Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Place to Play


I remember when I was new to blogging, and I read one of the big blogging gurus. He described his blog as a living room.

Every living room is different. In some, you can put your feet up. Others have plastic on the furniture. I like to think of mine as a place to play. To share, if you will, the songs of our hearts...whether these be fiddle, oboe or folk guitar.

At the risk of stretching the metaphor or being too sappy, let's say I especially love it when we play together. How I love the music! And at the risk of causing someone to drop his pick, I'd also like to share a small request. (Does this group take requests?)

Here it is. And I've done this myself, both here and on other blogs. Quoting the blogger or other commenters, as a way to track my thoughts and provide context.

But now I'm asking... could we perhaps engage in the art of the paraphrase? I'm finding that when we "quote" one another or quote one another, it feels a little more like debate than play.

Someday, when my book is finally out there, I hope you'll feel free to quote my text at length. But here in the living room, I really just want to chat, or jam, or improv... you know, I hope that's okay.

P.S. If you like my living room, you might like my Sun Room too.


Craver's Gettin' aLAWNg

Charity's Welcome to the Kitchen

Maria's Why I Blog

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Blogger Christine A. Scheller said...


I wish my blog could be a living room designed for play. I was looking at it yesterday and thinking, "I live in a whirlwind of controversy. No wonder I'm stressed out."

That's why I like coming here to this cozy, fun, safe place.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

L.L. -- you inspired a little meme of my own.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Pair of Noid said...

Yeah my blog is a playroom filled with junk and toys that I'm constantly tripping over. But hopefully when I trip other people get a kick out of it. By the way, I reopened the playroom today.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Yeah, but I like using "quotes" and italics. You think those tools come across with an air of debate? Okay, I'll try my hand the paraphrase. Thanks for the suggestion; you're so clever.

12:23 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Christine... I suppose it can be anything you want it to be. Maybe you have a secret love for the chaos? :)

Maria... inspired indeed. The blogosphere is an interesting place. We each come with our own intentions, but we also become part of little communities. At which point, we begin the dance... giving up a little of what we want, accepting what others want. I hope I haven't been too strict about how I'd like things in my living room!

Shannon... YOU'RE BACK!!!! Okay. It's okay everybody. Just because I don't necessarily want a feel of debate doesn't mean I don't appreciate expression (and occasional boisterous outbursts). Anyway, Shannon, I'M GLAD YOU'RE BACK! I'm running over right now with my silly putty and my basketball.

Craver... I guess I like the freedom to use them too, and I'm not trying to play Censor (well, maybe a little). Mostly, it's just something I noticed in this little place of quiet intuition. So I thought to mention it. Of course you are always welcome in my living room, even if you tote an occasional quote.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Lynet said...

Paraphrasing it is. As well as changing the atmosphere, no doubt it will force us to do some extra thinking and understanding, sometimes, too, which has to be a good thing!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Christine A. Scheller said...


I was thinking that very thing--I am an adrenaline junkie! It's also just the life of a journalist, I think.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Your house, your rules! (I love your home, by the way. Very warm and inviting...and you have all sorts of interesting people drop in!)

And, as Lynet very aptly put it, this does get us thinking more. (Notice my use of the NON-quote paraphrase?)

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LL -- You do such a great job of setting the tone here. I think that's why so many people feel free to kick off their shoes and join in the game.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...


I tend to quote because paraphrasing can potentially lead to misunderstanding since we interject our own interpretation. But I understand your concerns as well - most of all I understand your heart to keep the tone positive and friendly.

Your house, your rules...and we'll try not to break the china and overstay our welcome. ;-)

10:44 PM  
Blogger Inihtar said...

LL! I love the metaphor . . . and I like dropping into your living room:)

I don't quote or paraphrase usually, but if I do I'll remember to do the latter:)

11:56 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

While sometimes I do find it useful to quote people so you know specifically to what statement I'm referring, I do like the notion of paraphrasing because it requires me to explain what I think the person is trying to communicate. Since we can't check for understanding very efficiently on a blog, I think your new "rule" is a good alternative.

