The Journey

Mild Stones

Hey, Folks.

I’m in a bit of a reflective mood this evening, albeit not a melancholy one, so there’s no need to flee in terror that I might be sharing one of those sad stories where I was really sad during sad times. [Insert sad emoji.] This is more a ponderance on how my writing is going, where I plan to go with it from here, and what impact social media has had on said writing. It sounds rather clinical and drab, but stick with me. This is Bonnywood. Even I don’t where this story is going. It will tell itself, as it usually does.

In the last week, this blog managed to pass the 5,000 mark in the number of followers. (I fully expected a clever little message to arrive from the WordPress Gods, acknowledging my ascension into a moderately-special level in the pyramid scheme. This did not happen. The number clicked over with no fanfare, whatsoever. I was at my high-shool senior prom with no date, that sort of thing.)

I realize that follower stats are, to a large degree, meaningless. The vast majority of folks who follow this blog (and any blog, really) only dropped by one time, hit the follow button and then ran for the hills, never looking back. That’s the nature of the yeast, here on WordPress. The bread bakes in mysterious ways.

There’s a second subset of followers, wherein folks hang around for a while, cultivating a friendship that is really genuine. We laugh together, we cry together, we do each other’s hair at virtual slumber parties. Then, one day, the doorbell stops ringing. I do wonder what happened, but I know that the answer can be anything from I pissed them off with a certain post to life intervened in some way and our anchors unmoored. Something went awry. But the friendship is still there, still warm, never fully fading, and I will answer the door if it rings again.

The third subset? Well, that would be the folks who walked in the door and made themselves at home and have been with me ever since. I don’t care about the numbers. I care about these people, the people who stay. Everything I scribble or re-scribble at Bonnywood is for you. I don’t dare try to list any names, for fear of leaving someone critical out, but I hope each of you realize that you will always have a chair on the Bonnywood patio, wherein we sip the wine and nibble the bits and share the stories.

[Sounds of notecard shuffling.]

An hour or so ago, I posted my 10,000th tweet on Twitter.

This astounds me. Not due to any admirable productivity on my part, but because I still don’t understand how that mess works. I have never been a hashtag afficionado, nor have I grasped how to capitalize on what might be trending at the time. I simply share things that I find interesting, end of story. I just didn’t realize that I was sharing that much, until I happened to check the stats, which I rarely do. Apparently, I am.

So, I feel compelled to say this: I hope some of you are aware that the majority of my tweets are shares of the stories on your own blogs. I’m not stating that to garner any praise. I just want you to know that somebody out there appreciates your efforts and is doing his small part to maybe, possibly, get a tiny bit of attention in your direction. We independent writers and artists are all in this together, and you never know when one little click might tilt the scales.

And, just so I don’t ruffle any feathers, some of you on Twitter have been very gracious with your acknowledgements of my subtle cheerleading. Thank you for that. I may not always reply, but I click the hell out of that “heart” button.

Finally, The Writing.

As I often babble, I am always working on multiple books at the same time. This lack of focus is a major reason why I haven’t published anything for six years. I hopscotch and I piddle. That’s the roadmap of the neural pathways in my brain. But I need to get serious. Hell, I’m 55. My knees can’t hopscotch like they used to, with ligaments snapping hither and yon. So, these are the four crop-projects that I am determined to harvest in the next year or so:

“Peppered Fruit” – A collection of short stories I have shared in the past. I already have them picked out and aligned, save for three slots where I plan to insert fresh musings. All of the stories are from my formative years, so “nostalgia” is definitely an over-riding thread. There’s no reason why I don’t have this finalized. Well, except for the non-focus angle.

“Cruise Control” – A double tale, weaving the stories of a family cruise with a murder mystery investigation. I have shared many bits from this one on Bonnywood over the years, so it might ring a slight bell. Trouble is, the draft is over 500 pages at this point, and I haven’t even finished either side of the double. Weed-whacking is imminent at some point.

