Tag Archives: blogging

To Warm the Soul

Connection
When I wrote about how my grandmother had suffered through Alzheimer’s disease and my struggle with losing her both mentally and physically, the response from fellow bloggers warmed my soul almost as if they were sitting right next to me allowing me to rest my head on their shoulders.

"I'll make ya laugh."
“I’ll make ya laugh.”

Passing Through Madness

Blogging, changed my life because the connections I made became even more meaningful than some long-time friendships and brought other people with similar depth and interests closer to me.

When I write, I connect to a place hidden from the me who I think I am or the me who I want to be or the me who everyone wants me to be. I may start with an idea or a purpose, but within a minute or so, I find the me who I really am and sometimes that secret me connects to another hidden being, someone I never knew existed.

I know other bloggers feel the same.

When I first started blogging, it was here at WordPress. I really knew nothing else. I just knew that I wanted to write and connect with other writers. I’d been busy teaching after being a full-time mom and my relationships with the working world and friendships in general felt stunted and, well, disconnected.

So when I read through all different kinds of blogs, I found myself laughing, nodding, and often-enough crying. So I thought about the idea of creating my own blog and just knew that I had to open up as well.

Four years ago, I was Freshly Pressed with a post about my children’s “Refrigerator Art” Refrigerator Art Changed My Life and the connections I made have lasted to this day. Even the talented Cheri Lucas Rowland liked my post, and here I am writing inspired by one of her discover challenges.

The same people who “liked” and “commented” on that post also comforted me when I wrote about struggles with Scoliosis Exercising My Scoliosis Demons and the loss of my grandmother .

At various times over the years, life became so overwhelming at certain points that I considered and reconsidered leaving WordPress behind. Being a teacher and a mother challenges the best of us, let alone being married and attempting to continue writing and educating yourself. Then throw into the mix health concerns and the death of someone who meant the world to you.

But, it was and is the connections I’ve experienced here that have kept and do keep me blogging. They keep me brave, smart, bold, and loved.

 

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The Evolution before the Revolution

Those sinewy blue beings link arms and chant, rocking in unison for love, Avatars who sync into the power of the earth while the “smarter,” more intelligent beings exploit them. I think of this often. I thought of this when I saw the new J.J. Abrams series Revolution. For those of you who don’t know the basics, the premise of the series questions our reliance on technology and asks, what if the lights went out, forever?

Needless to say, there’s a laughable character who once brandished $80 million dollars from his exploits in the Google empire, but now, without lights, he’s just the victim of “schoolyard bullies.”

The Evolving Revolution
The Evolving Revolution

It’s about the loss of power, but more importantly, our loss of true power without electricity, our inability to come to grips with what’s really important to us. Many characters realize at broken moments what that power is, the enduring, everlasting power of love.

I just read a WordPress post about bringing more traffic to your blog. It was an informative and helpful post. I’ve read others like it and learned a lot including some of the posts written by Michelle W. and Cheri Lucas. I even explored these ideas over summer when I had time to write more often and when I even used StumbleUpon for one day. It was bizarre, Twilight Zonish.

But, as I read this WordPress post about traffic, I thought, well, what happens when the lights go out? What happens when there’s no electricity, no money, no this, when it’s just stories and survival and hopefully love?

I thought about this because I’m sick and grappling with the idea of staying home from work and just lying here, trying to get well. These are the times when I’m in highspeed mode but get shut down as if all the lights just go out one day. It’s similar to the opening scene in Revolution when the cars are driving, the TV’s talking, the phone’s ringing and then it all just goes dark.

I had decided that when I started using WordPress that I’d put more energy into writing, like many of you I assume. But, I’ve found once again that loving to write doesn’t mean losing your love of everything else. I’ve spent years in the field although right now my main occupation is teaching.

I’ve seen and read about so many writers and journalists who give up their lives, meaning everything else they love, in order to write. This sounds exciting and even noble at times, but is it, really? Do we have to give up everything else for that one thing we’ve categorized ourselves as being or pursuing?

When I was Freshly Pressed, I wrote about my love of writing. And I slipped quite neatly into this category. I wrote:  I write to breathe to sleep to wake to sing to love.

I do, but only when I can. I actually miss feeling that way, but there are other parts of my life I’ve decided to love more. That is my own personal evolution before any other revolution within any other large-scale change that I or you will ever encounter.

