Tag: everyday

Recent Posts

If I seem distracted lately, it’s all for an excellent cause.
Stratford-Star_avatar
I’ve been stringing for the Hersam Acorn publication, The Stratford Star.  You can click through here to the site to read all of my stories if you are interested. They are a decidedly local news bent, which is something I am passionate about.

My favorite piece was about two Korean War veterans who lived in Stratford and had never met till recently. They had fought together the same day, on the same beach.

Local news is meaningful news. It impacts what we do everyday.  It’s where the heart is. It is full of actionable items. If you want to get involved, it’s a good idea to tweet out #bringbackourgirls, but you may find it more meaningful to ride your bike down to the senior center and volunteer with your neighbors.

So even though the pay is pretty low, I am happy to be writing about important business, features and news developments around towns. Not just “content” and filler, but the real deal.

On a side note and more word to power of local: Did you know that Stratford has approximately 50,000 and a FB group called “Stratford Ladies” that is populated by almost 1,000?

On that FB group, these women do what ladies used to do in social clubs, and in the newspaper — share great and useful information about local businesses, recipes and town meetings and more.

It’s an powerful resource.

 

you want to brave the cold? I can wrap you up
totally: velvet scarf, down parka, mitts,
a rabbit skin hat  grandpa stitched himself, and
two pairs of woolen socks. you want to
brave a path into
tomorrow? wear
nothing

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.

unvarnished and plain,
jagged edges at the end of my body.
Toenails
Unabashed sign
Of Winter.

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.


helleborus in a washed-out chinese-food tin;
her spiked hearts and freckled petals
turning towards the pane.
Yesterday
I marveled at your shades of pale viridescence.
Today
I wonder ‘how long before the blooms fall?’

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.

Advice from a (Former) Television Director

Back in my 20s I worked at the FOX station in Kansas City. Glamorous job of getting up early and helping to feed a major metropolitan area their fill of weather, traffic and morning news.

We had our share of “Breaking News” moments in those days: usually the more mundane water main breaks or apartment building fires. These were the salad days of pre-9/11 when the most wild thing that happened to Americans was a low-speed L.A. interstate chase, followed by the even more arduous “if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit” OJ trial.

It should have been a dream job. I worked with lots of young people, my friends. It was prestigious and if I stayed on track and stayed ambitious, I could have gone on to work in news or sports at CNN, ESPN, NBC, or who knows where.

And I have friends who went on to do that. I am proud of their accomplishments and know how hard they worked to get where they are.

I didn’t. I absolutely despised the job. I left after a couple years.

Here’s why:

Turn off the TV and tune in.The news of Boston is not our news. It’s a fallacy. I am not speaking about the sloppiness of 24-hour TV news coverage in this case (or many others).

I am talking about the impact of the coverage of these events on our psyches.

The way news anchors talk to us: it is personal. They look into your eyes. They use pictures and words that frighten us and seem to belong only to ourselves.

But that feeling of personal-ness is a lie. What is personal is happening right now, this moment, in your immediate life.

This is why I left TV news. Because the fire across town wasn’t my fire. The accident on I-35 didn’t have any meaning to me.

It wasn’t my tragedy. And I realized with growing anxiety that most news media producers, editors, and news directors had no idea how to filter that information appropriately: they didn’t know how (or feel it was necessary) to tell the story differently to the people who were nearby, rather than to those who were faraway and completely distant and out of control.

Learning the bad and horrible news of a faraway place in such immediate and grisly detail changes us. It stops us in the middle of our own days and slaps us with horror: “Look at this. This is a possibility for you!” — even if the event has no context to our own lives.

It creates the fear that has stopped us from sending our children outside to play.

By and large, the event in Boston has almost no impact on the majority of Americans. Most of us did not know anyone injured in the blast. We do not know either of the bombers. We may not even know a single person living in the Boston area. We have no way of controlling whether this can and will happen again, closer to home.

All we can do is be afraid, anxious, and unhappy.

If we choose to turn away, what could we do instead? Give our attention to our own friends and families, our own communities right in front of us. To the things that really DO need our attention.

Small (yes this is very small) events like this get BLOWN UP and out of proportion on our TVs and computer screens — in every version of itself, from video, to articles, to photos, to banners on  Yankee stadium. When that happens, they become another injurious nail firing from the pressure cooker.

Remember when we said, after 9-11, that we wouldn’t let it change us? That we wouldn’t let the terrorists win, or take away our freedoms?

Well, we all know that they did. We now live in a completely terror-obsessed society, in which the media — and the NEW media, ourselves on Facebook and Twitter — spend every second of our day poring over the details of events, sharing photos of suspects, sending condolences, stating our private prayers in public.

We are that frightened child going into a dark room, banging and making loud noises, to make sure all the imaginary monsters have gone away.

Having worked for many years in a business of feeding you sensationalized bad news in order to up our ratings, I have some advice to share. Here it is:

Shut up. Just be quiet. Try it, really. Sit still and look out the window. Feel free to observe the news if you need to, but stop talking about.

After all, that’s the advice we give to mothers, right? If a child falls and cries out, we tell a mother “don’t react.” The mother looks at the child in a heap underneath the monkey bars and she holds all her terrors inside, still and smiling but watchful. It’s the hardest choice but it is necessary. Because there is child, watching.

No reaction and up the child jumps, and off to something else.

Let’s stop reacting. With each reaction — from the media, from Twitter, from our ridiculous wasted time on Facebook — we heighten the power of those violent people who started out very small. We make them big with our noises.

So be quiet. Send your donations anonymously. Say your prayers in private. If prayers can be heard, they are heard without your shouting them onto Twitter.

And meanwhile, turn off the TV and RSS feed.

Have a good look out the window. It’s spring; the first robin has visited, your friends love you, the buds on the trees are ready to burst, and all the death of winter is behind us.


Suns rays through the forest by Steve Slate on Flickr

At dinner Tati asks “Mom,
When will we get to see the REAL sun?”
And I have to clarify her meaning, and she is
Careful to explain for my slow brain
Not that plain orange ball floating
Up in the sky but the
REAL sun, with its long-reaching
Arms that stretch out, the
Yellow one with spikes that
Colors all the storybooks and is the
Truth. And I tell her the answer
I’ve gotten better at these
Years, my cotton ball “I’m not sure,
Honey” that cushions my
Shock and surprise over and
Over again. I’m driving down the
Road wearing my hands-free device,
Feeling morose and cornered and wail:
“Mom, why do we live to break our
Hearts over and over again? Why not
Just listen to our parents when they
Tell us what is good for us?” and Mom
Takes another audible drag on her
Cigarette and breathes out an
“I’m not sure,
Honey.”


My mind was a grocery list last night
Running through the pantry of
Missing items. Of those staples
Of self I do not have. If I
Take a job offered me (why bother)
I’ll just be the spoiled apple
In the crowd.
I put “good attitude” on the list.
I wanted to join the child of my
Own club, but uh oh.
Put eggs on the list.
Then there are those
Skinny jeans that need
Filling. One-by-one I try
Erasing a bad habit or
Two from the list, the
Late-night snacks, the
One cocktail that goes down like a
Sigh of relief, and then
Reluctantly I add in all awful
Caps EXERCISE, which smells odd and
Tastes plasticy and so it rots
On the shelf every time
I buy it.

After I finished the
List and slumped in
A chair, weeping, I went to put on
My pajamas. Colin, I said, it’s
Not that I hate myself. I don’t.
It’s just that to make the list
Of what I am missing,
Doing wrong, need to fix or
Do better,
I lose the will to see inside
The pantry to all that I already have.
I know what you mean, he said.