I’m Sorry

death
it’s sting
produces a humility powerful enough

to find itself a home
even inside the heart of the one

who holds the cup of “I’m sorry’s”
hoping their voice is sad enough

to produce the kind of sympathy
that peels back the brick

that found itself a place

inside the gut of the bereaved
the lump
waiting inside their throats
is this “I’m Sorry” strong enough?
“I’m sorry”
makes me feel guilty
because I know that it is not enough,

in fact
it almost sounds cliché
how can this routine “I’m sorry”

ever guarantee the sincere apology I feel
for the woman
who lost her husband in the hands of doctors

with spines like jellyfish,
the inconsiderate “I’m sorry”

floating out the window of the hospital,
where his breath left it’s good bye on the table

without warning
didn’t want to wake her sleeping gorgeous
so he left in the middle of the night
just to see her smile one last time
for he knew that she would smile

in her dreams

Or the man
who lost his brother with the split of atoms
like storms breaking through to the clouds
like a mother’s arms spread wide enough

to capture his smiles in a bowl

but aint no rainbows today
cause grief
it convinces us that the world

has ceased existing
and molds its rotations to the contours of our hearts

Why are you sorry?!
screams the confused silence of my bones
or the unflinching expression of a man’s face

after a life-time of catastrophes
tainted love
chocking dreams

and memories like the scenic route to civil wars
& he wears it all

with a walk like a stone cold killer

and a face fit for poker
but his heart is pale with grief
I know
cause I heard it in his smile
he laughs
but only because his body weeps
too weak internally

to die physically too
so when he grieves
and when she grieves
when their pain is too deep

to find alongside the outline of their faces
too far to find within the pages of their past
but close enough to smell in the sorrow of their loss
in these bags
filled to the brim with all their stuff
what do you say
when the air isn’t pure enough to breathe
and a routine, “I’m sorry” is simply not enough
to convince them

that the world

still spins

Self-Publishing Book Descriptions

41yvPT7HPdL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

 

Passin‘ is not a self-published book, but I would like to use it as an example. I actually borrowed it from the library and intend on returning it soon. Not that it wasn’t a good read, but I wouldn’t purchase it. Here’s why: I enjoy a book that makes my mind play it out in my head like a movie. I want to see the characters develop as real breathing people, I want them to have real issues and problems, and I want to see the story in action, and let’s just say this movie’s a little slow. Not that this book didn’t have all of that, it’s just slow getting to the point I perceived to be the main event (the meeting of the man). So it’s an alright read; I wouldn’t give it 5 stars, though. More like 3 stars. I really am enjoying the read, it’s just that I’m a bit disappointed by what the book description told me and how the story is unfolding (yea, still reading it, I’ll probably move up to 4 stars by the time it’s over, who knows lol). The story is an interesting tale of a young woman passing in the new millennium (2007). Racial passing occurs when a person classified as a member of one racial group is also accepted as a member of a different racial group by passing as that different racial group. (Did I confuse anyone?) So a black woman pretending to be white is an example of passing to keep it simple. But what made me check out the book is this excerpt from the description:

“When a successful African-American businessman thinks Shanika is the white woman of his dreams, her world spins out of control. With her future on the line, she’ll have to go beyond skin-deep to discover what’s really worth reaching for–and the person she truly wants to be.”

I know I know, how woman of me, but who doesn’t love, love? Anywho, it’s not a bad story so far, but what’s disappointing is my assumption that the meat of the story would surround this event. But halfway through the book, there’s no mention of this African American man. The story is pretty much just about Shanika’s, I’m sorry Nicole’s, struggles with “racial” (I don’t really believe in a race but for the sake of clarity) identity and her inner conflictions about living a lie (and her hatred of self…my 2 cents). In fact, we don’t meet Mr. Right until close to the end of the book. I’m probably just being picky, but I really did borrow the book to specifically see how this relationship was going to evolve. I’m not finished with the book so I may be doing a part 2 of this same post about how I judged a book by its descriptive cover, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

The point is that this inspired a post about how important book descriptions are to books, especially self-published books. We have talked about book cover designs, a little bit of editing, and even common sense reasons to self-publish. Now let us talk about the content of the book, starting with the description.

