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…

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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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A Brief Ego Blip

Last month I wrote a post about the Little Free Library that we built for our front yard, and my blog got 670 views that day. Clearly the subject resonated with people. I was really, really proud, because I’m currently averaging 107 views a day.

Throughout the day, I kept visiting my statistics page to watch the numbers go up and up and up, and it was such a rush. I didn’t want the feeling to ever end. But I knew it would, because this isn’t the first time this has happened on this blog.

One time I wrote a post that got 762 views in one day at a time when I was averaging 45 views a day. Ironically, it was called “Holy Screamin’ Cats! I’m Trending!!!” and it was about yet another viewing blip of 376 views. So the post about the trend exceeded the post itself. It will be awfully hard to break that record. Fame, however, is fleeting, as you can see by my statistics below.

I think that how someone deals with that says a great deal about that person. I could have mourned the loss of all that attention. I could have gotten bitter about the return to the status quo. I could have suffered ego withdrawal. But instead I’m choosing to look back at it and smile.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s impossible to foresee which of my posts are going to be popular. And in a way, that makes it fun. Roller coasters that are predictable are not nearly as exciting.

Thanks to all of you who have been along for the ride!

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My Blog Can Bite Me

I’ve been writing a post for this blog every day since December of 2012. That’s more than 2,400 posts so far. One thing that didn’t occur to me when I started all this is that a great deal of my life experience is now on record. All my opinions and memories and reactions and interests… they’re all out there for the world to see (should the world be extremely bored on, say, a Sunday afternoon).

Any chance of my running for public office has been destroyed. (Not that I have any aspirations along those lines. I’d probably be the first person voted off the island in Survivor.)

This archive of my personal points of view can be convenient if I’m trying to remember something. I’m sure my friends and family get sick of hearing me say, “Oh, yeah! I blogged about that once!”

But it can also bite me in the butt, and has on more than one occasion. Memories can change. Opinions can change. When you write about them, they sort of get cast in stone. “Oh, is that what you think, Barb? Well, that’s not what you said back in May of 2013…”

That certainly makes it hard to waffle, hedge, or equivocate. The more I write, the more my life seems to be black and white. The shades of grey are fading away. That’s great when my memory fades, but not so great when I want to hide in the mist like most people can.

Blogging is a double-edged sword.

And by the way, I’m well aware of the dual meaning of this post’s title. It was intentional. After all these years, sometimes I feel both ways.

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A Heaping Helping of Immortality

At the risk of sounding outrageously egotistical, if you know me or read this blog with any regularity, then you most likely think of me whenever you see a drawbridge. They’re rare enough, and most bridgetenders tend to keep a low profile, so yeah, I am rather rare myself.

I like the concept that even years from now, some poor shmuck will be stuck at an open bridge and will say to his or her passenger, “I used to read a blog by someone who opens a drawbridge…”

That’s the closest I’ll ever get (and indeed the closest I want to get) to immortality. Some people have kids. I blog. If you do anything unique that makes people think of you when you’re not present, then you have that immortality thing going on, too. Feels pretty cool, doesn’t it?

I also get a kick out of the idea that if you’re not thinking of me when you see a drawbridge, maybe you’re thinking of Vincent Van Gogh. Or both of us. For a split second, I get to stand beside an amazing artist. I’m honored.

Don’t worry, though. I’m not going to cut my ear off. I’m practically blind without my glasses.

Incidentally, if you are into drawbridges, please consider joining my Drawbridge Lovers group on Facebook!

van_gogh_-_die_brücke_von_langlois_in_arles1

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N-N-1, The Resolution Edition

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you may recall that I occasionally participate with other amazing bloggers in a project called N-N-1.

If you’re mathematically inclined, in N-N-1, the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (because those numbers should be the same), and the 1 stands for one point in time. Basically, we choose a date and theme, and then whichever one of us hosts the project that time around is sent photos taken by each one of us, along with 50-100 words about them, so that we can share them all with you.

