Notions and Sundries #amthinking #amprocrastinating

On this Sunday I should (god I hate that word) be working on my novel. Instead I’m thinking.

Ibis taking advantage of Florida’s drought. Absolutely nothing to do with the content of this post.

You know the word “notions.” It could mean ideas, it could mean “small lightweight items for household use, such as needles, buttons, and thread.” The latter definition is my favorite, of course.

Which leads me to think about the lap blanket I’m knitting for my mother. It’s perhaps 80% done, but it’s a complicated pattern. I’ve had to “frog” (knitter’s term for ripping out and starting over) several times because of mistakes made while trying to simultaneously knit and watch TV. In fact, there’s still a mistake near the beginning of the blanket. The perfectionist in me would normally just start completely over, but … My mom celebrated her 96th birthday on October 25. I feel like I’m running out of time.

In truth, I am running out of time because she’ll be heading to South Florida soon, where the blanket will be unwanted, unneeded, and too bulky to pack up and take back with her to New York. Then again … maybe I should plan to send it in time for her return to NY in the spring. I could even start over and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again … or NOT! This will be my last lap blanket.

I’m also thinking about an interesting response to one of my essays on Medium. “The Kindness of Strangers” is a revised essay I had posted here on 1WriteWay a couple of years ago. While I appreciate anyone taking the time to closely read my work, I was perplexed by this reader’s comments. He offered suggestions on how to turn my “good” article into a “great” article. Now, I’m not so thin-skinned that I can’t take good constructive criticism. He lost me, though, with his first suggestion.

He said I should have tied in a reference to Blanche DuBois or A Streetcar Named Desire because of my title, The Kindness of Strangers. Never mind that I wasn’t writing about having to rely on the kindness of strangers. Worst case scenario my husband would have busted open one of the car windows. My essay was more about there being Good Samaritans in the world, and we happened to meet a few of them on this particular adventure of ours.

It went downhill from there. Frankly, I couldn’t understand his other suggestions so I decided it would be better if I ignored his advice. I did respond to him with a “thank you” and “I’ll think about it,” and I hope that will be the end of it. I understand that publishing on Medium is like publishing anywhere else. I want to put my best writing forward, and I want readers to read and respond. Unsolicited advice from this stranger, however, was not kind.

I’ve also been thinking about LinkedIn. I had an account with LinkedIn on and off for several years. Currently I’m sans account. I deleted it because I was tired of fending off requests to “join my network” from people I didn’t know, would never meet, and had nothing in common with except our employer. (My agency has over 11,000 employees so working for the same agency doesn’t mean we’re going to know (or want to know) each other.)

Can you block people on LinkedIn? Blocking is the one social media tool I can embrace wholeheartedly. I block scores of people on Twitter because, you know, life is short (except in my mother’s case) and I don’t want to waste what little time I have left by endlessly scrolling past tweets I don’t care to read.

Okay, say you all tell me that I can block people on LinkedIn. Then my next question is, what do writers get out of being on LinkedIn? I get the whole marketing thing if I’m looking for a job in my current field, but other than another way to consort with my writer friends, what’s the point? If you have a LinkedIn account, please tell me in the comments what you like about it and what you don’t. I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’m just tempted because I can always use another distraction from my novel.

Here’s a gratuitous cat photo for your troubles.

After we’ve had dinner and remove the dirty dishes, Junior is allowed on the table.

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35 thoughts on “Notions and Sundries #amthinking #amprocrastinating

  1. I have a LinkedIn account but I only use it to congratulate family members on their new promotions. Other than that I rarely go on it.
    As for your knitting…part of the charm of a home knitted blanket are the errors in it. Years ago I used to knit quit a bit – mainly baby sweaters. My mother-in-law would take up my knitting and knit a bit and you could see that it wasn’t an even knit. It wasn’t that she wasn’t a good knitter. She was. It’s just that we had different tensions in our knitting. Anyway, your car photo is definitely gracious! <3

    • Thanks, Carol! So far, LinkedIn doesn’t worth my time, but it might useful for procrastination 😉 I’ve had the problem of different tension when I let a knitting project sit for too long. It might be the yarn “relaxes” if left alone but you can always see the row where I started to pick up again. Usually it washes out, but not always 😬

  2. I hope my comment went through. Also, I forgot: I have never heard of the term frog for knitting. Very interesting! I say just finish the blanket and give it your mom. After all, the point is to give her the love, right?

