Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Jacki Kellum Inspiration

Come into My Garden Said the Black-Eyed Susan to the Hybrid Tea – Learning to Love Life Through My Garden

Some people are naturally buoyant, but others of us must find ways to elevate our spirits. Writing helps keep my emotions on track.

Drawing and painting help lift me up, too.


But gardening and watching nature day by day is probably my best antidote for the blues.


Even during the winter, I watch the birds outside my window, and I write about how winter changes my perspective.

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And I like to paint winter.


I always love to see spring’s arrival. Now, that I live in the North, I love spring more than I ever did before.


And I grow a large variety of irises, and iris time always excites me. My grandmother had a huge iris bed, and my irises keep my grandmother alive.


I also grow a large variety of clematis, but by the time that the clematis are blooming, my garden is shrieking with color.

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Early this spring, I bought a large, blooming tropical milkweed plant, and my current reward is that I am watching all of my baby caterpillars munching on the leaves.


Last fall, my header had the above squirrel on it, and I wrote a piece that I titled Winter Comes Too Soon. Moments ago, I was walking around my weed-grown garden, and I was thinking that in only a few weeks, I’ll be writing again about how winter has begun to settle across my lawn. When you read my essay Winter Comes Too Soon, you will probably see that I am not only talking about how another summer is ending, but I am also talking about how the seasons of my life have shifted, too.

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I am 67-years-old, and I am no longer the pastel primrose that I once was. I feel more like a field of goldenrod now, and as I begin to look square into the eyes of the latter part of my own autumn, I have begun to notice that cobwebs have been spun from one side of myself to the other, and they have begun to dangle and drop.

Indeed, Winter Comes Too Soon. The surprising thing is that aging has a patina to it, and by the grace of God, as I age, I have begun to discover that there are good things about getting older. I know that I am more mellow than I once was. I have learned to view friendships differently than I ever viewed them before. I have given up a great deal of my tendencies toward perfectionism, and I am finding the eyes to see the beauty of the small, inexpensive things that I had never seen.


Last year, I wrote several hours each day, and that left me no extra time for doing my art and gardening.

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The year before, I had gorgeous annuals and perennials blooming in my garden.

But last year, I had fields of poke plants, and one massive wildflower grew that I had never seen in my life. That plant grew to be abut 8′ tall and had large, feathery leaves and woody stalks. Little balls hung from the stalks, and each little ball was topped by what looked like a vintage Chinaman’s cap. Ultimately, little yellow flowers popped out from the tops of the balls. It was an amazing thing to watch. That tall weed or wildflower was a few feet from my back door, and every time that I went outside, I saw it. It was almost as though God chose to give me a special gift to replace the garden that I had allowed to slip away.


During the summer of 2015, my garden was controlled and my waterfall was beautiful and clear. Last year, I never started the pumps for my waterfall, and my pond was brackish and dark. I was disappointed that without my care and nudging, many of my perennials elected not to show last year. But because I allowed some of the wilder things in my garden to have a chance to grow, I saw a different kind of beauty. It was a mellower kind of beauty that had a natural patina.

“A weed is but an unloved flower.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Several times before, I have written that I question the line that is drawn between weeds and flowers. By many standards, I am probably a weed, but I enjoy the comfort and the freedom of growing the way that I seem to want to grow.

“Come into my garden,” said the black-eyed Susan to the hybrid tea.

©Jacki Kellum September 5, 2017

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A Word about Disappointment and Disillusionment – The Word “Eclipse” Is A Fine One to Add to Your Box of Words

Today. parts of the USA will have a front row seat to watch a Solar Eclipse. It has been 38 years since America’s last opportunity to see the shadows that are caused when the moon moves between the earth and the sun, thereby blocking the sun’s light. Like most of America, I failed to buy the proper glasses to watch the spectacle that will unfold across the sky, but I find myself thinking about what a fine word “eclipse” is, and I find myself pondering over some of the eclipses that I have experienced in life.

