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I love WordPress. When I first thought of blogging, I dipped my toe in the other blog sites, but WordPress was the only one for me.

Except now, I hate Reader.

I can’t remember what we had before Reader, but it was great.  Do you recall?  It was a little something in that left-hand sidebar that you clicked and then just scrolled down to see the most current post from all the folks to whom you were subscribed. If you didn’t want one to appear, you could hide it.  Easy to scan, easy to access, just… easy.

And now we have Reader.  And I ask you, what is this madness??

Half the time, I can’t get it to appear. The other half the time, I see the same posts several times in the feed, or posts that are weeks old and definitely NOT the newest content from my fun friends.

It just sucks, and I want my old scrolly thing back.

I’m generally not a big complainer, and I appreciate everything WordPress does to make our blogs and blogging experience increasingly fabulous.  I’ve been thinking about writing this for months though, and finally today, when trying to pull up Reader completely froze my computer, and I wondered why I was doing it when it was just going to frustrate me anyway, I’d had enough and decided to say something about it.

So I did.

WordPress, are you listening?


I have 318 draft posts in the stomach of this blog.

318. That’s getting close to a post for every day of the year (just in case you couldn’t intuit that for yourself.)

But here’s the thing:

I have no idea what some of them are about.

Like most writers, my inspirations do not always strike at the most convenient times – like when I’m sitting down at a keyboard or with a journal and a pen.  So I do what all writers do. I write down whatever I can wherever I can. Because I know I won’t remember it by the time I get to the “writing place”. I can’t even remember the five-item grocery list that I’ve been reciting to myself ceaselessly for an hour – even going so far as to make up a little song as a memory aid – if I walk into King Soopers and am distracted by the shopping carts being stuck together.  Poof!  The list is gone, just like the outline of a cloud. I will, however, remember, while sitting in a meeting at work sixteen hours later, that I forgot to buy lemon juice.

This lack of total recall translates into several things:

1.   I have a dozen notebooks going at once.

2.   Even so, I don’t always have one with me. When I need one and no current notebook is handy, I find (or buy) a new one.

3.   If no notebook at all is available, I use whatever I have to write on – bills, receipts, dry cleaning tickets, my hand.

4.   I can’t throw anything away because it might have a precious nugget of creativity on it (though I do wash my hands). Kelsea is going to have to save everything so she can piece together my memoirs after I am famous and dead.

5.   I am a menace on the road, because it is very hard to write while driving.

6.   Sometimes my notes make no sense at all.

Many of my post drafts are just a title.  If it’s a brilliant enough idea to be a post and to have a title, surely the title will trigger that same waterfall of creativity about the topic.  Wouldn’t one think? Well, one would be wrong.

Take, for example, a post drafted in February 2011 with the title “George and Jennie”.

I don’t know anyone named Jennie. And I only know one George. Maybe something about Winston Churchill’s mother? I tried googling “George and Jennie” – maybe it was something an old movie stirred up, or something inspired by NPR’s StoryCorps series.  I often find that those spark the creative kindling.

The only thing I came up with was a couple named George and Jennie in Fayetteville, West Virginia, who mysteriously lost five of their children after their house caught fire back in 1945. Now, this does sound like something I would actually write about, but I know in my heart that I have never heard of this tale before, nor was it at all related to whatever my post was going to be about.

So I guess my George and Jennie post is as much as mystery as what happened to the five children sixty years ago (not to minimize the tragedy).  It will likely come back to me one day while I am petting a random dog or rock-climbing or changing cat litter. Most likely at a time when no writing resources are available.

Some draft posts are titleless and contain nothing but a few choice phrases. Opening those is like opening a present – I have no idea what I’m going to find inside. But those are the ones that, when the spirit moves me, I can whip into a literary frenzy and complete with relish (and mustard, if that’s your preference). Those drafts are easier to work with.

Many potential posts dwell in my notebooks as well, lists of them.  I often say to Kelsea, “I should write a post about that,” and she’ll say, “You should.” I treat her as my back-up brain – two days later, I’ll ask her,”What was that great idea I had for a post when we were watching Jersey Shore?” Sometimes she can remember, but sometimes she can’t.  Darn unreliable back-up brains.

