The Audacity

I got an e-mail via my blog recently.

“Hi. I am asking you to publish the guest article on your blog theviewfromadrawbridge.com, Which is related to gambling sites. If you interested to post an article on your site, How much you offer? Thanks in advance.”

I have to admire this guy’s chutzpah. He offers to do a guest post on my blog when he clearly has no command of grammar or syntax. He does so even though I don’t know him from Adam’s housecat, and I’ve never extended such an invitation. He says it will be on a topic that I’m fairly certain I’ve never covered. And then he asks for money.

Suffice it to say that I didn’t even bother to respond/retort. Any blogger who would take him up on that generous offer must be really starved for content. I do know that there are blogs out there that will pay for such things, but I’m not your girl for that. I’ve had guest posts, yes, but they’ve been collaborative and/or voluntary.

I don’t know why this e-mail bugs me so much. Maybe it’s because of all the blatant assumptions he makes. At the risk of offending half my readership, that’s definitely a guy thing. I can’t imagine any woman sending an e-mail like that.

The audacity. I know times are tough, and at least he’s offering to do something in exchange for the money, but, um, he needs to recalculate his price point just a tad.

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Search Terms Revisited

WordPress has a nifty little feature that allows me to review what search terms have drawn people to my blog posts. Sadly, it doesn’t tell me which post in particular it brought the person to, or who did the search, but either way it can be very fascinating.

The most popular search term that draws people to me, by a country mile, is “I hate alcohol.” And indeed, I’ve posted several rants on the subject, so that makes a certain amount of sense. Another popular one is “bridge symbolism,” and that happens to be the title of my most popular post.

Another term that’s more popular than in should be is various versions of “6 inch heels”. I wrote a post once about how destructive high heels are to women, and I included a picture of some 6-inch black stilettos. I strongly suspect that people go to perv on the picture more than they do to read the article. Oh well.

On thirty different occasions, someone has used the search term “stupidity” to find my blog. That kind of hurts my feelings. But I guess I’ll get over it.

People searching for the truth about a scoundrel named Andy Johnson in Jacksonville, Florida often find me, because I’ve posted some inconvenient facts about his lack of integrity on more than one occasion.

“Sex breast” seems to have drawn people to my blog on eight separate occasions. “Breast sex” was the term seven additional times. I have no idea why. I’m not sure I want to know.

For the life of me, though, I’m stumped about “a cat get bitten by diamondback snake”. Why did that bring them to me, and why did they search for such a sick thing in the first place? People are strange.

And then there’s “gas gauge empty pee”. Your guess is as good as mine on that one.

Like this quirky little blog? Then you’ll love this book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Caveat Lector

In this blog I do my best not to present my opinions as facts. Would I like to bring people around to my way of thinking? Heck yeah. But I don’t really consider myself particularly persuasive.

I do worry about this, though, because I see a growing trend. Critical thinking seems to have flown out the window. More and more people believe everything they read. People will share memes without even being sure they’re true, for example, and that is causing a whole host of societal problems. (This whole paragraph is chock full of opinions. See how tricky that is?)

I don’t want to lead people down a primrose path. I don’t want to form a cult. I don’t want people to think that I’m smarter than I am. (Well, okay, maybe I do want that last one. So sue me.)

I’d like to figure out a way to promote critical thinking in this blog. I want people to question. I want them to learn. I want them to recognize that there are different points of view, different philosophies of life, and different ways to solve problems. I would love your thoughts on the subject, dear reader.

Until then, let your motto be Caveat Lector: let the reader beware.

Jeez…

Enjoy my random musings? Then you’ll love my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

“You’re Too Wordy.”

That little gem came from a coworker as her explanation for why she never reads my e-mails. I found this more than a bit ironic. First of all, as bridgetenders, it’s not like we’re inundated with e-mails. And when she generates one, it tends to be a long, emotional, slang-filled rant that makes her look, frankly, nutty.

I was taught that when sending a professional e-mail, you identify the issue and its history, you note that it now requires action and you propose a solution. That’s what I do. There’s really no point in speaking up about a problem if you don’t show that there are ways to solve it. No one really wants to hear you complain.

