start here

zapHey there! My name is Ra, — welcome home.

I’ve built a good life…. a few times over.  I’m in the process of doing it again and I’m awfully glad you’re here for the ride.

You should know:  I’m not really a writer– I’m really more a reader than anything else– but I like to tell stories.  True ones, trimmed with fanciful lace and adorned with steel buttons.

You might be here because you stumbled on this page.  You might be here because you saw something I said or read, and traced me back to my bloggy home.

But you’re probably here because you heard one of these things:

  1. I love someone you love.
  2. I recently became a felon and a widow.
  3. There’s lots of blog-building activities and suggestions to be found here.
  4. This blog and the love that happens here, are quasi-folklore-esque.

No matter what brought you here, welcome.  Truly!  I want you to feel at home.  I want you to join in.  I want you to laugh over the things that aren’t even funny.  I want you to tell me your name, and everything that makes you tick.

But first:

let’s talk about what’s going on here.  I know it can be overwhelming.

It all started in 2012.  On one of my rebuilds of life, I started an eponymous blog.   (I’m normally not the sort to name things after myself– not when there’s alliteration, allusion, and acronyms to splash in– but when all you have is your name, you stretch it.)

Rarasaur blog became quasi-successful right from the start.  No one knows why, but it was certainly well-known for a few things:

  1. Blogging about blogging.
  2. My love story.
  3. Awards. This blog was Freshly Pressed a handful or so times, was named one of IndieChick’s BadAss Bloggers, and was selected to be one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year twice in a row.  It was also kindly granted several blogger to blogger awards, and other stuff. I even hosted a Daily Post Weekly Writing Prompt once! If this is the sort of thing that’s meaningful to you, please enjoy the gif on the sidebar or the jars of gratitude.
  4. The community that sprouted up here when no one was looking.
  5. My “style” – relentless, high-energy, down-home frivolity.  #LetsGoLetsGoLetsGo

When I was in prison, the girls introduced me to an expression that probably would have been my catchphrase had I known it back in 2012–

It’s not that serious.

Because nothing really is, least of all this blog.  Even when we’re being human or hopeful.  Even when we’re celebrating one of the thousands of blog-things, prompts, holidays, prizes, games, and inside jokes that have been born here.


I believe the nature of this blog is a huge reason for its success.

(Side note: since there’s about a thousand different definitions around, you should know I’ve always defined success as, “finding joy in your work and being sustained by the goodwill of a well-matched community.”)

Other possible reasons for early success:

  1. Continuity
  2. Transparency
  3. Responsibility
  4. Reciprocity
  5. Absurdity
  6. My husband
  7. Dinosaurs
  8. Oh, who knows, it’s the internet. Cat videos outrank the number of cats that actually exist. Probably.

Now, before May of 2014, I would have added a #9.  “And who cares? It’s not that serious.

But then I went to jail.

I pleaded to five white collar felony counts and signed a 3-year plea deal.  The case had started back in 2010 and, until I was turning myself in, I didn’t really make mention of it at all on this blog.

I often spoke of how my husband and I had rebuilt and recuperated, but I didn’t explain the details.

I wasn’t being vague on purpose. I was being hopeful on purpose.  I really wanted it all to be in the past.  Rarasaur blog was supposed to be part of my future, but then that dream seemed as if was whisked away.  After all, one year in internet time is a decade in real world time.  After 438 days incarcerated, I expected to find nothing here but crumbled red plastic cups where the party once was.

Except the Rarasaur community is bigger than that, and deserving of the quasi-folklore status.  It is legendary and I am only a tiny part of it.  So, when I was removed from the equation, it did not blink, or flinch, or falter.

It dug its giant dinosaur feet in, and held its ground.

Today is not the day we go extinct, it said.  We are loved.  We are needed.  We will remain.

And they were, and they are, and they did.


My husband took care of me while I was tucked away in a pocket of timelessness– when I was in state prison– leaning heavily on the community.  They carried him, and cared for him, as best they could.

But despite human intentions, the cosmos breathe as they please.  The stars closed in around him, and space vacuumed up his life.

rara and dave

He died.

One year, to the date, that I turned myself in.

And Rarasaur blog stood its ground still.