If my marriage had not failed, I would have celebrated my 45th wedding anniversary on August 19. Probably because I never remarried, on August 19, I found myself inclined to write something about the fact that still married or not, that was a special day for me. Society would not have divorced people mentioning their wedding  anniversaries, but whether I am supposed to mention it or not, August 19 still marks  the day that I entered a marriage that lasted 18 years and from which three children were  born. Frankly, I am suspicious of  a society that would suggest that people who were once married should one day walk away from two decades of life and not look back, but hey, I am not the societal norm, and quite honestly, I am glad that I am not so very compartmentalized or detached from my emotions that I could elect to block out 18 years. I would prefer to experience pain occasionally than to never feel at all.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t long for an opportunity to relive my actual marriage.  I did not have a great marriage, but I will always be saddened by all of the damage  that my divorce caused. When I was a child, girls were raised to believe that their most golden, shining accomplishment would be that of marrying and raising a happy family. Two people marry and like the way that the sun and earth are positioned in the sky, the stage is set.. Like the moon, disappointment lurches between the couple, and the shadows fall. The opportunity for a happy marriage–for a stable family–is eclipsed by disillusionment.

“Eclipse”–what a fine word it is. My divorce has not been my only disappointment. I am afraid that I have experienced far too many disappointments, and today, the day of the 2017 Solar Eclipse, I am reminded of a fine song to match the occasion:

©Jacki Kellum August 21, 2017


Total Eclipse of the Heart
Bonnie Tyler

Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit lonely
And you’re never coming round
Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit tired
Of listening to the sound of my tears
Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit nervous
That the best of all the years have gone by
Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit terrified



My House Is My Hideout, My Refuge, & My Home

When I am attacked by a case of social anxiety, nothing spells relief like H-O-M-E–not house–but home. The place where I currently dwell isn’t fancy. In fact, in many ways, it is downright crude; but my home is my haven–a shelter from life out there, a harbor from the arduous task of survival. It might seem that any 4 walls and a roof could serve that purpose–could offer a kind of refuge or a closet where I could hide from the world. Yet, while my house is far from adequate and while it lacks many of the creature comforts that I would enjoy, the things that make this space my home are far more complicated than that. Following is a list of some of the things and places that have transformed my house into my home:

  1.  My Garden


Both working and sitting in my garden are probably the activities that most keep me sane. I have written blog posts in which I have tried to catalog all of the reasons that my garden is vital to me.  For exmple, there are health benefits in my being able to root around in the dirt and become part of what nature, plants, and seeds can produce.  I have built a waterfall, and the sounds that it makes are soothing to me and watching the cascading water is mesmerizing. I also have bird feeders and bird baths.  Being able to sit, just feet away from my feeding and bathing birds is an invaluable treat for me.  While not exactly part of my house, my garden is no doubt one of the areas of my home that I consider to be most important.

2.  My Sunroom



A house that does not have one warm, comfy chair in it is soulless.  – May Sarton –

During the spring, summer, and fall, I spend most of my waking hours outside in my garden. My sunroom is a place where things can continue to grow and bloom even when things outside are not, but  I actually built my sunroom to serve as my inside link to what I have created outside.

In my sunroom, there is a great big and soft loveseat-like chair that is situated just in front of a wall of glass that opens to my side garden, where I have planted a a bit of what I consider to be nature’s best.  My birdfeeder and bird bath are in view from this chair, and I can also see my cherub statue from there.  My sunroom has become the place that I sit, especially during winter, when I need to lavish myself with the healing balm and blessings of what lies outside.  When it snows, I especially love to sit in my sunroom, toasting by my fireplace, watching the world, as nature transforms her into a white and silent maiden.

Some days, after working in my garden, I spread a bit of bird food, go inside and pour myself a glass of wine.  Afterward, I come into my sunroom and sink into my sunroom chair, which literally seems to wrap itself around me.  Then I begin peering through the glass at nature as it unfolds on the living, big screen in front of me.  I think to myself that life just doesn’t get much better than this.  My sunroom is literally the window to my soul.

3.  My Fireplaces and Firepits


“If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If youre a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in!
Come in!