“Oak Cliff Confidential” – A murder comedy set in a suburb of Dallas, playing out over several decades. The draft on this one is also huge. I obviously need an editor. I just can’t afford one.

“Murder Cabin” –  Okay, I’m not even going to give a plot synopsis on this one (suffice it say that it’s also a comedy) because I just realized how often I have typed the word “murder” in this post. Damn. It’s possible that I might have an issue. I think my guidance counselor in the third grade might have been spot-on when she asked “Do you have anything you need to talk about?” I don’t remember how I responded. I do remember that she had strawberries painted on her fingernails. I think that says everything you need to know about my psyche.

Alright, let’s wrap this up. It’s two in the morning and Cleo the Cat has just informed me that I need to cease and desist or there will be vengeful shredding of important pieces of furniture.

Thank you for listening. And I hear you just as well.

Thank you for coming back when so many haven’t, despite my wildly-varied posts that often have me waking up in the morning and wondering what the hell was wrong with me for posting what I did last night.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as I fumble my way towards another mild stone, whatever that may be.

Cheers.

 

Note: I’ve used this photo many times over the years and, just being honest, it’s basically how I look every day, which makes it a bit difficult to gage my current emotion. But in this case? I’m happy. Very happy. Even if I look like the FBI should be bugging my house…

 

72 replies »

  1. That’s a mathematically pleasing pair of mild stones there.
    I have found a lot of good reads from clicking on your varied tweet shares, so appreciate them as well as finding myself satisfyingly entertained when here (not reading every post, but visiting at least weekly). Good luck with finishing at least one of your projects one day. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks, Bear. I’m sure I’ll eventually finish all the projects, unless they finish me first. Wait, that sounds like a snippet of dialogue I should use in a Past Imperfect. I’d best race off and find the perfect photo that will let me use that line of dialogue and… and… see? That’s how my mind works and why it’s taking me so long to finish those damn projects…

      Like

  2. Two milestones in the one week!? but, as you say later re; the whims of ‘followers’ the numbers lie like a big nasty orange stain on a White House floor.
    My term for fickle followers is Post People. But what causes a crease in my frontal lobe are the ones you think you’re simatico with for weeks, months, years who simply up and go, for whatever reasons. You cain’t do a damn thing except shrug and say c’est le vie .
    On what to write – excuse me for saying this, knowing you have focus issues- is, think about, FOCUS on what the merits of your options and choices are before going to bed, wrestle with that until you fall into a confused exhausted slumber. When you wake, which option speaks to you first?

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s actually a great concept, the “which option speaks to me first in the morning” bit. Sadly, now that I think about it, my first thoughts are often centered on whether or not my previous post was satisfying for folks who visit my blog, coupled with whether or not all the comments I scribbled out late into the night were adequate and supportive.

      There’s nothing focused on ME in that mess. Hmm.

      You’re a sly one, kind sir. Thank you for doing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought you were showing us your latest ‘gangsta’ mug shot. Very fetching. And no you cannot braid my hair but another glass of Prosecco would not be amiss. I’m just say’n . . .

    Liked by 3 people

    • I suppose it COULD be a gangsta mugshot. But it’s really me in New Orleans a few years ago. I was really happy to be there, can’t you tell?

      I just signalled for the waiter to bring a fresh round of Prosecco. Come, sit down at our table and chat a while….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on your milestones! And I dig the picture. Looking tough! I hear ya about the followers. I wonder sometimes why I get some followers, who never read, like, or comment on a post. And I am not a “follow” for a “follow” girl. I want to enjoy what I am reading or seeing on some level and I completely appreciate my peeps – the people that I care about and consider my true friends who I have met here in the blogosphere. You guys rock!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m right there with you. I generally toss aside the folks who are obviously attempting a “follow grab”. Instead, I concentrate on the people who are here for the sheer joy of finding like-minded souls who just want to celebrate each other…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know I haven’t been here long, but I intend to be a permanent fixture on the Bonnywood patio, so for Gods sake… buy more limes!
    As for followers, I zap all the businesses and those who just want a follow back so my numbers remain small. I’m here for real blogging… where you read, comment and find like minded weirdos.
    😉

