Thursday, June 21, 2012

Re-vision

I began blogging in August of 2008, laid up with a bum knee. At first I posted a lot of old writing, tinkering with it in the new medium to make it shiny.

Then I began to write actual blogs. I'm fast approaching my 500th blog mark, with 41.5 k readers following my work (since Blogger began to keep track in July 2009). That's not exactly a Huff Post following but it's way more readers than I'd ever have in the traditional poetry books and journals I've previously been published in.

This is technically blog number 499 but then I tend to cram more than one blog in per blogspot. For example, I published several day's (7) worth of poems under one February heading for Poetry Inside Out as I wanted to keep them all together. And I have several unpublished blogs that I've yet to release into the wild.

My morning routine: scan Facebook posts, click on interesting articles (Medievalist is a fave), saving them to read later. Then I scan Twitter for interesting science & tech links, until I have a backlog of reading material saved up. I read them in a haphazard fashion, which usually leads to looking up some term or other, which leads to a trip down Wiki Lane, or a dictionary cruise and POOF! there goes the morning. But oh, the things I learn. 


And sometimes, as I comment on links, I'm lucky enough to glean enough fodder for a blogger or two. If I'm lucky. Otherwise, I try and revise my old blogs to keep my writing genes kicking in the deep end of the pool.

I have an odd revising methodology: I use Blogger Stats dashboard to see who's randomly reading what particular piece, and I use that trending list as a guideline (like an everyman's blogging teleprompter) to expand and revise old pieces. Mostly, I begin by fixing old typos and then go from there, if the piece juices me.

I wonder what the readers might think—or if they even notice, a piece they were reading suddenly expanded with hyperlinks and photos? Sometimes I imagine that the reader is madly searching for the original link, as if it magically disappeared. Poof! Link gone.

I won't mentioned that the danger is, that when you begin to tinker with old posts, formatting goes to hell in a hot-lead lined handbasket, and entire blogs can disappear between the space of clicking on the Publish button and View page buttons.

Forget Blogger's reassurances that the piece is constantly being "autosaved" like some oldtime revival camp religion prayer circle. NOT!

I've had entire pieces disappear because I wanted to get them letter-perfect before I posted. That's when Blogger crashes—right as I'm pushing the Publish button. And all that makes it to the other side of the HTML page is the title and a row of social networking icons. ARGH! Some unholy blue-ribboned cursing, er, praying, ensues.

Yes, it happened again today. POOF! God's wounds. Or in modern parlance, zounds! The entire piece disappeared. Just like that without a howdido or an excuse me, ma'am. This peculiar form of crashing seems to happen when I write of the dead—as if they're interacting in cyberspace.

It's as if the dead were snagging the words from me before they magically reappear on the page you're reading now. Luckily I figured out how to back-navigate with the browser, and I usually can salvage the text, sans, last revisions and edits.

If that doesn't work then I Google the blog, and click on "cached" link. That works. Usually. Today I was lucky. The expanded blog was still in the browser buffer. But it had me shitting lead bullets.

Blogger Stats also gives me a body count by country as well as by search engines. Fascinating, really. Sometimes, I'll enter a search phrase, that someone used to find one of my pieces, and that link will take me to another and so on.

The links take me where they will. Sort of like getting lost in the OEDictionary and coming up for breath two hours, or two days later.

Sometimes they even point to another blogger using my material, sans permission. Like with my Jim Dodge interview. It irks me if they don't offer a backlink, but it's part of the danger of publishing one the internet.

Today's mad goosechase (has anyone ever really thought about what a mad goosechase might actually entail?) was a rather droll scanned article I posted about an art show I'm in every year, "Art from the Heart"... who on earth was reading that piece, why, and what search word led them to it?

Well, one thing led to another—and after some sleuthing, I found out that the search word was "Marty Stoelzel." Clearly, the "50 red head women fucking" search words didn't seem to be the right link. (I get a lot of "redhead" search words because of a blog I wrote on redhead myths that has scored 9,000 hits. Now watch, with Brave! opening tomorrow, the redhead stereotypes will kick into overdrive. My redhead piece will go through the roof.)

Marty was Chester Arnold's and my old painting teacher from College of Marin. I also found out that Marty died about 15 years ago. Too young! Probably had a heart attack—he was pretty intense.

OK, so it's old news but it was fresh news to me this morning—so naturally the process of revising the notes following my formerly dry press release took on a whole new level of meaning—sort of like stacking Chinese boxes inside one another—or Russian dolls—to find some semblance of order.

Sadly, I found almost no information on Marty, other than a photo—or examples of his surrealist paintings. Who remembers Marty? He had such a great heart. Ah, so today was about paying homage to our teachers, our ancestors. I never did get around to writing about Marty—too busy fighting technology. Maybe next time.

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