On Pining, Coshocton’ing, and Facilitating a Blogging Workshop

“It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone… but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.”

Kahlil Gibran

My mom was a fan of Kahlil Gibran, especially of The Prophet, and I think she would forgive and understand if I take his above quote and apply it to place as well: I feel attachment tantamount to love for nearly every place I’ve visited and certainly every place I’ve lived.

Blogging workshop Coshocton County Ohio Tech Tuesdays Central Ohio Technical College
One of Baxter’s favorite places in Coshocton is the fenced in dog park where he can run off-leash. His momma takes him there while she works out at Kids America.

Some might wonder if Hastings, Nebraska with its constant wind (blowing cow shit, pig shit and corn ethanol smell at me, depending on the direction) could really be a place I loved. It was, it is. Maybe a bit of S&M love, but love nonetheless.

I still pine for Heartwell Park and the beautiful bike trail that took me onto an overpass where trains would rumble below, those trains reminding me of the glorious old-time train station downtown, the hardwood molding I leaned my head against at 2a.m. waiting for the eastbound Amtrak to take me back to Pennsylvania.

So if I can fall in love with Hastings, imagine how hard it was leaving my favorites: Marina del Rey and Madison (sweet and charming Madison, Indiana).

As many of you know, I’m rarely in Coshocton anymore, because Kurt has me prepping our house in Pennsylvania for our big move to South Africa. I returned yesterday to facilitate a blogging workshop for Tech Tuesdays, hosted by Coshocton’s Chamber of Commerce.

I have such little time left here, especially since I’m returning less frequently. Coming back made me realize that I am in love with this place in its own way. I will probably even write, in retrospect, about my ambivalent feelings toward the Papermill down the street ( 😉 ) and I will add this town to the other places for which I will spend the rest of my life pining.

Blogging workshop Coshocton County Ohio Tech Tuesdays Central Ohio Technical College
Our Coshocton “back yard.” I see beauty in this photo of the paper mill, but my nose will never let me see it without smelling it.

This all came rapid-fire into my brain (surprisingly pre-coffee) as I was walking into the Central Ohio Technical College for the first time. It struck me that there are so many Coshocton places I haven’t yet explored and probably won’t be able to in the remaining limited time here. I tried to put it aside and just focus on the topic at hand: blogging.

It was a small group, as I had hoped, so that we could talk more intimately about each of the attendee’s company’s and what they were looking to do with blogging. It was just an intro course, and I was happy to adapt the blogging workshop I gave at Chatham University last fall (geared toward writers) to focus this one toward the uses of blogging for small and large companies and nonprofits.

Attendees included Mark Fortune and Bryan Fox of the Coshocton County Beacon, Habitat for Humanity‘s Sue Hardesty, Derrick Legrant from Alltel Wireless of Newark, Lainie Brillhart of Visit Coshocton, and Amy Stockdale of Coshocton Co. Chamber of Commerce. It was hard to contain my excitement about the blogging possibilities of the attendees. You may remember from my Pittsburgh Giving post that I have a fondness for non-profits, and was excited to see Coshocton’s Habitat for Humanity has an easy online donation link which could easily be incorporated into a blog highlighting volunteer work in the community.  (They are in need of volunteers right now, by the way, and it would be an ideal opportunity to gain valuable resume credentials while helping a great organization!)

Blogging workshop Coshocton County Ohio Tech Tuesdays Central Ohio Technical College
I forgot to have a photo taken before some of the attendees left, but here are some of us. Front: Sue Hardesty of Habitat for Humanity, Traveling Marla, Amy Stockdale of Coshocton Chamber of Commerce.
Back: Lainie Brillhart of Visit Coshocton and Derrick Legrant of Alltel Wireless, Newark.

I managed to keep the workshop right around the hour mark (a tiny bit over). Considering how long-winded I am, this was quite a feat and I had to force myself to give up several entertaining anecdotes that were just dying to spew from my mouth.

When I went back for my Master’s Degree, I chose not to go the teaching route, because I realized that while I love teaching and facilitating workshops and especially “getting my geek on” creating course content, choosing booklists and writing syllabi, I knew that full-time teaching would sap every bit of energy from my own creativity.

Blogging workshop Coshocton County Ohio Tech Tuesdays Central Ohio Technical College
Biking the Coshocton River Trail with Kurt in autumn.

But part-time… Oh baby, part-time, substitute and occasional workshops hit that sweet spot. You get to fulfill your inner OCD by planning and creating, challenge yourself by adapting to a variety of students, but more critically, re-ignite your own creativity as well. Each time you teach, you realize you’re reminding yourself of lessons you know but haven’t been applying. Each time you facilitate a workshop, you remember why you love to write and generate new ideas for your writing (or in today’s case, for your blog).

I knew I would make today’s blog about the workshop, but walking into the building and reflecting on Coshocton added something more. By the time the workshop was finished, I had renewed excitement about the changes I want to make to my own blog, or rather, to my entire website, in upcoming months. And I’m equally happy to have met more of Coshocton’s wonderful individuals, and hope they were able to take away from the workshop a few practical applications to work within their own business models.

And as for that pining, I hope I am lucky enough to have a long and healthy lifetime, even if it means having to remember lost love every day of it.

Love, Marla

P.S. For my fitness friends, today is WEIGHT TRAINING day again! Tonight, Kurt and I will hit Kids America and I’ll keep pushing my current limits of 65-70 pounds on bench press.