Hello again from Sarah Graves, who today is hunkered down on this icy little rock halfway out in the North Atlantic, or at least that’s how it feels. It’s the kind of day when your mother used to say you’d better stay inside and play with your toys. So I thought I’d offer a few online guilty pleasures for your bad-weather-day amusement.
I’m sorry to have to confess that my number one online guilty pleasure is www.gawker.com . Do you want to know the latest on the coat-wearing monkey found wandering around a Toronto store the other day? Or about the species of catfish that slithers ashore to catch pigeons? Maybe you’re hot to find out what Lena Dunham’s $3.7 million book proposal looked like. If so, Gawker is your, um, gawker.
On the other hand, perhaps your tastes are more elevated than mine; this, in fact, is entirely likely.
For you, I offer www.guardian.co.uk/books . Recently there, Robert McCrum’s semi-humorous try at creating some new niche fiction categories was made even more interesting by the reader comments, some of which describe existing categories that I, at least, hadn’t known of. But that’s just one example of a huge delicious heap of reviews, essay, lists, discussions, and I don’t know what all else, all having to do with — yes! — books. And the rest of the Guardian’s not too shabby, either.
Or perhaps you are thinking of starting a blog, or you already write one, or you’d just like a dose of good, solid human-beingness to read, or you knit, or you write. Surely you are at least one of those? If so, try www.yarnharlot.ca/blog . The Yarn Harlot knits, and writes best-selling books about knitting, and tours for the books, and teaches knitting and spinning to huge gatherings, and has a family, and…and… Well. She’s the bee’s knees, and as a living tutorial on how to run a freelance writing business she’s a heroine of mine. No kidding, if you want to see how a person sells books the right way, the way we (and our publicists) fantasize about writers doing, go look, and keep looking for a while.
As for the actual writing: www.maudnewton.tumblr.com/ is — what? Energizing, inspiring, fascinating,useful…all kinds of good things. Maud Newton’s short essays, links, photographs, and commentary are like web surfing with writer-vitamins and writer-mineral. Builds better writing nine ways, at least. Never boring, always humane and thought-provoking…oh, just go have a look for yourself.
Finally, because you know you want it, I offer www.dogoftheday.com. Because dogs in great photographs are better than no dogs at all, and you don’t have to take them outside on a day like today.
Although on the other hand you might want a real one, so for you: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/PAWS-HUMANE-SOCIETY/47734477499 . That’s Hunter there on the right.
Hunter may already have found a home by now, but his pals are still waiting at PAWS in Calais, Maine — hint, hint.
Love this, Sarah. From time to time, one of my Facebook “friends” will post a link to an essay or a blog, which leads to the dreaded netsurfing, and a whole lot of happily wasted time. I live in fear of this, and have actually considered that program called “Freedom” which locks you off the internet for a set number of hours. Kind of like the English meters you used to have to feed to get some heat, I think I should have to put increments of 500 words into the “meter” to be allowed back on the internet.
And speaking of dogs, my daughter-in-law regularly posts pictures of the most adorable little dogs out in California awaiting adoption. Makes me very glad California is a continent away, or I would have a house full of dogs by now.
Just what I need, more ways to procrastinate! Drat you, Sarah Graves. Or not really. I try to look at it this way. When I worked in an office, not every moment was productive. There was a lot of waiting around for meetings or conference calls to start. Wandering into the break room for coffee and finding someone interesting there. Endless, stupid flights and waiting for flights and wandering (or running) through airports. So now my internet hanging out time is my new non-productive time.
Of course, right now I’m researching book 2, which gives me an excuse. Wait, didn’t Vicki Doudera write about the perils of that recently?
Yes, I did! But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy… didn’t a fellow Maine writer pen that? Sarah — thanks for these diversions…. I can’t wait to be diverted by them!