When a reader decides to buy a book, one of the first things that strike them is the book cover, the sample, and of course they’ve got to read those reviews. But another important element that plays a role in the buying experience is the book synopsis, summary, or description. If you think this is something I pulled out of my hat, just visit your nearest library or bookstore. You’ll see people scrolling through aisles and turning over the backs of books. Some of them flip through the pages and may even begin to read the first paragraph just to see if it grabs their attention.

The good thing is that if the description of your book has little to nothing to do with what the book is actually about, no one will know until after they buy the book and after they read it. The bad thing is that if they give a bad review, they’ll be your first and only customer. The truth is that book descriptions play a big role in book buying, and as I always say, it’s a good idea to produce your books the way you buy them. If a striking book cover makes you go for the bait then you should also have a book cover design that is also striking. Likewise, if reading the synopsis of a book is what makes you buy, then as an author you want to make sure your book description is also just as fantastic. “If your book description doesn’t grab them and make them feel ‘the need – the need to read’ then you’ve just lost a customer….” (Mark Edwards).

(For the record, Karen’s description was pretty good and achieved the desired effect, it made me pick it up and check it out which means I would have probably picked it up and bought it, so that’s not my complaint since I’m sure her book sells are doing better than mine. My complaint is just about the accuracy of her description of what’s actually in the book, but I digress).

A good summary will give readers just enough information about your book to get them excited about reading the whole thing. For this reason, it should be clear, brief, and simply breathtaking.

Below are 7 ways to improve on book descriptions by Mark Edwards as featured on the blog Catherine Caffeinated

(there are actually 11 but these are the ones I thought worth excerpting far as importance is concerned, 7 is a perfect number after all…isn’t it?):

1. Make it clear. Your potential reader needs to know with a quick skim read what kind of book this is, what it’s about and what the story is. The story is the most important element here – if you’ve written an erotic romance that will give Fifty Shades a run for its money, make sure people know that. Though remember, it’s the relationship at the heart of Fifty Shades that made it such a smash. You need to get that across in a very lucid way.

2. The first line is the most important. If you don’t get the first line right, they won’t read on (this applies to the book itself too). Your first line needs to encapsulate the whole book. It needs to draw people in, hit them where it feels good and make the hairs on the back of their neck stand up. Not easy – but worth spending time on.

3. Don’t be boring. The moment your potential reader feels bored, they’re gone, clicking on to the next book on the also-bought bar. Every line has to be compelling and move the story on. Just like your book, in fact.

4. Make them laugh, cry, cower. It’s all about emotions. How is your book going to make people feel? Is it heartbreaking or hilarious? Chilling or hotter than Angelina Jolie sunbathing in Death Valley? Again, look at the words most used in your genre. They are clichés for a reason. They work.

5. Use testimonials. If you have some quotes from well-known writers or experts, use them. These are generally best in a block rather than scattered through the text. If you’ve got a quote from your Auntie Maureen, you might as well use that too. Just don’t reference her as your auntie.

6. Make your characters live. As well as the story, it’s vital to get a good sense of your characters across – and, most importantly, their big problem. What terrible dilemma do they have to resolve? What personal demon do they need to conquer? You need characters and problems people will identify with – but they have to be big problems. Having a broken dishwasher just isn’t exciting enough.

7. Make the reader desperate to know what happens. You have to end your description with a cliffhanger. You need to lead the reader to the point where they are so curious that, were they a cat, it would kill them. Make sure you don’t give too much away. Be intriguing. Make them feel like Anastasia when Christian tells her he’s about to show her something really new and exciting. Make them go ‘Holy crap!’”

