Up Late by Alonza Thomas

einstein quote

UP LATE

I remember being young, young and care free.
A simple little boy, that loved simple things.
Loyal to a flaw with no one to love me.
I’m kinda nervous…. but please, let me explain me.

I never felt so alone in all of my existence.
No joke, my emotions came second like scottie pippen
My life a whirlwind, I’m along for the ride.
Bury My Face In Pillows So They Wouldn’t See Me cry.
If I had it my way they would have to watch me die.
The pain is deep inside, Lord knows I wanna survive.
My mental state of mind is numb I feel defeated.
Wasn’t hard, I was a puzzle that would never be completed.
13 wasn’t hard for manipulation to mislead me.
I wake up from a sleep. So nervous that he near me.
anxious like student in class taking finals.
and my eyes never focus on much. They run wild.
Right now I feel naked. Exposing all of my wounds.
And I swear I feel like a fool.

One piece to the puzzle…

by Alonza Thomas

Why are you writing? Plus a Q and A Interview With a Published Writer on How She writes

How to write a bog,I want to be a writer, Sonni Quick,Sharp Turn to the LeftI guess it all depends on why you’re writing in the first place. I mean, do you really want to write, so you start a blog with absolutely no friggin’ idea of what to write but you have this itch to write something that has the possibility of leaving a part of you permanently in place, for others to read and learn about you even if you depart this earth? How I wish I had the writings, the baring of one’s soul, from people in my past that I am unable to talk to because they are very permanently long gone, unable now to tell me what is in their head. Their fears. Their hopes. Their thoughts of being unable to stop the forward march of death.

A blog is begun. You aren’t sure of what to do, what to write. Can you write? Do you even know where to put a comma? Is your spelling and sentence structure atrocious? Does that even matter? Or do you just think about it for awhile and slowly , bravely, venture into it thinking it would be a really cool thing to do, writing things other people read. And then after a few weeks you go damnza, this is fun! So you learn and learn and try to find out everything you can about writing a blog so you can make it as good as possible, and then wait to see if anyone comes to read it. You enjoy yourself, and think, I could be a writer! You have begun the process of reinventing yourself. I’m a pro at that. It keeps life interesting, constantly challenging yourself to be more than you have been!

To do it right takes a lot of time. It’s like a job, but you don’t get paid money. You do get paid though, in page likes and comments and having interesting conversations with people from all over the world! It’s great for confidence building.  It’s teaches you how to communicate in words.  Learning how to write a blog is different from sending someone a newsy email.   You tell yourself, “I want to be a writer,”  and sometimes you have to reinvent yourself to do that Lastly, yes, blogging is fun.

I never slam out five line blog posts that don’t have a point – somewhere. Some are deeply personal that have  tongues wagging from people I know who say, “How could you write that! What will people say! OOOh well. My life is an open book and I have nothing to hide. I have no need to hide myself from anyone or make excuses for myself. We all make mistakes. But do we learn from them? That’s the key to reinventing yourself and making yourself happy. If other people don’t like it I’m not in control of that.

This is the blog I use to rant and rave and get things off my chest. My other blog is my serious one, the one that matters because there are lives at stake that it will affect. BUT do I take everything I write seriously. Is there a point to all this? Is there a reason I’m still up at 4 AM tweaking my words and researching how to do this right? Yes. Very much, yes. Because I reinvented myself – again – and if I decide to do something I will tear it apart with my teeth. I will grind it up and chew on it like a porkchop bone and obsess on it until it becomes the best I can do. I am addicted to it the way bees are drawn to the nectar of flowers.

I have always quite simply loved to write. To make the thoughts in my mind take concrete form, the same way the notes of my music is a concrete form of my emotions that I can step back from and witness it the and way as strangers.

I knew when I was young, there were different roads I could go down and each road would send my life into a different direction. I loved to dance. Did I want to be a dancer? I did eventually do that – but in strip joints from age 30 until my 40th birthday, quitting before I looked like I should, and was damn good at it. I think there are many women who have wished they looked good enough to dance naked and many women do in the privacy of their own homes.

