Blogging 101, Day 4: Audience and Focus Post–Stream of Consciousness, Take 2

Today’s assignment for Blogging 101 is particularly appropriate for the regular followers of this blog on how I’m learning to improve my own writing.  The assignment is to determine the audience of the blog (fellow writers-in-training) and to post something that would be appropriate for that audience.  As it happens, my first stream-of-consciousness blog didn’t work out as I had intended.  I promised to post another stream-of-consciousness on pets on the island of St. Martin, and the differences between the way pets are treated here versus the way they are treated in the US.

The way I will proceed is to set a timer for 15 minutes–well, 20 minutes because I need time to sip my coffee and blow my allergy-plagued nose during the interval.  Being both a slow typist and a slow thinker, that should keep this post reasonably short. Since stream-of-consciousness (SOC) writing is basically from mind to keyboard, I don’t expect this to be organized.  I think of SOC as a “think cloud” in semi-essay format.  So today the SOC; tomorrow the edited version that is, hopefully, better organized.  As before, the only thing that I will undoubtedly take time to change is spelling errors, mostly because I try so hard to minimize them, but also because I hate that red wavy line that magically appears under a misspelled word.  Blue grammatical error lines don’t bother me, but the red spelling lines–well, it’s like seeing a line of blood where I didn’t realize I had scratched myself.

One last thing before I start: my computer is giving me trouble with keystrokes, especially on the letter “g”, but on some others as well.  After finishing this post, I am going shopping for a new and faster laptop with functioning keys so I don’t have to strike it five or six times just to get a letter to show up…

Ready? Timer set!

In the US, as in many parts of Western Europe, pets–especially cats and dogs–are treated like family members.  They eat with us, sleep with us, play with us (OK–that’s mostly dogs and kittens), and sometimes are allowed to share our food as a special treat.  Here on the island, that is not the case.  More often than not, instead of the special canned or boxed or bagged food Americans feed their pets per pet food advertisement and veterinarian advice, pets here are either fed table scraps (especially true for dogs) or are expected to hunt and feast on the abundant population of lizards and occasional bird (cats, mostly). Sometimes, the local cats are treated to table scraps, especially if there is no dog in the household, but generally, they are expected to fend for themselves.

Americans tend to visit the vet with their pet for every little ailment.  Here on the island, dogs are treated for serious injury, but cats–well, not so much.  Although islanders claim to love their cats, they also see cats as self-healing–much more so than dogs would be.  A recent incident with a five-year-old cat helped me to see the differences between treatment of cats and dogs by islanders.  My cat, Shadow, had developed pancreatitis, which developed into diabetes, and finally into pancreatic failure.  We spent quite a bit of money trying to save Shadow, and the vet was surprised every time we asked him to order whatever insulin she would need to keep her living a few more years.  The only pet insulin they had on hand was for dogs, because apparently no islanders would treat a cat at such expense.  Part of that may be due to the abundance of cats on the island, despite campaigns to spay or neuter them.  But cats just seem to be thought of as independent and almost disposable pets here.

Dogs, on the other hand, are treated with a little more respect.  Even here, however, dogs who develop serious diseases are generally allowed to die naturally, or are put to sleep under veterinarians’ needles.  A dog suffering from a broken bone or serious gash will be treated with careful attention.  A cat with a serious injury would more than likely have its leg set, or its gash sutured, given a bit of antibiotic, and left to do as it pleases one it gets home.

Although rabies has been thoroughly eliminated from the island, all dogs get rabies shots.  Cats–not so much.  A cat owner has to request the shots rather than have the vet suggest it.  Without rabies on the island, no one worries that cats will contract it–we have no rats or mice here, believe it or not, except for a kangaroo rat that is about the size and shape of a gerbil.  To the best of Animal Control’s knowledge, none of these are prone to rabies, and, as I’ve already said, there is none on the island.  All we have is disease-spreading mosquitoes, so an awful lot of Off! and similar products are sold here.  Spread of disease by fleas is virtually unheard of, despite the frequency of getting bitten by the overpopulation of these little critters.  And ticks are seasonal–but watch out when they are in season, as even the best treatment for cats and dogs doesn’t keep them out of the home.

Here, cats and many dogs are allowed to roam free whenever and wherever they like.  That means that there is a huge possibility that, if walking across a beach or field, one will step in something rather smelly.


