Thursday, February 24, 2005


My first attempt at hosting audio - following the link in my last post to
SoundClick in Creative Commons. This is a poem, about 10 minutes long, and my computer doesn't play it too well - it buffers a lot. It was just an MP3 that I had on my computer...normally I would do much shorter ones of the poems that I post. If you have the patience, listen to a bit or all of it, and leave some feedback. Promise I won't post anything this long again!

It's a poem that interweaves a love story with a tantra on Yeshe Tsogyal, an 8th c. Queen of Tibet and founder of Tibetan Buddhist...


The Great Bliss Queen's Mansion of Flaming Bliss Copyright ©2003 by Brenda Clews

Oh, I put it under New Age since there isn't a category for poetry in their music styles.


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This is the book that first introduced me to Yeshe Tsogyal some years ago. I still dip into it when I need to be reminded of the ineffable mysteries of life...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Audio and Video Publishing Sites...

Trying to reconstruct notes from the Blogging Conference without the notes which froze on on my Pocket PC and disappeared when I did a soft reset...

My interests are in audio and video blogging, more to add the speaking and dancing of my poetry to the text than to portray my daily life in a running narrative.

As the only speaker I heard all day that referred to artists, his name? famous, I'm sure, though gone in my absent notes, whether he cares about artists or not was obfuscated in his talk, but he spoke about a very wealthy American man who does: Brewster Kahle, the founder of the presitgious Internet Archive, and the force behind the scanning of millions of books to become available to the public (Google is involved in this project too, I believe, but don't quote me!). Brewster Kahle has decided that artists don't have much money. Understatement!

So he is funding a site where filmakers, artists, videographers, musicians, poets, etc., will be able to post their work, and where it will be archived.

One of the problems is the cost of bandwidth and space. Audio and video files take up a lot of space. For the creative artist, space on this site will be free.

This site, and please correct me if I've got it wrong, is Open Media, the Global Home for Grassroots Media. The site should be fully operational later this year.

Another site recommended was Creative Commons. Here you can get your multi-media work published. Check it out.

I gotta run...

Wish I had them damn notes, she says, disappearing over the bandwidth (you know, the place where the sun rises and sets on the internet)...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

On Xanga and Blogger as writing sites...


What is the blogosphere? It's 31 million bloggers world-wide. That's
alot of writing. That's a movement. That's a social force. That's an upholder of literacy. And we thought the written word was going to die with the ushering in of the audio-video age. Were we wrong!

Audio and video blogging are coming, though. And then we could expect a total explosion in the medium.

We live in an era of self-expression. And we create our own reality shows out of our own lives with no producers or television studios to oversee us. How money can be made out of us is another question.

There was one man at the blogging conference who makes a living from his blog. His name is Chris Pirillo. Today I finally gave in and went to his site. His writing is good, but simple - nothing too complex there. And there are GoogleAds, which is where he makes the major portion of his income. The more hits he gets, the larger his monthly paycheck. What I noticed most prominently, however, is that his site, to my untrained tastes, resembled a General Store. Many links, many products advertised, with him as the genteel owner behind the counter with whom you chat a bit, only, in this blogland, it's mostly him who does the chatting, for he gets few comments. But that's okay. His site has 12,000 visits a month and generates enough income for him to travel all over North America to conferences like the one he spoke at last Saturday in Vancouver.

In fact, most of the folks there, the presenters, seemed more focussed on numbers and income than they did on the quality of writing. One lone voice in the audience asked a question about the artist who blogs, and it wasn't answered with much sensitivity or depth.

Why I want to podcast (audioblog) is so that I can offer readings of my written poems. Why I want to videoblog is not so that I can bore you with tales of my life in poor light but because I would like to offer dance pieces where I perform my poetry.

Though blogging is a medium of disappearing posts, writing our lives disappears as quickly as we live them, I take my writing seriously, as most of us do, and my blog is where I experiment with different ways to write and post my efforts and receive invaluable feedback.

Blogging is one area in my life where I can creatively realize myself. It's also a place where I can offer support to other writers, and thus help them to foster the expression of their creativity too. What blogging has done for my writing is immense; but it's not just the writing and posting, it's the comments, the support of fellow writers, the community.

Which is why I love Xanga. In a sense, Xanga has created its own 'mini feed' in our subscriptions to each other; and by making commenting a 'members only' activity, fosters the possibility of a strong community of writers, I feel. For this I am grateful.

Yet I also feel a pull to be part of the larger blogging community. At my blogger site I went 'public' last night - it had been a private site. I added a site meter. And frankly, I don't know what it means that 30 people have visited, since there's not one comment. And where did they come from? Who are they?

One piece of advice that I would like to pass on, and from someone in the audience, is that if you want to build readership you just keep blogging, post frequently and, the guy said, in five years you'll be way ahead of where you are now...

Is that what serious writers do? Aren't we all serious writers here? Isn't this why we love our blogging site so much?

And the good news is that there is one major feed service that does recognize Xanga - Bloglines...though I tried to activate my account for about 3 weeks using different email addresses before contacting help, who activated it for me. At bloglines I can subscribe to people who blog at many different sites and read their most recent posts, as we do at Xanga.

One last question, HomerTheBrave in a comment on the mirror post of this one at my Xanga site wrote that Blogger/Blogspot is a publishing site; wheras Xanga is a blog site. Any comments?


