Tag Archive | Jimi Hendrix

Scents of the Sixties

"Jimi Hendrix" by Julie Lomoe, Acrylic, 64" x 64", Shown at Woodstock Festival, 1969

SPOILER ALERT – the following post deals with body odor. If that grosses you out, maybe you should skip my blog today, but the topic follows a logical progression. Since I began blogging last May, I’ve disclosed quite a bit about myself and my personal history – in particular my bipolar diagnosis and how it’s influenced my mystery novels, especially MOOD SWING: THE BIPOLAR MURDERS. In their comments, people have lauded me for my courage and honesty in letting it all hang out. The more praise I get, the more personal my disclosures become. It’s a simple matter of positive reinforcement; I learned all about it decades ago when I took B.F. Skinner’s Human Behavior course at Harvard. (By the way, he had a daughter named Julie – he raised her in the infamous “Skinner Box.”)

I’ve received lots of positive feedback for my posts about the 1969 Woodstock Festival, where I won a prize for my paintings. The growing sense of community I’m experiencing as I widen my circle of friends on the Internet reminds me in many ways of the spirit of the 60’s. At the height of Flower Power, I was a newly divorced (well, at least amicably separated) woman in my twenties and a pioneer settler in the cast iron district in Lower Manhattan that was becoming known as SoHo. When I renovated my first loft on Broome Street, I put in a minimal bathroom with the cheapest tin shower stall I could find. Incidentally, that loft was diagonally across the street from the one where Heath Ledger died. The articles on his death all described the neighborhood as luxurious and upscale, but it was anything but back then.

As I recall, bodily hygiene wasn’t a high priority in the 60’s, for myself and for many others. I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say we got pretty funky. And at the Woodstock Festival, I didn’t get near running water for three days straight. I’m no Marcel Proust, and I don’t have a vivid olfactory memory. People must have smelled pretty ripe, I suppose, but the odor was masked by all the fragrant smoke.

Today, sitting at our computers and communicating on the World Wide Web, we can get equally odiferous if we choose. As I write, it’s 3:55 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and I’m still in the luxurious powder-blue polyester garment I bought at Wal-Mart for $18. It’s a cross between velour and chenille, it zips up the front, and I don’t know whether to call it a robe or a nightgown, but I’ve been wearing it practically around the clock. I love it so much that if it survives the first wash in good shape, I’ll go back and get another one in pink. It’s comfy and cozy, but the day’s getting warmer, and – well, you get the idea

Thank heavens no one can smell us when we’re being scintillating online. They can’t see us either, unless we want them to. For the Poisoned Pen Web Con back in October, billed as the first virtual international mystery writers’ conference, authors had the option of doing live video feeds, but luckily I wasn’t up to speed on that particular technology. Some authors who did manage to give a presentation that way may wish they hadn’t – the fish-eye lenses built into their computers were anything but flattering.

I wonder if writers in Nebraska or Maine become even more slovenly than I do. I’m fortunate to live in the Capital Region of upstate New York, and there’s lots of live in-person literary and artsy action. I clean up fairly nicely for my age, and I enjoy dressing for success as much as the next woman. I spend much less money on clothes than I used to, though – one of the many advantages of doing most of my socializing online.

In a couple of hours, I’ll be leaving for the Albany’s monthly First Night to make the rounds of the galleries. Knowing my husband, he’ll tactfully say, “You’re going to take a bath, aren’t you?” I don’t know why he feels the need for these reminders after 36 years, because I do have a modicum of judgment on hygiene issues.  

As I sit here at the computer in my upstairs office, looking out at the lake while my two cats stare in tense fascination at the red squirrel using the nearest bare tree as a jungle gym, I realize how lucky I am. I love reminiscing about the 60’s, but given the option, would I want to time-travel back? Not on your life.

This post originally appeared in slightly different form on Marvin Wilson’s blog on November 20, 2009.  For more about my experiences in the 1960’s, click on the Woodstock category in my blogroll at the right. 

 © Julie Lomoe 2010

Julie & Julie & Julia Part III

Ten days ago my blog scored a record number of hits – 451 in one day. Trying to figure out why, I discovered that 319 of these visits were racked up by a single post –  “Julie & Julie & Julia Part II” from September 2nd. My family and friends would find this ironic in the extreme. I’m a good cook when I set my mind to it, but I avoid the kitchen whenever possible. This post and the one that preceded it were about writing and blogging, and cooking got barely a mention.

So why is the J&J&J post so popular? Note to self: duh – it’s the search engines, dummy. Over the past few months, I’ve been watching my stats climb steadily, and as of today, I’ve logged 24,022 hits on a blog I just started in May. All along I’ve been under the delusion that I’m building a devoted readership, and the comments and stats tell me I’m not entirely wrong, but the majority of visitors are lured in by certain key words and especially by well known names.

