Of 7 Tips to surviving 7 years on Twitter

Today I woke up to the notification that its my 7th Twitter Anniversary. Funny thing is I didnt realize we were married and I didnt even remember that seven years ago today on the 27th of October, I logged onto twitter, for the first time and logged out a couple of times but I never really left…….

Do you hear that, playing in the background, faint music…… voices down the corridor, I thought I heard them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here
You can log-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!

Nobody quite understands Twitter (not even its creators) but its provocative yet addictive…. Its like talking in a crowded room of people all talking at the same time and not even to each other but @ each other….

Its a message in a bottle thrown out in the deep blue sea and hoping someone reads it….

Twitter is a tool and like any tool and can build or destroy, depending how you wield it.

Twitter is the most real-time dynamic social media platform ever, if you doing it right you can find breaking stories way before they trickle to Facebook and Whatsapp or become viral…. If you think its just social media what other site do they read posts from on live news?

In honour of my Twitterversary, I will share 7 handy tips to surviving on Twitter

  • get a decent number of followers and the only way to do that is to tweet and follow others; some will follow back.
  • Some people are trolls out to get retweets, an audience, and attention…. 

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They are like Gremlins do not feed them not just after dark… but ever

ban sign Do not feed the trolls

  • Hashtags are your friends, use #Hashtags to find content and tweets that you relate with, (as an author I recommend #amwriting) One my personal faves is #vss for very short stories, most of my tweets are of this format and I eventually turn them into a story, my Twitter Timeline is basically a draft folder. Wednesdays evenings I host a poetry event tagged #AbWPE if you are of poetic persuasion do check it out. I have a special group of blogging friends and they use #BlogIndaba find us, find them. If you have any others drop them in comments.
  • Trending topics keep you updated on …. well the trending Hashtags. You can set your twitter feed to show you: 

    Topics trending worldwide

worldwide trends twitter             Topics Trending in your country:

trending topics select Zimbabwe

**For some reason Zimbabwe and a few other African countries do not appear on the list South Africa twitter Trends…….And South Africa has the option to pick Trends by city location

Tailored Trends: based on the people you follow

tailored twitter trends for you

  • I follow 5000+ people on Twitter and I have long since learnt, you dont have to read every tweet. My twitter news feed refreshes every second, and I would probably miss tweets from even my favourite twitter accounts but then I use twitter lists.Capture.JPG
  • I group my followers into manageable chunks,soon as as I add them; I have lists for blogging connections, authors, crushes, journalists, hilarious accounts and those I must never miss updates from. I simply load the list and get a form “tailored newsfeed”
  • twitter listsFor those people who say they only follow a few people to avoid their newsfeed getting overwhelmed you could simply create a list of those people near and dear to you and still follow a whole lot of other accounts….. you are welcome.

If you have any useful tips of your own do share and maybe one day we will do The Guide To Understanding Twitter

You can find me on twitter @Beatonm5

~B

PS There is a Mute Button, an Unfollow Button and a Block button: They will save you a world of drama if used judiciously….

I love the mute button though, its like blocking but without the permanent commitment, its just as good saying, I like knowing you around, though I dont really want to see you.  

 

 

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Of Coffee With Winnie

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If you were having coffee with me, I would say

“Knock knock”

You would ask

“Who is there?”

I would say

“Arent”

You would ask

“Arent who?”

I would reply

“Arent you glad its not another covfefe joke”

I would laugh and laugh until tears welled in my eyes and you would laugh too maybe with or at me, but I do hope with me.

Please stick around and have hot beverage, the weather is a touch cold, in these parts. Winter is here! As a friend from the twitterverse Phroetiq phrased it:

I no longer believe in seasons.

I believe in days.

And today is winter

If you were having coffee with me I would let you in on a secret project of mine. Once upon a time a few days back, we went to a local prison to make a tiny donation; (that you need not bother yourself about) but as we left, I had a lovely chat with the Prison Chaplain and we told him if there was anything we could help with and it was within our means he should not hesitate to let us know.

