To listen to this post, please click here:New Word For Blog

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of my weekly post. Thank you all for encouraging these weekly verbals and visuals–creating them for you has been my ongoing challenge and my pleasure.

In return I would like to offer you two new words. The first I spontaneously created when a waiter poured a slightly more generous glass of wine for my husband than for me. It would have been but a passing evening’s comment had we not subsequently noticed that it happens with some regularity, which consequently popped it into our working vocabulary. I call it the “man-pour.” (The man does not always receive the man-pour, but more often than not.)  Keep your eyes peeled. Should it arise in your experience, you now have a term for it.


                                                                                     Man-Pour, photo and all text ⓒ Irene O’Garden, 2013

The other is a new word for online creative writers who hate the word “blog.” I’m one. It sounds nauseating, messy, blobby, foggy, bloppy, muggy, blah blah blah. “Blogger” sounds like jogger, a casual athlete. What about writers who aspire to creating more than a “web-log”? (from whence cometh “blog.”) Who believe that every word counts, that every reading eye and listening ear deserves the honey it is seeking?

I delayed starting a blog because I hated the word (silly, but there you have it.) I finally cried uncle, but kept wanting a better way to describe my hope for this form. When I realized some of us want to create “web-literature, ” a word occurred. I offer “blit” as an alternative to “blog.” It comes with friends: bliterature and bliterary. (While some of my  posts are more bliterary than others, the intention is always there.) And those of us who create it and appreciate it are the bliterati. Thank you for being part of the bliterati!

Watch for an Untreed Reads Mother’s Day Special for Glad To Be Human!


What do you think? Does the word “blit” and its friends  suit you?











To listen to this post, please click here:A Bulb Of Meaning

An old friend and I spoke of meaning yesterday.

An event like the one in Boston begets questions: Why? What does it mean? Is there even such a thing as meaning anymore? Did those responsible grow up without a sense of meaning? Did they hope for meaning by this act? Meaning seems to disappear at such a time. But ultimately, I believe meaning appears in response to our attempt to grasp it.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I am still glad to be human, even after this event. The worst in people can bring out the best in people.

Acts of caring and meaning and beauty blossomed all over Boston: runners who kept on running to the Red Cross to donate blood; courageous workers who responded medically and strategically; people offering beds for runners stranded in the city; others buying strangers coffee as a random act of kindness, or handing out granola bars. And not just Boston—today there are people running all over the country in a Run For Boston started by some marathoners in Texas.


Like the squill in the bulb, meaning may not always be evident. But cultivated by the power of our intention and the warmth of our attention, it will appear. Different in every garden, to be sure. But rise it will.

Many early readers of Glad To Be Human asked me for copies of it to read aloud at Thanksgiving, to give to friends who need a lift, or even share with their Mom on Mother’s Day, since without mothers, none of us would be human.  I am happy to announce that this Pushcart-Prize-winning essay is now available for eReaders of every stripe. Regular followers of this blog know that I had a writer’s dream come true when Jay Hartman, my publisher at Untreed Reads, bought it on the spot at the Book Expo last year, and as of today it is available in more than 51 countries. (This just in: before I could even post this, Jay emailed me that we have a bunch of sales from all over the world!)

In a way, this essay is a short, distilled and bottled version of my outlook on life–Irene’s über-blogpost, if you will. (Though at 5 pages, it runs a bit longer.) Click here to see what Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray Love and other works) had to say on her Facebook page.

Here’s a taste of the essay:

(To listen, please click here:GTBH excerpt)

Glad to be human in the 21st century, survival licked; glad not to be selling my blood anymore or using rolled-up toilet paper for sanitary napkins. But even in those dollar-few days, I’d find a bunch of roses abandoned on the street; or once, walking up Eighth Avenue to meet my date, the strap to my only pair of shoes disintegrated, and I went into a hotel after three barefoot blocks and asked, “Do you have any shoes?” And they did, a pair of Dr. Scholl’s that someone left that fit just right. Glad to be human; glad to be provided for; glad to provide for myself in faith and effort. Fun to find shoes, fun to buy them, too. 

Glad to be human—for solitude and to be able to be a stranger—a gift of the 21st century, like speed and music anytime and feast upon feast of stories anytime. Glad to be human for late nights, talk and art and sex and loving and all different languages; glad to be human for words themselves, peculiar to us as paper to the wasp, as leaf to tree or song to bird—words as human as a measured square. 

I’m taking an interesting online course called The Enlightened Brain, by Rick Hanson, PhD. In it he says our brain evolved to pay closer attention to bad news than to good, because survival was at stake. (That’s the Darwinian take, anyway. I may have more to say about this in future.) But he says we can actually rewire our brain as we learn to pay more attention to the good. It’s always  been my intuitive bent, and it wanted wording.

I hope you’ll buy my wording and feel your brain refresh as you read it, and I hope you buy a copy for someone you love. It’s a feeling worth spreading. (At the New Release discount price of 69c, it’s cheaper than a greeting card.)

You can buy Glad To Be Human here .

And I am personally offering a money-back guarantee:  Buy Glad To Be Human. If  you don’t feel better after reading it, I’ll refund your money! If you  want to share a reason you are Glad To Be Human, click here. The best responses will be considered for an GTBH anthology from Untreed Reads. Thank you for your patience and support, one and all–



Me, Inc. photo & all text © Irene O’Garden 2013

To listen to this post, please click here:Self As Brand

How odd, this phrase we’re reading everywhere: Self as Brand. From self as Soul, self as Citizen, even self as Consumer, to self as Thing To Market? Self as purposeful manufactured Product, publicly traded?

What to sell is an ancient question, surely. The market is a very, very, very old aspect of human life. For most of history our labor or the product thereof was what we sold. Nowadays it seems we can’t sell something unless we sell ourselves first.

I’m called to think about such things for the happy reason that the e-version of my Pushcart Prize-winning essay “Glad To Be Human” launches next week.

I’ve learned that now we makers must create the piece, create the platform and create the interest. Sheesh. Even God rested on the seventh day. (But, as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky says, “Skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.”)

My head’s been foaming questions: How can I sell my Self? You’ve already got one. What do you get when you open the package of me? And just how far do we go to reach our market?

I was asked to make a choice this week between a marketing strategy that would bring me more clicks,  but felt unlike me, and one that might prompt less interest, but felt true to myself.  Wrestling with that angel clarified things. Selling’s is not the same as selling out. So long as you are true to your “brand.”

Internet brouhaha aside, a brand is not a Self. It is a set of expectations to be honored.  The soap will lather. The seams won’t rip. The car will start.  I’ll post for you on Wednesdays and try to leave you glad you stopped by.

Self, yours and mine, is way beyond buying and selling. It’s what we freely, deeply constantly experience and what we share with one another.  Which is always something to be true to– as true as we are to the brands we love.


How does your personal “brand” come up in your world?

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