Life in progress

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HarsH ReaLiTy Has Moved!!!

No more HarsH ReaLiTy on WordPress!!
Comments closed here. Visit the original post to put in your two cents. Thanks.


HarsH ReaLiTy update

Good news! I received an email this morning from Jason, aka Opinionated Man, to say that his site, HarsH ReaLiTy, will be open for viewing, though he will no longer be blogging. He read your comments (I would imagine there were a fair few emails that went out to him too) on my previous post and decided that enough people were interested in reading his work that he has chosen not to delete it.

All is well with him and his family, and he says he’s keeping busy and having fun with other ventures, though he didn’t specify what they are.

You can find HarsH ReaLiTy here:

Cheers, all! I’m off for a walk in the park.


The HarsH ReaLiTy (another one bites the dust)

So soon on the heels of the demise of the WordPress site “Mindful Digressions,” hosted by the amazing Doobster, comes the closure of HarsH ReaLiTy, brainchild of our beloved Opinionated Man, Jason Chandler Cushman.

I met Jason shortly after I started writing here on Life in Progress – I commented on one of his posts and was flabbergasted when he responded. From that day forward I knew what it took to gain a following, and quickly learned that there is a community at WordPress – one that is supportive, caring, and friendly. I thought about deleting my post “Save HarsH ReaLiTy,” but I think I’ll keep it open – it illustrates more than anything I’ve seen so far what a fantastic place we have here. You can view it here: Most of all, read the comments. They are inspiring and heartwarming both.

Belinda at Idiot Writing – – and I received an email:

If you have the chance please let people know that HarsH ReaLiTy is closed and is set to private until it can be deleted. I wish everyone the best and appreciate the connections I made over the past two years.


He, like Doobster, is closing his site for personal reasons. Here is Belinda’s post:

For all the lessons you taught us, for all the support you gave us with re-blogs, challenges, and posts to share our own sites, for all the lively and entertaining discussions, I wish to say thank you, Cush. It was a real pleasure to get to know you. Your footprints in the sand (or snow) of my memory will remain.

In the spirit of OM’s mission on WordPress, please feel free to leave your tribute to Jason in the comments, or a link to your own post about him and what he meant to you. And check out each other’s sites. Let’s make Jason proud of what he accomplished!

As we remember all the wonderful, humorous articles and lists, the amusing one-liners, the controversial opinion pieces, and the loving photos of his family, let us lift a glass to our friend.

Cheers, Jason! May you and your beautiful family live a long and prosperous life!


It Is Done

A letter has been sent to the powers-that-be at WordPress. Please, continue to comment with your support and re-blog (especially re-blog) the post Save HarsH ReaLiTy; I believe the more it gets around, the less likely WordPress is to miss it. And who knows how long it will take for them to pay attention to my letter? Now the comments are in the hundreds – lets strive for the thousands before the lucky person who reads our petition gets to see the post!

On behalf of myself, all of you, and equally, Jason, here is what I wrote. I sincerely hope it is adequate to the task at hand:

I’m writing to bring to your attention a situation which I and hundreds of other WordPress users with both free and paid accounts feel that has perhaps been overlooked.
A popular blog, has been given a partial suspension due to flagging for excessive “follows” within a certain time frame which, I am led to believe, is a common practice used by “spammers.” The above mentioned site is, however, not one of these.
Mr. Cushman of the blog entitled “Harsh Reality” is a genuinely caring advocate of the WordPress community, a place where many people find entertainment, an outlet to share, and in many cases literally life-saving support, as I’m sure you know. Please find here: a petition of support for what he does, his blog, and how much his practices mean to other bloggers. Advocates for Mr. Cushman’s continued full-service abilities can be found in the hundreds in the comments of my post. I understand that there have been complaints against, yet I strongly suspect that the supportive souls far outweigh the negative feedback.
I, therefore, humbly request that you reinstate his ability to “follow” and “like” other blogs. I’m sure I am far from the only blogger who has been encouraged by Mr. Cushman to pay for his or her site – not that I nor anyone else would necessarily remove our “paid” status from WordPress, but it would be a shame if such an advocate, not only for bloggers but for WordPress themselves removes himself from your site.
Thank you in advance for your speedy attention to this critical matter.
Yours very sincerely,
Linda G. Hill

Again, please direct all comments in support of Jason C. Cushman, aka Opinionated Man at HarsH ReaLiTy here:

Now I’m off to bed, exhausted but satisfied that I have done my best to SAVE HARSH REALITY!!!!!



