Dear Wonderful Person who is wonderful because you’re managing your life among the chaos.
And because you’re here.
Have you heard of Substack?
Substack is kind enough to give writers—free of charge—a forum and will forward their latest posts to readers also free of charge. And, of course, you can go into Substack and read everything a writer has posted on their site.
A writer can post free content for as long as they want. And you can read for free as long as you want. There are no other charges. Writers do not have to search blog platforms, buy domains, pay for websites, or pay an email service an arm a leg plus all ten toes to send emails.
The only way Substack makes money is for you to become a paid subscriber. Then they will take a small fee.
A writer can make money by writing something specific for paid subscribers. That way, they can have both free and paid content.
Substack contains excellent writers. (I follow Garrison Keiller. Now, you know he is a master storyteller. One girl hand-paints an image for every post. Terry Cole Whittiker, her book: What You Think of Me is None of My Business, has posted videos.) It scared me initially to be a part of that illustrious group until I mustered the courage to say, yes, I will jump in with the best of them.
And on Substack, Newsletters can be short. And you can write whatever you want. There are categories to choose and you might wonder, if you are a writer, where you fit. Google has little to do with content, algorithms, SEOs, etc. Since the Newsletters come in your email, bloggers don’t get penalized for writing less than 2,000 words. (Who has the time to read that much anyway?)
Here is Jo’s Newsletter, my first. This will give you an idea of where I’m coming from. I would love to hear where you are, for for you to say yes or no if you think this is a good idea.
I would be tickled to have you follow me on Substack. It would help others find me, and I would be honored to have you as a reader.
When you enter your email, you will only get my latest post. However, you can go to Substack and read all my posts plus anyone else’s’ that piques your interest.
Here we go...
Why am I Here?
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
There you have it, two questions to start off. I like the words "start off" better than begin, for it insinuates the beginning of a race. Which is what life is.
This is NOT to ask why I am here on this planet. I know that reason. I got it from Lorna Byrne this week. "Your purpose is to live your life."
No, I think she's got it. We're here to live our lives and find what we want to do with it.
I ran into this headline the other day:
"Life is Hard."
It gave me some weird comfort, for I said, "Hey, we're doing pretty good considering."
Sometimes, we (I) run into a wall, and I wonder, not what I am doing here on the planet. We covered that but putting squiggles on pages. Everyone has their own thoughts, so why would they care what I think? And what has called me to do this writing thing, considering what some scribe masters have raised it to an art form. I'm stepping into water too deep and too cold.
Is my self-expression essential to run my fingers off week after week?
Well, yes, it is.
I want to swear a bit here, punctuating a few sentences with expletives for emphasis, but I'm refraining lest I offend delicate ears.
Although I do not consider it a sin to use a taboo word now and again, for they pierce through our filtering system, the trouble these days is that they are used as adjectives. And to use one in every sentence is just plain lazy and inconsiderate. They are so punctuated into speech that they have lost their shock value.
Once, in a children's story workshop, I used a slang word in a story. The teacher said I was too good a writer to use convenient slang. That's what I remember from that class: that he said I was a good writer and should not use slang. Although I often break both of those critique offerings.
Slang is a colloquial speech that most people understand. And why is the cliché "Cool as a cucumber" so apt and picturesque? Indeed, it has stood the test of time. However, when you pick a cucumber fresh from the garden, it is not cool. But everybody understands the analogy.
And, with stories, people also know that a story follows a particular structure. It is familiar, comforting even. Give your protagonist a flaw, kick them out of their comfort zone, throw rocks at them, and then see if they can escape or solve their problem. Create a resolve, hopefully a successful one. Happy would be good. Celebrate.
Well, last night was a cold, dark night in Junction City.
The entire city was without electricity.
Lights—off. Electrical heating—off, Propane stove—off. There was no electrical pilot burner, and I was in the middle of baking lasagna. The water was in our well, but we had no pump to get it out. No flushing toilet.
Luckily, we had drinking water.
And I think of people who have lost electricity for weeks, maybe months. It is good to have a backup system.
The electricity went off in the early evening and came on this morning around 9 a.m.
It was a cold night.
The pets didn't know what to do except snuggle in bed with us. No internet. Everyone rushed to their phones, and my daughter and her son intended to watch a movie on her tablet and ended up talking until 5 a.m.
What a great use of the time.
I wondered how others on our street were fairing in the dark cold as some were elderly. Not that they don't have resources, but they are more vulnerable. I should have walked down the street and knocked on doors. I might have gotten some good stories, but I just now thought of it.