The community was at the funeralThe community was in the hundreds of letters I received.  The community was in how they kept traditions going, and lent their love to any who needed it.

Two months later, I was released.  A free once-upon-a-time wife.  A free basically-dinosaur.

A free blogger.


This blog is still just a hobby, and everyone is still welcome here– to join, participate, and play.  I still spin, talk gibberish, write horrible poems.   Even after all the stretching we’ve done, things are remarkably the same here.

At this particular moment, we’re catching up and grieving together.  This community and myself lost a good man.  You’ll feel his loss, too.  I’m sorry for sharing that sorrow with you, but you’re part of this big beautiful world and you should know about the blank space he left in it.  We also lost a lot of time, and things happened to all of us.  We’re still figuring out how we feel about it.

If you’ve heard rumors of the frightfully wondrous things that happen here– if you’ve heard rumors that there is magic here– I hope you now know with certainty. These rumors whisper truths.

I’m a storyteller, who likes to tell true stories– and this is the most magical one I know:

Frightfully wondrous people gather here.
And that has made all the difference.

I’ve linked to a series of posts all through this, but the only one that matters– my favorite post of all time– I’m linking here:  Beware. It’s bigger than the internet.

Just like us.



Okay, Best Beloveds– you all know how okay I am with you being voyeurs or silent-likers, but I need your help on this one.  Does this explain all the things for newbies?  New Beloveds, do you feel informed?  What did I miss?


    1. Thanks, Deb!

      I’m so glad for this blog and community. It saved my life.
      I am also very glad you and your beautiful family are part of it.

      Yes, indeed, there’s a lot of gladness here.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “Does this explain all the things for newbies?”

    Well … yes. But, I would add that you only turned yourself in because you ran out of money to fight, not because you were guilty of what they accused you of.


    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! You know… it’s funny, but the farther I get away from signing those papers, the less and less relevance I find in why I signed. I guess everything that came after seems like such a bigger part of the story that I forget that part. 🙂

      Thank you for being here, chica, through it all! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s makes your survivorship that much more huge, sweetie. This wasn’t just you taking your lumps or paying your dues. This was you surviving and overcoming adversity of one of the highest magnitudes. That is truly admirable. *hugs*

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I agree with above. I am brand new to the Dinosaur Network as I’ve just coined it. (I’m sure I’ll learn the correct terms later.) A friend of mine Julie Burton write a blog I really enjoy and sent me to you. I’m sure it is difficult to talk about some things, but I did get a bit confused with the timing and cause of the felon issue. I’m sure I will get to read about it soon as I explore, but maybe a link in that sentence to a post might help?

        In any case, it’s nice to meet you, and I look forward to coming here again to learn more.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rara, I really don’t think you have any sense of how amazing and talented you are. Amazing isn’t even the right word. There isn’t a word. You try to analyse why this blog has been so successful, or why the community all rallied round for you, but you can’t analyse it, there isn’t a reason, other than you. You being you is the reason for it all.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Vanessa-Jane, you are lovely. Thank you for your kind words. I think you may be overestimating me, but hey– maybe that’ll be my push. “Be as Excellent as Vanessa-Jane thinks you are. 😀 ” ❤


  3. I’m a new subscriber. Not as in very recent. I’ve been a silent subscriber for a few months. I found your blog via a comment you left (or whoever was running your account because I think you was still away) on a WordPress post. The admin said something to the effect “not as brave as you are.” I clicked your username and saw the letters from prison and was intrigued by your story. I may not leave a comment on every post but believe I am paying attention to your writing style to see what made your blog quasi-successful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you happen to know what post that comment was on? I’d love to see it. It was probably my husband before… well. Before.

      And, thank you for joining in the community and conversation. I promise I talk often about blog tips and blog-writing-tips — and whenever I stumble upon something that makes my bloglife easier, I share it immediately. 🙂 So, my knowledge is your knowledge, I suppose… and I look forward to sharing it with you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately, I don’t. I just remember going through all the comments on that post. If I left one myself it would be easier to trace. I think it was on blogging tips; I am following WordPress as well.

        Yes, the tips are more than welcome, but I was referring to more of your style of writing. Choice of words; how you structure your format. I do that with any blog that attracts attention to see if I could get some insight on how they connect with readers.

