I’ve Taken to the Reels

Photo Credit: Kelley Oreglia

I’m trying something new.

It’s a colossal embarrassment, my ignorance and clumsiness are woefully apparent, but let’s not make that our focus.

My daughter Kelley is having me do daily Reels that capture me on film off guard, unpracticed, and then she posts them on Instagram. It’s mortifying. [link here, try not to judge]

Ignorance is one of those things I tend to bury or disguise, my deep, dark secret. Well, one of many I suppose. 

On the way to the lake, she held up her phone inches from my face, told me to say hi, and identify my blog. “Be interesting,” she said, “you have 15 seconds to grab people.” No pressure. Warning or practice mind you.

I tried three times which Larry and Kelley thought was hysterical. She posted them all without my full consent. 

Thank God.

Reels are like 15-second soundbites, a new feature on Instagram, and they, meaning the Instagram algorithms, like it when you use their new features. Who doesn’t?

Once you have the short clip recorded on your phone you add it to the reel link on Instagram. You can add words, music, questions, etc. I’m not there yet. I might never be.

As Vera Nazarianof notes, those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don’t know it, or don’t want to admit it.

But I’m changing my mind, my first reel has over 2000 views, and my second (which is worse in my opinion) just rounded 3000! 

The thing is if you stubbornly cling to your fundamental beliefs about social media, and you have no desire to trod off into the great unknown, then you are likely ignorant. Where do I sign?

Okay, I admit to a shocking lack of interest in technology, but damn, it can be fun. 

I think the ability to learn something new is our greatest gift. Think about it. When we take the risk and put ourselves out there, try something new, read, study, and God forbid listen to each other, we are actually evolving our brains. On purpose. Intentionally. And you can do this every damn day.

Before it is too late, go out and find someone who, in your opinion, understands something completely different than you do and have an honest conversation. 

Don’t worry about exposing yourself to unhealthy influences, it’s a conversation, not a virus. 

We all need to break away from our old and tired habits, soar as if Sally Field in the Flying Nun, be untamed, risk the idea of being considered unorthodox. There’s a freedom in living our lives on our own terms, hurling ourselves into the sky, catching a strong wind. Who knows where we’ll land. 

I wound up on a Reel. It happens. 

“It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.”  Krishnamurti

I think everyone has experienced periods of stagnation, when the sentiment of life gathers in our pipes, and nothing flows. All you can do is remove the barriers and blow that shit out of your system. By barriers I mean the ruts we get in, our fear of failure, or how we stubbornly avoid the dreaded learning curve.

I should know, I’m the queen of avoidance when it comes to the slightest variance in my life. I’m sort of terrorized when I realize it’s the first of the month, or my Blue Apron arrives a day late, but especially when I no longer resembled the face on my license. Who is that person? A 48-year-old version of Cheryl and that version has retired. Bahaha.

Many authors have referred to stagnation as death. A comfortable and safe place where we go to die. Anne Lamott says, “we become like mushrooms, living in the dark, with poop up to our chins. If you want to know only what you already know, you’re dying.” 

So I’m risking it all, moving from the written word to making Reels. It’s a thing.

Jello Biafra says don’t hate the media, become the media. 

Come tomorrow, I’ll be Reeling with the best of them.

I’m Living in the Gap, reeling on Instagram, care to join me in the comments?

PS. Now Instagram is my number two source of traffic? It almost never registered before Reels. If you need help call Kelley!

PSS. Fun fact: Americans laugh out loud with their mouths wide open, whereas Europeans chuckle softly to themselves. Larry just read this to me from an article in the WSJ about Americans flocking to Portugal. They sort of stand out.

PSSS. Gail and Mike, I hope you’re ready for us! Jim and Sue are bringing their party shoes! Looking forward to lots of open-mouth laughter!


