Monday, January 12, 2009

Things To Do Before Spring

The Writer Magazine has an on-line column called Web Savvy that I thought I ought to read, but to get access I had to subscribe to the print edition of the magazine. Now I get The Writer every month, and even though I don't find it terribly compelling, I feel obligated to skim it so as not to miss some nugget of writerly wisdom. I should take a look at the January issue before the February one arrives.

And I should make it a practice to read at least one Web Savvy post every day. That's the reason for the subscription in the first place, and it would make me more web literate. Reading a single post every day won't be a big deal.

It was Web Savvy that introduced me to Technorati. I've looked at their site a couple of times, but it's like reading something in a foreign language about concepts from another planet. Still, if I read a little every day, maybe I'll begin to understand it and I'll be able to improve my blog.

Speaking of which, I should also make it a daily practice to check out Problogger, where I learned everything I know about blogging. One thing they recommend over and over is to read other blogs.

Therefore, to the list of blogs that I read because I like them, I should add some blogs about chickens and dogs, since I write about these topics often. And blogs about women's spirituality, too, as well as about simple/frugal/sustainable living. I must keep current on these subjects.

For example, I heard yesterday, on NPR's Speaking of Faith, that the program's website has a blog on the spiritual repercussions of the economic crisis. Can't miss that. Then this morning I heard a feature about Wangari Maathai who got the Nobel Peace prize for encouraging women in Kenya to plant trees. Women, trees, sustainability—what could be closer to my heart? Must find out more. And Julia Alvarez, who lives in Vermont, will be speaking on VPR at noon. Can't forget to listen to her.

Maybe one of these evenings I'll finish the New Yorker article I left open on the coffee table (I think a new issue has arrived since then—I lose count). And I have got to read Nourishing Traditions, the cook-and-nutrition book that, among other things, tells you it's good to eat lots of butter. And speaking of books, it would be fun to read Updike's The Widows of Eastwick, a sequel to The Witches. Maybe the library has it.

But I shouldn't be giving in to the lure of the print media. I'm so hopelessly behind on the electronic kind. For instance, I know what a gadget is, on Blogger, but what is a widget? And Facebook. Not a day goes by that someone doesn't sing its praises. I actually have a Facebook page, but I haven't done anything with it. I don't understand the concept. Is the point of Facebook to boil human experience down to a single sentence? And is Twitter (which I have never seen) the ultimate expression of this trend, so that even words are eliminated and expression is reduced to bird song?

I don't know the answer to any of this, but I'd better find out now, while snow is on the ground. Already the sun doesn't set until after five. Before I know it, it will be time to plant the spinach.


10 comments :

  1. I love speaking of faith. I listen to it start to almost-finish (minus 5 minutes because we pull up at church at 9:55 on Sunday mornings).

    Facebook kind of bothers me. I have friends who are on facebook (everyone does...) who think I'm astoundingly carefree with my blog (my name, my street name, for instance) and yet they let it all hang out over there on facebook. I just don't have enough time for it--and frankly, I don't need to reconnect with every single high school crush/enemy/lunch pal who will see my high school profile and "friend" me. Ugh. I want to get to know people, I don't want to put out some kind of social resume and connect.

    Women's spirituality. http://paintedprayerbook.com/ is one I've recently run across, sent to me by a nun in my parish. I haven't delved too deeply yet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. of course you're being ironic.

    of course you dont' need any tips on improving this blog. it's already oe of the best out there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. facebook is fun. it's useful for me, in my work. and while Bridgett is right that people use their real names and their photos, facebook pages are not open for all the world to see the way that blogs are. you have to be friends with someone to see their facebook postings. that's why friends are important--the more friends you have, the more stuff you can see.

    but beyond the sociability of it, i use it almost every day for work--it's a fast way to get ahold of people, to leave them messages when i don't have an email or phone number, to check the correct spelling of their name, to find out about poetry readings, etc.

    it's useful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My advice: stop sleeping entirely. Even then you won't get through all your reading, but at least then you won't have such a terrible backlog.

    Me, I'm going to hire a staff to do my reading for me, and type up very brief summaries, along with any juicy bits that must, must, must be read in the original. That's right after I hire a personal chef....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bridgett,

    Thanks for the link to paintedprayerbook.com. I haven't read the posts yet because I've been so bowled over by the images. This woman is amazing! Best of all, to me, is the fact that a nun referred you to this site, by a woman Methodist minister....

    ReplyDelete
  6. Laurie,

    Your good words go straight to my heart.

    As for Facebook, I must not discount it before really giving it a try. God knows I resisted blogging for a long time....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sewayoleme,

    Yes! A staff, that's what I need! I think it was E.B. White who wrote a piece about the (then) new trend to publish books in digest form. He said he was going to summarize a Hemingway novel in a single word: Bang!
    Oh, and the chef. I must get one of those.

    ReplyDelete
  8. OK, maybe I'll friend you right now. After all, Laurie's my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with Laurie! This is one of my favorite places to come on the whole internet.

    I wish I had more time, and more energy, to do all the reading and information-absorbing that I'd like to do. Most of the time I'm exhausted by the time I sit down with the laptop at night and I don't have the focus to concentrate on the interesting things I run across. So, they end up in an ever-growing bookmark list as I promise myself I'll dedicate a couple of afternoons entirely to finishing them... some day.

    Facebook, hmmm. I have a profile, but I don't log in much. I guess I don't really 'get' it. And besides, a friend from high school just posted some pictures from our year book-- all mall bangs and high-waisted jeans. Who needs to see that?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks, Joya. I love it that you keep coming back!
    It's almost impossible to think straight, let alone read and absorb information, when one has little children. When mine were born, I felt as if someone had bored a hole in the back of my skull, and all my intellectual substance was leaking out. Not sure I ever regained it....

    ReplyDelete