Alive and Caught in the ’Net
“You gotta have a website, Mom,” Katie said.
I didn't know where to begin. She talked me through the process of registering domains, both of us on the phone, on
I wondered what I had to say that could take up a whole website. I was uncomfortable putting forth nothing more than a picture of Silent Girl and the message “Buy!” I wanted some value-added content, something to make it worthwhile for people to visit.
That was in December. Since then I've developed discussion guides for the collection—my “value-add”—and worked with a developer Katie knows to put together a site fitting both me and my book. A friend declared it to be “a visual equivalent of your prose.” I hope that’s a good thing.
I can’t say enough about the developer, Aaron Wrixon, and his company Azalea. Aaron was professional, efficient, and infinitely patient. (The older I get, the more I rely on not only the “kindness of strangers,” but their patience, too.*) He turned my brief description of what I wanted into a design that both surprised and delighted me. The colours he chose are my favourites and the site is easy to navigate. I know from nothing when it comes to HTML and all that technical jazz. I didn’t need to. I simply said what I wanted and he made it happen. Sometimes he told me that what I wanted wasn’t such a hot idea, and I appreciated that. All this took place within 74 e-mails in virtual space: he’s in
So here’s the finished product, called oddly enough triciadower.com. I love everything about it, but I’m proudest of the Discussion Guides. I had fun developing the questions for “If you’re into Shakespeare” and “If you’re not.” It brought me back to student teaching days when my aspiration was to guide sleepy-eyed sixteen-year-olds into the blinding light of literary enlightenment. Life sent me down a different path, but never mind. Maybe another teacher can use my guides with her sleepy-eyed charges. Maybe book clubs members will find a question or two to stimulate discussion.
I’m a little nervous about “Silent Girl Speaks”—a blog with a focus. You can reach it through the site. Once the book is out and a few people have read it, I’d like it if they stopped by the blog to engage in a discussion about the issues highlighted in the collection: forced marriage, sexual slavery, domestic abuse, racism and so forth. You know—fluffy, escapist things. I suspect I’ll be discussing them with myself for a while, and that’s okay, but I hope it isn’t forever. I’ll still be here at the CWC every week, talking about one thing or another, but please visit my second virtual home, too. It’s easy to find, and you don’t need a car, bus, plane or train to get there. How 'bout I give you that address again: www.triciadower.com
*I was having trouble understanding how something would work at the launch, and the caterer sent me an e-mail with big bolded type. Her frustration was barely contained in those heavy, black letters. Get used to it, I told myself. Soon, they'll be speaking loudly and calling you"dear." (Come to think of it, they already do.)