Sunday, May 30, 2010

TSS: An Idea....

This has been a fabulous book blogging week!  Armchair BEA was a huge success and many, many thanks go to all those who were behind the scenes to create such an awesome "virtual" experience.  I participated each day of the event with postings on my "ideal" BEA schedule, an interview with Sarah of Green Bean Teen Queen, a book giveaway (that continues through June 4 -- so there is still time to enter), and an inspiration for blog posting.  I am very anxious for all the "real life" BEA-ers to rest, relax, and then post all their wonderful experiences, photos, and book acquisitions for the rest of us to see.

On Friday I read several of the posts that focused on blog content and there seemed to be a general theme:  while we are book-focused blogs, we are not solely book bloggers.  Does that make sense?  These bloggers, in particular Florinda, Suey, and Aths, made mention that they would like to get to know the person behind the post.  That while book reviews and such are a great focus, they also want to read some personal content.

This reminds me of a lesson that I try to instill in my students at the beginning of each academic year.  We always start off with a list of Elements of Fiction - terminology that is useful when discussing literary content.  While the five basic elements include Setting, Characters, Plot, Conflict/Resolution, and Theme --- there are various components of each.  When discussing characters we learn that there are Round Characters (those who have several different character traits creating a complex, real-to-life character) and Flat Characters (those who typically exhibit only one character trait).  Inevitably the students interpret this to mean that Round characters are exciting and Flat characters are dull.  They are hesitant to label a character as "flat" and "static" because they feel they are insulting the character (what can I say - I have sensitive students).  So, I quickly try to dispel that myth with an example.

I tell them to  pretend that this classroom is a novel - and we are all characters in the novel.  To them, I am a rather flat, static character:  all I do is teach and grade; there is really nothing more to me in the classroom.  That does not mean, however, that once I leave the classroom (the novel, as it were) --- I am a very round, dynamic individual.  I have many other interests and hobbies.  I am NOT a boring person - I just exhibit only one trait in this given circumstance.  Once students realize that they are not insulting the character, they are more willing to use the labels "flat" and "static" --- they no longer feel that they are making a judgment call.

So, in that vain, I thought I would try to represent myself as a more "dynamic, round" blogger - rather than the flat, static blogger that perhaps I have portrayed up to this point.  One way that I thought I might do this is with a special feature, perhaps a meme.  But what?!  My creative juices are rather static themselves right now.

And then it occurred to me.  I love to travel.  In fact, I had high hopes of traveling to London and Paris this summer, but that fell through.  So instead, I have decided to try to find some local places of interest that I might visit:  still travel, but in a smaller circle.  And that is the inspiration for my idea....

This summer I plan to learn a lot about my hometown and the surrounding area.  Each week I will post a little about my traveling adventures, and perhaps I might entice you to want to visit one of these places if you are ever in the neighborhood.  In return, I would LOVE to read about your local hometown --- both the typical tourist sites (that I have probably yet to visit) and the out-of-the ordinary spots that you have found and learned to appreciate.  In this way we can begin to recognize our country (and for my international readers - our world) a little better and in the meantime I can begin to keep track of all the future vacation destinations I wish to visit when I have more time and money at my disposal.

So what do you think?  Would you be interested in reading these kinds of posts?  Would you be interested in contributing to this type of meme on a regular or even infrequent basis?

Obviously there are some details to work out, but I thought I would take an opinion poll first to test the waters, so to speak.


20 comments:

Andi said...

I love the idea of posting about your travels! I, too, love to learn about the people behind the posts. Great idea!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I love that idea! As you know, I've been "rounding out" my blogging traits by creating zillions of blogs, with each one satisfying different needs of mine...but there could be a better way! lol

I'll stay tuned for more info about this "meme."

Here's my Salon:

http://laurel-rainsnowsaccidentallife.blogspot.com/2010/05/sunday-salon-may-30-2010.html

Liz said...

Molly, I'd just been thinking I might do some posts about local places I like to go, and do some exploring of places I haven't checked out, esp. now that the weather is better for it. I'm definitely up for participating in a "local interest" meme and would love to read yours! Great idea!

Booksnyc said...

