Flounder (Not the Fish) and Goodbye, For Now

I’m having a crisis of self and why I bother blogging.

I started blogging because I’m from the Xanga generation and I loved posting on there. It was my own little journal with friends. I briefly tried LiveJournal, but never connected with it very well. I transitioned to blogging later starting with Blogspot and moving to WordPress. This is actually my third personal blog. The first two were full of trial and error (not that this one isn’t), and I did a lot of learning along the way. This blog still isn’t exactly what I want it to be, but it’s closer.

I have never expected to have a large readership. A lot of why I blog is just to get my own thoughts out and attempt to process them. Having readers is the fun part. But I’m starting to feel directionless in my own thoughts so blogging with purpose is getting harder. I’m struggling with sounding personable vs. technical, something I’ve always had trouble with when trying to keep paper journals.

I also blog, at least partially, because I have been told time and again that without a following, a readership base, I’ll never be published. Twitter is too overwhelming for me, so at the least I should maintain a blog. And I do enjoy posting here. Most of the time.

I want to be a fun blog. Something easy on the eyes, a read you look forward to, one you hopefully learn from at least once in awhile. But I don’t know what that looks like or how to create it, especially in a sustainable fashion. I don’t know how to give you consistency and avoid a stress breakdown for me. I don’t know how to be engaging or how to code a website in a simple yet beautiful way (nor do I have the money to pay anyone else to do so). I’m struggling with feeling subpar in content and image. (As if body image issues aren’t enough, add blog image issues to that!)

So I’m not sure what to do.

Do I call it quits? Wave goodbye and disappear from the online world again for awhile?

Do I call a hiatus for an extended period of time, likely lose any readers I have anyway, and then try again?

Do I try another overhaul of the blog with my limited graphics and coding abilities and risk continuing a subpar image?

How do I learn to be a better, more engaging blogger? I don’t feel like trial and error is getting me there anymore.

Not to mention all the questions I have about the status of my poetry “career” (if I can be so bold). Getting published and applying for grants that I will rapidly be too old for is a lot of pressure right now, but I also feel like I need to forgo any attempt at that for awhile, focus on writing and building my list of poems, and then come back to the ‘publishing’ game in the future. But will I be behind then? Will stepping back just make it harder to jump back in? Will it take me a couple of years once I start again to even hope to get my foot in the door? My foot, my toes are barely in the door as it is, but I have at least one or two editors that recognize my work and name now, and I have a publication (and a possible pending publication) from this last year. It is exciting for me, but is it enough to even be worth it?

To sum it up, I have no idea what I’m doing. Trial and error along with perseverance has taught me a lot, but it’s still just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve worked at blogging off and on for 8 years and poetry for a bit longer, but do I even know anything at all? I don’t feel like I do and that tells me I’ve hit a wall.

I’m going dark for 2019. This blog will still be here. You can follow me on instagram (username lissa.clouser) where I will still be personally active. My Facebook page will also be inactive, just like the blog.

I’m deleting nothing because I have every intention of returning. But I have a great deal of figuring out to do. I need to step back from everything and evaluate my personal life, my blog and online presence, my writing habits and perhaps career, and more. I can’t do it if I feel like I’m constantly expected to be creating content and showing up, even if I’m the only one expecting that of myself.

So please, this is not me quitting or giving up. If you choose to leave I completely understand. If you choose to stay, I hope to begin 2020 in a positive and meaningful way, able to interact with you and build a better community and audience once I know what my goals there should be.

May 2019 be a glorious year for you of growth and joy, and may we meet again in 2020.



I’m throwing all sense or hope of schedules around here out the door and just promising not to forget about my blog for too long at a time. I honestly do enjoy blogging, even if sometimes I struggle with what to say that anyone else may want to read, but sometimes even existing feels like a lot of work and when that happens, things like blogging get put on hold. That’s pretty much been the last 12-15 months for me. And you know what? Existing is hard work and if that’s all you can manage (speaking to everyone now, not just myself) that’s okay! That’s the most important bit. Always continuing on, even if sometimes everything gets put on hold and you work at a snail’s pace to get back to it. Just keep existing.

That being said, I recently went on a writing retreat and wrote a few short journals while there. I’ll be posting those starting next week!

