New website, new directions

As you may have noticed, I’ve updated my website. I’m no longer using wordpress.com – largely because I was using the free version and I got strange ads (some about Trump!) and I didn’t have the ability to customize it the way I wanted to.

Now I’m hosted by a web service company out of Victoria, BC, so my data isn’t on any US machines. And I’m using a WordPress package created by a guy out of Victoria as well, so my site is truly Canadian! Thanks are in order to my husband for working hard on the backend and creating such a great, dynamic site. I particularly like the header images for Freelance work – Science Writing and Freelance work – Science communication.

Notice that I’ve changed the title from Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere to Watershed Notes. This is because I’m not just writing about the hydrosphere (which encompasses all water on earth), but I also write about literature and science. I also wanted to link back to my research days, when I took notes at all my field sites to record what we did and saw. These days I take notes about my activities and about ideas that come across my desk – things I think and see on a daily basis.

I kept the word “Watershed” because I’m still interested in watershed processes like wildfire, pine beetle infestation, snowpack, drought, and flooding. This is also why I have a paper.li called Western Water and Forests Weekly, which gives me a roundup of these topics as they appear on the web.

I am also interested in watershed moments that represent a sea change of sorts, whether that’s in your life, your career, your leisure time. I feel like creating a new website was a watershed moment for me, because I decided to take my online presence seriously and put together something that showed quite clearly who I am and what I’m interested in. Writing the text for the site was an exercise in thinking about what matters to me and what I’m most interested in. Hence the tagline: “notes on nature, science, and literature.” These are the key areas in which I write and think, and while they may seem disparate they’re a lot more interlinked than you might imagine. For example, cli-fi (climate fiction) combines literature with science and sometimes nature as well. Or we can study nature from a literary or a scientific perspective.

I’ve also added the tagline “notes from the ‘shed,” as I have a writing space in my garden shed, and ‘shed is a play on “watershed.”

One thing that’s been clear to me as I created this site was that I put out more book reviews than I realized. It’s something that I’ve been enjoying doing, even though some of them aren’t paid (this was especially hard when I wrote a four-book essay for The Chicago Review of Books, as it would have been nice to have some financial reward for all that reading). I also noticed that I have quite a few author Q&As. Seeing what genres I’ve been writing in gave me ideas about what I’d like to write in future – things like longer researched essays and book criticism rather than just book reviews. Indeed, I have a book right now that’s due out on December 12th that I think lends itself quite well to literary criticism, though I have to find a place to publish it. Any ideas, hivemind?

I feel like this new website is a new chapter in my life that refreshes and renews my interest in blogging and in sharing ideas online. I am keen to move forward with some of my writing projects like my book and other writing.

So feel free to poke around the new site and send any suggestions/ improvements my way. I look forward to hearing from you!

Leave a comment