Writing Therapy

ehquote

Do you write for therapy? Also known as Journal Therapy, Writing Therapy is the act of writing down thoughts and feelings to either come to a deeper understanding of self, or of the world, or just to provide a kind of healing to the stresses of abuse, insecurities, or everyday situations. It is a form of therapy that I am not sure that everyone who participates is even conscious of. Do writers who write recognize a form of healing from the process? Perhaps that is something we may explore in great depth at a later time. “What drives you to write? What makes you write? What kind of stain does having written a piece leave on you?” These are questions you may feel free to respond to at your own leisure; it will be interesting to see what our answers are to these questions.

In the meantime, below is an excerpt from a piece on Journal Therapy that may be of assistance in the exploration of this topic. This article first appeared in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mind-Body Medicine, The Rosen Group, accessed from http://www.journaltherapy.com. ©1999 Kathleen Adams. I hope it is of help to you in your writing endeavors. Enjoy 🙂

The Philosophy of Journal Therapy

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg

In the 1980s many public school systems began formally using journals in English classes and across the curricula as well. These journals, often called “dialogue” or “response” journals, offered a way for students to develop independent thinking skills and gave teachers a method for responding directly to students with individual feedback. Although the intention for classroom journals was educational rather than therapeutic, teachers noticed that a simple assignment to reflect on an academic question or problem often revealed important information about the student’s emotional life. Students often reported feeling a relief of pressure and tension when they could write down troubling events or confusing thoughts or feelings.

Journal Therapy in Practice

large

Although there are many psychotherapists who incorporate journal therapy into their sessions by assigning written “homework,” there are relatively few who specialize in journal therapy. Therapists who utilize journal writing in a session often begin by asking the client to write a short “check-in” paragraph or two on “what’s going on” — how the client is feeling, what s/he wants to work on in the session, and what’s happening in her/his life that impacts the therapeutic work at hand. This writing is usually shared with the therapist, and an “agenda” for the session is set. The therapist then guides the client through a writing exercise designed to address the therapeutic issues or tasks that the client has brought forward in the check-in or warm-up write. This writing usually takes about 10 minutes, and the remainder of the session is spent with the client and therapist exploring the information revealed in the longer write. The session generally concludes with the therapist offering several suggestions for journal “homework” to be completed between sessions. Journal therapy is also very effective in groups, and it is common for group members to establish a sense of deep community as writings representing authentic expressions of self are shared.

Benefits of Journal Therapy

It is believed that by recording and describing the salient issues in one’s life, one can better understand these issues and eventually diagnose problems that stem from them. Journal therapy has been used effectively for grief and loss; coping with life-threatening or chronic illness; recovery from addictions, eating disorders and trauma; repairing troubled marriages and family relationships; increasing communication skills; developing healthier self-esteem; getting a better perspective on life; and clarifying life goals.

Inside The Walking Dead

blogbanner_zombieprep_560x140-green

I hope you’re not the kind of person to believe everything you watch on the news. At the same time, I hope you’re not the kind of person who thinks everything is a coincidence with no connection to your world. I really hope that you’re not the kind of person who lives in a box, where only certain things are capable of fitting. Everything else is, well, too far-fetched. It is too far removed from your four corners, too much on the crazy side, too fictitious. But as the subtitle states, truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

With the new season of The Walking Dead kicking off, I know that many of you anticipate being entertained. I know that you anxiously await your weekly fix. You wish nothing but to yell at Rick’s decisions. As for The Strain, your hoping the Stragoy hasn’t really gotten away. And with Halloween just around the corner, TWD is right on time. But in all seriousness these are not just TV shows. If you pay attention, very similar events are happening right here in your back yard. Unless of course you live under a rock, in which case you can stop reading now.

Otherwise, let’s start with the synopsis of each show:

The Walking Dead

1217-walking-dead-amc-3Waking up in an empty hospital after weeks in a coma, County Sheriff Rick Grimes finds himself utterly alone. The world as he knows it is gone, ravaged by a zombie epidemic. The Walking Dead tells the story of the weeks and months that follow after the apocalypse. Based on Robert Kirkman’s hugely successful and popular comic book series, AMC’s The Walking Dead is an epic, edge-of-your-seat drama where personal struggles are magnified against a backdrop of moment-to-moment survival. A survivalist story at its core, the series explores how the living are changed by the overwhelming realization that those who survive can be far more dangerous than the mindless walkers roaming the earth. They themselves have become the walking dead.

