New Beginnings and…Heartbreak…

I recently was hired to work at my local library part-time.

Seriously, I’ve yet to find one thing that consumes me to the exclusion of all other possibilities –

(Yes, okay, okay, I will add the caveat of, “for any long-amount of time, for it could change tomorrow, next year or next second as I learn more about me, my world and navigate the whole “Why I’m here” conundrum –

I freely confess to being accused simultaneously of Procrastination, Stagnation and Life Motto of, “Oh, that was so two seconds ago!”

And just as frequently accused of “Dog with a Bone” tendencies, since I tend to remember history and past patterns – social, cultural, governmental, religious and personal.)

This Sunday Morning Spent…

Reading the American Library Association’s collected information for Banned Books Week – Information on our shared American history of Freedom of Speech and Changing Times, Current Trends, Perennial Trends, etc., etc., etc.

What I learned made me want to cry in frustration

For, you know…

Over the years, I have read many of the books contained on the Top 100 Banned & Frequently Challenged Books List, that, apparently, still make the damn top Most Wanted 100 List Every Year.

(Yes, I just cussed, online and outloud – be grateful I showed restraint and didn’t use the ‘f’ word…)

My thoughts turned to…

  • How very lucky I am to have been raised in a home full of books and by parents who loved to read,
  • To have been educated by teachers who saw the beauty and wisdom to be found in literature
  • To have had the support of  School and Public Librarians who didn’t ask why I wanted a book, but simply showed me how to find it in card catalogue/shelves,  or ordered it in for me from another library.

While there are so many books I still have on my “To Read List”…

(so many, in fact, I may not live long enough to read them all)

Today, I am carried back to my younger self  and I fully become aware, as I scanned the various lists compiled – and I ponder upon:

“Where would I be, just now, if I didn’t have this perspective in my brain to remember the story of?”

So many of the books I read during my childhood – how many humans are never trusted enough to even be exposed to?

Protection?  Tyranny?  Fear of Change? Why!?

And why doesn’t every child, young adult, adult get the Freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of America,

(which had to be clarified by the First Amendment to the Constitution of our Country, just to make sure, everyone got the message,

“You come here?  Things are going to be done and said that might make your blood boil, you are free to expose yourself to such information, gather and talk about it, if enough of you are showing up to discuss, we won’t make the media shut-up about reporting about it – we will protect them, whether they deserve it or not &  were responsible or not – Whether we agree with them or not…That’s who we wish to be…”)

(You do know my current views regarding mass media and social media, right? If not, well, travel through the archives, you’ll find frequent breadcrumbs to the trail of why is it so, are ya kidding, and we gotta do something about THIS!  Don’t we?  Why Not?)

I grew up surrounded

By family, teachers, librarians who took the time to share the context, history and concerns of the time/place in which the idea of a story was born and shared.

Was introduced to the circumstances, (societal and personal experience), which inspired a writer to take up their pen, examine their inner/outer worlds, and share.

Was trusted to take the perspective, ponder upon and choose –

Humankind’s History…

…is not found just in the pages of Scientifically proven, Academically Approved or Historically Accurate Deemed texts –

It’s also in Our Stories – Oral traditions, Published Works, Personal Shares.

The best of us, the worst of us, the times we got it right and the times we didn’t.   The stories of those who have cried  and stood alone

The times we cried, got mad and then stood together, with raising voice,

“We can, (must!) Be Better!”

Always, there are the first brave souls who dared to show us how bad it could get, or how wonderful it could be – if only…

Who were willing to say, “This is the World I Dream Of” – and put it out for all to see – no matter how it might be judged by history.

Such a fine, ever-changing line we humans walk – for better or worse –

While we try to find that balance between helping and harming.

We are Explorers – all of us, internal and external – and the call of what is/could be is never far from tempting us – whether our current surroundings make it easy or hard.