Phones were our solace. Candles were our light.
I freaked (slang) in Hawaii when we lost our solar electricity, which we sometimes overused, or a storm shielded the sun for a day. However, it usually came back on at about 11 a.m. the following day if the sun came out, and it usually did. We had a water storage tank in the backyard with a spigot, so we had water. We also had two burner propane stove that required a match to light. That way, we could have warm water and cooking facilities. We wouldn't freeze because the temperature never got that low. And, if needed, we needed food; we had coconuts that fell like bombs during a storm. That is, if we could get into them.
People who live off the grid find ways of living. Yeah, solar needs batteries. It continues regarding energy and a carbon footprint, but I trust we'll figure it out.
I remember my husband said his grandparents had a battery system of some sort in their house.
I called him and asked what that was. He didn't know for sure, but it was from Uncle Harry, he said, who sold these units house to house in the 20's. They had few advertisement opportunities in those days, thus the traveling salesmen.
Hubby remembers seeing glass cylinders about a gallon in size with wires attached in the storage room of his grandparents' home. The energy that supplied them was from a windmill outside. But he doesn't know what acid they used if it ran the lights, or what. And no one is alive to ask.
Hey, that's a good reason to write, not to say those were the good old days, but to keep some of their ingenuity alive. If people know such a thing once existed, they can create it again.
While waiting yesterday for the bank clerk to fix something online, with them saying the computer was down, didn't give me confidence. I hope rockets contain better computer systems.
On the other side of my husband's family, the paternal grandparents had a stream on their property, and they built a little house over it where they cooled the milk after the daily milking. Probably before putting it in the separator. Not high-tech, but clever.
I do not like getting into politics, but sometimes it knocks so loudly that we cannot tie our mouths tightly enough to keep it in.
I wanted to be a Kennedy kid and would have joined the Peace Corps if I could. On TV, I saw kids crying when they didn't get in. I loved the enthusiasm of those days. And believed in Kennedy's definition of a Liberal, which is now considered a dirty word.
"Don't talk Politics or Religion" is touted in many polite circles. Yet both subjects get our blood boiling. And both are worth a good discussion. We talked of our definition of God around here not long ago with the rest of the family, and no one got mad or argued, yet everyone's view was different. I use the term Spirituality instead of Religion, for Religion is plagued with dogma. To baptize or not baptize, sprinkle, or emerge? Ridiculous. And again, people develop a need to convince you of their way of thinking.
Fanaticism can quickly come from dogma and has. Wars, killings, all in the name of God. Cultures destroyed. People were made ashamed of their bodies—like, hey, they were given to us. We didn't design them. (I had a science teacher who said he wished he had a coat like a collie dog.) Many have been made to comply with the beliefs of those more powerful or with better medicine. Innocents were stolen from their families and made to believe they were sinners. Heavens, the hula dance, was driven underground for years.
One's relationship with the Divine is an ever-evolving subject.
I am into woo-woo, although I am a moderate woo-woo by woo-woo standards. Some go off the deep end. That's fanaticism—unwilling to accept new ideas, but that is the way with many things.
My daughter and I even observed fanaticism in Ferret meetings (As in the animal.) They were telling the audience who could have a breeding pair and how you should not sell an unneutered ferret. In their effort to control the species, they managed the owners. (Teaching would be a better answer. Like females need to carry pregnancies regularly, less they wear out their endocrine system with too many estrus cycles.)
People want you to believe as they do and are offended if you don't. Yet, if everyone agreed, we would have nothing to talk about.
People who have researched the canonization of the Bible found that the chosen books were at the discretion of the ones in power. And the ones who came after said, "The Bible said it, I believe it, that's it."
Some people thought the same about the Jewish Vedas.
There are many Holy Books. God didn't stop inspiring. And the way I see it, He didn't pen the words either. History is HIS- story.
It drives me nuts when we muck up, or something terrible happens, and people say, "What did you do to create that?" That insinuates that if you are on the straight and narrow, that life should go smoothly with no bumps. That is unreasonable. Let's get help with the bumps, not incrimination. Neither do we need fanaticism, which can lead to militarism, as we have seen.
Sometimes, life is a pinball machine that we sometimes get right.
If you don't like black jellybeans (my favorite), don't eat them. It's the same with ideologies.
When my niece's six-year-old daughter asked her what God was, my niece answered, "God is Love." And that satisfied the child for now.