Tag Archives: blogging

Write

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I remember where I started. I was a creative wriitng major whose time was consumed with course work which kept me from doing what I went to college to learn how to do well: write.

I started a blog to force myself to write.

And I have. I have written every day for four years.

Is writing easier now? Writing is never easy. Writing is hard work. Writing takes time and dedication and craftsmanship, all things which I’ve not always been able to apply here. Sometimes I wrote posts in the last thirty seconds before midnight. Sometimes I wrote posts days in advance. Sometimes I wrote with passions about something really important to me, and sometimes all I could brain out was a list.

But it is much easier to write what I really think. It is much easier to be honest and objective with myself than it used to be.

This blog has helped me realize I am far better at creative nonfiction than fiction. Far better at poetry than at short stories. Far better and pantoums than song lyrics.

Far better at being me than being anyone else.

I will not post tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure when i’m going to post here again–I haven’t gotten that far. I plan to publish the first post on my new blog on Friday, but the best laid plans of mice and men, so they say, oft go awry. If I start the new blog on Friday, I’ll be sure to put a link here.

I may not post. But I will write. I will always write. Old habits die hard.

I can’t stop now.

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Faith

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After all, how else could I have survived the last four years?

Sure, there’s laughter. Laughter is one of the best survival tools ever implemented by man. Laughter is why this blog began. In person, at least, I’m really good at getting people to laugh. I’m even pretty good at getting myself to laugh at impossible or difficult circumstances.

But there are some things even laughter does not help or heal. And that’s where faith stepped in.

I was stuck in Croatia the day they joined the EU. Stuck in an airport surrounded by people who did not speak my language and could not explain why my flight was delayed, why I could not meet my connecting flight, and how I could possibly tell my parents where I was or why I wouldn’t be home on time, if I got home at all.

Fate could not have delayed my flight and landed me in the line to get my flight rerouted. Fate could not have put me in line behind the one person in the airport who was fluent in English and had a phone capable of calling my parents home number from Zagreb, Croatia. Fate could not have put me on a flight sitting next to an EU representative who was questioning his Greek orthodox faith and would let me open my Bible with him as we searched for answers to his questions.

God could. God did. God always will and always does.

The last four years have been a series of seemingly insurmountable odds. I could not have overcome them on my own. I could not have survived on my own. People will laugh at me, tell me of course I did it on my own, that my dependence on God is some kind of sick self-deprecating fantasy.

But it isn’t.

I didn’t do it alone because I am never alone.

God gets full credit for every last moment of it.

Fearless

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It’s easy to be fearless until you’re staring down the lion’s throat.

The thing about blank pages is that there are no limits. No limits but yourself. Yet that limit keeps us from dropping so much as a blob of ink on the page for fear that a blob out of place will send our lives into a downward spiral.

The future is our darkest enemy. It has no face, shows only its back, and is hidden by a cloud, darkly.

The future could keep us from doing anything, unless we choose to be fearless.

There are lions in the streets, we cry. But we are the lions.

But God shuts the lion’s mouths. We can walk unafraid. I can walk unafraid. No matter what happens, no matter the headlines, no matter the lions, I can walk toward the future and they won’t bite me.

Fear silences us, but faith lets us sing.

Fire

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The coals burn, and they burn steady. They may not light up the world, but they light up the little circle around them. And they keep the people close by warm.

You see, the last four years saw me extinguished and reignited. Before I started college hoping for little more than a degree to get me a job to get me a house far away from people, in the mountains, surrounded by trees. Part of me still wants the little cabin in the woods, and I visit occasionally but I can’t live there.

My feet don’t stop. I couldn’t run a mile once–now I can run three and a half. I couldn’t stand the thought of living anywhere but home, and now I want to make the world my backyard, the airport my living room. I want to run. And run.

And I am no longer content to be solitary. I am no longer content to be silent.

Once the coals start, they don’t stop burning. I want to warm everyone around me. I want to change things. I want to change myself, or see myself change, or whatever happens first.

I want to be a lighthouse and warn people about the rocks around them. I want to shine out truth so others can see it–whether they believe me or not. Whether they like me or not.

I want to be fearless.

An Announcement

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Hello, friends.

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and written a real post. A real, honest-to-goodness, put my fingers to a keyboard and write something post.

I haven’t actually touched a computer in two weeks, except for the purpose of watching a movie. My writing brain has been completely shut off.

