Sandbox 1- spontaneous response -Reflection

I am editing the resultant free-writing from the post I set to private – only removing things like the time stamp for my loo break part way, but set to private in case I needed to remove anything entirely personal and embarassing! Text like this is notes added after, typos and grammar corrected, long paragraphs broken …)

15-20 mins Sandbox Writing challenge #1 spontaneous excercise

on reflection or in reflection?

In my reflection what do I like / not like about myself? I don’t tend to look at myself in the mirror much, hardly ever – usually I’m admiring the way the mirror reflects otherwise – the background at a certain angle from the same place, but the capability of the reflected image to change depending from what angle you look into the mirror…

I’m not filling the full 15-20 minutes with this excercise, I don’t think… I maybe should have got the colours and a bit of paper out and started this differently, but I’m awkward. Apparently.

I could say things like I don’t enjoy seeing myself nearly fifty years of age, rather than as I was in my early twenties. But, hey, who doesn’t sense that when they see their reflection as a mature person? I’m not sure that descriptor (mature person) applies to me as I am quite childish – and would have loved the excercise with crayons!

But, I’m standing with my laptop balancing next to the kitchen sink – I really should be washing up, but not with the laptop anywhere near – must remember that!

I’m going off topic, I know. I usually do. I need lots more practise! (few minutes responding to prompt as was, reverted to the idea in mind previous, during my free-writing from here, still spontaneous!)

I had an idea in mind for this post, having previously scanned the excercise prompt, but then that’s not spontaneous reflection, although in some ways it is…

I tried taking Photo101 in June. I had old tech I could have used, but never got it recharged and readied. I decided it was about time to upgrade my brick of a mobile phone from 2011 instead and have a nice new phone cam to play with. Besides, I wasn’t well enough to go out taking pictures. I had ideas every day of setting up objects or domestic interior views in response to the prompts and never got around to it.

Eventually on 27th June, I’d had my new mobile phone a week and learnt it just enough to take some pics. I was well enough that Saturday morning to make it outside into both my front and back gardens to take some snaps. So, with my scrawled list of prompt topics, I decided to take any snap I could that fulfilled a spontaneous response for each day’s prompt. (I’ve still not posted those pics!)

I also played with the phone cam at interior shots in my home. I looked into the old mirror hanging in my kitchen, it was a special gift from a friend one Christmas a couple of decades ago now. (It’s hung on the wall at a height suitable for someone about six and a half feet tall, which I’m not – just because that’s where a nail already was in my landlord’s wall and my contract says I need permission before adding any such thing as a nail to his wall!)

I admired the view of the kitchen ceiling and light fittings and took snaps in colour, black and white, negative effect, having found those options in the phone cam menu during use.

Some time later, while considering a hovercard badge / gravatar icon, I thought about those pictures I’d taken of that mirror. I decided I love the mirror, even though it won’t realise because I’m never looking in it much and it’s neglected and dusty. I thought about the potential of using that image or part of it and checked my photo files to select one for that purpose. Editing only involved cropping a suitable area and hey presto, I’d ‘bodged my badge’ as I put it in the post title for that blogging101 topic.

Below is one of those pics I took that day, not the one I made my badge from, but similar and in the monochrome effect setting, as taken. My badge snap was taken in the negative effect and made a unique enough icon image I was happy with for now.

In reflection (Photo101 snap 27.06.15)
In reflection (Photo101 snap 27.06.15) My old mirror, a gift…


This post is an ever so slightly polished version of the draft I just wrote in response. Unfortunately, being me, I still haven’t polished that mirror since before June!


A Warm Welcome and my Warm-up Writing

These lists are my quick response to the writing warm-up excercise shared at the Sandbox Writing Challenge here. Apparently they may come in useful in later writing excercises.

Seven words I might use to describe myself are:

…scatty; naiive; considerate; caring; creative; imaginative; slow

Seven objects that have meaning for me:

…virtuality; paper; my Bible I purchased at eleven years old; my teddy bear from being a baby; my safety cooker lighter; my wind-up torch; my Glastonbury 1987 poster.

My choice of seven meaningful colours:

  1. clear
  2. indigo
  3. aqua
  4. sunshine yellow
  5. lilac
  6. grey
  7. orange / red (because ‘clear’ although my first choice of favourite colour always, isn’t really a colour! It’s always tempting to say ‘rainbow’ and select even more colours because really I love all colours)

…seven places that have meaning for me:

Earth; various places of home (ie my childhood home, first flat, family home, current home including local community); a police cell (once!); my favourite local art gallery; the East Anglian coast; my garden; Europe especially Amsterdam, although I’ve not been yet!

