Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When This Blog Really Began—Aug 2008

An anniversary of sorts. I've been on Blogger since January 2007. That's when I created this blog. But I let it lay fallow. However, I didn't begin actually begin blogging until August 20, 2008. My grandmother's birthday—because I had stories to tell. See the backstory at Cybernalia and LITERRATA or Veritas and the art of Memoir.

Laid up with an injured knee, I began this blog in mid-August. But in 2009, I discovered that I could backpost to January of 2007 and so I madly filed poems and news articles thematically. Mistake. Eventually it all came to loggerheads when the old and new writing collided. A mess.

I still have some poems filed more or less alphabetically during 2008. I'm trying to move them into their correct filing years. See, in Feb. 2014, as I was moving those poems around in the 2008 field, I mis-typed a posting date and typed 2000. I thought I had lost my post for sure. But imagine my surprise when I discovered Blogger had changed its structure and allowed retro posting long before Blogger had invented itself.

Then in February of 2014, again laid up with an injured knee (the other one). I experimented with posting dates and discovered I could create decades' worth of backposts all the way to 1980. Yeowee! That's before the internet was even invented. I'm still wrapping my mind around that one.

BTW, the backpost limit is 1970, when I was in high school. I tried 1883, and 1901 (Apples favorite default date). I could make some backposts all the way to 1970, but since I really didn't start writing until 1978-79, it'd be pointless. I'll post this in 1979, just to show you that I can do it.

I always meant to get back to uploading old poems (and occasional prose}, and finish the job—like that ever happened. Some of the problems trying to resurrect old files have been so great, I never finished the task. I will have to either scan or retype some of my old poems—if I can find hard copies (that's another story). I've uploaded what I can of the folder: Poems 1980-85. Next up is Poems 1986 to 1988, then Poems 89-92, Poems 93-97, Poems 98-present and so on. Apparently I was from the lump sum filing school. That's digital horizontal filing.

Missing dates on old poems also means I can't repost them in the correct order until I find out when to post them. Alphabetical order was easier. So there are poems clustered around 1980 and 1986 (terminus post quem) with no creation dates. Another project for a later (unfortunately I've misplaced my hardcopy mss folder (like a large clippie with boards) that had most of the poems, dates and publishing track records. I'm trying hard not to freak out. But losing that mss folder certainly has my guts in a knot.

Another motivating factor is that I've discovered my old files are no longer compatible with time present software so this is a HUGE a salvage job of sorts. (Of course, this too will become incompatible—but it's sure easier to move work across platforms using Blogger.)

I've been rescuing old poems from original Appleworks files. When I say original, I mean really old. Not that modern version of Appleworks, but Appleworks 1.0  that came on floppy floppy disks. Not rescuable, apparently.

Of course, some the work that was originally created in MicrosoftWorks 1. It too is  hopelessly locked away as little grey Unix files. Luckily, I converted most of my work over to SimpleText, and if I really liked it, to Word 1-5. The only files that will open are the ones saved in SimpleText. Rescuable! But loaded with artifacts. Forget line breaks.

The artifact and ascii code riddled piece are hard to rescue. First, can I open them? If I compressed them with DIskDoublr, then no. If I didn't move them over to SimpleText, or Word 5, then the answer is still no. Sometimes I did save them in SimpleText and yet I have pages of little square boxes in the shapes of poems.

If I can open the documents, then which program is least intrusive? I try several programs: Word, TextEdit (SimpleText is its ancestor), Bean, tEditor. Then the tedious cleanup process begins. (If there are typos on some of these, it's because I missed an ascii orphan or two. Surprisingly, my early writing was pretty clean. No typos. Shaky beginnings, middles, ends—or pointless perspective, yes...but I clearly took my craft seriously. 

A curiosity, is when I try & move the poems over to Blogger, and only a third of the poem will transfer during copy and paste. Very surreal. At first, I couldn't find a workaround. Then I discovered that I have to save piece as a PDF, and copy and paste it again. Sometimes a piece just goes up in smoke after I've cleaned it up.