Happy Reading & Writing – 🙂

My Current List of  Banned/Challenged Classic Books Read

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • Ordinary People, Judith Guest
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • Gone with The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
  • Cujo, Stephen King
  • Forever, Judy Blume
  • The Holy Bible 
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
  • Tiger Eyes, Judy Blume
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • The Call of the Wild, Jack London
  • Ulysses, James Joyce
  • Blubber, Judy Blume
  • Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
  • Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M. Auel
  • The Valley of Horses, Jean M. Auel
  • The Mammoth Hunters, Jean M. Auel
  • The Plains of Passage, Jean M. Auel
  • The Shelters of Stone, Jean M. Auel
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kensey
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin
  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

‘Lil Door

This post inspired by provided picture and Sue Vincent’s “Beyond the door…writing prompt”.

I journeyed far,

To reach the magical ‘lil door –

“Portal to Paradise”

‘Twas rumoured…

 

Only to discover it unyielding,

To first, my gentle nudging,

Then, increasingly determined,

Push.

 

I spent decades,

Sitting beside the door,

Asking anyone who happened by,

“How might I, too,

Be worthy enough to enter Paradise?”

 

Only to discover, one bright day,

The faded inscription

“Pull to Open”.

 

Anticipation and Joy,

Quickly collapsed into horror;

As the ‘lil door swung easily,

To reveal…

 

I had wasted years,

In Paradise,

Trying to get Out.

Oh, NO! I Explored the Quick Draft Function….

Remember my little ditty about trying to be more disciplined regarding my interaction here at the WordPress Community?

(No link added – I’ve  whined about my own failings for over 5 years now –  I didn’t tag any of those whines with “Discipline Loser” so, you’re on your own to find them… they may be lost admist a 2,000 word ramble about politics – You’re on your own in this wilderness… )

Recently, I confessed to my own failings,  regarding my own processes, which were in need of updating/streamlining – linked for your “Well!  At least I know How To Do That!! viewing pleasure…

I Cannot Count the Times…

I’ve worked my way through the WordPress Reader, commented, Liked, etc., and was inspired to write about my own take on some topic –

“This is Important – I know a story that illustrates this – I’ll remember it Later, when I’m in Writing Mode….”

I Like to clearly delineate Reading/Interacting activities from Writing Activities

You know me – I start writing and before long, it’s 3am the next morning and the only reason I’m aware It Is So, is via my tummy informing me I forgot to eat yesterday…

OR I start reading, hitting the Like button with wild abandon and commenting and oh-so soon, it’s 4pm in the afternoon and I move today’s scheduled tasks to tomorrow, with the self-chatter,

“It’s okay – this community has been good to you – You have given back in Likes/Comments/Views Stats for and let them know you actually read their stuff, and are not just some noob who engaged in a poorly advised marketing-strategy tangent…”

I May Have Upset My Age-Old-Stable Apple Cart…

Today, I had the thought,

” Isn’t there a Quick Draft section on my home Dashboard?  Hasn’t it been there since WP v 1.2??   Maybe I ought to use it to keep track of links to other posts/ideas for future posts…”

Warning – My foray into blog pic processing efficiency has morphed into Godzilla-type proportions…

This whole “Dr. Heal Thyself” efficiency topic is on my radar for my personal blog – the last bastion of my life where I was previously content to go with not-working flows – you will hear about this journey, ad nauseam, until I either streamline it OR get distracted by some new, bright, shiny thing someday hence –

The results of today’s experimentation are mixed –

Why My Old Way is Best….

I’m still really attached to separating out “All About Me” (writing)  and “All About You” (reading/commenting/chatting via the comments section) activities – –

May seem silly to you, but, it is what it is and where I’m at, for now….

