BLASPHEMY! – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Blasphemy

Yesterday, or really the day before, I discovered yet one more “website” set somewhere in Asia is reusing a ton of WordPress and other copyrighted material on his/her/their website.

I’ve seen these sites before. I figure if they aren’t trying to sell pornography or illegal drugs, I might as well not worry about it. Because my stuff is all over the Internet and no amount of actual copyrighting or trademarking is going to stop anyone from using the material.

It annoys the hell out of me, but I’m not planning to use the material in a book, so it’s not a matter of “earning a living” and probably, after seven years of blogging, it’s a little late to worry about who is picking up my material to use on their  sites.

Why these sites thrive is completely beyond my understanding.

I did make a few changes to my site. Not that it will make any real difference. Some of these changes I wanted to make anyway. I removed the “reblog button” from my posts. If someone wants to reblog me, they can ask and I’ll let them, but in any case, the presence or absence of the click-button doesn’t make any difference. If someone wants to use the material, all they have to do it copy and paste it.

Essentially, WordPress talks a lot about security but offers none. Anyone can become a follower of any site without anyone’s permission. Anyone can reblog your writing and photographs for any purpose, no matter what official “advertisements” WordPress posts. The blasphemous, felonious, and illegal use of our material is damned near-universal.

So this is what — for whatever good it does — I have done. I removed the categories and tags, which I wanted to do anyway. All they do is make the screen busier. I dumped the reblog button which is just like putting up a neon sign suggesting whoever it is to copy our material.

None of these changes will stop anything. Short of giving up blogging, I’m already doomed and so is everyone else.

But I knew that anyway. The good news? My screen looks a lot tidier.

The bad news? Anyone who wants my stuff can use it and no doubt will. At least I’m old and not trying to make my living off this blog!


A woman, younger than me, has no children and asks: “What is ’empty nest syndrome?’ What does it mean?”

I gave it a bit of thought. After all, my nest is empty except for two terriers and the handsome husband.

The empty nest is one in which the children have grown up and moved out. They have independent lives. These newly made adults have left the family nest and assumed the mantle of adult responsibility.  Isn’t that what we wanted all along?

Swan family all lined up

My mother’s life did not revolve around me, though I kept her pretty busy for a long time. She was a dutiful mother insofar as she did the right stuff. She fed us, though this was her least shining achievement. She clothed us … and to this day I wish I’d better appreciated the clothing she made for me. I was just too young, awkward, and afraid someone might notice I was dressed “differently” from the other kids. Big mistake.

The whole family!

She talked to me about adult things in an adult way. She gave me tons of books and if I look around, I probably still own more than half of them. These weren’t the books my friends and schoolmates read. They were grown-up literature. Sometimes, I had to ask her what it meant because if anything, she overestimated my understanding of the larger world. When I was ready to go, she was proud of me for taking the leap.

It freed her to paint and sculpt and travel. To read, go to the theater, spend time with her sisters. Not cook and clean all the time. Make her own clothing instead of mine. She was glad my brother and I were independent and built lives.

I doubt she suffered from any kind of empty nest issues.

Nor did I. Of course, my son and his family kept coming back. For years, I yearned for an empty nest. Having finally achieved it, do I miss the patter of little feet? Or, for that matter, the thunder of big ones?

Flocks of Goldfinch

I miss the thunder more. Is there something wrong with enjoying the company of adult children more than little kids? I really enjoy having real conversations with grownups who look like me. Even if we disagree, I’m delighted they have opinions. That they are part of a bigger world and standing on their own feet.

Maybe the difference is that so many women seem to prefer babies to adults. They don’t want independent children who don’t need them. Some parents urgently need to be needed.

Children need nurturing, but they don’t need it all the time and they definitely don’t need it for their entire lives. After some point, their drive for separateness should overwhelm the need for nurturing. The drive to be independent should become dominant. I have always thought it’s our obligation as parents to help our kids achieve adulthood because we won’t be here forever. They will need to go on without us.

An empty nest is when you don’t need to do a load of laundry every day. Where the sink isn’t always full. You can park your car where you want it.

Photo: Ben Taylor

Extra rooms revert to your use, even if you use them as closets for all the stuff you collected. If you have a life of your own, interests of your own. There’s no such thing as an empty nest. It’s a time when your kids have achieved maturity. It’s when the work you did to raise them right pays off.

Adult children are great. If you still need to nurture, get pets. Adopt dogs and cats and ferrets and parrots. They will always need you.

If you do it right, your kids will always love you, but not always need you.