I admit that as a writer, I see words as my friends. I think of details as not so much embellishments as the particulars that increase accuracy. I tend to answer the frequently asked questions before they are even asked. It saves time.

As I’ve said in a past post, When I’ve Made My Point, I Stop. Am I wrong? Am I being too wordy? Please weigh in.

I’m not this bad, am I?

Hey! Look what I wrote! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

This Is My 3000th Blog Post

Wow. I can hardly believe that I’ve posted a blog every day for the last 3,000 days. I figured I’d be able to come up with 180 posts, at best, and then I’d move on to something else. Basket weaving. Painting. Origami. Knitting. And yet, here we are.

Some fun facts for you. As of this writing, I have 651 followers. My blog has been viewed 317,536 times, by 181,429 visitors. It has produced one book and one stalker. (Not to worry, though, the stalker has long since moved on to, I assume, freak out other bloggers.) I’ve used far fewer semicolons than I should have, and entirely too many commas. By the end of last year, I had written 1,275,316 words.

But the words that mean the most to me have come from comments. That’s my favorite part of the blog. They provide the endorphins that keep me writing. I enjoy interacting with you, dear reader, and hope to continue doing so in the future.

So I will leave you with some of my favorite comments, which I also hope to include in my next book, should I ever get around to finishing it. I debated posting these comments here, because it might come off as a shameless ego massage, but in the end I decided that it’s truly the best way to show how much this blog means to me. That, and culling through all the comments throughout the years reminded me just how many friends I’ve made along the way. Reading these comments brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for reading and participating, each and every one of you.

________________________________________________________________

From pouringmyartout, (whose comments I dearly miss): “I sort of like this slightly weird side of you. Thanks for letting us get to know you a little better… you freak…”

Bob Hamilton: “As I think about your followers, I visualize their jobs…. those with lonely jobs on perches or boats or night shifts or even truckers; those who may enjoy written words more than conversational dialogue; those who love knowledge for its own sake. That may only scratch the surface of your followers, but I feel like a hobo sharing a daily train ride of the mind. Thank you!”

Leah Hurley: “I needed this! Exactly this!”

Paula Ross: “This might be your best blog entry. You were talking for me and about me. Thank you.”

Norm Houseman: “And the congregation said, ‘AMEN!’”

Jen: “An excellent, thoughtful essay. Thank you.”

Cupitonians: “I missed your posts for 2 weeks. I mean, I was in exotic travel mode and I still wished my phone worked so I could read your posts. Crazy, no? I’m all caught up now! I don’t know how you always manage to inspire. xx”

Paulette: “Way too personal…you have touched me at the heart of my life’s problems. I will ponder this blog all day. This is a good thing. Thank you.”

Kramer: “Thanks for letting me know that I’m NOT the only one in the world who feels this way.”

Deborah Drake: “I appreciate all your brave, vulnerable, vivid, colorful, compassionate, and genuine posts. How you see what you see blows my mind wide open every time.”

Helen: “Congrats and keep ’em coming! Always look forward to reading your point of view which often coincides with mine.”

Elaine Lorefield: “You have entertained me and let me into your life.. thank you.”

AvalancheOfTheSoul: “At last, the thoughts inside my head eloquently expressed in a post.”

Kappaloca: “Whoever you are, you have no idea how I needed this today. THANK YOU”

Mountainstroh (Tony): “You make it worth visiting, lady!”

Lyn Sutton: “Look out evil! Barb is armed with guerrilla warfare weapons. She shines a ginormous light. Your blog touches my soul so often that I have embraced you as a positive force of balance amidst the chaos.”

Amy Sassenberg: “Thanks for sharing your stories, Barb. You are a healing force in the world.”

Vicky: “This may seem random, but I love you, Barb. I just do.”

Julie: “Your openness, honesty and clear sense of self is refreshing!”

Liz: “I can’t believe that you have written every day for years – and that each of your posts is so well done.”

Amelia Isabel: “Loving your posts. They’re giving me the encouragement I need. Xoxo”

Sam: “You inspire others with your words and kindness…and I’m proud to know you.”

