Taking Things Out Of Context September 19, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
Tags: Blogging, Blogs, Context, Interpretation, Writers, Writing
If we read something when we are angry, we perceive the writer’s words in a different way than we would when feeling calm and peaceful.
We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. ~ Anais Nin
Experiences that come to mind while reading also flavor our perception.
For example, if I talk about a “pothole in the path” while picturing a broken thermos or some other insignificant obstacle, my words may make sense.
If a reader stumbles upon my words after experiencing a catastrophic event (e.g., having their home washed away in a flood or mowed down by a tornado), that reader’s experiential overlay will impact their interpretation of my words, and may cause them to conclude, “That’s Just Crazy Talk!”
“We see the world behind our eyes.”
The ability to take things out of context is facilitated when reading blog posts and e-mails because we cannot hear the writer’s inflection.
Our history with the person in question may magnify this phenomenon.
When we like and admire someone, we view their words without suspicion. If something sounds “off,” we’re apt to give them the benefit of the doubt.
In contrast, if we’re not a fan of a writer, our distrust may season their words, causing them to become bitter, unpalatable, and hard to swallow.
When we leave our hostility and animosity at the door, the world becomes a friendlier place.
A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Social media can be bad for people without foresight, impulse control, self-awareness, and the ability to anticipate consequences. ~ Eric J. Baker
Like A Box of Chocolates September 11, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: Blogs, Chocolate, Humor, Word Play, Writing
Titillating titles and teasers may grab our attention without holding it.
Great curb appeal may mask an empty shell:
Inside the vestibule, we encounter a veritable dumping ground of mish mash and pish posh with little rhyme or reason, almost as if the author tossed a bunch of unrelated thoughts into the air and allowed the hodge podge and hoi polloi to descend and settle willy nilly into disordered and discordant chaos and disarray.
Like so much falderal and fiddle dee dee.
If a post leaves me befuddled (because “the point” of the post is M.I.A.), I leave the pointless post, post haste.
Of course, the opposite also occurs.
On occasion, we stumble across a blog title so dumpy or frumpy that we lower our expectations before stepping across the threshold.
Why step inside at all?
Curiosity, perhaps. Or maybe the slim reed of hope that the dowdy exterior, like an oyster shell, houses a pearl of wisdom.
Sometimes, despite the gloomy interior heralded on the marquee, intrepid visitors are rewarded.
Instead of finding a warren of empty rooms, we encounter a brilliant flash of light as a veritable palace of jewels and gems opens before us.
What a delight when valuable insight awaits those who venture past a dingy signpost outside.
Aah . . . that’s better!
“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~ Forest Gump
10 Things I Know About You July 10, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Fun & Games, Humor, People.
Tags: Blogging, Blogs, Fun & Games, Humor, People
From comment threads and posts, we learn about differences in food, culture, climate, and opinion.
But we also see similarities.
Here are 10 Things I Know About You:
1) You are reading this.
3) You can’t breathe through your nose when your tongue is out.
Put your tongue back in your mouth!
4) You can’t count all the hairs on your body.
5) You can’t wash your eyes with soap.
6) You can’t say the letter ”P” without moving your lips.
7) You just attempted to do it.
10) You skipped No. 8.
11) You just checked to see if there is a No. 8.
So . . . how’d I do?
Did I get any wrong?
E-mail from unknown author (sent by Granny 1947)
Fly By Nighters March 31, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogs & Blogging, Humor, People.
Tags: Blogs, Humor, People, Roderick MacIver
Comment threads on the blogs I follow are informative, entertaining, silly, happy, funny, and thoughtful.
It’s great when a post sparks thought-provoking comments from diverse and varied visitors. Comments that make me sit up and say WOW! often inspire me to head round and meet the blogger on their home turf.
That said, some “fly by nighters” need to brush up on comment etiquette:
* X scrolls through partial posts on his reader at lightning speed, pressing “LIKE” for each . . . without bothering to read them first.
* Y slows down long enough to leave comments in his wake, but most are banal . . . and often off putting. Colonialist gave a terrific example once upon a time:
Post: My whole family was wiped out today. I am distraught.
* Z hasn’t been around for weeks. She rushes in, out of breath from cruising around 47 other blogs during a 15-minute blog break, blitzes through 12 posts in 3 minutes, leaves cursory comments on each . . . AND expects us to believe she read each post.
