Anyone who makes a practice of writing for the public knows that in these days, the key to having your work seen by the greatest number of people is SEO or search engine optimization. It’s a given that if you include such words as Trump, Pelosi, Jihad, terrorist, bomber, or pandemic, your viewing population will increase exponentially.

It makes sense. People want to see work that is current or provocative. They want to share it with family members or co-workers. Or they want to appear current in the latest and occasionally best news.

While I admit to having included some SEO in my blogs. Out of over 600 of them, it’s inevitable that I have alluded to politics and those situations that have recently made the biggest news splashes. But beneath all of that, while I admit to checking to see how many people read my blogs, it’s really not about that. If I needed to summarize why I write what I do, it’s simply about following my heart.

Here’s the proof. Today I had reason to make some cole slaw, a dish for which my wonderful mom had established a reputation as her “signature side dish.” She taught me how to make it and while I can’t possibly claim to make a cole slaw as wonderful as hers, the key is her secret ingredient. Obviously, I included that secret addition to the salad today and as is the case each time I make it, I can’t help but think about her and the sadness I feel each time I think about having lost her.

And so, if I were seeking fame, fortune, national publication, or some form of global recognition, I would be talking about subjects like Republicans, Democrats, and legalization of marijuana. But that’s not why I write. I would rather share the part of me that treasures a secret ingredient in cole slaw. Or I would rather write about a special student whom I was blessed to encounter in my classroom. Sometimes, it’s about a restaurant that served breakfast coffee in a beer stein.

There are many places to find SEO and if that is what you seek, I fully understand. If you would rather share some time with my memories and sentiments, you are in the right place. Shalom.

Shooting in the dark

Since the time that blogs and vlogs began to become popular, there are as many instruction resources available as there are for writing books or web copy. When you are writing a blog for an employer, the objectives and methodologies are clearly defined. Likewise, when you are writing a book, the genre, subject, audience, and format are also considerations.

Unfortunately, the balance of blog writing is left entirely to the writer in terms of what the readers want to read and what subjects are of current interest. My experience suggests that today, this week, and this month, more readers will tune in if I speak of Biden, Trump, politics, elections, campaigns, smear tactics, and all of those subjects that would rank high in SEO status. The number of readers who are looking for this type of information is reflected in the views.

After November 3 (we hope), what will be of interest? Global warming is always a topic of controversy and therefore a place where readers will direct their attention. The same is true of climate change, environment, terrorism, democracy, the military, and the remaining topics of political debate and discussion.

The rest, it seems, is shooting in the dark. Sometimes, my experiences in the classroom are of interest. Other times, memories of my childhood pique your curiosity. Throughout my 500+ blogs, I have also spoken about gardening, wildlife, neighbors, New Mexico, Colorado, and my various travels.

Ultimately, the subjects I choose are determined by what I assume you will most enjoy reading and those areas within which I have the greatest expertise or experience. You now know that I am merely shooting in the dark, with the hope that I am hitting the target more times than I am missing it. If you like what I do, please say so. Likewise, if there is disagreement or you would like me to address another topic, I hope to hear that as well. But for now, stay safe. Shalom.

Politics and pundits

When did decency, courtesy, common sense, and respectability vanish from political debates and campaigns? On Tuesday night, America and the rest of the world witnessed an interaction between our two presidential candidates that defied all semblance of kindness and decency. As someone who observed the entire spectacle, I was horrified at the remarks that were exchanged.

In spite of the moderator’s valiant attempts to maintain order and adherence to the topics presented, both candidates found ways to wander all over the spectrum of subjects. As insults began to be exchanged, the decibel level finally reached a place that made everything incomprehensible.

This is not simply an issue of Republican versus Democrat, Trump versus Biden, conservative versus liberal. Both participants turned important national issues into personality conflicts or denials of all statements made by the other party. It amused me that handshakes were not allowed due to Covid-19. If that situation were not in place, I seriously doubt that either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden would have wanted to get that close to his opponent.

On the local level, Senate and Congressional races are no less ugly. Is it possible that hurling insults and accusations has been going on for some time and I never noticed before? We have candidates suggesting that their opponents are liars, robbers, and almost everything else short of being convicted felons. It can’t be the presence of social media in 21st century politics that has made the difference. My personal view is that the frequency of crime riots, hostilities, and social discord have made the exchange of nastiness more common.

Like most Americans, I can hardly wait for this election season to be over. Filling the television station and other media with hate and unpleasantness is wholly distasteful. I have stopped wondering who is honest and who is not, who is sincerely determined to improve our world and who is self-serving. But I sincerely keep looking for a candidate in any of these political races who asks for votes based on his or her record, not because the opponent is slimy and unworthy. From the looks of current situations it’s not in the foreseeable future and we can all hope that election day arrives as soon as possible. Shalom.