Why World Travel Blogger Sarah Wilkie Loves Photo Challenges

#14 of the Challenge Interview Series

Hi, I’m Marsha Ingrao and my blog is Always Write. Welcome to the Challenge Interview Series.

In addition to meeting the hosts of writing and photo challenges, this series also includes some of the wonderful participants who make the challenges successful.

Today I want to introduce my friend Sarah Wilkie, who writes inspiring and informative travel posts from all over the world. She is now an avid photo challenge blogger as well as a travel blogger. She often combines her love of travel and photo challenges into one post linking to many of the same friends you’ve already met through your journeys in photo challenges.

I am linking different favorite posts to her name if you’d like to check out her blog.

Please welcome Sarah Wilkie.

When, how, and why did you start blogging?

I only started this WordPress blog in August 2020, but I’ve been sharing my travels online since July 2005 when I joined the now-defunct Virtual Tourist website community. The emphasis there was on writing reviews of places visited (restaurants, tourist sights etc.) rather than blogging. I became a very frequent contributor and also got involved in attending the member-organised ‘in real life’ meetings, as well as organising some myself. I acquired a great network of friends around the world.

When VT (Virtual Tourist) was shut down by Trip Advisor in early 2017, many members gave up sharing travel info online. Others turned to other review sites or blogging. I joined TravellersPoint, partly because a VT friend was already active there and partly because the owner kindly developed a programme to move all our VT content across to stop it being lost (although I had nearly all mine saved as Word documents in any case). I really got into blogging, using TP (TravelersPoint) as a platform to journal my travels from that point onwards and write up some previous trips from old VT notes. But the transfer of VT material wasn’t as immediately successful as hoped, as the platform wasn’t set up to host reviews, and in any case I found I preferred the blogging format.

Sarah

How did you decide to move to WordPress?

Some other VT friends had started WP blogs and from time to time tried to persuade me to do the same, because they thought I would enjoy the flexibility of having my own site and full control over the content. I didn’t think I had the time to devote to two blogs and I was enjoying the community aspect of TP (although it wasn’t a patch on VT’s) so I resisted. But in 2020 two things happened to change my mind. I retired, so had more time, and the pandemic struck, which meant no new travels for a while. I decided to take the plunge and haven’t looked back! 

Whereas on TP I wrote day by day journals of a trip (and will probably continue to do so once I can travel again), I decided my WP blog would have mostly shorter posts focused on specific sights, experiences etc. Plus I saw it as an opportunity to be more reflective about my travels, pulling together different experiences at times to reflect an overarching observation about a place, or draw parallels or simply group some photos from different locations around a common theme. My sub-title ‘travel snapshots’ reflects this concept and also an increased emphasis on photography.

Sarah

How do you organize your posts and photos?

Did you take a class?

No, I worked all this out for myself. It’s probably over-complicated for some people but I think it was the librarian indexing training coming out in me, plus I tend to lean towards having a system / being organised.

From the start I knew my posts would all be about a specific place or places. I considered listing them all by country but choosing ‘Destinations’ as a heading gave me the option to list by city, state or whatever going forwards. I came up with the grouping by continent later, as my content grew and the list of places became unwieldy. But I thought it would also be interesting to group posts by theme as I saw them reflecting the various subjects I like to photograph – people, landscape, wildlife etc. I couldn’t decide between destinations or themes but realised I could do both! 

I also saw early on that some of my posts would be quite lengthy while others would have few words and have more emphasis on visual content – hence designating some of them as galleries to make that obvious. I originally had that as a heading on my menu but changed it to ‘My photography’ when I started to do the challenges so that I could group things there. It’s not ideal as not all my challenge posts are photo-heavy but it works for me for now. No doubt I will tweak it again one day!

Sarah

How do you decide a title for your post?

Some of us (like me) include the Photo Challenge title in the post like “Sunday Stills: Emerging Blossoms in Prescott, AZ.”