Another time soonish I’ll try the next excercise and maybe catch up with the ‘programme’ – there are two writing excercises to do to reach that point, with the third excercise posting tomorrow, but should still be achievable :). My lists didn’t have to be posted to join the challenge, but I decided I would. Thank you to the host for the very warm welcome and for creating the Sandbox Writing Challenge.

Today’s blogging 101 task suggested trying an(other) event so I really wanted something I could join in with today, be manageable and match my blogging/learning aims. I was really encouraged by the aims of this creative writing challenge during my other reading. While searching events for today’s task I just had to find it again. It was the one that really spoke to me and grabbed my interest as one for today. 

Exploring Events -Part 2

a previous entry to the Pocket Watch prompt in Creativity Carnival #2 (sconees and a paper cup, or afternoon tea... would you believe I was finishing that ssame pack of scones yesterday, ten days beyond use by date!)
a previous entry to the Pocket Watch prompt in Creativity Carnival #2 (scones and a paper cup, or ‘afternoon tea’… would you believe, I was finishing that same pack of scones yesterday, ten days beyond use by date!)

Events I’ve tried so far, previously and ongoing:

I joined in the weekly Creativity Carnival and that’s a current favourite, in part for being motivated by host Shafali’s blog tagline which is ‘Draw to smile’ and in part for an open method of creative response including all possibilities … I’ve not tackled this week’s prompt yet (on my urgent priority to-do list) and a new prompt will be announced on Friday. I do hope to continue taking part in that each week and to hopefully revisit the previous prompts occasionally with ideas left behind and unfinished or unstarted.

Monthly Look Ahead. You can share personal life/social activities you’re looking forward to. I just don’t really have any of those at the current time. It seems a very good idea for a way of remembering to have a monthly plan outline (so mine related to online/blogging activity). The challenge says to share on the last day of the month what you are looking forward to for the next month (That can include blogging!)

A scheduled post would be one way of taking part if other commitments prevent taking part at the prescribed time, and similarly with some other challenges.

Some events are very time-limited and time-specific like MicroBookends* which opens with a prompt at 5am UK time on Thursdays and closes 24 hours later. This great flash-fiction event is different to others I’ve seen and these following points are crucial for correct entry. Your entry is made only in the comments section on the prompt page, there’s no pingback linking to your own blog. It has to be posted to the site within the 24hrs specified. The writing you enter must not be published anywhere else except on the challenge website comment section – that includes not publishing your entry on your own blog. (Basically, the host requires first publishing rights, as do most publishers).

The judge is the previous week’s winner and usually selects three honourable mentions and third, second and first place entries. There’s no prize as such but I’m led to believe there are arrangements for collections of entries being published periodically (on a small scale perhaps but none the less). microBookends has been highly recommended to me by a personal friend who entered a few times and it  is apparently an event of high repute among flash fictioneers. I haven’t entered yet but I’m told it’s reliable and well-run with a welcoming and supportive community. Once the event is over, the host has had use of their first publishing rights, I think, so you can then re-post your own writing to your blog if you wish. I haven’t checked that but it sounds about right.

#DrawingAugust is a Twitter event to share a drawing made each day this month and I’ve so far kept up with that by taking at least a few minutes to sketch or doodle to get back into the habit of drawing. I’m a very new Twitter user and it’s my first real ‘join a conversation’ /event. I’m not worrying about making nice drawings taking at least a few minutes a day or up to an hour on an unusual day (as in the pic above). My subject is mundane everyday things at home mostly. I’ll get around to sharing more of my drawings in my blog at some point.

There are two challenges I’d previously thought I might try and participate in, Stellar Lunar and Literary Lion and I’ve not done so yet. They are quite high up on my priority list, but my thinking cogs are a bit clogged just now.

Event participation is a great way of challenging your blogging self, practising skills, generating ideas, creating new content and best of all building new blogging connections and supportive networks to give and receive feedback. Hosts put in a lot of effort keeping up with the work involved and deserve admiration and respect for their commitment and dedication to providing inspiring environments.

