Think of all the things you’ve done to “make money”. That, in itself, is a ridiculous concept. We don’t “make money”, the government does. We, you and I, earn money.
I started earning money as a girl – granted an allowance for accomplishing certain chores. Chores done, allowance paid. No chores done, no allowance. Some chores completed, partial payment.
At 19 I landed my first “adult” job as a clerk-typist at a social service in Providence, Rhode Island. Paid weekly. Still living at home with my parents in Warwick, RI. Within a few months I fledged myself. Time to go out on my own. One room apartment on the East Side, shared bath, no parking. Independent. Earning money. Paying my own bills.
Some time later I began to see and understand better about what money, as a thing, did to folks. The earning of it, who had more of it, who had less of it and how those two conditions stratified and segregated people from and against each other. Judgements. “Better than” because one had more money. “Less than” because of having not so much money.
This is nothing to say about how the getting of that money perverted folks – what one did to get more, as if the flash and bling and apparent “power” that all that money was had made a person, somehow, superior or more influential, ultimately.
I still earn money and appreciate what it allows me to do – support a household, buy food, purchase something beautiful, share it to support a charitable cause or new initiative. There are times, however, when I think about the earlier tradition of barter – I have something you want, you have something I want, we determine a fair value, make the deal and each of us walks away satisfied and happy. Simple. Neverthemore, in most Westernized societies, barter has faded and it’s the dollar that rules.
Next time you think about money, think about what it really is – a coin or a decorated piece of paper – and, what it takes to earn it, how the having or not having it creates false and devastating divisions between us (as people and as nations); and, what’s the true value and human cost of “earning money”.
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(c) 6/8/ 2017
written by: Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer
A new spin on K.I.S.S. ~ essay
Sitting in my science class in junior high school, my desk was at the back of the room, situated to look down one of those long hall ways.
Someone was out of class and shouted out, “You’re stupid!” to someone I couldn’t see. That echoed ’round that long, empty hallway and smacked me right in my gut. What an ugly word to shout at someone.
Years later someone shared K.I.S.S. with me and there was that ugly word again. Despicable.
I’d have none of that.
From that time forward I changed that last “S” to “Sweetie”. So much better.
Words have power. They can heal or they hurt.
Mind what flows through your lips. You are responsible for what you speak and what you don’t speak.
K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(weetie).
May 1, 2017 – #poem
So much to say
So much Silence in between
Solitude is my constant companion
Balance in all things
Letting thoughts and breath
run out and back
Sun on skin
Joy-filled hoot from behind
Mating calls of this bird and that
Distant roar of plane pushing into
brilliant blue of this afternoon’s air
One mourning dove lowing
soft and close
Thank You for this life
This one I’m living at this moment…
…this moment …this moment
Each of us is in service to someone or
Who do you serve?
…only this moment.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(c) 5.1.17 – Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer
There are a lot of things that can distract us these days. Should “leaders” fall into that grouping?
More than a few “leaders” employ the strategy of distraction, tossing out red herrings willy-nilly and expecting the populace to follow.
I’m not falling for it. Listening with a long memory of “leaders” who have come before, the art of the strategy of distraction is one that is particularly dishonest, disingenuous and demeaning.
When asked a direct question, give a direct answer. Simple enough.
We certainly live in interesting times. Leaders need to lead forthrightly, without talking down to the populace nor intentionally and/or unintentionally employing their particular spin on the strategy of distraction.
FRESH NIGHT AIR ~ #poem
There are moments that will always twang a heart –
like the sound of a plucked steel string guitar
echoing far beyond the resonance in a
fresh night air
That was one of those moments,
embraced by winds of an oncoming tropical blow –
day filled with bluest sky, dancing clouds and
dancing crowds When, unexpectedly, an
invitation is extended and accepted
That rhythm that thrums through all of us was
thrumming through a quiet, gentle, loving tenderness
in that fresh night air, as a whisper
whispered close and low
(Time to go
Time to go)
Steel string echo plucks a heart
in this fresh night air
I am there.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
© Jessan Dunn Otis/September 7, 2016
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Chasing the gold ring: some thoughts on #SEO and all ~ essay
After 20+ years of collaborating with clients to create custom content for a variety of readables and collaterals that communicate (and, a tad more mischief), I think about SEO as part of the foundation of how the bots and search engines “see” content on your site. You know, of course, that there are many more search engines than the most popular.
It is words that feed the bots and analytics. Since every site has an intention and/or focus, the density of the keywords is essential. Within measurable limits, there can and should be a certain percentage of keywords per an average 500-word article on a site. Sometimes that density can be a bit higher and still not be considered “over-stuffing” by the bots. Too high, however, and the bots will “reject” the density; and, in fact, penalize a site for using way too many keywords.
There are companies (small and large) that you can pay to create keyword and SEO content. Thing is, when you stop paying those companies, your site ranking drops, at best, or plummets. Of course, there are certain keywords that are very competitive to pay for for SEO and keyword density, to up the ranking on search engines. The more universally popular and/or desirable a keyword is, the more expensive it can be to pay someone to rise up your site via search engine rankings for that keyword.