I approach titling challenge posts the same way I do all my posts. I start with a title that simply appeals to me and reflects the content of the post. I have the MonsterInsights plugin that includes a Headline Analyser. It allocates a numeric score based on several factors such as length, use of certain trigger words etc. I can preview what it would look like in a Google search. I don’t always take notice of all of that but if it shows a very low score I will have a look at why and maybe consider tweaking the title. But usually I just stick with what feels right to me!

Sarah

which challenges Work Best for you?

As Yvette Prior pointed out in her interview, and we have all experienced it, none of us can do all of the challenges available to us. We all have to pick and choose. What about you?

I’ve dipped into quite a few as I started to explore that side of blogging. But now that I’ve got more into my stride I intend to focus mainly on those challenges that provide an opportunity to highlight stories from my travels like Cady’s Just One Person from Around the World, which is such an inspired, and inspiring, idea for a challenge! I enjoy challenges that have a strong photographic element like the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and Sunday Stills. I also like Friendly Friday, while Jo’s Monday Walk fits well with ideas I already have for future posts (I keep a list). Lisa’s Bird Weekly is a chance to share one of the subjects I enjoy photographing, but I wouldn’t aim to do those every week.

Before I started on WP I didn’t even know about these challenges. None of my ex-VT blogging friends are involved in any of them. A few months after I started my blog I came across a challenge for the first time, Friendly Friday, purely by chance, through a blog I’d started following. It looked interesting and I saw it as a way to build my network of followers while trying out a different approach to blogging. It achieved both those things and I found that the people who did that challenge also did others, which led to me discovering those too.

Even though I enjoy the challenges I don’t want them to dictate the overall ethos of my blog. I set it up to share two things, my travels and my photography, so I won’t do any challenges that would force me to deviate too far from that, e.g. a purely writing challenge or one on a theme that doesn’t relate to travel in its broadest sense – by which I mean, including places close to home as well as those far away, but usually remaining location-centric. And I’m generally not interested in single photo challenges – I prefer to tell a story through my posts. Although I did do the ‘Around the world in ten photos’ challenge when several blogging friends nominated me, partly because I didn’t want to let them down, partly because it was so strongly travel related and partly because it was in the run-up to Christmas when I had a bit less time to write longer posts! 

I tend not to take photos especially for a challenge although I have been known to take one or two to supplement what I have. Rather, I look at the challenges as a way of focusing my ideas around material I already have, ideally photos and anecdotes from my travels or perhaps a subject matter I like to photograph closer to home. If a challenge theme doesn’t fit that principle I will skip it, like the recent ‘volunteering’ theme. I could have written about the charity my husband co-founded, for which I now volunteer, but it would have been out of place on my blog.

Sarah

Tell us about the cameras you’ve usedsome of your earlier pictures are just as clear as your newer ones

I think that’s an illusion caused by the resizing and down-grade in quality that happens when I upload to WP. I can see a significant difference in quality between my oldest photos and most recent ones when I view my originals. My photos from the Galapagos in 2012 were the last major travel ones taken with my previous Fuji camera; it was after that trip that I realised I wasn’t happy with the quality and switched to a Panasonic Lumix bridge camera. I really like it. The lens is first rate (Leica) and it has the right balance of ease of use (relatively light to carry, auto settings when I don’t need anything more) with full manual mode if I do want to play around with aperture, speed etc. In pre-digital times I used an SLR so I know what I’m doing around a camera but these days I don’t want to be encumbered with several lenses to hump around!

Sarah

Do you have published stories or photos?

Other than online on the various platforms I’ve already mentioned, no. I do upload some of my better images to Dreamstime, a stock photo library, and I’ve had some sales. It doesn’t pay at all well (sometimes only a few cents per image) but it’s quite fun to think my photos are being used somewhere. However many of the pictures I take aren’t suitable because they include people and I’m not keen enough to go out and take lots of the images needed for stock photography.

It would be fun if anyone did want to publish something I wrote or some of my photos, but I don’t write with that in mind.

Sarah

How much time does it take to research, write and fact check a post?

Much of what I post is adapted from my TravellersPoint blog or old VT material. A lot of the research was done when I wrote those original reviews or blog entries. If it’s quite an old piece I do double-check some things, especially web links, and I sometimes add to it if I have a fresh perspective with the benefit of time.

