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.