Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, how alive am I willing to be?”


Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)


I’ve come here many times this month. I’ve come here upset. I’ve come here happy. I’ve come here frustrated. I’ve come here sad. I’ve come here full of the angst that has driven me to the brink of implosion.

I came here too often this month to delete this whole blog — it’s quite easy, just a click of a button and it all disappears. I thought, maybe, I would start over. I thought, maybe, I would pretend it never was. But… being deleted seems a little sad. So, on my trips here to contemplate the deletion of my words, I would read an old post but more importantly I would read your comments and I would laugh and smile and think, “… not today, I’m not going to delete this today.”

Soon, my visits here were less about deleting and more about writing and processing and evolving — I started to write. Deep within the bowels of the rough draft section there are many very rough drafts… but I was writing. I wrote out my thoughts on post-it notes and laid them out at the end of the day to see if I could piece it all together. I wrote out my thoughts on the backs of some bills and on some half used napkins and on a spiral notebook I dug out of the bottom of a drawer. I wrote out my thoughts and let them go, many of them any way. Lit them on fire in a ceremonial pit and watched them disappear… burn down to nothing more than weightless ashes that had no hold over me — my inner musings… not quite blog worthy.

My visits here were no longer about deleting this place but more about taking it back. I felt myself perpetually revolving less and less and doing more of the evolving that I mistakenly thought I was doing but in reality, I was trapped in a revolving door like Buddy the Elf… fun for a while but dizzying.

The lessons I have to learn on my own are usually the ones I don’t want to look at, usually the ones that piss me off the most, usually the ones that have the greatest impact on me — maybe that’s the way it is for all of us. We search for people to teach us — that’s the easy way out I guess. When we learn things on our own we remember them better. I love to learn, don’t get me wrong — I’m an ageless student. It’s possible I’ll drive you mad with my wonderings — I want to know, I want to learn, I want to evolve. I’m not a fast learner, I’m not through by any means. Some days I feel like I’m on an accelerated program though — I want to shout my epiphanies from the rooftops and basements and every silent closed off space that I think needs to be filled.

I’ve been thinking about this concept of writing from the heart — I thought I knew what that meant. I thought that writing from the heart meant opening yourself up, letting yourself be seen, spilling everything out on the pages. It is … actually. But, I discovered something recently. Writing from your heart and writing from your fragmented heart are far different. One yields evolution and conversation and light while the other generates apocalyptic amounts of atomic energy.

It’s similar to living from your heart, I suppose. We live and learn and love and we do those things guided by our hearts. Our heads step in periodically to keep us in check, that’s good I think… a balance. Our hearts sometimes get fragmented. Sometimes a piece gets misplaced so when we try to listen to our hearts, its beating is a little off kilter — so our lives get a little out of rhythm. That’s when we need to rest, regroup, gather ourselves — live from our hearts, our whole hearts.

I’m here, on my accelerated learning program, writing from my heart… it feels good. My heart has taken a beating, but… I’ll tell you, it feels very whole and alive and filled with the anticipation of a new day. My heart is finally evolving. I stopped the revolving door that was making me ever so dizzy and took a deep breath. Sometimes I’ve felt as though I was on a never-ending roller coaster ride that maintains a tight gravitational pull on you as you round the corners and then pushes you into the loopty loops and finally you hit that last turn and you can breath — that’s what my evolving heart feels like. There might be a revolving door trying to get me to jump back on and do some more spinning, but I think I’ll know when to jump off this time. I think I’ll try writing from my heart and not writing to spite my heart.

I’ve learned many lessons lately, lessons I really didn’t want to learn… I learned how to say I was wrong, I learned how to say I was right, I learned how to pause, I learned how to seek out assistance, I learned how to stay strong, I learned how to cave, I learned how to beg, I learned I have a spine, I learned how to forgive, I learned how to be forgiven, I learned how to open my heart and listen and hope and love. I learned that the readers and commenters here at First Pages have taught me how to be human and whole and alive — even when it hurts. I learned that the places my heart takes me are exactly where I’m supposed to be… and I learned that I am willing to be very alive.