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I’m always happy to read your writing, Brian, whether you can afford an editor or not. And I’m always grateful for your Twitter-sharing of my posts. It’s something I’ve been very remiss about doing for others, as I’m hardly ever on the site these days – must try harder!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Clive. I’m also rarely “on” the Twitter platform, but I “send” things there every day. This means that when I do sign in, I often have “99+” notifications. That’s fun. But I take a deep breath and swim through it. In the end, though, the confluence does seem to be working, as my stats show that nearly every day a handful of folks follow a link from there to here…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I should do more of that, I’ve not been good at returning the favour for bloggers I follow. I get about three or four views a week from Twitter, but have no way of knowing if they are from my own or others’ posts. But, as I say, I really should try harder…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Even if I don’t get to every post, I feel very much at home at Bonnywood Manor. And I try to always say thank you for sharing my posts on Twitter–I’m not on there a lot but know that I’m always grateful. Currently, I’m 4 followers away from 800 (on WordPress anyway–my site has a lot more apparently, but it’s the WordPress counter I see more often). It feels like a milestone–I can’t imagine the thrill of having over 5000 so congrats!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are always very gracious on Twitter, more so than I, since you do take the time to comment whilst I usually just click the heart-like button and scroll on.

      5,000 followers IS fun. But it also means more work, as I always try to visit the site of everyone who clicks “like” on one of my posts, every time they click. Not complaining, at all, because I enjoy discovering and exploring new things and having terrific conversations. It just takes a big chunk out of the day to do so, leaving me less time for actual writing. It’s a balancing act, for sure…

      Like

  8. I don’t look forward to reading Bonnywood every day DESPITE your wildly-varied posts, but BECAUSE of them. I never know what the blog will bring, but always find something that makes me smile, laugh, or nod in recognition and agreement. And nearly always I pause at a particular sentence or turn-of-phrase and marvel at how well-crafted it is … as I also wonder where on earth you came up with that idea. I’ll even admit to an occasional twinge of envy that your imagination takes you places mine hasn’t yet ventured to. I look forward to hearing more about your book projects and progress … and then to reading them. Thanks for making me laugh and making me think, Brian.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for the kind words, Donna. The baseline for me is always the craft of writing and not necessarily the subject, which is why I tinker with so many forms and voices. That’s where I find my joy, the tinkering. How can I manipulate words to say things that have surely been said before, with some whiff of freshness? As for your own writing, well, I think you’re just the bee’s knees. You have a lovely, consistent voice that gently guides the reader to just where you want them to be, whereas I sometimes let my passion overpower my compassion. I’m trying to get away from that, and I probably always will be… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for your kind words, Brian. They warm my heart. I’m struck by your description of “tinkering.” That sounds like a great way to both play and grow as a writer. I’m setting an intention of more tinkering.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. No, I won’t leave. I don’t care if you get a restraining order. My butt has finally made the perfect dent in my favorite spot.
    Cleo was just telling me about that time… well nevermind.

    I have a Tweety but I’m rarely there anymore…especially since March 13th…THE day😭😭😭
    Sorry… what was I saying? Oh, followers… no clue on numbers for me. I notice folks who stop and chat and the few shy ones who always give a little wave. I think a lot of the others are bots. Or glitches in the Matrix😉
    Refill??🍸

    Liked by 3 people

    • On the contrary, I won’t LET you leave. (It might even become a hostage situation, so plan ahead and make sure all your devices are fully charged.) You entertain me immensely, and I won’t let go of that without a moderate-level catfight…

      Not that you asked, but I actually have three Twitter accounts, with two of them not getting as much love as they should, which is a nice way of saying I haven’t checked on them in years. One account was just for my “Backup Dancers from Hell” reviews along with music suggestions and trivia. The other was my original account, which was all about extreme sarcasm and bitchiness. (Surprise!) After a while, I decided I didn’t like the tone of it and I stopped updating. The screen name for that one is “AndThatsWhyIDrink”.

