I’ve started reading uncorrected page proofs of a book to be published in March by Ted Kooser, a poet I admire. It’s full of encouragement and tips for beginning writers, and by that I mean anyone trying to begin their writing again, as I am. One of his tips is to write for 10 minutes every morning. He says you can generally write 200 words in 10 minutes, whether you are writing longhand with a fountain pen or tapping on a keyboard, as I am now. I will be curious to see if I write more than 200 words before the beeper on my Casio watch goes off. I’m a pretty fast typist, from my days as a journalist but mainly because I took a typing course in high school, a week in the summer that gave me a skill which has been crucial, or at least deeply enhancing, of my chosen passion: writing.
What I’d like to address in the remaining minutes is what I’m looking for in Banff at Camp Blog, as I’ve come to think of it, the Blogs n Dogs conference which begins tomorrow night. The latest e-mail from the helpful organizer, whose name is Amy Inkster, if you can believe it, had only 16 e-mail addresses on it, including mine. Ms. Inkster warned that if we don’t have the right pants, we won’t be able to go on the dogsled ride, so I’m going shopping at REI today. “Can you recommend some good pants to wear on a dog sled?”
What I’m looking for are new skills to navigate the blogosphere, skills that may be as important to me in the coming years as typing turned out to be. I have no clear agenda for what I want to learn. I just feel stuck, plateaued in my writing in general, from poetry to book reviews to blogging. I hope three days in the Far North with a bunch of youngsters lit up with Blog-thusiam will inspire me to mush ahead with new energy and direction. Today I am working on provisions, making sure I bring all the right technology. Ms. Inkster basically said don’t even bother showing up if you aren’t bringing a laptop. I love this. I have a hunch I am going to be surrounded by kindred spirits and techno-weirdos of all ages, but I really don’t know what to expect. That’s the main thing. To go somewhere for three days, not including two travel days, and simply not know what to expect. Will they like my stuff? Will I be bored with technical crap? Will I discover my mission in life, to make the blogosphere safe for Eminem-loving boomer poets and arts policy wonks with trust funds? I will be looking in all directions, sniffing the cold air for scent of what’s ahead. I’ll be running through the snow harnassed to like-minded blogsters, making tracks. The canine metaphor potential here is worth woofing about and will clearly be chewed up and turned to mush like my Yorkie’s favorite pig’s ear by the time we all leave Banff on Thursday. Can this really only be 10 minutes? Beep beep beep…. It looks like the Kooz never took typing in high school. This baby checks in at way more than 200 words–552 to be exact.