What Makes for a Successful Blog Post ?

This month I’ve been participating in my colleague’s blogging challenge, and so far I’ve managed to post every day in the month of April, which means after tonight, that’s eight consecutive days of blog posts. All of the posts so far have dealt with writing, more specifically something related to Camp NaNoWriMo. What I’ve found curious is examining which of my posts have been the most popular, measured by traffic or by comments. The two winners so far are last night’s post, The Confession of a Perfectionist Writer, which I think has more comments than any blog post I’ve ever written, and perhaps my post Writing Partners, in which I did little other than post a photo of two of my cats. My takeaways from this are that I either need to post about the inherent difficulties of writing, or just post more photos of my pets. It also makes me wonder what makes for a successful blog post? Are there topics … Read more…

Confession of a Perfectionist Writer

I have a confession. I’m a perfectionist. Isn’t that what writers aspire to become? The kind of writers who can spew perfectly-composed prose, elegant plots, and compelling characters right from their fingertips, as if every time they touch the keyboard another gem gets added to the page. I’d like to be one of those writers. Hell, I’d like to meet one of those writers! Because the truth is, very few people can write beautiful stories the first time around. Even the greatest writers of all time have gone through drafts. When I was a high school senior, I was lucky to go to Marquette University and see some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s manuscripts on display. I was astonished to learn that some of the characters we know and love didn’t start off with the same names we know them today (I seem to recall Gandalf was one of them). I was even more amazed to see lines scratched out and scribbles in the … Read more…

Visit to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland

In March 2014 I was fortunate to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Having visited the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver back in November (photos), I was excited to see another one. We were exceptionally fortunate this time because everything was in bloom, especially the camellias.

snow on fire hydrant

Winter is almost upon us in Austin

As Austin braces for a winter emergency tomorrow (there’s a small chance for freezing drizzle or light snow), I’d like to reflect back on the Snowpocalypse of 2011, when an inch or so of snow completely shut down the city for the day (but the roads only for half a day). Below are a few of the photos from that day, February 3, 2011, a day that shall live in infamy: To better prepare for the unfolding weather crisis, my friend Ilene has posted a list: 10 Things You Need to Know About Winter in Austin.

headstone for martin

Christmas Remembrances at the Masonic Cemetery

Christmas is a difficult holiday for me. It has long evoked strong emotions and has become a time to recall lost friends, refresh old memories, and celebrate the turn of a year. To commemorate the day and a friend we lost on Christmas Eve ten years ago, my friend Marie and I visited the Boggy Creek Masonic Cemetery in Austin, Texas. This is a cemetery in far South Austin that has late-19th-century graves of Masons and their families. It’s an interesting step back in time, and a quiet, out of the way place to wander and contemplate on’s own history. The cemetery’s own story is also as good as it gets. As the official historical marker details: According to local tradition, in the winter of 1859, 23-year-old John Davis joined a community wagon train headed for work in the pine forests of Bastrop County. Davis, sprayed by a skunk during the night, began running wildly through the camp. He was … Read more…