Visit Me at Tori’s “Tiny Spark Series”

You all know her from her courageous decision to hold a Very Bloggy Wedding where she entrusted bloggers world-wide to help her plan her own wedding. From the pictures, the end result was fabulous.

I know her as Tori, an amazon goddess of a woman with a joyous smile, a wonderful son, and an ability with words that continues to amaze. She’s also one of the bloggers I have met and so I feel privileged to be able to count her among my friends.

Last month, she announced that she would be doing the “Tiny Spark Series” which she described in this way:

“Starting in December we’ll hear from several amazing folks about the effects of unexpected good.

During those moments in life so blacked-out and dark we can’t see a hand right in front of us, what happened/ when/ how did you know there was must be a candle and a match out there somewhere?What flipped the switch and lit your life up to full blaze?”

To my honor and surprise, she asked me to contribute to the series, and my contribution, called “Looking for the End of the Rainbow One Day at a Time” appears today. Please go visit my post, and then treat yourself with  a wander through the wit and wisdom of Tori’s writing. She has the power to make you laugh until you pee in your pants while doing a spit take; but she also can make you cry at the beauty and power and sometimes terror of motherhood. Every time she writes, she confronts the assumptions of what it takes to be a living, breathing, loving, caring, happy person in a world gone mad.

I have found so many people who serve as “tiny sparks” through the words of their blog, as well as through the opportunities that come along each day. Sometimes it’s harder to see the spark, or take the steps needed to build that spark into a fire. I may not know what the future brings, but I know that my life will continue to be filled with moments and people who know how to make those sparks grow.

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A Summer-y and a New Beginning

I’ve been absent for a while now, on my many summer adventures. I could have written several blog posts about each adventure. but somehow blogging has taken a much lower priority in my life recently.

And I’m good with that.

I also haven’t really been pulling out my camera as much recently. I stopped trying to document every day with at least one photo, partially because each day was beginning to look the same, but also because I shifted my focus onto something else.

I’m good with that too.

Today I have a dual purpose in writing a post. The first is to share with you, in short form, some of the adventures of the summer (in other words a summary of my summer).

Part I: A Summer-y

  • June was consumed with single parenting as Nathan left to work at a summer theatre in Okoboji, IA.  The end of the school year adventures, as well as a dance recital took up a lot of time.

 

  • Sarah and I eventually flew out to join Nathan, despite a lack of enthusiasm on my part. (That’s a long story that I’m not going into at the moment)
  • The rest of the summer at Okoboji was complicated, with a few wonderful highlights

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  • I left before the final week of the summer theatre to have a few (much needed) adventures of my own. I visited my dear friend Amanda and attended some of the Minneapolis Fringe Festival before heading off to Lexington, KY for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education conference as well as an opportunity to spend time with fellow bloggers Kathy and Tori, as well as Kathy’s lovely partner Sara and Tori’s son Thomas. (For more about those adventures including pictures and crashing trees, click on the above link to Kathy’s blog).
  • The conference itself was full of complex emotions for me, as well as inspiration. I can’t seem to put all of this in words, but I left with new ideas about what I want to do with my life. Which leads to me to the second part of my post:

Part 2: A New Beginning

Have you ever noticed how sometimes things need to end in order for something new to begin? I’ve noticed for a while now that I have lost enthusiasm for blogging. Some of it was summer slacking, but some comes from the feeling that I am simply regurgitating material over and over again while achieving nothing. Although my readership has grown little by little, I no longer have a sense of purpose when it comes to this blog. In many ways, the blog has been a lifesaver for me, helping me get through some very difficult years. But it doesn’t seem to be working that way at the moment.

Although I am more settled now than for the past few years (I can’t tell you what a relief it was to come home from the summer theatre and not have to pack up and move again) life is still unknown for me. I am still reinventing myself; trying to create a career that I cannot define, trying to write something worth publishing, trying to live a fulfilling and creative life, trying to support my family while still being myself, and trying to find the balance between myself as individual and myself as wife and mother. This journey is the one I’ve been writing about but at the same time I have held back in some ways–out of insecurity, fear, respect, and other emotions.

