The One About Remembering A Muse, Sharing Some Mundane Moments

INTRODUCTION TO THE MUSE PART

Today I’m going to share photos, but first I’m going to tell you why I’m sharing these particular photos. I have a reason.

A muse, if you will.

People influence you in life. It’s all about where you place your power, but you know that [or at least you should].

Getting to my point…

Many, many years ago when I was newbie blogger [mid-2000s] there was a blogger, Rayleen*, who was a professional portrait photographer. She was into poetry and musings and, of course, photos. The ones on her blog were informal & not necessarily of people.

Her vibe was mellow, her thoughts were straightforward, and her use of light when snapping pics was awe-inspiringShe had a positive influence on me and how I went about learning to blog.

On your journey to be a better blogger ultimately it’s NOT the people who tell you how to blog with their well-intentioned lists and rules, it’s the people who show you how to blog with their own style, allowing you to learn and grow from their examples.

THE MUSE PART CONTINUED

One autumn day Rayleen mentioned that she had begun to notice, and thought it was a shame, that people on social media were only sharing photos of perfection. Nothing messy was going on because it was all staged.

She was prescient on this point.

Have you seen Instagram lately? 

On that day she encouraged personal bloggers to occasionally share photos without deeper meaning or treasured memories. Instead, take photos showing imperfection, mundane moments in time that record the normal messiness of ordinary life.

Focus at least briefly on things around you that you tend to push aside, or ignore, when snapping photos for social media.

In other words, allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be real, by showing the world your own special messiness for no reason other than you can.

So today as a tribute to Rayleen and as a way of saying thanks for her guidance, I’m sharing photos of nothing much in particular. We were ships that passed in the night and because we did I’m a more authentic and open-minded blogger.

THE PHOTOS OF MUNDANE MOMENTS PART

Dirty dishes in the sink & on the kitchen counter

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Assorted stuff heaped on the hutch

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Piles of pillows on the screened-in porch

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Old-fashioned time-wasters on the end table

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Boxes of stuff destined for Goodwill in the garage

THE QUESTIONS OF THE DAY PART

Can you think of someone who came into any aspect of your life who influenced you then disappeared leaving you better off for knowing this person? 

Have you posted photos on social media that show the daily, often overlooked, messiness of your life?

Which of the above photos is your favorite? And why? 

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* I think this is the proper spelling of her name, at least that’s how I remember it. Could have been Reyleen or Raylene– or Reylene, I guess. It’s been a loooong time. I shall not fret if I got her name wrong.

For Love Of Reading, Answering The Bookish A-Z Questions

Earlier this week Deb Carey at Debs Despatches shared and answered these questions. She inspired me to do the same today. Do this on your own blog if you like and/or chit-chat about books [or whatever] in the comments below.

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Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. I’ve read the ones written by Parker but not by the author who took over after Parkers’s death.

Best Sequel: No answer, I’m coming up blank on this question.

Currently Reading: Underground Fugue by Margot Singer

Drink Choice While Reading: Hot tea or cold wine

E reader or physical book: I prefer a physical book at home, but I use an E reader when I’m not at home.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school: I didn’t date much in high school so I doubt that I’d have gone on a pretend date with a fictional character. Just saying

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance: Slade House by David Mitchell. I tried to read Cloud Atlas by Mitchell and couldn’t do it, but Slade House I enjoyed. Sly premise, short read

Hidden Gem: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a memoir with a positive message that confirms you can plan your life all you want, but reality will intervene, especially when family loyalty is involved. It’s sweet and funny.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: As an adult I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. The novel is meant for YA but while reading it I had a light bulb moment wherein I realized I was like the main character in the novel and had been a writer since girlhood.

Just Finished: The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleton. Set in 1935 during a hurricane the novel is well-researched with a twisted plot. I enjoyed the characters, the odd circumstances that brought them together, and how they persevered.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read: Memoirs *written* by politicians or political hacks;  historical books about sports;  motivational books foisted upon us by grifters;  and any novel I sense will be filled with gore

Longest Book You’ve Read: A guess but I’d say Hawaii by James A. Michener. It’s about a million pages long. 

