I’m…Ba-ack?

We should probably not get our hopes up. And you might not even be here anymore. But back when this blog was newer (and I was actually writing it), we used to talk about this book I had going that I wanted to publish, and guess what? I’m about to publish it!

Actually, the Pilgrimage and the Sanctuary at Woodville are going to publish it together. We are really excited about it and I will be sharing more information over the next couple of months, but for now I want to give a little love to my first book, Trees in the Pavement.

9781845503420

They were cutting the branches off the trees again.

When Zari first arrived in East London, she had wondered about the trees. She had never seen any fields and farms in London, like there were at home in Kosovo. But there were more trees. Or at least you noticed them here. In Kosovo, there were entire forests, but no one thought about them because they were, well, just there.

In London, the trees look uncomfortable growing out of the pavement – as if they were refugees in a foreign country, too.

Zari’s story takes you from the fighting in Kosovo to the concrete streets of the city of London – but there is conflict here too. You can’t leave problems behind just because you leave your country as a refugee in the back of a lorry full of cheese! Making friends is a minefield in itself – and the secrets she discovers in the family just add to the trouble.

War, peace, faith, and nationality – everything is changing in Zari’s life.

It’s not just the trees that are feeling uncomfortable.

Trees was published by Christian Focus Publications in 2008, just shy of 11 years ago. Pick up a copy here!

There was a book signing in 2008. The book sold out. There will be a book signing/launch event for the new book, too. Stay tuned!

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I Meant to Write

I wrote that last disclaimer post when I did, because I thought I was ready to write the post that I actually wanted to write, but even though I graduated with a Master’s degree in May, it turns out I still have homework assignments, and plus the BroFam showed up, and I’m sorry, my friends, but they take precedence. Also, I turned another year older. Also, sometimes when I mention other people besides myself in a blogpost, I feel the need to run the entire post by them before I post it, just to make sure they’re okay with their representation.

I find myself mildly entertained by the idea of turning this entire blog into a series of disclaimers about why I’m not really blogging, but I think that would get old pretty quickly–not only for you, but for me. But in the meantime, while we’re waiting for the okay on a post I have actually finally written, there’s this.

It's tough to blog with all these minions. (Also, this illustration is an attempt to really get on the nerves of a specific blogging friend I know.)

It’s tough to blog with all these minions.
(Also, this illustration is an attempt to really get on the nerves of a specific blogging friend I know.)

This Happens Every Time

It happens every time life gets really really Interesting, I mean. (I also might mean Interesting-Like-A-Trainwreck-Is-Interesting.)

When life gets Interesting, even if I already had some things I wanted to post about here, I get overwhelmed by trying to express what I mean, and so I just don’t. And then, having already Not, and life getting more and more Interesting, I find more and more things to write about and get overwhelmed about and I keep not writing about them. Then I stop venturing over to WordPress at all because I feel somehow like I’m letting the Internet down, which is probably really self-aggrandizing … Then I realise I’m ready to blog again and I have no idea how to get started back up.

This is obviously not the best way, but I felt the need to disclaim (make excuses?), and I don’t want the disclaimer to take over the posts I actually want to write, so–you get a whole (but fortunately very short) post of disclaimer. Yay!

I’m not even totally sure what I’m disclaiming, really, but here it is anyway. Hope you’re still around. I’d love to hang out here with you again.

That's a Jenn Story

That Time I Stopped Blogging

Memory Monday

Once upon a time I had a different blog. I went through a lot of stuff on that blog. I like to think it was a pretty good blog. But it might have kind of wiped me out. At any rate, I got kind of sick of blogging. I almost stopped blogging altogether, and then some stuff in my life shifted and I got a second wind, but it also seemed like it was time to close out that blog and start a new one.

This was the new one, but it isn’t that new anymore. I’m starting to feel about blogging the way I did at the end of that old blog. Actually, maybe “starting” is the wrong word. I suspect you’ve noticed. There have been long gaps for a long while now.