For starters, I love my children a whole lot more than writing. They remind me that writing was something I started doing on a regular basis because I was so lonely and had no one to talk to. Second, my students need me more than they know. I always choose them over anything, even my own sanity sometimes. Third, my sister may be 3,000 miles away but when she needs me, I drop everything and stay up all night with her or even worrying about her. Fourth, my husband, my mom, my grandmother, my in-laws, my friends, even my fellow bloggers and writers, your insightful stories and photographs, your art, come before my writing.

I’ve evolved because before there’s a necessary revolution to this tendency to obsess and ultimately to destroy the beauty around us, I saw who I was, who I can become, and I changed.

We are All Clowns.

SadClownThere we were. Our stage lit up. Our eyes blackened, mouths drawn in the shape of a distorted smile, giant red noses, oversized coats, huge feet. We fought for attention.

And, we got it.

We were the clowns in Slava’s Snow Show.

It all began with a noose hanging around his neck, which he only feigned to tighten. He was the single clown who wore a bright-yellow jumpsuit making him look like he had the body of a frumpy muppet.

Slava's Globe
Slava’s Globe

As he glanced to his right, another clown walked onto the stage dragging his own noose around his neck.

When they saw each other, the performance began.

Isn’t that me? And, you?

On the verge….

Then we connect and lose ourselves in a quiet dance.

I watched the foolishness, the silly adventures, the dramas, and finally understood who I am, who we all are in the blogging world. For the last few months, I’ve pondered my blog. What’s the purpose of it really?

Am I inspiring you to be brave, smart, and bold? How can I do this better, differently? Why don’t you stop by more often? Why don’t you like me more? What would other bloggers want to read? What would anyone want to read? And, why?

So, I wrote a bit, but mostly I read your blogs, hoping to gain insight into what you want, to find a secret trick to gaining your interest. I wanted to draw you in and connect with you. But, I still didn’t “get” it.

Then, there I was last night, watching Slava’s Snow Show and everything emerged in a wild clown drama on a paper snow-filled stage.

We blog to write to read to love to remember to show to dazzle to cry to rage to surrender to melt to rebound to bounce.

We are clowns so sad, awkward, funny, ridiculous, and proud.

We conjure up a makeshift ship in the middle of a stage and one of us pretends to be a shark while the others sail on. We step into the imaginary ocean and reveal each other for who we really are:  clowns.

We sweep up our messes only to get our hand caught in a spider web that suddenly sticks to all of our fingertips scattering to an obscure audience that pulls it apart and tosses it to the floor.

Webs
Webs

We need intermission to rest.

Then we regenerate and find that someone shot arrows through our heart. We struggle and find it was our best friend, again. We hurt each other.

We freak out. A crazy clown sitting next to a tilted table, we scream then fall. Everything goes black.

Repeat.

Then one of us is knitting and rocking in a chair in the corner. Madness.

Darkness.

We pack our bags and travel.

And, we weather storm after storm.

All with big fat smiles painted on our faces.

We are foolish.

We fall.

We bounce back.
We bounce.

We bounce.

And, we are so magnificent.

We are Magnificent.
We are Magnificent.

Written By Lisa Chesser

Chapters in a blog: InSethspiration

That writer I wrote about, Nayia Moysidis, sent me inspiration through her heroism and unencumbered writing.

Author Seth Godin at PDF 2007
Author Seth Godin at PDF 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia

She also sent me in other directions, one of them being Seth Godin’s blog.

Many of you may know him already. After all, he is a creative writer, blogger, entrepreneur, and internet marketing master. Once I’d read one then two then ten of his posts, I subscribed to his blog and even bought a couple of his books.

So, when I read his post about Paracosms, I smiled, frowned, and sipped his words with my morning cappuccino.

Here’s the link to what he wrote:

Now, normally, I’d laugh, nod knowingly, or even brush it off as an agreeing to disagree moment, but this one kept me sipping.

I love books. They are my Bibles. If everything is wrong with my life, books will pull me away from it and bring me back better, renewed, ready to take on my own problems as if I had just taken a vacation.

No NetFlix series or award-winning film does that. No hour-long browsing session offers that. Those are just teasers, bites of chocolate for me. Books make my time worthwhile. Not every book, but the majority I’ve read have done their job.

So when he makes the comment, “Paper is magical.” It is, to me. I don’t have to take a pill or drown my sorrows in glasses of wine. I found this out a long time ago as a child who needed to escape reality. I opened my books and realized something that today’s generation doesn’t quite understand.

Those writers carried me into other realms, knocking down barriers, opening doors. I treasure their words.

Books are my “sacred cows” as Seth puts it.

So, incidentally, I’m exactly the person he’s speaking to in this post. That’s why I couldn’t stop thinking about what he’d written.

