Rise up

Charles-DAmbrosio

I had just figured out, rather naïvely, that I could buy my own books, and then almost instantly I became a prig about their condition, so much so that I wouldn’t lend them to anyone, at least not without a solemn lecture about their proper handling: no breaking the spines, no dog-earing the pages, no greasy thumbprints. At home, I had my own somewhat wobbly arrangement of brick-and-board shelves, two and then three tiers of ugly pressboard, painted brown and laddered up against the wall, my first piece of furniture. In private, I thought of those shelves with enormous pride, as something I was building, book by book, and brick by brick, and I often looked at them, vaguely satisfied, like a worker inspecting the progress of a job. I wanted the shelves to rise up and reach the ceiling, and for that to happen, all I had to do, I realized, was read.

~ Charles D’Ambrosio, Loitering: New and Collected Essays

and if you appreciated this, check out another passage from his new book below: [Read more…]

Blog That? Top 20 reflections on 2014.

blog-blogging-funny

Here’s my top 20 blogging reflections on 2014, an update from my 2013 list:

  1. Grateful for: The Community. (Simply the Best.) Friends. Followers, Likes, Comments, Engagement, Banter, Re-blogs. Thank you.
  2. Appreciate: Infrequent notes from silent followers. Always surprising and inspiring.
  3. Take any posts back: No. (But, I do grimace at a few.)
  4. Viral: Yes. One share titled: Gate A-4. 845,000 views. 487 likes. 15 Minutes of Fame can be frightening. Glad to be back to the Man-Cave.
  5. Blogging Challenges: Staying fresh. (Not good enough. This one feels tired. Who cares?)
  6. Secret Sauce for High Quality Content: (1) Read. (2) A silent partner(s). (Thank you.)
  7. Wish I Had More Time for: Reading and writing. (Especially Reading)
  8. Awards: Grateful for the fellow blogger recognition but haven’t been able to pay it forward. (Sorry.)
  9. Who do you call at 3am (when you need blogging help): Todd. Mimi. Lori. BethCarol. Ray. And continuing mention of the bloggers who brought me to the dance: Kurt @ Cultural Offering & Steve @ Anderson Layman’s Blog. (Thank you all.)
  10. Important: Attribution for shares. Regrets? 2012 post without owner’s consent. Apologies extended and post revised.
  11. Best writing aids/apps: For me (amateur): Save your time and money. Skip ‘em.
  12. Best App in Supporting Role: Evernote. For clipping, storing, composing. No close 2nd place finisher.
  13. Most useful Utility Apps: 1password. TextExpander. Snagit. DropBox or iCloud. (sync/backup critical)
  14. Best Reading/Content Apps: Feedly. Pocket. Kindle. Tumblr.
  15. Best blogs to follow: Authentic. Have opinion. High quality writing and/or content. Succinct.
  16. Wish I knew how to: (1) Write well (or better?). (2) Photoshop images. (No time. Limited competency.)
  17. Mac vs. PC: Mac/iPad/iPhone wins hands down. Syncing and stability worth price premium.
  18. Chrome vs. Safari: (for Mac Users)? Toss Up. Safari for integration/syncing. Google for speed and widgets.
  19. Niggling Nuisances: Spam. Self-linking. Haters. (Few) Guest blogger requests unrelated to blog theme.
  20. Why Blog? Why not?

Notes:

  1. Related Posts: (1) 2013: Top 20 Reflections on 2013: A Blogger’s Retrospective. (2) 2012: Two Years and Counting
  2. Image Credits (modified text). Original Source: Miguel Fernandez @ gengen-den-strich.com via Tanya Khovanova’s Math Blog

Love Paper

photography, fall

From Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers: Love Paper

A tree gave its life for what you are about to attempt. Don’t let the silicon chip or computer monitor cause you to forget this. That ex-tree material stacked in your printer is so dead as you begin to write that its bark-skinned, earth-eating, oxygen-producing, bird-supporting, squirrel-housing body has been reduced to an inert blank expanse of white. To find the life of language and lay that life down on the paper is to redeem the sacrificed life of the tree…

David James Duncan

If you write, blog and/or read, DON’T MISS the entire post: Love Paper

Photograph: skubmic titled Autumn Lines


15 Minutes of Fame

space-shuttle-launch

Monday:

It’s early afternoon. There are ripples. The wind picks up during the day. There are 9,000 blog views by bed time, 8,500 views for a single post, more than 10x my Total average daily views. (Not that I’m counting.) 

I ferret out the source of traffic: Facebook. I’m unsuccessful at locating the fire starter.

Monday EOD Count: 11,000 views

Tuesday:

I wake to find my blog with 18,000 new views.  18,000 views overnight!  No caffeine required.

I sneak peaks during the day to find post views are climbing at more than 5,000 per hour. Heart? Pumping.

The site traffic is picked up by two media sources who send an email requesting my permission to share the post on their site. They ask for my photo.  Oh No. No. No. No.  I reply with thanks, but no thanks.

I go to bed, and sneak a peak at the view count. 101,000. And counting.

Tuesday EOD Count: 125,000 [Read more…]

The righteous will cross the paper bridge

light

Remember the story you learned as a child: When the hour arrives for us to proceed to the next world, there will be two bridges to it, one made of iron and one made of paper,” Peretz intoned. His words were heavy, but his voice floated on rings of smoke, a breath of fire and ash that hovered over the room full of Hebrew and Yiddish books, as if waiting to descend and consume them. Der Nister swallowed, breathing in the master’s air. “The wicked will run to the iron bridge, but it will collapse under their weight. The righteous will cross the paper bridge, and it will support them all. Paper is the only eternal bridge. Your purpose as a writer is to achieve one task, and one task only: to build a paper bridge to the world to come.