He didnt…

He asked if we could somehow organize for him to have a bible or two for the inmates he would be extremely grateful. I told him “We would see…” you know that standard response you make when you agreeing but not entirely to something, without commitment. Upon further conversation I was shocked to discover that of the 700 approx inmate population not a single bible was currently available for them to use, that they have to wait to until Sunday to hear The Word…..

As the chaplain put it they are trying to rehabilitate prisoners and save their souls, because as he sees it, people commit crime because they lost apart of themselves to the darkness, and he is trying to the best of his ability to restore that which was lost……

**in a related fact about a month ago 120 inmates got baptized.  

This had me thinking that the bible or two we could find would simply be a drop in the ocean and without even a second thought we made a donation of our personal bibles, I dont really use mine; before you get all curious, allow me to rephrase I have a bible app on my phone and am not in dire need….. I also reached out to the friends who live on the internet:

In the past week I received 50 bibles and another friend is arranging for another 20, and I am also working with several other people who have said we’ll see…. Fingers crossed

He asked me for one or two I found 70 with a possibility for more….

When you reach out… sometimes someone reaches back

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if by any chance you came across the trend that had people declaring how shocked they were to realise that their childhood was a lie, because Winnie The Pooh was female….. WAIT  WHAT???

Winnie The Pooh

Winnie The Pooh

You know nothing Jon Snow

Yes Winnie was female…..

The real Winnie though; the one the character by A.A. Milne was based upon, was a real bear; female and Canadian. The bear was named after the city of Winnipeg, the hometown of the vet who bought her as a cub. Winnie eventually ended up at London Zoo; where she enthralled young Christopher Robin so much, he named his own teddy bear Winnie after her. Christopher Robin’s father was none other than the author A.A. Milne and the rest as they is a story of honey loving bear and adventures with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood….

The bear from the cartoons and books is most assuredly male and your childhood is perfectly safe (for now) and you did not experience any gender identification problems… You are welcome.

If you were having coffee with me I’d iterate  what I said last week Constant Vigilance; a quick Google search could would have revealed this “truth” explained in a tell all children’s picture book by Canadian author Lindsay Mattick published in 2015 Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Thanks for dropping by and much appreciated

~B

PS I just read on the death of actor Adam West who played the first Batman I remember watching growing up… and in honour of him this joke from opening title theme song:

dave-collinson-nana-nana-batman1

nana nana nana nana Batman

And if you you would like to get in touch with me about my bible project you can email me  below:

Batman Image Credit Dave Collinson

Winnie the Pooh story Huffington post

Of Covfefe With Me

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If you were having covfefe with me, you would be asking me whether there was a typo in my title and if not; what type of beverage is covfefe? Well I can assure you, there is no typo and that you can not buy it from your local coffee shop.

I don’t think you can buy at from anywhere, for now, but I am sure if you give it a bit of time, in a couple days, some barista somewhere will be serving you rainbow covfefe which looks like the sun set in it with an olive skewered by a toothpick bobbing around leisurely.

Covfefe nobody knows what it means but it’s provocative…

It all started because President of the United States tweeted the following:

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And the free world went crazy trying to figure out if it was a simple typo, (Twitter really really needs an edit button) or if his Excellency (that’s how we refer to our president) suffered anything from a heart attack, a brain seizure to tweeting in his sleep; some say he was overwhelmed by the sudden urge to have coffee in the middle of tweeting and its certainly something that happens to beerst of us

**pause to sip beer**

Where were we; oh yes and some are convinced it was a clandestine message understood by only a few elite; a conspiracy theory of Robert Ludlum meets John le Carré proportions; involving multinational agent provocateurs and maybe even aliens…

Covfefe Identity.jpgSeveral hours later the curious tweet got DELETED and replaced with the one below:

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And then there was Hillary:

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Its all much ado about cofveve….., it still hasn’t quite been defined yet but I am pretty sure before the year ends the word will exist in the updated dictionary. Why wouldn’t it be; if emoticons can make it; The tears of joy emoji was oxford the word of the year 2015

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So far the Webster’s dictionary has no words for it….

