“The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” ~ C. S. Lewis, from The Screwtape Letters

                   

“The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes and switchblades.” ~ Alice Cooper

Sunday evening. Cloudy and cool, 51 degrees.

Today marks my 1500th post. I was considering just posting the images with no words and just letting that stand as my milestone marker. Truthfully, I’m still considering it. I mean, yep, I’ve hit a milestone, but is the doing worthy of the words? It seems more than a bit self-congratulatory, and I don’t know if surviving merits congratulations.

I’ve been doing this blog since February 26, 2008. That first year was spotty, and the posts had yet to take on any kind of form or format. In many ways, it was still like a continuation of the few posts I had written when I had a MySpace page years and years ago.

Actually, this blog was not the first attempt. The first one was called The Poem Makers, and I had great goals of creating an online poem that anyone could contribute a line towards. I would monitor submissions, etc. It was a dismal failure—for many reasons. First, I knew nothing about blogging, and blogging was still relatively new. Second, I actually built the site, with html coding and everything. Third, go back to first.

“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in the dark to our success.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

After enduring the headache of html for several months, I came upon WordPress, and it was like manna from heaven. All of the work was already done for you. Just plug in words and go.

I killed Poem Makers, and no one noticed, not even me. It was an assignment for one of my publishing classes. I had the degree. What was the point in prolonging the agony?

And so I began this adventure. Finding a name was the hardest part in the beginning. I looked around and it seemed that everyone else had names with deep meaning, or names that were symbolic of something, or names that were amusing and witty. In the end, I gave in to my wordy tendencies, and went with what I knew: Lola was a given, just because. And I knew that I was a curmudgeon, and I also knew that I would never just write about one thing, one topic. And so musings came into play, because what were they if not musings from a tortured brain?

“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.” ~ Flannery O’Connor, from Letters of Flannery O’Connor

Initially I did not include music or poems, and I included images in a kind of scattershot way. The idea of doing a theme kind of grew on its own.

I actually spent a lot of that first year writing about politics. I mean it was such a ripe subject: Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, John McCain. The content practically wrote itself.

I began to use the “More later. Peace” closing sometime that first year. The more later came from a former colleague I used to work with in the English department. The Peace was mine since forever. The combination just felt right, so it took hold and has never left.

I wrote my first random thoughts post in January of 2009, and my first Friday leftovers in that same month. And if you are a regular reader, you know that those two categories remain today.

“Even a snail will eventually reach its destination.” ~ Gail Tsukiyama, from The Street of a Thousand Blossoms 

I think that I began the practice of using quotes as my header and as subheaders sometime in February of 2009. The first post in which I implemented quotes was about beauty, our notions of beauty, society’s unrealistic expectations of what makes a woman beautiful. It wasn’t a post that I was particularly married to in content; I was just saying how I felt. What blows my mind is that post continues to be one of my most-read posts, and I fear it’s because I mentioned Kim Kardashian. If I could go back and make that post go away, I might just do it.

(I know I can delete it, but that wouldn’t erase it from my memory banks…)

Anyway, that people read that particular post is very, very weird because it’s not representative of me or of this blog.

For a while, I did “Grace in Small Things” posts, in which I would find five things for that day’s topic, but I found that those posts were taking over my blog, so I stopped doing them; it felt forced. Another type of post that I did more of in those days was the “Now for Something Totally Different” posts, which were a throwback to my great fondness for Monty Python.

Truthfully, though, I think that I was funnier in the early days. Witness my rules of etiquette post or anything I said about Sarah Palin.

“If you have a painting in you, paint. If you have a song to sing, sing. Don’t judge your creation. Just create it. Banish doubt and fear and step out of your own way if you have to. Write if you’re a writer and invent if you’re an inventor. Do what you were born to do.” ~ Toni Sorenson

In early 2009 I wrote a series of posts called “Vale et Memini,” which were about friendship, loss, and pain. I still think those posts rank among my best.

I think that I began to make music videos a regular part of my posts around May or June of 2009. At first, I just used songs and artists I already knew, but as I began to get into more of a rhythm here, I spread my wings, found lots and lots of artists with whom I had been previously unfamiliar.

In the early days, I would go weeks between posts. It’s only been in the last three years that I have made an effort to post something every day, and I try to be selective in material that is reblogged from somewhere else, try to make it relate to things that I talk about when I talk about things.

