Archive for December, 2015

My Favourite End-of-Year List

The Ten Worst (and 5 Best) Free-Range Kids Moments of 2015. With this nifty Catholic School entry: Six-Year Old [at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School] Suspended for Playing with Imaginary Bow and Arrow.

Sunday Morning


Over at my iPhone blog.

Keeping your online presence beaming

It is a truism that dormant websites and social media platforms can do more harm to you than good, no matter how active you have been in the past. I teach my students numerous methods to keep their online presence bubbling even when they are busy with other things – the holiday season, finals – or when they are ill. I have certainly used these methods myself, in both situations, to keep my many platforms up to date.

For websites and blogs:
– Feel free to recycle past posts that have a timeless quality to them – maxims, insights, humour. (I make sure that such posts are at least three or four years old. I also make it clear that these are re-posts.)
– Point your readers to good writing posted by others whom you bookmark or follow via your news-feed (see below). There is nothing wrong with a post that is composed mostly of another writer’s thoughts. Give credit where credit is due, and Bob’s your uncle.
– Create and use an extensive photo library. A photograph with a short description will indicate that you are still “on the case.” And people like pictures.

For Twitter:
– No matter how busy or under the weather you are, you can usually get out of bed and review your news-feeds (see my own Feedly feeds); this can take as little as twenty minutes.
– Then: Tweet the posts and articles that will appeal to those who follow you.
– To make sure that you don’t spam your readers, spread out your tweets. There are numerous tweet-schedulers. I use Hootsuite and Buffer. With these I can be tweeting all day with just a few minutes’ effort in the morning.

For LinkedIn:
– Many, if not all, of your blog posts will be of interest to your LinkedIn “connections.” Post these in your LinkedIn updates. There is nothing wrong in repurposing your work this way.
– Once or twice a week, head over to your LinkedIn account and see what your connections are doing. Comment on or “like” their updates. Show that you are still attending to the work and insights of your online friends and colleagues.

So there you go: easy peasy lemon squeezy. Keep your online presence active and your ‘brand’ beaming. Have a wonderful holiday!

re-posted from NoContest.CA

Thank you, world

I am really feeling the love this Christmas season. I am very grateful.

creativity …

… is the boss, for many artists. It can lord over their friends and other commitments, including ones to goodness.

One day, my first year as a graduate student at Stanford, I was having lunch in the student union with a faculty member in the Creative Writing program. He was a merrily caustic sort. He asked me what I thought of California. I told him that I found that, here, people smile easily but they rarely laugh. He told me that was the stupidest thing he had ever heard. And, with that, he stood up, threw his napkin down, just like in the movies, and took off, leaving most of his lunch uneaten. I was puzzled. Normally that “smiling but not laughing” line made a nifty impression.

Six or seven months later I opened a famous monthly periodical and found a story written by this man. I had a few beers in me at the time, so on a lark I read it. The story’s last line: “In California people always smile, but they never laugh” (or something close). I was irritated.

And was for a very long time.

Now I understand. Why he ran to his typewriter. He was serving his master.

Which had found me unworthy, of a line I created.