Leave a Comment

  1. I looked at some of the reels, but as I am not on Instagram, I cannot like or comment. My main concern is that you were driving while ‘reeling’. In this country, that would get you a hefty fine, and a possible driving ban! 🙂 🙂
    (Very nice to hear your voice, dear Cheryl.)
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pete, rest assured I was not driving! I was in the passenger seat, my daughter was behind me, and Larry was driving. It just appears that I was at the wheel because we drive on the opposite side in the US. I don’t know if I’ll be keeping this up, it seems silly, but we’ve been having fun with the little clips. Thanks for checking it out Pete! You should do one! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was actually teasing. I know you lot drive on the ‘wrong side’ over there. Sorry if I sounded serious. 🙂
        I think the world is better off being spared sight of my wrinkly old mug and harsh London accent, Cheryl. 🙂
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bahaha, I’m so dense! In my defense it’s still early here! Oh and I beg to differ, a London accent is swanky and I think your followers would love seeing you and Ollie on a walk! Be brave Pete!

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I am impressed! I know nothing about “reels” either. Your post has made me smarter than a few minutes ago! LOL ! I enjoyed viewing the link …. it was great and made me smile. So glad your daughter helped you navigate something new and that it is yielding positive results. I’m not on Instagram …. but my daughters are …. guess I’m going to have to join this media source too! Best Wishes on your new media adventure! Leigh

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Leigh, I didn’t know they existed until my daughter slapped my mug on one! She said the algorithms like a little controversy! I’ll have to try that next. And yes, you need to post a link to your blog on the bio page of your Instagram account! It has pretty good reach! Get your daughters to help you set it up. Hugs, C

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Of course simple, single dimension imaging simply won’t do! Reels. . . The talking ‘rich content’ “Polaroids” for the next milinium. 😂
    Cheers neighbor! Looking forward to seeing imbedded Video in your ‘writtings’ very soon.

    All the best,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Chris, Social media is simply a mystery to me, thank God my daughters and sons help me navigate! It’s a great way to spread your message but it wears me out dropping links everywhere. Kelley did my first three reels and posted for me so it was fun. Now it might be a chore! We’ll see if I keep it up. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was a little mortified when Kelley put her phone in my face and said speak! Then posted all my mistakes. But she persisted and it was actually fun. You absolutely need to add a link to your blog on Instagram, it’s a trickle but it stretches your reach. And you can get creative with reels. Maybe show a different cactus each day or what you see on your daily walks? That would be interesting! Think about it! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pooja, I just posted a reel a few days ago and they’re definitely driving traffic my way! I didn’t even know they were a thing until my daughter showed me how to post! So much fun! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love reels and have received thousands of views on them. They are so effortless compared to writing blog posts, editing photos, preparing the backend for SEO.
    Number two source of traffic? Do you get more than 2000 views on each blog post? Or are you getting tons of traffic somewhere else? I’m so curious!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Susie! No, I don’t get anywhere close to 2000 views, I average around 200-300 on a popular post. The boring ones only get a little over a hundred. It happens. What’s happening with Instagram is they’re climbing as a source of traffic, I think the total from the reels post from this site is around 65 and counting. Most of my traffic comes from Facebook and WordPress readers! Then Twitter and last is Pinterest. I haven’t figured that one out. What about you? Where do your views come from? How’s your traffic? Hugs, C


      1. That is GREAT! I never thought of making promo reels. BRILLIANT!

        I had a couple of pins blow up on Pinterest years ago and would get over hundred views a day, but they tapered off when I tapered off. LOL! I haven’t pinned lately but get about 20 views per day now. I need to revive that account.
        I only get a couple from Twitter unless it’s breaking news like the fires. I’ve been concentrating on querying and haven’t blogged much either. I’m going to make a bigger effort. It’s all about time management and building a habit again!
        Hugs back!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely, writing is my passion, reels not so much! Kelley was just showing me how to use them as another source for traffic to my writing. I’m publishing my book this summer so I might keep them going as a promotional tool?

