I wrote that last post on cicadas because of two pieces of blogging advice I got on how to increase traffic. The first was to write about timely subjects so the blog will come up when people search the subject on the web. I figured since the cicadas are hot news right now, a lot of people would go to Google to get information on them. I thought a little winking piece on the media hype would be a good quick read. The other advice was from friends who told me my humorous posts are better than my others which can be somewhat didactic. I had a funny story about a bug so I added it to the mix. The result of following these suggestions was exactly two “likes” for the post. Two. That’s less than I got when I started my blog and just my family read it. I would have done better if I’d let the cicadas read it! I know it was a puff piece but I read many WordPress blogs and they’re not all high literature. Sheesh.
I honestly don’t know what to do anymore. This blog is 2 1/2 years old and I have only fifty followers and half of them follow as many blogs as possible because that’s another tip on increasing traffic. I only follow blogs that I know I would read even if I wasn’t blogging myself. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone. It’s just that it hurts my feelings knowing that some of my followers don’t really read me and I don’t want to be responsible for making someone else feel that way.
So I don’t know what else to do to get folks to read this blog. I’ve read every article on traffic that I’ve come across. I’ve advertised on social media sites. I’ve changed themes many times and spent hours finding or taking photos. I don’t blog everyday because I have a life and really, who has that much to say? I’m just about ready to give up. The About This Blog page states what my focus is supposed to be and I’ve stayed fairly close to that definition. I think I write well but apparently, I sound preachy when I’m pouring my heart and soul out and the stories from my life that I think are funny, in fact, are not. I have a pretty strong ego and stiff upper lip but after 2 1/2 years of really trying my hardest to make this an interesting “stop along the way”, I have to look at the possibility that my point of view is being rejected.
So be it. I’m not one to beg. I may post again and I may not. If I do it might be a re-blog of another piece that nobody read or it might simply be a reference or link to some pop culture piece by someone else. I know I don’t usually come off as this negative but I’m just being honest about my frustration.
I keep looking out of my front window to see if there are any cicadas on my front lawn yet. I guess the media hype about their arrival is getting to me. Don’t you think the descriptions of the bugs in the press conjure up images from horror movies? They say they’re emerging from underground after 17 years and slowly making their way to our yards. In the newspapers I read, they’ve talked about the “invasion” of “billions” of the creatures along the east coast. (My area of northern Virginia is one of the first being hit.) Plus, apparently they’re big, loud and ugly. I read in the NY Times that they have “eyes the color of blood”. The Washington Post, noting how noisy they are said, “There’s a shrieking hell to come”. Yikes!
I guess the whole thing reminds me of a nightmarish experience from my past. A while back I was mentoring a teen-ager named Mike. He was the oldest person who took me seriously up to that time. He followed me around and asked me questions as if I knew something. One day I took him to lunch over which we had a very serious conversation. Afterward, we stood outside for a few minutes while I finished talking. (I was really feeling my gravitas that day.) When I finally took a breath, Mike said to me very nonchalantly. “Is that a bug pin you’re wearing?” I didn’t own any bejeweled insect pins so I knew it could only be one thing. I didn’t really want to look but I slowly let my gaze drop from Mike’s sweet face to my lapel. There sat the most horrible looking bug I’d ever seen wiggling its legs and antennae. Mike didn’t take me as seriously after he saw me high stepping down the streets of the financial district, furiously slapping at my upper body.
The thing is I don’t really mind bugs. When I was a preschool teacher, every year I did a whole unit on bugs. I thought up all kinds of bug activities for the kids like bug hunting, bug drawings and bug bingo. We even had pet bugs. We did everything with bugs except eat them. (Although some of the kids probably ate a few of the pets while I wasn’t looking.)
So, I’m usually pretty cool about sharing my space with insects but the ominous warnings about the cicadas from all the news outlets have me a little sensitive. I’m expecting the billion bug corps any minute, their eyes flashing, screeching a war cry of “Eat all her plants!” It wouldn’t be so bad if only they were diamond encrusted.
To see what I’m up against where I live check out this article from the Washington Post: Those Beady Eyed Bugs Are Back
So the Daily Prompt:Success asks us about a time when things went the way we’d hoped they would. This is an easy one for me.
Last summer I moved from Boston to Virginia. I felt leaving Boston would help me move past the miasma I was mired in. It did. I’m happier than I’ve been since…..Isn’t that funny. I don’t dare write since when for fear of bringing on something as traumatic as the loss I experienced back then. I don’t believe I have that kind of power but I don’t believe in tempting fate either. Things have been going so well since my move that I have the jitters about it. I took a big leap of faith uprooting my life and thankfully its paid off big time.
I suspected a change of place would jazz me and pique my interest. I obviously picked the right place because there’s always something for me to do here. I live 15 minutes away from Washington DC and there is no lack of action there. Between the political types and tourists I can spend a whole day just people watching. I’ve always loved visiting historical sites and Virginia wins the contest against Boston when it comes to history as far as I’m concerned. As an African-American the Civil War is important to me because it’s so much a part of my history. And I got to go to the presidential inauguration!