~ Dara Horn, The World To Come


Notes:

Bloggers. Why Curate?

curate,curation,blog,blogging

The pieces that I chose were based on one thing only
— a gasp of DELIGHT.
Isn’t that the only way to curate a life?
TO live among things that
make you gasp with delight?

~ Maira Kalman, My Favorite Things


My Favorite Things is a new book by Maira Kalman that was released on Amazon yesterday. “The book is a beautiful pictorial and narrative exploration of the significance of objects in our lives, drawn from her personal artifacts, recollections, and selections from the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. She is the author of the bestsellers The Principles of Uncertainty and The Elements of Style.”

Find her bio here: Maira Kalman


Quotes Source: brainpickings

Blog is a slog?

blog-blogging-blogger

Excerpts from: When Blogging Becomes a Slog by Steven Kurutz, NYTimes.com:

The Petersiks’ trademark gung-ho enthusiasm seemed forced. And since the birth of their second child, Teddy, in April, they were increasingly voicing their difficulty in balancing work and family…the couple responded in a post titled “Feeeeeelings,” in which they confessed to “feeling off for a while” and missing the days when “we did this for the love.” Although they had scaled back outside projects to recommit to the blog, they were unable to shake the sense of “letting you guys down repeatedly.” They had decided to step away from Young House Love for an indeterminate period and explore other career options. The unexpected announcement has generated more than 4,000 comments so far.

Ms. Petersik responded in an email that “we really would like to clear our heads and refocus.” But they are not alone in their experience. Blogger burnout seems to be something that many of their colleagues in the world of home and D.I.Y. blogs, most of them in their 20s and early 30s, can relate to as well. Is the first generation of design bloggers aging out of the blogosphere? Or is this just a new twist on an old business story, updated for the Internet age?

…A tricky thing to avoid as a full-time blogger, considering that the Internet never sleeps, readers want fresh content daily and new social media platforms must be mastered and added to the already demanding workload.

…Pam Kueber…sees the Petersiks’ escalating stress levels and unhappiness simply as evidence of the latter: A passion turns into a hobby, which becomes a full-time career. “And in some predictable period of time, it consumes your life and sucks the joy out if it,” said Ms. Kueber, finishing the arc. “That last part of the Shakespearean tragedy is what you have to be mindful of not letting happen.”

Read full story @ When Blogging Becomes a Slog by Steven Kurutz, NYTimes.com


Image: Egozy

Riding Metro-North. 17 hours and counting.

black and white, photography

Thursday. September 18.

I’m up at 3:00 a.m., and operating on four and a half hours of sleep. Even this Bull-Head understands that this, This, is unsustainable.

Insomnia. A discipline, unlike dieting, I’ve perfected. I now understand, her words, Marina Tsvetaeva, and their meaning.

“After a night of insomnia
the body gets weaker,
Becomes dear but no one’s —
not even your own.”

I look out the window. It’s not dawn but pre-dawn. Moonless. Dark. And Still. Me, the crickets and the hum of the electrical current running the overhead lamp.

I rifle through my schedule for the day.  6:00 a.m. train. Breakfast and lunch with colleagues. A team dinner in the evening. Calls and meetings jamming all white space in between. 18 hours from now, I can take my suit and shoes off and crawl back into bed.  I blink my eyes. Once. Twice. Three times. I cannot clear the blur. I close them and rest for a moment.  Give me 20 minutes and I’ll be good – – fully functioning. Just 20 minutes.

The day landed as expected, full, including two nightcaps for this teetotaler after dinner. I pull the maraschino cherry from my cocktail and drop it in my mouth, when a colleague lets fly: “V.O. Manhattan, huh? My Father used to drink those.” I smile, proud not to have taken the bait. How socially acceptable and behaved you’ve become. There was a time you’d come across the table and level the score and then some. An eye for an eye, a leg, and an arm. [Read more…]

A morsel of gratitude for (my) Readers

read-book-woman-portrait-black-and-white

One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.

~ David Mitchell, The Soul Cycle

 


Notes:

5:59 am. Inspired. (And Thankful)

sunburst-morning-sunrise

Here are my selections for the inspiring posts of the week, this Thanksgiving week:

Jeffrey Foltice @ Photo Nature Blog with his photo above titled Morning Sunburst: the sunrise is near Hudsonville, Michigan. Check out Jeff’s other amazing work here.

Greg @ Sippican Cottage with his post Thanksgiving 2013: “…I think the worst condition of man is loneliness. It is a terrible thing to be lonely, or worse, truly alone. No one goes crazy in general population. It’s solitary that eats at your mind. Even the craziest of men, immured in stone, unable to get even a glimpse of the bright, blue tent of the sky, scratch at the walls to leave a message; to tell another that they were there… I am not alone in this world, which is good, because I have a melancholy nature. I am married, and I have children to throw rolls over the table at one another. They are my name, scratched on the unyielding wall of the world, telling anyone that will bother to notice that I was here. My family makes me calm about many things…People don’t often appreciate things that come readily to hand. I’m a person… We will have enough to eat, and sit in a warm room, laugh and wonder at the dogeared cards we have been dealt, and I’ll try mightily to shed the light that is my true function, to make me more fit for my work. We will all pray over our plate like children. Thanksgiving is the only kind of prayer that you can be sure will work, because it faces backwards. I tap on the wall of the Intertunnel, too. I often feel disconnected from my fellow passengers on this spinning rock, moreso each day. I wonder if some other inmate, some fellow traveler, might hear my tapping, and be braced by the thought of a fellow internee. I often hear tapping in return, and it refreshes me to carry on.” Amazing post.  More here [Read more…]