Well, not shut off. I’m always observing. Always inventing imaginary scenarios. Always making mental notes and taking mental photographs.

There’s been a lot of pictures taken, recently, with bright colors and vivid resolution.

Everything about my life has changed. Even my name has changed.

This blog is about to change.

Perhaps I should say that this blog has been changing. For some time. It’s evolved with me. This blog has seen me through some of my darkest days, as well as some of my brightest. I have not missed a post for almost four years. That’s the entire length of a college career.

In fifteen days, The Risible Rambler will reach its fourth birthday. This blog has served its purpose. It has kept me (and hopefully, my beloved readers) laughing and thinking for four long and beautiful years.

It is time for The Risible Rambler to retire.

Now, by retire” I do not mean “cease to exist or function.” Not at all. That is not what retirement means. Just ask anyone who’s retired. They still exist, and they still have adventures, and they still do wonderful and influential things. Retirement just means a change in focus.

I will still post to The Risible Rambler. I will probably post about the hilarities of married life or write about changes in life or humorous happenings. This will also remain my default blog for fiction and poetry. But I will no longer post daily. I will post once or twice a week, tops.

I made this decision many months ago. I discovered new passions and new areas of interest that my fingers want to write about and my mind wants to research. I want to write a blog that will turn into a book–hopefully the kind of book that might change some lives, or at least some minds. This new blog will be a blog with purpose. It will take more effort and concentration than I am able to give to this one. It will require a different appearance, stronger internet presence, and more intentional focus.

I wouldn’t force that kind of restriction on The Risible Rambler. Not for the world.

So in fifteen days, I will start a new blog. Please follow me there. I’ll need you all more than ever.

Risabella Rambler will ramble on as she always has. But she has more to say than ever before. And she’ll need a new place to throw her words into the air and hope they’ll catch the wind.

Dear Fellow Blogger

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Hey, you.

Yes, you.

Why on earth are you up this late, reading a post by a blogger who doesn’t even put a picture of herself in her author profile?

Why are you still awake when you could be sleeping?

If you’re waiting for a jolt of inspiration, you’ll only find it after you’ve written absolute nonsense for hours that you know you’ll have to erase. But it’s the act of writing that gets the job done, so go do it, if you’re up this late for that purpose.

If you’re up late because you’re sad and sleeping sounds scary right now, believe me when i say it’s the best thing you could do for yourself right now, so go give it your best shot. Melatonin helps.

If you’re up this late because you’re plotting a violent takeover of something or some other kind of harm, then shame on you. What would your mother think?

If you’re up late because you’re trying to stretch the day out even longer, then don’t waste it on the internet. Make your extra-long day count by putting something on paper that your proud of, and don’t waste another minute.

There. I said my say.

Good night, dear blogger. Sleep tight.

The Best Laid Plans

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The goal is always to get to bed early. But life happens.

There might very well be a test tomorrow, but you have to work all evening long. And there will be forces pushing and pulling you all day long, at work, in class, in your down time–all the time. Distractions and surprise encounters and occasional headaches.

You might be distracted by an idea. You hear of a ghost story, then look to see if your library has a ghost encyclopedia or a compendium of common ghostly legends. Your library doesn’t, but another in the state does, so you order it. You do online research when you should be trying to figure out what to write for your paper that’s due in a few weeks. You get the book at last, then hunt through its pages. You contact a folklore blogger who might have more information. You obsess over something pointless and forget what on earth your blog post is supposed to be about.

Ah, yes. Distractions. Delays.

You get back from work and intend to write a blog post about delays when you and your roommate start a conversation about how people in your environment take dating way too seriously–serious to the point of agonizing over whether or not to say yes to Date One because HE MIGHT THINK YOU’RE THE ONE and that’s too much pressure for Date One, or even Two or Three. And you invent a fictional startup dating casual dating/matchmaking service that would help teach people how to be good dates. And come up with marketing schemes. And branding.

And now it’s almost midnight and you still haven’t gone to bed. And there’s a test to study for tomorrow morning.

Not everything will go as planned.

Surprises

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  1. Snow converts itself to puddles twice as quickly when you really don’t want to go to class in the afternoon.
  2. No matter how much sleep you get, you’ll still doze off after lunch.
  3. It’s possible to make a serving of cake in a mug.
  4. Those keys I found after I’d lost them were not actually my keys.
  5. The gym is not closed tomorrow, nor is tomorrow the 28th.
  6. March is next week.
  7. Also, 60 degree temperatures.
  8. Someone RSVPed on our wedding website.
  9. Lady Gaga can actually sing like a human being.
  10. Tomorrow’s Friday. Wasn’t expecting that.

