Writers Should Make People Uncomfortable..

One of the axioms of  writing is that it should make people uncomfortable. If it doesn’t then you are not stretching the horizons of those reading your words.  Even before I heard this it was in my heart. One of the foundations of RJsCorner is that I try to get people to think outside their boxes to other possibilities.  I am constantly looking for ways to stretch my horizons and I think everyone else should do the same. Being stuck in place is one of the primary causes of where we are today.

Why do I think that maybe I can make a difference? In many ways I am considerably different than most who likely read my words.  I just see the world differently than the average guy. Part of it is because of my Aspie characteristics, another is because of my deafness.  I am in the sub-one percent of the population.  That, and my total life experiences gives me a unique view of the world.

People getting out of the established venue is something that is becoming rarer and rarer.  With the explosion of the Internet it is just too easy to sink down into a given political mindset and almost be totally ignorant to other views of the world. It’s too easy to just turn on FOX or MSNBC and ignore the rest. I have seen that far too often when I visit some of my high school classmates.  It’s hard to believe that I once saw the world as they still do but my experiences since those years long ago have given me a different perspective.

I am not shy about putting forth my spiritual views nor am I hesitant to talk about those who fall in lockstep with a particular religious doctrine that I think drifts away from the foundations of their beliefs.  I am not apprehensive to  talk about how evangelicals have poisoned the church of Jesus by their radical “survival of the fittest” attitude when Jesus spoke almost totally about being your “brother’s keeper”.

I know I write things that make people uncomfortable. The evidence of that is my somewhat limited viewer counts.  I am told that I should stick to one particular niche. Instead I cover such a wide variety of topics.

Writers should make people uncomfortable in order to expand their readers horizons…

 

 

I Am Just Not a “Niche” Guy…

TL Banner  For my weekly bio post I thought I would talk a little about my blogging processes in particular but more generally about my thought processes which due to Aspergers is probably different than yours. Many of the more successful blogs around the Internet are niche blogs, that is they concentrate on one particular topic. Many that I read are of the retirement genre. Their readers pretty much know what they are going to get when they go to their sites. As they say like-minded people like to congregate together, especially during these trying times so they don’t want any surprises and especially disagreements.

2016-12-09_20-20-37.pngWhen I started RJsCorner in 2008 my intention was to  join them and concentrate on how I was coping with my retirement that was then eight years in. But things pretty quickly moved beyond that topic. Simply stated I just couldn’t seem to stay on topic as watched the world spinning outside my door. I admit that I often get something in my brain and it stews there for several days before coming to the surface.  My “question everything” attitude simply did not allow me to stick to one topic.  Everything means everything after all. So, of course RJsCorner rather quickly evolved into a broader venue.

I have found that it is pretty hard to get a large dedicated audience when you jump all over the map of life’s issues as I do.  You are bound to cause hurt feeling when you say things that some of your readers may fundamentally disagree with. Unintentionally hurting other people’s feelings is actually one of the characteristics of Aspergers. Maybe that is why I kind of MUST speak my mind in an unfiltered way to maintain my sanity.

As my “About Page” says I blog about the many things that I am passionate about; things that make me want to leap out of bed each morning to get involved. Empathy is a strong part of my life so talking about how others are treated is one of my major topics here.  Traveling and photography have become a centerpiece of my retirement years so I proudly show off those topics as well.  That is true especially now that I have finally got my self made micro-RV on the road.

I am a high level thinker on many topics it seems and I hope I talk about at least some issues that you find interesting . Logic is something that is a part of my prime directive so I often post about when things just don’t seem logical and in the political sphere lately many things don’t seem logical.. 🙂

Many of those who read me are bloggers who have many more viewers on their blogs than I do. That makes me a little jealous, but their regular visits here tells me I must be doing something right. I am a blogger’s blog.  In the end I blog primarily for myself or so I tell myself that. But your complimentary comments on occasion do stroke my ego.  Thanks for that. We all need our egos stroked once in a while…

Old Guys Just Aren’t Very Popular on the Web…

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Being the beginning of a new year I am going to try and get some things off my chest so maybe I won’t fret about them all year. This is one of those posts. Take it with an ounce of truth and a pound of jest. 🙂

Maybe I should erase my “About Me” page here as it probably quickly pushes some people away from my blog site.  If I made up a story about being  a troubled teenager or maybe a struggling artist I would probably get more readers and especially more “likes”.

