Themes to Me Thomebody Needth Kicking Out of Her Comfort Thone

“Your problem is,” said my website angel consultant the other day, “your website theme doesn’t include a menu with social media buttons. You need a new theme.”

That’s what came out of her mouth, anyway. This is what I heard:

“Return ye to that fearsome Land of Tech where live every vile Insecurity and Fear of Failure your puny writer mind can devise!!!”

Yep. I have to go back to  Wordpress Central, whose user-friendly greeting might as well say, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”

(Orig. drawing Dr. Guillaume Duchenne, presented by Charles Darwin, via Wikimedia)

(Orig. drawing Dr. Guillaume Duchenne, presented by Charles Darwin, via Wikimedia)

So…this should be interesting. I’m gonna take a few days off to welcome Son One home from his year abroad and celebrate a couple of late holidays with the whole fam. (Merry Thanksmas, everyone!) Then I will pull on the big-girl panties and try. To. Update. My. Blog. All by my ownself.

You should know by next week how that went. Wish me luck, people! Oh, and send me recommendations for great, easy-to-read WordPress themes if you have any.

See you later! And Merry Thanksmas. 

 

Anne Lamott 2.0: Why I’m Starting to Dig This Blogging Thing

First of all, thank you to all who sent me kind words or plain ol’ “likes” on my last post. I was (obviously) feeling pretty down about my dog and my book and my responses to both. One wonderful response came from my friend Shan Jeniah Burton, who quoted Vulcan wisdom to me:

“You are very adept at listing the questionable decisions you’ve made. But there have been other decisions – many of them – that no one would question. ”

Thanks, SJ. I call her SJ. I have NO IDEA if anyone else does, because, see, we’ve never met. We were both prisoners students in Kristen Lamb’s blogging-for-writers class over a year ago (Hotel Californians, we call ourselves, ’cause we can check out any time we like, but…yeah). Now we’re soul sisters…remotely.

This is why I can say with perfect honesty, 14 months since starting that class in order to kick-start my reluctant, anti-blogging self into doing something I was pretty sure authors just needed to suck-it-up-and-DO, I like my blog. I like this weird way of connecting with people. I have made real–not “virtual,” but REAL real–friends this way. Not to mention how lovely it is to re-connect with existing friends through this medium. Way more room to roam than on Facebook.

Then there’s the “please help” aspect. Granted, this works on Facebook and Twitter too, but I’m thinking I’m going to get a much more meaningful and useful response if I try this here on Wing’s World.

Can anyone advise me on how to get in touch with Anne Lamott? Her own blog does not have a “contact me” button (for obvious reasons; she’s a famous gal!). I’ve tweeted her and left a message on her Facebook page, but never heard anything, and I don’t want to be a stalker about it.

See, I wrote a song that I really want her to hear. It’s based on her famous quote about having only two prayers, “Help me help me help me” and “Thank you thank you thank you.” (That was in her book Traveling Mercies. Since then she’s added a third prayer, “Oh, wow,” which I guess is detailed in her book Help, Thanks, Wow, which is on my reading list.)

I started to write a song about that, but the lyrics got intertwined with another story, that of a friend of mine who died of cancer at age 42, just after delivering a baby. I do not know if my friend actually said Annie’s prayers, but the way she lived in her final year made me think that she might have, and so I wrote the song that way.

Here’s my song, “Help Me Help Me, Thank You, Thank You,” from our little Chicken Biscuit concert on Lopez Island, October 2012. I’m backed up by my friend Bruce Creps, who’s a much better guitarist than I am:

I don’t want Annie Lamott to help me “market” this song. I have zero ambitions for a career as a singer-songwriter; my plate is full! I just want her reaction.

So, internet friends and friends-I’ve-already-met-in-the-flesh (’cause “flesh friends sounds REALLY nasty), here’s my question: Can you help me figure out a way to get this song to Anne’s ears? I look forward to your help, advice, or support in this endeavor.

 

Happy Blogday To Me: Once-Reluctant Blogger Reaches 100 Posts

(orig. photo courtesy commons.wikimedia.org)

(orig. photo courtesy commons.wikimedia.org)

Happy Blog Day to Meeee….Wing’s World turns 100 posts today. I should buy myself a card.

Actually, I’m only half-joking. Given the number of people like me, mostly over-30s (OK, let’s be honest, even more of us are old enough to be the PARENTS of the over-30s), who have dived into blogging recently, Hallmark & their ilk could probably make a killing selling “Congrats! You’ve Reached Your 100th Post” cards. “From Your Sister-in-Law on Your 100th Post.” “To My Darling on the Anniversary of Her 100th Post.”

The cards could feature a long fence line, you know, made of…wooden…yeah, alright, you get it.

But none of us new bloggers would buy a paper card, would we? We’d be too busy showing off our mastery of the ecard. “Look at me, doing technology!”

Half the time, that really is what it feels like. When I was a little kid, my parents used to let me have a sip of their wine at dinner sometimes. I only took that sip after announcing, “Look at me! I’m drinking wine!” (Yeah, guess who’s the youngest in her family?)

Why this sudden upsurge? Because, like Mt. Everest, the internet is just…there? For some, I’m sure that’s true–reaching out with their thoughts is just a natural extension of, say, chatting to a stranger on a bus.

For people like me, though, starting to blog felt like signing up for a colonoscopy. “Do I really hafta? I know, I know, this is supposed to be good for me…How about if I wait a year and then do it?”

