Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Squidoo has been diverting my attention.

When Ezra first went off to college, I did basically nothing for a few months. I didn't even sing or fiddle, I thought maybe I was done with everything and ready to just run out the rest of my days in barren silence and loneliness.

Luckily, my friend Terry Teachout said, when he came to visit: "You're not finished, you're just tired."

A friend suggested a book to me, "The Artist's Way," and I started keeping a journal, writing three pages every day whether I wanted to or not. From that came my decision to learn Yiddish, to take a painting class with Jane Filer, and to start playing music with Bob Vasile again.

Ezra came home after his junior year and spent a year living here and working at Whole Foods; he's been an enjoyable roommate!

Now, though, he's going back to finish up, and I'm faced with getting used to his absence once again.

This time, instead of the Artist's Way, I'm using a different path to figuring out where I am: I've become a Squidoo addict. This picture is the one I've adopted as my avatar: More Different Than is Absolutely Necessary.

It started harmlessly; at one of my "Search Engine Optimization" meetings it was suggested that links from Squidoo are helpful in SEO. So I built a lens for my Wedding Music in North Carolina project.

Well, that was fun. So I wrote another one, just for fun: Making your own wedding cake and then Making Uncle Shlomo's Pushcart, and then I made one for Mark, The Paintings of Mark Chandler, and gave it to him to take over.

Looking at it from a cynical perspective, Squidoo is a vehicle by which its owners get people all over the world to stay up late writing free content onto which they (the owners and the writers) can hang ads and derive income. And Squidoo is a very mixed community - sleazy would-be spammers have been attracted by a free platform for various get-rich-quick schemes, anxious penurious stay-at-home folks (from brilliant writers to the sincere but illiterate) are hoping to make the rent money by reaping riches from the ads they plant on their lenses. All kinds of energy is reflected in Squidoo and there are a lot of interesting lenses. Some are even great.

I started "meeting" some smart, kind people - some of whom have written hundreds of lenses - and I got enrolled in a challenge: to write 50 new lenses by the end of September.

I think what I like about Squidoo and its single-page system is that, unlike a blog, your information is static. It stays where people can see it. So I can collect everything I want to say about Jethro, for instance, and publish it all in one location, and it won't disappear as the days go by.

Another thing I like: it's such a cheery, informal place that I've adopted a cheery, ingenuous voice of my own over there. I'm not as world-weary and gnawed-over at Squidoo as I am in real life.

Anyway, that's why I haven't been here at Pratie Place much since I got back from Paris. I thought I'd list my lenses here, for your possible viewing pleasure. Besides the ones above:

Well, there are more, but that's enough for now. I'll be keeping the list current at this lens: More Different Than is Absolutely Necessary.

Photo from Roosers Metacreation, a recycled metal artist based in Scotland.


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