Novel by Christina Carson
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Quote from Suffer the Little Children:
"Perhaps what we call misfortune is actually a place where the universe interrupts our habits that keep life so limited and small, forcing us to respond differently. The opportunity it offers depends on how hard we work to close the gap or hold it open, allowing ourselves to glimpse realities we've never glimpsed before."
Novel by Christina Carson
Quote from Dying to Know:
"I knew in that moment, we were never meant to surrender our childlike innocence, to trade a world in which we fit like a glove for one that hung on us like ill-fitting hand-me-downs. However, all about us insisted on our membership. And instead of a handshake or a mystical password as entrance into this spurious society, we agreed instead to share a lie, the one that says we’re safe, secure, and fulfilled living this way."
Of late, I've heard myself sigh deeply each time I hit the key that brings Triberr onto the screen. Should I approve this; do I like that; oh look at all the time this takes, all swirling about in my head as two taunting questions: what am I doing here and why? I suspect all this angst could have been avoided had I stopped at the outset and determined what this tool was truly about. Yes, yes, we can say it assists us in building a platform of readers, gives us a small megaphone to shout above the crowd, and that’s all true, but if that were the whole picture, I wouldn't feel so squirmy now. Call me a slow study, but I think there’s more to it than that.
I got my first clue when reading Amberr Meadows’ candid blog: Top 10 Reasons I Never Visit Your Blog Anymore . She wasn’t being judgmental or unkind; she was being her natural frank self. And in so doing, she imparted information well worth our consideration and left me feeling most respectful of her. I’m satisfied when I leave a blog inspired, entertained or informed. I feel like my time hasn’t been wasted. Then it’s easy to do what’s mine in this writer-reader dance, like and approve the post. But if the blogger doesn’t meet me half way, I’m caught between not wanting to negate someone’s effort versus telling it like it is, a position I don’t appreciate.
I had an all too obvious lesson years ago in a similar situation, only then I was the one who wasn’t pulling her weight. My instructor was 30 pounds of “black and white” as we called them in the trade – a Border Collie appropriately named Creag, since it means rock in his Scottish homeland. The morning started out poorly. I was tired and cranky from months of no sleep, justifying that behavior with my 24/7 job that had started in January, 4 month’s prior. I was on my own as well, since my husband was hauling lambs to market, an 800 mile turn-around.
It all started as an argument Creag and I had during chores, which I eventually won by strong-arming him into doing his job. I never could understand how if you did it yesterday, why then you couldn’t do it today. Creag and I argued about that on a regular basis. When we finished chores, Creag went and lay on the front step of the house, soon asleep. I jumped on the tractor and headed out to continue spring field work.
When I came back three hours later to do my three hour round-the-clock check on the ewes that were ready to lamb, I was greeted by an entire band of ewes having broken out of their pen. They were roaming about on the dirt road that fronted our farm, a thoroughfare made dangerous by the number of logging trucks that sped along at high speeds. I braked the tractor to a halt, sighed loudly, threw it into neutral, jumped down and yelled for Creag. Getting them off the road quickly was all that mattered. When Creag came running, I gave him the command, “Way to me,” that would normally have sent him anticlockwise half-way round the flock to the end opposite me, where he would have then swept back-and-forth gathering them toward me. Instead, he went a quarter-way-round, then doubled back and went up the other side clockwise a quarter ways. This is the maneuver the dogs use to drive stock away from you. I stood speechless as the little beggar began moving them briskly down the center of the road going east at a fast clip. I yelled the command twice more each time louder, but after stopping to look at me dead-on, he’d then turn and continue with his present course. It hit me with a resounding thud. He wasn’t herding sheep; he was getting even. He was not going to work with me as an angry, irritated, bossy lady. And that was that.
Have you ever tried to stop being angry right then, own that your choice is not creating the result you desire, and drop it - immediately? It took me three tries. The sheep were a half mile away by the time I could feel me honestly give up my righteous indignation, and in that instant Creag felt it too. He swung around to the far side of the flock and brought ‘em home, right into their pen, but not without pausing momentarily as he passed me, and, with those all-expressive Border Collie eyes, saying something to the effect, “So you think you can run this farm without me, do ya?” I provided the community entertainment for a good week after that incident. In a small community, you have no secrets.
And so it is with the work we’ve signed on for. There is a right-minded function to blogging as well, that produces the results we truly seek. It occurs when our work is an honest portrayal of ourselves. I’m not talking about the content, the common thing bloggers seem to agonize over – should I tell this or that – I mean the overall sense of you that a reader takes away with them, every time they read your writing. Readers are constantly forming an opinion of the writer they are reading. We have no control over their interpretation or inferences. But we do have one powerful advantage in having them know us rightly. We can vow to bring our best self to our work every time, the one that presents truthfully, that offers a blog worth the reader’s time, and does so with the polish of the professionals we are.
People buy what they’re familiar with from those they feel they know. Readers are no different. We writers will hold the most sway with the platforms we’re developing if every blog sits well in our own belly and respects our reader’s time and loyalty. If you can’t promise yourself you’ll do that, I have another bit of advice. Don’t work with Border Collies either. You readers might cut you an occasional bit of slack, but Border Collies never suffer fools.