A Christmas Card from Bexa: Blogmas 14

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The beautiful home-made card that arrived all the way from Brighton, England from Bexa

When I got home yesterday, there was a beautiful envelope waiting for me. It came all the way from England from a blogger I’ve met, Bexa. Inside was a gorgeous homemade card with some of the neatest printing I have ever seen in my life. Bexa’s blog is amazing. Her site is designed so well, and you can tell she is a very creative and kind soul. The main reason I found Bexa is that I was looking for Twitter accounts that re-post blogs. She had wrote a post asking everyone to send her their blog post for her Sunday reading. So I sent mine and we kind of started a bit of a blogging friendship. Please take a look at Bexa’s blog: http://hellobexa.com. She has great tips for people just starting out with blogging.

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Cute custom-made sticker inside the card

Looking at the card, I started thinking about the reaction I got to my “Merry Fucking Christmas” post too. I started to feel so thankful for the amazing people I have met through blogging, their kindness and their encouragement. There are so many people I have discovered through WordPress and Twitter who are such talented writers; people from all over the world, from different cultures and different religions. I love it! If the rest of the world could be as accepting and open and loving to each other as the bloggers I’ve met, we would never worry about nuclear war, famine, genocide or any other horrible things that people do to each other for no good reason ever again!

Through reading the blogs of others, I learn about other people’s lives and struggles and come to realize that we aren’t that alone after all. It’s awe inspiring how people connect through writing. I guess as an English teacher I shouldn’t really be that surprised, but blogging is quite different from reading a text that has been published. The main difference is that when I read text from a book, I can’t directly comment to the writer of the piece. With blogs, you can give immediate feedback, ask the writer questions, and interact with the writer of a piece. It is quite a remarkable thing.

 

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I loved the message inside as well as the added touch of the piece of paper inside reminding me to “Always wear your invisible crown.” Aww…. I love Christmas and Blogmas again!

Although I enjoy the interaction that blogging brings, I genuinely hope that books and paper texts will not be completely phased out. I can’t think of a better smell than the smell of opening that first crisp page in a brand new book. I love to just sink my nose into the middle and take long deep breaths. Aw…. the smell of words!  Some day maybe the  words of the bloggers I have met will be in the printed form with the aroma of “new book.” I sure hope so.

Thank you to all my followers and fellow bloggers for being such a wonderful and supportive community. As a thank you, I’m going to highlight a blog site I regularly visit to share with readers of this blog. Today’s is Bexa’s (obviously) and you can find her most recent work here: https://hellobexa.com/life/the-top-20-christmas-films-of-all-time/

A special thank you to Bexa for the beautiful Christmas card.

 

If you would like to make a card like the one Bexa sent to me, follow this link: https://hellobexa.com/blogging/how-to-make-washi-tape-christmas-cards/

Happy Blogmas 14!

O.H.

Wowsers! A Liebster Award!

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Thank you, my dear friend, The Blog Broad, for nominating me for a Liebster Award. I have known Sam for a long time and we share many of the same interests: window shopping, board games, a love of humor, acting, reading (especially Stephen King) and, of course, writing. For as long as I’ve known Sam, she has been a creative and gifted writer. In fact, a little known fact about Sam is that the creator of the Trailer Park Boys, Mike Clattenburg, is actually her cousin.

Sam’s blog, The Blog Broad, uses humor to talk about many of the issues and struggles she has dealt with. She has chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Even though she deals with all of these health problems, she still manages to keep a positive mindset. The Blog Broad is also one resilient lady. She is a word warrior; her writing is polished, descriptive and full of similes, metaphors, irony, satire and all of the literary devices I love as an English teacher and language lover. (Oh, yes, language- you turn me on!)