The Strain

strainA Boeing 767 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold. In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing. So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city – a city that includes his wife and son – before it is too late.

In both TV shows, the CDC (Centers For Disease Control) has knowledge of a zombie like virus that eventually ensues and becomes an enemy of mankind, turning them into Zombies (or Vampires). The process usually begins with a virus that produces flu-like symptoms, such as fevers, ending in death with the eventual reanimation of the corpse.

“Are you prepared for the impending zombie invasion?”

The Centers for Disease Control posed this question back in 2011 as part of an emergency preparedness program:

“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,” the posting reads. “Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for “flesh-eating zombies” much like how they appeared in Hollywood hits like “Night of the Living Dead” and video games like Resident Evil. Perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you’d take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic.

While the tone is friendly, and suggests “Zombie Apocalypse” is used as a gimmick to tap into an audience already obsessed with them on TV, it would however become one of many warnings put out by The CDC over the span of a few years. The following year, 2012, The CDC and Homeland Security brought the Zombie Apocalypse back to life:

“The Homeland Security Department warned citizens on Thursday that the “zombies are coming,” and urged them to be ready for a walking-dead apocalypse, The Associated Press reported.The zombie “warning” is part of a public health campaign calling for citizens to be ready for disaster — to know to stock up on food, batteries and water, and to keep extra changes of clothes and medication on hand.”

Again, the tone is humorous and the article warns that Zombie Apocalypse is actually used as part of an emergency preparedness program to help people to be ready for any disaster. It is understood to be a metaphor for emergency preparedness while capitalizing on AMC’s The Walking Dead. But, is this true? I would certainly think so, however I also believe there is much more taking place than CDC warnings of a Zombie Apocalypse. There has also been Zombie-Like activity running alongside these warnings:

Naked Man Chews Other Guy’s Face, Shot Dead by Cops

eatfacesuspect3242

In May of 2012, a Miami man chewed another man’s face off:

“In a grisly attack that resembled something out of a horror movie, a naked man was discovered in downtown Miami on Saturday, May 26, in the process of chewing off the face of another man. The attacker, who had already devoured the victim’s eyes, nose and ears, growled at a police officer, who shot him several times after numerous orders to desist. The victim was left fighting for his life, with 75% of his face missing. “The guy was like tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, ‘Get off!’ ” the cyclist, Larry Vega, told Miami’s WSVN 7 News. “The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like ripping his skin.”

Two Zombie Attacks in Texas In Two Days, Zombie Plague Spreads

8133668_f520“On Saturday June 22, 2013 a man who’s friends said he was high on synthetic pot went wild and crazy. He stripped off his clothes and ran around the house on his all fours like an animal growling and screaming. At one point one of his friends locked the back glass screen door when the man went outside and the man screamed and then leaped through the locked screen door through the glass in the upper part of the door. He cut his chest and legs badly and was bleeding badly. He was scooping up his own blood with his hands and pushing it into his own mouth eating it. His friends terrier dog came into the kitchen and the screaming man beat the dog down with his fists and then tore it apart and ate it hair and all. Before the police and paramedics arrived on the scene the man had consumed most of the little terrier dog.”

Strangely enough, this exact scenario was played out for you on the world stage when an episode of The Strain depicted a man, overtaken by the Zombie virus, had eaten parts of his dog.

Second Zombie Attack Sunday June 23 , 2013, Houston Texas

8133672_f520

“Police were called to a house on the south side of Houston Texas early on Sunday morning and they found a scene right out of a horror movie. The first officers on the scene said that Otty Sanchez a Mexican Female and a citizen of Mexico was setting on the couch with her throat slashed and bad cuts to her hands and arms. She was screaming and when they finally figured it out she was saying she had killed and eaten part of her 18 month old little boy. A search of the bedroom confirmed this. Police were also able to figure out that the knife wounds on the woman were self inflicted and that some of them were really bad knife wounds.”