I could argue I’m challenged enough already, but I won’t. For today’s Blogging101 activity fulfilment, next, I’m off to The Sandbox Writing Challenge and enjoy some play catching up with the fun over there from the warm-up excercise to date (only missed the first two weekly writing excercises and it’s a great idea) – it’s not an event in the listings page and I do hope I’m not gate-crashing a private party on a public blog. It appears to be written as an open invitation. This challenge is hosted by a co-learner in Blogging101 (I think!) and as a way of sharing writing-related creative learning activity. Maybe after doing these excercises my brain will function better for trying something else, or, just be happy getting a really good, long sleep.

Is there something you’d love to do, if only there were such an event? (Mine was ‘I wish I could get my skates on while I blog’… these types of posts taking me a whole day or more to complete…) What events do you take part in, recommend, or hope to join?

*MicroBookEnds is no longer running; some others may have since expired too. I’ll try and make a point of updating this post in the New Year [2017]!

Exploring Events Part 1

Some new challenge events I’d not seen previously (events listing page; following links point to listings page for each event.)

I’ve just missed Tea and Cake Tuesday to find something interesting to say about yesterday’s ten day old scones! Trouble is I had some nice chocolate biscuits and forgot the scones but they were still good enough to eat! I could have shared them for Tasty Thursdays… perhaps … or a Funteresting Fact this Saturday– for instance, a something tollpachtschiglich that I’ve done in the last few days … (that previous link goes to the first ‘episode’ if you wish to understand my use of that phrase.) The Sunday Wrap is a link-up to share your best recent post, so apart from adding the link and social visits to the other bloggers, the work’s maybe already done.

There are lots more but I’m looking for something ‘bitesize’, simple and stress-free that allows for enjoyment of the blog-hop aspect within time and energy constraints and without too much response thinking effort.

I didn’t expect to find a recurring daily event but the search option proved otherwise:

  • MeWorlde (share one word daily, add a photo/pic, poem etc?) – this appears inactive which was disappointing having thought that’s a good way to get into a daily posting habit. However it’d be easy enough to just add the tag, try it anyway and maybe the host will pick it up again after their hiatus.
  • 3wordsaday (link to blog) be inspired by 3 words from a choice of 5
  • MindLoveMenagerie a different kind of creative writing prompt for each day weekly
  • there are others for photography etc., explore different ways of using the search, there are lots of very well-established events some pages back, but browsing can be exhausting…
  • … and it would be nice to join in with and support new events created from recent blogging201 co-learners, some of which are already mentioned in the first section of this article. Below are three more NEW weekly events maybe suitable for me (or you):

Red Echo Date is simply a challenge to create a response to a given quote (photography/short writing/provide another quote). There’s over half a week to take part before the next prompt is announced.

Miniature Writing Challenge (Tuesdays) Mini Short Story (50 – 150 words) OR Tiny Poem (5 lines max) OR Haiku (3 lines, 17 syllables) with a weekly Theme for all three categories and a Short Story Prompt. Poem or haiku is up to the writer. Prompts usually announced Tuesday, so one maybe due soon (not yet announced at time of publishing), or practice with a previous week’s theme and prompt – it’s another new challenge and there have only been three weeks of this events so far (similarly for the other newest events).

Travel Trinkets and Memories, a photo post weekly link-up, can be of any trinket with associated memories not just those relating to travel, NO other PROMPT to respond to – host will be making her own new post on 20th but as there’s no weekly prompt and only one challenge page to link up on there’s no worry of missing the boat so to speak. I liked how you can check out all responses from the one page, that there’s no weekly prompt and you can just share a ‘trinket’ and memory each week, or periodically and never miss that boat…

So there are some listed events I’m thinking of trying out in the next few days or so … how about you, which new event(s) are you hoping to join?

An introduction to Exploring Events (blogging 101 day13)

Yesterday (B101 day12) I’d been meaning to get on with making new posts but caught up over and again with reading and comments instead. I enjoyed it a bit too much, other than losing track of time and getting behind with essential things. I’d read the day 12 blogging101 task wrong, or rather remembered it wrong, so had been partially preparing myself all day for something I didn’t have to do. Having spent so much time reading and commenting I’d more than completed the day 12 suggested activity without needing to do anything else – hooray!

So now I’m preparing for the day 13 topic of finding another event to take part in. Thought I’d make a notes to self post of potential easy-access challenges for the current time-frame and then decided I should probably share it. Reaching 1600 words, I decided I should split it into sections for the sake of my ideal reader who may or may not wish to stay on the page.

