The Art Scene in Kelowna

spring in kasugai garden

spring in kasugai garden

I have heard so much about the art scene in Kelowna recently. Strange how a phrase comes to be floating about in conversations no matter where one goes. Some have said they don’t know anything about the art scene. Some new councillors the other evening at the NERA open house stated that the art scene in Kelowna should be supported and brought up a notch.

Recently on Face Book a new artist came to town and was trying to connect with other artists and I laughed to myself. I have been here over thirty years and cannot connect with the art scene. It is a bit like a medieval landscape. Everyone has his or her own castle, the moat is full of crocodiles and some have the draw bridge lowered during a show… but it is tightly held to the castle walls as soon as the exhibition closes. Small groups get together to paint and it is the style and mediums that drive the group, ostensibly. Really it is that the group are on some level friends.

How can we extend the hand of friendship from all artists to one another? That is what has puzzled me. I would like to help publicize all visual artists and work together to make Kelowna a vibrant tourist destination. Can someone suggest a way to get the artists to poke more than their heads out of their hidey holes and start to work together to make a bigger statement?

If you do have an arts event, I would be happy to put it up on my web site. Just call out!

Wicked Wind and Work

I am teaching the children’s writing class in the afternoon tomorrow and had fun working through some exercises. As I sit here in the studio a huge windstorm is blowing trees around and the building is creaking.

Today I made more connections on face book, finished projects for two clients and completed by ETSY shop. You can find it at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6695712.

The small magnets that I painted for weeks this winter are selling. I enjoy doing them so much that I want to continue to have an excuse. Because I have been so busy doing graphic design and putting shows up and taking them down I haven’t completed the silk screen shirts I wanted to put into the display cases on Sunday. I teach all day tomorrow and on Sunday. So I am mulling over how I can make the display case more installation pieces than a store window.

The centre is very quiet tonight except for the gothic wind sounds tearing around the building. The signage is tied on in some areas and makes a high screaming sound in the wind. Very Tim Burton.

The North End Neighbourhood Association meeting was wonderful because Mari MacIntosh called the new councillors and they can to address NERA, KSAN and Glenmore neighbourhood associations. After all these years of each of our groups working alone, it was wonderful to have us all in one room. The last time that happened was over five years ago when I called all of the Presidents of the neighbourhood associations to have a meeting. The last time before that was when David Lovell, Valerie Hallford and I put together an all candidates meeting in the name of neighbourhood associations in the downtown core.

This evening, I am planning to watch the Ritches, eat popcorn and just snuggle down in our small beautiful house. We will look up from our respective computers and hey… maybe even talk.

We are planning our trip to Vienna in May for the group art show. I am anxious about the money, but open to wonderful possibilities. Open heart, open mind.

one of my magnets for sale on Etsy

one of my magnets for sale on Etsy

Why do we lose our way?

Doldrums. Lack of sun. Uninspired. Putting on weight and the weight of the world

I am cave dweller

glum

Under the gray sludge of the valley air.

Inside my house

the summer window

closed by the curtain of clouds.

Even the ready calls over the fence

between neighbours

in gardening season

or while shoveling snow

have disappeared.

We all retreat

to eat away at the days and weeks

scooping up sugar or caffeine

to feed the inertia.

Sleeping 12 hours at a time.

I awake to a neck twisted over

careless mounds of pillows.

My list is next to my computer.

Beginning again each day

Sitting meditation

My mind makes up stories

about the future

about the past

Even fantasies about people I cannot

know.

Where is the breath

of fresh air?

I will take my sunshine in a spoon.

Oil from some fish’s liver

shiny slick

to give my body hope

to cross through the gray sponge-like days.

I feel Victorian in the closed house

and sigh from room to room

waiting for the sun to bring its calling card.

How do you balance a life of art and politics?

reflecting on an observation

reflecting on an observation

Actually, art is integral to politics. It is not that one must pursue a “message” in the traditional, Marxist diligence of past decades. Politics is a word which means of the people.

Art is the soul’s work. When a person is deeply in tune with their own song, vision, cosmology there are two divergent sources. One is interior. The soul that speaks is unique and in my belief system (which could be wrong) it carries over from life time to life time. It is unbending, unerring and distinctive.

