Posts Tagged ‘Blogtoberfest2012’

I’ve been writing this post for days, at first in my head and then here on my blog. On reflection I’ve been living this post for exactly one year. Today is Samhain – traditionally the Celtic New Year, and, from now on, my personal New Year. This will henceforth be my day to reflect on the year past, to see how far I have come, and to look at all that I have succeeded in doing and being in that year. One year ago today, my life came to a painfully abrupt halt; it felt like my life was over. Truthfully, I don’t remember much of those days, for which, after some reflection, I am grateful; I see that at the time part of me protected all of me. Today, I know that life is definitely not over and that it is again moving forward, but it has taken a year of hard work to reach the point where I can say that with confidence. It took a lot, but I did the one important thing that mattered to start that journey (and yes, apologies for using the term “journey”, Strictly Come Dancing has ruined it for the rest of us). I phoned my family, and I went home. It was the best decision that I have ever made. (more…)

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Christine de Pisan, Collected Works (1407), BL, MS Harley 4431 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

I don’t really call myself a writer – optimistically, I will add to that statement “not yet”. But I am always fascinated by the way in which writers work. Joanne Harris‘s tweets about the Shed are wonderfully entertaining, and the work that Gail Carriger puts into sustaining the Parasol Protectorate universe on a daily business is inspired. (more…)

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A woman as the Magdalen writing at a table in the interior, from the workshop of the Master of the Female Half-Lengths (16th Century; source Wikimedia Commons)

My posts of late have been rather heavy on the Erin Morgenstern. I will make no apologies for this; the more I read of The Night Circus, and the more time that I spend time playing inside it, the more I love her writing. So I was delighted to encounter the Flax-Golden Tales on Erin’s blog. These tales are told by Erin – the words – and Carey Farrell – the pictures – who are introduced far more eloquently than I could manage on Erin’s blog: (more…)

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British Library Centre for Conservation – follow the blue dots

I had planned to write my post on CPD23 Thing Sixteen (Advocacy, speaking up for the profession, and getting published) tonight, but I’ve just read the official post thereupon, and I have a lot of reading to do to write a properly considered response.

Fortunately, I had the honour of being invited to an event at the British Library on Friday morning, for Library staff and their guests, on the future of reading, organised by Liquid Information. It’s better to write my report of the discussions sooner rather than later. The event took the form of short presentations by academics, librarians, software designers, journalists, designers, and artists. They had been asked to look at the following questions: (more…)

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It’s been a long time since I sat down and spent a good few hours playing The Legend of Zelda, or The Sims, for that matter. I’ve always enjoyed these games set in whole new worlds, and tonight that is all I want to do. Yet all my consoles are safely packaged up back at the family seat, where they were put for fear that they would distract me from research work.

Valancy Westenra – my ‘Fallen London’ character

Fortunately, there are three online games which I discovered over the past year, and which I would highly recommend. The first of these, which I have been playing longest, is Fallen London. It takes place in an alternate London, somewhat Victorian in feel, and your story begins in a prison from which you must escape. You then navigate and build the game by drawing cards and by moving through “storylets”. It’s a social game, that you can play using your Twitter or Facebook account, and the best part about using the free account is that it limits how much you can play in one day. So your other commitments are unlikely to suffer. One of the best parts is that you can choose your own character’s name and background – I find that these games are something like writing, trying different theories and arguments. They’re about progression. If you enjoyed Choose your own adventure books, these could be for you. If you fancy playing Fallen London, look up my character – Valancy Westenra – as knowing other characters in the game can help you move forward as well.

Who has read The Night Circus?

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

I am about halfway through, and Morgenstern has created an entrancing world between the covers of her book. I wish that such a circus truly existed. In its absence, you can visit the Cirque de Reves through a computer game very similar in form to Fallen London. It is more about playing by drawing cards as opposed to through storylets, but you can collect objects as you visit the various tents. Again, you can use your Facebook or Twitter account to create an account. In the pursuit of a more coordinated brand, my character is called the Victorian Librarian. Again, join in, and I’ll see you at the Circus. Wear a splash of red!

Find the Future at the New York Public Library

My most recent gaming discovery is Find the Future at the NYPL. The official website describes it thus:

Find The Future at NYPL brings visitors to the Library together with players around the world to tap into the creative power of the Library’s collections.

It is the first game in the world in which winning the game means writing a book together — a collection of 100 ways to make history and change the future, inspired by 100 of the most intriguing works of the past.

Starting May 21, 2011, visitors to the Stephen A. Schwarzman branch of the NYPL can play the game with their personal smartphones or on Library computers. Global players will join the game with any computer that has access to the Internet. The game is free to play.

The game is designed to empower players to find inspiration for their own extraordinary futures by bringing them face-to-face with the writings and personal objects of people who made an extraordinary difference in the past.

