THIS IS PART OF A GUEST POST, to read the rest of INCOMPLETE, follow the hyperlink: Madhouse Guest Post
I got into blogging for selfish reasons. I loved writing but my commitment to it swayed. There were times I would write regularly and then go months and write nothing. It’s not as if I did or did not have ideas. What I didn’t have was commitment.
When I finally committed to blogging (a few people had suggested that I do it), I decided that I would post regularly. I also figured that I would put it out there and people would read it. After my first blog post, I contacted everyone on my email list and let them know that I was now a blogger. I invited them to come take a look at the blog. Fortunately, a number of people did. I felt content.
As I continued blogging regularly, I noticed something. Comments on the blog were rare and the views dipped dramatically. Didn’t everyone want to read my brilliant, comical, insightful pieces? Weren’t those readers compelled to react? I didn’t understand the lack of reaction.
Six months after I began the blog, I was speaking to a friend of mine who is tech/new media savvy who also happened to like my writing. He asked me, “Do you read other people’s blogs?”
“Other people blog too you know. Read theirs and that will encourage them to read yours.”
I had never thought of this. As I said, I was blogging to write, not to read. However, the blogging felt empty. I was pushing myself to improve and desirous of feedback but never thought that others might be in the same position. I told you I was selfish.
A couple of weeks after the conversation, I had a day off from work. I resolved to read and comment on 10 other blogs. After doing so, rather than wondering where did the time go, I felt exhilarated. I was engaging in (electronic) conversation with people all over.
While I would like to say my blog took off, and I have never looked back, that is not 100% true. (https://larrydbernstein.com/growing-past-the-plagues/). However, I have gained something greater: a community. A number of my fellow bloggers have become friends with whom I am in contact outside of the blog. We have shared in each other’s lives, given opinions, shared advice, offered sympathy, and appreciated successes.
So, while I started blogging for selfish reasons and still look at it as way to work on my writing, I have gained a great benefit.
On that note, I want to expand further. I want to find more blogs to add to my repertoire.
Let me tell you what I do and don’t look for in a blog. First, I don’t care for blogs that are a laundry list of what a person/family did day after day. I enjoy blogs that can find humor in the every day or humor in general. I also like when the blogger is truly willing to dig deep and share. I don’t care for posts that are too long or too short. Lastly and most importantly, I like a blogger who will engage – respond to comments and will also reciprocate and offer comments on my blog posts. However, it is not a tit for tat.
So, do you have or can you recommend a blog for me?
January 22. Thirty five days. Five weeks. Time is all relative. If you suffered with headache for five weeks, that would be excruciatingly long. If you’re marriage lasted five weeks that would be ridiculously short (Hollywood short).
Five weeks is how long I have been posting my blog exclusively from my website. It probably comes closer to the marriage scenario though in some ways, it has been more like the headache. Anyway, I’d like to tell you that things have gone so smoothly and just as I would have hoped. However, I would prefer to tell you the truth.
So, in honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, here are the 10 plagues that have happened since converting to a website. To be honest, many came simply due to my ignorance about the process. You would think that being a teacher I would strive to learn and ask questions before doing something. Well, in this case you would be wrong. Website – okay sure. I guess it is time.
I hope this list will help those of you who may be considering going to a website.
1. Only those who were having the blog come right to their email came with me on the move. That was only about one fifth of my followers. I had no idea this was going to be the case.
2. I made the announcement I was moving only after the mass majority of these followers had disappeared.
3. Comments I have made on the sites of others have not consistently appeared.
4. I only see the reply to my comments if the person is a subscriber to my blog.
5. Some people have made comments that I never saw. The only reason I know is they emailed me and asked me what’s up?
6. I am not especially photogenic. Well, I actually knew that before.
7. People like a like button. However, the like button I have is not so clear. Truthfully, I don’t even know how it works.
8. My blog posts are no longer announced on wordpress.com
9. I have gotten bombarded by spam (I don’t need Viagra, discounted, or not).
10. The water turned to blood. Actually, I made that up in honor of original plauges.
Despite, these plagues, there has been many good things that have occurred since I have converted my blog into a website. First and foremost, I have had a chance to have a number of guests. I would like to thank my blogging friends, Kate (Did That Just Happen?), Elske (Elske Newman), Jessie (Jessie Clemence), and Penney (Authentic Life Journeys). I also would like my writing group members who provided me with guest posts – Ronit, Frank, and Rachelle and my friend Robert. I also would like to thank my wife, Sara, for her awesome post. Lastly, I’d like to thank the Academy. Uh, wrong speech.
