Five Years

About two months ago, in mid-May, WordPress sent me an automated note to congratulate me on becoming a blogger five years ago.

I found my first blog post and read the date it was published – 20 May 2012.

It was my first solitary winter in Wellington.

I wrote few more posts since.

Some, arguably, better than the others, but all written to pierce small holes in silence left behind after my daughter left home. Which in our case simply meant living in the same house.

Where I can come into her room in the morning and inhale scent of my sleeping child.

In five years, I have not learned how not to long for it.

I fear I never will.

As I haven’t learned in more than forty how not to long for a shabby little house with an old-fashion wood burner in the kitchen corner and frost flowers on the window panes in winters.

I am a slow learner.

It took me a long time to learn how to string a few words together. By which to remember.

And by remembering hope to understand.

What happened to me.

All of which makes me somewhat of a writer but none of a blogger.

It is for that reason that light of the lantern is dimming.

On some nights, when winds are merciless, I stroke its old-fashioned, fragile glass gently and lower the feeble flame close to oblivion.  

In the everlasting darkness, we are both at peace.

Still mornings arrive;

Some are bouncy with urgency of getting to work, and

Some are those of Sundays,

A friend comes for a coffee bringing biscuits and pineapple in case I am sick, or

We go for a long drives along deserted winter beaches where even seagulls are too freighted to loiter while we eat greasy fish and chips in the overheated car balancing scalding parcels on our laps.

Few days later, in a small café above the central city’s only library where I am usually joined by the fine assortment of homeless, pensioners, students, refugees and parents with bored children, I would order a black coffee and try to recall those scenes to write them down.

But then I would get distracted …

By the two men sitting next to me who speak French and might be lovers, (story prompt – one of them is hiding a terrible secret from the other and is looking for a way out …)

A young woman with purple coloured hair and clownish looking stockings as she opens her book up-side-down and pretends to read, (story prompt – she escaped from an institution where she has been held against her will which dictates that she follows her calling as a street performer …)

While I (‘somewhat of a writer’) pretend to write.

 

And so, it goes.

Five years has passed in this fashion.

No ‘grand’ novel. Or even a ‘tiny’ one.

Only a story here and there.

Handful of poems.

Mostly about love and pain and loss,

In the time-honoured female tradition.

 

While winter storm is raging outside and

I imagine a lonely cabin standing in a deep southern snow.

 

Signs under the lantern.

 

Gravatars

_5SC7831_BW
‘librarian-ish’ look

Few days ago a very good friend of mine commented how the black and white photograph I used for my original Gravatar looks rather dull.

A little bit too ‘librarian-ish’ and not enough like the ‘real Daniela.’ I instantly thought; ‘Hmm, I would like to meet this ‘real Daniela’ so to finally discover who she is and where was she hiding all these years!’

Jokes aside, I honestly believe we are all made of numerous parts; some obvious to many, some only to few and some that remain a little bit of a mystery to even our own selves … or it might even be the case of mustering the necessary courage to become aware of and embrace those parts.

Since I do take note of my friends’ views, and in any case am rather prone to ‘thinking things over’ at even the slightest nudge, it was only a matter of time before I started experimenting with my Gravatar. For better or worse the outcome is rather obvious!

Daniela
‘new and improved’ look

Let me know what you think; was the old, ‘librarian-ish’ Gravatar better than the current one or not? Would the Lantern Post be the same or even better blog without the face of its keeper? How important, if at all, is to see the person behind the blog?

gravatars

When I first started blogging, I struggled with those and similar questions.

My early attempts at creating a blog neither featured my picture, nor did I create my profile. In those days I was convinced that the blog ought to speak for itself and therefore the author’s profile is irrelevant. After all many people blog anonymously.  However, it was not long until I changed those views.

The change occurred while reading other blogs and noticing how much I like seeing the person behind the blog. Writing and sending your words into the vast and unknown cyber space requires some courage; making yourself visible alongside your words even more so. It is to stand behind your words and all they convey, to claim them in your own name and image. While, like most of us I probably lack many desirable qualities; whoever was in charge, was rather generous when it came to dishing out the courage:)! So I decided to claim my words in my name and image, come what may!

Other side of it all of course is how others perceive us. Because regardless of the type of message or idea we intend on communicating, those who come across it will inevitably form their own views and sometimes maybe arrive at the meaning we never intended.

The same I guess applies to our image; how we see ourselves versus how other people see us. Even after many years, I still clearly remember that day I was on the receiving end of commentary about my looks, including my height. The first thing I did was to find the closest mirror in which to examine myself trying to see what they saw … and not seeing it. But that might be a story for another day!

‘To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.’ (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Word Press Family

There has been some time since I have written a post to honour an award. While receiving an award from fellow bloggers never fails to make the Lantern sparkle little bit more brightly and her keeper smile little bit broadly … it is nevertheless true that writing an award-honouring posts has potential to develop a life of its own, and consume a blog in a way not otherwise envisioned.

