Getting All Nostalgic

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Nostalgia seems to be the theme of my life this week. Between restoring vintage Barbie dolls and sewing with vintage fabric, an email popped up in my inbox from an old acquaintance. She was a reader of some writing I did a long time ago and wanted to know if she could post it on her website. It sounds simple enough, but the story behind the writing it is somewhat unconventional.

Years ago, I was part of an online fan community for the television show The Office (U.S.). Under the screen name “scrantonbranch” I played on various threads of a message board for episode discussion, trivia, and general geeking out over a show we all loved, (loved is actually not a strong enough word for how we felt about the show – it was soul consuming passion).

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Part of what made The Office so special was the relationship between Jim and Pam. After the jaw dropping events of the Season 2 finale, I became full-blown obsessed with these characters. As an outlet for this obsession, I started writing incredibly detailed analyses of every episode on threads that became known as The Pam Dichotomy and The Jim Paradox.

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Oh, this moment! The fandom collective nearly exploded from excitement.

Throughout Seasons 3 and 4, I analyzed every word, facial tic, and story development of Jim and Pam. My threads gained quite a following and incited some amazing discussion and fan camaraderie. At one point I was getting upwards of 1000 hits a day. The threads were so popular, I found myself surrounded by fans at the 2007 Office Convention, (as an introvert, I was mortified, but also completely and totally blown away).

By the time Season 5 rolled around, Jim and Pam (or JAM) were together and there wasn’t much left to analyze (until Season 9, but the community was long gone by then). I stopped writing the threads by the end of 2008. I still watched the show like rabid fan, but there was no longer a need for the PD and JP (that’s what we called my threads for short).

It was sad to let it go, but at the same time I was ready to move on to something new. I always valued the entire experience because it got me writing again after a really long dry spell. It’s why I’m here on this blog, why I wrote two novels, and why I started writing poetry again. It’s actually pretty amazing how one TV show could inspire so much and have such a lasting impact on someone.

So here we are in 2016. It’s been eight years since I wrote the PD And JP. The Office stopped airing in 2013 (I won’t get into how devastating it was to watch it all end), and the message board community was taken offline. All good things come to an end, right? Life had moved on so far, far away from the PD and JP, I’d all but forgotten about it.

Then, that email showed up. I recognized the screen name immediately as one of my old PD/JP readers. She now runs a fanfic/JAM fansite that was around when the show aired (I was a frequent visitor of the site, too!). In the email, she asked if it was possible to repost the writing I did for the PD and JP as it is no longer available online. I was shocked that anyone even cared about either of my threads after such a long time. Of course, I said yes … as soon as I find the writing.

I’m in the process of trying to find all my old files. I’ve gone through three laptops since I started writing both threads back in 2006, so they could be hidden in a number of places. There is an online archive that did a snapshot of the old message boards, so I’m hoping I can salvage some of the original posts.

I’ve managed to locate about half of my original posts, which is pretty good considering how much time has passed. I never thought to save my posts in an organized fashion because I never thought I’d need them again. Boy, was I wrong!

So why does all this matter? I’ve learned a few really important things:

  • Save your writing! All of it. Save every file and keep it organized
  • What you write is important. Regardless of what it is, it matters. Even if its something that seems stupid (like analyzing a TV show to a ridiculous degree) it pushes you forward in the writing process.
  • Readers are out there and they are loyal. Keep writing for those people and remember how important they are to you as a writer.

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c.b.w. 2016

A Great Start in 2011

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When I sit down to write, I am always hoping my words resonate with someone.  Whether it be a story, a Wreck This Journal reflection, travel logs, or musings about writing, I write with readers in mind.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog in 2011.  Your clicks and comments have inspired me more than I can ever say.  Without you, my WordPress Annual Report would look nothing like this:

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

May 2012 be another wonderful year of writing, reading, and connecting.  Stay inspired!

c.b. 2012

A Nice Surprise

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When I launched my blog, I never expected to receive such a warm embrace from fellow bloggers and readers.  I am so thankful to have connected to so many amazing writers and kind individuals. As if that wasn’t enough, I woke up yesterday morning to find I’ve been given a couple blog awards. How cool is that?

     

Thanks so much to Kristen Fairgrieve  for considering my blog for such lovely awards.  I’ve never been shy about how much I love her encouraging and heartfelt blog.  If you haven’t already visited her site, please give her a click. She’s sure to make you smile with her Wish Jar and Fun Bunny Fridays.

As per award stipulations, here are seven random facts about me:

1) I’ve been completely lost in several major international cities: London, Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, and Beijing.  A good old-fashioned compass helped me find my way out of the maze every time.  I still take it with me on every trip. Hmmmm . . . this gives me an idea for a future blog post.

2) I swam with sharks in French Polynesia and I still think its the most incredible thing I’ve ever done.

3) I am terrified of snakes.

4) I can’t cook to save my life, but I love to bake (cookies, cakes, brownies, etc).

5) My favorite fields of historical study are Ancient Egypt (the Amarna Period in particular) and China’s Cultural Revolution.

6) I am a film and TV nut.  I watch one or the other every day.

7) I have a knack for getting autographs.  Whether it be musicians, actors, writers, etc. I always seem to find a way to get their signatures if I really try.  My prize is a Season 3 DVD set signed by the entire cast of  The Office (U.S. version).  Hmmm . . . yet another idea for a future post.  It’s a good story!

