Sadness

Today is a sad, sad day as a blogger who greatly admired was inspired by Sue Vincent who has died from cancer leaving behind adoring family, friends and her precious little black dog, Ani.

Sue was one of the very first people to encourage me when I started blogging a decade or so ago and was incredibly generous with her time, humour, practical tips and sheer care. I loved our many ‘live’ to and fro commenting chats, especially late at night.

She was a woman of awe-inspiring talent in terms of writing, photography and painting and certainly epitomised the notion of ‘a life well spent.’

My deepest sympathies go to her loved ones and my enduring hope is that they will find solace in the wonderful memories she has left and in knowing that there is so much love and support out here for them.

Sue has been on my mind all day and I know she would have loved to be out and about basking in the sunshine and soaking in the gorgeous daffodils and tulips that are surrounding me here in Ireland.

More than anything, though, I have been hearing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’ and remembering how Sue once told me how much she loved the song that bore her name. I feel that it is a song that touches very much upon the magic that was Sue and the love that will always surround her memory.

Bingeing

I clearly wasn’t walking faster than the speed of thought today because I found myself thinking about blogging and bingeing.

It all started when I met a woman coming against me in full conversation on the phone and looking as if she was talking to herself – one of those things that was a complete no-no in the days before smart phones.

Anyway, for some reason box sets came into my mind and I realised that I wasn’t entirely sure what a box set even is and I have been listening to how people have been bingeing on them in recent times and in pre-pandemic times. When do these people get the time, I wondered?

It struck me then that maybe bloggers are bingers in their own sweet way. Do we binge on blogging while others are bingeing on box sets and the like? I suspect we probably do or at least some of us do.

Then, I saw a rope on the roadside, stretching quite a long distance and I got a yen to have someone pick up the other end and to have people join in skipping like we used to do endlessly in the school playground and at home. I was always a skipper but loved when there was a gang involved. I suddenly found myself hearing bits of old skipping tunes playing in my memory and it’s only tonight that I went checking them out and hit on a favourite game that I had completely forgotten about.

I bet some will see it as not being in keeping with the feminist that I am but you have to remember that I have always been a tomboy:

Blog Spring Cleaning

I would love to know if bloggers engage in spring cleaning their blogs.

Mine has been on the go 10 years now and I have never done a major job on its content, that is getting rid of stuff and generally de-cluttering.

In one way I want to so that I take away dead wood, so to speak, and make space for new ideas. But, there again, I like to be able to see what I was writing about in different years at the same times.

I’m hopeless at de-cluttering in the real world and I suppose it’s not surprising that I am the same blog-wise.

So, are there pros and cons to blog spring cleaning from your experience or inexperience?

Finding Space

Thought-Provoking Comments

It never ceases to amaze me how comments on blog posts can stay with me for days, weeks, months, years …..

There was one gem the other day that has been playing on my mind almost non-stop. It was from Klausbernd Vollmar at The World according to Dina | Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North It was in response to my post about The Speed of Time and the line that got me was:

 It’s amazing how many different times exist in our life.

It is almost impossible to think coherently about this because it starts to feel like that moment when you look at the sky on a clear night and begin to see more and more stars, some twinkling brightly, others less bright but nonetheless piercing.

I’d love to know which ‘times’ are most significant in your life? I still haven’t decided on my list but I know these would be high up on the list:

#1. The seasons

#2. Tide times

#3. Time as a child – right up to being an adult child – in other words time up to the deaths of my parents.

#4. College days

#5. Tennis times

#6. Times spent living in different towns

#7. Time as a mother

#8. Time before/since Covid

#9. Time of Troubles/Peace in Ireland

#10. Blogging time

#11.Times with beloved dogs of my life

Blogging Thoughts

I often wonder how other bloggers arrive at what they will write about.

Do you have notebooks with ideas jotted down or just find inspiration hitting you whilst living life or maybe open a blank post and wait for what happens next?

I tend to feel possible posts trickling into my mind as I am doing other things and eventually sit down to write before I have forgotten what the idea was.

The original idea very often changes into something else like it has today because I am never sure how interested others would be in a random thought relating to something that may be very specific to me.

My Tramore

Perhaps those are the things people are interested in.

What are your blogging processes?