  3. I love those words notions and sundries! They are so vintage, a reminder of what we like to think of gentler times (although I’m sure they weren’t all that gentle). LinkedIn. It’s still a mystery to me. I get that it is useful when you are looking for a job. People strongly encouraged me to do it for my writing, though, and I feel like it’s just one more thing to worry about. After all the effort to put it up, I hate to take it down, but is it doing anything for me? I mean, how many people read my blog through LinkedIn? How would I find that out, if it’s findoutable? Ugh, I can’t stand it when people give crappy advice without being asked. And for a published piece, you definitely have not asked.
    I wish you could retire now!!!

    • Yes, retirement. Yesterday I came home from work and told my husband I was going to get on my computer and do my “real” work. If it weren’t for the stress ….
      Somewhere in your WP dashboard (site stats) there’s a “box” for Referrers. That shows you how many views you got through the Reader, FB, Twitter, etc.

      • Good for you for doing your REAL WORK! I found referrers–thank you for that. Interesting. I had some LinkedIn before, but think they were you and maybe one or two other people. Nothing recently from LinkedIn. When I had my FB page up, I had a lot more FB than I do now, but I got kind of weirded out over the page and made it disappear, at least for awhile.

      • The other thing about LinkedIn is that there is no way to make it private or disappear like FB. That is unfair that you have to delete it and start over if you want it later.

  4. Hope you get the blanket done, Marie. My mother is usually cold, even in the Texas heat, so I’ll bet that blanket will be appreciated at any point!

    As for the advice, an advisor once told me that if writing advice doesn’t cause you to want to return to writing a story or an article, ignore it. Plus, writing advice is often subjective. It sounded like he gave an opinion you didn’t ask for.

    As for LinkedIn, I don’t do much with it. I have an account, but I don’t use it much.

  5. I have a LinkedIn account, more for day job purposes, but even for that … I never use it. Shows how committed I am to networking. 😉

    As for the advice you got on Medium, I haven’t done much over there, but it seems odd that somebody would think it appropriate to offer you advice on how to improve your writing. Just seems odd.

    • If I do open a LinkedIn account, I’m going to limit my profile to my writing. I care about the field I work in, but I don’t want to “network” about it. That said, work colleagues have followed my blog through LinkedIn. About the unsolicited writing advice: it is odd. After reading his responses to other articles, it seems he also thinks Medium is a dating app. 🤦🏼‍♀️

  6. I tried LinkedIn for about half a year and decided it was way to much #humblebrag for me. I don’t see that my life is any worse off without it, so no regrets about not being there.

    I’ve had people tell me they’ll help me become a better writer, although in my case it was via an email. I just ignored the message because doing great as is… but thanks rando dude for offering. People be weird.

  7. Hmmm. . .ignore the advice and the person who gave it. If you ask someone for advice,or if your editor gives you suggestions, then you listen. I suspect you will feel good if you finish the sweater, won’t you? And your 96-year-old mom–and wow, great for her that she can still travel!–might still want a blanket in Florida. My mom thinks it’s cold when the temperature dips below like 80. 🙂
    I have LinkedIN but I’m seldom on it at all. When I remember, I might post if I’ve published something, but that’s about it. I does seemed geared more toward business and networking.
    Cat and nature photos are always a delight!

    BTW, I don’t sew or knit, but did you see the article about people who are knitting and recreating the green sweater worn by a girl during the Holocaust?

    • I’m wishing I had ignored the stranger altogether, but hopefully I won’t hear from him again. Thinking about the sexual harassment book you’re working on: apparently the stranger has a tendency to “compliment” female Medium writers on their looks. Ick. I have a feeling he’s confusing Medium with Tindr. Let’s hope it doesn’t go further than that. I know of one friend who has reported him for inappropriate comments, but he’s still there. He’s walking a fine line, though. Boorish but not threatening. Still. Ick.
      Good point about the cold. It’s why my mom still comes down to Florida, but I’m afraid if I give the blanket to her while she’s here (in FL), she’ll leave it behind and I don’t want it left with my older sister. (My mom stays with her.) My mom would be stuck in NY if it weren’t for one of my cousins and the wheelchair service the airports offer. My cousin has a condo in Orlando and he escorts my mom to St. Pete and then escorts her back a few months later. She started using the wheelchair service a couple of years ago and loves it. She could never manage traveling on her own, and she isn’t steady enough on her feet to walk through airports. i attribute her longevity in large part to my many orphaned cousins in NY who dote on her since they no longer have parents to dote on.

      No, I didn’t see the article of people recreating a sweater worn by a girl during the Holocaust. I’ll have to look for it. It fills up my heart when I see stories like that. Thanks for letting me know.