I run across so many blogs that are so shallow in content but have a zillion “likes” that it almost makes me vomit sometimes. How can someone who talks about what they had for breakfast have more readership than me? Part of it I guess is that these bloggers have 1,000 “friends”and each feel compelled to make their presence known. That seems to be the most sought after thing to many kids today. The more “friends” the more important you are or so they think. They spend hours a day focused on putting themselves out in front of everyone else in order to gain another friend or two.

I know being an old man I am probably somewhat typical in having less than 100 “friends” on Facebook. I just take the “friend” word more seriously than they do. I also  write things here that take a little thought to absorb. Maybe too much thought for many who browse the Internet constantly and can’t spend more than 10 seconds on a post.

I try to keep all my posts limited to 500 words or so because I personally can’t stand the blah, blah, blah of others. If it can’t be read in a couple of minutes I usually do no more than skim it. I suspect that others do the same to me. Maybe I am not that much different from the kids in that regard?

One of my lofty goals with this blog is to try and educate younger generations  with stories about my life. I kind of show them, via my life stories, how not to do things. I  also want to encourage them to find their passions in life and especially to live outside of themselves. But I suspect many really aren’t interested in that sort of stuff yet. I probably wasn’t at their age.

Closing this post with the original thought it seems the only time old guys are popular on the web is when they are talking to other old guys about retirement and other “old people” things like aches and pains, and living on Social Security. No one wants to take the time to listen to us old people who were born before computers and cell phones. After all what could we have of value to teach them??

Even though I don’t get many “likes” I will continue to chug along here at RJ’sCorner with my daily posts. Like several of my heroes  including Teddy Roosevelt, I just have to write even if no one reads the words.  It’s just what I do… but I hope there are at least a few out there reading it.

Looking Back…

2015-12-11_13-28-53.pngHere it is the end of another year and time to look back to how I spent it.  So here goes:

Blog wise I made a decision about mid year to start things over again. It might not have been too obvious to some of my readers here but I abandoned my old blog of five years and moved it here in order to start fresh. I also wanted to incorporate the five blogs I was then running into one and to do some basic changes.  With that decision I left 300+ hard won followers on the old site. Some followed but many didn’t and in some ways that was a good thing. I now offer a much more varied content of posts that I enjoy creating more and I hope you guys enjoy them too.  I believe this new place more accurately reflects who I am and how I feel about things.

2015-08-07_13-42-40In looking back at my 2015 “To Accomplish” list from the start of the year I found that I actually did about 80% of the items on that list. Many were aligned with doing a more freestyle type of living. Less structure has meant more freedom to go with the flow and after some initial pain I am a happier person now.  I have always been a list maker so giving that up was not easy. I also vowed to do more “out of the box” thinking and be more creative.  I think I accomplished both at least on some level.

2015-12-11_13-37-15.pngI vowed to somehow suffer less depression than I have in previous years and I am glad to proclaim that has happened.  I just don’t fret as much about  things in life that I can’t really control anymore. I don’t let things get me down as much now.  That doesn’t mean that I quit think, talking, and especially writing about them here on RJsCorner but now I put that into a new perspective.

uRV-crop.pngI have spent about three years taking my old pickup truck with its over sized cap on the back and turning it into my personal micro-RV (uRV).  When I announced to my wife that I would be taking frequent overnight trips in it to do my own thing she was not thrilled about it. She even made the comment “I guess our marriage is over then!” But after some reflection she grudgingly accepted that I needed some time to myself to pursue things that she is simply not interested in. I took a few trips this year and will do that even more frequently in 2016. I think our marriage is actually healthier as a result.

2015-12-11_13-45-09.pngOne of the big accomplishments for 2015 is that I managed to get my wife on board with taking a vacation to Disney World. Up till now she has been adamantly opposed to the idea. For some reason she just doesn’t like Florida and thought that Disney World was for kids and not “old” people. I think she now acknowledges that she married a kid who is still a kid even in his seventh decade of life.  So next Spring I will be doing some extended reports here about my experience with the make-believe world of Disney.