      Speaking of drinking, yes I’ll take a refill. Make it a double, please.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats on your mile(d)stone!! 5,000? Wowza!! I remember being directed, back in a not so long ago day, to a place with the sign “Bonnywood Manor” over the lintel. I rang the bell and was shocked to find a brother from another convoluted kinship tree answering the door. That tree, the roots of which were planted in Oklahoma, but which had, at some point, cross pollinated with a similar tree in Utah, continues to blossom. Them old people got around, which we’ve discussed at length.

    I hit some milestone or other myself recently and got no virtual stroking, so do not feel left out. The two of us, as sometimes usual, are a very exclusive club where everyone knows your name and doesn’t care about virtual stroking. Just make sure the drapes/blinds are color coordinated.

    I read each and every one of your posts. I scour my email alerts for tags that Brian has been at it again, and I scurry over and digest.

    Lately though, due to a lot of irrelevant reasons, I haven’t had much to say. But know I’ve read and appreciated, even when the chatter is muted. It’s truly not YOU, it IS me.

    Get on those books. I continue to patiently wait because I know quality (and really good humor) take time. Must not rush the process.

    Cheers Brian. You continue to astound!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re just a peach, Sister. I have been smiling ever since you first rang the doorbell. I love that we are so much alike AND we have a few differences as well. Yet we can chatter away about the differences, dissecting and discussing, without either of us getting the tiniest bit disagreeable about it. In fact, I think it makes us stronger. And THAT’s a perfect friendship, total acceptance of each other, served with a side dish of love.

      As usual, I’m way behind with your posts. I think I’ve babbled about this before, but I so look forward to your posts and the potential of another satisfying conversation, that when I see a new one come in I think, oh, I’ll save that one for later so I can make sure I do it up right. Then Later gets away from me and suddenly I’m 47 posts behind. (Same old song, different verse, right?) This whole paragraph is a round-about way of saying it’s fine if you sometimes don’t have much (or anything) to say on my posts. Our friendship isn’t going anywhere, we’ll catch up eventually.

      Now, finally, allow me to pick your brain a bit: Of the four book WIPs I mentioned above, which is the most appealing to you? And don’t say all of them. Pick one. I really need a kick in the pants to get moving on SOMETHING…

      P.S. No, YOU astound ME. 🙂

      Like

  11. Brian, I don’t know where I fit in your category of followers. Maybe you need a fourth category–readers who disagree with you about almost everything that is important to them and you, but who find you an engaging writer, a nice person, and a good reason to keep wandering about on WordPress.
    Congratulations on your social media milestones, however they much they matter to you. But greater congratulations on being the kind of writer and the kind of person who can help to bridge the differences in our society rather than turning them into culture wars. Sometimes I read your posts and I don’t click “like” because I disagree with what you are saying. Sometimes I stay off of social media for days and miss your posts, including some I probably would really like. But I enjoy reading what you write, and I appreciate the times you visit my site and like what I’ve said, even if it doesn’t match the way you see the world. All the best to you. J.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for the honesty in this comment. And we’re dealing with a bit of a mirror here, in that I run through the same thought-processes . You have an admirable way with words, a skill that always gets my attention, but there have been so many times when I’ve been on one of your posts, with the mouse-arrow poised above the “like” button, and I just couldn’t do it. Other times, even though I don’t align with your thoughts, the composition and wordsmithing is so good that I simply must click. (My favorite visits? When your post is a light-hearted lark that doesn’t touch on any serious issues, and it’s just fun. No hesitation on the clicking. I’m sure you understand the feeling.)