I do know that in 2009 we (the family) were going through some major tough times, and I wrote about those tough times because writing about things is what I do. Writing about things helps me to gain perspective, helps me to separate the wheat from the chaff. My family, whether they wanted to or not, has become a part of this blog. I write about them, and I talk about them, but I always try to do it with a view to balance. In other words, anything that I say in this blog, I would say in real life, and to the person to whom I am referring.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

I don’t really know what I had in mind when I started all of this 1500 posts ago, but I do know that I never thought that it would go on this long. I never thought that I would dedicate so much of myself and so much of my time to this experience, which has sometimes been an exercise in pain and sometimes been a little slice of heaven.

Those of you who follow along and comment along the way make it all worthwhile. I mean, I’m not in it for the fame or glory (obviously, because that ain’t happening), but it really does help to know that there are people out there who care about what I have to say, people who care if I had a bad day. It’s affirmation, pure and simple.

But truth be told, I would continue to write and post even if there were no one out there in the ether. This blog has become my lifeblood in so many ways. It is an extension of myself, good and bad, and I have no plans to end any time soon, so I hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

And as always, there will be more later. Peace.

Music by Christina Grimmie, “With Love”

                   

Annunciation

Even if I don’t see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does —And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t — I was blinded like that — and swam
in what shone at me only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.

~ Marie Howe

WTH??

Since I’ve been gone, my theme changed, as in this WordPress theme, you know, header, widgets, other stuff . . . I didn’t change it. Perhaps computer fairies changed it. Anyway, the theme that I was using does not seem to be available any longer, so I chose this one. I’ve tried to recreate my page as best as I can remember, which, if you know me, does not mean a lot.

I think that I replaced all of the widgets, links, etc. If any of you can think of anything that I may have left off the page, please let me know.

The computer repair is going slowly. We’ve replaced the CPU fan, and the power system, but the case fan is not working. Still getting a message about the CPU fan. Have ordered a case fan (luckily, under $10). Supposed to be here in a few days. With any luck, I’ll have my computer back by the end of the week.

Fingers crossed people.

More later. Peace.

“A Day In The Life” Remix

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“I heard the news today, oh boy . . .”

Not much I have to say

Got back in my bed

Put a pillow on my head

No posts, no words,

No desire to be heard.

I’d love to nap and yawn . . .

Can’t think, eat or drink

Put my head in the sink

No words, puns or posts

Not even blogging hosts

I’d love to ramble on . . .

No more rambling on . . .

I’m done with rambling on.

“I Put The Words Down And Push Them A Bit” ~ Evelyn Waugh

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A Calligram: A poem, phrase, or word in which shape relates to meaning

Am I A Blonger?

“If there is on earth a house with many mansions, it is the house of words” ~ E.M. Forster

Today, I did a meme on someone else’s blog; the only catch was that the answers could only be one word. Now, for most people, that would probably not be a big problem. Yes. No. One word answers come easily to many people. Red. Paris. Orchids. But you have to understand, my brain is just not wired for short, simple answers, especially not the one-word kind.

I love words. I love to roll them around on my tongue, find new ones, use obscure ones. My love affair with words has been long and faithful (on my part, at least). I mention this because it goes a long way in explaining why giving just one word answers would take me much longer than a regular meme, in which I could write whatever I wanted.

“Words are the voice of the heart.” ~ Confucius

I finally stopped struggling with this particular meme, and just went with the first word that popped into my head. If not, I would still be working on my answers, and my blog would not be written. But this leads me to another confession, one that will probably not surprise some of you:

I am a blonger. There, I said it. I admitted it. It’s out there; I’ve been vetted as a blogger and found wanting. To put it bluntly, I write blogs that are too long for regular blogs: they are blongs. Of course, I had no idea that such a thing even existed until I came across the term on another blog on which the site’s owner (are we owners? hosts? moderators? I’ll get back to that), the site’s owner used the term blong.

Now, I know that the ear may not hear the l in blong, but trust me, bonger would really not apply to me. I take too many prescription pharmaceuticals to mess with anything else. Just wanted to clarify that. But the word is blong, which I trust means long blog, hence: blong. It really isn’t a pretty word, is it? But then, neither is blog. They are both words that your ear must adjust to hearing and your spell checker refuses to acknowledge.

