Archive for the ‘Scribblings’ Category

So I thought I might try something new – just do some random scribbling every Wednesday. Playing with words. Playing with the feelings that words create. And not worrying if they form sentences, or rhyme, or make a whole lot of sense. Just cos!!! So here goes…

 

Whoops.

I knew it the instant I’d done it, that I’d overdone it this time. Strained my voice just that *little* too much. I could physically *feel* my throat start its aching. And it’s the type of ache in the throat where you just know. Know exactly what’s coming next. Know because you’ve been there before.

Ache. Soreness. Discomfort. The beginnings of pain.

Loss. The temptation to whisper, knowing that whispering will just make matters worse.

Knowing that it will prolong the recovery time.

Knowing, and feeling helpless.

Powerless.

Useless.

I like to think that I have a large, intense personality, barely contained within my small physical frame. The surprising amount of volume that I can muster, from said physical frame, forms a huge part of this personality. the kind of volume that has been developed with decades of singing, decades of teaching.

My volume, and my ability to use it when needed, gives me confidence. Strength.

The ability to communicate, to have input into the lives of those around me just by opening my mouth, gives me… well… power.

Without it, I feel less.

Inadequate. Stripped.

Defenseless.

 

Moral of story: STOP!!!!!

Next time, preferably, *before* you get to that ‘whoops’ moment, Ceridwyn!!!

 

 

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So this is a little embarrassing. But then again, it’s Maths and counting, and let’s face it, that’s NEVER been my strong point! Perhaps I could blame it on ‘blogging from my iPhone’, perhaps I could blame it on ‘I’ve been on holidays and I’m not checking as well as I should have been’ (actually, I haven’t really been checking at all…!) etc etc etc but the fact remains – I have two ‘Day 8’s” in this #blog12daysxmas challenge. Which is pretty silly. Yes, I *could* reorder the posts, as was suggested by a twitter friend this morning, but no, I won’t. Only cos I’m lazy. Plus I guess I should really own up to my faults and flaws. Keep myself humble etc – which is something that doesn’t happen much, or anywhere near as much as it should!

So yes. This is Day 12 of the #blog12daysxmas challenge, and I must say it seems to be getting easier each year. I am glad I do it. And I’m even more happy that I don’t do this challenge alone, but share it with good friends on twitter, who write about many and varied things and make my online life such a joy.

I probably should have done this at the start, but at the end will have to do. On most days this challenge, I’ve started with “On the xth day of Christmas, my family and me” – and each time, I’ve walked away after blogging, with the ’12 days of Christmas’ in my head. Which has been cool. But I just wanted to state (for Jo’s sake, although she hasn’t picked me up on it yet) that yes, I realise that the grammar I have been using has been entirely incorrect. That it should have been “my family and I”. But that wouldn’t have rhymed, so I chose to write it incorrectly. Sorry to all you grammar fanatics out there!

So. #blog12daysxmas is now finished. And that reminds me that this time last year, I was on the cusp of a different blogging challenge: #blog5daysAustenese – a challenge to write in the “stile” of Jane Austen for 5 days straight. I was joined by 4 others – @jobeaz, @Girlwithshoes, @kalgrl and @jzgarnett  – as brave as (or is that “as insane as?!”) me. I wonder if they’re up for it again this year? Or a different author’s style maybe? Either way, it’ll be good to continue this daily blogging bit, I think. Even if I can’t count past seven with any reliable certainty of accuracy!

Have a great day, dear readers!

2.11am.
Black.
A child is screaming.

Slowly, her awareness surfaces. Slowly, as if emerging after being released from a pit of quicksand.
Her body feels too heavy to move.
Awake now, she debates the child’s need. Deciding that the cries are too insistent to subside with the passage of time, she rises, following the well worn path to the child’s room.
“Mummy, I nilk!” Is the immediate demand upon his door being opened.
She pushes aside thoughts of retaliatory remarks and leads the child by the hand through the dark, sleepy house. In the kitchen, milk is poured, quaffed, and a little mouth wiped clean. A little hand in her hand leads the way back to the child’s room.
All is dark. The muted whirr of dishes being cleaned by machine again fills the house.
Abed, the child snuggles soft toys. The door closes. Peace descends as she heads back to her pillow.
2.17am.
Black.
The house is sleepy. She waits, patiently, for sleep to reclaim her, too. Waits. Waits…

2.47am.
Black.
A child screams, loudly.

Her day begins.

Again, another interesting piece from my first-ever blog…

Is ‘the author’ a dying breed? Just one of the disadvantages of folksonomies.