Now for five bloggers who also deserve the recognition of these blog awards:

1) I’ve given praise to this blog before and I have no problem doing it again.  Random Acts of Writing [+ art] is a truly inspiring blog that combines art with literary quotes and an inspiring outlook on life.

2) The Crowing Crone is a fantastic site that offers beautiful poetry and insightful posts about life and the little things that matter most.

3) I always learn something from reading a post on TBN Ranch.  Whether it be Western/folk poetry, posts about raising chickens, essays on every day life, or lessons on how to care for horses, this blog offers a unique perspective on just about everything.

4) Bonnie James ~ Unbound is one of the most uplifting sites and among the first I visited after launching on wordpress.  She is a true inspiration for creativity, writing, and always sees the beauty in life.

5) Wendy L. Young delivers all the details of what is like to be a writer from the stage of piecing together a rough draft to the accomplishment of publishing a novel.  She is honest, funny, and a very talented writer.  I highly recommend her book, Come the Shadows if you are a mystery fan.

Maybe I’m cheating a little here, but I can’t narrow it down to just five so here is an honorable mention:

Doodlemum is an amazing artist that shares drawings from her sketchbook.  I find her work to be whimsical, soulful, and joyous as she captures the beauty of daily life like no other.

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In order to pick up the awards, you must do the following:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominates you.
  • Share seven random facts about yourself.
  • Pass the award to five more blogger friends.
  • Contact and congratulate the blogs nominated.

Thanks to all these wonderful bloggers for continuing to inspire not only me, but those lucky enough to find you.

c.b. 2011

Freshly Pressed Shock Syndrome

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This week I was afflicted by an ailment I hope every blogger will get to experience at some point.  It all began on Thursday¹ morning when I logged into WordPress and saw something very familiar on the homepage.  I blinked to make sure I wasn’t imagining it, I read the title three times just to be sure, and then my eyes bugged out of my head.  Oh. my. goodness.  I pointed at the screen and shouted, “Hey, that’s my blog on Freshly Pressed!”  That’s when I knew I had Freshly Pressed Shock Syndrome or FPSS.

The nerd in me couldn’t resist taking a screenshot to celebrate!  Congratulations to all the other Freshly Pressed bloggers who probably have FPSS as well!

Symptoms of FPSS include:

  • failure to blink
  • the inability to close a gaping mouth
  • a constant shaking of the head in disbelief
  • uncontrollable squealing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • hyperventilating
  • involuntary jumping up and down
  • immense gratitude

What followed the initial onset of FPSS was an incredible and exciting influx of traffic on my blog.  I honestly never expected or believed numbers could go that high.  Just two days before, I was ecstatic with a higher than usual double digit hit count.  My new bar graph obliterated that previous victory into a teeny tiny sliver.  The funny thing is I was a little sad to see all my previous achievements blasted into oblivion, but then I looked at the total hit count again and got excited all over again.  Hmmmm . . . . perhaps I should add emotional confusion to the list of FPSS symptoms.

Adding to the chaos of rapid traffic was e-mail overload.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many e-mail alerts in all my life!  Having everything funneled through your e-mail is fine when there’s 7 or 8 comments on a post and a couple likes, but several hundred stuffed my mailbox faster than I could process them!  It was insane, yet so much fun!

When I got around to checking out the post that caused all the commotion, (The Best Souvenirs Are Free), it was amazing to see a virtual patchwork quilt of gravatars situated under the “Like” button. Thank you to everyone who took the time to give that extra click.  It made this whole process that much more meaningful.

My sincere thanks goes to everyone who left comments.  I am in awe of how many of you shared your beautiful stories and souvenirs, (keep them coming!).  It’s such an honor to have those memories on my blog.  We may never meet, but the creation of a common thread between everyone who joined in the discussion will never be forgotten².  At the moment I’m a little overwhelmed, but in the coming days I will respond to every comment.

One of the side effects I wasn’t expecting was the massive jump in subscribers. I really appreciate that extra show of support and find it so inspiring.  I hope future posts will keep you all coming back again and again.  My blog can be a little random, but I do strive to make it as interesting and fun as possible.  Thank you so much for adding me to your reading list!

I wish I could say “The Best Souvenirs Are Free” was totally my idea, but I have to give credit to my muse.³  My incredibly fickle and random muse put the idea in my head ten minutes before I was planning to leave the house for a writing session.  My day shifted an entire hour so I could snap the picture, but I guess the rest is history.  I owe her a big one, (Greeaaat).  Extra muse juice, perhaps?

Last but certainly not least, thank you to the WordPress gods and readers for giving me the chance to feel like a real writer.  May every blogger know the thrill of FPSS.

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¹Actually, the hubbub started on Wednesday when Muse Juice was selected for The Daily Post.  Naturally, I broke out into a raging case of DPSS (Daily Post Shock Syndrome).

²Goosebumps are yet another symptom of FPSS.

³ FPSS also leads to unexpected groveling to your muse.

c.b. 2011

Time to Relax!

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I’m heading off on a little vacation for a few days, so there might be a slight lapse in posts while I figure out the internet situation.  In between relaxing, avoiding heat stroke, and hanging out with family I’m looking to get some writing done.  Hopefully, the greenery and quiet of my destination will be inspiring.

Special thanks to all my readers.  I know life is busy and time precious, so I truly appreciate every click.  Readers like you give me yet another reason to write!

Stay tuned!  🙂

c.b. 2011