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A bewildered visitor to the Taverna asked me to show her the location of Lemuria on a map. I could do nothing more than point to the map on the wall and ask my fellow patrons, where in the world is Lemuria? When you have an answer, let us know……. — Lori

 

“Where is the World is Lemuria?”

Lori Gloyd (c) 2007

Digital Construction

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What is this long silence?
Has the circle been completed?
Words gone missing?
AWOL, the slippery thoughts
refuse to be named.
I knew flowers, yellow round
morning gleaming
named for a larger universe
now brown and faded as the winter
breaks stems
dark waters frown at the roots.

Why the long silence?
the worn thesaurus sits unopened on the shelf
a torn page
Was that the place you last looked?
I seek out crimson
find darkness
a circle drifts, a bubble
slippery, delicate, pale on the water
winding to break against the nearest rock
completed now
and lost. Fran

The question of blogging and whether or not it is a good thing for writing inspired me to write this series of vignettes about changes in publishing and writing over the centuries.

 Brother Thaddeus put down his pen and carefully capped the inks on the desk in front of him. The scriptorium was silent; all the other brothers had already left for dinner. Brother Thaddeus had wanted to finish the page he was working on. Father Jonas, the head of the order, would be pleased. The page was perfect and beautiful, each letter carefully and lovingly formed, the uncials uniquely decorated – it was a work of art, fit for the holy words written there.

Just as Brother Thaddeus thought of him, Father Jonas entered the scriptorium. He looked perturbed. “Brother Thaddeus – here you are. I need to talk to you somewhat urgently.” Father Jonas led the way into the herb garden outside the scriptorium door. “Something new has come up. I have hesitated to bring it to your attention – the attention of all of you who do the beautiful work in the scriptorium – but the time has come to talk of this.” Brother Thaddeus was puzzled. What on earth could the problem be?

“There has been a new invention. You know the printing press has been around for a bit, but it has been mostly used for images, as carving a page of words is difficult, to say the least. Now someone has come up with moveable type. Men arrange individual letters to make the page they want and print them, then move the letters around to make a new page. It is nearly effortless. It will enable thousand of books to be printed at one time. What it could do to us, well, is inconceivable. The holy words of God and the saints, reduced to mass printings, without the care and love we put into each page! And what could be printed! Men could print blasphemy with no effort at all! Any one who can tell a story can have it printed! This will ruin us, ruin the world with a flood of thoughtlessly printed garbage!”

Brother Thaddeus shook his head in shock and horror. “Father Jonas, I don’t know what to say! This is a tragedy indeed!”

******************************************************************************

The Duke of Sandcastle paced through the little village near his home. “Matthew!” he called to his secretary, “Make a note!”

The secretary scurried up behind his master and tried to juggle the pen and ink and the little writing board he carried with him. “Yes, sir. What did you want to say, sir?”

“I wish to dismantle this ‘school’ the people have begun here in the village. Teaching the common people to read and write like their betters! What is this world coming to? Teach them to read and write and they will be discontent with their lot, and think they can be as good as those of us born to a better life! And they are even teaching their female children to read and write! Just imagine what could happen if one of them should decide they can write as well as a man! This could be disastrous!”

Matthew the secretary, uncomfortable aware of his own bourgeois background, duly noted all of his master’s concerns and then shook his head. “Just terrible, sir, just terrible!”

*******************************************************************************

“What on earth is this thing?” the publisher yelled as he slapped the cheaply printed digest down on his desk. “Pulp? They’re calling it pulp? I’m calling it garbage!”

“Yes, sir, I totally agree, sir!” answered his secretary. “This stuff is cheap to print, and now everyone is going to think he can be an author! We’ll be swamped with all kinds of people thinking they can write, just because they get published in this ‘pulp’ stuff.”

“Everyone can get printed in this junk!” raged her boss. “Who the hell is this Isaac Asimov fellow in this issue anyway? Next thing you know he’ll be knocking on our door, wanting us to publish some book he’s written! This is a disaster!”

********************************************************************************

Every few generations we have new advances that allow more and more people access to writing and publishing. Rather than being the disaster that has been predicted each time, the new advance has sorted itself out and instead we find that our world is all the richer for a new group of writers gaining the attention of still more people. Blogging is simply the latest advance in the system.