Carole Lewis: “Finding your Blog has been a bright spot in my days. Whether provocative, thoughtful, soulful, or hilarious, I find something I can relate to on many levels, and I know I am connected in this great universe. And that’s a good thing. Thank You! Carry on, Dear Friend. Keep speaking for those of us that can’t or won’t. Tell us those stories of places we will never visit. Open our eyes to seeing ourselves in a mirror and liking what we see. When I read your blogs, I like myself much better, believe that more things are possible and that I can also make a difference. I am forever grateful to the Cigarette Girl, and the Waving Man, and all the gifts you have sent my way. Your heart flows through your words. Just don’t ever quit doing this blog. I would never survive the withdrawal.”

Richard Williams: “I love your blog. It’s a daily tonic for me.”

Forrest Brakeman: “Even through you’re venting, you have exposed me to a new world. Thank you.”

Kevin: “Cranberries are evil.”

Lynn Fitz-Hugh: “You are the only person I know who can make a story like this funny. Hat’s off.”

Jay: “You’re a writing inspiration! (seriously) Thanks!”

Raquel DeHoyos: “Oh Barbara, I think I love this one the most of all your stories. Thank you for your courage to live it, write it, and share it.”

And this one really made me laugh:

Angiportus Librarysaver: “Get your mind out of the gutter!” But in fairness, he also said: “Sing it, sister. Any @#$%&* can vituperate, but it takes brains to call someone out using Reason. You’re one of the lights in the garbage. Even when I don’t agree with you, which is once in a while. Long live boundaries.”

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Revisiting Delirium

Blogging is a labor of love. It can be stressful, finding something new to talk about every day, then actually carving out the time and motivation to put it into writing. Some days I’m much better at it than others. Some days I’m in the zone, and other days the zone eludes me entirely.

But those zone days, when everything clicks and I feel inspired and am proud of the writing, are some of the best days of my life. As long as I get one of those days every once in a while, this blog seems worthwhile to me. It’s all the reward I need.

Without further ado, I urge you to go and check out a blog post, entitled Gently Down the Stream. I wrote it a year ago when I was as sick as a dog. So, naturally, I wrote about being sick as a dog. But there’s something about the flow of this post, the descriptions, the mood, the depiction of my delirium, that really makes me happy and proud.

Enjoy, dear reader, let me know what you think, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Delirium by Feeriee13 on DeviantArt

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My Blog through the Eyes of Others

For the most part, when I’m writing this blog, it’s coming from the heart. I try not to alter my writing based on how it will be perceived. I just put it out there and hope it speaks to the people who give me the gift of the time it takes to read it.

Sometimes, though, once someone I know well has commented on it, I’ll go back and reread it from their perspective. We’re all different, of course, and none of us can truly inhabit the mind of another, but since I know these people and how they react to various things, I can guess at their reactions to my posts, beyond what they’ve already commented.

I’m not sure if this habit of mine is good or bad. It’s interesting to look at my posts from different angles. At the same time, I don’t want to start altering my posts purely for popularity’s sake. That wouldn’t feel authentic.

I find it fascinating that we all see things in very different ways. For the most part, I think that diversity revitalizes us all. That is, until you look at people out on the lunatic fringe, who are in their own strange little unreal worlds. But I digress.

How do you see my blog, dear reader? I’d greatly love to know!

Enjoy my random musings? Then you’ll love my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Seeing the World From a Different Perspective

Recently I met a guy named Jamie Jordan through a mutual friend, and discovered that he, too, has written a book. When I told him I had a little free library, he was kind enough to send me several copies to share with people, and I was happy to do so. It’s a great message to send out to the world.

His book, entitled From A Seated Perspective, is available on Amazon, and it’s about what it’s like to live life from a wheelchair. It’s heartfelt, humorous, serious and informative all at once. There are colorful, delightful graphics throughout that really give you a sense of Jamie’s experiences over the years.

This book will give you insights you may not have realized you needed to have. If you know someone in a wheelchair that you think would relate to it, buy this book. If you know someone who needs to be woken up about how the seated half lives, buy this book. If you just want a quick, fun, enlightening read, buy this book. And if you have any questions for Jamie, or just want to say hello to an awesome person, visit him at jamiejordan.org!

It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you bought my book, too, while you’re at it! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Why the Need for Gender-Specific Pronouns?

