Blogs: Oh, the Places You’ll Go [State of the Site]

Graffiti Trains over NE 23rd Street east of Broadway Avenue | Oklahoma City

While checking out Branded in the 80s, I discovered a blog meme  League of Extraordinary Bloggers, on the site Cool and Collected. They’re hoping to snag some new bloggers and I’ve decided to participate. Click here to review the details.

This week’s assignment is a “state of the site.” How are things going on What exciting things have happened this past year? Where do you want your site to be in a year’s time?

New Meme
In January, I began Graffiti Wednesday. I was pretty faithful with this feature until July rolled around and I photographed some graffiti behind a big-box store in a suburb of Oklahoma City. This graffiti really said something, which is exactly what street art is suppose to do. If it doesn’t, it’s just an edgier version of wallpaper. So, I guess I became a graffiti snob, wanting the graffiti I highlighted to reflect some political, social or religious statement. Graffiti Wednesday isn’t going away, but I will be more selective in the future with what I post.

Public Radio
In March, I began doing commentaries every Tuesday on KOSU, a national public radio affiliate here in Oklahoma City. This week was (I think) my 35th commentary. This is a new medium for me and I continue to work out kinks including how to write to be heard versus writing to be read. I post most of my essays here and you can find them all under the KOSU Radio label. By the way, while I’m thinking of it, I’ll be on the radio this Monday between 4 and 6 p.m. for KOSU’s fall drive.

In late June, I began participating in OG&E’s blogger program for the SmartHours program. It’s always a great experience being able to work with a big brand. The last time I did this was for Gotta Love Chevy and the Chevy Malibu. That was in 2009 (or was it 2010?), so it was nice to revisit an opportunity like that. They don’t come along very often, and I always learn so much about blogging and social media while I’m doing them.

Photos & Generations
Photography has become a huge part of my blog, and in July, I launched a companion site, Photos & Generations. It’s essentially a store where you can buy prints, cards and postcards of my photography. I have not had time lately to add new sets, but I have several in the works that I’m trying to flesh out. I will be posting a fall colors collection soon.

Tweaking the Design
Throughout the year, I’ve updated the design of my site. I can’t commit to a design because I love tweaking it (probably to a fault). Hopefully, the changes haven’t been too annoying. Page load is always a concern so I sometimes feature a carousel or large photo of the day and sometimes not.

Where Forrest Gump Stopped Running
Photo by Richard and Cindy Krause via Flickr

I continue to blog about Generation X, which I have done almost daily for the last four years. But, sometimes, I want to quit blogging, and I think one day maybe I will, though I can’t say when. Maybe next year or in five years or maybe tomorrow? But, I think whenever it happens it will be just like Forrest Gump when he got tired of running. I’ll just stop at mile marker 16 on Utah’s Highway 163. Do you remember what Forrest said? “I think I’ll go home now.” Later in the movie he explains it like this:

“My Mama always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on. And I think that’s what my running was all about. I had run for three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours.” 

Oh, The Places You’ll Go
Finally, today, I had some time to kill between a work assignment and picking the kids up from school. I decided to see what interesting things I could find to photograph over near Classen-Ten-Penn, a blighted area of Oklahoma City. That’s when I ran into Kenyata. Isn’t he adorable?

Jennifer Meets A Kid at a Redneck Haunted House
Jen and Kenyata

I was getting out of my jeep to shoot some pictures of a creepy haunted house when he blew by me on his scooter. He looked like a nice kid so I engaged him conversation. Here’s how it went:

ME: Hey, there, what are you doing out of school today?

KENYATA: I didn’t feel too good this morning, but I feel better now.

ME: I can see that.

KENYATA: What are you doing?

ME: I’m a blogger and I’m here to take pictures of this haunted house. Do you know what a blog is?

KENAYTA: Yes. Do you make money blogging?

ME: Ummmm. Well. Kind of. Maybe. Sometimes. It’s complicated.

KENYATA: I like your jeep.

ME: I like your scooter.

KENYATA: I like your camera.

ME: I like your face. Can I take your picture?


You meet lots of cool people blogging.
Jen and Jeremy

So, then this boy and his brother, Jeremy, give me a tour of the props outside the Haunted House while I, a perfect stranger, take pictures of them. I wonder if I’m violating some law and am going to get arrested for taking pictures of children I don’t know. Then they ask me if they can take my picture and so I pose for a picture with each of them. I don’t think twice about letting either one of them hold my Nikon. They’re pretty good photographers on the first try.

Then, they invite me to come home with them to meet their mother, and, I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t, since we’ve broken all the rules about talking to strangers. So, I walk a block with them to their house. I secretly hope I don’t get shot in a drive-by. I meet their mom and show her the pictures on my digital camera. I tell her I will print copies and send her some if she’d like. And, she’s so excited to see these pictures of her precious boys. She tells me to have a blessed day and I tell Kenyata and Jeremy goodbye.