Major Book Hangover Because Of: If you mean what book stayed on my mind long after I read it, I’d say The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

Number of Cases You Own: 4 actual book cases;  many drawers filled with books;  piles of books under the coffee table in the living room;  and many cookbooks stashed away in kitchen cupboards + on the counter

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Preferred Place to Read: a comfortable chair with decent light and a table beside it for my beverage

Quote That Inspires You, or Gives You All the Feels, From a Book You’ve Read“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It’s the last line from The Great Gatsby.

Reading Regret: I was slow to get around to reading the Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I don’t know why I hesitated because they’re funny and brilliant.

Series You Started and Need to Finish: Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway mystery series

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

  • House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell

Unapologetic Fanperson For: No one I can think of

Very Excited For This Release (More than all the others):  I’m never current in my reading so it doesn’t matter when an author plans to publish, I’ll get to the book when I get to it.

Worst Bookish Habit: Starting one book in one room, a different book in another room, a third book in a third room… then getting confused about what I’m reading. Go figure

X Marks the Spot—start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

Your Latest Book Purchase: Bomb Shelter by Laura Mary Philpott

Zzz-Snatcher Book (the last book that kept you up late): I don’t stay up late reading so the answer is none.

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Who Are You People? Allow Me To Tell You, Then Ask One Question

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I said I’d be back in August, and true to my word, I’m here again, ready to tell you a little bit about you, the cool kids.

Intrigued, aren’t ‘ya?

For no particular reason, on a whim really, I decided to analyze who follows this blog & comments regularly.  WP tells me I have thousands of followers, but most of those followers don’t bother to engage with me, and other bloggers, via the comment section of this blog.

[This is fine by me. Speak up when you feel so moved. I’ve always had many kind lurkers who eventually join in.]

Welp, it turns out there are about 110 cool kids who make a habit of consistently checking in here, chit-chatting in the comments, AND who also write personal blogs of their own. The whole megillah, as they used to say.

[There are many other delightful commenters who say something once in a while and I love you for it. Spammers, on the other hand, make me say, “I hate those meeses to pieces.”]

Granted my methodology here is more subjective than objective: I’m telling you how I categorize/perceive your blogs. But, be that as it may, here are four things I’ve figured out about you, the cool kids.

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I.  How often do you post to your blog?

  • 34% post Multiple Times Per Week (more than twice, less than daily)
  • 25% post Monthly (or less)
  • 20% post Once A Week
  • 14% post Twice A Week
  • 7% post Once A Day (or more)

II.  Where do you usually find your muse?

  • 76% are Independent Thinkers
  • 24% are Joiners who use prompts or challenges, always or most of the time

III.  What do you primarily write about regardless of the source of your muse?

  • 37% write about Family
  • 22% write about Ideas or Questions
  • 22% write about Hobbies or Special Interests
  • 12% write about Books or Writing
  • 7% share Photos

IV.  Where do you live?

  • 79% are Within the US
  • 21% are Outside the US

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When I started my analysis I had a fifth question in mind, but quickly realized I couldn’t answer it on my own, so I’ll ask you. I’d like to know:

HOW DID YOU FIND THE SPECTACLED BEAN? 

  • did we do a challenge together?
  • did you see a comment I left somewhere?
  • did a friend point you this way?
  • did you find me on Twitter or Instagram?
  • did you surf by one day and stay?
  • did you get here some other way?

I await your comments below. 

A Spring + Summer Fling: The One About Simplifying My Blog Posting Schedule

BUT FIRST I AM ELSEWHERE…

On Saturday Yvette at priorhouse blog posted an in-depth interview with me for her ongoing monthly series.  I was thrilled to be asked to participate.  Go HERE to read the interview.

