On February 6 I noticed the first azalea buds of the year out on our hedge. I've seen more growth in other, sunnier locations around the neighborhood.
As with the robins coming through on their migration, these buds appear about a month earlier than I anticipated. Compare with this March 7 photo from last year. I think of the contrast with the snow being dumped up north, and the bone-chilling cold hitting my former haunts.
Stay warm up there....
Since Nature Coast Performances came into existence early Saturday morning, it has gained:
9 New Members
20 New Links
2 New Messages
2 New Databases
1 New File
So far, almost all the input is mine, including a jam-packed calendar of meetings, events, classes, etc., relating to the arts. But one member has also been inputting to the calendar, adding performances at his community theatre. I am thrilled -- I designed the group to be both a network and a clearinghouse in which members are able to input information in addition to just viewing it. Along with posting messages, they can add calendar items and links (I'd already inserted a link for that theatre). The fact that someone else is inputting information tells me this is working!
I'm finding out some amazing things as I develop the site, like the playwriting contest the Marion County Library is holding. (Marion is adjacent to Citrus.) Who knew?
I've input more material since I made this screen grab, but below is a sampling of the February Calendar and the Links section:
Click here and then on the magnifying glass for a more legible view. Clicking on a calendar item (on the original calendar) reveals additional information.
The two messages I've posted so far include one that's basically a mission statement and another that's a tour of the site, letting people know what's available and where they can add their own info. That second message, which is a user manual of sorts, is also the one file, downloadable in Rich Text Format.
The first of the two databases contains local press contacts, updated (at least partially) from one that I'd put together when I was the PR person on the Art Center's festival committee, a volunteer job I took shortly after I moved here. NCP members can use that database for publicizing their events. The second database is for member contact info. While the Links page contains arts resources and the websites of visiting performers, members can use the contacts info database to post links to their own websites.
I've been having a blast doing this. It lets me combine a number of things that are "home" to me: artistic sensibility combined with skills in organization, communications, and networking. I'm a good public speaker, and there's also a bit of teaching in this process because I'm disseminating information. I'm hoping it will lead to some pretty neat things -- it already looks as though it's starting to go in that direction.
In other news, the latest Star*Line (Jan./Feb. 2007) reprints my article, "Using Metaphor to Terrify," which had originally appeared in the members only-accessible newsletter of the Horror Writers Association as a guest spot in Marge Simon's regular column, "Blood and Spades: Poets of the Dark Side."
Book #2 prints out as I type this, in preparation for tweak #2 (that is, prepublication tweaks after the workshop tweaks that I've already made). I did the first tweak onscreen. The second is markup. I'll likely make further changes as I input those from the markup. Then it will be on to Book #3, which will be the most challenging of all because it suffers from flashback-itis. But I've got plenty of time to whup it into shape.