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Write Your Final Fanzine

Written by Laura Brown

Think of a fanzine you might have written. (Maybe you even did write one). After all the issues, the community you may have found, the new things you learned as you published about your favourite TV show, celebrity, type of fruit, grocery store chain, etc. How would you finish it all, a final goodbye?

I thought this was such a great creative writing idea. Writing sort of a eulogy for your creative passion once its wound down. Maybe you ran out of things to say. Maybe you got tired of it. Maybe your opinion about the whole thing changed. Maybe it got to be too expensive. There are lots of reasons a small, self publication, a fanzine, would close down. Would that be part of your final issue, or would you leave it for people to guess at? Leave them wanting more?

You might make a final grand statement, an epic summary of everything you have found and learned. I think I'd try to do that then change my mind when I couldn't make it short enough, or be sure I hadn't forgotten something and then want to write another final issue.

Of course, if you've never written a fanzine this could be your one and only. The one and only fanzine about wilted lettuce... giraffes... bicycle lanes... the evolution of Sunday shopping... there really is no end to the range of ideas and topics. They don't even have to take themselves very seriously.

Oh No by Mammoth Island

"Inaction will cause a man to sink into the slough of despond and…

Written by Laura Brown

"Inaction will cause a man to sink into the slough of despond and vanish without a trace."

Farley Mowat, 1921 - 2014. Canadian writer and environmentalist.

"And now that you don't have to be perfect you can be good".

Written by Laura Brown

"And now that you don't have to be perfect you can be good".

Quote by John Steinbeck East of Eden, published in 1952.

The Silent Book Club

Written by Laura Brown

"The Silent Book Club is a global community of readers and introverts, with more than 800 chapters led by local volunteers around the world. SBC members gather in person and online to read together in quiet camaraderie. Find a chapter near you or a virtual meetup at"

My local chapter has gone dark. I think it happens a lot to groups like this. Someone gets inspired to start, works at making it go, then gets discouraged when it doesn't work as well or as fast as they would like. Some hang in there, a lot don't and move on to the next fresh inspiration. People don't understand, or don't want to know that nothing starts out big. The groups that hang in and trudge along are the ones with a chance to grow and become popular, or at least get a regular attendance.

I thought about offering to take up the local group myself, to re-start it. But, I pulled myself back and waited. Its so easy to take on a new challenge when its fresh and you feel enthusiastic. For me, I'm better to wait and see if I still feel that way a week from now. I'd rather wait now than have another project started and left unfinished/ unsatisfied.

There are times you make a go of something and then something else comes along to muck it up. Its not always in your control. But, some of it is. Know yourself and don't jump in with both feet right away. Make sure its really what you want before you commit to it.

Have You Ever Written in a Book?

Written by Laura Brown

I have written in a book. A book I owned not one borrowed from someone else or a library. Also, not a book I was going to trade in at my local secondhand bookstore for more secondhand books. So, I didn't feel it was defacing the book, but it still felt as if I were breaking some kind of cultural barrier.

Quoted from the Amazon book description of "The Reader in the Book: A Study of Spaces and Traces" by Stephen Orgel.

"One of the most commonplace aspects of old books is the fact that people wrote in them, something that, until very recently, has infuriated modern collectors and librarians. ... The underlying question is at what point marginalia, the legible incorporation of the work of reading into the text of the book, became a way of defacing it rather than of increasing its value-why did we want books to lose their history?"

I made notes about what I was thinking as I read the book. I made wonderful notes I wish I could read again now and be inspired by what I thought years ago when I first read the book. But, I gave the book to someone else to read and they didn't value it the way I did. It's gone. I don't even know if they read it cover to cover as I did, or just humoured me when I said how wonderful I thought it was.

Beyond that sad little story, I think people who write in a book are those who did find more inspiration, more to explore, in the book than the people who read it (maybe even loved it too) but did not leave any notes. Leaving a note, making that decision and acting upon it to crack into the pristine pages of a book... it takes guts, for lack of a better word. Writing in a book, leaving a mark is one thing, quite a thing for some. But, that's just the start. Your personal thoughts are there, exposed, for as long as that book is still around.