When I stopped frowning, I realized I just wanted to hold onto those desperate childhood moments. But, I’m not that child anymore. And, this world isn’t that one anymore.

He’s right. As much as I hate it, I know he’s right because I’m here with you and the rest of the blogging world.

I read your posts and draw inspiration, new knowledge, insights, and laughter. It breaks this world down and builds strength for another day. It’s a new way to read chapters of a book, in a blog.

Here are just some of them:

http://freepennypress.wordpress.com/

http://abreakfastserial.com/

L’écriture

http://imdbwords.wordpress.com/

http://nettrobbens.com/

http://littlemisswordy.wordpress.com/

http://teacher-preneur.com/

http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/

http://jessicavealitzek.com/

http://somestolenmoments.wordpress.com/

http://momopolize.com/

http://scotterb.wordpress.com/

http://malcolmscorner.wordpress.com/

Getting Real

Ready for Reality
A fellow blogger nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger award recently, but I don’t feel beautiful at all. I did realize that there was another nomination I needed to accept before this one:  the Reality Blog award. I’ve been searching for the all-elusive time to do this. However, blogging here has been relegated to the bottom of my list of To Do’s mainly because of my kids.

My son hates school. As a dedicated teacher, I do too. I really can’t argue with him. I’ve told him the value of education until I’ve listened to my words fall letter by letter to the floor. The last straw was when I told him he would behave or never see his Legos again. It was an age-old battle that I needed to win. I needed him to see education the way I used to see it.

But, I underestimated him. He’s smarter than I am. He looked at me, resigned himself to my belief system, and got sick, literally.

He’s been throwing up and now has a fever. Call it coincidence, call it flu season, or call it the sadness of his spirit. I believe it’s his spirit slumping into the sad world of my reality. At the end of the day, he simply looked at me, said his stomach was sick, went to bed then woke up puking.

That’s when everything turned upside down for me. I rewound and slowed the speed forward. I unzipped my skin and took a look around.

A wild second grader danced before me, asking questions, some really smart-ass ones. He laughed at them and sometimes me. He found math interesting when he was allowed to measure things around the classroom but hated sitting still to take a test. He needed to be up discovering the world, finding out why the lizards don’t fall from the ceiling.

A tired mother/teacher walked to her classroom, feeling guilty for leaving her son who she just yelled at. Why couldn’t she just say, “To hell with all of you,” and leave, grab her son and go? All her own students, much older than her son, complained to her, and hated school themselves. She also tried to show them the value of it but was beginning to find it a futile argument. In their eyes, she saw the truth.

The truth is school kills creativity. For all our convoluted words and serious sarcasm, we amount to a bloated, gassy large intestine.

In sixth and seventh grade, I teach about 75 kids just like my son. The rest are sparkly perfect students not unlike my daughter, but they too find it difficult to endure school. When the day nears the end, they’re ready to fly out of their seats and some literally do.

Over the years, my tolerance for shaking pens and pencils, twirling IDs, and random jumps from seats has grown so much that I find myself doing the same thing.

But, when I see my son, like many of my students, get sick over the depressing reality of school, I question my own profession because it feeds the beast. That large, bloated one.

So, I’ll try to blog and read all of your beautiful blogs, but I’ve got to fix a little boy’s view of reality. He’s sleeping right now with a wet cloth mending his fever. We might end up at the doctor’s office first thing in the morning. But, once he’s better physically, I’ll be reminding him that the lizard on the ceiling is his reality and now it’s mine too.

Here are some great blogs to check out while I’m busy mopping up my mess:

http://nettrobbens.com/

http://abreakfastserial.com/

http://readstuffwithme.wordpress.com/

http://freepennypress.wordpress.com/

http://www.nayiaisms.com/

http://strollingsouthamerica.wordpress.com/

http://fromtv2od.com/

http://oawritingspoemspaintings.wordpress.com/

http://truittjeremy.wordpress.com/

http://scotterb.wordpress.com/

http://bornspecial.wordpress.com/

http://somestolenmoments.wordpress.com/

http://mominthemuddle.com/

http://momopolize.com/

http://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/

http://igamemom.com

There are so many more that I read on a daily basis. If you look around BraveSmartBold posts, you’ll find them.

Writers Rejecting Rejection

Writers everywhere feel as if they’ve taken a shot to the heart when rejection hits. These particular bullets miss by an inch leaving a wound so deep that it never really heals. This week I’m going to post bits and pieces of a campaign worth discovering. Check out the video below.