This new way makes it harder to separate things into their proper place – –

  • Did the post I just read inspire me to comment, only to find I really ought to just post my own thoughts on the matter, and summarize in comments with link to my own rambling? Who wants a 2,000+ word missive awaiting approval in their comments section?  Or is posting a link to your own take on the matter just cheesy? (BTW – is ‘cheesy’ still on the pop-culture slang list, or do I need to wait another 10 years before it comes back into vogue?)
  • Is it even possible for me to keep up on Notification and Replies to my comments on posts 10-20 spots back in the Reader, without losing the thread of what I was inspired to write, just now, and hope to Gawd the Quick Saved Draft makes some sense 14 days from now, when I get back to it after being distracted by the bloggy pal who lives in a different time zone and is online the same time I am? (You know what an “Off-On-Tangents-Everything-Is-Connected-Seize-the-Moment” gal I am….)
  • Do I honestly think I can successfully navigate this new “Throw everything together and hope I don’t get lost chasing my own brain-tail” method?

Why the Explored New Way is Better

  • I can quickly leave a short comment, Like and still leave myself a ‘reminder’, replete with link to brilliant Blog Buddy, without wasting time trying to find the article I loved weeks later, when I get around to publishing my thoughts – (Just where, exactly, in the updated interface, is the ‘Blogs I Like/Commented On Link?  Used to be so easy to find….)
  • I meet my reminder needs without publishing a blog that consists mainly of Re-Blogs and very little original content (One of My Pet Peeves – )
  • I have plenty of saved Drafts to muse upon, find helpful links to and maybe, just maybe, will actually remember to edit/publish someday…instead of trying to find that elusive .txt file I saved… somewhere in My Documents folder….

Which Route will I stick with?

Can’t Say, right now…Time will tell…but today’s foray into New Ways has me a tad worried as to whether this approach is a “Keeper” or “Rip that Weed Out” option –

Why First Attempt Isn’t a Keeper –

  • I didn’t make it through my ‘Blogs I Follow’ reading list – –
  • I saved Quick Draft ideas of several items that are, to my mind, all tangents off one root thing – – and now I’ll have to read all of ’em and compile a post that is shorter than 3,000 words to explain just why they are all connected….

On the Other Hand….

I Now Have 13 Drafts of Stuff to Expound Upon or tell you a story about –

Which, is easier to handle –

After all, is there not a “Move to Trash” button for my Clicking Pleasure?

I do so love clicking buttons – – my Mom’s greatest fear since I was old enough to walk is I may, someday, end up in charge of NORAD or National Security….

“Ooohh!  Look at this Red Button! (*Push*) Okay!  I saw Red and was Motivated to Push It – What Happens Now?”

Bet you a quarter….

I can consolidate some of those Drafts into one (maybe) short post –

I’ve found what folks ponder/worry/write about, etc., follow a route or pattern –

Sometimes the Reading List echoes what’s currently trending…

But more often than not, those interconnected musings eeriely echo what everyone in the Collective Conscience just got Nudged by the Universe to pay attention to…

Note* – If you live where a US quarter denomination still buys something you want/need (like penny candy) or represents a higher proportion of your living wage than is doable, No Worries – you can still participate Safely in the “Take some Risks” game! 

Pick whatever works for you, in your neck of the woods, for your wager  –

My family has traded quarters for years – and sometimes, when things were rough, one or the other of us had to give an IOU for the quarter, until  the next time we were right, and someone else was wrong – thus wiping out said IOU – 

Quarter Bets Here, at Bally Bin,  do not involve bookies or enforcers showing up at your house to make sure you pay up by this Friday…

Playing to Win Hint*  There’s always someone in your safe group that is so certain of their perspective, you can gently, without remorse, lure  into doubling down – which, when you win, not only wipes out your debt, but gives you a future free pass at making a bet you might lose, when you’re willing to wait 3 years to see if they accept the reality that you have proven your theory sound….

Here – Wagers are all in good fun – the mild hint of spirit of competition sans dire, costly consequences when it turns out somebody was…Wwwwwwrong…which is hard to say – –

Did I ever tell you a turnpike off I-70 in Eastern Kansas IS NOT officially named the Topeka Turnpike?   Or that if you install drip irrigation without a flow regulator, it WILL NOT blow up your whole 4-zone system or water bill?  Or that rammed earth tires do really help conserve moisture, provide protection and speed up the Lasagna method of Gardening no one thought would work in the arid West?

