I’m all over the map going in all directions and getting nothing done. This time being “all over the map” is literal since I’ve just spent ten days in New York, the Netherlands, and Holland. That is one of the reasons why I haven’t posted anything here on WordPress. I was busy getting together clothes, sundries, toiletries, medications, reading material (for those long plane rides,) and paper to work on my next writing project. You’d think I was going to be spending time with a Stone Age tribe in the Amazon. Didn’t it ever occur to me that I could buy any one of those items in all of the above-mentioned destinations?
But the frustrating part of it all was that when I finally did find some time before my departure to get onto my computer, I couldn’t get through to the internet. A hasty call to my computer guy resulted in our needing to do more research to find out if my computer had died, or if the fault of lay in the hands ofTime Warner. They were in no hurry to come out to my house and my plane was leaving.
Never mind, I would have a computer at my disposal on the ship that was taking me on a River Cruise in Holland. Two computers for 130 guests on the boat! When I finally was able to get to one of them the ship was always located in a position out of range of the satellite. I tried to switch gears and pull out my writing pad. As soon as I finished a sentence or two, the Cruise Director would blast an announcement over the loudspeaker about our next port of call, or a waiter would ask me if I wanted to order a drink.
Perhaps you wonder why I didn’t spend any time getting to know my fellow passengers. The answer is that many of them were playing bridge in the back lounge. Good night, they could have done that back home in Iowa. Some of them came in packs of nine or ten people and they remained self-contained the entire time. I shouldn’t neglect to mention the three or four people who spent most of the cruise reading a newspaper or a Kindle. Luckily I brought mine along with me. The only problem was that I finished reading my book and couldn’t download another because there was no wifi connection available.
I thought about using my cell phone to call some of my friends back home, but I hadn’t purchased an international card before I left. All this made me aware of how dependent we have become on the amazing machines we have at our dispoasal. Imagine life without a computer, cell phone, or wifi connection. Yikes!
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Posted in Becoming Alice, blogging, Books, Internet, Sales, Writing, tagged Becoming Alice, blogging, Internet, statistics, Writing on November 23, 2010 |
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My mother came from the Old World; by that I mean Europe, many decades ago. If you’ve read Becoming Alice you know her pretty well. One of the things I didn’t write about was her propensity for interjecting into our conversations sayings for the ordinary things that happen in life. One of her favorite was, “every pot has its own lid.” That one was used to make old maids feel better about being unmarried. It meant that there was a man out there somewhere for her that would fit her needs, just like there was a lid for every pot.
Lately, I’ve thought about another one of her favorites: “a watched pot doesn’t boil.” It has absolutely applied to my latest experiences on the internet. I have a habit of watching, and I mean almost daily, my statistics on various sites to which I am connected. I am curious to see if anyone, and how many people, might have read a blog after I’ve posted it. Often I get a few hits and then the numbers don’t go up any more. But I keep looking.
Another statistic I watch is Amazon’s Book Ranking for Becoming Alice. There, the numbers change all the time, but mostly in the wrong direction.
This last month, my normal routine has been completely disrupted. I have had to move out of my home of many, many years. I’ve had an estate (it’s a joke, it’s just used furniture) sale and arranged for a donation to charity for what’s left over. I am now having to face cleaning the whole place up. Therefore, there has been no time to check my stats anywhere.
It turned out to be a great thing, because my stats jumped considerably in positive directions on all sites, especially my Amazon site. Since I can’t figure out Amazon’s ranking system in the first place, in future I am not even going to look at it for days or weeks on end. After all, “a watched pot doesn’t boil.”
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I don’t understand the internet very well. I am neither in the age group that learns as fast as the speed of lightning nor in the age group that socializes with friends via the internet. I’ve come to it past those years. I play catch-up with the technology. It seems that as soon as I become familiar with one site or learn to master one progam, I become interest in half a dozen more sites and programs. Therefore, I am forever blown away by what the internet can do.
Two things have recently happened to me using my computer that shocked me into disbelief. The first was my receiving an e-mail from an editor of Reed Magazine, a quarterly publication sent to all people who have had any connection to Reed College. If you’ve read my memoir, Becoming Alice, you might remember that I spent my freshman year of college at that school. The e-mail asked me if I’d object to their placing a short bio of me in the Class Notes section of their magazine, and a short synopsis of Becoming Alice in the Readiana section of their publication. The Readiana section publicizes former Reed students who are authors and the books they have written. Are you kidding? Of course, my answer was, “Please do!”
I was amazed that they knew I’d written a book and asked how they found me. Apparently, the search engines and spiders on the internet … I don’t really know how they work … will pick up on the words “Reed College” for them. I’d written about my time at Reed in my book and they had somehow gone inside my memoir to find me. It did give me a bit of a jolt in terms of privacy, buy hey, isn’t it great that Becoming Alice would be travelling elsewhere again.
Then the next amazing thing happened. I received another e-mail out of the blue. It came from the son of a person I’d written about in my memoir, that person being the friend of my father with whom he studied to pass the Boards for licencing physicians in the state of Washington. He had read the my book in the Readiana section of Reed Magazine, bought the book, and come to the part where I describe his father and mine studying together in our living room.
From there the adventure is easier to follow. The son gets on my website, www.alicerene.com, finds out I’m on Facebook and sends me a message. I don’t really use Facebook that much, I prefer to telephone my friends, but in this case, Facebook worked great for me. Since connecting, this son and I have exchanged memories of our two families backgrounds and experiences. Amazing … and so much fun. I have a new-found respect for the power of the internet.
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