Sonni Quick, Padre Island, Bahia Mar Hotel
Sonni Quick performing at the Bahia Mar Hotel at Padre Island 1979

This all took place after the years being a professional musician – a singer/keyboard/guitarist  who trashed her vocal cords singing incorrectly in too many smokey clubs. This is why I have the ability now to write the music I do, with the passion I play with.  But back then my ego stopped me from being a sideman to someone and be just a keyboard player who didn’t front the band.  Wrong choice, but I needed to take care of my kids, that’s why I started dancing and made a lot more money than I did as a musician. I never got a single nickle of help from their father. (But today, many years later we are friends. He is their father. Besides, I have become friends with all of my x husband’s.)

Did I want to be an artist? I have untrained talent, if I wanted to use it. My desires were all in the arts. Did I ever even one time ever want to be something like a dental assistant? God no! That thought scared the crap out of me. ( no slam on dental assistants here. We need people who want to be that.) But the thought of me spending my life in something so completely uncreative would have been a living hell for me.  That was my nightmare, waking up living in a track house in a suburb, which I did for a very short time when I tried to have a real job – by society’s standards . I couldn’t live a life with my time so structured and having no flexibility. I needed my life to support my life, to be able to create my income by who I was. Have I been thrown major curveballs? Huge ones. But I pick myself up. Dust myself off. Then I carry on. Sometimes life sucks. Get over it. Treat yourself and go buy a bag of gummy worms.

I went through many life changes. I called them “Sharp Turns to the Left, a title of an autobiography I spent the better part of a year writing fifteen years ago. A book in which I was going to be brutally honest about myself. I had to stop writing it because I thought, “Oh shit, if my mother reads this it would just kill her. She’d die of shock knowing the things her little girl did. “But now, after moving back to within a block of where my mother lives and spending literally hundreds of hours talking, I don’t think there is much I could write now that could shock my mom anymore than I already have, so maybe I could go back now and finish writing about my life – after I finish the book that is devouring me at the moment – InsideOut- with the newly changed working title of – Inside The Forbidden Outside – the nonfiction book about the life of Jamie Cummings. In Huntsville Prison. What guided his life to be where he is and what kind of man did it make him. What kind of man did he become. In our letters he let me into his head no matter how painful it was. You can find links to my other blog, “My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison” on the side of this blog and finding 3 of the chapters I I have posted pretty easily.

So what is the point of this post? I think the point is that we all write for different reasons. Some people write as a career choice, a current career our a hopeful one, like mine. Some write for fun and aren’t interested in branching out and are satisfied with having only WordPress readers, which are indeed valuable worldwide. Some people are excited that something they wrote is on the web for the world to see, and there are some that heal their hearts and minds through writing.  A catharsis takes place. There is a place for every single one of us. Just so long as it brings you benefit of some kind is all that matters.

I was thinking about this today because of this article, a writer I never heard of and thought about how she writes. Her process and went to links of things she wrote. I try to learn something from every writer. How do the structure sentences. How do think about what they mean? I thought, since we’re all a bunch of writers maybe some of you would find value in this article – an interview of how she writes.

So what do you think about it all?  Tell me.

Plus – thank you for getting to the end of this rant and listening to me yammer on . . .

Beyond The New Yorker

vanessaVanessa Grigoriadis—a National Magazine Award-winner who has written dozens of features for New York, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others—is a writer that many of us can envy: Over the years, writing has gotten progressively easier for her. She writes at a freaky-fast pace. And her initial visions for her stories, she says, work out 75 percent of the time. Essentially, a writer’s dream. But Grigoriadis also shares what she finds are the hardest parts of the job and her various quirks (hint: elaborate procrastination), and how, once an aspiring actress, she came to choose writing instead.

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Stop Believing Family is Supposed to Love You, When They Don’t

Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front.  I remember this day at Wildwood NJ
Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front. I remember this day at Wildwood NJ

When I wake in the morning I always grab my Nook, swallow 10 mg of methadone and start my daily routine on the web, while waiting for some of the pain to subside, so I can get on with my day, which usually includes 12 hrs or more in front of my laptop on my other website http://mynameisjamie.net or writing my book “InsideOut” There are three of ten chapters written so far that can be found on the opening page of that site. The weather isn’t nice outside, so I have a reason to hole up inside. I absolutely hate cold weather and won’t go out in it if I don’t have it.