The very best SEO is organic, keyword density; and, that means creating content that consistently and regularly centers on the variety of keywords associated with your site, focus and intention(s).
Also, there are things called “short tail” or “long tail” keywords. That’s an extension of SEO involving content that, somewhat, “surrounds”/extends your keyword(s), employing variables of your keyword(s). This is accomplished mathematically and, again, can shift and change as more and more content/sites are jumping onto the ‘net. Much more explanations can be found by putting “short tail” or “long tail” into your search engine.
Search engines are constantly and consistently shifting and refining their bots for keyword density and SEO. In other words, what was true at one time may have shifted and may not be so true at this time or at a later time. Metrics, analytics, keyword density acceptability and all are capricious and everyone is chasing that “gold ring”.
Another item to note re: searchability and search engine ranking is that most folks do not go to the first, second or third listing via a search engine for keywords. It’s thought that those placed there are either paid search rankings (i.e. “false”) or too expensive for whatever one is searching. The best placement via a search engine search is #4-10; nevertheless, over time, that can change, too.
REMEMBER: Words drive the ‘net. Organic, custom content, with prevailing, accepted keyword density is the best. That means creating original, SEO content. Study the history of the world wide web, on which the ‘net “floats”, and one will better come to understand and employ SEO.
Or, you can ignore all the apparent rules and, simply, write what you want.
Now, go and create original, custom content, that tells a good story – again and again and again.
NB: This article, in a slightly different form, was written as an e-mail response to a dear Friend’s question about how I learned about SEO and how they, too, could learn about it. Thanks, DK, for asking.
6:41 AM ~ poem
In this early morning, break-of-a-new day light
In this cooling, new-day air
I could live
(c) poem and photo credit – Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer – August 30, 2016
Why I am a #Writer ~ essay
Let’s begin by understanding one thing – I wasn’t always a writer. After all, once I accomplished the required rudiments of beginning to become a human being – i.e. sitting up, eating human food, beginning to learn language, walking and all – I was just a little girl, growing up.
Somewhere along the way, however, I learned that words have meaning – often, deep meaning(s). That speaking the most right word can either encourage or profoundly discourage myself and others; and, unfortunately, that words can be used as weapons.
Some time later I, also, learned to write words. Sometimes they were “funny words”, like “sword” (that I learned how to spell by emphasizing the “sw” sound and, then, adding the remaining “…ord”). I have a long and growing list of “funny words”. Another one might be “ghabberflasted” (intentionally flipped ’round for memorability and humor).
Eventually, I began to, somewhat, “eat” words – rolling them over in my mouth for pronunciation, “digesting” the deeper meaning(s), learning the human history of words. I think, at that point, I was “hooked”; but, didn’t consciously realize it yet. I was on the path to becoming a writer; whether a “public” writer or a “private” writer didn’t matter.
Subsequently, the unconscious became conscious as I wrote more. I thought, as a returned undergraduate, I would be going into law to, then, specialize in international law, with sitting on the World Court as my goal.
Halfway through my undergraduate degree (I went back as a sophomore), what can only be called a phenomenological occurrence happened; my goal took a one-week hiatus, while I talked with two writers and two lawyers. At the end of one week, I decided to go into writing not lawyering; and, didn’t know it was poetry until I wrote more.
The rest, as is said, is my history as a writer – earning my graduate degree, an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) from Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) with the concentration in poetry, submissions, acceptances, teaching at the college level for eight years, Guest Lectureships, Visiting Artist gigs, readings, more writing, submissions and acceptances.
After my teaching gigs ended, I began to develop my skills, expertise and acumen as a “commercial”, independent, freelance writer/entrepreneur. I had come to understand by that time that the world wide web is completely driven by words/writing. That was in May, 1996.
At this time, poetry continues to be the foundation for any/all skill(s) I have as a writer and, thankfully, continues to flow. Clients continue to reach out to me when they feel that my experience and skills best match their desired/needed projects. (Please refer to the tab “Collaborate with Jessan“.)
Finally, the following quote by Mark Twain is the genesis upon which my logo was created:
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
…and, that answers (more or less) why I am a writer.
Enjoy this day you make/are given.
Swimming Under Water – poem
Walking away from home the macadam is still warm
black and sticky and the air air is
feeling the line of day and night as another mystery
To the end of the concrete walk
across cooled grass and over the warm stone to
the smell is sweet rotting fish and seaweed that is home, too
I leave my clothes on and swim south to the sea-thing
away from shore under water hearing my air rise
to be the ocean holding me all over in phosphorous, as eyeballs
ache, blurring the stones and the crabs scutter away.
(c)1983, 1989, 2015 – Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis – 1989 American Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Great Lakes Poetry Press, Chicago, Chuck Kramer, Ed. & Publisher, p. 88.