BY CERIDWYN, ON AUGUST 13TH, 2010

Imagine you’ve just spent the last few years of your life writing a novel. You’ve researched it; poured out your thoughts, ideas, and plans; agonised over characters, settings and  plot devices. Finally, after countless hours of Herculean effort, it’s finished. YOUR work. YOUR  effort. YOUR blood, sweat, and tears.

Should you have the right to feel some sort of ownership of that novel? Or those words? Phrases? Characters? Ideas? In my opinion, I yell out a resounding ‘YES!!’ (Of course I would, I’m an aspiring novelist.) However, there are many that wouldn’t.

Put a photo on flickr, and anyone can ‘tag’ it. Okay, that’s normal practice. Maybe, if the photographer hadn’t wanted their photo tagged, they shouldn’t have put it there. But they did, so they should accept the ‘standard practice’ on these types of sites. But what then, when it comes to something other than a photo? When it comes to something like that novel you’ve worked just so darn hard to create? Is it then fair that others can ‘tag’ this? Your work? I guess it’s all well and good if the tags are suitably reflective of the main ideas espoused: ‘historical novel’; ‘character-based’ etc etc. But what if it gets tagged ‘a piece of crap’?! How would you then feel? Because this is indeed a possibility – once ‘out there’, on the net, you have relinquished all control over your work. Completely. It’s enough to make you, the author, want to quit.

And another disadvantage? Finding your novel again! Say this piece of work that you had sweated over was ‘Les Miserables’ (which makes you, of course, Victor Hugo). Say hundreds of years have passed; hard copies of your novel have fallen into disrepair or worse. The only copies that exist, dwell in whatever the future’s version of ‘online’ is. But unfortunately, they’re impossible to find, because everyone has ‘tagged’ your work with classifications that are personal to them.

This system called ‘folksonomy’? I don’t agree with it. I can’t change it; and I know that I have to live with it; but I don’t like it. I’m with Daniel Pink on this one… “On the great library shelf in the sky, Melvil Dewey cannot be amused.”

I started my first blog in July of 2010, as an assessment piece for the “Information Programs” course in the Masters in IT that I’d just started at QUT. I found it again last week.

One of the posts I wrote back then, on ‘online identity’, still rings true for me in 2012, so I thought I’d re-visit the topic. Firstly – my original blog entry…

Three questions to ensure your online identity is secure yet still effective

BY CERIDWYN, ON AUGUST 6TH, 2010

I bet you never thought that what you write online could get you killed. But the threat is real. And with the exponential growth in new technologies, and new apps for existing devices, the possibility of it happening to you, gets larger every day. Don’t believe me? Just ask Leo Hickman, journalist for The Guardian, in the UK, who became a Foursquare cyberstalker.

“Louise has straight, auburn hair and, judging by the only photograph I have of her, she’s in her 30s. She works in recruitment. I also know which train station she uses regularly, what supermarket she shopped at last night and where she met her friends for a meal in her home town last week. At this moment, she is somewhere inside the pub in front of me meeting with colleagues after work.

Louise is a complete stranger. Until 10 minutes ago when I discovered she was located within a mile of me, I didn’t even know of her existence. But equipped only with a smartphone and an increasingly popular social networking application called Foursquare, I have located her to within just a few square metres, accessed her Twitter account and conducted multiple cross-referenced Google searches using the personal details I have already managed to accrue about her from her online presence. In the short time it has taken me to walk to this pub in central London, I probably know more about her than if I’d spent an hour talking to her face-to-face.”

 

CC image courtesy pigliapost athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/pigliapost/2071610400/

Scared yet? But you don’t need to be. You just need to be careful what you share online. Find that fine line between ‘enough’ and ‘too much’. I have very clear boundaries which I will not cross when it comes to sharing information online. Here are the three questions I continually ask myself, to check I’m not crossing those ‘lines in the sand’.

1. What do your images say about you?

Google me. Please. Through facebook, you’ll find that I’m a mum of three. You might even find that my children are 5, 2, and 1. But it’s not likely that you’ll find their names. And I challenge you to find a photo – or video – of them anywhere on the net. If you do – please contact me and let me know, so I can remove it! Am I paranoid about security? Maybe. But I’d prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of little ones who rely on me to be responsible. When they are older, then they may choose what information they want to reveal about themselves. Until then, I will NOT compromise their security. That’s a ‘line in the sand’ on which I refuse to compromise. But that’s me. Find your own standard, whatever you are comfortable with. Would you find those photos / that video of you at last year’s office Christmas Party funny? Or embarrassing? Remember – future employers also have internet access!

