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And then, suddenly, the anxiety melts away. It doesn’t take much. Today I was getting pretty worried about money — the shortage thereof — and then I had a phone conversation with Bell Mobility that worked me into a little fit. I hate it when I call about charges that I’m sure are unfair and unwarranted, and then they explain exactly why your phone bill is so exorbitant, and you have to pay it anyway. I hate it! Anyway, just at the moment that my head is swirling with angry thoughts, I walk into Parc Jacques-Cartier and there is a band playing beautiful Latin music, people are gathered around, relaxed and happy, and I get the feeling like I’m on a summer holiday. A holiday in my own city. And then I bump into a friend — a native Quebecoise — and even more worries slip away as I relax into the feeling of community and companionship.
Later this week, or more likely the weekend, I’m planning on doing a post or two on web writing, something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. So the conversation is likely going to turn pretty serious. But not morbid. More and more, I think about the weird world of keywords and tags, and how they can end up influencing what we write, until there’s a risk that we simply use words as a kind of product. Like the way I could mention Stephen Harper in this post, and then mention Stephen Harper again, and then top it off by mentioning Stephen Harper for a third time, and I’ll likely end up caught in the net of those trawling for blogs that mention Stephen Harper. I know this, because it’s happened already!
Clever bloggers know how to send their blog shooting up Google rankings with expert allusions to hot button issues, such as 9-11, and Britney Spears. This Guardian column about it is a great read. But that’s not to say that Google is easily fooled. Oh no. Its acute algorithmic brain knows if you are trying to play dirty tricks. It can gauge the quality of the material you have to write about, say, Stephen Harper. Nevertheless, you know we’re living in a qualitatively different world when there are “spiders” crawling about structure of your prose; when a strong writer could languish in obscurity on the web simply for not understanding Search Engine Optimization!
Anyway, I’ll say something less boring about that, Saturday or Sunday.
I have to write a short story about pylons now. It’s the fourth in a series of five that I have vowed to start this week. It was inspired by my drive to work this morning when I was sitting in traffic surrounded by the large orange and white pylons that mark off construction zones.
Montreal is full of them right now.
If you ask me, it’s a mafia racket. Construction projects seems to take twice as long here as they would anywhere else. And when they’re finished, the jobs are still lousy! Look at the crumbling highways! Look at the Olympic stadium! Consider the cracks in the Metro station last summer! If something heavy and concrete lands on my head, I am going to be even more irritated than I was earlier today.
That really is something to worry about.