All Blogs Must Pass

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To every post (churn, churn, churn)
There is a season (churn, churn, churn)
And a time to every bloggy purpose, under heaven
A time to be write, a time to cry
A time to edit,  a time to die, words, die!
A time to be wracked with self-doubt, a time to heal
A time to alienate your entire family so you can waste precious time to write a post no one will ever read

Hey gang! There is still a gang out there, right? Hellllllllllloooooooooooo?

This year was my blog’s seventh anniversary. I was a spirited 39-year-old when I started She’s a Maineiac and now I’m still 39 so shut the hell up.

It’s been seven frigging years and I still, STILL! feel compelled to post crap at least once a month, much to my own chagrin. I feel like my blog has pretty much died a long slow death.  Or maybe it’s just in a coma and waiting for someone to wake it up so it will have amnesia and start over again with a new personality.  I like that idea! Hey, it worked for Sandra Bullock!
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C’mon, Darla! Wake the f*** up! Also, you look like shit.
Let’s take a groovy-graphy trip down my so-called bloggy life’s past to see how things evolved over time….

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As we all know, everything has a purpose and a season under heaven.  I think it was George Harrison who once said, all things must pass. Or maybe it was Dr. Oz talking about constipation. We all know that life is an endless cycle of life, death, rebirth, and more life and more death and you get the picture.

The cool thing about a cycle is it can start fresh again, it can be reborn! Like my snazzy graph below illustrates….

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So, it appears I’m back to writing for only me again. Yikes. My blog readers have pretty much vanished. Blogs are dead. Disco is dead. Elvis is alive and well in an underground bunker in Albuquerque. This is good and bad. Lately, it seems I have forgotten how to write. I have that thing you get when you….what’s that called again?

But I do love to write for myself. Sure, I’ve started to rehash ideas and tend to do the same post over and over again and maybe I won’t ever get the level of readership I once had years ago. And maybe the grammar police will always be lurking around every dangling particle. And yes, I have no clue what that even means. I don’t care! I’m too old to care anymore! This is my place! I get to do whatever the heck I want here, gosh darnit! If you don’t like my blog, good riddance!

 

But you’ll stick around, right?

If you’re still here, tell me in the comments below about your blogging career. Did you make oodles of money and gain boundless fame? Or just a bigger ass like me?

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Sequoia

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I dreamed of shadows and sheltered things

beneath the tree with golden leaves.

Today the mighty trunk sliced bare as bone,

the rings rough and splintered,

you take my hand as we count the lives together.

A thousand deaths, a thousand loves,

a thousand circles bound us with frayed fibers,

spinning its thread, the splinters cut deep.

Now and then at the wound’s core,

the sapling sprouts from a single seed,

always yearning and always bending toward love’s light,

free of pain again,

under the sequoia tree.

 

 

 

Bigly News!

I’ve been coughing up posts for this blog for almost seven years now — for free and with absolutely zero chance of ever gaining any real success or exposure beyond the 200 pathetic cats that read my drivel.

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Well, that’s about to change.

I’ve just received news through my agent that Melissa McCarthy has signed on to produce a TV Land series based on my blog. Remember the failed TV show, Sh*t My Dad Says starring William Shatner that was based on some guy’s twitter feed? Yeah — this one will actually be good.

The tentative title: The Bad Blogger

The synopsis: The show will follow the life and times of WordPress blogger Marla — a middle-aged, bitter, grade-A crank who is doomed to live in a frozen tundra teeming with Maineiac assholes. She longs to make it as a successful writer, only to be served a big, fat, steaming pile of failure time and again. After much soul-searching, coffee brandy, and the occasional cigar, she finally finds her purpose by posting funny cat videos to her blog followers.

I’ve watched the above video about 152 times and laugh harder each time. What kills me is the look on the white cat’s face when she realizes she didn’t ring the bell hard enough, and the other cat is getting the food but she’s getting bupkis. That look? That’s my face. Every day of my life. Where’s my damn kibble?!

All pissed-off cats and nobody-bloggers-like-me-who-will-never-have-any-real-success-thanks-for-nothing-Melissa-McCarthy aside…I love April Fools’ Day. Two of my favorite pranks I’ve pulled over the years include:

  • Wrapping a huge spool of twine around my brother’s friend’s car, encasing it completely. Took him hours to unwind it. During a blizzard. After he  had just finished a brutal 10 hour shift at work. Hilarious.
  • Telling my boss my husband and my co-worker’s husband were both caught cheating on us — with each other. This was an elaborate prank that involved several people and we managed to keep it going all day long — and my boss believed every bit of it. Hysterical.

