8:05 a.m. — Atlanta
listening to On the Road Again with Willie Nelson
Hello, everyone. I need to think aloud and I need you to be my audience. Nothing momentous, more a clearing of the decks, a state of the blog, as we head into Wordgathering‘s third year. We may come out of this with nothing changed and that’s fine, but I do think I need to ask some questions. It helps me tremendously, as you old-timers know, to have you conversing while I think.
I noticed, while looking the place over, that I have quite a lot of new readers and I have not talked about the workings of the blog in a while. This may make it difficult for you who are new to participate. After all, what are the rules? What is the what, the wherefore, and the whybe? Yes, I made the last one up.
We have a lot of old-timers, now. We have conversations, maybe a little gentle pushing and prodding, agreements and disagreements. We are comfortable with each other. We trust each other to the degree we are willing to say what we believe about any given issue. I would think it difficult for someone new looking in at the ongoing conversations to jump in.
Structure of Wordgathering: here’s how it works. I have two days carved in stone [unless I bury the stone because I need a break], Tuesdays and Fridays. Thursday is serendipitous and can depend on you. First, Tuesday Tryouts. My idea is to set exercises that allow you to discover or stretch your poetry muscles. Some are much harder than others, but the desired outcome is always the same: a poem, or three. I have always felt it irrelevant whether the poem arrived at does, or does not, fulfill the exercise. It’s all about the poems, people!
I have come to realise that the way I run the weekly exercises can be confusing to anyone who is trying to work out when to post. Generally, I post a prompt and people may post a link anytime in the next whenever [or, if they don’t want family or friends reading it, the poem itself.]. As it is sort of a teaching blog, and I know how busy everyone is, I don’t put a time limit on anything. I only ask that the responses be kept with the post to which they respond.
This means some people post the same day (you crazy speed demons), some post the next, some in a week. Technically, you can come back in a couple of months. I like the flexibility, but that probably means fewer readers for everyone’s poetry, as there is not a specific post date; I have never asked how you all feel about that. It might be supremely irritating. You may have gone months feeling wistful.
Back in October I had a series of conversations with Sabio Lantz, who allowed me to get an idea of what a new follower is faced with on arrival at Wordgathering. For someone who wants to participate it sounds rather daunting. So, here’s the question: Do we want a Mr. Linky, to delineate between our conversations and the poems being posted? I can leave the link open for the same amount of time.
I think I have avoided doing this before because I didn’t want the flavour of the blog to change. I checked what a reader sees on a typical Tuesday, when they look at comments. All links to poems posted are in bright red, so people who just want to check out poems can quickly skim down the links and ignore the conversations. But, maybe you don’t want to do this. Can you tell I am conflicted?
I will, at the end of the ‘series’ laying out the blog, post a poll, so that those who might be reluctant to say something can give voice. Meanwhile, will you please give voice.
I shall see you tomorrow for a roundup of the week’s prompts around the cybersphere; at Tuesday Tryouts for a quick summary of the types of exercises I’m thinking about for 2013, and a prompt — yes, still vague; and Thursday for Part 2 of the state of the blog (after today, I may have to pull a Peter Jackson [The Hobbit] and turn my two parts into three).
Converse, discuss. I need you talking so I can think and process. Forgive the rambling.
Happy writing, everyone.