Of course I haven’t – those examples are still sitting in the Drafts Folder -Waiting to see if I can turn ’em into helpful, how-to posts and not

“Ya Owe Me a Quarter….” posts…

That would just be rude… 🙂

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Thanks for the Journey, Inspiration, Community today – –

Yesterday, I planted the last 50 fruit trees, mineralized my existing garden patches and put three more foundational items in place for migrating my clients to better, more future-friendly-flexible solutions….

I Awoke today to cloudy skies, a body not so badly hurting, but still in need of some babying, and a mind-set of:

‘I’m moving forward, inch-by-inch- I worked on Sunday- Today shall be my day of rest and spiritual respite within my community….”

Thanks for enriching my day of rest 🙂

P.S. This one published straight away – you know how I can’t resist writing about about how awesome you are…

The Storm that Approacheth has Arrivedeth –

Picture of Storm Rolling in
The blessed wind brings the storm our way – the light white is the wall of clouds approaching

Late yesterday afternoon, after managing to untwist and untangle the dry, clean laundry from the sagging clothes line, I took a stroll around my place to see what changed during the two lovely weather spring days I spent holed up and hobbling around the house –

*Note to self – remember to tighten the clotheslines before next laundry day – –

Even with Oakley’s digging, rooting and completely successful transfer of nearly all the mulch I placed over the Jerusalem Artichoke bed last fall, into the house (over the course of the entire winter, one or two pieces clung to shaggy coat at a time) I see signs of new Artichokes rising amidst the decay of last years stalks (which I didn’t get trimmed close enough to the ground…)

Jerusalem Artichokes - 2015
Jerusalem Artichokes – 2015

I admit I’ve rather forgotten what these fellas look like when they first poke their heads through to air, but these 3 are in the right spot and don’t look the same as the weeds I pulled nearby, so keeping my fingers crossed they are what I hope they are – 🙂

To my delight and then dismay, I see that one of the tulip buds unfurled –

Picture of yellow tulip
That is Yellow! Yellow I Say!

Delight because the few dips in temperature had not sabotaged the dream of tulips this spring…

Dismay because the bulbs I purchased last fall were clearly marked “purple” and “white” – this is yellow – maybe yellow is the new purple….

*Note to Mom -Thanks for helping me plant these bulbs last fall –  it’s perfectly okay if you did, in fact, drop a bulb outside the rock border area – we’re pretty laid back in regards to perfection around here – 🙂

Alas, I will wait to see what the others reveal during their unfurling – granted, this area did contain existing tulips before I accidentally weeded too vigorously the first year – then left entirely alone the second year until the wild poppies were done and I knew where to be careful, so as not to disturb wild poppy seeds.

Perhaps, one of the old existing bulbs decided to make an appearance, now it has been assured of a proper backdrop and doesn’t have to fight with foot high weeds –

You don’t always know, for sure, what you’re Sowing

I’ve planted seeds before that ended up not producing what was indicated in the packet picture – –

One year, some round squash, tiger-striped dark and light green, appeared right in the middle of the oblong, yellow, spaghetti squash patch –  we knew not what to do with it and was unable to identify it or a relevant recipe, so it simply became a fall decoration – –

Sh – ahem, correction, Things happen –

**********

I can picture it now – dedicated heirloom seed saver is in workshop, patiently putting together seed packets for internet orders –

The door flies open, wind whirls across the neat seed piles waiting to be packaged –

Hubby stomps in, manages to close the door before it blows off its’ hinges and gustily exclaims:

“Man!  That wind is a blowin’ gangbusters today….What?! Why are you looking at me in that tone of voice?”

