FOWC with Fandango — Balcony

I am standing on my deck. Let’s call it a balcony for today’s purposes. The railing isn’t high. I’m looking down at the ground below and realizing that I’m not enjoying this anymore. Blogging, that is.

I barely have time to read anyone’s writing and have even less time to write my own. I get hundreds of emails a day and am so frustrated by the deluge that mostly, I delete everything and read almost nothing.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Part of it is the problem are morning “posts.” These used to be about something. They were stories and musings and sometimes memories about life and love and feelings. Sometimes they were angry or frustrated, but always they were personal and had some meaning, at least to the author. Now I read them and they are exercises in “how many ‘prompted words’ can I fit in this piece and still have it make some kind of sense?”

The result is that these pieces have no heart to them. They are nothing but plays on words. They have no soul.

I haven’t been much participating with them. Every once in a while, in the name of trying to be a good sport I give it a try, but to me, it’s vapid and silly. Many of the offered words are words I avoid when writing.

I  don’t want to do it anymore.

On top of not wanting to join in, I don’t even want to read them. They don’t say anything to me. With a few notable exceptions — the few people who write about a single thing — it’s like reading a comic strip, but not funny.

Striped by shadow

Maybe it’s the fault of WordPress or maybe it’s the political nightmare of the past couple of years … or possibly it’s the political nightmare of a lifetime. For me, if I can’t write what I want to write, then why am I writing?

I am left with a decision: to keep going my own way. Do my own thing (whatever that is!) … or throw in the towel. The former probably because I will write regardless and it might as well be for an audience. But fewer pieces and only if I have something I think it worth saying.

It’s square and our deck is also the roof of the storage area beneath it.

I didn’t start to blog — or continue for 6 years — so I could fit words into a puzzle alternating with rants about our universal political nightmare or the failure of Earth’s people to maintain a world in which we can thrive.

Short of urging people to vote, what more can I say? Shall I live the rest of my life in rage at the evil of the world? Shall these last years of my life be stolen by the people I hate the most?

I think not.

This morning, I unsubscribed from all the news sheets. They will find me anyway. They will sneak in under the door and through the closed windows. Of course, there’s always breaking news at CNN and I can go and sit in their Situation Room and ponder the day’s hysteria.

It isn’t that that I think everything is okay. I think nothing is okay … but I cannot live in a boiling kettle, brooding on the ills of the world. Maybe if we all come together and work at it, we can all fix it. Together. Collectively. But individually? Not a chance.

So I lean on the balcony and realize, there’s no point in falling, intentionally or not. I wouldn’t die of it. I’d just be injured and miserable.

Whatever time we have remaining, I hope it hangs in there as long as I have to live. I hope our representatives — yours and mine — remember they aren’t in it for the money. They are supposed to keep the world a place in which it is worth living.

As for morning prompts?  Have fun kids. Puzzles are one way to pass a day.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

36 thoughts on “LEANING ON A RAILING IN THE MORNING LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I read all (today’s and a few old ones) the posts. Some interesting, most centered on theme of our beleagured nation. I wrote one LONG comment on the “lying media” theme. I’m getting tired of trying to clear the air here. Does anyone really read or…are the judgements forever cemented?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate the people who are doing this to us … and I refuse to make them the center of my world. I deleted ALL of my news feeds except the Washington Post and the New Yorker which I actually subscribe to. Enough already.


  2. I have managed to keep everything under control up to now. I have stopped doing a couple of challenges as I found them a little too personal. It’s funny, but i also was bothered by the challenges where people were taking short cuts mentioning all the prompt words in one blog and posting it in all the prompts. I never participated in that and do not intend to, I have my daily routine and am managing OK, although my problem is that when I start something I have problems to stop. I have time, but when I take my camera for a safari I need the time afterwards to upload the photos. I usually read the other blogs, but notice quickly when it would be a waste of time for me and so I move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I need to follow your lead. So many posts when I open them say nothing to me. And I often don’t get to the ones I REALLY want to read because I’ve wasted a day on silliness.

      Processing photographs take a lot of my time and even with the relatively small amount we shot this month, I have hundreds of photos just sitting in folders, waiting for me to get to them. Meanwhile, .writing takes time too. I do (sometimes) one prompt, but I won’t do a bunch of them. That’s not writing, at least not to me.


  3. I hope you will continue but go your own way. Yours are among the posts that I always read, even if I don’t always comment. I post when I have something to say — a bit less often than I used to — but have never felt the need too follow daily prompts.


    1. Too many people are just saying the same thing over and over again. I know we are having a politically and ecologically hard time and I suffer with everyone. Yet — these are my latter years. I don’t want to spend all of them suffering.

      I’ve known for a while something’s gotta give and I think it just snapped. I woke up thinking: I don’t want to do this anymore. Not that I don’t want to write or take pictures, but this has become some kind of bizarre marathon made up of anger, frustration … and a sense that everyone’s mind has solidified and no one is listening anymore.