– Shel Silverstein –

My attraction to burning logs is complex.  In short, nothing transports me more than the smell of a wood fire.  I currently live in a suburb that has very strict laws against torching things outside, but before I moved here, one of the things that I most loved about fall was the smell of burning leaves; and when I was a child, I spent my summers at camp, where night time and campfires became absolutely mystical to me.  My fireplaces and my outside firepits are the ways that I keep that part of myself alive.

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. – Diane Ackerman


4.  My Studio


During the winter, which is normally both brutal and long in New Jersey, I spend most of my active hours in my studio.  Every season but winter, I create outside; but when it gets cold and ground freezes, my studio becomes my garden.  It is the place that I myself go to grow–to listen to my own spirit and to follow its call.

Although I could paint and create in virtually any room of my house, having a designated studio makes the process easier.  If every time I wanted to create, I had to wag out my art supplies and then put them back up again, I simply would never paint again.  That being said, my studio is more than a set of handy shelves and other storage devices.  It is the cornerstone of much that makes me who I am.  Even when I am not painting, my studio is a shrine that reminds me that there is a secret and magical place within myself and that I have a package, waiting to be opened.

Being an artist is a way of Being–of Becoming Aware–of Increasing from Within–of Wondering–and of Inventing because of that Wonder.  – Jacki Kellum –

5.  My Bed


If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.  – Gaston Bachelard

While I have a lovely sunroom and a terrific studio, the place that I do most of my recharging and creating is actually my bed.  Whereas my home is my haven, and my garden is my retreat, and my sunroom is my soul, and my studio is my shrine, my bed is a cornucopia of all of those things, in one integral place.

I am a very active person, but I am probably more mental.  I think and rethink everything that I do and then I research it on my laptop, chart it, notate it, graph it, plan it, and rethink it some more.  95% of the mental part of myself happens while I am propped up on the feather pillows atop my bed, which is truly a spot that transforms my house into my home.

You can never go home again. – Thomas Wolfe

When you finally go back to your old home, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood. – Sam Ewing

Fortunately,  our true homes are not merely the places where we lived with our parents.  Like turtles, we carry our homes with us–inside ourselves.  Our homes are actually the places where and when we are most rooted and most grounded.  During the better parts of our childhoods, most of us did experience a sense of home; and in my opinion, the only way that we can become happy adults is to find ways to reesablish that same essence again and again.

There are things that we can do to our houses that help us to recreate our senses of home.   As I look back, I believe that my true mission in life has been that of finding ways to make myself at home–wherever I happen to live.  I am currently residing in at least the 10th house since my childhood, and I have been fortunate in that I have learned to find ways to make each of those houses my home.  It is the only way that I know to actually live.

[Note: I first wrote this two years ago, and I hate to admit that during this past summer, I did not tend to and care for my garden, and I have allowed my sunroom to become cluttered with an never-ending remodeling project, and my spirit has suffered. My house is still my hideout. When I return home from a day of working or running errands, I still sigh in relief that I have finally been allowed to get home again, but I realize that without my gardening and my sunroom and my fireplace, my house is not my sanctuary. I vow to do better this summer and get back into my garden and back into my home.]

©Jacki Kellum February 21, 2017


I Have Declared September as the Beginning of My New Year – And I Honor September 11th

Today, it is 9 – 11, and I am celebrating  fall and the beginning of my own personal new year. All of us must also honor September 11th as the day that the USA managed to rise from its tragic devastation. Every Year on September 11, I like to play a video showing Liza Minelli and Pavarotti singing New York, New York. It is my Anthem of Survival.

Because September is traditionally the time that school begins and the time to buy new crayons and glue and to get a shiny new ruler–one that isn’t nicked and scratched–I believe that fall should be the time to start a new year. Fall is also the time of the apple harvest, and I associate apples with teachers and  apple pie with mom and the apple tree with the Tree of Life.

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September is also the month of Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. John Chapman was born on September 26, 1774, and he is the fellow who traveled from state to state, sharing apple seeds and a page from his Bible.  Champman always traveled the same route and when he returned from a journey he would recollect the page that he had left before and would leave another in its place. For that reason. John Chapman, who was nicknamed Johny Appleseed, is considered America’s first librarian.

