email, email, and more email

Since I first started using email over twenty years ago, I have had the same email address. It was initially set up through Roadrunner, affiliated then with Time Warner although it has since moved to Spectrum.

I’ve used this email address for everything from personal correspondence to charity donations to newsletters to subscriptions to poetry submissions to online shopping. It has been registered in hundreds of places over the years. The address has occasionally been unreliable but, given how widespread it was, I was loath to change it.

Now, however, it has lost or delayed so many things that my hand is forced. I got the October newsletter from the Biden campaign and an email about planning my vote after election day. I sent a poem to my local poet circle for workshop twice without anyone receiving it. An email from the resolution center working on refunds for our cancelled trip to London went astray and almost resulted in the case being closed prematurely.

So, I have embarked on the the painstaking process of migrating from my one-stop email destination to a constellation of gmail addresses for different purposes. There is one for poetry related things, one for shopping and business contacts for B and me, and one for all the rest of my personal and organizational contacts.

The sorting is proving to be a long and complicated process. I realize I am still in the early stages of it, but it is beginning to take shape. Daughter E taught me how to keep tabs for the three different gmail inboxes open simultaneously in my browser and I have a fourth with my original inbox, all of which I am getting into the habit of monitoring several times a day. [Note that none of these is my long-neglected blog email topofjcsmind@gmail.com. The recommendation still holds that if you want to contact me by email that you leave a comment telling me you have done so, as I will see the comment and know to check the inbox. Some year or other, I’ll get to making it usable.]

What is taking a ton of time is changing the address on email lists. Some organizations have a straightforward process with a link for updating at the end of their email. Click the link. Edit your address. Save changes and you’re done. Sometimes, they email you a confirmation link for security reasons. Other times, the setup is that they email you an edit link first. Both guard against unauthorized changes.

Some sites don’t offer a way to make changes. I’ve had to subscribe with a new email address and then unsubscribe the old address.

Others allow you to update your online profile at their site, but I’ve run into lots of problems doing this. Sometimes, the site will let you change your address but then won’t update for the emails it sends you. Other times, it seems they won’t save your preferences for how often you want to hear from them. And some seem to just stop sending emails altogether.

This endeavor is also making me consider each email sender and whether or not I want to keep hearing from them. As I have posted about previously, I have been trying to tame my inbox for some time. I’m hoping the time that I’m investing in this organizational effort will eventually make it easier to deal with my email and give me more time for other things.

I wish I could figure out when I will arrive at that “eventual” point.

So far, I’ve done very little about changing my email for personal contacts. Personal messages seem to get through to my original email inbox pretty reliably, although occasionally one gets delayed for days or lands in my spam folder. Perhaps, I’ll draft a bcc email blast at some point, although I’ll probably have my poet-friends use my poetry address rather than my general one and friends of both B and me our joint address.

Something else to think about.

Who knew email could be so tiring?

a pandemic paradox

Over the past several years of spending a lot of time as a caregiver, I’ve valiantly tried to cut down the size of my email inbox, which is often overflowing with news, newsletters, and calls to action from various charitable, social justice, and environmental causes, along with personal and poetry-related emails. Even with my diligent attempts, I routinely handle over a hundred emails a day, which is still a lot, so I am unsubscribing from even more email lists and trying to avoid signing too many petitions which lead to my being on even more lists.

Paradoxically, as we have been avoiding in-person meetings over these last months, my inbox is full of invitations to connect via Zoom or Go to Webinar or some other platform. Instead of having fewer demands on my time, there seem to be more.

I can’t keep up.

In order to create some semblance of order, I’ve decided to narrow the selection of online events that I will accept. Of course, I will continue with my local poetry circle, which I call the Grapevine Group after the cafe where we used to meet pre-pandemic. I am also looking forward to the five-week summer session of the Binghamton Poetry Project, which, for the first time, is breaking into a beginner and a more experienced section. I am also signed up for six summer sessions with a local spirituality center that has had to re-convene virtually rather than offering in-person programs and retreats.

Beyond that, I plan to accept a very limited number of educational/advocacy meetings on social/environmental justice to keep informed and to take directed action. I am heartened by the increasing convergence of climate/environmental justice with racial/economic justice and want to advocate for effective change.

Beyond that, I hope to say “No” and continue to unsubscribe so that I have more time to accomplish what I need to and respond to ever-shifting circumstances.

(She writes, hoping she can actually manage to do so.)

Re-jiggering

Friend to bloggers everywhere, Opinionated Man of HarsH ReaLiTy and A Good Blog is Hard to Find, both of which I highly recommend you follow if you aren’t already, has long advocated splitting blogging time in thirds, one third each for writing, reading, and commenting.

It’s a good idea, although not one that I have been able to follow very meticulously.

Lately, though, things have gotten unbalanced, even for me.

I have been spending tons of time reading, liking, and commenting, but not so much time writing. I also have (many) tons of in-person commitments coming up this spring, so I’ve decided to re-jigger my blogging priorities a bit.

Step One:  I’ve separated my blog email from my personal email.

I’m hoping this will make my personal inbox easier to handle, with less likelihood of personal notes, poetry notifications, and, oh, bills and statements, getting lost in the shuffle.

Step Two:  I will also try to spend more time with posting, even though that will mean less time for reading and commenting.

Which is sad, but necessary at this point.

One of the things I am making time for in the coming weeks is my first ever MOOC,  Psychology of Political Activism: Women Changing the World, from my alma mater, Smith College. I’m hoping it will generate some posts here at Top of JC’s Mind.

