Drawing lines and getting perspective

The latest post on the Books in Bloom blog (where I’ll be posting about children’s books a couple times a month) is my review of Frances O’Roark Dowell’s Ten Miles Past Normal. It’s a great book, but as I say in my review:

In all honesty, I was bound to like this book. I have a secret dream of moving my family to an organic farm someday. I blog about my family life, including my three-year-old daughter who is probably going to hate it when she is in high school. And I’m married to a musician who would have loved it if his high school had a Jam Band.

This book was probably written with me in mind. ha.

On a more serious note, I thought the inclusion of Janie’s mom’s blog was really interesting.  I can imagine being mortified as a teenager at the potential for anything I say or do to end up on the Internet.  But this is well-worn territory for mom-bloggers (or whatever they want to be called these days).   I try to keep it balanced when I write about my daughter.  I don’t want to embarrass her (or her future self when her teenage friends find my posts on the Way Back Machine), but I also admit that my first thought when I saw her giant mural all over her bedroom wall was that I should take a picture and blog about it.  I resisted the urge to take a picture.  I did tweet about it.  We all have our lines.  Here is an interesting blog post about blogging about your older children.

Perhaps Ten Miles Past Normal should be required reading for moms who blog before their kids get to be teenagers.   In case we need to re-draw any lines at that point.

I love blogs, and I love loving blogs

I love blogs.  Perhaps that seems obvious since this is a blog.  I also love Facebook.  And Twitter.

I didn’t always love blogs.  When a group of my friends and acquaintances started keeping Livejournal blogs circa 1999-2000, I scoffed.  Why would they want to share their “journal” with anyone?  I didn’t get it.  It wasn’t long before I was swept up in it myself.  I’d always loved writing, and here was a chance for me to write, receive feedback, and engage with people I might not otherwise know.  Soon I was seeking out blogs and communities on Livejournal and beyond.  Most of my old friends have long since forgotten the blogging craze, but I’m still here.  Why?

Cognitive SurplusPart of the answer lies in Clay Shirky’s new book, Cognitive Surplus.  He writes of creativity, sharing, and connectivity in an age of technology.  The Internet/social media has brought amazing opportunity that, coupled with the surplus of time and energy that many of us have, has resulted in projects like Wikipedia, PickupPal, and many others.  We are no longer consumers.  We are producers, collaborators, citizens.

I love this.  I loved Cognitive Surplus.  Perhaps that seems obvious since I’m a blogger, zinester, and lover of indie music.  I love the “publish” button.  I love the “like” button.  I love the opportunity to be a part of something greater than myself.  Shirky writes,

The range of opportunities we can create for one another is so large, and so different from what life, until recently, was like, that no one person or group and no one set of rules or guides can describe all the possible cases.  The single greatest predictor of how much value we get out of our congitive surplus is how much we allow and encourage one another to experiment, because the only group that can try everything is everybody.

Life is good, people.  Let’s do something.

On the Wiki: Multiple Narrators in Teen Fiction

[I regularly update a wiki called Mindy’s Book Lists, where I cull the books I read–children’s, teen’s, and adult’s–into topical lists.  I’ll be highlighting various lists now and then on this blog.  ]

There are two sides to every story, or so the saying goes.

Personally, I love when the two sides come together to tell the story.  It reminds me of back in the early 2000’s.  Blogging was fairly new, and it seemed everyone was typing their lives onto the web.  Including me.  I always found it particularly fascinating to read multiple accounts of the same party or events.  One person hated the music, and another though the music made the party.  It’s all in your perspective, and I’ll admit, I loved being able to compare notes.

Since few people I know blog about their personal lives anymore (thank you facebook), I’m stuck getting my perspective fix from fiction.  David Levithan, in particular has shown a surprising affinity for multiple narrators in his fiction–even collaborating in the now famous Nick & Norah among others.  I’ve been a fan of his since I heard him speak at a Young Adult Literature conference in what must have been 2003 or 2004.  He referenced the Golden Age of YA Lit, and I went home from the conference with a new literary crush, which only intensified after I read his work.

Are We There Yet? began the multpile narrator streak with two brothers each giving their side of a European vacation.  It is a lovely introspective novel probably more of interest to twenty-something adults than to teens.  Then he moved on to collaborations.  His most recent is the brilliantly humorous & poignant Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  Two teens, same name.  Sounds cheesy.  It’s so good.

Check out the whole list.

Minnesota Mamas

In addition to local food and local music, I also enjoy local bloggers, particularly other mama-bloggers.  Here are a few I enjoy:

  • Lil Fish Studios – Okay, she isn’t local to the Twin Cities, but a bit north still counts to me.  I  first found this blog through the Etsy shop, which I adore.  Nature crafts out in nature.  Love it.
  • Travels With Children – This travel blog is based in Minnesota, and it is a great source for practical info about MN destinations.
  • Mindful Momma – This is the blog of the author of Practically Green, which is a great book for those who want to be as green as possible without being extremists about it.

If you have any MN Mama blogs, you think I should be reading, please let me know! :)