But this is just another coincidence. Maybe The CDC is using the Zombie Apocalypse as a metaphor for emergency preparedness. Or maybe not:

Face Eating Attack In China: ‘Dong,’ Drunken Bus Driver, Allegedly Bites Woman ‘Du’s’ Nose, Lips

s-CHINA-FACE-EATING-large

A woman has been hospitalized in China after a drunken bus driver allegedly attacked her and began gnawing on her face.

The woman, identified as “Du,” was driving near a bus station in Wenzhou on Tuesday when a man ran into the street, blocking her car. The man, a bus driver identified as “Dong,” allegedly climbed onto the hood of Du’s car and began hitting the windshield, according to the Malaysia Chronicle.

Du got out of the car, and allegedly Dong tackled her to the ground, where he began chewing on her face, according to Shanghai Daily. Witnesses say they attempted to pull Dong off of her, but were unable to do so.

Lollapalooza reveller bitten in ‘zombie like’ attack by stranger at Arctic Monkeys gig

“A man has been bitten in a ‘zombie like’ attack during an Arctic Monkeys gig. Ben Lenet was bitten in what police claim is a vicious and unprovoked attack on the first night of the annual Chicago music festival Lollapalooza, which drew crowds of 100,000 people. The music fan is now receiving treatment to ward off infection and HIV. In scenes similar to those on The Walking Dead, Lenet and his friends were watching the band as they were attacked as a group by the ‘zombie’ in question. In efforts to restrain the attacker, who had started choking a member of their group, Lenet put his arm on the man only for him to bite back. He turns around and clamps his teeth into my left forearm,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s fully clamped, he’s coming at me. He’s ripping at me, he was trying to bite through my arm.” The 29-year-old has taken to Reddit to detail the attack and try and root out the assailant in order to try and stop any further attacks saying “I don’t want him to do this to anyone else.”

The Virus

1413502436123_wps_7_No_Merchandising_Editoria
In the TV series The Walking Dead, the characters live in a world overrun by zombies—specifically, zombies caused by a mysterious virus that has apparently infected everyone in the population. The living carries the virus, but when someone dies—whether quickly after being bitten by a “walker”, a human or more slowly due to natural causes—the result is the same: After death, everyone is reanimated as a bloodthirsty zombie.That’s because, as is revealed, the virus is airborne.

Walker - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 2The principle that all living people are already infected with the zombie virus was introduced in Season 2 during an adventure to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where the only remaining CDC scientist—Edwin Jenner—informed Rick of this fact. To date, this revelation has been the central plot point in every Zombie movie / TV show since then in terms of Public Health. “Coincidentally”, The CDC is always at the forefront of combating a virus that starts by giving people flu-like symptoms before turning them into Zombies. We can go over and over again with article after article, news report after news report of people exhibiting Zombie-Like behavior in the real world. Even if you choose not to believe it, it is a fact that people are going around eating other people in strangely similar ways to the Zombies we see on TV, usually beginning from a Virus.

Ebola and The Strain

Corey Stoll as Dr. Ephraim Eph Goodweather performing tests in The Strain Season 1 Episode 2 The Box

One of the most obvious examples of fiction and its depiction of real life is the current Ebola virus and the TV show that “conveniently” just ended, The Strain. As previously recounted The Strain, according to FX, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. The people fall into a deep sleep, like they’re dead, and wake up as a new creature.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. According to WHO, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. It is a virus that gives people flu-like symptoms before killing them.

On September 24th, Monrovia, Liberia-based newspaper The New Dawn published an article regarding an unusual occurrence in Nimba County. According to the local news source, two deceased victims of Ebola had mysteriously come back to life just prior to their burials. The strange and sudden resurrection of two Ebola patients had naturally frightened local residents. The story has since then been debunked as false, however, is it really? Have any of us ever actually been over to Liberia since this happened? How do we know it’s false? Oh, I get it, it’s not American Certified. It comes from another country so surely it’s not real.