But here is a few choice definition from The Urban Dictionary:

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If you were having covfefe with me; I would tell you that you ought to be careful what you post on social media, the internet is unforgiving, and it never forgets…. (and people take screenshots)

I wonder if he had caught a vision of the future; when he transcribed and sent the first Morse Code message, Samuel Morse upon completion of his invention The Telegraph;

“What Hath God Wrought?”

Indeed; because if you were having covfefe with me, I would ask you, why do people revel in starting and spreading Fake News; where they not hugged enough as babies?

And it doesn’t help that we seem so eager to share we find without pausing for a second to verify, maybe its because I am a storyteller and as we say “the storyteller never lies”  we may get creative with the narrative, embellishing the tale with condiments of a good story…..  but see that’s why we have disclaimers….. and that’s why the only story I believe is the one I am telling….

Today is the first of June, Happy New Month…

If you were having covfefe with me; I would tell you I  got forwarded the following message by five different people in my contact list who are totally unrelated… maybe you have received it too:

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It’s a cute message, isn’t it? but, I didn’t forward it to anyone and why….

Certainly not because I would not have been unique in being a copy and paste…

today is 152nd day of the year the are still 215 days left in the year.

This greeting is a month too early

What if I had forwarded it to every one of my contacts and they forward it to each of their contacts, and suddenly you have a whole bunch of misinformed people…. This is exactly how fake news thrives and spreads, we blindly accept what read, we will learn eventually …. in the words of Mad-Eye Moody to his Defence Against Dark Arts class “Constant Vigilance

 

So long and thanks for all the Covfefe

~B

 

 

Of Feeling The Earth Move

I felt the Earth move beneath the soles of my feet, a tremor deep from the bowels of the planet’s core.

I was sitting on the sofa watching TV and tweeting about it….  and then I noticed that it was just that I could feel The Earth beneath my feet but the sofa was vibrating ever so slightly like it was a massage chair and the windows were rattling like a freight train was passing through my backyard…. There is no railway line in our backyard, so it could only mean one thing…. a derailed freight train was being all unstoppable outside the house…. I got up and peered casually outside the window half expecting to hear the shrill blast of a train’s horn or see the headlights coming straight at me and I could look like a startled deer watching a flame come to burn it, wait that’s a moth, but see a moth would have flown to the flame, the flame would have come for me…..I guess my imagination is just like runaway train of thought….

The internet is such a handy tool, instead going crazy trying to figure out if I had gone crazy a few clicks later I knew what happened…..

Turns out it was an earthquake:

Africa

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake with an epicentre in central Botswana occurred at 1940hrs CAT, and the tremors were felt in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

I haven’t heard of any causalities so I presume people only got a little shaken up nothing serious…

Its amazing isn’t our ability to laugh at  the things that frighten, our on way of assuring ourselves that, that wasn’t so bad give me another challenge… see fear cant abide humour, were it not for laughter sometimes fear  would never leave, that’s because fear usually arrives late, inevitably leaves early, and ends up never going out at all.

So when you wake up in the morning and find people joking about earthquakes all over social media maybe they are not just being funny, they are saying hey lets laugh because we are not afraid… at least lets pretend we didn’t for a second think the world was going to end, aint no body got time to live their lives like that….

I felt the Earth move beneath my feet and I laughed, did you feel it too…..?

~B

PS If you didn’t feel anything and you are wondering if it was real, the internet says it was real so it was real

 

Of Coffee, April Fools, Short Stories and Fathers

If you were having coffee with me I would say thank you for joining me, how have you been? I have been good cheers to the New Month, hello April what do you have in store for us? Good things I hope.

So did anyone play any good April Fools pranks on you or did you do the pranking?

I didn’t prank anyone but I did write a Very Short Story #VSS called April’s fool:

He used to be the court jester, till he clowned his way into queen April’s heart. No one ever called him King only April’s Fool….

