Your Serendipity, in Two Parts @ Thursday Thoughts

10 Jan

8:05 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to On the Road Again with Willie Nelson

Hello, everyone. I need to think aloud and I need you to be my audience. Nothing momentous, more a clearing of the decks, a state of the blog, as we head into Wordgathering‘s third year. We may come out of this with nothing changed and that’s fine, but I do think I need to ask some questions. It helps me tremendously, as you old-timers know, to have you conversing while I think.

I noticed, while looking the place over, that I have quite a lot of new readers and I have not talked about the workings of the blog in a while. This may make it difficult for you who are new to participate. After all, what are the rules? What is the what, the wherefore, and the whybe? Yes, I made the last one up.

We have a lot of old-timers, now. We have conversations, maybe a little gentle pushing and prodding, agreements and disagreements. We are comfortable with each other. We trust each other to the degree we are willing to say what we believe about any given issue. I would think it difficult for someone new looking in at the ongoing conversations to jump in.

Structure of Wordgathering: here’s how it works. I have two days carved in stone [unless I bury the stone because I need a break], Tuesdays and Fridays. Thursday is serendipitous and can depend on you. First, Tuesday Tryouts. My idea is to set exercises that allow you to discover or stretch your poetry muscles. Some are much harder than others, but the desired outcome is always the same: a poem, or three. I have always felt it irrelevant whether the poem arrived at does, or does not, fulfill the exercise. It’s all about the poems, people!

I have come to realise that the way I run the weekly exercises can be confusing to anyone who is trying to work out when to post. Generally, I post a prompt and people may post a link anytime in the next whenever [or, if they don’t want family or friends reading it, the poem itself.]. As it is sort of a teaching blog, and I know how busy everyone is, I don’t put a time limit on anything. I only ask that the responses be kept with the post to which they respond.

This means some people post the same day (you crazy speed demons), some post the next, some in a week. Technically, you can come back in a couple of months. I like the flexibility, but that probably means fewer readers for everyone’s poetry, as there is not a specific post date; I have never asked how you all feel about that. It might be supremely irritating. You may have gone months feeling wistful.

Back in October I had a series of conversations with Sabio Lantz, who allowed me to get an idea of what a new follower is faced with on arrival at Wordgathering. For someone who wants to participate it sounds rather daunting. So, here’s the question: Do we want a Mr. Linky, to delineate between our conversations and the poems being posted? I can leave the link open for the same amount of time.

I think I have avoided doing this before because I didn’t want the flavour of the blog to change.  I checked what a reader sees on a typical Tuesday, when they look at comments. All links to poems posted are in bright red, so people who just want to check out poems can quickly skim down the links and ignore the conversations. But, maybe you don’t want to do this. Can you tell I am conflicted?

I will, at the end of the ‘series’ laying out the blog, post a poll, so that those who might be reluctant to say something can give voice. Meanwhile, will you please give voice.

I shall see you tomorrow for a roundup of the week’s prompts around the cybersphere; at Tuesday Tryouts for a quick summary of the types of exercises I’m thinking about for 2013, and a prompt — yes, still vague; and Thursday for Part 2 of the state of the blog (after today, I may have to pull a Peter Jackson [The Hobbit] and turn my two parts into three).

Converse, discuss. I need you talking so I can think and process. Forgive the rambling.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 10/01/2013 in poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , ,

27 responses to “Your Serendipity, in Two Parts @ Thursday Thoughts

  1. barbara_y

    10/01/2013 at 10:14 am

    No Linky, please.

    The conversations—and they do feel like conversations–are part of the pleasure of the blog. And part of its value. I often learn, or get ideas, from other peoples’ comments. And even the chatter is comfortable.
    Linky is fine if all you want is traffic coming to your blog. Always makes me feel kinda message-in-a-bottle-ish.

  2. The Happy Amateur

    10/01/2013 at 10:17 am

    Please, don’t go changin, Margo, don’t fix what ain’t broken..
    Seriously, you’ve got such a great blog. I don’t know, maybe if one day you got a thousand people posting links and exchanging thoughts in the comments, it would be time to contact Mr. Linky, but do you really need him now?.. On the other hand, he is not such a bad guy..maybe it can be a combination of both: Mr. Linky and a conversation in the thread, and an option of posting poems directly in the thread… Can you tell I’m conflicted, too?
    I guess the bottom line is: your blog is great and it works just fine, are any changes necessary?

  3. julespaige

    10/01/2013 at 10:32 am

    Personally – Mr. Linky has it’s advantages for some sites. The ones Like the Sunday Whirl, the regulars post and use Mr. Linky (at least I do) to see where I’ve been. As the link color changes when you visit. Some places I’d wish they had a Mr. Linky because going back and forth is a pain in the …well you know if all you are doing is trying to connect to another poem or written work and would like feedback. I think though you have a well oiled and established, working way of doing things that suit you. And if someone doesn’t like it they can move on. I’m not trying to be rude here, but after all it is your blog and you have the right to run it in a way that you are comfortable with. You can always post a ‘directions page’ for new folks. But I think for you my friend; If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.


  4. margo roby

    10/01/2013 at 10:44 am

    Barbara, Sasha, and Jules: The progression in the comments has me laughing, loudly. I thank you. I appreciate your saying what you like about the blog, as well, as pro-ing and con-ing a change.

  5. markwindham

    10/01/2013 at 12:00 pm

    I think the Linky is suitable if the only purpose is to encourage the reading of poems. If the purpose is to discuss the crafting of said poems then my vote is to leave the links in the comments.

  6. Misky

    10/01/2013 at 12:41 pm

    Greetings. — Worth, West Sussex (Listening to the chicken sizzle)

    My 2pence worth. When there’s a Mr Linky, a name that makes me twitch, I tend not to engage in conversational threads. I go all business-like: post link, visit other poets, comment. Personally, I, think Mr Linky should be stuffed like a sausage.


    • margo roby

      10/01/2013 at 4:48 pm

      Grinning, Misk. Love the image and I agree, twitch… twitch.

  7. Annette Mickelson

    10/01/2013 at 12:43 pm

    I agree completely with all the comments above. I view your site and the Mr. Linky sites differently. What I love about your site is the discussion, the encouragement, the stretch. Sometimes I bookmark a prompt and don’t get around to writing on it for a month. Eek! And I can stil get feedback from you (thank you very much). If I want immediate traffic, feedback I can also post it on Open Night or some other Mr. Linky site. I find your site to be the most beneficial to my development as a writer of any of the sites (many) that I follow. Please don’t change it. …unless you really, really want to. In that case, it’s your blog and you should do what works best for you.

    • margo roby

      10/01/2013 at 4:47 pm

      Annette, I like the point you make about posting on another site as well, if you want the Mr. Linky-ness of it all! Fantastic. My qualms are falling away. Thank you very much for that.

  8. Pamela

    10/01/2013 at 2:27 pm

    I agree with the others, Margo. I like the feel of your blog, it is like all of us sitting in nice, cozy, living room and talking. Your prompts are very good, but I haven’t written to one in quite a while. They are, however, stored away in a folder for an opportune moment. I second Annette, you are always wonderful about feedback.


    • margo roby

      10/01/2013 at 4:44 pm

      I agree with you on that, Pamela. I have always felt like we are sitting around. I just hope new people feel free to drop by and join the conversation. We have a nice group.

  9. barbara_y

    10/01/2013 at 4:04 pm

    • barbara_y

      10/01/2013 at 4:04 pm

      That takes up way too much room.

      • margo roby

        10/01/2013 at 4:43 pm

        I’m still working on how to get photos and videos small. I have the photos figured out for emails, and whatever I do for my blogs, I think I have the videos small, but I usually have to try a couple of times.

        All blushing, maybe even teary, but certainly laughing. Thank you, Barbara.

  10. Sabio Lantz

    10/01/2013 at 5:38 pm

    I’d agree with everyone here, ignore that silly Sabio Lantz’s questions.
    ps – “thanx” for the mention.

    • margo roby

      10/01/2013 at 5:58 pm

      Sabio, thank you. I appreciated the questions, however. They made me pause and look at my blog, something which should be done every now and then. I also clarified a few things in my own thinking. This probably would not have happened if you hadn’t asked. You have a naturally enquiring mind. Don’t stop now.

  11. Hannah Gosselin

    10/01/2013 at 11:24 pm

    Please, ramble it helps with digestion, too!! Whybe quiet when one can spill freely and colorfully the contents of their bright brain bits!? Hmm that’s kinda…yeah, any way I love “whybe!!’

    I think no Linky…I like the way we roll round here and I was new once, too and I liked it then as well…I think if peeps want to dive into seas of lively conversation they will and if they want to just read and share their work they will do that instead.

    If it ain’t broke…

    Ugh…that’s an awful saying….first stinkin’ thing to pop into my mind though!

    Was there another question?

    Personally, I find that the readership is here…or feedback on poetry, if one wants it…like typically if we read around we’ll get read in return…and/but you’re always a GEM about reading and I always appreciate what you have to say…that must be a lot of foot work for you! What I mean to say is that I like that the pressure is off as far as needing to make all kinds of blog rounds…it’s more about the exercise and the writing…and the conversation here for me, anyway.

    Oh, yeah….what’s the other question?

    Ha…this is the second time I scrolled up to see if there was another question and got side-tracked by the conversation…seems the old adage has popped into the mind of many of our friends here!

    Hmm…I think that’s it…I’ve thoroughly talked your ear off and I was laughing that other day…that comment for the blog that I can’t locate anymore…meant to say. BIG Hannah-smiles!

    • margo roby

      11/01/2013 at 7:46 am

      I know! Shall we hereby accept whybe as part of the language?!

      I adore ‘bright brain bits’ especially colourful ones.

      ‘it’s more about the exercise and the writing…and the conversation here’ — this is what I needed to know and everyone who chimed in seems to be singing the same tune [sorry, couldn’t resist].

      Big smiles back. A hug, or two, with them.

      • Hannah Gosselin

        11/01/2013 at 8:09 am

        Like-minded poets singing the same tune…it can’t get better than that!! I’ll absorb those hugs and smiles…thanks a bunch, Margo for the sharing of your bright brain bits…makes my day a happier one! 🙂

        • barbara_

          11/01/2013 at 8:35 am

          Wouldn’t that make a choir! All of us singing away, everyone with different words for the same thing, but jigging to one tune.

          • margo roby

            11/01/2013 at 8:50 am

            Now that, Barbara, is a cool image that I shall carry around for a while. Grin. It could be really funny, too. Can you hear us? More, can you see us!

          • Hannah Gosselin

            11/01/2013 at 6:40 pm

            A sight and sound for sore eyes and ears!!! Lol…nooo we’d be truly melodic!! 🙂

  12. julespaige

    12/01/2013 at 12:23 pm

    Questions help us think. But sometimes thinking can get us into trouble. So I’ve been told. Glad I came back to see the chatter. Being part of this choir – to me is an honor.


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