However, on this particular occasion, I have decided to write a post in honour of ‘The Word Press Family Award’. There are two very good reasons for that:

  1. The award was passed on to me by one of my favourite bloggers who always extends heart-felt support for my blog, and (in her own words) my ‘heart-wrenching stories’ … for that alone I thank you very much my dear. It is of course ‘Virginia Views’ from http://countryliving4beginners.wordpress.com/ Once again thank you very much! 
  2. Second reason is in the meaning of this award. ‘The Word Press Family Award is reserved for those folks in Cyberspace who are unceasingly kind, sympathetic, encouraging, and open to laughter, and who keep each other going by sharing, commenting, and making personal connections even though they may actually be virtual strangers.’ When I was reading these words for the first time, my whole blogging experience suddenly washed over me. In some 13 days it will be a year since the Lantern was first ignited … almost accidentally, but most certainly unaware of what lies ahead. While I will be writing a separate post for the Lantern’s first birthday, on this occasion I can only say that being thought of as ‘kind, sympathetic, encouraging, and open to laughter’ warms my heart to no end -:)! Because on the Lantern, just like in my daily life outside Cyberspace, those are some of the attributes I value most and strive to live by … humanity above all. If for anything, this is what the Lantern stands for. And for the sheer magic of a written word. 

Now back to award! As we all know well know, no award is worth its salt without rules!

 So here they are:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your Word Press experience and family.
  4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them. 

 I have to say that nominating 10 bloggers who have an impact on my Word Press experience and family has been a challenge.  Because there are so many more than 10 bloggers who have made my experience on the Word Press a wonderful one. And that does not mean that it has all been plain sailing … just like in the ‘real’ life; sometimes dark clouds gathered, but sun never failed to appear even if one has to gaze into clouds for some time!

But the rules are rules, so here are my 10 nominees:

http://julieisrael.wordpress.com/

http://sharechair.wordpress.com/

http://thenicethingaboutstrangers.com/

http://whoisbert.wordpress.com/

http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/

http://tchistorygal.wordpress.com/

http://essenceofdubrovnik.com/

http://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/

http://debreilly.wordpress.com/

http://chrisbkm.wordpress.com/

 

Recruiting future bloggers in unlikely places!

I spent last couple of days in one of those workshops aptly titled ‘Writing for Work’ where one is meant to learn how to write ‘effectively and efficiently.’ In other words how to use words thriftily.

I understand it is called ‘plain English.’ You only use necessary words and arrange them in such way to get the point across in the most economical way. No frills permitted; just a plain clothing and no, or minimal make-up! One’s objective is to be useful and practical, rather than playful, or colourful, or joyful!

It is something I always struggled with! And not because I do not understand, or object to the benefits of the concept, not at all, but because I love words so much!

I love their different shades, sounds they make, fragrances and textures they arouse … words are simply magical. Because, as by magic, words transport you into the world of a writer; you will see what a writer saw but through your own eyes!

If I wrote; ‘she wore a dress of a deep green silk, embroidered with the delicate golden thread across the bodice …’ you will form the picture of that dress in your mind and in that way saw not only the dress I described, but also your own, unique version of that dress. If I painted or drew a portrait of a woman wearing the dress, you will only see my vision of it. This is why I love magic of words; they evoke your own imagination, indulge your own, private self.

Besides, it took me years of dedication and solitude to learn all those English words, can’t I be allowed to use as many as I like, and arrange them in any outlandish way I wish?  

And so it is easy to see why I was certainly not the best pupil in the ‘plan English’ class! Until something quite unexpected happened!

The tutor, a fine woman with love for language, asked whether anyone knows anything about blogging.

Oh my, it was like mega lightening suddenly went off on a dark stage! Before any wise or otherwise guarded thought could possibly form in my mind, my hand went up, and here I am beaming like a five year old … I know about blogging! I have a blog!

As soon as I heard that both; the tutor and one of my colleagues are thinking of venturing into blogosphere, I embarked on listing endless joys and benefits of blogging!

Well, there was no stopping me after that … I even clapped my hands while exclaiming; ‘Oh it gives me such joy to talk about blogging!’ Yes, this is exactly what I said and the way I said it … happily, proudly, naively, genuinely, and above all freely.

Without being aware of it at the time, in that fleeing moment my true self completely overtook my daily/conformed/censored self! And what the bliss that was!

I could hardly wait for a break to provide further encouragement to potential bloggers; unashamedly promoting our word press community, our camaraderie, and importance of regular blogging … I even offered practical assistance with setting up a blog! And all that with my ‘grand’ experience of four blogging months!

But I did not talk about blogging or offered assistance as a ‘blogging experts’, not at all! I spoke from my heart, the same place I blog from … the only place our true self knows.

I may never really learn or warm to the concept of ‘word economy’, but I have learned one important lesson.  When we somehow manage – by trick or accident – to silence, to ignore, our daily tortured, censored and otherwise beaten into submission self – as by magic – our true self enters the stage with mega lighting and fairy dust to turn us into a person (even if just for a fleeing moment) we have always meant to be!

