What’s All This About?

unnamedOverall, I’m pretty happy with the name of my blog. I started out with a blog called Straight Up and Slightly Dirty, but based on the Google search hits I was getting, and my posts never really living up to what I envisioned with that title, I decided to change the name.  I went with a comfortable combination of a nickname given to me by my best friend’s son, the vague connection with Los Angeles, my initials, and an imaginative state of mind, hence – La La Land.

What I’d like to come up with is a Tagline that encapsulates all of that.

Why?

  • Because the title is the first thing most readers will see.
  • Because “What’s this blog about?” is the first thought most readers will have.
  • Because a short description of your blog helps readers decide to stick around without requiring them to commit to reading a full post or take the time to click over to a separate “About” page.

One of the suggestion from Zero to Hero was to create a one to two sentence tagline that encapsulates my blog, then to fashion that into a text or better yet, a graphic widget for the sidebar.

This all sounds very similar to branding standards. Having a logo, a standard color palate, a font, and particular “voice” that is constant throughout.

I don’t have that at this point.  I’m hoping the writing practices this month will help to achieve that focus, or at least point me in the right direction!

Who Am I, And Why Am I Here?

whoamII decided to participate in WordPress’s Zero to Hero 30 day blog improvement challenge, in the hopes of freshening up my purpose here.

I’ve been blogging for quite a few years, and once in a while I just think you have to move the furniture around, take the rugs out, hang them on the line and beat the bejiggers out of them. Am I right?

What I’d like to do is formulate an “About Me” page that gives readers, new ones as well as loyal ones, and me too for that matter – context as to what this blog is all about, and basically why they should spend their time reading it.

I need to drill down and focus on what my ideas are for what I write about, and what I hope to accomplish with my writing. I’ve often toyed with writing a mission statement for this blog, or some kind of list of goals and aspirations…. a Manifesto maybe. This is by no means that finished product, but rather a beginning.

  • So, why do you write a blog, as opposed to say keeping a journal or diary?  I think it is because I need attention, or justification, or some kind of feedback, or – ok I’ll just say it – gratification… Immediate gratification whenever possible.
  • OK, then what kind of things do you write about?  Is there a theme here? I’d like to think that I write stories about things I experience.  Not necessarily just things that happen, but about interesting people, insights, and morals of the story.
  • So who reads this blog anyway? I am very happy to have connected with a number of intersected circles of people through this blog.  I seem to have attracted mostly women of a certain vintage – boomers; and fellow bloggers/writers. I’m content with this audience, because there is a comfort level here, as well as the very present opportunity to learn from and be inspired by our interaction.
  • Does this blog have a goal?  The one goal I have for this blog, and by this blog I mean me – is to make a concerted effort to interact more, by reading and leaving comments on posts I’ve visited.  This has always been a stumbling block for me.  It takes an concerted effort and no small amount of time to visit and read posts of the blogs I enjoy. It also takes an effort to comment though whatever security is set up on each individual site. Then there’s always the threat of falling down the rabbit hole of other blogs linked from one site to another!
  • What do you get out of writing this blog?  I think, when all is said and done, the greatest thing about blogging is how not only the platform, but the persona of who you are evolves. What I thought last year was different than what I thought when I started this blog way back when; and what I think now, is different than what I thought last year. I guess I just need to build in the expectation for improvement, and chagllnge.

At the end of this thirty days, I hope to have a new “About Me” and/or “About This Blog” page.  As always, I’m open to suggestions, criticism, praise, and whatever comments anyone cares to leave!

Release. Sometimes you just have to walk away.

It is finally Spring here in Minnesota.  This long weekend, after a long cold winter, I’m really hoping to plant a garden, maybe write a little bit, but before I can do that I need to do some Spring cleaning – both physically and spiritually.  I know that clutter in my home blocks certain types of energy, just as clutter in my spirit has blocked my sense of humor and my ability to write. This spiritual clutter stems from a conflict within my family which even if forgiven, will  never be forgotten, and thus needs to be released.

First, lets get one thing straight – I hate conflict.  I hate it so much that my fiction writing suffers. I’m so intent on conflict avoidance, that every time one of my carefully crafted villain characters approaches my hero with a dastardly plot twist, they end up sitting down to coffee and working things out amicably. This is great for world peace, not so much for creating dramatic tension. Conflict avoidance is my super-power. a3 A few years ago, my husband’s sister and mother, from their perch in the hills of Missouri, decided that they had had enough of our little Minnesota branch of the family’s liberal ideology and beliefs. So they sat down and put their bigoted and hurtful thoughts in writing, then mailed them to our house, along with a copy of a Glenn Beck book.  Both letters were a ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ ultimatum.  Blaming and shaming us for choices and beliefs that were different than theirs, leaving neither room for discussion, or rebuttal.

So many things run through your head when your family literally chooses to support a political view, over accepting you.  What would you do? You’d want to yell and say unkind things right back at them. You’d want to lash out and confront them.  You ask yourself, am I letting myself down when I don’t react to their nasty comments?  Would I be seen as a bully if I said out loud what I was thinking inside?  Am I weak when I say nothing and let others get away with saying hurtful things? Their aim, I think, besides just to bully us, was somehow to convince us to become more like them.  Yeah right, like that was ever going to happen.

