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Hi friends and followers.

This is just a quick reminder that if you are subscribed/following my blog here, you need to go over to my new address and follow me there. The (redundant) content here will be phased out, and I’ve been duplicating and linking them together just as a transitional stage. For your records, it’s http://maryannclarkescott.com. Thanks!

 

MA

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KILLER IS ON DECK

We awoke this morning to find a scrawled note stuffed under the gate that separates the upper from the lower floors of our summer house. An advance warning, it read: “KILLER IS ON DECK”.

note: Killer is on the Deck, M A Clarke Scott, Writer, Blog post

I’M PISSED

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would say I was crazy, but I spent the last couple of days dealing with the fallout of one of my cats, Zu, having pissed on the futon sofa at our cottage. Usually (here and at home) it’s on one of the beds. This is not something she does often, but often enough that we have resigned ourselves to covering the beds with a plastic sheet after they are made in the mornings. I have washed enough duvets and mattress covers to last two lifetimes! This new challenge was far worse. When I discovered her “faux pas” I groaned. Would we even be able to save it? more

ARE WE RE-WIRING OUR BRAINS?

Were you online today? Did you check your email , read a favourite blog, watch a video or look at some pretty pictures on Pinterest? Did you Google a question – perhaps the price of a pup tent at Canadian Tire, how to repair the damned hot water system on your sailboat, or look up a quick (probably untested) recipe for a salad using yesterday’s leftover grilled corn on the cob? As the day waned, did you download a movie to chill with or play a little Scrabble or World of Warcraft?

Is that a stupid question? (Or a series of stupid questions. There are rather a lot of questions in this post.)

Brain_MRIThe internet has certainly changed the way we spend our time, hasn’t it? I’ve been wondering if the glut of easily accessible information and addictive entertainment available to us in today’s computer age inhibit our ability to read and think deeply? Is it changing the way we actually process information, and consequently the decisions that we make? Is it depriving us of time spent face to face with our families and friends, with other human beings in the flesh?

Yes, of course we are, in some ways, better informed than we ever were. But to what degree is the information that we swill around and regurgitate really valuable to us? The internet, whether Google or Wiki or whatever, puts the answer to any question at our fingertips. There is no lag time. We no longer have to physically go to a library, conduct any thoughtful research, skim and search for the right book or books and read copiously to find what we are looking for. We no longer have to consult with people who may have expertise or first hand experience addressing the problem we face. We barely even have to go to a store and browse to figure out what to buy…more

2978305256_6041f65aa6BLOGGING IS HARD

I’ve been trying to transition from an occasional and erratic blogger into a regular blogger for some time now, and toward that end have read books and taken classes, such as Kristen Lamb‘s Are You There Blog It’s Me Writer, an her  WANA Tribe blogging class, and most recently, moved to a new domain name and server here at www.maryannclarkescott.com, but the actual act of blogging regularly has yet to manifest. Not for lack of trying. I sort of have a plan.

But last night I had an epiphany about why it’s not happening, and I realize it’s because when I contemplate regular blogging, I experience a monumental anxiety attack akin to that one might feel as one steps up to a podium in a large auditorium filled with 2000 people, all eyes trained on me, waiting expectantly for my insightful and brilliant words. GAK!

Or, and this is even more telling, the way I feel just before I go to a large party. Or even before that, standing in my undies in front of my closet at home deciding what to wear to said party. (I’m obviously  not the first person to draw this analogy. See Nathan Bransford here.) What! you might be thinking. What’s up with that?

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I DON’T DO WELL AT PARTIES

Well… I don’t like parties, not big ones anyway. I like planning them and throwing them. I just don’t like being at them. I’ve never liked being with large groups of people. I become the epitomy of the nerdy wallflower. I’m painfully shy and socially awkward. I forget to introduce myself or others, and even forget the names of people I know well. I feel terribly self-conscious, gravitate to the buffet and overeat, gravitate to the bar and drink too much. Once I have a couple of drinks, then I loosen up and overcompensate. I talk too much, say stupid things and put my foot in my mouth, inadvertently saying all the wrong things, or failing in the social niceties. This immediately leads to guilt and self-loathing. And who needs that? I don’t care for dancing. I find most conversations at parties are inane and I desperately want to escape. The boredom overtakes my self-consciousness and I become surly, dreaming of the easy chair and good book that await me at home.

