Showing posts from November, 2011

The Unfollowing (Repost)

In about five minutes I will have un-followed my first “friend.”

Why does it bother me?

In truth, it’s not the unfollowing that bothers me. I only knew him as well as I could know anyone with whom I exchanged workshop critiques over a 3-week summer writer’s workshop. Which is to say I knew him by words and by sight—which does not, as some might believe, mean I knew his insights, or lack thereof.

I did not know his politics.  I did not know his racial barometer, his insecurities.  Perhaps I don’t actually endeavor to know anyone that well. In the past, I had at best glanced at his updates. But now that either I have more time or he does, his updates appear to have become more frantic and more frequent. I find myself shocked by their chantish quality, their lack of depth, their lack of respect of my time.

In all honesty, what I remember best about him that summer is his overly long workshop piece laden with slightly-offensive assumptions of camaraderie and the presumption that I had th…

Beehive Baltimore (Repost)

According to their website, blog and Tweets, the Beehive Baltimore is an active community of writers sharing space to increase productivity and decrease cost. It’s a classic formula, a proven formula and financially, it makes sense.
It makes sense socially too.
The Hive is located in a cluster of offices, within a trendy, multi-purpose warehouse-esque modern building.
I picture writers, painters, sculptors, and dancers engaging in discussion, debate, and coffee laced with crème and conversation.
I don’t picture writers writing, painters painting, sculptors sculpting or dancers actually dancing.
And, I’d like to.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been planning a visit to the Hive to see just what co-working is all about. They are virtually locatable. I found their website; read their blog, and followed their tweets. I can find the Hive on a map, online, on Google Earth. I can @Beehive them, email them, or comment to a blog.

What I can’t do is call them.
Social networking, word of mouth, and an o…

The Me in Community (Repost)

Recently, I got a letter that my son’s school failed the state test. Not a state test, the state test: the Maryland State Assessment Test or MSA. The test that decides funding, staffing, academic performance: the test. It’s a report card, a ‘how does the school compare to other schools in the state’ and equally as importantly, a ‘how does your child compare to other students in the state’ marker.
Each year, my children perform well, very well to be precise. Some years their schools do not.
This year, my daughter’s school passed the statewide test, my son’s did not. The letter from his school is nicely worded. It says something about under performing and reevaluating. It’s very positive, but the bottom line is that something is missing between teaching and learning: something just doesn’t work.
Four years ago, I got the same letter before my daughter was supposed to go to the same school. That year, I opted out and was able to transfer her into a performing school.
Today, the program that…

On Why I Don't Comment on Comments

In most of the writers’ groups I belong to, there is at least one conversation devoted to the topic of comments and why we don’t comment on other writers’ blogs.
Each time I read one, I vow to read a blog or two and post a comment in return: to leave my virtual calling card.
I sift through several blogs before choosing the one to respond to.
Reading a blog is sort of like reading the editorials. Reading comments is like asking people what they think about the editorials.
I don’t do that.
So while I peruse, sift and skim blog posts, I rarely glimpse or acknowledge the comments of others.
Comments are like undergarments. I assume people have them, but I’m not all that interested in seeing the general populations’.

Yvonne Battle-Felton; Crafter of Sexy CV's

“Great information, can I reference this for my site and link back to you?”
Compliments are probably one of the fastest ways to get your comment approved on my blog. So, likely my ego will be my cyber downfall.
When I began looking for a full-time English faculty position, it seemed logical to post my resume and CV on my blog.
It still does.
Visions of people linking my CV to the hands of my future employer would have danced vividly in my head—had I thought of it that way. When commenters began asking to link, repost or refer the content from my blogs to theirs, I was giddy—until…
Though I still have the what’s the worst that could happen mentality when it comes to accepting comments, I still read each comment, email address, website, link, IP address—just in case.
The most recent request to link to my CV made me smile, in a what the heck? sort of way. The request looked sincere enough—though in retrospect most of the requests so far have been from spammers—the site potentially linking to …


“What kind of films do you make?” Porn, I think.
“Just films about different things.”
I nod.
I mistake his evasiveness and momentarily forget my own.
As a writer, I seldom talk about a piece until it is finished—sometime after its final revision, submission, rejection and/or publication. Dissecting language, character, voice, and plot are far more intricate and intimate conversations than those I would have with people who would ask, “What are you working on?”
People who would not ask are writers.
People who don’t know me must think I write porn.
“What do you want to do after graduation?” A friend asks.
“I just want to write,” I say and mean—but not really.

I do not want to write manuals, business letters, or the story of someone else’s life.
I want to write short stories with characters who reflect people and the choices we make and the consequences we live with. I want to write creative nonfiction pieces about injustices, opportunities, life. I want to make people think, act, cry, care. Pow…

Consider the Source: FTC Updates Timely Advice (Repost)

I have always been leery of reviews.
Books, movies, companies, merchandise, what ever the product or service, I seldom trust testimonials, endorsements, or personal statements unless I respect the source.
A quick search of most products or services will pull up the product, its competition, client testimonials and customer reviews.
It should be universally understood that information provided by the manufacturer and/or provider and its competition is biased.
Word-of-mouth is just as powerful today as it was yesterday.
Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and the thousands of services in between, rely on the premise of networks and the sharing of information. The power of telling a friend, who tells a friend, who tells another friend, has gone exponential.
With all of this information exchanging, sharing, updating, blogging and twittering about, the FTC reminds us that nothing has really changed. When making decisions based on someone’s experience, recommendation, or testimonial, you have to…

Conversations I would Rather Not Have

There are some conversations that get easier to have the more often you have them—death isn’t one of them.
This weekend I woke up to quiet.
Unexpected, somewhat jolting, my three children, dog, cat, presumably the leopard gecko were sleeping and so was—it would seem for a few more minutes—Lita Gibby.
Lita Gibby does not sleep. Or if she does, she is a light sleeper. Since she’s lived with us, she has become in tuned with movement, shifts in lighting, every whispered sound.
She detects everything.
She sings—or sang—to music, to silence, to footsteps.
Lita Gibby was Noah’s birthday present.
I should have learned you can’t give life.
The plump white and brown guinea pig, deceptively quiet in the pet store, uncharacteristically quiet today, is dead.
Because Noah was three when we got her, I spent more time than I thought I would talking to, petting, cleaning up after, feeding, and though I didn’t expect to, loving Lita Gibby.
There are just a few moments between now—when he thinks Lita Gibby is …

Trying to Spend Money at Wal-Mart? Good luck

I love a good sale; there’s nothing like saving money—especially when you don’t have to spend money to do it.
Still, lately I have been having a hard time actually spending money. No, not because I’m adhering to a budget; not because I’m debating a large purchase or even haggling over prices: The store just won’t seem to take my money.It’s an odd problem to have. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t complain, but these circumstances aren’t quite normal.
Last week I visited Wal-Mart to purchase new tires. On one hand I had reservations about purchasing tires from the same place I can purchase sweatpants and toothpaste; but, there’s a certain nostalgic quality reminiscent of Sunday shopping with my grandmother decades ago that eases the uncertainties. Back then, she shopped at Two Guys, a long gone “everything” store similar to Wal-Mart and perhaps more adept—though their bankruptcy would say otherwise—at taking money. So I was able to rationalize shopping for tires where I shop for life…