My brain’s on frazzled mode so I’ve looked for easily accessible challenges that will be fun to take part in without too much ‘work’ or brain-drain. Taking part includes visiting other participants’ posts and leaving feedback so I need to reserve that time and energy also.

There are lots of new challenge events I’d not seen previously at the Daily Post events listing page. There’s a tremendous variety of these link-up events and challenges for all kinds of interests. If you’re a knitting enthusiast there’s an event. I’ve seen several for cooking or love of food, others for music in various ways. There are plenty of creative writing, flash fiction, poetry and photography challenges.

I was only slightly surprised to see something for horseback riders who blog. Is there one for ‘wish I could get my skates on while I blog’? I’d like more time and energy to explore some more thoroughly – or hopefully to spot other blogging101ers posts about this topic and learn more that way.

Some of the events listed are one-time only and past, others say recurrent and appear inactive, but perhaps only temporarily. It doesn’t actually stop you using the idea for a ‘practice challenge’, responding and using the tag. Or perhaps rounding up a few interested bloggers to join you in doing so. Whether alone or as a group, linking back to the event to let the host know you loved their idea and took part via the magic of blogging time travel has been well received by hosts so far 🙂 (You can probably communicate that idea more sensibly than me!)

Once upon a time, a few weeks ago, being curious, I was looking back to the very first Weekly Photo challenges from the Daily Post in February 2011 (about twenty pages back). The prompt was CURIOSITY!

I had intended ‘time-travelling’ and maybe showcasing interesting things I found along my travels that afternoon. Perhaps that’s another way of taking part in events, if not wishing to enter a challenge – bearing in mind usual etiquette, issues of copyright etc.

I spent an afternoon blog-hopping those Curiosity photo challenge responses and flitting through the blogs that were still active. In one of them I found that there was a free association word event that had been running a very long time and is still active. You simply respond spontaneously to a short list of words with another word for each and post back. I saved the link (somewhere!) but haven’t returned to take part so maybe I’ll check it out again…

Are you keen to take part in events? Is there anything stopping you so far? Are you confused by the multitude of possibility, tired of finding outdated info and inactive listings, unsure of how to take part? Are you thinking of testing an idea by posting a simple one-off challenge on your own blog during Blogging101? Maybe you have already, if so, please leave a link in the comments 🙂

Exploring Events, Part 1, next post…

Surprised by a Blogger Recognition Award!

Blogging awards have been the subject of much discussion in Blogging101 recently. I had been thinking of finding an ‘award free blog’ badge, as I have seen some. Not that I’d been expecting to receive any nominations, so thought I had plenty of time. However this was a very nice surprise and is humbly and gratefully received from my nominator, meloheart.

My first blog award, received with thanks from meloheart, click the award image to visit her blog, Seeking Romance

As a recipient I pass on the award to say ‘thank you’ to each of the bloggers I now nominate and by way of congratulating their blogging accomplishments 🙂

NB: my list is in no particular order of preference and is missing some worthy contenders for being limited to fifteen:-

  • vnktchari for inspiration, insight and interesting variety at ‘Living Better’ and his other linked blogs
  • darshanneo an emerging young writer and fantastic use of the Apostrophe theme
  • honestme363 for supportive commenting and wonderful posts.
  • Margo at ‘That Little Voice’ lovely company for Shafali’s Creativity Carnival, great response posts and other good stuff at her blog.
  • Shafali for creating and hosting the Creativity Carnival (click link for more info), for inspirational challenge prompts, supporting and responding to participants.
  • aidyl93 inspiring and creative participant in above event.
  • Self Therapy blog Jessica writes an amazing blog with lots to explore.
  • World Reacher Shubhanshu makes me smile with posts like this one.
  • Fernseeds for the love and appreciation of the everyday, a great blog and sharing some fab links in twitter, (my fave #DrawingAugust companion).
  • Stochastic a creative young blogger I came across recently via Shafali’s event.
  • Raymaxx an interesting, intelligent and well-presented blog.
  • An Artist at Heart great blog and I love articles like this one.
  • Keith Gregg an artist’s site/blog I found recently. admired and enjoyed.
  • Ivan Proust for his zany edge, poetry, intriguing posts and for instigating collaborative poetry in the blogging 101 Commons.
  • Josee at ‘For His Glory’ for an inspiring blog, with style, fun and art.

The requirement of fifteen seems like a lot at first. However looking at blogs I follow, my comments and likes etc, I could have found many, many more to have nominated but some will have been nominated already or received other awards.