So, in the spirit of being mean for a cheap laugh, so far today I gave my kids a spoon in a bowl of milk and cereal…that I froze solid the night before. Later, I’m swapping out the mayonnaise for vanilla pudding.

My husband told me this morning right after I woke up that he got an email stating our health insurance premium is going up to 852 bucks a month. Then he let out a cackle and said “APRIL FOOLS!”

I didn’t think it was funny.

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What sort of devilish pranks have you pulled? Let me know so I can use them next year.

So you want to be a blogger

Sometimes I receive emails from newbie bloggers asking me stuff like:

“Hey, Darla! How in the hell did your blog get to be sort-of-but-not-really popular? Why on earth do you have as many followers as Danny Bonaduce’s Twitter account*? You ain’t no big thang! Please explain.”

As I’m sure Danny “The Dooch Man” Bonaduce would tell you — it takes pure luck plus the perfect amount of narcissism mixed with self-loathing to become this mediocre.

True dat.
True dat.

If I had to pick one thing that helped skyrocket this blog into “eh-dom”, it would be the day my post about getting my hair cut was picked by a WordPress editor for Freshly Pressed back in the days of bloggy yore, circa 2010. Soon people all over this great land of ours were leaving me comments like, “Nice post” and “Please visit my blog at buttmunch.com!” It was a magical time. My stats climbed (then plummeted) and my ego exploded (then imploded). Messy.

Still I was convinced my little post was picked at random and that’s because it was. Random. It had to be because what good writer ends their sentences with the word ‘was’? Or even worse, I’m thinking a WordPress editor was in the middle of cleaning her keyboard of doughnut dust and accidently typed in the words “bad hair Darla” to find me.

Then for some odd reason WordPress put me under “recommended family”. This led many family-oriented people to my blog. Yet I had this burning desire to occasionally swear and write about broken asses. Write what you know and all that bull. I followed my bloggy dreams and never looked back. Over the years I’ve dropped hints for WP to switch me to humor but they insist I’m never funny. Fine, I’ll be a friggin “mommy blogger”. But I’ll be damned if I blog in torn yoga pants and a shirt covered in mac-n-cheese with my hair all a mess and oh yeah, right … I guess I am a mommy blogger. Damn it all to hell.

So it was a bit of luck that got this blog going. But then I took that luck and ran with it. And ran and ran and ran. Then I sat down again because I was winded and by golly, I blogged and blogged and churned out endless heaps of ridiculous posts, up to and including this one. To be honest, it does take a fair amount of blood, sweat and wine for me to crank out this shit. I don’t just sit down and spew words onto my laptop. (current post excluded)

So, you also want to be a “famous-in-your-own-mind” blogger?

Here’s what I’ve learned in my five years at WordPress:

  • Less is more. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m talking to you)
  • Wrong is right. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m not talking to you)
  • Just write. Who cares what a reader might think?
  • Always care what a reader might think.
  • If it makes you laugh or cry, it’s good enough to post.
  • People will get offended. They’ll think you’re being serious. Holding up a sign might help.

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  • Bullet point lists are the key to any good post.
  • Self-deprecating humor usually works because it sounds like “self-defecating” and who doesn’t want to see someone else shit all over themselves? Fun.
  • Find your voice.
  • Keep your voice even if you have to break all the rules. We’re not writing for The New York Times. Yet.
  • When your voice is hoarse, rest. Don’t force it. It’ll come back again.
  • Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Sleep, sleep, sleep.**
  • Have fun. Play nice. Be good.
  • (Wait — that’s what I told my kids yesterday on their first day of school, sorry.)

Fellow bloggers — any other advice you’d give a newbie? Besides “you’ll never make a dime blogging so you might as well give up now?”

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*Danny actually has 25,000 followers. This means you probably shouldn’t be taking advice from a blogger with half the followers of someone who calls himself The Dooch Man.

**I really like sleeping.

Let’s Play the Lying Game!

I am such a good liar!

…or am I?

