How to Be a Lovely Odd Duck 101

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Heather Havrilesky   &  Mike Caulfield

I know there is a “fit” here somewhere.  Between these two posts. Between these seemingly disconnected pieces.  I want to jam them together. I want to, I want to, I want to.  Why?  My gut says that for me they need to go together and damn the rest of the puzzle. A good carpenter can always fudge the join, a great carpenter can do it so know one will ever know. But I want more than craft here.  I want truth and honor. Make it ugly if that is what it is.

The first post, an advice column in the Atlantic, “Ask Polly” by Heather Havrilevsky (I spelled it wrong above, damn), tries to help a writer through the rough patch, the perennial question, “Should I just give up on writing?”

I think this rings especially true for me as a blogger. I have written a series of posts for my local writing project.  They live inside the closed silo of Schoology, a platform I never would have chosen.  I have posted a dozen or so blog entries about tech pedagogy tools and strategies. Perhaps there are lots of lurkers?  That is a charitable view, but I doubt a single post has been read.  Schoology doesn’t allow analytics at that level so I have no way of knowing unless someone tweets or otherwise connects with me.

Part of me says it’s their loss, but another part argues, “What the hell! It’s my loss. My time, my attention, my work with no audience or attention.” Hence, the happy coincidence of this post.


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Good juju, yes?  Kind of like when you are pouring concrete and you are worried about bubble in the mix so you have a tool for vibrating out those bubbles so that the mix is strong.  I am revived.

Then I read Mike Caulfield’s geeky post about his promising new tool Wikity.  I tried to “get” this tool in a previous iteration, the Federated Wiki. Created by Ward Cunningham as the next logical step for his previous genius invention, the wiki, the federated wiki was an even more connected way to share.  Intellectually, I got it.  Technically? I didn’t get much past the trained monkey stage.

This post helped me finally get it.  Not all of it, but enough of it.  The key for me is this idea:

Tool for thinking, not expression. Wikity is meant as a way to make you smarter, more empathetic, more aware of complexity and connection. You put stuff on your site not to express something, but because it’s “useful to think with”.  By getting away from expression you also get away from the blinders (and occasional ugliness) being in persuasive mode comes with.

I am thinking that Mike and Heather are speaking the same truth but on different wavelengths.  Perhaps I can move them about so that they reinforce each other. To sum up: I think Heather suggests a ‘why’ to write and Mike suggests a ‘way’ to write.

So this is where I am.  I know it isn’t very far, but it gets me moving toward accepting my own internal motivations and voice as foundational and unassailable even by own inner critic (at least for now).  I call this the “Fuck everybody who disagrees. I am going to write if it kills me” POV.  Now how do I manifest that attitude with Wikity/federated wiki-style tools.  I think that federated wikis are the only tools that fit the ethos above.

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  1. // Reply

    Your Tech posts have not been unread! Keep on writing!

  2. // Reply

    I’m also in the “I’m going to write if it kills me” mode as well as being “the wierdo who is foisting his/her creations on the world without apology.”

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