2. What are YOU saying about you?

It’s all too easy to think that when we type words into a computer in the privacy of our own home, we’re talking into a vacuum. But every post on a SNS sends that message to everyone you’re linked with. Want to share that you’re ‘inspired by finishing a brilliant novel’? Fine. Excited about ‘going to look at property?’ Also fine. Just don’t forget you’ve sent such messages, otherwise when you meet someone IRL that you messaged, and they bring it up, you’ll be surprised at how much they know! As Jenica Rogers said in her IOLUG presentation (2009) ‘be ready to accept whatever consequences you might encounter’. But my own ‘line is the sand’ comes to PII, and situations where I might accidentally compromise my own security. Sharing ecstatically that ‘I’m heading away tomorrow for a week-long cruise’, when I’ve already shared my address, is just asking for trouble, don’t you think?

3. What are you NOT saying about you?

This post, so far, has been pretty anti-‘online identities’. But that’s not actually my opinion. As site moderator for goodoldtalk.com, I find it not just important, but essential, to have an effective and up-to-date online presence. But if you had stopped reading before you got to this question, you never would have known that. Hence my point – what are you NOT saying? Are you just sharing one side of the story, one opinion, which doesn’t accurately reflect who you really are? If you share only the superficial, then that will be the picture that people build up of you. So share the mundane, from time to time, but make it a priority to share the worthwhile of who you are and what you do, on a regular basis. Just make sure that you be ‘real’. Don’t massage the truth so much that you end up making stuff up. When you’re discovered, it’ll look really bad. But again – you’ll need to find your own ‘line in the sand’ for this one.

So there it is – my three questions. What are yours?

It took me a week to get an invitation to join Pinterest. A week of waiting. Anticipating and wondering what this new website was all about. Then the invitation arrived, and I could login to see what all the fuss was about. At first, I wasn’t particularly impressed. It didn’t seem as intuitive as I had expected. After all the hype, I was left a little bit confused what the idea was. And then I discovered the embedding function. And a whole new world opened up.

You see, I love to blog, and I love to include images on each blog entry. Unfortunately, I find it that it takes a long time to run a Creative Commons search through Flickr to find exactly the right image to use. But now, with Pinterest, I can easily find the images that I want, and use their ’embed’ function to include these – with citation attached – onto the blog entry. And I can create however many boards I like, on whatever topics I like. Cool!

So now, all I need to do, is curb my desire to go and find more great pictures. Pictures like these ones below.

Source: google.com via Ceridwyn on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Ceridwyn on Pinterest

Thought I’d share with you some of my favourites with you. I hope you had as much of a laugh as I did! And now that’s done, you’ll have to excuse me. I just need to go and find some more…

Having started with long posts, it would perhaps be correct of me to continue charmingly in the same vein. Inasmuch, however, that today being the 20th of January, and that same date being likewise the date on which my eldest celebrates the day of her birth, it would not be politic of me to spend my waking hours in the ofttimes difficult task of blogging in Austenese.

Suffice it to say, then, that this, my fifth and final #blog5daysAustenese post be a shorter one than its companions, and all that remains, therefore, is to praise the valiant efforts of my fellow Austenese writers.

Congratulations, my gentle friends! Your accomplishments are truly honourable! And thank you, truly, for sharing this remarkable journey with me. I greatly esteem you all.

Having the unusual distinction of three family birthdays fall within a seven-day, I have then leisure to consider the import of ‘countdowns’. Counting the days that must be lived, prior to a forthcoming event, can be abundantly effectual. Not only have they the ability to elevate eagerness and enthusiasm prior to the big occasion, they also provide innumerable opportunities for the teaching of mathematical concepts to young receptive minds.

Saturday last witnessed the birth-day celebrations of my husband. Entering his 40th year was marked with his favourite diversions; fishing, napping, and dining with close friends. The following day, our middle child, often referred to as ‘Miss 3’, became ‘Miss 4’ and spent the day smiling profusely and announcing her successful acquisition of another year. And finally, our “Miss 6” will become our “Miss 7” this forthcoming Friday. Each of these days has been studiously counted-down-to by infant fingers excitedly marking off the days in our family almanac.

Twelve months ago, this blog witnessed my scribblings on this topic although it does not appear to me as though a year has passed. Reflecting on this perception, I see that it is entirely possible that the exercise of ‘counting down’ may be its intimate connection. By continuously focusing on future events, enjoying the moment may be superceded by the prospect of future happiness, thus rendering the present of lesser importance, possibly to such a degree that fewer memories are retained, thus rendering the passage of time to feel faster than in actuality.

My summation is that, should we seek to be wise, we should treat in an even-handed manner the conflicting desires of valuing and cherishing the moment and viewing the future with an excess of sensibility. Would you agree, gentle readers?

