"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

December 27, 2013

Blog Posts and Selfies and Technology–Oh MY!

This is about as "selfie" as it gets around here!
Dearest Reader (are you still out there in cyber space?),

I hope you had a lovely Christmas! I got a new replacement camera lens so I can take more photos again. I also got some lovely books and smelly things. I won't inventory everything here, but rest assured that I will be well-read and smelling fine. Give me a candle, some great soap, tea and wonderful books and I'm good to go.

As you may know from coming here off and on in the past eighteen months, I've not been blogging much. It is difficult to do on my ancient laptop––especially the uploading photos part––and I now find that trying to change my cover image, template colors etc. on Blogspot has been impossible. I found that this can be remedied but the instructions are so complicated that it leaves me overwhelmed and breathless. That, coupled with technical difficulties in camera world, and still no DSL on our ridge (oh my, you have no idea the pitfalls, excuses and everything that's been involved––and we even sold Windstream an easement and the boxes have been in, a mile or so down the road, for over a year now), I just haven't felt like blogging, let alone had much opportunity.

But I have been writing for publication and have a new book coming out––more about that later––while working on others. Writing is not easy––and anyone who thinks you can just whip something off is, well, delusional. Finding a publisher is even more cumbersome at times––and a goal of 2014 is to find an agent, as well, so they can do all of the stuff that I'd rather not. It is possible to sell a book to a publisher without one––and I've done it twice now––but I don't recommend it.

My daughter is on Instagram, which seems to be the new Facebook, and well, I've been so "off" the computer for the past eighteen months that I just can't keep up with it all. Where I used to spend, ahem, hours on the Internet a day, I now spend about four hours a week, total. And that's probably being generous. WiFi at home will change all of that but I think I've learned now that I can limit myself, and will, by just not thinking about it all the time––like any other addiction, I suppose. We don't even have television or phone at the cottage yet––and we moved there back in July! [Well, full confessions: both are still in the doublewide just down the road but even then I spend less than an hour on the phone each week and only a few hours watching television: NPR has become a constant friend. I LOVE RADIO!]

What else have I been doing? Reading a lot––staying more organized, writing more letters and cards (generally trying to keep the post office open and using up many old stamps!). Ferrying our boys to basketball practices and games. Nesting into our farm and trying to put down roots (being in the cottage helps immensely––I need to live in something old, something borrowed, not new and manufactured).

I've stopped trying to find a job in Kentucky in either writing or historic preservation: after over fifteen attempts and not one interview, despite one's qualifications, it gets a bit crazy-making. So this is freeing me up to focus more on my own writing––which I've been doing. It doesn't always pay the bills but it at least seems productive. Farm income can be just as fickle but I do my best to cut corners in the budget, grow and can our own food, shop sales when necessary. That said, I'm considering, when we get WiFi, opening up an Esty or blog shop of vintage things, and books, that I wish to share with those who might love them as much as I have [in other words: downsizing––isn't this what all baby boomers are doing once they hit 50? I won't in totality, but there are some things I might be able to part with...].

I do have to laugh about the new phenomenon of the "selfie"––some blogs have seemed like that for some time but now young people and attention-seeking older people, too, are posting photos of themselves doing all sorts of things. We've gone from our food and decor to showing off our selves in all of their guises and postures. I love to take photographs but I don't want to use myself as the subject––I'd rather that my words, and the people and places and things that I love, be the subject. Here is a recent commentary on NPR about the phenom.

You come back when you're ready!