Then in early November I have a fun little announcement to make…

I may blog in bursts, but I’m currently in one, so stick around for the next few posts!


Life Update the 2nd

I just realized I haven’t done a life update since March, and now it’s nearly August. This year is beating me up.

  • Hubby and I bought a new lawn mower, because the one we got when we initially bought the house has needed major repair every year. It was time to bite the bullet and we could handle a small loan for a new one, so we took on the expense.
  • With the new mower came the need for a new shed, having torn down last year the very old, very large mess of a shed originally on our property. We opted for one with just a little bit extra room for other tools, and took on that expense too.
  • In May I was driving to work when suddenly my car start shuddering horribly and would barely accelerate. I called my boss, told him I was driving straight to the mechanic while my car was still sort of working, flipped on my hazards, and hoped I’d make it the 3ish miles to the mechanic. About 2 miles in, a lovely police officer pulled me over. The first time I’ve EVER been pulled over. Did he pull me over to check on me since my car was shaking like crazy, I couldn’t get up to speed, and was obviously distressed? Nope. Pulled me over to tell me it was illegal to drive with my hazards. Even after telling him the trouble I was having he just told me not to do it again and didn’t offer to follow me the last mile to the mechanic’s or anything. Our police department here is pretty awesome, so I’m just hoping this guy was having a bad day. At least I didn’t get a ticket.
  • Back to the car… once I made it to the mechanic’s it didn’t turn back on again. One of the caps somehow came off while I was driving and flooded oil through much of the engine. It would have been thousands to fix it.
  • Much as I absolutely hated giving up my car (the only one I’ve ever had, it was only a 2002 and under 130,000 miles), it was time to buy a new car. I am fond of my new car, but still missing the old one. And certainly missing the days when I didn’t have a car payment.
  • Not long after this, my health finally gave out on me. (I know I’ve said it before, but autoimmune diseases suck, ya’ll.) I’d been having more trouble since last fall, but figured it was just a flare I couldn’t kick. I’ve spent most of this month only working half days because that’s all I could manage. Went to see my doctor and she took one look at me before asking what on earth had happened, she’d never seen me this bad. The first round of new meds didn’t work. The second round of new meds seem to be helping at least some, for which I’m grateful. But new meds and several appointments are an expense I was not prepared for, especially after taking on so many new expenses already!

Guys… I’m wiped out. I apologize for not blogging, but if I’ve learned anything from hosting three different personal blogs (trial and error) it’s that sticking to a schedule when I don’t feel up to it just makes me worse.

I’m wiped out, but my brain has taken a lot of time to reset (when it can think straight anyway). I’ve done a lot of thinking about the type of poet I want to be while I’ve been doing a lot of reading other poets. I’ve also done a lot of reflection on how my views of myself as a poet have evolved over the last few years. (And I’m sure will always evolve.)

I don’t have the words to spell it out yet, so I’ll just keep writing poems and see how it goes.

Maybe I’ll have something interesting and coherent for all of you soon. Assuming I can stay awake for more than the bare necessities and use brain power for creativity any time soon!

Life Update

How are we nearly 1/4 of the way through 2018 already? *shakes head*

You know, it’s a simple, no-frills photo, but I feel like it fits right now. So far this year I haven’t focused that much on writing or creating. Instead I’ve spent a lot more time on knocking over those ‘tacks’ in life one by one. Those tacks have been health issues, financial problems, house repair problems, etc. Some of those tacks I have to face that I can’t knock over without the tack doing some of the work too and others I can’t knock over jussssst yet, but I’m working toward being strong enough to do so. For now I’m taking out all the little ones that I can. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Little tacks I’ve managed recently: Continue reading

The Quest to Tidy: Shoes and a Confession

I may not be a “girly girl” in a lot of ways. I’m not big on makeup. I don’t spend much money on my hair, either at the stylist or on products at the store. I love looking at jewelry, but usually only wear a few select pieces. I really don’t care if anyone knows the brand name of my purse or my clothes. Honestly I don’t care if I know it. I try to keep my nails nicely shaped, but don’t paint them too often. In fact… I’ve only ever had my nails done at a salon twice: once for my wedding and once to meet two of my favorite Japanese musicians before seeing them perform live. Sense a trend?

