I can read it and stay awhile without getting a headache. Too many of us clutter our sites with every widget and badge until there’s no place to rest your eyes. Fine if that’s what you want, but I appreciate white space. Probably that’s a remnant of my life in the world of books. But I digress.

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She deals with her physical issues without whining. That’s not easy. Sometimes, I feel extremely whiney. Snivelly and whiny and miserable and scared and all I want is to go online and beg people to send love and cash (or checks or money orders). Usually I resort to humor to keep from humiliating myself, but she does it with just enough humor to keep from being — what’s that word? Oh, I got it. — dull. That’s what she isn’t, just in case you got lost in my Byzantine sentence structure. She keeps us reading and wanting more. To really spice it up, she includes information that is accurate, useful and can be passed on the medical professionals who rule our lives.

And speaking of writing, Dawn can. Write, I mean. She can tell a story. Whether it’s about herself, or something imagined, or just talking about “stuff” going on in the world, on WordPress, or whatever. She expresses herself simply, cleanly, without excessive embellishment or convolutions. Like the white space on her page, it’s refreshing and easy on the brain cells.

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About THE IMAGINE AWARD: 

“The Imagine Award” is an award created by Jenn Mulherin (who is the writer of the blog “My Fibrotastic Life!”) in October of 2013. This award was made in order to recognize the bloggers who express their passion and dedication towards their blogs through their creativity.”

How is creativity found in a blog?

There are many ways by which bloggers can express their creativity. Creativity can be displayed through:

  1. Words — fiction writing, real-life experiences, memories, humor, poetry, quotes, metaphors, tackling issues, parody, reviews and so much more. What can’t you do with words? The sky’s the limit and these days, not even the sky is a limit.
  2. Graphics including photography, comics, computer-drawn graphics, cartoons, paintings, illustrations and more.
  3. Video. Personally, linking a YouTube video is about as far as I’ve gotten with this one, so I greatly admire those who have found far more creative ways to use this medium.
  4. Layout of the post itself and the blog page. We are all constrained to some degree by whatever template we choose, but within those constraints it is remarkable how many artistic choices remain to us.
  5. I’d like to add community to this list. It takes a unique type of creativity to draw others in to form a community. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Some people create networks that stretch around the globe while the rest of us remain essentially on our own … wondering how those amazing others form solid durable relationships with people they’ve never met in person.

Why is creativity so important?

Creativity is one quality in a blog that not only draws readers, but shows how much a blogger cares about his or her (or their) blog. Taking care of a blog is like taking care of a plant. To keep it healthy and growing, you feed the blog with your ideas and give it a lot of love. And time. (I dream about mine!)

Here’s what you need to do to accept the Imagine Award:

In a post dedicated to this award:

  1. Copy and paste The Imagine Award into your post.
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog page to your post.
  3. List 3-5 things about the nominator’s blog that you like (which you think are very creative).
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers/blogs which you think display a fantastic use of creativity and imagination.
  5. Notify your nominees.
  6. Display The Imagine Award to your blog’s award page.

Should you prefer to decline The Imagine Award, that’s okay, but please — pass the award to a blog you find really creative. If it inspires you, even better.

Now, back to that envelope. Since Dawn has already given this to a couple of people who’d be on my list … well … you beat me to it. Great minds think alike and if this isn’t proof, I don’t know what is. I’m giving this to people who actually inspire me. I refuse to be responsible for what they do about it after I give it to them. I give the awards. You will have to deal with them :-) Just play nice and say thank you Marilyn (all together now: THANK YOU MARILYN!)

LASERS, MONSTERS AND BARBARIANS OH MY! is a totally bizarre blog that makes me laugh. Half the time I haven’t any idea what he is talking about. Creative language skills and effective integration of graphics media — including video — has made this one a keeper, even though I wind up scratching my head and saying “huh?”

ALIENORAJT - Creative, sensual and blunt writing from Ali’s pen… And so it is! What she doesn’t mention is she is funny, sensitive, kind, bawdy, bizarre and a master (mistress?) of words. They fall from her virtual pen like a tidal wave of wit and unique imagery. Sometimes, imagery so intense I can’t escape it for hours … or at all. Ever. Like a haunting (annoying?) little song, it just goes round and round. Whatever else, call this woman creative. Fantastically, magically creative. In every way. Her response is here..

CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS is one of the most eclectic and amusing sites I know. She writes (very well) about anything and everything, from family life to cooking and politics. Her humor is wry and ironic. She employs subtle wit and honesty as a rapier. I never miss one of her posts and reading her stories and anecdotes gets me thinking about what I am going to write. Great work!

