2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Blogging 101: Dream Reader, The Irony in My Life

Dear God of Irony,

You’re very funny. Very funny indeed. And, oh, so present in my life.

Normally, I don’t believe in the finger of God stirring the pot of our everyday existence, directly influencing or causing anything we do. Perhaps there is room for believing that you exist, however, as one of many minions of the more passive supreme being you work for. Among your peers might be Fate, Synchronicity, Serendipity, Symbolism, or Metaphor, to this literary thinker. Your partner in crime would seem to be Fate.

As Fate and Irony, you profit from the fact that I fell on my back down the stairs of my house with my 38-pound dog in my arms, a carrying routine we do to try to spare her back pain. I sustained injury while the dog was completely unharmed. Well done.

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You’re especially funny to me because at least I didn’t break anything, just popped out a couple of ribs the chiropractor readjusted. If I had broken my back, well . . . you would still be active as who you are, just not as funny, at least not to me, for the death or paralysis, assuming life ends at death and I want more life, which I do. (My spirit might otherwise find my death amusing, for all I know.)

I can laugh at myself now that my sides don’t hurt as much and give you a mental wink or tip of the cap for your performance. I can take your work as a sign and interpret that sign in whatever way I choose, to your added glory–or not.

I recognize you, though, because of my education. I learned about you in school. Because of that, I can also use you for creating this post, which you helped to delay, just as you have used me–I’m sure you had your reasons, or at least your fun.

But I can’t embarrass you, can I? Not as you have defined my embarrassment. And I certainly cannot cause you actual pain, for you are not a physical being. I could try to shame you for your meanness, for being a party to causing my pain, for making me seem like the fool, which, of course, I am.

Still, I just can’t help but love you despite–and for–your joke at my expense. Without you, my life would be just a touch less meaningful and certainly less interesting.

You’ve got me where you want me, there’s no escape, and you can re-emerge at any time to put your stamp on my next foible. Without being able to prevent this, all I ask is that you and your buddy Fate deal gently with me. I can take the humiliation. I’ll get over it and maybe eventually laugh again. But let me heal fully, please, if you have any say in the matter, and let not my death (whenever it happens) become a mere symbol, a portrait of your splendid presence.

Splendid though it may be, in its way, it could still spell permanent shame and embarrassment to me, through the destruction of others’ faith in my intelligence during life. I’d rather not go anywhere near the Darwin award list.

I’ll try not to look for you, though I suspect I’ll have trouble refraining, for I know you operate on your own terms and need no encouragement. I’ll leave you to your work. Just have a little mercy on me, and I will continue to sing your praises for fulfilling your purpose so aptly. Deal?

Thanks for being you.

Sincerely yours,

Carrie

P.S. Elyse (the dog) sends you a tail wag of approval, too.

Blogging 101: Who Am I, Anyway?

Those familiar with A Chorus Line will recognize the title as a line from one of the musical’s songs. So much for originality. But it is a decent evocation of my state of mind many times, that overwhelming need to forge a discernible identity and, finally, make something of oneself.

It continues: “Am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don’t know. . . . What should I try to be? . . . . I need this job.” My view of the “who am I?” question is that we are all many things and constantly changing.

So who am I? Let’s see. I am a seeker and philosopher, a student of life and literature, a teacher and tutor, and, increasingly, a writer. I question things. I love reason, or, I reason reason? Logic. I’m a skeptic, a literalist, a poet, a wife, a researcher, a doggie mom, a grammarian, a flower gardener, and a proofreader but not a language purist.

Hailing from northeast Ohio, I attended college in Massachusetts. My career began in publishing after I received my philosophy BA. I’ve done administrative work at F+W Publications, Inc., now F+W Media, and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

From there, I served as a graduate assistant at The University of Akron’s Institute for Teaching and Learning, and taught English and journalism at Our Lady of the Elms High School (also Akron). I also served as a substitute teacher at various  schools in Summit County during the 2006-07 school year.

I currently tutor English, essay writing, social studies, and career help online for Tutor.com from my home in south Akron.

A fairly serious person, I also love to dance, sing, and play hilarious word games with family or friends. Apples to Apples has given way to Word Whimsy lately (racier, raunchier, more side-splitting laughter). A former athlete, I played soccer all through college, but I currently exercise very little and love to eat sweets, especially chocolate.

I love pumpkin-flavored anything, so I am mourning the passing of fall and the holidays primarily for reduced opportunities for pumpkin-item eating. I also love backyard birds, movies, flower gardening, alternative music (and other kinds), wildlife, and trying my hand in various arts. I often think in terms of movie and music lines, and I am not bad at the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, aka the Kevin Bacon Challenge.

I have joined WordPress’s Blogging 101 course because, despite my age, experience, and supposed wisdom, I still have trouble with self-discipline and often need a structured environment in order to be productive. I.e., I am human. Working from home has been good in some ways but bad for sticking to a regular work routine.

Since I have initiated a blog and have written several posts, that hurdle is behind me, so my new goals are to solidify my blog’s purpose and focus, write more posts more often, develop my voice, and generally make writing more central to my daily round.

I found that participating in National Novel Writing Month (known to initiates as NaNoWriMo) each November for the past four years has proven to me that I am capable of doing more than I usually do. It’s that community, that group spirit which really motivated me most. I have “won” the NaNo contest against oneself each year by completing 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days, but I finished writing only one novel’s story so far, and no substantial editing has yet followed. (50,000 words is almost more of a novella length by today’s standards.)

Once November ends and the community disperses, my motivation wanes. As a teacher, I also enjoy helping and learning with others. I joined Twitter in August but have yet to take the Facebook plunge. I am a member of a classics book club and a writing group in Canton. We’re currently reading Don Quixote.

I have had a blog for a little over a year now, but as with many things, I have not made a regular habit of it. Over the years, I have written poetry, essays, short stories, journal entries, movie reviews, company and school publication articles, and one scholarly essay in a published book. I am now considering venturing into memoir some time this year.

In essence, I have a varied writing-related background and a need to be with people in my work. That’s basically who I am and why I am here.