The main work comes in repurposing the text to fit the style of this blog – I may make it into more of a narrative or pull several separate pieces into a single post. As an example, the post I wrote quite recently, Spending Time with the Children of Chongjin, used bits of two separate TP blog posts because we visited the two schools I describe on two separate days. And my very first post, Meeting Leo, was based on just a short section of an old TP post. 

I probably put more work into the photos. I enjoy editing my images in any case, and I quite often do further tweaking to those I’m going to use in a post, especially if they’re more than a couple of years old as I’ve acquired more editing software since then. 

Sarah

Which bloggers influence your blogging?

I won’t mention everyone – many will be known to you as they’re active in the same circles I think – people like Tina Schell, Anne Sadler, and Lisa on the Beach. Among my favourite photographer bloggers are Jane Lurie – I really love her work. Also Mike Ross, and Susy Blue for nature photography. And Maria Vincent Robinson is a great street photographer I’ve discovered recently.

For travellers’ tales I like The Hungry Travellers among others. And I especially enjoy Sandy’s take on the Just One Person Challenge – she features such interesting characters and I like the page design she’s developed to use for that challenge. I always enjoy the way Amy at The World is a Book uses quotations and the visual style of her blog.

Finally I have to give a plug to the friends who got me blogging in the first place and helped me with the set-up of my site when I was still learning how WP worked, Malcolm, Don and Albert. The latter also inspired our visit to North Korea which was an absolute travel highlight for me.

Sarah

Anything to add? Maybe a message to fellow photo challenge participants and to the hosts and hostesses of the challenges?

Quite simply, it’s been great to ‘meet’ you all and to be inspired by your various themes and by everyone’s posts. When I started blogging on WordPress I had no idea I would find such a great community here, it’s been a revelation and has added to my blogging fun enormously!

Sarah

Biography

Toonsarah – Sarah Wilkie

Sarah Wilkie was born in north London and grew up in a west London suburb, Ruislip. She studied English Literature and Librarianship at university in Aberystwyth, Wales, which is where she met her husband Chris.

Sarah worked in public libraries for many years, starting as a children’s librarian and working her way up into management, finishing with a short spell managing the library service in the City of Westminster. From there she went on to spend five years in a government agency managing a national public library service improvement programme.

She took redundancy when the agency moved out of London and set up her own consultancy service. For the last eleven years of her career she worked in that field both independently and with a small start-up consultancy firm, leading the development of their offer to local and national cultural services – strategy development, customer consultation, change management etc. She wound down from that gradually over the last few years (one of the bonuses of self-employment!) and declared herself officially retired last spring as the pandemic started to bite. When not blogging (and waiting for the chance to travel again!) she volunteers with a food surplus charity, Plan Zheroes, run by her husband.

Thank you so much for visiting me, Sarah. It’s been so much fun getting to know you better and learning about parts of the world I will probably never have a chance to visit in person.

now it’s your turn

Be sure and click on one or two of the links, leave likes and comments, and get to know Sarah and her community better.

Do you or someone you know host a photo or writing challenge? Do you have certain challenge communities that you participate in that you want to share? I’d love to interview you and get better acquainted. Contact me.

#Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #136 The Letter “S”

#Prescott Walk #8 Willow Lake Trail

Hi Friends,

Thanks for joining me on another Prescott Walk through the Lens Artist Photo Challenge.

“For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet.  This time, we’re going to focus on the letter S.  What images can you find that feature a subject that begins with the letter S?”

Willow Lake, Prescott,
Sign

Vince and I wanted a bigger challenge that we walked the first few times we went around Willow Lake. The sign tells you how difficult/scary the trail is and we decided to try something substantially technical.

Willow Lake, Prescott,
Shadow, Spot

All we had to do was to follow the white spots on the rocks. Usually they were very visible even in the shadows. Sometimes there were slippery rocks and my feet aren’t super stable. I was somewhat nervous about climbing a technical trail.

Willow Lake, Prescott,
Slippery Vince says, “You won’t slip on these rock, Marsha.”