Nayia Moysidis, the founder and CEO of Writer’s Bloq, not only helped me figure out how to patch up my wounds but how to fight back. For more information link on to my post titled https://bravesmartbold.com/2012/09/15/a-tribute-to-the-katniss-of-the-writers-revolution/ or click on Writer’s Bloq and  the Kickstarter campaign.

A Tribute to the Katniss of the Writer’s Revolution

The mission:  Helping great writers get discovered.

If you have a story to tell, a blog, a short story, a novel, a fierce desire to write, then you need to find Writer’s Bloq and  the Kickstarter campaign. Because it’s only the beginning of the journey, this is an incredible opportunity for writers everywhere to join and find a place for their talent to be seen and heard.

The founder and CEO of Writer’s Bloq, Nayia Moysidis, embodies a spirit of blemished ferocity in the form of love. She refuses to buckle under the pressure of defeat—a very real, crushing reality for all writers at some point in their lives.

She started Writer’s Bloq after being rejected or, in more accurate terms, ignored 89 times.

Her hair pulled back into a long braid, her intensity alive, she speaks with the skill of a confident leader. Her power lies in her compassion. She understands and identifies with those who follow her. They follow her because they trust her. They follow her because she’s one of them:  A writer.

Writer’s Bloq launched a Kickstarter campaign on August 22, 2012. Writer’s Bloq has seven days left to meet its goal in order to raise $15,000 so its team of writers can begin their Bloqparty Tour and promote their quarterly and their novels. They have raised $13,353. You can learn more about it by clicking on their Kickstarter campaign.

A writer reads her work at a BloqParty.
Photo courtesy Nayia Moysidis.

Writer’s Bloq isn’t just a writer’s showcase. It’s a home for writers to connect and draw attention their work in a way only a true hero can deliver. At the Bloqparty gatherings, writers meet up with industry professionals who have the opportunity to greet them in person, to give a voice to their words that might otherwise go unheard.

Nayia leads as Katniss does. Nayia braves the sorrows of talented writers being threatened with extinction.  She’s the leader of a writing revolution because she embraces the fear inching through the publishing industry. A fear, if ignored, could become a reality.

She found a solution to a problem that’s grown into an epidemic, the kind that kills a writer’s basic instinct, to write and be published. Her solution means that writers don’t have to do what I did many years ago.

A place for your work.

Inspiration Remembered

One of the main reasons I began this blog stems from this young, fiery soul. I had met Nayia Moysidis through friends and had gotten an email about her blog http://www.nayiaisms.com/.

When I read her blog, I chuckled. I read another post and cried. I read another and thought, “I used to share her passion for writing.”

So, right before bed when I was supposed to be too tired to think, the thoughts rushed around blocking my desire to sleep, so much so that I started writing again. And, I haven’t stopped since.

Yet, what I discovered was startling and sickening. I found that I’d become a good writer, not much different than I was 20 years ago, but I had nothing much to show for it. Okay, I had a resume with Publications Specialist on it and I could announce Award-Winning teacher with confidence. That was nice. But, I couldn’t proudly say, “I’m a seasoned writer because I’ve written this, this, and this.” I had worked in the publishing industry but I had created work for other people, most of whom either openly or insidiously claimed the work as their own.

I had been rejected as much or more than Nayia, so I packed away my dreams and slipped them under the bed. I became a very practical, very acceptable person, my true power sedated.

The worst part was that I had sold myself short. I had accepted my rejection as a truth instead of a reality.

To write this, as a writer, is even more painful than saying it out loud because when I say it, I usually contort my face and alter it or I say it as a source of twisted inspiration to those preparing for the beginning of their journey. It’s never truthful because it hurts too much.

I started out writing passionately and with a desire to change the world like so many artists. I did write. I have written. I have created, but I didn’t do it with the bravery I know I should have, the bravery I could have.

The Good Fight

So now, I support, love, and cheer for those who do what I didn’t. And, I do what I didn’t with trepidation. I say trepidation because after so many years of telling myself that I can’t do something, it’s hard to break that pattern.

If you don’t talk, if you don’t write, if you don’t take those chances that feel as if you’re stepping out onto a tightrope, you’ll just coast or even worse, you’ll just wander and wonder (yes, the spelling was intentional).

If the Katniss of this writing revolution existed then, I would’ve wanted to follow her. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. She refuses to accept the stinging reality that only a handful of writers becomes published authors and that the majority of those who self-publish find little success.

Nayia fights the good fight, uniting writer with agent, writer with publisher, writer with an industry that itself wanders around lost and confused about where to look and how to construct a new path.

Her success ensures victory for all writers and for all those who honor the written word because she embraces the bitter, the wounded, and the lost then gathers the ripe and the ready to fight.