I need a new beginning in many ways. And, my friends, for now that may mean I stop posting for a while. I am no longer sure what role blogging can and will play in my life. I need to make some plans, and stick to them, without the distraction of the blog. Because face it, blogs can be a distraction, as you pour your heart and words into reading, writing, and responding and time simply disappears.

So, for now, I believe I am on a short hiatus from regular posting. I will still read and comment, and I am always available for a chat or by e-mail. I may even post occasionally. But, I really believe that in order for me to begin again I need to pause for a moment in order to understand my path more clearly.

I leave you today with this image stolen borrowed from a friend’s posting on Facebook, as it sums up some of my current thinking:

Seasonal Blogging Disorder

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it difficult to blog lately. I’m not just talking about difficulty finding things to write about, although that is true as well. I don’t even feel like reading any of the fabulous blogs that I follow. Perhaps I have been doing it too long, or the heat of the summer has completely fried my brain making me unable to focus on the wit and witticism of my favorite bloggers. When I do read, I struggle to make any kind of intelligible comment. I find myself surfing through blog posts without commitment, or simply erasing them from my inbox blaming it on a weak internet connection which cuts into my time online. (To be fair to myself, I do have spotty internet on the lot and have to seek  alternative locations to get any real work done.)

This sun is from Okoboji Summer Theatre (my summer “home”) so I thought I would borrow it to represent the heat (as well as the drama) that has fried my brain.

I am a summer blogging slacker.Perhaps the amount of ice cream I have been eating to combat the oppressive summer heat has seeped into my brain and turned it into a receptacle of pure sugar and fat, incapable of actually communicating in an intelligible way.

Not that I pay attention to stats (HA!) but it does seem that overall the summer months include a drop of readership. Then again, I haven’t been publishing as many blogs and perhaps my quality has dropped as of late, so I could simply have lost readers. Is this lag a result of the season or a reflection on me and my blog?

It also seems that more of my blogging buddies have disappeared this summer. Perhaps they are simply out enjoying life, soaking in the heat of the sun or relaxing on a cool boat. Many of them have been taking vacations in exotic locations and/or having fabulous staycations in the comfort of their own homes and gardens.

So perhaps the laziness of blogging is simply a symptom of summer.

It’s easier to laze around than blog.

I hope that if and when the weather ever cools, turning toward my favorite time of year (the fall) I will overcome this sluggishness and find my way back to reading, writing, and commenting with enthusiasm and verve.

My apologies to all of you zillions of people who have noticed my lackadaisical approach to blogging this summer. (Who am I kidding, I’m sure many of you are thinking “Lisa who? Didn’t even miss her.”) Also, some of you might have noticed and been offended by my removal of the Blogs I Follow section. I found that it was a mess, as people’s blogs change , so I decided that for the time being I would remove it and make every effort to mention wonderful blogs within the bodies of my posts.

Of course, that requires reading more blogs and writing more posts. Sigh.

Does anyone else suffer from Seasonal Blogging Disorder? Is there a cure?

Searching for Small Blessings

A house in chaos. A challenging night’s sleep. Ant carcasses all over the floor. An absent partner. A dwindling bank account. Insurance documents that have gone AWOL. Dentist appointments and dance recital photos.

Add them all together, and it feels a little difficult to view the world with gentler eyes. Yet, I am determined.

I sit on my deck listening to the wind, and find a place of peace.

I read the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh in Gift From the Sea, and find a message of patience:

“To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should like empty, open, choiceless as a beach–waiting for a gift from the sea.”

I search for the moments of blessing from this past week. I suddenly recall I owe belated thanks for two blog awards offered to me this week, despite my disappearance in the blogosphere of late. The first was The Versatile Blogger Award from Zencherry who embraces life with joyous abandon! I always appreciate her comments and her attitude to life. Please go and visit her!