As a writer, I’ve got a good imagination so I like to make stuff up. I’ve been known to elaborate a little when I remember a past story from my life. If I were to give a rough estimate, I’d say about 99.99% of my posts are complete BS. Yep, I made it all up.

Nah, I’m kidding! It was all true! See how good I am at lying?

So do you think you can spot a lie? Time for the misremembering game that’s sweeping our nation –

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I lied. It’s really time for three truths and a lie. Damn, I’m good.

The following are a few short stories about things that really happened in my life. Really, I swear!

Your job is to figure out which one of the following tales is a lie. Give your answer in the comments. I’ll reveal the lie one week from today.  If you get it right you’ll have a chance to win a signed copy of Stephen King’s latest book Revival!

I lied again.  (Sorry but I’m not on speaking terms with good ol’ Steve-o anymore, ahem.) But you WILL win the right to sing “liar liar pants on fire” at the computer screen — just as good, amirite?

OK, fine — I’ll randomly pick from the winning guesses (who reside in the US, preferably within 5 miles of the nearest snowmobile trail) and mail that lucky person a copy of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please.* (and yes, I’m being serious now)

STORY #1

One foggy summer night back in 1997, I was driving home from work on a desolate country road. Suddenly a voice sliced through my thoughts:

TURN OFF THE RADIO.

I sat straight up in my seat, the hairs on the back of my neck prickling. I switched off the radio.

MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO CARS IN ONCOMING LANE, the voice commanded.

I peered out at the road, my headlights illuminating a blur of dark pine trees racing past as I zipped along the curves of route 136. Before I had a chance to process why I was hallucinating, another demand:

SLOW DOWN NOW.

Without questioning, I did as I was instructed.  While rounding a sharp corner, I braked and slowed down to 50 mph. Suddenly a dark mass filled my windshield. I slammed on the brakes, my car skidding for several yards into the oncoming lane.  But it was too late, the sudden impact crushed the front of my little Ford Fiesta. I violently slammed forward then backward in my seat, severely twisting my back and neck.

I had hit a moose.

Somehow I managed to drive a short distance to find a phone and call the police (I didn’t have a cell phone back then). Sadly, the moose didn’t survive. But everyone from the cops to the mechanics to the insurance agent told me I was lucky to be alive at all because most people are killed instantly when the moose sails through the windshield. If I were going any faster, I wouldn’t be here right now telling you this story.

Was the voice I thought I heard my own intuition? Or God? A guardian angel? Whatever or whoever it was, there’s no doubt it saved my life.

STORY #2

Our current house was haunted for a time. Lights would turn off and on, TV channels would change by themselves. I’d put something down in the kitchen only to turn around and find it missing. Once my entire family watched as a glass bowl slid straight off the kitchen counter by itself and onto the floor, shattering into pieces.

Sometimes at night I’d feel the faint sensation of someone sitting on the edge of my bed. Once while I was still wide awake,  someone tapped my feet. I thought it was one of my kids so I sat up to peer into the darkness only to find no one was there.

I decided to ask a psychic friend of mine to “channel” the spirit for me. According to her, he was an old farmer who had lived in the 1950s near the very spot where our house now stood. She said he was searching for his tools because he used to fix tractors out in his shed, and this is why we’d find things misplaced. Why did he insist on haunting us? Apparently while alive he wasn’t a spiritual man and therefore wasn’t accepting he was truly dead.

She suggested I politely tell the ghost to “go outside because his tools weren’t in our house”. As silly as it sounds, I did this several times out loud. “Hey, farmer man!” I yelled in between giggles to the empty room. “Sorry, but your tools aren’t here! You can go outside now! Oh — and go towards the light! Thanks and good luck!”

A few days later it seemed to have worked. The air was clearer, no longer heavy with a spirit’s presence. The strange electricity occurrences and creepy nighttime visits disappeared. Our farmer was gone. Maybe he finally found his tractor tools outside in the shed? I chuckled to myself.

The following week my mom who lives right next door called me on the phone. “It’s the oddest thing,” she said. “I think my house is haunted. Someone moved all of the utensils around in the kitchen and the lights keep going on and off!”

Oops.

STORY #3

Back in my 20s, I used to hike at Wolfe Neck State Park off the coast of Freeport, Maine. One overcast day, I invited my mother to come along. We parked our car and started down a long winding trail in the woods that led to the ocean.