At the same time, one’s soul is like an infant floating in the social milieu that one is born into. There is nothing more awakening in life than traveling to other cultures. I liken our view of reality to that of fish swimming in an aquarium. We do NOT see the water. We think it is invisible. However, it is that through which we view everything. Simply put, it is incorrect to drive in the left lane. It is incorrect to live at home until one is married. It is incorrect to squat on the ground for social events

Culture shock is when one runs up against another picture of reality and withdraws in protective shock.

The artist lives in the antiderivative area.. between two curves. We use the culture to explore self. We use self to explore culture.

The zone where self disappears is where the self emerges. When I am fully focused, I am aware of no self. There is the surface, my brush, the contact between. There is no “market”, no “target”, no “finish point.”

So how does the political life influence art? It is when we begin to see ourselves as caretakers of the “water” or the social atmosphere in our political aquarium that we start to understand and protect our art. To take action politically is important if one wishes to live in a supportive, inspiring environment.

The task is to maintain balance. The task is to walk the area where action is taken to help to create a better world without being strident. Defensiveness and militant mind-sets only create walls.

As an artist and as a citizen, I see a world of bridges crossing the spaces between and over obstacles. Grace, skill and compassion will bridge obstacles. Balance allows one to live in a world of creativity both as an artist and as a citizen.

I have learned to ask the question, “What are the consequences… the LONG term consequences of my actions this day?”

Thank You to Jason Katzenback, Wikipedia, Sean P. Aune!!

The Craft of Creative Writing

Mondays Jan 26- Mar 9 7pm-9pm

Students are asked to

Bring a journal to class for notes and inspired writing

exercises.

Bring examples of the genre explored in the next session to share.

Be willing to share inspired writing.

Make only comments about others’ writing that are positive. Celebrate the artist in fellow class mates. If there is something which is unclear in another person’s writing, it is fine to say, “I couldn’t quite understand… or I had difficulty seeing…”

Every class will begin with an exchange of ideas and sharing of “treasures” that students how found in writing they love. There will be times before timed writings when the student is asked to sit quietly in order to become centered.

January 26th and February 2nd will be devoted to the Short Story.

February 9th and February 16th will be devoted to the Poem.

February 23rd will be devoted to Children’s Literature.

March 2nd and part of March 9th will Blogging.

March 9th will have part of the class devoted to analysis of the student’s strengths

as a writer.

January 26th

7 to 7:30 pm “getting to know”

Introduction of students to one another

Introduction of definitions for various genres

Questions to consider: write down your questions here for discussion.

Don’t let the follow information frighten you. It is just available as a referral. There is NO test. Have fun!!

Short Story

Wikipedia: The short story refers to a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, usually in narrative format. This format or medium tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (in the 20th and 21st century sense) and novels or books. Short story definitions based upon length differ somewhat even among professional writers, due somewhat in part to the fragmentation of the medium into genres. Since the short story format includes a wide range of genres and styles, the actual length is mitigated somewhere between the individual author’s preference (or the story’s actual needs in terms of creative trajectory or story arc) and the submission guidelines relevant to the story’s actual market. Guidelines vary greatly among publishers.

Many short story writers define their work through a combination of creative, personal expression and artistic integrity. As a result, many attempt to resist categorization by genre as well as definition by numbers, finding such approaches limiting and counter-intuitive to artistic form and reasoning. As a result, definitions of the short story based upon length splinter even more when the writing process is taken into consideration.

Prose is writing that resembles everyday speech. The word “prose” is derived from the Latin prosa, which literally translates to “straightforward”. Prose is an unpretentious form of writing; it is adopted for the discussion of facts and topical news. Prose is often articulated in free form writing style. Thus, it may be used for books, newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcast media, films, letters, history, philosophy, biography, and many other forms of communication.

Poetry and prose

Prose generally lacks the formal structure of meter or rhyme which is typical of poetry; instead it is composed of full sentences, usually divided into paragraphs. Although some works of prose may happen to contain traces of metrical structure or versification, a conscious blend of the two forms of literature is known as a prose poem. Similarly, poetry with less of the common rules and limitations of verse is known as free verse. Poetry is considered to be artificially developed (“The best words in the best order”), whereas prose is thought to be less constructed and more reflective of ordinary speech.[citation needed] Pierre de Ronsard, the French poet, said that his training as a poet had proved to him that prose and poetry were mortal enemies. In Molière‘s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain asks something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master says to him, “Sir, there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse”. Jourdain replies, “By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that.”