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Image via @positivelytherapy on IG

If you’ve been around The Spectacled Bean for a while you may remember that last year about this time I decided to change how often I’d post to this blog.

At the time I had nothing written ahead and I was staring at a blank screen.  [History is repeating itself today, btw.]  It seemed like an opportunity to ditch my weekly posting schedule and try something new.

Because why not?

Thus I decided to change my modus operandi and post once every two weeks, usually on Tuesday, during spring and summer.  To become a fortnightly blog— and isn’t that a grandiose way to describe something so simple!

To my amazement this relaxed schedule was an excellent idea during the warmer days of the year.  Muse was onto something good.  All my happiness chemicals kicked in to make me, well– happy.

I wrote my usual posts, just less frequently;  I continued to share the comment love elsewhere;  and then I goofed off.  I was productive enough, connected as usual, but more carefree than during the colder months when I’m stuck inside.

So I’m going to do the same thing this year.  If something works, stick with it.

Right?

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment here because y’all make blogging fun.  I wouldn’t have lasted this long in blogland if it weren’t for all my gentle readers + kind lurkers + wordy commenters.  You’re the best of all the rest.

Thank you.

And with that sincere compliment I shall go forth, doing less while pursuing my Word of the Year: ENJOY!

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AND FINALLY THREE READER COMMENTS…

About being the weird one in the neighborhood:

“If I’m being totally honest I am pretty sure that I would fit the description of the wackiest neighbor. I say that because I’m the one that my neighbors laugh and wave at while I’m running down the road chasing my donkey, or taking a walk and have my son, three cats (of the 6) cats strolling behind me, my two dogs wiggling around my legs, and possibly a stray duck, chicken, or even a goose following as well.”

~ LaShelle

“There was a time, long ago, when I kept rotten uncooked eggs and threw them from my balcony onto the car when the driver hooted … if there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s hooting. He was a hooter of note.”

~ Susan

“When I got to the door, my neighbor, a very kind woman said ‘I don’t know if you’re okay with this, but your kids are playing on the roof.’ My kids were 5 and 3. They had popped the screen out of a bedroom window and as I could hear them just fine, I thought they were in the room. But nope. They had climbed onto the front porch roof, used that to climb onto the garage roof, and then onto the roof of our second story home. When I got them back in the house and asked them what they were doing I was told they were playing flood.”

~ Katie

A Neighborhood Update: I’m Not Nosy, They Are Noisy

NOW that we’re beginning to have a few warmer spring days, I’ve been opening the windows in some rooms.  The sounds of nature drift into the house.  Often it’s birds.  In fact we have a loud hoot owl that does his thing late evening, early morning.

Totally expected.

AND we’re hearing our young neighbors again.  Kids playing on a jungle gym, for instance.  Kids bouncing basketballs.  Kids riding bikes up and down the street while talking or singing.

Again totally expected.

PLUS there are two new February babies on either side of our house.  A boy on one side, a girl on the other, both with well-developed lungs and a tendency to be unhappy in the afternoon. I know this to be a fact– and I’m sure their parents know this as well.

So there’s that.

BUT the biggest news vis-à-vis noise around here is that Crazy Bird Lady, a fifty-something woman who lives across the forested ravine from us, is no longer standing on her deck yelling “f*ck you” at the birds.  And she’s stopped hitting a metal soup pot with a metal spoon while cursing at them.

I don’t want to sound judgy but I believe this might be a good thing.

Instead of the loud cursing she has taken to dancing what I’d describe as the Flamenco on her deck.  This involves her stamping her feet in a rhythmic way while clapping her hands over her head.  She swirls around, kind of hums a tune, then yells ¡Olé! every so often.

I’m mesmerized by this woman’s eccentric behavior, I admit it.  Which brings me to what I want to ask you, my little cherry blossoms:

Who’s the wackiest person in your neighborhood?

Now that spring [Northern Hemisphere] or fall [Southern Hemisphere] is here what’s going on outside your windows?

Any fun plans for the weekend?

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