Sunday, May 20, 2012

R.I.P. Julien van Praag - Erudite Student of Life

Just received word that my Belgian cousin Julien van Praag (83) died this past night. We never met in real life, but we conducted an extensive email correspondence that started last September. Julien had been looking online for information about his father Jacques, whose ship was torpedoed in 1942, when he happened upon the material I posted about my father's younger brother on a page of the Community Platform hosted by the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Eventually he connected with me thanks to Justine Pardoen. She's the co-owner/ editor of the Dutch online parental magazine Ouders Online, for which I wrote a column. Why show all these links?

Cousins, who hardly knew about one an other's existence, connect thanks to the Internet.

Between September 12, 2011 and May 4, 2012 we sent at least 150 emails to each other. I feel privileged to have known this gentleman, if only through our correspondence. He was one of the most open minded and empathic people I've come across. We shared many interests and I'm grateful he made the effort to connect with me and my husband Gary. For Julien paid attention to both of us, sending special links he thought might be of interest to the mate of his so much younger cousin.
We will miss him, and remember him. Our thoughts go out to his wife, son and daughter.

R.I.P. Julien you are remembered fondly couz, and with respect for all you've accomplished.

Julien was an avid gardener

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Working on the Next Generation of Digital Books

Social Media Prime Time: Back East Noon and 5 P.M.  

No matter what the diagnostics say about the time of day that Tweets and/or Facebook updates are reaching readers (at noon and 5 p.m. EST, plus on Saturdays),  I got my first boost, early a.m. PST from following a Tweet by Rachelle Gardner, the blogging literary agent.
Is There Room for Originality? opened a vein PST 7:30 A.M.

Pre coffee, pre breakfast, I answered Rachelle Gardner's question What’s the most unique or original book you’ve read lately? I followed The Flow, high on good prospects, read all about it below.

MetaMaus by Art Spiegelman is the most beautifully executed autobiography I’ve come across. Of course having a book published like that —filled with illustrations, a graphic memoir if you will— for a reasonable price is only possible when you have an extensive readership. I love how he explains the making of Maus, his reasoning for using the mice and rats metaphor, the story of his life. Having this book in my hands makes me want to realize my combined biography (father’s)/ memoir and novel as an expansive piece of art in writing and visuals. There, I’ve said/ written it.

Looking into the way toddlers view stories on touchpads is something all writing artists, or illustrator/writers, or writers with audio/visual subjects ought to do.
Mike Matas presented the next generation of digital books at TED. Jaw dropping material. Viewing the video, I imagined hearing a pin drop. Awed silence enveloped the audience, until Matas made them laugh. And mind you this TED talk was recorded a year ago in March 2011.
A world opens up for writers and readers of the present and future that goes way beyond transferring the plain content on paper to content in an e-book.

Family Man ©StudioVanPraag

With my background in the theater as set, costume and prop designer, I see some of my longitudinal work as staged plays within a book. Ah, the possibilities! Wondrous future. 

Yes, it’s early a.m. and I need to eat and have a coffee, ethereal thoughts occur when blood sugar drops. 

No matter the time, responding to a tweet or post that launches creative thoughts is a great way to start the day, wouldn't you say?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License