Four Minutes Again

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I remember a time when Fridays were not so full. Those were fine days, but now they’re over.

Now, even after work, there are errands and meetings and obstacles to both. It’s nearly midnight, and I’ve yet to shower or put on pajamas or even warm, fuzzy socks.

But it goes like it goes, as they say. Another day, another dollar, so others say.

I say, bring on the sleep I’ve been waiting for since I got up at 6:30 this morning. That’s quite enough for me.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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It’s possible to fit a day into a word.

In college, you get a lot of blah days. Grey days. Long days. Odd days.

And of course, triumphant days, or serious days, or tiresome days, or joyful days, or simply happy days.

Or sad days.

A day could be wearisome, lonesome, confusing, troubling, irritating, bubbly, wild, weird, fun, exciting, bewildering, hilarious, bizarre, busy, terrible, wonderful, marvelous, splendiferous, even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

But sometimes…just sometimes…it’s impossible to fit a day into one word. Not even one moment of that day, not even the most memorable, could possibly fit into a single word.

Sometimes words are not enough. Not even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Today was such a day.

Good Intentions

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I always start a new thing with good intentions.

New semesters are always full of promise. A clean slate. We’ve only just started, so I can’t possibly be behind. This may be the semester I actually budget time to study for the test a little bit every day instead of frantically and at the last minute. This may be the semester I make flash cards and go to study groups. It might even be the semester that I start the research for the paper at the beginning of the semester instead of two weeks before the paper is due.

I’ll get to March an think, “Nope. Flying by the seat of my pants it is, then.”

It’s worked since high school. If a method aint’ broke, don’t fix it.

Still, I want more to stick. When I skim and study last minute, nothing remains in my head after the semester is over, which seems to defeat the purpose of getting a degree.

So maybe this is the semester to turn over a new leaf. I’m only taking three classes. I can afford to slow down and enjoy the process and absorb something, for crying out loud.

So….I will.

Getting Serious

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I’m on the hunt.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to turn my dream of being a traveling, writing gypsy into a reality.

First step: find an occupation that allows me to be mobile.

Pre-first step 1: Find an online writing job.

Pre-first step 2: Turn The Risible Rambler into a money making blog. Somehow.

I’m not really sure how to start doing either of those things. I’ve done Google searches, millenial that I am, and I’ve come up with a few solutions, all of which are overwhelming. I don’t have the hours to read that many self-help ebooks.

But i’m going to keep doing my research. My library job won’t last forever (I’ll only be able to hold it until a few months after I graduate), so if I’m going to get real about this and start trying to support myself with my writing, then I need to start now.

Pointers (and prayers) appreciated.

Who Will Buy

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Christmas shopping. Such a delightful activity. There’s decorations in every shop window, Christmas music filtering down from the mall speakers, and lots and lots of discounts.

I shop maybe three times a year. Once in the spring to get fall clothes on clearance, once in the summer to pick up odd hippie clothing and a few Christmas gifts, and once a few days before Christmas. The Christmas shopping experience is always the most intense. I’m buying for other people then, not for me, which makes me think twice as hard. I know what I like, but figuring out what other people will like is both extremely fun and extremely nerve-wracking.

That process is not what I’m here to talk about today, however. I’m going to talk about advertising.

Walking around a mall is exhausting. Number one, there are tons of grumpy people everywhere. Not just people–being around people is exhausting enough, speaking as an introvert–but grumpy people.

Number two, the advertising. The advertising is exhausting. Online and elsewhere. A thousand larger-than-life images of photoshopped men and women, ersatz stock photo families, shiny gadgets and gizmos, story-tall displays of whatnots and whozits.

All of these posters and displays say the same thing: buy this, or you won’t be happy, healthy, successful, beautiful, desirable, lovable, whole…

Online, it’s even worse. Take a few moments to scroll through the health and beauty page(s) of any online news source. A thousand glistening, digitally altered images show you “perfect” skin, “perfect” eyebrows, “perfect” eyelashes, “perfect” everything–perfection that can be yours if you buy this product, watch this tutorial, purchase this brush, invest in this brand.

Not like the site was paid off to write those kinds of reviews in the first place. Not at all.

The greatest irony of American culture–or any culture, really–is its insistence that we’re all good enough just the way we are while simultaneously insisting the opposite.

