Shock and Awe

I’ve saved every blank book I ever filled – from the first hardbound, mottled watercolor cover to the psychedelic smiley faces.  All but the most recent sit high upon a shelf, my own little archive of embarrassing moments.

Every so often – when I have to move my collection from point a to point b, when I’m feeling nostalgic, or looking for a particular passage – I’ll skim the pages and revisit my words, my state of being at that point in time.  Sometimes the words are merely confessional, the quintessential catharsis for which we all count on ‘dear diary’.  Sometimes the paragraphs give way to great insight.  Sometimes, I read a passage that takes my breath away, that makes me flush with the way the words are crafted, the beauty and power of their make-up.  I crafted such quality?  My God, I really can write.  And then I find the author’s attribute, my little indent and dash noting the actual author’s name.  Drat.  Foiled again.

Though even in that moment just before I discover the author’s name, as I still unbelievingly read ‘my words’, it’s not a self-congratulatory moment.  There’s always a shock and awe involved.  A pinch-myself moment where I get a glimpse of the holy grail of writing.  Is it really possible?  For me?  By me?

But then, a few months ago, out of the blue, my aunt asked me what were some of the favorite things I’d written on this blog.  A few irreverent attempts at humor came to mind; the inaugural post explaining what all these potatoes are, of course.  When I actually dove into the blog to review, I realized just how much writing I’ve done on here.  Lots to sift through!  And lots to reorganize, I realized (so I – and hopefully you – can find it all).

A day or so later, I received an email from that same aunt with a link to a video.  A marketing and public relations professional by trade, she’d been working with a new platform and wanted to share it with me.  I clicked, eager to see what she’d created.  Striking images flowed across the screen, dovetailing each other seamlessly.  Sentences strung together over them told a story.

It wasn’t until nearly halfway through the video that I realized they were my words.

The same shock and awe that usually came over me as I read evocative passages in my journals occurred – only this time, it was I who had penned the words.  The shock and awe were accompanied by gratification.  And a little disbelief.  My journal dreams may yet come true.

 

The video that started it all . . .

 

Thanks to Janet Crook for helping me visualize in more ways than one.

2018, 500, 1

In years past, WordPress has provided a neat little summary of the past year’s writing accomplishments on my blog.  I didn’t receive one this year.  Whether that’s because it’s no longer their practice or because my level of writing activity dipped below their radar remains to be seen.  I did, however, receive this neat little notification the other day.

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 9.03.49 AM

500 posts.  That’s a lot of writing.  In my six years (wo)manning this blog, I have written many posts.  My aunt recently asked me which post or posts were my favorite(s).  A few came to mind instantaneously, of course, but once I started digging through, I realized just how many there are –

which helps provide balance to the writer’s remorse that I haven’t done more lately.

Once upon a time, Tuesday and Thursday were sacred posting days, with Fridays as an occasional musing on craft (my weekend write-off).  I’m still unpacking the irony that my writing on mental health paused or ceased when things got really crazy last spring and by the end of the summer/fall when I’d ceased my medication.  It didn’t help that I had another small human pulling at my pant leg.  I’ve also tried to reignite a dedicated writing regimen for my young adult fiction and personal memoir.  Something’s gotta give, I suppose, in my anxiety-ridden, mom-of-four, only-24-hours-in-a-day world.

Still, when I didn’t receive the adorable fireworks animation comparing my readership to the size of small countries, the writer’s remorse kicked in big time.  What were my dedicated readers doing whilst I whiled time away with laundry and survival?  How were my fellow bloggers doing since I’d checked in last?  While the schedule of blogging can be daunting, especially in the midst of daily overwhelm, the process of crafting and posting and interacting is therapeutic for my writing and mental muscles.  I miss the community – and the potential that the blog has.

I have chopped lots of potatoes over the years.  I’m going to keep chopping.  Some days may produce uniform little cubes; others hackneyed hunks.  But it’s good to be back – even in a smashed capacity.

Three’s Company

How does one bounce back?

A perfectionist prolongs her reentry, waiting for the perfect post, story, sentiment; making her grand reentry so untenably grand, it may never happen.  Or be such a tremendous let-down, it truly disappoints.