Gosh this makes me sound like a nasty ogre. Even an anti-social one. But put me with a group of 2 or 5 or 8 and I’m completely different. I enjoy people, and I enjoy myself. I listen well, am interested in people and what they are doing and have to say. I relax and tell funny stories, sometimes even attempt lame jokes. I like to feed people and take care of them and entertain them. And I especially like to share ideas. Introverts are not necessarily loners, as I’m sure many will attest.

DROP BY FOR A GLASS OF LEMONADE

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And yet I’ve learned that of all the various social media, the blogosphere is the place where I feel the most comfortable, and I’d like to have a place here to call home. Clearly, the solution is that MY BLOG will not be a big party. Instead, this will be my metaphorical kitchen table, my sundeck, my garden, my neighbourhood coffee shop. A place where my good friends come by for a glass of lemonade or a cup of tea and chew the fat awhile. On good days we can share triumphs and accomplishments, tell funny stories and share dreams. On bad days we can complain of our aches and pains or gripe about the difficult people in our lives, confide our worries, disappointments and frustrations. But good or bad, we can find community with people like ourselves, and share our life experience,  our wisdom and our expertise.

I hope you’ll decide this is a good place to drop in one in awhile, and that when you come you’ll find interesting like-minded people, and topics being discussed,  a sympathetic ear, or even a shoulder to cry on. I’m also hoping this new paradigm will make it a more comfortable place for me to hang out, too.

Tell me what you think? Is social media more like a big party or an intimate discussion between acquaintances? Do you think different platforms (FB, Twitter, Blogs, etc.) are more like one or the other? And do you have the same problems I do or do you think I’m nuts?

NEW WEB ADDRESS: html://maryannclarkescott.com

Check out my new BLOG and webpage design to find out what I’ve been doing, learning or thinking about lately. It’s got all the content from this page plus everything new. Subscribe now to stay tuned for the official launch of my new regular blog, Paramita: Charting the Middle way through Marriage, Motherhood, Middle-age, Memory, Meaning and Mindfulness. I‘ll be talking regularly about issues and topics of interest and concern to real working women, whether career women, women with families, or both. I’ll be sharing my expertise and life experience in areas such as design, aging and the built environment, caring for a family, and lessons from literature under the topics: Home, Health and Wellness, Art, Aging, Food, Relationships and interesting Ideas, whether it be books or black holes and time travel, as the mood strikes me. There’s likely to be some overlap. A special feature will be the relationship advice column “Dear Franny”, with common sense and expert advice for those who leave questions in the comment section.

I was tagged in the ‘Elevens Tag’ by Emily Dring at Ficklebrain. So, it looks like I’ve got eleven questions to answer. If I have tagged you, you’re next! Look to the end of this post for my new eleven questions and get typing away…

How to play Elevens Tag:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post a photo of yourself (if you want to) and/or eleven random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
  4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.
  5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Mary Ann Manga Face

1) Is there anything that you like that most people don’t, or that you don’t like that most people do? Getting up in the morning and having to interact with other people. I like to start my day very slowly and quietly, puttering, drinking tea, hugging my cats, and not talking and rushing around. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like the idea of a regular office job. I’m a night owl through and through, and the world is always getting in the way.

MA&ZU

2) Can you name one funny thing that you believed to be true when you were younger (which isn’t true)? That it’s frivolous, irresponsible or foolish to be an artist. That art is a nice hobby, but you have to do something sensible and practical to survive. Now I know that if you are called to be an artist, in any medium, then that’s what you need to do. Follow that passion. Use your talent and vision. I regret not following my instincts when I was younger. I was always trying to be sensible, please others and make them proud. Now, I’m trying to make up for lost time. Trying to get closer to the real me.

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3) Which fictional character do you relate to the most and why? Jo March, because she knows what she wants, she is determined to get it, she just doesn’t fit in, and she is willing to give up the love of a good man and the good life he can provide her to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. And Elizabeth Bennett, because she’s idealistic and a bit naïve, an introvert, and believes in true love.