We heard a car pulling in, so I glanced behind me and noticed a man jogging in our direction. As he passed us further on down the trail, he took off his shirt and disappeared around the bend. An unsettling feeling washed over me but I shook it off. My mother and I continued our walk, admiring the stillness of the forest and the soft crashing of the waves in the distance.

We rounded a corner and there was the man again. Only this time he was holding his clothes in his hands — all of them. Standing there completely naked, he held up his hands, revealing a very sad and direct view of his nether regions.

“Do you ladies know the time?” he asked, like it was perfectly normal question.

My blood ran cold. I panicked, unsure of what to do next. Was this really happening? Is he going to do something else now? Should I scream or run?

Thankfully, I didn’t have time to figure out my next move because my mom disarmed the entire situation by bursting into incredulous laughter. “Time? TIME?” she yelled.  “I think time is the least of your worries, buddy!”

Suddenly appearing embarrassed, the man covered himself up and looked down at the ground.

My mother and I hustled down the path past him unsure of what to do next. When he was out of sight, we quickly make our way back to the parking lot using another path which turned out to be the longest hike of my life. We immediately told the park gatekeeper what happened.  A police officer soon arrived to take down our names and all the details.

“Can you describe the suspect?” he asked.

“Well, we sure as hell weren’t looking at his face, if that’s what your asking!” my mom sneered in disgust.

A few days later, I opened the local newspaper and gasped. Apparently, The Mid Coast Flasher was nabbed, his reign of terror finally over. For months he’d successfully flashed several other women at various spots up and down the coast. His signature move? Asking for the time.  Studying his mug shot, I had only one thought.:

Oh, so THAT’S what he looks like!

STORY #4

image: completelycoastal.com

Around 1998, the movie “Message in a Bottle” starring Paul Newman, Kevin Costner and Robin Wright was filmed off the coast of Maine at Popham Beach, not far from where I lived in the tourist trap outlet town of Freeport.

My house was right next to L.L.Bean’s main retail store,  so most summer nights my younger brother, Chris and I would sit on a park bench downtown to eat a Ben & Jerry’s cone and people watch.

One muggy night in August, we bought our cones and sat down on the bench next to an old man wearing a NY Yankees baseball hat. He responded to our presence by grunting under his breath and pulling the cap down over his eyes.

Minutes ticked by as Chris and I giggled and chatted, both of us noticing the tourist growing more agitated by our conversation.

“Holy shit!” the old man suddenly growled. “Isn’t there anything to do in this godforsaken town but sit and eat goddamn ice cream? Jesus!”

I turned my head and looked straight into a pair of unmistakable baby blue eyes now glaring back at me from underneath the baseball cap.

No, it couldn’t be him! …could it?

Before we had a chance to respond, another man walked up holding two cones. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?” he smiled at us.

“Um….y-yeah….” I stuttered.

The man then turned his attention to the crabby codger on the bench. “Chunky Monkey, right, Paul?”

“Just give it to me for chrissakes,” he grumbled, grabbing his cone. We watched in disbelief as the two men strolled off into the night.

And that was the day I met both Kevin Costner and Paul Newman.

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Okay! Wow. I’ve lived quite the exciting life, huh?

So what’s the lie? Is it

1) The Voice Saves Darla
2) Ghost Farmer Relocates
3) Flasher Needs A Watch
4) Paul Newman Was One Grumpy Chunky Monkey

If you guys all guess correctly, well then…maybe I should practice lying more?

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*If no one guesses correctly I reserve the right to read Amy’s book myself while gloating about how I’m such a good liar.

Happy [insert holiday here]!

Hey guys! Whassup?

It’s time to get down and funky….

“It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone….ba-da-ba-da-ba-daaaaa….”

I’m writing this post because:

1) I wanted to see if I forgot how to write (looks like I did)
2) I missed you guys.
3) I needed a distraction from reading online all about how 2014 was the “Year of the Booty.”

