A few days before Christmas Day I realized I hadn’t driven my car in over a month. How very 2020 is that, I ask you?
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To remedy this situation I decided that we, that being Zen-Den and I, would go for a car ride to make sure that my sweet old car, now 18 years old, was still working. She was.
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Inspired by the beautiful clear December day, we went to a city park where instead of walking, we drove around to see what we could see. A different way for us to enjoy a park, but considering everything about 2020 was unique, it seemed fitting.
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A few people were outside walking, but for the most part we were by ourselves. I, of course, snapped a few photos to share here because what’s the point of having a camera in your cell phone if’n you don’t use it? I mean, really?
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Thus with this little vignette of a day in the life of Ms. Bean, I’m back here in the blogosphere with a renewed sense of vigor and, I hope you’ll agree, a snazzy new template for The Spectacled Bean. It was time for a change here.
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Also, for those readers who care about such things, I’ve decided on my word of the year. *drum roll please* In deference to my good intentions gone awry by things outside my control in 2020, I’ve decided to reuse my 2020 word of the year. Yes, my #OneWord365 is going to be SIMPLIFY. Again.
Would you like to know a secret? One that has to do with my word of the year, simplify, and with the plans I made in the beginning of 2020?
Well here it is: On the first day of spring I was planning to go on an extended hiatus from this blog.
Yes, I was all set to say *hasta la vista* to this blog and take spring + summer off, living simply as it were. Then I was going to come back to the blogosphere in the fall, with more bounce in my pounce.
With a new sense of purpose and direction.
A whole new me.
BUT THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN, DID IT?
Instead, as you may remember, the country shut down the week before my intended *see ‘ya later* meaning that Z-D began working from home [8 months now!] and I realized that personal blogging was going to be a good thing to do in the upcoming months.
Something positive to do.
Something normal and reassuring.
So, stating the obvious here, I kept this blog going and have continued to show up with my usual flapdoodle and twaddle, interspersed with helpful hints [I guess], and augmented with a modicum of snark.
Because I can.
And because I wanted to.
However, 2020 has exhausted me both mentally and spiritually. I will not lie.
And because I sense this upcoming holiday season is going to be stressful, zapping my energy in new ways while testing my patience with ill-mannered people, I’ve decided to call it a year, a few weeks early.
Thus I’m out of here until 2021, intending to return with a new word of the year and with a renewed sense of focus. Or maybe it’ll be the *same old same old* word and the *same old same old* focus. I don’t know yet for sure. Who’s to say?
I just know I’m tired, in need of a break from writing.
Stay safe, everyone. Please be here when I get back.
SORTING THROUGH ANOTHER BOX of stuff I inherited from my mother and her sisters, I found a small booklet, Let’s write Friendlier Letters by Earle A. Buckley, Director of the The Buckley Institute, Philadelphia, PA.
This booklet, published in 1945, is described as: “A practical course in MODERN LETTER WRITING.” It is 36 pages long and has 21 points intended to help you become a better letter writer.
If I may be so bold as to summarize, the gist of the advice in the booklet boils down to 3 smart writing tips: be concise, be conscientious, be personable.
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AS I UNDERSTAND THEM, the 21 points are as follows:
Every letter is a sales letter.
Make friends with people by understanding their perspective.
Stereotyped, trite, hackneyed phrases serve no useful purpose in letter writing.
Words cost money so eliminate unnecessary ones.
Your opening sentence is your first impression.
Stop writing when you’ve said what you need to say.
Prepare yourself mentally so that you’re thinking clearly about the subject you are about to discuss in your letter.
Your letter must have personality if it is to be perceived as truthful.
Stay away from long sentences because “they’re dangerous.”
Letters are either categorized as “inquiry” or “answer.”
Write in a way that makes the letter look pretty while molding opinions in your favor.
When answering a complaint you must show you understand why the complainant is upset, then move the discussion to friendly terms quickly.
Use contractions to make the tone of your letters seem conversational and natural.
Don’t write like a telegram because your letter won’t be perceived as written by a friendly human being.
Look at the appearance of your letters as you would the appearance of a salesman.
Tell enough to be interesting, but not everything.
Write so that your ideas flow logically + smoothly from paragraph to paragraph.
Your relationship with your stenographer needs to be one of effective teamwork.
Avoid form letters that look “form-letter-ish.”
Get in the habit of editing your letters, you’ll become a better letter writer.
To be an effective letter writer you must sell yourself first so that your tone will be a friendly one, sure to increase your business.
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WITH THE EXCEPTIONS OF Point 4 [words don’t cost money in the blogosphere] and Point 18 [who has a stenographer?], I’d suggest that these points are amazingly good advice for today’s modern blogger.
Good advice that is spot on IF you want to write friendlier, well-received blog posts. Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t. Who am I to say what it is that you want to do with your blog?
However, if’n you’ve been wondering how to zhoosh up your blog making it more convivial in these stressful, antagonistic times, then may I suggest you heed this old-time letter-writing advice from 1945.
Entirely against my wishes in one of the most difficult years of my life, WordPress, my now former friend, has stabbed me in the back by stealing my favorite classic editor. This is no way for a friend to act.
Here’s the dealio. One week after sending me the annual renewal bill for this personal blog, WordPress has dumped their new unwanted editing system on my account. They call it the block editor; I think of it as the blockhead system.
I don’t want this new editor, nor do I need this change. I’m already living in a daily state of confusion and angst without this added burden in my life. This begs the question: would a true friend make my life more difficult during a pandemic? Just so they could get their jollies at my expense?
I’d say ‘NO.’ However as of yesterday I’m being forced to learn a new way to write + edit my blog posts, showing me how little I mean to WordPress. Not that I’m surprised, mind you. I know I am, we all are, pawns in WordPress’s game.
BUT it does bring home the fact that social media companies, all of them, do not have our best interests at heart. They manipulate us into communicating in ways that primarily serve their purposes, not our own.
Will I continue to write a blog in a system that makes more work for me? Truthfully, I dunno. I don’t have to keep a blog, I do it for fun– and let me clue you in, learning a new editing system is the opposite of fun for me.
I’ve no doubt that I can learn how to use this blockhead editor, but I resent having to do so this year because, as we all have learned in 2020, life is too short and precious for stressful sh!t that detracts from living happy and healthy.
Not cool, WordPress. Not cool. 🤨
[At this point I’d like to add an image to this post but I don’t know how to do so. That sentence makes me sad… sadder, I suppose. Also, I have some posts written ahead but I don’t know how to publish them now that I’m in block editor hell.]