For those who follow my twitterverse account @Beatonm5 you might have noticed I tweet a lot using that hashtag #VSS.. I have been asked many times what this means  it simply stands for a very short story. Twitter and its 140 characters per tweet makes you adept at the fine art of brevity of expression and challenges your creative skills to write a story. If you have a second you can find my #VSS tweets by clicking HERE. If you tweet micro-stories on twitter do let me know and I will check it out and if you haven’t you must try it, it’s also a good way to come up with writing ideas or a story to develop further, for those moments you think you have writer’s block.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you I attended my first mass today. Before you look at me with that scandalous expression it was not my first mass but rather it was the first mass I have been to where the priest in attendance is a family member. He got ordained as a priest last year but time and circumstance had not made it possible for me to attend any of his services. It was quite weird, watching him, deliver sermons and perform sacred rites of communion with ease of someone who has been a priest all his life. It’s also weird how once, he was my young brother and now I call him Father, he looks older. He looks like someone you can confess your sins to, without being judged and expecting him to mete out a fair penance of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, someone who could officiate your wedding, baptise your little ones and when you laid there on your deathbed someone who would perfom the last rites and finally bury you and into the   hole ye goes… Someone you could call Father.

I remember attending his ordination ceremony officiated by an Apostolic nuncio who is the Pope’s emissary so it was quite an honour. The community decided to welcome him by bestowing upon him the gift of a totem, he was declared of the Moyo (Heart) Clan. I am fairly sure protocol was creatively circumvented and he accepted ever so graciously. He thanked the family for our generosity in letting go one of ours to a greater calling. The ordination of a priest, it feels bittersweet like part marriage and part funeral… Christ being the bridegroom: does that make the priest, the bride? but unlike a wedding you are not gaining in-laws as such, but losing your relation to the church … imagine calling your own son father I guess that’s why priest end up in parishes far from their home and family to prevent awkward encounters and broken hearts just like at any wedding.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell I just got my few seconds of fame from a YouTube video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcmwF7_6Ljo

where I got a shout out from Leeann who I featured on my blog The Girl In the Red Dress ( she has a YouTube channel and shares recipes with Conde a parrot I do believe) anyhow someone watched the clip and is now a new follower on my blog, I would have mentioned them by name but, they are internet shy, so I’ll just say I hope you read this wherever you are…

Cheers, April Showers and May Flowers

~B

PS speaking of pranks, and April I am still trying to figure out if this notice from the Zambia Police is real or not, if you do please tell me so…..

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Of Words and Red Dresses

Guest Post: Leeanna Lazenby

guest

The Importance Of Words And Red Dresses

Late at night, I laze about in a red lace dress pretending to be a diva and often take a stroll through my Twitter feed to see the latest poetry written by my online acquaintances. Okay, I don’t really wear such a glamorous outfit at all times but I do appreciate reading the talented words of many phenomenal people… and perhaps I should appreciate red dresses more than what I actually do. You will understand why I say this in a moment.

First, I must mention that I am sometimes lucky enough to stumble across Twitterers (as my Mother likes to call us) who have travelled across oceans to meet each other. They record their love affair or journey of meeting up through an exchange of one hundred and forty characters. The funny thing is, we have all done it. Most of us who are part of this tight-knit poetic community have connected with people from across the world in an uncanny, unexpected way. I, personally, have been blessed to find companions all over the place but there is one particular agonizing story that I have been longing to release and share. I was originally going to give the following account via Twitter but prolonged making it public as I was afraid that it could potentially bring my friend harm. I am not sure that I will ever be able to describe her extraordinary light in true form but I was then offered the opportunity to guest feature on this blog.

For this, I am very thankful as I now have a beautiful space to dedicate something to my lost soul sister. Thank you. As you read her tale, please know that I think of her daily.

Once upon a time but not too long ago, I opened a poetry account on Twitter as a way of recording snippets of my creativity. Naturally, I began to network and follow other like-minded individuals.

