Blogging Combines Publisher and Writer Roles into One

Word Processing System

A writer friend mentioned on a listserve today that she plans to blog every day this month as part of the 2012 Blogathon, a contest set up by reporter and editor Michelle V. Rafter. “Is anyone here participating in the 2012 Blogathon?”

So, in a moment of inspiration, I decided to join her.

The idea is to make blogging a normal routine. The daily grind will ensure discipline while educating me about what kind of schedule will work going forward.

Daily writing won’t be the most difficult part of the challenge; it’s the daily publishing part that seems unimaginable. There’s no copy editor, fact-checker or editor here at my desk, so I have to take on those roles in addition to writing.

The idea that I can write something, type-set it as I write thanks to WordPress software, and then distribute my copy around the world by clicking on a small “publish” button? That’s what’s freaking me out. To me, the writing process is in one part of my brain. I have to turn on another part of my brain to figure out how to present the written word afterwards.

Younger people don’t realize what a big change has taken place in the media in the last three decades. Today, everyone has to learn skills that used to be divided among many. Taking the time to craft a text carefully and then passing it on to experts for presentation is a luxury we no longer have.

In that way, I miss the old days.

Except for the technology. I remember learning how to type on an old Underwood typewriter with sticky keys.

When I began my first job out of university, computers existed, but they took up entire rooms.

My first job out of university was at Canadian Federation of Students-Services. We had an old Wang word processing system that filled a third of a room and had to be slammed a lot to print.

It wasn’t until my third job that personal computers entered the picture. There was one computer in the office and I was the only one who ever used it–and then only for mass mailings.

The idea that you could write something, type-set it using cool software and then distribute it around the world by clicking on a small “publish” button is something I wouldn’t even have imagined in those days. Don’t even mention the cloud.

If I were more up to date, I’d text this article on my Blackberry, which I only have because my husband bought an Iphone and was planning to get rid of his old phone, which I took.

I still miss my old brick of a cellphone. I’m very sad to see that the world seems to be moving away from RIM’s product. The security and durability of the Blackberry appeals to me way more than joining the world of Apple.

Haven’t got a pad yet, although I like the feel of those. They remind me of my old etch-a-sketch.

So here I am, a Luddite in a world of technology. Trying to figure out how to SEO, trackback and all the other new communication skills that everyone needs to participate in these new virtual communities. Participating in the Blogathon should help with that.

Ironically, I’ve also offered to reformat my Vital Verdun website so that the events and articles can be printed out on the front and back of a single piece of paper for a neighbour who doesn’t like reading on a screen. If I can do it efficiently so that it looks good, perhaps I’ll produce an old-time community newspaper as a mini-portion of my business.


For more information on the 2012 Blogathon, consult Michelle’s website at

To encourage Marijke, my blogging contest buddy, refer to


Continue reading

Verdun en Transition

First Meeting of Verdun en Transition

The first public meeting of “Verdun en Transition” took place at the Dawson Community Centre on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. The grassroots initiative aims to build community resilience to climate change and peak oil.

“Why wait until the global crisis in energy, ecology and economics forces us to act? The people of Verdun can begin organising locally now to reduce their dependence on carbon fossil fuels while improving the quality of life in our neighbourhoods,” says Tracey Arial, a member of the initiating committee.

A total of 33 people attended this initial meeting. Among them were Alain Tassé, the city councillor for the Desmarchais-Crawford district; Vincens Côté, the coordinator of la Maison de l’environnement de Verdun; and Julien Caffin, who is in charge of the Quartier 21 project established by the Concertation et développement social Verdun (CSDV), which will be officially launched on May 3.

Presenter Michel Durand, a founding member of the Transition Quebec Network and the adaptor of Rob Hopkin’s Transition Manual in French, began the evening by outlining the scope of the project. “Verdun en transition is joining an international movement linking around 400 initiatives in 20 different countries,”he said.

Blaise Rémillard from the Villeray en Transition group gave a sense of the fun and excitement that can happen when people start thinking in new ways together. “Verdun is following the lead of other boroughs that have thrown themselves into an experience of education, involvement and community participation,” he said.

Verdun’s group is planning several activities to sensitize the population and build networks between different community groups and organizations. Watch for our documentary films, cultural cafés, etc. Or join our organizing committee and help figure out what we should do next!