The day I stopped writing last month was a long day, and then I read this

Also, todays reverb10 writing prompt was “let go”. I wrote a post recently on letting go and it actually led me to walk away from this blog. So, when I read the prompt, I realized that I already started really letting go… that’s why I was able to push publish again.

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I wrote my first post here on October 19th, 2009 — “Dreams”. Seems like an unusual amount of chaos and disconnect and friendship and love and loss and complete and ultimate connectivity has taken place in the year since I hit the publish button for the first time.

I remember sitting, trance-like, at my dining room table looking obsessively at the blog stats — it reached 27 that day. I was completely blown away. Twenty-seven people who I didn’t have to force to sit down beside me and look at my blog had read something I wrote. Someone even commented (okay, so it was my niece but I didn’t force her to do it — not really). Many things have changed since that day a year ago — many things have rocked my corner of the internet, my little corner of the universe.

I’m not one of those people who says, “I’d do it all over again and not change a thing”, I would change many things. I envy those who can look back on a year of their life and not cringe and wish for a do-over — isn’t that what learning and evolving is all about? Don’t we all have moments we wish never happened?

I also look back on this year and think about some of the truly beautiful people I have come to know and the truly beautiful experiences I have been a part of. There was dinner get togethers and lunches out. There was dancing at concerts and talks in coffee houses. There was discussions of books and laughter at movies. There were new people discovered and old friends found. There was a calm peace, a deep breath, and moments of leaping.

I’ve often wondered if I said too much here on First Pages — if I crossed the line in what should have stayed buried in my thoughts and what I decided to spread across these pages. I’ve read wonderful comments about how I said something that you couldn’t or wouldn’t — and I wonder… why? I’ve read comments that questioned my character. I’ve read comments that made me laugh and made me cry. I’ve read your comments and felt my soul fill up with the love and curiosity that I hope they were meant to have. And, on occasion, I have sulked away from this blog questioning my own intentions.

What I’ve discovered about writing, as an art form, in this last year (and please don’t confuse that statement with me thinking this is an art form here — merely a thought process) is that once a reader reads the words… the words become theirs, the meaning becomes theirs, the interpretation becomes theirs. And that’s how it should be.

I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to point out some of the posts that I completely embraced and made my own heart ache when I pushed the publish button, these may not have been the posts that received the most views or the most comments, but they are the posts that I go back to… when I need.

I think, in life — in blogging — in living each day, it’s important to look back occasionally. When we look back, we can see where we are going so much clearer. The past can sometimes cloud our thoughts and fill us with the want of a do-over — I guess, for me, I’ll never get that do-over — and actually, I’m not sure I want it. I will take a “let’s start from here” though.

I’m working on establishing a schedule for posts. I will (attempt) to post on Tuesday’s, Friday’s, and a weekend post. Of course, the joy of writing for fun is that you never know when the fun will want to be released. Also, I plan on putting up some poetry occasionally and I will continue to try my hand at flash fiction. I hope you stick around — you never know what might come out on these pages!

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Counter clockwise

A simple shift….
a crow bar’s wrench
to the left

In the iris of your
dark heart

To make a space,
a sliver….
an opening

To actually see,
touch and feel

The light that
is me. ~~~ Karen Schindler


I had a post all ready for the one year anniversary of my blog. It was good too. I wrote it two weeks in advance. I made sure it was exactly what I wanted to say. I checked my links. I made sure everything was okay for me to push that publish button — but I didn’t, I walked away from it.

In reality, walking away from the things I care about is not my best asset. But — I learn, I mess up, I try again. I decided it needed some space to breathe. I decided I needed some space to breathe — I decided that when I thought I was giving out that precious space to breathe, I was actually smothering… like always. So the post I so meticulously wrote two weeks in advance has been shoved in to the “draft” section of this blog, along with 46 other drafts that I’ve been too hesitant to push the publish button on.