      Do you get that feeling too?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes — I think that’s a part of what people mean when they say that our polarization has turned to tribalization. Nobody is talking to anybody because nobody is listening to anybody. I do have a couple of irl friends with whom I can have traditional conversations/discussions about issues — things like whether to repeal a gas tax that has brought our gas prices to $4, whether to allow cities to determine the appropriate rent control, or whether to continue reimbursing payments to private dialysis clinics — all of these are on the ballot in 2 weeks, and they’re knotty issues that are further splitting our society, and there are others! The choices for Congress seem to depend solely upon which tribe one belongs to, and thus who is the worst subject of anger for whatever wrong reasons. It’s not new this time, but over the last couple of years it’s become much more intense. For me, the only defense is to decide that the world won’t end yet, and to enjoy life and the outdoors!


        1. We are talking with our doctor about whether or not to limit the number of patients nurses can have. It’s a tough one because the nurses are terribly overloaded, but we don’t have 13,000 nurses to staff the hospitals and it would mean closing at least 200 hospitals, — and probably 2 or 3 of them in the valley. We don’t have many hospitals to begin with, so as our doctor put it — we don’t HAVE the nurses. We give full scholarships to nursing students. Do you want to be a nurse? School is free. But we don’t have the nurses. And we are very short of them in more rural areas, like this one. If you require minimum nursing quotas, there won’t be enough hospitals for us. Personally, us.

          We need more nurses. We need more nursing students. AND we need more nurses willing to work in a small town or village that isn’t one of the bigger, fancier hospitals in Boston. We also don’t have enough teachers or for that matter, schools, books, libraries or places to shop. Rural life is different and the rules are different, too.

          When we aren’t talking presidential/senatorial politics, we can talk. But when we get past local issues? You’re walking on a mine field.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, my goodness — that sounds just like our dialysis issue — if private clinics are not reimbursed, they will close and the patients will be sicker, and they will flood the ER’s, and everybody will be affected! We, too need teachers and they need salaries, etc. ~ ~ ~ It’s so difficult to make appropriate decisions, but voting is the only answer! I will complete and mail my ballot tomorrow, for better or worse!


  4. You are so prolific I don’t know how you do it. I only have time for three posts a week and if Mountain Energy Yoga has posted something I’m delighted because that is one less for me. What time we have left no one knows, so it is precious. Spend this time wisely, Marilyn.


  5. I hear you, Marilyn. I’ve always told myself that I would stop writing once it was no longer fun. And I did stop, for awhile, but then it became fun again. Perhaps you need a break, or perhaps you simply need to post less often – maybe only post when you feel you really want to. Those of us who are loyal readers won’t mind if the posts are sporadic, but we would really miss you if you quit completely. Another option would be to go “private” and only invite those followers you really want to keep in touch with (hopefully, that wouldn’t leave me out, but if so, I’ll understand). And of course, you can always close your posts to comments so you don’t have to reply if that makes it easier for you.

    In any event, you gotta do what you gotta do, and the majority of us will back up whatever decision you make. Just let us know if you decide to leave so we don’t send out a search party like we’ve done for other missing bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t see “going private,” but I do need to do less. Pictures are relatively easy, but writing can be difficult at times very difficult. It can be hard to find something to say that isn’t always negative. I’ll find my way, but today, I realized whatever the result, I have to make changes. I think less is going to be more 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. No matter what you write about, I come to read it, BECAUSE it’s valuable and worth while. I agree though, I’m finding it more and more difficult to care, to be involved, to write. Often what I write these days is to answer the prompt. I enjoy Sheryl’s prompts but I’m finding it more and more difficult to make it personal and meaningful. When I started writing in answer to the posts it was fun, exciting, and I’d wake up every day with joy in my heart so looking forward to writing something that was meaningful and or personal or to stretch my writing skills or to encourage and uplift, because it’s necessary in the world in which we exist. These days, the challenge is becoming excited to write at all. I thought I’d try little stories, 100 words or so, but that’s didn’t receive a response at all. The poetry did, but again, some days 8 ppl visit and makes me wonder whether it’s worth continuing. I will for a bit because I love writing and stretching and learning, but still…I have to agree with you.


    1. I not finding most of these prompts worth writing about. Once in a while, but mostly, it’s just word-play and that’s not really writing. The problem is that the environment is very negative and it is hard to find something to say that isn’t just more negativity.


  7. My personal opinion is you’ve had a hard year, you have and have had projects and problems you can’t contend with or that have been very difficult, the gubmint is awful and constantly pisses off you (and me and others). I think there’s widespread angst over the upcoming election. BUT this is a pretty insulting post for the writer of a blog you follow to read. Maybe you just needed to strike out.

