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Friday! (#FF and No Passing #FAD)

Twitter has its FridayFollow, or #FF – a long-standing tradition of recommending people we think are worth following on Twitter. What’s often missing is the “why” – after all, why wouldn’t you just take my word for it? There are lists, of course – carefully vetted lists – of people you absolutely must follow on Twitter. For example, Huffington Post has their... read more

Meeting Old Friends for the First Time

This past weekend, I flew to Dallas to meet my friends, three of my sisters by choice (members of the list that Hadass wrote about in Gratitude and a List) – Hadass, Debra, Ceci – and Katie, my daughter, who drove in from north Texas to hang out with us and meet her “aunties.” Though the visit was too short, and we were missing so many of our sisters, we had a marvelous time... read more

Bad Attitude Blogging

In his post, “Bad Attitude Blogging,” Opinionated Man writes: I’ve come across countless bloggers that leave a “last post” with an ultimatum in it. Support their blog or they will stop blogging. OM chalks this up to a sense of entitlement. I disagree. I’ve only seen a couple of bloggers – usually under the age of eighteen – who were so convinced of their own literary... read more

If You Like It, Better Put a Share on It

Facebook discourages creativity. In fact, I’d say that the Facebook has conditioned us all to chase the affirmation of a “Like,” which has a deleterious effect on our courage in speaking out on unpopular topics – our courage in going against the herd or writing on topics that are less “popular.” There are studies on “what gets shared most on Facebook.” We... read more

Feelings

When we were little children, we had no trouble smiling great 1000-watt smiles that lit up our eyes. We’d smile at anyone who wasn’t pitching rocks and insults at us. We might even smile meek little smiles of confusion at those who were – it must surely be a game, and we simply hadn’t learned the rules, yet. We didn’t hesitate to blurt out, “You’re nice. I like... read more

Twitter Quote Retweet Spam: a New Twist

Twitter spam has been around almost as long as there’s been a Twitter. @ Mention spam was a cleverly annoying way to ensure that anyone even noticed the spam, given the volume of Tweets that scroll quickly by on most users’ Tweet streams. Usually, a Retweet (akin to Sharing, on most sites) or @ Mention of another user will get more attention – at least from the folks who are mentioned or... read more

Gratitude and a List

Author’s note: I wrote this piece in the fall of 2011, and it was originally published for American Thanksgiving of that year. I’ve just updated a few numbers, and I’m grateful to Holly for republishing it now. In the fall, our thoughts turn to gratitude. It’s harvest time in the temperate and sub-tropical zones, and the fear of starvation if it fails is deeply embedded in our cultural... read more

Letter from a Writer to an Artist

Dear T___, Writing is wordplay. It is experimentation. Some days, it’s completely dorktastic; other days, it is full of academic pretension fooling no one. Sometimes, the “Muse” smiles upon us like a ray of sunshine through a golden morning haze, and we are blessed. Do artists resent happy dabblers in art? Weren’t you all dabblers, once – small children with grubby fingers... read more

Does Anyone Really Want to READ About a Writer?

It was a little “slice of life vignette,” a bit of self-conscious dialogue stuck between humorous, unlikely, and cliché – spoken between oddly-named characters in a stereotypical café – yet my creative writing professor’s only criticism was, “Nobody wants to read about writers.” Imagine my fleeting resentment when Stephen King’s Misery skyrocketed to... read more

Slow Blogging

No one ever accused me of being visionary. I once worked for an online services company that asked me to give an opinion on two new concepts – Voice Over IP (VOIP) and online auctions – concepts that later morphed into things like eBay and Skype. I turned them down. The quality – in 1994 – over VOIP was worse than two tin cans and a string. And the practical reality of online... read more

Well Played, Facebook!

That didn’t take long. Yesterday, I wrote about how we all needed to be more thoughtful about our use of social media and stop scapegoating sites like Facebook for our human failings and disappointments. Even before the post went live, this morning, Facebook flagged my PC as being “possibly infected with malware” and tried to force me to download Kaspersky and run a scan before allowing... read more

There is No Historical Point of Perfection for Human Civilization

We can wail about human flaws and foibles all we want – you know, “People are stupid.” Or, “How can people be so horrible to one another?” Or, “OMG, when will humans be extinct, once and for all, and save the planet?” But personally, I am a human and I don’t want us to be extinct. I want us to figure out how to protect our planet together, how to be good to... read more

Artistic Impulses

One of the things I’ve been enjoying on my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is that it isn’t just a PDA with a stylus and handwriting recognition – it’s a pressure sensitive drawing tablet. It’s turned out to be not only a phone, but also a relaxing, creative outlet that is both fun and practical, in spite of its relatively small screen. It’s about the size of a very small... read more

RCE: Small Victories Deserve Big Celebrations!

You may remember my champagne celebration when I relearned how to walk down stairs using alternating left-right feet after breaking my ankle Memorial Day weekend. That was huge. Oh, the things we take for granted! The things we forget to be thankful for. Recently, I’ve been able to squat down low enough to grab things from the lowest cabinets, although staying down for any length of time – as... read more

Genre Rebellion

Writers understand the importance of defining genre; if nothing else, it assures our books shelf space and saves librarians hours of frustration. Beyond that, though, some of us don’t give it much thought. We have stories to tell, and not all of them are docile, co-operative, and neatly pigeonholed within a particular genre. This is neither bad, nor good. My first real awareness of genre came when... read more

Know Your Audience

“Know your audience.” That’s great advice, for a writer – but what if you find out that your audience is interested in things you thought they’d just skim over or ignore – and what if they’re really skimming and ignoring the posts you thought they’d love? If you’re reading this, please know that whoever you are and whatever brought you here, you are... read more

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S Health

A few weeks ago, I gave up the dream of ever getting a new Windows 10 Lumia 950 phone through T-Mobile. Oh, maybe it will happen one of these days, but I got the sense that nobody’s heart was really in it. Rather than get two new phones, I passed my beloved Lumia 810 on to my son – an upgrade for him! – and got myself a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. My last Android phone was a Garminfone loaded... read more

Hello, 2016!

It is now officially 2016. I’m starting a pool on how long it takes me to write that instead of 2015. For some reason, 2015 was easy to remember – I don’t think I goofed and wrote 2014 until July, and I still can’t figure out what brain cell misfired to cause that. I didn’t jump ahead of myself to write 2016 until about two weeks into December. I’m still trying to figure... read more

Facebook Gets It Right: Keep Original Post

One of the frustrating things about sharing a post on Facebook is thinking that you are sharing a friend’s commentary about a link they shared to their page, only to find that all your version of the shared post contains is the link itself, without your friend’s commentary on it. It appears that Facebook has finally realized that this is not quite what friends have in mind when they want to... read more

No Whining, Just Winning

I love a challenge! Once again, I have brought my blog to the brink of destruction – not quite teetering over the abyss (it’s only sunk to around 600K on Alexa and hasn’t hit the millions, yet!) – and the prospect of breathing fresh life into it as the New Year breathes frost on the windowpane is exhilarating! It is a tradition – just like Pinterest-fail gingerbread houses,... read more

Is Religion, or Isolation and a “Lost Spirit,” the Root of Today’s Problem?

None of us have all the puzzle pieces. Can we just admit this, and admit that we don’t have all the insight, all the expert knowledge, all the divine compassion, and all the wisdom to recognize the real problem without listening to others and working together with them, let alone solve it from our Laz-E-Boy armchairs? Consider, for just a moment, the ways in which people who seem so different from us... read more

To Cry, or Not to Cry? Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow…

My grandmother used to cry whenever we said goodbye – even if we were just heading out the driveway to go home, twenty miles away, and would see her the next day. I loved that woman, and was closer to her than to almost anyone – but sometimes it did “get old” watching her cry. I didn’t understand it, and I was helpless to make her feel better. I didn’t realize, as a... read more

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