In the year since starting this blog, in October of 2009, I’ve gotten the strength (and sometimes temporary insanity) to push the publish button on 142 posts. I’ve trashed one and there is one in the pending column (I didn’t realize there was a pending column)… and those 46 lingering drafts.

It’s been a weird year (this is the part where you all shake your heads vigorously). I learned a lot about myself — some of it I would have liked to stay hidden away. I’ve learned that reaching out can hurt and it can heal. I’ve learned that writing can leave me scared and alone and it can bring me to terms with my own shortcomings. I’ve learned that friendship is a sacred tricky thing. I’ve learned that sometimes “I’m sorry” is not the phrase that should be uttered. I’ve learned that I owe some apologies to people, but I’m searching for the right words, still. I’ve learned that I’m more than a snippet of time — (and I’ve learned that I like to speak parenthetically).

I have lessons yet to learn.

Maybe this year will be the year that the pendulum swings in my favor.

Maybe one of the lessons that I need to learn this year is that the pendulum will swing in whatever general direction I give it a good shove.

A year in the life of Becky is here for all to analyze — open like a book. But, remember, I’m a real person making real (sometimes overwhelming) mistakes and making real (sometimes overpowering) connections and getting my very real heart (sometimes deservedly) broken… and learning that I’m evolving, aren’t you?

Photo from Annie Q. Syed

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I love this blog. Make no mistake about it — I love this blog. But, still, I have posed a question to myself on many occasions — to blog or not to blog.

I’ve discovered many things about having a blog and maintaining a blog and being a blogger and how all of that sounds completely vain and self-professed and a touch nerdy.

Here’s something I discovered recently, blog is short for weblog, which, of course, was a word coined to be the abbreviation of…  “we were very awkward and nerdy in high school and now we spew forth our teenage angst on the pages of our blogs hoping that you find us creative and awesome and mysteriously intelligent”.

One of the (many) problems with being a blogger is the blank stares and hushed whispers that often come from people who have discovered that you are a “blogger”. To squash these naysayers you must strive to have a successful blog.

I often question successful bloggers about how they do it all… how they maintain a popular blog while at the same time, growing as individuals and writers. The answer they give me is usually profound, “I don’t know…” (thank you, successful bloggers, for the insight).

Blogs are defined as… a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer (blogger). Okay… so far so good, I do that stuff. But still… how do I let people know I have a blog without sounding like… well, a nerdy putz?

A great way to get the word out that you have a blog is to mention it in everyday conversation as much as possible. You can always turn the conversation to somehow include mention of your blog: “…oh, you cooked out last night? Well, on my blog I one time mention starting a fire. Oh yes, I have a blog.”

Once you mention the fact that you have a blog the conversation usually… well, it usually has nothing to do with your blog. In fact, on occasion, I’ve heard a pin drop and a distant clock ticking away the seconds as I waited for a response to my self-professed bloggy greatness. The mention of the blog can have devastating consequences that cause you to remember the true meaning of “blog” — “we were very awkward and nerdy in high school and now we spew forth our teenage angst on the pages of our blogs hoping that you find us creative and awesome and mysteriously intelligent”.

Another way to get the word out that you have a (the ultimate) blog is to somehow secure a guest blogger appearance on some of the more popular blogs. In reality, some of these blogs have so many guest bloggers that you could actually just say you guest blogged on the site and it would take years before anyone could prove you wrong… as a matter of fact, I recently made a guest blog appearance on TMZ, oh wait, no, I meant Perez Hilton (this statement just gained me at least one reader and is totally false).