For that reason alone – the course was priceless … not to mention ‘recruitment’ of some newbie bloggers!

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing the sweetness around!

It is one of those days when sweetness is needed! And luckily I have received two nominations from two wonderful ladies for the same award; Super Sweet Blog Award … well that is exactly how I am going to sweeten my day and pass it around as usual!

The wonderful bloggers who nominated me are:

Cynthia from http://csd5.wordpress.com/   Cynthia’s describes her blog as ‘There is always a ray of hope in a dark room’ and this reflects her blog wonderfully. Please do check it out, and

Raven’s Witch from http://ravenswitch.wordpress.com/, one very interesting blog that has recently undergone make-over. Please pay a visit!

Thank you very much to you both!

As usual there are rules with an award, and these are:

  • Give credit to the wonderful person who chose to nominate you.

Many thanks to you both lovely ladies!

  • Answer the ‘Super Sweet’ questions below;

1. Cookies or Cake?

Do I really, really have to choose … hope not, but under ‘duress’ I will choose cake every time!

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Again … are you for real? I thought this is a ‘Super Sweet Award’ … and on that grounds I refuse to choose -:)! I’ll have both thank you!

3. What is your favourite sweet treat?

Not enough space here to list them all -:)! OK, if I must I will admit Lindt Chocolate in all shapes, sizes and flavours!

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?

You are kidding right … surely there is a typo somewhere here because the question should really be – what time do I not crave sweet things? And the answer is – there is no such time -:)!

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

Cokolada (chocolate in Croatian or Hrvatski as the language is really called, since the country’s real name is Hrvatska).

  • Nominate a ‘Baker’s Dozen’ of 13 blogs.

I am glad to pass the sweetness around to the following fellow bloggers:

http://michaelmcmanamon.wordpress.com/

http://drsuraiyanasim.wordpress.com/

http://bringingeuropehome.com/

http://abusivelybaboozan.wordpress.com/

http://poetrycurator.wordpress.com/

http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/

http://comingoutcrooked.com/

http://ravencasey.wordpress.com/

http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com/

http://johncoyote.wordpress.com/

http://fenyastravels.com/

http://insearchofperfect.com/

http://artdone.wordpress.com/ 

Best of Luck to you All!

Reader appreciation award!

Dear all,

I am delighted and honoured to accept this award from a wonderful blogger Liza of ‘My Life is a Picture Show’ at: http://mylifeisapictureshow.wordpress.com/. Thank you very much dear Liza!

Liza’s blog is really interesting, inspiring and above well worm and sincere! Please take a minute to check it out.  

I understand that the rules of this award are:  

Post seven interesting things about myself, 

Nominate five to ten blogs, I feel deserve the award, 

Let them know about nomination.  

***  

About me:

  1. Of all the living authors I admire and respect Paulo Coelho the most,
  2. I love the old trains and solitary, forgotten trains-stations,
  3. Dusk is my favourite time of day; with it subdued tones and soft whispers,
  4. To that day I remain incurable romantic,
  5. I believe in love above all things,
  6. Pablo Neruda is one of my favourite poets,
  7. I would love to travel on Trans-Siberian train.  

And now to the best part -:)!!

It is my pleasure to nominate the following blogs:

http://christopherdaviswrites.wordpress.com/

http://manishamishra.wordpress.com/

http://rosebudpress.net/

http://jenmonje.wordpress.com/

http://fitztopia.wordpress.com/

http://catinwater.com/

http://ninecentgirl.com/

http://cheekydiva.wordpress.com/

http://throughthehealinglens.com/

***

Best of Luck to all!

Here is to encouragement!

I have recently received ‘One Lovely Blog Award’ from a fellow blogger who thought me worthy of receiving it. For that I am grateful and shouting ‘thank you’ (all the way from ‘Down Under’) to the lovely Sarah from tryingtowriteit (all the way to Britain).

Sarah is an original writer with a great sense of humor and her blog oozes personality. Go and have a peek!

Since I was presented with my first award, I learned that blogging awards serve as great motivational tools especially for newbie bloggers. Because of that I have decided to participate and use these opportunities when they come my way to thank the fellow blogger who nominated me, and in turn nominate others. I will try my best to keep that pledge.

I understand that the rules of this award are:

  • Post seven interesting things about myself,
  • Nominate other bloggers who I feel deserve the award,
  • Let them know about nomination.

***

About me (never an easy task):

  1. I witnessed a war,
  2. My first and only child was born three months after I left my country of origin,
  3. I have lived and worked in three different countries,
  4. I completed University studies in two different languages,
  5. At one stage in my life I suffered major illness,
  6. I once owned and loved the dog called Sindy,
  7. I love living near water.

***

It is my pleasure to nominate the following blogs:

http://succumbing.wordpress.com/

http://writerreaderbakerbride.wordpress.com/

http://specificallyspeaking.wordpress.com/

http://coldyellowscientist.wordpress.com/

http://tacomacommunityconnector.wordpress.com/