Call for Participants: N-N-1: The Quarantine Edition

For several years now, I’ve participated in a delightful photography/creative writing experiment that was created by two of my favorite bloggers, Anju, who writes This Labyrinth I Roam, and Norm, who writes Classical Gasbag. They thought it would be interesting to see what people all over the world were doing/seeing/experiencing at the same point in time. As Norm explains it, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time.

The subject for this N-N-1 will be Quarantine. Our worlds have been turned upside down by COVID-19. What are you and/or your family and/or your community doing to cope during these strange times?

So your assignment (should you choose to accept it) is:

  1. Contact me using the form below, and then I’ll send you my e-mail.

  2. Mark your calendars, and snap a picture sometime between May 9 and May 11, and then do a 50-100 word write up about it. It can be prose or poetry.

  3. Turn that picture and write up in to me via e-mail by May 13th. If you have a blog or a website (neither of which is required) include a link so that I can also add that to the post that I compile with all your submissions. When the post is complete, I’ll send you a link so you can share it with all your friends.

Please invite others to participate as well! The more the merrier, the more far flung the better. It will be interesting to see what people all over the world are doing during this pandemic.

If you’d like to see how other N-N-1’s have turned out, check them out here, here, here, and here!

photographer

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N-N-1, The Resolution Edition

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you may recall that I occasionally participate with other amazing bloggers in a project called N-N-1.

If you’re mathematically inclined, in N-N-1, the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (because those numbers should be the same), and the 1 stands for one point in time. Basically, we choose a date and theme, and then whichever one of us hosts the project that time around is sent photos taken by each one of us, along with 50-100 words about them, so that we can share them all with you.

I’ve found it to be an exciting way to see how diverse this planet is. We all have different lives and different experiences, and yet we come together for this project. This time around, we decided to take photos around January 19th or 20th that reflect our resolutions or goals for the year. As you will see, we got a variety of responses.

My dear friend Anju, one of my favorite bloggers, and one of the originators of N-N-1, hosted the event this time. So hop on over to her blog and check out the results here: https://thislabyrinthiroam.blog/2019/01/25/how-are-your-new-years-resolutions-holding-up-a-check-in/

While you’re there, check out the other bloggers, and let us know what you think!

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I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that? http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

 

Blogging Before Blogs

A friend and I were musing about who can take credit for the first blog ever produced. (Certainly not me. I jumped on the bandwagon rather late.)

If you stick strictly to the idea that blogs, by definition, are web based, I suppose with a little bit of digging one could find the first one. But really, blogs (short for weblog) tend to be highly unique to the writer. Some are random musings, such as mine. Others are highly researched. Some include commentary, others are all about the photographs and links to other articles. So how on earth would you begin your search?

To add another layer of complexity, humans did such writing before the worldwide web existed. They wrote diaries. They kept scrap books. And surely people of note must have realized that their personal letters would be kept and reviewed by others. We have a longstanding tradition of putting our thoughts and ideas out there for the world to see.

One of my favorite examples of this tendency are the colonial almanacks that were very popular in the 1700’s. The most famous of these, of course, is Poor Richard’s Almanack, written by Benjamin Franklin.

I have no doubt that Franklin would be a blogger if he were alive today. In fact, he put out this almanack annually from 1732 to 1758, and I happen to own a copy of the collected works. I love pulling it out and reading it from time to time. In the era of the horse and buggy, it was much more efficient to publish the thing once a year. But he’d probably be blogging and tweeting on a regular basis, if given the opportunity today.

His almanack included poems, sayings, astronomical and astrological information, a calendar (of course), and information about the weather. His writing was all about being frugal and working hard. Much of his work is still popular to this very day.

If you speak English, odds are you’ve quoted Poor Richard’s Almanack at least once in your life, whether you knew it or not. Here are three of his more famous lines:

  • A friend in need is a friend indeed!

  • Fish and Visitors stink in 3 days.

  • Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

I’ll be the first to admit that some of his sayings, especially about wives and servants, are controversial in modern times. But viewed through the lens of his era, Ben Franklin is one of my blogging heroes. I’d follow him.

