We here at A Pleasant House, have many visitors.
Some are actual 3-D flesh and blood humans that come for a visit.
Most have an idea about what they want to see and do.
Some need a little inspiration.
Others could make some BIG mistakes if it weren’t for
our my guidance.
Case In Point:
“I want to see Storyville!”
“Storyville? Are you sure?”
“Yea. I hear it’s charming and so much fun!”
“Maybe if you were a sailor in 1900.”
“Oh Cheryl. You’re so funny. I love to sail.”
“A SAILOR. In 1900. Not S-a-i-l-i-n-g.”
“The kid’s will love it.”
“The kid’s? Maybe the husband, but the kid’s probably shouldn’t know about Storyville.”
“But I’ve heard about the great rides?”
“I’m not sure how to respond to that.”
“Let’s go. Kids…..”
“I better drive.”
Storyville– (1897-1917) New Orleans’ historic Red Light district encompassing a 38 block area and many great rides (if ‘ya know what I mean). The price of admission was every STD you can imagine. In 1897, the City of New Orleans, spearheaded by City Councilman Sidney Story, found a ‘loophole’ around the legalization of prostitution by not so much ‘legalizing’ it, but by stating that in this specific area it just wasn’t illegal. When it was discovered that 80% of the fleet stationed here during WWI was frothing from every orafice, the area and it’s business’, were deemed a national security threat, and closed down.
Probably not suitable for children.
On the other hand…
Storyland– ( 1950-present day) New Orleans historic Children’s Park built by master Mardi Gras float builders featuring dozens of Mother Goose display’s and over 21 mechanical rides.
Probably what she meant.
“Which way to turn?”
“Towards the Light”, so said the Monarch, the Prophet, the Seer, the Revelator, James ‘Jesse’ Strang to his poverty-stricken, misplaced, flock of polygamous misfits as they followed their King along the Big Lake through the woods.
The year was 1850, and the snow was flying (So was the shit) all the way to Charlevoix, Michigan.
Jesse had been excommunicated from his Latter Day Saints.
Nobody liked him.
He was a Holy pain in the ass.
His teachings were too dictatorial.
He, somehow, kept uncovering secret Godly tablets, that were consistently found to be plagiarized.
He couldn’t organize a hunting expedition, and when they did find animals- he insisted they be sacrificed in rituals praying for food. Is that dumb, or what?
His original belief in the virtue of monogamy was suddenly changed in 1849 (and again in 1852, and once again in 1855) at the foot of a nineteen year old fair maiden (for a grand total of four wives with 14 children between them). Not surprisingly, his first wife, who had admired her husband for his stance against polygamy, found his about-face objectionable and separated from him in 1850. He lived with the additional three until his murder in 1856.
‘Murder!’ you say?
Over his bossing the non-believers in the area. Specifically, over jury selection.
Oh, those Gentiles. What a bother.
So, the Lord got involved and said,’Go forth Jesse and exert Holy control.’
‘Flog the adulterer and starve the thief.’
‘Pillage their homes and take their crops.’
You know- stuff like that.
Bang. Bang…………..Bang. Right between the eyes.
And…. they disbanded. (Duh).
But, Charlevoix soldiered on, specifically in:
1862: as Civil War veteran’s filtered in to buy land for $1.25 per acre (awesome!)
1866: the city surveyor completed the formal plat of town whereby he owned most of the property (I always wonder how they think they’ll get away with this?)
1876: all of the surrounding forest is leveled for the lumber to build the original McMansions of the Midwestern Robber Barons who summer on the shores.
1880: intellectual blo-hards, in the form of Chicago professors, form the first of many Summer Clubs and boring social gatherings.
1901: Detroit based D.M.Ferry Seed & Plant Co. sets-up shop along a company-owned ( and ONLY) 200′ dock on the lake and if you want your shit off the boat, you have to purchase a seedling. Cherries orchards are invented.
crazy architect Earl Young begins to build homes using locally-quarried boulders, that become known as ‘Mushroom Houses’ and make romantics swoon.
1919: Albert Loeb, VP of Sears & Roebuck based in Chicago, builds an experimental (code: for unsupervised) farm. Loeb’s son, Richard “Dicky’ Loeb, will four years later, find a strange bedfellow with his equally disturbed schoolmate, Nathan Leopold, and together they will murder young Bobby Franks- for ‘kicks’.
Charles Darrow will represent the young mail-order heir in the infamous Illinois vs Leopold & Loeb trial , and visits the family at the ‘Farm’.