I think this is the most serious case of writer’s block I’ve ever had. What is my problem lately? Why am I having a hard time writing? I can’t even get past the new-fangled wordpress dashboard/stats page. I went to create a new post just now and panicked when I saw this:

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And I thought — Well Jiminy Cricket! They’ve done gone and changed it again! What in blue blazes do I click on now? Heavens to Betsy! Where in the dickens is the old dashboard?! Have I been gone from blogging that long? Has the entire WordPress world gone mad?! Looks like yet again some dadgum whippersnapper WordPress “genius” decided to fix something that ain’t broke! Well hell’s bells, ain’t that a kick in the moderately-arthritic lumbar discs! How am I supposed to function like this? Is it cold in here? Have you seen my glasses? Where’s my Tylenol?

Then I put on my prescription-strength trifocals, squinted real hard and saw there was an option to click on “Classic Dashboard” and I heaved the heaviest of heavy sighs. Dislodged a few more lumbar discs in the process. And then I pooped a couple more Tylenol pills.

That’s not a typo.

How is this old lady supposed to find her way around The Interwebz when some young techno-fool keeps changing it all around? Okay, we get it! You’ve been to college! You like to make things all fancy-schmancy in the hopes us old farts will finally give up and get back to knitting you that hip-n-cozy beard warmer.

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And then there’s the problem of what I should write a post about. Oh my god the choices! The news? Too depressing. The holidays? Too controversial. Something funny? Waaaaaay too hard.

So this is it. My gift to you — My worst post ever.

But I also want to say to all of my readers: Happy Holidays, etc ! (I’m thinking of putting that greeting on T-shirts) And yes, I’m still alive! We do have power! If it goes out again for Christmas then no worries, I’ve stacked extra logs crafted from life-sized posters of Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” butt, should keep us warm and toasty until Armageddon.

I’ll get back to blogging more soon. Unless my dashboard changes again.

Oh, and here’s a few photos to warm your jaded hearts in the meantime. A letter from my 12-year old son to his sister and my daughter doing her Elf on a Shelf impression. Enjoy!

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Is Blogging Dead?

Is disco dead?

Is Elvis dead?

These are the pressing questions of our time and sadly, there are no clear answers.

We live in a social media world, where information is condensed, repackaged then regurgitated straight back into our tiny brains. We’re constantly bombarded with buttloads of useless drivel. We have twitter, youtube, GIFs, Justin Bieber. Everything is getting shorter and more obnoxious. In response our attention spans are adjusting. We crave quick blasts of information and grow tired and bored if we’re forced to focus more than two sec–holy crap, I’ve lost you already, haven’t I? What — this paragraph is too long? Not enough pictures to break up the monotony? You’re wondering where the GIF is?

FINE. Well dammit, here it is! Lap it up! Enjoy it! Get those lazy-ass neurons zapping again in that noggin of yours! God, you’re pathetic!comedy animated GIF
Ok — I admit, that’s a pretty cool GIF. Who doesn’t like a good snort of jambalaya?

Still, whatever happened to taking our time? Whatever happened to slowly digesting a good read? Whatever happened to Elvis? Is he really dead? Personally, I think he’s on an island somewhere with Steve Jobs and an iPhone 10 giggling his ass off.

But seriously. Is blogging dead? I’m asking again because I forgot what the point of this post was. The GIF above is distracting me. [jambalaya!] Does anyone really read an entire post anymore? [jambalaya!] Like say, any of my incredibly stupid and pointless posts, like this one?  [jambalaya!]

Don’t answer that.

[jambalaya!]

I like to think I’m not one to be sucked into the latest trend of super-short bite-sized social interaction.  I like to think I am above kowtowing to the masses. I’d like to know what kowtowing means.

So I looked back over my posts from over four years ago and I noticed a startling trend with my blogging (ahem) “career”:

  1. My posts got significantly shorter.
  2. My paragraphs got significantly shorter.
  3. My ass got significantly wider, and okay, shorter.

Apparently, reading anything more than 140 characters is like, so 2010. Libraries are dying. Stephen King is enraged more than usual. What does this all mean?

If blogging/writing/reading/thinking is dead, what will I do with my time now? Talk to my cat Mr. Piddles? Tough luck there. He’s got over 10 million followers on YouTube, the smug bastard. Although, for someone who spends an inordinate amount of time covering up his own feces, I am impressed.

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Aw, isn’t he adorbs? I could get lost in his eyes forever…sigh…huh?…..where was I? Oh yeah!

I think it’s time we take back our minds, America! We need to start reading full sentences again! Start thinking for once! Put an end to paying attention to Justin Bieber! Otherwise, our brains are doomed, people! Doomed!