Ten Years A-Blogging

I wasn’t sure how to feel when I saw the notification from WordPress that Social Bridge is now ten years old.

Puppy Stan on our bridge in Newtown Wood, Tramore, Co. Waterford

I thought they must be wrong but then remembered how I started in 2011 a few months after my father died.

It’s been a tough ten years in lots of ways but also one filled with moments of great joy, new discoveries and fun.

If I were back again, here are 10 things I would say to beginner blogger me:

#1. You will meet many fascinating people through this and many who you will count as true friends.

#2. You shouldn’t ever focus on statistics as they mean very little in terms of the overall quality of the blogging experience. Quality far outweighs quantity.

#3. Realise that blogging is a social activity and is not all about what you write. It’s as much about reading other blogs and commenting.

#4. Don’t be afraid to take blogging breaks if other things get in the way but be sure to let readers know you are taking a break and haven’t been kidnapped.

#5. Don’t take blogging too seriously. Life is far too short for that.

#6. Be open to the fact that your blog posts may trigger unexpected feelings in others and do your best not to offend.

#7. Treasure those who take the time to engage with you. This is valuable time they could have been using some other way.

#8. Be prepared to engage with people who are going through rough times and who have the courage to say so.

#9. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. It isn’t sustainable long term in blogging

#10. Don’t publish a post when you are very unsure about whether it will offend. Let it lie for a while and re-assess it in the cool light of day. Blogging isn’t about upsetting or getting upset. It’s about sharing.

Thanks to all of you who have made this 10 years so much better than it might have been. You are treasures and I really appreciate you all and love how unique you all are.

On the Waterford Greenway, Ireland

Connected Blogging

Connecting from Co. Waterford, Ireland

One of the the aspects of blogging that I love most is when I happen to be online at the same time as someone whose post I am commenting on or vice versa.

It gives a real sense of being ‘with’ the person and sharing precious time with them even if they are thousands of miles away.

Those exchanges are what contribute greatly to having a sense of getting to know the other person and can lead to chats that seem just the same as face to face ones.

It’s the little unexpected things in life that so often bring the greatest joy.

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to share it with.

Mark Twain

The Blank Page

There is nothing like having a sprained ankle that insists on being rested to catapult one’s thoughts like fireworks into a night sky.

I have just been perusing an anthology of international poetry and feel like I have been round the world in 80 minutes, moving from universal topics such as life, hope, loss, death, dreams, love, lust, loneliness, pain, war, freedom … to specifics like a much loved horse, special woodland, old shoe, remembered apron.

I decided to take a trip into my drafts folder and see what was lurking there. Lots of titles and a few full posts that I thought better of posting and still think better of posting. They have merits but feel too personal or political to post.

All this is making me wonder how much we censor ourselves before we actually publish a post and whether or not we are trying to portray particular versions of ourselves.

Given my reluctance to post the stuff in the drafts folder, I think I can say that I am into censorship in quite a big way.

There are so many topics I would like to write about but fear offending people or revealing too much. Is this a big reason why people turn to fiction?

I can’t but wonder how all you bloggers out there feel when you see a blank post in front of you and whether, like me, you see it as being like a sandy beach with the tide way out and looking like it couldn’t possibly ever come in again.

Or, are you much more focused and organized with your ideas pre-formulated and researched?

Now to apply yet more ice to the multi-coloured ankle and press publish with abandon.

Tramore Beach at Dusk

One of My ‘Under the Radar’ Posts

I was writing yesterday about blog posts which for one reason or another seem to go under the radar and today I want to post a link to one of mine that I feel falls into that category.

https://socialbridge.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/unexpected-consequences-of-motherhood-gatherings-from-ireland-343/

I hope this will spur you on to sharing one of your ‘Under the Radar’ Posts.

A Precious Post that Went under the Radar?

I have lots of posts that I was delighted with – and that matters to me – but no one else seemed to see much merit in them. Maybe I just put them up at bad times or didn’t clarify things enough or maybe they were pretty rubbish to begin with.

I’d love to know if you have any particular favourites of yours that you would like to share again. I’d love to read them because I know these are the ones which are probably closest to your heart and I am sure they have lots of soul.

Please feel free to add a link to one or two in the comments and don’t be shy about it.