It’s not that I’m running out of stuff to write about. It’s just that when open up the dashboard, I feel so unmotivated to write any of it. I stare at the widgets on the side. I sigh. I click over to Twitter. Or even read a book. I’ve actually been reading books (not just for my coursework) lately.

I’m not saying goodbye exactly. You might know I’m something of a contrarian, and so maybe now that I’ve said I don’t feel like blogging anymore, I’ll suddenly start blogging prolifically again. But I do think (different) things in my life are shifting once more, and my hunch is that I’ll see this blog out through the end of the year, and then resurface elsewhere on the internet. It’ll probably be mostly theological. My misadventure stories aren’t as fun to write as they used to be, and most of you who are still faithfully hanging around seem to be here for Thursdays, remarkably.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted, but the ending/new beginning thing feels pretty real right now, and so the only memory coming to mind worth writing about is when this happened in my bloglife before. When I figure out what’s happening next, I’ll tell you. I just wanted to let you know.

Waiting in the stillness . . . for a fish to jump. When the fish jumps, I'll tell you.

Waiting in the stillness . . . for a fish to jump. When the fish jumps, I’ll tell you.

2013 in review

Thanks, The Readership, for your part in making these stats what they are. Happy 2014, one and all!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Avoidance Issues

Wordy Wednesday
Lion Avoidance

Like this. Or maybe not. Or maybe.

Sometimes I get an email from a friend that is actually kind of personal and detailed and informative, and they ask me questions about me, too, and I think, That was a good email. I want to write a comparable email back, but I just don’t have time right now. Or maybe the questions they asked were good questions but kind of uncomfortable, and so even though I know I need to answer them, and probably will answer them at some point, I just don’t have it in me to answer them at the time of the receipt of the email.

I leave the email in my inbox, fully intending to get to it . . . tomorrow . . . at the weekend . . . this month sometime . . . Once it gets past the two-month point, I stop wanting to answer it, but for different reasons. By that time whatever the topic of the email was, is starting to feel irrelevant, and I’m not even sure I have that much to say anymore. So it sits there a little longer. Or a lot longer. Such that I have definitely had unanswered emails staring accusingly at me from my inbox for over a year. Once the year is up, answering is just embarrassing, because it’s an acknowledgement that yes, I really did get that email, but I’ve been too occupied with other things, or just plain too inert, actually to answer it. When the email gets to be about one and a quarter years old, I finally break down and write a self-flagellating missive in reply, and try to respond to whatever life news is now no longer news, and answer questions I no longer remember what was uncomfortable about–except that I’m answering them so belatedly.

I do this with websites, too. I used to be on authonomy, and technically I guess I still am because I haven’t deleted my profile or my book, but I never had the time to self-promote there enough ever to get above the 600s in ranking, and rarely did I have time to read other people’s books, either. Then my ratings started to plummet again, and I had even less time, and so I visited the site less and less, because it was difficult telling people I couldn’t read their book, and worse telling them I would and then not doing it, and maybe selfishly, worst of all was seeing the numbers of my book ranking getting bigger and feeling like I could do nothing about it. So now I just don’t go there at all. That way, I don’t have to see all the messages I’m not answering, all the books I’m not reading, and how badly Favored One is doing there, due entirely to my own negligence.

So last week I wrote a bunch of posts and my stats rarely if ever broke twenty visits a day. Then I tried writing a paper for class. It was only five pages, but for some reason, it took me three whole days to write it, and when the professor sent it back, he said, “This wasn’t your best work.” And I knew it wasn’t, but still, I had kind of been hoping I was wrong about that. The convergence of all this seeming writing failure made me check my stats less and less often, because they were getting more dismal by the day, and instead of writing more posts and powering through, I just sat back on my hands and avoided the WordPress bookmark, the way you might avoid . . . someone you’re trying to avoid.