One day, a girl sent me a message and we exchanged a few words. We started to correspond frequently and eventually switched to emailing so that we could have more elaborate conversations. She was from Egypt and I, London. We were the same age so we could easily talk about boys, celebrities, fashion and life plans but it became much deeper too. We had lengthy discussions about the Higgs Boson experiments, scientific theories and philosophical viewpoints. We were unbelievably similar in countless ways but incredibly different for one catastrophic reason. She was oppressed whereas I had my freedom.  I could make my own choices in life. I was able to work, study, socialise and have friends. She, on the other hand, was confined to being kept at home by her extremely strict parents. They tracked her phone, did not let her have a bank account and withheld her passport in case she tried to leave for a better life. She was subjected to countless physical beatings and verbal insults on many occasions. She was not even able to take a walk since the city in which she lived was suffering from rioting, protests and violence. There was a lot of division between the inhabitants so it was dangerous to go out alone. She wanted to be herself but she was treated as an outcast by her family as they did not understand her personality or attributes.

This resulted in us having to communicate in secret. Sometimes, I would not hear from her for weeks on end but she would Skype/email as soon as she was able to. Her family did not want her to have a friendship with a “westerner” in case I was secretly a male and even when she showed them my photograph, they did not trust her to be telling the truth. They told her that a poet would corrupt her. I was a sinner for being creative. She was a sinner for associating with me.

Over time, she gathered money by any method that she could and kept it hidden. At one point, she managed to have an anonymous poetry book published on Amazon and was earning money through advertising via the online edition of her masterpiece. Her words were magnificent. She wrote in extravagant detail about mermaids and sea creatures without any hints of the daily struggles that she had to put up with in her own reality. She was planning to fight for her emancipation and have the life that she deserved. She was going to flee.

But then it happened. She could not see a way out and she became depressed. Hope left her. We spoke every night on a messenger and I tried to raise her spirits or at least restore her faith but she could not cope with what she had to experience. She attempted suicide. Not once but six times. Yes, six. They put her on medication and locked her away for months. I heard nothing. I thought she was dead.

Then, one day, I received a message from her. She told me that she was okay and that she had been sectioned in a mental institution for the entire duration of her absence. They were releasing her on the condition that she carried on taking the pills. She agreed but I know that she probably never swallowed them. You see, there was never anything wrong with her. The people at fault were her family and those around her. She was a creative type in a life where expression was forbidden.

She used to tell me every day how a woman like her could never be free in her world. It was wrong for her to be filled with passion. Can you even begin to imagine what that would feel like? She could not write, she could not take a walk in the park, she could not do any of the simple things that I took for granted. The most basic thing that she longed for was to be able to wear a red dress because I had one on in my photograph. In fact, I had one on in all of my photographs. She used to imagine that she was going to buy one from the shopping mall and have a collection of vivid lipsticks to match. She would joke that we would, one day, walk around London together and be the “red pair” without having to worry about what anyone thought of us.

She ended her email to me by explaining that my messages had kept her balanced throughout many of her traumatic experiences. She said that she had read my poetry every day and cherished the stories that we had shared with each other in our emails. She was very thankful that I gave her a sense of “normality” because we had our companionship. Her final statement to me exclaimed that my words filled with support/friendship could not have a value put upon them and that it was those very words that saved her life.

This was over two years ago now and I have not had any correspondence with her since. I have tried contacting her but her phone is disconnected, her Twitter is deactivated, her Skype account is permanently offline and the emails bounce back. I do not know what happened to her but she made me promise that if ever she disappeared, I would tell her story and be the voice that she never had. I cannot do her justice with my words but all I can say is this:

“There is a girl, location unknown, who writes of magical creatures and believes in freedom. She is one of many that is misunderstood but despite her sufferings, she is a strong person. Her mind is filled with creativity whilst her tongue whispers stories from her hushed dreams. And somewhere, in the depths of her beautiful imagination, she walks freely… swaying elegantly in her sparkling red dress.

I am forever thankful for all of the lessons, laughter and wisdom that came from this remarkable girl. Who knew that a mere poem on a social media outlet would bring such a wonderful person in to my life. She enriched me with a friendship beyond description.

Thanks to our poetry, two girls from opposite lives were connected and intertwined in a way that seemed impossible. You never know the power that your words will bring.

After looking over this, I would like to add that she is unaware of the impact she has had on my life. She always spoke of being courageous and having strength. She used to tell me, in her own way, that anything is possible and we have to follow our dreams. I can attribute many leaps of faith to her friendship and I only hope that she is out there somewhere experiencing her own slice of freedom.