12:29 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Lynet... good point... wasn't it Carl Rogers who tried to get us to think about each other's words more by encouraging us to say, "I think I hear you saying..."? (Or was that some other psychologist whose name is escaping me?)

Christine... well, it's good to know what we like! (Then we can't complain when we get it either :)

Llama... a very stylish paraphrase indeed. Looks great with my couch!

Charity... thanks. And it can't be overlooked that my company helps set the tone too. I do SO enjoy everyone's visits.

Every Square... Thanks for your understanding. And I know that Franklin said company shouldn't stay more than three days, but here in the blogo-living room, there's more than enough food to go around and plenty of seating.

Inihtar... and isn't it great that you can come here all the way from Japan?

Spaghetti... yes, I understand it's a helpful tracking device... thus, one of my reasons for hesitation in asking. But... it just seemed like a good idea. And you've all been so friendly about the request. (So, now I know, this group DOES take requests! At least if it likes the song.)

12:06 PM  
Blogger Christine A. Scheller said...


I wish my blog could be a living room designed for play. I was looking at it yesterday and thinking, "I live in a whirlwind of controversy. No wonder I'm stressed out."

That's why I like coming here to this cozy, fun, safe place.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Christine A. Scheller said...

sorry, don't know how I posted the same comment twice. I think roboform picked it up.

I wanted to respond to your last comment to me, L.L., and say that we can decide we've had enough of the thing we once liked, and we can pursue something else.

5:01 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Christine... ah... so you are perhaps looking for a new path? What will that look like? How will you find your to walk it?

5:14 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

It's good to be back - at least the beginning of being back -

lots of processing and on the road driving all sorts of crazy nightime hours between family members - so little writing - but lots of processing that will hopefully come out in writing soon.

I think I would like your sunroom very much - I like my living room because it's open with high ceilings and you can actually see into the kitchen and dining area (not good for leaving dirty dishes though) - so when there are people for dinner (we eat them medium rare) all can partipate in conversation without the cook getting left out. So, you'll have to come and visit when you're down our way - we'll even let Craver come over and eat too!!!!

7:26 PM  
Blogger Christine A. Scheller said...

maybe not entirely new, L.L., but more selective and varied. For example, elective cosmetic surgery is a fascinating topic to explore. Writing simple stories is a nice break from that.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Halfmom talked about food, and I started thinking that I would like to visit, but wait!! Am I reading her comment right? Did she confess to cannibalism?

11:17 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L., Well, you know how it can be when folks jam together. We take turns going off on our little spins, twists, turns, what have you. But the longer we do it together, the more harmony can come.

You do have a great conversation going on here and lead it well.

I'm glad you call it play, because I look at my comments as kind of off the wall stuff, just like many of my posts. Kind of thrown out there, in all seriousness, yet with a sense of play about them, and knowing they could well be off key or a bit out of place.

I find your blog one of those blogs I can learn from not only in content, but also in how it's done. You make one question what's going on, then want to join in....

5:42 PM  
Blogger 23 degrees said...

Laura, I like the probable Carl Rogers' quote, "I think I hear you saying..."? My editor communicates like this and this kind of echo is a tremendous device for clarity; to hear what another person actually thinks you are saying sometimes is a real eye-opener.

Lynet's remark about how paraphrasing pushes us to some additional thinking (paraphrasing her comment, of coarse) was a good one.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

goodness, Craver has caught me in my own little joke - knowing that I have violated some rule of grammar and not knowing exactly how to fix it, it just seemed easier to make a joke. Actually - I find myself doing that frequently in "sticky" situations.

Now - on to quotations - I will certainly try to honor "your house your rules" but just to throw a new notion out there for thought - when I use quotation marks, or as Craver also suggests, italics - it is a matter of actually honoring the author, acknowledging perhaps that no one could say more clearly or efficently what they have just expressed. So, what do you think about this notion?

Now about that sunporch!

5:47 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Christine... I admire a person who can look at her (his) life and see that it's time to be selective in a new direction. Some of us just keep living, mired, without true volition.

Craver... I'll go with you, but you have to ring the doorbell, okay?