All of us have days when our comments don’t flow ~ sometimes it’s a slow go, other times a no go. That’s to be expected.
But if we act like X Y or Z on a daily basis, perhaps we need to rethink our practices and priorities? Are we following the blogs we follow because we enjoy reading them . . . or for some other ulterior motive?
Aah . . . that’s better!
* * *
Artwork available at Roderick MacIver Arts. Rod conveys nature with brilliant brushstrokes. The beauty of Rod’s watercolors lies in his ability NOT to control all aspects of the water ~ he allows it latitude to do its thing while he does his. The result speaks for itself.
OMPM: Television & Blogging March 14, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
Tags: Blogs, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Television, TV
It’s been a long time since I wrote an OMPM: One Mistake People Make post.
Two posts I read yesterday spurred me to write this one.
(1) Maggie’s post ~ Land of the Free, Home of the Ignorant?
Maggie’s review of Susan Jacoby’s book, The Age of American Unreason, included Jacoby’s unreasoned opinion on blogging:
Blogs “spew forth, in largely unedited form, the crude observations of people who are unable to express themselves coherently in writing…”
Jacoby might be right . . . about some of the blogs some of the time.
But that doesn’t mean that we should make Jacoby’s mistake and lump all blogs together before dumping them into a single “waste” basket.
When blogs “spew forth, in largely unedited form, the crude observations of people who are unable to express themselves coherently in writing,” the solution is simple:
Stop following those blogs.
(2) Eric’s post ~ Wasting, Existing, or Thriving
Eric’s post has much to commend it, but his admonition about television lumps a panoply of education and entertainment into a very small “waste” basket:
4. And this one might get me in trouble… Turn off the TV. How many hours do you waste (see, we’ve come full circle to waste) in front of that screen? Lessen your attraction (addiction?) to it and find other things to do, things that will stretch or challenge you. Consider actions that will nourish your thriving.
Whether watching TV is a “waste of time” depends on the viewer. Engaging in any activity in a mindless way can be a waste of time ~ whether that’s blogging, listening to a podcast, watching TV, or reading a book.
It’s NOT the activity but the attention we bring to it that matters.
Most of us could never hope to experience all of that on our own even if Oprah agreed to finance our endeavors and we didn’t mind increasing our carbon footprint.
Of course, there’s also a lot of “empty fodder” out there. It’s up to us to pick and choose where to place our attention. See #1 on Eric’s List.
When we are actively engaged and enjoying ourselves (even if we are “only” chopping wood or carrying water or cooking dinner or watching TV or reading a blog), we are not wasting time ~ we are living in the now.
* weigh possibilities and make wiser choices
* reclaim the reins and honor our priorities
* enhance what we get out of every experience
By way of example, watching a short clip like this might help us plan a fun, exciting, and educational summer get-a-way for the whole family:
When we remain awake and aware, we find we have not wasted our time.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Addendum: David at Raptitude shared 15 Powerful Side Benefits of Living in the Moment. On TV viewing, he has this to say:
11. You become less attracted to passive entertainment like TV.
One of the big draws of television is that it’s an effective way of giving you a break from your thoughts at the end of the day. A mindfulness habit gives you frequent breaks from your thoughts throughout the day, and so you no longer need TV as a therapeutic device. You’re already “unwound” by the time you get there. It can still be entertaining, but your standards for what to watch will rise.
Passing the Hat . . . to Write February 8, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
Tags: Crowdsourcing, Cyber Begging, Fundraising, Writers, Writing
The internet has changed the writing landscape in many ways:
* Writers can start a blog to gain a fan base.
* Writers can create a platform on Facebook to discuss work in progress.
* Writers can tweet about their new or soon-to-be releases to build interest.
And . . . they can pass the hat to sell their promised words BEFORE they’ve even set them down in digital ink.
Imagine if everyone could get paid for doing nothing.
* Would you pay a chef to create a meal that you might never get to taste?
* Would you pay a chauffeur to buy a car that you might never occupy?
* Would you pay an attorney for advice not yet proffered?
If not, why would you pay a writer (you’ve never met) to write a book you might never have a chance to read . . . because it hasn’t been written yet?