A dweller in the present seizes the few minutes’ pocket of silence to write like her life depends upon it; easing back into life with the monotony of a moment, a microcosm of her world, the gentle ebb and flow of everyday.

If the procrastinator gets a hold of either of these two, nothing will ever be written again.  Too many of the dweller’s moments will pass, needing explanation, analysis.  Explanation and analysis swoop in upon the perfectionist like the ugly albatross.

As the sun warms my legs and slowly melts the snow outside, I sit at the center of a circle drawn by these three.

2014 in review

Thanks to Wordpress for this informative and humbling report on the chopping of potatoes this year.  There is work to be done – but only on my part.  You, dear readers, have always been the bomb!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,400 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Peace, Hope, and Whitney Houston

Marlyn Suarez Exconde is pretty amazing.  She’s introducing me to blogging awards I didn’t even know existed!  She graciously nominated me for The Cracking Chrispmouse Bloggywog Award, which honors blogs that “spread one or more of joy, peace, hope and love”.  Sounds good to me!  Truly keeping the spirit of Christmas all throughout the year.

And in the childlike wonder and fresh-faced attitude that sometimes accompanies Christmas and always the youth, I’d like to give a shout-out to Dana of Spilled Ink.  Dana nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  She’s a sixteen year-old maintaining a blog with some pretty sweet poetry on it.  Did I mention she’s sixteen?  I can’t even imagine maintaining a blog at the age of sixteen.  But then again, I’m not even sure there was such a thing when I was sixteen.  I certainly didn’t know how to navigate it if there was.  I’m slowly getting old and out of touch, it seems.  Which is where Whitney Houston comes in.  No, I’m not speaking ill of the dead.  I believe the children are our future.  Dana doesn’t quite fit the definition of ‘child’, but if young people like her keep creating and sharing, they will change the face of the world.

Blog on, bloggywoggers, blog on.

Light is Faster than Sound

The sound of my typing anyway!

By the time I made good on Marlyn’s nomination for The Lighthouse Award, Sherri Matthews, of A View from My Summerhouse fame, nominated me as well.  This one’s for you, Sherri!

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Photo: Molly Jo

This sign is just outside the lobster shack that sits beside not one, but TWO lighthouses.  The crustacean cosmos were speaking to me!  Sherri, a beatific Brit, is biding her time until she can visit the northeast coast of the United States and sample this briny delicacy.  And she gifted me with this much-appreciated dual nomination for The Lighthouse Award!  Thanks so much for the honor, Sherri; for your conversational camaraderie; your authentic observations on life on this increasingly shrinking, great planet. How else, without the blogging community, would I be able to see your light across the miles?  Thanks for shining it!

Some notes:

  • Click on the picture above for a nice travelogue about this lobster shack and its environs.  Molly Jo did all the legwork for you!
  • Bragging rights to whomever can tell me the origin of this post’s title!

Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

I don’t know why song titles perpetually pop into my head when it comes time to write an award post, but it seems to be my thing!

I am not, in any way, suggesting Marlyn Suarez Exconde is crazy or encrusted with jewels, but her words are – glittering, not crazy.  As are her light-imbued artistic renditions of moments and movements of her life.

It is an honor, therefore, that she has nominated me for The Lighthouse Award.  That she feels in any small way that my words have been a beacon of light in this world is humbling.  I can only dream of bearing but a spark of flame.  Thank you, Marlyn!

Here are the rules:

  1. Display the Award certificate on your blog.
  2. Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  3. Inform your nominees of their award nominations
  4. Share three ways that you like to help other people.
  5. There is no limit to the number of people that you can nominate.
  6.  HAVE FUN.

the-lighthouse-award

‘Help’ is something I hate asking for and have a hard time accepting.  I try to offer it to others, however, in simple ways.  1. Listening.  2.  Finding common ground.  3.  Making someone feel he or she is not alone.  Simple, yet fundamental.

Got a light?  These people do – and they’re not afraid to share it:

Momaste – I was kind of surprised when I read a recent post of hers about struggling with depression.  Charlotte is so positive and life-affirming.  Whole lotta light up in here.  (An example for me to follow 😉 )

The Wannabe Saint – Brian culls and creates meditative spiritual pieces that always leave me in a better place having read them.

