Friday, March 24, 2017

Blog on writing and blogging

It was perhaps inevitable that I would join the ranks of bloggers.  As it happens, I started the first blog on campus at Dickinson State University, and it survives to this day: Stoxen Library's Common Grounds.    Librarians were very early adopters of social media, and I recognized this as a way to disseminate information on the library to the campus community.

And then there is the fact that I'm married to a blogger who writes The Prairie Blog which is widely followed, informative, and amusing.  That, and the married English majors thing.  When I write, I often hear the voice of Dr. L. Ray Wheeler in my head.  When studying for my bachelor's degree, I took comp classes.  Comp 1 from Bill Fleming, and Comp 2 and Advanced Comp from Dr. Wheeler.  Ray, gawd love him, was a writer, and he made me a better writer than I would otherwise be.  That, and just writing (practicing), and MS Word, and reading thousands of books by very good writers, and spending a career writing lots of stuff, and, now, the nifty tool called Grammarly.

My blog is I think a little bit more of a micro-blog on most days.  Short bursts of odds and ends as inspiration strikes me.  Life here on the banks of the Missouri River in Red Oak House with wanderings here and there on life's journey.  I'm a typical North Dakotan in that, although I think I am friendly, I am also a little bit shy and value my privacy, certainly as much an introvert as anything.  For quite some time I struggled with being married to a very public figure and he a blogger.  When my friends bring up his blog, I laugh and say "I read it when you read it" as he almost never runs his blogs by me first (and I don't intend to run mine by him for that matter). I do act as his copy editor after the fact as I have a rather keen eye when it comes to that.  I have had a lifelong love of the printed word, hence, the English major.  This came in rather handy in my professional life, and I guess I may as well continue to use it.

It was also natural that he and I as freelance writers would eventually (at least I think it made sense) form a company we are calling Red Oak House Books and Publishing.  We are just getting that organized.  At some point in time, I guess, we'll get around to building a website, something both my housemate and I have experience in doing.   I just asked Google how many bloggers there are and this was what I found: How many blogs exist in the world.   It is difficult to know for certain, but the number given in 2013 was 152 million!   Who could possibly read all of this stuff?  In truth, it is a question authors have been grappling with since time immemorial.

In addition to writing, reading, gardening, birding, family time, cooking, yoga, hiking, and camping fill my days.  We are both blessed with many siblings, children, step-children and -grandchildren, and in-laws.  My parents are 93 and 84 and live in my town, and I continue to draw upon their wisdom.  My father was a lifetime Army man and he was at one time the company clerk (yes, much like the character Radar in M*A*S*H). I have vivid memories of him sitting at the kitchen table with our typewriter in front of him pounding away at the keyboard.  My mother has the most beautiful cursive handwriting and she would spend hours writing to family and far-flung Army friends from wherever it was we were living.  I learned to type at Rhame High School and got quite good at it at a young age as my mother and her sister my Aunt Junette were fairly insistent that whatever one did, one should try to be good at it.

One of my heroines is the writer Terry Tempest Williams.  She has helped me to be braver than I would otherwise be.  Here is something she writes about being a writer  Why I Write.  "I write as though I am whispering into the ear of the one I love."  I cannot possibly say it better than that.

On our office wall hangs a framed copy of the Terry Tempest Williams poster from an essay she published in Northern Lights Magazine Summer 1998.

Terry signed it for us when she visited our home in Medora in March of 2008.  The picture in the poster above is of her hands holding an egg.  It was her first visit to North Dakota and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and my privilege to be her host, to show her my beloved home landscape.  She and I joined my dear friends Jan Swenson and Valerie Naylor for a drive through the Park, and then later Jim joined us for supper.
 Jan Swenson, Valerie Naylor, Terry Tempest Williams and Lillian Crook
 TTW at the prairie dog town in TRNP
 Terry and Clay Jenkinson
 Terry birding with Valerie, and Jan, and I at TRNP.

The next day we all attended her reading and book signing at DSU the next evening for the Heart River Writers' Circle (of which I was a co-founder).  She was enchanting.  I got to vote on her options for the cover for her forthcoming book at the time Mosiac: Finding Beauty in a Broken World.

You can read more and keep up with Heart River Writers' Circle here
Now I find myself blogging from my kitchen. I don't particularly care whether anyone is reading it or not.  This is the beauty, or the curse, of the life of a writer, and of the Internet.  Isn't life grand?  I, too, "write as though I'm whispering into the ear of the one of I love."

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