Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude.

Nearly two and a half years ago a band of six gathered for tea and conversations weekly.

July 2011 this community blog was born and now literally hundreds of posts live here to be read and responded to.

We need a new gathering place. I know this. I get it.

I have found the venue that speaks to me like the Tea House did.

Plans to reconvene are being formulated and I ask for your patience a while longer.

To blog is a beautiful thing. This community site will come back to life again when we resume meeting. I feel that in my heart.

Today on this holiday of gratitude and gathering, may you know that I too miss Tuesdays with all of you.

And a new era of gathering will begin and perhaps again on Tuesday OR dare we meet another day? Wacky Wednesday perhaps?

Deborah :)

 

Dear Writers, Who Needs Community (Again)?

As a writer, I need solitude but I also need community and occasionally a break from a pattern and rhythm to let my creative field go fallow that it might be a good field to grow stories in again.

Do you need community like I need community?

The Tuesday meeting of the minds and hearts of this Community Blog has been on sabbatical for a month now (basically) and I find myself missing the gathering. Losing our venue and knowing that was to be the case, temporarily took the wind out of my leading/writing/creating sails. I appreciate the people who have reached out to ask, Hey, what is the new plan and when do we start?”

As was the case in the film, A Field of Dreams, first the field was conceived of, and when that field was built, the players came to play. “Build it and they will come.”

When I started the Writer’s Support Group for Reticent Bloggers in March 2010 after two weeks of promoting it as a great way to have a long late lunch, I had no idea that over 150 people would attend some number of Tuesdays, weekly, monthly, annually. I had no idea how many would be inspired to take up writing for their business and personal aspirations. I wanted to create an open, honest, and energizing forum for discussion. Oddly, we would do little writing at group, but the amount of writing that got done after and between Tuesdays, increased over time and especially when we created a space for us to all share.

Today this is our 831st post to this Community Blog.

Your Prolific Writing and mostly Fearless Leader here has been recharging her batteries and is nearly recovered from losing the glorious venue of the Tea House as we did for the past 2.5 years. Our group must change in some way. We must change venue and it feels time to change even the very structure of the group to honor the shift and the growth

Blogs were born.

Books were written and published.

This Community Space was created to be our Wall and boy how it has been used!

Who is interested in resuming next week? What kind of commitment are you willing to make to coming and funding the venue? $10 agreeable per drop-in or $25 a month paid in advance through paypal? This will simplify my reserving the room on a regular basis for us.

Jitters offers a conference room for use that we must rent and is suitable.

Please RSVP to deb@deborahdrake.com your comments, commitment, wishes and intentions!

With a critical mass of +5 we can begin again.

Blessings.

September

Back to school is in the air, and even those of us beyond school age are feeling some kind of anticipation and expectation. We can put some of the blame on the media and advertising that seem to begin their “back to school” campaigns the day that school gets out in June. Add to this for me the many years in the education system as a teacher, an educator and a Mom. Most of all the feelings come from the memories of all those years as a student. I am sure that this is the case for many people.
I remember clearly those last days of summer vacation. There was a rush to enjoy those last days, to work hard at being lazy; to try to do those silly fun things that you said you were going to do in the summer. There was a bit of sadness as the evenings and mornings got cooler and the chances for going to “camp”, the beach or just to play diminished. My healthy, happy-go-lucky, playful little summer self was headed for change. School, routine and fall were on their way.
What a mixture of feelings that brought! I liked school, but…!
Anticipation and expectation: What class or classes would I be in? Who would be the teacher? What will I learn? Can I work hard and do really, really well this year? Can’t wait to see all of the kids again…but will they like me? Who will I play with? I promise to be on time every day.
Anticipation, expectation … and fear! It was a lot to handle and it really threw me off balance. Those first few weeks of September were really hard.
Years later, as an educator and parent, I remembered those feelings and tried to alleviate some of them for my students and my children. I realize that going through changes and feelings like this are necessary and help to build flexible and ambitious adults. I also realize that when children and students are supported, listened to and accepted during this time of change they learn more than just being flexible and ambitious. They learn how to be healthy and happy with themselves and where they are moving to in their life.

