Tuesday, February 28, 2006

For mini WoolfCamps (WoolfCampettes?) - the idea of alternative workspaces.

One of the things I worried about in planning WoolfCamp Winter 2006 was maxing out on space at the house. We came close to that, and certainly exceeded the comfort level for the sleepover (will Debra Roby ever forgive me for stashing her petite self in the corner? can I ever forgive myself?) However, if our camp attendance tipped over, say to 35 folks, I would have considered the following:

1. Find a reasonable vacation rental in Santa Cruz for the weekend.

2. Seek out a set of adjoining motel rooms.

3. Look for a cheap loft, art gallery space for the daytime workshops, and hang out at the house for the night.

But I didn't want to think of a formal meeting space, like a hotel meeting room or something equally stuffy. That would have been costly and not at all cozy and funky.

Fortunately, everything worked out beautifully with our inaugural WoolfCamp location. But, the potential problem got me to thinking about spaces, where we work, where we hang. Let's say we did max out on room at the house, wouldn't it be great if there were cool "alt.places" available for gatherings like ours? A venue more accomodating than a bar or cafe? Some "clean, well-lighted place" with wifi, bathrooms, and a kitchen space maybe with an espresso machine? A place dedicated to writerly, geeky types whose idea of good time means settling down with the laptop and firing binary code out into the World Wide Web?

Artists have had this sort of thing going for centuries. It's an easy deal for artists to set up a studio space, located most often in culture rich urban settings, in structures ranging from luxurious well appointed Soho lofts to hovels in a shipping yard. But for writers? Indeed, there's a bunch of writer colonies and retreats around, but these can be costly and many require an application process which would include reviewing samples of the writer's work (And the thought of that? Makes me puke a tiny bit in my mouth.)

The upshot, it's tough for writers to set up shop outside of the home. And we need to do that, at least I find that I need to do this as I feed off and get energized from everyone's vibe. I think of the years I worked as a consultant in medical/pharmaceutical R&D; as easy as it was to work at home, unwashed and working in my sweats all day, it was great to spend time in the office and feel the pulse of the company. It's not possible to sense this from one's remote outpost.

(And, further to feeding off the vibe, recall WoolfCamp, where we were thriving in each others company. Blossoming! It's appropriate that we choose a flowering fruit tree for our group picture.)

Back to the business of writer's space, and I'm pleased to announce that there is hope - cool places for writers have been showing up around the country. Go check out these heavenly sounding venues:

theOffice in Santa Monica -
theOfficeTM is everything a creative workspace should be and serves as the ideal backdrop for people who want to focus and feel inspired. Amenities include a reference library, state-of-the-art ergonomic furniture... In the library are copies of Dictionaries, Thesauruses, various reference books, plus Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times and New York Times. Tech services include a T1 line for Wi-Fi and plug-in access to your laptop computer... and if you want absolute silence, or want to plug in to your own sound system, Bose Noise Reduction Headphones are available.

The Writer's Studio at the Loft in Minneapolis -
Each studio is a room, complete with a door and 2 operable windows. The studios are on the second floor, on the back, or quieter, side of Open Book, with a view toward downtown and the Metrodome. Each has a beautiful wooden writing table with a keyboard tray, a comfortable adjustable work chair, heating and air conditioning, a second chair for reading /resting/thinking, overhead and desk lighting, a large posting wall with thumbtacks, and a connection for a computer and modem.

Paragraph in NYC
Paragraph is dedicated to providing an affordable and tranquil working environment for writers of all genres. We are open
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year...Paragraph was created by writers for writers, with an understanding that writers work best in a quiet, comfortable space away from the hurry and obligation of urban life.

Oh, to swoon! Unfortunately, other than The Grotto in San Francisco, which is by membership only (and members like Po Bronson, no less), there are no such spaces in our area.

Ah! But there is more hope! Enter a bunch of ever resourceful local geeks with this idea, documented on, of course, a wiki:

Coworking - Coworking is cafe-like community/collaboration space for self-employed developers, writers and independents.

The vision: "Working in community is a time honored aspect of human culture. Working in community increases exposure to new ideas and opportunities to collaborate. Community can make peoples' professional work more enjoyable. People are more likely to bring their heart and their full selves into that which they find enjoyable."

Absolutely! Now, the goal: "...create a shared space with desks and wifi, in a location that is easily accessible, surrounded with good food and other services, and in San Francisco (to start). This space would be rented by members and available for events, etc."

The logistics and issues are laid out in the wiki.

You'll see that WoolfCamper, Chris Heurer is involved (of course! he inspires us in all things "alt"). And you know big old nosy me - I want to get in on this and start up a Santa Cruz Coworking venue.

Wherever this idea lands, events for WoolfCamp Worldwide, Amalgamated, Incorporated, Ltd.* could certainly take place in a nifty setting like a Coworking space.

Check out the wiki, campers. I'll keep you apprised as I venture into this. And let me know if you want to join your mighty superhero powers with mine to help make this cool stuff happen.

*Don't panic. I made up all those scary corporate sounding creds.

Fun with Flickr

Please help....I'm all signed up with flickr. I've figured out how to download pictures. How do I get the flickr badge to the actual blog? It says just copy this and post to your website. So I right click and go to my blog and go back to flickr, then go back my blog click on this and now it's 4 hours later I'm frusterated. Hopefully I can get together with Mary this week and we can go over this and tagging. But for now-- is this something I can easily do- get pictures up for my family and friends to see.....????? Oh what I could accomplish if I was a techie geek?

Braindump: Identity and Gender Discussion

Here are my notes from the discussion on identity and gender diva'ed by Amber. This was the infamous discussion that spurred Kristie's WoolfCamp blog post and the subsequent discussion of feminism, what it means to be a feminist, and how, as Kristie writes, "you can learn something new everyday if you allow yourself to be open to it."

These are my raw notes without embellishment, spellchecking, or editing.

P.S. Thank you to Amber for initiating and leading the lively discussion and for use of the word "trope."

Who are we. Questions of identity. gender, Utopian possibility of blogging anonymity. Feminine and masculine tropes that a blog has. What does it mean to be a feminist blogger? If blogging is a literary genre, what does it mean to put a feminist slant on that. Can blogs have a womens' writing stigma: kvetching, mommyblogging, and what does that mean for the future? What will that mean when we look back onto blogging (in the future)?

Gender and genre bibliography. Nobody has devined blogging as a genre in literary criticism. But journals, diaries, letters -- yes. Are the lines between women's public and private lives articial? (Link to thesis can be found on Wiki; Amber put it there.)

Do we need disclaimers about truth when we write because truth is so subjective and if we will be part of an understanding of history, is there an obligation to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? But, why should we include disclaimers with our writing when Viriginia Woolf herself suggested that it's something that women do with their writing that they are better off not doing.

Nancy Mairs -- check out her writing about how to write about your family.

Doris Lesing -- The Golden Notebook. Personal integration.

Susie Bright's book about being a mother and a sex persona


The question of being a feminist and if our blogs identified us as feminists. There's the question of focus on your blog. If you blog about politics one day, the oscars the next day, shoes the next day, and the question of choice the next day, ... what does this mean? Is it a dilution of power?

Are simple blogs men's blogs and complex blogs are womens' blogs? For example, if you came across a random blog and didn't know who the author was.

The intersection of gender and genre. We expect (?) allow (?) accept (?) men to be simple. As a technical writer I write in active rather than passive voice.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Monday, February 27, 2006

i wish there was a way

to see a list of recent comments on this thing, but i haven't been able to find it in the settings. any blogger users better situated? it's already getting onerous to scroll down through all the old posts, and this is only a week out!

Unabashed Pimping of WoolfCamp

As I will be 51 this year, I've arrived at the age where I don't give a damn about outward and bold appearances. Thus, I've taken to crowing about WoolfCamp on the BlogHer blog:


Kindly note, I bragged about our lovely Tara's new born site, evolving, carnival roadtrip.

I'll also be adding our blogs to the BlogHer blogroll, if it's not listed already.

Also, this makes me hysterically happy - we're included as a 'barcamp' type event on the official BarCamp wiki - scroll down to see WoolfCamp listed in Previous BarCamps.

