Finally, a WordPress “Improvement” I Like

Many of us have had mixed experiences with WordPress improvements. Today, I found one that I like.

WordPress Spam Filter is mostly a good thing. Irregularly it puts a the wrong comment in the spam filter or misses an obvious one, but overall, it does a decent job. My complaint was only being able to delete 20 at a time using bulk edit. I never found a way to increase the limit. Today when I went to delete my 94 spam comments, I found a new button.

The red Empty Spam button was now available next to bulk edit. I clicked on the Empty Spam button and got

Although it was slow to empty to the 94 spam messages, when I tried with just a single spam message it emptied immediately.

Now that is one improvement I can live with!

Interview with Francisco Bravo Cabrera

Francisco is a blogger, poet, artist, composer, videographer, and businessman. He has also been introducing us to women artists and creators in a series of blog posts and videos. This interview is in honor of Women’s History Month, which is celebrated in March.

1. How long have you been blogging and what prompted you to begin blogging?

In 2021 I started VALENCIARTIST, and I love blogging. I was prompted by my desire to communicate (as a Gemini male) and to inform about art and artists and as well introduce my poetry.

2. What are your favorite topics to blog about?

I dedicate my blog to writing about art, teaching about art, and talking about artists, musicians and my poetry. I don’t hold back, I tell it like I see it, like I think it and I proffer my opinions candidly.

3. From your blog, we can see that in addition to being an artist, you are also a composer, a poet, and a videographer. Do you have a preferred medium or do you feel that they all feed your muse?

I’ve three preferred mediums: The written word, the painted image, and the composed (or improvised) music. I am not a trained composer or videographer. My professional training in art (and medicine) is at the University level, but I have learned much more in the real world and I am still learning every day. I’m not too up for universities these days. They seem more like centres of indoctrination than centres of learning. I think you can learn all you need without some professor telling you that what he/she thinks is what you should know. I advocate learning our own truth.

4. Your blog often focuses on female artists in many mediums. Why do you choose to champion women artists? Do you have favorites among the women that you have shared to date?

I don’t like to see artists, just because they are women, to be considered inferior to men. And for a long time art history thought just that. In some instances they even rubbed the signature and replaced it with the name of a male artist. I think art should be valued for its merits and not by the gender of the person who created it. I noticed that there were many great women artists that I was never introduced to by professors at the U (thus my dislike for institutions of “higher learning”) and I began to explore, to learn, to search. As a result, I now have many favourites among the women artists that were never spoken about. My number one would be Louise Bourgeois, the French sculptor who created “Maman” the huge, incredible spider that has travelled the world, museum by museum.

5. How did you get into being an artist?

I’ve always loved art. I think my inclination towards the art was a gift from God and I realised that I had to do something worthy with it. I am still trying. My work is to please God, and then, hopefully, the rest of us, including myself.

6. You have lived in both the United States and now in Valencia. What do you like the best and the least about each of these locations?

I’ve lived in many other places as well. I feel that each place, each geographical position on the Earth that I have lived in, has given me something of the knowledge of the Earth and has helped me to dispel the lies of this world. The United States offered me many opportunities. It is a country of immigrants that has been made great by what these immigrants have done, so I understood its reason for existing and I felt at home there. I did not arrive as an immigrant, as I was a child, but I grew up in a very interesting time and in a very interesting place. Valencia, well Spain, is my home. I am not from this community as my family, and heritage, are from the north, Asturias and Navarra, but I feel at home here and I love the weather.

7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? Do you have any new frontiers that you would like to conquer?

Conquering each day, realising it is a new world, a new universe, every time I open my eyes in the morning. I plan to continue to write, to paint, to create videos for learning and teaching and to blog. I also want to do a little bit more travelling to places I have been wanting to go like Egypt to see the pyramids and to Israel, which is one of the countries I admire the most.

8. For people that may not be familiar with your blog, please define JaZzArt for us.

Jazz is a form, a genre of music which conforms to three main principles: One, that the player is also composer as he improvise; Two, improvisation; Three, that it must “swing”, or in other words have rhythm. I apply these three to my art.

9. What is the role of art in society?

Art is a means of expression. It is a language. In society we are faced with multitudes of problems and most of them are expressed through reports in the news and resolved by our institutions and by our political representatives or leaders. Art seeks to also solve problems but in different ways. Art appeals to our senses, to our taste, to our beliefs and to our worldview. Art can be expressive, decorative, rebellious but it must always remain as subterfuge for it lies below the surface for the majority of the people.

