Blogging Insights — Words

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from Emily Dickinson.

I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and look at it, until it begins to shine.

I am one of a number of bloggers who posts a daily word challenge, the purpose of which is to inspire other bloggers to be creative and to use my daily word to forge a story or a poem of their own. To that extend, each of my chosen daily words has the power to be a spark to light up a writer’s imagination.

Blah, blah, blah.

Sure, choosing the right word to use each day is important to me and I’ve been doing it every day for almost four years. But I can’t go as far as Emily has in claiming that nothing has more power than a word. And unless I just finished consuming a cannabis-infused marshmallow, the words I select don’t shine.

What gives a word power, what makes it shine, is the context in which it is used. And it’s how my fellow bloggers incorporate my daily words into their posts that brings me joy and keeps me searching for just the right word to use each day.

On This Day Five Years Ago

On this very day five years ago I published my first post on This, That, and the Other. It was basically an introduction to who I am, and it was aptly named “Practical Pragmatist.”

In case you are at all interested in reading my first post on this blog, here it is. It’s a rather long post for me — almost 500 words; my average post length so far this year is around 240. But if you have a minute or two, you might enjoy it.

Practical Pragmatist

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I am a pragmatist. And I think of myself as a practical person. Thus, I am a practical pragmatist.

So what is a pragmatist? A pragmatist is a person who is oriented toward the success or failure of a particular line of action, thought, etc.

A pragmatist is an advocate or adherent of pragmatism, which is the philosophy or conduct that emphasizes practicality.

Philosophical Pragmatism

The pragmatic philosophy is based on the belief that the best way to evaluate the practicality of ideas, policies, and proposals is through their workability and usefulness. Pragmatism stresses action over doctrine. The philosophy embraces the notion that ideas base their meanings from their consequences; that they are essentially instruments and plans of action.

So how do I know that I’m a pragmatist? When I was a young adult working a full-time job and attending graduate school at night to get a Master’s degree, the girl I was dating at the time lambasted me for putting more emphasis on “dollars and degrees” than on my relationship with her. I wasn’t, she bemoaned, giving her as much time and attention as I was giving my job and my school work. She didn’t like being the third priority in my life, yet she was.

I knew I needed to work hard at my job in order to pay for rent, food, school, and, well, life. I knew that getting a graduate degree would enable me to be more successful and secure in the future. I knew these things because I’m a pragmatist.

So what about “practical”? I describe myself as a logical, rational, and reasonable person. I am not ruled by emotions but by facts, observations, and evidence. That’s likely why, in addition to being a pragmatist, I’m an atheist. There is nothing logical, rational, or reasonable about religious doctrine or dogma. Rather than being based upon facts, observations, and evidence, religion is based upon faith and beliefs where there is no empirical evidence.

This is not to say that I can’t be open to beliefs or faith, either. Every time I board an airplane I have faith that the aircraft is mechanically sound and that the pilot and copilot are sober and competent. I just don’t buy into this whole God thing because there is no empirical evidence that such an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, supernatural being exists other than in the minds of those who have embraced ancient mythologies over logic, rationality, and reason.

Nor does my pragmatism mean that I am devoid of emotions. I am empathetic and have been known to shed a tear or two when I encounter the pain or suffering of others. I may not feel as intensely as some others feel, but I feel nonetheless.

So bear in mind as you read my posts, should you decide to read beyond this first one, that, as a self-identified practical pragmatist, my perspectives are borne out of practicality and pragmatism.

And that works for me.

If You See Something, Say Something

I like to think that my published posts are error free. No typos. No misspellings. No incorrect word usage. No punctuation faux pas. No grammatical errors. But I am my own proofreader, my own editor. And thus, my eyes often see what my brain is expecting them to see. And my brain is not expecting to see typos, misspellings, incorrect usage, punctuation and/or grammatical errors.

So I’m asking you, my fellow bloggers, to give me a helping hand. When you read my posts, if you see something, say something. Let me know in the comments if you spot an error, a mistake. I’m a big boy. I can take it. And I’d rather know of my error and fix it ASAP than let it be discovered by countless bloggers forever and for eternity.

I promise I won’t shoot the messenger.

Thank you

Blogging Insights — Interaction

Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompts. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from none other than Ernest Hemingway.

In order to write about life first you must live it.

Well, Ernest Hemingway was definitely a man’s man, a rugged individualist and an adventurer. He certainly lived a full life. But I don’t think being a good writer necessitates having experienced in real life what you write about. That necessity would eliminate science fiction and horror writers whose work comes mostly from their vivid imaginations.

I do think that life’s experiences help writers. As they say, write what you know about. But I believe that having a great imagination and ability to articulate what you imagine in words is at least as important, if not more important, than life experience.

In my blog, for example, in most of my flash fiction posts, I write about things I’ve never actually experienced in my life. And in some cases, I am very thankful that I haven’t experienced them.

So, sorry, Mr. Hemingway, but as much as I admire your novels and short stories, I think you’re being a bit narrow minded if you think that one must have lived whatever it is that they write about.

E.M.’s Sunday Ramble Prompt — My Blog

It’s time once again for E.M. Kingston’s The Sunday Ramble. Her prompt is based upon a certain topic about which she asks five questions. We are invited to ramble on about that topic however we wish. Today’s topic is “Your Blog.”

1. When did you start your blog?

My first blog was on Blogger, and I started that one in October 2005 and it lasted until I started my second blog on TypePad in January 2009. I moved to WordPress in 2013. Then I had a second, very short-lived blog on WordPress before taking a blogging hiatus in the spring of 2015. I return to blogging two-years later with this, my fifth blog. Hence: fivedotoh.com (aka This, That, and the Other).

2. Did you start with a theme, or did it come later on?

I’ve never had a theme or a niche for any of my blogs. They’ve all been rather eclectic. You know, about this, that, and the other.

3. What is my favorite post that I have ever written on my blog?

I’ve written a ton of posts, and I love them all. But if forced to choose just one, it might be this one.

4. Do you share your blog with friends and family, or do you keep your blogging world separate from them?

My immediate family knows about my blog, but I don’t think they bother reading it. Other than that, no one I know in the real world knows about my blog.

5. What is the best advice you could give someone who is new to blogging?