(Chris H? Badgerbag Liz? Did either/both of you add us to the wiki? If yes, thank you. If no, then, ooo-la-la, mystique!)

This pleases me to no end as there have been critics of our endeavor, asshats who have said that we've diluted the idea of the barcamp and that the barcamp model has 'jumped the shark'.

Ptoeey. I speet on dat!

What we did, and what we'll continue to do, was to develop a venue for bloggers interested in creative expression on our online spaces. As obvious this concept may be, this has never been done. Again, being 51 and all, I'm not above being smug, so I'm glad we launched this idea out into the big bad blogosphere.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Why We Write

Mary recounts an interview and asks, How would you answer the question, "Why do you write?"

I am stumped. I have never thought about this, partly because I still stubbornly hold that even though I write, I am not a "Writer", and partly because I have written like this for so long (short-attention span writing, first in letters, then in emails, now in blog) that it is completely normal to me and has never even occurred to me to question why. I will ponder this, though, and write more about that.

Thinking...WoolfCamp Writers Workout...

Originally uploaded by George Marcellino.

...Memorial Day Weekend? Or weekend of June 10 and 11? Again, at Chez George and Grace, Santa Cruz?

This would NOT be in lieu of the proposed WoolfCamp Topanga Canyon, Fall 2006. I want to create another weekend where we practice writing. Like:

* the stream of consciousness stuff

* writerly exercises where we can kick off a piece with the same prompt - "The only thing I ever wanted was..." OR "tell a story based on this photograph/painting/still life..." OR "Your topic today is 'crazy'. Write anything about it."

* Collaborative story telling

Campers will read their favorite stuff after dinner.

Geeks/visual artists/knitters are welcome, of course; but the commitment and workshops will be oriented towards writing.

Both genders, all skin colors, your kiddos, any sexual orientation, good dogs are welcome.

This (and, hopefully, all) WoolfCamps will be based on the principles of open source gatherings. 'Safe space' guidelines will be developed and promoted. (See my thoughts on these ideas right here.)

Yeah, we'll dance. I'm thinking this time we can celebrate the late, great Curtis Mayfield and dance to Superfly!

So, Campers, wanna play?

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Have a great time at the Brainjams. I'll be networking with others that's friendly.

See you there.

Friday, February 24, 2006

From Camper Chris, What Would don Miguel and don Jose do?

Thinking lots and lots about how we can create a safe and productive place, and then, lo! over at Chris' Insytes are these splendid guidelines from The Toltec Teachings of don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you wonít be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Awesome! I do, however, have to watch the bit about "gossip". Sigh...one of my last vices, juicy gossip, along with In Style magazine...

so i'm loading up a frappr thang

still not altogether sure of the point, but the more i get in there, the richer the thing is. and then i got an invite yesterday from an old blogfriend who'd apparently just discovered it, too, with all his associated gonzo marketers. anyway, i tried to friend anybody i recognized on the woolfcamp rolls so you'll be getting frappr emails, i suppose, if you haven't already. if you're not on frappr, maybe you might want to check it out--the link is to my page. (is it the same folks as flickr, i wonder?)

You miss me. I know you do.

WoolfCamp - 07.jpg
Originally uploaded by chrisheuer.

Malcolm: Come back, WoolfCampers! I need more cupcakes! Come baaaaack!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

WoolfCamp: I Got Schooled

I have to admit that I was a bit leery of WoolfCamp. Badger and Mary and Grace assured met that it would be divine, but most group-type things I've attended have been full of insecure whiners, and I don't like all that competition.

Imagine my shock in arriving at Grace's groovalicious pad to find it chock-full of high test, beyond-cool blogganeers. (I probably still don't get how cool they all were, and are.) Imagine my relief at being the token gripey introvert! Yeah!

My daughter Iz (7) got dragged to camp with me so that her extroversion could be my shield. Turned out I didn't need it and she sure as hell didn't need me; she entertained herself effortlessly while Badger and Grace made certain that I got to finally meet cool people like Jen (whose existence I'd enjoyed reading about but had never physically verified).

Then I got to hang out with my blog acquaintances Mary, Minnie, and Grace, all of whom are tantalizingly not-quite-local to me because they don't live within my city limits. I was also introduced to asskicker after asskicker: Chris, Kristie, Amber, Debbie, Elithea (E), Sarah, Peter, Elke, Emily, Lisa, Debra, and Gwen. Wow.

Rook (Hero! Diaper changer without even being asked!) watched Mali and Iz so I could attend Debbie's session on feminist businesses, ethics, and blogging. Though I didn't really get what the session was going to be about before stumbling into the room with (because of?) a glass of port in my hand. Debbie, I apologize for all my tangent diving. Mostly I was blinky-eyed and confused about being in a room full of quite serious Writers, many of whom see their blogs as publication launching pads.

Whereas I am all about the love and community, baby. Plus I am a fortunate: I don't need writerly income, though it would be nice. I never set my sights on publication; in fact I believe that blogs are superior to books for special interests, like, erm, autism parenting.

See, parents of autistic kids frequently feel as though they can't find enough information, especially because the condition has no known cause or cure. No matter how many books a person buys on the subject, and because publishers won't give the authors more than 300 pages to tell their stories, the resulting "guidelines" are by necessity swiss-cheesed. Parents truly desperate for every scrap of information are left to figure out the backstories and connect the dots, themselves.

Blogs like mine comprehensively document years of the day-to-day reality of living with autism in a way I would have killed to access in 2002, after my son's initial diagnosis. Admittedly, readers have to do some wading (it's been 2.5 years, and I don't focus solely on my son and his autism), but I think my blog is still useful. At least I hope it is.

Anyhow, and despite my digressions, Debbie and the rest of the crew (Mary, Jen, Emily, Gwen, Badger, Sarah, Grace...did I forget anyone?) managed to get across good points about blog ads/blog revenue being cool if you're into it, about any publicity being good publicity, about how giving content away for free can increase both readership in general as well as real book sales. And I salute them all, even as I felt like a squid out of water (see cartoon below).

My favorite camp moment may have been 14-month-old Mali banging on the back porch's French doors, pissed off that she couldn't get inside and dance to Prince with everyone else.

My favorite person was, of course, un-hostess Grace. Where does your energy come from? Bottle it and send me some. Please! And thanks muchly and sincerely to you and Badger for bringing everyone together. I so very much hope to stay the whole time, and really talk to people, at the next local WoolfCamp.

P.S. I missed Jo Spanglemonkey, but was glad she called mid-camp.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Podcasting and Vlogging

Here are the notes of a total newbie from Sunday's Pocasting and Vlogging workshop led by the dynamic duo: Chris Heuer and Lisa Cantor. (Please supplement me, because I have a feeling that maybe a lot of it went over my head.)

First of all, you don't need an i-pod. "Podcasting" does get its "pod" from i-pod because that was the first portable mp3 player that really got popular and well used. It's true that you can use i-tunes to find podcasts, but that's not the only place and even there you don't have to download the files to an ipod. Listening from your computer is allowed. You can subscribe to podcasts and create your own podcasts pretty easily.

Podcasts are:

A. Just a blog for audio files, or any other files really.
B. Downloadable collections of files that you can subscribe to.
C. Part of communities that you can use to search for them or use to have them all downloaded for your later listening pleasure.
D. All of the above.

Answer: D.

Chris played us an excerpt from a recorded teen panel at Brainjam: 5 kids from the infamous Nford being interviewed with Chris's cool joy-stick-lookin' microphone. This was edited with AUDACITY and then recorded directly into his blog using AUDIOBLOG.

AUDIOBLOG: simple form-based site that you don't need to be technical to use. This site allows you to upload your stream and then dump into a blog post along with the little player that your peeps can just click and listen. This cuts out the necessity of them having to download or search or whatev. AND there is the sweet perk that whatever you put up through AUDIOBLOG is also tagged and searchable on i-tunes.

AUDACITY: an editing tool for mixing your own show! Because, Chris says, "the more polish that's on it, the more people are going to be interested in it."