I feel quite sure that most of Johnny’s original apple trees have died, but around each old, dried stump, where the first apple trees were planted, other  apple trees sprang up, and in that way, the USA became an apple-growing country. Johnny Appleseed left other stumps, too. Following Johnny’s example, formal library systems are dotted around the country and all of us bloggers repeatedly share what we know.

But let’s return to apple trees and apples. Because I link apples with the Tree of Life and with schools and teachers and with Mom and her apple pie, I regard apples to be  more than simple pieces of fruit. In my opinion, apples are symbolic of prosperity and growth. And  because the fall is the time for harvesting apples, I see another reason for celebrating my own personal new year during fall, during the time of the apple harvest, and at the time that I honor the fallen on September 11.

Sometimes Rosh Hashanah is celebrated in September, and I had decided that I might simply borrow Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, for myself, but this year, Rosh Hashanah is in October. I know that several primitive cultures had large festivals in the fall, and I decided that I would research to see if  I could find myself a New Year that would always fall in September, and I found one. The holiday is Enkutatash, and it is celebrated on September 11. Enkutatash is the Ethiopian New Year, and September 11 was the time that terrorists attacked my country.


All things seem to point to the fact that from this day forward, my personal New Year will be on September 11.  Certainly, I do not celebrate the falling of the towers in NYC, and I do not celebrate the fact that lives were lost on that tragic day. But I do celebrate that, like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, America has managed to prevail. Tonight, I’ll go down to the water’s edge of my home at the Jersey Shore, and I’ll light a Roman Candle for Life.

“I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” – William Faulkner

©Jacki Kellum September 11, 2016


I’d Like to Travel But I Want to Know More of Different Places Than What Lies on the Surface

I would love to be able to travel more, but unlike some people, I have no desire to travel merely to  Keep Up with the Joneses or because I have a superficial need to flash before my peers the evidence that I was able to afford to travel. In fact, what I want from traveling would not appeal to most people who travel as a type of status symbol. Rather, I have a desire to actually live, in an authentic way, with many types of people and to live in other spots all around the globe. I want to experience the ways that other people tick.

Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.- Susan Sontag

Unlike for many, I have no desire to photograph the world. My yearning to travel is more of a spiritual thing. I long to spend time with the everyday people who live in different countries. and I hunger to truly know other cultures. I do not want to stop at photographing them. I want to reach beneath the] appearances of the people that I meet along my journey. I want to feel with other people and not merely to look at them.

While most who visit England will flock to Westminster Palace and will ogle at the trappings of the royalty, that is not at all interesting to me.  Instead, I want to visit England’s country people, and I want to sniff the fresh lavender that is growing in English gardens.

I I do not want to spend large portions of time in International cities. I may be wrong about this, but I venture to say that a city is merely a city–regardless of what language that it speaks.

My desire is to visit the cottages of the world and to eat potato soup and rolls with its commoners. I want to breathe the fresh, mountain air that is far above the city smog, and I want to share stories with the Every-woman.

You develop a sympathy for all human beings when you travel a lot.
Shakuntala Devi

I do not want to journey, simply to impress others with my ability to pay for my travel. My thirst  is to increase my awareness through travel. I have a hunger to grow, inside myself; and experiencing more of the world will help me grow. Feeling with the world will enlarge my heart.

Travelling expands the mind rarely. – Hans Christian Andersen

©Jacki Kellum August 11, 2016


A Dreamer Finds His Way By Moonlight But Sees Dawn Too Soon

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

The Moon has always enchanted me. I suppose that much of the moon’s charisma has to do with the fact that it is the light that balances the darkness of night and therefore, it has a certain mystery about it. In fact, the filtered and hazy glimmer that is whispered by the moon is what lends a mystical quality to the night.


I like the way that the moon washes the world in a soft and alluring light–one that is not too harsh and not too bright. To me, a moon-lit night has the same kind of ambiance that a room has that is lighted only by the flickering flames of a fireplace or by the warm glow that falls beneath the shade of a lamp.

I write a great deal about denial. I criticize the people in denial and say that they have no feelings about what is happening around themselves and thus, they have no empathy. As I look around more, however, I am realizing that more people are wearing blinders than there are those who seem to see. Perhaps most people are in what I call a state of denial, and the artists and the writers of the world are the only people who see.

