Updates

Sharon December 30th, 2008

A real blog post will be along shortly, but I wanted to do a bit of an update.

 1. I still have spaces in all three classes, believe it or not.  Information on the details is here: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/11/17/news-and-winter-classes/

If you want in (particularly to the food storage class, which starts a week from today (!) let me know).  If you’ve enrolled in the food storage class and you *have not* received info from me about how to subscribe to the discussion group by Friday, please email me again.  Everyone should get that information during this week.

2. Several people asked about Hen and Harvest - it is undergoing a slight structural modification, and should be updated and shiny and new fairly soon.  We’ve decided among other things that the failure to appoint an editor in chief was a really bad idea ;-).  We now have one, and “management by committee” is about to be replaced by “management by cruel and violent authority.”  This can only be good.

 3. Despite the fact that the owner of the blog (ie, me) now has fast (for some very liberal definitions of fast - we’re still a long way from the tower) internet, in case you were worried, the blog is not going to be radically and structurally different.  My preference fora primarily language based blog was not an artifact of crappy internet service, but actually a preference of mine. 

I once read an essay by Stephen Jay Gould that made me laugh - he talked about attending a lecture in the humanities, and his blind horror that the speaker offered no visual images, no graphs, no slides.  Speaking as someone trained in a discipline where there weren’t a lot of visuals (that picture of Shakespeare in the ruff gets old fast, and there really isn’t that much else  to show ;-)), and where it was assumed that your compelling and creative use of language was sufficient to hold an audience (and to be fair, it wasn’t for every teacher I had), I feel very strongly about continuing to do the kind of work I do - that is, I write language-intensive pieces that are not always short, without visuals.  Besides making my blog accessible to those without high speed internet, I also think we live in a culture where the visual is heavily prioritized, and where written material, when it exists, is often overly brief and language is an afterthought.  While I don’t long to live in a world where everyone writes like I do (there is a place for many things), I also don’t aspire to a heavily image-based, radically shortened version of myself, even if I could do that sort of thing well.  I know it costs me some readers sometimes - but I like to hope that there are some out there that like things as they are.  The blog will stay substantially the same - when video or music is included, it will be wholly optional.

Ok, that about covers it.  On to the actual long-winded writing stuff ;-).

 Cheers,

 Sharon

22 Responses to “Updates”

  1. MEAon 30 Dec 2008 at 9:53 am

    ‘We now have one, and “management by committee” is about to be replaced by “management by cruel and violent authority.” This can only be good.’

    That sort of management style is very, very good, esp. if you are the one.

  2. KatJon 30 Dec 2008 at 10:00 am

    Being a person who prefers the written to the visual most of the time (yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words are usually so much more precise), I am glad that you are remaining primarily verbal. True, some of your blogs are long and would lose readers who don’t have much of an attention span, but I rather like it that you carry your thoughts all the way through, instead of condensing and leaving out what may be the most important bits. I can hear your voice in them. Wish I could come to some of your classes, especially the food storage one, but as I live in southeastern Ohio, it is a bit too far to drive. So keep on giving me tips, and hurrah for the Internet!! By the way, I loved your Hannukah piece. I’m not Jewish, but I think the lessons of the candles do pertain to all of us.

  3. Jillon 30 Dec 2008 at 10:36 am

    KatJ- The classes are all taught online with portions here on the blog,
    a yahoo group for extra material and discussions, as well as a
    personal phone call. I took the Food class in the summer and it
    was great. I learned a lot and it really changed the way my
    family eats.

    ~Jill in Michigan

  4. AppleJackCreekon 30 Dec 2008 at 10:51 am

    But Sharon … the book? What’s the state of the book? :) I’ve been waiting to hear the “It is all done!” from you! :D

    My dear, sweet husband (who refers to you as “Crazy Sharon”, although with humour in his voice as he says it) bought me Depletion and Abundance as a Christmas present. I dumped it out of the box, and with big, wide eyes, said “oooh! you got me Sharon’s book!”

    “Yup,” he said, “you’re already crazy, now you can be crazy like her.”

    I read it in a day and a half. Awesome work, thank you so much for making this something I can have on my bookshelf.

    When I grow up, I wanna be like Sharon. :D

  5. Greenpaon 30 Dec 2008 at 11:06 am

    You may be interested to know that SJG wrote stuff that would crack up an evolutionary biologist, too. About biology. He was a good writer, and speaker- but his ideas on the details of evolution are not proving that durable. As my philosophy professor wrote on my final exam in Phil 103 - “heat-to-light ratio is a little high…”

    :-)

  6. Jannieon 30 Dec 2008 at 12:06 pm

    We have also purchased your book. I like the blog the way it is, but would have loved some visuals in the book. Pictures of your farm and how you live would have been very welcome. I liked the content but thought the typeface was too small.

    We have recommended your blog and book to everyone we think is ready to hear your message of a new and richer kind of abundance coupled with a different lifestyle in the years ahead.

  7. fwon 30 Dec 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I am in thorough resonance and agreement with your vision of writing and blogging.

    Hear hear for praise of attention spans, language, and the good ‘ol written word!

  8. Teartayeon 30 Dec 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Now, I have cable internet, and have for the past, oh, ten years or so…

    I’d forgotten all about reading and doing other things while the pages loaded until your last post.

    I read this blog because it makes me think. And it’s not always what you’re writing about (though you pick though provoking subjects) but how you write too.