Application Program Interface (API): services that allow interfaces between blogging tools, allow other apps to talk to the blog application, so that you can login to the blog from other places and publish. ...I think... I still haven't put all these pieces together in my mind very well, but Chris assured us that all the understanding comes with playing around with the stuff yourself. As Peter proceeded to do during the workshop--see his audioblog video below!

Chris has a super spy microphone in the side of his flat screen monitor that "works just fine" for Skipe calls (no idea what those are) but Lisa thinks they come out all canned or static-y or otherwise low quality.

After this "basics of podcasting" discussion we podcasted! And it may go up at some point (or already is? where? where?). Our podcast discussion was "What is WoolfCamp?" Answered very cool and banterly by Grace, Peter, Chris and Lisa.

Lisa talked about Vlogging (video blogging), which can be done using the aforementioned search and post tools. Vlogging can be done right in the regular blog or seperate as sort of a podcast. It has the power to totally revolutionize the film industry as more and more independent vloggers post and share and influence each other. There are all kinds of vlogs, including, but not limited to: cooking shows, family films, art films, music videos, and, and, and.

FIREANT: allows you to keep track of various video updates (sort of posts) so that you can download them.

R-MEDIA: Alternative to AUDIOBLOG. A great way to get free video hosting, access to internet archives of videos, and other cool independent, crusty, political, non-commercial, stuff. May be a bit too bogged down with technical jargon or clunky not-so-user-friendly interfacing, better for those professional vloggers who want to share and take advantage of the community aspect of it. For beginners, the videos just start to get buggy because of the high bandwidth.

Here are some editing tools (I think) that were mentioned:

BLIP TV: free

VLOG.COM: apple tools are better


ADOBE PREMIER: much better that MOVIEMAKER but not free. Peter uses this one.

Also, all your favorite podcasts, and vlogs can be syndicated using Really Simply Syndication = RSS a way to manage all of your subscriptions in one place. These (also mentioned at Sarah's techie bloggie tools discussion) are called "Feed readers" or "RSS readers", but I'm not entirely sure that I caught any recommendations for the readers... Maybe these were the API's?? Hmm...

Sidebar: Romantic collaborations assert their power once again as Chris blushes a bit and admits, "I actually dated the original product manager and so I got 'involved' with it rather early." Pun intended by all appearances. :)

My Spice packet of thoughts to Woolfcamp Soup

Grace per Wikipedia--the ability to move, act, or present oneself in a pleasant manner, especially under difficult or unpleasant conditions.

Since my parents were to busy smoking pot, rallying at Socialist parties and making whole wheat pizza crust to teach me, I have tried to incorporate more grace into my life. This would be a good spot for a tag but I'm still figuring that one out.
So with the love and support of Liz, reading the wiki, and wanting to better myself I came to Woolfcamp for more Grace.

Grace your mama named you right! You are full of grace. Your house is full of it. Your husband is full of Grace. Even Malcolm is full of it.
Thank you.

I'm still working on it so I owe an amends to anyone I might have offened. I did say several comments on Burlingame, frou frou style, and boob jobs. Burlingame has been wonderful to me and my family, if I was a different size I would sometimes dress frou frou and I ponder a boob job to look sexy in a tank top, no bra. So it's only out of insecurity that I said those things. I'm sorry.

Workshops ideas:

A history, overview and example of blogs for newbies.

A discussion on blog ettiquette. When, where and how to post a comment. Since this is a relativly new way of socailizing/communicating it would be nice to discuss standards.

A sign up for tech support so no one person is doing it the entire time. Thank you Chris for helping me and others who helped. My husband would be great at this job and as of right now I'm signing him up for next time.


Campers you guys are--funny, smart,oh so smart, accepting, full of love, well read, dorks, I could go on and on, great cooks, creative,...

I suck at spelling and the spell check isn't working.

Ok, enough for now. I'm of to f*** with flickr. Mary, I'm going to email soon about getting together so I don't have to spend hours trying to figure the tech stuff out. Hamster asked why I'm always on the competer when he gets up.

Only in Santa Cruz do you see a crispy captain in a gondala (sp?) talking about a movie he was in smoking pot at 7am.

To do:
Moment of Jen Zen- thank you to her about camper
Austin hook ups for Grace


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Define: 'Feminist'

Note: I started this blog post on Sunday, but needed a couple of days to think it through before I put it up here...would really appreciate feedback from everyone.
On Sunday, I was sitting in the workshop discussing gender and identity of blogs and realized I was feeling a little out of place. Most of the women in the room call themselves feminists and this is not a label I have ever applied to myself, nor is it a word I think others have used to describe me, and that word seems to be a driving force for the conversation we are in the middle of.

I do believe in equal rights, but I believe in equal rights for everyone – not just women. Have I ever stood on a soap box and demanded fair treatment for others – absolutely. Most of the time it has been in the work place and funny enough – I find myself fighting for the men who did not feel comfortable using their own voice as most of the women in my life would have no problem standing up and vocalizing what they want (and usually end up getting it). As I think about this more, I realize I have never heard any of my girlfriends or family members ever call themselves a feminist. We are simply human beings fighting for what is important to us. Maybe it was the environment I grew up in, or the ‘era’, but this terminology is all new to me (at least it feels new within the context of blogging).

Am I a feminist? Am I something else? Do I really need a label attached to who I am to make me more of who I am? If so, the list of labels is long and would never fit on a business card.

My mind is racing – do I stay in this room and remain involved in the conversation or do I run to my laptop and start researching what it really means to be a ‘feminist’. I realize my laptop will still be there in an hour, but this conversation would not, so I plant my feet and commit to learning more – straight from these smart, passionate women sitting around me.
Amber awakes the conversation going on within, and asks me to describe my blog persona and whether or not I think my readers know I am a woman. Blog persona? I don’t think I have one. Do I? As far as I knew, it is just little old me talking about what is going on in my life and what matters most (to me). I have no agenda, no plans for the future of my blog, no real desire to build an audience (it does intrigue me though). I seem to be a square peg being forced into a round hole with this conversation. I do not wish to be stereotyped with my blog – I wish to be free to discuss whatever is on my mind at that very moment. I am a human being who blogs, not a mommie blogger, not a feminist blogger, not a woman blogger, not Chris’ fiancé (or consort) who also blogs, and not a professional blogger.

As for what my audience thinks – I have no idea – but I am pretty darn sure they all know I am female as I have a photo in my profile and most of my readers are my friends and family. However, I am fairly certain they don’t think of Kiki’s Korner as a female blog. It is simply Kristie sharing her insights and thoughts – it is not important to me that I am a female blogger – only that the points I make are being discussed. Maybe I am naïve, but I am of the thought that people will read my blog because they like what I have to say – it doesn’t matter if I have a vagina or a penis.

The question for me comes down to why is there a need to associate with a label or stick me into a category? Isn’t this action in of itself contradicting the ideals of equality and attempts to rid the world of stereotypes? Isn’t this counter to the idea we promote in ”One love. One heart”? In the infamous words of Bob Marley…’let’s stick together and we will be alright’. It is not women – vs- men. Gay –vs- straight. Moms –vs- singles. Or gosh, I hope it isn’t. If it is, it isn’t the community I would call home – despite the loving kindness I felt from everyone I met – those extreme ideals may have their place and be needed in the world, but not my world. I choose to lead by example and to this end, I lead as an equal to all – man/woman, black/white, gay/straight, rich/poor – all human beings as one race, one people, one world together.

Ok, enough of my innermost thoughts on this delicate subject matter…the identity conversation now moves into a discussion on how women need to stand out in their blogs. Some of the actual phrases stated in this room are: ‘Men’s blogs are simple’ and ‘not important’ basically discounting anyone out there who happens to have a penis. ‘Women’s blogs should have insights’. ‘Powerful messages’. ‘We (women) should expect more from women bloggers’. Whoa I say. Why do women’s blogs have to be better than men’s? I surely don’t want that expectation on me (and if you have read my blog – you will see I am not out to win any medals here). This ‘expectation’ statement really strikes a chord as how can we fight for equality when we chose not to reciprocate? How can we set this standard for women and not expect the same from men? Why does one gender have to be better than another? Please, please, please. I don’t want to be disregarded as a woman, but I want to be seen as a human being first. The fact I have boobs, to me, is secondary. I will gladly sing along side with you in a rousing rendition of Helen Reddy’s ‘I am woman, hear me roar’. But I stand just as happily next to my fellow boys singing ‘Macho Man’. I am so confused.