      • Oh, ICK! is right. And eewww! Good luck on blanket and all the best to your mom.
        I think I retweeted the article, and I posted the article on FB. If you can’t find it, let me know, and I can probably find it. A woman examined the sweater and figured out the pattern, and I think you can buy the pattern now.

  8. I understand your creative angst about that blanket, but like you say (or did I just read it between the lines?) this most likely will be the last lap blanket you knit for your dear Mother…so, ‘git ‘er done!’
    Meanwhile, celebrate:
    96 – yippee!

    And as for that unsolicited critique? Hard to not let it go, but honestly, consider the source and try to forget about it…Maybe think of him as ‘pounding sand’ as Jill suggests he do and have yourself a giggle!

    • Thanks, Laura. I love that image of him pounding sand! I’m forever grateful to Jill for giving me that gift 🙂 Yes, I need to finish the blanket. I’m dreading having to knit the border, though. Ironically, my mom is the healthiest member of my family, healthier than her own children. Some of us are convinced she’ll live to 100 🙂

  9. I don’t think there is any benefit to LinkedIn. I have an account, but I never go in there and poke around. Who has the time? As for that reader…he can pound sand. It’s best to ignore such comments and keep writing. I’m not sure who to give credit to, but some advice I heard years ago and I follow is to keep my head down and avoid the noise.I think Junior wold agree!

    • I love this: “he can pound sand.” I love the image 😉 Thanks for your support, Jill! I need to learn to just walk away. Time is precious, isn’t it, and that’s one reason why I hesitate about LinkedIn. When I had an account, I didn’t spend much time there because I didn’t feel I had the time. Also, my account was more about my day job even though I shared my blog posts on there … and then sometimes I had to make sure a post didn’t get on there because I had so many coworkers in my network 😉 If I reopen my account, I’ll need to find a way to keep my day job out of it.

      • My pleasure, Marie! Of course I’ve never told anyone to “pound sand” I sure have thought it! 🙂 Anyone who works a full-time day job can’t be everywhere when it comes to social media. I think it’s best to pick your favorite and stick with those. Of course my number one is blogging and my second choice is Twitter, which I do believe has helped with book sales. I’m ready for Facebook to disappear. 🙂

        • I keep my involvement with FB to a minimum. I belong to a couple of writing groups and some friends read my blog through my FB page. Otherwise, meh. I’m getting the same way about Twitter. So much noise, but I’m glad to hear you’ve got some book sales through it. 👍❤️

  10. First—Junior is absolutely gorgeous! Second—wtf. A stranger (ok, reader wtfe) giving your unsolicited writing advice? Nah, there’s a better way than that and I think he might have other motives eg, puffing himself up? I’m going to read your story! Third—LinkedIn baffles me! I feel like I mostly ignore it. My blog posts go there upon publication and I get a few likes here and there. I rarely check it, so I don’t know until it’s much later and then I feel bad bc I didn’t see it. I thought it gave me validity as a professional writer, but does it? Do I need it? I’m not sure. I hope someone here enlightens me about that platform, too. Lovely pic of the ibis and great post topic—thanks!

    • Thank you! Aw, I’ll let Junior know of your compliment 🙂 I think you’re right about the stranger. I looked at some of his responses to other writers and he definitely thinks he has an editor’s eye. But he doesn’t … lol. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about LinkedIn. It’s tempting to rejoin because I know some friends/colleagues only saw my posts through LinkedIn. Now that I’m also writing through Medium, I’m getting suggestions to post those stories on LinkedIn as well. I would think that LinkedIn would be useful for you as a professional writer. Even if no one contacts you directly through it, it is an opportunity for potential clients to check out your work. You might visit the site and see if there’s any writing or editing groups you could join that could give you more exposure. If I do reopen my account, I’ll look you up 🙂

  11. I don’t see the benefit of LinkedIn myself. I never block anyone. I ignore them. As far as the guy offering you advice, WHO DOES THAT? That guy needs to help himself to a big cup of shut the fuck up. If you want opinions on your work you’ll ask for them. I never acknowledge thise kinds of people. I think the only one I would listen to under those conditions is a person offering a $50,000 advance. So write Marie and forget who says what about it.

    • John, you are so sweet! Turns out that guy has ruffled some other feathers. I should have just ignored him, but, hey, at least I can say I took the high road (although better if I just stayed off the road … lol). Blocking is something I’ve had to do for me because (obviously) I’m not good at ignoring people. Thanks for your thoughts about LinkedIn. Happy Monday (not!) xox

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