        If I find that WP post I will be sure to let you know 😇

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re completely right, Mark. I feel it. It’s like the “something different” that I came back with has finally collided with the “something the same” that has been here all along. I don’t even know what to expect.

      Something frightfully wondrous, I hope! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hurrah! (And welcome. I’m so excited that this post actually pulled you and a couple others into the conversation that I just want to write like 700 more things. 😉 But seriously, make yourself at home! ) Thank you for the feedback. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel overwhelmed with… Like positive things that I’m not used to feel from the internet. Just like I felt the first time I found this blog long before jail and I got a little scared even! But it was a good scared, like the one you know it’s going to hit you from a scary movie. I lurked a lot though, because I WAS scared but I made a promise to myself that I would pop out my head if you came back. And you did. So I’m keeping my promise to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, Narami, you are as sweet as the lemonade that fills the stars. I am so glad you keep promises to yourself… you’re too important to suffer broken promises, even from yourself. 🙂 Also, it’s wonderfully nice to see you join the conversation. 😀 Thank you for the feedback. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Sometimes I wish I had a niche blog, just for that reason alone. But then I get an urge to write about the color pink or turtles with top hats and *poof* I’m glad to be nicheless once again. Thanks, Amy. ❤


  5. This was great for me…. As a newcomer, it definitely clarified a lot of the missing pieces I hadn’t gotten anywhere else. 🙂 Glad to be on board now. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 🙂 I am glad other bloggers came through with the important goods, Marissa. I kept hearing odd bits and pieces… and incorrect facts… but the one that bothered me enough to want a “Start Here” page was… “Well, negativity will always arouse attention and energy.”

      Because, though that’s true… the attention and energy on this blog is here DESPITE the negative, not because of it. It seemed an important thing to clarify.

      It’s so good to be back. 😀 And so good to have you around, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. thanks for this post Goddess Ra. It does help a newbie like me. I came because some of my peeps love you and I felt the magic before I even got to the actual blog. You are legendary. PIxar made a movie for you. Here’s the link:

    The film was to be released earlier but they waited for your release, hmmmm

    Now for my own shameless plug. Did you get my comment about my time machine blog challenge? It is ok if you decline ( but please don’t) but I wanted to be certain you are aware of it.

    Leigh has joined if that helps sway your decision. I hope you will consider. I want to introduce you to my readers that are not already yours.

    You are an extraordinary writer. This is coming from a not so bad writer herself 🙂
    This is why I continue to like and comment.

    I do not understand why you ended up incarcerated or why your husband died so young, but I don’t understand much anymore. I have heard that understanding is not necessary on the path to spiritual growth anyway, so I am giving my rational mind a vacation. Letting my heart steer this ship. Seems like you have been doing this too.

    much love and lotsa hugs,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There have always been certain people that other people gravitate to. You are one of those people. We want to share just a little bit in all the love and light that shines from your heart. We want to be able to say….Rara is a friend…and have it be true. You are a rare being, whether you believe it or not. It’s a good thing you use your powers for good and not evil. Or we’d all be in a world without hope. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, when you say “Rara is a friend”, it is absolutely true.
      I don’t think there’s any use for evil confetti-throwing so I suppose I’m stuck on #TeamGood. 😀 (By the by, did you get my post? Was it way way too long for you? If so, I’ll write you something different and just post it here. No rush! I was just checking. 🙂 )


  8. ❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙❤💜❤💙❤💙

    So there’s either a bunch of hearts here because I heart you, or annoying “missing emoji” symbols. If it’s the latter, then know it should be the former.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The only thing you left out (except mentioning your innocence, is that there is magic in this here blog. Because it shows you as the magical, resilient dino you are!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Damn your post was great; I had to read and read and read last year to figure out what happened to you and I was glad I did.

    I don’t comment much but I do read and enjoy your writing. 😉

    (From Toronto, Canada)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lindsay. I appreciate your readership.. and really love that you enjoy what you read, yay! And thank you for commenting now even if it meant taking you out of your norm. This “Start Here” page is important to me, to get right. I appreciate it! ❤


    1. I actually just watched a SkillShare class that focused on taxonomy as a method of storytelling. Like, doodle illustrations of things… all together, in collection format. She didn’t really teach how to illustrate, but mostly just enthused about the idea. It made me think of you. Totally up your alley! (I think this link will give you a free month of SkillShare. I don’t know what info you have to put in to make it happen, but here you go: … and if you sign up, it’s called taxonomies.)