I began this article by expressing my hope that you are not someone who believes everything you see on the news. Likewise, I equally hope you are not living under a rock. There are many more people with this virus than they’re telling you there are and it is much more serious in Africa than they show you it is. In The Strain, the disease restructures the genetic make-up into that of a new creature; in other words it changes the genetic code. For this reason, the bodies cannot be buried the same way regular bodies are buried, they have to be burned and the head must be severed from the body because it is the strain disease that carries the virus. Likewise, Ebola patients cannot be buried normally, their bodies must be burned:

Ebola bodies must be cremated rather than buried, says Liberia government

“The bodies of Ebola victims must be cremated rather than buried, the government of Liberia has ordered. Hundreds of troops were sent to the capital Monrovia as fears rose over the killer virus being spread through touching the bodies – the local tradition at funerals. Fights broke out between health workers and residents trying to bury another 20 victims yesterday. A further 17 bodies have been found dumped on the streets.

It is very possible that Ebola carries the Zombie-Like Virus and this is why the bodies must be cremated so that the bodies are not reanimated.

1413502104235_wps_2_The_CDC_ran_a_social_mediThe Media

Of course the media is going to make every story attract a lot more attention for the sake of ratings, after all, this is a business. But that’s just surface information I’m sure we’re all familiar with by now. 9/11 has been proven to have deficiencies in relation to the motive behind it, the alleged “terrorist attack” thing,  but that doesn’t mean the deaths are fake. It doesn’t mean people did not lose their lives and that it didn’t have a dramatic effect on the life you live today. It just means the purpose behind their deaths is different than what is shown on the television as to why they died. Just because we know the TV shows and News broadcasts seek ratings doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay close attention to what’s going on around us. I’m sure CNN profited off the Trayvon Martin Case (I’m sure his parents and Al Sharpton did as well), but that doesn’t mean a young man did not die. Nothing is actually irrelevant in this world.  Sure, there are lots of distractions yes, but it is not irrelevant in the full scope of things.

the-strainebola-disease1

Finally, the Ebola Virus looks strangely similar to The Strain virus. Or maybe this is just yet another major coincidence, I’m crazy, and the CDC’s issuing of Zombie-Apocalypse Preparedness tactics has absolutely nothing to do with the CDC’s overwhelming presence in almost every Zombie movie / TV show around today.

*************************************************

Flashback: CDC warned Americans in 2011 about brain-eating corpses and said ‘If you’re ready for a Zombie Apocalypse, you’re ready for any emergency’

  • CDC spent staff time organizing a ‘Zombie Preparedness’ website and creating a graphic novella
  • ‘That’s right,’ a CDC website read. ‘I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this’
  • Tom Frieden, the embattled CDC director, helmed the agency in 2011 when the campaign went – ahem – viral
  • Frieden is the subject of several resignation demands since his agency fumbled the first three Ebola cases diagnosed on U.S. soil

To Powerblog or not to Powerblog…that is the question!

Message to the Blog Owner:
I’m writing this post because like you, I care about the productivity of my blog and its basic upkeep. My purpose may be different than yours, but we have each decided to be part of a public online community. If you don’t care about reaching out to people, don’t build a blog, buy a diary. But…I digress…

 

I don’t have a long blogume. That’s a completely made up word for blogging resume. In the past I’ve held a total of four blogs including this one. The first one was with blogspot and it was real amateur. Amateur because I don’t have any other way to describe how whack it was (I don’t even remember the name). Then I held down a position with The Aftermath Blog, created after I published my first novel, The Aftermath. It did a lot better than the first one. I was able to reach out and connect to readers and receive useful feedback. I was even able to hustle a few reviews out the mix. I believe that had I held on a bit longer it may have still been here, but I pretty much got bored with it. Then there was ahouseofpoetry and ThePBSblog. I don’t consider myself an expert on these matters and I’m not someone who researched this in a book and can give a sophisticated analysis (whatever that is), but I do have an opinion to share on power blogging based simply on observation.

 

I assume the definition of “PowerBlogging” is to blog at least once a day or more, I could be wrong, but I have my own definition anyway.