Some of my nominations may not wish to participate in the challenge chain for one reason or another and I hope they do not feel obliged to do so. I also feel that it should be possible to accept the award and make an acceptance post displaying the badge without having to follow the rules to the letter – eg explain (or not) reasons for not participating further, accept but postpone the workload of completely fulfilling the challenge, nominate less than the required number, or adapt as necessary. After all, it is a gift of thanks bestowed from one blogger to another. I make my nominations without wishing to impose the condition that they participate in the full chain challenge…

In the end, I decided to participate in the chain challenge as per ‘the rules’ and having never yet gotten around to posting a blog round up as I might have liked to be posting over a week ago, so saw it as one way of making such post. This may be the only blog award I ever receive/ accept and I am honoured to have received this one.

I have chosen from memory, to seek the blog links for recent memorable moments of admiration or and/or interaction and make my nominations that way. Apologies to any who are already overwhelmed.

Here are my adapted rules for this award with the ‘official rules’ at the bottom of this post:

  1. Select up to 15 other blogs you want to give the award to (bearing in mind the workload and time constraints  and meaningful nomination etiquette suggested by Blogging101 discussion & guidance (Daily Post primer on Awards)- maybe stage your nominations if time/energy is limited.
  2. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you (yes, also tempting to nominate my distant other half, but including that notion as if ‘myself, those close to me etc.’ & so as a no-no!)
  3. Write a post to show your award (can I do this in stages? … I might have but nearly completed now – but taken ages because I’m a snail!)
  4. Give a brief story of how your blog started (so that’s why I had a burning muddle-along-monday post to write, in prep!)
  5. Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers (get an award free blog badge quick if you can’t or don’t want the workload of graciously and humbly accepting the obligation of awards … OR adapt the rules to suit! and/or complete the chain challenge in stages over a timescale that suits you. AVOID BLOGGING BURN-OUT!)
  6. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  7. Attach the award to the post (right click and save, then upload – my nominees can find the award badge here or a smaller version here
  8. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them (so that’s another 30-60 minutes… if nominating 15?)
  9. Provide a link to the award post you created (provide a link to where? you’ve already linked to nominator’s post…? DOH – to the comment you’re sending to all your nomination recipients!)

At 10. should state if the rules have to be included in the recipient’s post, everyone else’s post I’ve checked so far follows a standard format, including the standard rules, mine’s different…

How my blog started: with ideas yet to be realised, …and by clicking start a free blog at 😉

…and then with the discovery of a long, ongoing learning journey to meet my original aims and intentions… so starting this blog instead from where to play and learn (before starting another two blogs to do similar differently!)

Here are the rules as per standard format award posts:

  1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
  2. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you
  3. Write a post to show off your award
  4. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  5. Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers
  6. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  7. Attach the award to the post (right click and save, then upload)
  8. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them
  9. Provide a link to the award post you created

Thanks again to meloheart for nominating me for this award.

Inspiration, Creativity and Soft Toy Capers

When I was thinking of incorporating my daughter’s large cuddly toy gorilla (whom I now call Mixt-ape) into my blog posts, I actually found myself wishing I could take him out and about places with me, to take photos of him in different settings and use those photos to build stories for blog posts. Really!

I could maybe get away with days out with a large cuddly toy if I was accompanied by a young child. No-one bats an eye lid at an adult with cuddly toy in tow providing they are in the company of a child (or have just been shopping and bought the toy). It’s a shame I live so far from my grandchildren and can’t borrow one of them to help out with the excercise, but even if I could it’s a shame because I can’t really get out much at the moment anyway, with or without cuddly toy.

Last week  I had the privelege of sharing in a walk in the park with a very talented creative lady, Josee and her very talented family, when I came across her uplifting and fun photography post at:

It’s just the kind of fun day out I’d have liked to take Mixt-ape out to, getting him to pose for the camera – but then I’m not five years old and not so good with a camera either. Never mind, because it was really nice to share in someone else’s day out 🙂

Josee mentioned in her post being inspired by one of my fave blogs to follow and I ended up staying a fair while for a good read around Josee’s other posts.

Among other topics, Josee also blogs about her artwork, has a lovely gallery page displaying some of her art and I’d recommend a visit to her blog if you haven’t seen it yet.

(This post was written for the ‘inspired post’ task for blogging101, with no pics cos you need to hop off and see some at Josee’s blog… but thanks for visiting :D)