Ted... thanks for the encouragement. And I like the idea that we are somewhat of a jazz band, spinning and recasting each other's ideas, playing along with each other or bringing in a new line. I'm glad you're part of the music. And I'm sure we're all off-key sometimes, but even that can get smoothed and reworked in the course of the play.

23 Degrees... yes, and it's interesting how the act of paraphrasing helps us see if we've really understood. Quoting implies no such understanding. (I'm not against quoting altogether, don't get me wrong, but if this is a conversation, how odd is it to repeat verbatim what someone else just said? In fact, I've struggled with this in regular conversation, face to face, and it was a Lemony Snicket book that made me realize how weird it can feel to have someone simply repeat your words before answering you. So I'm trying to paraphrase in live conversations too!)

Half Susan... hey there. New thoughts are always welcome. Partly, I refer you to my comment above, to 23 Degrees.

On the other hand, I don't want anybody to be nervous now, thinking "Oh, man, I can't even use a perfectly acceptable part of our English language punctuation, or L.L. will hand me my shoes and show me to the door!" Surely, people should feel free to use the occasional quote. But it was something I noticed we were falling into as a regular way of addressing each other. And it just seemed time to say, "Can we regroup?"

12:23 PM  
Blogger Lloyd Irving Bradbury said...

The somgs of my heart are played on my canvas

12:46 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Hi there, All.

Just wanted to pop in and say I may not be back until Monday. Between holiday plans this week and a birthday party on Saturday, I've got more play than I can handle!

In the meantime, there really is a whole other world over in my Sun Room, a.k.a. my other blog. See you soon.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Whoa... The Barkat family left, and I guess they didn't notice that I was oblivious to the world as I read here in LL's "living room."

I don't suppose she would mind if we continued to socialize as long as we don't make a big mess. As you drop in, mention what you're bringing to the party so that we get a good mix of things.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

LL is gone?!
All right, folks! Step back.

What we've got here is a blog in need of a facelift.

Thankfully, I've come prepared. *patting her trusty toolbelt*

Let's see here...we've got whipped cream, PB, silly string, markers (permanent or washable do you think, Craver?), a bit of this and that....

Did anyone see her picture on her profile?

What?! She has a weed in a gutter on there?!

Well, we sure will have to fix that.
Craver? Where's the saw?...a sledghamer? Sure.

Can anyone draw a likeness of LL? Has anyone seen what she looks like?...Okay, a stick figure is better than nothing.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

*says sweetly*
Oh, and I'm bringing fresh strwberries to go with the whipped cream. *smile*

5:54 PM  
Blogger Jennwith2ns said...

Not having read everybody's comments this time (gasp!), I'm probably missing something obvious that other people have already stated, but I just wanted to say . . . yeah.

I think we use direct quotes because there's the whole copy-and-paste thing, and also because we want to make sure we get it right, and ALSO because if there's any chance of the original thought being misinterpreted, we want it to be misinterpreted through the original writer's words and not ours.

But I agree. The paraphrase is more "organic" and shows that I actually put some thought into what I was reading and what I wanted to say about it.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

You scare me just a little bit, Eve. Leave the permanent markers outside and you can put the strawberries on the coffee table next to... what kind of coffee beans are those, Jenn?

6:18 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Did somebody say coffee? I'll take a cup, please!

6:21 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

oooh, coffee? Me too.

Since this is a "Place to Play" (oh, will I get in trouble for that quote? *grin*), I brought some games...let's see here *rummaging through bag* Twister, anyone?

11:15 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

oh, and I brought some of the brisket that my husband smoked yesterday (pictures on my blog!)

11:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've brought some lovely fresh cream to go with Jenn's amazing coffee (I think she brought the ethopian blend again).

I've been sitting quietly over in the corner for quite awhile too (just enjoying the music) but I have to confess, I always come alive when the mischevious party starts.

Anyone want to play nertz?

11:25 PM  
Blogger Lynet said...

Wow, crazy party :) I'll have to bake something and bring it along. Muffins, perhaps?

