The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Catching Up and Clearing the Air

halloween
halloween (Photo credit: BEE FREE - PGrandicelli [the social bee])

First of all:   Happy Halloween!  A little over three years ago this blog started out as a Halloween blog so this day holds special significance in Tossing It Out history.   It didn't take long for me to change the direction of my thematic content and I'm glad I did.  Yet I must acknowledge the season and give credit to the inspiration that initially got me underway in blogging.

Bye George, By George:   As many of you are aware, I took a brief hiatus from blogging over the last couple of weeks.due to the illness and eventual passing of my stepfather George Lechelt.  I had attempted to make it back to East Tennessee in order to say my good-byes, but sadly he passed on October 13th, the day before I arrived.  He will be missed and I plan to pay a tribute to him either here on this blog or more probably on my memoir blog Wrote By Rote.

       During my stay at my mother's house I had the pleasure of sharing time with family members including my daughters and my granddaughters.   We had a good time, but there was also plenty of time for introspection and reflection on my current status of life and my future.  Many of us probably go into a similar state of mind in times of mourning.  Indeed, I've been doing much thinking and evaluating over the past year. I'm continuing to make some life changes--a good thing, eh?   If we don't change, we can get stuck in a rut and I'm trying to avoid that.

        For one thing there will be no NaNo for me this year.   I've got too many other things going on and I don't need to add writing a novel to all that I currently am trying to sort out.   I wish all the best to those of you who are taking the NaNo challenge this year.

Misunderstanding Due to Misrepresentation?:   I wanted to clear up something about the direction I had indicated my blog would be taking in the future.   It became evident to me as I read some of your comments in some of the preceding posts that some of you might be turned off by the fact that I might be dipping into the realms of controversy in some of my posts.  I may have misrepresented my intent in my explanations along the way.

         Rather than emphasizing the concept of stirring controversy, I probably should have been sticking more to the idea that my intent is to make readers think about certain issues, react to them, and add their opinions. Dissension is welcomed.  I'm not looking for heated exchange, but friendly debate.  As I mentioned somewhere along the way, I just want to figure certain things out and toss out ideas that are bouncing around my head to see what you think.  

         Don't be scared.  Don't avoid my blog because you think things might get too ugly.  I just want to have some conversations, so I hope many of you will join in.

This Ain't No Bag Of Feathers:  Sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to get too heavy in my thinking.  Maybe I'm dishing out a weighty chest of treasure when what readers really want is some light reading.  Then again some of you may think I'm laying a paper bag full of dog doo on your doorstep and setting fire to it.   If that's the case, I can understand your getting irked with my blog and avoiding the crap.  I hope that's not the case and I hope any readers who think this will honestly let me know.

           I've noticed that sometimes the topics on my blogs get very few comments.  In some cases it could be because some of my blogs are read by fewer readers, like my dream blog A Faraway View.  A recent guest post by Stephen T McCarthy--a post that I thought was beautifully written--received only three comments.  I wonder if readers found the topic too difficult or perhaps--dare I say it--too controversial?  I invite you to read the post in question, Goldenshadow, and let us know your thoughts.

           Whether you like Stephen T McCarthy's writing or not, there will be more coming on A Faraway View as Stephen has stepped up to offer me some more guest posts to help me in my time of sorting things out.  Read his stuff while you can since he has announced his plans to shut down his blog Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends after already shutting down his Stuffs blog several months ago.  This is the guy that started me blogging and I think he deserves more readers.

We Can Always Talk About the Weather:   My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by the monster storms in the eastern United States.  Three of my daughters live right in the heart of things in New Jersey.   My daughter Ada and her daughter Lillee were evacuated by bulldozer due to flooding.  Her husband stayed in their house with his father.   All three girls are now tucked away in my middle daughter Emilee's house.  With all the power out they say they are whiling away the time eating all the food in the refrigerator.   They have a houseful of people and it probably won't be long before they finish all of the food  Hopefully, the power will be on soon and the stores will be open.

            What are your Halloween plans?   Have you done a life assessment lately?   Do deep topics steer you away from blogs?   Has Frankenstorm affected you?