CC Image courtesy 4rank at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fcharlton/1799065990/lightbox/

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an educated person with a love of reading, an interest in the pursuit of learning, and a possession of both time and opportunity in the form of a blog, must be in want of a writing challenge. The exploration of their writing prowess then finds its culmination in the subsequent compositions, and the responses of readers by the means of comments below the blogs.

Inasmuch as today, being the 16th day in January, marks the commencement of such a challenge, it behooves me to welcome my friends into this five-day season of Austenese blogwriting. I warmly congratulate you on your courage, your bravery in the face of probable ridicule, and your willingness to see a challenge through to the end. Of your determination to attempt the composition of sentences, the structure of which is markedly different to our own, I heartily applaud.

Lovers of Jane Austen everywhere, I raise before you these participants, and commend their efforts to you. Your comments, as a consequence of reading, appreciating, and approving of their work, will inspire them to even greater achievements in this challenge, and therefore are greatly desired by all involved. As each participant will be composing their thoughts on their individual blogs, these links, should you click them, will lead you to the correct destinations:

@jobeaz, blogging at Macaronic

@Girlwithshoess, blogging at Justgirlwithshoes

@kalgrl, blogging at Feral Librarian Tales

@jzgarnett, blogging at Randomly Yours, Julia

And finally, a word to our detractors. Each name you see before you is not, as may be reasonably supposed, a lover of Austen’s writing. Indeed, at least one finds the work of Jane Austen to be so far from pleasant as to call it horrid. It can be assumed, therefore, that in this #blog5daysAusten challenge, you the readers have greatly the advantage of us in this respect, that you are able to comment profusely, whereas we the writers have only our works to recommend us. I would entreat you, therefore, to be gentle in your criticism, or rather, join us in the task ahead and proudly hold your own head high in the challenge. More participants are readily welcomed. Simply comment below your intention to join, with a link to your blog, and compose five posts in the style of Jane Austen. Having tweeted your publication of each post using the hashtag #blog5daysAusten, and following other participants writings, there is nothing left to do but to enjoy the journey!

Okay, so I chickened out just a little and gave myself (and those who were game enough to include themselves in the challenge!!!) another week of ‘preparation’. Another 7 days of reading Jane Austen’s work, immersing in her style, ready to blog in Austenese next Monday. For 5 days. Because 5 days will probably be long enough! Just blog what you would normally blog, but in her style, and tweet your creations with #blog5daysAustenese – it should be rather an interesting week!

Those game enough to enter, to date (oh – and any and all are accepted, if you feel like joining us!) are:

@jobeaz, blogging at Macaronic

@Girlwithshoess, blogging at Justgirlwithshoes

@kalgrl, blogging at Feral Librarian Tales

@jzgarnett, blogging at Randomly Yours, Julia

Hopefully I haven’t missed any! Sorry if I have; it’s been so hot here my brain’s not working properly…?! If I have, or if you’re game enough for the challenge, comment below to join in the fun!

Anyway, I thought I’d spend this week’s blog posts on *my* take on Austen.

I first encountered Pride and Prejudice in mid-High School, as I had been on a William Makepeace Thackery bent, and wanted something different. From Vanity Fair to P&P wasn’t a huge stretch, and I carried on “charmingly, when once I had made a beginning”. From P&P to Emma, to Sense and Sensibility. I left Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park til I was in Uni, and Persuasion later still. But it wasn’t until I purchased the Penguin “Complete novels of…”, a decade later again, that I encountered Lady Susan, which quickly became my favourite.

So early in December 2011, after a particularly trying day, I re-watched the Keira Knightly version of P&P. And decided to re-read my Penguin tome again, in order from first to last, watching the DVD (if I had it) immediately prior. Sense and Sensibility took me through to mid-December, followed by P&P by Christmas. And then it was the turn of my least-favourite, Mansfield Park. Apparently it was Austen’s favourite. It’s not mine. I always find it a slog. But I finished it last night, so am looking forward to watching Gwyneth Paltrow sometime in the near future.

Sense and Sensibility struck me anew with its wide array of characters, having just watched the Emma Thompson / Hugh Grant version (I really do NOT like his acting, but I guess he does play the part quite well) and being quite a fan of Gregory House, I do enjoy seeing his droll version of Mr Palmer. Best of all was Alan Rickman though, with nary a shade of Die Hard in evidence. I would have liked to have seen the “Willoughby coming to see Marianne during her illness” scene in the film, but can understand why it was cut, and the ‘intelligence’ he brought with him regarding his motives, left to Colonel Brandon to give. But all in all, an enjoyable film, and an entertaining read.

Final thought:

It’s truly amazing, the things you can learn from Librarians! Apparently the following exists: “Pride and Prejudice and zombies”; “Sense and Sensibility and sea monsters”; and the twitter version of Austen. Who would have thought?!!