      There have been a number of lovely comments on this post. But, in a way, yours is the most important one. Because we’re still talking and we haven’t given up on each other. That’s crucial in this time when our country is so divided. Dialogue is the key, and we both still have one…

      Liked by 1 person

      • My feelings exactly. On Facebook I have friends whose messages are violently opposed to each other. Some days, out of exhaustion, I just skim by anything even remotely political. But the fact that you and I can respect each other and like each other in spite of our differences offers hope for the future of our country and our world. I hope that many similar connections are happening in social media and it’s not just echo chambers and rude debates. J.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations on your mild stones! 🙂
    I’ve been reading your blog and your books for quite awhile now, and am so glad. I love how you write, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always welcoming and friendly to all who drop by Bonnywood. Here’s to many more adventures! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Barbara. You have a terrific personality and soul, and I’m quite pleased that we met all those years ago. (How long HAS it been? Five years? Six?) I always get a smile out of your posts, and that’s a gift that keeps on giving…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Good afternoon Brian. I know what you say about followers, the numbers mean less than the comments I enjoy replying to. Ironically I stepped back from Facebook with a post that said I will be gone for a few weeks, but I expect that is optimistic. I have some projects to work on, nothing like books, more like estate planning and being a responsible person on those fronts, I want to get all updated. But back to you! Maybe you need to prune a little time for those books? Take a break somewhere so you can knock a few things off your to-do list. I enjoy your wit, and save a chair in the shade for me, and some appetizers on the patio. – David

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yep, I definitely need to make an investment in the pruning angle. To be fair, I’ve had focus issues for a while. In my younger days? I was precise with my goals and nothing stopped me. Now, in retirement? The freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want has been satisfying in some ways, completely detrimental in others. There are no deadlines, and I really need some deadlines. Still and all, life is good.

      As is your reserved chair on the patio, strategically placed in the shade. You might have to dislodge a cat or two before you plop down, but everyone else knows to steer clear…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m a odd_moments blogger these days, but i always know where to come to to feel welcome and loved. Thanks for being a great bloke (which is very high praise in ozlang) with a huge heart. Write and prosper.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Congratulations on your numbers – I always admire those folks who can command that following – regardless of the categories. Bravo, Brian, and follow your own instincts with your writing. After all, the one person who needs to make a noise with words is the writer. Onward.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Wow — 5,000 followers is an achievement worth celebrating! I wonder why WordPress is so stingy with their kudos?
    Also, bravo for even remembering to do the social media thing. You think you have focus issues? I’ll get all gung ho on something — Say, the Facebook page for my blog, then two months later completely forget it exists. *sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been very negligent with every social-media platform except WordPress, despite having a nominal presence on every single one of those non-WordPress platforms. (I have a Tumblr account, not that anyone would know.) I just don’t have the gumption anymore, which mortifies the Younger Me. But said Younger Me was also undeniably naive about what’s important…

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sweetie – I have no life. I have no family life, I have no love life, and even my once or twice a year lust life opportunities have dried up thanks to our friend COVID. I am having back surgery on Thursday, so I’m certainly not going to be going anywhere, even if there were anywhere around here to go. For heaven’s sake – send me something to edit!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, darlin’, are you sure you want to open up that can of worms? I heart you greatly, but the editing process is a battle of wills and I don’t want to jeopardize our friendship. On the flip side, I know full well that you would precisely pinpoint what is crap and what is not with my writing. Dang it, now you’ve got me pondering where this might go… 😉

