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.

Blogging Journey

I started blogging in 2011 and I think I thought it was a good career move. I certainly saw it as Brand Tubridy and liked the idea of social bridges in all their forms.

Newtown Wood, Tramore, Co. Waterford

That general notion fell a bit by the wayside about five years ago and blogging became more of a hobby and having a sense of being part of a decent community. Compared to other social media platforms, all of which I have left now, I never encountered anything in blogging but camaraderie and a sense of belonging.

There are still topics that I want to write about such as sense of place, my Ireland, the impact of elderly parents dying, poetry and matters sociological associated with my professional training. But, this is essentially a personal blog and I don’t see it being very tied up with career now.

One thing that stuns me is the fact that readers of the blog have come from a vast array of countries. I am hopeless at geography so haven’t a notion where many of the countries even are or why people from such far flung places would land on Social Bridge.

I suspect I am not alone in having only fairly vague memories of the early days of the blog and what I expected to gain from it.

What has your journey been like? Has your blog evolved much from how you planned it at the start and have you been surprised by the whole experience?

Blogging and Covid 19

I wonder if we bloggers were better prepared than many to cope with the challenges of the pandemic. I’m inclined to think we were.

I think it’s because we are used to being ‘together apart,’ to borrow a phrase I heard on the radio this morning (Yes, I am a radio person much more than a TV one.)

‘Together apart’ is what blogging involves and it is what Covid 19 hates.

I continue to find it quite extraordinary that over my almost ten years of blogging that I have built up a ‘community’ of people from all sides of the world whose lives are intertwined with mine. So often, I am in the middle of something and I think of how one of my blogging compadres had written about a similar experience or had given a whole new outlook on it.

My nearest and dearest have come to know about quite a few of my blogging ‘friends’ and aren’t a bit surprised when they crop up in conversation – usually described by where they are from. That seems to be a big part of it in my subconscious.

There’s something very freeing about being able to write and express one’s thoughts without the whole palaver of issues around age, appearance, gender… Bloggers look and see beyond such features that can dominate ordinary interaction.

We see the benefits of that, or maybe I should speak for myself here, but they are what so many people are finding tough in this Covid era.

There is one thing, though, that I worry about when blogging these times. It’s whether or not someone reading a post is going through a hell that I am somehow accentuating. Finding a balance between positivity and diversion and just writing from the absolute heart can be difficult. Overall, I hope we know each other well enough and have enough trust to be able to write without fakery.

Thanks for being there, my friends, and I hope you are feeling connected – together-apart.

Blogging through the Pandemic

While the subject matter of most blogs has undoubtedly been affected by the horrible pandemic, very little else has changed about the blogosphere.

We don’t expect to see each other in person anyway: we judge by content not stuff like age, gender, race, appearance ….; we arguably know  each other better than many of the people we meet up with regularly because we have been reading each other’s thoughts without distractions often over long periods; we look out for each other in our own little ways; we share a space that doesn’t require masks or social distancing; we don’t expect to ever hug each other. Our hugs are written ones that stretch right around the globe.

Yes, dear friends, we are so fortunate to have each other, especially at this crazy time when the rest of the world seems uncertain and unsure of itself.