#1 Let me start with a question. Is the trendy “list topic” a passing fad that has already become vomit inducing tedium? I, for one, will say so. The use and abuse of this technique …
My computer desktop image is of an old stone foundation overtaken by greenery, a former homestead of Washington Irving, which I hiked to a number of summers ago during a residency in the Catskills. The spot wasn’t terribly well marked, and I had to dig for it a bit, so I spent most of the morning seeking out what would have been a former house, next to a stream, before chancing upon the rock Rip Van Winkle was said to have napped on. (Superstitiously, I did not indulge the urge to test it.)
The discovery of the homestead felt somehow pivotal, and I knew when I snapped the image on my cameraphone that I would want to look at it every day: flat stone foundations are so sensical, aren’t they? Find yourself some level ground and nestle the rocks in a bit, build up a wall that way, then create a whole room, carefully manipulating the earth against your construction materials in anticipation of your future needs. I don’t know what it’s like for a doctor or an accountant or an urban planner, but for a writer those needs are ultimately quite simple: a space in which one can hear one’s own thoughts, not too distant from “the action,” but not central to it, either. The meaning of home solidified for me then, implying a state of activity as opposed to a static condition. Like being awake. Like love.
I’d never considered the concept of home so deeply before. At the time, I was traveling 200 days out of the year, and when I did my taxes, I occasionally discovered that I had conducted business in languages I could not later identify. I was working in Germany, Cambodia, the Republic of Georgia, and Finland, with only days between trips to rest in Chicago before a lecture in New York City or a conference in Vienna or a book event in Los Angeles or a “vacation” in some place I had selected because I had never been anywhere like it before and didn’t know what life there might be like. Washington Irving’s stone foundation became a talisman for me—a guidepost at first some great distance off, later more clearly outlined through the haze—a beacon to a single place I might wish to return to, some flat ground soft enough to nestle stones into. I loved my exciting life, do not get me wrong, and was having far too much fun to change it in anyway, but I did look around at least once during every one of those 200 days and wonder if the place I was in might eventually become my home. It never did, and after several years my computer desktop image was still the only thing I saw, consistently, every single day: the purely ephemeral digital nature of the pic belying a steadfastness I was coming to crave.
#1 Let me start with a question. Is the trendy “list topic” a passing fad that has already become vomit inducing tedium? I, for one, will say so. The use and abuse of this technique is as manipulative as it is banal. Who is our target audience for this drivel anyway? Anybody breathing, I’d argue. We can all agree that writing has its challenges. Attracting readership is at the top of that list. But lets all aim for better than yesterday’s marketing tricks.
#2 That’s so offensive! Trying not to offend anyone is a guarantee that you will offend just about everyone eventually, and they will get around to telling you about it. The problem with this goal is that your self-censorship leads to avoidance of risk, a search for middle-ground , and the inevitable ‘safe’ subjects which may have more value as cures for insomnia than interesting reading. And it doesn’t work. Reason one is that you cannot possibly know how others think, and that means you can’t predict how what you’ve written will be interpreted. I can be offended that you expected me to spend my precious time reading a piece that has no value to me whatsoever. How dare you?! Its perfectly acceptable if you set out not trying to offend, but just know not everyone else does. Its even better if you set out trying to be different, strive to share your unique perspective, and seek to find your own voice. Write for an audience of, one?
#3 Give Up. You give up? I give up. We all give up. Let’s make a list of all the times we have given up in our lives! Then invite all your friends to the pity party. It’ll be such a grand time. NOT. To misquote Nike, Just don’t do it.
#4 Here is an idea I just thought of, so I’m sticking it in here too. Remember, we’re all in this together, aren’t we? As fellow scribes, encourage one another. Make it a habit. Call it one non-stop campaign of mutual encouragement. We all need it. We all deserve it. But it ain’t gonna happen unless we make it happen. We can do it whenever we point out some aspect of what someone wrote that helped us, inspired us, informed us, or entertained us. Whenever you think about commenting, go ahead and do it. One short, simple comment that won’t take you more than a few seconds to make, could be the difference that leads to a breakthrough for someone. See #3 above.
#5 In the spirit of our theme for today, there is no #5 Happy Blogging
I like this one
We are very happy to have MONALISAMS as a contributing Blog author. I believe this will represent a fresh perspective on subjects that matter to our readers. Here is a description of the monalisams Blog to give you an idea of what you might find there.
“This blog is about my personal experiences dealing with multiple sclerosis, or MS for short. My experiences are probably unlike those of any other person with MS, because both the course and the symptoms are different in each person.”
After my initial experience with this new (to me) iPhone/iPad App, I thought I would share what I’ve learned.
First of all if you are unfamiliar with the Bloglovin’ service I would describe it as website that helps you find and follow great blogs. With the Apps, I am an Apple lover so please forgive my bias, I found it to be very convenient and fun way to get caught up inside the blogosphere. My caveat to this is a certain reticence to use Apps over my preference for Safari or Google Chrome on the web. I just feel that too many Apps are lacking to such a degree that it isn’t worth the bother. Know what I mean?
Anyway, here’s what I found: There are four master pages titled My Feed, Popular, Search and Me
A+, this really doesn’t seem like an App, it has a web-like feel to it.
A+, even better – there is a web option that allows you to view the blogs on the web!
B+, there is a handy menu button which drops down to reveal all your favorite blogs in My Feed.
B+, I like the handy share tab there too.
B+, the popular posts offer a terrific way of finding good blogs when you are pressed for time.
B+, great images.
C+, searching for blogs is clean, without advertisements and extraneous distractions from what you really want, to read blog articles.
C+, as an added plus the ‘Me’ page allows you to create your own blog.
NOT SO PLUSSES
C-, there is a feedback link to get input from users, though the response to users seems to be less than ideal
C-, some of ‘features’ are a little tricky to use and the instructions are not as ‘simple’ as I’d like.
As an avid supporter of WordPress for all the reasons you might imagine, I would say Bloglovin’ Apps are in the category of the “next best thing” and rate them as “recommended”.