But on the things where I do get “girly”, I go all out. I own ball gowns. Not just dresses (some of those too of course), but full on wear-one-or-two-petticoats-beneath-them BALL GOWNS. When I do style my hair I usually go for curls. I love a good, bright red lipstick. I have good daily hygiene, I just also value things like sleep and hobbies, so the expensive or time-consuming “girly” sorts of things are out the window when it comes to day-to-day life.

Except shoes. High heels in particular. I love them. Send me to the store for a pair of tennis shoes and I may walk out with three pairs of clearanced heels instead. I can wear them with my ball gowns. I can wear them with my more casual skirts and dresses. I can wear them with jeans. I can wear them with shorts, even! (Yes, Sam I Am, I’ll wear them in a box, with a fox…)

high heels, wedding shoes

My incredibly awesome shoes from my wedding. I wore them the entire day they were so comfortable.

I put off KonMari tidying my shoes. I had more than I needed, but despite my love for heels I really didn’t have an absurd number of them. A couple pair of 5-6″ heels. Maybe half a dozen pair of your more standard 2″ heel, in a variety of colors. A few other oddities… probably no more than 12 or 13 in total. And then I did the hardest tidying I’ve done yet: I tossed almost all of them.

Rewind time. Continue reading

2016: The Good, the Bad, and the “What? Why? UGH.”

For a brief review of the utter insanity that has been 2016…

The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society

Here we are. We made it. December 31st. That shiny midnight that heralds the dawn of a new year is so close I’m pretty sure I can reach out and touch it, but don’t tell 2016 I said that… it will find a way to postpone it even more.

I think we can all agree that this year has been rough at best. In the realm of celebrities I’m pretty sure we’ve all lost at least one person we really admired. We don’t discuss politics on this blog, but if you’re in the United States you know that no matter your views this election was a mess of bamboozlery, misinformation, and high-strung feelings.

If you’re a Ferret, SOMETHING unfortunate happened to your car at least once this year. We’ve all come out of it with working vehicles, but at times it’s been dicey. We’ve had a car go swimming (okay, that…

View original post 447 more words

I’ve Turned My Life Into Homework

I have recently had a huge revelation into why I always feel pressure to get things done and why the list never ends.

Homework & Study - from MorguefileI went through school treating it like a video game with tasks to complete. Memorize 20 vocabulary words? Check. Read two chapters in your science book? Check. Write a three page paper in English class? Check. Do 50 math problems at the end of the chapter? Check. I was always racing to the next task. Check, check, check.

When school ended, I transferred that bizarre need for tasks from schoolwork into life. Vacuum the living room? Check. Do the dishes? Check. I am the to-do list queen. I have lists of my to-do lists. But there’s a big difference in my to-do lists now vs. the lists when I was a teenager.

In school, you only have as much work as the teacher gives. You will only see the teacher at certain times. This means there are specific, predictable opportunities for your work load to change or grow. At all other times there is the peace of knowing that once done, you are truly done.

Life is never truly done.  Continue reading

On Some Days…

Have you ever had one of those days?

When the librarian, being helpful, directs you to another self-check out, but because she called out to you the only thing you feel is stupid for not seeing it, and as though the stupid has been painted on you like a target everyone else can see.

When after going to McDonald’s (because the only other option for dinner that sounds good is nothing and didn’t Happy Meals fix things as kids?), you realize the cashier in the drive thru didn’t even thank you for your business, and now you feel tiny and loathed for being a consumer that made him do his job. His blank stare when he handed you your receipt was probably because he’s imagining not working at a McDonald’s drive thru and didn’t even see you, really see you, but all the same you feel judged and sentenced in that single breath.

When you calm yourself down from the panic, rising anew, at the prospect of crossing just five miles across town to get home, cars pressing in around you like anxious sharks around a bleeding fish, by telling yourself it’s okay, you can listen to the quiet burble of the aquarium filter as you watch the fish you love at home… only to remind yourself that you got rid of the fish a few years ago and finally sold the tank last year, because every place in your home that could fit the tank is a haven for algae and nothing will live.