10. What else would you like to share with us?

I strongly believe that artists have a social and spiritual responsibility, whether they realise it or believe it. Therefore an artist must speak out against injustices, against political corruption, against unfair practices and other ills of society that we see reported everyday in the television/online news. I have chosen many battles to engage with. One is the fact that women artists are being discriminated and I want to see that end. Art is the product, the hard work, of the artist and it is what holds value, not the

Changing Heart into Art

I got this “quote” that Jean Marie ( made in her comments section.

We listen to the Muses' siren voice
Our artistic soul responds, 
we have no choice
but to create with lines drawn or writ.
Are they any good?
Probably not one bit

In his 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” The meaning behind this, in theory, is simple. To be considered elite and truly experienced within a certain craft, you must practice it for ten thousand hours.

Although 10,000 is a made up number, it does reinforce that old adage that “Practice makes perfect.” No athlete ever won a championship because of talent–it took lots of practice, help from coaches, hours of working out in the gym, and iterations of repetition.

The same thing can apply to the arts, (writers, composers, dancers, actors, performers and artists of all mediums). Even if practice does not make for perfect, it will make for improvement.

Craft – an activity involving skill in making things by hand.

Skill does not come from talent, it comes from practice and repetition. So hone your craft–don’t just wait for your muse to inspire.

Reblog Audrey Driscoll’s Conundrums and Contradictions

Do rules make it right or do they interfere with write?

Challenge: What Story Would You Come Up with for Hanging the Moon?

Hanging the Moon photo blog post garnered a lot of comments. Malc from EasyMalc commented that the photo essay came from “a Polish chap called Cris Froese.”

I wondered what other stories might be told about this photo series. Either share your story in the comments or share it on your own blog and share the link in comments. Werewolves, lunar grand theft, man escaping from the moon, car with a need for more cubic feet in the trunk…

Don Ostertag, came up with this scenario in yesterday’s comments. ‘What a clever trick! Of course he has to watch where it is seen. Somebody might report him as a thief.”

A Successful Poetry Retreat

On a hot, humid, hazy day, seven poets met for the first Mountain Light Poetry Retreat. Participants began arriving before 9 am for the scheduled 9:30 Meet and Greet.

Initially there was some confusion because the food was set up in the delightfully cool kitchen, located in the cellar of the bunk house. Yet, some people thought that the meet and greet was to be in the church, where we were supposed to have our half day retreat.

Ray Griffin, our facilitator, had arrived early and had started all of the fans so there was air moving in the unconsecrated chapel. He had also put an evaluation in each chair with the request to fill it out at the end of the retreat and leave it in a basket by the door.

We were offered coffee, chilled water, and flavored sparkling water as well as fruit, some small pastries and cheese straws (a traditional southern appetizer) in the kitchen. About 10 the group slowly walked over to the church for the beginning of the actual retreat.

In addition to Ray, Debbie (our hostess and owner of Mountain Light Retreat), and me, other attendees included Carol, a member of the Blue Ridge Writer’s group that Ray and I belong to, Mary and Patricia two friends of Debbie’s, and Rhonda, a friend of mine who traveled up from Georgia for the retreat.

Ray asked people what poetry meant to them. As we offered up ideas, he wrote them on an easel. Ideas ranged poetry is images and words, through a way to share emotions and thoughts that are otherwise not easy to explain.

After that he asked what we wanted from the retreat. Most answers involved some opportunity to reflect and write.

We then began a group poem where everyone offered one line. People chimed in as they felt comfortable. Some people offered lines that had to be squeezed in above or below other lines because they were inspired by the lines as they appeared written on the sheet. We agreed to keep the poem to the members of the group but it began with people sitting in a circle nodding and ended up with going out to greet the fairies.

It was a convivial group effort with everybody willing to contribute a line to the poem. That willingness to share lasted throughout the rest of the retreat.

At 10:40, we split up in different directions. Most people went outside to sit in the heat and humidity to be inspired by the timeless Blue Ridge Mountains and the hidden bird choir surrounding us in the many mature trees bordering the front lawn and buildings.