Here are my most visited blog posts for the past week, according to WordPress:

  • Julie & Julie & Julia Part II (September 2)
  • Julie & Julie & Julia (August 31)
  • Michael Jackson and the archetype of the tortured artist (July 8th)
  • My blogging story arc – a field of dreams (June 22)
  • Woodstock 1969 Part III: Requiem for the spirit of 1969 (August 12)
  • Woodstock 1969 Part II: Stuck in the muck for 16 straight hours of music (August 9)
  • Woodstock 1969 Part I: I was there with my paintings – now if only I could prove it! (August 6)
  • Did Poe get fan letters too? (October 30)
  • Affordable funerals Part II: Down by the riverside (September 12)
  • TGIF Blog Party – You’re all invited (August 21)

Julie Powell

It’s interesting that these are all older posts – the most recent is from October 30th. Does this mean no one is reading my more recent ramblings? No, those get visits too – just not as many. WordPress tells me where most or all of my readers come from, and a fair number come from other authors’ blogs as well as from online discussion groups like CrimeSpace and Murder Must Advertise. WP also tells me all the posts that have attracted visitors on any given day, so I know many folks visit my static pages with my bio information and sample chapters. Here’s hoping some of those folks are actually buying my books!

Most common searches that drew people to my blog recently: Julia Child, Julia Childs (I purposely inserted the misspelled name as a tag, a trick I picked up somewhere in the past few months), Edgar Allan Poe, Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, baseball diamond (I can’t figure out that last one!)

I tend to shy away from statistics. In fact, sheer panic drove me to drop out of a statistics class at Dutchess Community College – me with my hotshot degrees from Barnard, Columbia and NYU. (I eventually enrolled for statistics again and got an A – a necessary evil, since it was a prerequisite for the PhD psychology program I briefly enrolled in. But that’s another story.)

I’m hereby making a New Year’s Resolution to put more time into understanding the wealth of blogging statistics available to me on WordPress, thereby maximizing the  effectiveness of the many hours I spend online. Meanwhile, for my Christmas blog post, I’ll create a short story incorporating all the popular names, subjects and tags that show up in my stats. Be sure to check back then! For anyone who’s read this far: sorry I never got around to the subject of cooking. But I’m sticking in some photos of Julia Child and Julie Powell as a consolation prize.

Fellow bloggers, do you have any wisdom to share about statistics and blog hits? I know many of you are far more sophisticated than I am on this subject, and I’d love to hear from you. 

©2009 Julie Lomoe

Hosting Guest Bloggers: 20 questions about best practices

Butterfly on pink flowerThis past Friday, I hosted my first guest blogger, Sunny Frazier. How did she get the gig? Simple – she sent me an e-mail attachment with an engaging essay titled “Am I A Writer?” I read it, liked it, and voila – my first guest. I’ve heard from other potential guests as well, but Sunny was the first to send me a post that was ready to cut and paste.

All of a sudden, I have more empathy for agents and editors who have to handle queries. I’ve received several e-mails from people saying they’d like to be guests on my blog. Sometimes they include the name of a book they’ve written, sometimes not. This tells me next to nothing. Often they ask what I’d like them to write about. Damned if I know – if I did, I’d write it myself! If they would read my blog, react to it, and then send me something they think would be a good fit, I’d be a lot more likely to invite them as guests. If I have to send them individualized e-mails explaining what to do and offering suggested topics, their odds diminish radically.

Gosh, I’m sounding grouchy – please don’t take it personally, anyone. Today I’d planned to post some guidelines for guest bloggers, but I’ve realized I have more questions than answers. Here are some of them:

How do you decide whom to invite as a guest blogger? How would you rank the following in order of importance?

Reputation and/or quality of their published books?

Quality and/or entertainment value of the writing on their blogs?

Number of stats they get on their blogs?

Relevance of the genre they write in?

Reciprocity – the fact that they’ve been a faithful visitor to your blog?

Personal friendship?

What if someone sends you a post you consider mediocre or worse? Do you publish it anyway? Do you think the quality of your guests will influence people not to revisit your blog?

What if someone sends you a review copy and you really dislike it?

Do you encourage guests to submit posts that consist primarily of promoting their own books?

Are you willing to run posts people have already published elsewhere?

How much do you edit and/or cut your guests’ posts?

How much should you expect them to promote their visit to your blog? Where would you like them to promote it, and when should they start?

What about comments? Should they visit on the day of their posting to reply to peoples’ comments?

For that matter, how important is it for the blog host to reply to comments in general? I know it’s common courtesy, but does anyone really expect those comments about comments? (This is a bit off-topic, but it’s something I’ve been wondering about.)

Is there something else I’ve forgotten that I should be asking about?

 There, that’s 20 questions, more or less. I was going to number them so that people could comment by the number, but that would mess up the formatting, so I won’t be that compulsive. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll respond by commenting on those questions that may strike your fancy, or by contributing new questions of your own. Once I’ve sifted through all the answers, maybe I’ll be ready to write up my guidelines for guest bloggers. Oh, and I still haven’t decided on a guest for Friday. If you send me an essay of 400 to 600 words ASAP, maybe you can be the chosen one! Send them to me by email: julielomoe@nycap.rr.com.

Stay tuned for my next post, when I’ll revert to my 60’s nostalgia thread and talk about my close encounters with Jimi Hendrix and other superstars (SPOILER ALERT: don’t get your hopes up – the encounters weren’t all THAT close!)