So in the off chance I haven’t lost most of you readers already, here’s a post all about how social media is ruining our minds. Keep in mind, it was written three years ago and in that time I’ve no doubt most of our minds have been completely ruined beyond repair. Anyway, I actually read the article and found it fascinating. Of course, it helped there were a lot of real purty colorful graphics and short bullet point lists or I would have lost interest after the first sentence.

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Do you think reading is dead? Or Elvis?

Do you like to read long or short posts?

Do you like to read?

Do you know how to read?

Is it because you don’t have time?

Or is it because you really do have time, but you’d rather spend it watching this GIF?

stephen colbert animated GIF

Yeahhhhhh…….that’s the stuff…..

I feel so dirty now.

How Blogging Has Changed My Life. Really.

blogging-tips-for-marketers

Maybe it’s because my fourth blogaversary is coming up, but I’m getting sentimental. I’m looking back over the years and thinking about what this blog means to me.

I’ve debated for days how to write this post without coming off as sappy or narcissistic and I’ve realized it’s impossible. Those are the two things I’m good at.

I don’t know about you, but my blog has been an important part of my life. It came at the perfect time. Four years ago I was spending my days posting stupid facebook status updates about the toast I had that morning, feeling like I had no creative outlet.

I was a stay-at-home mom feeling like I had lost touch with the world. Like I had lost my identity along the way. I needed to make connections with others.  I wrote my first post, the mind-blowing “What’s a widget?” received one comment from my cousin in Florida and I was hopelessly hooked

Blogging is like opening up your house for strangers to come in and sift through your medicine cabinet and underwear drawer. It’s very scary to let people in, to be so intimate and vulnerable. What if people judge my granny panties? What if people find out about the prescription strength hemorrhoid cream? (not mine)

Life is all about pushing through those roadblocks of fear. Testing your limits, seeing what you’re made of. Hiding the hemorrhoid cream in a better place next time.

I wasn’t popular as a kid. I wasn’t outgoing. I was painfully shy. And by that I mean other kids would take turns giving me atomic wedgies on the playground.

Oh I was always observing everyone else for sure, because you can pick up a lot about human nature that way. Like figuring out how fast I had to run to avoid being put in a headlock and given a noogie. Thankfully this knack for observing others helps with my writing a little. Except for this paragraph. Oh god I hate it. Just bad bad writing overall. Oh well, too late.

So — surprise, surprise — I had huge insecurities most of my life. I’m in my forties and feel like I’m finally letting most of those go, letting them fall away. I’ve told that negative inner voice to shut the hell up already.

And you know, it feels good. More than good. It feels like I’ve given myself permission to be the true me — the good, the bad, the ugly. I feel FREE.

Here’s a sampling of my inner dialogue/conflict now:

Darla, you are such an idiot.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your face resembles a Shar Pei. A very old, very wrinkled Shar Pei. Not the good end.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your ass is droopy. So droopy it’s morphed with your jiggly thighs to become one giant mass of ass. Really, I can’t even tell where one body part ends or begins now.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your writing sucks. It sucks bad.

Shut the hell up.

See? Seems easy to do, but it took me a long time to get to this point. Go on, try it — tell yourself to shut the hell up for me. You’ll feel like a weight’s been lifted.

How has blogging helped me reach this point? It all comes down to you guys. Every time you take the time out of your busy day at work playing Candy Crush Saga to leave a nice comment, it gives me a positive boost. To be honest, I still can’t believe anyone wants to read my writing at all.

But maybe you don’t want to read my blog.

Maybe you were moving a heavy bookcase by yourself, it tipped over and now you’re lying on the floor trapped underneath a mountain of books. Your smartphone flew out of your pocket and it’s just inches out of your reach. Your pet parrot Mr. Pickles unlatched his cage and swooped down to help because you had spent months teaching him how to call 911. But then he realized you had forgotten to feed him again that morning so instead he angrily pecked at your phone, inadvertently typing the URL address for this blog and now all you can do to pass the time is read this drivel from a distance as the weight of the bookcase slowly crushes your spine into dust while a squawking Mr.Pickles digs his talons deeper into your face and poops on your forehead.

If so, I’m sorry. Next time get a dog.