A narrative or story is a construct created in a constructive format (written, spoken, poetry, prose, images, song, theater or dance) that describes a sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. It derives from the Latin verb narrare, which means “to recount” and is related to the adjective gnarus, meaning “knowing” or “skilled“.[1] (Ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European root gn?-, “to know”.[2]) The word “story” may be used as a synonym of “narrative”, but can also be used to refer to the sequence of events described in a narrative. A narrative can also be told by a character within a larger narrative. An important part of narration is the narrative mode.

Along with exposition, argumentation and description, narration, broadly defined, is one of four rhetorical modes of discourse. More narrowly defined, it is the fiction-writing mode whereby the narrator communicates directly to the reader.
Stories are also a ubiquitous component of human communication, used as parables and examples to illustrate points. Storytelling was probably one of the earliest forms of entertainment. Narrative may also refer to psychological processes in self-identity, memory and meaning-making.

A genre (pronounced /????nr?/, also /?d???nr?/; from French “kind” or “sort”, from Latin: genus (stem gener-)) is a loose set of criteria for a category of composition; the term is often used to categorize literature and speech, but is also used for any other form of art or utterance.

Genres are vague categories with no fixed boundaries, they are formed by sets of conventions, and many works cross into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. The scope of the word “genre” is sometimes confined to art and culture, particularly literature, but it has a long history in rhetoric as well. In genre studies the concept of genre is not compared to originality. Rather, all works are recognized as either reflecting on or participating in the conventions of genre.

Short stories have their origins in oral story-telling traditions and the prose anecdote, a swiftly-sketched situation that quickly comes to its point. With the rise of the comparatively realistic novel, the short story evolved as a miniature version, with some of its first perfectly independent examples in the tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann. Other nineteenth-century writers well-known for their short stories are Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Nikolai Gogol, Guy de Maupassant, Boles?aw Prus and Anton Chekhov. Short stories were a staple of early-19th-century magazines and often led to fame and novel-length projects for their authors. More recently, short stories have been reprinted in anthologies, categorized by topic or critical reception. Today many authors release collections of their short stories.

Some authors are known almost entirely for their short stories, either by choice (they wrote nothing else) or by critical regard (short-story writing is thought of as a challenging art). An example is Jorge Luis Borges, who won American fame with “The Garden of Forking Paths,” published in the August 1948 Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Another example is O. Henry (author of “Gift of the Magi“), for whom the O. Henry Award is named. American examples include Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver.

Authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Boles?aw Prus, F. Scott Fitzgerald, P.G. Wodehouse and Ernest Hemingway were highly accomplished writers of both short stories and novels.

Short stories have often been adapted for half-hour and hour radio dramas, as on NBC Presents: Short Story (1951-52).

The art of story telling is doubtlessly older than record of civilization. Even the so called modern short story, which was the latest of the major literary types to evolve, has an ancient lineage. Perhaps the oldest and most direct ancestor of the short story is the anecdote and illustrative story, straight to the point. The ancient parable and fable, starkly brief narrative used to enforce some moral or spiritual truth, anticipate the severe brevity and unity of some short stories written today.

Characteristics

Short stories tend to be less complex than novels. Usually a short story focuses on only one incident, has a single plot, a single setting, a small number of characters, and covers a short period of time.

In longer forms of fiction, stories tend to contain certain core elements of dramatic structure: exposition (the introduction of setting, situation and main characters); complication (the event that introduces the conflict); rising action, crisis (the decisive moment for the protagonist and his commitment to a course of action); climax (the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point with the most action); resolution (the point when the conflict is resolved); and moral.
Because of their length, short stories may or may not follow this pattern. Some do not follow patterns at all. For example, modern short stories only occasionally have an exposition. More typical, though, is an abrupt beginning, with the story starting in the middle of the action (in medias res). As with longer stories, plots of short stories also have a climax, crisis, or turning point. However, the endings of many short stories are abrupt and open and may or may not have a moral or practical lesson. As with any art form, the exact characteristics of a short story will vary by author.