I’m beating about the bush. I happened on some posts at https://drkottaway.wordpress.com/ about how childhood trauma can affect you.  There are quite a few great posts here and is a worthwhile blog going to.   I have some deep issues dealing with my family and they came to a head recently and dealing with them has not been easy. I decided to just write and get it out.

I am inserting a piece of music I recorded. My music is all improvisational, never to be played again.  A wrong note here and there. Keep that in mind and listen while you read.

———————————————–Sonni Quick   copyright 2015 -Watching and Waiting

When we are children, we have no way to process the things that happen to us, so we end up thinking it is our fault and most of the time it affects who we are to this very day. It’s not so easy to just say, “I won’t think about it any more.  It won’t affect my life any more”, because the damage has already been done and all we can do is pick up the pieces and try to use what we have learned in a positive way somehow. Easier said than done.  I don’t think any child escapes trauma of some kind and even though it may even seem like such a small thing today, back then it affected everything – which then affects your existence today.

Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.
Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.

I went through a molestation with a visiting uncle who took his penis out and wanted me to touch it. I did. He did it one of my sisters, too. I didn’t find that out, though for 45 years. I never told anyone. Neither did she. He didn’t visit for long, so he had no other opportunities to do anything else. I don’t know why I never said anything, but I knew it was wrong.  What do you say, “Uncle took his thingy out” – when I don’t even think I knew then what it was called? I never told anyone until I was in my 50’s. 

Negative family relationships

I have a sister a year older than me who, when I was 5, when we were walking to school, wouldn’t let me walk with her, and this 6 year old told me, “I don’t want anyone to know you are my sister.” Until we graduated, if she saw me in the school hall she turned her face away. If my own sister didn’t want me around why would anyone? I hated to go to the lunch room in fear I’d have no one to sit with.  Gym class petrified me and I thought of every excuse I could to not have to play games where people picked other people for their team. Since I had no friends, of course I was usually picked last or close to it. Until I graduated I had very few friends. Until I was 34 I had very few friends. I scared people off by not being friendly first, so I didn’t have to worry if I was going to be rejected. I had such a fear of rejection I rejected them first. Why would someone want to be friends with me?

It wasn’t until I started practicing Buddhism and this woman I didn’t know called me and asked if I wanted to come to a discussion meeting.  I stood there with my hand on the phone in total amazement. A woman called me like she was my friend?  She wanted me around? I remember this so clearly.

Aside from this, I hustled pool, changed my name and reinvented myself several timees.  spent many years working as a professional musician, on stage many, many times. Confident, strong and an air of being so sure of myself and my goals.  I needed no one.   My wall was very high. My confidence alone pushed people away.  I could walk into a club and pick what man I wanted to spend time with and walk out with him.  I made myself believe I needed no one.

It’s easy to see why my family didn’t quite know how to deal with me, but did they need to be quite so hurtful? We’re in our 60’s.  Okay, I led a very diverse life. It sure wasn’t boring. This truth telling has only been the tip of the iceberg? Could I have led their lives doing the same thing over and over for decades?

I have a younger sister, but we were never “sisters”. She has recently made it clear that she doesn’t know ” how”.  A few weeks ago at the age of 61 my older sister had quadruple heart bypass surgery. I have a fairly large family. Mom, and also a variety of neices and nephews and their families.  Everyone was at the hospital to support her – except me, because I knew if I went it would cause a big problem. So I stayed home and kicked the walls for a few days. I sent her a card, said nice things in about wanting to see her, wrote her an email asking her to please call. She won’t answer her phone because she sees it’s me. No response.

Four years ago I had to move home to Pa from Key West. I lost my home and my business, a retail store of ten years at the Weston Hotel where the cruise ships docked.  I lost everything. My husband and I moved to my mothers into a 10×10 room.  My whole life was in storage or in that room.  I think my family expected me to be a whole person, but I wasn’t.  I was shattered into tiny pieces that were unable to process thought very well any more. I was very sick and was put on the liver transplant list, because 40 years ago, when I left home to go to college, I turned to drugs.