For me, I decided to use this ingrained feeling of anticipation and expectation. I take this time to stock up on books, pens, paints, office and school supplies (great prices at this time of year!) I rearrange/organize my desk, office space, work areas. I consider which creative ideas I am ready to pursue (and which ones from the past that I choose to finish or give up!) I listen to my inner voice and get ideas for classes and workshops to give as an educator and guide, and to take for my personal benefit. It is the beginning of the New Year for my education that never stops, my blossoming creativity, and above all my ever-opening intuition.
©Linda Zeppa www.intuwriting.com linda@intuwriting.com

Campus Tour

….and over here we have the cafeteria.  Pretty big.  You get in any of these lines here and pay over there at the registers.  They’ve got salads, pasta, soup, bread, burgers, pizza.  That line over there does entrees.  Some ethnic stuff over there.  Just pick out what you want and pay, then pull up a seat at one of the tables, or outside if it’s not Juneuary.

And down the hall here we’ve got dry cleaning.  Pretty convenient.  Just drop it off when you come in, and it’s ready in a couple days, swing by, take it back home, you know.  It’s pretty nice.

Then here we have the badger room.  It’s where we keep the badgers.  Might want to stay away from there.

And right down here’s the fitness center.  Precors, treadmills, weights, just about everything.  Need to swipe in with your badge.  Open 24/7.  If you hear anything knocking around the south side it’s probably just the badgers.

You know, I wonder why we even have a badger room.  It’s not like they contribute to the core product line.  Not at all.  I can’t think of one impact they might have.  And it’s air conditioned in there…that’s messed up.  There’s like, 400 badgers in there.  Probably why they’re so noisy.  I wonder what they eat.  Probably new hires, hahahaha.  “New meat, got some new meat here!”  Yeah, stay away from that room.  I’m gonna have to ask about that.

What’s that? (you were about to say?)

“What’s that?” (you were about to say?)
If
history, the past is a record of things said and done before
And the
Present is sum total of things that are being said and done right now
That makes
the future the result of things said and done tomorrow…
Given what
Has gone before and what is transpiring now…
Just what
Were you about to say?

inquires,

Paul@relationshipliteracy.com

Circling around to important questions

At today’s Tuesdays with Deborah session, we engaged topics that are asked by reticent bloggers and often revisited by experienced bloggers.

What is a blog? What is a blog post?

A blog is a collection of web content, usually writing. A readable blog post is about 200 to 600 words long. A good blog post is something that will be found and read by someone who is interested in a topic. What topics do reticent bloggers have in mind?

Where are blogs?

The best place for a blog is high on the list of search results returned to a search engine user. Readers find bloggers who effectively refine their understanding of relevant search terms.

Who blogs?

Writers blog!  Businesses develop, grow, and maintain customer bases through relevant and timely blog posts.  People with common knowledge and information needs find each other through the authoring of, and reading of, blogs.

When is a blog post visible?

A blog post is visible as soon as the author decides to publish a piece.  Writers with experience in printed materials can be assured that a “published” blog post can be changed after it is published.  Each blogger develops an sense of when a piece is ready for publishing. Each blogger develops an individual sense of how often to publish new content.

How are blog posts created?

Blog posts are created using a software tool such as WordPress, the software used for the Tuesdays with Deborah blog.  Blogging tools have features that feel like word processing: writing, formatting, and saving. A key difference between word processing and blogging is a “publish” mechanism for making content visible to readers.

The content of blog posts is developed through each writer’s unique writing practice. When is a good time of day for writing? Where is a good location for the writing process? What gets in the way of writing – distractions? Multi-tasking? The internal editor who gets in the way of first drafts being created? Some writers identify clothing that makes writing easier or harder.

Bloggers discover that developing the content is more challenging than learning software features for creating posts.

Answers to the previous questions of who-what-when-where-and-how all come from the question:

Why create a blog? What causes a reticent blogger to enter the world of blogging?

There are many right answers to the questions of what to write, how often to post, etc. Good approaches for any one blog come from on-going refinement of a blog’s purpose.

Understanding a blog’s purpose is not a pre-requisite for beginning a writing/blogging practice.  Discovering a blog’s purpose begins with an idea, leading to some drafts, leading to some publishing, leading to some feedback, leading to a refined understanding of purpose and how to fulfill the purpose.

The current writing challenge is “Passionate Observations.” Here are examples about New YorkDenver, and our own area.