      Like

  18. I always find it interesting when I publish some dumb post and get 6 likes in less than a second, they must be extremely fast readers. I also wonder why I start the “reader” and they are people that have a like of mine in their post when I never even read it and they published 30 minutes before and suddenly they have 400 likes. Quite amazing what technology can do for them to give themselves likes and what not and have it programmed. I could care less if they actually read me or not, I feel good so that´s good enough. Although I do take away the LIKE from that blogger that I never read his post, why would he or she have a like of mine? No way, that does piss me off a bit. Good news after reading this post is that you are a bit older than me and still struggling to publish a book so that give me hope that I still have time. To create the great novel of the 21st century and go down as Shakespeare 2 or some writer important, Tom Wolf I like to read too. “I´m Charlotte Simmons” last book by Tom Wolf I read, his way of writing is just incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tom Wolfe is/was amazing. He annoyed my with his politics and that fussiness about always writing whilst he was wearing a suit, but that bastard could bang out some terrific words. Many of his books are stunningly good, but I’m going to focus on “The Bonfire of the Vanities”. It was fantastic, but most folks wouldn’t know it because of that shite movie starring Tom Hanks. Still, his words rock.

      That aside, and with your poking at the fact that I’m decrepit and ancient (just kidding), it sounds like you want a duel to see who can out-Tom Tom. Game on, buddy. Let’s do it. But really, wouldn’t it be great if we both got there? It could happen.

      By the way, and sorry if this is a turn you didn’t expect, your grace with your mother’s situation has been phenomenal. Just sayin.

      Like

  19. I happen to like the photo and I appreciate every single tweet that you have posted to megaphone my blog into the echo chamber of gods own country – the United Universal Interweb . It’s where speech schprachenze en any language can languish (exception Anonymous – mild round of nervous applause)and I get hives, oh, I mean mosquito bites whenever I hit publish. I’m begging my betrothed to please write an app to roll up all the social media platforms into one secure portal because it’s back and forth – Confusion and memory issues abound if I don’t regularly check something like Facebook and I’ve got something important to do on it which I actually do at the moment. But most of all I am glad that we met Brian. I’m glad that you’re my friend. I hope perhaps one day we could meet in person either in Texas or California or anywhere else for that matter. I’d even have my once yearly drink with you and that’s a big deal. So keep writing and I can’t wait to read your published work. I for one will certainly buy a copy of whatever it is you put out and find it very important that we take care of each other as writers and as friend and the love that we share in this bizarre platform that we wright on or hearts bleed all over the page I mean all over the screen or all over the touchscreen or whatever the hell we are riding on at the moment. Keep going and thank you again for being my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is a perfect, beautiful, delicious comment that encapsulates everything I love about blogging and sharing stories and experiences in this messy digital world. You have such a terrific soul, full of gumption and strength and acceptance. I’m not a religious person, but I do believe that there are forces out there that we don’t fully comprehend, and those forces sometimes shift in just the right way so that people who were destined to meet will be able to do so. And I treasure the happenstance that such a meeting happened with us. You are an inspiration. (Don’t bicker, just accept it.) Life is twisted, it is often unfair, but sometimes the journey allows us to sit beside fellow travellers who have the same itinerary, and we can share the same camera as we take snapshots of what is important and what is not…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I accept. I have to – I have just started my training to become a real dyed in the wool patient advocate through the Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Hear My Voice patient advocate program. I am proud of it – It would have been my first year without health issues not allowing me to get on a plane and the conference is now virtual. I am on a break and been on since 6 am for the second day in a row, fuckin’ yawn. However, I do get a dose of daily humor in every day and you’re always there to make me laugh, even through this weird time we are living through, and nothing will ever be the same. While times are as scary as they’ve ever been in my 55 years on the planet, I can always find a person on the other side of the screen who shares my views and provides me with a puppy upper. AND you’ve always done that for me even building me a town a couple of christmases ago. That was a truly special from the heart PURE Brian moment. I still remember and will never forget it. I have friends who are planning to move to Austin or the surrounding areas in the next year or so from Minnesota as soon as they get their giant house sold. Perhaps in that time we can actually bring the online to the in person and I’d just think that’s something to look forward to. And of course with our new gigantic house in the mountains of California – you and your partner are always welcome to stay – we have lots and lots of bedrooms and it’s just amazing out here. Open invite extended.
        ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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