The game starts with a special, invitation-only event on May 20, 2011. As part of the Centennial celebration weekend, hundreds of gamers will earn the chance to join a special once-in-a-lifetime event: an “overnight lock-in” at NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building. This “write all night” lock in will serve as the official kick-off for the Find The Future game.

All visitors to the Library or the website nypl.org/game will continue to be able to play Find The Future through the end of 2011.

The more observant of my readers will realise that we are in fact closer to the end of 2012 than the end of 2011. I nonetheless decided to try my luck and create an account to play the game. Thus far, and I have only played very briefly, it seems to be working. Presumably my gaming shenanigans will not count towards the book that it is being made out of the game. Again, I have chosen to be the Victorian Librarian as I play the game, and in deference to my Pre-Raphaelite geekery, have begun Level 1: A Call to Adventure, with the Lady of Shalott. I will report back on how we two get acquainted at a later date.

I am particularly intrigued by this last as a means of introducing people to a library and its collections, by appealing to their imaginations and getting them involved in the creation of something tangible. It seems like such a wonderful way to use technology as a teaching aide in libraries, and I’m looking forward to some virtual serendipitous browsing.

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Although I have met my Blogtoberfest 2012 commitment successfully as far as posting every day goes – despite not joining up until a few days into October, once the Mindful Mum brought it to my attention and suggested I take it on – I have not really followed the daily themes and tended to write about whatever takes my fancy, or to catch up on my blogging commitments vis-a-vis 23 Things for Continuing Professional Development. I am still behind in completing CPD23, but Blogtoberfest has brought me nearer to the end. (more…)

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I have a small but growing collection of etiquette books, mostly from eras now gone, and while I read them mostly out of fascination with the rituals, and for the entertainment value, I do also pick up some useful bits of advice. Genevieve Dariaux is a particular favourite, primarily for her wonderful turn of phrase. Over the past year, my etiquette and life manuals library has expanded in a new and unforeseen direction, now including books such as Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking (New York: Viking, 2012) by Susan Cain, The digital diet: the 4-step plan to break your tech addition and regain balance in your life (London: Souvenir Press, 2012), by Daniel Sieberg, and, for a change of pace and tone, The decadent handbook: for the modern libertine (Sawtry, Cambs.: Dedalus, 2006), edited by Rowan Pelling. What I am really looking for, however, is a guide (person or publication) to take me through conferences, seminars, and other such events related to my professional and academic interests. (more…)

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The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2012 helped me to start to read again, and Blogtoberfest2012 has helped me to start writing regularly again. Both challenges have helped me focus on two of my favourite things to do, two things which were once as essential to me as breathing, and which I was unable to do for so long. By that logic, Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) in November should be a great support for getting the following papers ready for publication: (more…)

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When I was working on the dissertations for my MSc in Library and Information Studies and my MPhil Medieval and Renaissance Studies – Female Power and Responsibility in Medieval Court Narrative: A Comparative Study of the Presentation of Women in the Celtic and French Literary Courts and Illuminated Manuscripts of the Middle Ages: Access, Preservation and Relevance in the 21st Century (you can guess which dissertation goes with which course) – I wrote out an index card for every book, article, and and dissertation or thesis that I consulted, the idea being to create my own bibliographic database for future research. As I got closer to the hand-in dates, my mother sometimes took on this task. In our family, dissertations and assignments are very often a family affair, primarily for the sake of everybody’s sanity. I still have the four index card boxes full of annotated references on my desk at the family seat, and am forever finding more index cards used as bookmarks in research-related and personal reading material from the time. While studying for the MPhil, I attended a series of skills workshops organised by the Arts Faculty to support postgraduate students through their research. One of these covered EndNote; I attended it, and did start to use it, but ultimately found it easier and more efficient to continue using my own system, as I was already used to it. So, like Isla Kuhn (author of the official CPD23 Thing Fourteen blogpost), I typed up my bibliography on the computer, and inserted each reference into its correct place in the text proper. It was a difficult and exacting process, and often felt like it took as much time as writing the dissertation itself. Fortunately, there is a certain satisfaction to be had in looking at the final product, knowing how much work went into it. Don’t judge me. (more…)

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Relaxed kitty – my role model (from Upward Gaze on Tumblr)

At the beginning of October, I signed up to Blogtoberfest 2012. My poor blog had been sorely neglected as lots of real-life commitments and new beginnings were taking priority; I saw Blogtoberfest as an opportunity to get back to blogging on a regular basis, as a means of establishing some much-needed routine into my life. It has worked; I’ve managed to create a post every day, and have really enjoyed focusing on my writing. It has helped me get further on in the CPD23 process, another area in which I was not quite meeting my obligations.

But it’s tiring, and after an afternoon spent fighting for a Future That Works (more on that tomorrow), I am not up to writing one of my usual wordy posts. So the wine is chilling, the pizza is in the oven, there are strawberries in the fridge, and I have Strangers on a Train all ready to go in the DVD player. Tonight is mine, and I intend to enjoy it.

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