Close Up and Personal

Sparrow a Glance

I want to thank all of you who took time to comment in response to my Wandering last week.

If you weren’t around, basically, I asked for feedback both as to what you might like to see in the Wednesday Wanderings, and whether I should continue doing the Friday Fragments.  I also asked about how important the photos were to you.

Based on the enthusiastic response to the Friday Fragments, I shall continue doing them.   Although many of you expressed how much you liked when I specifically commented about a book, I don’t plan to increase the frequency of such comments.  Writing a review column is a serious job, one I’m not interested in taking on.  To do a good job writing reviews, one needs to offer more than one’s opinion.  If you’re interested in a good review column, I suggest Alan Robson’s once a month “wot i red on my hols.”

In the Friday Fragments, I’ll make sure to remind you that I’d be happy to hear what you’re reading.  Indeed, I am!  I might not get to a specific book for a while, but I do keep a list of books that seem interesting.

I was happy to learn how many of you look forward to having the Wednesday Wanderings appear in your mail box or on some other aspect of your social media as a regular part of your weekly reading.  Therefore, I’ll keep writing them.

However, I have one request.  A short comment, even a couple of words, would help keep up my morale.  I’m not asking you to comment every week or even every couple of weeks – although I deeply appreciate how people like James, FuturePastSite, Louis, Dawn, and King Ben’s Grandmother find something to say.

It’s hard “talking” into a void.  I mean, I’ve taught college freshman English Composition at 8:00 a.m.  Writing the Wednesday Wanderings is tougher because I can’t even see if people are awake!  That’s what I meant when I said I’d like to have a “conversation.”  My schedule doesn’t permit me to run on-line writers’ prompts or the like.

Moving on our discussion of the photos, Jim and I will probably do some experimenting.  For one, he’s gotten a new lens that, once he gets the hang of it, will allow a greater range of images.  However, I reserve the right to go back to a little picture tucked in the corner.  In the end, text is the way I communicate best.

One thing several comments reminded me of was that I should feel free to return to topics that I talked about years ago.  Ten years is a long time.  While I’ve tried hard to not repeat myself more than is necessary, I think maybe I should loosen up.

In a week or so, Alan and I will chat a bit about the future of the Thursday Tangents.  I appreciate those of you who took the time to express enthusiasm for our public conversations over these last seven years.   We certainly won’t fall silent forever, but it’s time for us to rest our fingers.  I promise to alert you in the Wednesday Wanderings when there will be a Thursday Tangent Special Feature.

On that note…  Our nearly final Thursday Tangent of the regular run goes up tomorrow.  In it, I ask Alan a question that I really hope some of you will also weigh in on.

With that as a teaser, I’m off to run with the wolves!  Tah!

10 Responses to “Close Up and Personal”

  1. The Other jmoore Says:

    I am glad to see that you are going to continue the Wednesday Wanderings. I have them sent to me by email and I always enjoy being able to check in with you every week. I have also gotten some great book suggestions from your Friday Fragments as well as the Thursday Tangents. Sorry the conversation is so one-sided, but I am “with” you every week!

  2. Beverly Martin Says:

    I can appreciate your struggle to come up with topics for the column, but rest assured – I have never met a Wednesday Wandering I didn’t like. Thanks for writing!

  3. Dawn Says:

    I am glad you are keeping up with Wednesday Wanderings and the Friday Fragments. I enjoy getting them in my email. For the Wednesday Wanderings if you don’t have a lot to say any given week. That is ok.For the Friday Fragments. I like knowing what you are reading. There are so many books out there. I like learning about new ones to me. I will look forward to conversations with Alan when they do happen. I understand about taking a break from that. 7 years is a long time.

  4. Katie Says:

    In general, I hear that the “comments conversation” on blogs has dropped off significantly the past few years–you’re not the only blog-writer to comment on it.

    My husband frequently teaches continuing education courses at seminars for others in or related to his profession, and always thought he would like to teach a university class because of how much he enjoys and, based on feedback, is good at teaching about his field.

    Last year he had the opportunity to teach a course for our local university–but online, not in person. This sounded great, because he could do the live video lectures from the comfort of home without needing to commute, and since he has years of experience teaching, he thought this would be easy.

    But it turns out lecturing in front of your computer is completely different from lecturing to a live audience. There was no interaction with the students, no way to even tell if they were paying attention or ignoring him, interested or bored or confused. He said it was terrible; he could never think of enough to say to fill the hour, and always felt like he was failing to communicate because there was just no feedback.

    He’s teaching the course again this semester and has figured out a few ways to use the system to get that feedback, but he says he would much rather teach in person rather than online, even though at first it seemed like such a great idea.

    Technology can do so much for us, but it loses much of its power when viewed as a one-way medium of communication instead of as a two-way conversation facilitator. And since I mostly “lurk” myself, I’m just as guilty of this as anyone!

    Anyway, I read your posts every week and always find much to think about, even if I don’t comment. Thank you for taking the time and energy to write them!

    • janelindskold Says:

      I can completely understand your husband’s experience. When I recorded a short clip of my new novel, ASPHODEL, I was very aware of not having audience reaction to guide me.

  5. futurespastsite Says:

    Good point about revisiting former topics. Reminds me of the college history professor who had the daughter of a former student in the same history class a generation later. The father got a look at one of his daughter’s tests. When he next saw the professor, he said, “These are the same questions you gave us.” “Yes,” the professor agreed, “but all the answers are different now.”

  6. janelindskold Says:

    I appreciate the responses. I’m already enthusiastically thinking about next week’s post…

  7. Louis Robinson Says:

    Interesting what you say about technology loosing power when used for unidirectional communication. I was going to say that the first great communication technology is inherently one-way, and still worked extremely effectively. Luckily, I remembered that radio wasn’t first – the printing press was. And it’s even more one way: in the heyday of radio, you could give a talk today and get the first feedback from your audience in tomorrow’s mail. With books, months or more could go by between writing and your first readers getting their eyes on your words.

    Even today, the one-way media – print, TV, cinema, the stage – remain immensely effective. Worse, there is growing evidence that the ‘interactive’, social media are actually most influential when operated in top-down, pass-it-on modes, not their conversational modes. Perhaps because when engaged in conversation people have to actually think about what they’re saying. And will often find that they don’t really like what they’re thinking, when they really think about it. Hard to generate unithink when everybody is in at least two minds on the issue at hand 🙂

    Which is not to say that your husband’s difficulty is not genuine, only that it might be helpful if he thinks about the process slightly differently. More as if he were presenting a radio play, for example. Mind you, when you consider that the great radio lecture series, like the Reith or Massey Lectures, have moved from in-studio to public [and very popular – you want to buy your tickets early] presentations, this is probably not an uncommon problem, and one that needs some skill to overcome.

    • Katie Says:

      That’s a good point, Louis Robinson. Perhaps it’s not so much the medium itself, as the adjustment from one medium to another. And as effective as unidirectional communication can be, clearly there is something in presenting live to an audience that keeps people going to live lectures, plays, presentations, concerts…there’s something special about the experience that is more than just the information (or song, story, etc) presented.

  8. Debby Barker Says:

    Just wanted you to know that I look forward to your wanderings. I have read many great authors on your recommendations. Tamora Pierce and Ursula Vinson for two. I am so happy that you introduced me to the Hamster Princess.

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