Internet Begging is BIG business.
There are hundreds of cyber begging sites designed to allow people to raise money to support the penchant for designer clothes, a desire for bigger boobs, or to create a fund of creative financing for creatives endeavoring to create creative endeavors before those endeavors have been created.
I’m all for supporting The Arts . . . but I’m not inclined to pay a writer for words not yet written.
* * *
What say you?
When people “pass the hat” to finance unfulfilled desires, are you inclined to toss money into the pot? Do you swing by Kickstarter on a regular basis to discover writing projects to support? If so, there are 15,828 potential publishing projects on Kickstarter from which to choose.
Or, like me, would you rather support writers by buying books AFTER they’ve been written?
Aah . . . that’s better!
Psst . . . I’ve Got A Secret January 10, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogs & Blogging.
Tags: Art, Blogs, Frank Warren, Lies, PostSecret, Truth
He started the PostSecret Project in 2004 by handing out 3,000 postcards on the streets of D.C. and asking people to mail in their secrets.
Who knew there’d be people in D.C. with secrets?
Since then, he’s received a mountain of secrets (more than 1/2 a million) from all corners of the globe.
He shares a few secrets each week on PostSecret.com, and he’s written 5 books and started a traveling art exhibit. In short, he’s making a living selling other people’s secrets.
PostSecret postcards profess to share real life issues, struggles, sadness, challenges, victories, and humor.
But do they do what they profess to do?
When communication is both anonymous and public, don’t we lose the ability to discern whether the communication is honest and heartfelt?
Especially when taken “out of context.”
Some postcards communicate issues, struggles, and challenges that real people have faced. Others, no doubt, are blatant lies and fabricated fictions submitted by people wanting to see if their “secret” would be made “public” by being posted on the web or included in a book.
And those in the audience may never know which is which.
If a “secret” is nothing more than an attempt to address a “taboo” topic in a sensational way to obtain free air time, what have we gained by being on the receiving end?
When a sensational and titillating secret is NOT true, are those in the audience “voyeurs” or something else?
Aah . . . that’s better!
Quotes to Ponder:
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
~ Roald Dahl
“Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.”
~ André Malraux
Enough December 17, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Gratitude, Life Lessons, Poetry.
Tags: Blogs, Gratitude, Poetry, PTC, Word Play
A few years back, PTC asked guest bloggers to take the reins while she went off to enjoy a relaxing stay in “a posh spa” . . . a/k/a the hospital. As PTC is fond of wishing us “Enough,” I used that word as a catalyst for my Guest Post on Reflections from A Cloudy Mirror.
* * * * *
Sometimes when challenges seem too too tough
We cry out, “It’s too hard. Life is too rough.”
Tossed around like a lightweight powder puff
We collapse in a heap and scream “ENOUGH!”
Feeling like we can’t take any more guff
We grow angry and slam doors in a huff
Crossing our arms and sitting on our duff
We stare at the sky and shout out “ENOUGH!”
Then we hear a slight whisper from within
Urging us to stand up and try again
“Wipe away your tears and stop your crying
You cannot fail unless you stop trying”
The voice within knows that life can be tough
It nudges us when the going gets rough
Calming our fears, listening to our guff
It’s never far when we cry out “ENOUGH!”
Each day we decide which way to focus
We can choose gratitude as our locus
Instead of crying out, “Life is so tough!”
We stay in the moment, “Aah . . . that’s enough”
* * * * *
Related post: PTC’s “That Reminds Me” Muse
Don’t. Just Don’t. December 12, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Humor, Poetry.
Tags: Blogs, Dissection, Frog, Humor, Marilyn Monroe, Poetry
I enjoy posts on writing tips, and silly bits, and places you been, and things you’ve seen.
And FOOD. Food is cool, especially with photos that make me drool.
But no snakes, or snails, or puppy dog tails.
Or frog’s legs. Or pig’s ears. Or tongue.
I don’t enjoy posts that pull apart a perfect pleasant poem or painting and try to imbue it with esoteric symbolism NEVER intended by the original creator.
I saw three pompous twats doing just that on TV a few months back. They analyzed a stunning B&W photo of Marilyn Monroe eating a cheeseburger at a Drive-In . . . to the death!