The Harsh Reality

So I read WordPress’s Terms of Service. Fun times. Basically they cover their “assets” by saying they can do whatever they want – we agree to this when we sign up. Feel safe? Check section 16.

  • Termination. Automattic may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately. If you wish to terminate this Agreement or your account (if you have one), you may simply discontinue using the Website. All provisions of this Agreement which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in reading the rest:

HarsH ReaLiTy’s access to “follow” and “like” blogs was suspended. This is why, and I quote from a letter made public in the forums:


We have noticed unusual behavior in your account, and have disabled several social features of, such as liking and/or following, as a result.

You have agreed to our Terms of Service which specifically says your “blog is not getting advertised via unwanted electronic messages such as spam links on newsgroups, email lists, other blogs and web sites, and similar unsolicited promotional methods”.

Your rapid pattern of liking or following has exceeded our hourly limits many times, which caused your account to be flagged.

Your ability to follow other blogs will not be restored. If you genuinely need to follow so many blogs, we would encourage you to use an external RSS feed reader (eg.

Lisa | Community Guardian |

As a result of this, Jason Cushman, aka Opinionated Man, owner of HarsH ReaLiTy, has said he will close down his site – and I can’t blame him. He has done more for bloggers on WordPress than anyone I know: what enabled him to do so is the very thing they are accusing him of doing wrong.

One would hope that the above is at least in part a form letter, sent to those whose blogs are flagged. One would also hope that there is a real human being investigating these automatic flags – a human being with compassion, common sense, and an eye for discerning what is truly malicious and self-serving and what is genuine human interaction, as evidenced by the comments here: Save HarsH ReaLiTy!!.

It is with this hope that I will send the above link to the Terms of Service people. I can’t help but believe that they will see that their automated systems have picked up on a unique situation and that the matter needs to be dismissed as a non-issue.

Please – I ask you one more time, if you haven’t commented on Save HarsH ReaLiTy!! do so now. The more support this gets, the more chance there will be to get Opinionated Man back.

Don’t let this be a Harsh Reality!!!

Other posts on HarsH ReaLiTy:

and of course:



No one likes spam. In internet terms (as opposed to the stuff you find on the grocery store shelf) it’s the bane of our existence. Its sole purpose is to get our attention and once it does, it either begs us to buy something or gives us something we would never pay for – something like a virus.

Then there is the exception to the rule. In fact, there is only one exception that I’ve found in over a decade of browsing the web. It may have seemed like a “spam follow” at the start, but when I followed the cookie-crumb trail that led me back to its source, it ended up benefiting me beyond my wildest dreams: it was HarsH ReaLiTy.

Jason, also known as Opinionated Man, has a huge (over 50,000 blog, twitter, and Facebook combined) following on his blog, HarsH ReaLiTy. His passion for connecting with other bloggers is instantly recognizable by the way he interacts in the comments. How did he get such an audience? By following other blogs. By doing the exact same thing our self-serving spammers do. The difference is, Jason gets the attention of other bloggers and once he does, he helps them! Not by selling them things they don’t need – by guiding them to find followings of their own.

He has dedicated hours and hours to create places for bloggers to find their communities:

To help them draw attention to themselves:

To help them promote themselves:

The trickle-down benefits alone are nothing less than astounding. If you have ever read any of my helpful hints on blogging, you can thank Jason – he taught me three quarters of what I know.

Why am I telling you all this? WordPress has seen fit to suspend HarsH ReaLiTy’s ability to follow and “like” other blogs. It’s a crime. WordPress is taking away one of its own biggest assets – a service provided to its own patrons, FOR FREE, and out of the goodness of one man’s heart. I wrote a post myself about how hard he works to help others grow their blogs here:

If Jason C. Cushman has ever helped you, if you have ever read any of his blogging advice, if you have ever guest posted for him, if he has ever re-blogged you, if you have ever commented on HarsH ReaLiTy and met another blogger there, please sign below.

Comment – leave your words of support or just write the words, Save HarsH ReaLiTy. I will make sure the WordPress powers-that-be see this post and all the support that goes with it.

Re-blog – make sure this goes out to every corner of WordPress that Jason has reached.