Length

Determining what exactly separates a short story from longer fictional formats is problematic. A classic definition of a short story is that one should be able to be read it in one sitting, a point most notably made in Edgar Allan Poe’s essayThe Philosophy of Composition” (1846). Other definitions place the maximum word length at anywhere from 7,000 to 9000 words. As a point of reference for the science fiction genre writer, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America defines short story length in its Nebula Awards for science fiction submission guidelines as having a word count of less than 7,500.[1] In contemporary usage, the term short story most often refers to a work of fiction no longer than 20,000 words and no shorter than 1,000. Stories less than 1,000 words are usually referred to either as “short short fiction” or “short shorts” or even “flash fiction“.[2]

History

Origins

Short stories date back to oral story-telling traditions which originally produced epics such as Homer‘s Iliad and Odyssey. Oral narratives were often told in the form of rhyming or rhythmic verse, often including recurring sections or, in the case of Homer, Homeric epithets. Such stylistic devices often acted as mnemonics for easier recall, rendition and adaptation of the story. Short sections of verse might focus on individual narratives that could be told at one sitting. The overall arc of the tale would emerge only through the telling of multiple such sections.

Fables, succinct tales with an explicit “moral,” were said by the Greek historian Herodotus to have been invented in the 6th century BCE by a Greek slave named Aesop, though other times and nationalities have also been given for him. These ancient fables are today known as Aesop’s Fables.

The other ancient form of short story, the anecdote, was popular under the Roman Empire. Anecdotes functioned as a sort of parable, a brief realistic narrative that embodies a point. Many surviving Roman anecdotes were collected in the 13th or 14th century as the Gesta Romanorum. Anecdotes remained popular in Europe well into the 18th century, when the fictional anecdotal letters of Sir Roger de Coverley were published.

In Europe, the oral story-telling tradition began to develop into written stories in the early 14th century, most notably with Geoffrey Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales and Giovanni Boccaccio‘s Decameron. Both of these books are composed of individual short stories (which range from farce or humorous anecdotes to well-crafted literary fictions) set within a larger narrative story (a frame story), although the frame tale device was not adopted by all writers. At the end of the 16th century, some of the most popular short stories in Europe were the darkly tragic “novella” of Matteo Bandello (especially in their French translation).

The mid 17th century in France saw the development of a refined short novel, the “nouvelle”, by such authors as Madame de Lafayette. In the 1690s, traditional fairy tales began to be published (one of the most famous collections was by Charles Perrault). The appearance of Antoine Galland‘s first modern translation of the Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights) (from 1704; another translation appeared in 1710–12) would have an enormous influence on the 18th century European short stories of Voltaire, Diderot and others.

Modern times

Today’s short stories emerged as their own genre in the early 19th century. Early examples of short stories include the Brothers Grimm‘s Fairy Tales (1824–26) and Nikolai Gogol‘s Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (1831–32). The first examples in the United States are Charles Brockden Brown‘s “Somnambulism” (1805), Washington Irving‘s Rip van Winkle (1819) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820), Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840) and Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s Twice-Told Tales (1842).

In the latter 19th century, the growth of print magazines and journals created a strong demand for short fiction of between 3,000 and 15,000 words. Famous short stories of this period include Boles?aw Prus‘s “A Legend of Old Egypt” (1888) and Anton Chekhov‘s “Ward No. 6” (1892).

At the same time, the first literary theories about the short story appeared. A widely known one is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Philosophy of Composition” (1846). In 1901, Brander Matthews, the first American professor of dramatic literature, published “The Philosophy of the Short-Story.”

In the first half of the 20th century, a number of high-profile magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Scribner’s and The Saturday Evening Post published short stories in each issue. The demand for quality short stories was so great and the money paid for such so high that F. Scott Fitzgerald repeatedly turned to short-story writing to pay his numerous debts.

The post-war era

The period following World War II saw a great flowering of literary short fiction in the United States. The New Yorker continued to publish the works of the form’s leading mid-century practitioners, including Shirley Jackson, whose story, “The Lottery,” published in 1948, elicited the strongest response in the magazine’s history to that time. Other frequent contributors during the last 1940s included John Cheever, John Steinbeck, Jean Stafford and Eudora Welty. J. D. Salinger‘s “Nine Stories” (1953) experimented with point of view and voice, while Flannery O’Connor‘s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (1955) reinvigorated the Southern Gothic style. When Life magazine published Ernest Hemingway’s long short story (or novella) The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, the issue containing this story sold 5,300,000 copies in only two days.

Cultural and social identity played a considerable role in much of the short fiction of the 1960s. Phillip Roth and Grace Paley cultivated distinctive Jewish-American voices. Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” adopted a consciously feminists perspective. James Baldwin’s “Going to Meet the Man” told stories of African-American life. Frank O’Connor’s “The Lonely Voice,” a classic exploration of the short story, appeared in 1963. The 1970s saw the rise of the post-modern short story in the works of Donald Barthelme and John Barth. The same decade witnessed the establishment of the Pushcart Press, which, under the leadership of Bill Henderson, began publishing the best of the independent and small presses.

