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  • One short journey north is done (Minneapolis), with a couple of stories logged into my Journey Journal – this was my penultimate journey for the collection. I have one day back to recuperate (and go into the office to work), then it’s on to my next destination north (Woodstock, Ct), and my final journey to be logged here.

    This morning, I’m just feeling a great sense of gratitude for this vehicle that’s been afforded to me to share all these journeys with others from all over the Cowbird world. Of course, this vehicle has allowed me to expand that network of readers far beyond the Cowbird world.

    My stories typically have far more readers from outside of Cowbird, than from inside, as revealed by the reader counters. I’m sure many of you have found the same. Once a story is shared with folks outside of Cowbird, they can always keep an open link to your Cowbird home page, and read each new story posted. Apparently, many have, and do.

    Since one of the gifts Cowbird gave me was an audience of readers, which is the life blood for a writer, it has occurred to me that that audience will soon figure out where else I’m writing stories from, as long as I share them, and will continue to read what I write. Cowbird was simply the vehicle that got me into the practice of writing and sharing my stories with others. Perhaps it has served its purpose, and it is now time to move on.

    Anybody here who wants to find me elsewhere, knows where to find me. I am now at WordPress as HawkeyePeteblog, on AllPoetry and StoryWrite as Hawkeye Pete, and on Medium as Hawkeye Pete Egan B. I still need to learn how it works on WordPress, as I just set up an account there, and just started to feel my way around that place.
  • In a training I was in recently, the facilitator made the comment, “People don’t dislike change. What they really don’t like is losing something they’ve gotten used to. Sometimes change, while it may make things even better, is resisted because people don’t want to lose what they have. If you can show how what is being changed is going to make what they have even better, they might embrace it more readily.”

    I remember in Cowbird’s first year or two, there were a couple of big changes to how it worked. The first big one, especially, really threw Cowbirders into a panic. Oh my God, they’ve changed how it all works. How will I possibly ever survive this change? I know it sounds funny now, but those of you who were here then will remember how panicked people got – it was really something. They were up in arms about it all. They took away sprouts! How can I ever live without sprouts?

    It used to be, before the change that added the “comment” feature, which was originally called “retells”, that in order to provide any real feedback for a story, you had to sprout the story with a story of your own, and in that story you could reference the story you sprouted, and give your feedback in your sprouted story. The retell/comment feature eliminated the need to do that. But, they did eventually add the sprout feature back into the menu of options – I’m not sure if that was made available to everyone, or just the citizens.

    Oh, yeah, and the whole “Citizen/Non-Citizen” controversy. There was a big to-do over that addition. After one of the changes, they added the feature of having multiple pages for your stories, beyond the two standard pages, one for the story and one for a picture. But, you had to be a citizen to get this feature, along with some other features. I think having a choice of the colored background for your story page itself became exclusive to citizens. Non-citizens could still write and post stories, with a picture, they just had limited options.
  • Becoming a citizen cost a whopping $5 a month. A lot of people spend that on a cup of coffee at Starbucks – how many times a month? Many said they couldn’t afford that. I knew some storytellers who really did have difficulty affording it, so I helped, where I could. I would do whatever it took to keep this a vibrant, active writing community. I’ve always believed that if you want something, you have to work and put your energies, resources, and time into that thing. So I poured a lot of each into Cowbird. It was my fervent desire to sustain this vehicle, this great place many of us found to share our stories. If I could have done more, I would have.

    I’m only now beginning to see that this is part of why it is so hard for me to let go. I have put so much of myself into sustaining what is here, for so long. When I step back and really look at what it has become – I can see that Jonathan is right. Its time has come and gone.

    Cowbird, as we know it, is soon to be a thing of the past. It had a good run – a good five years. Now, as it winds down the days that we’ll have to share our stories here, and continues to be plagued by the many problems and issues that have plagued it for quite a while – it crashed again the other day for nearly a whole day; I haven’t received an e-mail about a new story posted since February 8th, and am pretty sure new stories I post are not getting e-mail notifications sent out to my audience, just comments and messages are getting the notifications.

    That’s why I’ve gotten into the habit of retelling my own stories after I post them, in the hopes that the retell gets an e-mail notification, but I don’t think that’s working, either. I also have been posting my stories on the Cowbirders Facebook group – that’s not what that is there for, but I want people to know when I post a new story, so that’s another way of doing that.

    But, my point is, I am beginning to accept that it is time to change. Change is not a bad thing. Change doesn’t mean that anything I’ve had is going to be taken away. It’s just going to be changed. I’m going to have to get used to new ways of doing the things I love to do. In a large way, a burden will be lifted from my shoulders. I’ve been doing it for so long, I hadn’t even noticed, but for a long time, I’ve been trying to carry Cowbird on my shoulders. How dumb is that? I thought I’d learned a long time ago that if you have to carry something on your shoulders, that’s a lot bigger and heavier than you are, eventually, something is going to have to give.
  • Now, I see it. I get it. Like Jonathan said, it’s time. I’m already beginning to feel lighter. I’m beginning to see the change for what it is. Nothing is being taken away, here (except for maybe the burden I’d been carrying for so long I hadn’t even noticed it). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the burden. I have carried it happily and lovingly. But, when you get right down to it, it has been a burden. It’s time to let it down gently on the ground, and get on with my life.

    I’ll end this story with the lyrics from a song that always marked, for me, the end of the Beatles, a song that eloquently put how that end felt for one of its key members.
    God - by John Lennon

    God is a concept
    By which we measure our pain
    I'll say it again
    God is a concept by which we measure
    Our pain – yeah – yeah –yeah - yeah

    I don't believe in magic
    I don't believe in I-Ching
    I don't believe in Bible
    I don't believe in tarot
    I don't believe in Hitler
    I don't believe in Jesus
    I don't believe in Kennedy
    I don't believe in Buddha
    I don't believe in mantra
    I don't believe in Gita
    I don't believe in yoga
    I don't believe in kings
    I don't believe in Elvis
    I don't believe in Zimmerman
    I don't believe in Beatles
    I don't believe in Cowbird (not John's words - mine. I'm not sure, but I don't think Cowbird was around in John Lennon's day, LOL)

    I just believe in me
    Yoko and me
    And that's reality

    The dream is over - what can I say?
    The dream is over - Yesterday

    I was the dream weaver, but now I'm reborn
    I was the Walrus, but now I'm John
    And so dear friends, you’ll just have to carry on

    The dream is over
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