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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Being here

As I just said in response to a comment on yesterday's post, Loving MySpace, I think my reason for loving it could have something to do with being brought up in a small town. That town long ago grew into the City of Launceston and I haven't seen it in the last nine years, but I'm sure it will have kept some of the villagey atmosphere I remember.

I'm not fond of big cities, even though I lived in one – Melbourne – most of my adult life. I went to the University of Melbourne when I was 17, worked in various Melbourne libraries after I graduated, got married there (three times!) and raised my kids there. I lived there about 30 years and did get to love it for a long time. Cities are exciting places for teenagers, so I was disposed to embrace it from the start. But what was it I embraced? The city centre, the Uni and its surrounding suburb of Carlton, and later the Bayside suburbs where a kind fate led me to live and work. That's about it, really. With blithe disregard for such things as financial considerations, I used to ask rhetorically why anyone would live in Melbourne and NOT be by the sea. Put it down to my island heritage. Still a Taswegian at heart (which is what we Tasmanians jokingly call ourselves) I go for beautiful scenery, historic buildings, and a sense of community.

But I'm over Melbourne now. Andrew and I moved to northern New South Wales in 1994, and have no hankering to go back. We've lived since then in various locations around the town of Murwillumbah – with its hills, rivers and nearby mountains and ocean. No wonder I've always felt at home here! I like going into Coles and having six conversations with old acquaintances I bump into. I like walking down the street, encountering a friend unexpectedly and grabbing a coffee while we have a catch-up. I like it that the people in the shops have known me for years and say hello with a smile when I come in. I like the proprietary feeling I have about Mt Warning, the Tweed and Rous Rivers, certain cafes and the only bookshop.

We don't get into Murwillumbah so often any more, though those things still pertain when we do. In 2002 we moved out to Pottsville Beach, a small but fast-growing coastal resort with two tiny shopping areas and a thriving Neighbourhood Centre with hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers. Yes, there's a villagey feel and a strong sense of community, but the natural connections are with other places along the coast. When we want serious shopping, we go to urban centres like Tweed Heads (the start of the Gold Coast) or Byron Bay. And there are always lots of tourists here. One way and another, it feels less cocooned than dear old Murwillumbah, the town of which I used to say approvingly that it was 'cool to be daggy'. (For my non-Aussie readers, that's an oxymoron.) But we have the sea, and it's glorious!

It's a little like that, blogging here instead of on MySpace (not that I have stopped doing it there): considerably less cocooned, but with certain benefits. Now that I'm engaging with it, the wider blogosphere is rewarding too for a writer and lover of writing. Masters of the Verse on MySpace directed me to Writer's Resource Centre, one of my favourite places to play on the web, and there I found The Cerebral Mum, new friend and brilliant writer, without whom my life could no longer be complete. :) Also she's a generous promoter of other blogs including mine. It was she who directed me to David Coomler's blog on HOKKU, which I greatly treasure. Only yesterday, she helped me find PomGirl, a relative newcomer to Australia with a fresh eye for our foibles and a humorous take on her own, to whose delicious blog I instantly subscribed.

There's some cross-pollination goes on. I have told all my MySpace haiku friends about the HOKKU site, many of them now love it too, and one has started a thread on Haiku on Friday, based on a recent HOKKU post. Some of my favourite writers post on both Blogger and MySpace: e.g. Collin Kelley, an Atlanta poet whom I met in Texas at the Austin International Poetry Festival; Savvyology (B Y Penman) and Lance Strate, both of whom I met on MySpace. I see that one can duplicate content in both places, or have very different blogs at the different locations. Lance, for instance, who is a Professor of Communication, uses his blogspot for material related to his interest in that field, and his MySpace blog for his poetry. I'm opting for different posts in different places most of the time – though, regarding the recent Australian election, I waxed jubilant EVERYWHERE, including here.

I suspect, though, that this is really a MySpace blog. Does it truly belong out here, where there is so much concern for attracting traffic, writing winning headlines, and using blogs for business?


  1. cerebralmum.com07/12/2007, 00:27

    There's no such thing as a MySpace blog, lovely. A blog is a blog. But you should do it whenever or wherever you get the most pleasure from it.

    I selfishly like it when you blog here because I get to read what you're saying. I can't read over at MySpace because the layours don't display right on my computer and everything is too "noisy".

    Isn't it funny how people's perceptions differ? It doesn't seem like a village to me. It's like Hong Kong.

    And for me, having my own self-hosted blog is cosier. It's like having people over for a cup of tea.

    I feel bad now that I've been talking about traffic and ranks etc. It really is just my tendency to pick things apart. It's like doing a crossword puzzle. The real strength of blogging (or using social media) and doing it successfully is in the people you connect with.

    Regardless of the platform.

  2. Thank you oh faithful reader and mentor, for cutting through my crap! :)

    The truth is, I like to write. I also like to connect with congenial people, as I have just spent two blogs here saying (in a roundabout way). So, now that you've encouraged me to use my blogspot more often, I'll just go right on expressing myself in both locations!

    I am glad to have connected with YOU, and that would be reason enough to be here! The fact that I've found some other great people too is a bonus.

  3. PS It was not your helpful suggestions about networking sites that I was referring to - it was all the blogs touted as great sites for writers which turn out to be about copywriting. No doubt they are good, and some of their tips are even helpful for us non-marketing writers, but it's not what I mean by the word 'writing'. I mean poetry, fiction, essays, journalling .. that so-called 'creative' stuff. And before any copywriters bitemy head off, I know that's creative too and that the rules of composition apply as much if not more - only the intention is what makes it different.

    Anyhow, I too do like to have readers for my writing, and am only too delighted that you have mentioned me as an Australian woman blogger worthy of note, and referred me to rssHugger, and so forth!

  4. I agree completely about the blogging guides and that has something to do with my secret new blog plan. I'll have to tell you about it via email so no-one steals my idea.