Picasso said, “Je vois les autres,” which means, “I see for the others or I see things that other people do not see.” I am certainly no Picasso, but I feel the same way about myself–I believe that I see things that other people don’t see, and I have written several posts in which I share the fact that all of my life I have felt apart from everyone else because of that.  In the following poem, I talk about how I feel isolated in a world of people who I believe can only look at outward appearances–if they look at all.


When I talk about “looking” as opposed to “seeing,” I am referring to different levels of perceiving the world. Even flies look. The thing that distinguishes a thinking man is his ability to “see,” and as Picasso has suggested, there are levels of seeing. As Oscar Wilde has suggested, an artist’s ability to look more penetratingly at life and to see more than the surface is enhanced because the artist is able to wrap reality in the moonlight and to look at it beneath the sheltering shade of his perceptions.


Deep Within the Pool, I See
by Jacki Kellum

Deep within the pool I see,
An outline view of me.

I smile.  The water thinks me glad.
I frown. It thinks me sad.
The water has no way to know
The kind of day I’ve had.

The water has no brain to think.
It has no heart to feel
It only views my outer shell.
It looks with eyes of steel.

How very like the water are
The people passing by.
They glance at me, They never see,
They never hear me cry.

Drop a pebble in the pool.
Watch the water spin.
Best to watch the water crack
Than love the shell within.

© Jacki Kellum December 7, 2015

After my divorce, I became depressed; and for a short while, I sought a psychiatrist’s advice. One day, I said to her that I wished that I was the type of person who was unphased by how other people perceived me and who was uncaring about whether or not I had caused other people pain. I added that I wished that I myself could navigate life without feeling pain. Her response was very true, “People who do not feel pain also do not see the rainbows,” and that is very true.


In the same way, the people who do not feel do not notice the dew, as it touches their toes in the mornings.


And the people who do not hear miss the sound of the rain as it filters through the trees and then taps the tin roof and slides from it one drop at a time.


Likewise, tThe people who do not hear also do not notice the whisper-plinking as the snow begins to drift toward the ground and begins to cover the earth with a velvety whiteness.

The Snow Begins to Fall
by Jacki Kellum

Grayness is so thick that you feel its cotton breath reaching around you,
Blowing slivers of ice against your face.
Quiet and still—almost silent, except for a faint brushing tap,
Crystals touch the ground.
There are no cars out tonight, but I see a lone street light,
and in the golden circle that it makes, I watch the puffs of white–
…………………..Falling out of sight,
……………………………….Beyond the orb.

I stand outside my house, and
Gradually, the corners of my window pane fill,

The Christmas lights next door are turned on.
Gray-muted blueness soon becomes a pyramid of powder.

©Jacki Kellum October 14, 2015

The people who do not see also do not notice the way that the soft and glowing light of the moon transforms the darkness of night.

Pale Yellow Moon
by Jacki Kellum

Pale Yellow Moon,
Hazy, Milky Magic:

Mostly Cornstarch,
Kissed by Honey,
Whispering to the Dark.

© Jacki Kellum October 14, 2015

As Oscar Wilde has pointed out, artists and writers do see more of life and they see it long before the rest of the world takes note. But the unfortunate flip side to this kind of vision is that they are also quicker to notice when things begin to fall apart and they hurt more than others. The ability to hurt deeply is the punishment for being born an artist. Artists and writers truly experience both the agony and the ecstasy of life, and if I could not have one without the other, I would still elect to have them both.

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde



Maybe You’ll Still Be Successful – Even Without Marketing & SEO – But Don’t Count On That!

Being Successful with Any Kind of Online Business Requires More Than Magical Thinking!

Maybe you’ll still be successful online–even without marketing & SEO–but don’t count on that! 

  1. You Need a Real Marketing Plan. 
  2. You Need to Increase Your SEO.
  3. You Need to Be Found Online.

Let’s talk about some practical approaches to building an online presence.

