I would like to call your attention to Jen Humphrey’s blog, Up From the Ground (which is now a fixture under “Blogs ‘We’ Like,” right). Jen is the Director of Communications for the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas (which also houses the Center for Biodiversity). She is also a (new) farmer and an MFA student.
Over the next year (at least), Jen will be writing her MFA thesis on-line – qua blog. Naturally, it will involve communications, nature, and farming. But I think it will be different from other blogs on those various topics, in that she is becoming ever more aware of the possibilities and limitations of the Blog Form – and how it might intersect with farming. For one thing, I and her other committee members are going to comment on the blog on the blog – thereby becoming part of the blog/thesis. Hell, you can comment on the blog and become part of her thesis! To add to the recursive fun, I fully expect that she will read this blog post, which is a reflection on her reflections on her blog. And she may even comment.
I pointed out to Jen (f2f, can you believe it??) that writing is a technology – and one that was first used to record agricultural produce. All that's left of that Sumerian millet are those clay tablets. (One thing I forgot to suggest is that she speak to a 21 c. Large Producer or two – about how they use communications technology; Jen and Jess are just a few acres and goats).
I also mentioned the potential open ended-ness of the blogosphere (which is really more pear-shaped, in my imagination). Unlike the Traditional Essay, blog posts do not have to achieve Closure. They can be part of a series; they can include links that take you away from them; they can invite comments that become part of them; and there is always the possibility of more to come – even if there is a long hiatus between posts. Blogs never end – either spatially or temporally. Until the coal runs out, anyway.
(Here in Lawrence, we have one of the top-ten greenhouse-gas emitters in the country, in the form of the power plant that is producing electricity for the very words I am typing now. Unlike the blogosphere, the ecosphere really is a closed system.)
All of this self-reflection is crucial, of course, because what is a bigger corn-pone stereotype than being a farmer in Kansas? People in Kansas, like people everywhere, begin to take on the characteristics, interests, and language of what they are supposed to be like. You should hear me talk in reverent tones about my connection to the local landscape. I can even do it in a Bob Dole/Pat Roberts twang.
Anyway, be part of the project. Visit the blog.
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