Tag Archives: WordPress

The magic and the mystery of blogging

 

 

 

 

 

100_0360An ikon I’d never seen before popped up on the right hand side! Word Press, bless their little cotton socks, telling me I’ve been blogging for a year.

Really?  A whole year of writing, reading, liking, commenting, enjoying, sighing, worrying, wondering, exulting, agonising, delighting, puzzling, slaving over a hot computer?

A whole year of writing for pleasure, knowing that no-one is going to stab me in the back? This is the amazing gift of blogging. Unlike journalism, where bouquets are few and far between, but angry, argumentative put- down letters are easy to write to a person whose name is in a newspaper, blogging has its own set of conventions.

The best one is that bloggers don’t criticise or judge. They comment, they put another point of view, but they live and let live. When I first veered off the light and trivial and started to write about things I feel deeply about, I used to feel a bit sick when I pressed the Publish button, wondering what I had let myself in for … much the same as I used to feel when I was writing columns in magazines and newspapers, sending them off with trepidation, wondering who would attack me this week.

The first time I did this, and saw the yellow button flash Comment, I opened it nervously, and when I saw the comment, exulted with relief. And so it went with every Like and Comment.  This encouragement and courtesy means that bloggers can write honestly and from their heart, knowing that they won’t be judged and found wanting. If you don’t agree, just press delete, and read another blog and no-one is hurt or discouraged.

This day a year ago, my printer had set up the blog, told me I could see the stats at the top of the page, and talked me through writing a post. He then pushed my boat off into the ocean of bloggers, and I wonder how many other bloggers began their voyage over this great uncharted ocean on that day… I was like someone adrift in a little rowing boat, who knew how to row, but didn’t know where to go or how to get there, how to read the stars or a map or the weather. It was only after about two months that I discovered what Tags were, and that they mattered, nearly five months before I discovered that the yellow light at the top right hand side meant there was a message awaiting the lucky blogger, and I still don’t know what a click or a referrer is.

I puzzle over Stats, and still don’t understand the code… as far as I can see, from trying to do surreptitious checks when I think Word Press isn’t watching, followers don’t show up in Stats – or do they?  And how does someone have 5,000 views and 18,000 followers… I don’t get it. But since I never deciphered  algebra, geometry, logarithms, or even simple arithmetic  at school, it’s not surprising that the intricacies of technology elude me.

I learn that the first blogger was a student writing from Swarthmore College – a Quaker establishment – in 1994, but that blogging really took off in the late 1990’s. I also learn that there’s a whole vocabulary around different types of blogging now, and that in some countries it’s banned or that bloggers have to be registered. Google tells me that Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media and a supporter of the free software and open source movements, suggested a Blogger’s Code of Conduct.

He and others came up with a list of seven ideas which included: taking responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog; lowering your tolerance level for abusive comments; considering eliminating anonymous comments; ignoring the trolls… and if you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so; don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say to the person.

My experience of blogging has meant that bloggers practise far more than this basic list of protocols. They share kindness, encouragement, and friendship, they support each other, share helpful information, even love each other, and this sort of community is what makes blogging the experience it is. Investigating blogging has surprised me – apparently more men than women blog – I’d have thought it the other way around – 60 per cent to 40 per cent. Word Press alone has 42,000,000 bloggers – thank you for remembering my anniversary, chaps – and 500,000 posts daily, with 400,000 daily comments – wow.

Blogging is more than this though. In my experience, I’ve become a better writer, without the fear of sub-editors changing my copy, or readers clobbering me. I dare to be true to myself. I constantly learn from other people’s blogs, and this stimulation, I find, is improving my memory, plus the research involved in checking my facts. This means I’m feeling more creative too, and have such a sense of fulfilment every time I press Publish, and then the fun begins and the conversations take off.

Maybe the most incredible thing about blogging is that we are all tapping into the global brain, and contributing to it too. And more importantly, we are also dipping into the global ocean of goodwill and deepening it with our courtesy and kindness, and that maybe, will be the salvation of the world.

Food for Threadbare Gourmets.

With a lovely big bowl of jellied chicken stock from steamed chicken, I had lots of possibilities, but plumped for risotto. Frying onions and garlic until soft, and then chopped mushrooms, I used a cup of Arborio rice, poured into the onion and gently sauting until it became translucent. I added half a glass of good white wine, and when the alcohol had been boiled away, ladled in boiling chicken stock, and two sage leaves. When the rice was almost soft, I added the chicken scraps from the carcass, a handful of frozen peas, salt and pepper,  and a knob of butter and some cream. I covered it for five minutes when cooked, and then served it with freshly grated Parmesan and salad. Yum. Enough for three normal people, or two incredibly greedy people.

Food for Thought

Youth is a gift of nature. Aging is a work of art. Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under bloggers, cookery/recipes, great days, humour, life/style, technology, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

The Tragic and Hilarious Life of a Blogger !

 

100_0299Laughter and tears are not very far apart was the subject of an essay I once had to write at school. This is somewhat how I feel as I go once more into Spam, to clean out yet another of the daily two or three hundred messages which continue to accumulate ever since I wrote a blog with the headline ‘Ladies and Gentlemen: The Queen’. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I feel like crying with boredom as I work my way through hundreds of ‘delete permanently’!