Stay tuned!

inscrutable stats

WordPress stats can be weird.

At the moment, for today I have 29 views, 20 visitors, 43 likes, and 3 comments.

It seems strange to have more likes than views.

I’m guessing that means that some of the likes are through the reader or through people who get instant email messages of new posts.

Maybe there are reasons I don’t pay that much attention to my stats page…

landing in the junk bin

I often subscribe by email to comment threads on other blogs so that I don’t miss replies.

I just checked my email  and found that a whole bunch of those emails got shunted to my junk folder at the same time that many others landed correctly in my inbox.

Weird.

 

“About” updating

In honor of my new email address for Top of JC’s Mind, I have updated my About page.

I wish I could say that I was also drafting exciting new posts and poems, but I am coming down with a cold and not trusting myself with anything that takes a lot of brainpower.

Acceptance drama!

Alternate title: What happens when you check Submittable late at night when you can’t sleep.

Since coming back from Hawai’i, I’ve been having lots of trouble with sleep, so I got up and decided to check Submittable, which is a tool that many literary journals use to host submissions. I wasn’t expecting much news, because journals also send emails, so I was shocked to see an acceptance! I was excited! Also, slightly terrified, because it seemed that I had inadvertently broken a cardinal rule of simultaneous submissions, which is to immediately withdraw an accepted poem from any other journal which has it under consideration. Most journals only accept previously unpublished work, so it is important that you notify them promptly so that they aren’t spending time reviewing a poem that they can’t include in their publication.

I powered up my desktop, which has my main inbox – which, granted, is overflowing with the mail backlog from traveling. I thought that I had reviewed everything I received in Hawai’i, but, somehow I missed the acceptance email from Wilderness House Literary Review  – which they had sent on July 3rd. I was shocked to read that they accepted all three of the poems I submitted for their next issue!

I quickly wrote a reply, about how excited I was to appear in their journal and apologized for the delay in replying. Then, I brought up my personal submissions database and found that I needed to send notices to only two other journals, because a couple of others had already rejected these poems. Fortunately, each of these journals still has one or two of my poems to consider.

By this point, my pulse had been racing for a while, and going back to bed was out of the question, so I took advantage of the six hour time difference to message E in Hawai’i. I rattled on about this whole wonderful-but-slightly-nerve-wracking drama until I calmed down a bit.

But I knew I still wouldn’t sleep so I wrote this post, scheduling it to come out at a more reasonable hour for most of my readers who share my time zone.

At whatever time anyone does happen to read this though, I am pleased to announce that my poems “(Not) the aunt I remember”, “Fifty-four” and “Downy” will be published in the fall online edition of Wilderness House Literary Review in early October.

You can be sure I will publish the link here at Top of JC’s Mind when it becomes available.

And maybe, in an hour or so, I’ll be able to fall asleep…

SoCS: Find the time

This week’s prompt is “find.”

As I write this, it is not Saturday, but Friday morning. My first thought in reading the prompt was how am I going to find the time to do this and I figured if I didn’t plunge in now, it was not going to get done, so here I am, with the washer running a load of towels, dashing this off before I go back to what I am trying to do today, which is catch up with some of my electronic life, especially my overflowing inbox. 516 emails to deal with, at this second. No doubt it will be more by the time I hit save and schedule.

People who read my blog may recall that my parents had simultaneous health crises this summer.  What I haven’t been blogging about is more recent life complications. I am happy to say that my parents, after losing most of August to recovery, are mostly back to their routines and doing well.  I spent the first part of September battling a GI thing, but recovered in time to prep for and participate in the Alice Parker tribute at Smith, which I wrote about here and here.

Within hours of my return from Northampton, we got word that my mother-in-law has a lumbar compression fracture due to osteoporosis. The time since then has been a blur of appointments, errands, transport duty, trying to get her to eat and use her medications properly, and rest, and not twist or bend or try to do things that put strain on the back, like changing the bedsheets or picking up the paper from the stoop.  There is also a lot of mental energy going to figuring out the next steps, which may include having a neurosurgeon inject a cementing substance into the collapsed vertebra, but first we have to get through an MRI and another consult appointment next week.  And a caucus with my brother-in-law, her elder son, who is a physician but who is several hundred miles away.

Meanwhile, I have been able to carve out some time yesterday and today to tackle the backlog on my computer.  It’s impossible to get to everything, so I am trying to jettison everything I can bear to, while still attempting to create at least a shadow of my presence here at Top of JC’s Mind, through my personal correspondence, and for my Facebook friends.  There are at least half a dozen blog posts that I have in my head that I need to find time to get worked out on screen, unless I suddenly become a stream of consciousness blogger.  No, that would be a bad idea. Forgoing editing once a week is one thing.  All the time?  Shudder…

And, as you read this on Saturday, I will be “celebrating” my birthday. Under the circumstances, original plans have been pared down and even those are vague, pending seeing how today goes for my mother-in-law and what she is like in the morning.  At this point, I’m hoping to be able to at least have dinner out with enough notice that we can wrangle an early dinner reservation at a fine dining type of place.  If push comes to shove, we can go impromptu, even if it means picking up a wood-fired brick-oven pizza and eating it with my husband at the kitchen table. Maybe we can put a candle in it….

519 emails…

socs-badgeBadge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays.  Please join us!  Visit http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-414/ to find out how.