This article by Ray Spitzenberger first appeared in IMAGES for June 27, 2019, East Bernard Express, East Bernard, Texas.
When I served as pastor of a church, we had a “Website,” overseen by a Webmaster who knew how to perform all of the complicate maneuvers necessary to post items on the Site. We, who try to preserve our Wendish history, have a “Website,” wendishresearch.org, and a very gifted Webmaster. The one time I attempted to post something on our Website at the church (our Webmaster said it was “easy’ to do), I deleted everything else on the Site. Ever since that point in time, I have stayed away from trying to post on a Website, someone has to do it for me!
Because of the mess I can create with a computer, I have, at times, vowed to stay away from computers entirely. But, being the incredibly stubborn German Wend that I am, again and again, I kept attempting new maneuvers on the computer, my first victory years ago being to discover how to post photos on Facebook! Learning by trial and error is obviously the hard way to learn, but, again, being an incredibly stubborn German Wend, I refused to take computer lessons or even read the instructions! After all, I keep telling myself, my mother taught herself how to read notes and play the piano, so why not be able to conquer a computer!
So I have created a new “Page” for myself via Facebook! Several years ago, I was attracted to the much touted simplicity of creating a “Page” with Facebook, and convinced that Websites were beyond my aged brain, I tried to create a Page, which turned out to be such a disaster, I got hacked four or five times. Deleted the Page! But, being the stubborn you-know-what, it wasn’t long before I tried another Page, which I deleted soon after I started it. Wanting to promote the sales of my book, It Must Be the Noodles, I attempted a third Page. By then, I seemed to have made all the mistakes you can possibly make in doing a Page, so my Page sailed along rather smoothly. Until I started “boosting” certain posts and letting Facebook promote my Page, not realizing that was costing me money. Frugal as well as stubborn, I killed that Page, too.
That brings me to my current Facebook Page, which is going well, which I am enjoying, and which hasn’t cost me anything. Just when I had come to the conclusion that I would permanently avoid doing Pages, as well as Websites, I viewed and “Liked” a Page, entitled “Lone Star Back Roads, Photographer.” I enjoyed reading and seeing (the photographs) so much that it became my favorite thing to visit regularly. Over a period of time, I became acquainted with the Page “photographer,” Jeremy Clifton, who to my great surprise was also the Webmaster of our wendishresearch.org website! To make a long story short, through his inspiration and suggestions, I was able to go forward with my Page, maintain it in a semi-professional manner, and really come to enjoy posting to it every day.
Hoping to write and publish another book, doing other free-lance writing every day, planning wood art projects for our church auction, and continuing my pen and ink sketching, I wanted a name for the Page which would reflect all of those things. The word “author” and/or “writer” would cover both my prose writing and my poems, the word “artist” would cover both pen and ink drawings and watercolor, but what about the wood art? It would be an exaggeration to say I am a “Sculptor.” Aha! What do I do? I whittle! That did it! I entitled my Page, “Ray Spitzenberger, Author and Artist @WendWriterWhittler.” I couldn’t resist the alliteration, and the Page title seems to work, because many people seem to be attracted to it. I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to Jeremy.
I enjoy posting to my new Page, because it’s not just for the purpose of enticing folks to buy my book or the magazines in which my poems are published, or purchase my art (I donate most of my art projects to the church auction and I get no money from the poetry magazines), but it’s about reminiscing and sharing history and old photographs and Wendish stuff and about joy and kindness — the sorts of things I enjoy writing and posting and (hopefully) the kinds of things those who “Like” my Page want to read. After all, if my ambition were to make a lot of money, I would never have become a school teacher, preacher, and writer/artist!
Ray Spitzenberger is a retired teacher and pastor, and author of It Must Be the Noodles.