During that period, Ray noticed the haze rising off the top of the mountains to reveal their leafy green summits. Of the six of us seated in a variety of wooden, metal, and plastic chairs of varying styles, I noticed a doe and two fawns tiptoe across the lower lawn before pausing to catch something on the soft breeze and dashing into the nearby trees. Mary, who had moved her Adirondack chair from the sun to the shade of those same trees, saw a raccoon descend from one of the trees and rattled her cane at him to not come any closer. The raccoon obeyed.

Rhonda had opted to sit in the enclosed front porch of the cottage where Ray, Debbie, and I had met to begin planning the retreat, but the porch was locked. Rhonda then retreated to the cool kitchen.

Patricia sat down on the stone steps leading up to the church. She thought the stone was high enough for her to be able to stand back up. It was not. Ray and I pulled her up from a sitting position but she fell forward to her knees. Fortunately our grasp on her arms prevented her from falling further. On her count of three, we successfully got her back on her feet.

After that it was time to return to our circle of chairs in the church and share what we had written. Everyone had written at least one poem; many of the poets writing multiple drafts of that poem. The group decided they wanted to have the poems printed in a journal that would be available just for group members. Ray agreed to format the journal and receive the poems from everybody.

At 12:15, we returned to the kitchen to eat the lunches we had each bought. People shared the food they had brought, plus the remaining fruit, pastries, and cheese straws from the morning. The retreat ended about 1, with everyone looking forward to a fall poetry retreat.

Ray, our facilitator communing with his Muse. The stairs behind Ray was where Patricia was sitting. The kitchen is just out of the camera’s range in the stone building to the right. The chapel is to the left, also out of the camera’s range at the top of the stairs.

Author Interview with Teagan R. Geneviene


Prologue narrated by author:

 I just finished reading Journeys.  I didn’t want it to end.   What did you enjoy the most about converting this novel into a serial?  What did you struggle with the most?

It gave me a chance to explore the various characters in a more individual way than would be typical in this kind of “high fantasy” story.  If it was only one huge book, that kind of thing would have seemed to bog down the plot

 Who was your favorite character and why?

Horsefeathers!  That’s a logical question, but so very hard to answer.  I would say that I just don’t know.  However, I suppose I answered that for myself, when there was one character to whom I particularly didn’t want to say goodbye.

I don’t mean to be coy…  Actually, I don’t guess that is a spoiler, since he’s already dead.  Hallr, the High King of the North, became my favorite character.  I enjoyed the transformation that took place in him, and having him be different from the kind of person one would expect in such a character.

Who was your most difficult character and why?

Umm… These are really good thought-provoking questions, Pat.  Let’s see…

Characters were difficult for various reasons.  Afon Faxon became difficult during the re-write, though it didn’t originally phase me.  He was difficult because there was so much of my own father’s attitude toward me in his reactions to Emlyn.

Haldis was an enjoyable challenge from the beginning — because I had to at the same time show and let her cover up how broken she was.  Of course, writing her was also difficult emotionally.

As you know I have always been a huge Deae Matres fan.  How did you come up with the idea for this group of learned women?

I’m really not sure.  The idea was just there.  I didn’t think about it, get inspired by something, or struggle to come up with it.  It was just there.

I love how you give us some details of each land visited on the Journeys and allow us to fill in the details.  I feel like I have been to the British Isles, all over the Mediterranean, and into some of the Middle East.  Do you have a favorite Land among those we have journeyed to?

It’s wonderful to hear that, Pat.  I tried to use names and descriptions that led the reader to fill in a lot of details without me slowing the story by giving long descriptions.  I intentionally tried to make the fictional countries resemble real-world countries from our past.

The appearance of the people, clothes, and landscape of Pergesca (which is a city in the country of Lutesca) was very enjoyable to me.  That was one place where I went outside my “system” and designed the gowns myself.

However, I think my favorite country is one that the journeys didn’t reach.  That is Tajín’s homeland of Bandihar.  It is described in a couple of the journeys.

Your god and goddesses are an eclectic group.  I love how all of the little hints dropped along the Journeys, culminated in some surprising scenes and incidents.  They seem like a mix of Greco/Roman gods and goddesses with a bit of Celtic and even Norse gods thrown in.  No one is predictable or one dimensional.  How do you select these characters?

The goddesses and gods are directly inspired by the various mythologies that you mentioned.  I did a lot of research on different mythologies.  Selecting the ones I used was, again, part of what I did to subtly get the reader to imagine the many different countries.

I love how the horses are an integral part of the plot.  Each one is a separate character.  Do you have an affinity for horses?