It’s been four years of blogging and I still don’t really know what I’m doing. But I don’t care anymore, I just go with it. What — you say you could tell by the quality of my posts? Shut up.

So you know how sometimes you feel a little trepidation the moment before you hit ‘publish’ on a post? I used to get anxious posting some things. I’m not sure why.

Now I feel a level of confidence when I write. I’ll never be completely satisfied and that’s not the point for me anymore. When I post I think, Hey, guys! Whassup? Here I am, this is me. And what about you? It’s that basic human connection, that someone out there might “get me”. This is the only reason I blog now. (I’m not sure there was ever any other reason.)

This confidence has spilled over into other areas of my life. I went back to college full time and I’ll graduate as a medical assistant next week. I made the Dean’s List every semester, high honors. Yes, I think I have permission to brag because I studied my giant mass of thigh/ass off.  I start my externship soon at an OB/GYN office and hope to train to become an ultrasound tech.  I’ve done things this year I never thought possible at this stage in my life.

Yes, this is me. Shut up.
Yes, this is me. Shut up.

Was I scared the first day of class when I realized I could be my lab partner’s mother? Hell yeah!

Was I shaking like a leaf the first time I had to draw my lab partner’s blood? Of course! But then, so was my lab partner.

I wanted to quit school so many times, to just give up. Fear was this heavy weight bearing down on me (much like your bookcase and again, I’m sorry) Every semester I wanted to run and hide underneath the covers.

Instead I made a choice to face my fears head on, to allow myself to make mistakes and to be okay with it. I know you might not believe me, but blogging has been a catalyst in this transformation.

By writing again, I’ve found the true me again. She was there all along, buried underneath choking fears and insecurities. (again, poor choice of words but I told you not to buy that large-print copy of War and Peace)

And I really like this new me. She’s all right.

Blogging has changed my life. It’s opened up a door I thought was closed forever.  My creative side is back, I’m writing again.  I’m starting to do things in my life that make me happy.

Me.

After all, I believe it was the great Shakespeare who once said, this life sure as hell ain’t gonna be lived by anyone else. You’re right, it was Oprah.

So thank you.

Thank you for reading all these years.

Thank you to all the other bloggers for constantly writing entertaining posts so I have zero time to write my own freaking posts, you big jerks.

I’ve met some amazing people in the past four years, some I’ve gotten to know online and some in real life. I feel truly lucky and blessed to have ridden this wackadoodle WordPress rollercoaster with you guys. (ridden’s a word right? ah, who cares)

I’ll be posting on my blog much less this year due to my new career sticking people with needles and all, but I’ll still be around now and then. Writing is like breathing for me, without it I’m as good as dead.

And hopefully I won’t ever write another post about writing or blogging again. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

Okay, that’s all from here. (too much from here by the looks of my word count, damn!)

Have a great summer guys! See you around. Take care of yourselves. Stop sending me Candy Crush Saga requests on Facebook.

(And I sincerely hope Mr. Pickles finds forgiveness in his tiny heart and dials 911 for you. In the meantime, read War and Peace while you lie there waiting for my next post. I hear it’s a good story.)

 

Become a Blogger in 39 Easy Steps!

Hey kids! Want to become a blogger? It’s easy! Just do the following:

  1. Roll your eyes when blogger friend suggests you start a blog.
  2. Start blog.
  3. Write first post. Make sure it’s short and stupid because you’re certain no one will ever read it.
  4. Get two followers. Ego instantly inflates while at the same time you’re baffled someone willingly wants to read your writing.
  5. Write second post and this time make it way too long but still very stupid.
  6. No new followers. Tell yourself you don’t care. You’re writing for you, not them.
  7. Write third post, mention the Kardashians and add fun colorful images.
  8. Get first comment.
  9. Become obsessed with blogging.
  10. Write posts every other day.
  11. On the days you don’t write posts, think about brilliant ideas for posts.
  12. Think about dumb ideas for posts.
  13. Realize you have no way of differentiating what will be considered dumb or brilliant.
  14. Keep at least a dozen of the lamest posts half-finished in your draft folder in case of emergency.
  15. Write a post about writing or blogging.
  16. Get tons of new followers and more comments. Tell yourself you’re the best thing since microwaved pizza rolls.
  17. Tell spouse blogging will make you rich one day.
  18. Ignore work, chores, spouse, kids and hygiene so you can comment-bomb every blog on WordPress.
  19. Get to know a small circle of other bloggers in “real life”.
  20. Now blog only for the sense of community, not stats.
  21. Re-read older posts and think This is the worst shit I’ve ever read! I suck at writing! I’m a complete sham!
  22. Feel guilty.
  23. Wonder why people keep following blog.
  24. Wonder why you’re still not rich from blogging.
  25. Become jealous of the blogger who went “viral” with a half-assed post you could have written.
  26. Realize most of your followers never actually read anything you write.
  27. Start writing posts simply because you like to write.
  28. Tell yourself, screw the stats!
  29. Check stats.
  30. Weep.
  31. Tell yourself you’re done with blogging forever.
  32. Take blogging break.
  33. Wait for one week.
  34. Get a dumb idea for a post, like “Become a Blogger in 39 Easy Steps!”
  35. Write post because you have no choice, you need that fix.
  36. Hit publish button.
  37. Cry over your plate of microwaved pizza rolls.
  38. Wait for comments while telling yourself you don’t care and you’re done with blogging.
  39. Repeat steps 8 – 39.