The workshop ends and we all break for lunch. I catch up with Sarah in the kitchen and run my feelings past her. Sarah is one of those amazing old souls who is so in tune with herself – it scares me. Well, actually – it scares me someone so young can be that ‘with it,’ and at the same time, her spirit inspires me to want to ask more of myself. Anyway, I digress. After chatting with her a bit about the definition of ‘feminist’, I realize I should get some air and let it all sink in as I feel I have a lot to learn.

(fast forward 45 minutes later….)

I am back in the house and my thoughts have settled enough to start working through them, so I jump on my laptop to get Webster’s definition (I know, I am sooo old school) of ’feminist’. Webster tells me:

Feminist: noun. the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
Ok, so I AM a feminist. Easy enough. If a label needs to be placed on me, I am comfortable with this Websters description though I still don’t see the need to claim a label in the first place. I also wonder how this action of labeling will affect me in the future. Today, I am a human being who blogs, who happens to be female. Three years from now, I might be a mommy and still have a blog. Does that automatically make me a mommy blogger? If I hold a picket sign one day promoting same sex marriage - am I now a gay rights activist - or just someone who cares for equal rights?

Too many questions that have no answers…I am still not in agreement with some of the things talked about in the earlier workshop, but that is the beauty of these gatherings – find topics that stimulate you and engage others in a discussion. I don’t expect us all to agree, but I do not wish to be kicked out of the ‘club’ just because I have a different point of view. What I want is to be embraced for the diversity of my opinion as much as I embrace those with whom I disagree with. I want to be accepted for being who I am, regardless of whether or not I fit someone elses label of me. It is really about respect for all human beings, regardless of race, gender, orientation or financial status. Everyone is valuable and everyone deserves to be loved for who they are.

I now find myself looking at the signup sheet for the afternoon topics, and opted for something a little lighter in nature. Podcasting and Vlogging being hosted by Chris and Lisa seemed to fit the bill...

In the middle of this workshop, we had a small break as we waited for the equipment to catch up with the conversation, and the questions from earlier in the day caught up to me again. I decided now is as good as any to ask the big question so I look around the room at Grace, Amber, Elkit, Chris, Lisa, and Peter - and ask ‘What is a feminist and what does it mean to you’. Surprisingly, Peter is the first to respond. ‘I believe in equal rights for women. So, I guess that makes me a feminist’, he says. We all smile and I look up at Amber. ‘Is it that easy?’ I ask. ‘Or is there more’. As she is nodding her head ‘yes’, and before I get to ask her to explain the ‘more’ part - Chris and Lisa bring us back to the content of the workshop. Bugger. Note to self to delve into this with Amber later.

Unfortunately, the campers choose to end the day early, so I do not find myself with another opportunity to dig into the question that is burning in my mind. I find myself unloading all my thoughts on Chris on the way home, but quickly realize I need to circle this discussion back to the ladies who consider themselves 'feminists'. Maybe this continues in a blog format for now –or maybe we can get the WoolfCampers together for lunch – either way, I would love to hear your views on ‘What is a feminist?’ and ‘What does it mean to you?’ Perhaps more importantly, how can we all strive for equality without putting down people who are not exactly like us.

Technorati tags: feminist feminism woolfcamp girlsclub boysclub equalrights

Audience and writers

I was thinking about the "Who is our audience, and how does that affect how we write?" discussion, which was diva-ed so ably by Emily. We talked about friends, and family, and strangers... and our future selves. We were the missing audience in our discussion. We read each other, and blog for each other. We blog for the people whose blogs we admire, for the people who inspire us. When we start paying attention to each other, and blogging for each other, we become a literary movement and a powerful force. We don't write just for each other, but we write knowing that particular other writers are looking.

If you think about literary movements and their histories, you will see that this is true. That's all they are. They're groups of writers who write with the awareness of each other's attention. It kicks up the intensity a notch. That's happening all over in blogging, very rapidly, in many small groups and some huge groups. Writers are feeding each other energy and inspiration by being each others' audiences.


(I think it's great we have an official rebel yell, don't you think? I wonder what they do at BarCamp? Ba-roooooooooo?)

By cracky, I'm back online. Gracious thanks to my Brother Chris Heurer for telling me to hold down our router's reset button for 30 seconds. That simple thing did the trick and now I'm back, feeling energized, frisky and optimistic about the whole dang world.

My dears, I learned so much in our Grand Hallway Conversation. I need to release all that buzzing in my head, so be warned, this post may go this way and that. Like the way we did at Camp. And that turned out to be okay, don't you think?

Now, this is what I envision for the next WoolfCamp. Kindly note that I did not write, "this is what I wished had happened at WoolfCamp." What happened at WoolfCamp is what should have happened and that, to me, was great. The weekend exceeded my expectations; but then again I set aside the expectations and just let the time and events evolve.

So, I'd like to throw some ideas out there about what could happen, how we could do it, stuff we could use, things I overheard, things I'm mulling over. Your comments or your own post on what could be done next time would, I'm certain, be gratefully received by the current and future WoolfCampers:

("future" WoolfCampers! Wheeeee!)
  • Define the Camp purpose. A writers camp exclusively? A camp for art? Or a three day camp with all elements?
  • Before Camp, be clear on the Wiki (or blog or whatever tool we want to use for Camp prep) about the schedule, the workshops, who will present. So, more pre-planning.
  • Or, add what they do at Mashup Camp (which was held over this past weekend and was a Way Cool Thing. Go on over to the link to find out what Mashup is about). Dig this:
We will begin at in the morning with everyone sitting in a circle. In the middle will be a stack of paper and pens. All those who want to lead a session will be invited into the middle to write the session title a breif description of the sesion and their name. They speak the name into the mike and then post it on the board in the time/space grid.
  • Another Way Cool Thing at Mashup were their operating principles based on "Open Space style":

There are several principles of open space

  • Whoever comes are the right people.
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  • Whenever it starts is the right time.
  • When it is over.
  • Document your session on the wiki.

There is also the Law of Two Feet: If durring the course of the gathering, any person finds themselves in a situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, the must use their two feet and go to some more productive place.

And Be Prepared to Be Surprised.

  • Create guidelines for a safe space. I was talking about this with campers who noticed discord in converations. Though nobody pulled a switchblade on anyone, there were folks who had to deal with negativity. So, I rattled off my thoughts to WoolfCamper Chris H in an email:
(I want to introduce) concepts about creating a safe place for everyone in these settings. EVERYONE means everyone. My vision of a safe place will embrace all beings/gender/race/orientation/those allergic to dogs/those not allergic to dogs. The interior of my house, however, is not a place for tobacco cigarette smokers.

I suppose hearing 'safe place' will make folks who frown down upon political correctness smirk and snark. I don't think of this as such; rather, I envison a setting where integrity in discourse is encouraged. Any lapse in this will be handled with compassion. If there is no cooperation, then the compassionate thing would be to 1) have a cool off/time out 2) come back to the conversation after cool off and perhaps a glass of water 3) if the rancor continues, then the person not wanting to doncuct themselves with integrity will be compassionately asked to leave.

Further to the above, my hubs and un-host George added the following nugget on how to do life:

**If you want to say something that you think you shouldn't say, don't say it.**

He raised 5 kids on that credo. His kids are successful and peaceful world citizens.

