Sunday, 2 September 2007

Middling, pedantic and covered in blackberries

I spent an interesting couple of hours earlier today surfing round various websites which offer us freelance publishing types an opportunity to advertise our services, link up with potential clients and do a bit of networking with our fellow wordsmiths. It was fascinating to see the range of websites through which editors and proofreaders offer their services to the world. Some are incredibly slick, snappy and seductive. Others look rather like one might suppose websites would have looked had they been around circa 1972 - brown/orange/red colour scheme, bad typography, unedifying content, uninspiring layout - just plan dull, frankly.

I have concluded that my site is probably somewhere in the middle. Which is at once both reassuring and vaguely alarming. It may not be glitzy, but with luck will not bore anyone to death. It receives a steadily increasing number of hits. And it brings in plenty of enquiries, so it must be serving its purpose.

And yet . . . who wants to be ‘middle’ anything? –aged? –of-the-road? -England? No thanks!

Except that by definition that’s exactly what the majority of us are (or is, if one is being quibbly over the singularity or plurality of ‘the majority’, which I suppose, in this game, one should be).

Having very nearly resolved, as a result of today's survey, to wrench my own website to tiny pieces and put it back together in a hip, cool and trendy fashion, I decided to take time out over a cup of tea and a (very small, I can assure you) portion of you-know-what, while listening to the Classic Serial on Radio 4. Which might be taken, I suppose, as proof beyond reasonable doubt of middle-just-about-everythingness.

Suffice to say, having mused on the matter for a little while, I concluded that I might as well leave the site as it is for the time being. After all, no single provider of publishing services is going to appeal to all potential clients, and it’s generally advisable to ‘be oneself’ rather than to cultivate an image, whether online or in person, which is likely, in the long run, to mislead.

One of the sites on which I have just listed my editorial ‘credentials’ describes proofreaders as ‘pedantic people with no friends’. Ha ha ha ha. Possibly not the ideal way to encourage potential advertisers – particular since it’s a pay-to-list site – but, yeah, well, we know what you mean, although some of us are really quite nice and friendly, actually, and haven’t worn an anorak since 1968.

Anyway, in the course of all this surfing around, I happened upon two particularly memorable sites, to which I’m sure I shall return on a frequent basis. The first is Hoopoe Prints - artist and printmaker Lisa Hooper’s beautifully presented site, in which her passion for landscape and the natural world shines through her work. Her mastery of a wide range of printmaking techniques, as well as painting, and her covetable handmade books are a delight to see.

Today’s other major discovery is dovegreyreader scribbles. I am probably the last bibliophile on earth to have discovered this, the ultimate reader’s blog. So forgive me for being behind the times and feel free to say 'like, duh, hello? you are soooo last year'. But it really is tremendous. You might not agree with all her verdicts, but you have to admit, dovegreyreader sure gets through a vast number of books in a month. And there are between-book vignettes on home, garden, craft-making, jam-making and Agas, too. What could be nicer?

I had a good-ish crop of blackberries in the garden myself, which I was planning to gather in and turn into delicious things to eat and drink. And then my son had a friend round to play. And they came in from the garden after some lengthy time, completely purple from tousled head to filthy toe. They had been having a battle. Naturally. The ammunition had been . . . blackberries. Why not? A handy and plentiful supply; spectacularly messy results – absolutely ideal for the purpose. Their bewilderment at the ensuing rant from the mad mother was so disarming that I nearly stopped mid-flow. But then thought better of it and continued unabated, from 'disgraceful waste of food', through 'purple footprints on kitchen floor', right up to 'get-those-clothes-off-straight-away-so-I-can-wash-them-or-the-stains-will-never-come-out'. I am going to have to search a little further afield for bramble bushes in the next week or two.

I really miss my Aga.

1 comment:

dovegreyreader said...

Thank you so much for the lovely mention Juliet. We're into blackberries here too and I tried photograph the most sumptuous dish of cooked blackberries and apple for the blog but it looked more like raw liver mixed with spleen so that won't be appearing!