Reticent bloggers are invited to register for the site, read and comment on posts, try out what feels like a word processing tool for adding a new post, and then take a deep breath and press the “publish” button.

Right now, the editor in my head wants a few things different about this post. But the writer will press the “publish” button, in this safe space, and the editor can have a turn on another day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

if it looks like a and walks like a

I post this here for I know quite a few who follow the site are writters. Even though writters are pretty much like the rest of humanity, I still feel safer revealing here.

Deep in creatative mood, seated at my laptop, locked on a thought with fingers trying their darness to keep up, I hear a call from the real world.  My creative self  attempts to throw all sorts of sound blocking screens.  “We must stay on task”, says I to I.

The sound, the call, the real world interruption persist. I don’t see any smoke.  Don’t see any blood. Continue reading “if it looks like a and walks like a” »

Facebook backlash isn’t just about Facebook (but I bet it wishes it was)

This month I’ve read a few articles bashing the facebook IPO.  The most resounding one was: Facebook Ads Aren’t Grabbing Users.

Have you ever clicked on a facebook ad?  Out of interest in a product?

Social media people will (hopefully) tell you that social media is a tough nut to crack.  The best tools are passion and authenticity, which breed consistency.

Facebook ads don’t get clicked on because very few ads of any kind in any medium get “clicked on” anymore.  People are either interested in a product or they aren’t.  TV, Radio, Print, Web.  There’s noise everywhere, and you’re either passionate, authentic, and consistent (and funny helps a lot), or you’re noise.

Part of the facebook backlash was GM pulling their facebook advertising budget the week before the IPO.  This is a big lumbering slow-moving corporation that actually analyzed its facebook ad performance and decided it wasn’t going to make any babies there and pulled right the heck out.

Money doesn’t buy happiness?  Maybe.  But you definitely can’t monetize friendship.  When you do, the friendship goes away.

What does all of this mean for everyone who wishes to advertise on facebook?  Or any other social media FTM (for that matter)?

Bring PASSION, be AUTHENTIC, be CONSISTENT.  And if you’d like to interest me at all, be funny and be quick about it.  And don’t use big words like Deliverables and Strategic Objectives.  Talk normal, folks.  If your service delivers results nobody cares where you came from (if they do care, let them ask).  What I’m noticing more and more, is that the more time and physical space you need to explain to someone why you functionally exist, the less important you are.

….sorry, got off on a rant.  gee, how important am at, clocking in a 327 characters so far.

Consistency is the straw that breaks the camels back.  You can fake passion and authenticity for only so long…then you just get tired of it if your heart isn’t in the game.

Consistency is two fold:  1) Update regularly, and 2) measure your results to give people more of what they want.  If you make money from cats dancing to Katy Perry, post something new about that once a week.  If you make money from your adorable dog, post something new about that every day.  If you make money by writing a regular 3000 essay on being a single dad, do that.

If you do a posting, or a video, or an instagram, or a tweet, only once every so often, you’re not going to benefit a whole lot from social media marketing, because you won’t actually be doing social media marketing.

Facebook ads:  they don’t work because they aren’t authentic.  People who are on facebook are there to interact with their friends.  It’s just like watching TV….you DVR everything because you’re there to experience your shows, not watch commercials.

When your own “commercials” become the reason that people are there, the thing that people are interacting with – – THAT is when you will be effectively using social marketing.

Signed and untagged,
Scott

 

 

Facing Grief, Unflinchingly.

What is a good metaphor, or simile, for grief?

Grief is powerful and inevitable. It occurs to all of us. It can be disabling.  It can feel like a tsunami – an unimaginably powerful force overtaking and smothering every other aspect of… reality.  Grief can feel like a magnet – one occurrence of grief becoming a magnet for every other possible grief response we might have imagined, but never did, and so when a knife-like grief experience occurs, suddenly…. other grief responses are invited into spaces that existed before… but now those spaces also have the added burden of grief.

So what are good similes or metaphors for grief, I ask my writing community? Please! I want to know! Comment on this post, or create a post of your own that links to your personal website. Please.  Similes and metaphors are powerful tools in writers’ toolboxes for dealing with…  and shaping… grief.  (And also other powerful life experiences.)

Many of us know the power, value, and utility of simile and metaphor.

Simile is saying something “is like” something else.

Metaphor is saying something IS (identity-like) something else. A bit more powerful and abstract than simile.