Now, if neither of those options do your blog stats any justice, you can use your blog to mention other blogs that are, truly, great blogs — you know, guilt by association. Find a blog that doesn’t suck, like this one from my friend The Black Addler (of course you’ll see that this blog does, in fact, suck but for a whole different reason). Also, mention a blog that pulls at the heartstrings of your reader(s) like this one about dog rescue stories by Julie Klam. Julie also happens to be a best-selling author and my close personal friend… umm, right Julie? Julie? She’s a little busy right now with a new book coming out and all. This brings me to another good way of proving to all that you have an okay (totally awesome) blog — the name drop.

Like for instance, say you happen to be close personal friends with someone like say… Allison Winn Scotch or Laura Zigman or Elizabeth Eslami or Joe Wallace. Spreading their names across your blog might hush the naysayers once and for all. (Are we all still on for coffee later? Call me!)

Unfortunately, once you point out to your readers what a non-sucky blog looks and feels and sounds like… you will soon start assessing all the reasons why your blog might suck. A few reasons might be:

  • you choose a metaphoric background like, say… a puzzle (oh crap)
  • you describe your blog as a means to help you work through your “life journey” (oh crap)
  • you talk about how your blog can “fill your soul” (oh crap)
  • you spew forth thoughts that sometimes make your reader(s) cringe with the honesty (oh crap)
  • you are your blogs most frequent visitor (oh crap)
  • you constantly jot down notes in your everyday conversations that you know will make a great blog post (oh crap)
  • you describe why your blog could possibly suck to your reader(s) (oh crap)

In all (somewhat) seriousness, there were two very dark days since starting this blog that I came here with the intention of deleting the whole thing — just wiping it away. I can’t. I won’t (no matter how many petitions you send, so… stop already!). I guess only two days of thinking I needed this all to go away isn’t a bad average.

Sometimes I think this blog to be more of my personal journal and I left the key to it out on the kitchen table and the pesky neighbor came over and helped himself to my thoughts, my quirks, my pain, my words. Sometimes I think, “I can not believe I just pushed publish on that one”, and I laugh at the absurdity of my own thoughts — only to look back at some point during the day and have a wonderful comment make me glad I did. Sometimes I think, “wow, I hope no one I’m going to run in to today reads this and asks me questions”. Sometimes I think, “damn, I need to be funnier”.

So there it is… to blog or not to blog. I guess that’s the question (the fact that I’m still here should give you my answer).

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite blogs and why? Yes… I’m possibly going to use this information to garner a guest blog spot — I have a blog you know.

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In the midst of a moment of longing and strife

I open my spirit to the heart of life

Bidding fond farewell to the same old same

I leap with abandon into the game ~~ Peter Matineau

So, I had kind of a crappy day Friday. It started out with an early morning drive to get my oldest to softball practice (at 6:30 — in the morning!). As the day carried on… there was a policeman, some failed brake lights, a difficult “clearing the air” session, a spilled water bottle, an empty gas tank, and a stomach balled up in an awful nervous mess. I guess we can all expect crappy days once in a while. An emotionally difficult couple of weeks was coming to an end and I was hoping for some type of resolution — I actually think a resolution started to form… that’s something.

It started earlier Thursday with a facebook note exchange with a friend from high school. He sent the kindest note saying he had read my blog and thought it was nice. Of course, this sent me off in the best of moods. He wrote back later and said he had read the whole thing — the whole thing — and that he had a revelation he wanted to share. I was intrigued and waited anxiously for the revelation note — then it came. I won’t share the contents of it here with you, but when I was reading the note, it made me frustrated and mad and sad and finally… shocked me into tears (it was a great story). My take-away from the story he so carefully crafted was… trust. He entered into a situation where he had no trust or confidence in someone but over time, he learned to trust that person and more so, his own decisions.

My last couple of weeks have been filled with disappointment, anger, heartbreak, love, random acts of kindness, and growth. My Friday alone held all of these things — one day which seemed to last forever. A lot can happen in a day. Friday ended with a wonderful conversation with my oldest daughter about boyfriends and girlfriends and school and teachers and boys (some more) and music and movies and books. I ended the night by coming here — to this blog that has given me a voice it seems. It has given me a way of putting all my flaws out here in the ether for all to see. So last night, I gathered my flaws and put them in a post here — one I’ll never hit the publish button on. It was too personal and perhaps revealed too much (everything is not blog worthy). But still, it’s here. Keeping watch over me. Letting me know it’s just one push of the publish button away.

