When The World Ends

From me to E.

Surrounded by so many people, there are times I wish
To hear my own footfalls, landing on the soft white powder, thud thud thud
To put my right foot forward as my left foot plays catch-up, unthinking
But not unfeeling like the cold pinching my nose, cutting my breathe short
Short short squirts of air, made visible by the cold
Fast fast footfalls, made audible by the cliffs surrounding the expanse of this frozen lake, echoing
A white white foundation, talcum powder soothing the skin, refreshing
And also numbingly cold after a long run from beyond the woods
To which I cannot help but think, “There’s no one to put on a fur coat for me.”
As I fall to the ground, a pile of snow and slush, the heat of my body melting the snow and I, feeling the cold more keenly than ever
That’s all I could remember (and it makes me wonder)

When the world ends, will only selfish thoughts come into my mind?

I am cognizant of the fact that words don’t make Ferraris appear
Sometimes I wish to be these people
Run into the embrace of society and stand tall, well-accepted, well-heeled, well-branded on the podium
(Across the corner of my eye I see an iron poke standing in the fire, waiting to brand another)
To do things many people do as well
But I like to think I am different from others (or am I falling into a pattern here) so I write
And I put myself higher than the others, the commoners, thinking I am more than them yet in truth I am nothing
It is unclear whether I am running into my own death instinct (Freud does not help here and neither does Lacan)
My dictionary on psychoanalysis stands unused, ecrits gathering dust

So I run still I run
(I am afraid to be still)
To be my own painter and lay a weave of colour, as many weaves as possible
Over the landscape I deem colourless
But even after I have coloured the landscape
Would my footsteps still sound alone, left foot always playing catch-up with the right
Or would there be another pair
Following behind me

When the world ends
Will you leave me a message
Saying I have loved you after all
Put a warm fur coat around me, the last there is in the world
And snuggle with me until there are no more visible squirts of breathe from my lips
No audible sounds of footfalls from my feet


Why Blogging Can Ruin Your Writing

This is reproduced, like all stories are, from John Forde’s Copywriter’s Roundtable No. 447, August 17, 2010.

By Kyle Wagner

“Blogs are an easy way to quickly disseminate information on a regular basis. The downside, obviously, of the proliferation of blogs is that it’s causing writers to lose their ability to write well.”

An editor friend recently confessed that she’d had the toughest time finding a replacement for a food writer position from an enormous pool of applicants from around the country.

The problem? The majority of the hundreds vying for the job had submitted blog-style submissions for a newspaper gig, and when pressed by this editor to resubmit a feature-length piece in a journalistic format, seemed to be incapable of doing so.

After removing the names from the submissions, she sent some of the trial articles over to let me check them out. She was right: They were great blog posts – conversational, casual, and often compelling. Some did contain misspellings and incorrect information, and a few included links in ways that would be far more appropriate online than in a straight newspaper or magazine story. For the most part, though, they were informative and on-topic, concise, and to the point — all the essential elements of a blog.

Few of them, however, bothered with truly smooth transitions between paragraphs, instead jumping from one idea to another in a random, conversational way. Clearly these were first drafts, and little consideration had gone into adjectives, dynamic writing, or active sentence structure.

In fact, many of the applicants hadn’t even taken the time to write a lede or a hook to draw in a reader, nor had many included a “nutgraf” to give the reader something to latch on to as the point of reading the story beyond the main opinion the writer wanted to give. And once that opinion was offered, rarely did the writer offer background or organized information to back up the assertions — usually it was simply lists of reasons as to why it was so.

[Notes: “Lede” and “nut graf” are also written “lead” and “nut graph,” and they’re journalist slang for the “first line or so of the story” and the “sentence or paragraph that sums up what your story’s about, respectively. Just in case you non-journalist types were wondering.]

All of this can be fine – although not always ideal – in a blog post. Readers often come upon blog posts already knowing why they’re there. They’ve searched the web for a topic, and this particular blog has related information to share. It’s not as crucial for the writer of the post to draw the reader in with a catchy hook, overwhelmingly engaging language or solid arguments, nor is it always practical.