I have learned a lot since I created the blog and have come to realize how much more I have to learn. One thing I have learned is how generous some people can be with their time. I have been truly touched by how helpful some people have been just because.
I have taught a book to my 9th graders entitled Speak by Laure Halse Anderson. The book begins on Melinda’s (protagonist) first day as a high school freshman and ends in June. The book focuses on how she deals with the repercussions of a terrible incident that occurred in the summer (before h.s.) that caused her to be an outcast. Ultimately, she finds a way to get past the incident and become a stronger though different person. One way this is done is through the motif of a tree. The tree struggles in the winter months and even has to have some parts cut away so that the rest of the tree can survive.
I’d like to think of my blog and website as the tree. Many followers have been lost. The tree has lost some limbs. However, the most loyal – let’s say the trunk or the roots have followed me over to the website. I have met some new people and feel there is potential to do so much more. So, as Spring is on the horizon, I am optimistic about growth. I thank you who have continued on this journey with me. I look forward to your responses, input, and sharing.
Today, I have a very special guest post. After many invitations, my wife, Ms. MMK has agreed to provide a blog post. I think it was easier to get her to marry me.
A little background if I may. My wife and I were set up through mutual friends. For our first date, we agreed to meet at a restaurant in Manhattan. Every time my wife recalls how we met, she jokes that when she walked up to the restaurant I was talking to a homeless woman. “Who knows things might have worked out for you two if I was late?” Ha ha ha.
While I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation with the homeless woman, I do recall what Sara and I talked about. We found that we had some common interests including writing. She did and still does work as a science writer for the National MS Society.
I have great respect for Sara’s writing and editing capabilities. I remember the first time I asked for her opinion and review of something I wrote. It was a cover letter for a job application. We disagreed on nearly everything. Not quite a match made in heaven.
Well, since then, I ask for her opinion and review of everything I write. And I wisely defer to her.
I played about four games of chess with B.R. this weekend. I won all of them. I’m not used to that sensation.
The last man I played chess with was my Dad. He put the “R” in B.R., unfortunately, when he died 25 years ago. My Dad was the kind of smart that you don’t get in books – the kind of smart that thrives in figuring things out, making broken stuff work again. I lost every game except one – that’s when I knew that the brain tumor that had wrapped itself around his spinal cord had gone too far. I remember that moment so clearly because I felt so damn sad.
Fortunately, I’ve lost to B.R. for less painful reasons. Sometimes because I’m not focusing, sometimes because he’s that good. It’s weird to have this connection with him, because it’s not the one I expected to have with my children. You see, I was supposed to have quiet little girls who were awesome in school – goody two shoes, even. Excuse me while I snort with laughter. My two boys – B.R. & S.J.- literally remind me of that comedian who screams out all his jokes. I gesture to them in futility as if I’m turning down a radio, “Turn down the volume!” Sometimes it actually works.
You might be saying at this point, “Chess is a quiet, well-behaved sport. So if your son plays chess, how loud could that be?” Ha! You’ve never played chess with the ultimate chess-trash-talker – that would be B.R. Here’s a snippet.
“So that’s your move, huh…I’ll show you MY move…Take that, Queen! [the queen gets knocked off the table at this point, struck violently by the castle]…You think you got me with your pawn? Well I got YOU with my bishop…ha! You think you’re so smart coming at me with your horse…I’ll show YOU a horse move…..”
It just goes on. And on. And you have to see him in action. My little B.R. – in constant motion even when the ADHD medicine is high in his system – fingers winding up as he decides his next move, taunting me like we’re meeting in cleats on the 50-yard line of the Superdome. Sometimes he gets so wrapped up in it that I have to shout, “B! What’s your move?!”
I didn’t teach him chess – B.R. had one lesson from an ambitious aunt on Larry’s side of the family, and I played my first game with him one week later. He had retained all the rules – quite a feat for an 8-year-old, or for that matter, an any-year-old. He has yet to develop my Dad’s strategizing ways, but he’ll get there, I’m sure.
My connections with my two boys spring up when I least expect them. I like to think as I play with B.R. that my Dad’s expansive and intuitive mind is landing in my son. I’ll take it, even if it comes with a badass mouth.