Connection in the Cosmos - The Journey Continues

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So the other day I was tagged by @bluefinstudios to complete @snook's Blockchain Journey Challenge. Thank you for the tag Bluefin 😜

As I have hit a mini milestone of sorts in terms of duration on Hive, I thought the timing was perfect ... 😊

How long have you been on the Blockchain?

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I signed up to Hive on Sunday 6th June 2021, just over 6 months ago. Today, Wednesday 15th December 2021, is day 198 on the blockchain🙌

What was your background in Cryptocurrency when you first came to the blockchain?

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I had just an incy wincy teeny weeny bit of knowledge when I started on Hive. I had made my first cryptocurrency purchase in March '21, on a banking App, which I had signed up to for travel purposes a while before (that went well, right?🤣). Then one day, having read a little about Bitcoin and Ethereum, I looked into the app's Cryptocurrency trading functionality and threw in $20. I was just curious at that stage and thought ... let's chuck a few dollars in each month and diversify... see what happens... it's not like you have anything better to do with your money while Covid is directing the show. I started small because I remember wondering if my $20 was about to disappear into a big dark hole. When it didn't, I went on to purchase a bit more crypto and also convinced my hubby to set up a mining PC for Ethereum.

What was your background in writing when you first came to the blockchain?

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I have always loved to write (and read), as far back as I can remember. I still have some handwritten stories and poetry somewhere from when I was younger, and I consumed books voraciously with delight and joy from an early age. They were always top of any wish list I had, including birthdays and Christmases. I loved essay and short story writing at high school and went on to major in English Literature and Law at University.

As an adult, I wrote the odd poem and short story (again for personal pleasure) and have often started novellas or novels, off the back of a spark of creativity and what I considered a good idea, and then literally ran out of steam and hit a wall ... not knowing quite how to finish them.

Then, a few years ago, I reconnected with an old friend and she invited me to the launch of her husband's new book. And so it was that I met Matt Jardine in a London bookstore in September 2017 promoting his new book on pilgrimage, The Hardest Path.

Matt owned a Karate school and that is ostensibly why I went to meet him, as after sitting on the sidelines for the best part of 20 years, I was looking for a new Sensei and a return to martial arts. I just felt that something was missing in my life: pursuit of passion; fulfillment and joy in something that was intrinsically a celebration of who I was. I missed Karate immensely - the artform, the discipline, the utter joy when I am focussed and connected with that little thing inside of me that is truly me. It is something akin to writing for me... it's all about connection, be it with myself personally, someone else, or something else.

Short story long 😜, I ended up training with Matt and Sheri at their dojo in Kingston-Upon-Thames and found Matt to be an inspiration both on and off the Dojo mats. His enthusiasm and drive as an author got me writing again early last year and I started a novel, primarily for myself, one that I had been harbouring in my heart for a while, and booking a couple of hours each evening in my diary, just to write. I was in my element. Whether I publish it one day will depend on how I feel about sharing that part of my life as the book is partly autobiographical, is based on incidents, people and relationships from my childhood, and pivots around a tragic accident that brought me deep personal loss at a very young age. So, it is very precious to me. I am fictionalising it to a certain extent and making use of some composite characters, as I do not want there to be any obvious links to the people portrayed in the story, which would prevent me from publishing it down the line (if I ever do get it finished and have the will or confidence to do so), as I don't want to bring any further hurt to those with whom my heart ached at the time. I do, however, want to get the memories down on paper...and maybe on the blockchain, before it's too late.

Then, I hurt my shoulders during lockdown and ended up with Rotator Cuff Tendonitis in both shoulders. I lost significant range of movement and was in discomfort for the best part of a year... and so my book went on hold.