I think “Blogging” should consist of updating your blog at least once a day, only missing a day or so in-between if need be. PowerBlogging, it seems, should be defined as updating a blog more than once a day, and can range anywhere from 2-3 posts a day, to a stream of posts that come in pretty much all day. The difference is pretty much based on common sense. A blog is a social networking forum to which people can interact with an online community based on various themes (my definition). Someone may create a blog because they feel like it. Someone else may want to air their dirty laundry in public so it becomes a public diary (don’t care, that’s your business). Some may actually have an agenda they’re pushing. Others may want to just promote a book, or showcase their writing in general. Whatever the reason, blogs are different than regular websites because they are interactive. Though bloggers can acquire domain names, the title “blog” I think, sets it apart from a regular website that you would actually purchase product from or that is used as advertisement for whatever business. Businesses can surely have blogs, but I think a blog differs in that it allows people to interact, follow, like, and comment. For this reason blogs are social media outlets, it just gives you more room to write, and possess much more flexibility than Facebook. But because blogs are what they are, it only makes sense to stay engaged.

 

I’m not going to define blog success. I don’t think it is restricted to any particular definition. Based on your reasoning for building a blog, that should define how you look at its success, period. I don’t believe any big brains can come along and tell me how successful or unsuccessful my blog is. I do believe however, that the individual blog owner is responsible for making sure there is fresh content for the reader. True enough, every follower is not going to be attracted to every post. True enough, every follower is not going to agree with every post. And true enough, every follower is not going to like or comment on every post. Every post may not even gain you any additional followers (that’s a different topic because then we’re getting into the whole work aspect). But if you work hard at something eventually you’ll begin to see the results of that labor. Already I see that the difference between ThePBSblog and my other blogs is the time I’ve dedicated to it, and it has already made it much more successful (on one level), than the others. Every post is written for a reason, to which not all of them are verbally acknowledged by readers. I’ve read many poems and posts on blogs that I have never made the owner aware of that inspired me (I will…eventually). Yet, inspiring me is a reaction even if you don’t know it. To make a very long story short, you never know how many people you reach who are just observing. There is a reader out there for everyone and someone who will understand your message.

 

People have a number of reasons for following your blog (that’s another reason I don’t think one person can give a general definition of what makes for a successful blogger. Follower count can be deceiving, but so can dashboard data). Some people are glued to your content, but some would just like to see your posts pop up in their e-mails or readers just in case there’s something tasty they wanna try. Some just liked one thing you said and decided your worth adding to the guest list. Others may have followed you simply because they like the way you designed your site. They may not agree with the words on the wall, but they love the interior design, which can be of help to a blogger looking to redecorate (I speak from experience. I once followed someone’s blog because their design included some of my favorite colors. They have long redecorated, but I ended up really enjoying their content. So see, you never know 🙂 ). No matter the reason, everyone has a different reason for following someone. Not everyone just wanna add someone to the reader, not everyone just wanna get post emails, and not everyone just enjoy staring at the pictures, but some people actually look forward to your posts. For this reason, I think it’s only logical to try and stay as updated and engaged as possible. For me personally, if I follow you it means something. And while a bombardment of email alerts from your blog can be annoying, at the same time it lets me know that you’re alive. Otherwise it’s easy for me to forget that you exist. Even if I don’t click on your post, at least I’ll see your name pop up every now and again as a reminder.

 

Blogging is not everything, at least not to me. I’m a woman of balance so Blogging is not my life (I have other things to do) but it is an important piece of the puzzle that I have allowed to occupy space here. It is a part of my day that I have allowed to withhold some of my time, because I think the purpose (to spread truth and inspiration through innovation and creativity) is worth putting my energy into. It is not my whole world, but it is a small piece of the world that I have allowed to exist around me. When I feel like I have accomplished what I set out to accomplish, I will retire this portion of my life. That said, I think Powerblogging can be successful if you are willing to look at is as a job. It doesn’t have to be your primary job, and it doesn’t even have to be a big part of your day, but if you can look at it as a form of employment, then you’ll see how important it is to stay engaged on one level or another.

