Kim came over this afternoon and we have been discussing the fine points of blogging and how to make the most of this medium. So I’m just doing a short posting for fun to show the pleasures of using wordpress!
Once I had completed the Documentary Print book, I decided it would be fun to create ancilliary merchandise to go along with it. And what better medium than embroidery? One of the samplers (seen here in this post) refers to a state of mind we can all recognize. In the imagined world of the Social Research Foundation’s reports on living in the future anything personal was suspect at best. All expression was either corporate or channelled through what was called a Characterization of Persona Package. Anyone who has taken a marketing course, or done a branding exercise will surely recognize what this is all about. So, never let that personal identity leak through, right?
I’ve been working on the blog for my self-publishing business, Alpha Glyph Publications, adding a page that refers to the blogs I’ve put together (or helped to do so) and that I administrate. I’m also posting about some of the different projects that we’ve worked on so far, since I established the company in January of last year.
But I don’t want all my posting to migrate to that site. It seems to me that starting a blog is like getting a puppy – you have to keep it healthy, help it grow, keep it alive, and always look after it. There’s a definite commitment. So as I define the voice of the Alpha Glyph blog, it helps me better define this personal blog which is much more eclectic, and reflective.
In a recent review of Amin Baraka’s Tales of the Out and Gone, a quote from Heathen Technology at the End of the 20th Century just jumped out to me. It explains so much: “And the people whose metaphor had been stolen could not imagine what was going on.” That’s what has been going wrong – our metaphor has been stolen. By whom or what? By our technology. Comparing the attitudes and ideals of these times with those of the recent past, it is clear that we are in another territority. Problems such as “alienation” were described in the 1960s, but that is nothing compared with the internalization of this new environment in which we live and move and have our being.
Our metaphor, the driving ideal of our lives, has been taken from us, and we no longer have access to it as a well-spring to give purpose and meaning to the day to day. Just as sentimentality was wiped away at the turn of the last century by the modern age, so our former way of being has been erased systematically by the new interactive media, their effects on culture and our currently shared nervous system. McLuhan was all about this understanding of media and its effects, personally and sociologically. In my McLuhan study I learned to leave no turn unstoned in the search for truth, in the query “what is going on?” Perhaps the answer can be found in the querty (which is normally spelt “qwerty”) which is the typo version of query which I had originally typed in. Yes, the old qwerty keyboard, the computer age, the web 2.0 age of the friendster, the blog, the social network.
During my Social Research phase in the 1980′s, when I wrote the book, Documentary Print, I was dealing with just this loss of metaphor, but had been unable to find that exact poetic wording which encapsulates it all. I don’t know whether Amin Baraka meant what I got from the quote – but it certainly communicated directly to me in that moment.
I’ve finally put together some of my earlier writings, self-published at Lulu, which has given me a storefront, Carol’s Special Interest Bookstore. It’s all still in process, but I’m happy to say that at least it has started. Now the two books there are just the beginning, and the facsimile book is still in a draft form, no doubt it will need to be revised. But, I thought, why not just do it? Instead of only working on material for others, I should also put out some of the writing I’ve done for myself. Watch that space, there’s more to come. I’m using Lulu for work that has a very limited appeal, and am still not sure about using it for work that I know will have a wider audience. Not because their print on demand isn’t great, it’s very good. But because they are in the US. Not a problem for anyone ordering a single copy, the cost is under the customs radar. But any Canadian volume more than that could be more costly than a local printer.
Here’s a page from the facsimile book:
All the responsibilities I have signed up for, the clients, the work, the promises to myself to finally publish writings from long ago – all vie for first place in my queue each day. Each as important and valuable as the other, each requiring full and total attention for the time it takes to complete. And left on the side has been this little blog, which has been so patient and undemanding. Of course my few readers (you know who you are) have barely kept track of me since that last opus – the big burst of enthusiasm for Dr. O.C. Gruner and his remarkable work, which I now realize was way back in September. As usual, there is a speedup of time and now we are fully into October looking back on the fall. Where did September go, and why was it rushed away in a hushed dark vehicle, as if it had never happened? And how to explain those glorious sunny days, the imitation of summer revealed by the long angle of the sun, the early nightfall and the autumn moon?
We are here now, in the transforming time, ready to burrow down, and yet I still am actively creating, doing, starting again and again.
Once again I promise to be more faithful to you, dear old blog, and not take you for granted. I’ve seen how the weeks fly by like the leaves on the wind. Soon we will be in the tunnels of winter’s dark rains – and I’ll be here with you on the desk again, tapping out my messages once more. I promise, with all true intention, but wonder, if this is yet another faithless promise – when once again I am seduced by the lure of paid work, and all the other delightful satisfactions of enterprise, only to lift up my head to see the calendar, shaking, unbelieving to read the word “November”.
Just taking a break from writing a proposal for funding for an interactive project – again. This time of year is always deadline time, and I find myself caught once again in the spell of writing another truly wonderful proposal for a project which will be extremely useful and valuable, plus creative with lasting impact. And of course I have to get over the feeling that I have done this many times before, with some success but also with some that have not hit the mark. Sometimes it is the sheer volume of applicants, something I experienced when assessing projects, so I know that when the letter says: there were so many qualified applicants to choose from, I know that it is partially true.
So I write on, and again create a budget according to the template required, then take the creative force of the concept and reduce it to what I hope will be acceptable proposal-language. This one is to Telefilm Canada, for their Canada New Media Fund. Watch this space for the response to this.
Last year at their deadline time, I applied with two production proposals, both of which were not accepted. Should I not have put in two? I felt that if they had only one deadline per year, it would be fine. One was a co-production with an Alberta company, a development of my own New Media Literacy Series. The other, based on the remarkable exhibition, The Blackfoot and the Jews, is still in process. After working like a madwoman last year to complete these two proposals, and just making the deadline time (there had been a delay in the Alberta group which forced me to make last minute changes), I received the thanks but no thanks letters later that month.
It was then that I decided to put my energies into AlphaGlyph, with diversification. I had lost heart, felt I was working for nothing. Yet here I am today, writing another proposal, and this time it is through my Alpha Glyph company.
What comes up for me when doing this is a complex of thoughts – how can I show to the world, or at least to the evaluators, what I have to offer? Not only my McLuhan study, which has given me keys to media understanding that will last a lifetime (no matter what the change in technology), but also my years of experience at VFS in instruction and administration. Not to mention the rest of my background. I'll go into these and more next post, must get back to the work at hand.
I am using this blog to integrate a realistic version of my own history, and life, with comments and writing along the way. Many aspects – all in one place.
I’m inspired as I have been working on the Shamcher blog and website, here at http://www.shamcher.wordpress.com, and although there are some areas that need to be adjusted, the project seems to be coming along nicely. It makes me happy to see his work compiled, and I like using wordpress for content management. Fantastic. His effect on my life was profoundly transformational, and I am happy to be engaged in this work now. I also put together the little site, http://www.shamcher.org, which still needs major work.
Today, I am running a small business which helps people self-publish books, Alpha Glyph Publications Ltd. I’m very excited about the potential for self-publishing now that docutek technology is becoming more common, and see it as a wonderful revolution in personal and corporate expression.
Before that, I was co-producer and partner with my husband, James K-M, in Electric Living Productions, a New Media company. We produced a comprehensive DVD-ROM called Electric Living in Canada, in which we interviewed over 90 digital artists and media theorists about the direction and evolution of (then) new interactive technologies.