Blog

Writing Invitation – An Interesting Inspiring Photograph

There is an interesting section on Pexels.com – Vintage Found Photos.

I found this particular photo intriguing enough to write a short fiction piece based on it. I will post sometime in the coming week.

Join me if you are so inclined. Use the photo, but please credit Pexels and/or the contributor.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Blog

A Word on Comments and Following

Since I have several new followers, I thought it might be helpful to share how I approach comments and following new blogs.  If other established bloggers have other ideas, I invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

First of all, initially, no comments are posted until I have approved at least one comment from that person. For me, it requires several steps before that happens.

  1. First, I read the comment. Does it make sense in response to the post? If it seems way out in left field, the comment will be deleted.
  2. If the comment makes sense, I then check the website and Gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar) associated with the user.
  3. If the Gravatar seems authentic (meaning there is a photograph of some sort and a profile or links to a blog or website), then I check the blog or the website. If either is obviously fake (no about, no content, only an aggregator, default WordPress pages and posts), then the comment will likely be deleted. EXCEPTION: I do realize I have followers that do not have blogs or websites, but I generally know them or can tell if the email address is valid.
  4. Once the first comment is approved, further comments will be approved automatically.

What I will do:

  1. Read all comments.
  2. Respond to comments. Some comments that are simple like a smiley face, I may just ‘Like’.
  3. Block commenters, URL’s, and spammers in a heartbeat.
  4. Check out your website or blog. If I find what you write interesting or compelling, I may follow you.

What I will NOT do:

  1. Follow your blog just because you ask me to.
  2. Tolerate any disrespectful comments to me or any of my followers.
  3. Allow spam comments or comments or referrals to spammy websites.
  4. Leave a comment asking any other blogger to follow me.

My advice to new bloggers is to write authentically. If you love animals, write about animals. If you love photography, share your photos and how you approach photography. If you are a mom struggling with life in the pandemic, write about that. If you are a writer, share some of your work. If you love music, share it and tell the world why you love it. Just be yourself. Authenticity comes through in your writing. Engage with bloggers you follow. Leave comments and when the blogger responds, acknowledge them.

This blogging community is a generous one. If you have questions for a blogger you like, ask the question.

Note: If you do not have a Gravatar or understand what they are, start here:  How to Sign Up for an Account

Family, memories

Midnight and Queenie – My Introduction to the Dark Side of Humanity, Part Two

My writing exercise last week had us exploring our experience with loss and grief. For me, it all started with two pets. My first pet was a cat. She was mine. She was dark black and full of love. Her dark coat was the reason I named her Midnight. Queenie, on the other hand, was a family dog, a beagle.

Tuesday, I wrote about Midnight. Today I will write the second part – about Queenie.

I will warn you, this could be triggering for some people.


Part Two, Queenie

I grew up in the country as many of my longtime followers know. Life was different there. We did not have quick and ready access to grocery stores nor did we have an abundance of money to purchase from the store. This meant we raised a large garden and the vegetables were put away (canned in Ball canning jars) for the winter months. Potatoes were harvested and stored in a dark cellar and used throughout the winter. Nothing was wasted.

Our streams were full of rainbow and brown trout, and fishing was also a way of life as was hunting. People hunted for food rather than sport and the abundance of the land and what it provided was highly revered.

My Dad hunted and we ate what was gathered. It was a way of life. When we moved into town, there was less open land in which to hunt. I think my father had a vision of raising hunting dogs. I loved my father a great deal, but often his plans were, well, let’s say flawed, often never coming to fruition.

The house we rented was a small three bedroom built in 1932. There was an alleyway that ran behind the street. The back yard had a deep downward slope. There was a coal chute on the side where coal was delivered and dropped directly into a small basement room off the furnace. Alongside the back yard was a small half-wall made from concrete block. We only had neighbors on one side of us and the lots were substantial.

I am not sure when or where Dad got the beagles, but King and Queenie lived in a chainlink pen in the back yard with a cozy dog house. I cannot even recall how long we had them, but eventually, Queenie had a litter of pups. I can still remember how cute they were. Dad did not want us to get too attached to them so we did not get to play with them or handle them much. But we all loved them dearly.

I am fuzzy on the details, but one morning, Dad got up for work and went out back to feed the dogs as was his routine. He found Queenie and all the puppies dead. They had been poisoned. I am also not sure if King was there or even is King was our dog. He may have been borrowed for breeding. I just do not remember.

What I do remember was this was the second time I realized just how cruel people could be. I have often wondered what possessed someone to come into our yard under the cloak of darkness and purposefully poison the dogs. It is possible Queenie was poisoned and the poison passed through her milk to the pups, but that is supposition on my part. All I know for sure, was that it was an intentional act.

Dad would not let us see the dogs. I think he tried to protect us from the heartache he felt when he saw them. We would not have another dog until I was in junior high school and my boyfriend gave me a Cocker Spaniel my mother named Whiskey, because he was the color of a nice aged whiskey.

Thankfully, we had no other horrendous stories associated with our pets. Two was too many. Far too many.