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Many would say that creating a website would be one of the first steps toward building an online presence, but my blog sites have been  better tools for me.  I venture to say that this would be true for most writers or for people who are verbal. I am also a painter, and I have tried simple online galleries, but I have another need to talk about ideas and my feelings and my projects. The more important thing, as far as marketing goes, is that other people seem to want to listen.

For a couple of years, I had several free WordPress blogs, but I feel that I have outgrown the free blog option, but for a long time, my free WordPress blogs worked great for me

godaddyNow, GoDaddy is hosting some full WordPress.org sites for me, and they have a .com address. In my opinion, this approach offers me the best of two worlds–I have both websites and blogs. This site is one of the sites that GoDaddy is hosting.

Regardless of how you do this, however, an online home–a place where people can find you–is essential to marketing online–even if you are only marketing yourself.


If you are trying to increase your SEO or your Search Engine Optimization, or if you simply want to be found on the Internet, you must become serious about marketing yourself. Millions–probably Billions–want that same thing. The people who win the race will be the people who learn how to effectively sell themselves online.

Now, this may sound confusing, but I believe that maintaining an active blog is still very important for marketing yourself. That’s right–even if you have a regular website, I still believe that blogging regularly–even a couple of times per day–is essential for being found online.


How Blogging Helps Increase Your SEO

I began blogging 2.5 years ago. At that time, my intention was to create an online gallery for peddling my paintings, and somewhere I had read that I needed to attract attention to my site. I researched various types of blogs, and I elected to launch a WordPress blog.

At that time, I knew that many people would be interested in free tutorials for Photoshop and for Adobe Illustrator, and to draw people to my site, I initially created many tutorials for the Adobe products. From the earliest date, however, I also began to blog about something else that I felt I knew a little bit about. For my first graduate degree in English, I wrote about William Blake, and at some time past, I did feel passionate about the Romantic ideals and about how the experienced and emotionally bankrupt adult of the world had stripped life of its emotion, energy, intuitiveness, and imagination.

It had been a long time since I had written that thesis, but I began to write posts about the loss of imagination and the Waste Land that resulted from the loss of feeling. Unlike the Adobe tutorials, these posts required that I actually write, and that was something that I had not done for quite some time. I was stunned by the number of readers that I attracted through those earliest posts.

I attribute the fact that anyone read those earliest posts to Google. Somewhere, I had read that I needed to tag my posts and that by tagging, I would draw viewers. Like a child in elementary school, I did as I was told, and it worked. Strangers began to find my blog site. But I began to realize that my cart and my horse were totally confused. Although I did use the Adobe products myself and although at one time, I had studied William Blake, that was not what I was trying to sell 2.5 years ago. For a while, I simply quit blogging, but the Adobe tutorials continued to draw viewers.

In October of 2015, I decided to return to my writing, and I plunged into writing, as a form of expression. It was as though a cork had been released. If you look at the following graph, you can see that in October of 2015, I posted wrote many articles and because I had learned how to tag my posts and because Google had already found me, people read my creative writing, too.


I continued to write in November, but shortly after that, I became ill and did not write much again until May. In July, I decided to move forward with a project that I had begun before I became ill, and that project was the Mine Your Memories Writing Event.

At some time during the fall of 2015 or during early winter of 2016, I began responding to the WordPress Daily Prompt, and because of that effort, my writing improved, I attracted a relatively large number of readers, and I also attracted several followers. And again, some of my success was because of Google–and some of it was because of the WordPress Groupies. Any way that you look at it, blogging has been an invaluable asset for me in increasing my SEO–even for elevating my page rank.