The point is that I cannot write pithy posts. I’ve tried.  There is too much baggage there: English Instructor at a university; writer for an art museum . . . these do not lend themselves to pithy. In fact, I used to abhor the five-paragraph paradigm for compositions, and I would go out of my way to destroy any vestiges of that construct in my composition students. I wanted them to understand that it was a format that could be used if one were totally lacking in insight and creativity, but it was not the only format allowable.

However, I know that I have my detractors, people who say that I use too many words when fewer will suffice. And in some cases, I agree. When I am in my scientific/technical mode, I use as few words as possible to say what I mean because, of course, I am writing for a specific audience type and level. When I am in my marketing mode, I write in a totally different style, the one necessitated by the product and the audience.

“Words are alive; cut them, and they bleed” ~ Emerson

But this is my blog that we’re talking about. My blog is a reflection of me, of my thoughts, feelings, dreams, and despairs. I cannot pare that down to a few paragraphs. I do tend to have convoluted sentences in which the modifiers may not be obviously apparent as I am off on a tangent, and my aim is not to parse but to create a rhythm. I have found that very few people actually pay attention to rhythm in their writing, and that’s an injustice to fiction, epistolary writing, and essays. Rhythm is not just for poetry; it is for any writing that wants to be taken seriously.

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I realize that my long blogs are not for everyone. You have to love words, and you have to understand my wit, which I will freely admit is not everyone’s cup of tea. But at the same time, I get very frustrated when I am surfing on a blogging community, and all that I see are one-sentence entries that aren’t even actually sentences (as in grammatically-correct sentences). These posts seem to belong in the realm of Twitter, which was made for short messenging, or IM (instant messenging). How can I leave a comment on a blog on which the entry is nothing more than, “Hello. I am here now.” Granted, that’s all that some people have to say, but . . .

WTF? I’m not asking for everyone to be profound or even profuse, but a “little less talk a lot more action,” as EP said.

Photographic/visual blogs are beautiful. They are not meant to be full of words because the communication format being employed is obviously visual as opposed to verbal. For most of these blogs, the visuals speak for themselves, and very often, leave me speechless because of the incredible talent that is being shared.

Blogs that are predominantly third person also kind of bother me when the site’s owner tries to pass off articles from other media as being his or her original material. If the blog’s intent is to expound upon a particular political philosophy, then it gives the site credence if sources are identified, and the writer does more than just post news; i.e., includes an editorial comment of some sort. Otherwise, what is the point? I’ll get my news from CNN, MSNBC, Salon, etc.

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug” ~ Mark Twain

Please don’t misunderstand: I am not trying to establish rules for blogs. Far from it. I am only trying to explain why I cannot write short blogs and why short blogs get on my nerves. Let me break it down: After a while, some blogs that continually have very little in the way of content, tend to remind me of  some of the mainstream authors who I used to read, but no longer bother to buy. Why? Because their books are all the same now. They have found a winning formula; they are turning a new book out every year, and there is absolutely no substance in these new releases.

For example, when Patricia Cornwell first began her Kay Scarpetta series, it was groundbreaking. The character was thoroughly drawn, and the plots in the first few novels were tightly woven. But then I noticed something in the 5th and then 6th books. I was flying through them and not getting very much out of them. Cornwell was skating on her success. It happens.

Am I jealous? Well, in one sense, hell yes. Of course I’m jealous that she just has to name her next novel, and it is immediately guaranteed a space on the NYT booklist. She can name her terms. She has numerous assistants. Yes, of that I am jealous. But I am disappointed that what started out so promisingly has turned into predictable shelf-filler at warehouse stores.

But again, I digress . . .

My main point in this blog was to avow the assertion that I am a blonger. I write long blogs that are filled with digressions, prequels, sequels, and commentaries. I am unapologetic about it. I started this blog to immerse myself in writing on a regular basis. That aim has been achieved. But I have continued this blog because I have made several wonderful contacts from around the world, and I love to peruse other people’s blogs to see how other people think. I have also continued because I really love doing this.

“There is a time for many words. And there is also a time for sleep” ~ Homer

When I no longer enjoy it, I will stop. So on that note, enough for now. More later. Peace.