Their rambling and posturing transformed a FUN photo into a mixed up muddled up mess of pseudo-intellectual sociological BS.
The trio’s ramblings transported me back to High School English.
In case you’re wondering, dissecting frogs in HS Biology is as unnecessary and unhelpful as dissecting poetry ~ to us, to the poems, and to the frogs.
Not that YOU would ever do that . . . but just don’t.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Inspiration for this post/editorial comment: Help Shape My Content With This Scientifically Validated Poll (Eric J. Baker).
* * * * *
Thanks to a mad twist of Hamlet’s Shakespearean soliloquy, Col selected me to host Haiku Monday this week ~ Enter at Haiku Monday ~ (A Twist of) Fate
7 More Unpolished Stones December 2, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogs & Blogging, Humor, Poetry.
Tags: Blogs, Clothing, Health, Humor, Poetry
Last time I created one of these impromptu posts of unpolished thoughts, people didn’t send up a roar of protest ~ at best, it was a whimper.
So, I’m going to do it again.
This time linking to specific posts which spawned my eclectic thinking:
1. Rainee did a post, It’s so easy to Avoid Doing Stuff, and ended by asking if we ever have days that don’t go according to plan. After a quick glance through various and sundry mental filing cabinets, I said:
Nope. Uh-uh. Never. All my days go exactly as planned.
As long as I PLAN to “go with the flow” and/or PROCRASTINATE.
2. Kate Crimmons wrote a fun and funny post, Is Anyone Really A Standard Size? While she focused on jeans, I considered my entire wardrobe:
I have every size clothing in my closet . . . and they all fit! I might be wearing XS, S, M, L, XL ~ it all depends on the manufacturer.
The only thing sure NOT to fit is the article marked “One Size Fits All.”
3. In Mother to Daughter ~ A Questionable Legacy, scientist and author, Joanne Valentine Simson, discussed the insidious messages girls receive from mothers and others. My experience was somewhat different:
I never remember being encouraged to downplay my intelligence in order not to compete with boys, nor do I remember being encouraged to pay undue attention to how I looked.
As a result I never got addicted to shopping for shoes or handbags.
I always knew I could be anything that I wanted to be. I never felt that my worth depended on who I married. When I married, I kept my maiden name and corrected people if they addressed cards to “Mrs. BFF” instead of using my name.
That said, my mother encouraged me to be a nurse because that was such a flexible profession for women. My father overheard her and said,”Why should she be a nurse? Why not a doctor?”
I fooled them both and went to Law School.
4. Kate Shrewsday did a fab post, The Priceless Art Bonfire, about the systematic destruction of religious artifacts during regime changes. My response:
Maybe it’s a good thing that some of these relics are no more.
One could wander museums from dawn to dusk for a lifetime and never see all the treasured antiquities “preserved for posterity.”
Perhaps we aren’t making headway in the HERE and NOW because we’ve spent too long staring over our shoulders at our posteriors?
5. Everyone’s got a story to tell . . . but not everyone is a storyteller:
Have you ever been “trapped” in a conversation that is going nowhere fast? Key facts are omitted, we circle back trying to scoop them up.
The story veers off in an unexpected direction and we wait, in vain, for it to return to the central thread.
In conversations like these, the temptation to interrupt is . . . intense.
6. BB’s publishing her first book of poetry. She solicited blurbs for the cover. Here’s mine:
After a round of golf (amid the kangas and the roos)
BB studies her school notes, then pens a poem or two
Her poetic blog is inspired, unequaled, without compare
And that’s because BB is full of . . . AU CONTRAIRE!
To see more of BB’s Bio Blurbs: Blurb Blurble Bloop ~ One Sentence Biography Competition.
7. In Choosing To Let Go, SuziCate addressed the benefits of “letting go” of the negatives (e.g., Anger, Doubt, Fear, Pain, Resentment, Jealousy). So true:
When we accept ourselves as we are . . . we accept others as they are.
We no longer feel the need to control “them” (e.g., by insisting on an apology). Instead, we choose to control our reactions to them.
Once we let our anger and resentment go (as well as our need for external approval) . . . “they” lose their power over us.
We are FREE at last. And FREE is the best place to BE!
Aah . . . that’s better!
Care to toss an “unpolished stone” into the comment pool?