—–

By Leeanna Lazenby

(Poet with the parrot and the red dress collection.)

***Please note*** I am aware that her individual circumstances are not a reflection of life in Egypt in any particular way. You could be anywhere in the world and experience a very strict family/upbringing. The mention of where she lived was entirely for context to highlight how we connected despite the distance between us.

Poet in The Red Dress.jpg

Lady in Red

Bio:

“Leeanna is a lover of taking bits and bobs from her head, dreaming of poems and making them in to tiddly chunks of art. Put them all together and you may just have a picture of what’s going on up in there.”

Leeanna wants to say a big thanks to @Beatonm5 for the opportunity to write on his blog. Thank you!


Thank you Leeanna it has been a pleasure having you, and thank you for sharing your story, words alone are not important its also having someone, to take a moment to listen…. When I have a story to tell that’s all I ask for, a listener.

Leeanna and her parrot can be found on the Twitterverse, tweeting poetry  @24LoveHeart24

~B

 

Of Coffee moonlit nights and regrets

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If you were having coffee with me we would be having a cup of coffee hotter than the winter sun. It is winter this side of the world. You can have hot chocolate if you prefer.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you saw the full moon last night, I did, I always circle the calendar on the days that have moonlit nights, I feel an urge to howl at the moon if this were a moon howling world.

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If you did not know it by now I love the moon …..It looks like a diamond on the black velvet of night.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you I submitted an article for possible consideration as a columnist for some online publication and I spent weeks anxiously waiting for a response, the details stated that only short-listed candidates would be contacted. Don’t you just hate it when they do that? How long must you wait before you decide you were not shortlisted, I think it’s just cruel and unusual torture, how hard is it to have an email template you can copy paste all unfortunate candidates put them out of their misery. I hope they make loads of money from all the money they save by sending emails to only short-listed candidates.

Sometime during the past week, while checking my email I found I had been a short-listed candidate and received the second half of instructions. They wanted to know my twitter handle, the horror *ghostie emoji*

Imagine a potential employer having a look at your Twitter Timeline and you desperately trying to remember if you tweeted anything that’s Not Suitable For Work. I had half a mind to start a new twitter profile for business and people I do not like, people whom I have to tell I don’t do twitter *Poker face emoji* but apparently they (employers) consider your follower count to see your potential reach or influence. They also wanted me to write an imaginary review about an imaginary startup company which I would pull out of my imagination and also highlight why this company would consequently fail, I was definitely out of my depth, and these guys were out for blood. Bye Bye Boss.

Imagine my surprise when I was called in for an interview. It was going great until they said that they would pay me with exposure. Does one eat exposure? And it turns out I have far more twitter followers than they isn’t that ironic… oh how much more exposure would I benefit from them, its exploitation that’s what it is, say NO to slavery. Writers gotta eat too. I guess they didn’t take my response all too kindly because………..

If you having coffee with me or hot chocolate or whatever rocks your boat, its water that rocks boats by the way, I would ask you, your thoughts on regret letters, you know the ones you get from potential employers saying we regret to inform you will not be joining our organization or publishing your manuscript. I think they should state that either in the ref or first line of the email so you do no waste time finishing reading it. Sugar coating it telling by telling you what an awesome candidate you were and how they were thrilled you were interested in joining their company or publication services *blah* *blah* *blah* but then hidden somewhere in the last line almost like a forgotten Post Script oh yeah by the way we regret to say……. *Sigh*

If you were having with me, I would tell you, I recently had an epiphany, on three things.

  • Number 1 is that I have really brilliant ideas in my head, about life the universe and everything and my writing.
  • Number 2 is I really need to remember to write in my journal or something to capture all these thoughts so I can get back to them and polish them up for all they are worth.
  • Number 3…. I don’t remember but that brings me back to number 2

If you were having coffee with me I would say thank you for the visit how has your past week been, whats good whats really good, whats really really good. Here is to a brilliant new week.

If you were having coffee with me I would show you this picture of my niece, A baby on a motor bike Vroom vroom.

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