OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Blogging works – you too should keep a diary. You can always go private.

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:10

Blogging works – you too should keep a diary.

Don't think its anything new, this one dates to the 16th century. Lady Anne Clifford would know how to build a website and keep a blog. She did.

DSC00800.JPG

You can always go private.

Edit, then publish later. Or password protect so only a few get to read.

To give you confidence.

To become emboldened.

Start small. 50 years before Twitter there was the Five Year Diary. This is mine. I think the entries here are around 140 character.

DSC00375.JPG

‘Maketh up a quote at ye beginning of thy book; it will make people think thou art clever.’

Christopher Marlowe ‘The Obscure Tragedie’ Act II, Scene ii.

The following comes from a seminal book on diary keeping by Tristine Rainer.

Here are some key thoughts:

Some of this thinking can be brought up to date in the context of keeping a diary online; the essential principals remain the same.

A dairy is many things:

‘Everything and anything goes. You cannot do it wrong. There are no mistakes. At any time you can change your point of view, your style, your book, the pen you write with, the direction you write on the pages, the language in which you write, the subjects you include, or the audience you write to. You can misspell, write ungrammatically, enter incorrect dates, exaggerate, curse, pray, write poetically, eloquently, angrily, lovingly. You can past in photographs, newspaper clippings, cancelled checks, letters, quotes, drawings, doodles, dried flowers, business cards, or labels. You can write on lined paper or blank paper, violet paper or yellow, expensive bond or newsprint.’

Tristine Rainer, ‘The New Diary’ 1976.

Is this so different to blogging 25 years on?

Not at all. I go with the view of Reconstruction 6.4 that a blog is like paper, as versatile, but online.

Think about. I have and academic 'papers' have been written on the theme.

‘Flow, spontaneity and intuition are the key words. You don’t have to plan what you are going to do. You discover what you have done once you have set it down.’Tristine Rainer.

Keep it all in one place

‘When the dreams like next to the fantasies, and political thoughts next to personal complaints, they all seem to learn from each other.’

  • This works for blogging:
  • Write Spontaneously
  • Write quickly
  • This is so that you don’t know what will come next.
  • How the unexpected can happen.
  • Surprise yourself.
  • Write Honestly

Be open about what you really feel.

Few diaries actually lie to themselves in a dairy, but many out of shyness with themselves avoid writing about the most intimate aspects of a situation.

Write Deeply

Anais Nin, disappointed with her childhood diaries, developed the practice of sitting quietly for a few minutes before beginning to write. She would close her eyes and allow the most important incident or feeling of the day or of the period of time since she last wrote to surface in her mind.

That incident or feeling became her first sentence.

Write Correctly

  • Expressive language is not a science.
  • There are no rules.
  • You are writing for yourself, so self-expression is the key.
  • Test the range of your natural voice – it will develop.
  • Errors are part of the form of the diary, as they are part of life.

Blogging for Dummies claims this thinking for itself, treating the ideas of others like a tumble-dryer of ideas from which you can pick willy-nilly.

Choose your audience Your best audience is your future self.

In ten years time you won’t remember the situation unless you capture all its sensual vitality now.

My frustration is with the new comers jumping on the blogging bandwagon professing to know all about social media (including blogging). They don't unless they have done it; I have. I do.

Value contradictions

In time they will develop towards a larger truth; leave them in.

‘Some diarists find when they go several weeks without writing they begin to feel off balance and take it as a signal that they are avoiding the inner self.’

Those of us who keep a diary regularly are stuck with it; whether it appears online, and which bits of appear online is another matter.

‘We taught the diary as an exercise in creative will; as an exercise in synthesis; as a means to create a world according to our wishes, not those of others; as a means of creating the self, of giving birth to ourselves.’

Anais Nin, December 1976.

There’s more to follow from Tristine Rainer on basic diary devices and special techniques.

The Marlowe quote is John O’Farrel’s invention and appears in ‘I blame the scapegoats.’ A diary cannot be ghost written, I’m sure some blogs.

A corporate blog isn'nt a blog it's a online brochure.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

The quirks of technology

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 25 Nov 2012, 05:23

Loaded into DropBox (Picasa) this grab of a 17th century painting, or a 16th century character gets the 'networking' treatment. Isn't technology presumptuous.

Rogr%20CLifford%20Email%201564.JPG

This vast painting, known simply as the 'Great Picture' tells a poignant story, wealth and lands are involved, but also the desperate love of a daughter for her wayward father.

The%20Great%20Picture%20POSTCARD.jpg

Lady Anne Clifford in the left hand panel is shown age 15 at the time of her father's death. Her father, her brothers shown here also long dead, leaves his estates to his brother; something Lady Anne spends the rest of her life fighting to overtime. In the right hand panel, 41 years later, she had the lands - though only because the male line of her cousin also produced no male heirs.

It is a deeply personal story too, the image of a happy family suggested in the central frame is a myth. George Clifford was a womaniser, Champion to Queen Elizabeth, pirateer and gambler. By the time Lady Anne was at court, where she was sent age 13 years 2 months, her father was estranged from her mother and with his mistress.

The rows or heraldic devices left and right of the main picture tell the 200 year history of the Clifford Family from the mid 15th century, a line that ends with Anne. All the portraits are copies of miniatures, some made 50 years before this composite painting.

On the one hand it reads like a Hollywood Movie of three acts, the moment when it all goes wrong for Lady Anne she loses her father and inheritance), the conflict to take possession of the lands which the central panel indicate belong to this line of the Clifford family, and the final act when Lady Anne, now 56 years old, and twice married with daughters of her own, moves into her properties.