    Pictures are nice. And little, short thoughtless or easy to read posts are nice sometimes too. I just, personally, enjoy being challenged a little. Those thoughtless posts tend to be monotonous (same words, same sentence structures, same lengths, etc.) which doesn’t happen here.

    I don’t remember where I was going with this… but keep up the good writing! heh.

  9. Laurie in MNon 30 Dec 2008 at 12:36 pm

    So glad to hear that the format will stay much the same even though you’ve entered the (technological!) fast lane. :) While I can appreciate judiciously applied pictures, graphs, links, etc., I truly appreciate the well crafted essays here. And the fact that you post the whole thing on the front page, none of this “read the whole thing by clicking *here*” nonsense. And that you completely eschew the phenomenon on some of the other blogs I read of a pithy comment with just a link, requiring that I go over the other website to read just what the bru-ha is about. *sigh* Nope, here I get the whole story, with quotes as necessary, and with links added for further reading if I so choose.

    I like it when actual academics write. :) The only thing missing is footnotes, which I truly adore. (They can pry my prized copy of “The Riverside Shakespeare” out of my cold, dead hands! It’s the only version I currently own because the notes and “translations” are right THERE, dammit!)

    Keep up the excellent work. Even if I worry more now that I’ve started reading your stuff….

  10. Edward Bryanton 30 Dec 2008 at 12:59 pm

    We now have one, and “management by committee” is about to be replaced by “management by cruel and violent authority.” This can only be good.

    I see your have succumbed to the theory of the unitary executive!

  11. RCon 30 Dec 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for not succumbing to anything new and improved. The mature and perfect is good enough for me.

  12. KatJon 30 Dec 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Oooh, Thank you, Jill! I didn’t realize that the classes were online, although, it does make sense, given the subject matter!

  13. Linda Kon 30 Dec 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Sharon
    I love your site and appreciate your writing in it’s expressive, lengthy, feisty form. Wouldn’t ask you to change in any way. Also respect your commitment to reaching those with slow internet service.

    But (uh oh) as a graphic artist who works with book layout I’ve got to defend “visual”. I think you’re using that term to mean visual as in pictures or illustrations. I agree about our cultural over saturation from advertising or T.V. and under education with regard to building immunity to imagery manipulation, but writing has a long history of collaboration with the eye.

    Typesetting as well as type design (fonts in contemporary lingo), is all about making information on the written page accessible to the reader in the smoothest, and hopefully most beautiful, visual way. When it works best is often when you notice it the least. I know your piece here is primarily about writing but, as we share a love of books, I’d like to stand up for the laborer behind the scenes who aganoized over how wide the page margins should be or what typeface to use for the headlines or text.

    About a year ago I sat down with my cousin, who was interested in putting out a new addition of “Where There Is No Doctor” for third world countries, and went over each chapter assessing how the layout could be improved to make the information clearer. We weren’t editing or rewriting copy, just adjusting page spreads, changing caps to upper and lower case, inserting white space, etc., to best serve the transfer of content to the reader. Editors of visual form if you will.

    I’ve the highest respect for those who write as well as those that edit, folks who know how to put the period in it’s proper place and when to indent a paragraph (oh - visual indicators). Words matter, as do their definitions, so I will continue to be their humble servant in my own visual way.

  14. Hummingbirdon 30 Dec 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Love your blog as it is, Sharon. You produce the greatest sentences, paragraphs, pages…

    I remain a captive of a slow loading dialup connection and some websites take forever or don’t load at all. I love yours because it loads quickly and never hangs up my computer–and for the content, of course!

  15. Paula Hewitton 30 Dec 2008 at 2:38 pm

    good - i read you blog while i wait for blogs with photos to load. in fact i rarely wait for photos to load (and have never bothered to wait for youtube) so it was a relief to hear.

  16. Cathyon 30 Dec 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Please keep in mind that there are (more than) a few of us who don’t have a computer at home, so we read your blog at work. (Don’t ask, don’t tell)
    So we need to have a “clean-looking” page that won’t attract anyone’s attention as they cruise by our stall….oops, I mean cubicle. A column of black and white printing looks just like a letter to the casual observer. Don’t change a thing!

  17. Jennieon 30 Dec 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Hmm… not sure what this says about me, but I’d never even noticed that you don’t use visuals. Keep up the good work.

    “Crazy like Sharon,” hahahah! I love it!

  18. Matriarchyon 30 Dec 2008 at 6:04 pm

    From one long-winded writer to another, “Rock on!”

  19. Linda Kon 30 Dec 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Sharon and all patient readers -
    Must apologize for my windy diatribe on layout earlier. Been in a fractious mood lately and no kind friend was here to tell me so before I hit the magic send button.

  20. peter in Auston 30 Dec 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Crazy like Sharon Oh that more people could be crazy like Sharon .Leaving your blog as is.Absolutely brilliant.Regards Peter.

  21. Danon 30 Dec 2008 at 7:51 pm

    A great artist writes their own music… We love you just the way you are.

  22. Shelleyon 31 Dec 2008 at 12:30 pm

    YAY!!! You’re back to writing. I missed my daily Sharon fix. And I LOVE the simplicity of this blog where there is never a catcha to reject my own, sometimes long-winded comments. Do few things but do them well, Simple joys are holy. ~St. Francis that’s what you do Sharon. Thank you and Happy New Year!
    Shells

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