The second award came from Stuart over at bornstoryteller who gave me the One Lovely Blog Award. Stuart and I lead similar lives and face similar struggles as we try to find a way to live our passions and thrive creatively. We even have the same blog design. 🙂 I am truly grateful for having “met” Stuart and inspired by his work and his passion. Thank you for the award.

Now that I have thanked both of them, and recognized the blessing of being honored by people I admire, I am now going to break the rules by NOT passing the awards on. Why? Because of the journey I am on. I am beginning to recognize the value of focusing on the project and creation, rather than on the numbers and the recognition. I find myself drowning and overwhelmed when I think things like:

  • will I ever be published?
  • why don’t I have more followers?
  • why aren’t my stats higher?
  • am I as good a writer as ______?
  • why does _________ get so much attention while I don’t?
  • why didn’t __________ give that award to me?

Those questions lead only to more chaos.

So, I am choosing not to promote more competition by passing on awards. I try my best to honor quality posts by commenting and linking to them and sometimes even recommending them for Freshly Pressed status. I support my favorite bloggers by visiting them as often as possible, and interacting with them on a regular basis. I cannot choose who is the loveliest or the most versatile or anything else, because I have finally come to the realization that blogging (for me) is not about competition or recognition, but about sharing and writing and challenging myself to improve as a writer, an artist and a person.

This new sense of understanding and clarity is a blessing.

Yesterday, I shared my favorite place, the Botanical Garden with my brother, Steve (who you may know as Taochild). We are both at a place of transition in our lives. We are both seeking to change negatives into positives and reinvent ourselves in a world of confusion. As we walked, I felt joy in myself, because I could walk in such a beautiful place, and I have the ability to change my life even when it is difficult.

As we approached one of my favorite places in the garden, a pond that is home to creatures of all types, I began to listen with my heart. The song of the pond was absolutely amazing. We tried to capture it on Steve’s phone, despite the drone of the lawn mower in the distance and the chatter of people who, of course, decided to stop and talk right behind us.

The first place we listened. The Gazebo lies across the pond.

So we moved into the shelter of the overlooking gazebo, and listened. I pulled out my idea notebook and my journal. I handed him the notebook and said, “Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write about the sounds of nature.”  This is what I wrote:

Sproing

Trill

Chirp

Sproing

Kerro

Flutter

Foghorn

I sit surrounded by communication expressed in a language just beyond my understanding. Frogs calling, spring, kerro, perhaps two species searching for a mate. Birds singing trill, chirp, chatter, peep, flutter– a universe of warnings, beckoning, challenges, celebrations. In the distance, the drone of the lawn mower–human intrusion in a world we don’t own. The giggle of a child. Flutter splash, a bird diving for sustenance or simply resting in the collness of the water. The breeze sings, a low rumble in the ears carrying with it the scents and messages of unknown flowers. I am surrounded by the melodic symphony of silence.

Moments like that are moments of blessing.

As I waited for Steve to finish writing, my mind remained open and alert to the moment and I saw this:

Light reflecting on the water bounces up to dance on the rough-hewn wood of the gazebo. It is a virtual song.

After our walk, we had lunch and ate the MOST DELICIOUS FLAN in the history of the world.

The ability to see, smell, here, taste, touch, experience, wonder, live, breathe, write, sing, dance, hope, and dream all are the true blessings of existence.

Even on dark days, it is possible to find hope.

In Absence: Wisdom Learned from the Gaps

When I was in college I had a crush on a girl.

No . . . not that kind of crush. 😉 I had a crush on a group of women who would have been the popular kids in high school–the girls with brains, beauty, and all the guys. Blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect bodies, but also intelligent. They would have been the presidents of their classes, or the head of important committees. They were the people who traveled in the center while I remained on the fringe.

