Time to just jump in

One thing about this blog that I need to make clear (probably most of all to myself), is that it a part of what I am doing is learning, experimenting and exploring. So in my stubborn way, I’m currently enrolled in the WordPress Blogging U. Writing 101 class for the third time, hoping to further my communication skills and thus increase the quality of this blog.

The kind of communication that I’m interested in is dialogue — probably because I’m not much of an expert on anything. So I figure we can at least talk about it, right? One thing about blogs, though, if the blogger isn’t speaking then they won’t have much luck finding anyone who wants to talk  to them. 

I can be a very thorough and detailed person, wanting to follow all the steps of any project I’m working on and unfortunately this has been my downfall in my previous attempts at taking Writing 101. I always come up against that one assignment that holds me up. And since I get stuck there, that is where I stay. Then I get into this painful spiral of watching the assignments come in each day, sometimes thinking, “Oh boy, I could really knock that one right out!” but never moving past my sticking point on the previous assignment.

At least two things about this are a very sad comment on my psyche. One is that this doesn’t matter much in the huge scheme of things. There are no grades, the feedback is unfailingly positive and encouraging and this is just something that I wanted to do in the first place. The very fact that I do any of the assignments at all makes this a success on some level — it wouldn’t surprise me if there were some who sign up for these courses and never give it another thought. I know from other Blogging U. courses that not being able to finish a particular exercise or skipping around or spending more time on something hard is just fine. There are no stocks and rotten veggies waiting for me in the town square.

The second sad thing about not completing these courses is that the sticking assignment has never been one that was too difficult or that I couldn’t think of anything to do. Every time it has been one where I immediately had ideas and could have finished easily if I had just jumped in — but those assignments that have held me up were ones that I could see multiple ways to approach. It wasn’t a lack of inspiration, it was the inability to just pick one idea and work on it. And that is probably a sad state of mental affairs more worthy of the stocks and rotten fruit than simply being too busy to complete the course.

I enjoy writing. I enjoy communication and dialogue with fellow bloggers. I try to approach these assignments with a willingness to learn and improve. And that is why I have decided to just dive in.

It's nice that no one will mind if I do a belly flop

It’s nice that no one will mind if I do a belly flop

Not that you were even wondering

…why I’m doing this. But here is why I write.

I write because I have to. I write because I love to. I write because it keeps me sane. I write because I like watching the words appear on the screen when I use my computer. I write because I like watching the words appear on the paper, flowing from my pen, when I write in a notebook. I write because I am a good communicator and I enjoy making contact with people through the written word. I write because I can be a lousy communicator and sorely need the practice. I write because it is easy. I write because it is extremely hard. I write because I always knew that I should. I write because there is always someone out there who can be reached. I write because the writing of others has helped me survive. I write because the writing of others has taught me that no matter how isolated or misunderstood I feel, there is always someone who can share my feelings and understand me. I write because there is always someone out there whose struggles make mine pale in comparison. So, I write because I can. I write because I have to.

My favorite place to write

My favorite place to write

Do you want to help record images of your neighborhood?

Recruiting Photographers:

Primary qualifications are interest & enthusiasm

The neighborhood photo blog idea is something that’s been in my mind for a while. I’ve participated in and organized several neighborhood photo shows where photographers of various levels of experience shot in certain parts of town for a set time. Then we would hold an exhibit. Over time I grew to like organizing and promoting other people’s work as much as showing my own. I found I had the knack for it and I can be pretty good at wrangling creative people. I still shoot photos all the time but I enjoying helping other photographers more now.

I believe in the power of places, whether in their natural state or developed by humans, to stimulate ideas, create feelings and invoke memories of personal and shared experience. The main thoroughfare in my neighborhood is a brick paved boulevard lined with vintage lampposts, trees and older building and homes. The modern is there as well, but there is enough of the old left to create what to me is a comforting atmosphere. One of the reasons I live there is that I like the frame of mind that I’m put into as I make my way home. Without over analyzing it, I’ll just say that it feels like home to me. It evokes memories of various times and places from throughout my life and helps provide continuity and context as I learn to embrace life’s never ending changes.

I want my online documentary site to be a place where anyone with a desire to record for posterity those aspects of their local environs that provide comfort now and yet may someday disappear. It can also be used as a place to share things we like about our world without any thought to whether or how long it will stick around. Ideally, it can even be a place where we all learn something about other places, times and cultures, exploring and sharing the differences and similarities that weave together to form this rich and wondrous world in which we all share an existence.

The site has places for images, writings, participant galleries and a forum to discuss the how and why of what we are doing. It is all set up and ready to go at recorditnow.gigapages.net. I am a lover of people’s photos and a recognizer that many things can be said with images whether or not the person creating them even realizes it. I welcome participation on any level — from a single photo to an entire gallery. Please contact me by leaving a message on this page if you would like to participate. I look forward to hearing from you.

Where I live, there aren't many evenings  when I can get a shot like this at 10pm and so I wanted to record it.

Where I live, there aren’t many evenings when I can get a shot like this at 10pm and so I wanted to record it.

Spring Garden Update (2015 – Part One)

Home Garden

I started my second round of spring planting this weekend. It began on what was a beautiful afternoon at the nursery and the place was hopping with what I’m sure were many like minded gardeners. We all hovered back and forth around the large selection of available tomato and pepper plants (many other plants also) looking for our favorite varieties. I ended up coming home with nine tomato plants and seven pepper plants, along with a couple of new items for my herb bed. That’s a slightly larger number than I usually plant but I have a good feeling about this spring. I managed to get seven of the tomatoes planted that afternoon – six in one of my 4×4 foot raised beds and one in a large pot. I’m still not sure where to put the other two. I added fresh compost and a little bit of guano and dried molasses to the soil and fed then all with some seaweed and liquid molasses afterwards. That night we got a little rain and I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve managed to get rain right after planting.

Community Garden

In our community garden at work we have twice as many plots in use as we did this last year. Although we have some way to go before we reach full capacity, for now I think I’ll manage to live with one hundred percent growth. We are waiting to hear about a matching funds grant that we applied for which will enable us to set up 17 more plots to have available for anyone who wants to join. Up until now, we gardeners have all been building our own raised beds at our expense. Last year I had  one bed and this year I have two. I’m using one of them just for corn. After my success last year with just a few plants (and planted on a whim, at that), I’ve decided to give it a more serious try this time around to see if I can raise enough to give away to those in need.