🙂

**********

And now I’ll share the real storm that arrived –

The storm of my outraged sense of justice, compassion, tolerance

For Pete’s sake, I’m not even sure what part of me has been outraged, but here I sit, dealing with it….which means if you continue to read, now you are part of the process…

These past few days I’ve been told of or witnessed several instances of someone declaring,

“I don’t really think you can be a (fill in the blank with trade or talent) without formal (fill in education, training, expensive equipment) and anyone who says you can, is wrong or lying to you…”

Now, while that may be true for some things (being an astronaut or brain surgeon come to mind) the occupations, activities or trades that graced the ‘fill in blanks’ in these recent statements were not either of the aforementioned, highly specialized, endeavors –

They were, instead,:

  • Author
  • Gardener
  • Builder of Dwarf Cars

Poppycosh!

On Being a Writer (someday to be Paid Author)

Yes, I had some ‘training’ for writing – I went to state mandated school for 12 years and had to take some form of writing, reading or English class each and every year – I also was raised by those who loved to read, in a house full of books –

And no, I’m not (yet) a paid author – and neither do I have a Master’s or Doctoral degree in any such related studies –

Yet here I sit, boldly and brazenly writing and publicly publishing – as most every one here in the WordPress community does.

While I agree that education and practice can enhance a writer’s craft, I do not believe it to be the must-have ingredient in the making of a paid author –

What is necessary?  To my mind?

(Oh, thank you so very much for asking, I’ve been bustin’ a gut, waiting to proclaim the answer, sans a paper certificate that comes attached with a $120,000-$200,000 price tag…I trust you to forgive me my sins…)

Necessary:

  • A mind that observes reality and wants to know what the possible back story leading up to the ‘observed now’, might actually be
  • An imagination that can come up with many varieties and flavors of said back story
  • The curiosity to ask, “What motivations, life experience, problems to be solved, led up to this moment?”
  • Compassionate room in the mind for all the possible answers that present themselves

Add to that a love of the ebb and flow of words – whether said love was gained through years of reading, or a simple born-in ‘hearing’ for such things…

The great writers I love and appreciate know how to craft each line –  first as a small tributary –

One that flows and then joins another, and then another, until the whole, massive, roiling, moving torrent bursts through the delta and joins the calm of the ocean –

Or spills over the edge of the cliff and lands with an impressive display of mist, rainbows and thundering applause at the bottom of said cliff, which, in the end, wasn’t so steep or deadly, after all –

These things are, to my mind,  necessary to graduate from Beginner to Master –

Take the classes – perfect your craft – learn the rules so you can break them at will –

But don’t ever, EVER! EVER! believe the person who tells you your natural way of seeing the world and your love of sharing said vision via a river of words isn’t good enough for you to be dubbed a writer.

It is…And You Are…And you’ll only get better as you move forth in your journey…

Next on the list of things reported as ‘you simpletons can’t do’…

…is Gardening

If you have been waylaid/lambasted by such feedback, I simply refer you to two resources that applaud your courageous, gambling heart:

First – Mr. Gardener Extraordinaire’s wise musings, which I will re-cap below, to save you the strain of clicking yet another link:

(If you like the following, you might find the linked story useful; otherwise, know the important points of gifted-to-me wisdom are listed below).

  • A few years back, the Master Gardening certificate was big doing’s around here.  So he bought the book, read it, and found out he’d been gardening wrong for 60 years.  Since he raised a family and kept many of the residents here in fresh veggies for the same amount of time, he threw the book in the dumpster and went back to his ‘wrong ways.’
  • Every year, something will go wrong – something won’t grow, or won’t keep good or will end up dying.   Doesn’t matter how long I garden or how good I get at it, every year, something will let me down.

And, secondly, if you would like to start gardening without taking a college or Master’s course, but are rather scared silly by those who say you can’t just jump in and do – I encourage you to check out Sophie’s Free Super Simple Guide to Growing your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs eBook

Yes, technically, reading about such things does mean you’ve done some ‘learning’ but what comes across most in her guide is

“Don’t Worry – You Can Do It – It’ll be Fine!”

