May 24, 2003

Help Wanted

It's a sleepy, soggy Saturday and already I've been immersed in the wiki.

Yes, I know it sounds like the name of a character from Star Wars. I am quick to confess I'm not at the leading edge of technology here in the backwaters of rural Virginia, and wikis were new to me. Now they seem the perfect tool to use as we (a small group of 'place bloggers') collaborate to hopefully create a place where this kind of blog post is the center focus. A pundit-free zone. Take a look at wikis if you have need for a 'chalkboard' to streamline discussions in your business, family, special-interest group. They do seem a bit arcane until you get some content going, then it all makes sense, and the text language is very simple.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I am recruiting some reader help here (on a Saturday!? Yeah, right!) But if you have ideas, please comment. I am wondering (for the sake of telling others what we're doing) what constitutes a blog post that could be said to be 'about place'? I have started a list on the wiki, drawn from a broad summary of the types of posts on Fragments that I would say are 'from or about place'. Can you offer other suggestions, perhaps from your own writing, of general subjects and perspectives that might be described as 'place-related'? Here are some of mine...

  • Nature/natural history: can include mere observations but better than that, observations that promote understanding or reflect relationships with non-human species and habitats.
  • Landscapes: descriptive/immersive narrative of the landform that surrounds you (or in your travels but more than a travelog of I went here, there, etc). Paint word pictures so those from other types of country can be vicariously in your woods, prairie, beach, mountaintop, etc).
  • Human-nature interaction: Tell how your activities or those of your community impact the living systems for good or ill.
  • Local history of place: Explore how your life is just so because of the history of where you live, the people that lived there and farmed fields, built the house, created community...
  • Personal space in place: Reflections of one life (yours) passing through and being changed by place (weather, seasons, birth-death, aging, personal growth). Journaling in the context of the 'where'.

Now: Your turn. Don't be shy. Help guide us toward a better understanding of what this growing blog-habitat is all about. Then (hopefully soon) we will need you to help us by contributing appropriate posts from your weblog, and we'll ask you to tell others who might have an interest so the community can grow. This is exciting for me, after a year of being the Strange Farmer of Erewhon, putting my silly trinkets out there for passers-by. Lo and behold, there are other kindred Farmers out there, thought perhaps not quite as strange as this one. And I think our collective 'produce' will be worth coming for. Soon and very soon.

Posted by fred1st at May 24, 2003 07:26 AM | TrackBack

About place can be all of those things, but it can include politics. I'm not sure how to explain it, but redneckin is what I mean.

Not confined to politics, but they're there..the politcis of Phenix City, and I'm not even sure where that is, other than in Alabama.

Posted by: Jane at May 25, 2003 09:16 PM

Gee, Fred, you pretty much covered it. I would also perhaps suggest "buildingscapes." I am transfixed by old buildings that have outlived their useful life. They are still, however, fixtures of a place. How people interact with these old buildings, or old artifacts of a place. Not exactly history, because it's dealing with the buildings as they are now.

Am I making sense here?

And, yeah, I know this is Sunday.

Posted by: bryan at May 25, 2003 09:46 PM

I like that Bryan. I happen to have a thing for construction sites...something about seeing something emerge from nothing. My last apartment faced a big building site and i loved to sit on my balcony and watch all the action on the scaffolding opposite. (And--you know what workmen are like--they loved to watch all the action on my balcony, heh heh).

Fred, I think you've covered it - anything I could add is subsumed by your 'personal space in place' category, I think.

Posted by: Gianna at May 25, 2003 11:26 PM

Yes, Bryan, Ihave had similar thots, driving down what used to be the only hiway through the Roanoke Valley, before the interstate. The slow decay or rather pitiful 'second use' (more likely 7th or 8th) of old gas stations, motels, and diners is an interesting if somewhat sad phenomenon as you suggest. Maybe you would think about fleshing out your thoughts on this; it would be the kind of topic that would fit nicely on the future site. Stay tuned!

Posted by: fredf at May 26, 2003 05:12 AM

I like what yall are doing with the 'place blog' thingie. Great idea...

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at May 26, 2003 09:42 AM

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