I've no idea if many of the pieces were poems or prose. Sometimes I can guess from the random letters, weird punctuation, dashes and ascii code that a piece was a poem. Other times, I'm lost at sea. So these pieces will necessarily reinvent themselves in the digital format.

On an undated poem (posted 1/1/1980), Random Access Memory, ca. 1980, I wrote:

The ultimate dada experience:
to write the manuscript of a lifetime
on a floppy disk, not make a hard copy,
& run a magnet across it.
The ferrous molecules would then attain
perfect enlightenment.

OK, that's a little too close to home for comfort....

It's been a trip stumbling cross my orphaned oddities. The most pleasant, by far, are frightened herds of old poems I never got around to finishing/posting. I've been pleasantly surprised. I found 50-60 poems that have never seen the light of day—and there may be no hard copy anywhere because I probably never printed copies 30 years ago (gulp!) I'm making them all 1/1980. There's a slew of 7/794 poems that are all probably 1970-84 poems. Hopefully I'll find my lost MSS binder to date some of the poems. Otherwise there's no hard copy of most of my work for 3.5 decades. Yikes. See Culling Old Files July 29, 2013.

Well, Day 2—I opted out of posting every piece and made  a couple of long posts with short poems in alphabetical order because I was going  insane. It's a slow process, this. I also chickened out and deleted the erotic poems as they made me too squirmy—and not in a good way.

On the origin of my blog, and blog name please visit (yeah, I know I said I created it in August, but I moved everything around) I talk about it here:
January 2007

For information on my news articles, see:
The Paper and the Stump Since I've discovered that I can now backdate my old blog posts that were crammed into the years 2007, and 2008, when I first began blogging, I've been rearranging old posts. However, they no longer have context. So here's a bit on the newspapers I worked for during the 1980s and 1990s, to give you some kickoff perspective...

If I hadn't injured my knee in 2008, then I never would have begun this blog. If I hadn't been laid up with my other knee injury during 2013-2014, then I wouldn't have gotten the bright idea to resurrect all my old work. Idle hands. Idle elevated knees... it was a veritable devil's playground of words. Let's just say, that lately I've spent a lot of time ion my back. If 1969 was the Summer of Love, then 1979 was my Winter of Writing. Mea culpea! So you could say that I gave up both my knees in order to create this blog. How's that for penance?


—Maureen Hurley July 12-14, 2014
(Must've been last night's supermoon that got to me...)

Note bene: about 50 of the poems that are double-labeled "poems, CPITS" were either written in class while I was teaching or when I was observing other CPITS poets, or they were modeled after my CPITS lesson plans (so far, they're from 1980 to 1994). I never considered them to be real poems. A case of the writing itself being out of control, and my inability to wrestle them down squarely on the page. But I cared enough about the poems to make sure there were no typos—even if they never saw the light of day. It's fitting that they get aired now as CPITS is celebrating its 50th anniversary! 50 poems for 50 years. Imagine 50 years of teaching poetry to kids. Imagine. Next up, is culling three file boxes of CPITS lesson plans, and I'm sure even more poems will emerge.

Note bene 2: I wonder if I can use the empty blog years 1970-79 to post some art? If only I had access to my art. (Sigh). Another project. So little time.

Poem titles are in CAPITAL LETTERS, and you can search the blog, using the word 'poem" in the search box at the top or clicking on the word "poem" on
the hotlist below the dates. Other poetic categories too: haiku, ekphrastic poetry, collage, etc. Some poems also sorted by region: from the Andes to the USSR, and Zenia too.

See also:
Old work, new vision

There're still a lot of poems filed in 1994 that are dateless—1994 was the last file date I could find. All the dateless poems that were filed in 2008 have been moved to approximate dates, usually Jan 1, 19xx. A task for later.

Note Bene: I thought I began writing poetry in 1979 (when I began to hit my stride), as I was culling old papers, I found poems from Fall 1978, so I've had to backdate this blog by yet another year. They're all hand-calligraphed, and mostly regrettable. But I'll post a few, to keep it all in perspective. 

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