jail cell/The Seattle Star

What are the chances? I’m researching for a client’s weekly blog post on new healthcare legislation when I come across my own name and published prison phone calls article — on some unknown site. I’m not sure I’ve ever been notified about the re-publication. It was originally published on The Mindful Word a few years back, and there it was in The Seattle Star.

So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, I do publish in my own name. But mostly I ghostwrite. The former’s usually for pleasure and the latter for pay, though the pay and pleasure are not mutually exclusive. And not that I should care. If it drew readership to the Mindful Word, then I’m all for it.

Besides, I’m a writer. I can’t help but feel flattered, even if slightly perplexed. Shouldn’t I have been notified that the article was republished? Worse yet, maybe I was and don’t recall. Between teaching 65 kids a semester, writing for a couple dozen clients at any given time, submitting to publishers, leaky spam detection, and maintaining a smidgen of a social life, my inbox gets inundated.

My sneaking suspicion, however, is the culprit is the often overlooked ping back. I’ve got to admit, when I first started blogging several years ago, I was mystified by the likes of a “Ping back.” It took a while before I got around to looking that one up, too busy trying to build a Word Press site with no expertise other than words. I knew the English language, a little French and Spanish, and that’s it. Technology and I have an uneasy relationship.

I struggled with design decisions, which buttons to press without losing everything, html code, photo attribution, content quality insecurity, and so many bigger items on the how-the-hell-do-you-do-this-thing-everyone-but-me-seems-to-be-able-to-do-so-easily journey into this hair-pulling hell of my own making. Ping-backs came late in the game.

So, I’m assuming someone took the article off the Mindful Word site and hightailed it to their site, and I was somehow notified by “ping back,” which I promptly ignored, not knowing whether it was something that would break something else if I touched it. By now, I’m in the ping-back know.

Yes, I’m okay with the find. A nice surprise actually. The only regret is the missing “contact us” or “submissions” button on their page. I’d like to at least write a thank you note with just the right emoticon — and then maybe hit them up with a pitch (Yeah, I know emoticons in pitches are probably not a good idea). But apparently they’re all sewn up with their picks, selecting whatever’s out there that enhances their design, which is rather lovely — clean and elegant. Unlike the blog I have too little time to improve.

And now, back to that blog post I’m not getting paid for any sooner by procrastinating here.