I have a few friends that prefer that I use the “they” pronouns when referring to them. I respect that completely. I have no problem with doing so. But I admit that after a lifetime of not knowing the value of that act of respect, I sometimes forget.

I hope they don’t take my missteps as a sign of disapproval. I’m sure they get it a lot, too. Not that that’s any excuse. All I can say is that I’m forgetful even on a good day, but I sincerely promise to always do my best.

I was thinking about that on the commute to work this morning, and it suddenly occurred to me to wonder why we have gender specific pronouns in the first place. For example, in the sentence, “She is very intelligent,” why is it important for us to know that the person in question is a female? Why does it matter that his shoes are stylish, or her team won the nationals, or that he has a reputation for always being late? Is the quality of intelligence, style, sportsmanship or promptness somehow different based on one’s orientation or perceived genitalia? The concept seems rather absurd when you look at it that way.

Since only extremely misinformed people think that the English language is rigid and does not evolve over time, I suggest that maybe it’s time that we get rid of gender specific pronouns. I believe that only those who are heavily invested in the patriarchy would object, and while it might feel strange to the rest of us at first, I think that within a generation it would become second nature. Meanwhile, it could be seen as some form of cool slang until it became routine.

Personally, I think it would be refreshing to be talked about as an individual rather than as an entity that can or should be prejudged based on some weird form of team membership. I’m sure that if there are any rational flaws in this concept, someone will point them out in the comments section. But as I sit here on the quiet, sunny day, I can’t help thinking that this is an idea whose time has come, and that some day the way we speak now will seem very quaint, indeed.

Hey! Look what I wrote! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

My Eighth Bloggiversary

I started this blog on December 1, 2012. I figured it would be a nice experiment, and a way to improve my writing, but I was sure I’d run out of things to say after about six months. Little did I know how quickly our world (and this blogger) would change and grow during all this time. I have yet to run out of things to talk about. In fact, I have even published an anthology of some of my posts which you can check out here. I should have done several more by now, but I seem to lack the follow through. Fingers crossed that I can get back to work with a little help from my very patient friends. It’s been on the top of my to-do list for years. I honestly don’t know what is holding me back.

I was trying to remember the person who sat down at that keyboard, with its several missing keys, eight years ago, and to be perfectly honest, I can’t. I even went back to my first blog post, entitled, “Nature is what’s happening while you’re not looking”, and that really only gives me a glimpse of her. All I know is that I’m a completely different person now.

That new blogger’s whole life revolved around her identity as a bridgetender. It was the one thing she could cling to. The rest of her life was a total shambles. She was very unhappy and felt as if there was no hope. I tried not to show that in this blog, but sometimes it would leak through.

I’m still proud of my job, and I enjoy it, but it’s not the only thing I’ve got anymore. In fact, I look at it more and more as the thing that enables me to live my life and also write this blog. And I’m extremely grateful that bridgetending happens to be something I enjoy doing. I know so many people who really hate their jobs, and given that a lot of their waking hours are spent doing those jobs, to hate them seems like a tragedy to me. I hope I never forget how lucky I am.

Now, I am a wife and a writer and a little free library curator and an exerciser and a traveler. I am a person who has hope and plans for the future. I have moved to the other side of the country to a place that fits me much more politically, albeit much less socially.

This past eight years has really taught me who my friends really are. It makes me realize that quality is so much more important than quantity. And something unexpected happened along the way: I made several additional friends because of this blog. What a gift.

It also occurs to me that I used to say “what a gift” a lot more often in my blog. I really need to start doing that again, because if there’s nothing else that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that so much about our lives and connections to others are precious.

I am also learning, slowly, that it’s important to establish firm boundaries with people. I am a lot less love-starved these days, and therefore I am not willing to tolerate cruel treatment that I would have once overlooked. I no longer have the energy for it, and I also know I deserve better. Some people are best seen in your rear view mirror. Onward!

Now I look forward to many more years of blogging. But there are no guarantees in life. Perhaps the person I will be eight years from now will not be a blogger. And that’s okay, too. But meanwhile, watch this space, dear reader, and thanks to all of you who have stuck with me over the years.