When you convince yourself that it’s okay if the librarian thinks you’re stupid and the McDonald’s cashier hated you as a lesser creature than he and the fish are long gone… because after you eat your hamburger you can go sit on the swing set in the park, sweating in the rolling waves of the leftover heat of an August sun, and talk to your friend who always insisted that the world made sense on a swing set, pour your heart out to him as the chains on the swings groan and screech, beg him to make sense of everything driving needles into your heart because on swing sets we have the answers… …and remember that he, too, turned his back on you years ago.

I can’t go sit on the swing set alone.

On those days, it becomes very hard to create.

Defining Stress

I’m back from a 2 1/2 week vacation abroad and nearly 3 1/2 weeks off work, and the last thing I’m ready to come back to is stress. Coming home means coming back to responsibilities with house, family, and the day job, not to mention trying to make time for all of the creative tasks I’d like to tackle in my life. Taken individually, those responsibilities are typically fairly easy and often quite enjoyable. Taken as a whole… well, let’s just say that little stressors love to group up like mean kids at a party and together they can ruin all the fun.

I had a great quote sitting in my inbox when I returned home from traveling. “Stress is the difference between who you think you need to be and who you actually are.” (Please click here to be linked to the original article quoted.)

Wow. Wake up call.

think I need to manage everything by myself. I’m responsible for keeping my house magazine-perfect both in cleanliness and style. I am responsible for creating and maintaining a perfect system of organization for everything in my house, both physical and digital. I’m responsible for always having an idea of what to cook for dinner, for always keeping bills in perfect order, and for somehow still spoiling everyone in my life on top of it.

I’m also responsible for finding plenty of time around all of that to read, write, blog, submit my work, and do other creative things like photography, scrapbooking, studying language, and more. I should have time to play the piano and harp (both of which I own and neither of which I’m amazing at largely due to lack of practice). I should also have time to keep up on all of my favorite television shows; it seems everyone else manages to do so. I should have time for networking online, both for fun and for writing (hopefully one day professionally). And I should have time for all of that and more around my 40 hours a week sitting in an insurance office keeping customers happy and maintaining a long list of ‘all the little things’ that run in the background as is expected of an office manager. And I don’t even have kids!

I wonder why stress likes to chase me down…


Now let’s look at who I am. Continue reading

Dealing with Blogging Insecurity

I’m going to admit that I’ve been having a difficult time with blogging lately. I’ve hit the point where I feel like I’m floundering. I want to keep blogging. I absolutely will keep blogging. Most of the time I’m very happy with blogging. But sometimes it is difficult to talk into the void.

It’s so very easy to question myself. Am I saying anything that matters? Am I saying anything that people care about? Am I just spending my time only for people to ignore me entirely? Will I ever get anything out of this blog? (Anything meaning money, publication, connections, friendship, heck a good discussion counts too.)

Then I remember that yes, I have already gotten some things out of this blog. I poured my heart out with my I Remember, I Remember post and love poured back, not just here, but on Facebook as well. All of this was worth it to me in that moment.

Blogging can really dredge up your insecurity, let me tell you. Daniela Uslan sent out an email earlier this month touching on the dark side of blogging. Of getting caught up in stats and formulas and forgetting why you are blogging at all. It made me think about this. It made me think about my little spot of the internet that I have here.

I blog because I have something to say. I know that every time I speak through a post I run the risk that no one will care. I also know I run the chance that someone will. Or a lot of someones. All I can blog about is what is on my mind and hope for the best while (somehow) not doubting my voice or my topics or the way my blog looks or what other people say – or don’t say – or anything else. It can be so very, very overwhelming and stressful. Especially when huddling at the feet of other, very successful bloggers whom you admire.

To anyone who has ever read a post here, thank you.

To anyone who has ever interacted with me here, thank you.

To anyone who will ever drop by in the future, thank you.

You’re my little reminders not to give up on the hard days. Things might be a little quiet around here throughout April and May, but I’m working hard to bring you lots of exciting content of many varieties for the rest of the year. 

Stick around! I’ve spent a year getting my feet under me around here (as well as several years at other blogs previous), and I’m ready to charge forward with new content. If you have particular suggestions of things you’d like to see me blog about, please drop a comment over here to tell me about it and I’ll see what I can do!