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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

N-N-1 Autumn 2020

For several years now, I’ve participated in a delightful photography/creative writing experiment that was created by two of my favorite bloggers, Anju, who writes This Labyrinth I Roam, and Norm, who writes Classical Gasbag. They thought it would be interesting to see what people all over the world were doing/seeing/experiencing at the same point in time. As Norm explains it, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time.

Norm hosted this edition, and the subject was Autumn 2020. We all know that this has been a crazy year, and as we transition into a different season, all the participants had the opportunity to reflect on the insanity. The results are bittersweet, but in the end, there’s always hope, and that was reflected in many of the write ups. That’s what I cling to.

Please check out the really beautiful photos and the thoughtful, accompanying writing at Norm’s blog. (My photo appears below, but you’ll have to visit Norm’s blog for the write up.)

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I Missed My Blogiversary!

December 1, 2019 was the 7 year anniversary of this blog. Seven years, writing a new post every single day. That’s an amazing accomplishment, even if I do say so myself. When I started, I assumed it would be a 6 month project at most, because how on earth would I come up with a new topic every day? Surely no one has that much to say. And yet, here I am.

So you’d think I’d have remembered on the day. I should have taken myself out to dinner or gotten a massage or something. But no. It totally slipped my mind. WordPress had to remind me with their automated congratulations. I celebrated by eating apple pie for breakfast the next morning.

This blog has been a major part of my life. I spend at least 16 hours on it every week, and even more than that if you count the hours of stress over writer’s block and utter lack of inspiration. It’s been the source of great friendships and fascinating feedback. It has also been the source of my first book. I’ve also halfway cobbled together a second book, but I can’t seem to get motivated to finish it. (I was about to say that follow through is not my strong suit, but if that were the case, this blog wouldn’t exist. So the lack of a second book is due to basic laziness. Ouch.)

The bottom line is that I can’t imagine who I’d be anymore without this blog. I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to read it, dear reader. I’ve marked my calendar so that I won’t miss this anniversary in future years. I hope there will be many more celebrations to come.

I can’t help but wonder, though, why it’s so easy to overlook our own accomplishments, even for those of us who wouldn’t think of overlooking the accomplishments of others. That sounds like the topic for a future blog post. Hmmm…

Feather-Pen-7

Just My Opinion

Well, it seems I’ve ruffled more than a few feathers of late. Most of those feathers seem to be firmly attached to Trump supporters, and that’s perfectly okay with me. I can’t imagine that we’ll ever see eye to eye.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a journalist. I’ve never claimed to be one. I’ve never wanted to be one. If you’re looking for facts, you’ll want to look elsewhere. What I write are for the most part opinion pieces.

My whole life I’ve been told that I have strong opinions. For decades I took that as a character flaw of some sort. I tried really hard not to have opinions, but it just wasn’t in me. Those failed attempts caused a great deal of self-loathing and wasted time.

Then, with maturity, I realized that everyone has opinions. I just tend to express them more than the average person. So why not turn that into an asset by way of writing a blog? Well, that isn’t going to make everyone happy. So be it.

I think the confusion occurs when people assume that I insist that everyone should agree with my opinions. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. After all, who the hell am I to dictate what anyone else thinks? I don’t consider myself an influencer.

I speak for me, not for anyone else. My opinions are mine. This blog is mine. It’s therapeutic for me. If this were the 19th century, I’d probably be writing a diary. It’s wonderful to have a broader forum. But rest assured that your participation is voluntary.

I’m writing it for me, and if my readers enjoy it, I view that as a delightful side benefit. Many times you give me broader insight, or inspire other posts, or get me interested in topics that I would never have thought to pursue. I’m grateful for that.

But if in the process of writing this blog I step on a few toes, I’m guessing those toes will take themselves elsewhere eventually. I hate to say this, but I really couldn’t care less either way. That’s one of the few facts I’ll lay claim to.

Namaste.

Ruffled Feathers
Ruffled Feathers

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