The notebooks contain nearly finished pieces, but unfortunately, they’re in the notebooks.  And that’s often where they stay. Which is why Kelsea is going to have to keep everything that I have ever written on.  Half-baked (as opposed to fully cooked) posts will also dwell for eternity on neatly lined pages if they take longer than a bus ride to finish.  However, few of them – this one, for example – will, like a single-minded and determined sperm, make it to the promised land.  But only a very few.

A draft is defined as “a preliminary version of a piece of writing” or, if you ask Mr. Webster online, “an instance of drinking”.  I think for a lot of writers, there’s little distinction between the two.  Just ask Hemingway. But at the end of the day, as I contemplate my 318+ drafts, I’m certainly inspired to drink a toast to them, and to all that someday-to-be-tapped creativity.

We all have original thoughts.

This particular thought is certainly not proven by our culture these days.  How many movies are remakes of or sequels to old movies? Hollywood doesn’t seem to have an original bone in its botoxed, plasticized body.

But we bloggers do.  We are full to the brim of original bones, thoughts, sin  – oh wait, maybe not sin. Well, maybe so…anyhoo, I am daily amazed at the creativity and inspirations that are posted on Freshly Pressed, and on the blogs that I subscribe to.  And yes, for you grammarians, I did end that sentence in a preposition. 

Which is why I am so fascinated when another blogger writes a post that I had in mind for this blog.  This phenomenon is at the forefront of my hindbrain because it has happened twice in the last week.

The blog, Another Nobody Writing About Their Life is one of my new favorites.  I just love this girl.  I kind of wish she’d change the title because she’s so NOT a nobody to me.  She’s a fantastic photographer with a great eye for other people’s beautiful shots, and an exceedingly clever sense of the ironic, fun and important.  Last week, she published a post about shoes.  She had no idea how long I’ve been mulling the exact same thing – a photo post about outrageous shoes.  And she did so well with it that I feel like I don’t need to write my own now.  I probably will one day, but for now, I am satiated.

Every single morning, I look forward to Jackie’s posts at Twist365.  Without fail, she makes me snort-laugh, no matter how bad my blues are.  In her last Wednesday’s post, In Defense of Pigeons, she took the words right out of my mouth (so to speak).   I absolutely loved it.  And once again, I found that someone else had somehow channelled my blog-brain into her own post.  (Anyone who knows me knows that I have raised the question of where pigeons go to die.  And coincidentally enough, on Tuesday, I saw two dead pigeons on the side of the road in two separate places.  I’ve never seen a pigeon that’s been hit by a car.  Pheasant yes, pigeon, no.)

How does it happen?  Of all the millions (?) of bloggers out there, how am I drawn to those of like mind?  I do still believe there are original thoughts.  But I also wonder what it is that connects some of our brains – what patterns criss-cross to link us, people who have never spoken, never met, and don’t even know where each other live?  How do we somehow step on each other’s toes in the universal mindfield?

It’s an intriguing idea.  Even if it’s not an original one.

I must say that I was totally thrilled to find myself Freshly Pressed yesterday!  That honor happened once before about a year ago, and I was equally thrilled then.  A couple of friends have asked how such a thing could have happened.  I’m not quite sure myself, but it is truly a boost to a budding author and photographer to receive such encouraging comments, and I just want to give a quick and humble “thank you” (and an angel baby alpaca kiss) to all who took the time to visit and to leave comments.

The downside of at least this latest Freshly Pressed posting is that I’ve received about 700 of the same Spam comments that haven’t made their way into Spam.  I can’t tell exactly what tag or keyword triggered such a barrage of “Pingbacks”.  I think it might have been the word “auction”.  At any rate, if you need to find Boy Auctions, Ab Exercise Auctions, the Latest Make-up Auctions, Free Fitness Tips Auctions, Snoreplasty Auctions, Paintball Auctions, Dog Obedience Auctions, or just about anything else you can think of at Auction, I can probably give you a link. It’s tempting to check on the link for “Boy Auctions” but I think I’d probably find myself on some FBI watch list.  Needless to say, I’ve been diligently marking all of these comments as Spam, but it takes forever.   I still REALLY want your legitimate comments though!!