Vince, on the other hand, smiled serenely at my fear, spread his arms to assure me that I would be secure on that slippery trail.

Vince was right. I slowly scaled the rocks to his surveillance point at the top. What a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside! Willow Lake is on a substantially busy Prescott street, but you scarcely notice it from the trail. Scrambling up the rocks, you could see it in the distance.

Willow Creek, which feeds Willow Lake had come alive after the snow and snaked its way across the weeds. In 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Willow Creek Dam as a public works project.

Willow Lake, Prescott,
Shadow, Spots, Stripes, Snapshot

Vince’s shadow blends in with the stripes on the rock as he spots a superior snapshot.

Back on solid ground again, we searched strategically for specific items that might scratch us -like cactus stickers. They looked spectacular as sunlight shone through them.

We spied other spectators on the Willow Lake trail. These strangers let us snap their pictures as they staggered up the slope.

Someone surpassed us on a side path and surveyed it by staking pencils ever few inches until they ran out of pencils. Vince named it the Lápiz Trail.

Other “S” Posts You Might Enjoy

Coming Next Week

  • Sunday Stills
  • Story Chat Summary of “The Trophy Cabinet” It’s not too late to leave your comment.
  • How to Organize Your Photos with yours and Lisa Coleman’s best tips
  • #Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge
  • More Prescott Walks

For All These Posts to Matter

Bitmoji

Have a great week.

Marathon or Sprint Posting? Tagging My Prescott Walks-Peavine Trail Photos or Not?

#Prescott Walk 7: Peavine Trail

Welcome, friends to Prescott Walk #5 (I think – I have trouble labeling them, so I’ve lost count already!)

Lisa Coleman, the Bird Weekly Lady and I, together with several of you, are working on a post for next week about organizing photos. The topic that came up repeatedly is about tagging. Lisa is working on an easy way to do it.

Since I moved my Always Write site from WordPress.org to this site last March, I’ve been lax about tagging my photos. So this is my tagging marathon march along Peavine Trail, dedicated to Hugh Roberts with a tag, caption, title and description for every picture.

“Remember – blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Hugh Roberts
Peavine Trail, Prescott
Beginning of the Peavine Trail and Prescott Fire Department Training area

The Ingraos have lived in Prescott three months and somehow missed this beautiful trail only 1.5 miles from our home. Built on the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix railway bed, the trail is flat, wide and safe for walkers and bikers, or those who, like Restless Jo, “Talk to the trees.”

The city now owns the property and along the right side of the trail you can see some of the city’s dumping grounds as well as the Police and Fire training area. That doesn’t impair its natural beauty. Cottonwood trees would obliterate anything remotely unattractive in the summer.

Peavine Trail, Prescott
First peek of the south end of Watson Lake from the start of Peavine Trail accessible off Prescott Lakes Parkway and Highway 89 across from the Sewage Treatment Plant on Sundog Ranch Road.

Part of a 126 acre Riparian Preserve, Watson Woods borders Peavine Trail on the left as you head north from the parking lot. For the most part there are Willows, three kinds of Cottonwood trees, and other flexible shrubs in the preserve.

Peavine Trail, Prescott
Close up of ducks in Granite Creek making slurping sounds – very muddy

Several kinds of ducks lounge and dip into the murky water as they forage for food along the banks of Granite Creek, which runs into Watson Lake. I included this picture of ducks for my new friend/expert photo organizing/ host of the Bird Weekly Challenge, Lisa Coleman. Last week’s challenge was “birds you love.” I love any bird that will sit still long enough for me to take their picture. These birds cooperated with no signs of shyness. If you look closely, you might find a smile.

Peavine Trail, Prescott
We walked between the formations on broad railway bed.

As we continued down Peavine Trail, named for its windiness, we imagined what it was like for the workers carving a narrow path between the Granite Rocks for the SF & P & P Railway.