So fine: I started Wing’s World. But…starting to blog REGULARLY? “What does the world WANT from me?? Why can’t I just say my piece once a month and then retire with my dignity intact?”

I’ll tell you what got me going, and what probably motivated a whole bunch of my bloggin’ cohorts: FEAR.

What if I wrote a book…and nobody came?

A painter can at least put her masterpiece in a window for people to walk past and see, even if no one wants to buy. But an author? We have to PUBLISH. We have to get individual books before individual sets of eyes.

And that means we have to attract those eyes our way.

But eyes, it turns out, aren’t enough. In fact, if all your eyes saw were a stream of advertisements, “Buy my book! Buy my book! Buymybookbuymybookbuymybook…” stretching off into the sunshine like a line of fenceposts…you’d look away.

So my job is to get you to feel like you WANT to buy my book, because…drum roll!…you think I’m an interesting person, and you like the way I write.

And that, my friends, is why I blog. Or why I STARTED blogging. But an interesting thing happened on the way to the 100th post.

I began to enjoy myself. Turns out I really like talking with y’all.

So, here’s to Happy 100. Here’s to the next. Here’s to you, for reading, and to me, for writing, and…to whatever comes next as the line of posts marches into the distance.

How about you? Do you blog, happily or reluctantly? How many other blogs do you read? Do you sometimes suffer from “blog overload?” Do you wish the whole blogosphere had never been invented? Let me hear!

 

Why I’m Not Blogging From My Bike in Greece

Multiple choice:  As you read this, I am

a) riding a bicycle around a Greek island

b) stuffing my face with feta cheese and olives

c) sleeping off the results of a) and b)

d) not blogging

Correct answer: any of the above, although not all simultaneously.

I surely tip my hat to those of you hardcore bloggers who somehow stay in touch, live, from Paradise. But that is SO NOT ME. My version of Paradise includes nothing digital, except the digits of my hand, which I hope will be clutching only handlebars, or food, or my husband’s digits, for a full nine days.

(orig. photo courtesy bestthinking.com)

(orig. photo courtesy bestthinking.com)

That’s why I wrote this post well in advance and scheduled it. Yay for scheduling.

(orig. photo courtesy bestthinking.com)

(orig. photo courtesy bestthinking.com)

I’m not a techno-phobe. Techno-WUSS, yes, definitely. But I got nothing major against smartphones, tablets, all those other devices that chain us to society when we most need to be freeing ourselves to feel our inner spirit and reconnect with the natural world or other people allow us to stay connected.

OK, maybe I have a LITTLE something against those devices. Or against the pressure they manage to exert.

I’m on VACATION. I will check back in when I get home and tell you how wonderful it was. In the meantime, thank you for putting up with my curmudgeonliness listening to my opinions.

(orig. photo courtesy publicphoto.org)

(orig. photo courtesy publicphoto.org)

What about you? Do you stay technologically connected while on vacation? Is it hard not to? Whom do you get more impatient with, people who can’t disconnect, or people like me who grouse about disconnecting?

Sure, I Have a Website…Just a Sec…

Last week I launched my nation-wide radio career.

Well, that may be a TEENSY bit of overstatement. But I did do a radio interview with a lovely man named Mark Judkins Helpsmeet, who produces a show out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, called Song of the Soul. http://www.northernspiritradio.org/  He played a half-dozen of my songs, asking me about each one, and about my journey as a songwriter. A journey that is just beginning, I might add, as in–18 months, give or take. An unplanned, and so far, mostly unguided journey, with no particular destination in mind. Especially not national exposure.

Which may explain why, when Mark asked me if I had a website, I choked.

First I said, “No.” Then I quickly amended with, “I mean, yeah, I do…I mean it’s not a songwriting website or anything, but I do have a blog…I mean, I’m a writer, that’s my real career now, so, yeah…” Then I blurted out the URL.

Mark (kindly): Ah, are you sure that’s correct? URL’s don’t usually have @ in them.

Me (not at all flustered, on national radio): Oh. Yeah. Right. I mixed it up with my email. My website is…just a sec…

When I told this anecdote to a friend later, she asked me, “So if you’re starting to get attention as a songwriter, why DON’T you use that to promote your writing career?”

Ummm…because I’m new to the whole idea of self-promotion and still finding my way in the dark an idiot?

So now I’m thinking: Yeah, why DON’T I? The whole singing-songwriting thing is beginning to generate a life of its own. I’m putting myself out there on the stage, relying on a decent voice and a darn good writing style (I’m certainly not relying on my guitar skills!), so why NOT put myself out there in cyberspace as well? Let’s see what happens, shall we?

So, to begin: here are two clips from a recent community concert on Shaw Island, the next ferry stop over. I didn’t realize, when I accepted the invitation to participate, just how GOOD the other musicians were, and I had the interesting luck of following a FOURTEEN YEAR-OLD future phenom onstage–which explains the intro of this first song. My friend Bruce got totally jostled while trying to record me, so if you can’t handle the jumpy camera, just close your eyes and listen, ok? It’s a good song.

The second song’s intro got cut off, but I have to sneak it in here ’cause I’m proud of it. I said, “I wanted to write a good ol’-fashioned My-baby-left-me song, but my baby never has left me, so I had to use my imagination.” 🙂

So, hey. Whether you listened to the songs or not (how’m I gonna know? It’s not like I count YouTube hits or anything), I’d like to hear from you. Why is self-promotion so hard? Is it harder for women, do you think? Does it get easier? Or maybe it should never get too easy? Let me hear!