Friday, March 8, 2013

Virtual Hearth Fire


Last week I (and hundreds of thousands of others – millions?) watched Amanda Palmer’s Ted Talk on-line.

People have been going nuts for this for a variety of reasons; everyone is talking about it, the flair with which she delivers her message, the naked thing etc.

But I think that for most of us creative types, Amanda Palmer’s words and the depth of feeling expressed when she speaks about that genuine connection with an audience, has struck a chord. So many folks are out there on Twitter, Facebook and other media trying hard to flog their wares like they’re in a medieval marketplace because they are desperate to make a living with their art. They hunger for it and can’t wait to ‘make it happen’.

When you feel trapped doing something that‘s unrelated to your creative centre of the universe it’s easy to forget the truly important things like connecting with your audience and sharing your passion for what you really love and hold dear.

Amanda Palmer's Ted Talk was fantastic and, though I am way too shy for the naked thing (you have to watch it to find out what that means), I did take away some valuable ideas and thoughts and yes, they do relate to ancient or medieval history.

The internet connects us all globally and instantly and what it is, to my mind, with its millions of blogs, videos and other social sites, is a titanic gathering of virtual hearth fires.

Social media has, however, become so commonplace these days that I think most of us now take these regular human interactions for granted.

We need to be reminded that behind every e-mail, blog post, Tweet, ‘Like’, or comment is a person with ideas, with something to share and contribute.

We should remember to greet all of these with the respect and gratitude they deserve, so long as they, in turn, are also respectful.

As I get older and, it seems, busier and busier, I have realized that time is indeed utterly precious. So, when someone takes time to share we should take note and give back.

With this in mind, I have come to view my blog, and other sites, in a different light. Amanda Palmer highlights the interactions between people, performer and audience. In my case, I think of writers and readers interacting, sharing as peers.

'Homer and His Guide' 
This view, this idea personal interaction, reminds me of the ancient bardic traditions of our ancestors. Whether in ancient Greece when a blind Homer sat on a rock and recited his tales of the Trojan War and Odysseus to those gathered about him, or in ancient Britain when Taliesin bewitched his listeners with his magical words, people have gathered around the fire for ages to hear stories told, to be inspired and exchange ideas.

It is strange that the internet, this chimera of the modern age, should bring us closer to our ancient tradition of storytelling than we have been in a long time.

We can roam at will from one fire to the next to hear stories and ideas expressed on any number of themes and in any language we wish.

It’s truly amazing… and humbling.

I’d like to thank all of you who have been following, leaving comments here, on Google+, on the Eagles and Dragons Facebook page or sending me personal e-mails. I really do enjoy hearing from you and always answer everyone.

Oftentimes, bloggers feel they are just throwing posts out that are never heard, but the other day I checked out the stats for this website and to my surprise there were around four hundred views for many of the posts. You’re a quiet bunch, and that’s ok!

That said, I would like to invite my regular readers, and newbies, to come and sit at the Writing the Past hearth fire to share your own thoughts on ancient and medieval history and historical fiction/fantasy.

A bard and his audience
If you are interested in writing an on-topic guest blog about your experiences writing or reading historical fiction/fantasy or about a visit you made to an ancient site, let me know and we can make it happen. It’s great to share with other listeners around the fire.

Also, if there are topics you would like to hear about, let me know. You can reach me here at Writing the Past, on Twitter @AdamHaviaras, on Google+, Eagles and Dragons on Facebook, or e-mail me via the ‘About Me’ section of this blog.

If you have your own website, send me the link. I would love to visit!

We live in a very exciting time of human interaction and information. In our modern world the past, and its resources, its stories, have never been more accessible.

I look forward to meeting you around the hearth fire.

Cheers and thanks for visiting!


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