Archive for Random
I’ve always liked the new year and all that it implies — a new beginning, a chance to improve upon the past. It may be that being a child of the 80s with video games teaching us that you just have to drop another quarter into the machine to wipe the slate clean just reinforces the idea that there are do overs. Regardless, I always feel energized when January rolls around. I make the usual promises to myself. To be more healthy, to eat less of this sort of thing (made by friend, Alexandra :)):
And more of this:
To do less of this:
And more of this:
I have a couple of big goals for 2012. One is to finish my novella (draft above) ASAP — I had hoped it would be done by the end of January but that seems unlikely. I do hope to have a solid draft by the end of January and will be happy if I can get that accomplished. I’m also brainstorming for a new book. This is an enjoyable stage of preparation for me but I haven’t had near enough time to read and that is an absolute necessity. I also plan to do something for this book that I’ve never done before which is to go out and find live sources. And since I’ve never done that I need to bone up on the protocol of approaching professionals who might be interested in helping out a fiction writer with their deep expertise.
I’m always on the lookout for tools that will help me in my writing. I was generously given an iPad about six months ago and it’s been interesting for me to discover ways I’m incorporating it into my writing life. I plan to write a blog post soon on this but in the meantime I’ll just offer a screenshot from the latest app I downloaded. It is a dictation app from the long time leader in that industry, Dragon. It is shocking how the technology has improved over the years. In about a minute I had downloaded it and had it up and running. This was the first thing that popped into my head when I was prompted to speak — let’s hope it is true:
I doubt I’ll make much use of this for actual writing. But it could prove to be very useful for transcribing since I still occasionally write longhand. I think it will also prove to be handy in composing emails.
Oh yeah. I have a new book out! Buy it. Read it. And let me know what you think about it. Reader’s thoughts ultimately count the most. Links are on the right hand side of the blog.
I love Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the reason I pre-ordered the first generation kindle. Yes, I thought it would be cool to have a device that could hold a couple hundred books, a device where I could buy and download a book while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s or curled up in my berth on the train. But if it hadn’t been for the inclusion of Wikipedia, I would’ve waited. The idea of having at my fingertips — wherever I happened to be — the most thorough encyclopedia that has ever existed was too delicious to pass up. I’m well aware of the criticisms. Wikipedia can be wrong. But the fact is, it often isn’t. I’m not writing a dissertation. I’m not a journalist. Nor am I naive student. And to be frank, Wikipedia rocks my world. I use it every single day. I must utter “I love Wikipedia”, easily, ten times a week. The most recent instance of this was shortly before my book group get together this past weekend. We’ve been reading Plutarch’s Lives which has a lot difficult to pronounce names and places. I was pretty sure I knew how to say Alcibiades, but I wanted to check. I knew Wikipedia offered phonetic spellings for words whose pronunciation isn’t obvious but I was thrilled to see a little button next to Alcibides name — “Listen”. A moment later I knew my college tutors hadn’t steered me wrong.
I even have a little Wikipedia game that I play. You can play alone or with others. Pick two topics. Say “Jodie Foster” and “Christmas ornament”. Now, try to get from article to another in as few clicks as possible. I just tried it and did it in six clicks though I suspect it could be done in fewer than that. Wikipedia fun!
Now that I’ve finally joined the world of smartphone users, I have a gorgeous Wikipedia app. I am often in situations, sitting around talking friends when we find ourselves unsure of something. Somtimes I whip out the phone and solve the problem then and there. But sometimes I wish I hadn’t — bringing a piece of technology into a free flowing conversation can break the rhythm. It’s times like these that I think “not knowing” might just be okay. After all, instead of the answer being handed to us, we speculate about the conundrum at hand. We think it through collaboratively which can be as pleasurable as knowing and in the end, perhaps more fruitful. Regardless, even if we don’t figure it all out, I can look it up on Wikipedia once I get to the car.
Many thanks to those of you who took the time to answer my reader survey. If you haven’t weighed in yet but would like to, click here. Pasted below are the results. This will help me a great deal as I think about how to go forward with my blog. I have the sense that I am mostly on track except for needing to blog more. Once a week should be doable and I am going to try very hard to fulfill that. Next up will be a small teaser about the sequel.
I recently discovered Shelfari through Spinsters Ink writer C.M. Harris (her book is coming out in December — it’s an early twentieth-century historical novel set in the Midwest — check out an excerpt here). I’ve been on Goodreads for a while now and also recently set myself up on Library Thing. I’m still figuring out how LibraryThing works. Now Shelfari is a nice looking website, so, I set up an account and since I didn’t have time to really get into it and start adding a bunch of books I just added my own since there is something deeply satisfying about doing that. Unfortunately, this is how I now appear on Shelfari —