Miminalism gained widespread influence in the 1980s, most notably in the work of Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie and Bobbi Ann Mason. However, traditionalists including John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates maintained significant influence on the form, as did Canadian author Alice Munro. John Gardner’s seminal reference text, “The Art of Fiction” appeared in 1983.

Many of the American short stories of the 1990s feature magical realism. Among the leading practitioners in this style were Steven Millhauser and Robert Olen Butler. Stuart Dybek gained prominence for his depictions of life in Chicago’s Polish neighborhoods and Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” tackled the legacy of the Vietnam War. Louise Erdrich wrote poignantly of Native American life. T. C. Boyle and David Foster Wallace explored the psychology of popular culture.

The first years of the twenty-first century saw the emergence of a new generation of young writers including Jhumpa Lahiri, Kevin Brockmeier, Jacob Appel, George Saunders and Dan Chaon. Blogs and e-zines joined traditional paper-based literary journals in showcasing the work of emerging authors.

POETRY

Poetry (from the Greek “???????”, poiesis, a “making”) is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning. Poetry may be written independently, as discrete poems, or may occur in conjunction with other arts, as in poetic drama, hymns or lyrics.

Poetry, and discussions of it, have a long history. Early attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle‘s Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song and comedy.[1] Later attempts concentrated on features such as repetition, verse form and rhyme, and emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from prose.[2] From the mid-20th century, poetry has sometimes been more loosely defined as a fundamental creative act using language.[3]

Poetry often uses particular forms and conventions to expand the literal meaning of the words, or to evoke emotional or sensual responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. Poetry’s use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly, metaphor and simile create a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. Kindred forms of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm.

Some forms of poetry are specific to particular cultures and genres, responding to the characteristics of the language in which the poet writes. While readers accustomed to identifying poetry with Dante, Goethe, Mickiewicz and Rumi may think of it as being written in rhyming lines and regular meter, there are traditions, such as those of Du Fu and Beowulf, that use other approaches to achieve rhythm and euphony. In today’s globalized world, poets often borrow styles, techniques and forms from diverse cultures and languages.

Assonance is repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences, and together with alliteration and consonance serves as one of the building blocks of verse. For example, in the phrase “Do you like blue?”, the “oo” (ou/ue) sound is repeated within the sentence and is assonant.

Assonance is more a feature of verse than prose. It is used in (mainly modern) English-language poetry, and is particularly important in Old French, Spanish and Celtic languages.

The eponymous student of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita described it as “getting the rhyme wrong”.

Alliteration is the repeated occurrence of the same consonant sound at the beginning of several words in the same phrase. An example is the Mother Goose tongue-twister, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers …”. usually used as a form of figurative language

In poetry, good alliteration may also refer to repetition of a consonant in any syllables that, according to the poem’s meter, are stressed as if they were word-initial, as in James Thomson‘s verse “Come…dragging the lazy languid Line along” [1].

The term is sometimes applied in a more general way to the repetition of any sound, whether a vowel (assonance) or a consonant (consonance), in any positions within the words.[citation needed] Alliteration may also include the use of different consonants with similar properties (labials, dentals, etc.) [2] or even the unwritten glottal stop that precedes virtually every word-initial vowel in the English language, as in the phrase “Apt alliteration’s artful aid” (despite the unique pronunciation of the “a” in each word) [3].

Onomatopoeia (also spelled onomatopœia, from Greek: ????????????) is a word or a grouping of words that imitates the sound it is describing, such as animal noises like “oink” or “meow”, or suggesting its source object, such as “boom”, “zoom”, “click”, “bunk”, “clang”, “buzz”, “zap”, or “bang”. The word is a synthesis of the Greek words ????? (onoma, = “name”) and ????? (poie?, = “I make” or “I create”) thus it essentially means “name creation”, although it makes more sense combining “name” and “I do”, meaning it is named (and spelled) as it sounds (e.g. quack, bang, etc.).
Children’s Stories

Children’s literature is for readers and listeners up to about age 12. It is often illustrated. Avoid simplistic moralizations — Look for stories that show, not tell. “C.S. Lewis said that no book is really worth reading at the age of 10 which is not equally worth reading at the age of fifty,” writes Gladys Hunt. “Children’s books cannot be written for or down to children.… A good book has a profound kind of morality — not a cheap sentimental sort which thrives on shallow plots and superficial heroes, but the sort of force which inspires the reader’s inner life and draws out all that is noble.”