Enhanced by Zemanta

42 comments:

  1. Glad your daughters are all right. That's a blessing.
    So sorry again about your stepfather. I know you didn't plan to attend a funeral while you were there.
    You've always had some interesting topics, but never any that were real controversial.
    As for comments, I guess it depends on your goal with that and how it fits with your style of blogging. You know I'm all about the comments, but my blog is light, fun, and informative. (And full of a million little things so everyone can find something to comment on.) But deep? Heck no, you're in the wrong place.
    We're just glad you're back.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm once again so sorry to hear about your stepfather Lee, it's so sad that you didn't get a chance to say your goodbyes but it seems like the man was well loved and it was wonderful you got to spend some time with your family which is always precious in my eyes. I can't believe that Tossing It Out started as a Halloween blog too, that's incredible because I'd have never guessed, great post Lee and my thoughts go out to those in the areas that surround the storm.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so sorry about your stepfather's passing. My prayers are with you and your family.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the no comments thing. I think everyone is seeing less and less comments lately. This time of year a lot of people take blog breaks because of NaNoWriMo and the upcoming holidays. But I've also noticed that a lot of people have simply quit blogging and use Twitter and Facebook instead.

    I'm glad to hear your daughters are safe! We didn't get hit as bad as expected in my town, thank goodness.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm glad you're back but I'm so sorry to hear about your stepfather. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    I'm not sure what kind of advice I could give about comments. I myself have only been blogging for about 8 months and my blog is mostly light and humorous(at least I try to be (= ). But sometimes I wish my blog had more structure to it, problem is that would require more time and organization, two things I'm short on right now. This is also a busy time of year for a lot of people and I've noticed a bunch of blogfests and bloghops that also take up time and with NaNo coming up, I expect comments to drop off a bit, at least for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Prayers for your family for sure. Glad all is well with them.

    As for controversial and what you're trying to accomplish with your blog...well, people read what they want to read like they hear what they want to hear. Its amazing how we humans butcher the English language or totally misunderstand it.

    If I'm not commenting or visiting it has to do with the fact that I work long hours 4 days a week and battle Hashiamotos and Chronic Fatigue. And my first novel will be out soon.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm sorry for your loss, Lee.

    I'm glad your family is safe. I have family up there, too - near Atlantic City and scattered throughout the NE. My family near AC didn't even lose power while others are still without. Strange stuff.

    I try not to worry too much about comments - I like them, though, don't get me wrong! - and instead focus on why I write the blog and hope that people enjoy it even if they're not commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So sorry for your loss, Lee. Sending in my good wishes and prayers at this difficult time.

    I'm not a prolific commenter (tho I'm trying to change that just a little bit) -- so I don't know about comments dropping off. I usually have something to say on most of your posts if I'm visiting.

    Take care of you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Alex -- You do make it easy to comment on at least something on your blog. And the theory of reciprocity is strongly at work on your site I'd say. I wonder how well your comments would sustain if you suddenly stopped commenting on other blog posts for 2 or 3 weeks?

    Yeamie -- Yes, it does seem weird now that I was so into Halloween when I first started blogging, but I had my motivations and have explained them on earlier posts.

    Laura -- Gosh! I thought people were drifting away from Facebook. And Twitter tweets have so little depth and I think most of the time they are probably ignored. But you're right about the competition for directing ones attention to things.

    Elise-- My past track record proves that I know what it takes to get comments, but I want more depth and discussion. I don't mind a few less comments, but I would like to see more than 3 or 4 and have them have more substance.

    Shelly -- You are correct and my concern is that most people don't want to hear or read much that makes them work their brains too hard. But I might be wasting my time trying to go deeper on my blog.