For more information on the Transition Movement:

Réseau Transition Québec :

Villeray en Transition :

International Network:

For more information about Verdun’s group:

Facebook page:


Bilan de la première rencontre publique de Verdun en transition

Verdun, 26 avril 2012 – Mardi dernier se tenait au centre communautaire Dawson la première rencontre publique de Verdun en transition, une initiative locale visant développer la capacité de la communauté à faire face aux effets des changements climatiques et du pic pétrolier. «Pourquoi attendre que la crise énergétique, écologique et économique globale ne nous force à réagir? La population verdunoise peut s’organiser localement pour réduire dès maintenant sa dépendance aux carburants fossiles et améliorer la qualité de vie dans les quartiers», explique Tracey Arial, membre du comité initiateur.

Au total, trente-trois personnes ont répondu à l’appel pour cette première rencontre publique, dont le conseiller du district Desmarchais-Crawford, Alain Tassé, le coordonnateur de la Maison de l’environnement de Verdun, Vincens Côté, ainsi que Julien Caffin, chargé de projet à Concertation et développement social Verdun (CSDV) pour le Quartier 21 qui sera lancé officiellement le 3 mai.

Michel Durand, membre-fondateur du Réseau Transition Quebec et coordonnateur de l’adaptation francophone du Manuel de transition, paru en 2010 aux éditions Écosociété, a rappelé que «Verdun en transition s’inscrit dans la foulée d’un mouvement international, regroupant environ 400 initiatives dans une vingtaine de pays».

Blaise Rémillard du groupe Villeray en Transition a donné un avant goût de l’enthousiasme des gens lorsqu’il se réapproprient leur milieu de vie. Verdun vient ainsi emboîter le pas à d’autres arrondissements montréalais qui se sont lancé dans «cette expérience de sensibilisation, d’implication et de participation communautaire».

Différentes activités publiques de sensibilisation auprès de la population et de réseautage entre divers groupes et organismes de la communauté sont à venir dans les prochaines semaines : projections de film, cafés culturels, etc. Joignez vous au mouvement!

Plus d’information sur le mouvement de transition :

Réseau Transition Québec :

Villeray en Transition :

Page Facebook du groupe :



Continue reading

Verdun Spring Activities Bloom This Week

May 5, 2012

Verdun’s 21st Annual Green Space Clean-up takes place Saturday, May 5

Verdun’s beautification committee has organized several annual events designed to spruce the borough up in time for summer. Registration for garden and photo contests, sales of garden plants and sign-up for the green space clean-up began this week.

The annual green space and bike paths clean up and the tree, bush and compost pick up takes place on the first weekend in May.

“Canadian Tire is giving us boxes of flowers for the first 250 households who register for the garden contest,” says Karine Larrivée, who is in charge of committee activities.

Larrivée and her boss Normand Houle are the only borough members on an otherwise citizen-run committee that meets five times a year in addition to participating in all the events. Other members include Odette Harton, who is the president, Lucie Vaillancourt, Hélène Gamache, Walter Grandoni and Annie Toutiras. “These people all love Verdun,” said Larrivée. “Everything we do is to beautify the neighbourhood.”

Their most important activity is the 21st annual green space and bike paths clean-up, which takes place on the morning of Saturday May 5. Last year, the event attracted 600 people, 200 of whom cleaned up the shore of Nun’s Island, while the rest concentrated on the mainland and the bike path on the bridge.

“People usually come with their organizations or companies,” she said. “Last year, we had the Air Transat. This year, it’s the Yellow Pages on Nun’s Island.” [I participated for the last three years with SKIF-Montreal, which trains in Verdun.]

Citizens who purchase discounted plants from the community centres beginning this week will pick them up the following morning, May 6, at the Municipal Greenhouses, 7000 boulevard LaSalle, between 8:30 and 11 a.m. Larivée says that the committee added vines to the catalogue this year so that groups working to green their lanes can cover backyard fences.

Any Verdun citizen who brings a bag or bucket can also pick up some free compost from the St. Michel Environmental Complex at the same time. The Maison de l’Environnment, in Borough Hall, will be giving out compost the following weekend as well, says Larrivée.

Then in July, the embellishment committee will pre-select the boroughs most attractive gardens to be judged by author, broadcaster, publisher Julie Boudreau on July 18 and 19.

For more information, contact Verdun’s Direction de la culture, des sports, des loisirs et du développement social at 514 765-7150 or view the committee’s website at The site contains a list of all the activities, an on-line catalogue of the plants they’re selling, project outlines and a list of past and present committee members.

(Note: This article appeared in the Suburban City Edition, April 25, p 14.)

Continue reading
1 157 158 159 160 161 165