Long & Short of IT: Darrow famously argues for Loeb’s life, Loeb is imprisoned, Loeb is murdered in jail, the Farm fails (not in order of importance).
1930′s: Chicago gangsters discover the advantages of ‘getting outta town’ with a sweet lake breeze.
1996: Jon Benet Ramsey is murdered outside Boulder, Colorado. The family, who has always ‘summered’ in Charleviox, still owns their home by the Lake. They haven’t visited for a while.
2014: Cheryl, and family, drive through Charlevoix (on the way to a destination wedding) and she immediately insists they park, look around, go shopping, eat well, knock a few back, and talk to the ‘locals’.
In other words, get a ‘feel’ for the place.
I don’t think they saw me coming….
Looking from Main St. to lake Michigan.
It may just be me, but I feel a new dress coming on.
The Bay. In the Center. Of. Town. Need I say more?
Public Space. Public. Space.
They threw an Art Fair for me, and Why Not?
I was born and raised in NE Ohio only 30 minutes from Lake Erie.
Did I go there?
Did I swim in this glorious fresh water?
Did my folks make it an annual ‘pilgrimage’ to play on the sandy dunes and bask in the sunlight, picnic in the waiting?
Thirty minutes folks.
One in a chain of the world’s largest fresh water oceans.
Nada. Zip. Nothing.
Okay. In full disclosure; it was probably all fucked-up then. Full of fuel and tampons. Not fit for human consumption. You’ve heard the jokes.
The Great Lakes! At our f-i-n-g-e-r-t-i-p-s!!! reachreachreach….slap
So, of course, by now I’ve swam in it. I’ve sunned near it. I’ve partied on it. And it’s good. But is it the best? Is there better?
Why, yes there is!
And it can be found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on a big island named Drummond, at a Yacht Club called Haven, and in a cabin numbered 6A, which, as it turned out, I would like to add to my collection of…
Yacht HEAVEN more like it.
There’s no need for an alarm- they wake you up instead. Like clockwork.
Their feet are pounding through the floor above your head. Their voices can be heard beginning with soft chatter and then building to the inevitable screaming match.
“That my book. She can’t have it! It all mine! Mine. Meahhh!”
“It’s not just your book. It belongs to all of us and you can’t even read yet. I’m gonna play with your cars.’
“Those my cars! You can’t have! Where my red one? Mine. Meahhh!”
“I want to go swimming? Can we go swimming? I want to go swimming. Aunt Cheryl? Do you hear me?”
“What smells? Oh oh. She’s throwing it.”
“I like my present Aunt Cheryl. Box is good for making Batman mask. Where my car?”
“Whatcha watching on TV? Are those good men or bad men? Mommy doesn’t let us watch this. Can we watch it?”
“You have lot of pretty shoes. Look! Oh oh. It broke.”
“Aunt Cheryl, I found my car but I…but I…but I can’t reach it. It’s wet.”
“I still hungry.”
So you might ask what do you do with four youngins’, under the age of eight, that see everything in your world as a potential new toy to be disassembled and dropped in the koy pond?
You scare the hell out of them, of course.
Welcome to Hotel Cheryl…
“Any time of the year you can find it here.”
Walking Leaf insect (Phylliidae) which I convinced them I had a large jar full of at the house. They may have to be released. You never know.
Hallways full-up with frightening creatures. Oh yea.
Things grow BIG in Aunt Cheryl’s world. Beware.
Even the lighting is infested. I likey.
So do trends (…and husbands- not mine).
It’s the natural evolution of Evolution.
What will be, Will Be (I just want to get in on the correct side of the flying car).
So, I’ve been wondering…
Nah. That’s not true. Really not so much w-o-n-d-e-r-i-n-g as much as attempting to gage the changes that are inevitable in the world of blogging.
What a wonderful thing this Blogging is! It gives a ‘voice’ to so many people that otherwise would have remained silent (and that’s a good thing) and it will continue. People will blog. I’m not debating that. (In fact, I’m absolutely sure most of these questions have already been answered, but I enjoy beating dead horses, so here goes…)
What I want to discuss are the changes occurring in the mass communication vehicle commonly called ‘blogs’: Who’s reading? Who’s commenting? How are they doing it? What is being read? How long do readers stay? Does the length of a post make a difference to the readers? Do they show-up for enjoyment, or for information? Inspiration maybe? A laugh? A cry? To not feel alone?
And, of course, what do the bloggers want out of it?
Let’s start there.
