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No, I’m not all here

February 18th, 2005 · No Comments

Yes, it’s evident that I have been distracted this week. But I have been thinking about blogging: I’ve spent my post-writing time working on my talk for the Northern Voice conference in Vancouver, B.C. tomorrow (exactly 24 hours from the time I am typing – but who’s counting?!) What do I plan to discuss? Making masks or, in other words, the ways that we appear in pieces on our weblogs, the ways we are or are not present in our posts…and no, I’m not ever all here…

Writing my talk was an intense and creative process. Earlier this month I enoyed Dave Pollard’s post on sources of great ideas, discovering it first through seeing his intriguing charts appearing in Dave Winer’s Pictures from the top 100 feed. I haven’t taken the survey titled Where and When Do You Get Your Best ideas? but I have been thinking about what helps me be creative. I soon discovered that sitting down at my desk at 10 pm and telling myself I had to put a talk together then and there didn’t work. Part of the process involves being in a “mood” or is it “mode”: I can’t think of a better way to describe it, but I know I can’t force creativity. I think my best ideas come to me when I am walking around the block in the morning or while I am living life: doing domestic duties, washing dishes, folding laundry, driving the car, watching the girls at the playground. Years ago I heard someone I respect say that songwriting meant scribbling notes wherever creativity came, and I have notepads upstairs and downstairs to catch the ideas that fly through my mind. On Wednesday I listened to a Hallmark clerk try to sell me a chickadee ornament just so I could take the advertising card and (with the store pen) jot two notes to myself of thoughts I didn’t want to forget while I was out shopping with my daughters. For the past week I’ve been immersed in preparing this talk, ignoring or postponing as much as possible other items requiring my attention, my mind meditating on the words and pictures I have chosen (apologies to anyone). I haven’t been working on pieces of fiction or research in years but working on my presentation has been as if I were writing short stories on a deadline again. Once I formed the basic outline, it began to feel a little like clay, in 3-D, molding and shaping with a spin of the wheel and touch of the fingers. It’s also been a little like acting, getting comfortable with the words and images, preparing to share a story from the stage. It’s been fun.

Here are a few related posts that caught my attention:

  • Via Scoble’s linkblog, I found a piece in the Guardian on Web therapy

    For some people, the instinct in times of serious illness is to close the shutters, switch on the answering machine and endure whatever lies ahead in the privacy of a tight circle of family and close friends. But for others, sickness feels more bearable when it is a public affair – when the one who is ill draws in a wide circle of friends and acquaintances … or, in some cases, the world, through the medium of personal health weblogs.

  • Sam Ruby’s The Long Tail with links to his rich post on Manufactured Serendipity describing reasons for blogging, and another link to melinama’s post from the Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005:

    (We, the innumerable masses of the Long Tail, do and think things which are endlessly uninteresting to 99% of humanity. However, if you put all us outliers together, more than half of humanity would find at least one of us interesting. Did I get that right? Well, does somebody who sings Serbian and Mariachi music qualify or not? Finally, I find my peer group!)

  • Ted obliged me, since I’ve been quoting him anyway, and published his thoughts on On Finding Your Tribe:

    Getting involved with open source software has been a major source of my tribe finding interactions, probably the largest since I left the university environment. Writing this blog has been a even larger source. If you want to find out who’s in my tribe, see who’s linked to me or commented/tracked back. Those references have crossed into the physical world, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people in real life at conferences and other meetings. That wouldn’t be happening without my blog.

  • Darren Barefoot has also been getting some great publicity for the conference. Thanks to all the Northern Voice team!
  • Richard will be at my talk, but not taking notes, both of which I think are great.

    The kids are clamoring to “go to Canada” even though we have a few hours before we leave. Each time we take a trip, I’m amazed by the packing process, especially going to a conference as a family (our first attempt at this) requires a bag of amusements for the girls (in case they find my talk too boring), and now also antibiotics for Michaela, mandating the cooler and ice pack, as well as all the necessary documents for crossing the border. It’s always a good idea to travel to another country when tensions with that nation arise: yesterday’s Seattle Times top headline included a quote and picture from Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh: We cannot be the drugstore for 300 million Americans. Hmmm, guess I’ll have to buy some Canadian flags to sew onto our backpacks as a disguise ;-)…

    I hope to be here more soon…and there will be much more of me present at Northern Voice tomorrow…

  • Tags: northernvoice

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