Through these experiences and others, I knew that I needed to find a way to start writing regularly again so that I could get back to my story. Diving straight back into my book felt a little too daunting! I knew I had a problem finishing longer pieces, so I decided to research the art of writing and read a few books. I figured a little theory after all these years wouldn't hurt! 😁

I concluded that to get back into the habit of writing regularly, I should just jump in and write an online blog. Hold myself accountable for action. I registered with and Publish0x in May, as they seemed to have a mix of new bloggers and more experienced entry point and a bar. I liked it... and I started connecting with a few people there and wrote a few pieces. I still have a presence there but spend most of my time on Hive, which is now my blogging home.

How many people did you know when you first came to the Blockchain?

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One, just one...but somebody reminded me yesterday on an unrelated issue; that to start with, one is all we need! One of the people I met on PublishOx and Read.Cash was @jaxsonmurph and it was Jaxson that brought me to Hive. He was the only person that I "knew" in any shape or form when I joined Hive and even then it was a loose affiliation, but I am forever grateful to him for taking the time, having the patience, giving me advice, and guidance, especially in those early days! Nobody else IRL in my circle knew what the hell Hive was at the time... This has changed a bit now because I never shut up about it and all the amazing people and their creativity that I encounter on here everyday🤣💗

How did you meet people when you first came to the Blockchain?


I pretty much did what came naturally to me... I mean if you want to meet someone, you need to find a point of connection and start up a conversation, right? See if the pieces fit...Well, that's what I did... I started reading posts that grabbed my interest and then engaging in the comments. I didn't worry about whether anyone followed me or not, or whether anyone was even going to reply, I just kept doing my thing, and followed those that I found interesting or with whom I felt I had something in common; some sort of connection. And things happened naturally, I guess.

Who did you look up to when you first came to the blockchain?

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The first people I looked up to were @jaxsonmurph and @leprechaun. Between the two of them, they were very supportive and kind in helping me to resolve some of my early issues on the platform. Both of them were also very supportive of Proof of Brain Community and Jaxson thought I would find a good home there both writing and community-wise. He was not wrong!

And then I met @calumam in late June and my time on Hive and Proofofbrain became quite joyous. I had come across one of his older articles whilst browsing, interestingly named GRAPHICal 002. If you read that article, and if you understand me at all, you may understand what sparked an immediate connection for me, both with Cal and his article, and with my own creativity. So many things happened at once for me in that moment. I decided...sod it with trying my hand at writing about topics I had no real understanding of just because I was trying to make sense of it all and trying to relate to what I thought people wanted to read! It was not bringing me any joy. I was doing it almost out of duty to myself because I had promised myself I would write regularly again and had been struggling to get my spark back... and then Cal came along. I don't even think I've ever told him that's out the bag so to speak. But, thank you @calumam 😜💗🙏 Off the back of GRAPHICal 002 I was inspired to write again from within me, I relocated that spark, and I am grateful to you for that; the timing was perfect. And this was my response The Lake of Imagination

From there I discovered Cal's POB-WOTW run by himself, @scholaris and @nonsowrites. I absolutely love this contest and it is still the creative highlight of any week for me in which it is running. The three of them have challenged me week in and week out to do better with my writing and they lead by example with their own exemplary efforts. They are exceptionally kind and supportive people, the right balance of edginess and humility, and so generous of their time and energy, and just what I needed in my life at the time to get back into writing creatively and regularly.

These guys were the ones that shaped my creative experience and growth in the first month or two on Hive and continue to do so to this day.

Of course, I was meeting new people all the time and making some meaningful connections, but the people I mention here are those that truly impacted me in ways that spoke to my soul.

Although not asked, I feel the need to take this a bit show who has been added to this list between the start of my Hive journey and the present day.

Quite by chance I came across @wrestlingdesires who found me in the comments in a few posts around late July/early August. I was just doing my thing, supporting other authors and he started tagging these people to come and look at my comments. I was slightly bemused. These people were none other than @dreemsteem and @wil.metcalfe and again ... serendipity? I feel truly blessed🙏. And it was a short hop and skip onto one of Wil's posts and I found @ryzeonline.and @cynshineonline. Five of the most generous souls on this platform who give of themselves and their energy on a daily basis to make Hive a better place for everyone. These connections are very special to me.