12:01 AM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Hi Spaghetti Pie! Fancy running into you here. You know, I think LL is a vegetarian. Maybe we could do some kind of Tofu brisket thing?

Hey, this couch is comfy. Anyone mind if I take a little nap?

8:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Okay, Craver...I guess I'll tone down a bit. :)

I brought a boquet of cut flowers to go with her...weeds in the gutter.
I'll stick to the milder side of redecorating...for today.

*plops on a beanbag chair*

So, what are we all doing?...Twister-sure!

Cribbage anyone? I warn you, I play a mean hand...

9:14 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Twister?! These old bones can't do that anymore. I'll pass on that, please and thank-you.

Stacey, who are you calling "nertz?!" Come and help me out with this brisket, will ya? I saved you a little piece. Good stuff!

Who brought the piñata? C'mon people, how are we supposed to do that in a living room?!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Um, what's a nertz? (Yawn -- that was a nice nap!)

2:13 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

oooh I haven't played cribbage in years! But maybe we should play a group game?

*rummages through Llama's bag* Hey, is this an ant farm?

3:18 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

How did that ant farm get in the bag? No, Craver, don't -- oh no -- LL is not going to be happy about this!

Come on little fellas. Back into your farm. Come on! Please???

3:38 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

Hey, I'm late to the party! Where are the nachos?

4:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The nachos are in the oven, getting some cheeze melted on them-Yum!

4:42 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Before I got distracted by the ants, I had a snack down here, did anybody see it... HEY, "Every Square Inch," (insert man-hug) how's it goin' Bro? Whatcha got there? Say man, that's not-yo cheeeese! (Nacho cheeze... get it?)

Eve, did you check to see if she has anything stored in the broiler before turning the oven on, because I smell burnt tupperware...

Do I hear someone playing guitar?

5:39 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

I know three chords. How many songs do you think we can sing with three chords?

All together now, "Kumbaya..."

I smell the tupperware too. That's what we get for bringing meat to a vegetarian party!

8:20 PM  
Blogger Lynet said...

LL's vegetarian? Awesome! Me, too. Pass the strawberries..

9:47 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I think I'll bring along a berry cobbler and some vanilla bean ice cream - wait, hopefully milk is ok and she's not one of those kind of vegetarians - oh my gosh, that would rule out chocolate ice cream - Craver, whatever would we do without Culvers.

Is it getting warm in here - there do seem to be such a lot of people - can we play Settlers?

10:46 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I have this book along with me. Anyone interested in it? I suppose no adult beverages are allowed.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Sorry Ted, no beer, if that's what you mean. We wouldn't want to give little Sonia the wrong impression of her mom's friends. But they've got some good coffee brewing and here... try this. It's seltzer water and some kind of berry juice I found in the fridge. Just for fun, I swiped a strawberry from Lynet and plunked it in there. All I need is crushed ice and a little umbrella and we have ourselves a grown-up drink. It's crisp and refreshing... try it. :-)

Check it out... while they're playing guitar, Lynet is doin a sort of gogo dance and Every Square Inch is doing, what is that a robot dance? Those crazy kids!

8:32 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Okay, that sounds good....

9:42 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

I'm starting to get sleepy again. Would someone brew me a cup of dandelion tea? I'm sure LL has some extra dandelions around somewhere...

Nice to see you here, Ted. And I'm so glad you changed your socks!

10:12 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I'm glad Ted changed his socks too - I was worried about playing Twister with black socks - it just sounds wrong somehow.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oops, sorry I must have dozed off for a bit such a warm fire (LL, does have a fireplace doesn't she!)

And I was certainly not calling you fine people any name. Nertz is a card game like Speed but with the whole group playing. I'll teach you.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

(whispering) Psst! Hey, Ted, how long before the sleepyheads figure out someone painted a moustache on their faces?

What book did you bring, by the way?

Oh, and pay no mind to that socks thing. Personally, I like wearing socks with sandals, and people give me grief about it all the time, but I'm not a slave to cool.

Hey Halfmom, that berry cobbler was out of this world!