Drugs took the place of friends. people don’t do drugs because it makes them feel bad. It fills a hole. It puts good feelings in a place there is none. I had no self worth and when I was high I could come out of myself and play and dance and sing and be the person I wanted to be. It gave me fortitude the same way a drink gives fortitude to an alcoholic.

I was raped once when I was about 20. The only person I told was this man’s girlfriend. I ended that relationship. All I did was run away and spent 3 days shooting heroin, but stopped the first time I felt sick and knew it would make me feel better. I made a sign on a piece of cardboard and hitchhiked home, although home was not where I grew up.

Except occasionally,when I went to Pa every couple years to visit, I had no communication with my sisters. Why?

I had a problem with drugs off and on until age 34.  Once and addict always an addict, just like someone never really recovers from alcohol.  One drink can set them back.  I never turned down any drug if it was put in front of my face. But at 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism, which I’ve written about many times. Even my mother changed from Christianity to Buddhism after she took an honest look at what it taught. But it was at age 34, when I realized my life really did have value and I didn’t need to be afraid any more. That was 27 years ago.

That day I stopped doing street drugs. But within months the ugly head of hep C reared with unexplained illnesses.  Since very few doctors knew abou Hepatitis C they gave an addict pain pills for the nerve pain or wanted to give me anti depressants because, since they couldn’t diagnose it, it was all in my head. It was another ten years before I got a diagnoses. I stayed on my feet for 12 more years until my liver was a complete mess and a transplant was necessary. It had turned to liver cancer. I was out of time. I had to move home where there was a good transplant hospital.

Shooting drugs from ages 19-22, hiding from myself and pretending to be someone else was a massive cause and effect.

My mother has always asked me why I did drugs. If I hadn’t left the state to go to college, which I screwed up doing drugs, and stayed home, maybe I wouldn’t have done them? Karma is karma. There are drugs everywhere.  Staying home wouldn’t have changed that, but being away my family also meant they couldn’t see what I was doing.

When I moved back to Pa I thought I would have a family who cared about me.  It was a very big shock, although I don’t know why, to find out that I didn’t.  They didn’t care a whit about what happened to me and proved it over and over and over.  I thought, “Stupid me”

I had that transplant 2 1/2 years ago.  Not one member of my family was there for me that day, except my husband. The rest of my  family went to the beach on vacation. Not one phone call to even see if I was dead. My mother did stop by the ICU on her way out of town. My Dr said my transplant was in the nick of time. My husband was scared to death and there was no one there to support him. My family didn’t like him, either, and they made no bones about saying so. The negative gossip was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  They didn’t know him, but being married to me was all that was needed. I was told I had maybe a couple weeks of life left at the most, if they hadn’t been able to find a liver in time. I’d been bed ridden for about a year by then. My husband had to do everything for me, even wipe my ass and help me on and off the toilet. I was on a massive amount of drugs to keep protein from building up in my brain and going into a coma.  My body swelled up so big with fluid it was leaking out through sores on my legs. Thinking was hard.  All I could was lay in bed and watch movies on my DVD player.  We don’t own a TV.  He would help me walk to the living room to sit or out to the garden and sit. Not one get well card. No one called.  Recently, when talking to my neice she told me how bad I looked before my surgery.  I bit my tongue and kept my mouth shut because I wanted to say, “How would you know?  I didn’t see you once the year before my surgery. . . .  They have no clue.  I was bedridden for a year after the surgery because I had to relearn how to walk and feed myself. After the surgery my back fractured along with 7 ribs, one at a time. The wall of solid pain didn’t even begin to diminish for six weeks. If anyone would have asked me if I wanted to die, I would have gladly gone. Hopefully I will be having spine surgery in the next couple months so they can place sensors in my spine to try and cut off the pain before it reaches my brain. I hate taking these goddamn painkillers. But when I stopped ‘using’ my life made me continue. what would my life be like with no pills, even though half of them are so I don’t reject my new liver.