– She Wolf (c)2007

Due to a sinus/allergy condition, my head is not in the best shape today to think very coherently but I’ll talk about some things I’ve observed/experienced. 
Re: The book/publishing industry.  It seems to have backed itself into the same corner as the movie industry.  The “blockbuster movie” goal has overtaken the movie business and that’s all the major studios seem to be willing to invest in.  So we are getting fewer and fewer movies from the major studios and what we do get are mostly “sequels” of those “block-buster” movies.  Ad nausem.  On the other hand, the indie film industry is growing.  (With support from folks like Robert Redford, etc).  The lower budgets and non-hollywood actors make that possible too.  But the indies don’t have the distribution network that the major studios have so they make less money, etc.  You probably won’t find an independent film playing at the average Regal Cinema in your neighborhood, for example.  It might be available on pay/cable tv or you will have to travel a significant distance to your nearest large city (30 miles one way and frequently more) to see an indie film.  Along with the decline in the number of movies produced per year by the major studios, also came a decline in the number of people going to movies and a narrowing of the focus of the movie industry upon one age segment–the 18 to 34 year olds, supposedly the ones who want the blockbuster movies and will go see the movie multiple times, and buy the DVDs, etc.  The studios just have to get back quadruple the amount of money they invested in the original movie, you know.  It’s a vicious circle and it won’t last forever, but while it does, some people will become very rich.  The only decent thing that has come out of this escalating spiral is that people like Speilberg and Lucas have re-invested their money into improving movie technology. (Note: the major studios did not do this.  Individual film-makers did!)   The same process has/is happening in the book industry.  The bookshelves are full of sequels, and new authors (to get published) almost have to be clones of already published authors.  Because the publishers want big sales numbers and sequels.  I stopped reading a lot of fiction about 10 years ago because I was tired of sequels.  I appreciate the classics of my preferred genre (science fiction) but I am way more selective about any new books to read.  Which is sad, because it means I read less, not more.  There are more published books on the shelves than in my youth, but the variety in the authors is gone.  The creativity and imagination which makes sf a creative field is being stifled.  It’s become a corporate McDonalds–where one book is very similar to another.  Oh, the names of the characters are different and the settings are different, the authors’ names are different but in the middle of the books I have a terrible feeling of deja vu!  I know what’s going to happen in the story and I know there will be sequels.  Akk!  So I am reading more non-fiction.  And writing it as well.  Which brings me (via the long way perhaps) to blogging.  If the quality of some blogging is better than published material, than this may be why.  Writers who don’t want to be part of the pressures of professional publishing are turning to the internet and blogging.  For both self-publishing and promoting books they have published.  Traditional publishing, like the movie industry, certainly won’t disappear but they need to consider something other than profit/sales in the way they manage their companies.  Or like the great railroad companies they will become all but extinct.
Now in regard to quality and the sheer numbers of people posting, etc.  Yes, the internet makes more “dreck” possible.  (Dreck being unpolished, awkward writing.)  I’ve watched it happen in the area of media fan fiction.  When stories were printed in paper fanzines (and sold basically at what it cost to print them), there was an editor (or two) working on the stories.  Stories were revised and proofread.  Art was added, etc.  It required at least a year if not two years to create one large (100+ page) fanzine: from the editors’ announcement of the issue, the gathering of stories, the editing/revising, the layout/printing, and the mailing/selling.  It was indeed like publishing a book.  And if the quality was near to professional level, it was because of the editing and the fact that the writers were adults and often experienced writers (i.e. continued to write on their own after completing their education, even if they had not sought formal publication).  When fan fiction met the internet however, so much of this changed!  Good fanzines are still being produced, but I can’t say the internet has improved the quality of fan fiction.  The only thing the internet has done is increase accessibilty for the writer and the reader.  The editing/revising that is typical of fanzine printing is almost non-existent online.  And I suspect that the “bad writing” which is so prevalent online (poor grammar/characterization/plotting, etc) is a result of the age and inexperience of the authors.  In some fandoms, the majority of the people posting are between 14 and 21 years old!  They get an idea, write some or most of it in paragraph form (sort of), and then post it on a blog/website as fan fiction.  They simply want attention for their ideas.  They are not writers, they do not want to edit/revise their work, and they have no intention of becoming writers.  They are simply doing something fun for right now.  The internet gives them an immediate way to “put their stuff out there”.  And to be honest, what I was writing at 12 years old probably wasn’t much better than what I have read at some sites.  Fortunately, writing usually does improve with experience, age, and feedback.  So it takes time/effort to find the really good fan fiction online.  It’s like panning for gold.  You go through a lot of dirt to find those gleaming nuggets. (My anology falls apart here–unlike gold nuggets, fan fiction won’t make you wealthy!)  But I’ll be a miner anyway.  Because in the fan fiction, I can find the kind of “what ifs” and creativity that has been largely stifled in published fiction.
As to new writers being “over-looked” because of the sheer quantity of bad writing (Julia Keller), well, it probably does happen on occasion.  But I think the internet has an advantage in this area above the traditional publishers’ “slush pile”.  In the publishing field, although a writer may have several different manuscripts making the round, it’s usually one per publisher.  One young adult story to this publisher and a different young adult story to that publisher.  And that one manuscript is one of hundreds in the slush pile or one of hundreds from agents.  And two or three “readers” are selecting a dozen manuscripts to be considered for a chance at publication.  Six will be published.  Does a new, first-time writer have a chance of publication?  Maybe.  Let’s switch to the internet now.  Yeah, there can be dozens, even hundreds of posts per day, in a fandom or on blogging sites.  Welcome to the “slush pile” of the net.  But, unlike the publishing company, there are dozens, if not hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people a day looking at/reading blogs and websites.  Like readers of published fiction, readers online have established favorites but they are also on the lookout for new reading.  And since so many! are looking/reading, I think the new writer is found faster (and certainly promoted faster!) than the new writer in the slush pile.  In established fandoms (those with a history and good communications), someone can go from “newbie” to BNF (Big Name Fan) in a month or two!  The BNF doesn’t get the financial rewards of the published author, but in terms of attention and expectations (encore, encore!) they are the same.  And I believe the quality of the online writing can be as good any professional writing.  The person who writes, who learns the process of writing (how to feed & grow ideas, how to write dialogue, how to revise, etc), who is open to feedback from readers, will become a good writer.  I do not define a “writer” as someone who has published something or earns his/her salary by writing.  A writer is someone who writes.  An author is a writer who is published.  And a professional writer is someone who earns his/her salary by writing.  The writer, the author, and the professional can all do quality work.  Or not.  I sometimes look at that online “slush pile” and groan.  The majority of it is dreck.  But I think I would like it less if it didn’t exist at all.  If people weren’t writing I would be more upset.  There is something–very human about writing, about making art, about singing & music, etc.  I think it would be a disaster of immense porportions (for the human race) if people stopped writing, making music, etc.  So, yeah, “bad art/writing” is preferable to no art/writing at all.  It means that people are feeling connected to, involved with, or passionately in love/hate with something.  Involved enough to communicate about it to their fellow humans via writing/art, etc.  And that impulse is what I would like to see encouraged.  Make art, not war!  (Whoops!  My idealism is showing.)  But sometimes I have to wonder, if our schools wouldn’t be safer if we allowed angry grafitti to be sprayed on the school walls.  If frustration and destructive impulses were guided into expressive mediums (instead of being shamed and repressed), then fewer children (12 year olds, 17 year olds, etc) might go looking for guns to express their hostility.  Well, I have wandered way off topic!  Back to blogging.  In summary, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.  And its potential has barely been explored.

What do people look for in blogs? Topics that interest them, naturally. But that’s a lesson on its own.

I did an interesting blogging experiment over the last few days. I ran a blog on the artwork created by Jonathan Harris, who took the most common 86,800 words in the English language, and put them in order, by amount of use. You can search by number or by word, and you can get caught up in looking at the word for your birthday, and play numerology games.

I also ran a story about Sophie Calle, a French artist whose boyfriend dumped her via email; she subsequently turned the email and the dumping into an artwork.

And, because it is the topic of the workbook I’m writing, I included an article on another creativity lesson my bike taught me.

I began to watch which blog got the most views–words, getting dumped, or the creativity story. Of the two word-as-art posts, Calle’s getting dumped got more views. That was understandable. When the creativity story shot to popularity,  I first felt vindicated and *knew* my book would be a hit. . .until I check which words people searched for to get to the story.

Ah, the disillusionment! The agony! The incident in the story was a rainstorm, and I pointed out that with a teardrop-shaped gas tank and a round helmet that drips down on the gas tank, you get wet. The specific phrase I used caused the post’s popularity-“wet crotch.” It was a good comeuppance, but that makes me wonder if popularity is the only measure that should be considered when talking about blogging.

In my morning newspaper, I read a commentary by Julia Keller entitled “From Vanity Press Era into the Blogosphere.” In this article, Ms. Keller examines the impact of blogging on the publishing industry: “Personal computers and the Internet’s ability to fling information far and wide have furthered the idea of Everyday Shakespeares.” She ponders the positive and the negative results of the blogging phenomenon. She argues that because of the economic imperative of publishers to produce “guaranteed hits” ala “Stephen King or Mary Clark Higgins”, it is virtually impossible for most writers to get published and whose works may only be read by way of the blog. In addition, she states that “Many blogs are better than many published books.”

However, she counters by stating that “the sheer blizzard of undifferentiated stuff out there will ultimately work against, not for, new voices. If everyone’s a poet, then nobody is.”

Since all of the regular writers and artists for the Soul Food Cafe make their works known via blog posting, then I think most of us would agree with her positive statements about blogging. But, do you think she might have a point with her counter-argument? Or not?

How would you respond to Ms. Keller’s observations about publishing on blogs?

Write your comments below or create a new post and file under the category “BS 15.06.07 Blogging.”

Lori Gloyd

Source: “From Vanity Press Era into the Blogosphere.” Julia Keller. The Los Angeles Times. Friday, June 15, 2007.

This is my newest collage that I keep on my altar. It sums up for me the journey I have taken in this past year here in Lemuria.

I’ve posted a dance in the Atelier, painting for blog day

Here the dancers

This is not from my blog, but to join in on the Blog Day fun, here’s another postcard from Paris from Mari.  Vive la Blog Day!!

wordpresscomsignup.jpg

 

We have all come a million miles since I imposed WordPress on everyone twelve months ago.
Here is to WordPress!

I love reading old cookery books. I just blogged a bit from Mrs Beeton’s book of Houselhold Management that might amuse taverngoers.
There’s also a new episode of Footprints in Paradise – better late than never! – and a piece on the downside of being a baby boomer.

It’s Friday and I didn’t have anything new ready, but the little gargoyle is always ready to entertain you….

                                       http://shewolfy728.wordpress.com/2007/04/09/the-little-gargoyle-and-the-monsters/

And a very happy Blog Day to you!

Anita Marie Cordially Invites you to an evening of song and story telling

 101dal.jpg

 I have a wonderful  little video/song about oh what was it…oh right memory loss:

Getting Old Is Funny!

When you’re done at the concert come on down and hear a little story I wrote about a gardener named Mrs Beenettle ….

and when  you’re done at my place you might want to pop into Seattle’s Amazing Ye Olde Curiousity Shop to see where it is I like to spend my lunch hour. While I’m there I like to chat  a friend of mine named Sylvester.

He’s always got a few stories to share.

Don’t forget to tell him Anita Marie said hello…

amm

We receive many visitors to the Taverna from all over the virtual realm.  I’ve taken to writing some of these outposts on the Blogosphere.  For your perusal, amusement, and edification, I invite you to through the Portal to the World…..

Lori Gloyd (c) 2007

As requested, here’s something to liven up the Tavern.

http://cheshire7.wordpress.com/2007/04/30/another-song-and-dance-take-two/

Enjoy!

Cheshire

Official Lemurian Tavern


Authenticated by le Enchanteur

What is the Soul Food Cafe?

The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups.

Exploring Lemuria

Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, andThe Taverna di Muse is one of many places and realms within Lemuria. To see some other Lemurian destinations, select one below and start your journey:

Riversleigh Manor
Murmuring Woods
Cyberia, City of Ladies
The Hermitage
On the Road with Enchanteur
The Digital Atelier The Cave of the Ancients
Lemurian Abbey
Halloween Party, 2006
The Heroine's Journey
Aboard the Calabar Felonway
The Pythian Games
Isle of the Temple People
Isle of Ancestors
The Temple of Solace
Grand Tour
Lemurian Tour
The Gypsy Camp

Joining Soul Food

If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ dailywriting.net .

Disclaimer– Copyright

The opinions expressed by contributors to Taverna di Muse on this blog as well as on public domains outside this blog are not to be construed as an endorsement by Heather Blakey or Lori Gloyd. Material appearing on this site remains the property of individual artists and writers.

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