Though I’ve read many a book and blog about gardening over the years, nothing touches the great gush of support and confidence one feels just from reading Sophie’s take on the matter.

Since I’m more than happy to experiment and try…

…whether I actually know anything or not…

…gardening is just a life long exercise in observation and experimentation, to my mind.

I do feel bad…

…when my clumsy attempts or wrongly pursued ‘good intentions’ end up killing something –

I confess – I’ll have many mass murders to answer for when I reach the Pearly Gates…

I trust those Dandelions who find safe haven here will be in massive enough numbers to speak up for me and tip the scales at my eventual trial…

On Building Dwarf Cars

Take a few minutes (4:35 to be exact) to marvel at the talents of one Ernie Adams.

(You will find the statement that raised my hackles around 2:19 if you’re in a hurry and just want to know what dwarf cars have to do with writing or gardening)

Barcroft Cars Presents – Ernie Adams & His Dwarf Cars

In Conclusion –

Yup – it is satisfying to work at your ‘craft’ in order to journey from Apprentice to Master.

A yearning to try, the confidence to laugh at mistakes and a sincere joy in the doing of said craft is all that really counts –

Pepper in the education, degree, public approval or expensive equipment when and how you see fit.

Unless

You’re going to be an astronaut –

(you really do need some pricey protective gear and rocket scientists to aide your quest, otherwise, you could die while trying…)

Or a brain surgeon

(yes, I confess, I’d really prefer you have some formal training, else I might die while you’re taking a stab at your new career…)

If this is the case, for You – Right Now!…

…disregard all the previous ramblings and go find someone who writes knowledgeably about such things, cuz, seriously, you won’t find much helpful advice here – 🙂

I can be ME Again!

My morning routine these past few weeks has been:

  • Stumble to kitchen, make coffee
  • Return to kitchen to find I forgot to turn on coffee pot after adding grounds/water
  • Open up my email, read, add customer requests to my “To Do” List
  • Pour first cup of coffee – and click over to whatever posts regarding WordPress, Plug-ins, Security, etc., arrived in my inbox news feeds –
  • Read and learn (sort of – remember I’m still on my first cup of coffee!) about neat tips & tricks to make me a better website designer – bookmark the ones I think are wonderful, so I can revisit when I’m actually awake and ready “To Do”
  • Drink 1/2 a pot of coffee, then get down to work….

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So why the long back story?  Because this a.m., I visited an article link in my wpMail.me newsletter, titled, “WordPress On-Page SEO: How to do it Perfectly” by Nick Schaferhoff.

(sorry, Nick, I never have figured out how to get the little dots over the a – sure it’s on the keyboard somewhere….)

Did you visit and read?  You really ought to, but if you don’t have time, here’s why I’m happy – about 2/3rds the way down the article – or 4 1/2 scroller rolls, you will find the heading Create Longer Content.

Which states that position in Google searches is enhanced by long word count – optimally, 2500 words.  Which I used to be Queen of, but tried to tone down some after reading numerous “Become Blogger Extraordinaire” articles that often contained “in today’s high distraction world – try to keep your posts short” types of advice.

So, this a.m., as I finish my 2nd cup of coffee and prepare to dive back into the work needed to launch my new business –

(oh, yes, remember I told you about the calvary arriving in form of a graphic artist?  Yup – that’s my new business partner and we’re expanding my biz to bring even more cost-effective solutions to rural businesses/non-profits/organizations – and yes, I’ll announce here when we’re up and running! 🙂 )

– I just had to log-in and tell those of you who cannot stem the flow of words, back stories, musings and side tangents on how the story you’re telling is connected to everything else in the world…well, today, we are vindicated!

I will need to retrain myself – – I’ve gotten very good at saying things in 400 words or less….  386, to be exact – 🙂