I’ve found it to be an exciting way to see how diverse this planet is. We all have different lives and different experiences, and yet we come together for this project. This time around, we decided to take photos around January 19th or 20th that reflect our resolutions or goals for the year. As you will see, we got a variety of responses.

My dear friend Anju, one of my favorite bloggers, and one of the originators of N-N-1, hosted the event this time. So hop on over to her blog and check out the results here: https://thislabyrinthiroam.blog/2019/01/25/how-are-your-new-years-resolutions-holding-up-a-check-in/

While you’re there, check out the other bloggers, and let us know what you think!

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Selling Out?

You may have noticed that I upgraded my WordPress account to a premium one. That means I have more file space, and my web address is now simply theviewfromadrawbridge.com, rather than having the word WordPress stuck up in there. Yup. I’ve taken it to the next level.

It also means that I can finally monetize my blog. I’ll probably be making more changes along those lines in the coming weeks. But until then, it means that I’ve signed up for WordAds. You’re probably seeing them on the page right now. So far, in the past week, I’ve made a whopping 37 cents because of those of you who have been kind (or interested) enough to click on these ads. (I guess I won’t be quitting my bridgetending job.)

I have very mixed emotions about this new development. I’ve been blogging every single day since December of 2012. That’s no mean feat. I think I spend at least 16 hours a week on this blog, and up until now I’ve done it for the pure love of it. And I hope I’ll always feel that way. I don’t want to lose that.

But sometimes it can be stressful. When I fall behind because I’m sick or otherwise occupied, it makes me anxious. And it’s not easy coming up with a topic every single day. So I think I’ve earned that 37 cents, in many ways.

But on the other hand, I don’t want these ads to change the way I write. I don’t want to start worrying about offending the advertisers. Apparently it really is possible to be blackballed.

I also don’t want to start focusing on increasing readership to maximise my income. I still want this blog to be about my random musings. I want to write about things I am thinking about and feel like discussing. I want it to continue to be fun to write and fun to read. I don’t want all my posts to become “The 10 Best Ways to Take Cute Pictures of Kittens” just so that my post will get more viewers and get more shares on Facebook.

I know that a lot of people find ads annoying. Sorry. And no, before you even ask, I have no control over the type of ads they post. I’m putting my trust in WordPress. They’ve been good to me up to this point.

So, what do you think? Have I sold out? Will these ads drive you away?

If not, could you be kind enough to click on them every now and then? I sure could use the butter and egg money. Thanks.

spare change

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A Shout Out from Billy Sue

(At the time I first wrote this post, I wasn’t aware that Billy Sue was a fictional character. Now, everyone knows that. But you know what? I still love Billy Sue, and I don’t regret at all having paid for the video below. I paid to be entertained. She entertained me. She earned it. It’s all good.)

In this internet age, it seems like we all can get more than our usual 15 minutes of fame. I mean, you’re reading this blog, right? And what makes me so special?

In that same vein, about a year ago I stumbled upon the YouTube channel of Jessie 31. She would video the antics of her crazy neighbor, Billy Sue. Billy Sue is a hillbilly with a hot temper and no filter whatsoever. I’d be afraid to live next door to her, if I’m honest. She shouts a lot. And throws things.

And you can tell if you watch these videos that they’re not staged in any way. Billy Sue is sincere in her fury and outrage. In that way, she kind of reminds me of my favorite cartoon character, Marvin Martian. He taught me as a child that it’s okay to be angry sometimes. And that made me love him.

And there’s something about Billy Sue, and the way Jessie manages to get along with her, that just makes me kind of love them both. They make me laugh. They make me happy. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of like beer. Either you like it or you don’t.

Well, recently Jessie came up with an idea to let Billy Sue make a little money off their YouTube fame. They registered on Cameo.com, and now, for a small fee (which is apparently rising quickly), you can get a shout out from Billy Sue.

I couldn’t resist. So here’s the video Billy Sue made just for me. She even talks about this blog and wishes me luck. I can’t stop smiling every time I watch it. Worth it at twice the price. And I guess she’s figuring that out, because it now costs more than twice what I paid. Well, good for her, I say!

Billy Sue, don’t ever change, girl.

 

 

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