It has been a good year, a healthy year and even though I will not be making out a New Years list this year I look for 2016  being even better.

I wish you all a happy, satisfying, and hopeful 2016…

 

 

Rising Again…

2015-07-23_20-48-10This blog has been in a three month hiatus due to me just getting tired of the political dialog. I have made some basic changes to prevent that from happening again.  One thing is that while I will continue to allow comments, at least for now, I will not reply to many of them.  I know this is not good blog etiquette but that is the way it has to be for me to continue here and keep my sanity. This is my longest running blog and has over 2,000 posts so it has become an important part of who I am.  While I will be drastically trimming down on posts about politics I will continue to occasionally post in that venue. There are many other topics included here that I didn’t want to abandon… so here we go again…

An Audience of One….

2015-03-25_16-49-25Those of us who blog have many tools at our disposal to see just how many people are reading what we write. Those statistics are always lurking on the edges of the page we use to generate our daily posts. They seem to be whispering “look at me”. How can we not do push the buttons?

There are also hundreds of books out there telling you what you need to do to increase your post visits. They tell you to blog about niches where others don’t and you will be toward the top of the search engine listing in that category. They tell you how to add tags and such to increase your site’s chances of being found. I admit that I do pay some, probably too much,  attention to these things. After all we all want to know that someone is taking the time to read what we write. For those so inclined there is a lot of emphasis about getting your post counts up so you can make more money via advertisements on your site.

It all comes down to why we blog.

Do we do it for money?

Do we do it for fame?

Do we do it to get a point across?

Do we do it for fun?

Do we do it for ourselves?

I believe I do blog to a degree for the last three reasons.  I want to convince as many as possible that looking at things from different angles will allow us to make better choices.  For that reason I do become somewhat discouraged when some posts that I think is awesome in that regard gets less views than one I simply jotted down in a minute. Sometimes I just fall in love with my own words a little too much.

But I also blog just because I like to play around with “words”. Saying things just the “right” way is a challenge to me and I enjoy when I think I get it just right. So in that regard I do it for myself and post count shouldn’t matter…

2015-03-25_16-21-53I admit that I do get discouraged when only a few visit my page on a given day. That is especially true when I see some of the blogs I visit have many times more viewers than I do.

But then I look at all this from a different angle. Thomas Jefferson was perhaps our most prolific founding father. His library was the foundation for our current library in congress. He spent his post-presidency years reading, studying, and writing. I have several books on my bookshelf behind me and on my Kindle reader to attest to the fact that he wrote thousands of letters and personal journals that were never read by more than a handful of people during his life.  Was he discouraged that more people did not read what he wrote? I don’t think so.  He wrote because he had to, it was just part of his nature.  I like to think I do the same thing so I have to get over my sometimes obsession with post views and to appreciate the fact that, unlike Jefferson, I always have more than an audience of one…

Falling By The Wayside…

2014-08-31_10-13-04It seems that many of my blog friends are falling by the wayside lately. They are slowly disappearing from cyberspace. I used to read a dozen or so blog posts every day, now I read less than a handful. Some who seem to have maybe a thousand followers or more are calling it quits. I wonder what is happening? Many of these past blogging friends say it is just time to move on to other things. Some I imagine expected to make spending money from their writing and that just didn’t happen to any degree. Some maybe had grandiose thoughts of being recognized as the great writer all us blogger hold in the back of our minds and that didn’t happen either.

Here I am approaching 2,000 posts and five years blogging here at RJsCorner and while I admit I have thought on several occasions of just giving it up I always back away from idea.  I have discontinued several other blogs that I have had because their time had come so to speak. The one that meant the most to me was RedLetterLiving. It was about living the commands of Jesus Christ instead of just believing  a set of man-made beliefs. I do keep it up but seldom post there anymore. I started that blog as I have for most others with a question seeking an answer. After five years I finally at least to a degree found the answers I was looking for. It then seems redundant to continue posting on that topic.