I’ve learned that when someone uses mean and hurtful words, you have to remember they’re deeply wounded themselves. They were either treated that way as a child or they’re using nasty words as a defense mechanism, a personal shield to protect them from feeling their own pain. The truth is, people who routinely make nasty comments are usually so unsure of themselves that they tend to attempt to elevate themselves by putting others down. a2 The one thing that came through loud and clear was that they didn’t want to have any more to do with us. OK! Fine with me! Easily done, and to be honest, a relief for me and my children. I welcome ideologic and cultural variety in all people, but always choose NOT to assoicate with anyone who is negative, angry or beligerent.  These two women were all of that and more. But they are Downtown Dad’s family, and while he was more than happy to be rid of his toxic sister, cutting off contact with his mother was going to be more difficult. He patiently waited out his anger and hurt, and had just recently re-established short but civil conversations with his mother, when she suddenly passed away.

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This turn of events and our decision to stay away from the memorial, served to open up another volley of passive aggressive emails from his sister.  Our reaction to this was the same as our original reaction – take the high road, turn the other cheek, ignore the attack, and above all avoid conflict. Although if you’ve ever read this blog, you know what I really wanted to do was fire back with verbal guns a-blazing. But, I realized that if I did that, I’d be stooping to her abusive level, bullying, exactly as she’d done to us. Realizing that fact though, did little to stop the angry voices in my head.  So, that’s what this post is about.  I have said what I wanted to say.  I have brought this dirty piece of business into the light, and by doing so have swept a large piece of negativity out of my life.

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I write this today because it is Spring, and with this season of renewing and refreshing comes Spring cleaning, both physical and spiritual. Just as I sweep away the dirt from my home, I’ve decided to sweep away the unnecessary negative influences that affect my heart and mind.

NOTE: 6/23/13 I decided I’m going to add pictures to this from time to time that reinforce my message.

How people

This is not a blog post

I’ve been stuck.

I have been stuck in a box.

I’ve been stuck in a box with strict rules that must not be broken.

…and the sad thing is that I made this box.

Wait.

Let me change that.

I am struggling to escape this chrysalis – and will emerge creative and colorful!

 

Welcome Slow Cookers!

Just like the day I learned to ride a bike, or if I’ve gotten a great haircut – today I’m excited to show off!  I’ve been interviewed by the hilarious blogger and famed illeist*, Mrs. G of Derfwad Manor!

Every so often, Mrs. G runs a feature on her blog called Slow Cook Thursday, where she posts a particular blogger’s answers to 10 James Lipton-esque questions, then asks for a favorite poem and a recipe (hence the ‘Slow Cook’).

Please stop by her blog to see my answers to such probing questions as, “If no one is around, do you swear?”  and “Who is your secret boyfriend?” but click around a while and see why we fellow “Derfs” adore our Mrs. G!

*Illeism /ˈɪli.ɪzəm/ (from Latin ille meaning “he”) is the act of referring to oneself in the third person instead of first person.

Welcome to the NEW Lala Land

I’m a little nervous about this.  After all, I’ve been with the Blogger platform since 2005.  I’m “old school.”  Urged by my friend Lonna at Deskchef, I’m intrigued by the fact WordPress will suggest other blogs I might be interested in.  I took a little look around, and well, I like the neighborhood here at WordPress, so I’m thinking about moving.

I really like my new header… I made it myself with Ribbet.  I was kind of hoping that there would be more font choices – but maybe I just haven’t found them.  I’m afraid this has a more serious look than I was going for.  Also glad to see that I still have the strikeout feature, so I can still appease my cranky bitchy self  inner editor.

I’ll have to get some feedback, but that means actually figuring out how to link people to the new site.

Perhaps, if the Mayans were right…

Perhaps, if the Mayans were right, in 15 days the world will come to an end.
Maybe.

The only thing I know for sure is that tomorrow is my birthday.
My Sammy Hagar* Birthday.
(*I originally and erroneously had Van Halen. Edit credit goes solely to Small Town Me for her distinct and loyal devotion to the Red Rocker)

I Can’t Drive 55.

In honor of that, and in case the world does come crashing to a halt, I do NOT want to regret a single thing. So I am throwing caution to the wind this year.

I am going to LIVE TWEET MY BIRTHDAY.
Yup. Hashtag and everything.
#Linda55

If any of you kids do “The Twitter,” you can follow along and everything @Lindalla!

There will be pictures, and jokes, and questions, and activities, and guest tweets, and trivia, with special tweets at 5:55 and 11:11 am and pm.

I’m not quite sure how all this is going to work, but I have full assurance from my digital pal and co-hort @MaxKringen that this will be fun!

I’m going to promote this here, and on Facebook, and of course Twitter, just like I’m some kind of celebrity or something. Please respond, or comment, ’cause if the world does come to an end in 15 days, c’mon, what do ya have to lose?