A sneak peek at the office

A sneak peek at the office

The challenge with working outdoors is no internet connectivity and barely a mobile device signal. It makes checking emails and updating social media status and blog posts nearly impossible. But, really, the technological detox is quite rewarding. The contract job orders are … Continue reading

Typewriter poetry and blogging

Some days all you need

A poem for a friend composed on a manual typewriter

At least five years ago, an old beat up manual typewriter provided a platform to compose poetry and other writings.1 It was an effort to return to an intentional practice of crafting poetry and prose without distraction of disruptive media.

For years and years, a notebook, journal or sketchbook was never far from reach. But one night after a long night of poetry and music at Beanstreets followed by an even longer time of coffee and conversation at Old Europe, a friend convinced me to try blogging.

Photo courtesy of @mxmulder

Sample journal page of poetry

The immediate response to blogging was infections.2 Connecting with people all over the country, networking, sharing and being part of an active digital community was exciting. The practice of writing allowed me to hone the craft of creative writing and exposed me to other writers across the country. One of those bloggers actually showed up at a poetry gig I did. She was on a cross-country trip to visit friends and wanted to visit in real life.

Over time, I noticed that my practice of writing notes, daily sketches and other activities had all but disappeared. Relying on keyboards, display screens, hard drives and servers presented became a crutch. My writing drafts and sketches appeared deceptively crisp and final in neatly formatted text documents and web blog interface windows.

So, I pulled the plug. Returned to handwriting and typing as practice.3 Some friends and fellow poets saw a few samples of typewritten work and suggested I post it on my blog. It was a novelty. A curiosity. So, I did.

One of the first photographs of a poem I composed on a typewriter was written for a friend. It was posted about this time of year — in 2011.4 A few days later I followed up with another poem5 that was later read at poetry event.

I do not claim to be the first person to post an image of a poem typed on a manual typewriter. But I noticed a trend in that direction about a year after posting those images of poem sketches.6 Not sure exactly if I started the trend. Probably did not. Maybe other like-minded individuals who sought to return an organic practice of handwriting and typing as a mode of composing their visions and ideas.

Here is to a five year anniversary of analog writing.

NOTES:
[1] In truth, I composed poems on an electric typewriter prior to that. Did it for decades. Did not own a personal computer until… well, that is another story.
[2] That was when there were a mere couple million web blogs in the world. Now, there are some platforms, like Tumblr, boasting 100 million blogs. The blogosphere has become quite congested.
[3] Examples of some the 30 poems in 30 days journal posts with photos: here, here and here.
[4] April 1, 2011, blog post.
[5] Poem: “Never Look A Doughnut Dealer in the Eyes”
[6] Examples include Typewriter Poetry, Remington Typewriter Poetry, and the most popular is Tyler Knott (though his web page has an archive going back to 2003 (which is odd because he uses Tumblr as a platform and Tumblr was launched in early 2007… maybe he migrated his content from some other source to Tumblr… but I digress) the posted images do not begin until 2012 (unless I am mistaken).

Is free is expensive & how much would you pay for a good story?

Ever feel like you are asked to do the work of three people? Ever feel that most of your day is spent reading emails and sitting in meaningless meetings?

I am not sure I have answers for these questions, but it got me thinking about a couple articles I have read. One explores the shrinking size of the original content creators — i.e. newsrooms. The other touches on the devaluation of work hours.

  1. How Technology Can Help Work/Life Balance: http://online.wsj.com/articles/how-technology-can-help-work-life-balance-1414382688
  2. Why Free is Very Expensive: http://www.forbes.com/2011/06/10/forbes-india-why-free-is-very-expensive.html

Years ago, I worked for a news organization. After a meeting, the publisher told me that opinions are cheap to publish because it does not require the writer to do anything but write. But a good story is hard work and costs the company a lot of money to put boots on the ground, staff to interview and research a subject, photograph and edit lead stories. The quality of the content that goes into a lead story suffers when an organization is understaffed. Further, the consumers of the content receive sub-quality work. Is the fault with the consumer that wants free online content? Or the content creator that is unable to provide high-quality work on a limited budget that consumers will actually purchase?

How much would you pay for a good story?

Pageantry of vanity

It sort of overturns my apple cart when a script for an upcoming podcast — that I have worked on for months — seems to be summed up in under four minutes . . . on Youtube . . .