9:28 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

(hang my head)...well, this morning I have this real nice pair of dark socks on, almost black, not quite, kind of black and gray with sandals. But no shorts, just the same green caches (I guess) on recent pics of Deb and Mom in front of her house. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....

11:49 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Craver, I was probably just kidding about a book. But I've been spending alot of time in Bonhoeffer's "Life Together" lately, so I probably have that book on my mind more than any other right now. (little in pages, but mighty in volume)

11:50 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan, Twister might do me in. Not only might I be in trouble, but those around me as well.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Deb and I recently played what ended up being a very fun game at some friends' house not long ago, called Cranium. It was a nice, interactive, creative kind of fun exercise together. Has anyone here tried it before?

11:56 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Actually here's the link of Cranium I wanted to share since the categories of the game are on it. Actually this is better yet!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Cranium it is then - I like the play dough and the drawing and acting - for an introvert, I really do like to play games!

But just to let you know, LL might not like it when we get so boisterous in her living room - Cranium can get kinda loud!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I'll bet the livingroom gets loud and rambunctious on other days as well. They won't mind, especially since they're not here.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Oohh - I bet she has glue and tape and scissors - and glitter too!!!!

11:42 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

Boy, things go a little crazy in here, and I only stepped out for a second!

Pssst, Llama and Stacey, c'mhere. *shows them a mirror* Now, now, Llama, don't blame me! I'm just the messenger!

Cranium is fun - but have you tried Hoopla? It's the same kind of stuff (same maker) but you play all on one team against the clock.

Was that headlights in the window? Oooh, I think LL's coming up the drive...quick, CLEAN UP!

Ted - I just ordered that book and can't wait to read it!

12:55 AM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

She IS on her way back. Quick! Get those cushions back on the couch! The guitar goes in the corner. There. Just the way we found it.

Oops. There go the ants again!

Can someone give me a hand with these? Anyone, anyone?

7:19 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Help with the ants? Yeah, I could do that. Say, is there any chocolate syrup around... I wanna try something.

9:17 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

[smiling] oh, it's good to be home... now, where's that key...

[inserting key] hmmm... what's this... I thought I locked the door

[contented sigh] just as I left everything...

[squishing an ant, on the way to couch]boy, all this vacation has tired me out... I'll just put my feet up for a little minute...

[sitting down with a 'crunch'] kids, kids, kids... what'd they leave in the couch this time?...

[pulling cushion aside] oh, heavens... nachos, a mushy strawberry, playdough... a Cranium card?

[brushing mushed strawberry off Cranium card]"The most famous line from 'Love Story'"... oh, I know this one. "Love means never having to say you're sorry!!"

So, no need to apologize, you mischievous little blog-jackers. :) I love you, you love me, we're a happy family. (Sorry, those Barney songs are hard to shake.)

I'll be posting soon, on a blog near you. :)

10:01 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...


I totally enjoyed the lively music that happened in my absence.

Seems everybody came with their own surprises... violin, tuba, trumpet, xylophone... oh, and I didn't realize Craver could play such a wild kazoo!

Thanks, Everyone, for the wonderful entertainment. And the snacks. I love snacks. [munching on leftover nachos found in the kitchen]

10:40 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Barney songs aside, you have created a really fun place to play here, LL.

And yes, of all the instruments, it would have been me on the kazoo.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Welcome home! Thanks for letting us play. :-)

3:25 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

*jumping out* SURPRISE!, I meant...

WELCOME HOME! I just happened to be *ahem* walking by and noticed you were's not like I was already here from a party or anything...

3:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh, Hi LL. Where there any more of those nachos left...? *smacking her lips*

11:05 AM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

so l.l., did they help you clean up?

i must say, this was one of the most entertaining comment sections i have read! you may want to lock your door next time you leave. :)

10:12 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

I think your metaphor is wonderful. Playing in a relaxing room together is wonderful. I don't think that I pick controversial posts on my blog, but many find Him to confronting, I guess that is why I play in my own back-yard. Does that make sense?

Blessings to you and yours.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Christine A. Scheller said...

I haven't been answering myself just yet. Will let you know when I do. : )

12:52 PM  

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