Abecedarium (Randy J. Hunt)
Personal canon (Brendan Schlagel)
Abecedarium (Randy J. Hunt)
Personal canon (Brendan Schlagel)
Our buildings and places symbolize what we value. They tell the story of who we are.
But what about when we don’t know who we are?
I suspect there’s a connection between the loss of Place-making and the dissolution of community ties.
e.e. cummings ish typography though breaking the leading instead of the words
I like to see people play with what a website can be.
Over the years, I’ve followed hundreds of artists and interesting people on Instagram and Twitter. Social media platforms don’t make it very easy to see everyone you follow, even as they constantly change the way they show you information so you don’t know what updates you’re missing. They also reward frequency and recency. The idea of an algorithm is nice — ‘it’ll show me posts I missed from people I care about!’ — but in practice it’s more like ‘ok thanks for showing me that five people I follow liked a political meme’.
As I move away from regularly using Twitter and Instagram, I don’t want to lose track of everyone who I followed there. So, I made my own lists of people who I follow — their own websites, not their social media accounts or profiles on other platforms:
Cool Artists – artists and craftspeople of all varieties
Interesting People – people with interesting and helpful things to say, from a range of backgrounds (science, art, advocacy, interior design)
Some of these people may also have newsletters and blogs that I don’t know about or am not following, or may have no way to follow their activity at all outside of social media — but at least I’ll always be able to find them. (Presumably anyone who’s bothered to set up a personal website will keep it?)
And maybe a list is a way other people can find new folks to follow too. The main bummer is not having images to represent everyone’s art, but that sounded like a helluva lot of additional work 😉
I went through my Twitter and Instagram following lists — which were much longer than I had realized 😨 — and opened bio links to personal websites for everyone who had one. There was probably an easier way to do it, but I manually opened everyone’s profile to remind myself who they were. Instagram’s interface to see who you’re following is Terrible if you’re following any large number of users.
Because I’m into the IndieWeb and everyone having their own website, I decided to be a stickler and only include personal websites, not BigCartel shops or platform profiles or linktrees. That meant a number of artists did get excluded — but honestly the lists are plenty long anyway 🤷♀️
I also didn’t duplicate my blogroll, so the websites of people whose blogs and newsletters I’m following aren’t currently on this list… I may go back and add personal websites of people who write newsletters instead of blogs.
When we in the IndieWeb talk about owning our content, the focus is often on the things we have posted ourselves, or saving our likes and bookmarks — but keeping track of who we follow is also useful.
In this two-part story collection, a Siamese cat dreaming of a new world and a writer in desperate need of inspiration cross paths with Morpheus.
Interesting strategy to release a bonus episode a few weeks after the series drop, another push to get people talking about the show again.
The animation of the dream of a thousand cats I didn’t find quite up to the comic, though it did seem to stay true to it. A good spot for a Neil Gaiman cameo.
I did think the Calliope episode turned out well, Arthur Darvill was good as Ric Madoc, and it gave us a chance to see another side of Morpheus.
Looking outside my field to draw inspiration from other consultant websites…
McLaughlin Method – “credentials at a glance” on about page, about nav specifies her name, homepage icon philosophy / differentiators, homepage section focused on benefits to the client
Artists (in the broad sense – painters, novelists, composers, etc) are pretty much defined by the struggle to be themselves; to absorb influences without surrendering to them; to be open to others and stubbornly individual. Consequently, artists have a different relationship to influence than the rest of us do. The core difference is this: artists do not absorb their influences passively. They choose their influences, and they choose how to be influenced by them.
“Interrogate your influences.”
Thoughtful, intentional curation and inspiration. I also appreciate the thought to go narrow — some phases of work and thinking benefit from a wide range of inputs, while other times focusing the inputs you’re taking in purposefully can align and refine your work.
William Gibson on Cultivating a “Personal Micro-Culture”
We [are] shaped as writers, I believe, not much by who our favorite writers are as by our general experience of fiction…Not direct emulation, but rather a matter of a personal micro-culture.
— William Gibson
Consumption gets a bad rap because finding and enjoying the good stuff is hard.
That’s why it’s worth it.
— CJ Chilvers
See also: Gabriel Zaid’s constellations of books
I think Blanda has diagnosed a real problem — that the creative world and productivity field suffer from regurgitation of the same ideas and a lack of original thought — but doesn’t consider the cause and misses the solution.
Creatives aren’t shy about saying their work pays poorly and people shouldn’t follow in their footsteps — yet they make money teaching others their craft. I think a lot of these ‘bullshitters’ Blanda calls out recognize that training and writing about productivity and work practices is more likely to earn them money than their creative work — but as Blanda points out, don’t have much new to add to the conversation yet.
At the same time, I believe sharing what you’re learning is valuable (I’ve been doing it since 2012, and took my own hack at synthesizing everything I’d learned so far into my Craft Your Life planner) — the act of writing what you think or what you’ve learned helps reinforce that. But, your writing may be more useful for yourself than others, especially when you’re starting out. And, let’s be honest, it takes quite a bit of writing to find your own voice and level up.
So the issue Blanda’s describing is people trying to shortcut their way up their career faster by borrowing ideas and repackaging them without adding anything of their own. But they compound that lack by using generic, overused sources instead of hunting down fresh examples.
Where we get our information and our inspiration matters: deep, firsthand, and sensory are the most valuable sources — and these are tough to get from the Internet. When we only read things we find on social media and newsletters, we’re reading the same stuff as everyone else. Yes, that keeps us in touch with the Cultural Conversation and zeitgeist, but that’s a difficult space to say anything original. What you’re taking in shapes what you’re putting out.
To be clear, I am not immune from this! My mind garden here is explicitly a collection of other people’s work and thinking, with my half-formed commentary. I try to learn from a wide range of people but noticed last year that it was not uncommon for the article du jour to make its way to me through several newsletters and blogs. Sometimes that’s vouching for its value, sometimes it’s echo chambering. So a lot of this is a note to self 😉
Safari wildlife game drives in the Northern Serengeti in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Aside from the beautiful photography, I’m very impressed by the trip report format, with the large scale photos, highlighted “travel partners” and the place where they stayed, the embedded videos and mini clips, and the orientation map at the top of the post. The way the captions divide sections of photos and video feels effective in telling a story and breaking up the excursion. I also like that they position this as one photoset within a larger trip with its own landing page.
This is a decided class above the trip reports I’ve posted on Cascadia Inspired 😂