Chartered on May 27, 1891,”the SFP&P’s 195-mile (314 km) line extended the Santa Fe Railway south into Phoenix. The SFP&P extended another 100 miles (160 km) to the east from Phoenix to Florence and Winkelman via the Phoenix and Eastern Railroad (which would become a Southern Pacific Railroad subsidiary in 1907).” Wikipedia

Peavine Trail, Prescott
Looking up at a formidable Granite Dells rock formation.

I asked Vince if he wanted to climb up the Granite Dells formation, and he said, “I don’t have the right shoes.”

Uh huh, and I don’t have the right feet. He might have been trying to protect my pride. Just beyond this barrier, if you could have seen through it, Granite Creek becomes Watson Lake. “Named after named for Senator James Watson, Indiana, who invested in Chino Valley irrigation projects, (this picturesque lake) resulted from the 1916 damming of Granite Creek.” Sign on Peavine Trail.

Peavine Trail Prescott
A lone patch of snow remains in the shadows of the Granite Dells and shade trees.

Since we had a record snowfall according to our neighbors, not the weather channel, friends have asked if we still have snow. The answer is a resounding yes. Here it is in the valley of the shadow of the SF & P & P Railway.

Since this is a marathon, not a sprint, you will see more photos from our two walks over the next few weeks. We logged about 18,000 steps each in our two days of exploration along the Peavine Trail.

Remember

Thank you, Bitmoji
  • Today is the last day to participate in the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic. All donations go to support her and her family in this difficult time.
  • Only a few more days to comment on “The Trophy Cabinet” by Geoff LePard. Your comments will appear in The February edition of Story Chat on Tuesday.
  • It’s not to late to contribute your thoughts and quotes about Responsibility for this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge.
  • Coming next Friday the long-anticipated interview with photographer, Lisa Coleman about how to organize your photos. This helpful post will also feature your tips.
Thank you, Bitmoji

Thanks for joining me, friends.

Followers Tag Along on Restless Jo’s Walks

Challenge Host Interview # 11

Good morning friends, and welcome, Restless Jo, to my blog, Always Write. I am honored to have you as a guest on my blog. I met you through my friend Carol, The Eternal Traveler, when I started blogging in 2012. When did you start blogging, Jo? 

Where did it all start?  I began, very tentatively, to blog in September 2011.  I’ve always loved to write, but technology isn’t something I took to with ease.  Ask my long suffering husband!  He’s my IT ‘expert’ but with no experience of, or interest in, the world of blogging.  I simply wanted to tell my travel stories.  Once I got the hang of blogging, I wanted to do it ‘my way’.  

Note: To find Restless Jo’s current posts enter 2021 in the search box.

https://restlessjo.me/2018/07/09/jos-monday-walk-that-bridge-and-beyond/

“Got the hang of blogging,” like this guy? Perfect picture. I’d like to be that good at blogging, but I don’t quite have the hang of it. 🙂

So how did you do it?

This usually involved mooching around in my northeast of England neck of the woods, and sharing what I found.  Although it introduced me to lots of people, I found the challenge method of blogging restrictive.  If I have something to say I value the freedom to say it, in my own way.  I guess most people who start challenges do so because they have control over the subject matter.  I struggle now to recall most of my early posts, but I know that I was always conscious of wanting my own voice.

I think I understand wanting to find your voice and doing it your own way, Jo. I wanted to write, thought I knew how to write, but I remember the days of zero to five readers. I began to question what was wrong with “my way.” I wondered what I should write about that people would want to read. I had a hard time finding my voice. It sounds like you started blogging a mind full of ideas about what to write. 

https://restlessjo.me/2018/09/10/jos-monday-walk-a-tale-of-three-castles-2-alnwick/

Yes, I did. Back in 2004 we had purchased a house in the Algarve.  Exploring that region, with the addition of my Polish family story and visits to Poland, gave me plenty of material to write about.  I had A-Z pages dedicated to the Algarve and Poland, and used them to share the culture and personal anecdotes relating to those countries.  Looking back, the blog was ‘bitty’ and I felt I needed a direction.  

