J's Page

Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.


2 Comments

God bless us, every one, Part II: Me on Paragraph Planet

My short “One Hour” is featured today on Paragraph Planet, a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces on one topic. “One Hour” is one of four pieces I submitted as a Christmas sequence, with each piece offering a different point of view. The sequence was inspired by one of many holiday dinners at headquarters, so now I can’t say nothing good never came out of a crappy meal at my desk.

Check out “One Hour” while you can. The pieces change daily. I’ll post an update when the others appear.

REWIND: This is “One Toy” — the piece that appeared Dec. 29, 2010

One toy. Dad let me bring one from the tree. It’s really cool! Just what I wanted! It makes noises and lights up! I’ve been playing for hours! Dad says it won’t be much longer. Really. He’s eating the last of Christmas pie now, but it’ll be a bit until we go back to the apartment. He says it’s his job to watch over the important news people working tonight. But he says I’m more important.

UPDATE: This is “One Hour” — the piece that appeared Jan. 18, 2011

One hour. Another hour to go, and I can take the boy home. I don’t much like spending Christmas watching over the news folk, but it’s better than not having a job. At least they fed us all pretty well. That’s two meals I won’t have to buy. I couldn’t get the boy much, but he seems to like the gadgets well enough. He’s not as interested in the football. Maybe I can change that tomorrow.


God bless us, every one: My Christmas bit on Paragraph Planet

More with the shameless self-promotion! This is me marketing my Christmas scribbles!

I’m happy to say my short “One Toy” 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 one of many holiday dinners at headquarters. It’s one of four pieces I submitted as a sequence, each told from a different point of view.

Check out “One Toy” while you can. The pieces change daily. I’ll post an update when the others appear.

UPDATE: Posted Dec. 29.

One toy. Dad let me bring one from the tree. It’s really cool! Just what I wanted! It makes noises and lights up! I’ve been playing for hours! Dad says it won’t be much longer. Really. He’s eating the last of Christmas pie now, but it’ll be a bit until we go back to the apartment. He says it’s his job to watch over the important news people working tonight. But he says I’m more important.


‘A Plea to Michael’s Maid’ on Doorknobs & BodyPaint

I’m so happy to report my short “A Plea to Michael’s Maid” won first place in the Doorknobs contest at Doorknobs & BodyPaint. Check it out here.

The story had to be about a saint and the miracles they call for. The Doorknobs contest had the following restraints, er, guidelines:

1. Maximum length: 250 words.
2. The sub-theme is: miraculous.
3. The year is: 1943.
4. Within the story, this text must be used: exceptional deeds.

The hoops were especially daunting this round, and I wasn’t sure I was going to enter. But inspiration struck over pizza and beer the night before the contest deadline. What saints did I know? Was Teresa a saint yet? Wait, I knew a saint! I’d write about Joan of Arc! Of course!

As a kid, I was fascinated by the story of St. Joan of Arc, the girl captain who led France to several victories during the Hundred Years’ War. I can’t tell you when I first heard or read about her: Saints and their miracles, for the most part, were lost in my Protestant upbringing, but as an eager reader in fourth and fifth grades, I learned as much as I could about her through young-adult fiction, dusty biographies, home’s World Book and the library’s Encyclopedia Britannica. For a fifth-grade history project, I made a presentation dressed up as the Maid, complete with a sword and breastplate made out of cardboard and Reynolds Wrap. Somewhere in my basement, or perhaps in my parents’ attic, is a black-and-white photograph of a gap-toothed me — in full homemade armor — looking every bit as distressed and frustrated as a 10-year-old wannabe warrior could look when she finds out that she’s not nearly as cool as her favorite heroine.

Skipping forward 30 years, a sausage slice and a refreshing Kölsch helped me remember a saint, now I just had to figure out what to do in 1943. Joan was the patron saint of the French army, so I’d write about a French soldier in 1943.

“The French were getting their asses kicked then,” my husband, the historian, reminded me.

Even better. All the more reason for St. Joan to call for a miracle.

And so she did. And you can read all about it here.


2 Comments

‘Class’ on Paragraph Planet

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.


Very Pinterest-ing

I have a new obsession: Pinterest.com, a website that lets you create “pinboards” of interesting things you find on the Web, and it lets you follow people whose pinboards you find interesting. It’s a little like Tumblr, but more sophisticated.

The site is still in beta, but you can request an invite. It’s ideal for photographers and other highly visual people. Using their “pin it” tool, you can build pinboards that share books worth reading, places you want to go, places you’ve been, products you love, and all the styles you’d ever covet. And, of course, you can share your pins on Twitter and Facebook.

One word of caution: Once you start pinning things, you’ll find it’s hard to stop.


1 Comment

Random find: Yasmine Chatila’s ‘Stolen Moments’

This is a far cry from anything related to marketing, advertising or journalism, but I had to share it. I found photographer Yasmine Chatila’s 2007 (2006?) series entitled Stolen Moments last night while … I can’t remember. What I do remember are the haunting voyeuristic portraits of New York that Chatila captured over months of observation in different parts of the city.

From the press release:

I collected hundreds of photographs of strange, comical, and often haunting moments.

Indeed she did. Please do yourself a favor and click the link. It’ll make for a delicious break between phone calls and meetings.


Perfect Market: Briefly on Content Farms

In a column for AdWeek, Perfect Market’s chief strategy officer Robertson Barrett talks about Demand Media and its impact on journalism. Meanwhile, Perfect Market COO Stephen Walker chats about DM’s worth over at VentureBeat.