      But yes, doodle-story is just that. Drawing out pictures to represent the big important chunks.

      Thank you, chica.


  11. Your Royal Highness, Empress Rarasaurus Rex, Countess of Magical Blogland, and Keeper of the Awesomeness Which Shall Not Be Named,

    I think this post hits the highlights quite nicely.

    Most importantly, I like the Nano Poblano reminder. I’m wondering how exactly the festivities are going to happen this year, so I shall be looking forward to yours and Mark’s and Sheena’s and everyone else’s posts on this.

    Sincerely Keenly Interested Pepper-aspirerer,



  12. This post helped me understand some of the references I see throughout the site! Thank you! 🙂

    Also, just a thought: You’re not starting over, but starting again. There is a difference. Starting over would mean there isn’t anything you want to take with you into this new, difficult, sometimes sad, sometimes crazy, sometimes wonderful, wondrous, frightening, joyous new beginning. I cannot believe that would be so.

    May a crayon giggle it’s way across your soul every day. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think I’ll start quoting you on your definition of success, if that’s quite alright with you. It’s wonderfully said.
    Regarding the post: I think it’s informative, and your voice (as always) is strong. However, if one were to travel here, I don’t think they’ll need it^^

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, this post answered a lot of my questions. The one I still wonder about is what you mean when you say you spin. That can have so many meanings. My mind goes to Whirling Dervish! But our minds can certainly spin too. What do YOU mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean all of the above, Karuna. I spin, quite literally, every chance I get. I spin in my mind, but usually call it spiraling. I spin in my writing, which is why I think I’m better suited to blog posts than books– I can quickly wrap around in a circle. And I spin in the sense that I go a little bit faster than most people, but not necessarily farther. 🙂 Thank you for your feedback. It is valued.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I couldn’t imagine trying to expos what goes on at the true echo, that chaos is better off illdefined. But this comprehensive entertaining and educational. Ra should be a teacher. I can’t be the only one imaging her explaining science and the like.


    Liked by 1 person

        1. You were on the mental list. I hadn’t gotten around to making a real one yet until yesterday…. And after I added your name, I thought… Eesh, I hope I didn’t just imagine it! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 Thank you, Kathleen… I knew that in Time Vs Rarasaur Community… Time didn’t stand a chance. 😀 Thank you for stomping for me. Well. For us. ❤


    1. Gracious. There might be stuff *I* don’t know, 🙂 Ha! The last few years have been such a zoo that I’m just catching up on my own life. … that makes sense in a weird way, right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I am so glad to have met you, and followed your story. Despite periods of inactivity here on WP, I was able to keep up with your news seeing posts on Facebook, etc. People “here” really cared/care about you. And whatever the reasons for the success of your blog, it’s safe to say we all wish more of it for you. ❤


  17. Oh my goodness. I’m glad you’re back here–I’ve missed you. I’m sorry for all the loss you’ve had, but I’m glad that how many people love you around here has helped a little. You’re wondraraous (see what I did there?).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh! I just thought about you the other day and poked around your site. It’s the highest form of rawrsome to see you around (see what I did there?) 😉 *hugs* It’s just really good to see you, and know you’re existing. Are you flourishing, chica?

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hmmm….I am late to the party, a newbie for sure. So many questions but I will comb through the site and maybe find some answers. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I look forward to catching up….I also write real life stories….don’t really consider myself a writer just listening to the voice inside that wants to tell these tales of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bryce, and welcome. If there’s any questions left unanswered, or pieces that don’t make sense, just ask. I’ll either link you, or answer, or blog about it later. 🙂 I’m glad there’s a place in the world for storytellers of true stories like us! And I’m glad we’ve connected our journies a bit through here. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. You’re weird and I love it!:) This is definitely a perfect way to start. I’m thrilled to have stumbled upon your crazy amazing blog. I would love to get to know more about you and your awesomeness so I hope you don’t mind if I scour through your posts now.:)

    Liked by 1 person


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s