Sharing Images Online Is A Way to Market Yourself

As I said before, blogging is a great tool for drawing attention to yourself.  Because your blog is a great place to share images online, your blog becomes an even greater resource for building an online presence. Today, I began blogging on a new combination blog and website that is also hosted via GoDaddy. That site will be very helpful for people who are serious about being found online. Today, I posted the following articles about how to find and use images and how those images will hep increase your Search Engine Optimization:


How to Find & Save Google Images Here


Dangerous Myths Regarding Google Images – How to Be Sure That Your Images Are Free to Use Here


Pixabay Is An Outstanding Resource for Finding Free & Copyright-Free Images Here


The Creative Commons Is the Best Kept Secret Secret for Finding Free & Copyright-Free Images, Music, Clip Art, & Videos Here


The Uncle Sam Poster “I Want You” is Proof of the Power of Images Here

For now, this is all that I’ll say about the importance of marketing yourself online, but allow me to repeat my original position by saying that marketing yourself is essential for people who are struggling to have their books, or the art, or the writing, or their videos, or the music found online. Maybe you can succeed in the 21st-Century without increasing your SEO, but I honestly doubt that you will. The economy is not good, and more and more people are launching Internet businesses. The competition is overwhelming. Increasing your Search Engine Optimization is vital for people who hope to rise to the top.

©Jacki Kellum August 10, 2016



How To Use Images to Improve Your SEO – Search Engine Optimization


I discovered an outstanding pdf that explains SEO or Search Engine Optimization, and how to increase one’s searchability in Google. The pdf is an official Google publication. Therefore, I feel that it should be the last word on how to be better seen via Google search: http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf

The guide is a bit dense; therefore, I’ll summarize a few points that stuck out to me:

A blog post’s title is key to SEO.

Although Google has become bigger than life, it is important to remember that it is not a person and that you will get the best search results if you title your writing or your art in ways that machines understand. I am guilty of enjoying using arty titles, and when my titles are too obscure, I add a colon and an explanatory phrase.  About a year ago, I titled a short poem Butterfly Breeze, and later, I entered it in a blog post with nothing more than that same and opaque title. Later, I realized that the title ” Butterfly Breeze” is a bit vague for Google to get its “head” around. Here is the poem:

Butterfly Breeze
by Jacki Kellum

Soft and silver, the delicate, gossamer-like lace swept into my room
Whispering a butterfly breeze.

Whiff of a lily followed along,
Crickets and whippoorwills sang me song,

And moon dust cradled my head.
©Jacki Kellum October 7, 2015

When I limited my reference to this poem as nothing more than “Butterfly Breeze,” I might have attracted searchers who were looking at the migration of the Monarch butterfly [if I was lucky], or I might have attracted some environmentalists who were searching for information about how pollution affects butterflies and other insects.  But with that slippery title, I probably caught no butterflies at all. Over the course of a couple of years’ efforts to create a brand of my name, however, my blog post might have worked better with search engines if I had added something more after the poem’s title. I might have added the following words: “Jacki Kellum Poetry” or “Jacki Kellum Memoir” or “Jacki Kellum Memoir Poem.” Butterfly Breeze is all of the previous, and my attempt to be found by search engines would be best served if I had found a way to add all of the data as part of the title of my blog’s post. 

The way that you tag your images is also of importance.


When we talk about tagging things in our posts, we are not talking about hanging a pretty and decorative label on it. Tags for online data are work-horses.

tags This shows the tags that I have most used today on this site. Since I have only begun blogging here today, the number of tags that I have used is still very small. Within a few months, I will have used thousands of tags to describe my blog posts to Google and to other Search Engines.

Important Note: You can also Tag the Images that You Insert Into Your Posts.

tag_image_tags Before I Tagged the above Image

tag_image_tags3After I tagged the above image.

Immediately before you click to insert an image into your post, you have an opportunity to add some metadata. In the previous image, you see how someone else had tagged the image of the tag as nothing more than music and some numbers. Notice here that I titled the tag the way that it relates to why I am using this image in my posts [Hint: I am not writing about music in this post]

I don’t add a caption. The caption shows up on the post.

I added an alternate tag. This allows me another chance to catch the search engines.

Notice that I separate the words in the title and the alt text with underlines.






I  admit it: I am an impulsive will-o-the-wisp. and I do not like to take the extra 15 seconds that it would require for me to fill in metadata for my images. Allow me to show you how simple that task actually is on a WordPress blog site:

Just before you click to insert your image, you see the following boxes:

How to Increase Google Statistics
How to Increase Google SEO with Image Tags

Arrow 1. Title your tag with small letters and an underscore between each word i.e. increase_seo_google

Arrow 2. Write a description with important keywords: How to increase your Google SEO Search Engine Optimization Statistics. In order to find the very best keywords, do a Google keyword search.