@trostparadox is another person who has given me support through a good portion of my journey on Hive to date, and it started I believe when he supported one of my WOTW articles. I have no idea if it was due to a curational trail at the time or a manual upvote but it was appreciated either way. When it came to my attention via a reblog by I think @scholaris, that Steve was running a new project for his IRL students, called Gradnium, I jumped on to explore and to see if I could support it by reading their articles, providing encouragement and upvotes. By reading his students' articles on Hive, I have learned along the way with them through their reflections on his class and their essays which answer questions posed by their peers, on the week's lecture materials. I thoroughly enjoy visiting Trost's Gradnium community to see what intellectually stimulating and philosophically challenging issues are next up for discussion in his class, to read the recent articles, upvote, and engage. I even pop my own 2 cents worth on the odd post hehe.

A few more shout outs in my journey so far include @tattoodjay, @flaxz, @wesphilbin, @silversaver888, and @thekittygirl who all played their part in making me feel very welcome on Hive in their respective communities of Wednesday Walk, We are Alive and Social, Thoughtful Daily Post, Ladies of Hive, and The Terminal.

And then it would be remiss not to mention the likes of @mineopoly, @alekst7, @litguru, and @flamistan who amongst a few others already mentioned above, for me, set the bar for quality creative writing on Hive and inspire me to push my own creative boundaries, try new things and just do better. I always enjoy engaging with them on our mutual articles.

How would you describe your first three months on the blockchain?

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The first month .... bad ... bad....bad ...kinda like how I feel now when I get stuck in a voice channel in discord and can't find my way out again 🤣I literally fumbled around, issue after issue, trying to bundu bash my way through the complexity (If only I had known about @ryzeonline at the time and his amazing Beginner's guides to Hive). Once I found my groove in Cal's POB-WOTW though, I found community, connection, creativity, challenge, and friendship. And everything changed. The Joy returned to my writing.

Has being a part of the blockchain changed you in any way for the good?

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It has brought me so many countless hours of joy and learning and growth and connection and love and moments of sad tears and moments of happy tears ... I am intrinsically still me but I can feel the change and growth in my writing, and the expansion of my own private universe as I am both on the giving and receiving end of positive energy. It's a constant transfer from person to person and speaks of deeper connection. I have gained new friends across different communities and around the world, and by this, I don't just mean follows or followers either...this is something more than that. If you know, you know.

I continue to grow as an author, being challenged week in week out to push my boundaries, to try out new genres and new topics. I have achieved my goal of writing regularly, bringing creativity back to a rediscovered passion, and exacting joy.

What is your favorite memory from your time on the blockchain?

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Oh my goodness I have a few that stand out... so...if you're looking for just one, lol sorry I just can't do it hahaha

Some of the more special ones always involve the people at the heart of them, connection and friendship, so I leave you to fathom out from those below which you think are my faves, but these all make the shortlist for sure, in no particular order:

Starting up my own Paying it Forward contest to help other little redfish like myself who were also struggling to find their fins in the big pond. And seeing more people join and benefit with each new monthly edition. I have connected with some fabulous people through my contest and am making more meaningful connections with quite a few of them each week that goes by. One of the earliest newbies though that I have to mention is @chincoculbert who started on Hive a month after me, and we became firm friends quite soon after meeting in one of the posts. We have continued to follow each other's journey on Hive and cheer each other on from inside the comments. There are quite a few others I could mention whose interactions bring me so much joy and laughter and warmth but then I'm so scared I'll leave someone out, and this article may head towards 4000 words, and people would stop reading....

oh...they stopped already?....bwhahahaha

....Which reminds me...I am purposely late this month with my contest because it's the festive season hehe... but I didn't let anyone know it was going to be later🙄🤔😲. Take this as your notification guys lollollol🤭andd if you gave up on this article 2000 words ago...then ... bah humbug! lols