Other tips on how to create a safe space:

  • Leave your assumptions at the door.
  • Leave your ego at the door. Ego keeps folks from learning, from being a joyful beginner. Ego demands that you must be the one to know everything, be the one to fix it, be the hero. We all know that being ego-driven is exhausting. Why be exhausted when you need energy for the good times?
  • Watch the ethnic/gender stereotyping and jokes. Maya Angelou has a a rule in her home - anyone who tells a racist joke under her roof is kicked out. Now, that rule may not fly at Chez Grace because there's nothing I like better than a good Filipino joke, but even a self deprecating joke can ruin a good vibe.
  • Watch how you conduct conversations - are you needing an audience and using up everyone's energy? Or are you having a good, healthy exchange? Are you doing more telling and not enough asking? Do you know when you are dominating a conversation and can you stop yourself?
  • Practice civility in disagreements. You can disagree with someone without turning them into a bad person in your head. If you happen to be dealing with a sincerely bad person, then you will likely not be able to 1) change their mind 2) reform them 3) have them understand you. So, why continue the discourse? And, if that person is truly a bad person, they can be asked to leave. With compassion, of course.
  • Of course, this whole "bad person" idea is relative and the criteria is different for everyone...or not?
  • Bring cut flowers/chocolate/whole roasted and salted cashews/port/sparkling water/good schwag for everyone. This may not promote safety, but it sure 'nuff will bring on smiles.
What else? What's been knocking around your heads, Campers?

Finally, I'm writing this in my living room and I want to know - where did you all go? I miss having you draped around the couch and sprawled on the floor! Come back! How about sometime in the Spring?

Home Again, Home Again Lickety Split

A huge thank you to all of you beautiful people at Woolfcamp for sharing your spirits, your humor, your kindness and your knowledge. Also, thank you Peter for trying to get me up and running, inspite of the futility of it all (because of my ancient wifi card). I need a new one and I know what kind, thanks to Chris. I managed to post nothing, but enjoyed myself immensely because meeting all of you was just an enormous treat. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, teaching me new skills and for your generous spirits. As a thank you to Peter for his hour of effort, I was his sous-chef and along with my able co-worker, Emily (thank you, Emily), we diced and chopped and washed and dried and left Peter to be truly creative with his delicious Thai curry.

Sunday was oddly anticlimactic. It was strangely hard taking off from Woolfcamp early because that odd sweetness of leave-taking and promises to reconnect at BlogHer mostly went unsaid. I stood at the top of the driveway, smelling the clean & spicy eucalyptus fragrace popping under the brightness of the sun and smiled, silently thanking everyone, and especially Grace, for creating such a special time and space. Thank you, Grace!

And so I look forward to seeing all of you at least once more, at Blogher. But what I really hope is that we can do Woolfcamp South at my home in Topanga Canyon, sometime in the late autumn after the intense heat of summer but while it's still warm enough to play. Being a technical neophyte, I will need loads of help with the organization of it all.

Here's how I knew Woolfcamp would be magical. Two days earlier Roger and I drove northwards with weather that changed by the minute. At times the sun shone, only to disappear under dark clouds and sudden showers and then something beautiful happened...well...here's how it all looked...the condensed version.

helloooo, all!

i got back to florida just over an hour ago and i keep promising i'm gonna crash for awhile, but here i am still. i have some fixups to do on the blog and a lot to read as we had no connectivity chez grace yesterday and, as far as i know, she still has none. (if that's the case, somebody please call her and get the woman back online? we were seriously jonesing yesterday...)

meanwhile, i have changed administrator status on this blog to liz and to grace (for when she gets back online) in addition to me so things will probably move smoother now with those smart folks able to make things happen. i still have to add a few more names, those who were the last to sign up and then i couldn't because of the connectivity issue.

i can't tell you all how wonderful this weekend was for me. grace is working on me to get me out there for blogher, so maybe i'll see you all again sooner rather than later, who knows? til then....

Monday, February 20, 2006

WoolfCamp is one of hottest Flickr Tags

Just noticed this when I logged into Flickr - kind of cool that we produced enough photos between all of us to get this honor and very wide exposure. Congratulations again Grace!

delayed reaction - and a recipe

Made it home in one piece after a ridiculous and mysterious mishap with my front tire, which ended up with me having to stay one more night. Too long a story for my weary mind to recount again. But it was a kick hangin wit all of yas, don't be strangers, cuz you aren't, any more. Anyhow here's the recipe for the phanaeng curry, which a number of folks asked me to post. The curry paste and just about everything else can be gotten at a Thai food specialty store and some big markets in Chinatown, S.F. or Oakland. In Berkeley check out Tuk-tuk or Erawan markets on University Ave.

Phanaeng Curry

To serve 4

1 tbsp peanut oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 tbsp penang curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
500g (1.1 lb) chicken meat, cut bite-size
4 kaffir lime leaves
¼ cup coconut cream
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp soft brown sugar
½ cup fresh roasted peanuts, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh pineapple
¼ cup coriander leaves (cilantro) – cut off and discard stems
1 cucumber, sliced
Chili sauce for serving

To serve 20

5 tbsp peanut oil
5 large red onions, chopped
10 tbsp penang curry paste
5 cups coconut milk
2500g (5.5 lb) chicken meat, cut bite-size
20 kaffir lime leaves
1¼ cups coconut cream
5 tbsp fish sauce
5 tbsp lime juice
10 tsp soft brown sugar
2½ cups fresh roasted peanuts, chopped
2½ cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup coriander leaves (cilantro)) – cut off and discard stems
5 cucumbers, sliced
Chili sauce for serving

Heat oil in wok or large frying pan
add onion and curry paste to wok and stir for two minutes
add coconut milk and bring to boil
add chicken and kaffir lime leaves to wok
reduce heat, cook 15 minutes
remove chicken with wire mesh strainer or slotted spoon
simmer sauce about 5 minutes or until thick
add coconut cream, fish sauce, lime, brown sugar
cook 5 minutes
return chicken to wok
stir in peanuts, cilantro, pineapple, cook 5 minutes

serve with sliced cucumber and chili sauce on the side

Filing and catagorizing

Most of you that I've subscribed to already in bloglines were filed under "Odds and Ends". This afternoon, though, while getting comments and going back to people's blogs, I realized that to make sense of who I'm reading and why, I needed a new group.

So now I have to move you all into my Woolf Camp folder. Thank goodness by the time I get home from Pickles tonight, all that will be available to entertain my eyes and ears will be the Olympics and MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge!!

And good news for me. A blog-friend has determined the problem with my template, and will help me fix me!! I should be beautimous on everybody's screen by the end of the week.

for next time

I keep thinking about all the things I could have done better. The main one is, I think we needed more short, quick group exercises to get things flowing! I was reading about some of Chris Heuer's BrainJam exercises, and thinking about past classes and workshops I've been at in grad school or other situations. "Write two sentences, one about what you want to learn, and another about what you want to teach today." That kind of thing. To make them happen, someone just has to stand up and say, "Pay attention. Now we're doing this." I'm not used to taking that role, and frankly this weekend was a (good) stretch for me!

For example, I love the idea of passing out three index cards, writing three words to describe (ourselves, what we want out of the experience, whatever) and then passing them up, reading them out, taping them to the wall. There's a one-minute exercise that transmits potentially useful information from everyone to everyone.

Teaching by example one-on-one is powerfully effective. I thought of pairing people up in teams for 15 minutes of "teach someone something" and then the pair should switch off student/teacher roles, or rotate; this could be done with a public signup list of who can teach what and who wants to learn what. If not "teaching a skill" it could be "showing what my experience is; my favorite sites; my surfing pattern; what my desktop organization or workflow is."

Any more suggestions?

Writing Workshops... continued...

I mentioned this a few times over the weekend, but I must add it to the blog. Ya'll need to get your butts over to TheWrit.org and set up your free accounts. Post your creative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, scripts, dialogues, what-have-yous, and let the community give you some constructive feedback. Poke around, read some good stuff, add your two cents, and take in the goodness of the online writing community.

And if anything rubs you the wrong way, email the webmastress herself directly. 'Cause that would be me.

2 bits

e- Could you link my blog to my name under participants? http://www.blogger.com/posts.g?blogID=22655631

How do you tag? I went to the workshop, I should know. I took notes but they only say what a tag is. I thought I understood you right click a blue highlighted link on another persons blog, copy and paste to your own but when I did that it just gave the address and it wasn't highlighted. See above.

view from the stairs

woolf camp
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.
I think this was during Saturday evening's debrief. Look how sanfransocial it is, all laptops open!

How lovely. And at that point at night, how tired we were...

Home again!