Similes AND metaphors have their place and their usefulness as we understand our human experience.

So what are the metaphors (or similes) for grief?

Grief is like the rogue wave, unexpectedly roaring in and covering, maybe obliterating, everything in its path. (That is a simile.)

Grief is a cranky bitch. (That is a metaphor – the “is,” construction, not the “is like” construction.) But this statement invites questions about the meaning of “cranky” and the meaning of “bitch.” I will not expend my own life force on explaining this metaphor at this time. But let me know in a comment if the metaphor intrigues you.

So I return to my original question: what is a good metaphor, or a good simile, for grief?  Because metaphors and similes allow us room, and space, and vocabulary, with which to deconstruct and understand life experiences that otherwise would be…. obliterating of our own lives, or of the meaning of our own lives.

We grieve all kinds of losses.

We grieve the loss of the heart-beating lives experienced by people we know and love, even when the ending of that life is a loss more to “us” than to the person who lived that life.

We grieve the loss of… jobs… marriages…. friendships… tomato plants that did not thrive in clay soil.

Like many people, I retreat from the nearly overwhelming, death-dealing, breath-squeezing, reality of authentic grief to the….. safer… less breath-squeezing level of… humor.

I feel, in this moment, when asking for a simile or metaphor for grief…. that I would like to know: “I do not know what I am talking about; do you know what I am talking about?”  (That statement/question is my idea of humor.)

My beloved and respected writing friends’ authentic wisdom about grief is invited. We all experience grief. May our collective and caring words about grief serve to increase compassion in the world. And thereby change the world and the future of humanity.

For some, Parkour Vision is a destiny, not a choice

A respected friend has a toddler who likes to climb. Of course she needs to keep him safe. This causes me to write the following reflection.

When our son (now almost 20 years old) was a toddler, he needed to climb. We tried to not say, “you need to come down.” We tried to simply find times, places, and ways for climbing to be safe. It was gut-wrenching for me, the mom, sometimes.

Our son’s need to climb is, and was, genetic. My husband grew up “rock hopping” in Billings Montana. My husband and son are coordinated, well-balanced, and sure-footed.

As a family, we always kept our eyes open, looking for places to do some rock hopping or a bit of recreational (not technical) climbing in the beautiful outdoors and even in developed settings.

When our son was in about ninth grade, he discovered the movement art of Parkour and it resonated with him in a way that was compelling. We are lucky to live in a time and place in which the people who lead the Parkour community approach it from the point of view of “Parkour Vision.” These young world-changing leaders practice and teach the Truth that Parkour causes you to move through any environment – physical, intellectual, emotional, or spiritual – by seeing the obstacles and devising a path through, over, under, and around them. It is a fully-embodied metaphor for what we want our young people to learn and develop into adult-world survival skills.

Because Parkour had such a strong natural call for our son, he wanted to “make the case” to mom and dad in a way that would invite us to say “yes.” And so he did. He wrote an essay with the right balance of informality, combined with some information and purpose. We said yes.

That was more than four years ago. The Parkour Visions folks have developed and grown a non-profit organization for the purpose of teaching the movement art and life skills of Parkour at an indoor gym. Along the way, they have developed curricula, methods and inventions to share with others. Our son has not had time in the past couple years to train at the gym regularly, as much as he would like to, and as much as we would like it for him. The rhythm of a rigorous academic life makes it challenging to work all the physical distances between home and school and gym, while working the school commitment with integrity.

But the movement art of Parkour is part of his life and his vision and his approach to life. Parkour, and the Parkour Visions people, have been formational to the independent-thinking young man who inherited his father’s balance, sure-footedness, and so on.

When our son was a toddler, we arranged our lives to look for safe places, ways, and times to honor his intrinsic need to climb. When he had reached “the age of reason,” we, as a family, decided that in Ireland, we would not visit the Cliffs of Moher, because, honestly, there could be no assurance that our son would stay far enough back from that dangerous edge. We visited an amazing set of caves, instead – rock hopping of a different kind.

It is better for our son if mom does not always see the movement life that he is comfortable with. That dynamic tension between any young man’s abilities, and any mother’s caution, is simply the way of the world. It is not a matter of right and wrong. It is right for our son to develop his own good judgment about how to develop use his movement skills, and it is right for a mother to find it a bit gut-wrenching.