Poor_Richard_Almanack_1739

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Being on Their List

I don’t consider myself a journalist. Nor do I consider myself an influencer. My humble blog is small potatoes, so I’m probably safe, for now. Move along. Nothin’ to read, here. But I must admit, this article in Forbes, entitled Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And ‘Media Influencers’ has me clutching my pearls.

Rest assured that when your government starts compiling lists, it generally does not end well for the people therein. Just ask the Jews in Nazi Germany, or the Muslims in Trump America. Lists are to identify people you plan to treat differently.

This could be bad for writers in general. Especially when the current administration hates the media so intensely that it openly encourages violence toward them. Not good. No bueno.

One particularly chilling part of this database is that they plan to indicate one’s “sentiment.” That’s kind of arbitrary and subjective, isn’t it? If I criticize the government in any way, do I get a black mark? If anything, I should get a gold star for exercising my right to free speech like any American has the right to do. But I’m not going to be the one compiling the list, and I suspect I won’t see eye to eye with whomever they choose to do so.

It’s not in my nature to censor myself. I’m not even sure I have the capacity. That’s one of the many reasons I’m not a journalist. I can’t just state the facts. My opinions are a big part of my writing. That means some people will agree, and others will not. But it never occurred to me that my government had to agree in order for me to keep blogging. If it truly gets to that point, I don’t suspect I will fare well.

First, they came for the bloggers…

first_they_came___by_eelyt-d3eufv3

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The Back Scratcher and Other Encounters

When I created this blog, I had no idea how many incredible people it would bring into my life. When I’m typing away on my laptop, all alone, it can be easy to forget that my words aren’t just drifting off into the ether. People actually read them, and some are impacted by them. I’m really amazed and humbled by this.

The other day, in the space of about 5 minutes, I met two people. I walked into a coffee shop and this woman waved at me. I had never seen her before. I thought she must be waving at someone behind me. But no. She recognized me from one of my photos on my blog, and told me she reads it all the time and sometimes leaves comments. After she told me her name, I knew exactly who she was. Her comments are always great. For a second there, I felt like a rock star.

The second woman I had seen several times before, but we had never really talked in any depth. She told me she had read a blog entry of mine entitled Design Flaw, in which I discussed the frustration of not being able to scratch one’s own back. She had been carrying around this nifty retractable back scratcher in hopes of crossing paths with me. She gave it to me, and I’ve been using it ever since. It makes me smile to think that someone cares, based on a random rant I put out there. That means a lot. I mean, seriously, how unbelievably nice is that?

I also met a longtime reader and fellow blogger for coffee recently. When I do that sort of thing it makes my older sister nervous. But I’ve yet to have an uncomfortable experience. In fact, she was a delight to talk to, and I learned a lot about Seattle history.

I feel as though I have made friends all over the world, thanks to this blog. That’s really gratifying. I genuinely believe that the more people connect on a personal level, the more it becomes impossible for hate to win. I like the idea that I’m playing a part in that, however small it may be.

So, a group hug and a sincere thank you to everyone who is a part of Drawbridge Nation! I’m really glad you’re here, there, and everywhere.

back-scratch

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A Fever of Stingrays

I just heard on the radio that a group of stingrays is called a “fever”. I don’t know why, but that just makes me really happy. I love how creative our language can be.

But it makes you wonder, who got to decide the “official” name for each grouping of animals? Was it a person? A committee? If so, that had to be the most delightful job in the world. (I think that’s the only occupation that’s cooler than my own.)

I can just imagine some people sitting around a table in silence, and then one of them perks up and says, “I know! Let’s call it a Tower of Giraffes!”

After general chuckling, someone else says, “Motion carried!”

Brilliant. And it’s quite obvious that this person or group had a lovely sense of humor. How else would they come up with a Confusion of Guinea Fowl or an Intrusion of Cockroaches? How about a Rhumba of Rattlesnakes? A Wisdom of Wombats?

I feel like jumping on the bandwagon, so I am coining a phrase that I can’t seem to find anywhere on the internet. Let it be known throughout the land that henceforth a group of Bloggers shall be called a Rambling.

A Rambling of Bloggers. Yup. I quite like that.

stingray