So, what makes RJsCorner different from the others?  One answer to that is in its diversity. It is not about one particular topic but instead is more like a “public” journal of my life and thoughts.  That concept allows me to cover a wide variety of topics. But,  In order to maintain variety I do have a general topic category for each day of the week.

The writings of Will Rogers, which inspires me on several different levels, continues to be a significant part of what I post here and will probably continue to be so.  Will was such a prolific writer that he left thousands of sources of inspiration for me to glean. RJsCorner continues to use the technique of his invention. That is to use something that I have read as a beginning point. One of Will’s most famous quotes is “All I know is what I read in the newspapers”. Another quote is “I never met a man I didn’t like”. In that regard I try not to be mean-spirited to anyone or any topic that I write about. For the most part, except maybe for the idiotic politics of today, I usually manage to keep Will’s quote in mind.

Finally, I never seem to run out of blog material.  My draft queue, which are snippets clipped from various sources is constantly more than one hundred deep. Some of these ideas mature, some might say fester, for several weeks before the right words come together for a post. I don’t think I will ever run out of material. The world is just too interesting….

Best Of Times, Worst Of Times….

2014-02-04_12-02-20One of the first books I read as a young man was Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. The opening words of that book has been in my mind since that time. It would not be the last book by Dickens that I would read. Many of his books were about social reform. When his father was thrown into debtor’s prison Charles had to step forward. I think maybe my avid social conscience was at least partially formed by my early exposure to his writing. But as usual, the main topic of this post is not about Dickens but about the best of time happening concurrently with the worst of time…

One of the good things about this blog, at least from my standpoint, is that since RJsCorner is not a niche blog I can go just about anywhere with my posts and as you know I often do just that. I don’t have a set pattern for what and when I blog about a particular topic. Will Rogers is a major part of my being here. He is indeed one of my heroes  but this blog ventures way beyond that arena.

In some ways the variety I offer in my posts here is also one of the worst things about this blog, especially when it comes to readership. If RJsCorner were a niche blog addressing a particular topic such as UFOs, conspiracies, retirement living and such it would probably get  more readership. When I for the most part, left the political arena recently I lost a significant amount of daily views. Some people just gravitate toward those types of posts. I am not lamenting that loss of readership because of this decision as much as I am enjoying my life a little more when very partisan politics is not part of my daily menu.

I like to think that even though I post on many different topics that this blog has some central themes. Those are:

  • to always question things
  • that our diversity is the secret to our peaceful existence
  • to love your neighbor as God told us to do.

I think I have learned those lessons in life and hope that a little of those experiences rub off on some of you. Life’s choices are almost never made in leaps but instead by a number of very small nudges. I hope to nudge you a little that way.

Sometimes I wonder why I put so much effort into my blogs when relatively few people actually read what I write? Some of it certainly has to do with my lack of social interaction in the world around me. Being deaf is very isolating, utterly so sometimes. So, maybe I blog where most people would just call up a friend for some chit-chat. I know I like to write. It is a strong part of who I am.  I kind of like to think that when you read my words we are just sitting around my kitchen table with a cup of coffee shooting the bull. I greatly miss that part of my life. I really don’t know the core answer as to why I blog but I do know that it is just part of who I am now and will continue to be so. I just hope a few people enjoy what I write and maybe even get nudged a little…

Why I Blog – The Real Reasons…

card board boxes in a pileThe last post I gave you some reasons why they say people blog and how I fit those categories.  This time I am going to give the three main reasons why I blog.    Some might think the contents of RJ’s Corner and my other blogs are a mishmash of topics but I think they hold a few of common threads.

1)  I blog to give a voice, even if it is a very small one, to those who are the most affected by our collective decisions but for various reasons have little time, resources, or experience to have their input heard. I blog because I have a very fundamental empathy for “the least of these”….

I often blog about politics and particularly the Republican variety because I think that party has for the most part lost its empathy and replaced it with fear. Instead of loving their brothers they now seem to fear him/her. They also seem to be anti-everything and pro-nothing.  Like it or not politics has such an inordinate  effect on our society at large. If we want to see change happen most often must occur there first.  What happens in Washington and the fifty State houses determines so much for those who have little voice in the matter. I try to lend my voice for those who can’t.