I’m Fine, but Mommy Has Issues  – Shannon writes an exquisitely expressed blog about parenting a child with special needs and the disabilities it highlights in herself.  Her honest sharing has created an extremely positive community for people walking a similar path.

61 Musings – Chris had me at introvert.  As someone with this acutely inward personality, I truly appreciate the light she sheds on our challenges and strengths.

Infinite Sadness . . . or Hope? – Even when discussing horrifically difficult things, Cate’s magnanimous attitude and lifestyle shine through.  Radiant.

Blog for Mental Health – In a world of light, this blog is a mirror.  It gives as much as it receives.  A voice for those stifled by mental illness, a repository for those stories that fuels awareness and healing.

Calvin’s Story – Christy Shake is the inimitable narrator of her son’s story living with epilepsy.  She offers hope, community, comraderie, and communication – including information on the latest treatments for this debilitating disease.

Burgeoning School Psychologist – If you’ve ever been a ‘first-year: teacher, counselor, school psychologist’, you can appreciate how much better that year would have been had you Mo in your corner.  She offers light in that she reached it at the end of the tunnel of her first year – and kept going.  I dare say she radiates light out of every pore of her body.

Shining on is even more important, the crazier we all – or life – becomes.  Thank you to Marlyn and the lovelies listed above for doing their part.  Shine on.

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Go Sister, Soul Sister

You know that book they turned into a movie with the amazing America Ferrera?  The one with the group of girls who shared the magical pair of pants?  That would be really cool if that happened in real life, right?  A bond of friendship so strong it magically transforms your life and the size of those jeans.

Well, the magic of the interweb has gifted me with the blogging bond of Sherri Matthew‘s friendship and support.  And as if that were not enough, she’s nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  Sadly, it does not come with a pair of magical blue jeans, but there are other perks.

Will these take me to Greece?

~ ~The Rules ~ ~

  1. Provide a link to and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer ten questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
  4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know they have been nominated.
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

~ ~Ten questions to be answered ~ ~

  1. Your favorite color …. Purple (though I tend to wear a lot of blue)
  2. Your favorite animal … Black lab (though I’ve never owned one)
  3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drink … Cafe Mocha (I’m attempting to perfect it in house)
  4. Facebook or Twitter … Facebook (lots of kakking, but no tweeting)
  5. Your favorite pattern … Chevron, baby (for now)
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents?  Giving (though I wouldn’t mind a Frye boot donation 😉 )
  7. Your favorite number … Three (grew up in a family of three – Mom, Dad, me – and now have three.  How did that happen!?)
  8. Your favorite day of the week …One that I can stay in my pjs and read/write and no one rings the bell
  9. Your favorite flower … Hydrangea
  10. What is your passion? … Writing – and ice cream

~ ~ The Nominees ~ ~

There are quite a few blogs I love reading.   The ladies behind the ones I’ve listed below write pieces that make me feel as if they knew what I needed at that moment; that make me feel like I’m not the only one who’s having this, that, or another horrible feeling; that bring hope from isolation.  And quite frequently make me laugh my pants off. Through their reading and comments, they make me feel that my own words are not in vain.  So for those sisters I never knew I had and may have never even met, this one’s for you.

Kathy at Chasing Clever

Marlyn at Kintal 

Charlotte at momaste

Miss Fanny P at The Adventures of Fanny P

Ruby Tuesday at I Was Just Thinking 

Rachel at The Red Tent

Casi at Mama Cravings

Off Duty Mom

Natalie at Happy Cat 13

Megan at The War in My Brain

I invoke the song in the title because it’s got a funky beat you can dance to, but in no way am endorsing Lady Marmalade’s career choices 😉

It’s ON, like Donkey Kong!

I may be revealing my status as a child of the 80s, but that’s how I feel at seeing THIS post over at A Manic World.

Robert Poposki, who manages that eclectic site dedicated to the many manifestations of depression, asked me to contribute.  Um, yes!  So, it’s ON!  Check it out if you feel like playing along!

http://amanicworld.com/2014/01/10/a-ten-letter-word/

 

2013 in review

Stoked with what the annual report for Chopping Potatoes reveals, especially when I see how much it’s grown since 2012.  Thank you so much for your support!

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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