Love you, Miss you… Not Really…

Speaking softly with a false stick really effing hurts.

“Love you, miss you, I care, I’m listening, you matter”.

You matter, until what?

How is it that the very people who labor to use the power of words to sear their literary brilliance into the soul of another, often quite successfully, easily turn around in utter ignorance that their works of off-handed effort can also be taken to heart by anyone?

I love you; I miss you; I care about you; I’m listening; you are so special to me; I’d do anything for you; you matter.

I see these words used regularly, ‘normally’, by many in the world of blogs, story comments, Facebook notes, Twitter love,  in reply to their readers – certainly not all writers, but enough to see the consequences often enough.

I see how these words and phrases are used and it has come to drive me up the literary wall of frustration – and beyond the heart-break indignation sometimes expressed. It’s especially galling where the users are writers by profession or regularity in pastime. They should know about ‘the power of words’ better than anyone. They should be the ones defending the power of language.

Those who explain away those usages as just throw-away lines in the heat of their emotions or from the pinnacle of whatever uncontrolled enthusiasm have somehow managed to become some of the most clueless centers of their earth(ly selves).

Those sort of throw-away lines are not harmless whether they are tossed around in obliviousness or deliberately lobbed. To the uninitiated, they are bombs of hope or heartache. Some might say it’s one’s own choice in how to react, but I wonder…. who gets to decide that they get to be the testers of merit?

Readers are not just recipients of thoughts, they are real people who believe in words, who respect words, and yes, mostly they realize the power of words. They know words matter.

Our words are not just for titillation, or for creating magnetism to draw appreciation, adoration and viewing hits. The power of words is always about touching views, inner sight, hearts, and souls.

The irresponsible use them to assuage their ego-based itches and cuts. This level of self-service is fucking mind boggling (pardon my French, it’s Canadian, eh). (Sorry, France).

I have to ask, where is the honest to God respect for the power of words? Unless being a charlatan is the norm, since when should anyone, that you really don’t know, take for granted that words such as ‘I love you’ or ‘you matter’ or even ‘fuck off’ are a throw-away line of the most minimal meaning possible

Where’s the awareness of why one is doing whatever it is one is doing? It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to sit for a minute to ask, why am I going to do this or why does this matter?

Say what you mean and mean what you say – learned by many and usually the hard way, but oh, so worth the earn.

I know I reflected when I finished this post. My answer was, I do not understand why there is such emptiness coming from people who work so hard to carve out some attention to their views, and damn it all, I really enjoy a good rant now and then too.

RL

Two Years for Me! And the Irish Celebrate the Indigenous!

Two years of dedication to informing, amusing, irritating, or boring! I know how to perform to expectation.  At least, I think so, but considering this is the day of green beer again, I won’t guarantee anything through a lens of verdant bubbles.

For 24 months as of today, I have loved meeting new you’s and the pals who’ve stuck around long enough for me to able to call them friend.  I am so pleased, honored, and humbled by that; you are the quality of life. You have no idea how you’ve shaped my world, but you have and for the better. Thank you for everything you’ve shared in your own amazing words of wisdom, your creativity, and most definitely your humor.

I’ve also used this past year to write more from time to time about my Indigenous ancestry and the issues that surround it.  Yesterday, I came across a story I had no idea about and I doubt many do, but  it couldn’t have made a more perfectly timed appearance in my newsfeed.  It is about a March 1847 effort by the Choctaw people in Scullyville, Oklahoma, who gathered funds and provisions to help the Irish during their great famine.

This effort was a mere 17 years after the Choctow were among those made to walk the Trail of Tears to great desperation and decimation themselves. This year an Irish town will erect a pretty poignantly designed sculpture in gratitude to those Choctow.  It’s quite a story and you can read about it here at Irish Central (March 6):  Irish town builds memorial to thank Native Americans who helped during Famine

Irish Memorial to Choctaw

Memorial sculpture of eagle feathers in Cork, Ireland in thanks to the Choctaw Nation

Happy Green, Happy St. Paddy’s Day, and Happy 2 Awesome Years with Y’all!

Irish road

RL

Pathetic and Dense; You HAVE To Be an Indian

There comes those moments when you sit back and assess why you do what you do.  I’ve done this recently in response to the reactions on my posts and comments about Indigenous Peoples based issues.

I originally started writing to throw out my views on general life events.  I worked around what I might write and I settled on the concept that my son would know his mother as a multi-dimensional being.  For the day that he realizes I am an actual person, I want him to know what I stood for outside of “dinner’s ready and is your homework done”?  I want him to know what I learned about the entire human experience.

