31 March 2012

Mickey Mousing around

Loading up and flying off to a Golden Birthday week excursion to Disney World... I can hardly contain my excitement. That was sarcasm. Though it shouldn't be "that bad," the over-commercialization of the place, like a small country where every experience is manufactured and manicured, is not normally an experience I seek out. But for the favor of a six-year-old, I will go smilingly. I hope to do a little writing about this experience and hope to weed out the cynicism while I'm at it. We'll see how it goes!

27 March 2012

People of Places in the Twittersphere: Who are you?

As an avid Twitter user I am on the look out for like-minded folks "out there." Using HootSuite.com as a way to manage the various streams of Twitter activity (lists including media, politics, environmental comm, various people I follow, and a list I call "people of places") has been effective for segmenting the nonstop flow of information.

Unfortunately, my list of People of Places is a little thin. Other than the fact that I think most of us are people of places, there are few who ring true as overt persons of place, so to speak. Though I've had little in the way of ongoing engagement on this blog, I welcome it. Indeed, dear reader, this would be an excellent time to start letting me know what you think.

My short list of people of places includes a few that stretch my (rather loose) conception of what or who people of places means. But it includes only nine entities! This, compared to the 66 members of my "Intelligentsia" list, is, as suggested, a bit thin. Again, I am open to suggestions!

On the list so far are the outdoor sports and recreation magazine Outside (@outsidemagazine); a regional advocacy group from Madison, WI (@ThriveHere); a group offering the Rainbow Bridge from a Native perspective (@Native_TRB); author and co-founder of the Children & Nature Network, Richard Louv (@RichLouv); a group focusing on nature deficit disorder (@naturedeficit); a group operating out of a barn in Yorkshire (@SenseOfPlaceUK); a place protector from Virginia, USA (@MFinnemore); and a regional booster group focusing on Wisconsin tourism (@TravelWI).

Who else is out there in the world of social media focuses on Sense of Place?  This could be from an academic perspective or simply as an informal personal interest. I welcome input from all quarters.

15 March 2012

Zinsser, On Writing Well about Place

Paging through a 20-year-old copy of William Zinsser's entertaining tome On Writing Well, I have happened upon a few pages on place. Samples of WZ's thought on writing about place are included below. Please forgive the gendered language. Apparently, even in 1990, gender neutral language was yet to be considered in On Writing Well.

Nevertheless, some Zinsserian nuggets...

"People and places are the twin pillars on which most nonfiction is built."

"Nobody turns so quickly into a bore as a traveler home from his travels."

"As a writer you must keep a tight rein on your subjective self -- the traveler touched by new sights and sounds and smells -- and keep an objective eye on the reader."

"One man's romantic sunrise is another man's hangover."

"...choose your words with unusual care. If a phrase comes to you easily, look at it with deep suspicion -- it's probably one of the innumerable cliches that have woven their way so tightly into the fabric of travel writing... Strive for fresh words and images."

"...whatever place you write about, go there often enough to isolate the qualities that make it special. Usually this will be some combination of place and the people who inhabit it."

"...when you write about a place, try to draw the best out of it. But if the process should work in reverse, let it draw the best out of you."

08 March 2012

The Topophilian Daily

I am finding lately, in my just-a-little-too-busy lifestyle, that the aggregation device I use to collect more-or-less interesting tweets from the network of Twitter users I follow is an efficient way to get a sense of the daily news. It's only a slice of all the news out there, but among active twitterers in my sphere of influence, so to speak, it works. Granted, my busy lifestyle could use a little time-out. But that's another blog altogether. Check out The Topophilian Daily for a peek into my sphere of news & information.