I’ve written about many things on this blog — sad things, mournful things, nostalgic things, mad things, happy things, kind things, mean things. I’ve written them here always in an attempt to learn and do better. I think I’ve never tried to write about things here that make me seem perfect or enlightened or in more of a positive light than I am in reality. But, I had a post in mind that I wanted to do very badly. It involved film and still shots and editing and great music and graphics. I wanted to film my day at the fair with my children. I wanted you to see my perfect world and my perfect children and my perfect life. But of course, it was not to be. Mainly because… my world isn’t perfect. I lost someone’s trust recently. And when you lose trust you lose your ability to talk and share and learn from each other because there’s always the possibility that your words will not be believed. Not such a perfect world.


My children trust that I will get them to school on time, they trust that I’ll have their clothes ready and their lunches — they trust me. My family trusts that they can call me and I’ll help. The people I work with trust that I’ll do my job and do it in a kick-ass manner. But when you lose the trust of a friend… where does that leave you? Well, for me, it left me here… writing a post that I’ll never publish — wishing for the beginning of a new day. Which brings me to this:

We all woke up bright and early ready to hit the midway. My youngest awoke with a cough and the sniffles — I ignored it. Everyone showered and readied themselves, except for my youngest who had curled up in my bed while I got dressed. She told me she was sick and couldn’t go to the fair. No — this couldn’t be… my movie.

I laid out her clothes and instructed her to get dressed — this would be our last chance to get to the fair (and my movie to show my perfect world). I prodded her to get ready — then it dawned on me, she didn’t feel well. I retraced my steps where I went wrong in this exchange. I wanted to make my movie to put here on this blog to show you all my perfect world. Instead, my daughter was sick. I put her pajamas back on her, gave her some Sprite, and she was back asleep within minutes.

My world is perfect – for me. I don’t need to create perfect children or perfect days or perfect friends. I have all of those things in the messiest of versions. And I wonder, how often do bloggers attempt to show their life as one filled with champagne and movie premiers instead of the mess that bogs us down in this life?

I guess the mess can be found here, as I sit in my room watching it get later and later, watching my chances of making the perfect blog video slip away… watching my daughter sleep — curled up in my bed as I type about my messy imperfect world.

I don’t know what the rest of the day will hold. Perhaps making a movie at the fair, perhaps watching a movie here, perhaps sitting here watching my daughter sleep. Whatever happens, it will be my perfect messy world. And I’ll be here — working on building the trust… and all that stuff.

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I started this blog to share some stories, some thoughts, some dreams, some laughs, some tears. I started it for many reasons that all centered around wanting to share something with people — wanting to share a connection with people. It’s been hard at times. A blog is hard at times. I think there comes a point when you try to share stories that will touch others… will maybe inspire them or at least make them pause. And then, at some point, it seems that the original intent might be lost.

I’ve shared way more on the pages of this blog than I possibly have in the physical world. I think that must be normal. Many friends I’ve made through blogging, I think, share a shy introverted spirit that diminishes when a keyboard is used. I’ve never considered myself shy or introverted and those of you who know me in the physical world are most likely laughing at the thought of that possibility. I love being in the crowd. I love having the (positive) attention. I love the physical connection associated with real world relationships. But, here I am. On a blog. Drawn ever more closely to those people who I may never have an opportunity to meet in the physical world. It’s sad, really. I feel an incredible bond with many people I know through this keyboard and yet the thought of never sharing a hug or a glass of wine or hearing them laugh at my droll one-liners is unsettling.

