Here’s what I’m reading – a blogging “meme” (or is it a “tag”?)
November 20th, 2008
I’m the kind of person who may be vaguely aware of a trend but I don’t have a clue what it’s actually called.
Case in point: the hip blogging term “MEME.” I kept hearing about this word, but didn’t know its meaning. I thought perhaps it was an acronym (as in multi-electronic-marketing-expression – huh?).
When I moderated the “Blogging Success Stories” panel at the Garden Writers Association annual symposium in September, Dee Nash of Red Dirt Ramblings made a comment about “meme” this and “meme” that. I just smiled and nodded, as if to say: Oh, I am in the know. I really get what you’re talking about.
Except I didn’t. That’s how non-technical I am.
Then last week, my friend Lorene Edwards Forkner sent me a “tag” challenge, one that she received from another Internet girlfriend, “Flowergardengirl” (aka Anna). I received Lorene’s nudge, but I’ve been so swamped that my follow-through has been belated for seven days.
I looked up the word MEME, which I thought might apply to Lorene’s “what are you reading right now?” tag, and discovered the following:
Meme: (Noun) A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.
Okay, tonight is the night. I’m down to one kid (the other kid is performing in a play and has informed me he is going to the midnight opening of teen-vampire flick “Twilight” after his show – who cares about first period choir tomorrow anyway? And husband Bruce is conveniently away at a 2-day graduate school commitment), so I can finally sit down and “play” with Lorene. She understands the delay and distractions. I know she does!
The challenge is as follows: Grab the nearest book at hand (no fair looking for something intellectual, just what’s within arm’s reach of your keyboard). Turn to page 56, go to the 5th sentence and post your results – include the 2-3 sentences that follow to provide some sort of context. Then turn around and “tag” 5 or more blogging friends to do the same.
I really hate these chain letters (virtual or tangible), but somehow the what-are-you-reading concept is way more appealing than sending recipe cards to friends from elementary school or summer camp.
Lorene calls this exercise “random snippets (that) give us a peek into ourselves.” She is spot-on right about the generalization that “writers, bloggers, and communicators are generally readers, as well.”
So, Lorene, here it goes. Luckily, the bright red jacketed book on my bedside table is pretty cool. It’s called I’ll Never Be French (No Matter What I Do), by Mark Greenside.
Mark Greenside is a kindred spirit. We’re “related” through my writing mentor, Paula Panich. Paula and Mark have maintained a writers’ correspondence for something like 19 years.
Paula urged me to read Mark’s memoir, subtitled “Living in a Small Village in Brittany.” It was published last month by Simon & Schuster’s Free Press. He charms the viewer in a clip Paula sent me from YouTube.
Here is Page 56. Oh, wait, i must take a sip of wine before I start typing. That’s very French of moi:
The windows of the houses are curtained with lace, each house with its own design: tiny boats in the sea, fishermen, boys and girls playing on the beach, flowers, gardens, Breton people in medieval costumes. It’s as if there were a village competition and the whole village won. Except for the people on the street, it’s a still life, a memento mori, all of it watched over by midget, carved-in-granite, local, Breton saints. They’re perched in niches built above doors or windows, below roofs, into the sides of the houses, or set on lawns, waiting, watching, blessing, judging, every human thing that happens. The whole scene is so perfect it could be Hollywood.
You’ve got to buy Mark’s book and read about his adventures in France (the rest of the time, he lives in the Bay Area, a decidedly non-French lifestyle). It is a love letter to the place on Earth he most cherishes.
And I will single out five friends (friends not already tagged by Lorene) to lend their voices to this game. Isn’t it nice how everything is resolved, so very tidily, in the end?
1. A Very Good Life (Lydia Plunk) Lydia is going to have something interesting to share, I know. She values the small, intimate details of life and writes about them with honesty and love.
2. Cold Climate Gardening (Kathleen Purdy) Kathy is my blogging coach. She has a million beautiful children and acreage. I don’t know if she even has time to read for pleasure, but I’m so curious to know what book is on her bedside table.
3. Daniel Mount Gardens (Daniel Mount) Daniel is a gardening friend from Seattle whose river runs deep. Every enchanting word he writes surprises me and makes me feel honored to have him as a friend. I am very interested to know what Mr. Mount is reading these days.
4. My 4th choice was Marty Wingate of Passports and Seed Packets. Except then I noticed Lorene already tagged her. UGH. I’m going to bed. I’ll think of someone else tomorrow morning.
5. Vintage Garden Gal (Bonnie Manion)Bonnie and her husband John are backyard vintners. They just harvested their first crop of wine grapes in San Diego Co. In addition to being garagistes (shedistas?), the Manions are huge Franco fanatics. I know they’ll love reading Mark’s memoir about living in France. And if you have time, mosey over to Bonnie’s blog, where she writes about gardening, growing edibles, and her garden antiques business, Mon Petit Chou.
Bye for now. I’m going to read page 57.