Oh, and I'm home now. I'm sure Debbie is too! We never found the bag or her car keys. Her partner and his other partner valiantly drove down from the East Bay to give us duplicate keys. I hope someone finds the bookbag. Probably it got loaded up into the wrong car!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Two take-aways for the Woolfies, in shorthand

I've blogged about and liveblogged from some intense situations, but I had trouble keeping up with the intensity of WoolfCamp! I felt that I really lived, for a weekend, The Grand Conversation. Thank you so much, everybody!

Here's two big picture conclusions I came to from many conversations, both in organized discussions, "hallway" talks, and debriefing:

1. We need organized childcare at BlogHer.

I talked with Debbie Notkin about how various science fiction conventions handle childcare - including WisCon - and it doesn't sound that hard. From talking with the Woolfies, I concluded we need to commit to providing childcare at BlogHer. We basically need licensed, bonded caretakers, and a room; there are legal issues but we can find out what they are.

2. We need role-playing about how to deal with group dynamics and sexism.

Pointing out, and heading off, uncomfortable situations, in a civil and productive way, is a skill that we all can learn. I think it takes practice. We could set up pretend situations and play them through, and try out different methods of calling people to account or going "meta". WHEN it happens rather than way afterwards. It is hard to name the problem in realtime, but we've just got to.

Yay WoolfCamp!

WoolfCamp - 58.jpg
Originally uploaded by chrisheuer.
Three cheers from WoolfCamp. It's not really over ... we'll keep its spirit going. What a fabulous weekend to kick it off!

woolfcamp 2006

woolfcamp 2006

I'm home safe... and sound. I'm sure Sarah and Amber made it back to SF from here. We had a GPS with us but I was having fun getting lost and finding our way back to 17. We had an adventure...we went down Amber Lane, saw groovy downtown Santa Cruz and laughed about birds on lamp poles.


There was a question about podcasting downthread, and I didn't finish my experiment last night, so I'll point out Eric Rice's Guide to Making a 10 Minute Podcast.

Photos on Flickr

Chris and I are in the process of posting the photos we took this weekend, and I see Liz and Elkit have done the same.

Elkit has also set up a Flickr group for WoolfCamp, so if you take photos - please add them to this group (easiest to do as you are uploading them). Chris and I had already posted over 100+ of our photos, so I am not sure we will be able to go in and link each one as I would like to see daylight sometime soon. :)

But if we can, we will.

More to come....

P.S. Any word from Tara and Sarah - are they home safe and sound yet?

Technorati tags: woolfcamp flickrgroup sharingphotos

Keep the posts coming

Since I could not be at camp today (Sunday), I am so very thankful to those of you who have posted here and your own blogs and on flickr so that I could be there virtually. Looks like I missed a gorgeous sunny morning on the deck.

Please keep posting about what you learned and experienced. I know that there is so much more that we can share together once everyone has a chance to reflect.

still driving...

another wrong turn, another freeway without an onramp... another city, still lost.

a snapshot of the ride home...

(after driving around lost in the Mommy Van...)

Amber: "There's a sign for 1 and 17!"

Tara: "Why didn't we see that before?"

Amber: "Oh, we were looking at the birdies!"
This was done in an S.F. studio 1997 as part of a Musicians' Union promotional program. I wanted to share this with my new friends at Woolf Camp because here I just learned about publishing video blogs, and here is the proof!

artblogging tools

sample quick sketch using io digital pen

artblogging tools

sketch of houseplant made at saturday's drawing session using tablet pc (or could easily have been wacom pad) and painter IX program.

Blogging Art

Some links to regular blogging groups or activities that encourage creativity or artistic exercise:

Danny Gregory: Danny writes about encorporating art in your every day life. His Every Day Matters Yahoo group supports this.

Self Portrait Tuesday There is a theme of the month (February's is Your Bodies Little Parts... those little things that you don't necessarily like about yourself). You post one or more photos every Tuesday on the theme.

Illustration Friday llustration Friday is meant to challenge participants creatively. We believe that every person has a little creative bone in their body.

A Simple Still Life A monthly creative exercise I sponsor.

An unofficial exercise is 365 Days of Creativity. This is a commitment to DO something creative every day and blog about it. My absolute favor post on this.

Tools for drawing:

IO Pen, about $100

Corel Painter (bundled with the Wacom Tablet).

Tag, it's you!

We talked about tagging. Started with tagging on flickr.com because it illustrates it so nicely: you add tags to your photos like keywords, and you as well as other people can find you by tag. Grace mentioned that she tags all the photos of her Jack Russell Terrier Malcolm with "jackrussellterrier", and anybody who searches for "jackrussellterrier" on flickr can find her pictures.

Similarly, you can tag your blog entries with Technorati tags, and any web sites that you look at, with del.icio.us tags.

Tara described it aptly as "a file cabinet" for anything you look at online. I may add to this post later, but I'll just publish it as it is now.

With technorati tags: woolfcamp tagging flickr del.icio.us

Wish I could start my morning this way everyday...

  • Rolled out of bed at 8am
  • Had a cup of coffee (ok, I had two)
  • Chomped on some yummy coffee cake
  • Put my kicks on
  • Took a stroll around the harbour with Chris, Grace, E, Sarah, Tara, Amber and Debra to get the blood pumping for day #2
  • Started blogging when I should have been stretching, but such is life
I am blown away by the amazing people surrounding me. Strong- inspirational women, empassioned - open minded men. I am thrilled to have met everyone here and intend to keep in touch and learn more as they are the type of people that will help me to keep growing as a human being and ultimately make life much more interesting.

Thank you miss Grace for this opportunity to bond with some cool spirits.

Technorati tags: woolfcamp sundaymorning inspirationalpeople

Quotes from the walk

"No!" (don't step back further on the rocks). "Your life insurance isn't paid up yet!"


" See one, Do one, Teach one."

i think a lot of this stuff

is going to get posted after the fact, when we get back home and get a chance to reflect (is there ever a chance to reflect?) i am hopeful that this site will remain active in that regard for quite awhile.

having said that, i was just making this point to debra but stopped mid-sentence, saying i'd better blog that. so i stopped in mid-verbal communication to the woman right next to me in order to blog it instead. and she knew what i meant. what's that about and is it good? is it bad?

Good Morning Santa Cruz!!!!

Pee, check.
Dress, check.
Brush teeth, check.
Close pullout sofa, check.
Coffee, check.
Mandatory sweet carbs, check.
Do something geeky, check.
Blog, in progress...

Woolf Camp has been pretty much as expected - awesome time hanging out with great people talking about life and sharing insights on blogging the process and the tools, not the technology and the code. For me personally, this weekend is particularly gratifying because it is one of the first up close looks I have into seeing my vision for BrainJams and Camps manifested in the real world. Just a bunch of real people, organizing their own get togethers, sharing their experience and insights on what they found to work best.

With a large Blogher contingent in the house, Peter Trumpett and I are the only males left this morning. Bill had to take care of some personal matters today, so left last night over the hill. We are expecting Lisa and Marc Canter later this morning, so that should be an interesting jolt of masculine energy into the mix. Funny thing is, it does not matter - at least to me and I believe the same holds true for Peter and Bill. We are just people, getting together with each other as equals.

One of the most amazing things for me is how simply we all slipped into the comfort of each other's company - most people did not know each other, but now this morning, every face is familiar and friendly. Like BrainJams, it is a really diverse mix with different interests, different levels of technical knowledge and different reasons for being here. But we all are connected by the wonderful intentions that our host Grace Davis set for the weekend.

While I still believe that anyone can do this, Grace has shown once again how important it is for the person who is organizing these sorts of events to start from within their heart - to hold onto right purpose and right speech. Grace understands this to the Nth degree and has set an example for others which may even lead to similar Woolf Camp styled events in Topanga Canyon and event Tampa, FL (where 2 participants came from). As Grace said last night "see one, do one, teach one".

From my perspective, I saw BarCamp, We did BrainJams and the new BrainJams community site we are launching is where we will continue the cycle, teaching others what we have learned. But honestly, the reason for doing BrainJams as "The Unconference Community" is more about learning from others than it is about teaching - for I am just a simple apprentice and the world is my teacher...

