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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

For fans of WireTap…or not – I suggest you take a look at the awesome opportunity below. You don’t need a journalism degree to apply – just a degree.

Who: Wiretap Magazine

What: Arts & Culture Journalism Fellowship

When: The deadline is May 1, 2009

Where: Anywhere you are – but if you are currently residing in San Francisco or New York, consider yourself lucky to have an office to report to

Why:

  • You get to have your work published (and paid for it!)
  • Sharpen your journalism chops and get JOURNALIST boot camp
  • Cover emerging arts, artists and art communities. So cool. Period

Good Luck!!!

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Photo Credit: Inju @Flickr

Photo Credit: Inju @Flickr

You’ll do what comes naturally – or not

Folks who blog are folks who want to blog. Fellow bloggers, quit wasting your breath (or blog posts) on telling people they should blog for a better career.

They won’t do it and they’ll give you dumb excuses. And, if they do blog – it’s not because you advised them to. The blog-curious only need validation of what they will (inevitably) decide to do. 

Just like a writer will try to use any outlet to showcase her creativity or a marketer that wants to highlight his insights– people with ideas will already have pursued blogging.

They’re doing it now.

Which brings me to my next point.

More blogosphere for me

The blogosphere can function in a vacuum. There are all these seperate blobs of communities that crop up around bloggers (read: personalities). There’s lot of opinions on how to engage non-bloggersor get more folks to blog or get respect for blogging blah blah blah.

I say: stop.

Granted, there are a ba-jillion crappy blogs, but there are just as many good ones as well. Your relevancy to the blogging community isn’t going to instantaneously diminish because you didn’t get more people to blog.

It only diminishes when you aren’t able to share, develop and reconstruct ideas and connections. People who don’t know how to connect with that possibility have no business blogging.

I’m not telling you to rob a liquor store

Blogging is like a dirty word to some people. If you suggest it, they start gasping like you’re trying to convince them that prostitution is merely speed dating. These notions are fine when you’ve at least tried blogging (or speed dating). 

Non-bloggers only seem to concentrate on the irrelevancies of blogging, how it has nothing to do with them (or the “real world”) and insist on questioning it’s usefulness. But value and relevancy are not always one in the same.

They intersect at different points. And, I’d be more interested in engaging people who are trying to figure that out.

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Image courtesy of www.paper-source.com

Image courtesy of http://www.paper-source.com

I picked up these calling cards from the Paper Source on Chicago Avenue last week.

I’m too cheap (now) to create my own business cards – but it beats writing my contact info on scrap notes and post its. If you are a stationary junke (or craft nut) this store will be your orgasmic Utopia.

Also, they have really cool crafting workshops and uber-wonderful discount sales.

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Photo Credit: Miserteacher @Flickr

Photo Credit: Miserteacher @Flickr

There are lots and lots of lists profiling bloggers that would be cool to read or the best of 2009 or are considered the most underrated

Those lists utterly annoy me because time and time again, it’s like rating the best foods or the places to raise kids.

They can be totally irrelevant…to the reader, that is.  Not to mention, taken out of context.

And – stop – I know that they’re only suggestions. Or, voter’s choices. Or…whatever. I think in the blogosphere, it may not always be a good idea to have such rankings – because rankings are just opinions.

And, I think the blogosphere is too big  to separate – and rank – out a few from the million.

I much rather have someone tell me why they like something, why it would be relevant to me and – that’s it. None of this best, top, worst of the year crap.

Furthermore, these compilations lack purpose. And some bloggers forget to clarify whatever that purpose is in their lists. How is that?  For example, they tell me what the blog is about and why they read it. As a reader, I could care less about that – how do you think it will benefit me?

It sounds contradictory.

In fact, it is.

Yet, that’s the point. And, perhaps the blogs I list below have made lists elsewhere and I’m not saying anything differently about them. I’d like you to keep in mind that this list is made for people who want to gather bits of information from everywhere for everything.

I hope I add something a little bit new to that gathering.

I know I sound like a total hypocrite because I am writing a blog post on blogs that I read. Yet, I’m thinking if you follow my blog – you have the same kinds of interests (and peeves) that I do. You may like children’s literature, but you’re not only (and always) going to read stuff by Kate DiCamillo.

I like to peruse stuff that appeals to certain moods I’m in. And just like you, when I want to gain a certain perspective on the world or inflate a certain mood – I can’t just got to one place, I go to several:

My Human Rights Muses/NPO work/Social Change

Nicholas Kristoff/On the Ground

I think a lot of people are seriously out of tune with what goes on outside of the United States – well, in the world, period. And NO, you can’t get all your news from the Daily Show – even though I’ll be the first to try. Generally, there is a very weak grasp of the political machinations in our own country, therefore, understanding stuff beyond that can be overwhelming. We’re also at a disadvantage because we are distanced (or better yet, create the distance).