 

 

Let Me Tell You a Story…

I’ve been blogging for a long time. Feels like an eternity.
As we all know 3. 5 years = 3,500 in bloggy years.

Hopefully by now you’ve noticed I like to write. I love words. Back in high school I used to look them up in my old dog-eared dictionary for fun on a Saturday night. (I still do, don’t judge) I enjoy the thrill of stringing them together in perfect order then going back to erase, erase, erase because I will never get it just right. Good times.

My love for writing goes way back to my early childhood when I tried to impress my kindergarten teacher with my dazzling wit.

The Maineiac, circa 1975
The Maineiac, age 5

Here’s my very first piece published in the prestigious Morse Elementary School Newsletter, right below a recipe for brownies and above the poem “My Dog Likes to Eat Poop” by Brian, age 6.

I AM THE SUN

by Darla, age 5

IMG_20140107_111616

Did you get chills? Yeah, good stuff.

I mention eating breakfast a lot. I’m thinking my brothers stole my strawberry flavored Pop-Tart again that morning.

Also, I think you’d have to agree I was a crafty storyteller in 1976.  Notice how I lull the reader into a false sense of security until the very last sentence when Bam! I punch them straight in the gut. “If I didn’t shine people could use flashlights”? Why would the sun not shine? Was this a foreshadowing? A child’s bleak vision of an apocalyptic future looming on the horizon? (If this Ice Age we’re currently suffering through is any indication, I think I was spot on.)

But like any good writer, I left the reader with a final message of hope. A sliver of light in the darkness. If I didn’t shine people could use flashlights. Maybe my stories weren’t riveting but at least they were practical.

I also wrote lots of poetry as a kid and into my college years. And as we all know the mark of a good poet is the ability to rhyme.

Check out this nugget I wrote when I was about 8 years old.

IMG_20140107_111835 (2)

IMG_20140107_111913 (2)

A couple things I’d like to point out. First, the drawing — where in the hell are my hands? Or my feet? Is this why I’m so fixated on my nose?

I think we should all just take a moment to realize never before has a poem titled “Smelling” had the ability to move a reader to tears. “It never, ever gets in the way.” So true! The insight I had as a child is astounding. Even the way I spelled “bouquet” was inspiring. Who needs that jerky silent T anyway?

Finally, I’ll leave you with a cartoon panel, my earliest attempt at (intentionally) writing humor. I have no clue how old I was when I drew it but I’m guessing it wasn’t when I was attending college (although, it might be, as I liked to smoke the ganja)

IMG_20140107_111939

“You got celery in my peanut butter.”
“Well, you got peanut butter in my celery.”
“Well, let’s try it!”
“OK”
“Yuck! Awful!”
“You better not say that again about trying it!”

*****

oh!!! Bwah ha ha haaa!!! I kill me! [wiping away tears]

So? You think it’s good? Brilliant? Perhaps you’d even consider it….Super? Celery and peanut butter? I mean, C’MON! Comedy gold.

And you’re right. My writing hasn’t changed much since then.  Sigh.

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Bloggers/writers: How long have you been writing? Do you have any childhood poems or stories you’d like to send me so I can get a good laugh at your expense? Or old screenplays I can pass off as my own?