Quote: “Internet addiction appears to be a common disorder…”

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition contains definitions and diagnostic criteria for every mental disorder you can imagine…. In 2008, the Journal of American Psychiatry argued that “Internet addiction appears to be a common disorder that merits inclusion in DSM-V.” …. The following pathologies run rampant on the ‘Net:

  • Generalized Trolling Compulsion.
  • Comments Derangement Syndrome.
  • Manic Confirmation Bias.
  • Fanboy Disorder.
  • Delusional Capital Exchange Disorder.
  • Narcissistic Market Prognostication Imbalance.
  • and more

Link: Beyond Internet addiction: Ars diagnoses your online maladies

Meformer, informer, which one are you?

Meformer or Informer

“Meformer” (vs “informer”) is not a new term,[1] but for some reason it is making its rounds on social media the last few[2] months.[3]

NOTES:
[1] Jennifer Van Grove, Mashable,  “STUDY: 80% of Twitter Users Are All About Me”, September 29, 2009, accessed July 15, 2014, http://mashable.com/2009/09/29/meformers/
[2] Patrick Allan, LifeHacker, “Be an Informer, Not a ‘Meformer’, To Get More Followers On Social Media”, May 29 2014, accessed July 15, 2014, http://lifehacker.com/be-an-informer-not-a-meformer-to-get-more-followers-1583508468
[3] Kirk Englehardt, LinkedIn, “Are you a Twitter ‘Informer’ or ‘Meformer’?”, June 03, 2014, accessed July 15, 2014,
https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140603184736-3091133-are-you-a-twitter-informer-or-meformer

A bookless American library

Empty shelves at the downtown city library

Why can’t I find a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five at a local public library? I’m wandering through the aisles of bookshelves thinking, It’s not an obscure title. Is it? Earlier, I visited a couple library branches and couldn’t find a single copy. How is that possible? Later I would find a copy at a bookstore (actually, I would find copies at three of the local bookstores, but I would be out of cash and wouldn’t be able to afford to buy a copy… more on that later… like, wait-for-my-memoir later…).

Is it possible? Are American libraries moving toward booklessness? At the main, downtown city library I stare at a whole wall of bookshelves emptied of books (see photo). Glancing around the place it appears that the only thing people do at that library is use the toilet, enjoy the air conditioned space on hot summer days, and rent CDs and DVDs. The magazine racks are full and there is an man, probably in his 60s, reading the latest copy of the New Yorker. Beyond the reference desk, I see that every computer terminal is occupied. My mood is turning away from searching for a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five, to mischievous. I want to walk over to the reference desk librarian and ask, “Where might I find a book about Tralfamadore?” From experience, I know what the reference desk librarian will do. The scene will go something like this:

“Excuse me, but where might I find a book about Tralfamadore?”

“Tralfamadore? Let me see,” he says as he opens a web browser on the computer and sounds out the word tral-fam-a-dore under his breath. “Oh, Tralfamadore. From Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five.”

“Did you just google that?” I ask.

He looks at me and doesn’t say anything.

“Shouldn’t that be unholy sacrilege to use Google in a library?” I ask. “I mean, this is supposed to be a house of intellect.”

He folds his hands in front of the keyboard and says, “I used Wikipedia.”

“Wikipedia?” I snort.

The reference desk librarian catches the eyes of the library’s security guard who walks toward us.

The scene concludes with me mumbling something about the democratization of content leaves an intellectual void that is too quickly filled with bits of data rather than depth of knowledge and wisdom.

But I don’t walk to the reference desk. I get lost somewhere in the fiction aisles–somewhere in the section where books by authors with last names beginning with “k” are placed. The whole thing–the search for a single copy of a book and the failure to locate it at a public library–is loathsome to me. I have this uneasy feeling ‪that Ray Bradbury’s‬ ‪Fahrenheit 451‬ may be prophetic. And I want to start memorizing large volumes of literature for the mere preservation of it to share with the next generation. Isn’t that why books are written? To share not just with this present age, but to extend beyond the life of the writer? My eye’s find a book about bean trees–or rather, a novel. It’s not a very thick novel, but it seems to have found me and I can’t just leave it on the bookshelf and I don’t want to leave the library empty-handed.

After the book is processed silently by a librarian, I walk to catch a bus home. Reading the first few pages at the transit center I know I have found a new friend in this book. It’s a feeling I can’t say I have regarding Google or Wikipedia. To me, they are repositories of data–vapid of personality in the same fashion as the  Borg–to be mined or to be assimilated.

Twitter etiquette: the rules

Quote: Patti Smith

Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.

Patti Smith (via libraryland)

ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) Kelly and Moen—who published their work this week in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior—found that employees who switched to ROWE took better care of themselves. Not only did they get an extra 52 … Continue reading