October 11, 2012

Nature and Environmental Writing Conference

I said I'd fill you in on how my presentation at The Loft's Nature and Environmental Writing Conference went. What I meant was: I'll tell you everything! I'll make you feel as if you we're there! Because it was wonderful and inspiring and refreshing, and who doesn't need a little bit of all that?

What I can offer, though, is a much more truncated version of the story I intended to share. It is mid-October, people. Is any one else amazed by that? And October means midterm grading and stacks of student essays and the arrival of the German exchange students (and Carolin and Annette) and a trip west to Washington to visit the first child who has made me an aunt. There have also been road trips and late afternoon walks and squash soup. But those details will come later. Maybe. Let it be enough, friends, to say that these two years of blogging have led to opportunities and people that I never would have had and never would have met had it not been for this space.

This is what I talked about with my fellow writers: how blogging--this often self-focused thing that people do indoors--can lead to greater inspiration and connection with yourself, others, and the world. Below is a link to the Prezi I used to help convey my thoughts. There is no narration, alas, but if you're interested, I hope you're able to gather all the main points by clicking through and guess at the bad jokes I made along the way. And if not, I'd be happy to attend another writing conference near you and present all over again. :)


Happy (almost) weekend! What does October hold in store for you?

30 comments:

  1. I am delighted/honored to be in the fine company of other place-based bloggers like you, Emily. Thanks for including Minnesota Prairie Roots on your Minnesota list.

    When I read that you don't use Twitter and aren't a techie, I breathed a sigh of relief. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only blogger who doesn't use all social media available to promote myself.

    I write and photograph for the pure passion of doing so. I cannot imagine my life without either. However, I have been considering more and more how I can possibly earn some money with this blogging gig.

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    1. Yes, it's a bit of a two-step, isn't it? I write first and foremost for myself--because I want to make sure I keep on writing even though I'm not in school and don't have "concrete assignments" to keep me spinning--but I also long for connection, for the insights of others, and finding both via a blog is one of the reasons that I have stayed around in these cyberspaces. Still: I worry about committing myself TOO much online, which is why I've kept away from Twitter, etc. I just don't have the desire to take that additional step in. But maybe someday. Maybe. But not likely.

      I'm grateful, too, to have connected with you, Audrey!

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  2. Hi Emily

    Thanks for sharing your Prezi with us - I can imagine it was both interesting and also very practical and useful for the participants.

    Like MPR above, I also don't use Twitter or any of that stuff - it's refreshing to see other people who are using blogging simply as a forum to get writing out there in the big wide world, with a sense of immediacy.

    Just keep on doing what you're doing!

    Ian

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    1. Thanks, Ian. And yes, I will be here as long as it feels like it's serving my writing practice.

      I noticed a while back that you took the commenting feature off of your own blog. That interested me a great bit, as a few other blogs I read have lately done the same thing. Perhaps you felt that gave you more freedom? A clearer focus? I'd be interested in your reasons if you care to share!

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    2. Hi Emily

      I noticed your thoughts further down regarding the usefulness of the 'comment' function - like you, I've found it stimulating and a great way to interact with like-minded writers. I've suspended mine temporarily whilst re-designing my blog, and because of some comments I chose to avoid - no need to go into details! I miss the affirmation which comes from helpful comments, and look forward to re-instating it soon!
      Can I also add that I loved the new post 'Onomatopaeia' - a word as beautiful as your brief haiku-like poem and the images which accompany it.
      Ian

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  3. Nice! I love the Prezi - very clean and to the point. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Happy to share! It's a great platform for anyone who does public speaking. (My students love it. :)

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  4. "this often self-focused thing that people do indoors--can lead to greater inspiration and connection with yourself, others, and the world" -- absolutely! Your presentation was beautifully done, and I'm sure artfully delivered. Thanks for posting it!

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    1. Thank you, Erin, and per you comment below: of course! So pleased I found you through The Backcountry Journal. It's been a happy acquaintance. :)

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  5. p.s. And I'm honored to be included in your "place people." :)

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  6. A wonderful presentation and I learned a lot from it too! It made me really think about what I write about, how I present it, and who the audience is. And your use of graphics through Prezi is terrific, so inviting, friendly, and thought provoking. Once again you've shown your enthusiasm and spirit. So, so nice.

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    1. Thanks, Bill. Creating and giving the presentation was a helpful process for me, too, because it helped me refocus on what I intended to do here from the start. I think often some people (a least a few out of those 164,000,000!) start a blog just to start a blog... and eventually they slow down and then stop because, "Why was I doing this again?" As with anything, keeping purpose clear to yourself (even if it's just for "wonder" or "fun" or "practice")is powerful and motivating.

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  7. Emily,

    That's beautiful and earnest and playful. Wish I could've been there. Good luck with mid-term grading. xo

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    1. Thanks, Jen. Papers are now graded. But then of course the next batch is coming in on Monday. :)

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    2. I second what Ms. Hicks said. Fun and substantive. Bravo!

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    3. You ladies want to have coffee next Saturday morning? We could meet in, say, Ohio? :)

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  8. Hello.
    Thanks to a wonderful blog.
    Japan is autumn. I am also a painful season.
    I love the Japanese, but this autumn.
    Please search the Kyoto, Japan on a PC.
    Autumn is a very bright red leaves in Kyoto.
    Friend of Japan, Ryoma Sakamoto.
    I'm sorry I was wrong spell.

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    1. こんにちは, Samurai. Thank you so much for finding your way here. My college roommate grew up in Japan and has lived there since we graduated, so I do know a thing or two about Japanese autumns, your beautiful maples, and the lovely city of Kyoto. I can't wait to someday visit your homeland. Cheers!

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  9. Looks like we've been reading each other's posts at the same time! I like that synchronicity, especially as for me I've had the chance to see what I'm certain was a wonderful presentation. Lovely lay out, and I bet your words inspired. Interesting in light of the comments about Twitter, but I've found it an excellent way to meet writers whose blogs I might not have discovered otherwise, and it's a great place to post links encouraging readers to visit work like yours and Ian's. Hope all is well for the three of you, and that you're enjoying those smokey autumn days and nights. Best wishes from here, Emily!

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    1. Julian, when I was reading your recent post today, I just then noticed that you have a Twitter feed on the edge of your blog. You're right: it does seem like a good way to share things that you find inspiring. I know a good number of people who are bigger users of Twitter than, say, Facebook, and most mainstream blogs are attached to a Twitter feed, as well. I think if I had a book coming out (ahem... :), I would be more tempted to sign up and build an audience and connect in that way, too. In any case it's an interesting conversation. How do we best find the voices that resonate with us? Or will they serendipitously come our way through other means? For me, I've chosen to be ignorant of all things "blog promotion," and for now, that kind of simplicity serves my purposes just fine.

      The three of us are doing well! 24 weeks and gliding right along. :)

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  10. I've not heard of this "prezi" format - or perhaps I saw it here, once before. Your presentation was very nicely done. I went and looked at the program, but since I don't know what I'd use it for, I quietly clicked out and went away.

    I'm not on Facebook at all, but I have found Twitter useful as a tool. I don't use it much, but I publicize each new post there (I have about 45 followers, but make no effort to build). I actually use it most to communicate privately to people whom I already know and whose blogs I read. The private messaging feature is my favorite. It's quicker than email, and I can send links.

    I was interested to read that some people are eliminating comments on their blogs. I just can't imagine that - from my perspective, the comments are what make a blog. Granted, I said from the outset that I intended to use my blog as a writing platform, but if I didn't want comments, I'd publish only in magazines, or work on a book.

    I honestly believe blogs (as opposed to Pinterest, FB or Tumblr) are evolving as a new form of literature. When I began, I thought the "blog" was what I wrote for each entry. Then, I began to see the entry and comments as a whole. Now, after nearly five years, there is a history to the entire archive. I have readers who have been there the entire time, and the body of work is developing its own history. People say, "You should write a book". I don't want to write a book. I want to begin to push the limits of my blog - and I don't want to give up the interaction with readers.

    There's a good article from the NYTimes, about a year ago, called The Twitter Trap. And if you don't know Jaron Lanier, you might want to check out his book called "You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto".

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    1. Linda: another Twitter fan, eh? If I do ever go that direction, it's nice to know I have those in my sphere whom I can ask questions. I hadn't heard about the private messaging feature. Email has been part of my life since I was a teenager and I first signed up with Hotmail; even in the world of texting, I find myself strangely attached to this older technology.

      I agree with you about comments: they've become a rich part of the posting/publishing experience for me. I always love seeing what a piece of writing or a set of photographs evokes in people, especially those whom I've never met and who have no vested interest to say anything other than what they truly think. It's been invaluable to me as a writer; that's something I mentioned in my talk, too. Comments can help us figure out what is and isn't working. And I love the idea of blogs being a new form of literature. They really are their own entity. Where else do you get this kind of interaction with your audience? And such an archive? Such a living, moving, changing thing? Very cool thought. Another reason why I love comments: new ideas!

      I'll click over to the article you mention, and--especially as I find myself unnecessarily checking email etc. on my recently purchased smartphone--the book, too.

      All best!

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  11. Emily:

    I was fascinated by your "Prezi" Presentation. You are always exploring; seeking new, better, refreshing ways to produce; to communicate. This was an exceptional piece.

    Gratefully,

    Richard

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    1. Thanks, Richard. I like introducing people to Prezi. It's a platform--very much like an updated PowerPoint--that I've used in my classroom for the last few years. It just feels more "now" than PP, and I like how a user has an entire canvas to manipulate in relation to his or her ideas. A new "something" to play around with, yes? :)

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  12. Thanks for sharing a little more of who you are (and who you are not!) Let me know if you ever come to Oregon to speak. :-)

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    1. Will do! Would love for that to be a reality one day.

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  13. Very nice! I've been thinking lately how fun it would be to do a presentation like this. I like your idea of defining who you are ... and who you are NOT. It helps to focus, doesn't it?

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    1. Indeed, it does. And if you've been thinking about it, do it! It was a great experience.

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  14. Okay Em: 164,000,000?!? Is that page views?! What does that ginormous number signify??! Also, from one "trainer-type" to another, your Prezi is im-prezi-ve. I couldn't resist the pun! And I really do love your presentation! I'll bet your audience did, too :)

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    1. Ha! Oh, Al. 164,000,000 is the number of blogs in existence as of this September... I think if I actually had that many page views, I'd go against my own advice and monetize this ol' bloggy-gal. Until then... I will work on being im-prezi-ve in other ways. :)

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