This post is not about a Halloween party

October 29, 2019 @ 8:54 am | Filed under: , ,


grainy party photo of happy party faces

photo by Jenny Wills

The news that Yahoo is deleting all the old Yahoogroups archives has rattled me a bit. It’s not a surprising decision, and I had no plans to dive back into those old threads and revisit all the things we said to each other when the internet was new; but there’s no small amount of dismay in the thought that all that history will blip away forever.

I was active on the internet for ten years before I started my blog. First: AOL boards—now all gone. Then: private listservs—now mostly wiped. Then: Yahoogroups—soon to be disappeared.

For the next ten years (2005-2015ish), I archived my own thought on this blog. If I made a contribution to the Great Conversation, I brought it back here and developed it. If I had a good idea, I recorded it here. And of course there were the booknotes, the kid quips.

Even after social media altered the pattern of blog discourse (comments happening on FB threads instead of in the comment box here), I stubbornly maintained my daily chronicle for quite a long time. It was work demands that crowded it out, eventually. I took on a lot of grantwriting work and boy did that dry up the blog! Ever since, I’ve struggled to find time after paying work for my own creative practice.

I have certain hacks that work very well for me, like the stitching habit I posted about yesterday. My morning poetry reading/writing time is probably my favorite part of the day. I sketch almost every day, sloppily, often as a transition to paying work. I set Downtime limits on my phone and religiously pick up my Kindle at night—the only screen I’ll allow. When I’m obeying my own rules, you know.

So the creative work does happen. (I don’t like my terms here: all my work is creative. The distinction is between creative practice—work I do for my personal projects, things that aren’t under contract and may never be, as well as books sold on proposal, when that applies—and work that pays my bills. When I say “creative work” I mean work I do that isn’t contributing to next month’s living expenses, but which I find fulfilling in other ways. Important ways!)

The creative work happens, and I get excited and post about it on Instagram. Instagram! Which could also go poof someday, like other platforms we thought would last forever.

Yesterday I had to laugh at myself. I’d written that post about my Dropcloth sampler—wrote it in Slack and posted in on Instagram. Got annoyed with myself: it was a blog post! Why’d I give it to IG? Toyed a moment with the idea of just crossposting everything I share on IG to this blog, so I’ll have the archive at least (but how annoying for friends who follow me in both places). Thought: there’s gotta be an easy way to make that happen, an IFTTT applet or something. Opened IFTTT and remembered I’d already done it. I activated an Instagram-to-Wordpress app MONTHS ago. I set it to save the blog posts as drafts so I could go in and tweak or expand before publishing. There are dozens and dozens of drafts queued up. All those posts! That’s what made me groan and laugh at myself. What’s the point of a good idea if you forget you had it?

And now some of those drafts are old enough that anyone who saw them on IG will have forgotten them anyway…which means I have dozens of posts ready or nearly ready to share here. I’m going to try! If I forget, remind me, will you?


This post I’ve just written has nothing to do with the photos at the top. But they were the ones sitting at the front of the draft queue. So here they are, stuck in my own personal album! I went to a Halloween party with my crowd of singing friends (or singing crowd of friends?). Didn’t get a pic of my striped Pippi socks, but you’ve seen them in my witch costumes of years past. I’m always a last-minute costume assembler. We sang a lot of karaoke—that’s been one of the most amusing developments of my life in Portland: the necessity of having a couple of karaoke tunes in my pocket. (Current standbys: “The Show” by Lenka, “Stay” by Lisa Loeb, and “They Don’t Know” by Tracey Ullman. At the party on Saturday I felt brave and sang 99 Luftballons in German. An actual party trick!)

It amuses me to think of posts that have little or nothing to do with the formerly-Instagrammed photo stuck at the top. The scattershot approach may be my best bet at recording the multitude of things I’m, for whatever reason, driven to record.

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4 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Penny says:

    I’ll take your writing any way you choose to offer it up. 🙂

    Cute costume! xo

  2. lesley says:

    Such a satisfying post, Lissa. I’ve done the same thing as you, many a time…set up something and promptly forgot about it. I will have to look into the app with all the I’s and T’s. I wanted to have blogging be the thing again, but do have to say that few or no comments sort of takes away the incentive, for me.

    I am reading and commenting here this morning as I have a slow breakfast and try to make blog-reading a lovely part of my day (or a few times a week, anyway) again, just like the old days. xo

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    Lesley, I always get such a happy leap when I see your name in my comment box! I need to find time to do that, too, but (always so many buts) — oh, bother the buts, they’re the same for all of us. I like your idea of spending a couple of breakfasts a week with blogs.

    IFTTT stands for IF This, Then That and it’s a website full of applets that let you set up all kinds of automatic functions between various platforms. For example, Instagram to Evernote (automatically save all your IG photos in Evernote), or Save photos people tag me in on FB to my Dropbox or a GPS-connected one that automatically texts your husband when you’re five minutes from getting home. All sorts of things. I only use it to capture things I’ve posted on feed-based social platforms. Save my tweets to Evernote, etc. My thinking is: if a platform were to disappear overnight, what might I lose? Years of writing? Photos? So I use IFTTT to save things to my personal archive. Which is maybe a bit hoardy? I don’t need every tweet I’ve ever written. But I do want some of them and can’t keep up with capturing keepers manually.

  4. lesley says:

    I feel the same. : ) I am a bit hoardy, too, yet am reluctant to sign up with another app/platform! What I really need to do is use one of those free apps to download my blog posts. And I’d love to get instragram photos into a book, as they are the best chronicler of my days. There is a company that makes these with tree-free paper, but it is pricey. xo