I wanted to fill in as much of his background for him, in order to spare him and other children in our family, any moment of the emptiness I felt while growing up. There was little knowledge of my family history beyond the shame of what we experienced and what was said to define us.  A number of those experiences were based in the fact that I was born an Indigenous person.

I’ve written about some of my childhood and what it was like to grow up facing some of the ugliness of people who had no desire to hide their disdain for Indigenous anything.  I was called names that I knew were about disparagement of my culture before I had any idea about the concept of racism.  I was only about four or five years old when I first recall being called some of those names:  savage, squaw, filthy redskin, whatever it was, I knew enough to know it wasn’t good.

That was far from the last time I’d be called those sorts of names and treated with equal disdain.  Those overt efforts to denigrate me didn’t end until I was in my teens.  It was most likely the fact that public awareness was growing around the concepts of political awareness and correctness.

It would be three decades before the same kind of voices and sneers would come at me again.  I suppose I could count my last posted column to be the first instance of the return events – which caused a loss of some followers of my blog and my Twitter account. The most recent occasion was this past weekend.   I wasn’t called a savage, dirty redskin or a filthy Indian this time; they went for my intelligence and mental stability levels before they finished off with a reference to my ancestry.

This foray back into the dark happened while I was engaged in an online conversation.  It was within the comments of a national newspaper about the current call for an inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women.  The comments began mostly as denials for any need for inquiry, because the recently published RCMP report seemed to have all the answers already, despite the many calls showing the disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal women as victims overall.

The reasons for denying an inquiry have been solidly reported already, so I won’t repeat them, but it didn’t take long for the conversation to move from that topic to how it was about time for First Nations to take control of their own lives, to get over the past, and to get off the backs of taxpayers.

In defense, I began in earnest to answer the questions and reply to the statements of derision as quickly as they were being posted.  With each question, I would get another question or asked about something completely unrelated – the old, deflect to another point to avoid having to admit first point trumped – tactic.

With every answer I gave came the demand for proof, and when I provided reference links to support my statements, I was hit with personal aspersions.  Four people at various points each let me know that I was unaware of what planet I lived on, that I was “dense”,  “dumb”, “pathetic”, a “nutter”, and finally in  summation:  “You HAVE to be an Indian”.

National Post  Missing Women Sept 18 2014-3aNow, I don’t have a problem with being “an Indian”, even the sort that man was insinuating; I don’t deny my moments of mental densities, but I survived the years four, ten, twelve and the three plus decades with heart and soul intact.

While, I mostly repelled the sting of those arrows, they did make me question whether or not I was subjecting myself and possibly my son to potential harm down the road. Was I going to lose more people within my friendship and supporter circles?

I am prepared for any lack of interest or opposition to my views, but I can still be surprised by who those contradictions may come from.  It is painful to find out that people you thought gave a damn about you actually didn’t.  It is saddening to learn that people you counted on didn’t really have a backbone of their own, let alone your back, and that even people you admired can walk away with each step feeling like a slap to the face.

Here’s the thing about that stronger constitution I now own – it takes a lot less time to get over the hurt of crossing paths with those sorts of people.  Now I realize I am losing nothing except future moments of wasted time.  Whatever our purpose was to that point, it was served and now, time to move on, God bless.

I wrote a while ago that this was my tap dance, and part of the song is my ancestry.  The fact that my ancestry happens to be tied to very real and important issues for my country matters.

I will continue to write of human experiences, of my own triumphs and failures; I will write about what I find humorous, and I will continue to write about affairs Indigenous.

In fact, my next post is going to be about the answers I gave that caused those biting heads to explode in that online discussion. The part about how taxpayers do not support First Nations people and in fact, why taxpayers should be saying a hell of a lot of thanks instead.

I hope you’ll stay tuned.

RL

Fruit Flies Right Up the Spinning Spam

fly 3About a year ago, I took a short break from deep thoughts and posted a short recommendation on how to rid your home of the scourge of fruit flies. For a short spin on homespun remedies (with a touch of evil fun), it did okay on the stats pages.  It apparently also served to attract another ubiquitous pest.

A few published posts later, I found I had a blogging spam folder, and it was filled with hundreds of messages.  Apparently spam is quite fruitful and multiplies like uh, flies.  Of course, I had to go through them to double-check that a real message wasn’t lost.  Hey, I love my readers!  However, by the time I was done, I was ready to eat fruit flies on toast; pretty much anything tastes better on toast, except Vegemite, and maybe tofu.

fly 3As I perused and deleted, I noticed most of them were attached to only a few posts:  any of the linked blogging awards I’d received from fellow writers;  my story called,  “Our Home and Native Braves”, which I figured was more vulnerable because it was also published on the Readers Digest website; and that fruit fly message.

