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…]

Words

sleep-dream-art
Looming and phosphorescent against the dark,
Words, always words.

— Charles Wright


Credits:

  • Image: Sleepless by Vanessa @ ésotérique
  • Poem: metaphorformetaphor from Charles Wright’s opening lines to opening lines to “Cryopexy,” The Other Side of the River (Vintage Books, 1984)

 

I don’t like Neighbor.

black and white, portrait

I was rattled.
My Fingers are on the keyboard.

“N-e-i-h-b-o-r”
Then…
“N-i-e-h-b-o-r”
Autocorrect is humming in the background but finding nothing.
Where the H*ll are you?
Red dots underscore the word and shout: “WRONG“!
I push back from my desk. I stop. I inhale.

You used to be an Automaton. Letters used to spill out, from head to fingers to screen. Letters all beautifully lined up in single file, in correct order.  It’s ok. You’re just tired. You didn’t get much sleep. You’re alright. It will be ok.  

I go at it again.
“N-i-e-b-o-r”
Red dots return.
No sign of Autocorrect.
My pulse quickens.
The cursor flashes at the end of the Word. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing.
Red dots underscore word. Red dots. Blood platelets. Stop the bleeding.

[Read more…]

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day-wednesday


I continue to be awed by my fellow bloggers in the WordPress community. Here’s another fine example.

Uncle Spike from Uncle Spike’s Adventures was searching “Photography” tags on WordPress when he came across the photo I shared in my Veteran’s Day post (Honor).  He “Liked” my post. I noted that his Gravatar had the camel photo above and my antenna went up.  I sent him an email asking for consent to share the photograph and we traded emails. He explained that he took the photograph north of Rumuruti in Kenya in 2007 and that “he rode this Beastie for 8 hours!” 

I read his About page and was hooked.  Here’s a small morsel:

“As you sit there reading this, I’m having a bash at fruit farming in Turkey, blogging and somehow I’ve also become a proof-reader for academic papers, conference articles and post-grad theses. It’s a curious mix I’ll admit…Nowadays, I’m within sniffing distance of 50, but always very busy, constantly reinventing. Being honest, I reckon I’m pretty content with life…”

Check out more here: Uncle Spikes Adventures.

Of course, prior to this interaction, the clock was ticking for the Wednesday Hump Day post deadline.

Coincidence? Serendipity? Synchronicity?

And Bam, here comes Uncle Spike to the rescue…


Note: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts: Let’s Hit it Again


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

What most bloggers don’t want to hear

write,writing,internet,social media,wordpress

Jeff Bullas has over 4 million followers at his blog @ Jeffbullas.com. He was ranked #8 by Forbes on their list of “The World’s Top 40 Social Marketing Talent” in 2014. He was the winner of Social Media Examiner’s “Top Social Media Blogs” in 2013.  He shares 27 blogging success factors in his post titled “What most bloggers don’t want to hear.”  21 of 27 (77%) hit home with me.

I started this digital platform built on passion, purpose and the beckoning of exciting new frontiers. It was invigorating. This portal to the world gave me a voice I didn’t know existed. It was a journey into the unknown. I created and crafted content, built connections on Twitter and published. I signed up for learning. It was time when Facebook was simple and organic. Content didn’t need images, screen shots and 1,500 words. It was the wild social west. When the excitement died down I realized what I had signed up for.

Read his 27 blogging learnings here: What most bloggers don’t want to hear.


Image: Karen Hurley Design

Your writings have fundamentally changed me. For the better, Marilynne. I believe that.

Marilynne_Robinson

She’s at the top of my list of favorite authors. Marilynne Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize Winning novelist (Housekeeping; Gilead; Home), was interviewed by Wyatt Mason in an article titled The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson. Her new book Lila is coming out this week. Here’s a few excerpts from a yet another enlightening experience with the author:

[…] For Robinson, writing is not a craft; it is “testimony,” a bearing witness: an act that demands much of its maker, not least of which is the courage to reveal what one loves.

[…] A photo of her granddaughter sits on the living-room mantle, adjoining a pop-up Christmas card from the Obama White House, where last year she received a National Humanities Medal. (In his remarks that day to the honorees, the president said: “Your writings have fundamentally changed me, . . . I think for the better. Marilynne, . . . I believe that.”)

[…] The novel (Lila) confirms many things, not least of which is how Robinson’s work is unified by her belief in a sacred world whose wonders we have difficulty opening ourselves to, both privately and publicly.

[…] “Being and human beings,” Robinson told me, “are invested with a degree of value that we can’t honor appropriately. An overabundance that is magical.”

Don’t miss the full interview here by Wyatt Mason: The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson.


Book reviews on Lila: A Novel:

  • The Independent: Lila: A Moving Journey From Poverty to Happiness. “…the human story dominates, resulting in a book that leaves the reader feeling what can only be called exaltation.”
  • The New York Times: “Lila: Moral of the Story.” “…is not so much a novel as a meditation on morality and psychology, compelling in its frankness about its truly shocking subject: the damage to the human personality done by poverty, neglect and abandonment.”

Robinson’s new book is scheduled for release on October 7th on Amazon: Lila: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson


Credits: Marilynne Robinson Portrait: The Independent

Word

black and white, photography

You are looking for the “right” word.

For a paper, an article, a story, a blog post, a presentation – – you’re trying to express a intense moment, a feeling, an emotion.

Words, sentences, paragraphs, a continuous stream flowing…your back and forth rhythm now rudely interrupted. You have hit The Wall. You can’t climb over without the Word.

It’s right there. On the tip of your tongue. Your mind is searching. You feel the Word. It’s Sizzling, Searing. The perfect Word to capture the moment, the feeling.

Yet, you come up Empty.

Your frustration grows. You use a substitute. You re-read the passage again, and again. The Word doesn’t fit. It doesn’t feel right. It’s an impostor. You go with it anyway. And it hangs, like an ill-fitting jacket or pair of oversized shoes.

Suppose we try to recall a forgotten name. The state of our consciousness is peculiar. There is a gap therein; but no mere gap. It is a gap that is intensely active. A sort of wraith of the name is in it, beckoning us in a given direction, making us at moments tingle with the sense of our closeness, and then letting us sink back without the longed-for term. If wrong names are proposed to us, this singularly definite gap acts immediately so as to negate them. They do not fit into its mould. And the gap of one word does not feel like the gap of another, all empty of content as both might seem necessarily to be when described as gaps. . . . The rhythm of a lost word may be there without a sound to clothe it; or the evanescent sense of something which is the initial vowel or consonant may mock us fitfully, without growing more distinct. Every one must know the tantalizing effect of the blank rhythm of some forgotten  verse, restlessly dancing in one’s mind, striving to be filling out with words.

William James, 1890

And, then you read a poem that captures this, all of this.

Magic.

She’s gone and done it.
[Read more…]