Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Writing

Feeds for a New Era

My blog post today may be old-hat to some, but because of the censorship issues today, I am revisiting it.

The technology of RSS feeds some consider to be old-hat, and they have been since the rise of social media. But they have been under the radar, not obsolete like others have proclaimed over the years. Twitter had a feed many years ago.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Netscape created it in 1999 under the different name of RDF Site Summary, and through the years it morphed into the current name.

The format is in XML language, which is a plain text file. Another file associated with RSS is OPML, which is XML’s outline format for exporting the feeds you have created in a feed reader for backup.

Feed readers consolidate feeds from websites that use this form of syndication. Blogs, podcasts, emails, websites, and news sites (this is not an exhaustive list) publish the XML files to their sites so that feed readers can pull in articles that are newly published. Most feed readers are free. Another file form of aggregating websites is called Atom. Most feed readers support both.

I will use mine to illustrate. I use the Linux program named QuiteRSS. It allows you to add folders to organize subject matter. For example, I have folders called Oregon, News, Church, Writing, and Personal. I can update all at once, only certain folders, or certain sites. There is a rudimentary browser so that you can read the feeds on their home website. Or you can open an external browser to read articles. Filters are available to further help sort information. And the articles can be labeled or deleted as needed. I clean mine daily so I am not overwhelmed.

The fall of popularity of RSS, a decentralized form of gathering data for the user, instead traveled to companies centralizing data on us users, was planned? If so, it is time to stake our claims on the World Wide Web and raise the flag of our RSS mailboxes.

ReadingWriting

The Breath of God

I have on my bookshelf several writing-to-inspire books. I refer to them occasionally for encouragement.

  • If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
  • A Writer’s Paris by Eric Maisel
  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Maria Rilke
  • Unless It Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt
  • Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson

In the same vein, I have read The Creative Call: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit by Janice Elsheimer. She teaches about the Greek word pneuma and the Hebrew equivalent word rûach (both share the same meanings in Strong’s Concordance #4151). Both refer to God’s breath or His wind as the creative empowerment that inspires us to create.

Ezekiel 37:1-14 is the story of God raising up an army from a valley of very dry bones, so dry that they had no life force left in them. The Lord God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the dry bones, and “So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

Sometimes I do have divinely sent ideas for blog posts and writing projects, and sometimes I sit in front of my blank laptop screen, racking my head for ideas (like today). But that is the essence of co-creation with God. We do our part and He does His.

FaithWriting

Setting Sail for 2021

Now that the festivities of the Christmas season are over, I have amassed a list of projects to keep me busy, and writing more blog posts. I want to make a spreadsheet of commonly used Linux terminal commands, reorganize my planner, and as stated before, one of the biggest is revamping my blog.

My New Year Resolutions get written on New Year’s Eve, sealed and read the next New Year’s Eve. They, over the last few years, have morphed more into a letter to the Lord and what I feel He wants me to do. Plus a few of my own desires thrown in.

Ordered three new books today. One in response to a follower: 1984 by George Orwell. It will be interesting to see how current events line up with the book.

Next two in line: Blogging for God’s Glory in a Clickbait World by Benjamin Vrbicek and John Beeson, and To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction by Phillip Lopate. I have a weakness for writing books; most of my bookshelf is crowded with them.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

This verse – read in context – is during the time of Israel’s captivity, with promises from God that He will someday return them to their homeland. I think it is a key verse for 2021.

FaithReadingWriting

All Things Oregon

When I moved here in 2013, many others were moving to Oregon too. It was the number one state to move to and I was proud to be one of the statistics. I came from Missouri, and for the most part followed the Oregon Trail all the way here.

My father passed here, so I decided to “go west, young man (older woman in my case)” and start a new life. And I have.

I have grown to love Oregon much more than Missouri: mild weather, beautiful shorelines, quiet community for the most part, the arts, the wide open spaces further east. No more tornado alley, however, I lived near the New Madrid fault line so that did not change here.

Many writing ideas came walking the beach with my portable radio and headphones on. Most of them haikus.

Politically, Oregon is not as liberal as many think. It is the same in most other states, the metropolitan areas are largely liberal and the rural areas are largely conservative. But I see much potential here in the days ahead. Dreams can come true here.


Have a blessed weekend!

Writing

Orwell’s Writing Advice

References to 1984 abound on the Internet today, with political and cultural turmoil and our surveillance society. I admit I have not read it, but it is on my classical novels to be read bucket list.

Popular writing advice includes to write what you do not know. To just start writing and you will find how you believe or feel about a topic while you writing. That writing what you really believe can lead to propaganda or didactic writing. Sometimes this can be helpful or even desired.

However, this advice has always made me chafe. A pencil, pen, or keyboard in the hands of an experienced writer can write the novel or short story subtly, co-creating with the reader’s own thoughts. But the the bigger issue to me is if, as a writer, you have something to say from the beginning.

As a writer, you need a secure foundation from which to write.

When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.

George Orwell

I believe Mr. Orwell has succeeded.


Have a blessed weekend!