Hot coffee and sweet breads

I'm enjoying a cup of coffee and the luxury of a laptop on my lap and the continuing company of adults. My husband has IM'd me with the sounds that normally would be filling my ears:

[8:03:28 AM] Mike says: ju ju ju
[8:03:28 AM] Mike says: Daddy, milk please, OK!!!!!!!!!!!!
[8:03:29 AM] Mary says: hi!
[8:03:36 AM] Mary says: yes, the sounds of morning
[8:03:50 AM] Mike says: For some reason they loved the eggs this morning
[8:03:59 AM] Mike says: I put a bit of olive oil in the pan
[8:04:02 AM] Mary says: i see
[8:04:13 AM] Mary says: it may be that they're sick of microwaved eggs
[8:04:26 AM] Mary says: their enthusiasm waxes and wanes
[8:04:27 AM] Mike says: Or underfed yesterday

Yesterday was so marvelous and I expect today to be more of the same.

i've added participant blogs to the sidebar

Please check your own link just to make sure it actually goes to you in not to somebody in outer Lithuania I typed in instead?

Did I miss anybody?

Sunday Morning....

It's beautiful here. The air is thick with fog that looks like smoke passing by the big windows in wavy sheets. There is always the sound of rain -- sometime's it's from outside, sometimes it's from the laptop tapping in the living room.

I'm grateful to Shauna for the temporary laptop use. It's been strange being so far from a real computer, yet so surrounded by them. Granted, I still check my email from my treo phone, but with all these blog resources flying left and right over my head, I feel so discouraged by my inability to dive right into them all. This camp will take weeks to process. All of its content is like the down blanket I brought to sleep in downstairs, all wrapped up tightly crushed, free of air, condensed. It will take much unfolding and sitting and flapping and beating with tennis rackets to let all these experiences filter their way into my life, my blogs, my thinking.

I'm looking forward to it. And to the second day.

The coffee is flowing.
Getting up and making coffee is second nature at home. I know where everything is, what to measure, where to pour and how long to wait.

A new environment and even this simplest of tasks becomes something to pay attention to.

Where's the light? Do I need one? I can make coffee in just the light of day.

How much? Can there be too much? Visiting in the Midwest, I know it can be too little.

And water? I can see where it should go, but how to get there.

Someone else's plastic and electronics equipment is different. I don't wish to break.

Oh hell, just pull the thing out and get on with it.

scoop, pour, push, flip.

The Sound of Morning.

Saturday, February 18, 2006



amber made an interesting comment about 'art as language'. this got me thinking all over the place.
i mean, there is certianly a technical language of art. you learn terms to describe technigues, supplies art movements and types. in that way artists speaking to each other about art can sound like gibberish to other people.

clearly you dont have to know the technical terms for art techniques to execute them.
but really what about art as a tool for communication. i use art to communicate with myself (past, present and future), other people, nature, god. and what i am trying to communicate? a mood, an emotion, a moment in time, a place a quality of light or an idea.

there are exercises for art that i just love. i think writers have similar ones. they are often just there to loosen you up and give you ideas. two fo my favorites are teh gesture sketch and the contour drawing.
i hate both of these when i first started. they are actually really difficult to get your self to do (not difficult to execute tho). they jjust look like scribbles or smudges from your charcoal.

but the point of them is expression. of your own feelings or of the object or the objects surroundings.
i think people beginners and people of all skill levels occasionally get hung up on trying to acurately reproduce something. you keep trying to draw it and you keep being NOT HAPPY with your drawing. probably it feels to stilted. and thats why doing 30 second , 20 or 10 second gestrure drawings of your subject from different angles can help so much. because you have no time to worry about detail you have to capture the essance of the thing you are drawing. it can be hard. but very rewarding.

i love that art is communicating often at a subconcious level. think about how you draw something. with pressure on your tool, motions of your hands or body. when you are angry or feeling intense your strokes may be harder, more angular you may pick saturated or darker colors. when you are feeling more calm or centered you might see a swaying or flowing motion in your art. you see things in different lights depending. on your mood. emotional state. location. time of life. time of day.
all these things come out in what you do whther you want it to or not.

i imagine it is the same with the writing and poetry folks.

it is the language you are speaking to your audience.

i think about the painter that painted the same street corner over and over. one painting for every hour of the day. some photographer did that famously as well. how exciting!

try drawing your subject at different times. see what happens. don't show your work. do show it. change you mind. who cares? either way you have changed your own course.

Poetry reading con't

So everyone has busted out some lovely work (Sarah rocking a couple of slamming original works). Feeling the desire to contribute, what do I do? Why, I bust out a little something from the lyrical genius, Whitney Houston.

Ahem (clearing my throat):

I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

I think need to hone my creative skills.


We're taking turns reading poetry while the rain rushes onto the roof in the darkness.

Message in a Bottle

Our very good friend Ricky sends his love and sez:

You know, having read your blog, now I'm completely depressed that I couldn't attend Woolfcamp. Not only does it seem really fun and interesting, but, damn, the Woolfcamp women are hot!

Elke was trying to, in the best tradition of the secrets of the sisterhood, tell me that it was called Woolfcamp because of Virginia Woolf. But now I know--what I suspected all along--it's the whole "aaawoooo!". It's the wolf whistling thing, isn't it?

And while I'm not there, I am happy to see that some things I've done bring me there anyway.

Like Zephoria uses a little icon of a cat with a melon on its head.

And I'm not about to claim that I took that picture, but I did bring it to the internet.

Honest, you could look it up.

And that's just weird to me. And pleasing. Like if you made up a dirty joke, told it in Jersey, and years later you heard it in Las Vegas.

It brings us all together, in a really trivial and silly way.

And to anyone, who’s serious about anything, nothing is more serious than the silly and the trivial.


Chaucer, Frost, Woolf, Heuer...

So after finishing off a phat dinner and dusting off several bottles of wine, we have decided to read a little poetry. Some from those already published - others have works of their own. Peter just finished a poem from Richard Wilbur (Advice to a prophet) which has set the tone nicely.

Chris is up next - stuff I have never heard of. Should be interesting. Opening up a side I have yet to be exposed to.

Grace has also promised us a haiku showdown - throwing back another glass of wine - gloves are off.

i don't know about anyone else...

but i'm growing really, really tired. if i could only get up off this floor pillow, i'd probably go find someplace to crash a bit. hmmmmm. nope, knee don't fail me now.

e.'s armwarmers and fancy slippers

woolf camp
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.
Chris H. just taught us the term "sanfransocial" which describes what we're all doing now, sitting around being social, but with laptops open, blogging everything and checking our email.

Amber was just teasing me about how weird it was for me to be doing this in class all the time! Yes... it was freaky.

Well, anyway I'm so so so so so overstimulated. There's not enough time! I changed the schedule on the whiteboard to move an event to tomorrow; and wrote "CHILL" across 6:30-7:30. Not that I needed to, because that's what was already happening!

Peter is cooking Thai food and there's a ton of people in the kitchen doing busy things. I'm CHILLing.

nifty techie bloggie tools

although I was supposed to be the secretary... e did a better job!

ditto ditto ditto

thanks to Sarah for the nifty handout!

Flickr Group

i created a woolfcamp group.


all photos that you tag as woolfcamp you should also add to this group.

to join the group, click on the link and look for the "join this group link".

nifty techie bloggie tools, too

our host: sarah dopp
her blog: sarahdopp.com/blog

sarah made a handout!

sarah didn't have expression engine on the list, so i googled it. www.pmachine.com keith at scrine has just switched to this package and has started designing for some (me, for instance). he might be a good resource for questions about this package (check out scrine.com)

ecto, qumana, etc.

don't spend more than $10 a year for a domain name

domain registry of america is a scam, don't pay any attention to their letters. use autorenew on your service, instead. consider not paying for more than a year in advance because prices keep going down.

don't pay more than $5-$10 a month for hosting. if somebody recommends a host to you, check them out on webhostingtalk.com

for personal, nonprofit and artistic stuff: laughingsquid.com

another thing: don't go with anybody who isn't recommended to you.

"what it comes down to really is that the best thing is having friends."

Quotes of the session

We are sitting in the "Nifty Techie Bloggie Tools" workshop. While there is a lot of information going on and someone else will blog all that, I'm planning on sharing some of the more fun quotes.