2)  I blog to try to get others to look outside their box.  We should all regularly expose ourselves to new experiences and thoughts. To do so is to grow; to fail to do so is to become stagnant. Looking at the world from a different angle, some call that a contrarian view,  is important to me and I hope I encourage my readers to also look beyond their current worldview.

3)  I blog because I think the world for the most part needs to lighten up. Too many of us take ourselves too seriously. Will Rogers is among the top-tier on my hero list. He had an extraordinary talent of poking fun at some very serious issues. I try to emulate him in that regard. Almost everything I post has at least a small element of jest so don’t take my words too seriously.

I am very happy I decided to address why I blog with the last two posts.  Sometimes my posts drift off topic. Sometimes I blog about things for no apparent reason. Keeping in mind the three main reasons I blog helps to center me. In the future I will strive to always look at what I post with these objectives in mind. That doesn’t mean that I won’t intentionally stray off topic once in a while but this list keeps me from going too far down a less productive  and maybe darker path.

Why Blog???

 


bloggerMy young Romanian blogger friend Cristian Mihai stated recently that one of the reasons he blogs is because he is lonely. Another is that he has to blog/write.  To not do so would deny his very existence. After reading those words and others from various bloggers I have started to think at a deeper, more fundamental level, just why do why I put so much energy into blogging.

  • Some Blog for fame. My readership is meager by many standards so I do not blog for fame. Fame seems to corrupt most that accomplish it anyway so maybe the lack of fame is really a good thing. I need to stay humble to do my job here on earth.
  • Some blog to vent their anger about what the world is doing. I am not one of those. I think those that do that are actually blogging more from fear than anger. I will not let fear or anger have that much of a hold on my life. I actually pity those who blog for that reason. I don’t blog from anger but sometimes I do blog from frustration.
  • Some say that bloggers are just lonely; they want to interact with others. There might be some truth to that for me. Being deaf it is hard to have these kinds of conversations with others in a face-to-face manner. It is more than hard; it is darn near impossible. I think that being lonely is one of the reasons I blog but it is only a minor reason. 
  • Some say that they blog to vent their feelings and to maybe add a little to the overall conversation. I think I fit pretty comfortably in that category. I know that what I say here will not change much about the things I discuss. But even if I just put a micro-nudge in someone’s mind to look at something a little differently I would be satisfied.
  • For most blogging is a very personal matter. To be good at it you must blog for yourself and not others. When I try to self-censor myself in certain areas I feel that I have somehow defeated the purpose of the time I spend in front of a computer. Yes, I must be true to myself but in order to be read I must also blog about things that are of interest to others.  I must blog about things I am passionate about. I must write things that people can relate to on a personal level.

This last week I have been on hiatus. It has given me time to reflect just why I spend so much energy blogging. Next time I will give you the three major reasons why I blog and will probably continue to blog for my remaining years….

My Blogging Philosophy….

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I will be as honest as I can.

I will sometimes tell you the weirdest truths

I won’t talk down to you

I will assume that you are just as smart and compassionate as I am

I will not scream or rant with the unreal belief that doing so will change your mind.

Sometimes I wonder why I blog so much.

  • Is it to soothe my ego?
  • Is is to gain fame?
  • Is it to get you to understand some alternate truth?
  • Is it just to pass the time of day?

In reality it is probably a little bit of each. I know that nothing I say can change your mind about almost anything but it just might nudge you a little in my direction. My blogging philosophy is pretty much defined by the five things above. I will never tell you something unless I believe it to be true but some of my truths might seem a little weird 🙂  I won’t talk down to you as if I have some great knowledge that you need to somehow get through your tiny little brain.  But, I am a compassionate guy about several different things. I like to believe that my main reason for blogging is to coax you to sharing my compassion.

I try to keep my posts on at least some level of jest and human. This is what my hero Will Rogers taught me. I want you to be informed about these things but I won’t call you an idiot if you don’t get on board.  I know you are as immersed in your own personal perceptions, some say prejudices, as I am.  I hope to get your attention so that you will come back for more visits. That is probably where the ego comes in.