Writing

Wild West and WIPs

With the revelations of malfeasance in the offing, Big Tech being in the cross-hairs in the days ahead, it is hard for content creators to know where to publish their works. Many that I follow online are doing a tremendous job of keeping afloat in the atmosphere of censorship.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is in the President’s cross-hairs as a national security threat. It would stifle social media companies by making them liable for on-site postings, therefore open to lawsuits. Some say to enforce this by punishing those companies that have censored conservatives. Others want it to be deleted.

And it has been a national security threat. If it were only a few companies censoring, they would most likely be disciplined and that would be the end of it. But the Big Tech companies – the big, bad apples spoiling it for us all – have consorted, pushing out the truth, and bamboozling a large swatch of the population in believing lies. The lies being antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.

With unbridled, unrestrained freedom, I see a governmental backlash coming. If the social media companies are held accountable for what they publish, what does that mean for those of us who use the internet for ministry and/or writing? Are we about to reap what we have sown by not using freedom wisely?

If we are called to keep pursing our online writing ministries (and as a small fish in a big pond, I am), then I see a return back to what the internet was in the ‘90s, when I published my first blog. We all had our own home space on world wide web with search engines (like Technorati) and RSS feeds for others to read our content. I do think there is room for social media, but with a proper perspective to our home base.

Wild West days are upon us, it will be a work in progress – a WIP. It will be interesting to see what companies survive and those that don’t.

Those that have callings to produce content, need to get before the Lord and ask for wisdom, if they have not already. He shall surely give it.


Have a blessed weekend!

FaithWriting

Happy Reading!

Today was a mailbox bonanza for me: two books and two writing magazines to peruse.

Both books had to do with road trips, and I did not even realize it until I had clicked the order button. It’s likely my subconscious, or conscious desire, is to get out on the road like I did before the lockdowns.

First up is Nala’s WorldOne Man, His Rescue Cat, and a Bike Ride around the Globe by Dean Nicholson. Another unmet desire is to own a cat again, but due to circumstances I can’t right now, hopefully in the near future. So I read vicariously. Color pictures in two sections of the book made my heart smile. If you have an Instagram account, you can find them at @1bike1world.

Second, is Writing In A Convertible With The Top Down by Sheila Bender with co-author Christi Glover. Looks to be an encouraging and fun guide to navigate the writing life.

Third, I have pointed to political bias in the writing magazines. One this time was no exception, though it wasn’t as bad as the last issue. (Throat clear – that would be Poets & Writers). Maybe they should rebrand themselves as a political writing magazine. That being said, looks to have some nuggets for me to panhandle. Writer’s Digest is celebrating their 100th Anniversary, and it is thicker than usual. I am really looking forward to reading this issue.

To all you readers out there – Happy Reading!

ReadingWriting

Holy Writing

Looking at the Vine’s Dictionary, the New Testament definition of holy is long, with different Greek words that are used. I see two things that stand out: conduct, but also a separateness from the world. Specifically, “ ‘Sanctification’ is thus the state predetermined by God for believers into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it.”

For Christian writers, the calling part is a given. I used to think it would be easy for me, being an introvert and not having to deal with the outside world per se. But in writing you can’t hide – even from yourself – whether or not you chose to publish in the myriad of ways available now. If God calls you to write, He might call you to write some hard truths.

Whether we chose to use foul non-gratuitous language is not a foundational conduct issue. Grace has to be given here. The real issue is being set apart from the world to write what truth God would have us write.

FaithWriting

Are Social Media Platforms Viable?

Today, a few well known conservative YouTubers sued YouTube. Many of the social media companies, I would say almost all of them, have stifled conservative voices, before the election.

Many writers who depend on social media sites for their livelihoods, e.g. Facebook/Instagram, and Twitter being the major sites, will be blindsided if they do not draw alternative plans. I see nothing on well known writing sites alluding to the possibility of this loss.

Social media companies are blurring the lines of Section 230 Communications Decency Act protections – are they publishers or public forums? Facebook and Twitter will not be far behind YouTube, and leaders of all these companies may be facing criminal charges for election interference and more serious issues.

And as writers, do you want to use a social media platform that stifles one side of an argument? Myself, I am tired of Twitter throttling and shadowbanning me, and I have an alternative account. (If you are curious, it is the link icon on my sidebar social media widget.)

A few new alternatives have started the last few years. Twitter and Facebook/Instagram at one time were new. Also, other alternatives besides social media exist for publicity/marketing – forums, enewsletters, blogs with RSS capabilities.

The writing world is changing, just like everything else in the world. But is this not a chance to be trailblazers, and start anew?

Writing

Solitude Work and Privacy

I have always enjoyed my own company, reading books and travelling by proxy to other lands and cultures.

Seriously lacking in our current culture is minding our own business. With societal lack of privacy and isolation, it is tempting to throw up our hands and let it all hang out. Even despite extreme technological abilities and the people who use it, my privacy rests in God. This is a biblical concept.

Stated in a previous post, I wrote that I hated writing a sonnet. Not as easy as the haikus I write. But today I decided to concentrate on the task at hand, and came out of it with 50 minutes of work and a decent 1st draft of my second stanza. I struggled for years thinking writing poetry was not work. Behind this was caring what others thought of me. It did nothing but rob me of poems that were not written.

Finished Walden. Henry David Thoreau loved his own company for two years. This is a gift.

FaithPoetryWriting

Copyright © 2021 hrenell's Hearth. All rights reserved.