HarsH ReaLiTy is not a spam blog. It is WordPress’s shining star.

Edit: I’m purposely NOT responding to comments here so as not to dilute the message: WE SUPPORT HARSH REALITY AND WHAT JASON DOES TO HELP BLOGGERS!! Thank you to all who have shared and commented so far, and thanks in advance to all who will. Please keep commenting and re-blogging! Let’s keep this at the top of the Reader!

Edit: Now that HarsH ReaLiTy’s suspension is lifted I’ll turn off the comments here. This post will remain, however, as testimony to what Jason means to us! Long live Opinionated Man!!
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who commented and re-blogged. Your support is both overwhelming and heartwarming.
Now pass around the cookies!! 😀

Edit – April 20th: Jason re-blogged this with the following comment:

I actually didn’t read this until now because I was moody at the time. I feel the love from this post and the comments here. Thanks bloggers. -OM

I’ve turned the comments back on. You’re very welcome, Jason. It was the least I could do for all you’ve done for this community. 😀


JusJoJan 30 – Happy Anniversary To Me!

Today is unofficially my one year blog anniversary!

I joined WordPress in July 2012, wrote one post and promptly forgot about my blog. Then, on January 30th of last year, I began what has grown to what you see here. I had no idea what to expect at first. I remember being both thrilled and confused when I received my first ‘like.’ Who could possibly like me? I thought. How would anyone even know I exist?

The more I explored my reader and found people with similar interests, the more I learned. And then one day I took a chance. I made a joke in a comment on someone else’s blog. He was fairly new at the game as well and, as it turned out, he seemed as amazed as I was at how many people had noticed him. Granted, at the time I only had ten followers (he was one) and he had already 300. It won’t surprise some of you that that fellow blogger was the one and only Opinionated Man. I’m so grateful to him for teaching me so much about blogging, and especially how to form friendships here in our WordPress world. Thank you, Jason, my dear.

In celebration of my anniversary, I’m re-posting my first post. I’m putting it up on my fiction blog, since my foray into blogging started with my semi-fictional series about a boy: a poor boy who survives abuse and rises up to become a star.

Click here to find One Poor Boy

While it’s not fireworks; nor anthems; nor parades, it means something to me. I hope you’ll go today, and each day to read it and to celebrate with me the life of a character I care so much about.

Now pass the champagne!


Post on your site, and join Just Jot it January. The rules are easy!

1. It’s never too late to join in, since the “Jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post) counts as a “Jot.” If it makes it to WordPress that day, great! If it waits a week to get from the sticky note to your screen, no problem!
2. If you write a JusJoJan post on your blog, you can ping it back to the above link to make sure everyone participating knows where to find it.
3. Write anything!
4. Have fun!


8/16 – Yesterday’s News – Focus on those who inspire

I’m inspired – not by the article on the front page of the paper yesterday, but by its headline:  Focus on those who inspire.

I can’t count how many times in the last month I’ve been asked the question, “What inspires you?” This question was my first assignment in my short story course and it continues to come up. Like here: on Opinionated Man’s blog just today.

My answer is ‘everything.’ All people, all things. There is nothing that can’t inspire me if I am in an imaginative mindset. And that leads me to a question for anyone willing to put forth an answer. If you consider the fact that you potentially inspire someone, does it make you want to be on your best behaviour?

Personally, I don’t think it should. After all, if everyone was always nice, pretty, clean, healthy and polite, we wouldn’t have antagonists. If our homes were always neat and tidy, would we be able to come up with a trash heap for a setting? If we all believed in the same things, would we be able to imagine strife?

Conflict is what a good story is made of. We NEED people to be at their worst once in a while. Misery, while not something most of us strive for, is necessary for the well being of the written word, as is sickness and death. Beauty is nothing without ugliness. Yin cannot exist without Yang and vise versa.

Think about it. What interests you? Conflict. Happiness that has overcome defeat. The struggle…

I can be inspired by a rock if it’s in the way, or if someone trips over it, because it’s all about the human interaction for me. It’s even better if, whoever trips over it swears like a sailor. Yes, I can be inspired by a scenery. But without life, it’s only a scenery.

What inspires you? Or, better yet, WHO inspires you?

In other news, the tree formerly known as Nosehair is sporting a new eyebrow

In other news, the tree formerly known as Nosehair is sporting a fancy new orange eyebrow