Girl Vacuum WineBecause the point of that post was a mundane chore, it made the comments about it seem even more insane absurd, which actually, made getting through that overwhelming task much easier. I could have worked at it with  bottles a glass of wine, but that likely would have drawn out the experience and have me thinking about fruit fly appetizers more seriously.  So instead, I spent the rest of the time imagining the comments were real and sent by genuinely impressed fans.

In that vein, (employ imaginations now), I share with you some of the excited messages of joy for learning about how to get rid of fruit flies:

I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet viewers, its really really fastidious article.

May I simply say what a comfort to find somebody who really understands what they’re discussing over the internet. You definitely realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.

More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.

Wow, this article is good, my sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to tell her.

Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you.

“Magnificent publish, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t understand this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you have a huge readers’ base already.

Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post.

Hi there, You’ve done a great job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.  I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

fly 3My personal favorites:

Good post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thank you!

Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to grasp a lot about this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something.

You need to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest sites on the net.  I am going to highly recommend this site!

Now that I know I have contributed so deeply and meaningfully to society, my work here is done.  At least until after I finish celebrating this auspicious new year in my life on this day.

‘Til next week or so, you have wonderful days too, friends.

RL

Blog Tour – “#mywritingprocess”…………….. Hey, it’s Possible it’s Not as Dry as it Sounds, Unless My Martini is Involved, in Which Case We’re Talking Desert Material

I’ve been invited to participate in the 2014 blog tour to explain my writing process, (#mywritingprocess).  Considering the topic, next to my story in 50 words, this should be my shortest post yet.  Should be, but if you know me at all, you know I like to talk.

horse tour bus 1First, let me say that my invitation to participate in this esteemed tour came from the esteemed source of my groupie-ness, syndicated Journalist, Author, and dreamy volunteer Firefighter, Ned Hickson.  (Thank you Ned, for that awesome tour intro you gave me last week). Some know I am Ned’s number one groupie, and as he reluctantly points out, his only groupie.  No matter, I vow to follow him (virtually) all over the world.

Ned’s blog is a constant source of crazy humor, but he also inspires with occasional tales of overcoming some of life’s toughest hills. In addition to inspiration and laughs, he provides a terrific weekly guide for how to become a better writer.  That’s a lot of great stuff to come out of one dreamy firefighter blogsite.

Okay, I’ve met all groupie gushing contract requirements.  Let’s head to the four questions that may help or hinder interest in how I do things.

What am I working on?

My biggest and most joyful working effort is being a mom, but the writing needs for that are mostly restricted to volunteer and permission forms. After those literary challenges, I lunge for any marketing or communications pleas that are actual paying projects, (more pleas(e). Finally, I get to blurt out whatever else is on my mind on various word docs that may or may not make it to my blog – like this post.

What I’m really working on is learning to loosen up on what I want to write, but I subscribe to Ned’s idea of writing being a super power – with responsibilities.  I’m traversing that line of balancing what I want to say with privacy issues; my truth vs. how that truth will affect people around me.  I suspect an ongoing battle with this.

be nice or else

 How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

blogging unique picI think most of us are not niche driven writers and so what I write is unique only in the sense of it being my personal experiences.  Despite this lack of distinctiveness, I’ve found a lot of various insights and common commiseration that serve to heal, inspire, and support my growth as a person and as a writer.  I hope that’s mutual with my readers.

Why do I write what I do?

blogging egg-various-emotions-29317166I am a product of my emotions.  Whatever puts a lump in my throat or induces a screech will find its way into my journals.  It’s not always about the big things, especially as life is the many more small moments.  As an average Earthling, I’d guess that most of those moments are relatable to most people.

I also suffer from good punchline comeback lag.  I can come back at ya an hour to several days after your bazinga! Blogging provides a great smoke screen for me to show off my semi-brilliance at the speed of a slug. 

How does my writing process work?

blogging writing processesDespite trying to follow the very good advice of setting writing schedules, I seem to respond best to the lash of deadlines. Although, when I feel an extra hit of passion for my topic, the words flow across the page quite steadily. Which is what happened when I started writing for this invitation. (Yep. You bet.)

What’s more usual is that I’ll get an idea, then map out various thoughts about it. To the naked eye, this map looks like utter madness. Which is where it drives me at times while I work at piecing those thoughts into a cohesive story line.

It can get frustrating when I think I’ve made two or more really great points, but I can’t get them to work together, or it would be overkill to use them all. Sometimes, this means I won’t finish a post for anywhere from a day to a year to never. Clearly, these are not uh, time sensitive.

