Jane Friedman: Authors on Facebook

photo credit: Chris Talamo

Thanks to Robert Lee Brewer, a number of us around the world have pushed ourselves into new social media territory. About two-thirds of the way through his Platform Challenge in an April full of daily ones was this: to interview someone and post that interview on our new blog. Jane Friedman may be the foremost authority on social media, so it seemed a natural for me to ask her. I am honored to present her generous responses to my five questions about the fine points of using Facebook as an aspiring author:

1.  A number of my fellow Not-Bobber’s have started author pages on Facebook. In your writing, you suggest that the primary reason to use Facebook is to communicate interesting posts to an amplified audience reach. Yet Facebook is primarily a social/visual venue. How does an author who is just starting out – and does not have photos and videos to post, is  perhaps an introvert to boot – use and benefit from an author presence with the new timeline format?
First and foremost, realize that no matter what Facebook does with your profile page, or how the Timeline evolves, most people are interacting with your posts in their own newsfeed. Very few people visit your profile unless they have a reason to research you or be curious based on something you’ve posted. That means: Don’t sweat your Timeline too much. Yes, do fill out as much information on the about page that you’re comfortable sharing (especially for the public view), but beyond being clear about who you are, I don’t think the Timeline/profile format is meaningful from a marketing standpoint. Continue reading

versatile blogger award!

For openers, my thanks go to two sister-Not-Bobbers who separately nominated me for the Verssatile Blogger Award this week. Kristi Carver  – “Colorado girl who writes – anything she wants to!”) is a kindred lover of blueberries, creative projects, wine, music, animals, kitchen explorations . . . It’s clear why SHE was nominated! And I am honored that she chose my work blog, writinginsideVT, which focuses on writings from Vermont’s incarcerated women.

Second, my appreciation to Jennifer Chow whose delicious blog she describes as ‘An Asian-American writer exploring life through Chinese sayings.’ What an original way to approach a blog! Her wide-ranging interests and the ways she connects them to writing are completely delightful. There is something for everyone, for sure. Thanks, Jennifer, for your delightful blog and  your kind nomination.

There seem to be different interpretations of guidelines for recipients; so I’m going to be liberal with my versatility and nominate 8 new blogs I’ve recently discovered. Check them out, see what you think; then let them and me know!! Continue reading

natural consequences

I spent this first glorious weekend of summer – by tradition if not by solstice – gardening in Westport, MA where everything grows exponentially from moment to moment. Faced with the need to clear the deck, literally, for power-washing and eventual sealing, we needed to toss overboard the ancient clematis vine which annually graces the railing with layers of saucer-sized lavender blossoms twining their ways along railing and deck. Visualize old vine growth of papery dried gray vine two inches thick; and thinner green-to-brown flexible vine weaving, twining, twisted and circled around through openings, a veritable maze of growth and bloom indistinguishable from itself. After all this time, after all the love lavished, after all the appreciation for its hardiness and resilience year to year, we had to cut back the old vine in service to the sealing of the deck.

Which reminded me of a poem I wrote earlier about this same vine, though from a different vantage point. May its natural wisdom prevail!

Natural Consequences

The clematis spreads its insistent way across and
around the deck rail, rooted firm and strong
on ancient stalk, weathered thick and wise
in the ways of nature; surprises by its abundant
abandon, thanks to our naïve attempts
to prune, shape and define its way. 

[First published in “The Aurorean,” Spring/Summer 2007, Encircle Publications, Farmington, ME.]

what i know of practice

Practice room with upright piano.

Practice room with upright piano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Übung – German for ‘practice’ – is both one of the earliest words I learned in German, and perhaps the first time I consciously heard the concept of regular, focused repetition as the means to an end. In this case, the means to playing a simple tune on the piano. I can’t recall just WHAT I practiced and eventually played. I do, however, clearly recall the circumstances that motivated me.

I was living in Germany, just turned 9, and the two girls of the family I stayed with both took piano lessons with Fräulein Weniger. She was lovely, the kind of European woman I since came to admire greatly: hearty, demanding, attractive in a firm no-nonsense kind of way – and smelling deliciously of a particular perfume that will always conjure this memory. As for practicing: the old upright piano resided in the parental bedroom, which meant practicing by day when Rolf was at the chem lab. Anytime he was home there was strict silence, strict adherence to his schedule and needs, strictness, period.

So perhaps my earliest associations with practice align with strictness, a certain harsh rigidity alongside a certain soft femininity that co-existed silently, secretly, securely in my heart.  Another prompt, that. Continue reading

new book review!


Check out the 4/25/12 book review of Women on Poetry by Story Circle Book Reviews.  It names my chapter!

“Women Writing for (a) Change: History, Philosophy, Programs” is a fascinating essay by Sarah W. Bartlett who is an owner of one of the affiliates of this empowering program in Vermont.”