On the walk back to my jeep, I think about all the places blogging has taken me and all the places I hope it will take me, still. And, all the places I hope Jeremy and Kenyata get to go, like college and not that awful haunted house.

Check out these fun blog posts on “State of the Site” from other members of the League of Extraordinary bloggers. I asterisked a couple of my personal favorites, but they’re all great.


I don't know what brought you here today, but I'm glad you're here. I invite you to sign up for my MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. It will be delivered right to your inbox just once a month. (No annoying daily emails.) Life is beautiful and though the days be short, sometimes, our troubles are long. Let's share a small part of the journey with each other! --jen


  1. says

    Yogi’s Den getting squeezed out is a very funny line. I just don’t think I’ll blog forever, but I don’t know. It’s like Chicago’s hard habit to break!

  2. says

    I love this post. You are so creative and experimental. I’ve thought a lot about blogging and what it is going to look like in five to ten years and if I’m going to still be doing it or not. I’ve already got a Tumblr blog that I like because it is just pure photographs and I’ve got almost 500 posts on already and no obligation to reciprocate visits. Plus I’m loving Instagram. I could see yogis-den getting squeezed out by other things.

    I love Graffiti Wednesday but I also ran out of gas on it a little bit. The permission zone here in Tulsa seems to have been taken over by amateurs. My  ambition now is to capture a yarn bomb. Plus I discovered embroidery graffiti and want to capture one of those also.

    You are so fearless. I hesitate on photographing children. You just do it and then march over and meet their mother. You are such an inspiration. Taking pictures of of sunsets, and buildings and stuff is great but the photographs of mine that I like the best are of people even though I’m not very good at it and don’t do it very often.

    Also, I have to let you know that your comment the other day on one of my posts made my day. Keep in mind though that I am not a photographer, I’m an old guy that takes pictures. You are a photographer.

  3. says

    I wish I had an editor! The very posts that people seem to like the best are the ones I struggle most to post and think will be boring. So, thank you! I was just thinking the other day how awesome it would be to be able to start over with a new blog, and to do exactly what you said — PLAN it out. And despite what I hear sometimes about blogging not being as popular as it once was, I continue to see new blogs or relatively new blogs doing quite well. Ask A  PR Girl is one. It was started in 2009 or 2010, I think, and she’s done very well despite the plethora of PR and marketing blogs out there. So, i think a fresh idea and quality writing, which you definitely can do, always have the potential to attract a community and do well. I hope you do start blogging again now that you’re back in the states. Email me if you want to discuss strategy and ideas. I feel so hemmed in by my blog sometimes. I try to reinvent in this space sometimes, but it’s not easy. Mostly, I just continue to struggle with telling the truth. Disclosure has tremendous consequence. Ugh. Someday… By the way, WELCOME HOME!

  4. says

    I ♥ this post so, so much! From the cool graffiti train to the conversation you had with Kenyata & Jeremy — what two delightful boys they are! And cute as can be. Their mom should be proud, and hey, it looks like they take  great photos, too! I’m impressed.

    I’m glad that you have had such a commitment to blogging, Jen. I admire that a lot. While I have more or less halted my Paris blog, I have already been out doing things and taking photos of what I see, blogging mindset already going. I don’t know what or if I will do anything (else) yet, but I am at least getting into the mindset/planning part of doing it. In fact, I think it would be my fourth or fifth attempt at something, and it is kind of cool to take the time to really think something out, and *plan* it, something I have never done with blogging before. Usually, I have just jumped in and started writing stuff, off the cuff. So we’ll see. It’s hard to take the blog out of the girl, even when the girl is not in the place where she used to blog… (hard to be “an alien parisienne” in Denver, haha, so I have to reinvent). It kind of gets into your blood, huh.

    Be well & thank you again for this rockin’ post (as all are, but I was just so take with Kenyata and Jeremy that I had to take some time out to comment today! I always read the posts in my email subscription, though. Just so you know).


  5. says

     Thanks, Brian Adams. That’s a great name, by the way. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Thanks for stopping by. I’m convinced it takes 10 million pixels or more to capture the mystery, essence and god-likeness of children. Enjoy!

  6. says

    Thank you! Those boys were so special. Andi, I think you were the first blogger to introduce me to these blog carnivals way back in the dark ages of 2009. hahaha!!

  7. Brian Adams says

    A fantastic article to start you off with the League–I can’t wait for more! (You inspired me to grab my camera and snap some pics of my kids playing in the yard.)

  8. says

    Love this post and how everything tied itself up into a neat bow! This only further illustrates why you are the masterful blogger!  I will check out the League project, sounds interesting!

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