So, find her, read her, then support her and the writers of Writer’s Bloq and the Kickstarter campaign. Join them. Become one of them. It’s only the beginning of the journey.

Written by Lisa Chesser

Related articles

To all the writers, artists, and colorful characters:

You are all crazy-wonderful artists, but you know this already.
Because I teach fulltime and I’m obviously a mom, I’ve tried to reply to every comment, but it takes time. I’ve also tried to explore your blogs and follow some of them. But, that also takes time just like writing, at least for me.
For me, writing is a challenge because of time. It’s the one thing that consistently runs ahead then behind me, sometimes around me, like a wicked two year old. I wrote this challenge on torn spiral notebook paper and sticky notes as thoughts occurred to me throughout the days.
However, by meeting the Daily Post Challenge, I learned to catch up with this wicked two year old and keep it around long enough to play a game or two.

Freshly Pressed, WooHoo!

So, to all the wonderful writers, artists, small business owners, and colorful characters who liked and commented on this blog, I’ll be clicking my way through your blogs into next week and beyond. I want to know everything about you and support you the way you supported me. If I don’t find you, please find me again so we can reconnect. When I tried to click back to some of you, I couldn’t find your address or I got a prompt that your WordPress address didn’t exist any longer.
As far as following me, I promise to write and do it well. I write to breathe to sleep to wake to sing to love. I had forgotten how much I missed it until I started writing again. I had given it up to be a wife and raise my children. I changed careers to schedule my life around my family. Then, I wrote a story and published it two years ago. And, I haven’t been able to escape the need to write since.
I plan to post personally hand-crafted stories and profiles about great, often disguised as ordinary, people and moments we often don’t notice or acknowledge. I will write about the bizarre and the ordinary that make life so fabulous and sometimes terrible. I will bare my soul without making you feel like you wasted your time here. I might ask some of you to allow me to interview you.
I hope to discover, share, and teach you what I know and where I found it.
I may share some great stories I read about heroes, inspirational moments, or anything brave, smart and bold. I might reblog some of your amazing stories, art, poetry, etc. But, I promise to keep it interesting and make it worthwhile.
To the powers that be at WordPress and Cheri Lucas, thank you for taking notice. I’ve loved every second of it and plan to get Freshly Pressed 
again.
So everyone, please keep reading, commenting, and enjoying.
Love,
Lisa Chesser

 

A Daily Post Challenge: Carpe Diem and a Broken Dryer

It was suddenly too quiet. The loud clank of my dryer, reminding me that there would be clothes to fold, had stopped. I only knew because I wasn’t even aware of that whir and clank anymore. It was like a friend who hummed and clicked a song throughout the day. So, when it stopped, it sounded like an alarm clock of silence.

I walked to the dryer and pushed the button. Nothing.

I turned the dial. Nothing.

I began to panic as I looked at all the laundry left to do, knowing the guy who fixes my dryer would say he couldn’t be here until later, maybe even next week.

The panic arose from the sick feeling that I might have to enter and remain in a Laundromat. The TVs, the screaming kids, the inevitable heat, the creepy guy who doesn’t seem to have any laundry, and the memories of it all laughed at me. But, WordPress got in the way.

An Even Bigger Challenge

Caught between the daily post and this BraveSmartBold blog, I was faced with an even bigger challenge.

Do I panic for real? Or, can I be brave, smart, and bold by fixing my problem with a grace and wisdom that eludes us when faced with difficult dilemmas.

I chose the latter, which didn’t seem that difficult as I was throwing all the dirty clothes into garbage bags. I grabbed my computer and triumphantly found a simple solution to what could’ve been a freak-out session, complete with yelling at my husband for buying a cheap dryer and handling it like the Hulk’s victims.

Triumph Fizzled

Inside the Coin Laundry, however, my triumph fizzled. The familiar sound of my whirring, clackety dryer sounded instead like an old train with a loud, Spanish conductor. The Spanish show blaring overhead screamed a game show complete with dancers. And, there was the guy except he had a load of laundry, I think.

I felt like a mouse in a maze with the enormous silver and blue washers stacked in blocked patterns with no room to walk except in scattered rows, signposts explaining which was what. A bright-blue counter with chipped red paint grinned at me. A heavy-set woman handed me a tattered business card that said Herbal Club on it and she pointed to a back room with a sheet for a curtain.

I had already begun to sweat.

The Choice

“You knew this would happen,” my BraveSmartBold voice told me.

“Just load the laundry and write a post,” the WordPress voice told me.

I did.

And, I enjoyed every minute of it.