I’M JUST SUPER SAIYAN is pretty new, but she’s a pistol of creativity. It’s worth a visit just for the hand-drawn cartoons. And she’s funny, witty, and so far … prodigiously productive. Being a grandmother, it’s fun for me to plug into a younger world and see what they’re doing, saying. The new words used in an old way, the old words used in a new way. For graphic creativity and humor, this young woman absolutely deserves The Imagine Award.

DRALIMAN ON LIFE - Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think. Not only does he make me stop and think, he makes me stop and laugh, makes me admire his very cute cartoons. Are they cartoons or doodles? Droodles? Whatever. I didn’t know physicists had a sense of humor. Go figure, right? He’s also … gasp … a shockingly talented writer, both of fiction and oddball posts about anything and everything. I worked as a tech writer for a very long time … and to find someone who’s a scientist or engineer who’s funny and can write too? Wow. I mean, that’s like discovering a new species of something cute and furry, or a star cluster or well something anyhow. Check him out. You will like him, I absolutely guarantee it. Or your money back. Has anyone ever gotten their money back? Just asking.

Daily Prompt: RELEASE ME? FEAR THEN NOTHING MUCH

PA Unite Against the War on Women Rally

Right before I released a long, heartfelt piece in support of the right of women to choose abortion — early in the ongoing War Against Women being waged by the GOP in Texas — I got a bit nervous. I’m not afraid of controversy, but abortion is such a visceral, hot-button issue. No one seems to be able to deal with it rationally. Including me.

So I did something I never do: I asked Garry to read it and tell me if he thought I or it was over the top.

Was I going to be getting hate mail and death threats? He thought it was well-written and not at all crazy.

Stop GOP War

As for hate mail and death threats? “The crazies are always out there,” he said. You can’t let them tell you what you can or can’t write.”

So I published it.

Controversy? I don’t think anyone read or commented on it. It was humbling and funny. Here was probably the most “dangerous” topic about which I’d ever written … and no one noticed. It lingered around then disappeared without a trace beneath a pile of other blogs.

So much for fear! I’ve never worried about releasing anything since. It reminded me I’m just not that influential or important. I can try, but that doesn’t mean anyone is paying attention or cares about my opinion one way or the other. Sometimes, it’s healthy to be put in one’s place. Puts everything into perspective.

 

A FAMILY OF WORDPRESS AWARD

This award was made by Shaun @ http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com “I am part of the WordPress Family Award.” I’ve received it from Annmarie at Sweet Wildflower where you always get a hug and something good to eat.

It’s very timely since, having started a second blog at Blogspot, I am pondering the difference between therm and WordPress and finding that though I rack up good numbers there, the whole sense of family is missing. Maybe it’s too soon to expect it, but this still feel like home to me

There can’t be much my followers don’t know about me. Photography, writing, humor, sad. I write and I take pictures. My husband writes (a little, when prodded) and takes pictures so good I’m getting envious (no I’m not … I’m just proud!). I struggle with life, try to remember that what is terrible today may will be a belly laugh tomorrow.

Rules:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family

4. Let your Family members know you have awarded them

5. That is it. Just please pick people that have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

The Envelope Please

Now it is time for the thank yous. No one is obliged to do anything with this except know that I appreciate you and consider you friends.

HeadInAVice – Tyson was one of my first cyber friends and he’s still with me. Thank you again.

alienorajt - Alienora who writes like an Angel demon, makes me laugh, cry, think … and makes me feel loved. Hard when you’ve never really met :-) Thank you!

For Rarasaur - Rara is the rarest of the old timey dinosaurs. What a fine friend she has been to me, supportive and kind and cheerful even while her own problems swirl around. This is a mere token, but I’d like you to know I care.

For R. L Culpeper who makes me think and keeps me on my toes :-)

To Awakenings - Sharla, we have traveled a ways together. We struggle, but it’s getting better. Believe it. We’ll go there together.

Eagle-Eyed Editor, you have been there from the start. I owe you. More than one!

Bette Stevens — 4writersandreaders — a gift to all of us, always ready to lend a hand, offer encouragement. Thank you!!

Other friends belong here and I would put you on, but many of you don’t “do” awards. If you ever want one, drop by. I have a dozen or so extras and you can take your pick! I haven’t forgotten anyone. As far as I’m concerned, you ALL deserve this award because you are all my family.

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