I admit, in what I now perceive as pathetic puppydom, I clamored for the attention of all of them, but of one person in particular. She gave it to me, while trying encourage me to perfect myself–to lose weight, to be less shy, to exercise more, to take risks. I lapped up her attention like a dog eats treats. I was there for her when she needed a shoulder to cry on, or when a boyfriend broke up with her, even sometimes when she needed a little extra spending money.

Truly pathetic.

It’s only now, years later, that I am able to see through the blinders of who they were and the thrall they cast on me. I was willing to do anything to spend time with them, and I tried to improve myself to be worthy of their attention.

Of course, eventually someone would cut me down, telling me that nobody would really want to spend time with someone who was not confident or came of depressed a lot of the time. I was working on that, seeing a counselor, trying to become a better me-0 but now I realize that they, perhaps unintentionally, kept my doubts and dismay alive. By having someone like me follow them around, glorifying their existence, it made them shine all the brighter.

I wasn’t completely stupid. When they truly cut me apart I would say “I don’t need them.” I had other friends, I had the theatre, I had really difficult major and an extremely challenging school. I focused on work and projects, making sure I never ate at the same time as them and was always busy.

If I did that long enough they would come looking for me. She would come looking for me.

Many of them went to different programs during Junior year, but I didn’t for numerous reasons. That year I thrived, I expanded new (healthier) friendships, I grew in confidence.  When they returned they didn’t have me as completely ensnared any more. I didn’t need them as much. But She in particular, still needed me.

When a woman in a position of power started harassing Her in the hopes of forming a relationship, She would run to me for help. I gave her advice, I played the middle man to try to soothe tensions, I helped solve the problem.

I thought we were best friends, but learned the truth after college when She never kept in touch. She didn’t even invite me to her wedding, when she invited everyone else.

Sometimes that still hurts.

But, looking back on that time from so many years ago, I learned something important. I learned that in absence, I am strong. I grew in strength when I allowed myself time alone, time away, time absent.

I’ve never allowed myself to be sucked in by the sheen of popularity again. I built walls around myself, entering friendships cautiously and carefully, tired of being used and hurt.

Then I started blogging.

In this strange world of the blogosphere, friendships form on the basis of words. We can only trust our instincts and the words written by people to find and form connections. We never know if someone is representing themselves in complete honesty, or creating a character which they share on-line.

That hasn’t stopped me. I’ve tried to make connections anyway, meeting people, in a virtual sense, who fascinate me even if we don’t agree on everything. I’ve connected outside of the blogs as well, a couple of times in person, but mostly over e-mail and/or Facebook. I admit to being seduced by some of the glitter of the popular kids here, the ones who have followings well beyond mine and manage to maintain their momentum. I made efforts to connect with some of them, but only maintained those connections if I felt they were real.

But how does one know its real, unless you meet in person?

As you know, a few weeks ago I decided to take a little time off from the regular blogging. I needed to re-evaluate everything in my life. I am at a crossroads and have yet to decide which direction I am heading. So I’ve only written a few posts. I have read some (although I admit not many–I apologize if you feel neglected) and commented here and there.

As should be expected, my numbers dropped.  A part of me felt saddened by the drop, but recognized that people don’t have time to read through the archive of my work if I am not producing new works. My absence did not, does not, change the fabric of the blogosphere–and I should not expect it would.

However, the longer I didn’t write, the more I began to wonder if my blogging even mattered to any of the people I’ve met here.

I know the answer. A few people have dropped in for comments, or said hi on Facebook. A few people have reached out through e-mails. And yesterday, the fabulous Victoria from Victoria-writes reached out to me when she had a little Wobble starting with the words, “How are you? I miss your blog posts!”

Magic words that made me realize that I have indeed created friendships with my words.