I love to travel and would definitely like to hear about others travels and the spots of local interest in their hometowns.

Great idea!

Suey said...

Wonderful idea Molly! I love it! :) I would participate for sure.

readerbuzz said...

I am quite certain that I will be posting about my travels this summer as I am going to France! Yes, I am going to France, home of all the lovely things....FRANCE!!!

Vasilly said...

I think that sounds like a great idea! I can't wait to read your future posts!

Florinda said...

I like traveling both locally and afar - we played local tourist a bit this weekend, and are leaving for our East Coast trip in just about two weeks! I enjoy reading about other people's travels too, and I like to read posts from dynamic, rounded bloggers - I think you're heading in a good direction, Molly! (And I'm glad if I helped you find it :-).)

C.B. James said...

I think it's a good idea. I will admit, that I do prefer posts about books and reading, but it is nice to get to know people like you say. I do enjoy it when people post pictures of their gardens, travels, etc.

This summer I'll be away from home for almost two months, so I expect there will be lots of posts about my own travels in among the book reviews.

Sandy Nawrot said...

We are big travelers as well, and as you probably already know, I often blog about where I go. (I actually send my posts to a travel website). I will be doing some this summer based on our trip out west. I think it is a great idea!

As far as book blogging, I have always felt that all book reviews, all the time can get old. I personally love when other bloggers give me a glimpse of their other hobbies, their kids, their pets, etc.

Dani in NC said...

I like your idea of round bloggers and flat bloggers. For ages, I was a round blogger, in that I wrote about my life and all my interests on a single blog. A few years ago, thinking that I could make money from blogging, I split my interests (books and gaming) from my personal blog. Now I'm starting to feel that I stripped the personality from all my blogs because I split things up, but I am loathe to delete any of them. So now I'm trying to do some linking between the blogs so that if the readers of my book blog want to read more about my personal life, they can.

Literary Feline said...

What a great exercise! I wish you had been one of my teachers when I was in school. Of course, you might have been too young then. :-)

I think each blogger should do what is most comfortable for them in terms of balancing the personal with book talk. Some of us aren't comfortable talking about the personal, especially in such a public forum. While such posts are fun to read--I love getting to know the blogger behind the blog--I have my own reasons for not wanting to share certain aspects of my life with just anyone.

Jenners said...

I love your description of the flat and round characters!!! That makes so much sense. Personally, I love hearing about how you teach your students ... I learn so much from it. I think that totally makes you a round blogger!!!!

But I love your idea of traveling about and sharing your experiences. It sounds like fun for you and us!

Aths said...

I definitely think that's a good idea! I am hoping to travel more once I finish my thesis. So this is an exciting thing that you are starting! I am so glad the Armchair BEA helped most of us learn a lot of things through everyone's posts. I've already seen so many others (even non-participants) talk about some thing they now plan to do after reading some of our posts, and that is a really really awesome thing!

Wendy said...

What a great post, Molly. I am looking forward to wading through my over 800 posts which accumulated this week in Google Reader and reading the Armchair BEA ones. I like reading personal content on blogs...and would love to hear about your travels since I also like to travel and hope to do more in the coming years. Would love to share with you things to do in Northern California (and if you ever make it out here, please do come for a visit!!)

J. Kaye said...

I just read your comment on my 365 about a workshop from Writer's Digest. Would you keep me posted on which you take? I am seriously thinking of taking Novel Writing: Scene Fundamentals first, but I'm not 100% sure yet.

Belle said...

Great post, and your travel idea is lovely, Molly. I would love to read about your hometown travels!

Dave and Tami said...

I think your travel blog idea sounds great. Even being from the same state, I'm sure there's lots of interesting things in your area that I've never seen. My part of the state doesn't have quite as much to offer, but I would be glad to share what there is.

Sounds like a great summer plan.

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

This is a super post, Molly, and a great idea. I love to travel and I like to share snippets of our favorite places. I like how you compare your classroom to a novel. I really admire your teaching skills.

Kathleen said...

I love the idea of traveling locally and posting about it. I was just telling my son last night (his last day of school was yesterday) that I wanted us to go more places in our area this summer and explore! We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and people come here from all over the world so we need to get out and about and see some things ourselves.

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