Dang! Time’s up.  Given the number of  g’s in this post, I figure I used at least a few minutes going back and fixing them.  The c’s and v’s also gave me some problems, but not enough to get excited about.  I figure there was about 15 minutes of straight writing to this post if I omit the time spent with problem letters.

Even with the long introduction, everything on this page is barely 1000 words so far.  I estimate that during the 20 minutes allotted, I’ve written only about 400 words, give or take 10 or so.  This is the stream of consciousness–some semblance of order, but with obvious need for cutting and pasting.  This is short enough that I should have it fixed and updated by tomorrow or the next day, depending on how my time constraints run.  So, although this is in part for the Blogging 101 class, it is also the promised new SOC that will be cleaned up and presented in the next regular (non-class) “how I am learning to write” post.

Let’s see how I do cleaning this one up.  It’s a reasonably “factual” topic, with not a whole lot to it.  It will need a bit of fleshing out in places, and other parts will need reorganization or outright deletion.

Until next time, then!



About DrEMiller

Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Home: Sint Maarten. K-12 teacher for 13 years (Special Education for 10 years); Post-secondary educator since 2002; Education consulting since 1995. When teaching, held teaching certificates in K-12 special education, reading specialist; and secondary social studies. Doctorate: Educational Psychology Programmer/analyst for 10 years, including project management and training of corporate execs.
This entry was posted in About Writing, Blogging U, Blogging101 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Blogging 101, Day 4: Audience and Focus Post–Stream of Consciousness, Take 2

  1. Pingback: Re-Write of SOC-Part 2: The Final Version | Eleanore's Ramblings…

  2. That’s very interesting… just thinking out loud here. The stream of consciousness writing when I was blogging 101, turned into a rant. I honestly had no idea what the subject of my SOC should have been, and I just wrote, whatever came into my head.

    Okay, back to your post. I also remember that they said that there was no real need to go back and change typos, or anything that didn’t look, or sound right to you. So, I suspect that prompt has changed?

    I clicked on the link to your current SOC draft. Is this being worked on to become an official post for the business in which you’ve taken an interest?

    I noticed when starting to read the actual SOC, that in the last sentence of the first paragraph: “There are garments–both tops and support types– that slim the thighs or the whole leg, some of which an be worn as leggings for full control from the waist down, and others that target specific problems.” “which an be worn” should read “which can be worn?”

    Ignore the actual s f they show up, as I was trying to bold what I was pointing out… not sure if it will show up as I intended.

    Also, if there is another way I should be helping edit, please point me in the right direction. 🙂

    If you wanted, as you noted, to separate out your own personal complaints, so the focus is purely on the product, then in paragraph 2, I would remove the last sentence: “My back problems are severe, and my posture has gotten so bad that I go from a somewhat straight position as I walk and stand to a question-mark profile view in less than 10 minutes. Sure, those “medical” garments help, but for me they are neither enough, nor do they help me continue to feel as attractive as any 65-year-old woman can possibly become.”

    Paragraph 5: “Now, there’s a bit of a story here about fatigue that goes back to September of 2014, when I suffered a bleeding ulcer attack that required a transfusion of 6 units of blood. I probably lost 8 or 9 during the episode, but you never get as much blood as you’ve lost because the idea is that your body will make up the difference reasonably quickly. When I had type of blood loss episode in November, after my ulcers had healed, and the there was reason to believe that a large section of my colon was the cause because of all the little sacs that form in the colon over the years. What happened was that I continued to get weaker in the interim two months instead of stronger. There was no loss of blood through the colon, as the doctors on the island believed, but no new blood cells were being produced and I was so anemic that I couldn’t even drive my car without scraping the passenger side on posts and walls, and I was having trouble driving straight. My night vision became bad so rapidly that I could only drive the one kilometer into the resort town to get to the pharmacy or doctor’s office, or the same distance to the market in the opposite direction–and that at great concentration and the hope of a big parking space that allowed me room to maneuver so I wouldn’t scratch another vehicle while pulling in or out. The spine problems meant I couldn’t turn my head enough to look behind me, and we can’t afford a new car with all the distance from object detectors and a video screen on the dashboard. All of this turned out to be the result of the anemia that the doctors in the hospital were convinced were from problems in my colon. All this turned out to be wrong, as we discovered on a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Florida in December. The sacs in my colon turned out to be very small and not the “instant death” form bleed-out that the doctors at the island medical center predicted. In fact, all I needed was iron supplements to “restart” my blood cell production and some rest until I regained strength.”