I know that someday, perhaps far in the future but someday, I will take the trip to England that I have always wanted to take. I will wander into a lovely coffee shop with decadent pastries and I will meet my long-time friend and blogging buddy, Victoria.  She will, of course, by then be a famous author, but she will make time in her busy schedule to meet with me. Offer our delicious treats we will discuss the trials and tribulations of writing, as well as our lives and our families, and the other things that connect us. I can see it now, and it makes me smile.

Her note made me realize that despite distance, I still have wonderful friends out there. As I was typing this, I got a message from a college friend (not one of the golden girls, a true friend) asking if I would like to try to get together sometime (she lives about 1 1/2 hours from me).

In absence I am learning what kind of friends I really want, and really need. In silence I am slowly discovering where I want to take my life, even if I am still unclear of the path. In not writing, I am writing, as I find new ways to form my words and new reasons to write them.

I still have a long way to go, but I am no longer the girl blinded by blonde hair and fairy dust.

I am present in my absence.

I realize now I may never be the center of the popular crowd, but I am content on the fringe, with the small group of friends who support, question, challenge and inspire.

There are many of them.

A fabulous couple!

Let’s Take Over Freshly Pressed

I admit that I stopped regularly reading Freshly Pressed a long time ago. Partially as a time-saving measure, partially because I have so many fabulous blogs to follow that I barely have enough  time to read them all, and partially because of a few too many Freshly Pressed posts that I personally thought were poorly written and uninteresting.

Yet that page still dangles before me.

I had managed to push Freshly Pressed out of my line of sight, focusing on writing posts I could be proud of and trying to keep up with all the fabulous posts I want to read each day, while (hopefully) contributing comments that helped me grow as a writer and a member of the community. While my blog hasn’t grown hugely, a few new friends join me every once in a while, and I have found some wonderful new blogs to follow myself. Once in a while an FP headline jumps out at me, and I wander over for a look, but for the most part I have been content with my quiet little circle of WordPress universe.

However, recent events have brought Freshly Pressed back into focus.

Perhaps it started when Jim Chaney, over at the Wordslinger had his (I believe third) Freshly Pressed post picked, called “Stop! In the Name Of . . . Terrible Baby Names”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Jim’s post was fabulously funny, and all the posts that he has written that went on to Freshly Pressed fame were wonderful. But, if (as I thought) FP is selected somewhat randomly, why then do some bloggers get an overabundance, and others get zilch, nada, zip–including posts that really should have their moment to shine?

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about the success of a program I started last spring, and linked to one of my original posts about the program. The fabulous Kathryn McCullough, who loved the original post from the beginning, wrote this:

That led to a Facebook discussion with another blogger about some of the (possible) secrets of Freshly Pressed. I will not go into details here.

I pushed the question into the back of my mind for a while, until I read Kathy’s fabulous post yesterday called, “Top 10 Reasons to Join the Bloggy Blast”. Kathryn has written numerous posts that should be read by millions of readers. This one was timely, as I sink into questioning “why bother” and wondering where all this writing and blogging is even taking me. Her post reminded me of the unexpected rewards of joining and maintaining a blogging community. At the same time, she brought into clear focus the ever-present shadow of Freshly Pressed, by writing

“It used to be that writers and artists gathered at literal locations like the Algonquin Round Table during the 1920s.  Today bloggers gather at a place likeFreshly Pressed—present the best of their work and hone their craft.  I may have felt honored to have my work featured on Freshly Pressed, but more importantly, a forum like Freshly Pressed offers examples of excellent work that other bloggers can strive to emulate.  It demonstrates what works.  It shows us how to be better writers, stronger photographers, more daring and accomplished artists.”

Freshly Pressed came back to my radar.

So I wrote an e-mail.  I made a suggestion. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote:

. . . I began wondering if there was a way to make FP more representative of the true quality of work out there. Many times I have read posts that deserve a broader audience, either for the quality of writing, the beauty of the images, or the importance of the message (or some combination of the three). Yet those posts rarely get recognition (although I have indeed called it a few times). Would it be possible to add a NOMINATE FOR FRESHLY PRESSED BUTTON to all posts, with guidelines like: You can only nominate 1 post a day; you cannot nominate yourself (otherwise you will be inundated with bloggers who just want attention); posts must contain original images or appropriate accreditation of sources; and so on (you know best).

