Posts filed under Zuzanna Vallis

my story, so far

[This is the third and final portion of my pictorial mini-autobiography. The first part is here, and the second part is there.]

During the 1980s, as a Sheridan Media Arts grad, I worked in the budding Canadian film and television industry. At the same time, I was writing “spec scripts” to submit to potential television series. This paid off with my first script sale, and the realization of my dream of writing professionally.

taking a break from television writing; with Gabrielle St. George, Zuzanna Vallis, Peter Mohan and an unidentified extra in the Night Heat holding cell

Taking a break from television writing, with Gabrielle St. George, Zuzanna Vallis, Peter Mohan and an extra in the “Night Heat” holding cell  (1987)

Three Generations  (circa 1992)

Holding my newborn, with my Dad, Lynn Russwurm.

shooting home video

shooting home video  (circa 1990s)

Catching my reflection in a warplane canopy at the Tiger Boys Fly-In

Catching my reflection in a warplane canopy at the Tiger Boys Fly-In  (2012)

During my family hiatus, I worked at developing my photography,  blogging and social networking,  developing digital skills,  learning to hand code websites, restore photographs and create digital art.

Laurel L. Russwurm, self publishing novelist

Laurel L. Russwurm, self publishing novelist, author of “Inconstant Moon”  (2010)

These days I’ve reclaimed my dream, and so I’m writing and self publishing my own novels.   My debut novel, “Inconstant Moon,” is serialized online, and I’m currently at work finishing me second novel, “The Girl In The Blue Flame Cafe.”

I'm reflected in the shiny netbook that's set up on a table on the deck, my harnessed cat nick sits nearby on the railing.

Working on my second novel, “The Girl In The Blue Flame Cafe”  (2012)

the early years

[This is the first of a three part pictorial mini-autobiography, you’ll find the next here and the final chapter there.]

According to family legend, my mother Laura Gaede,  an aspiring young country singer, advertised for a back-up band. My father, Lynn Russwurm, answered the ad. His band was the Pine River Troubadors, so my folks became The Pine River Sweethearts.

The Pine River Sweethearts  (circa 1950s)

My parents were country music entertainers, so they both sang and played musical instruments. My Dad also wrote songs, and Mom could draw well enough to have made a living as a professional artist, but music and family were her two main loves.  Dad is still making music.

Lynda, Laurel and Lance  (1960)

I’m about 8 months old in this rare colour snapshot, pictured here with my older sister, Lynda Russwurm Glendenning Pearson, and my older brother, Lance Russwurm.

Standing at the open door of the stove, which holds my birthday cake.

My first birthday.  (1960)

I had fun transforming a black and white photo into this sepia toned and colour tinted image.  The beauty of digital image manipulation is that you work with copies, so if you make a mistake, the original is no worse off than it was when you began.  This is one of my first attempts at photo tinting.

Wearing a bunny snow suit with my mother, out doors in springtime

 (circa 1960)

With my mom, Laura Gaede Russwurm, in the front yard of my childhood home, at 88 Columbia Street in Waterloo.

Probably about four, sitting at my toy piano at Christmas

I was a one finger pianist  (circa 1960s)

An enthusiastic audience, my inclination is to listen to music, not play it.  It’s easier to type a novel with one finger than it is to play a symphony, so it’s a good thing I wanted to be a writer.  All my novels are written to music.

Sitting on the concrete front porch, my three year old sister, Liana lays her head in my lap, our sister 5 year old sister Luane sits beside

Laurel, Liana and Luane  (circa 1960s)

With a few more of my sisters, Liana Russwurm and Luane Russwurm.

Larry and Laurel

with Larry  (1969)

A good deal of my childhood was spent playing with and entertaining younger siblings, like my little brother, Larry Russwurm.  The Marx Brothers had vaudeville, I had a captive audience 🙂

circa 1970s

with Lani  (circa 1970s)

With yet another brother, Lani Russwurm.

Ours was a very creative family.  We all grew up drawing, painting, sculpting and singing… so I come by my creativity though both nature and nuture.

Greetings from the Internet

Over the past few years I have come to understand the importance of free culture and digital accessibility.   The Internet didn’t even exist for the general public as recently as my college days, and now we’re in the midst of a digital revolution. Everyone is trying to figure out how best to do things online.


Some say “Real Life” only happens “away from keyboard”. There seems to be no end of discussion about how the Internet isn’t “real life.”

But the truth of the matter is that the Internet is a growing part of our real lives. We read news, watch videos, exchange correspondence, download software, buy gifts, do research, form opinions, pay bills, learn things, visit family, listen to music, exchange photographs, and a whole lot more  online every day.

In the real world, people don’t have to show identification to window shop, or even to walk into a retail store. Why, then, should we be required to hand over identification to window shop online? It isn’t any of the retailer’s business who we are, what our postal code is, or even what country we are from. They are certainly not entitled to our private information without good reason.

The rules we live by shouldn’t be magically different online. Law enforcement agencies shouldn’t be allowed to read our private correspondence without a search warrant, just because it’s in a digital format.

There are two opposing schools of thought about how we should do things online.


The first is that everything should be open, and access should be free.  Hyperlinks exist to allow visitors to access the original source material, and possibly learn something more.  The amount of time I spend including hyperlinks in blog posts and web pages is not negligible, but I do it because it is important. It also allows me to credit my sources, and give something back.  The more links leading to your website, the better your “Google Juice” ~ which means the higher up your page appears in search engine results.


The second and opposite view, is that systems should be closed.  Proprietary systems exist in an attempt to control our access, while accessing as much of our personal information as possible. Sites of this type discourage “window shopping” by preventing people from seeing the content without signing in. Some sites have a “paywall” that requires your paid subscription before you are allowed to see the content, on others the only payment required is your personal information through registration. Once we’ve gone to the trouble of signing in, making and remembering a password, we’re more likely to return.

Some go even further, and make an effort to limit the user’s options once inside, by making it difficult or impossible to share external links. The fear is that if visitors can leave, if they have options or choices, they will leave and not return. These sites are trying to generate a captive audience.

walled gardens

Gone are the days when anyone could just go and read Twitter, these days the Twitter stream is locked down. It is possible to see inside if you have a direct link, but without one, the default is the registration page.  Which is why my own preference is the microblogging service. Anyone can read anonymously, without having to give up their privacy and pay with personal information. Although I use both services, because of this policy, I generally post directly to and what I say there is rebroadcast on Twitter.

Facebook is even more closed than that; you must register and pay for the “free” service with your personal information. Even if you have a link to most Facebook pages, unless you are logged in you can’t see the content. Google+ is following Facebook’s lead in trying to connect everything under its own brand and keep its users inside its own walled garden.

privacy vs sharing

Why shouldn’t people be able to surf the web anonymously, just as they can surf in the ocean without first being made to furnish a name, rank and serial number?  Many people refuse to use the walled gardens of Facebook and Twitter, no matter what’s inside, because they feel the price in privacy is too high.

Although people need privacy,  the same is not true for websites.  The Internet was created to make sharing easy.   Although some sites discourage sharing, I myself want people to be able to read my words.  Everything I put online is there to be shared.  The Internet loses value if we wall up the connections.   We should be making life easier for people, not harder.

As an independent self publishing author, I’m trying to make it easier for readers already using those walled gardens, by creating a Facebook Author Page, and experimenting with a g+ Author Page.

laurel L. Russwurm, Author

But for those who would rather avoid Facebook and g+, anything I put in those walled gardens will be mirrorred here on the open web.  This is where you’ll be able to see everything l share without having to buy anything, or worse, to pay with your privacy.

Welcome to my new and open Laurel L. Russwurm, Author Page.