Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Alternative Names for "Mother"

  • Tissue
  • Vending machine
  • Jungle gym
  • Ladder
  • Jukebox
  • Teething toy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Tip

Never assume that, because the last diaper was super dirty, the next one won't be.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Things That Are Difficult To Do While Holding A Baby

  1. Tying shoes
  2. Folding laundry
  3. Buttering bread

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letter to an Old Friend

Dear Fall,

I miss you. Would you be able to come for a visit? I’ve got the next couple months racked off just for you. I have an unwanted houseguest, Summer, who showed up several months late and is now overstaying his welcome. He makes me uncomfortable, with his hot temper that lasts long into the night. I miss our cool interactions, Fall, our colorful conversations filled with hope of good things to come. I have such happy memories of you and I, of brisk breezes and evenings spent next to a warm fireplace with books and hot chocolate and contentment. I do hope you can come to stay soon. If you’d like, you can bring Winter along as well, I don’t mind. Just, please, help me get rid of Summer.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writing with a baby

How do people make that work?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pondering the Importance and Innateness of Talent

Someone posed a question on LinkedIn: “What do you HATE about writing?”

One of the answers:

If one is meant to be a writer, then the answer to your question is - Nothing. I believe, that if there is even a single thing about writing that one hates, dont do it. These thoughts are best echoed in a poem by Charles Bukowsk titled - So You Want To Be A Writer:

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

I desperately disagree with this poem, or at least most parts of it. It’s terribly discouraging and elitist, and it basically claims that if you aren’t perfect at something right off the bat, there’s no point in working at it.

But it does make me think, as it challenges the encouraging declaration I’ve been fed for the past several years: if you write then you are a writer. It doesn’t mean you’re a good writer. But you’re a writer nonetheless.

Are good writers the only true writers? What is good? Is it innate or is it something that can be learned? Perhaps it can be learned but only to a certain extent? Must it build upon innate talent? Can someone who is good learn to be better? Is a person exceptional because it was destined to be, because of hard work built upon a foundation of inherent skill, or because of pure determination despite circumstances? Is it all of the above?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Response to Time Magazine’s “25 Things I Didn’t Want to Know About You.”

Today a Time Magazine writer complained about the latest Facebook fad, “25 Things About Me.” In this fad, the Facebook user lists 25 theoretically random observations about themselves, and then tags 25 of their friends, saying, “I wanted you to know more about me.” Friends who have been tagged in the note are then encouraged to create their own list of 25 items to share with their friends and the original writer.

Time’s writer is unhappy about being tagged. She says that the people who are tagging her aren’t really connected to her, that she isn’t that close to them, and that they aren’t really her friends. Not only that, but she accuses the writers of being narcissistic and – gasp – unfunny. She complains it is a waste of time.

Ms. Writer, may I point something out to you? You don’t have to read the notes. It is completely optional. Not only is it optional, but unless you leave a comment or someone asks you outright, no one will notice if you have or have not read the notes, especially if they are written by people who have as dubious a connection to you as you claim.

Time Magazine is missing the point of social media. Facebook and Twitter exist to create a community. Social media enables us to connect with others in ways we previously didn’t. My parents went to their ten year high school reunions and caught up with their former classmates; I already know which of my former classmates went on to grad school, got married and had kids because I’m friends with them on Facebook. Social media sites allow me to stay in touch with old friends and to meet new ones. If Time's writer isn’t even friends with the friends she has on Facebook, why is she friends with them?

But perhaps what is most striking about this article is the implication of the complete integration of the internet into our lives. The internet is no longer simply about convenience; it has become part of our daily routine. Previously optional activities are now considered imperative. A Facebook member sees that he has been tagged in a note; he reads the note, even though he doesn’t find it particularly interesting. He is tagged in another note; he reads this one too. He is tagged in yet more notes, and although at this point he’s getting annoyed, he continues to read the notes. Why not simply stop reading the notes?  

We forget we can step back, that we don’t have to check on the latest news from our friends every thirty seconds, that we don’t have to update our Twitter with what we’re eating for lunch, and we don’t have to check in with our friends to see what they’re eating for lunch. And when the volume gets too loud, we blame the community; we forget we can turn it down, step outside, get away from the noise.

Time Magazine writer, I’m sorry you were annoyed by your non-friends. It is frustrating to feel obligated to read a non-funny note by someone you only barely know. But please remember, the internet is optional. Feel free to step away from the computer at any time.


Note: the writer’s name has been removed from this article; this is not intended as a personal attack on the writer’s character, only as a commentary on the use of the internet and social media.