So how did you arrive at the name of Restless Jo and the Monday Walks?

https://restlessjo.me/2017/03/06/jos-monday-walk-ponte-vecchio/

Wherever I went, I always walked.  I don’t drive, and it was my style of exploring.  And blogging about the walks became a good way to share almost anything.  So, in March 2014, Jo’s Monday Walk was born.  The posts were far from being ‘start here at point A and continue till you reach point B 2 hours later’.  They were just me, doing what I do best- walking and talking.  

I love that – both walking and talking, kind of like this interview. 

What’s Up, Doc? | restlessjo

 

I found it came very naturally, and people seemed to respond easily to that.  Depending on the subject, I usually included rough whereabouts and direction, but seldom with the thought of anyone walking in my footsteps.  It was my bit of escapism, and was thrown open to the public as just that.  Anyone could contribute what they thought of as a walk.  Sometimes it might only be a couple of photos and a thought or two.  Other times it went into great detail.  I didn’t mind.  It was just fun, and it gave me a way to post whatever or wherever I wanted.

How did you come up with the name of Restless Jo?

https://restlessjo.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/its-show-time/

I am, naturally, restless.  It goes with the territory.  When I told friends back home the name of my blog they fell about laughing.  It was so ‘me’.  I was never a camera buff, and still am not, though I admire very much someone who can take fine photographs and understand the technical side.  

Can you think of any bloggers that you specifically admire and who helped you in your blogging journey?

Running out of superlatives | restlessjo

Jude of Travel Words is one such, and we met, in Edinburgh, several years ago.  I was amazed at how long she spent getting the shot just right.  With a background in IT, Jude had been very helpful to me with technical aspects of blogging.  Then I travelled to Seville to meet Sue Judd of Words Visual, a lady with a style all her own, and very into dereliction.  I tease her about that.  I have yet to meet with Debbie of Travel with Intent, but I’m sure we will one day.  She is an awesome photographer, currently hosting numerous challenges with ease.  Becky, who I know and love, you have already interviewed.

Yes, I loved visiting with Becky. She pretty much set me square with photos. I just found out how automatic it is in Photoshop. I’ve been trying to guesstimate for months. Now I just click a button and it’s automatically squared. YAY! I have my own technical problems, too, Jo. Tell us more about what motivated you in your blogging journey.

The people you meet and who widen your horizons are so much what the blogging world is all about, and I’m sure you’ll agree.  The walks, for me, are a window into other people’s worlds, while allowing me the freedom to ‘walk’ where I will.  The reason I have so many walks is that I’m always looking for another adventure, even if it only varies a little from previous walks.  Somewhere entirely new is the ideal, but you can always put a new slant on somewhere you’ve been.  A future challenge may well be writing a walk about somewhere I’ve never been.  I gather that virtual walks are popular now.

In a way, you are already doing that, Jo. You’re living in the future! That’s what all our posts are for others – virtual walks. Some we might want to see for ourselves, or we might have seen bits and pieces but most of the walks we will never experience. Probably the only way I will get to the region of Algarve, Portugal or the little town of Tavira, Portugal is virtually through your walks.

Jo’s Monday walk : A back street tour of Tavira | restlessjo

You said that your Monday Walks are not an official challenge. Why do you say that when so many people follow you and contribute to it?

I still don’t regard Jo’s Monday walk as a challenge.  Keeping up with the comments is a challenge! Presenting and keeping track of the walks shared can be challenging too.  I’m not an organised person and often am completing a walk late on Sunday night or early Monday morning.  I do try to assemble the walks I receive in a blank post as the week goes by.  Too easy to miss people out otherwise.  Hard to assess the time involved.  Sometimes I add links and background information, depending on the subject and if there’s history involved.  I don’t compile the walks swiftly, but read and reread my words till I’m satisfied with them, and the same with the photographs.  I mind very much how my work looks.  Too much, perhaps!  

Proofreading and editing photographs is an important lesson to learn. Do you have trouble keeping up with your walking schedule?

Still up on the roof! | restlessjo

Posting a weekly walk I find constraining, but that’s partly because I have a very enjoyable outdoors lifestyle in the Algarve.  My planning is minimal and I don’t tend to schedule walks.  I do, however, often find my head full of stuff when my head hits the pillow and words stream backwards and forwards.  I just hope that I’ve held on to the best ones when I wake up in the morning.  I’ve never properly hosted a challenge, nor do I want to.

