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.

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 Short Rant About Conversations With People Who Lack Self-awareness

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BEGIN [a don’t shoot the messenger] RANT

Let’s talk about something regarding people whose lack of self-awareness and conversational style is getting on my nerves this holiday season.

To wit, of late I have twice found myself chatting with a person who says something to the effect of: Here is what happened to me, it is an example of A.

I have then replied by saying: I believe you and agree with your assessment that this is an example of A.  I say this because this is what they’ve told me.

I am not twisting their words.

I am demonstrating understanding and EMPATHY.

At which point I’ve been told that I am wrong: that this situation is not an example of A, it is an example of B.  Why would I suggest otherwise?

Then they glare or snarl at me, she who has repeated back to them that which they said.  I have not embellished what they said nor have I dismissed it.

I have paid attention to them, been STRAIGHTFORWARD– and dare I say KIND to listen to their woes.

And what is my reward for being nice?  Criticism.  As if I am responsible for what happened to them, which I am not.

What I am guilty of, however, is being a mirror that has reflected back to them, in their own words, how they are viewing their reality. And for this, I am made to suffer their crabbiness, their querulousness, their low-level wrath.

[Yes, I just used the thesaurus. Can you tell?]

I’ve no idea about how to handle this kind of RIDICULOUS conversational style, but I do find that I am less inclined to ever want to speak with these people again.

And perhaps that is what they want, for me to go away taking my ACTIVE listening skills and my mirror of truth with me.

So be it, says the introvert.

END [a don’t shoot the messenger] RANT

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Questions of the Day

Thinking about the rant above, have you ever been sniped at for agreeing with, then repeating back, that which someone just said to you?

If so, how do you handle the conversation in the moment and your feelings about it? Does this make you feel peeved, for instance?

If this has not happened to you, can I be friends with you and your friends? Pretty please. 

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My Audacious Truth: In Which I Tweet Agreeably & The Consequence Thereof

I’m here today to share with you, my little moonbeams, something that happened to me, something that made me laugh more than it should have. I’m trying to work up some righteous indignation, but so far I’m stuck on the absurdity of it.

Someone on Twitter has blocked me. Yes, after 10 years of bouncing around in there I’ve offended someone to such a degree that this person felt the need to turn me into persona non grata.

[You might be thinking to yourself, hokey smokes what has happened? Did Ms. Bean have a strong opinion tightly held that she foisted upon someone? Was she argumentative?]

My understanding is that it’s a badge of honor to be blocked on Twitter, so I’m taking this development in stride, trying not to be too prideful about it because I’m a pleasant woman, a bit snarky at times, but always genuine.

And grateful.

You see, the blocker wrote a positive tweet about her hometown. I, the blockee, mentioned that I thought the same thing that the blocker did. I concurred by saying *blah blah blah* about how wonderful it was that said hometown had persevered to overcome its challenges, brilliantly.

The blocker came back and pontificated on the state politics involved in the history of her hometown’s past difficulties. The ones I’d praised the hometown for overcoming.

Then I said the words destined to get me blocked. Yes I said, I AGREE WITH YOU and was blocked for it.

[You might be thinking to yourself, what the fork? Have we come to a time when agreement is tossed aside as quickly as disagreement? What gives?]

Thus from this exchange, for which I’m grateful because it gave me blog fodder, I’ve reaffirmed that no act of kindness goes unpunished.

Plus I’ve also experienced something I’ve mused upon for a long time. Let’s call it my audacious truth.

To wit, there is irony in everyone’s life. Case in point, even when I agreed with someone, they used it against me.

I believe this happens because once some people decide they don’t like you [for who knows what reason], no matter what you say, be it sincere, supportive, or logical, your words will make no difference to them. You are wrong and must be ignored.

In other words, audacious truth be damned blocked.

Comment Confidential: The Perks And Pitfalls Of Reaching Out To Newfound Bloggers

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I feel the need to confide.

One change brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic is that some bloggers, often longtime bloggers, have stopped posting. As a result many of my bloggy friends, ones who were here and I was there all the time, aren’t around anymore.

I miss them but understand why they’ve moved on and I realize that my blogging community is different, a bit emptier, without them in it.

Thus a couple of months ago, as I was sitting here at home still, I decided to be more extroverted and started reaching out to bloggers who were new to me. I felt that as a longtime blogger I could be proactive about creating bloggy friendships, especially with newfound bloggers.

These newfound bloggers came my way: 1) by leaving comments/likes on my blog; 2) when I saw them comment on blog posts elsewhere; and/or 3) when I saw they were part of the A-to-Z Challenge.

To be clear I only commented on blog posts that I found interesting, never as a way of ingratiating myself to someone hoping for reciprocity, never as a troll. I just said what I was thinking in the moment, like I always have, hoping that my first contact didn’t seem too weird or too nutz.

Then I waited to see how I would be received.

Below is a list of the perks and pitfalls that happened when I reached out to newfound bloggers. ‘Twas an enlightening experience. I’m glad I challenged myself to go outside my comfort zone and do this, but now I’m back to being my more introverted [ambiverted?] self, happy to chat with friendly bloggers who show an interest in what I have to say here.

Thank you very much.

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ONE: Encouraging. Many bloggers seemed pleased that I jumped into their comment section, replying in a timely fashion that made me feel welcome.

TWO: Confusing. Some bloggers sent out mixed signals. Despite generic polite replies I couldn’t figure if I was butting into their circle of blog friends or if I was wanted and they were just surprised by my interest.

THREE: Different. A few bloggers have tightly structured comment sections reminiscent of the singsong Episcopalian worship service’s Collect of the Day. Everyone who left a comment got a pleasant reply [blessing? response?] but the conversations in the comment section never went any farther.

FOUR: Duly noted. A few bloggers ignored my comment, or marginalized it by only ‘liking’ my comment, so that I got the clear impression I was not wanted.

FIVE: Perplexing. Some bloggers have commenting systems that ate my comment not indicating if it was being held in moderation or was not accepted. Should I try again? Do they want comments? [Was WP screwing with me again?]

SIX: Questionable. A few bloggers don’t seem to reply to comments at all, even though they had many of them. Without clearly stating how they process comments it was impossible for me to know if some commenters get an email reply behind the scene and I wasn’t worthy of one or if everyone doesn’t receive a reply.

SEVEN: Uplifting. After leaving a comment for some newfound bloggers, they were curious to see who I was and came here to this blog, often immediately jumping into my comment section.

EIGHT: Sociable. Often when commenting on a newfound blog I came across bloggers who also comment here. As a way of introduction in my first comment to the newfound blogger I’d mention our mutual bloggy friend because interconnectedness is one of the best things about blogging, right?

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you inclined to leave comments on newfound blogs that you come across in blog land?

How do you feel when you do that? Do you assume the blogger wants your comment or do you figure you might be an intruder? Or some point in-between?

What’s the best thing that can happen when you leave a comment on a blog post?

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