I know that doing this would mean you would have tons of posts to sort through, but it would also give some attention to bloggers who are really creating work worthy of their fifteen minutes of fame and fortune (Ha! Ha!).  I also think it would strengthen FP and the  WordPress Community.

And here is the response:

“Thanks so much for taking the time to share your suggestion with us — it’s a fantastic idea! The idea has come up before, and although it isn’t currently on our to-do list, it’s certainly on our radar.

In the mean time, feel free to pass on nominations to editor@wordpress.com

Happy blogging,

Erica
Story Wrangler
WordPress.com | Automattic

So let’s do it. Let’s start sending her nominations for those stories that we feel truly should reach broader audiences. I’m not talking about our own egos here, where we claim our own writing is the most glorious thing in the universe and dangle even the most mediocre piece in front of her eyes. NO! I mean, let’s be thoughtful and nominate posts we read that we think deserve a little moment in the light of the wider blogging universe.

Of course, there should be some sort of criteria. Some of the things that make a post stand out for me, and make me wish others would read it too, include:

  • quality writing and/or images
  • a message that speaks to a wide audience
  • a message that needs to be heard
  • a post that makes you think or feel, whether that feeling is laughter or tears
  • truth and honesty
  • a post that doesn’t try too hard
  • . . .

What about you? What are your criteria for a post that you think should be Freshly Pressed?

I am not saying inundate them with nominations, but lets be thoughtful and really try to promote each other’s best work.  I nominated someone today. I won’t tell you who unless my nomination turns into success.

Anyone want to join me in taking over Freshly Pressed?

UPDATE

It works!!!! The blog I nominated was Kathy’s wonderful post which got Freshly Pressed today (April 17) !!!  They even sent me an e-mail to let me know. Can I have a WOO HOO!

Two Years

Two years ago today I started this blog.

Since that first pathetic post I have:

  • written 585 posts
  • approved 7629 comments
  • been protected from 5738 spam comments
  • had (supposedly) 39,054 views
  • written hundreds and hundreds of comments on other people’s blogs
  • gained and lost subscribers (right now I have 155 blog followers).

But these numbers really don’t mean anything to me. Since I started this blog, I have also:

  • lived in four states (Colorado, Iowa for summer theatre work, Kansas, and Massachusetts).
  • taught several hundred students of all ages in theatre, writing, English lit, puppetry and other areas.
  • driven thousands of miles (including across country three times)
  • read approximately 118 books
  • walked miles and miles in beautiful locations
  • taken hundreds of pictures
  • created a couple of pieces of “art”
  • directed shows
  • taught camps
  • written hundreds of morning pages
  • met amazing people
  • traveled out of the country
  • played too many computer games
  • been angry, scared, sad, happy, excited, lonely, content, frustrated, confident, doubtful and any other emotion you can think of
  • gained and lost weight
  • shared ideas with wonderful women
  • eaten chocolate, laughed and celebrated life
  • cried millions of tears

In other words I’ve lived my life. I’ve tried to share honestly on these pages. I’ve written words from the heart. I have been honored to interact with many incredible people. I admit that I still envy bloggers who seem to ease into successful blogs: the ones who get Freshly Pressed repeatedly while I limp forward slowly, the ones with hundreds and hundreds of followers and hundreds of thousand of hits. I admit that there are days that I feel frustrated and wonder why I bother. What do I hope to achieve with this blog?

That question looms large as I celebrate this, my second blogiversary. What do I hope to achieve with this blog? Where do I go from here? Do I continue as I’ve been doing, posting about whatever inspires me at any given moment, including rants and rambles along the way? Do I start something new, coming up with a more focused vision? Or do I simply give up, saying, “it was a good try but now move on to something realistic” ?