Connecting with @calumam, renewing that creative spark within me, and taking part regularly in POB-WOTW is a special memory in itself. I won't repeat what I've already said above. Taking it as read 😊

Joining @wil.metcalfe and co for comet week was a blast. I love jumping into people's articles and writing them meaningful comments (so it was right up my street!). Comet week really cemented for me the importance of making those meaningful comments, not just for myself, but for the recipients of those comments. And I saw that I didn't need to ever question what I was doing when I felt driven to write a longer message of support or affection for someone's article and to engage meaningfully in the comments. That it was quite ok and actually very much appreciated. If you've seen a comment by @dreemsteem or @wil.metcalfe, you will know what I mean about genuine engagement.

Connecting with @dreemsteem and joining her Dreemport project and Dreemteem. I have never met anyone quite like her. She is one special person with depth of character and warmth of heart. A fantastic author, motivator, mentor, leader, and friend. Her love for people can be felt in her posts and in the comments, wherever she touches down on the blockchain.

Taking part in a sci-fi writing contest set by @pibara about Higgs Boson, which challenged me to do something I never thought I could; to write in a genre that I had not really tried much before as an author and to do it off the back of some technical science and research. Taking part was an experience in itself; winning it was special. I could see I was improving as a writer and received genuine feedback via reviews from The Inkwell community.

Taking part in an ongoing collaboration run by @dibblers.dabs, to write the first Hive blockchain novella called "A Tale of 2 Pizzas!" It has been such a fun and engaging experience to date and something to which I look forward each week ... including all the 'postmortem' discussions of the latest twists and turns of events in the comments that @wrestlingdesires and I invariably have haha.

Getting onto discord and joining the discord communities for the various Hive communities that I enjoy visiting. It has definitely added a wonderful layer to my Hive experience and opened the door to meaningful friendships on the blockchain.

And finally, Hivefest 2021 was an awesome experience. Getting to chat with other Hivers in a virtual experience was superb and cemented a few more connections that I had already made. I would highly recommend it to everyone on the blockchain. I had so much fun over those two days, listening to fantastic presentations, exploring virtual experiences such as the NFT gallery, and engaging with as many people as I could. I laughed so very much!

I am sure I have already met and will continue to meet more people on Hive in the years to come with whom I will find meaningful connections and who will form part of my wonderful memories of this blockchain.

If you could give advice to a new person signing up to Hive what would it be?

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Engage meaningfully and you will uncover the true riches that Hive has to offer: connection and friendship.

I will simply leave the first comment that I made to @calumam (as far as I am aware) on 30 June 2021, when I had been on Hive for 3.5 weeks. Bumping into Cal, to me, was the 'hitting of the reset button' and the real start of my creative journey on Hive, because let's face it, during the first 3 weeks I had not only been fumbling around in the darkness of this new platform, trying to find my feet and work out what it was about, but also fumbling in the darkness of my own creative mind. I had been trying to seek out just that small glimmer of light... and everything about his article that day hit home to me that it was ok to just be me. In fact, life demands it.

I found that comment again this evening, and it made me smile very much:

I've been exploring this evening...another wide range of articles for me...checked out some photos in the photographic community, read some film reviews, and a few random articles, but this one for me is my post of the day (albeit it's a couple of years old...but I'm new here so it's new for me and I guess as a consumer of knowledge, that's enough right?). BTW, did you create that graphic? It's really good! And a perfect accompaniment to your Rod Serling quote. Dipping one's hand into the lake of the imagination and any wonder of magic can happen. It's all about connection! I feel your narrative speaks to the value of mindfulness, and if we find time to be attentive, we can gain so much more out of every moment lived. It's not an easy thing to achieve in a world skilled in the art of distraction. And so now...I feel some inspiration for a poem hitting me...and this is what positive engagement achieves :-)

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