On the other hand, to modern eyes it is a homepage for a website. There would be over 70 clickable points, links into nuggets of information, on previous generations, on her brothers who died age 5 and 7, on her governess (Mrs anne Taylour) and tutor (Samuel Daniel), her aunts too (Baroness Wharton, Counterss of Derby, Countes of Warwick and Countess of bath), and her two husbands (the earl of Dorset and Phil, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery) ... on the books she read and the music she player, even her pet cat and dog.

Both her diaries and this painting suggest a daughter who craved her father's affection and on his death wanted what she felt should have been his gift to her - his lands. Clifford is shown in a pose he'd never recognise, a father and head of the family with his wife and children. He wears a suit of 'Star Armour' the equivalent today of being shown sitting in or standing next to a Royals-Royce Phantom.

Some story, some picture, some ideas on how to compress information into a three frames from the 17th Century.

It has all I'd look for in a website home page: a storyline, a choice of ways into the information (the choice to explore down to the use) and drama both in the events and the scale and nature of the picture.

There's pleasure today tracking down items from the Great Picture: the books are labeled, the pearls Lady Anne wears (a gift from her father), the star armour, the portraits and miniatures on which the Great Picture exist in galleries, collections and museums. The players have their stories too and Lady Anne kept a diary.

The journal Lady Anne kept reads like a modern blog, it trips between the issue of her inheritance and tussles over them with kings and husbands, as well as details like paying the housekeeper 3d to look after her cat when she was away (you can see the cat at Lady Anne's skirts in the right hand panel).

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

The value of voice recognition software

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 7 Feb 2011, 14:05

I have in front of me a script for a video production dated 1986. I could have typed it in by now. However, I have twenty of these to do and if I want to digitise 2.5m words from old journals and letters I may need something faster than typing it up or scanning it in.

Dagon%20Speaking%20Naturally%20Software%201.JPG

Voice recognition seems to be the answer and this seems to be the product.

I've been familiar with the oddly named, though brand creating 'Dragon Speaking Naturally' since it came out. Now I feel a need. I doubt it'll solve an OU H800 essay crisis, though often reading something out loud is the best test of its sense.

Dagon%20Speaking%20Naturally%20Software%202.JPG

Any recommendations or warnings?

I could also skip the writing/typing process entirely and turn into text what I record verbatim, for example, poolside coaching or teaching to inform fellow coaches. They can have it as a podcast and/or as text.

My aim is to find ways to get the contenst of my mind

On verra.

With all the production materials, scripts, schedules, budgets and other plans it feels retrograde to be taking a linear video production and turning it into a Power Point style presentation, but this is the plan. And to treat this as the penultimate draft before segments are replaced with video and interactive and assessment components are added.

DSC00727.JPG

The topic is The Great Picture which illustrates the struggle Lady Anne Clifford had to keep an inheritance her father bequeathed to his brother Henry during his lifetime for a cash sum, so denying his then 15 year old daughter what she considered to be her rights. The painting is dated 1646.

I have the permissions to use pictures of miniatures and other portraits dated from 1986 which I'll have to renew, including the lute music copyright. I own photographs of the picture I took between 1974 and 1990 and have broadcast quality video footage of the picture too. I also have and this replica which I've just photographed on the top of the piano where the figures are the size of Ken and Barbie rather than life-size.

The Voice Artist who 'played' Lady Anne will be replaced simply because I want to re-conceive it so that 'Harry Potter style' all the figures in the painting (and the painitings of paintings) tell their own story.

We'll see.

And this is simply an exercise to see if I can make the Adobe eLearning Suite 2 software I picked up at Learning Technologies sing.

 

 

 

 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 7 Feb 2011, 16:39)
Share post
Design Museum

What's your big idea?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 2 Feb 2011, 13:59

Sometimes I act in haste, sometimes I wait so long the opportunity is missed.

From the garage archive today I removed:

A box of pics belonging to my stepmother (the second of three). More on these in another environment.

I think as the family archivist I'll allow the ancients and the new comers to pick over this lot in their own time. Included here is an out of focus pic of me being bundled out of Church after my Christening. I can see my father and godfather in such good humour that maybe I appreciate now how they remained close after everything else that occurred subsequently in our ridiculous family saga.

Also

A set of slides, photographs and letters giving permissions to use images from museums in the UK and North America to illustrate the story of 'The Great Picture,' a triptych commissioned by Lady Anne Clifford in 1642. This extraordinary, vast painting, an 'Avatar' or 'Gone with the Wind' of the 17th century was one of my early 'Audio Visual' commissions - all stills, rostrum work and voice over inspired by the diaries of this 'Proud Northern Lady.'  From 1988 I wanted to make this vast picture and all the stories it tells interactive and from 1998 put it online.

Suddenly it is possible.

And easy.

Courtesy of Adobe and Captivate this will be my 30 day trial and 30 day test ... getting copyright permissions to scan in or source fresh originals to tell the story of Lady Anne Clifford. Actually, I have slide 'Masters' from the original museums, so it may be a case of looking at the detail of the permissions I was given twenty years ago.

I also found this:

 

DSC00714.JPG

 

Which does this:

 

DSC00711.JPG

 

And on the other side said this:

 

DSC00716.JPG

 

I worked with a class of Year 6s (age 11). I sent them back to 1066 to locations and on dates of my choosing. In pairs. They recorded what they witnessed to camera as if in a photobooth, or 'Video Diary' box. I should seek permissions from these teenagers or their parents to share the outcome. Let's say their perspective on 1006 is more post graduate than GCSE.

Permalink
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 5323249