You have never posted rules, but you definitely host an informal challenge. You are a natural hostess. I love that you also post on other people’s challenges. Has there been a time during the last ten years where you’ve needed to get away from blogging?

Still up on the roof! | restlessjo

I do try to take breaks but it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the blogging world.  I never write posts whilst away on holiday, but I will pop in on other bloggers and often answer outstanding comments.  It stops them from building up too much and I enjoy the interaction.  There is such a warm feeling when you get a great response from a reader.  It’s addictive.  I planned to step away for a while and possibly reinvent the blog last summer, but somehow Covid-19 and the need to share with and support others seemed more important.  

 COVID-19 has impacted the world, there’s no denying that. If things clear up, what are some of your goals for 2021?

A Call to place : the Azores | restlessjo

2021- most important is to be able to visit my youngsters in the UK.  Hopefully at Easter.  Beyond that I would like to spend more time exploring this country I’ve chosen to call home.  I know very little of the area beyond the Douro, in the north of Portugal.  I would love to return to the Azores– a love affair if ever there was one, but that’s for the future.

Thank you again, Restless Jo, for a delightful look into your beautiful blog and fun non-challenge. We’ve been all over Europe in this short virtual visit. Whee!

Attention Photographers

A friend of mine, Frank, is looking for photographers to collaborate with him on his website. He writes but wants to promote your photographs. It’s a great opportunity for fun and exposure. Contact him here. Collaborators – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking (wordpress.com).  He will be host #WQWWC on February 10 – LOVE!

Announcements

  • This month our  Story Chat features author Anne Goodwin and her short story, “A Post Card from the Past.” Join in the conversation and give us your perspective. We’ve heard from writers, teachers, social workers and clinical psychologists each with their own theories. What’s your take?
  • I’m super excited that Carrot Ranch ran an interview about Story Chat in the Saddle Up Saloon.
  • Autty Jade, A Day in the Brine hosts this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge – Change. There’s still time to write your post and link to her blog. She’d love to visit you, and so would I. Look for a new #WQWWC topic tomorrow back on Always Write – encouraging bloggers in their endeavors worldwide.

#Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: “Watch Out for Pricks!”

#Prescott Walk #5 Willow Lake

To be absolutely clear, Cee didn’t actually say that. She invited us to post about trees and leaves. Even though I don’t want to touch them, all the prickly needles we find in the desert are actually leaves.

Vince loves tee shirts that say the naughty things in good fun, and this saying came from one of them he didn’t buy. The writers were not joking about finding a lot of prickly things in Arizona. It is desert, after all.

Prescott Walk #3, Willow Lake

Have you ever let your mind drift as you strolled on the bottom of a lake? Willow Lake has seen much higher days, and so this tree has been underwater. Judging from the looks of it now, being thrust underwater wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience. Written for #Three Things Challenge #448

Prescott Walk #3, Willow Lake

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Unlike Woodlake, where they don’t know whether or not they should prune the roses because it hasn’t been very cold yet, Prescott is not having that problem. Today on our mid-afternoon walk, I wore two jackets and felt quite comfy in spite of the cold wind. The sun was bright, but not warm. The views of the Granite Dells with a frame of tree needles was stunning. Written for #WQWWC #3 – Winter

Prescott Walk #3, Willow Lake

Unlike the Wisconsin Dells, “the Granite Dells is a geological feature north of Prescott, Arizona. The Dells consist of exposed bedrock and large boulders of granite that have eroded into an unusual lumpy, rippled appearance. Watson Lake and Willow Lake are small man-made reservoirs in this formation. [1]

This blackened dormant tree silhouetted against the rock formation shows what looks evidence of former fire damage as that is a major problem in Arizona as it is in California.

Prescott Walk #3, Willow Lake
Cactus,
conifer trees,
Willow deciduous, 
create a Granite Dells canvas,
post freeze.

Cinquain
Marsha Ingrao 2020
Written for Tanka Tuesday #203