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I never even heard of reels. My guess is that my granddaughter might know about them. I watched your clip. It was great. How fun to match the voice to the written word. Good job.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Lauren, I had never heard of them either until my daughter demanded, or shall we say suggested, I try to make one for promotional purposes. There are thousands and thousands of these things on Instagram running all day long. It’s crazy. Thanks for checking mine out. Have your granddaughter make one for you! It’s sort of fun. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I treat Instagram like a bratty cousin too! I think I’m just too old to learn it, than I watched your reels and see the appeal. We had our daughters home this past weekend too, and by golly, those Millennials can teach us old dogs some new tricks!!
    Can’t wait to spend some time with you next week and take in the true Missouri hillbilly experience with the California cousins!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh those bratty cousins! Thanks for checking out the Reels, they were fun when Kelley did all the recording and posting, now they’re sort of a chore. The kids make everything look easy and then they leave! My career with Reels may have been short lived. Not sure. Looking forward to our next adventure. Branson will never be the same! Hugs, Cheryl


  7. Hurray for your bravery on the new frontier, Cheryl! The Reel Frontier!! I just listened to Debbie Millman interviewing Ethan Hawke and he was talking about this very thing in his own creative process, referring to the tendency we all have to fiercely cling to the known and familiar as inhabiting formaldehyde. You broke outa the jar, you’re building brain cells and you look spectacular!! Kudos my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Mary Ellen, it was more sabatoge than bravery, but definitely a new frontier! I’m not sure it’s a viable source of ongoing authentic traffic but it was fun to try something new. The technology is changing so fast and it’s easier to just stick with what we know. Not as much fun or developmental but I see this tendency is strong with me. Sometimes all we need is a little push…Hugs to you, see you on our call! Love, C


    1. I love Thoreau and it makes sense. He wanted to enhance his creativity and Walden did it for him. The Reels have been a fun side project but writing is my passion and I’m good with a computer and comfy chair! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Cheryl!!
    Leave it to the younger generation to get you rocking on social media. That’s how it is at our house, and I am not going to take the plunge. But I did enjoy your reels. Cute snippets that give us a micro glimpse into your life. It would appear that Kelley is some sort of social influencer. (And obviously a huge source of new readers.) Should we be concerned that you won’t have time to respond to all the comments?
    When I initially read this post, I was immediately diverted down the Jello Biafra rabbit hole. He is an equal opportunity offender. Thought I would write a really cool 2-page dissertation about the amazing things he has done/ said, but it occurred to me that no one gives two shits about the Dead Kennedys. Oh well, dive in if you want to get some alternative view points.
    Thoughts…..”There’s a freedom in living our lives on our own terms, hurling ourselves into the sky, catching a strong wind. Who knows where we’ll land.” This is called retirement. Roll with it.
    “When the sentiment of life gathers in our pipes, and nothing flows. All you can do is remove the barriers and blow that shit out of your system.” Sounds like your food poisoning episode in Portugal is affecting your thought process. 😉
    Regarding stagnation, “we become like mushrooms, living in the dark, with poop up to our chins. “ I agree with Anne Lamott on this one.
    Well, it sounds like you are truly reeling in the years.

    Let the Party begin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You always find the best songs! It’s amazing. How do you do it? The Reels were great fun when Kelley was doing all the heavy lifting. She sort of dumped me after three and things seemed rather daunting after that. I mean what more is there to say/ I may have retired from the Reels? Or they might be a sporadic tool when the inspiration hits me. I had to look up the Dead Kennedys. Interesting, more research is needed. You should do a post on this if you’re familiar? That would be fun to read and I don’t have to do all the research. Okay, good news from the doctor for me. I’m going to live. All my tests came back with good news so I’m ready to head to Branson in my new jeans! Sue’s already completely packed with her shoe selection complete. Damn. I’ll get there. Love and hugs to you and Gail, xxoo, Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

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