I guess it’s like having blog paparazzi – the unexpected price of unexpected fame (she proclaims as she steps into her waiting limo, blowing air kisses to all.)

No, actually, I’m putting on my duck pajamas and crawling into bed.  Good-night, all!

They look a lot like this, but not quite...

It feels like I’ve been divorced for ages, and at the same time, it still feels kind of surreal.  Am I happy?  There are certain things in my life that make me very happy.  But I am a bit lost right now, between being unemployed, unsure of my future and divorced.  And that causes me to fall into depression more often than I would like.  Falling into depression impacts my part-time job performance, my housekeeping skills, and my ability to motivate myself to pursue my passions.  In other words, it’s not good.  Duh.

As I wrote the other night, it is not helpful to be housesitting for my ex-Pat.  I have spent a lot of today going through the “cat room”, getting rid of things.  That room is a disaster.  Yes, I had it full of stuff, but there’s no reason for it have become one giant litter box.  I have pulled out most of what I want to – or could – save.  Now I just need to figure out where to put it.  The cottage is too full as it is.  And I do pay for half the mortgage here.  It’s tempting just to get a trunk and put it all in it and store it until I settle someplace and can truly have a place for things – it’s actually a lot of pictures, negatives, slides.  It feels good to throw things away though. I’ve kept one drawer of shirts here, so I have something to wear when I do housesit, and some sweatpants, etc.  And of course, my books.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with my books – I guess my real house will need to have a library.  I’ve always wanted built-in bookshelves anyway.

It feels like, when I’m housesitting, I fall back into the old energy that I had before I moved out.  Which was sedentary, not taking care of myself, unmotivated – in a word, depressed.  I do love being with the animals, except for getting up so early to do their bidding.  And the smell of the lilacs drifting through the door is wonderful, as is the sound of the creek.

But I’m ready to have my new life back and be back in my own cottage, even if it is a rental.

As far as my relationship with Pat goes, we are getting along well.  When the blog hit “Freshly Pressed”, Kelsea told him about it.  I had never told him about it, not because I was hiding something, but because I didn’t think he’d care.  He did – some of what he read made him sad, and that made me sad, since I wasn’t writing anything with the intent of hurting him.  And he felt I wasn’t telling “the whole story” about some things, to which I responded that, as it’s my blog, I get to share what I choose to share.  But he did say that I was a good writer, and that made me feel good.

A friend asked me if being here makes me want to go back.  No, I can’t go back, and I don’t want to go back.  But it does make me feel the loss of possibilities so intensely.  And that’s sad.  Divorce is hard.  It’s just hard.

A friend remarked this morning, “I miss your personal blogs.”  It made me think.  I was writing much more personal stuff when I was much more stressed, anxious, in turmoil, etc.  That’s not to say that my life has now calmed down particularly, but I noticed when I woke up that I was less stressed than I’ve been in…longer than I can remember.  Of course, now I’ve been up a few hours and I’ve got new stresses, but that lovely awakening, with the skies blue and the sun shining, the birds chasing each other around the split-rail fence, it was almost as good as I’ve felt for ages.

But back to my friend’s comment — I suppose everything I write is personal – after all, I’m a person, so how could it be anything but?  I looked back at some of my older posts to try to see if I could see the difference between then and now, personal vs. less personal.  While perhaps it’s not as clear to me as to someone else, I do see the difference.

Looking at it from the inside out, as opposed to the outside in, as readers will see me, all I know is that I am changing, growing stronger.  I look back on some of the dark posts, and feel pleased that I didn’t take a handful of sleeping pills, that I didn’t give up.  Had I done so, I wouldn’t be here to see this lovely day. 

I suppose it’s similar to my question the other day about “soul-level” writing.  Am I not in touch with some level of my soul just now, and so I’m unable to write from my soul?  Is my muse on vacation?  Distracted?  I can’t say.  I’m afraid we’ll all just have to wait until I can get back in touch with her for more personal blog entries.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what you get.

January 2021


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