While I do love animals in general, the answer is no.  My stories always include animal characters.  Emlyn’s oppressed homeland didn’t allow her to start out with a pet, since they were prohibited.  However, in this kind of “high fantasy” the horses almost always get their part.  It’s said jokingly of this genre, but it’s nonetheless true — every character and place gets a name, no matter how insignificant, even the horses.

Do your different worlds spring full blown from your forehead like Athena did from Zeus?  Or do you do research once you have an idea and let research help dictate the plot?

Both.  The Athena-Zeus thing happens first.  However, no matter what I’m writing, or how well I think I know a world or a subject, I research the heck out of it.   Thank heaven I’m a research geek!  Because I enjoy it.

What is one thing about you that none of us are likely to guess?

That’s hard.  Sometimes I figure most people think I’m an enigma, even though I feel I’m an open book.  Between blog posts and comments, I disclose a lot of personal thoughts.  I can’t think of anything good.  I’ll offer up that I play the piano, although I don’t read music at all.  It’s too much like math to me, and I’m useless with math.  Am I any good?  Well, that’s a matter of taste in music and opinion.  I do love my piano though.

 Was the very helpful summary of characters at end of each Journey for your benefit or ours?

I create a story matrix for every longer story I write, so the list wasn’t for me.  There was a massive series that I loved, so this isn’t a criticism.  However, it was character heavy, and they all had affiliations and allergenics out the wazoo.  I couldn’t keep up with all the names.  Plus, many of them were similar, within a couple of letters of being the same name.  I always wished there was a list of characters.  Since I was publishing Dead of Winter in installments, and I had a ton of characters, I didn’t want to put readers through the challenge of keeping all the names straight.

Teagan and the Dragon’s Eye from the Journeys. Be Careful; He is listening.

Teagan’s Blog.

When the Canned Response Does Not Work

Have you ever tried to contact Tech Support about a problem only to have them read from a script that does not address any of the issues that you have tried to convey?

On May 28, I had that experience with WordPress, when several blogs that I have followed for over a year suddenly would not allow me to either like or comment. At the same time I was having this problem with my PC, I was able to both like and comment on my cellphone.

I had told them I could comment and like from my cellphone but not from my computer.

From WordPress: We noticed you were able to log in,

Me: That was from the cellphone but not the computer.

WordPress: Have you logged into WordPress,

Me: I have WordPress open to work on an upcoming post.

Per their request, I began to show them screen shots of subsequent transactions, including the different between a cellphone response and a computer response.

It took them a few days before they continued the email conversation. They wanted to know which sites were giving me problems so I send them the links.

From WordPress: You will need to login to your account to be able to like a post. If you are not logged in when you try to like a post, you will see a pop-up asking you to login to your account, once you login you will be able to like the post.

Me. I am logged into WordPress. I sent them a screen shot of that day’s statistics as proof.

They then asked me if I had logged into a different WordPress account–I only have this one account.

Finally on June 2, WordPress gave me some options that did not involve asking me questions I thought I had already answered.

WordPress: Can you try clearing your cache on your computer by following these steps?

Me: Cleared the cache. It did not clear up the problem.

WordPress: In order to eliminate the issue as being related to the account login, can you go to the link shared below, and send, via screenshot, what you see there, please:

It didn’t show any problem.

WordPress: From the image, it looks like you are using Firefox. In the browser, can you please check what level your security settings are at? (WP press thought it might have been set on Strict which could have been causing the problem.)

Me: It is set on standard.

WordPress: I’d suggest you to try other browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge etc and see if the same issue persists across browsers. They also recommended that I refresh Firefox

Me: Google allowed me to like, but still required me to log in when I wanted to comment. However, when I refreshed Firefox, it worked like a charm. I am once again a happy camper.

Planning a Poetry Retreat

My friend, Debbie Scott, co-owner and Director of the new Mountain Light Retreat Center, wants to have a Poetry Retreat. She asked me if I knew anyone to recommend. I told her about the man who runs our monthly Read and Critique group and is a published poet.

Mountain Light Retreat Banner

Before I contacted him, I asked her what some of her expectations for the retreat were

  • Small initial group
  • Modest charge to ensure the reservation
  • Length of time and date at the discretion of the facilitator
  • Attendees bring their own lunch
  • Perhaps a light tea with refreshments provided in the afternoon
  • Stipend for the facilatator

Ray Griffin was pleased to be asked as the facilitator; Ray, Debbie, and I met on May 20 to plan the event at 10 am before the heat of the day set in. From the front porch of the cottage, Debbie dusted the pollen off the comfortable rocking chairs. We rested a spell listening to the rushing waters of a nearby hidden creek, the calls of various birds, and soaking in the lush greenness of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.

