Thursday, November 30, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. I appreciated this look at the OWL sex ed program in Oklahoma, where the schools are not providing comprehensive sex ed.
2. I was fascinated to see this look at how the National Gallery skating rink gets made.
3. I honestly did not know Debrett's still existed, but they have some message tips.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Writer Goggles

One of the things that happens as you write, is you develop writer goggles. You can do this even if you aren't currently writing. 
For example, the other day I watched a small child stage a very dramatic "I don't want to go!" moment in the lobby of my building. The small child lay on the ground, hands clutching the parental figure's ankles, while an elder sibling waited with impatient stance. 
I participated in a series of flash fiction challenges, and we all used the same prompt. None of our stories were remotely the same, even the ways we used the prompt varied widely. 
Newbie writers often worry about people's stealing ideas, and as many have said, they can't. Ideas can be precious and sometimes need time to percolate. But no one is going to that idea the same way. 
But one way to exercise your writer goggles is to go forward and back, expanding the story. 
Does small child do this every weekday? Does elder child have morning events that get interrupted on days this happens?
Does the parent have to be at work at a specific time or are they lenient? 
Does small child have a specific concern, or a general hatred of school or daycare?
What tiny details change the experience of the story? 
What if I tell you small child peeked up to see what reception they were getting? 
What if elder child tried this? 
What if small child just switched the school or daycare they go to?
There are lots of ways to shift or expand the story. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

The Point is Solidarity

I remember someone once asking why anyone would protest a seemingly correctly elected politician. I responded that protest has many purposes and sometimes it is to say, I am here, I disagree, this is not okay. 
I read a book once about a second child of g-d appearing on earth, and found part of what was fascinating about it was things like, now she would go on talk shows. Her third grade teacher and her first boyfriend would both write memoirs. 
And sometimes, because I have a writer brain that can't help but wonder, I wonder what would happen if World War II was now. Because social media has changed the speed of info, the ability of governments to provide the only info their citizens have. 
And of course, I don't really need to move past atrocities to the present, because, we actually have enough current atrocities. 
People have been protesting all across the world. Asking for change, even when their country's leaders have tried to tell them what's going on is okay.
And these are the things that give me hope as we enter a week where in the US we celebrate a political gathering of folks trying to negotiate cohabitating on the same continent. 
There have always been people pushing for more peace. It can be hard to see it when you only look at what the world leaders say. But there are many of us. 
May your week bring food, friends, family, and whatever relaxation you are able to carve out. 
And if you want to call your electeds so your message will be waiting when they return, you can do that too.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. This poem "I Grant You Refuge" by now deceased poet Hibu Abu Naba, has been translated into English and it is breathtaking.  
2. Sarah Kendzior wrote about a stretch of land in Missouri. 
3. And this story of a 100 year old woman adopting a senior dog is just adorable. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Choose Your Pace

I did a 5k over the weekend. It was a very tiny one. I told people my intention was to walk it. I found another participant, who said, yeah, I'm just walking too, I'll stick with you. 
And then the race began, and she turned to me, and said, I'll think I'll go fast for a bit. And she - still just walking - was ahead of me in no time. 
I could have sped up to catch up with her, but I also knew the pace I was at was sustainable for me for the whole thing. So, I kept going at my pace. I was technically not the last to finish. But the group that came in behind me took a detour, to look at something else. 
But in the end, we all finished. Some people ran, some people walked, many did both.
And whether it's NaNo or a knit-a-long, or group exercise, often you do it with others for the camaraderie. Only one person can finish first. But if you finish, you still finished. And if that was your goal, then it's all good. 
You can try moving at other people's pace. Sometimes you will discover you can go faster than you thought. Or that slower actually gives you time to look at the trees, to smell the smells. Finding your pace, knowing what it feels like when you are pushing too hard or just enough, these are all great things to know. 
The camaraderie comes from the shared experience not from finishing first. Finishing first, or in the too ten, or whatever is super cool. I'm not saying that can't be your goal. But if your goal was to get to the end, then the pace may not need to be the fastest, it just has to get you to the end. 

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. This news story caught my eye.  There is a huge rise in babies in the US being born with syphilis, which means, there are a number of adults in the US with untreated syphilis.
2. Once upon a time, I was in a car with a school friend and her mom, and we passed a sign about Luray Caverns.  I said, "What's a cavern?" and well, about fifteen minutes later, we walking to the Caverns, because my friend and her mom thought it was an experience I should have.  So this story about the organ in the Caverns caught my eye, and brought back that lovely first experience. 
3. This teenager works as a juvenile defense attorney
Also, there is a Books for Palestine auction going on right now with a ton of items. 

Monday, November 06, 2023

The Good and the Bad With Mantras

I know the social media loop means that sometimes people, myself included, have a tendency to temper or provide caveats for happiness. Like, "I had a delicious beverage. So privileged to have funds for such a beverage. Hope everyone involved in making this beverage earned a fair wage."
I hope I'm avoiding that, but perhaps not. 
I recognize that mantras can be incredibly useful. I've talked before about how I still chant, "Relax, relate, release" to myself. 
I took a writing course that encouraged us to repeat, "I am a great writer". 
But I participated in an event where we were encouraged to chant, "I'm sorry. I love you. I forgive you." And it was compared to the Polynesian principle of ho'oponuponu*. Now I would love to tell you I would have noticed this if they hadn't used a Polynesian principle. But they did. 
Now first, the lovely folks at SorryWatch already wrote a whole book about apologies, and howntheybshould work, I do recommend that. But basically, saying 'I'm sorry' by itself is not meaningful. Being sorry involves knowing what you are sorry for, and making steps to either address the harm, or not repeat the harm. USian culture in particular often looks for people to say they are sorry, to be followed by immediate forgiveness and scoot past all the other steps. (And yes, not all USians.)
The only thing faster than expected immediate apology, is turning it into a mantra where the words just follow each other, with again, no attachment to what they are or mean. 
And ho'oponuponu is similarly not a magic wand that gets waved at harm. It is a process of exploring, discussing, and redressing harm. The forgiving and moving on happens after those steps have occurred. 

*Ho'oponuponu is Hawaiian, but similar concepts of seeking reparation exist throughout Polynesia. 

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1.  I generally do not attend Rhineback and the associated events, and this year had a family event the very same weekend, but it is a very big weekend for yarn folk, so I was sad to hear the Woll & Folk portion of it did not go well on a number of levels.  If you are a yarn person, or may be shopping for one, there are a number of vendors who are having post festival sales, since they have quite a bit of stock. 
2. This article is DC focused, but had a number of suggestions for efforts to address issues in DC right now that I found useful. 
3. And I was interested to learn a lot of folks are falling out of love with dating apps