I know many blogs that have paid advertising on them. I know many bloggers that write for products. I know none of them (shy from the top Three-Of-All-Time ) that are actually making a living at it. So what’s the draw?
Let’s be honest- it’s not the money. Most of us just want a little fame. Someone to listen to us. People to show-up at a book signing. An interview. Engagement.
We want to be heard, because we all feel we have something to say- and we do. All. Of. Us.
However, I’m feeling like unless your goal is to fall of the edge of the bloggyuniverse and continue to write a journal, it’s time to retool- Rethink what blogs will continue to grow and how they will do it.
Let’s take my blog. The very one you’re reading now. What a mess (Not trolling, so no accolades needed).
I started out a little late to the party- 2-1/2 years ago- at 55. But, since there has never been a party I’m not unwilling to crash- here I am.
A Pleasant House was going to be about my love of gardening, and it was, for a while, and still is, occasionally.
Then, I decided to add cooking. Ditto.
Then, living in New Orleans and traveling. Double Ditto.
Suddenly, I let my evil twin out of the trunk of my car (which is where I keep her) and started to spout-off about any damn thing I was interested in saying.
I’ve built a following. happy-happy-happy Met a slew of awesome people on-line (some IRL) and have LOVED the engagement.
No news there for anyone that blogs.
That is not the revelation. This is: Even as the world of bloggers grows, the focus of the readers is contracting.
What does this mean? You’ll keep your followers if you continue to write about whatever you are currently writing about. You may even grab a few more along the way. It will be increasingly harder to compete. You’ll say you don’t care to compete. But we all know that’s not true. Not really.
You want to be HEARD. And it’s kinda addicting seeing all those post engagements, and comments, and ‘shares’.
I, for one, LOVE THEM.
YOU, dear Reader, are my crack.
But ‘things’ are c-h-a-n-g-i-n-g- not just in social media, and for a share of the pie, but for me and my little blog.
I have been advised, for a LONG time to ‘Brand’ myself- and THAT dear people is the future.
Not just finding your ‘niche’ but BRANDING.
And your Brand can’t just be about how your kids pee’d on the turkey at Thanksgiving, or your wonderful envious glittering ‘Lifestyle’ (like
I’ve been doing mine) ’cause unless your kid is thirty seven and still peeing his pants, or you have a private jet and a membership in Skull & Bones- your blog is just going to get swallowed-up in the exponential growth of new and better content, and the shorter time span of your readers engagement.
‘How in the hell do I do this?’, I’ve asked myself.
You need something to brand- right? What do I have? My musings? Get real Cheryl. (Yes, I talk to myself in the first person).
I’m not a tech-savvy swabbie like my friend Julie at Fabulous Blogging. She can sell her knowledge, for Christ’s sake. (You Go Girl, btw).
I’m not an advocate for Mental Health, or Wellness like my friends Cathy Chester at An Empowered Spirit or Ellen Dolgen at Menopause Mondays (hats off ladies).
I’m not depressed, or have special needs children.
I’m in a thriving relationship. My kids are all good.
What. To. Do?????
Isn’t the new by-line ‘You Are Enough’?
I think I am.
By God, I am!
I just need to retool- my focus, my dreams, my vision.
Because Life Changes (and I’m not getting any younger) and I’ve decided to attempt to ‘Brand’ myself in the form of a cookbook that is wrapped around my parent’s story that is served with a bacon wrapped water chestnut drizzled with maple syrup and a side of infidelity (and a few swear words-’cause that’s how I roll…out dough).
In other words, like NOTHING you have ever flipped your pancakes to.
Will it be published? I think it will.
Will it sell? I hope so.
What if it doesn’t? Who cares? It’s a new ‘goal’.
Can you see me cooking away, with all my shizz, on a u-tube channel? (I’ll let that sink in). Why, yes I can.
Will I have created a ‘Brand’. You’re damn right.
And it will be, God willing, funny, and informative, and inspiring, and delicious, served with a side of sass, and a dash of bitters.
And then, after I’m famous, I’m going to open a retail shop full-up with my fabulous style and taste, and wear sarongs and purple lipstick, and speak with a foreign accent while hosting gallery openings, posing for In Style’s Fabulous Over 60 issue, preparing fresh fish chunks for my pet ostrich named Miss Peach, and reinvent myself all over again…
Just the way I like it.
‘Cause I’m THAT kind of FABU (Or is it idiot?) In the meantime
as I continue to
attempt to flat-out entertain you on a regular basis on my little blogggggggglugglugglug