“The (Shenandoah) Park is not far from here?” Ray asked.

“No it isn’t,” Debbie replied.

Here is the agenda for the Poetry Retreat

A Gathering of Poets

16 June 2022


9:30:                Arrival of Participants.

Enjoy walking around the grounds, exploring the buildings, or relaxing in a chair on the porch and enjoy the view of the mountains. The old church is also open for meet and greet.

9:30 – 10:        Meet and Greet in the Church.

Light refreshments will be provided before and during the retreat.

10:00               Welcome by Debbie Scott, our Host

10:05               Let’s Get Started by Ray Griffin, our Facilitator

  • Introductions.
    • Your Expectations from Today.
    • What is poetry, and what does it mean to you?

10:20               Group Poem Exercise.

10:40               Find Your Space and Thus Your Center

Please find a comfortable space, either alone or with another poet. Find your space and inspiration for a poem, or poems that you will write this morning.

12:00               Regroup and Sharing Poetry in the Church.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and poem(s) you wrote this morning, or just listen to what others might wish to share.

12:30               Lunch in the Dining Hall

Brief Wrap-up and Thank you for Participating.

Enjoy good conversation while dining.

WordPress Removes Useful Info with Its Cleaner Layout

On April 20, I noticed that WordPress had a new layout for comments.

We also lose that capability when somebody likes a post.

I like being able to check out the post of somebody who likes one of my posts or who comments. Sometimes they are first-time visitors or people who come by infrequently.

This is a blogger I do not recall visiting before. I tried to Google the only information that is provided and could not find a blog site to see if this is a blogger I might enjoy following. I did find it in Reader but I don’t habitually use Reader and hate having WordPress dictate what I must do to find something.

Yes, I do fall into the trap that if you like one of my posts, especially if you also comment, I will try to reciprocate and check out your post. Some of the blogs I visit are not necessarily ones that I want to follow, but I like them well enough to drop by and reciprocate.

WordPress, please us give back the additional info. Sometimes a cleaner look is not really an improvement if you have stripped away useful information. Do you prefer the old look or the cleaner new look?


Luisa finds the best gems to celebrate.

words and music and stories

Charles Bukowski, who died on 9 March 1994 was a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer, whose words of “ordinary madness” scandalized the world.
He spent a lot of time roaming from job to job living in rooming houses from the East Coast to the West Coast before joining the United States Postal Service in Los Angeles. In 1969 Bukowski left that job to dedicate himself to full-time writing.

“You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”

“If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.”

The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.”

Charles Bukowski, morto il 9 marzo 1994, è stato un poeta, romanziere…

View original post 115 more words

Nine Ways to Write When You’re the Writer-in-Residence on the Washington State Ferry

Have you ever imagined being a writer in residence on a ferry? Sign me up!

Click here to read the article since WordPress does not provide the URL when you hit the reblog button.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Iris Graville

  1. Sit. Place a folded sign with your name and title on the table where you usually work. A table under sepia photographs of Coast Salish peoples rocking a baby in a cradleboard, carving wood, and hunting whales. Some of their faces carry deep creases; many fold chapped and worn hands in their laps. They lived, worked on, and cared for this sea long before you did, years before this sixty-year-old vessel plied these waters at 13 knots, coursing between islands that now carry names of European explorers who claimed them as their own.
  2. Scrawl. With a pen in a leather, handbound journal, numbering each page and dating each entry. Record conversations overheard; observations of rocky cliffs, cedars and coppery Madrones, and jewel-like water carrying the 310-foot Tillikum on its route through Washington’s San Juan Islands.
  3. Type. On a shiny, 13-inch, three-pound laptop Coast Salish tribes never…

View original post 626 more words

Just Published My First Short Essay on Medium

Medium is a writing platform with a variety of writers. Although this is my first written piece for Medium, I already have 57 followers. Since before today, I have never published anything on Medium but a few comments, I find it odd that anyone has found me, much less followed me. I am guessing it is to get me to follow them. (Sounds like the like-phenomenom on WordPress.)

If anyone has a surfeit of time, click here to read a short essay on White Space.