Then we’re onto the final edit and spell and grammar checks to the best of my ability. My final step has always been reading it out loud a few times. If it flows easily verbally, it seems to read well too. I listen for the artistry in the words. For me, this is confirming the truth of the statement really came through my heart.

I have to say that even when I do get a post finalized, I will still freak over a word here and there for probably around three months after its been published. I can be a little obsessive, which I don’t recommend. I’d suggest live it, love it, let it go. Eat, pray, love, blah, blah. 

The Worst Part

I bet you thought I was going to say: the wait for judgment. Well, there is that, but hopefully people will mostly give me a thumbs up. At the least, my work here is for my son, and maybe some other kids in my family who may someday get to hear my voice as it is.

No,  the worst part of this, is the request to choose someone to pass the tour torch to. This was way too hard. There are far too many wonderful writers, many of whom I have yet to get to on a regular, or any, basis. However, in this case, since I couldn’t pick the greatest story teller I know – my non-blogging step-dad, I chose a writer whose genre and style is quite different from mine.

If you haven’t met him yet, where have you been? I am referring to none other than Bruce Goodman, a writer known for his pool of prolific creativity and a mysterious and interesting past. He is a writing machine pumping out daily entertaining plot twists.  You can find his own tour insights at his website:                 http://bbgoodman.wordpress.com/

Finally, I’m also highlighting some writers who have recently flattered me with award nominations. They are insightful writers with distinctive voices and styles and I am very happy to have been able to come across their paths:

Rachel Carrera: who many already know is loaded with literary talent and is a terrific supporter of her fellow writers. Check her out at:                                         http://rachelcarrera.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/the-light-in-the-world/.

Dawnson: Dawnson gifts us with loads of beautiful photos of life’s varying moods and textures. Find her at:  http://iblogstr8sicit.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/my-phone-is-freaking-out/

Lastly, thank you for the nomination for another Versatile Award nomination to: http://betternotbroken.com/2014/03/15/if-anyone-is-versatile-it-is-me/

If you’ve read this far, thank you so much for your incredibly kind indulgence and I nominate you for supporter of the year!

RL

Thank you!! Hiccup!

There once was a girl from Vancouver,
Whose 1st anniversary unnerved  ‘er.
She tried to be clever,
but St. Paddy said, What-ever,
Just write thanks & end our damned torture!

There are some advantages to starting any endeavor on St. Patrick’s Day, and one of them is drinking green beer or  writing limericks while doing it.  If you’re like me, you don’t believe in unnecessary compromises, so I did both.  I can’t say how well it turned out, but like all St. Paddy’s Day activities, I’ll see how it turned out tomorrow.  Hopefully it doesn’t involve any mug shots.

In the meantime,  I had a year of quite a few firsts,  but I’ll say that this first year of public writing has been especially gratifying.  Within this world of worlds, there were experiences I had no idea I would have.  For starters, who knew that you can make some really great friends in this cyber-world?

I remember pining away for pen pals when I was I kid.  I dreamed of having all kinds of discussion with kids who would tell me all about their exotic lives in their exotic homes somewhere far away.  I ended up waiting all these years to discover them within the WordPress forum – the truest pen pals of the 21st century.

I’ve mentioned a lot recently, of how many incredible and simply wonderful people have taken the time to read my posts and lend their voices in response.  There is a shared intimacy that reaches depth of feeling and understanding not usually found in some of the other forums we use, like Facebook or LinkedIn.  There is also a frankness that flows easily, but very respectfully and is so enlightening.

Thanks so very much to my friends who have faithfully followed.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much it means that you have stuck with me and tell me your thoughts about what I’ve written

Happy 1st AnniversaryI’ve also been honored to have gained a wider following this year that I am damned proud of. The quality of writers and remarkable people that I get to call my community is beyond gratifying.  I have learned so much from them, and they have gifted me with their amazing talent and insight.  I wish I could name everyone who I have enjoyed crossing paths with, but for now, I would like to give a shout-out to a few people who gave something unique to my heart and efforts in this first year:

I got to be a Groupie 🙂 , for  Ned Hickson  – official and everything, and in writing at least 5 times.  I followed his blog and have laughed at with him ever since.  He has been a really supportive influence in more ways than one, and he’s a great source for writing advice.

I got utterly hooked on Robert Hookey – he is a chronicler of his bellman activities in Niagara Falls.  You CANNOT believe what goes on in hotels! Robert AKA The Hook captures the shenanigans with great humour.  I appreciate his comments which are always thoughtful, or funny, or both, and despite claiming to be a jerk, is a really decent person.

I met a fellow survivor of coming back from the edge & favorite twitter (twisted?) sister Lisa Johnson Sawyer – loads of laughs and commiseration.