Nick writes about those various (dis)connections and bridges the gaps, specifically on human rights issues.

Allison Jones/Entry Level Living

I have not come across too many (good) blogs that detail the work of twenty somethings in the NPO world. Nor, I haven’t run across as many that are as insightfully opinionted and as well-informed as Ms. Jones. If you are a twenty something looking to understand social change (as a profession), please visit her blog.

It’s well worth the time.

Karyn/The Fabulous Giver

What can’t be more great than finding chic ways to do charity?  Karyn’s writing is sweetly engaging. The site fosters a lot of opportunities to learn new things about wonderful philanthropic social events and causes. If you are interested in seeing how advocacy turns into action, The Fab Giver should be one of your places to start.

Beth Kanter/Beth’s Blog

This is kind of the “grown up” version of a blog about NPO work and social media usage. Ms. Kanter is pretty straightforward and her advice is practical. I may not always know what she’s talking about – but her blog is like the individual contrast (perspective?) to K Street Cafe.

Career: Good, Bad & Funny

Marci Alboher/Hey Marci

I had just begun following Ms. Alboher’s blog, Shifting Careers, before she got booted from the NYT. Her blog focuses on the multiplicity of careers and jobs. You’ll enjoy it too if like to read about workplace trends and the redefinition of career life.

And, she’s a nice contrast from Ms. Trunk – I can only handle one career blog that details the sex life of the author.

FFN/Fired for Now

This is a fairly new blog. I hope it sticks around. FFN writes about the realities of getting canned from a rigidly honest and insightful view point. The definition of unemployment is changing and this blog seeks to challenge the assumptions of its “social meaning.”

In other words, this blog doesn’t make me feel so bad about getting fired – ever. I suggest this become a must-read for all people still griping about being canned, worried about getting a job or otherwise happy with their career (read: EVERYONE).

Lillit & Ashley/Save the Assistants

This blog appreciates admins from across the world. The Bossary should be the first stop for anyone visiting. Administrative work can be tough – and mind crushing (if you let it). This site can be your saving grace. If you feel you are wasting away your soul in a crappy administrative job, read this blog and become inspired.

Go ahead and be saved (no worshipping of another g-d required).

John Henion & Tania Khadder/Unemploymentality

Weird. Slightly offensive. Scathingly sarcastic. Those are the first three descriptions that come to mind about this site. And, it’s hilarious. It’s an extremely fun read – and the best thing?

You can actually laugh in the face  of joblessness (er…maybe).

Jodith Allen/Administrative Arts

Kind of cheating on this one because I already mention a blog that profiles admin work. Yet, I think this is a good blog to read for anyone no matter what stage of their career they’re in. Admin work is part of any job you do –  from being  the president of a company to the mail clerk. Paperwork is paperwork  – don’t fight it.

Ms. Allen’s blog talks about time management, technology and various facets of (admin) career development. You can try that or the Crabby Office Lady (bonus!).

Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down – Inspiration Blogs!

Alexander Kjerulf/The Chief Happiness Officer

Being happy is important (especially at work) – ’nuff said.

Stephanie/Stephmodo

Besides having the same name as my little sister  – this blogger and I have another thing in common: an appreciation for all things beautiful and appetizingly sensual. Stephanie’s blog is absolutely gorgeous.

And, it’s not nearly as terrifying as GOOP.

Erinn/The Happy Living Design Blog

I’m a big fan of having peaceful spaces. I admit, I just go here to check out whatever photos might be up, but the writing is very interesting, as well. Go here to get ideas on (inexpensive) interior design for all types of abode living.

Not to mention, her blog’s layout has a “soothing” quality.

Cheryl Porro/ The Cupcake Blog

Ok, this blog has been “closed.”  But you can still view recipes, photos, etc. Furthermore, anything featuring a cupcake is bound to make you feel better.

No matter what.

Ev-Yan/Apricot Tea

Besides being ridiculously cute, Ev-Yan is a sensibly chic fashionista. If you like reading about fashion, Ev-Yan can be your muse. She also writes about married life, vegetarian and vegan eating habits and ripped shorts.

She posts photos quite a bit of the various outfits she wears, she pulls off the androgynous look quite well – better than most.

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Photo Credit: Guille @Flickr

Photo Credit: Guille @Flickr

I keep my tax information in a sweater drawer. Everything that should be important in my life is in a legal size manila folder next to a 10 year old Express sweater.

Half of my bills, mortgage documents and medical invoices are in an accordion file folder at my “home.”

I put home in quotes because, technically, I haven’t lived there in months.

I’ve unofficially re-located my life’s headquarters to my boyfriend’s condo. Oh sure, it’s a nice place to live – but I still have my “mortgage.”

My volunteer work and community journalism articles are stored on a flash drive. My boyfriend insists (nags) that I back up my data on the laptop or computer in the house. I assure him that I will, but I don’t. I’m a bit of a passive-aggressive procrastinator (sometimes).

I only do things in a hurry if I’m not told to do them.

Other than that, you’ll have to wait a month of Sundays for me to get it done. Maybe, that’s a trait I will need to fix. Not today. Perhaps, tomorrow.

I stupidly think out of some vain attempt to do it my way – “As long as I have the flash drive – why back up?”

That’s a very dangerous game, Ms. Moore,” my boyfriend would (inevitably) say.

Approximately 75% of my life is stored in bytes and drawers. My world is compartmentalized by electronic folders and Office Depot paper. I feel organizationally fragmented…bit…by…bit.

The old, sage advice is to leave your job at work and your personal life at home. I wonder how often those worlds whirl and mesh and blend within each other. What do you call work/life balance for those who don’t officially “work” but have way too much going on in their life?

I hate using such buzz words – work/life balance. I always thought, at some point, they always would be the same – the work/life part. Yet, in what case is your life never really work (and vice versa)?

In reality, one is probably only worrying about work/life balance until one part of the term is seriously missing from the equation.

And so, to make up for the missing pieces? My job hunt, my volunteer work, my finances and whatever else gets stored in various parts between the North and Southsides of Chicago. It would take a 1 hour and 25 minute trip to meld the spectrums of my dually fragmented, overly documented world.

I don’t itch to get another job, I just know I need to get another job. My only fear resides within the realms of money, not professional continuity. I am wondering if that makes me an unrealized outlier of the Gen Y group. Parts me wants to prove the other parts of me wrong.

Plainly, they are the bits and pieces that managed successful job hopping and a house renovation.

Yet, they simultaneously tango with the parts that cling to self-doubt and dissatisfaction.

I have trouble keeping track of those accomplishments and the goals I set for myself because they are physically (and mentally) hiding. They are in computer hard drives, flash drives, accordion file folders, home offices 2 El rides away and sweater drawers.

So, I am thinking I will have to learn to blend my life into another kind of balance.  I will have to (re)create that sweet spot of stableness and (re)discover my organizational center.

After all, the center is where the strength lies. Without it, we just become missing pieces that dwindle…bit by bit.

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The Emerald City

The Emerald City

There are days when you wake up and can seize the day. Your opportunity to achieve great things is limitless. The world is yours and it is good.

And, there are other days when your freshly ironed shirt of self-confidence has several creases of self-doubt in it. This is one of those days.

The “it’ factor of my life appears short-sighted. Should the unlimitedness of my potential be something that really is attainable in a lifetime?

Is it supposed to be? Every twenty-something I know feels like their life is heading toward some vast unknown greatness or never-abiding flux and uncertainty.

I get disappointed when I’m not sure where my path is headed.  I’m not looking for answers. I’m looking for proof. I want proof that I’m doing something right.

The great things that I want seem so far out of reach. What is this greatness? It’s so grand. It’s all mysterious.  It’s shrouded in adjectives that only seem to blur what it really is.

In passing moments, I wish I could see what the other people say they see in me. At other moments, my talents feel like wisps of smoke that can be blown out by anyone. The grand spectacle that could be my life is just some normal person playing out a bunch of theatrics – like the Wizard of Oz. 

Yet, unlike the Wizard, I don’t have a big balloon in which I can sail away into “new and unfound things.” I have to stay right there in the Emerald City and eke out an existence amongst the others.

Keep performing the silly theatrics and hope no one notices.

There are times when I feel I should be tougher. Smarter. Stronger. More interesting.

I (secretly) wonder if my life is staid because it is in so much flux. Change may be good. But, it becomes irrelevant when it’s unnecessary. And, there are times when I think my changes are unnecessary. I want to be validated by my own pursuits. This can be a problem. The ROI of my investments aren’t immediately evident – I begin to wonder if they are worth the time and effort.

There’s that self-doubt creeping in .

In high school, my mentor’s notes would say, “Raven has great potential, but she doesn’t speak up.” Other teachers would say, “She lets others influence her on how well she does. She listens to other people too much.”

I think that somehow I’m not doing all that I should. There’s always more…more…more. I feel impeded by my own laziness – perhaps even, doomed to mediocrity. That’s scary for me. I want to make plans that stick and don’t fail me.

But that’s the unwanted part of the learning process. Finding what works. It’s frustrating because you don’t think you have the ability to ever make the plans that will stick.

There are days when you are great. You snatch all 24 hours and what you set out to accomplish actually happens. There are other days when it’s someone else’s turn to be great. Your potential for wonderfulness isn’t up to snuff and someone else has come in to fill the void.

Our chances to achieve the wonderful wanes on Tuesday and reaches its zenith on Thursday. Then, slowing down again the next day and on Monday – it’s like nothing ever happened. We are outstanding again. 

Yet, not all days are meant to be great.

Sometimes, they are there to only fill the void. Nevertheless, on the days that are empty, I’ve decided to do this:

Job

I’ve been lazy about finding a job. It’s not for lack of trying, but more out of frustration. I haven’t been scheduling informational interviews or networking like I should. I’ve been in job-search purgatory. That’s not helping me when I have mortgage.

If I am to do anything, I need to start talking to people – mainly by doing informational interviews again. As of late, I’ve been relying too much on just the old, standard ways of getting a job. WAKE UP. We’re in a recession – I have no option to be passive (read: lazy).

My professional goals center on work in PR/Corporate communications for an NPO dedicated to social justice.

I know that’s very specific, but it’s either that or get paid to do what I enjoy already – which is my volunteer work. I have a background in cultural programming, but I won’t mind using that experience in a new industry  or a different type of career altogether.

I’ve also become mildly interested in having social media be a part of whatever career path I choose. Right now, I’m the pseudo-online community manager for the NPO I volunteer with (I helped create our e-newsletter, blog and set us up on Twitter and Facebook).

I read up on whatever I can about  the role of social media in the non-profit world.

And, of course I blog.

Volunteer Work

I also “work” as a community journalist. Yet, my goal for this year is to have a portfolio of at least 7 articles by the Spring. I’ve barely completed 2. I have to harass my Editor to give me more assignments, not drag my feet and actually get over my fear of interviewing people.

Wow.

Three things I have to get over at once before May.  I’ve also become lazy about deadlines. Time to buy a new organizer – perhaps the electronic kind to supplement my notebook.

Maybe not.

Since I also work as a co-Curator for my volunteer NPO, I’m supposed to be promoting our Darfur exhibit (and finding venues for it). I’ve started, but I’ve been frustrated by all the museums, centers, etc. being booked until 2011. We’re ready to take the tour out for 2009. I will need to discover different opportunities in which to adequately showcase our work. That means digging much harder for contacts and using up my cell phone minutes.

Might be a good time to change my rate plan.

Education

I (quickly) thought of going to graduate school. Yet, right now, I don’t think my professional goals fit with advanced schooling. Generally, I thought b-school would be a great idea, but I’m still on the fence.

I’ve been keeping in tune with the world of PR and social media, but I’m not sure what else I could be doing to add to my “self-education.”  You learn by doing. What else could I be doing? I will have to research and figure out the plans that will stick.

Well, that’s it (for now). I think I’ve filled out enough stuff to supplement the void – and hopefully, the empty days won’t seem so empty.

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Lynsey Addario
Photo Credit: Lynsey Addario

Jimmy Briggs is telling a story about a Congolese woman he is interviewing.

The woman is describing how she was raped twice in one day.

In the interview, the woman explains that her brother, husband and children were present when she was first attacked in the morning by the Congolese government army.

When they were  finished, the army left the house.

Later, that afternoon, non-government soldiers arrived. They are more brutal. The woman’s husband ran away.

Her brother tried to hide on the rooftop. The militia shot him. The group of men (5 in all) proceeded to rape the woman inside her house. Her children began to call for help outside the home.

The militia men stop the attack and proceed to leave. The woman follows them out. Then, one by one, they shoot each of her children in the back of the head. They proceed to finish the rape.

They leave.

I heard this story while at the Congo/Women opening reception this past Thursday (curated by this organization). The room is surrounded in black and white photos of Congolese men, women and children.

There are huge color photo displays detailing the life and violence in the Congo.

It’s beautiful. Yet, it is also tremendously tragic.

The room shudders with a very still quiet. Mr. Briggs tells the crowd that he wants us to remember this woman’s story. Do not be afraid to remember it. Be brave enough to keep it in your mind.

He wants us to remember that we have the power to change the world if we remember to tell each other’s stories.

Sometimes, the only power you have is simply telling someone else’s story.

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