A book has to be burned to be destroyed. Throwing it into the garbage is not a final end. Someone could still pick it out, clean it up a bit and read it. Composting, is closer to an end, but that takes time. Quite a lot of time and you're not going to be there to guard the spot where its composting for as long as it would take for that book to break down. So, your thoughts will be there beyond the time it takes to jot them down.

Knowing and thinking about all of this, would you write in a book? I still do.

750 Words

Written by Laura Brown

Inspired by The Artist's Way morning pages. An online group who write 750 words (three pages) each day. Writing is private, not published, intended to help people get into the habit of writing every day. Registration required for the site. Community forum and blog posts. Asking $5 a month for membership which includes features to inspire writing.

Mudlarking and Beachcombing?

Written by Laura Brown

I read a post about mudlarking. What to Know About Mudlarking. From Archaeology Now, London, England.

"Mudlarking is the romantic name for scavenging on the riverbank (also called the foreshore) when the tide is out."

Things I learned about mudlarking in England: you need a license (even just to poke around), there are places you are not allowed to go, and you must report your finds. The writer, Jill Brown, suggests a catch and release plan where you don't keep what you find, just put it back. Take photos, leave it where you found it. I can understand, those are the general rules for urban exploration too.

But, what if I want to keep it? I don't know if we have rules about beachcombing or mudlarking here in Canada, or Ontario. Maybe they do in Toronto, the city itself. I'm not sure if the same urban exploration rules apply for finding something washed up on a beach or forgotten under the dirt in a forest, etc.

I like the name mudlarking, but I would think of it as beachcombing. I wondered if they were two words meaning the same thing or is there a difference between the two. Reading the description from the post, they sound very similar. Unless you're some kind of elite purist and insist beachcombing can only be considered beachcombing if it takes place on an actual beach. I've never heard of forestcombing (as far as I can remember) and I know there is mud in a forest.

This is a history of mudlarking, quoted from the same post as above:

"Many 19th-century mudlarks were poor, desperate children. They made their miserable livings selling pieces of coal, bits of rope, and anything else they could find. Two hundred years on, the mud is still dirty, the water is still cold, and the extraordinary treasures are still few and unpredictable, but mudlarking has become amateur archaeology."

I don't think beachcombing started that way. It seems it has always been a hobby, finding little things to collect and ponder about.

ldb ASCII Artist

Written by Laura Brown

My site with my ASCII art. Artist initials ldb.

Ontario Heritage and Forgotten Apple Trees

Written by Laura Brown

I'm interested in Ontario history, including our rural heritage. (I volunteer with Ontario Barn Preservation).

Today I found several links about heritage apples, forgotten apple varieties and trees in Ontario, and information about pruning and growing trees from the seeds of the old apples you might find on a road trip here and there.

My Mother and Grandparents talk about the apples they used to have for making pies and wonder where they could still find those now. They don't see them sold in farmer's markets and certainly not in stores any more.

I found a few good links and then this book, by Sher Leetooze, "Identifying Heritage Apples Across Ontario". I bought a copy of the book. I'm hoping it will include greening apples. A variety my Mother mentions every year. She remembers them being the first, early apples available each year. They grow (grew) here in Ontario but we haven't found any yet.

Orchard People

The Kitchen Orchard

The Ontario Heritage and Feral Apple Project

Pick some wild apples this year. You could even try planting some of the old trees seldom seen any more. Give them a chance to get a new start and have apples close at hand when you get into pie making mode.

Trying Chyrp Today

Written by Laura Brown

I've looked at so many interesting things related to minimal web site designs yesterday and today. My mind is full of this and that. I created an idea for this site, doodled the layout I'd use. Then, I found this software, Chyrp-lite.

It has enough features to work with my old site and yet its simple to deal with. So far. I've thought others were going to work, gotten enthusiastic and then found they just didn't work for one reason or another. I wondered if I was just being too picky. Or, finding ways to nitpick and procrastinate about getting the site up again. I hope not.

Installing it wasn't difficult. Looks like it uses markup which I will have to get used to. Unless there is another option. This is my first post with the software. No problems found.