I am in the middle of reinventing myself, of discovering who I want to be and what marks I want to leave in this world. Saturday I spent the day with theatre educators and others who are passionate about the importance and value of arts education in the schools, and arts as part of life. I discovered people who are doing incredible work, on both a large and a small-scale. I was reminded that I do belong in that world in many ways, I just have yet to figure out how I contribute.

I live in a world of creative energy, and am slowly finding a foothold in that world. Blogging has helped me in many ways. I have learned so much from fellow bloggers, that I’m not sure where to even begin. But, I will try.

  • I’ve learned how to see the world a little differently from people like Piglet in Portugal and Terry at The Incredible Lightness of Seeing. Because of them I carry my camera with me wherever I go, and began incorporating my own images into my posts more often.
  • I’ve learned about courage from many sources, but particularly: Kathy at Reinventing the Event Horizon who is delving into her past with beauty, compassion and courage; Mark at The Idiot Speaketh who faces the challenges of his disability with humor and honesty, while still offering compassion and support wherever needed,  Ré at Sparks in the Shadows who is heart-breakingly honest with her struggles in life, but works daily to improve herself as a writer and challenge her world; and Dory at If I Were Brave who challenges herself daily to bring joy and face her fears. She’s now embarking on a fiction writing course and I know she will shine in that.
  • I’ve learned about love from Christine (who has also helped me see the power of photography). Ahab and Tori. I’ve learned about the craft of writing from Broadside and Wordsxo. I’ve learned about pursuing passion from Julia’s hundred word challenge and Stuart’s commitment to the arts.

My list could go on and on, but I honestly don’t have time to link to all the fabulous blogs I’ve read. Because, one of the downsides of blogging is that I have blogged away all the time I need to do other things. I am just starting on a book project with actual deadlines. I need to focus my energy on that to some extent today, or I will not make my deadline. But, this blogging world is now a home, that I am afraid to leave. I am more comfortable writing here then I ever thought I would be in the early days of my blog. I have found a community. I have met a few bloggers, and hope to meet more. I have discovered amazing people who I connect to on many different levels.

In many ways my blog has become my home. But, I wonder, is it time for this little bird to leave her nest?

Losing My Mojo, But Dancing and Singing Honestly Anyway

The title of today’s post comes from several conversations swirling around the blogosphere over the past couple of days, so I will explain with links to each.

Today, Christine asked “Why do you write blogs?” prompting my, admittedly morose response:

“My 100% honest (with myself) answer to this question is that I blog because, right now, I feel like I have nothing else in my life. :(

Now, I’m not quoting myself in a plea for sympathy. Seriously, I copied the quote because I always try to write from an honest place. Honesty isn’t always pretty.

My response prompted a response from Julia and led me to her post from yesterday called “If You Give a Blogger a Pie . . . “  which caused me to recognize that I am currently feeling a complete loss of mojo.

In an attempt to reclaim that lost mojo, I am joining a movement that I unknowingly inspired with my guest post the other day. The conversation following that post caused  Stuart to create a new movement he is calling the “National ‘Sing Everywhere” Movement”  which he describes in the linked post. That led, of course, to the creation by Zencherry (whose comment really started the movement) of the fabulous “Sing Out Loud, Naughty Badge” which I have proudly displayed on my sidebar and include here as well.

What does this badge stand for? It stands for the people who create simply for  the joy of creation. People who blog simply because they love to create. People who sing even if their voices are weak. People who dance with two left feet. It is a badge for people who have lost their mojo, to remind them that the only way to regain your mojo is to sing, to dance, to write, to create, to dream.

Maybe my Mojo isn’t lost for good.

The view as I looked for my lost mojo.

I’m Back . . . Sort Of

I told you I just needed a tiny break.