    Madeline -- I agree with you about the comments. I guess I'm just more curious about the state of thought in the United States as I have conjectured in my post of October 5th when I first started describing my mission of relevance.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  9. Damyanti -- "...if I'm visiting" is the key. If I'm not commenting prolifically on other blogs then the reciprocity will start falling off. How does a blog become so compelling that people visit merely for content that is not to be missed. I often don't see this content on the sites of the "star" bloggers who rarely visit any other blogs, yet reap tremendous following of bloggers who are anxious to leave a comment.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lee, I was out of town and away from blogosphere - so sorry about your stepfather. Glad your family is okay. As for the content and intent of your blog, my feeling is you need to blog about and stir up whatever is in your heart. Some will like it some won't. I haven't written much on my blog lately and I'm losing followers. Go figure. It is a quirky business, this blogging. Just follow your heart, dear man.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  11. First of all, I sincerely hope the storm in the eastern states abates and power can be restored quickly.
    Secondly, I couldn't care much for Halloween, haven't done anything about it for years, and it's not a big deal in Malaysia at all.
    Thirdly, I try to stay away from controversial and potentially explosive topics nowadays, as they have brought me no benefits in the past. On occasion I like a bir of controversy but the ensuing discussion usually gets heated.
    However, I'd still be interested to see what sort of thoughts and issues you bring up!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm sorry to hear about your stepfather, but I'm glad your family is safe during the storms. Sometimes we need a change in direction, or a time of introspection or both. Just keep blogging Arlee - we'll keep following. I'll try to be better about commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  13. BOIDMAN ~
    Very unfortunate for your family that their lives have been so upset by this storm. You are the only individual I personally know who has a very real connection to this catastrophe.

    I have not been following it much because I watch so little TV and I really didn't realize it was of such a massive scale. I knew it hit Atlantic City hard, but apparently it's been much worse than I was aware of.

    I pray things are remedied and returned to normal soon for your family and EVERYONE who has been affected by this storm.

    And thanks for the kind words about my bloggins.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love a good debate, and we're all different. I think there's a general feeling out there that we all agree to disagree, but politely. We're a tight-knit community, and though we're individuals with our own opinions, we should respect what others have to say without getting nasty. That's my hope at least.
    I'm sorry to hear about your loss, and my prayers are with you. Glad your daughters are safe.
    I, too, am evaluating life. Kinda comes naturally when you're stuck with a prolonged illness. Lots of time to think...
    Tina @ Life is Good
    http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  15. Karen -- I guess the old adage of "Out of sight, out of mind" applies to blogging as much as anything. But I'm afraid that if a blog gets too thoughtful then some readers are afraid of using their mind and keep that blog out of sight.

    Duncan -- I guess my main concern is that controversy gets a bad rap because often emotions get in the way and people have a difficult time reasoning out the issues.

    Tyrean -- You've been a faithful commentor--much more so than I. I appreciate your visits and the thoughts you leave.

    StMc -- My girls and their spouses and boyfriends may be affected in a big way concerning their jobs. I hope they can manage okay. I think a lot of people will be affected in the same way. It's going to be tough for a while. And you know I've always been an advocate of your writing. I'll keep on pushing for your efforts.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  16. Tina -- Civility and calm intellectual analysis is a good approach to differences, but those darn emotions often interfere. I don't have any prolonged malady other than getting older and that is plenty to get me thinking about life as I see more people in my life passing on.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  17. I, too, am glad that your family is safe and sound. I am glad to see you back at the helm.

    My October 31, plans are the same as each day. Although Bible study was cancelled for this evening, I hope to spend the evening reading 2 chapters from the Institutes, 1 chapter from Strauch's Biblical Eldership and then read from Vol 2 of Murray's Biography of Lloyd-Jones. Then I hope to enjoy "The MIddle" and then off to bed.

    Yes, to answer your question, topics do steer me away from blogs. I don't think I read any of your "guest blogs" I am not a writer, probably will never be a writer so I wait until you come back with an interesting topic or question.

    No Frankenstorm did not affect us at all here in SW WA. Of course I Haven't seen gas prices yet today. Lord knows if a Robin sneezes in Timbucktu the thieves here in our area race to raise the gas prices.

    I offer my condolences on the passing of your step-father. My prayer is God will give you rich comfort and amazing grace.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lee, my wish for you is that this blog continues to evolve in a way that is satisfying to both you and your readers. I'm grateful you're back safe from your trip.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm sorry to hear about your stepfather's passing. May his memory be for a blessing.

    My previous Angelfire website had a lot of essays on controversial/heated subjects, and part of me (early on) thrived on the possibility of offending someone with a much different outlook. I got a couple of abusive e-mails from someone who was really angry with me for being a liberal, and I had each of those e-mail addresses reported. There were also some odd guestbook comments from people who disagreed with some of my viewpoints, but mostly people liked how I had the guts to take stands on issues like animal rights, the overuse of IVF, and politics.