Melanie, Christy, Diahann Reyes – These beautiful women have survived so, so much and they support and inspire truckloads of us with amazing knowledge, grace, and kindness.

JT Weaver – the accomplished writer who scared the bejezus out of me when we talked about doing a guest blog on his site.  I got whatever is the equivalent of tongue-tied and couldn’t write a full page for some time.  He got me back on track with some tough love that I have been able to use for everything ever since.  Don’t be afraid, he’s a keeper, and he will help.

So, thanks again everyone, here’s to bigger and better for the next year.  I now hoist a magical mug o’ green beer; it apparently disappears immediately after a toast.  Cheers to you all!

RL

Freshly Pressed is Not Trash

Okay, if you ever get an email where the subject line says ‘congrats, you’ve been freshly pressed’, do not automatically send it to the trash folder assuming it’s just another clever piece of junk mail.  Just sayin’.

Wait! Do not delete!

Wait! Do not delete!

Instead of madly retrieving crucial mail, maybe check the sender’s name by say, a Google  search or checking the supposedly being Freshly Pressed post ‘likes’.  It’s likely that name is there too, in which case, let out a big breath and semi-whisper WTF?

For non-bloggers, Freshly Pressed is a showcase on our host website, WordPress.com. It’s the site where they feature editors’ picks and community favorites to a following of millions of writers.

If you’re like me, you will then re-read that email repeatedly.  After that, it starts to sink in and then, really? Will what I blurted out in a moment of bravery inspired by an hour of heroism by someone else matter that much to other people?

WordPress Editor Cheri Lucas Rowlands thought so, and I’m deeply grateful that her take on people sharing vulnerabilities is that it’s important and a path to understanding.

So, before I knew that Cheri had, however miraculously, set her eyes on my post, (103 People Unfriended Her…) I calculated that a total of 50 of my loyals would read it.  Freshly Pressed sent it shooting past thousands of eyes. Kind of heady stuff.

Anyway, it is quite an experience, and natch, I took notes as I rode the “FP” roller coaster.

Seeing as how mine was pressed the day after the Oscars, it felt like an extension of the awards.  Hey, this IS my Oscar.

oscar 2Anyhoo, once pressing is done, you know you’re going to get more readers than usual, and you do, lots of new viewers.

One notification came  that totally cracked me up, “Your blog, Blog Woman!!!, appears to be getting more traffic than usual”!

You get the coveted blue Freshly Pressed badge in your Widget tools. Way cool.  It’s added to your collection once the post is pressed.

Without a doubt, what was really, really outstanding, were the comments.  The overwhelming support for the point of my post was heartrending.   The amount of thoughtfulness is amazing.  The humor, the sincerity, the straightforward opinions are just beautiful.  Each comment touches my heart for its own reason.

All those comments and only one that I didn’t know how to take.  Joke or jerk?  I published it anyway.

I got a really good look at how many blog names are incredible, amazing, and hilarious.  Oh you witty writers.

If, like me, you get a kick at seeing the notification box light up orange, you’re really going to like the first few hours of being pressed.  You can just sit and stare as that little box lights up with each blink – like the cats that love that red dot.

Anyway, all those eyes! Thousands!  Wow, right?  Little reality check – reading is not the same as liking.  In fact, the stats say roughly 10-15% of the overall readers hit that like button or commented.

On the other hand, those 10-15 percenters were damned overwhelming with how much they opened up.  As I read through them, I thought this must be what the Ellens and Oprahs feel like when they come out from behind the curtains and feel a whoosh of emotion so moving, that I’m surprised any hair or make-up stays on.

Then, some of those 10-15 percenters also perused my other not Freshly Pressed posts. That was also awesome sauce, and their comments were absolutely uplifting on those too.

Oh, and seeing new followers, well, what’s a higher compliment than that?

Finally, my agent (AKA 12 yr. old son) said that when I go on Ellen (he’s determined to get me there), I better have a thank you list, and he’d better be #1 on it!

So, thank you all so much for this fantastical ride, it’s been stunning fun so far. … And to my agent, I am nothing without you.

Could I also leave you with this 4 minute video that happened to show up on my Facebook page this week? It couldn’t be a better example of the definition of what is beauty. It is by Oscar winner Lupita N’yongo.  I believe that most of you exhibited that to me in your comments.  It’s taken me one more step away from “the seduction of inadequacy”.  

Dare you to keep a dry eye:

http://www.upworthy.com/oscar-winner-lupita-nyongos-speech-on-beauty-that-left-an-entire-audience-speechless?c=gt1   (4:55)

 RL