Blogs are an easy way to quickly disseminate information on a regular basis. The downside, obviously, of the proliferation of blogs is that it’s causing writers to lose their ability to write well. I call it the flip-flop syndrome: If you look around, many of us can be found in airports, church, and yes, even the White House, wearing those oh-so-ubiquitous flip-flops, in every color imaginable. They’re cheap, easy to slip on, and danged comfortable. Of course, they’re also terrible for our feet, and they look sloppy.

That means folks who wear nice heels and dress shoes stand out as polished, professional, and put-together – just as writers who are able to transition easily
between blog posts and publication writing stand out, as well.

Use your blog posts as a way to practice writing, yes, but don’t get so caught up in the casual, informal nature of the style that you lose your ability to offer strong, creative, well-constructed compositions, too.

Some things to think about that can help keep these two types of writing separate while still exploring them fully:

  1. When you blog, labor over your transitions. Just because you’re blogging, don’t be lazy about starting the next paragraph without any kind of connection to the previous one. This will ensure smooth segues, regardless of the medium, and will make the writing immeasurably more enjoyable to read.
  2. Never turn in a first draft to a any editor. The toughest part about blogging for most longtime writers for mainstream publications is that it can be hard to let go so quickly — now the opposite seems to be true for bloggers trying to break into mainstream publications. Good writers always read over their work and then tweak, fuss, change, fix, rewrite. Rarely is that a bad thing, because a second — or third, or fourth — read can reveal sentence structure and grammatical errors, as well as places where rhythmic flaws and passive voice weaken the story flow.
  3. Look at each writing style as practice for the other. but do both on a regular basis. Many established writers look at blogging the same way painters do
    “studies” for their larger paintings or sculptures — begin a topic on your blog, and then expand on it in a feature story, using the blog as a way to try out some thoughts, offering opinions or getting feedback, and then incorporating your findings into the final, full-length piece.

Warning: You Can Only Kiss At These Selected Venues

The airport is a place of departures and arrivals, of separations and reunions. And because it is such, the airport is also an officially gazetted venue where we can put on public displays of affection without fear of reprisal from the authories.

If I so choose to grab my girlfriend by the waist and lock lips with her in a passionate swoop, I am certain there will be no citizens standing a few metres away, silently observing, recording the scene with their camera cellphones. I am certain there will be no pictures of me and my girlfriend locking lips, giving each other the tongue, uploaded on the internet a few hours later. And I am certain there will be no infantile comments chastising me and my girlfriend for such a blatant display of public affection. Because this is the airport – a venue where public displays of affection are approved of, if not encouraged. Still we can only display public affectations in approved areas that are marked by red boxes – a leftover from the state’s history of demarcating smoking corners by painting yellow boundaries. I think it is no coincidence that our lips are red as well, boxes of passion.

Continue reading

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words (via Steve McCurry’s Blog)

Writers try to describe their worlds through books and via the photograph, photographers try to describe the relationship of the reader to the writer via the medium of the book.

Fusion:  The Synergy of Images and Words Ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press which enabled everyone to read books, artists have tried to portray the relationship of a reader and his/her book. Garrett Stewart’s book, The Look of Reading:  Book, Painting, Text, explores the relationship of reading and art. We are familiar with words describing images, but not so familiar with images describing words and the impact reading has on our lives. Artists fro … Read More

via Steve McCurry’s Blog

Youth Is Wasted On Youths

Best to give it to those who appreciate it – the elderly.

Then again, there are no resets in life. You take a path, you live with it.

I charge down the garden of forking paths but then I read:

Accusing a younger generation of being more selfish than the last is to forget the problem is youth not generation, a problem cured by time. – Alain de Botton

remembering grandma in her cinnamon rolls (via maître de moda)

A story of nostalgia brings back the smell of cinnamon and resurrects a memory of her grandmother.

A simple bowl is taped at the bottom with her name, turning it into an aide mémoire.

Photos with blurred backgrounds – she struggles to remember the events and recalls them, vaguely.

Or does the smell of cinnamon bring back stories of nostalgia?

remembering grandma in her cinnamon rolls I don’t know that I could ever consider myself a baker. Mainly because I don’t keep bakers’ hours. (Also, I only just recently learned that a baker’s dozen is actually thirteen. And while I’ve looked into it, I still haven’t found a worthy explanation for why exactly this is the case.) Though I do quite enjoy the act of baking. And I certainly adore its results. It’s just that I won’t wake up at 4:00am unless it’s for something especially excitin … Read More

via maître de moda