This stuff, like many other things just popped off the top of my head….

Why Do I Blog??

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Computer UserI got to thinking the other day that I spend quite a bit of time blogging. I presently maintain two very active blogs (this one and another related to being a follower of Jesus).  In the past I have run six blogs at the same time.  Am I crazy or something? When I got right down to it I realize that blogging is now my creative outlet.

My body continues to degrade as the months go by. While I am still a pretty active guy I find I have more and more pains and conditions as time passes. When I was in the corporate world I designed and implemented software tools for an engineering division. When I retired from that I opened a cabinet shop and designed and built dozens of different hutches and such. Those were my creative activities. Now that I am retired and with a dwindling body I chose something a little less physical.  Even though I am now old my brain continues to travel at a mile a minute. I have spent my life asking “why” and I expect that will be the last word out of my mouth.

As I have mentioned I have always loved writing; it has always come easily for me.  I think that if I had had an impassioned guidance counselor in high school I would have likely chosen a literary field of endeavor instead of the technical one.  I wonder what my life would have looked like if I had chosen that path?  I read books at an early age and reading has been a lifelong activity for me.

When I went deaf twenty-five years ago much of my daily person to person interactions ceased. Daily chit-chat became nearly impossible. I could not get into discussions about the topics of the day with others.  Blogging allows me to do that again. It has become my virtual “ears”. Where others can call a friend and talk whatever is on their mind I do that now via blogs. I am an impassioned altruist now and blogging  also allows me to reach out to others with that message.  I hope I get through to a least a few with my messages.

At its foundation writing for me is my creative outlet. It allows me to express myself in way that I can’t or maybe wouldn’t do otherwise. I guess I am still a pretty creative person as I do blog a lot!  Thanks to everyone who occasionally listens…..

How to deal with the Internet’s biggest morons…

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The more popular my blog becomes the more I am open to the morons who troll around on the Internet.  While I have the best readers in the world (thanks Bob for the phrase), I also have my share of moron trollers lately.  Most end up on my blacklist who are blocked from further comments (thank heavens my blog host has that and it anti-spamming capability).  So, when I came upon this article about how to deal with these guys it got my attention.  Here are my two favorite ones from the article:

Source: Top 10 ways to deal with the Internet’s biggest morons – Digital Life.

angry 1Learn to argue without bringing out the worst in people Sometimes you just can’t help yourself, and you get into an argument with someone on the internet. As bad an idea as this is, there are some things you can do to avoid coming off as a troll (and thus avoid bringing out the troll in everyone else). You can also try and sound like you know what you’re talking about even when you don’t, but on the internet, that’s a recipe for disaster, and you’ll lose an already impossible-to-win argument. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, be sure to read up on how to get out of an argument with an irrational person. You’ll need it.   

Just stop caring about trolls and get on with your life The absolute best way to avoid the leagues of morons on the internet — particularly the troll variety — is to just ignore them. They aren’t attacking you, they’re attacking boredom, and they’re hardly worth the energy of even engaging, particularly because that’s exactly what they want. If you get locked in, you can weasel your way out with dignity, but the more you realize they aren’t worth the effort, the happier you’ll be.

I try to treat everyone who comments on my posts with a degree of respect. I try to treat them better than they sometimes treat me. But, as the words above say many trollers are simply there in order to raise my ire. They are just bored people with a big chip on their shoulder for this or that reason. They get excited by trying to shock others with their hateful words.  You can see them at the bottom of most news articles on the web. These are the type of people who are not worthy of any of my time or my blog space. I can’t understand why the various news sources even allow this sort of stuff?

But there are those who put some thoughtfulness  into their comments and seem to really have an opposing view. I do enjoy them when they can keep it civil and respectful.  As the article says the biggest morons need to be summarily dismissed but don’t throw out everyone who might disagree with what you have to say. You might just learn something from them…. and they from you……

Its All In The Editing….

Now that I have passed the 1,000 post mark on this blog and have managed to get a regular and growing following I thought I would give you some “secrets”on blogging.  Even though I am just an ordinary guy and not a Pulitzer prize winner I think I have some wisdom to offer beginning bloggers. Read more