Showing posts with label 2020. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2020. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2020

Hindsight 2020: A to Z Challenge Reflections

We have done it! Another year of the A to Z Challenge flew by. Whew! It was an unusual year, for sure, but we are all extremely happy that you all made it happen!

Here are some numbers:

510 blogs were signed up for the Master List this year. Not our highest number ever, but still a pretty good number for a blogging challenge! We also had a lot of returning bloggers, which was great to see!

92 blogs signed up but didn't post. This always happens, but it is especially understandable this year, when everyone is a little out of sorts, and readjusting to a different routine.

Author/Writing was, once again, our most popular category. We had (at least) 120 authors with us this year!

702 is the number of comments you lovely people left on the main blog this year! That's about 23 comments a day. Thank you for visiting!

If you would like to help us learn more about the experience you had this year, don't forget to fill out the After Survey here!

If you would like to add your blog to the list of Reflections, fill out the Google Form here and view the list of participating blogs here.

On a more personal note: I think this year was the Year of Good Commenters. Maybe because of the lower number of blogs participating, or maybe because everyone is trying to be kinder in these trying times, but the comments I have received and seen were all friendly, and contained substance and encouragement, rather than things like "hi." 

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Had a different experience? Can't wait to read all of your Reflections posts! Sign up here!

Thank you all for participating, for visiting, for posting, for commenting, and for making this year's 2020 Mission a success! Happy Blogging! See you on the Road Trip!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

#AtoZchallenge Spotlight on Storyteller Csenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
A 2020 Look at the A to Z Team

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter S

1- 1- "What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Zalka Csenge Virág, A Tarkabarka Hölgy, Dr. Zalka …
How do you prefer to be addressed?

Zalka is my family name, so as much as I’d love to be addressed as “The Amazing Dr. Z” most people call me Csenge. 😀

2- Does Virág mean flower?

Yes, it means flower in Hungarian! It’s my “middle name” (Hungarians put family names first)

3- What does it mean to be the "Multicolored Lady"?

When I decided to become a professional storyteller, I was playing around with stage names that sounded exciting. Storytelling has always been a very colorful occupation in my mind, plus I love wearing bright colors, so that’s the name I ended up using early on. I don’t use it much these days, but it stuck around on the blog.

4- How did you find out you're Hungary’s first international storyteller?

I started talking to storytellers from other countries, and they told me they have never encountered a Hungarian storyteller before.

5- In how many languages are you fluent?

Apart from Hungarian, I speak English and Spanish.

6- Your words are so quotable. "I am a person. Not affiliated with any organization, political party, government agency, or secret society. Oh wait, I have a library card." I love that line! Would you share a picture of yourself at a library?

It’s a photo I took when I was telling stories at a library sleepover, and I actually got to sleep between the stacks along with the kids. It was awesome!

7- You did a TED talk in Nov 2010. Would you tell us about that?

It was a TEDxYouth event, and they invited me to talk about storytelling as a profession. Back then it was not well known in Hungary that storytelling exists as an art form and a job, and why it is exciting and useful for all ages. So I used my TED talk to tell people that storytellers still exist! A few years later I also wrote a book about that.

8- And another TED talk in 2016! Please, would you tell us about that as well?

That one was fun! It happened at the (in)famous Sziget Festival in Budapest. I talked about storytelling and representation, and the responsibility storytellers have to their communities.

9- Trinity College (Connecticut, US), East Tennessee State University (US), Bowling Green State University (Ohio, US), Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) -- That's an impressive amount of education! How long did it take you to attend all those educational institutions?

Five years at ELTE (MA in Archaeology), one year at ETSU (MA in Storytelling), four years at BGSU (PhD in Culture Studies). Trinity College was a one-year study abroad program. All in all, I spent about six years studying in the USA.

10- Would you share a fun story from your college days?

When I first attended an American college, I was 21 years old. The first time me and my Hungarian friends showed up to an official college party, we were the only ones around at 11pm, and were stunned to see all the party kegs filled with water and orange juice! It took us a while to figure out that they couldn’t serve alcohol because of underage students. It was very strange (legal drinking age in Hungary is 18). Eventually someone took pity on us and directed us to the frat houses, where the real party was happening... I was a little disappointed because I rarely ever drink, and an orange juice party sounded just fine to me 😄

11- "Hősök és pimaszok – Mit és hogyan meséljünk kamaszoknak" Google translated that title as "Heroes and Sober - What and How to Tell Your Adolescents." What is the English translation of that title, and is the book still for sale?

“Heroes and tricksters: The how and why of storytelling for teenagers.” One of my latest books, it came out last June. It is a handbook for people who want to tell stories to teenagers (who are my personal favorite audience). It also contains twenty-one of my favorite folktales for this age group.

12- "Currants at the End of the World: Old Hungarian Folk Tales for Today's Children" - How many languages has this book been translated into, and where can we get a copy?

It was only published in Hungarian so far, but I hope it will get an English translation! It ran on my blog as a series titled “Feminist Hungarian Folktales.” Right now, there is a sequel on my English-language blog titled “Feminist Folktales”, from around the world.

13- "Tales of Superhuman Powers: 55 Traditional Stories from Around the World" - How did you go about collecting all of the stories, and how long did it take to write this book?

The writing didn’t take all that long, but the research did. I made a list of popular superpowers from movies, comics, and TV shows, and I tried to find a traditional story for each of them. People have been telling tales about supernatural powers for a very long time; I wanted to show the connection between traditional storytelling and modern superheroes. I did a lot of digging and searching until I found stories that fit the criteria, and were also enjoyable to contemporary audiences.

14- "Dancing on Blades: Rare and Exquisite Folktales from the Carpathian Mountains" - It's so amazing to share the myths and legends of your home country. How did you discover these?

I found some of them in a book from the 50s that was out of print, and I loved them so much that I went digging for the same storyteller in the Folklore Archives. A lot of her stories have been collected a hundred years ago but never published. Her name was Pályuk Anna, and she was an exceptional folk teller. I love telling her tales, and I wanted to share them with a wider audience!

15- "The way stations of Nemescsó and Sorokpolány on the Amber Road" - How much of the historic amber trade route have you traveled?

A lot of it, in separate installments 😊 When I was studying archaeology, most students wrote their thesis on the artifacts of an excavation their professor gave them. I was interested in travel in Roman times (my focus was the archaeology of Roman provinces), so my advisor gave me one Roman way-station with all its documentation and finds. What ended up in that book is basically my Master’s thesis.

16- "On the way to the sky - three novels" - At what age did you publish this, and is it still for sale today?

I think it’s out of print by now. I wrote those three short novels when I was in high school, and they were published during my first year in college. They are historical fiction, my favorite genre. I haven’t published any fiction since, but I keep hoping to circle back to it eventually!

17- "Forum-Based Role Playing Games as Digital Storytelling (Studies in Gaming)" - On about how many forums have you roleplayed? What year did you start? Do you have a favorite character you've played?

Uhh, a lot of them! I have been forum gaming for about eleven years. There are a few sites where I have been present consistently, and four I specifically played on for my dissertation research (which is the basis of this book). Forum gaming is one of my favorite pastimes. I have had many characters over the years. I am currently playing on a forum based on alternative Roman history (one of the forums from my dissertation work - I loved it so much I stuck around), where I have quite a few characters near and dear to my heart.
Quote by Zalka Csenge about #atozchallenge bloggers who do not want to promote their own blog.

18- Yet another quote of yours that I love! In your opinion, why are some blog hop participants resistant to promoting their own blog?

I think people are conditioned to see any self-promotion as “awkward”, even though it’s the bread and butter of artists and freelancers. When you try to politely and tactfully promote your work, you run into a lot of negative feedback about “tooting your own horn”, and it can make people hesitant. But over the course of A to Z visiting people is everything, and sometimes I’m disappointed when I can’t trace someone who left a nice comment for me...

19- As an archaeologist, what is the most interesting artifact you encountered?

I never worked as an archaeologist apart from university excavations, so I don’t have a huge track record. I always loved finding small things - small objects that a person like you or I used in their everyday life hundreds of years ago. I once found a Roman shaving razor at one of the excavations. I was holding it, thinking of the person who held it all those centuries before. There is something magical about small personal objects, almost like time travel.

20- I cannot believe I'm out of questions already! Okay, last one…
What's your favorite part of the A to Z Challenge and your favorite part of being on our A to Z team?

My favorite part is the visiting! I always pre-schedule my posts, and spend April blog-hopping. During A to Z I read about a whole lot of things that don’t often appear in my everyday reading materials. I learn about cooking, history, faraway cultures, other people’s writing… It’s exciting to discover how colorful the A to Z topics are!
I love being on the team because I get to participate in the work that goes on behind the scenes. It is a fun group of people to work with, and it’s great to see from the inside how participants connect to us and the challenge!

Do you take the time to promote your own blog? Have you read any of Csenge's books? Spill your thoughts in the comments!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

#AtoZchallenge The Future Of Modern Blogging

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
Blogging Hopes and Dreams for the Future

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter M

Blogging Hopes and Dreams for the Future

Maybe modern blogs will be more focused on ads. I believe that people who blog about their passion will outlast any and every blog that is mainly "in it for the money." Search engines and algorithms aren't great at factoring passion... yet.

Here we have someone typing on a screen made of projected light. Maybe her blog is about her passion for robot meerkats, the pet of the future. And yeah, she probably has an affiliate link one can click to buy virtual treats for that pet. But will the company making the robot meerkat have a blog with regular content?

We're always more interested in the passions of people around us. We want to feel motivated by each other. So, yes, I'm excited for the technology side, but mostly I'm interested in a future of blogs filled with enthusiasm about whatever subject matters most to the blogger. And, hopefully, we'll still be around, doing a month-long blog hop to visit as many of those as possible. Check that out for interesting blogging stats.

What technological advance related to blogging are you most looking forward to in the future?