When I first discovered over seven hundred in there, I was puzzled – why this sudden influx? Worse – they were all about Viagra, penis enlargement, electronic cigarettes and teenage sex, but overwhelmingly the first two. I looked to see what stories could have triggered this avalanche of information overload, and each one was hooked to the ‘Ladies and Gentleman…’ story.

Since there were no ads about gay sex, I assumed that it wasn’t the word ‘queen’ in the title which had provoked all the cyber-babble, so it had to be the words ‘ladies and gentlemen’ which  activated dormant computers all over the world and continue to do so.

What a sad reflection of where our language and our thoughts have gone… the original meaning of lady being a derivation of loaf-kneader – a definition I love; and where has Chaucer’s ‘verray parfit gentil knight gone?’ The goodness and nobility which was implied by the word gentleman seem to have dissolved along with evolution of a gentleman into someone only interested in his penis, in company with dissolute ‘ladies’ who will cavort alongside these enlarged penises.

The refinement implied by the words ‘ladies and gentlemen’, now seems a very old fashioned concept. If I had written: ‘Women and Men: the Queen’, would it have jerked into action all these persistent purveyors of Viagra, or is it only ladies and gentlemen who are interested in sex?

So thanks to spam, my view of life on earth has been expanded, and I now have an insight into a somewhat raunchy world which I didn’t even know existed, in which I was offered photos of surgery as well as enlargement pills which claim to do the same thing as the knife. I’ve pondered this problem of my bulging spam box, and have decided that the best way to stop the deluge, is to go back to the blog, and change the head-line to: “The Queen”. So if you get a post from me, so entitled, just delete it unread… it’ll be my attempt to restore some sort of normality to the spam box. If there was a competition for the most spam – I’d win easily.

That’s the low of blogging – whether it’s hilarious or tragic is hard to say… the high is The Conversation and connection. At the end of my tenth month of blogging, I’ve decided that that’s the indispensable ingredient of blogging. As time goes by, each blogger seems to attract like minds, so that we are lots of little shoals of fish swimming and connecting in the great internet ocean.

We know that there are some whales around with thousands and even millions of followers, but for the most part we are happy to swim around our own little back water, enjoying the company of all the other multi-coloured little fish around us. Sometimes one of the little fish becomes a big fish over-night when they receive the accolade of being Word-Pressed. Then there are lots of excited eddies around the favoured one, and then life goes back to normal and the ripples fade away.

As the months have gone by some treasured friends have disappeared, and one usually gets a sense of the unspoken why … ill health, family problems, finding blogging too onerous, feeling disappointed at not attracting a readership… there have been blogs that I’ve conscientiously liked and commented on, seeing that the writer may be feeling a bit lonely, but one person cannot make a blog popular… so I’ve seen some of these blogs quietly disappear, and I’ve felt sad.

At the same time, wonderful, new, brightly coloured bloggers swim into sight, and suddenly the pool feels livelier for their presence. And the fish we’ve been swimming with for a while… we come to know them. They may not say they’re going through divorce or grave illness or financial ruin – and sometimes they do – but they share their grief and broken-heartedness, and somehow we are richer for being in contact with each other as life swirls and swoops and takes a dive or hits a high. Sometimes they swim off and disappear while they rest or heal, but when they return, they get a great welcome. Cyber friendships make a golden spider’s web of light and connection around the globe.

When I see those amazing pictures of the planet from space, with all the lights on around the landmasses, I now also see that invisible web of golden threads linking hearts and minds across the world – the bloggers of the world – united by friendship, fun and common interests.

The common interest of most bloggers seems to be the well being of our world. Most bloggers care a lot about the planet. They are aware that unless we do something fast, our children and our grandchildren will not inherit the easy unthinking lives of abundance of water, food, forests, fish and all the other things we take for granted.

Thanks to another blogger Ana-Ela at www.spiritualanalog.com  I watched the wonderful video below. In it Edgar Mitchell says: “The root of the environmental and social crises facing humanity is the misperception that we are separate – from each other, the planet, and the cosmos as a whole”. And this is one of the blessings of blogging… it is showing us that we are not separate, but rather, how connected we all are. And that’s the real high.

http://www.planetarycollective.com/overview/

 

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

I love leftovers. We had some turkey left over from our little dinner with friends, so the next day I did what some would call fricassee of turkey. (I learned the other day that fricassee of chicken was Abraham Lincoln’s favourite dish) I put on some long grain rice to cook, and in another saucepan some wild rice, so that the black grassy spikes would make the white rice look and taste more interesting. (It takes longer to cook than ordinary rice, so needs to be cooked separately)

I made a white sauce, and popped the chopped up turkey into it, plus the remains of the mushroom garlic and cream sauce, and the dregs of the gravy from the night before. Then while the rice was finishing, I fried some chopped onion and celery, added some frozen peas to melt, and when the rice was drained, forked in the fried mixture. It was truly tasty with the turkey on top, and some fresh green beans given to us by another neighbour.

 

Food for Thought

The Two Bridges

I came to the void that encircles heaven, and found two bridges there.

And while I worried over which to attempt, a voice leapt the dark:

One is for open minds and one for open hearts. Either will get you across.

From Journeys on the Razor-edged Path by Simons Roof

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under bloggers, cookery/recipes, humour, life/style, philosophy, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized