Five Years and Two Hundred Posts!

Two hundred years ago, on July 4, 1817, construction of the Erie Canal began.  It had been a long time in the making. First proposed in 1780 as a means to create a navigable water route between Buffalo and the Great Lakes to the west and New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Erie Canal had its share of roadblocks, delays, and controversies.

 

Construction wasn’t completed until 1825, and along the way, there was plenty of public backlash and criticism.  Skeptics of the canal referred to it as “Clinton’s Folly” and DeWitt’s Ditch,” mocking one of the primary movers and shakers of the new waterway, New York State governor DeWitt Clinton.  But it was Clinton and other proponents who would ultimately have the last laugh. The canal fostered a population upsurge in upstate and western New York, including my hometown of Rochester.  And it also served the primary purpose for which it was built.  By 1855, 33,000 commercial shipments traveled up and down the Erie Canal.

 

That number would slowly and inexorably decrease as the decades ensued, as first the railway and, later, the automobile and the truck superseded the canal as avenues for shipments.  Nevertheless, the Erie Canal would live on.  It wouldn’t stagnate and succumb to neglect and decay.  As the canal’s primary function shifted from shipping goods to recreation, it would remain an enduring jewel of the Empire State.  Today, water enthusiasts still can boat along the canal, either in their own craft or on a cruise.  Bicyclists, joggers, and walkers (Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski among them!) enjoy the miles of trails that line the water’s edge.  Two hundred years after ground was broken for New York State’s grand man-made waterway, the Erie Canal continues to prosper.

 

The Eye-Dancers blog is no Erie Canal!  But this entry marks the site’s two-hundredth post.  If someone would have told me, back in the summer of 2012, that The Eye-Dancers website would last five years and two hundred posts, I would have smiled and asked them if they might like to buy a bridge I wanted to sell.  There was no way I could envision it.  I was just trying to craft a few coherent blog posts, not make a fool of myself in the process, and help to spread the word of the at-that-time soon-to-be-released novel The Eye-Dancers.  Along the way, though, I learned that there was nothing to worry about.  I learned that the WordPress community is made up of generous, kind, interesting, and wonderful people who welcome blogging neophytes with open arms.

 

And so, today, five years on, I pause, take stock, glance back, look forward, and thank you all so much.  You are the reason why I’m still here, still blogging, still enjoying every minute of it.  If it weren’t for you, there surely wouldn’t be a two-hundredth post.  You have all inspired me to keep going, keep writing, keep believing, even when doubt and uncertainty threatened to sabotage my efforts.

 

That’s true, too, of The Singularity Wheel, the sequel to The Eye-Dancers.  The support I have received from you regarding the sequel has been a motivator, an elixir, encouraging me to press forward with optimism.  I am in the stretch run of editing The Singularity Wheel, and will look forward to releasing it just as the trees here in the Northeast begin to transform from a canopy of green to a color show of golds, reds, and oranges.

 

In the meantime, and long afterward, I will continue to post, and continue to appreciate everything I have learned and experienced in this worldwide community.  I hope you’ll stick around for the next two hundred posts!

 

Thanks so much for all the support these past five years, and thanks, as always, for reading.

–Mike

The Inner/Outer Writing Paradox (Or, From an Old Oak Desk in New England)

Where is your special place, the place where you block out the clutter and noise and distractions, and let your creative energy flow?

Mine is an old oak desk that my father used to use when he was a student in school, decades ago.  It’s solid, heavy, and not designed for the accoutrements of 21st-century digital technology.  But it’s my little oasis to think and dream and create.

oasis

 

My father actually passed the desk on to me while I was still living with my parents, a high school student with my eyes peeled toward the future, the promise of ten thousand tomorrows, of horizons to be explored and aspirations realized.  We are old friends, my desk and I.  The oak is scarred in spots, dented in others, victim to the long passage of time and the elements.  But the imperfections merely serve to make it more approachable, more real, more mine.

imperfections

 

I’ve spent countless hours sitting at the old desk, pecking away at my keyboard, working through stories and ideas and inspirations–some of which took shape and became full-bodied manuscripts and novels; others that died a quiet, gray death, falling into the oblivion of the unfinished and uncompleted.

tossedoutmanuscripts

 

Through it all, one thing has remained constant–the desk, my sturdy oak friend, has always offered solitude and seclusion–it’s just me, tucked away in my den.  There are times, at night, the drapes drawn, the house dark and still, as if surrounded by a giant, soundproof glove, when I feel like the only person, the only creature, on earth.

aloneatnight

 

Writing is a lonely task–sometimes, it seems, the loneliest of all, especially when the words won’t come, the characters won’t cooperate, the sentences and paragraphs refuse to flow into anything resembling a coherent whole.

writersblockcharacterswontcooperate

 

And yet, and yet . . .

There is a paradox at work here.  From the solitude, a reaching out; from the stillness, a sharing of words and thoughts and ideas–sending them out, perhaps with confidence, perhaps with trepidation, to be read and contemplated and critiqued by others.  What was originally crafted in the quiet of a bedroom, the seclusion of a Thoreau-like woodland getaway, is now dispersed, as if by magic, away from the confines and isolation of self and out toward the vastness of an ocean of readers.

writersgetawayinwoods

 

And yet still, there is a paradox within the paradox. I, like many writers, am a lifelong introvert.  I recharge my batteries when I’m alone, lost in thought and wonder.  I suppose I’ve become a bit more skilled at social gatherings through the years (though perhaps my friends may disagree!), but mingling among partygoers or making small talk in a group setting has never, and will never, come naturally to me.  Much like Mitchell Brant or Marc Kuslanski, I tend to feel awkward and clumsy in such situations.  When I observe my extrovert friends or family members, the effortless way they break into, or begin, conversations, I cannot help but admire them for their skills and panache.  They make something I struggle with look easy.

partysocial

 

But the funny thing is–the majority of them would likely never dare to share the intense, personal accounts we writers do on a regular basis–often, to people we don’t even know.  A paradox, indeed, that an introverted writer feels the desire, the longing, the need, to become naked and vulnerable, sharing his feelings, fears, dreams, memories, foibles, passions, ideas, loves with anyone who chooses to read them.

passionsanddreams

 

It’s as if the solitary act of writing needs to shed its literary cocoon and fly out the window, looking for places to land.  There is value, of course, even in writing just for yourself.  Diaries and journals through the ages lend proof to this truth.  But within every writer’s heart, isn’t there a calling, as if a voice were whispering, to share the depth and breadth of her essence?  The ideas, expressed as words on a page, are disconnected from the whole, separate from the world, so long as they reside only in our computer hard drive or in a dusty corner of our dresser drawer.

writingflyingoutwindow

 

And the world, as it were, may contain only a handful of readers–perhaps family members and a few close friends–or it may include everyone, the reach as limitless as our imaginations.  The power of the Internet certainly offers such reach.  We write a blog post in New England, or Berlin, or San Francisco, or Prague, and we, through the simplest of clicks, instantly share it across the globe.  And we, more than likely, wish for our words to be read, and, hopefully, appreciated and digested and thought about, by as many people as possible.

earth

 

Perhaps writers, then, are, in actuality, closet extroverts?  Or, maybe more accurately, writers are people, and feel the same longing all people share–to be recognized, to be understood, to be heard.  We just go about it in our own way.

We try, “in utter loneliness,” as John Steinbeck once said, to “explain the inexplicable.”

steinbeck

 

So the next time you tuck yourself away in your room or your office or your secluded writer’s cabin in the wild, and you feel a pang of guilt that you’re not spending that time with your family or your friends (a feeling I’ve certainly experienced on numerous occasions), perhaps you can offer them (and yourself) a reminder.

cabininwoodsend

 

Tell them that you have something inside of you, insisting, unceasing, that must come out, something so personal, so inherently you, that no one else on earth can produce it.  And that it’s a wistful thing, ungraspable, really, like a phantom flower that materializes out of thin air, but when reached for, vanishes like mist.  All we can do, while sequestered in our little writing corner, the door shut, the phone off, is try to capture that feeling, that idea, that insistence within us and express it to the best of our abilities.

writersroom

 

And then, when we step back out into the light of day, share it with the world.

sunrisesharingveryend

 

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

A Season of Thanksgiving, a Milestone Reached

I am always amazed at how time flies–or so it seems.  “The more I see, the less I know for sure,” John Lennon once said.  But it certainly feels like time speeds along, as if it were some majestic, brightly colored bird, wings outstretched, slicing through the crisp, still November air.

heron

 

It is hard for me now, sitting in front of my trusty old PC, to believe that I began writing The Eye-Dancers back in the first decade of this century, or that I started to conceive of an Eye-Dancers blog more than thirty full moons ago.  Perhaps, as Einstein said, time is an illusion.  How else to explain the swift passage of months and years?

fullmoon

 

When I began this blog, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing.  (It can be argued that I still don’t!)  I had just written a novel, and planned on publishing it.  Other than myself, a few friends, and immediate family members, not a soul anywhere on earth or beyond knew of the soon-to-be book.  I needed a vehicle, something, anything, to “get the word out.”  One of the things I decided upon was a blog devoted to the novel, its characters, its themes, its inspirations, and the process that went in to writing it in the first place.

writingthenovel

 

It was a daunting task.  I knew nothing, less than nothing, about blogging, and had no idea if anyone “out there” would want to learn more about the novel, read about my interests, my take on writing and creativity, read my short stories . . .  It almost seemed egotistical.  Who was I to begin a blog?  Who was I to try and promote a book?  The doubts were very real.  As were the worries.  When I posted my first blog entry, I wondered, first and foremost, if it would be the online equivalent to a black hole and if anyone would even see it or read it; and, second, what their response might be if they did . . .

blackhole

 

But I also knew I had spent over two years writing and editing The Eye-Dancers.  I felt strongly about it, and I did not want the book to lie in a dark dresser drawer, or on a computer hard drive, as the case may be, collecting (virtual) dust, hidden from the world.

eyedancerscover

 

“If you have built castles in the air,” Thoreau said decades and decades ago, from the mists and echoes of the nineteenth century, “your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”  That was what I intended to do.  I had a hammer, a chisel, and a determination to keep at it.

castlesintheair

 

Now I just needed to see how my posts would be received.

I learned very early on that there was no cause for concern.  No one came on the site and blasted the concept.  No one said, “Go home, you talentless wannabe.  We don’t need another sci-fi/fantasy blog!”  On the contrary . . . right from the first, fellow bloggers were welcoming, kind, interested, and, above all, supportive.  For a new blogger like me, it was just the encouragement I needed.

Gradually, slowly, day by day, The Eye-Dancers blog grew.  I remember the snowy winter day, nearly two years ago now, when I reached one hundred followers.  One hundred!  It was more than I had hoped for when I’d started.  It served as a tonic, a motivation to keep at it and keep going.

100

 

Fast-forward to early November 2014, when The Eye-Dancers reached a milestone, going over 3,000 followers.  I never would have imagined this website would stick around this long, or continue growing as it has–and it wouldn’t have, it if it hadn’t been for the WordPress community.  I can’t thank each and every one of you enough.

3000

 

Because of you–your comments, support, interest, and willingness to read these random scribblings I come up with, The Eye-Dancers site has evolved from a place where I originally intended to simply promote my novel to a community of dreamers and writers and artists and thinkers and poets and friends.  It is a joy for me to be a part of.

dreamers

 

So consider this post a thank-you, from me to you in this month of Thanksgiving.  And though I’ve been blogging for over two years now, I can honestly say–this is still only just the beginning.

cornucopia

 

There are so many posts yet to write, so many blogs to enjoy, so many dreams to dream.

Perhaps that last part is the most important–for all of us.  The Eye-Dancers, both the novel and the blog–is all about looking up at the stars on a clear night, seeing them sparkle, like distant diamonds in the sky, and having the courage and hope and faith to believe . . .

stars

 

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations,” Louisa May Alcott once wrote. “I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

Thanks so much to all of you in the WordPress community for helping me, and inspiring me, to keep on reaching.  You’re the best.

reachforstars

 

And thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

An Awards Extravaganza, and . . . Breaking the Rules!

It’s always a great feeling when The Eye-Dancers receives a nomination for a blogging award.  Blogging awards offer us a wonderful way of spreading the goodwill that makes the WordPress community the special place it is.  And it is again with much appreciation and gratitude that I accept the nominations from several blogging friends.

wordpresscommunity

 

Thanks to Anne at Tales Along the Way; Jennifer K. Marsh; and Janice at jemsbooks for nominating The Eye-Dancers for The Shauny Award for Blogging Excellence, The Sunshine Award, and The Inner Peace Award, respectively.  I was fortunate enough to have been nominated for these awards previously, but I wanted to thank all three of these wonderful bloggers!  If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting their sites, I strongly urge you to do so!

*****************

Within the past few weeks, The Eye-Dancers has been nominated for three new awards. . . .

Thanks to Janice at jemsbooks for The Butterfly Light Award.  Janice has been a steadfast and ongoing supporter of The Eye-Dancers, and I can’t thank her enough.  I hope you’ll check out her great blog, and download her wonderful books!

butterfly-light-award

 

Conditions For Accepting The Award

Here are the conditions for accepting the award :

1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them. You MAY NOT lump this award in with a batch of other awards.  [Oops!  This is the first rule I am breaking in this post!]

2. You must individually name and re-award to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9999999 bloggers. You must let them know either personally with a comment on their blog OR a pingback (I’d suggest their about page) [Hmm, this is the second rule I am breaking . . .]

3. You must link back to Belinda’s blog either to http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/i-love-charismatic-geeks/ OR http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/about/

4. You must write a short paragraph (yes only one paragraph – damn this is easy) – Entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” OR “How I’m A Positive Influence”

5. Display Belinda’s lovely “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog.

 

“How I’m A Positive Influence”

Honestly, this one was tough!  It feels a little egotistical to use such a heading.  But one thing I hope The Eye-Dancers site has done, and continues to do, is to encourage everyone to unleash the creative powers within, to let them out with a flourish.  Tell your story.  Sing your song.  Paint your picture.  Do what you love, and then share it with the world.  Only you can tell your story.

creativity

 

As for the blogs I nominate, please keep reading!

*****************

Thank you to Jennifer K. Marsh for The Imagine Award.  Jennifer has supported The Eye-Dancers for the long haul, and I very much appreciate it!  She has a wonderful blog (more on this in a minute), and is a very talented author.

the-imagine-award

 

The purpose of The Imagine Award is to highlight blogs which make special use of creativity and passion.

According to the rules, I must nominate 3-5 blogs for the award  [more on this later–more rule-breaking, I’m afraid!] as well as state 3-5 reasons why I like Jennifer’s blog . . .

 

Jennifer’s site is great.  There are many reasons for this.  Here are five . . .

1.  She has a deep appreciation for nature and the environment.  Her posts reflect this, her words portray this.  As a fellow nature lover myself, this is something I genuinely appreciate and admire about Jennifer and her blog.

2. Jennifer is a highly creative and imaginative person, and her posts have the ability to lift me up on wings, enabling me to fly high overhead, and enjoy the view.  She is a talented wordsmith and a dreamer of dreams.

3.  Jennifer has a wonderful sense of humor.  Regardless of what type of post she is writing, her humor shines through.

4.  She is very honest, open, and holds nothing back.  Jennifer will post on subjects that mean a great deal to her, and is not afraid of sharing her heart with her readers.  This, combined with her fantastic sense of humor, truly makes her blog a very personal and heartfelt reading experience.

5.  Jennifer exhibits a tremendous variety in her posts.  From one post to the next, she keeps things fresh and unpredictable.  And when it comes to creative writing, unpredictable is good!

unpredictable

 

So for these reasons and many more, I hope you will visit Jennifer’s blog!

******************

And thanks so much  to Alisha Williams at Poemotherapi Shoppe for The Paragon of Fine Art Blogger Award nomination!  Alisha’s blog is a creative cornucopia of beautiful words and images.  She is a very talented and accomplished poet.  I am sure you will enjoy visiting her site as much as I do!

20140318-145446

 

The Paragon of Fine Art Blogger Award celebrates bloggers who love art.

Rules for the acceptance of this award:

  • Along with the acceptance of the PFAB Award please post anything that would express your love for art, it may be in a form of a painting, a photograph, an illustration, a poem or essay, anything done for the love of art.
  • Choose 6 bloggers who should merit the said award.  [I think you know where I’m going with this by now!]
  • Notify the deserving bloggers of the award, let them know the rules.
  • Acknowledge the presenter of this award by linking back.
  • Pin the Ajay-inspired badge on your blog.

 

For this award, I wanted to write a few words on why art is important to me and, indeed, to the world.

It’s an age-old debate.  Does art reflect life?  Or does life reflect art?  To me, both aspects are true.

Art certainly reflects life.  Any artist–writer, painter, singer, etc.–brings their own experiences, their triumphs, failures, loves, and losses into their art, into the things they create.  This much is irrefutable.

But the reverse is also true, and it provides the more important aspect of this life/art, art/life duality.  Ray Bradbury was once interrogated by the police for walking around the streets of his neighborhood at night.  His crime?  Simply walking, thinking, being.  Out of this experience, he created “The Pedestrian,” a futuristic little tale that depicts a world where everyone remains indoors, hidden away from the world, existing within the confines of their walls, glued to their televisions and trapped in a virtual, artificial reality.  This is art.  Taking a personal experience and broadening it, crafting an imaginary tale that on one hand transports us to a faraway world, while on the other forces us to look at our own society, our own laws and mores, our own selves.

pedestrian

 

And by doing this, art shapes our lives.  It causes us to think about things we may not otherwise have considered, it causes us to see the old with a new pair of eyes, with a new point of view.

**************

It’s always very difficult nominating just a few bloggers for each award.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there, selecting only five or ten or fifteen is virtually impossible.  And the truth is, it is all of you, everyone in the WordPress community, that makes The Eye-Dancers blog so much fun for me.

And so, I would like to share each award mentioned here–The Shauny Award, The Sunshine Award, The Inner Peace Award, The Butterfly Light Award, The Imagine Award, and The Paragon of Fine Arts Blogging Award–with each and every follower of The Eye-Dancers site.  I hope you’ll choose to accept at least one of these awards, and, perhaps, all of them!

thanks

 

Thanks so much for all of your ongoing support!  It means the world to me.  And thanks so much, as always, for reading!

–Mike

Some of My Favorite Things (Blogs) . . . (Or, the Blog of the Year Award 2013!)

Just shy of one year ago, when The Eye-Dancers site was a fledgling neophyte in the WordPress community, I received my first blog award.  Sheri from The Other Side of Ugly awarded The Eye-Dancers with a Blog of the Year 2012 award.  It was a wonderful moment.  Just starting out, unsure of even the simplest steps to take in the blogosphere, it was a tremendous boost of confidence receiving Sheri’s nomination.  I truly appreciated it then, and truly appreciate it now.

sunrise

 

So it seems fitting somehow that Sheri has again nominated The Eye-Dancers for a Blog of the Year Award–this time for 2013!  Thank you very much, Sheri!  Your continued support over the past year has meant a lot.  For those of you not familiar with Sheri’s blog, The Other Side of Ugly, I hope you’ll take a look.  It is a gem of a site, and should not be missed.

blogofyear

 

Before going on, I would like to take this opportunity to pause for a moment, and thank the wonderful bloggers who have nominated The Eye-Dancers for several other awards over the past few months . . .

Thanks so much to Reshu Malhotra who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Reshu has a great blog where she writes about health and beauty, sharing with her readers very knowledgeable tips and helpful advice.  Hers is a  beautiful blog, in every sense of the word!

Jennifer Marsh nominated The Eye-Dancers for One Lovely Blog Award.  Jennifer is a very talented author, and I am a big fan of her site!  Please take some time to browse through it.  I’m confident you will become a big fan, too.

Leslie from lesliesholly nominated me for The Sunshine Award.  Leslie has a very eclectic blog, where she talks about a variety of topics, and always keeps her readers engaged.  Her blog is a great place to visit!

Ampbreia’s Space nominated The Eye-Dancers for The Leibster Award.  Ampbeia’s blog is diverse, well written, thought-provoking, and just plain good.  I hope you will stop in for an extended visit!

And Sherri from A View From My Summerhouse nominated The Eye-Dancers for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  Sherri’s site is a treasure.  I promise you–if you stop by, you’ll want to stay for a while!

I was lucky enough to have already been nominated for each of these awards previously, but I wanted to thank all of the great bloggers above for their nominations!  I really appreciate it.

*****************************

The instructions for the Blog of the Year 2013 Award are simple:

1-Select the blog(s) you think deserve the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award.

2-Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required- and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3-Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions or the badges!)

4-Come over and say hello to the originator of the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award via this link :http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2-/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/

5-You can now also join the Blog Of The Year Award Facebook Page.Click the link here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear

Share your blog posts with  an even wider audience.

6-And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award-and then proudly display the award on your blog- and start collecting stars!

stars

Who doesn’t love collecting stars? I can see a bright smile on your face and stop being shy. Come on! It’s all yours and grab the awards

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once-this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award- and every time you are given the award by another blog- you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs- and even if they have already been given the award by someone else- you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum of 6 stars! You can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award- or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award 6 times!

You can find all the badges and banners and information you need via this link: ‘Blog of The Year 2013′ Award Badges.

*******************

In the celebrated Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, a defining moment is when Maria sings “My Favorite Things” to the von Trapp children.  It is one of the first moments of true bonding Maria shares with the children, and is one of my favorite scenes of the production.

som

 

So, without further delay, I would like to nominate some of my favorite blogs for the Blog of the Year 2013 award!

http://stormy1218.wordpress.com/

http://stylesalvation.wordpress.com/

http://honeydidyouseethat.wordpress.com/

http://thebondingtool.com/

http://lolarugula.com/

http://oilpastelsbymary.com/

http://charronschatter.com/

http://dadialogues.wordpress.com/

http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/

http://awaywithwordsblog.com/

http://wannabephotographer87.wordpress.com/

http://beebeesworld.wordpress.com/

http://jkmarsh12.wordpress.com/

http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/

http://whenibecameanauthor.wordpress.com/

Some of Maria’s favorite things in The Sound of Music include “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens . . .”  The blogs listed above are some of mine.  And I’m sure they will be some of yours, too.

In this season of thankfulness, I also want to extend a hearty thank-you to all the great followers of The Eye-Dancers website.  You are the reason this is so much fun for me.

tgiving

 

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

An Anniversary, An Award, a Reminder, and a Thank-You!

One year ago yesterday, I published my first post on The Eye-Dancers site.

anniversary2

 

At the time, I really had no clue what I was doing or if anyone would even read the post.

I had visions of it floating in a dark, forgotten corner of cyberspace, existing but not existing.  My mind concocted variations on the old tree-falling-in-the-forest riddle:  “If a post is published on the Web but no one ever sees it, is it really published?”  I was so new to blogging, I didn’t even think to use keywords or categories (I have since added them to my initial post!).  I just wrote a brief synopsis of The Eye-Dancers, held my breath, and hit the “Publish” button.

I didn’t have much of a plan at the time.

confused

 

I wanted to introduce the four main characters of The Eye-Dancers, too–each in their own post.  Within a span of a few weeks, character profiles for Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski were created.  After publishing Mitchell’s post, I received an email.  A blogger, somewhere, Liked the post!  (Yes, even now, I still remember that first Like!)  A couple of weeks later, I discovered that, indeed, it might be a good idea to tag posts with keywords and organize posts into categories.  I was, literally, learning as I went.

index

 

For the first few months of The Eye-Dancers site, up until the book was released in mid-November 2012, I was utilizing the blog strictly as a promotional tool for The Eye-Dancers.  A character profile here, an update on the release there–that sort of thing.  But then I got to thinking.  This website could be so much more fun than that.  Why not write about the things I’m interested in, create posts that can talk about the book, yes, but that also explore other topics–writing, quantum physics, comic books, movies, Twilight Zone episodes . . .  The possibilities seemed endless.  My main concern was–would anyone want to read my musings?  I thought it over, then decided to take the plunge into full-scale blogging.  The results have been, to put it mildly, much more rewarding than I ever dared to imagine–and that is because of all of you.  I know I’ve said it before on previous posts, but it merits repeating.  You are the reason why I blog, and you are the reason it’s fun and enjoyable.  You made a blogging neophyte feel welcome and at home here in the blogosphere, and I can’t thank you all enough.

blogosphere

 

*****************

I have been fortunate enough over the past several months to be nominated for several blogging awards.  And even though I’ve neglected to do an awards post lately, please know that all nominations are very much appreciated.  It’s really a great feeling knowing one of your blogger friends chooses to nominate you for an award.  And I wanted to take this moment to thank those who have nominated The Eye-Dancers in recent weeks . . .

Thanks to Briana from When I Became An Author for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  Briana is a fellow author, and she maintains an exceptional blog.  Please check out her site!

Thanks to the Ambitious Poet and to Sherri at A View from My Summerhouse for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the WordPress Family Award.  I truly appreciate it, and highly recommend that everyone check out their fantastic websites!

Thank you to  Violet Wave and Mary at Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel for a Supersweet Blogging Award nomination!  Two very talented and creative individuals who author wonderful blogs!  I hope you’ll visit their sites.

Many thanks to Josey from Joseyphina’s World for her nomination of the Dragon’s Loyalty Award!  I can’t recommend Josey’s site highly enough.  Please take a look!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Thank you very much to Lucia at Luminous Blue for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Lucia has a captivating blog!  You will be glad you stopped by.

And thanks so much to Mary at Oil Pastels by Mary for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Sunshine Award.  Mary’s site is a treasure trove of creative energy and talent.  It’s a privilege receiving this nomination from her.

I was lucky enough to have already been nominated for each of these awards previously, but I wanted to thank all of the great bloggers above for their nominations!  I really appreciate it.

***********

The Eye-Dancers has also been nominated for The Inner Peace Award!  I want to thank Jane at Jane Dougherty Writes, Joanna Fay, Samina at Samina’s Forum for Police Support, and Sherri at A View from My Summerhouse for their nominations!  If you’re not already acquainted with these wonderful bloggers’ websites, please take some time to do so.  I am happy to wait . . . !

The Inner Peace Award is an award that comes with no rules, no questions . . . no conditions.  As such, I will do what I’ve done a few other times in Awards posts, and pass the award on to all followers of The Eye-Dancers site.  (Even when there are Awards rules, in other words, I tend to break them!)  I hope you will accept this award and, even if you do not post on it, I hope you’ll put the image onto your blog . . .

inner-peace-award

 

*******************

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that The Eye-Dancers gift card promotion is still running–the last day is August 22, so there is still time to take part, if you haven’t already!

reminder

 

But mostly, I would like to say one big, hearty thank-you to all of you.  Thanks for reading these off-the-wall posts of mine, for continuing to stop by The Eye-Dancers site, for your great and thoughtful comments, for your ongoing support.  I created The Eye-Dancers site one year ago, on a late-summer day not unlike this one, with the intention of marketing my book of the same name.  And I did.  (And as the previous paragraph attests, I still am!)  But I’ve discovered along the way that the blogging experience is richly rewarding in and of itself.  I genuinely enjoy coming up with posts that I hope will contain some small kernel of truth, interest, or intrigue.  And I enjoy the WordPress community more than this post is able to express.

thanks

 

It’s been a great first year for The Eye-Dancers.   Here’s hoping the second year will be even better.

Thank you as always so much for reading.  You are the best.

–Mike

A Harvest of Friends

In the first-ever episode of the iconic, long-running television series Little House on the Prairie, titled “A Harvest of Friends,” farmer Charles Ingalls and his family move to Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

harvest1

 

Immediately, Charles gets busy, working several jobs, until he can bring in the harvest.

landon

 

But then misfortune strikes, and Charles loses money and breaks his ribs in a fall.  As things deteriorate from bad to worse, and it appears the Ingalls may lose their farm, the community of Walnut Grove steps in and helps the family through to the harvest.  As the episode ends, Charles realizes the truth.  Yes, he will keep the farm, and yes, his crops will grow and the family will make it, after all.  But, more than anything, the real harvest is one of new friendships and community support.

I have said it before, and will say it again.  When I began The Eye-Dancers site late last summer, I had no idea what I was getting into–I had never blogged before.  All I knew at the time was that I wanted  to create a website to help get the word out regarding my new young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Eye-Dancers.  Beyond that, I didn’t know what to expect, and didn’t know what the response would be.

Like Charles Ingalls when he moved to Walnut Grove, I have quickly discovered what a great community I have joined.  A harvest of friends, indeed.  Today The Eye-Dancers has reached the 1,000-follower milestone, and so it’s a perfect time to say thank you to each and every one of you.

I am honored that The Eye-Dancers has been nominated for more blogging awards–The Most Influential Blogger Award, The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, and The Interesting Blog Award!

But first, a shout-out to Kavita at Talking Experience for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Tag You’re It! Award;  the Ambitious Poet for nominating me for the  Liebster Award; and Kristy at Family, Friends, and Everything in Between for the nomination for the Shine On Award!  I was lucky enough to have received these awards previously, but I wanted to encourage everyone to visit these wonderful blogs!

*******

A hearty thank-you to Samina at Samina’s Forum for police support for nominating me for a Most Influential Blogger Award.  It is a privilege being nominated for an award like this from someone who has such an influential blog herself.  Thanks you, Samina!

most-influential-blogger-e1364230844577

The rules for the Most Influential Blogger Award are as follows . . .

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer seven questions.
  • Nominate (no limit on the number of nominations) [an aside–this is good, since, for this one award, I am not technically breaking the rules!] other bloggers for this award and link back to them.
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award requirements.

The seven questions are:

1. If you could create your own planet what would it look like?

A. It would look a lot like Earth.  Our planet is full of natural wonders and variety.  I think it would be difficult to create a more naturally beautiful planet.

earth

 

2.If you could visit one nation you have never visited before. What nation would that be?

A.  Scotland, probably.  But it’s hard to choose just one!

scotland

 

3. Have you ever taken a long distance train trip?

A.  I have!  From Rochester, New York, to Denver, Colorado . . .

amtrak

 

4. What is something you would collectively change about humanity?

A.  I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind.  Nothing is impossible.  Many of the great inventors or thinkers were ridiculed in their day.  Be open to possibilities, potentialities, and the unity of all things.  Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it “wrong” or “foolish.”

openmind

 

5. What is your favorite song?

A.  I don’t really have one that stands out, head and shoulders, above the rest.  It’s hard to choose just one!  I have always loved the song “Edelweiss,” from The Sound of Music.  And I enjoy some of the classic ’50s songs–“Only You (And You Alone)” by The Platters, for example.

edelweiss

 

6. If you could meet one person who is still alive who would you choose to meet?

A.  The person around the next corner.  I wouldn’t know who they are until I meet them . . .

aroundthecorner

 

7. If you could choose one symbol to represent you, what would that symbol be? Why?

A.  Probably an image of the universe–something vast, infinite, mysterious.  I always want to keep searching for the unknowable, and reaching for the stars . . .

universe

 

***************************

Thank you very much to Joseyphina at Joseyphina’s World, Lisa at She’s Losing It!, and Katie at the D/A Dialogues for nominating The Eye-Dancers for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award!  You all have great blogs, and I very much appreciate the nomination!

wonderful-team-membership-award

The rules for this award are  (and I will break them!):

The Nominee of the Wonderful Team member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.

The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.

The Nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during 7 days.

********************

And another thank-you is in order to Katie at the D/A Dialogues for nominating me for an Interesting Blog Award!  If you haven’t checked out Katie’s site, please pull up a virtual chair and do.  It is a delightful, fun, and very engaging place to spend some time!

Interesting Blog Award

 

The rules (meant to be broken??) for the Interesting Blog Award are as follows:

Thank person who nominated you.

List 5 random facts about yourself.

Nominate 5 other blogs.

Answer the 5 questions the blogger awarding you The Most Interesting Blog Award asked you.

Ask 5 questions of your own to nominees.

Here are 5 random things about myself:

1. When I was a kid, I never had to move.  In fact, even to this day, my parents still live in the same house where I grew up.  That’s a rare and special thing these days, and it makes “going home,” when I visit Rochester, NY, that much better.

2.  One of my favorite all-time shows is Jeopardy!.  I remember, growing up, I would watch it with my parents, and we’d try to guess the answers to the questions.  Or, seeing that it is Jeopardy, the questions to the answers!  Like any true geek, I used to keep a personal scorecard, tallying up how many questions I got right, each show, every week . . .

jeopardy

 

3.  I have never Skyped!

skype

 

4.  I am an introvert by nature, very much an observer.  I’m fascinated watching people–at parties, out on the street, at work, in stores . . .  And I have always loved to listen to conversations–the manner in which people talk, their accents, their pet expressions.  It never gets old.

5.  I do not like heights!  I wouldn’t say I’m terrified of them, but I avoid high places if I can.  You will not find me up on the roof!

heights

 

The five questions for me to answer (from Katie):

What is your favorite moment in history?

Any time a decided underdog has stood up to, and bested, the favorite.

If you could eat one food item for the rest of your days, what would it be?

Easy.  French fries and ketchup!

fries

 

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Honestly, I can’t choose just one.  I was lucky.  I had a wonderful childhood, all in all, and I am always grateful for that.

If a madman in a box whisked you away and said you could go anywhere and anytime in the universe, what would you choose?

Tough choice!  But if I had to choose just one, I would like to have the best seats in the house in Yankee Stadium on October 8, 1956, the day Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history.

larsenp

 

If training, ability, and money were not an issue, what would you like to be when you grow up?

A best-selling novelist, of course!

My questions for the nominees of this award are:

1. Seinfeld or Cheers?

2. Country music or heavy metal?

3. You have a chocolate muffin and a piece of cherry pie before you, but you can choose only one.  Which do you choose?

4. What city, anywhere in the world, would you like to visit and why?

5. There is a zombie movie on one channel and a James Bond movie on the other.  Which do you watch?

***************

Rule-breaking time!  I would like to nominate all of my followers for the above awards.  If you want to accept all of them, please do!  I hope you do!  Or perhaps you’d only choose to accept one or two of the awards.  Or none.  It doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that you know how much I appreciate your comments, feedback, and support.  You are the ones who make blogging fun and worthwhile.

I thank you, very much, for reading these ramblings of mine!

–Mike

%d bloggers like this: