In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.
"At What Price Progress?" is the first in a series I'm writing at Phoenicia Publishing to encourage discussion about about the future of poetry (and other forms of writing) in the challenging new publishing environment. Hope you'll go over and read it there; this is a typical Cassandra series (but I decided to post there to encourage visits to the new site.)
"It's obvious that as the larger publishing houses merge and find
themselves squeezed financially, taking risks on experimental,
innovative writing - especially where the audience may be limited - has
already become less and less viable. Academic publishing and journals are becoming, in my opinion, an increasingly insular club. So, for
truly creative writing, writing by people who don't fit into the
existing systems, writing that crosses genres and boundaries and takes
risks -- the sorts of things that small presses and independent
bookstores once championed -- online publishing is one of the only
remaining solutions. Doesn't some of that work also deserve to be in
print? Yes. But we've yet to figure out how the economy of it can work
for everyone's benefit."
Have you been having intermittent trouble making comments here? I've gotten a couple of messages over the past few days from people who haven't been able to leave comments, though I haven't turned commenting off on anything. Please let me know, if so.
That's probably not a real word in French or in English, but micro-things is what I'm thinking about this evening. (That and how much I want to get my contact lenses out of my eyes...) It's been a long day of concentration for singing and computer work, and I'm looking forward to a cup of tea and maybe a little piano playing before heading to bed with a book.
After a few months of flirting with microblogging, and not really getting very involved, I'm now experimenting, inspired by friends who are using the medium creatively rather than merely for status updates. Right now I'm just writing a daily prose-poem-ish micro-thing, but I may start connecting them together in some way, or doing something entirely different. If you'd like to follow along, or let me know your own feed, please do. I'm here on Twitter, and here on Identi.ca; and there is also a link to Twitter in the left-hand sidebar now.
The Victorian crazy quilt shown above isnt exactly a micro-thing when seen all together but when you look closely, it certainly is a collection of very small movements of hand and thread. My grandmother bought the individual blocks at an auction, 50 or 60 years ago now, and never got around to putting them together, though she did do a lot of work on completing the embroidery which had been started back in the 1890s. All the blocks are made of fancy fabrics - silks and velvets and laces - and some have endured the years better than others. Once in a while she and I would lay all the blocks out on the floor and speculate about how to put them together, turning them this way and that, and shifting them around the rectangle like pieces in a shell game. And then one Christmas she wrapped the whole thing up and put it under our tree with my name on it, saying, "It's your turn," which really meant - "You do it - I know I'm not going to." And one day, a while after she died in her ninety-second year, I did, making a large wall-hanging from the pieces I liked best. It's hung in our Vermont home ever since.
That's the thing about quilting, and especially crazy quilts with all their little bits of color and stitching: scraps worked together with attention and creativity add up to something after a while. And so, maybe, it can be with microblogging, though I am still just kneeling on the floor starting to push pieces around.
Yesterday, suddenly, a black screen. Looks like the power supply. So if anyone is trying to get in touch with me, and I'm slow in responding, it's because I can only use a somewhat-hobbled older computer, and can access email only sporadically. Hoping to be back and reliably online in a few days.
It's a strange feeling to look over at that tightly shut silver case, as silent as someone who stubbornly refuses to talk. It's so much a part of me, that laptop, that I sometimes think it's attached. I can manage without it - this is a backup, older laptop I'm using - but inside the silver one are all my photos, all my emails, all my addresses and contacts, my book and all my other writings...yes, it's backed up, but I'm so used to having all of that right there, at the ends of my fingers, that it is very disconcerting. A state I hope won't last too long.
to everyone who has visited and especially those of you who've left notes and good wishes, they're very much appreciated.
A quick question: have any of you TypePad users had luck installing third-party stat trackers on your sites? I'm trying to avoid upgrading to the Pro version, since I may very well migrate to WordPress, but maybe someone has gotten around TypePad's controls over the HTML. I've tried two different stat trackers, installing them in a TypeList as recommended in a user forum, but no luck.
As I guess is fairly obvious, I've been pretty occupied this week without much time for writing (well, I've been writing, as part of a big project I'm in charge of, but that's rather different.) I feel like I've hardly looked around myself since coming back down here, although for the first time since winter began I was able to take a walk around my garden and check on the plants - always a happy occasion. I found two roses that I'm worried about (standard for northern New England - you just take your chances with roses unless you are willing to bury them each fall, even the rugosas sometimes succumb), and the crack in the trunk of the weeping Siberian peaberry seems larger, but other than that everybody looks like they made it through the winter - reddish-brown tulip shoots are up, the Oriental poppies are growing little soft tufts of leaves, and the daylilies are poking green leaf-tips through the thawing snow and mud. It's too early to rake the leaves off the perennial beds - we had sleet last night - but it won't be long now. On the drive down here we saw many flocks of migrating geese, including one group of snow geese over a Canadian cornfield. Now I can hear redwing blackbirds calling in the trees outside, and the robins are bouncing around in back of the house, looking for worms. Q.E.D.
One of my top priorities, besides the ruthless purge of our bookshelves we've vowed to do this spring and the replacement of the curling linoleum floor tiles in our bathroom, is to move my blog and finally get off Blogger. I'm really distressed about the slow loading times and the ridiculous problems accessing the Blogger site and then losing posts during publication (which of course wouldn't be so bad if I remembered to copy them first, or write them in a word processor). I've started a non-public shadow-blog on Typepad to see how I like it, but I'd be grateful for your suggestions about various weblog software and hosting services. I'd especially like to hear from Typepad users about your experiences with managing comment spam, which (knock on the old maple chair) has not been a problem for me so far.