Now You Are Ten

To Erin, A Most Wonderful Daughter and Big Sister

Erin, you have spent your first ten years showing your family, and the world, that if you run headlong at life’s boundaries, sometimes the boundaries leap out of the way. Your daring is inspiring.

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Erin, you have spent your first ten years showing your family, and the world, that if you hold your heart wide open, it fills all the others around it without emptying itself. Your kindness is inspiring.

Erin and Adrian

 

Erin, you have spent your first ten years showing your family, and the world, that if you close your eyes and sing, sometimes the quiet world around you takes up the tune. Your spirit is inspiring.

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We cannot wait to see you run, love, and sing your way through the next ten years. You are inspiring, and we want to run, love, and sing along with you.

Your loving father, mother, and brother.

I Just Revolutionized Professional Blogging

Something that stands out to me about many, many traffic-dependent blogs and websites is the Slideshow Post. In order to increase pageviews, and advertising dollars linked to pageviews, bloggers include a slideshow in the post so that when a visitor to the site clicks through the slideshow, their single visit counts as multiple pageviews. Longer slideshows mean more pageviews.

As someone who just likes to tell stories, I have a hard time doing these slideshow posts. I’ve managed to do it a few times, but it always felt a little forced to me. Moreover, the culture of the slideshow encourages posts built around “Top 10” style lists. The Internet is now filled with Top 10 list slideshows, all drowning each other out and leaving a thick film of homogeneity all over the Internet. It’s a formula that has been proven to work to increase pageviews, and readers love Top 10 titles. But as a writer (ha! I almost said that with a straight face) and storyteller, those posts just don’t come naturally to me.

But I do feel like if I’m going to blog professionally, I have to embrace at least part of the drive to increase clicks. I have to play the game, and do so enthusiastically. But if I don’t like doing Top 10 lists, how can I participate in a way that stays interesting for me?

I’ve found the way.

I recently wrote a slideshow post at Babble that, instead of using the slides to show photos of different things, just uses them as numbers. Page numbers. Each slide is part of a story, like those Choose Your Own Adventure books I used to read as a kid. Based on choices offered on the slide you are reading, you click on a different Page Number Slide, and you get to go through a different little journey. It’s storytelling, and writing, in a way that uses the slideshow tool without depending on lists.

It took a little bit of work to keep the choices tracking the right pages, but that was almost half the fun of it. The other half was coming up with the different branches I lead you down.

Maybe in the end this kind of effort won’t pay off. Maybe Top 10 lists dominate because they are the right balance of interesting content and effort. But I’m going to keep trying. Maybe not every week, but once in a while.

Go ahead. Click on the picture to get started. (Note: I am not good at Art.)

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Warning: This Post Contains Explicit Endorsements of Sugar, Neglect, Birthday Parties, and Eavesdropping on Kids

Here are four things I wrote that you may not have read because you don’t read all the things I write even though I write them for you to read.

First, I learn how to get my kids to deal with dessert in a way that one commenter described as “similar to an eating disorder treatment”. I think that’s an endorsement, but I’m not sure.

Second, I highly recommend ignoring your kids, particularly when, but not limited to times when, you want to finish a mission in Mass Effect. It’s also good for some developmental things, I think, but that’s not as important as stopping a Rachni invasion.

Third, I never thought describing how my daughter decided she wanted to invite her whole class to her birthday party would raise the hackles of the Internet, but apparently people like to see controversy and side-choosing where there isn’t any. Although there totally was here. I completely side with inviting all the kids in the class if that’s what your kid wants and that’s something you’re comfortable with and none of them are Rachni.

And last: Although you didn’t realize it, I’ve been eavesdropping on your kids. They say some pretty messed up things.

So, while you’re all off reading those, I’ll be here, writing more stuff you won’t read. It’s a good thing I like to hear myself talk. And that blogging is the easiest job anyone could ever have.

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