4651808861_7ae17b432c_z4) Can you name three places in the world that you would like to visit but have not yet had the opportunity to? Thailand, Greece, Eastern Europe (Prague/Warsaw/Kiev)

5) What has been your proudest achievement so far in life? Completing three novels. No, having my son. No, completing my novels. No, wait… Having my son taught me about commitment and discipline and patience and integrity, and that made it possible for me to write my novels.

my son when he was small

6) How do you think we can tell ‘good’ writing from ‘bad’ writing? Good writing doesn’t get in the way of the story, either by being too awful or too spectacular. It’s pleasurable to read beautiful writing, but I don’t like to be distracted from a well-structured, creative, deep and entertaining tale about interesting, believable characters. That’s the main thing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7) If you could only drink one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Probably tea. But I’d miss white wine.

Elizabeth_II_greets_NASA_GSFC_employees,_May_8,_2007_edit8) If you were the Queen of England for a day, what would you do first?  I think QEII is a pretty strong, incredible woman who has generally been a great monarch for the modern world, under trying and constantly changing circumstances. I admire her. Maybe I would try to get the Royal family to step back out of the spotlight a bit more. Let them find normal. Even though the English people seem to like what they do, and of course there’s the whole noblesse oblige thing. They do live a life of incredible privilege, but at a high price, I think. And the press won’t leave them alone, anyway.

9) What exactly is it that gets you really excited about a book, film, programme or song that you love? … a well-structured, creative, deep and entertaining tale about interesting, believable characters. The character arc.

10) What good quality do you possess that you don’t think gets enough exposure? I’m very tolerant of others’ differences. Very open-minded. But because people are often embedded in who they are and what they believe, and not afraid to express opinions, I find I often bite my tongue, not wishing to offend those with different views to my own. I always figure I’m better off listening and observing anyway, and maybe I’ll learn something that will change my mind on a topic. This has happened many times already. So I don’t hold too many strong opinions. It probably makes me appear weak-minded or dull, but there’s a lot going on upstairs. Sometimes it’s because I just don’t have a position, for spiritual/metaphysical reasons. I’m very apolitical. This makes blogging difficult for me. I can’t abide empty chatter, and I don’t like to lock in too many ideas either. I’m constantly working things out.

S-Tolerance

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

11) Why did you start blogging on WordPress? Well it was/is just a web site to begin with.  A place-holder, so that anyone looking for me (the unpublished writer) would find the right me. Then, because I understand writers can’t be eccentric hermits these days (much as I’d like that), and I need to create an author brand, a community, an island in the vast sea of the internet that can be my home. A place to figure out who I am and who I’m talking to, and what I have to offer. I’m still working on that.

There we have it! Eleven questions answered, and now eleven to ask! Even if you weren’t tagged, please feel free to play along. Here are your eleven new questions:

1)   What is your favourite happy meal?

2)   What genre of fiction do you love the most and why?

3)   What belief do you try to convey through your blog, explicitly or implicitly?

4)   What dangerous thing do you dream of doing, if only you had the courage?

5)   If you could live your life over, what one decision would you change, knowing what you know now?

6)   Do you believe there is life in other galaxies?

7)   Who is your favourite comic actor and what do you love about him/her?

8)   Which book have you re-read the most?

9)   If you could learn and master a new skill, what would it be?

10)  Which real historical character do you most admire?

11)   If you could live and work in any city in the world aside from where you are, which one would you choose?

My eleven tagged bloggers are:

1) Karalee @ http://5writers5novels5months.com

2) Christine @ http://christine-ashworth.com

3) Gretchen @ http://gretchenkwing.wordpress.com

4) Maggie @ http://maggieamada.com

5) Karen @ http://KarenMcfarland.com

6) Kim @ http://KimCleary.com

7) Lynn @ http://lynnkelleyauthor.wordpress.com

8) Jason @ http://JasonAndrewBond.com

9) Connie @ http://stilettosstoliandscribbles.wordpress.com/

10) Arthur @ http://arthurcrandon.com

11) YOU

 [Are we connected on Twitter yet? If not, why not? Let’s get sharing – find me at @Mary Ann Clarke Scott.]

6173548853_05969af167I just had to repost this from The Fickle Brain because I agree with it so much. I’ve always been addicted to learning, and can vouch for the fact that the more I learn, the less I feel I know. This has posed a problem when it comes to blogging, by the way, because in the glut of information that we all swim today, how can I possibly have anything worthy to add to the pile? It makes it very difficult to decide what to blog about, and feel that I’m not just taking up space with words that someone else, someone better qualified, could say in a much more erudite manner. Still dealing with that, but at least I’m able to pass along this post from The Fickle Brain

 Real Know-It-Alls.

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