I knew moving here would bring my family closer together geographically but I had no idea it would bring us together emotionally. We had a tough time being a family for a while; we were far apart because of distance and different forms of grief. Moving our base to Virginia made it easier for us to have time together at holidays and vacations. We used the time to knit ourselves back together as a whole family. And our family has grown larger which I like to attribute to the better weather.
I hoped my move would bring about the changes I planned and not the unintentional ones my friends warned me about. I’m glad to say this past year has been absolutely wonderful and more than I could have hoped for. Success? You betcha.
Welcome little one.
Ok, Let me get this out of the way at the onset. Here is the main reason I’ve been away from my blog for a while. We met on March 16th in a NY hospital. But I don’t want to talk about her. (Even though she’s adorable.)
I wrote about my view of western medical facilities a year ago in a post called “I Steal From Hospitals”. (http://stopalongtheway.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/i-steal-from-hospitals) My experience on March 16th with the place that’s’ name sounds like a Caribbean island did nothing to change my opinion. The only difference was at this hospital there was nothing to steal. But I don’t want to talk about hospitals either. I want to talk about time.
Today i took hold of time and hung on tight. I had to. I had to in order to get this post written. There has been so much packed in what seems to be each moment that I decided to just stop and create a few more minutes devoted to WordPress. I’ve been disoriented in time recently. Back before I was a mother of adult children, a widow and a grandmother, I used to use the Gregorian calendar to keep track of the passage of time like a lot of western folks. I put particular emphasis on the seasons and my clan’s traditional holidays as transition markers. And of course I used clocks. I watched the clock like it was my job and patted myself on the back for being an up to the minute type of person. Years, months, days, hours, those distinctions we call units of time made sense to me.
We miss you Dad.
Now it seems I blink my eyes and the seasons have changed, yet at other times I blink again and again and it’s the same moment. Sometimes it feels like something happened a very long time ago and something else will feel as though it happened in the last five minutes.Then I realize they both happened yesterday. How to explain the change? What has happened to make my sense of time so different? I think part of it has to do with getter older.The other day an actor who I thought was attractive when I was in my twenties died. He was 95. According to my sense of time he should have been 65. I had to update how I see aging. And life events like the deaths and births that have occurred in quick succession in my family have also caused me to develop a more fluid delineation of the flow,the pace, the time of life.
Nature Walk Through Heritage Park
Cascading down to
Reaching up to
I guess I’m learning that it’s all one big minute. One long second. The one big, long nanosecond that’s really the nature of existence. As Boethius called it “the abiding instant”. Or as George Clinton says “Everything is on the one…”
Things got out of hand in February
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I didn’t mean for it to be so long. I’d been doing so well too. I’d been reading and writing everyday. I’d gotten up to going three days a week to my library “office”. I was going to my writers group meetings regularly and loving it. I’d even started taking on the WP daily prompts, not to publish but just as an exercise. The last one I wrote was the 2/22 ”Seconds….describe your most satisfying meal”. I wrote the description with a sharpened literary sensibility and developed a grandiose plan for pairing it with a recipe for the soup I described.
But then the weight of February fell on me and stopped me in my tracks for a while. The photo is real. Things got out of hand in February. I had to get the tax papers together. I use the word “together” loosely. (On April 16th of every year I erase all memory of how much work goes into tax preparation so I’m always surprised and inadequately organized the following year.)
And the vacuum broke. Like most appliances made these days, my vacuum’s too cheap to take to be repaired. (Take it where?) I can’t afford another cheap one so I took mine apart and put it back together. It was time consuming and I don’t know which one of the many parts was the problem but it works now.
And of course I had to make the choice between writing and the mounting number of projects related to the imminent appearance of our newest family member. I have to keep the phone on even in the library so I don’t miss The Call. That decision was a no-brainer since the little person and I have been waiting for this baby for months. (There’s been talk of forming a girl group.)
And I can’t find my pants.
This kind of complexity and confusion in everyday details used to frustrate me. In the past I’d give up on trying to write everyday if I missed a few days and blame myself for lack of organization. We all know that life throws curve balls. The challenge for me has always been accepting when the curve balls don’t roll down my straight path of plans. I still make plans but I don’t set them in stone anymore. These days I’m confident I can successfully make my way on my journey because I don’t feel as though I have to take any particular route. I just need to pick the right one for the right time. I finally get that it’s great to be efficient but it’s also great to be attentive, appreciative and active in the right now. It’s March now and I’m going to post that recipe today even though it feels like it’s a month late. I’m going to add the beautiful description with it too… And I’m ready to go when I get The Call, but I’ll have to wear a skirt.
Please go to the Heaven’s Menu page for my Pasta Fagioli Soup recipe.