Now, as I try to bring this sob story to an end, as I try to figure out what all of this means, I know, as we go through painful events in our lives, we want to see them as being separate . We want to see them as things that were done “to” us, and we carry these pains, stuff them down, and try to make ourselves think it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we let it ruin our lives.  I can honestly say that this hateful family of mine is not ruining my life. I seek to understand and change the karma I brought into my life of having a family such as this one.

It hurts me greatly when I think of it, but I have had my practice of Buddhism to help me understand that happiness comes from within.  I can’t ask anything else to change it for me.  That change has to come from within.  Without this practice of Buddhism I would have been dead a long time ago.  It was the direction I was going in.  But winter always turns to spring.  Every single year.  Every year is a new opportunity I have to live a life of value, and to pass that value on, because the only legacy we can every really leave behind is the effect we have had on other people, that has helped their life in turn.  If my family sees no value in me, then that is a cause they make for themselves. I let this consume me for the past four years out of my 60, but no more.  I try to think, what value would they bring into my life?  I have tried, though, because I see how much it pains my mother to see her daughters at such odds.  All 3 of us – none of us are friends.  She thinks she did something wrong.  She didn’t.  I so love and appreciate my mother and if this illness brought me home to live a block away from her, then that is a wonderful benefit. If anything changed with my sisters  it would take all three of us to want it to be better, and two out of three don’t.

I tried for so long to “make” my family see me as a real person – to want to include me in their lives. I’ve pleaded, wrote letters and even screamed and yelled in frustration, “Why? What have I done that is so terrible? Why are you being such a lousy sister?” I wanted to have even one person say they were sorry for letting me go through a traumatic illness, surgery alone, but my younger sister insists, “I have nothing to be sorry about”.  You have nothing to be sorry about??   She doesn’t get it.  Not at all. I wanted an apology for what she did to me. She’s says she didn’t do anything to me.  She’s right. It’s what she didn’t do. 

According to my family I am toxic. I am the scapegoat for all the problems in the family even though they haven’t been around me. This year, for Christmas, my mother and I cooked dinner and invited family to come.  They did, but there was also a Christmas party planned at my nephew’s house.  Everyone was invited but me so there wouldn’t be any problems. There will be no more Christmas dinners, or birthdays or fourth of July picnics.   I won’t be where I am truly not wanted.  What did they think I was going to do?  Christmas presents I had for one sister are still in my closet.  The birthday card I had for my other sister on March 15th was never sent. For awhile one sister did pretend to care – the one who just had heart surgery, but due to urgings from the family passing gossip, she, too, cut off communication. If I could think of what I did to cause this unforgivable animosity I could deal with it better, but I can’t.  I just don’t understand people who can be so hurtful andso selfish

So I ask myself, why do I want them in my life? What is the purpose of family? Do I judge myself by the way I am judged? Am I the person they judge me to be? No.

I know that what happened when I was five, when my sister made it clear she wanted no part of being my sister – she meant it, even though she didn’t think it at the time, and I’m sure doesn’t even remember saying it. I know the way I felt about myself helped lead me to drugs. I also know, through my study of life through Buddhism these past 27 years that this was karma I caused for myself, somewhere, somehow. It is what I do with this understanding that will either change it or perpetuate it.

For my own sanity I have to let my family go. Stop trying to make them love me, because they don’t. They really, really don’t. They are a group of people that kisses and hugs at holidays and talks about the weather and their jobs and kids, and then doesn’t speak to each other again until the next holiday. So shallow. That holds no value for me. I wanted a sister to be my friend. What is an adult sister but a friend. Someone you talk to about your life. Who you are. I wanted too much from my family. I see that now. I have no value to them. How could we possibly be friends? So how could their children or their children want me as their aunt. So here I am at age 60, finally realizing with utter completeness, I – Have – No – Family. I do still have my mother who loves me and shakes her head at the lack of compassion her family shows me. When she passes, I doubt I will ever be a reason to hear from any member of my family again.  I have my own children and grandchildren, but my immediate family no longer exists.

Now I’m going to go blow my nose and wash my face and take this pile of garbage out to the trash for the last time.