    There’s nothing less important in the universe than a daily prompt. It’s just there. We write or don’t write for myriad reasons. No one is a great writer every day of the year. No one always has something to say. And the prompts? They’re tools, that’s all, and a poor workman blames his tools. I mostly just write what I want and then put the word in somewhere it might fit unless by some remote cosmic algorithm the prompt inspires me. I’m esconced in very tedious revisions right now to a novel no one will want to read (now THAT’S inspiring) and the prompt and the blog are a nice break. And, I can write about my dog. 🙂

    When I stop writing my blog for a period no one misses me. I tell people so they don’t think I’ve died, but really, no one is losing sleep because “I’m a Writer, Yes I Am” has vanished from their reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I know what you mean Marilyn. I am tired of the rants about the political landscape- I stay away from the news and am not interested in finding more here- I come to the blogs to see the wonderful photographs people have posted of places I will never go, or of nature. To hear about their lives, (Garry’s cochlear implant), your experiences in life, where you live. I used to enjoy the Daily Prompt years ago- they made me think and allowed me to write and share.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. sometimes we need to back away and see what else is out there. take time to smell your own roses. be good to yourself. when something voluntary becomes a ‘hafta’ in your mind, it’s time to back off. I’m almost there too. Give yourself a space to breathe in, see how you feel in a week or two.

    If it’s hard to get back in the saddle, there’s your answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I read and enjoy your blog, whether you’re ranting, writing about what you and Garry are up to, showing off your photographic skills, or writing short fiction pieces. I use daily prompts to distract me from all of the political chaos that is swirling all around us. Trying to fit multiple prompt words into a single post and to have it make sense and be at least somewhat coherent serves as a great diversion for me. They’re mostly short fiction pieces that I hope has done heart, some soul, and maybe some wit. But, as you say, blogging is all about doing your own thing, and until it becomes more burdensome than fun, then continue to do whatever gives you joy and makes you happy.


    1. I feel like I’ve fallen into some kind of maelstrom and everything is negative and scary. I need this time to be at least tolerable, if not actually happy. But right now, it isn’t. So I need to find a more positive direction of there’s no point in doing it at all.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. Today I realized (again) that I can’t affect anything going on in the world, out there. I can only make choices that allow me to be happier and enjoy what is within my reach.

            On today’s “Bear Walk” which involves a lot of her sniffing and me looking around at things I noticed my neighbor’s Hallowe’en decorations and for once I didn’t bitch silently at them for the cheap Walmart crap. I enjoyed the filled leaf bags with plastic arms and legs sticking out. I could feel that they’d had a lot of fun decorating their yard. Then I noticed the maple tree (on my blog) has now gone from red to yellow and the little branches are black against the leaves and it was beautiful. At a certain point I realized I really am well, I can engage with the world as myself not as a cripple in pain, I can appreciate things and enjoy the moment and that’s really all I can do and all I have to do.

            My blues fell away — maybe just for now, I don’t know. But then I wrote my list when I got home because I didn’t want to forget what I thought about while Bear collected her messages from the tiny Bichon Frise boy who walks that walk in the morning.

            Liked by 1 person

  11. I can relate to that — while recovering from eye surgery and toe injury, there wasn’t much to do but watch TV! Several days of the SCOTUS hearing etc. I finally had to turn it off, just to retain my own sanity! No nightmares, because I don’t remember my dreams — but I was aware that I was dreaming more than usual! I’m feeling much better now that I can get outside and enjoy the rain or the wind, and see the ocean again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we are having nightmares about our supposed government, life has gone terribly, horribly wrong. We watched part of the SCOTUS hearings and they were disgusting. When it isn’t raining, we went out, but it has been raining all the time here. Today was nice, but I wasn’t feeling okay. My doctor says it’s anemia — not a huge surprise since I’ve been mildly anemic since I was a kid. I think for me that’s probably normal, but I’m back to taking Vitamin D3 again. This time I’m going with the gummy D3.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry you’re not feeling well — anemia can flatten one’s enthusiasm for life and nature — I hope the D3 will help (btw, I saw a discussion recently that indicated gummy vitamins are too full of sugar). The vitamins should hopefully help bring out the endorphins and let you enjoy the beauty of the season again.


  12. I like your plan, Spike! 🙂

    Lately i’ve taken to recognising the uninvited urge to turn on the radio for the news and then realising these days i can live a more content life by not doing it as it just offers a continuing, never-ending, frequently expanding number of reasons to get riled up over matters that i really have no say or part in.

    I try – but i don’t always succeed. I hope to get better!

    As Clint put it (and i’m certain Garry would agree): “A (wo)Man’s gotta know his limitations!”


  13. I don’t know how I missed this post, but I did. And now I can go “AHA!” because now I understand why I haven’t seen you around as much. I’m guilty of the ‘mega prompt word post’ because I don’t have time to do them individually (and I don’t have the soul for it either to be honest), but I do feel those people need the support. My stories are usually silly and trite and not my best writing at all granted. Sometimes we all have to go to the “B” side, because our “A” side is fractured or messed up and isn’t working properly. Here’s to supporting YOU in whatever you feel you need to do. I hope you keep blogging and showing us beauty through your photography and telling us when you see something FUBAR’d beyond belief and reason. For me, you’re a sort of reality check. Thank you for that!


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