Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

I’m featured on Paragraph Planet today, a 75-word piece was inspired by my friend Amy Stapleford Jackson, who was spending summer afternoons indulging in a revival of the 1978 movie Grease, starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.

For those of us who are a certain age, they were the ones that we wanted. We didn’t want Danny to be stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool. We wanted the beauty school dropout to go back to high school.  Although we were too young to appreciate all the innuendo, we knew all the words by heart and sang each note as if we’d written it, singing into Goody’s hairbrushes and dancing around a bedroom, mentally wearing the skin-tight black pants Sandy wore in the last scene.

Paragraph Planet is a creative writing website that features 75-word flash-fiction pieces on one topic. If you’re a writer, please try your hand at it. There’s something so satisfying about writing just 75 of just-right words. If you’re a reader, click and click daily. There are some real gems there, and they make for a nice breather between phone calls, a shared human moment before another deadline. Writers may also write a sequel to the posted paragraphs using their own 75 words.

Freelance writer Richard Hearn edits the site. He shares is philosophy and vision for the site in an interview with Terry Davidson Byrne at MommyTongue. When he’s not sorting through submissions, Hearn writes the “Distracted Dad” column for Latest Homes and “Dad Sense” for Mumsense magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @latestdad and @paragraphplanet.

After you read my paragraph, read more as you browse the archives or the author pages. Here’s mine, and here’s the page of my friend and former professor, Amanda Holmes.

If inspiration strikes after you’ve lost yourself in story after story, you can submit your 75 words — exactly 75 words — here.
 

UPDATE: This appeared on Paragraph Planet on 8-17-2011.

 

Grease was the word. The word that we heard. And sang. When we were 8, then 9. Then again at 38, 39 – loud. Tell me more about that summer lovin'; that fool stranded at the drive-in. What did they say? Monday at school. Oh, Sandy, you weren’t the one that we wanted. We wanted to be Rizzo, with her reasons for reputation. There were worse things we could do, but we weren’t hopelessly devoted to you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues guidelines for a Zombie Apocalypse.

The federal government has a sense of humor. Who knew?

Hat tip to Amy Stapleford for the heads-up.

Twitter: My other home on the 'NetJust when I start to doubt social media’s muscle — (which happens when I garden)  — something such as Sunday’s late-night announcement of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden’s death makes me believe again.

I was at work when the speculation started about Obama’s announcement, throwing in my ridiculous two cents, and watched as the news of Osama’s death evolved from 140-character rumors and bronzed soundbites into full-blown confirmed reports — all long before Obama took the lectern.

Today, my Facebook feed, which is usually rife with Sunday night blues, dinner plans and high school reunion pics, is a welcome illustration of democracy: The mostly joyous status updates alternate between pointed-but-restrained praise for Bush’s post-9/11 efforts and nearly arrogant predictions of Obama’s 2012 victory. One or two friends have noted, rightly, that even after Osama’s demise, the United States will still have more enemies, and more than a few are quoting Mark Twain: “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” A quick check of that quote shows me that it’s also all over Twitter today. Oh, maddening crowd.

Also on Twitter, there’s more celebrating and, of course, the news of the day: the quick-and-dirty posts that show who’s getting the facts fastest. I’ll have plenty of news to read when I go into work tonight, so until then I’ll enjoy a lighter perspective.

I’m featured on Paragraph Planet today. My 75-word piece was the inspiration for the longer flash-fiction pieces featured on Doorknobs & Bodypaint in February: “Sub Rosa” and “To: Harpocrates.”

This piece is based on my theory that Cupid is a fat, lazy baby who is really bad at his job — and that’s why there are so many lonely people in the world. (Think Will Ferrell in a diaper.)

It’s a fun read, so be sure to check it out today. The pieces are changed daily.

Want something to read? Browse the archives or the author pages. Here’s mine, and here’s the page of my friend and former professor, Amanda Holmes.

Want to try your hand at it? You can submit your 75 words — exactly 75 words — here.

UPDATE: My piece “It’s a Broken Arrow” that appeared April 1 on ParagraphPlanet.com.

It’s a broken arrow. And my last. I can’t use it; it won’t do. She would never feel it, and he’ll never know. He’s been alone for a while now; a little longer won’t hurt. Besides, he has his dog to keep him company. Why let a woman ruin such a good thing? We’ll get her next year. I promise. I’ll even bring the special bow. The really good one. And an extra arrow or two.

USA TODAY’s Jackie Kucinich looks at how 140 characters can hurt a political campaign in the digital age. A status update gone wrong can go viral — and fast — and the next thing you know, Politico is reporting your indiscretion and resignation.

From the story with the snazzy headline that I wrote:

The rise of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have accelerated the rate an off-color remark or e-mail can be posted on a news site and in seconds turn into a national story read by millions of people.

Bill Burton, Democratic strategist and former spokesman for President Obama, puts the new dynamic in stark terms: “There is a lightning quickness to the speed at which candidates can build and accidentally dismantle their own campaigns. If candidates don’t figure out their place in the new digital world of politics, they will be destroyed by it.”

Does that headline seem familiar? It might. It’s the headline I wrote for today’s story in USA TODAY. (I did not, however, edit the online story.) Didn’t read it? That’s OK. I’ll recap and link: Men’s Health, with the help of Rodale Inc., is reporting that Washington, D.C., is the top socially networked city in the country!

The exclamation point there is just a result of an extra cup of coffee on a rainy day — not actual surprise. It makes sense that the one U.S. city where reach and influence is everything that every person would be wired in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond. (“My 140 crappy characters will change this world! I know it!” ~Insert name of unknown congressman here.)

El Paso appears to be the least wired-in city, with research suggesting that residents have a high rate of job satisfaction. The USA TODAY story quotes psychologist and MIT professor Sherry Turkle who says El Paso residents could simply be happier with their off-line lives.

From the story:

“When people are gratified and fulfilled in their face-to-face interactions, when these satisfy their desire for connection, for gossip, for feeling wanted and plugged in, they don’t need to feel technologically plugged in,” Turkle says.

It’s a shame this story couldn’t have been longer because Turkle touches on a question I wrestle with daily: Would I be so plugged in if I were happier and more connected in the physical world? I think that’s something everyone should ask themselves from time to time, especially as digital networks continue to expand and permeate our lives.

Would we be happier without Facebook? Twitter? Digg? Reddit? Etc.?

Behold! Charlie Sheen Magnetic Poetry Kit! Tigerblood edition! Just in time for … Spring Break? Easter?

(Via Drink At Work.)

I wanted to do something a little different for Valentine’s Day this year, so I tweeted the story of me and my husband. Check out the full story here on my Twitter feed.

More with the shameless self-promotion! This is me marketing my small works!

I’m happy to say my short “Class” is featured today on Paragraph Planet, a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces on one topic. If you’re a writer, please give it a go. There’s something so satisfying about writing just 75 of just-right words. If you’re a reader, click and click daily. There are some real gems there, and they make for a nice breather between phone calls, a shared human moment before another deadline. Writers may also write a sequel to the posted paragraphs using their own 75 words.

My piece that is featured today was inspired by a quartet of smokers sharing cigs one day after class. Ted Hughes and his crow make a cameo appearance. Check it out while you can. The pieces change daily.

UPDATE: This is the piece that appeared Nov. 22.

Class. Oh, it had been so very good. An odd quartet agreed as they shared their smokes, happily disagreeing on today’s quality of tobacco. Was it North Carolina’s? Virginia’s? Did it matter anymore? Wasn’t soil just the devil’s dirt? Had Hughes’ crow taught us nothing about death and dying today? Eager white teeth bit into a moist stem, not quite a ripe woman’s thigh. Class had been good, even Red had agreed. And so did I.