September 2015. Labor Day. I just went back re-read this and thought I’d write a catch up. My entire family and friends are at my older sisters camper at Raystown Lake, so nothing has changed there. Even if they decided I was worthwhile to be around I don’t think it would mean anything to me. Such is life. I also had the surgery on my spine a month ago but it caused complications I’m still healing from. AND 3 weeks ago I started on the new Hepatitis C drug so my fingers are crossed!! And lastly, I bought myself a present. A new keyboard I’m excited. I can record 6 tracks.

Facing Challenges

challenges2Facing Challenges

by Daisaku Ikeda

Two African-American sisters, Sadie and Bessie Delaney, were born in the southern United States at the end of the nineteenth century.

Growing up, the sisters experienced great pain because of deep-rooted discrimination against people of African descent. They often shook with anger at the treatment they received. But they refused to be defeated, learning to laugh off discrimination and encouraging each other not to despair. The sisters determined: If society isn’t going to accept us when we have the same ability as white people, then we’re just going to have to become even more capable. They drew strength from their father, who used to say, “Don’t ever give up. Remember, they can segregate you, but they can’t control your mind. Your mind’s still yours.” Through tireless effort, they gained places to study at Columbia University.

Sadie, the elder sister, became the first African-American to teach domestic science at High School level in New York City. Bessie, meanwhile, was only the second African-American woman licensed to practice dentistry there. They were not defeated by discrimination, poverty or criticism. They knocked back obstacles with the attitude, “What! Is that all?”

Bessie summed up her attitude, saying, “However you do it, you’ve just got to fight in this life . . . If there’s one thing you’ve got to hold on to, it’s the courage to fight!” Both sisters outlived their detractors, living to over 100 years old with a deep sense of achievement.

Many people think that it is only those born into fortunate circumstances who can succeed in life. Such people often feel that they, too, could have been successful, if only they had been blessed with this or that, or if only they weren’t hampered by the problems that trouble them now.

When I was young, I had a friend who excelled at everything and whom everyone admired. But recently I heard that he had ended up very unhappy, beset by illness and family problems. How could this happen to someone who had seemed so lucky in his youth? Maybe it was because, having been pampered from an early age, he never learned what hard work was, nor what it meant to struggle to achieve something. Thinking that everything he needed would fall into his lap, he probably avoided making strenuous efforts and was therefore unable to withstand the waves of difficulties which hit him later in life.

As long as we are alive we cannot be free of difficulties nor spared from problems. The question is how to overcome and resolve them. And there is only one answer: to confront and challenge life’s trials head on. In doing so, we can actually change them into sources of joy. Hardship builds character. I firmly believe that one can never become a person of extraordinary character just by leading an ordinary and peaceful life and avoiding difficulties.

Life involves scaling one mountain, then the next, then the one after that. The person who keeps on going, one step at a time, and finally conquers the highest mountain, will have a real sense of victory in life. But someone who avoids challenges and takes the easy route instead, will gradually descend into the valleys and feel no such sense of satisfaction.

Such a person, when faced with a problem, tends to think, “I know I should take action, but it will be very difficult.” When it is time to act, this kind of person tends to turn away. Someone who perseveres will rise to the challenge, however, determining, “It will be very difficult, but I must take action.”

A dear friend who faced every challenge in her life was Mrs. Fang Zhaoling, a painter and calligrapher based in Hong Kong who passed away in 2006 at the age of 92. She grew up during great political instability in China and her father was gunned down before her when she was eleven years old. But her mother was determined not to let this tragedy stand in the way of her daughter’s education, and Mrs. Fang studied hard, also learning to paint.

She married young and bore eight children. Then tragedy struck again when she was 36. Her husband died, leaving her to bring up the children—aged between 3 and 11—alone. Mrs. Fang then ran a small trading company and somehow managed to support and raise her children and provide each of them with a good education. She said, “Experiencing the hardship of being widowed at a young age is perhaps what gave me the strength to go on to study and develop my skill as an artist.”

