Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Sunday Roast

Listen To The Sound Of The River

This week's interview is with Jeni,
who writes the blog Down River Drivel.

The first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I started blogging as a means of leaving a "trail" so to speak mainly for my grandchildren, but also for my children and other family members. I've kind of become the "historian" of sorts for my extended families, initially on my Mom's side but now, many of my cousins on my Dad's side know I've been trying to research our roots there too, so often some of my cousins will come to me with questions and occasionally, some of them remember and send me bits of news
about their families, additions, photos and such.

I'm also interested in history - mainly the local history of the township where I live (which is also where I was born, grew up and have spent the bulk of my life here. I've been researching for the past 3-4 years, reading old newspapers online of our local daily paper and gleaning from those issues, bits and pieces of interest about things that happened here over the years. Once I started blogging, it just sort of mushroomed out I guess you could say as I met other bloggers, found some great places to go where I could read what often are really terrific posts.

What's the story behind your blog name?

I named my blog "Down River Drivel" because the area where I live is frequently referred to around the county as being "Down River." The river, being the West Branch of the Susquehanna which has its origins up in a little town named Cherry Tree and from there it runs through Clearfield County and winds its way to Clinton County and on east to where it joins up with the main branch of the Susquehanna River.

The section between Clearfield, our county seat, and Karthaus -a nearby little town which is "down river" as the stream flows, has had the nickname of "Down River" for many, many years and it encompasses a section of the county that kind of has its own flavor, perhaps one could say, often perceived as being just a tad different from that of the area right around the county seat. And I figured to use the word "drivel" was appropriate because some of the thoughts expressed in my blog are just that - drivel.

I don't agree that your blog is "drivel", Jeni! What is the best thing about being a blogger?

First and foremost, the best thing I would have to say is the people I have met through my blog. No, not that I have actually MET them in person, face-to-face, shook their hand or anything, but many of the people on my favorites list I've come to regard as very good friends -even if it is a virtual type relationship. Blogging also gives me an arena where I can play with words and try to maybe hone what writing skills I have.

I can't do dialogue, don't have the gift of imagination to work up to a novel, but I enjoy writing in a kind of non-fiction type format and blogging lets me play with that. It has also given me a place where I can show through words and some photos from time to time about the disorder autism.

My granddaughter -age four - my "little Princess Maya" is autistic and it is strongly suspected her little brother, Kurtis, who will be two in April may also be autistic and by my blogging about them, various things - the good, the bad and yes, the ugly that at times rears its head with ANY children, autistic or not -I can let people know that autism is not necessarily the terrible ogre disorder many people often think it is.

It's not always pleasant, true enough, but I look at it the same as I would if my grandchildren were diagnosed with juvenile diabetes - a condition the child will live with forever and the best thing to do is learn the best ways possible to help the child become all he or she can be in life.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

First off - learn to type and how to use spell checker - also try to use reasonably good grammar too. I say that kind of tongue-in-cheek really but it does help facilitate things if you do work on improving your typing - speeds the process up a little bit anyway. The spell checker and grammar thing are more for the benefit of the readers as a lot of people are put off by misspelled works, poor grammar and it does take away from reading posts at times.

Other than that, because I knew virtually NOTHING about blogging when I started - don't know all that much more now after 17, almost 18 months of blogging either - I guess you just have to take the plunge, try to pick up a little comprehension along the way about html code (I have yet to really figure that out with respect to blogging) and as you start getting a reader here and there, if you are lucky enough to latch onto a couple who know a reasonable amount of stuff about how to do this or that, most other bloggers will gladly try to assist a newbie in how to add stuff to the sidebar, how to do lots of other things that come along too as you are learning.

But blogging is such a great cathartic tool that once you start, if you give it even half a chance, just let whatever creative juices you have in you flow - fly by the seat of your pants and have a ball doing it!

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

I did two really serious posts last summer - one dealt with suicide and another with domestic violence - both subjects that are close to me, deep inside.

Today's Sunday Roast with Jeni is the nineteenth in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.


imac said...

Nice Roast David.

Come travel back in time with me.

sandy said...

good reason to blog - I used to live in that area.. very pretty

Jo Beaufoix said...

That was really good, and I don't think Jen's writing is drivel either.

Travis said...

Thanks for featuring Jeni. I learn a lot from her.


Mushy said...

Ah, Jeni is one of my favorites, although I have to carve out some quality time for her...she puts it all down!

She, like me, writes to "leave a trail"...I like that.

Maggie May said...

I could relate to that lady! Another person that I didn't know!

Merisi said...

Thank you, Jeni and David!
I shall go visit Jeni at once.

I have always loved the river and the sound of the word "Susquehanna," and reading it now makes me want to travel there again.

The American poet (Poet Laureate, twice!) Billy Collins has let his immagination fly, in a museum of all places, and written a poem about Fishing On The Susquehanna In July
"sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday!

Akelamalu said...

What a terrific interview!

I have visited Down River Drivel but not enough - you just reminded me. :)

Shrinky said...

I haven't tripped over Jen's blog before - but I will pay her a visit now - she has many things in her life I would identify with. Mostly, I love the positive way she appears to have dealt with the adversities life throws out.

Misty Dawn said...

Jeni is a truly fantastic and special person! She always makes me smile and feel better. She's a great friend.