When it’s time to hit the hay on Tuesday nights, the last thought running through my mind is this: “What the hell are you going to write for the blog tomorrow morning?” Last night was no exception to that rule, but this morning the answer was there, clear as a bell, the moment I opened my SPAM file.
Yes, I read my emails each day, but I always check the spam file as well because sometimes there are important items in there. This morning there were several, and most of them were … well … the usual suspects.
Two came from people letting me know that they’re willing to pay me $2000 a week to place ads on my Facebook and website pages. Number one, I don’t believe that’s true. And number two, even if it is, I have zero interest in having ads, complete with photos, for people doing tooth implants or for a product guaranteed to “empty my bowels” every morning. Due to dental care in my childhood, I am now and always have been what is called a “white-knuckle” dental patient. When those implant pictures show up in my various news feeds, they give me the willies. As for the other? Some things fall into the category of “goes without mentioning.” I don’t want that product, either!
Next was an indignant note from someone who wants to redesign my website so it can hit the “top ten of the Google search list. This morning that anonymous writer was offended because I hadn’t responded to his or her earlier correspondence. Number one: Correspondence is a two-way street. If someone who doesn’t know me writes to me offering a service I’m not interested in utilizing, I don’t have to reply. I get to hit DELETE! And I do. Number two: Surprisingly enough the exact same sets of emails, word for word copies but coming from different names, appear in my SPAM file with astonishing regularity.
Then there was someone who wants to design an app for my business. I don’t need or want an app. My son and my former daughter-in-law do a fine job on maintaining the website, thank you very much, and I don’t need to complicate my life by adding some complete, random stranger into the mix.
And last but not least, there was the message from someone who wants to write “original content” for me to purchase and post on my blog. Unfortunately, the person offering the content had limited English language skills and would have had a devil of a time making it through Mrs. Medigovich’s senior English class at Bisbee High School. So no thanks to that, too. Delete, Delete, Delete.
But today, as I was out walking and getting my steps (I’ve passed the 11,000,000 mark now!), I was thinking about the words “original content,” and because last week’s blog was about Pima Hall, I started thinking about the weekly letters my mother wrote to me faithfully the whole time I was away at school.
Tucson is only a hundred miles or so away from Bisbee, but it was also the first time I had ever been away from home for an extended period of time. So although it wasn’t that far in distance, in those days of expensive “long distance trunk calls,” it could just as well have been forever. So the letters Evie wrote to me each week were treasures. They usually arrived on Friday mornings, and I remember rushing home from morning classes eager to see if there was any mail in my box behind the reception desk.
My mother was a stay-at-home mom, but a very busy one. She had grown up as a Midwest farm girl. She washed on Mondays and ironed on Tuesdays. She had an automatic washer by the time I was in college, but she still hung the wash on a clothes line to dry. She cooked three meals a day. She didn’t have a microwave, but she was a whiz with her pressure cooker. As for having an automatic dishwasher? Never! She didn’t need one. She had seven kids who were on hand to eat those home-cooked meals and who were called upon to set the table, wash and dry the dishes, and take out the trash.
When I went away to college—the first one of her seven kids to do so—Evie still had four kids at home. Nonetheless, once a week, she set aside all her other task assignments to write to her daughter. Despite having only a seventh grade education, her grammar was perfect and her penmanship impeccable. She filled two or three pages with what was happening at home: who had a baby; who made the honor roll; how the Boy Scout mistletoe sale was progressing; what was going on with people at church.
Nothing in those letters was earth shatteringly important. Her notes were full or ordinary stuff that made me feel less homesick and more connected. They made me feel loved. They made me feel encouraged, and they lifted my heart.
And that’s what I try to with my own “original content” each week. In a very real way, my blog entries are a continuation of the letters my mother wrote to me—filled with ordinary, mundane stuff but also, at the same time, encouraging and maybe just a little uplifting my readers. Each of the blog postings is a letter from my heart to theirs.
So no, I don’t have any interest in “monetizing” my website, because, as it turns out, it already is. The people who read my entries know a lot about the person who writes the books, and many of those folks have gone on to become friends as well as fans, and friends buy books.
So I’ll continue to write my own truly “original content,” and we all have Evie Busk to thank for that.
Keep reading. See you next week, although I have NO idea what I’ll be writing about.