Her life was evidence that overcoming challenges, triumphing over adversity is what life is all about. Her paintings often show steep cliffs and forbidding crags, but often one can make out a path or road through the rocks. Even in her eighties, Mrs. Fang was always active, always moving forwards. Her life shone like a jewel, forged and polished by hardship. A diamond, the king of jewels, is the hardest and brightest of minerals. Just as diamonds crystallize when carbon buried deep underground is subjected to extremely high pressure and temperatures, so, when we forge our lives under the intense pressure of difficulties and in the severe heat of hardship, we can develop a beautiful and strong sense of self.

Often the biggest obstacle in meeting life’s challenges is actually our own fear of failure. But it is not failure that we should fear. The only real failure comes when we allow our fear to prevent us from taking on new and unknown challenges.

Just about every important figure in history has in fact lived a life marked by one mishap after another. But these individuals rose up again after every setback, prodded on by a spirit that refuses to concede defeat and relishes challenge, to eventually crown their lives with victory.

Even if you have problems, even if you have done things you regret, or have made mistakes, your whole future still lies ahead of you. If you can just keep moving forward, telling yourself, “I’ll start from today,” “I’ll start afresh from now, from this moment,” then a whole new world of possibilities will open up before you.

Musings From a Tangled Mind

Credit to: es.fotolia.com
Credit to: es.fotolia.com

Oh, I just love the title of this blog. Maybe it’s because my mind is a bit (a lot) tangled, too.  It’s ‘a bit’ more  than tangled, though. It’s stuffed. So completely stuffed it’s coming out my ears. I wish I had 4 hands so I could write 2 posts at one time – because I have 2 blogs.  I have another blog at http:mynameisjamie.net. about a man in prison in the Wynne Unit at Huntsville Prison in Texas, who once again, for the 3rd time, right after he was allowed to make a phone call for the first time in 9 years, has been tossed into solitary confinement because of lies from a guard.  Guards never lie, though.  They are never wrong.  They always believed. Well, that’s crap.  It’s also why I, too, have a tangled mind.

So, the crux of why I’m writing; I constantly read things about how to write. What words to use or not use.  Creative writing.  Because the more we write the better we get.  I also research how to use social media the right way and I am having another post take off – and it’s not from wordpress readers, although I’m getting views from here as well.  I had another post that took to the universe at the very end of December and so far, that one post, all by itself, brought over 7,000 new readers to my other blog – in one week.  It’s still bringing people in – about 400 in the last ten days.  Now,  my newest post on http://mynameisjamie.net is taking off  brought in over 200 new readers in 2 days.  Read it, would you share it?  People are. and readers are coming in from G+, Pintrest, and google seraches,  Where are your readers coming from?  Are you limiting yourself?  f you want to know what I’m doing, just ask me.

If you look at my end of year post about how I did during 2014 you will see that my stats were about 1900 views.  6 weeks later and I am over 10,100 views.

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I was reading the ‘about me’ page of this new blog I found and I just loved her attitude. I could the smile on her face and excitement about writing. At the time she wrote her ‘about me’ page she probably hadn’t even written her first post yet! There was so much anticipation because the whole world was open to write about.

I told her a few tips I learned.  I don’t even know if she needs these tips, but other people reading this might. I believe it’s important for all of us to pass on the things we learn to each other. Our aha! moments.  I decided to share the comment I left her. You can find her blog at http://musingsfromatangledmind.com Let’s share the fun!!

As I went through my stats today I saw you followed me. I’m not sure which one of my blog’s you read. I didn’t look closely enough. I just tapped your photo to see who you were and started with your about me page. My 2 blogs are http://mynameisjamie.net and http://watchandwhirl.com.  I knew my purpose with the first one. But there were all kinds of things I wanted to write or good posts I wanted to reblog.

The hardest thing when you want to write a blog is how to get started AND figure how to do it. It’s like learning how to put something together. It has too many screws and you have 2 left over you don’t know what to do with. But I promise you – the more you write the better it gets.

Writing tips: Always study what you write. See it as the reader sees it. Edit edit edit. Make sure your punctuation is correct. Remove entirely these 2 words: ‘that’ and ‘really’. These are words I learned along the way and applied to my own writing. What a difference it made!  For the word. ‘really’ find another way to describe what you are ‘really excited about, or ‘I really want to. . .’. The word ‘that’ is just totally unnecessary.