Advertisements of an aggressive nature operate similarly to the TLC show What Not to Wear. In this show, concerned family members of someone who dresses according to her (or occasionally his) personal taste and comfort enlist the help of two expensively-dressed and overpaid snobs to tell their loved one that their life is a mess because he or she doesn’t dress according to current fashions. These “consultants” convince this previously happy person that he/she is in fact unhappy and ugly and take the person on a shopping trip to buy her things that will make her feel pretty and happy again. They also change her hair and how she does her makeup to make her look acceptable to their standards of beauty. At the end of the show, there’s a “big reveal” party to show all the person’s loved ones the glorious results of a simple wardrobe change. Everyone cries. The recipient of the makeover is crying because the emotional journey of discovering her new, conformed self is over. Her family cries because their loved one is finally “normal” and “pretty.” The consultants cry because…well, pretty sure they keep onions in their blazer pockets for such occasions. I cry because I don’t like shows that take advantage of people, and I could have spent the last thirty minutes of my life a little more wisely.

Some advertisements do the same thing as this show, or try to. Before I encounter the add, I’m content–with my face, with my hair, with my wardrobe, with my figure. The advertisement, however, presents me with an Ideal. The advertisement makes it obvious that I don’t measure up to this Ideal, and I’m suddenly tempted to feel inadequate. Why can’t I look like that? But the advertisement assures me that with the purchase of the product it presents, I can be returned to my previously content state and live happily ever after. At least until I run out of or wear out the thing and need to buy it again.

Advertisements create the problem they promise to solve.

Now, lest I trigger any knee-jerk reactions, I realize that not all advertisements are like the aforementioned. Most advertisements (store displays, etc.) give you polite reminders like “Hey, that thing you already like or genuinely need? It’s on sale this week! Just thought you’d like to know” or “This thing here might solve a problem you already know about, but you can take it or leave it, no biggie!” This kind of product promotion supports both consumer and producer.

But a lot of advertisements–and ladies, let’s be real, you know what I’m talking about–say “You’re clearly inadequate. But if you buy this thing, you will become adequate.”

I understand why companies advertise the way they do. People get degrees in advertising. It’s a science. The science of selling things. Despite my concerns about how things are advertised, I am grateful that people buy things, because every time an item is bought, someone somewhere gets paid and can feed himself or his family, pay the rent, pay the heating bill. That’s important. That’s very, very important. People gotta eat.

However, a day of shopping at the mall, the typical hive of more aggressive advertising tactics, leaves me mentally exhausted. All day long my subconscious has been grappling with image after image of what I should look like and be compared to what I do look like and am. I buy several items and my mother (the best shopping buddy ever) buys several as well. A few items she bought are early Christmas presents for me.

And I put them on and looked in the mirror. Yes, they make me feel pretty. And look pretty. I am deeply grateful for them. But, as my mother assured me today and assures me daily, I was pretty before I even knew those items existed. And I’d still be as pretty without them. Things, after all, are things, and they can’t fill a hole. They can’t make a person. The clothes do not, in fact, make the man.

The thing is, I am in possession of something no money can buy. I have a deeper contentment than any trinket or bauble could ever bring me. I’ve been given other goals besides looking like the fictional people in the catalogs or having what they have.

Christmas time is more than “a time for paying bills without money,” but “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open up their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Contentment oughtn’t to rely on the procuring or possession of things. Not at all. Contentment, properly planted, finds its roots in heaven and grows downward. Then the heart is free to buy (or sell) for the benefit of others, with the knowledge that the best gifts are yet to come.

Beautiful

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You know what’s beautiful?

The Christmas lights in the windows of your parents’ house as you drive up the long, dark road that leads to their front door.

What’s additionally beautiful is that you get to stay there for a long, long while, reveling in Christmas and sheltered by their love.

Adding to that beauty is the phenomenal weight that has been lifted from my shoulders. I wrote that sentence in passive. Do you know why? Because no one will be grading this blog post. No one will be grading anything that I write for a very long time. Because I won’t be writing anything for a grade for a very, very long time. So there.

Yes. The lights in my parents’ windows was enough to make me put on my brakes before I pulled in the driveway, just to look at it and cry a little.

The Big Bad Woolf paper got a high A. I don’t know how my other classes turned out yet, but I don’t care right now. I am happy and healthy and home and all is right with the world. At least my corner of it.

Good night, dear readers. My your days be as merry and bright as mine has been today.