    The following suggestions can help when choosing books for your child. Look for:

  • books which don’t assume that people will act in a certain way – the man does not always have to be washing the car, the woman does not have to be in the kitchen

  • books where what happens in the story leads up to the ending (books where the ending is not a shock) – children often enjoy the ending they have been looking forward to more than surprise endings

  • a bit of trickery, humour, jumbled words, people getting into trouble – children enjoy this as long as they can see through it

  • Interesting words and rhymes – as they get to preschool age children enjoy words and will like stories with some interesting or ‘big’ words

  • attention to detail is important for example: the time on the clock, toothpaste on the toothbrush

  • atories about their own hopes and wishes

  • stories about things children know about (for example: stories about children of their own age)

  • books that explore the unhappy and cross feelings as well as good feelings about a situation (for example: books about moving house should talk about the child being a bit unsure and worried as well as being excited about the new adventure)

  • books for young children with happy endings

  • fairy stories and folktales. They are usually not too scary for children because they are about ‘long ago and far away’.

Blogging

    A blog (a contraction of the term “Web log“) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketches (sketchblog), videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting), which are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging, one which consists of blogs with very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.[1] With the advent of video blogging, the word blog has taken on an even looser meaning — that of any bit of media wherein the subject expresses his opinion or simply talks about something.

5 Examples of Blogging With Purpose

Here are five contexts in which you can perform purposeful blogging:

  1. News Items: Whenever news breaks that supports the need or usefulness of your product or service, enthusiastically blogging about it creates a connotation that “sells” what you offer without you “selling.” Just make sure to close with a call to action.

  2. Idea Association: Let’s say there are bloggers with bigger audiences in your niche. These people may be viewed as thought leaders, so a post that shows how your own thinking intersects with that of these industry leaders creates a positive association and possibly a relationship with that bigger blogger.

  3. Rally the Troops: On the other hand, blogging about ideas or situations that you and your audience oppose gives you the opportunity to bring your community closer together.

  4. Value Demonstration: At the root of all purposeful blogging is a demonstration of value. Each post you write should reinforce why readers pay attention to you, and convince newcomers that they should be paying attention to you.

  5. Viral Content: While it’s never a sure-shot, sometimes we recognize an opportunity for content to be purposefully attractive to social media news sites. Make sure to follow through with your purpose with smart content promotion.

So, what about you? When you sit down to write a blog post, what’s your purpose?

About the Author: Jason Katzenback is the voice of JohnCow.com. Click Here now to learn the exact steps it takes to build a successful business, not just a blog!

Questions to ask yourself:Who are looking to connect with?

  • What are you looking to produce with your writing?

  • What results are you looking to create?

  • Who are you looking to move to action?

Check out the following sites for examples of excellent blog writing:

http://topsites.blogflux.com/

http://www.blogtopsites.com/

40+ Free Blog Hosts

August 6, 2007 – 6:48 am PDT – by Sean P. Aune

Blog.com – Offers free blog hosting with unlimited bandwidth for their free package, more benefits for paid members.

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Blogger.com – A great starting site to get a taste of blogging, very easy to use.

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BlogSpirit.com – European based blogging site, offers 30-day trial and subscription thereafter, but offers quite a bit of storage.

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Multiply.com – Mixes blogging and social networking, with photo galleries and more.

Netcipia.com – Free blog and wiki for private or public display with 2GB of storage.

Open Diary.com – Offers unlimited storage and posts, low cost subscription rates for advanced features.

ShoutPost.com – A platform for creating blogs with a focus on generating traffic.

SoulCast.com – Have something you want to talk about, but want to say it anonymously? This may be the blogging site for you.

Squarespace.com – Lets you build your blog with numerous themes, also allows you to add other site features.

Terapad.com – Offers blogs as well as features such as an integrated store.

Tooum.com – Fully integrated blog and forum which allows for seamless discussion between the two.

Tumblr.com – A blog platform with a focus on allowing media-rich posts.

Weebly.com – Allows you to create a site and blog, free hosting and change designs on the fly.

Windows Live Spaces – Free blogging with your MSN account, only drawback is readers have to have an account also.

Vox.com – Part of the SixApart family of blogging sites, very much geared towards the personal journal types of blogs.

Xanga.com – Part social network, part blogging, all free.

Yahoo 360 – Part of your Yahoo account and features easy publishing.

Zoomshare.com – Free blog hosting with 250MB of free storage.

    Structure of the class will involve group discussions, silence for inspiration time, automatic writing time and group writing assignments. Please be willing to go within, think about what you want to write outside of class and be willing to build a creative writing “structure” with partners.

How do I Begin?

  • Begin to look around you for examples of writing that stir or excite you.

  • Begin to look to your past experiences for works that have held value for you.

  • Begin the discussion with others about what creative writing has touched their lives.

Wallace Stevens as I watch the bombings in Gaza

A world of violence gives way to hope

A world of violence gives way to hope

Another Weeping Woman
Pour the unhappiness out
From your too bitter heart,
Which grieving will not sweeten.

Poison grows in this dark.
It is in the water of tears
Its black blooms rise.

The magnificent cause of being,
The imagination, the one reality
In this imagined world

Leaves you
With him for whom no phantasy moves,
And you are pierced by a death.

Does art hold its value?

Recent Work Candy Ribbon $650 multi-media

Recent Work Candy Ribbon $650 multi-media

Recently, an estate assessor came into my studio and talked to me about the “valuation” of art. It is, like everything else in life, about perception.

I remember when I was doing research on the best place to pursue my degree in teaching that I was looking for valuable stock. I was investing in my education and I wanted the most powerful degree I could achieve. Western Washington State College in Bellingham was give a top three schools in the West Coast rating in, of all things, Playboy magazine’s assessment issue.

large, flowing image, lyric multi-media canvas

large, flowing image, lyric multi-media canvas

Taking my degree at Western allowed me to be in a highly competitive position. I had a wonderful background in the humanities, in general science, in math logic, in physics and was introduced to the study of movement. We also had to learn to swim in order to teach. This comprehensive program was meant to turn out not little automatons but people with a rich understanding of our cultural history. It has given me grounding and depth in all that I do.

Research allowed me to find a degree of value.  It is the estimation of value in art as well, that has to be considered. The Estate Valuation of art involves the reputation of the artist. While some artists make money in the short term, other artists develop and maintain their value. Thinking carefully about where you exhibit, setting your goals with clear objectives, establishing skills and constantly working on the relationship between yourself and your work; yourself and your customer are central.

Star Shine Multi-media $1,000

Star Shine Multi-media $1,000

I was instructed that one must clearly and consistently sign the work. A biography, a story, an artistic statement should be placed on the back of the work so that as the work makes its way in the world the connection with the artist remains true. And the hardest work of all is to place value on yourself as an artist.

red-black sharp, three dimensional $650

red-black sharp, three dimensional $650

What is today’s Horrorscope?

Inevitably my horoscope comes into my mailbox daily. Because I have many emails the mood of the day is explained to me in detail at least repeatedly.

The building was locked today as I stood outside with about fifty pounds of backpack, purse, workout bag and the additional, last minute items clutched in my frozen fist. The air was nicely chewing the exposed flesh of my ears as I rang and banged and huffed and puffed. But no little piglet would let me in.

“Alright,” I hopefully spoke to myself  ,”just be graceful and go to the coffee shop.”

Staggering, dragging and clutching I took my whole human float display and wheeled it over to the Bean Scene North. Water dripping from the ceiling kept falling on my exposed flesh and papers. I, like a collapsing kingdom, made myself smaller and less vulnerable to attack from the unexplainable rivulets.

In an hour, I re-attempted entering my studio. With my three lists compressed to one, I began. I now had everything that I needed to “seed” information about my classes grasped in my fist and could sail out again. Putting the congratulatory notes in the Mayor’s secretaries office and saying “hi” to Jan I felt like I finally had the day in my gun sights.

Oh, not Jan! “Jan is away,” the woman sitting behind the desk explained. Why did I even attempt to seem competent today?

Going over to the Water Street Senior’s center, I clutched the promo materials in my hand and managed to slice myself with a postcard. “Oh the senior’s will love these,” I thought. “They should come with a health and safety warning.”

On my way back into the Rotary Centre someone asked if I could volunteer for a day session on the arts and I was happy to say, “yes.” After I returned to my studio I saw that I had a message on my phone.

Black Door in Italy

Black Door in Italy

The home stay inspection which we expected will be changed…to the day I said I would help out as a volunteer.

My internet and email was down. I phoned my husband who talked me through detecting and repairing the problem. At this point my horrorscope arrived which said, “You will have difficulties with communication today.” After that, my internet connection and email went down again.

Oh well. It is lunch time anyway. Out of the fifty pounds of items I packed in three large bags, it appears that my lunch is still sitting on the counter at home.

Failing to load my staple gun after the third day of trying and nearly losing a valuable body part from the electric staple gun, I recharted my course. Today, I will finish painting an image and call it.

You know, I had a really nice day yesterday!

Elections and the Year of the Ox: How do we live our best lives?

Is it a year of hope? David Letterman’s top ten list of Obama’s signs of anxiety included the president elect looking for a superhero to help him. So much of the world’s economy depends on wise and considered decision of the new administration.

Once I had a professor of economics explain currency as a mythic beast. “When you go to sleep, you empty your pockets and the money that you place on your bedside table either gains or looses value depending on the mental state of everyone else in the world.” If that isn’t magic realism, what is?

Money is a totem, a magic marker of our confidence in our own power, the country’s power and the emotions surrounding prospects for the future. With the media feeding back to us a constant heavy, bleak version of reality, it is difficulty to maintain confidence.

Movies such as Benjamin Button are sweeping up audiences. The reason is that the movie depicts the stunning beauty of the act of loving. Not sexual loving. The love of one soul for another. Circumstances do not change the individual’s capacity for love. The idea that love is a choice that compassion is a choice comes through the script. It is a script that we desperately need at this point in history.

Like most things in life, we can elect to believe in the outward shape of things or we can make the decision to abide in the now.

We have confidence in Obama because of his intelligence, his capacity for maintaining long term and supportive relationships and most of all for his calm presence. These are qualities that we are seeking in another person. They are also the qualities that will pull the world out of its downward economic cycle.

Is it a coincidence that we are moving into the year of the Ox? To maintain a focus, to stay calmly on course and use our strength and presence to settle into the yoke of labor is the message for the upcoming year. The Chinese calendar says that we must not complain, balk or bolt. Steady, uncomplaining progress will “move the cart.”

Often, the media will attempt to turn our superheros into Hancock figures. If the rescue is not immediate, dramatic and personally relevant, the villification begins.

Our best life is to realize that the media is manipulative. Value is reliant on belief. Compassion and love is the lesson to be learned and not how to pay down our VISA. We have a debt to pay which is far beyond monetary concerns.

This year, we can all be heroes by wearing the yoke without complaining and just get to the business of pulling the cart through what ever terrain presents itself. Perhaps even offering to give others a ride for a while. It is a year for new beginnings through focus and completion of old journeys.

So put down your head, be patient and know that you are very powerful. The year of the Ox is about to begin.

Do Politics Matter?

The current apathy, the lack of passion for getting involved in political issues is pervasive. The number of Canadians who turn out to vote indicates that people no longer have the heart for the process. Elections  have become less and less engaging.

It is among the young that one most often hears the touting of refusing to go to the polls as in and of itself a show of courage. “This is my statement”, they will explain. This dark-side-of-the moon thinking that by not taking action you are showing your power is clinically called passive aggressive.  When did two generations become passive aggressive in their stance towards what they see as “authority.”

It is a like a budgie having an argument with a mirror.

The authority that people are refusing to engage with is in themselves. Wikapedia tells us that, “Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions.” There can be no group without individuals.

After we voted in our city council election, my husband said, “There is no military waiting to shoot us for voting, ” as we walked out of the polling place. In so many places in the world one who votes has a darkened thumb. If it is discovered, the individual can and frequently will disappear. Only 20% of our local citizens voted. The point my husband was making was that the empty polling station could only be explained by the presence of death squads. Why else would people refuse to become a part of the life of their city, their province, their country?

The lack of engagement extends all the way down to our local neighbourhood association. I have heard very intelligent and charitable people say, “I don’t need to go. I know there are others standing up for our interests.” And I think this is really the bottom line.

Being a good neighbour is what politics is ultimately about. Caring for and taking action to preserve the safety, the peacefulness and the liveability of our block, our city, our province or our country is about doing something which takes effort. To go out the door and give some of our time and energy to maintaining and improving our civil environment, is the “right and duty” of each of us. When did we lose that sense of connectedness?

“Perhaps”, I said to my husband jokingly, “If they did just shoot two people at random there would be a surge of outrage and the passive aggressives would get out to vote just ‘to show them!’ “