I will be back. I promise!

A Little Blog Here, a Big Blog There, Why Blog at All?

gabrielweinberg.com
gabrielweinberg.com

I think this sorta follows the First assignment from Blogging 201 that just started, when I get the okay to join, but it doesn’t quite answer the entire question so I’ll say that this is only part one.  This is really the answer I put at post by . . .???.  rats, I’ll go back and find it later and put it in because you should read what she wrote that made me write this.  Ahh, here it is http://aholisticwayfarer.com

I had to put a lot of thought into what I was doing with my blog and why I was after it. Beginning a blog and not having anyone one come can really hurt your ego until you realize that no one knows you’re there. My main blog http://mynameisjamie.net was started at another blog site. They didn’t even have a community like wordpress.  No community at all.  I had to go out and reel my readers in by going to other internet sites, to places where I thought the readers would be who would be interested in what I wrote. I would leave comments at online publications. I worked hard at it every day getting my blog out there.  But it worked.

But the blog site I was at was crappy for more reasons than not having a community.  They’d go down for up to 5 days at a time. It was difficult to leave there because they wouldn’t give me the info I needed and it took me 3 months to move everything to wordpress, one post at a time, losing all paragraphs, so I had to redo everyone single of them.  I even found one the other day that I missed editing so I have to go back and fix it.

That blog was not this one.  My main blog  http://mynameisjamie.net  has a narrow focus and it has to do with the prison life of mainly one person and this wouldn’t fit there, so I started another blog, here, just for things like this.  A place to rant and a place to reblog really good posts. Moving my blog to wordpress took a lot of time and for a couple months there was little time for new writing. I was here at wordpress for 2 months before I realized there even was a community. I still go on the internet to find readers that are not bloggers. I don’t depend on wordpress bloggers and social media to be the way I get my words in front of people.   I do think, though, that it creates a nice balance of types of readers.  I always check to see where the referrers come from, and when more come in from internet searches the happier I am because I know then that they are searching for what I write about.  I don’t get a lot of google searches on this blog.

I see a lot of blogs with thousands of followers and many thousands of replies and I take a look at why. I saw a nothing post with 36 relies and the replies had absolutely nothing to say between two people. “great blog”, “thanks” “did you see mine” “yes I did” “did you like it?” “yes” 36 replies of  absolutely nothing of any value. But on the outside it looked like she must have written something great and it sure must have looked good when she saw her stats.  Pointless, unless your also the kind of person who has hundreds of facebook “friends” and you have no clue who they are. You only look at how the quantity is.

I don’t want people to just follow my other blog, or even this one and not come back.  Read the opening page of the other blog and you’ll see why.  My blog has a timeline. It has a story. It means something. Not to everyone, but I want to those it does resonate with, to come back often to see what’s next and for me to do the same for them. So I’d rather have fewer serious readers than a lot of thoughtless likes and a follows who never comes back because they go out and like a thousand blogs in hope that they’ll come back and follow them too, but never actually read anything because they don’t go back.  It’s like a game of tag.   You like my blog and I’ll like yours kind of game.  Big deal, and no thanks.  What turns me off is someone coming to my post and instead of saying anything meaningful about what I wrote, they write, “Thanks for following me”. Excuse me?  The only reply I get is focused on you and not what I wrote?  Don’t come back. I’m not going to approve those anymore. For what? The stats?  It’s insulting to do that for stats.

It’s been a slow learning process when what you write  important to you – when it’s more than just a diary – although they have their place.  I don’t sit there trying to think up something to write.  I have more material than I can get to.  The material is being turned into a book, and you can read the first chapter.  It’s called InsideOut.  Please don’t just tell me something innocuous.  Give me feedback that will help me.  Critical thinking is good.  It helps me write better.

I try to acknowledge new bloggers and help with their confidence and reply to a few posts, but I just don’t follow something anymore that I know I have no real intention of ever going back, because then, what’s the point of “following?”  I really make an effort to make the rounds and read the people I follow.  If I haven’t gotten back to you lately, I will.  No one can follow 500 blogs.  You can like and you can reply, but don’t follow unless you really do intend to follow.