I know, you’ve barely missed me, especially since I kind of posted anyway and even managed a couple of comments here and there. But I didn’t spend the whole day reading posts, writing posts, and commenting on posts. I read all of your wonderfully kind comments to me, and I truly appreciate every one of them. I just needed a little time to clear my head.

Even now, I approach the keyboard with hesitation, as I’m not sure what words will pour out or what I even want to say. I’m not blocked . . . it’s not that. I think I’m more overwhelmed by this community, by the complexities of our world, by all the transitions that have been happening in my life for the past three years, by amazing writers and friends like Mark and Vicky who are on their own journey of struggle right now and who I wish I could help but I don’t know how.

So I stopped. Just for a couple of days I stopped. I focused on finding movies to help me cry (only partially successful). I tried to sleep. I wrote in my morning pages. I spent time with my family. I tried not to stress about finding work or creating a meaningful life all over again. I tried not to feel alone.

I both succeeded and failed.

For several nights now I’ve had dreams too complicated to describe, but all with a common message that no matter how hard I tried I would never belong. Now, I know that’s not true, but I can’t help what my subconscious tries to feed me.

So this morning I woke up and completely melted down, at least partially. I held it together for Sarah. I almost held it together for Nathan. Then I cried, a little.

Finally, I went to help at the library at Sarah’s school, and that centered me. From there, I decided going home was a bad choice, so I took myself on an adventure to find a bookstore that I’ve been meaning to find. It turned out to be only so-so, but at least I broke my routine.

 I sat in the little cafe at the bookstore and tried to focus. Then I got an Facebook note from a young friend of mine, asking for my opinion as mentor and educator.  At first I didn’t want to deal with it, because it was on a topic that I’ve discussed with her before, but then I answered anyway. Through answering her question, I remembered myself as a talented mediator and mentor. I finished her answer and wrote a Hub called “Battling Depression in a World Gone Mad”.

You might wonder why I wrote it as a Hub rather than a post here. I had to approach it more as an observer–an observer of myself. I feel like here I can write with my more personal voice, and their I try to sound more logical. I’m much more comfortable writing here, but I had to analyze my thoughts there before I could share my thoughts here. Does that make sense?

So, I guess I’m back. Thank you all for your kindness and patience as I work my way into joy. Your thoughts helped a lot.

And now, a few moments of quiet beauty I found outside my back door after I got home.

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What’s It All For?

Grumpy Post Day!

I have had it. I am tired of wandering through the world of blogs and Hubs to find mediocre posts gaining accolades and readers, when the writer’s who spend time honing their craft and perfecting their posts get left behind in the dust.

I’m tired of writing hundreds or thousands of words each day, only to feel that my work is still somehow not good enough or funny enough or interesting enough to get notice from the publishers and editors and rulers of the blogosphere.

I know I shouldn’t care about Site Stats or numbers of followers, especially when I have such a wonderful group of friends here, but I can’t help it. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t want to have hundreds of readers and to know that I had written something of value.

I’m tired of being told that I just have to keep working hard and practice my writing. I do work hard at everything I do. I can take pride in my accomplishments, but sometimes knowing I do good work IS NOT ENOUGH! Sometimes you want acknowledgement, accolades, or at least some kind of recognition that the hard work isn’t simply disappearing into the void.

I’m tired of being told that it doesn’t matter what other people think. I know it shouldn’t, but it does matter. I’m not saying my whole self-worth depends on what other people think, but once in a while it matters that people do have something to say in response to you. Without interaction, all you are is alone. So whether someone loves or hates my work doesn’t matter, but it does matter that I know that people READ my work. If nobody is reading I might as well be writing in my journal, which is a story for one.

I’m lost in a sea of words right now, and can’t seem to find a reason for writing anymore. I’m not blocked, I have plenty of things to say. I just don’t know why I bother. I explored this further in a less whiny post on this Hub, but I figure you are all my blogging family, so if I can’t bitch and moan here, where else can I do it?

I apologize for the grumpy post. Now I will put myself into a time out until I feel better.

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