Friday, January 25, 2013
The Present: 1.25.13
I've been experiencing Aimless Reading withdrawal for the past few days. One of the reasons I kept at the project from start to finish was because I enjoyed the easy routine of it. I had tried to blog before, but blogging can be a lonely pastime, especially if you aren't blogging about "something."
At various points I tried to write about film, the literary scene in Buffalo, my cross-country reading trek in 2007, but it never materialized into a regular practice. Like many part-time bloggers, my entries often began with phrases like, "I haven't blogged in a while" or "I need to get caught up on my blog."
This almost never happened during the Aimless Reading project. Each day, I pulled a book from the shelf. I did not have to choose the book. I simply pulled the next book in line. All had been previously arranged in alphabetical order. I photographed myself holding the book, then spent several minutes setting up the post.
This involved giving the photo a title and a few tags before uploading the photo to Flickr. After it had loaded, I would grab the photo's HTML code and carry it over to Blogger, where I would create a new post, click the HTML view, and drop the code into the page before clicking COMPOSE, which revealed the image laid out in the page. I titled each post, making sure I'd used the correct letters and numbers.
My index code was simple:
Project name (colon)
Letter of the alphabet (comma)
Sequence number, with added decimal point signifying additional titles by an author (comma)
Author's first and last name (in parentheses)
Labeling followed. Labels affixed to almost every post included: "Aimless Reading," "Books," "Library," "Michael Kelleher," and "Pearlblossom Highway." I realized later that some of these were redundant, but kept adding them for the sake of continuity. I would also add the name of that day's author. After writing the post, I would add further labels for proper names I'd mentioned in that post. Sometimes I could not add them all due to the character limit in the label box.
After the set-up, I would write.
After writing, I would reread the post once for egregious errors and strange wording, then hit PUBLISH at the top of the page. I'd read it over once more in published form, mostly for layout errors, then post the link beneath the original photo on the Flickr page. Networked Blogs sent it immediately out to Facebook, which was the main outlet for the posts. I would also post it manually to Google+, where nobody I am aware of read it. (The series had approximately 56 subscribers on Blogger and another 562 on Networked Blogs. It averaged about 50 visitors and 100 page views per day. Modest, but steady.)
Longing for the familiar, I followed more or less the same strategy this morning before I began writing this post. I think I will use this blog to write what I feel like writing about each morning. At least, that is, until I come up with a new project. I'll post a photo along with the posts because photos attract attention in a way that letters unadorned do not.
Postscript: since the final post, I have been approached about two separate writing projects, both of which could lead to something interesting. I will keep you posted when and if they develop. In the meantime, my random musing will have to suffice.
Postpostscript: The photo above shows the built-ins in the (38-foot!) hallway outside my office in the new house. They desperately need paint, which means that my books are likely to stay in boxes for the foreseeable future.
Posted by Michael Kelleher, North Haven, CT at 8:55 AM