Monday, January 27, 2014

The Shameless Rerouting of Traffic.


My friend Joy has been hard at work on my professional site, Please take a look and let me know what you think.

I'm really stoked at how well it's coming along. It even has a page to redirect folks to this blog, which is crucial.

2014 is coming along nicely so far. More to report later.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

In Praise of Technology (For Once).

These days, we treat technology like a toxic relationship - we know it's bad for us but we just can't help but overindulge like stage 5 clingers. Right? I mean, every time we turn around there's a story on the Web (ha) about how technology is driving a wedge between actual, flesh-and-blood human beings, profoundly isolating us, ruining the record and magazine industries and making us robots.

But we're logged in, for better or worse. And tonight, I have a few good words to say about technology.

My mother has never been a tech person. Here's an example: Whenever I've tried to text message her phone with a simple message such as "have a good day, mom," she's been known to CALL me back and thank me.

"Thank you for the message! I just got it!" she'll crow.

So, you see, my mom has never quite gotten the hang of modern technology, from smartphones to computers and social media. Until now.

It started when I bought her a tablet for Christmas. I knew that it'd take her a while to get it up and running (it's not like she had wi-fi in the house or anything) but I knew she'd eventually love it. Like any concerned daughter, I nudged her to move forward every day on getting the Internet hooked up and learning how to surf the Web with the best of us.

As of tonight, I'm proud to announce that my mom has a Facebook page. You might wrinkle your nose at that statement. After all, Facebook is a time waster. It is the reason you've whiled away hours talking to someone you've not seen in ten years, rather than doing something adventurous and productive like learning electric guitar riffs. Nevertheless, I'm proud of my mom. When I talked with her tonight (on the regular phone), she sounded happier than she's been in ages - like she had a new project on her hands. Which she does. And I'm thrilled right along with her.

It's refreshing to see things from the perspective of a newbie. We tend to think kids are the only people who can reintroduce us to every day concepts that we've gotten tired of ourselves. But thanks to my mom and her zealous new tablet lessons, I've stumbled onto a secret: to enjoy something you've started to take for granted, teach it to someone else.

Mom and daughters - I tagged her in it! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dear Reader.

I can't say for certain the first time I heard the phrase "dear reader" (or "gentle reader," or the like) but I have a hunch it was in my Victorian novel class, when we read Jane Eyre. To this day, it's one of my favorite novels.

Jane was constantly referring to her reader with affection. And I liked it. I liked how she made me feel relevant to her life - heck, I suppose I've always liked metafiction for that reason.

But lately I've noticed the appearance of "dear reader" in other places. For example, an article featured on one of my favorite websites, Also - and this might be a little more surprising - in the January issue of Glamour that I picked up from the newsstand the other day. Furthermore, I have to admit that even I, as a magazine editor, use the phrase when I'm addressing my readers, either in my editor's note or even on social media posts.

What is it that makes me - or any writer - want to refer to my own readers with the same affection so brilliantly displayed by Jane Eyre? After all, I'm not beckoning to my readers from within the pages of a classic novel, or even a website brimming with "highbrow" literary stuff like the Rumpus. I'm just a small potatoes editor of a community magazine.

But perhaps it's the dialogue between the reader and the author that makes something worthwhile. If an author knows that she is being read, she's bound to love her reader.

Dear readers, what do you think?