    I wasn't so lucky when some mentally unbalanced pre-Vatican II wingnut discovered my page, and she got her sycophantic friends all worked up about it. These friends of hers had my entire page deleted, as they crowed about how I was such a lunatic. Yeah, I'm not the one covering my walls in framed pictures of miscarried fetuses and assembling entire photo albums of them! For that very reason, I've avoided much of anything political on my new blog. While I've said I'm a proud liberal, I don't really go into detail about any of my positions for fear of alienating more conservative readers.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm so sorry to hear about your stepfather, Lee.

    It feels like I'm constantly reassessing my life! At some point, I'm going to have to stop the self-analysis. Or maybe not.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  23. sorry to hear about your stepdad, Lee :(

    Hope Halloween will bring some positive fun into your life today and keeping fingers crossed for those life changes you're planning!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well, I had no idea this started out as a Halloween inspired blog.

    And I wish I had something better to say than that, but I'm just not coming up with anything other than what everyone always says which seems like so little to say and hardly worth it. I'm glad you had the time to spend with your family, though.

    I'll try to make it back to look at that other post. No time, right now.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Saddened by your loss. Glad to have you back. Grateful that your family was spared during the storm.

    Heard from several bloggers this morning, who made it through but no longer have a place to go to work. A seriously, tough break in this economy.

    With respect to controversy, you hardly seem very controversial to me, more like someone who tells it like it is, to them. Honesty is always admirable, in my book.

    Comments are a strange animal. I'm amazed as some of the heartfelt blog posts that go unnoticed and then some of the carp that gets 'extra' attention. Go figure. While I believe reciprocity is important (I don't generally comment back on my blog, but I do try to visit everyone who visits me), there are many blogs I read because I enjoy them and they don't necessarily follow or stop by my space regularly. But then I'm a weirdo.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Gregg -- My guest posts were not all about writing and I intentionally try to find non-writerly types to do guest posts as often as I can. I know what you're saying about gas prices and cost of living in general. Opportunists are always out for gain.

    Suze -- And your wish is as mine is. I don't want to lose readers, but I don't want to write with drudgery.

    Carrie-Anne --- Thank you for sharing your experience. Hopefully, I will not incite such vehement reactions to my posts. I will approach topics with caution. I prefer to discuss rather than go to battle.

    Talli -- I think life reassessment on an ongoing basis is a good thing to retain vitality and fresh thinking.

    Dezmond -- I'm always looking forward to the new adventures that lie behind each corner in life. When life stops being surprising then it becomes stagnant.

    Andrew -- I think you would probably enjoy Stephen T McCarthy's writing. If not for him, Halloween, and unemployment, I would probably not be blogging.

    Farawayeyes -- I really don't think I'm all that controversial either, but who knows what I may come up with. I agree about the comment thing you point out. There are some blogs I visit that say something almost pointless and yet get tons of visitors. Often those bloggers don't even bother to visit many other blogs and yet seem to bask in unwarranted adulation. Yeah, I'm still trying to figure.

    Lee


    ReplyDelete
  27. Very sorry to hear of the death of your step-father. And then the added concern of your families safety during Sandy's rant. Life isn't meant for wimps.

    I enjoy reading some controversial stuff but not a lot. I have so little time to read blogs and the ones that are over 500 words or so I tend skim and rarely comment or don't read at all. I know I am missing some wonderful commentary and conversation...but everyone has to set their priorities.














    ReplyDelete
  28. Lee-

    Please stop complimenting McCarthy's blog and allowing him to guest post-you're just encouraging him!

    A non-confrontational anonymous reader

    PS-welcome back

    PPS-just kidding, McDogg

    ReplyDelete
  29. Today -- It can be difficult to keep up with a lot of blogs. I know. And I'm starting to feel the effects of trying.

    Larry --I only keep cramming McCarthy down my readers' throats to torment them. Really though, I want him to be read by more people. His talents are sadly unrecognized on his blogs.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello, my good friend!
    So sorry to hear about your stepfather. You know, sometimes we forget that our fellow bloggers have lives outside of Blogland, and we tend to think of them just residing within the micro cosm of their blog. Have you ever thought of it that way? I know that may sound a little weird, but then, my thought processes are a little off the beaten path sometimes. Ha

    I have been adding to my story of a group of homeless characters, and am in third segment. I know people are reading, although they don't comment. Personally, I don't see how you do all you do in Blogland and get anything else done.