Sam has supported me in my attempt to grow an audience for my writing, especially since as a teacher I am limited in the time I have to write and in keeping up and maintaining a social media presence. I tend to believe though that if you are a quality writer that an audience will build due to the quality of your work. And the quality of Sam’s writing speaks for itself. If you have checked out The Blog Broad, I know you can see why I am so honored that Sam has chosen to nominate my blog for a Liebster Award. My personal favorite of her work is “Technology: A Pain in the A**.”

Sam has also been nominated for a Liebster Award in which she describes how this award works, “The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers.  It is intended to recognize and encourage another writer’s work and efforts.  It also helps to shed light on what may be some lesser known blogs.  Essentially, once you are nominated, you pass along 10 other nominations and so on” (https://theblogbroadblog.wordpress.com/author/theblogbroadblog/).

So here are the Blog Broad questions to her nominees, including me:

If you could travel through time and live in any era, when would you choose?

As a history major, this is a tough question. Often we view the past as if it were made up of bygone eras of simpler, happier times. But I really can’t think of an era where that is truly the case. I would not want to go back earlier than the 20th century and live in an age where women were considered the property of men, were not allowed to speak publicly, and remained in the private sphere. Throughout our modern age, people lived through two World Wars, then the Cold war with constant fears of nuclear annihilation. I think there is no era within history that is any better than another- I think right here, right now is just fine. Yes, we have problems. We’re Trumped right now. But we do have a much more inclusive society in terms of accepting of differences. I would say we are living in an age where there is more understanding and appreciation of difference than any other in our history. Do we still have problems? Yes, of course. There is still systemic sexism, racism, heterosexism, ableism, and the like. But we are improving as a society and I see it more and more in my students. They give me hope that the future is so bright, we gotta wear shades.

What was the last good book you read and why would you recommend it to a friend?

When I was at the apex of my PNES, I was unable to work. While off work, I actually had time to read. (When you’re a teacher, the concept of reading for enjoyment is a paradox.) I was trying to find books about overcoming mental illness and I stumbled across Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I didn’t have any knowledge of Jenny or that she was a blogger until I found her book quite accidentally. I had no idea what I was in for. I read it every night before bed and would be laughing so much, my husband thought I was losing it even more than I already was gone. It gave me much comfort to see someone who had so many more issues going on than I ever have had and yet she was still finding humor in her struggles and being so candid about her experiences. It made me realize that I too could determine to be “Furiously Happy.”

If you could change one thing you’ve done in the past year, what would it be and why?

I’m a firm believer that regret is a poison. I would not ever change anything I’ve done. Mistakes are beautiful because they are how we learn. I own my mistakes, learn from them and move on.

Tell us one of your guilty pleasures.

Skittles. If only Skittle-pox was a real thing.

What is the goal of your blog?

Hmmm. I guess the main goal of my blog is to share my enthusiasm for words and writing and to share stories that people can hopefully relate to. I enjoy writing; it is a form of communication and should be shared.  The beauty of blogging is being able to share my writing so it’s not sitting in my Google Drive hidden from the world anymore. I don’t tend to focus on one topic in particular, but just anything that’s on my mind.

When did you start writing?

Just like most people I think, in elementary school. At first it was just for school assignments, but then I started writing stories, essays and poems for my own enjoyment probably around the 7th grade. I never considered writing as a career option, although I would love to have my own schedule and just write!

If you could fight a celebrity in a boxing ring, knowing you’d win, who would it be?

I hate to even write it because it seems so cliched, but it would have to be Donald Trump. And I would hope that he’d go down and never get up. Am I going to get flagged by the CIA or NSA now? My husband will be pissed if we aren’t allowed to travel to the United States anymore.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Drivers in the town in which I reside. I’ll probably do a post on that later, but not until I move from here. There is enough risk from unintentional driver error in this town, let alone to make myself into a target.

What show can you simply, not miss?

Since it’s on Netflix, it’s not really possible to “miss” but the one Netflix show that I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next season to be released is House of Cards.

What game (Board, card or video) are you best at?

Gin. My husband beats me at every board and card game we play, but he has a difficult time beating me at Gin. I am very strategic with how I play it. I am not giving away my strategy- sorry, folks. But I need to have at least one game at which I can kick ass!

Before I proceed with my own list of Liebster Award nominees, I want to address something I have noticed in researching blogs to nominate. Some bloggers seem to be very humble and even have taken the time to make little “Award Free Site” icons-emoticons-emoji-thing-a-jig, whatcha-ma-call-its. I have taken a lot of effort and time (which I don’t really have) to read and enjoy the blogs I have listed here. Some are very established blogs, some are in the very beginning stages. I tried to choose lesser known blogs, for the most part. And I also looked for writing that was genuine. I’m new to blogging, but I can still smell bullshit from a mile away. I hope that those of you I’ve nominated here feel as honored as I do that someone valued my thoughts and words enough to give me an award.

Drum roll please. And the Liebster awards go to…

Alyazya

Catch the Rayve

Chronically Beautiful

Disclaimer on my Experience

Happymess Happiness

Ocean Bream

Sara in LaLaLand

Suffering PNES

The Bloggess

You Call That Art

The instructions for accepting the Liebster are:

  • Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, link their blog and insert the award graphic.
  • Answer the questions provided to you, share a little bit about yourself.
  • Develop a new set of questions for your nominations to answer
  • Nominate 10 others and share your post with them so they see it.

Here is my list of questions for my nominees:

  1. What advice would you give to young writers/ new bloggers?
  2. How did you learn how to read and write?
  3. What made you want to start writing/ creating?
  4. If you had to switch jobs, what career would you pursue and why?
  5. Would you rather be able to move things with your mind or be able to talk to animals?
  6. What is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done?
  7. Referring to the television show Freaks and Geeks, when you were in high school were you a freak or a geek?
  8. Name one fashion fad that you secretly still love and are waiting for it to come back into style.
  9. Your first thought that comes to mind when someone mentions, “Canada.”
  10. Tell us about the funniest thing that ever happened ever. EVER. (I mean it. Ever.)

 

Words: A Love Song

Words. I love you.

I love how you can express all of my feelings, thoughts and stories.

I love how I can arrange you however I want onto the page.

I can place you in paragraph form and make you into prose, explaining exactly what I want to say like a sign-post. I can spell it out for the reader, making it easier for them to see what’s in my mind by using you. I can change the order, and change the meaning. You are a slow burn. Metaphors, similes and juxtaposition- just a few of my favorite devices.

Or.

I can place you wherever I want on the page

Like poetry

 

The key is the words, 

the words are the key.

 

But then, you can be so ambiguous,

I think I mean what I’m saying,

But maybe what I’m saying means something else altogether,

you know what I mean?

 

Oh words, why are you so coy sometimes?

Just come right out and say it.

Do you love me like I love you?

Your power overwhelms me, drops me on the floor like a wrestler

 

The words drop on the page like sweat and tears

Creating images

Feelings

Ideas

 

I choose you like picking up shells on the beach

Is this one pretty enough?

This one is ugly but maybe I want it anyway.

I pick some and discard others,

Leaving them for those who walk behind me

Footprints in the sand

A path

 

I have to be choosy. I can’t just pick any words. They have to be perfect.

I mull you over in my mind, turning you over, this way and that, like a tornado of thoughts, selecting some words to keep and others to destroy.

Is this the right word? Are these arranged in the best order for the reader to understand the nuances, uncertainties, purpose and meaning?

I tell my students.

The repeated words are important,

Important words are repeated.

Don’t ignore them.

 

And.

If a word appears on a line alone

It’s heavier

 

Pay attention if a

Word

Is alone on a line

 

The arrangement of the words matter.

 

Take what’s here and interpret it, but don’t add more than what is here. I chose my words carefully. With purpose.

 

I want you to see with me.

I use my words to help you see.

Do you see it? My point.

 

Words, I love you

Ocean Hayward-