Thursday, April 23, 2009

I've been catching up on other people's blogs

I have to admit, I don't read blogs all that frequently. I really don't like to spend much time at the computer, and I write my own books by hand. I wonder, if computers had been around when I started to write on a regular basis (30 years ago last February), would I have chosen to keep a blog instead of writing a journal? Journals strike me as being different--they are more private, for my eyes only. They are also a lot more portable, even than a laptop, which I don't have. And I like the feel of paper and pen and the different page sizes of my journals, the different papers. I also like that I come to the end of a journal and start a new one--I can see--well, maybe not progress, but I can see books piling up. I have over 150 full journals, I'm sure, to show for the last 30 years. I wish I could find them all! They are scattered all over the house and studio.

Blogs are meant to be read--they are written to an audience, whether it is family, friends, or colleagues. That means blogs are censored more than journals--self-censored. The writer is at least partially aware of how other people may respond, and therefore the blog is shaped to appeal to that audience and to present the writer in a particular light. The writing is more self-conscious than that of a journal. I know I sometimes consider what someone reading my journal might think, but I try to let go of these self-conscious thoughts and write from the gut. I worry a little bit that my family may read my journals and not understand that just because I put something in writing at a given time, when I was in a particular mood, doesn't make that entry true--or true forever. Often just by writing something down, by venting on paper, I alter the way I feel or I write myself into a solution to the problem. The journal is a way to have a conversation with myself. But as I often say in book group, the act of writing something down makes it fiction, not truth. There is a selection process that shapes "the facts" into a story, a particular meaning, which is no longer true to the random real-time unfolding of life.

But I have been reading blogs lately. Here are a few entries that I have enjoyed:

Art of arthurslade wrote an interesting post (4-21-09) about advertising his YA novel on Facebook. He generously shares what it cost, what he learned, and how he did it. Something to think about, but I'm not ready to try this yet. I learned about his post through the SCBWI-Illinois List Serve.

Yolanda LeRoy, editorial director of Charlesbridge had a fun adventure in Italy following the Bologna conference which she posted on the Charlesbridge blog, Unabridged. It's called "Truck Stuck, Italian Style."

And I'm discovering that there is a whole community of stay-at-home parents or home-schooling parents who share book reviews and craft activities and other ideas through blogs. When I was raising my kids I was lucky to be living in a community where I had a whole network of friends with children my kids' ages whom I could visit with almost every day and who gave me a level of support that is becoming hard to find. Blogging provides that connection for many people, I think, particularly if you live in a more rural area. Here are some sites that have been reviewing truck books and have enjoyed reading Truck Stuck. The Almost Librarian reviewed a group of truck books on her blog which is written to celebrate and promote early childhood education, early literacy, and family. Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile gives book reviews from both the mom's and the toddler's point of view--at least the mom describes how the books are received by her toddler. No Time for Flash Cards is full of craft ideas for very young children, but she also reviews related books. In a post titled "We're on a Roll!" she reviewed several books, including Truck Stuck.

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