Avoidance is, obviously, entirely counterproductive, but sometimes, particularly on a rainy day in November right before a holiday, the preferable course of action seems to be to curl up under a blanket and forget the internet even exists.

What are your avoidance tactics? Please tell me you have some. Come on. Don’t avoid it.

Remember When?

Memory Monday

Hey! Remember when I used to write blog posts over here?

Yeah. Sorry about that . . .

Basically, I’m in this period of time where, unless I get the post written and cued up a week in advance, there isn’t going to be one. And since I don’t have time the week before to write what I don’t have time to write the week of, Jenn stories have just been a little sparse lately. I’m working on it–really, I am. Meanwhile, if you want some Jenn memories, feel free to read any of the already-written portions of this blog. They’re all memories by now.

vg2-blog

A Van Gogh I frankly don’t remember ever seeing before . . .

Well, This Is Embarrassing . . .

Wordy Wednesday

I don’t mean, like, really embarrassing? Just “you’ve been blogging for how long and you still don’t know how to do that?” embarrassing.

Some of you–many of you, I would say–have a really nice sidebar feature which depicts either your blog followers or the blogs you follow, by avatar. Pastor Ron thinks I’m computer-savvy because I know how to send someone a private message on Facebook (he’s in his 70’s–give him a break), but we all know the truth. I have to google how to take a screen shot every time I want to take one. Like five minutes ago:

This one's from Charles Yallowicz's Legends of Windemere blog, because it was the first one I could think of that had this feature, and because right now he has an awesome dragon picture on his front page.

This one’s from Charles Yallowicz’s Legends of Windemere blog, because it was the first one I could think of that had this feature, and because right now he has an awesome dragon picture on his front page.

Adding this attractive way of publicising the blogs one visits seems like it shouldn’t be difficult, but for some reason I can’t find that appropriate widget. Help, anyone?

A Word About Search Engine Terms

Wordy Wednesday

So, if you have a WordPress blog, you know that when you go to look at your stats, if you scroll down a little bit, you can see the search terms people used that directed them to your site. As you probably also know, I have a morbid fascination with the stats page, and with the search terms in particular, which occasionally surfaces in random posts like this one.

I can’t really figure out how most of you got here, because I don’t ever see many search terms listed. Half the time if there were any, WordPress doesn’t see fit to print them, which leads me to ask what are you people searching on the internet? And also how are those things landing you at my blog?

Even when WordPress lets me in on the words searched, I often find myself asking the same questions, because so frequently not only do I have no idea how the combination of words led to my blog, but I also don’t even know what they mean.

See what I mean? I don't know what that means.

Case in point.

Also, when I take those search terms and sort of hesitantly insert them into my browser, That’s a Jenn Story rarely if ever shows up.

Have any of you plumbed the depths of the mystery that is WordPress stats? Would you care to enlighten the rest of us?

Wouldn’t You Like to Have a Doodle, Too?

The Tuesday Reblog

Apparently the theme this week is not to follow my own daily posting themes, because this is not really a reblog. It is, however, a public service announcement.

The illustrious (because he’s an illustrator) Dean of Deanz Doodlez (not to be confused with Dean’s Beans) has created a That’s a Jenn Story header.

Who knew he could also work in "stained glass"?

Who knew he could also work in “stained glass”?

Check it out. Stained glass representing the whole faith-orientation thing, a crack in it for the misadventures (and because let’s face it, I do not always get the faith thing right) and a me!

I kind of like my inadvertent header at the top of this blog, with the photo of Paul, and some Bibles and a hymnbook and Chaucer, and adding Dean’s doodle makes it kind of “extra busy,” so it will probably only stay at this location for a week or so, but we discussed that already, and it is up and running (for a long time to come) on the Jenn Story facebook page, and shall make an appearance on my emails from jenn@thatsajennstory.com–and on whatever else I can think of for which to provide a header.

Want one, too? You can commission him.