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Northern Voice Blogging Conference


How does it happen? I lost all of my notes and links from the
Northernvoice blogging conference. My Pocket PC file went strange, and then dissipated into something unreadable.

Suffice to say, it was an interesting day. Here is a link that collects some of the links at the conference:
Resources/NorthernVoice05

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My main interests were in audio and video blogging, and in understanding why Xanga is the way it is.

I have lost the audiopod links, but they should be easy enough to find again. And there is a Yahoo group dedicated to video blogging, which, we learnt, is about 8 months old. In its infancy, but the potential is huge...what we will be able to record for our children and grandchildren. I know it's a bit overwhelming...I felt like lying down too (heh)...but she'll probably be videoblogging before she starts school...


On my Xanga issues, they're irresolvable. In the panel on promoting your website, I did ask a question about the "politics" between blog sites, only to find that everyone defends Google. I do too, but I'm not idealizing the service. Yes, Google doesn't read the "?" in Xanga's URLs to our sites and that's one reason why Xanga blogs don't show up in searches. Okay. I sat next to George, a woman who works at Flikr, the hot new photo service, and she said that Xanga does (or doesn't, I can't remember) use an APS feed, and so they can't connect (oh, and Flikr is a Vancouver company, Canadian, and only has about 10 employees...far out). And I was enamoured of the blog feeds I saw projected on screen, where you can subscribe to many blogs, getting instant updates when there are postings, only to find today, using Feedster.com, that Xanga blogs are not recognized, or even found. This is an RRS aggregator (see note at bottom) that searches through 8 million blogs instantly, the one that connected the US blogging world to a woman writing a blog in a hospital after the Tsunami, and we aren't there.

Can't we kindly ask Xanga to connect us to the rest of the blogging world? Or do we like being a community unto ourselves?

The oddest part was that when I googled myself today, for the very first time my Xanga showed up on the first page (scratches head bewilderingly). It's usually non-existent. I have a mirror post now at Blogger, which does enable a connection to the larger blogging world, for whatever it's worth (besides time).

I'll never leave Xanga, but, hey, Xanga, can't we have a more open relationship with the burgeoning blogging world!


____________________
"In the world of weblogs or "blogs", the term "feed"refers to a "RSS Feed" which is an XML based data format that allows a blog's contents to be accessed via another program. Since we were building a search engine for blogs, we made one that indexed "feeds" and the result was Feedster!"

Renewal


Renewal

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Delicate as a snowdrop
growing
on a grave the season after.

Thin as a Spring White's wings
like bright, wet silk
the shed cocoon.

A prayer on the horizon at dawn
rising.

ii

What does the snow feel as it falls and
melts into the rivulet
at my feet?

iii

And the day came when the risk to remain tight
in the bud was more painful than the risk
it took to blossom.
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iv

I turn,
and you who were gone
are there.




©2005 by Brenda Clews

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

On the Way to Work, Valentine's Morning


Rushing down the road, slippery, sparkly ice pellets flattened underfoot, the sun that the camera records is not the sun that I see. The sun before me is rising, shining in the crisp morning air. This is the sun that wholly knows the world it illumines. This is the sun ushering the day into being. A sun bringing activity with it. The bustling world awakens before this sun. It is refreshing to see, but it signals the beginning of a long work day ahead. When I return in the evening, I shall whisper goodbye to that same sun on the other side of the sky, a sun which I never saw all day at my desk in the office where I currently work. Risking being late, I stop to take a picture.

I take a picture because I know the camera will see a glow of light, a brilliance that is white at the centre and radiates translucent rainbow hues until the landscape that we only see because of that light re-emerges around its edges. I know that the camera sees more innocently than I, who compose the scene I am walking through according to my perceptions, my memories of this path, these rocks, my destination ahead. The camera will compose the possibility of another story. The camera will see two paths converging, where I only see one.

Sometimes we need to take a picture of a scene to see what was really there.

Or at least another version of what was there.

I will remember the unusual and slippery coating of frosted ice. The camera will remember the magnificent light.

That light, as I look at the photo, connects me to a dream I once had, long ago, and so strongly it brings such longing with it...

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

On The Sweetness Of Being

You are unaware of the bliss pooling in your eyes. It but a flicker, yet I see it clearly.

The sweetness of being.

Perhaps it is the sweet fresh juice of the apple trickling as you are biting. Or the perfect lace of snow on the branch. Or the sudden surprise of soft vivid irises reaching upwards. Or the scent of hyacinths in a summer breeze. Or the herald of choral clouds across the skyscape at sunset...

The sweetness of being, found in bliss.

The sweetness of being, the impetus to do, to be more than.

It is sensual, primal, almost visionary, the way bliss passes across us like a caress of warm sunlight.

And we, evolved, reservoirs of memory, mind, feeling, and sensation, who crawled out of the ocean eons ago and flew in light-footedness across the landscape and made alphabets out of everything.

Clay, metals, stones, quills, ink, parchment...

And our cornucopias of alphabets: like seeds in the fields growing our food; bricks forming the structures of our houses, cities, civilizations; minerals and metals upholding a superstructure of manufacture and energy; and our even breaking the codes of the alphabets of the molecules dancing and composing the universe...

Us filling our vast created cosmos with an interlacing calligraphy of alphabets, such sweetness of being.

You who come by, charms of bliss, having the radiance of angels, elixirs that we are barely aware of.

And I awoke this morning dreaming of calligraphies carved out of sunlight knowing that was it.

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