In explaining about text publishing software like Ecto and Performancing, we explained to a new blogger that these are not the main tools, these are the "accessories" that make things look better. Than we decided that no... these are the underthings that support the look and make it fabulous.

So our conclusion:

Performancing (and others) is like a great support bra.

View Source is like cliffnotes.

Kharma happens.

At this point, my battery died.

Who's your audience?

woolf camp
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.
Em, who stepped up to diva our discussion of blogging and audience. At least 20 people were in the room... I didn't count exactly.

My Intro

The first assignment for the day is to introduce yourself in a stream of consciousness fashion, so here goes.

I am here today in an effort to feed my soul. As the mother of two boys, 12 and 15, and the keeper of a career, two dogs, and a marriage, I often find myself lacking the vitality that expect and enjoy in myself. Don't misunderstand me. I love my life and I wouldn't change a thing. I just find that opportunities like today are rare and so powerful and I found myself compelled to be here.

This is also the reason that I blog. I find that both the exercise of sharing who I am along with participating in the community that is the bloggisphere, helps me to feed my soul whenever I find the need and the time to do it.

I am blessed in so many ways. With health and family and dear friends all around me. I'm also extremely lucky to have a career that leaves me feeling, at the end of the day, that I made a difference in someones life and that the world is a better place because of we do collectively.

I am not a naturally outgoing person. I have my moments, but mostly in groups like this I tend to linger in the background. I do, however, have a strong desire to get to know you all as comrades for the day and as a Woolfcamp community moving forward. Making rich connections is an important part of who I am. Here's to the richness of the day.



contoured, gestured, chewed up, and spit out in water color

Grace's miracle orchid coaxed out of its cozy home behind the woodstove and put on a cherry wood pedastle for our sketching pleasure.

Minnie pulled out her wistful, vivid, and sometimes dissected birds. She shared the contents of her special pencil box. Debbie the craft wizard came totally prepared, with sketch pads and a whole passle of color-making utensils. Andrea dances jazz, but only on the paper at the mo. E has some kind of neat software that turns her screen into a sketch pad. Now I know what those maneuverable screens are for--walking through Best (You Can Get, Sucker) Buy, ignorantly bargain hunting, I thought they were just extra features to add a few hundy to the price tag.

Horizons expanded:

"You are not drawing a plant, you are drawing a picture," says E. And I don't know how to draw a picture. My eyes are unreliable, even when I'm not using them to scrutinize the subject. So, we discuss the action of drawing, the seeing of art, the rules of creating aesthetic value (without using the phrase 'aesthetic value!'), and menopausal concerns.

Then we sketch some more and talk about the language of art. Who can 'speak' it and can you learn it in art school? Are there natural speakers, or do parents/society make some kids sort of "naturally" artistic by 'speaking' to them in the language of art? What language(s) did my parents speak to me in? And which did I learn later? And why?

Some Notes about Blog Audience

Talking about blog audience at Grace’s. These links didn’t come up explicitly, but remembered during the conversation.

Subject Matter expert on mySpace.

  • Stalking
  • Use stance - using mySpace to meet people considered dangerous.
  • Everyone, in their community, has mySpace or Facebook accounts.
  • Using it to keep in touch with a circle of friends.
  • “You don’t think your parents are going to look at it.”
  • Law Enforcement trolling mySpace to find ‘miscreants.’

Chris: the worst that happens in the real world, will happen online.

Do you need a separate blogging policy? Not really, it’s part of general communications policy.

Back in the day, we didn’t show our piercings and tattoos at work, is blogging like that?

Memoir, and memoir-izing events to distance yourself.

The “no blogging” light, when is it lit?

ETA Blogger adds returns... grrrr.

after the first session

i was part of the "drawing workshop" which, of course, is essentailly a silent eneavor. debra, minnie, amber and I drew a houseplant, whith others coming in and out (i think, i was, of course, essentially silent...) but we just drew and didn't even show our work, so we don't need to be intimidated here, anybody who wants to join in next time. drawing all the way through, i suppose. i'm drawing on my tablet pc, so anybody who wants to see the possibilities of that, feel free to check me out.

hold on, i have to add somebody to the blog...

Photos from the Camp

Woolf Camp gets off to a great start with Grace and Liz explaining the geometry of squares and rectangles.

Grace and Malcolm greet the Woolf Campers.

Liz (badgerbag). I am in boot envy...

While some of the campers are talking about "Who Is Your Audience", we sat in the sunlight discussing sketching and art and a little bit of blogging.

Who do you write for?

Participating in the session about who your audience is. Some of the questions/talking points are:
- public vs. private writing
- getting "outed" by friends and coworkers who find your blog
- changing or second-guessing your content because of your audience
- different levels of privacy or perceived privacy, like protected entries on livejournal
- family relationships impriving as an unintended side effect of blogging
- and Grace just mentioned ricky the bottleblogger as an example of a fairly specialized blog with other topics sprinkled in occasionally. We are such groupies. :-)

breakout in progress!

We brainstormed and then chose topics to diva. "To diva" is our new verb because "facilitate" is boring & mealymouthed, and we abandoned the idea of "expert" long ago.

Now it's 3:42 and we've split into 3 sections: "Who are we writing for/audience? What does that do, what does awareness of who's reading do?" diva-ed by Emily.

Downstairs is socializing, blogging, and ... as the 2nd session, a drawing workshop.

Notes from the intros

Elke- the sound! Debbie & Chris Robinson - "like rain" a great tappity tap, all around the room, perfect silence otherwise.

Jen - "because i blog under my real name, my life comes across as much more polished and happy than it really is"

Elke - most of us here are personal bloggers, not the sort of blogs that get noticed in the media.
can't imagine life without blogging
my life becomes more and more visible.
we're all small pieces loosely joined.

Peter - "I often feel like i'm interrupting someone's life at an awkward moment."

yo, there are men here!

i just felt the need to point that out, so as not to allow them to feel outnumbered. currently we are speaking of the use of the verb "to Diva" and its correlative "to Devo"....

Quote of the moment:

"Anyone can "diva" a workshop...."

"What's the male equivalent?"


a woolfcamp ambience alert!

the wonderful keith at scrine has sent the following message while we were at lunch; everybody click right now to ehar our own special Scrinecast!:
I really should have put together a small Woolfish video for the general entertainment of the troops. Or maybe that's what all the wine is for.

All those women and all that wine - what to do, what to do. Perhaps a Scrinecast. Let's see . . . how about Lilith Fair :: A Celebration of Women in Music

Have fun!

~ Keith

Liz's intro

Liz's intro

I'm Liz. Bookmaniac, badger, Lizzard, geek, nerd, mom, poet, translator, literary critic, perpetual student. I've been keeping journals and diaries since I was 14. I always had several journals at once, and I used to keep them duct-taped to the underside of my dresser drawers to hide them, but since I often forgot to hide them I'm sure someone was peeking at them and reading all along. I wondered who I was writing for and figured it was for the future me. Blogging is like coming out of hiding and the several journals are only just now starting to link up to each other. I now have the various online versions of me, and privacy is just as much an illusion as it was when I was 14.

I keep thinking lately of the words "drinking from the firehose" and realizing I'm drinking from too many firehoses at once. But it's SO GOOD. I love being in the stream of words happennng from all sides and getting to put mine in too. it makes me feel more alive than i've ever been and very happy. It's like when I was younger I got to be in this glacier creep of books to me, and me to journals, and the journals might never go anywhere, or the poems I published in little magazines were like erratic boulders or pebbles dropped on the landscape and forgotten, disconnected. Now what I do is part of this huge ocean with a million currents. And you can see into it in so many ways. I don't mean to hype the "change the world" thing but it has certainly changed my world. Now information and words and writing comes to me in realtime. i can walk around in it like sunlight. and what i do is sometimes lost but it might, maybe, be all connected, which makes me feel a happy continuity of identity. Though that continuity is sometimes uncomfortable....

Making the schedule

woolf camp
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.
Minnie setting up the preliminary schedule for Saturday. Where's the post-it note for "Smash the Patriarchy"?