    As always, Lee, I appreciate the way you continue to be an encourager. Two days ago I had five of my seven remaining permanent teeth removed in preparation for a full set of choppers. He had to stop extracting and put sutures in my gums. He is planning on removing the final two tomorrow. That's how I've been spending my Halloween. I could play the part of an old haggle-toothed crone. Heh, heh, heh. Best wishes to you. Ruby

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lee
    glad to hear your family is safe
    so sorry about your recent loss
    I dont get by here often - I feel pretty stretched when it comes to daily blog reads and triberr posts
    I believe you are saying there is change in the wind for you and it will show in the blog. I would say bravo
    As a writer matures so does his content

    Please take care!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm so sorry about your dad, Arlee. It's never easy losing someone you love. Glad your daughters are safe. Big deep sigh of relief, eh! We're watching the news and gasping at the aerial photos. Scary stuff.

    As for blogland, I'll admit I'm a bit overwhelmed by the number of blogs I read each morning. I can't give any of them up.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm glad your girls are all OK. And sorry for the loss of your step-father.

    I'm not a deep thinker at all. As you can tell from my blog :)

    Nor do I like to analyze situations from all sides before making a decision.

    I operate more from gut feelings, instinct, and intuition. And certain things I've just known in my heart from as far back as I can remember.

    But I still enjoy visiting you!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Grammy -- Some bloggers are more open about their personal lives so we get a peek inside while others try to maintain a sense of anonymity. It's often hard to say who's truly behind the blogs, but it's still nice to know that they are there. That teeth issue is one of my fears. Hope I don't ever have to contend with what you're enduring, but with my poor dental hygiene I'll probably deal with it one day if I make it through many more years.

    Leslie-- Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I'm always inching toward change so it's probably quite subtle to my regular readers.

    Joylene -- I can't keep up with all the blog reading and commenting and do all the other things that I want and need to do.

    Carol -- Maybe I'll post something along the way that will get you thinking.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  35. Some people love controversy. If you're aiming for controversy (or varying viewpoints), you're going to attract a different kind of reader from many of the ones you have now. In other words, your blog will go through a transition and a new following. But it takes time. Once your following grows, your comments will grow as well.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Lee,
    I've one who hasn't been here in a while, but not because of your content. I've just had limited blogging time and found myself going down a list of blogs to read - alphabetically. I'd never get to the Ts. :)

    So, I've apparently missed your controversial posts.

    Glad to be back though!

    I'm sorry you and your family have experienced the loss of a loved one. I hope everyone will adjust to life without his physical presence.

    I will be back to visit to see how your "sorting things out" goes.

    Take Care.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Richard -- As I have indicated in the post I'm not aiming for controversy to attract arguers as much as I would prefer to attract thinkers and reasoners. I would like to have currents readers think along with me and discuss ideas. Some new readers would be nice as well, but I don't want to see things get too heated.

    Anita -- My "controversial" posts have been more along the lines of some of the posts you've offered. I like to present issues and ideas and bounce them off the readers. You and I have often worked along similar lines.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Lee .. I'm sorry you didn't get back - yet pleased you had that family together. Also to hear that your family are safe after "Sandy" ..

    Re commenting - sometimes subjects are not universal .. also possibly take too long to comment as it's not a subject I know a lot about. So I leave it.

    Re blogs - it's challenging to get round everyone .. and with some bloggers having more than one blog - sometimes I wilt!

    I love what you do .. and always try and read - though it's not always possible.

    Am might grateful you started A - Z .. and I think the Memoir blog is a great resource ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  39. Glad to hear that your daughters and family are safe. I hope that life for them returns to normal soon.

    We lost a few trees in the storm, but fortunately no damage to the house. We are grateful, as so many others have lost so much.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm so sorry about your stepfather. Thank goodness your daughters and granddaughter are safe, but I'm sure they will still have a tough time picking up the pieces. I'm heading over to A Faraway View. Julie

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hilary, Paula, and Julie-- thank you for your comments.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'm sorry to hear about your stepfather. Hope the rest of the family is doing well. I'm also sorry that I haven't kept up as well as I should have.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee