Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January 30, This Day in HISTORY

There is something ominously grim when I look at January 30th’s notable marks. On this calendar day in 1933, Hitler was sworn as chancellor of Germany. On this calendar day in 1948, Gandhi was assassinated. On this calendar date in 1956, African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s home is bombed in retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

That’s just for starters. On this date, also---

·         1925 – The Government of Turkey expels Patriarch Constantine VI from Istanbul.
·         1930 – The Politburo of the Soviet Union orders the extermination of the Kulaks.
·         1969The Beatles' last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The police break up the impromptu concert.
·         1972The Troubles: Bloody Sunday: British paratroopers open fire on anti-internment marchers in Derry, Northern Ireland, killing 13 people; another person later dies of injuries sustained.
·         1979 – A Varig Boeing 707-323C freighter disappears over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo.

And so much more.

If this is your birthday, I apologize. I hope you celebrate with gusto and do something wonderful so the cloud hovering over this date lightens a little. Many small and a few great actions can make the kettle less black. Let’s polish it into a beautiful reflective silver shine.

I don’t know what is set in stone, predestined, or guided by unseen patterns. What I am sure of is that what we do matters.

History was. Now let’s make some.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Web-search YOU ;)

My last post was about web presence. This took me onto self-googling, now a verb. But in proper lingo, it could be any search engine.

Why do it? I think it would convince you of the value of your own website. It really is the only place where you control the content and look of your face in the digital world.

If you have a horror of looking at what a search would uncover, there must be deeper issues involved that a good therapist or a close friend may help you sort out. But for most of us, checking on what pops up when we insert our own name is not so bad.

Because, for most of us, there will be something but not a lot.
I have two close friends who informed me I would find nothing whatsoever if I searched them. Both are proud to not be on any social network, have no websites, and no arrest records. Yup, any of the above will bring up something, and they assured me there shouldn’t be anything that pertains to them. So I took the dare.


If you have a common name and surname combination, you will have to wade through many links to find the right you. Both of my not-on-Facebook-etc. friends have distinctive names, and oh-mama, I found them right off the bat. I found where they live, what they paid for their home(s), names of people in their immediate families, and more that I will not list because they chose not to be searchable, so why make it more grating than it is.

There are ways to eliminate some of these finds by opting out, but more info aggregators constantly pop up. It a game of whack-a-mole, or whack-em-all, which is exhausting and unachievable.

This bring me back to those who want (or need for professional reasons) to be found on the net, but would like the finds to be accurate representations. Self-googling has shown me that my age was confused with my husband’s, thus aging me prematurely. (Though my age was given to him, which he thought rather nifty.) I supposedly lived in the past in cities I never did, (but lived near them in a shared zip code) and a few more inaccuracies. Thus, I know the “facts” aren’t right.

The social networks provide free exposure, but they determine the aesthetic. If your place of employment has your name and photograph, this, too, is graphically a reflection of their sensibilities.

And so the only place where you are really you, or the public you that you care to be, is your own site.

And if you really don’t care who sees what wherever, have no external reason to care, count yourself off the grid and happily so, then this is of no relevance to you.
But maybe think about it after self-googling.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Web Presence— to or not to?

I have seen this question posted on chatborards and elsewhere: should an unpublished writer have a website?

If time is short, please head directly to this link, from the master herself. Jane Friedman tells it like it is, and the short answer is YES.

There is nothing I can add. But I can write about my personal journey to having a website, a blog, a Facebook Author page, a LinkedIn account, and more. I came to it reluctantly, but I’m glad I did.

Confession: I had little web-presence and no website until I had a book about to be published. This was more a case of fearing the dangerous and choppy waters that is the virtual ocean. I have read too many horror stories of fraud, abuse and torment, and never stopped to check how prevalent or relevant these dangers  would be to most folks. (The truth is, not very.)

My first publisher informed me that having my own website was necessary. They were ready to design it for me. This scared me more than having it in the first place. I mean, it would have my name and my image and someone else’s sensibilities. Their own website, now defunct, (they closed their doors, sadly L ) was a marvel of technology with top-notch graphics. In fact, it was so active with moving graphics that while I know kids would love it, it was more than a bit much for me.
I wanted it plain. I wanted it understated. I wanted it comfortably quiet. In short, I wanted it to be my voice.

At the time, my daughter was twelve, and so sure of herself (doubts will come later) that she informed me it was “no big deal” to make a website. I will provide the content, and in no time she will set it up and voila, there it will be, live.

Which is what happened. On Christmas Day 2010, my website was born. The labor took just about two hours.

But post-partum was an adjustment and it felt odd for a time. Like wearing earrings or a wristwatch, I got used to it. (Does anyone still wear a wristwatch? I do) I adjusted fully just in time for my second book contract, where that publisher strongly advised blogging.

My website today is the same one, still homemade and still un-jazzy, though with added content. 
In other words, it’s still very much me.

That’s my story. But do go back to the linked article for better how-to and what-for.

Just in case you missed my inserted link, I copy it here, again.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Three H of Revision

Working on the second draft of a new novel, I encounter the three H.
(No, not Horrible,L Hairy,L or Hilarious.J)

Stephen King, in his book On Writing, recommends a long break between drafts. This is so the writer loses the memory of the exact phrasing. Although she remembers the general plot and subplot, she encounters the writing as if she is the reader. This allows the distance needed for effective revising. Mr. King takes a minimum of six weeks in between drafts.

My novels are shorter than his and my breaks have always been shorter, too. But this time I managed a few months’ break because of important family events, a revision request to a different manuscript, and various life intrusions.

Turns out a longer break is a good idea, because I really don’t recall any of the sentences I find myself going over. No mental lapse here (I think)— just the right distance where I get to be surprised at a turn of phrase or the use of a word.

And this is where the three H come in.

Heady— because some of it is downright good.
Humbling— because some of the sentences do not have the eloquence I intended.
Humiliating— because of these...these... blasted typos (!!!!!!!!!)

That’s where I am, in a nutshell. Remind me to never go back to recheck casual posts and Emails. I’m likely to stop writing those altogether, lest I can have a couple of months to revisit and revise.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

It, is, Yes it is---

Happy New Year

But then, it’s just a number, Right?
I think about it, and realize something. From now until the next new year, everything that happens will be recounted as “In the year of our lord two thousand and eighteen such and such took place.”

I never felt close to numbers. Unlike words, they are not my friends. But I know people who adore them, and some even love numerology.*
*Numerology: the branch of knowledge that deals with the occult significance of numbers.

One of the people I know who swears by numerology believes there’s significant information in something numerologists call the master number. You get this number by adding all the numbers of one’s birthday, or the date of an event, until they are reduced to a single digit. Then, each of those single digits imbues significance to one’s life path, or in this case, the coming year’s essential path. It is its “master number.”

In this case, it would be 2+0+1+8 = 11
And then 11 is further reduced 1+1= 2
And so this new year’s essential path is the number two.
{If this sounds like mumbo-jumbo hocus-pocus to you, I agree.]

But what’s the harm? It’s kind of fun. It gives a strange illusion of some control over the future, in the way that knowing where the stock market is headed gives a sense that you can navigate it.
(Disclaimer: even the experts do NOT know where the stock market is headed. Apparently, chimps have made predictions that were just as good or bad, and this was the conclusion of a scientific study.)

So what does numerology have to say about the life-path of the number 2?

Quite a lot, it turns out. 

Here’s one summary

As the second of all numbers, 2's symbolism is the union of and peace between different entities. It seeks to end separateness and unite all for the greater good whether it be music, food or humanity.

That’s kind of nice. But it’s still just a number.

Let’s try to make it thus.