    Is it needed in reference to any products? I might not be needed from that stand point. If it doesn’t really keep focus on the products, it can be used in the other – separate post on your personal situation…?

    I also think paragraph 6: “Several years ago, the Los Angeles campus to a university I worked for was shut down for good. That was bad enough, but then I learned that I needed another surgery on my back. That’s another story in itself, and I won’t go into it here, but that took me out of the “unemployment” market before I even got started, and was followed too quickly by another unexpected surgery that was discovered during the MRI for the prior one. Totally out of the unemployment market now, and becoming clinically depressed, not for the first time. We had moved to Beverly Hills when I got this job, and the rent although affordable while I was working, took on (generated? forced?) a life-style change. No longer could we afford to eat out when the mood struck us, but became a Special Occasions event only. Not that we didn’t do take-out. Believe it or not, there are plenty of inexpensive yet healthy and nourishing restaurants in the BH area that helped keep us within budget if I was too depressed or in too much pain to do anything worthwhile.” might be part of the separate post. It doesn’t specifically focus on the new product line. In the end, if you were putting together a presentation for product, and wanted some testimonies, this would be part of that, I believe.

    The last part of Paragraph 7 is relevant, since it actually mentions the company, and the difference, without bringing in the separate detail of all the difficulties you were going through. You could cut down most of that paragraph to point out that you went through a time of great debilitation, but found, upon using the product, that you grew strong enough to begin to return to your former well being… ?

    After that, the paragraphs do focus mainly on the product. So this might be a beginning of separating out more than is needed for the purpose of your actual post about the product.

    Let me know if there was another way I could have helped show you what editorial changes might be the best for what your aim is..



    • Ellie… I can see the bolds DID work, but ended up bolding the rest of my comment. Still getting the kinks out of how to do this here.

      • DrEMiller says:

        I don’t want to pay the extra $99 to make the All Our Writing site more capable of what we want to do with it. I’m just grateful that the Happiness Engineers were able to set up our space to resemble the Blogger U commons pages, and the BUGs page. I did upgrade the E’s Ramblings blog a few hours ago, so that should help with editing… Thanks so much for all your help. You cannot believe how much I appreciate the work you’ve put into this work. In the near future, I’ll even give that YA SF a stab using your suggestions, which were exactly what I needed to hear, even if I hadn’t actually planned to do anything with it when I shared. Wish we could smiley faces into these replies!! You’d get lots of them and lots of hearts from me!! Hugs!

    • DrEMiller says:

      There was no prompt to this. “How I am learning to write” is the new focus of that blog site. I simply started writing and ended at some arbitrary point. When I tried to break it down into two stories, one was whining about my problems; the other was an advertisement. I wanted neither. No matter how I tried to re-work the material, I wasn’t happy with the results. I finally just dropped it altogether and went on to a timed SOC with one theme that I can actually work into a meaningful topic with neither whining nor advertising. The new topic about differences in the way pets are viewed and cared for here on the island vs modern countries like the US & Canada, most of western Europe, Australia, etc. We treat pets as almost human; islanders treat pets the way they were treated when I was growing up–many, many years ago. Our pets live much longer than island pets; and the same is true for people because of “second rate” medical care. But that’s a topic for a different blog. Thanks so much for all the trouble you took to edit. Your ideas and edits are great. I’m just not ready to do this one and make it sound “positive.” Hugs!

  3. finkelstein says:

    I think you should use this post to change into a story about your cat and write it fiction style. That part of your freewriting jumped off the page for me!

    • DrEMiller says:

      You’re absolutely right about focusing on a cat, but I don’t know which one–the one who died that I talked about in Writing101, or Esme who was saved by Shadow–or even our newest addition, Colbert, who was too much for his owner to keep since she has two other cats. Colbert is 3 months younger than Esme and is exactly the same size. She may be small, but he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with. Both have been beaten up by a bully feral cat; but when Colbert reaches his full growth, that cat will have to watch out. Colbert will definitely be bigger than him. But I suspect you’re talking about Shadow, who could not get the care she needed here that she would have received back “home.” Thanks for the suggestion, Irene. Your comments are always welcome, and you’ve come to know me pretty well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s