Arrow 3. Provide an alternate title tag with small letters and an underscore between each word: how-to-increase-your-search-engine-optimization

Arrow 4. Write a description of the image. Again, use keywords.

This is just 2 simple ways that will definitely increase your SEO.

Remember: If it is worth saying – it is worth being read. Increasing your SEO is the way that people find you and read you

©Jacki Kellum August 9, 2016





Jacki Kellum Thoughts on Time and Aging

In 1965, I was 15-years-old, and The Rolling Stones released the song Time Is On My Side. That was over a half a century ago, and much has changed since then. When I was 15-years-od, I believed that Time WAS on My Side, but I don’t feel that way now. Now, I feel as though Time is a luxury, and the tragedy has to do with the fact that I wasted an enormous amount of time in the process of discovering that truth. As Joni Mitchell says, “So Many Things I Would Have Done, but Clouds Got In My Way….[but] I’ve Looked at Clouds from Both Sides Now.”

Both Sids Now
by Joni Mitchell
Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
When I consider that Joni Mitchell was only 24-years-old when Judy Collins first released her song Both Sides Now, the lyrics amaze me. By the time that I was 24-years-old, I had almost died in a car accident that left me with several permanent scars, and in that regard, I had experienced more of life’s bitter truths than most yet 24-year-olds had discovered, but I still didn’t have a clue about all of the illusions and the delusions that I would eventually unveil. When I was 24-years-old, I still had not seen life from both sides now, and neither had Joni Mitchell.
I’ll post videos of Joni Mitchell when she initially sang Both Sides Now in her twenties and when she sang it again much later in life, and when you compare the videos, you begin to understand how much the passage of time changes us. It sobers us. Over the course of time, we experience disappointments, and we watch people die. Even worse, we watch relationships die when the people involved are still alive. In another of Joni Mitchell’s brilliant songs, she called life a game–The Circle Game.
The Circle Game
by Joni Mitchell
Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Joni Mitchell’ song The Circle Game is a masterpiece, but it doesn’t tell the entire story either. As soon as the boy reaches the age of twenty, the song ends:
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty…
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.
When I first heard this song, I was also turning twenty, and frankly, I am glad that I didn’t realize then how much both the voice of that tune and I would change over the next several years. The greatest of life’s games is that we don’t realize how precious the moments and the opportunities of youth actually are. During the times of our youths, the greatest of life’s misunderstandings is that we believe that we will be young forever.
One of life’s greatest disappointments lies within discovering that Time itself is an illusion and that living is like chasing after a mirage. We waste too much of our lives looking too far ahead at something that seems to be golden and grand, but when we get there, that golden somethingness isn’t there at all. It was merely a shiny reflection in the sand.
“What was any art but a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself – life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose.” – Willa Cather
I don’t want to pretend that art and writing are more than they actually, but in the almost final analysis, I can honestly say that my ability to create is the way that I begin to make sense of life’s Circle Game and the way that I have managed slow my own aging down and have prevented myself from spinning completely out of orbit. I will and I won’t remind everyone of the very true observation that youth is wasted on the young. That has been said so very many times and by so very many people that I am not sure who said it first.
“All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.” – J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan
I simply suffice it by saying that Time is a Luxury, but it is a luxury that will eventually run out. Ultimately, you will also be standing in the October of your own life singing my song Winter Comes Too Soon.
©Jacki Kellum August 8, 2016

Winter Comes Too Soon
A Picture Book Manuscript by Jacki Kellum

There’s a frenzy in my garden,
Squirrels can’t get enough.
Birds are looking frantically
For seeds and nuts and stuff.

The corn is dry and shriveled now,
A vine has reached the top.
Fading leaves are bending low,
And little pumpkins drop.

The monarchs moved to Mexico,
And geese are leaving, too.
The spider leaves a lacy web,
Her net is etched with dew.

Shadows creep across the lawn,
But there’s a big, bright moon.
Everything in my yard knows
That winter comes too soon.

Copyright Jacki Kellum October 8, 2015




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