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Monday, April 13, 2020

Keeping the Tradition #atozchallenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
Blogging in the Present

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter K

Whether you blog several times a day, several times a month, or several times a year, you're keeping the great tradition of blogging alive. Whether your blog is for music or politics or memoir or poetry or cat pictures or anything else, you're participating in a vital function of the Internet: bringing people together. Blogging has been around since the foundation of the Internet, but even before that, there were LISTSERV mailing lists, bulletin boards, Usenet newsgroups, chat rooms and many other ways of communication across the Internet. Even as those earlier forms of communication became Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, which further morphed into Instagram and TikTok and WhatsApp, blogging remains.

Why? Because blogging fills a need that neither the old forms nor the newer forms of electronic communication accomplish: It presents the blogger as an individual. Your blog is your living room. When people come to your blog, they're coming to see you specifically. Can Facebook say the same?

There will always be a need for a place where people to fully express themselves, and in the face of occasionaly-draconian Terms of Service at social media sites limiting what you can say, your blog is your own platform where you can get away with saying about anything you want. Terms of Service on blogging platforms are far more liberal, giving you more of a free rein over what you say and how you say it.

So, let's continue this tradition and express ourselves freely, while we still can.

Do you feel that you can say anything you want on your blog?

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

John's Choice For "A Blog With 2020 Vision" #atozchallenge

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
***A Blog with 2020 Vision***

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter J

Janet Miles is my pick for "a blog with 2020 vision." Janet's blog is Janet's Smiles. I first got to know Janet when she asked about how to "simulcast" her blog on Wordpress. I had written a post on how to do this from Wordpress to Blogger, and she wanted to know if it worked the other way. I think my answer was "it should," and she managed to set it up with little or no help from me. You can find her Wordpress "simulcast" here. We've been "blog buddies" ever since.

Janet is a scrapbooker, and she and her husband and/or daughters attend a lot of concerts in the Bay Area. She takes lots of photographs and keeps track of the set lists. She then turns these memories into scrapbook pages, and does beautiful work. This year, she's sharing the scrapbook pages she's created. They're truly works of art, and she writes a "mini-review" of each show. It's almost as good as being there yourself.

By all means, stop by Janet's blog(s) to admire her work and to say "Hi!"

Who would you choose, just based on what you've seen so far?

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

#AtoZchallenge Good Vibes

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:
Blogging in the Present

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter G

Good Vibes

As we think about blogging in the present, I feel one big issue we face is negativity. Let's put on our "2020 vision" glasses and talk about how we can get more good vibes.🤓😎

How can we abstain from the negative sides of blogging? What do you do if you encounter posts or comments that are mean-spirited, angry, greedy, self-centered, or unforgiving toward a situation that probably has more than one side? We want to protect the precious freedom of speech and expression that blogging offers our world. Yet it's the negative aspects that so often drives people away. Many bloggers have told me they shut-down their site because there were "too many negative comments."

The old adage is "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me."
🤔 Actually, words have an enormous and lasting impact. Thanks to the Internet, that's truer now than in any era before. Blogging and commenting have the potential to cause glee... or to take it away.

Get glittery! Give gratitude! Get in our comment box with some good vibes. 😁

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Friday, April 3, 2020

C is for Communication (#AtoZChallenge)

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The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This set of weekday posts focuses on:

Memories from Blogging in the Past

I started blogging in 2007. I had just gotten a scholarship to study abroad in the USA for a year, and one of the first things my student adviser told me was "Start a blog. It's going to be a lot easier to keep people updated than sending out dozens of emails."
And that is how my blog started. For Communication, for Connection. At first, it was daily news for friends and family about my study abroad adventures. Later it morphed into reports from storytelling festivals and conferences. Then, in 2012, I joined the A to Z Challenge for the first time, and started sharing storytelling and folklore content regularly.
Through Comments, I was starting to make new friends, and meet new Colleagues. I became part of a Community.
Today, thirteen years later, my blog is a Combination of professional Content and reports from my travels and performances. I have grown as an artist and as a person. It is strange and nostalgic to look back at the very first posts, and remember when and how it all began.

How has your life changed since you started blogging? Did it change thanks to your blogging? What does it feel like to look back on the early days?

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

#AtoZchallenge 2020 Anamnesis

Welcome to the eleventh year of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." Our first weekday posts focus on:
Memories from Blogging in the Past

Which brings us to the post title I used today:

  • the recollection or remembrance of the past; reminiscence
  • the remembering of things from a supposed previous existence
  • the ability to recall past events; recollection
  • used as a narrative technique in fiction and poetry as well as in memoirs and autobiographies
  • recollection, remembrance, reminiscence

This topic is special to me because I started my blog specifically so I could take part in the A to Z Challenge. I've since moved my blog, but Twitter never forgets! My first year, 2012, I did a month of posts about myself, and a month of posts about characters from my Fractions of Existence book. (The posts were mostly about the side characters.) Yes, I had the crazy idea to do two themes, to double post all month. The result? A lower comment count on both sets plus twice the work for me.

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But my own posts weren't what kept me coming back for more. It was the community I found and the friends I made. I'd love to know how many of you have a comment from me on your April 2012 posts! It's great to remember why we started blogging and to see how far we've come. I hope you'll leave a comment over the next few days with your own memories of the blogging past.

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