 

So, to Powerblog or not to Powerblog?

 
Based on my definition, I think bloggers should at least blog; keep the content as fresh as possible.

 
I don’t think Powerblogging to the extreme of out staying my welcome on your readers and emails is a route I wanna take, but I do believe staying as closely updated as possible is necessary to build a strong online community.

Guest Feature: Waiting for Someone – Lamar Jorden

“Somewhere
In the Northwest region of Seattle Washington
There’s a homeless man, armed with a beer can
Trying to drink away war memories
Waiting for someone
Self-less enough to lend him an ear
He sits on the side of a Pizzeria on the corner of Queen Ann and Mercer
In a chair, they probably kick him out of after business hours
His skin
Has grown all too fond of the concrete beds that he rest his shell-shocked head on
His braggadocios body
rocks back and forth showing off to the world the only gifts war veterans ever receive
He addresses me, “Ey lil Bra, you got a dollar?”
Without even checkin my pockets I tell him, “I aint got it”.
Having anticipated this appointment he responds with,
“That’s fine, cause I really wanted a 20.”
Amazed, not that he still knows what humor is,

but that is one of the few possessions that the war actually let him keep, I laugh
Before digging into my coat pocket filled with a ton of change I’ll probably never use
He lets me know that more than a 20, what he really wanted was a conversation
And takes my 75 cent donation as an invitation to start one
Without offering much space for me to converse,

he lets me know how in this country,
war veterans are rarely anything more
Than patriotic flies on a wall
And that for all these people to ignore his request
Is just as second nature as swatting at a pest
I guess
None of them realize that here lie their tax dollars at work
His body jerks
To the percussion of his bones
Dancing to the song of post-traumatic stress syndrome
How wrong
Is it of humans to lack humanity
Demanding he keep his lips locked but
Possess the audacity to ask where he got his army cap on
To think it’s a trigger you can purchase at a gift shop he tells me
That they’ve labeled him as crazy and they say

he has to take medicine called percadine but the one time he took it
It made him high so why would he continue when it makes his mind worse with time
It seems like the perfect crime
Having people fight for a country that won’t fight for them
The goal
Was for one of those countries to take his life from him
And the opposing country failed when he
Returned to civilization but
The home country would succeed by stripping him of his home
How long
Will this be the standard in this country?
Where if war doesn’t kill you
They distill you
Sending you back home just to rot and mildew
the phrase
“War is good for absolutely nothing”, is still true
Before he lets me go,
he tells me
that he wants to die.
And I see the tear-shaped white flag surrender from his eye
I give him a pound
Before digging back into my coat pockets surrendering

the rest of the change I found.
I tell him I have to go
Cause there’s a white man, screaming at me through traffic
Waiting for me to end this conversation
There’s a young lady at a bar and grill across the street
Waiting for me to join her for dinner
And there’s a poem
Scratching at the insides of my soul
Waiting for me
To tell this story.”

Copyright Lamar Jorden

 

Let’s Make Music

Retro microphone on stage in restaurant. Blurred background

I wanna make music
tonight
I wanna sing
for you
Don’t ask me to metaphor into bunny rabbits
cause I ain’t up here to do tricks for you
I am up here to sing
for you
I am here
to make music
to make
melody
you ask me
why I don’t show my face
why my performance can’t be seen by yo physical eyes
but this here aint no show
I got no tricks of the trade to show you
these words aint cropped to fit your opinion
they aint photo shopped to enhance your feelings
but I know how visual you people are
how you wonder about signs and wonders
so you wonder
why I won’t baptize my poetry
behind the lens of your cameras
have I fallen from the horse of couplets and closed forms?
maybe
I’ve just C-sectioned my Spoken Word to reveal my insides
besides
I’ve got to have some kind of gut
to stand up here and strip for you
just let me be real for you
let me calm you
let these words heal you
and let’s make music
a cleft
a time signature
a note
a rest
a song
a stepping stone
to play just the right scripture
to guide us back to the music sheet
just let me stand here
let me be here
and
just let me sing
for you