It IS scary. Not only for me, but for the blogger who is loved by thousands with every word she types, for the best-selling novelist who faces the brunt of criticism head-on through the words that others have typed. It is scary to put yourself out here, in this forum and wait. Wait for someone to read and for someone to respond and for someone to connect.

But here is where it all makes sense — in moments of positivity. That’s what we are all striving for in life, in blogs, in friendships, in relationships… in life. Those moments of positivity when things reek with the intoxicating smell of something positive. Positive connections can come without warning — and often do… thankfully.

I think wherever you find positivity is where you should be… there, surrounded by it. By the people and events who take your breath away and hold you close and surround you — there… wrapped in the moments of positivity.

A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain? ~~ Kahlil Gibran

(Picture from Kind over Matter)

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Elisabeth Kübler-Ross really hit one out of the park when she published her five stages of grief in, “On Death and Dying”. I have this book or, my mother had this book. My mother read everything. She was a therapist and often counseled people on grief. She was also an avid reader of good books, I would love to be able to impress her with some of my new friends. Well, back to the stages of grief:

1. Denial — Yes, absolutely — did it.

2. Anger — Without a doubt — just ask my co-workers.

3. Bargaining — Ahh yes, a tricky one — but, did it.

4. Depression — Hardest to admit to — but, yes, did it.

5. Acceptance — Hmm. Well, this one is tricky as well. I don’t think we ever accept our grief — unclear on this one.

I definitely am not going to dispute any of the Kübler-Ross stages (that would be like saying Shakespeare was a hack). But, I do think some attention should be given to some additional stages. For example:

1. Chocolate — As we know, chocolate has actual healing effects on the body. Some of which are;  benefits to the circulatory system, brain stimulator, cough preventor, anti-diarrheal. Of course, the problem arises when we combine chocolate with stages 1, 2 and 4 on the Kübler-Ross scale. This then can lead to obesity — that is bad. But, then again, we are talking about grief here — and all good bouts of grief start with chocolate. So, I think chocolate should get an entire stage to itself in the grief process.

2. No motivation to do anything for yourself — yes, I know this is similar to the depression stage but I think the dissimilarities are enough to point out. Sometimes during grief, you maintain your ability to do for others — to get the kids to all their sports, to do the laundry, to clean the house. What I’m really referring to here is not doing anything for yourself. For example, maybe you were eating well and exercising regularly before the grief. But then, you just didn’t care anymore — about your own health. This gives the no motivation to do anything for yourself its own stage.

3. Cooking — Bear with me on this one. There is something about grief that paralyzes our ability to cook. Others recognize this and bring you food — this is good. I love to cook. I used to cook quite often. I have starting cooking again. Sometimes grief can be measured in how often you cook. Therefore, cooking gets its own stage.

4. Twitter — Ok, ok. Those of you who know about twitter, know of its healing qualities. Naysayers, I say to you, just give it a try. I actually set-up my twitter account when I had to move my mother to the Alive Hospice unit downtown (I was bored, not much to do there). I didn’t start actually using it until about four or five months ago. (The previously mentioned stages of grief were in control at that time). But, once I understood it and could find people I related to — it was like being immersed in the healing powers of the Dead Sea. So twitter gets its own stage of grief (on the positive end of the healing curve).

5. Blogging — you knew it was going there. I started this blog just as a way to vent (actually, I guess that’s why all blogs are started). It was due to the people I connected with on twitter — (see how we’re still on the positive side of the healing curve). Through my own blogging, I re-discovered a passion for writing, for friendship, for sharing. Therefore, blogging deserves a stage to itself because of its ability to bring you through safely.

Back to Kübler-Ross and the acceptance stage — I still don’t know if this stage actually exists. To accept means to believe that the situation is final — it is not. A very wise friend told me that sometimes we need, “… a distraction and reminder that we don’t get to stop time, and that’s probably a good thing.” Sometimes you just need a little distraction to help you get to where you need to be — back on the treadmill, back in the kitchen, back to the keyboard.

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