Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Save the Date! The African Children's Choir is Coming to Town

Save the date! The African Children's Choir is coming back to Norwalk, Connecticut.

They will be performing on Wednesday, April 28th at 7 p.m. at Norwalk United Methodist Church, 718 West Ave., directly across from the main library.

If you've never experienced these kids, they are a joy to watch. I fall in love with them every time I see them.

Every one of them is a victim of war-torn Africa, from Uganda, Somalia and other countries. They have lost either one or both parents, as well as siblings and were homeless before the choir took them in.

They now receive an education all the way through college and contribute their livelihood by traveling around the world singing and dancing. See them once and you will never forget them.

Learn more about the African Children's Choir at their website, http://www.africanchildrenschoir.com.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Brooklyn Senator Wants to "Stop the Sag"

I love this article I found on Mediabistro this morning! According to the article, Brooklyn Senator Eric Adams has invested $2,000 of his own money in an advertising campaign he is calling "Stop the Sag"!

Check out the Billboard and his video.

Here's the link to his YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj7v_Ntih2k

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I’ve Joined the World of the Tweeters

I’m a late Tweeter. I never bothered until now because I frankly couldn’t think of anyone I wanted to follow. But recently, I stumbled across the tweets of an American business owner I am acquainted with who was tweeting from Vietnam. I was so mesmerized by the things he was writing, about touching down in Ho Chi Min city (Saigon) and standing on the Ho Chi Min trail and actually physically touching and looking into the tunnels that the Vietcong used to get around us in the Vietnamese war and eventually win it.

I felt compelled to comment on his tweets and tell him how much the Vietnam war affected by teen years – that coming of age period when your school teachers start pushing you to give your own opinions about things and to study current events. “Well, do you think this is right or wrong, what they’re doing?” I remember hearing a hundred times, and many of those times it was about the Vietnamese war.

I was in eighth grade when Time magazine published its famous cover the naked girl running down the street covered in napalm with her village burning in the background. I can still see that photo like it was yesterday.

And my mom dated a guy for 7 years who was a tunnel rat. You get to be a tunnel rat by being a small skinny guy – someone similar in stature to a Vietcong who could fit in the tunnels and shimmy through them and kill anything in their path.

An ex-husband of mine is a Vietnam veteran. He has an album full of Polaroids taken in places he was stationed such as Phnum Penh and Da Nang, and we used to sit and look at those photos for hours with their tents made out of parachutes and men everwhere dressed in camaflouge with their shirts off. I remember how much it felt like I had just stepped out of Apocalypse Now or one of those other Vietnam War movies that were so popular in the late 70s and early 80s.

So when Alan started tweeting about Vietnam I felt compelled to start a dialogue and tell him my memories and how he was causing me to relive them. But then I thought, isn’t that the weirdest thing about Twitter? This man doesn’t know me. I’ve never met him or interacted with him before. But all of a sudden, because of this one thing I felt we had in common, I felt the need to interact, and even more importantly, I felt like I had the right to. But why would it matter to him? I thought. In the end, I decided my tweets would offer no value to him, and I never did comment on his. But it really left me wondering, what is the purpose of tweeting anyway? Is it a dumping ground for miscellaneous thoughts? Who wants to follow anyone around and hear every little thought in their head? I mean really, what is the point of it?

Then recently, I needed to start tweeting as part of a job assignment. So here I am a tweeter. I follow Alan now, but still wonder, will I ever talk to him?

Completely on the other end of the spectrum, a neighbor/girlfriend immediately found me on Twitter as soon as I joined and decided to follow me. Why? Simply because she can and because she’s curious about what I will say!

So now I feel that tweeting is part of my daily responsibility. It’s something I have to do. Not only that, but I need to write something that offers value to those who follow me. As a writer for allvoices.com, I expect to have more followers soon, so I’d better write things that they’re going to want to hear. It’s a whole new learning experience for me, and one that I am very excited to take.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Traditional Journalism Is Not Dead

Lately I have found myself wondering whether trying to solicit work from a magazine editor is the right thing for the future of my career. After all, digital media is where it's at today, right? So should I be changing my business model to become, say, an experienced Twitterer for hire?

I posed that question to an expert one recent afternoon. Thankfully, he told me my career is not facing extinction. Social media, he said, is not replacing what I do for a living, but rather, complimenting it. It's just one more channel I can publish in or market my services through.

Do I need to be digital savvy? Absolutely. Should I still be soliciting traditional magazine editors? Another yes. I guess I'd better get going.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Are Digital-Era Kids Reading Enough?

I recently interviewed a CEO of a social media agency. We talked about how times - and teens - have changed and it got me wondering. I have a stepdaughter who was practically born with a mouse in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Pick up a hardcover book? Uggh. If it's not on the computer, she's not really interested.

This, of course, concerns me because, if people don't read, I'm out of a job. So I asked, "Is she getting enough reading just by being online, or should I be concerned that she's not reading enough?"

He told me what I did not want to hear: she is definitely not reading enough just by being on the Internet. His solution: buy her a digital reader such as a Sony or an Amazon Kindle. You can't force a kid to pick up a book, but you can definitely encourage them to read.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Quotes of Our Lives

“I shall live badly if I do not write. I shall write badly if I do not live.”

That quote comes from Françoise Sagan. Who is Françoise Sagan, you ask? Well, to be honest, until 5 minutes ago, I didn't have a clue. I got the quote from the first page of an introduction to a book called A Cup of Comfort for Writers, edited by Colleen Sell, which my friend Cami gave me for Christmas.

I like the quote because it defines me. When I perused it, I found myself saying, “Wow, that’s me.” But as typically happens when I read a quote that I like and it turns out to be from someone I don’t know, I feel a pang of guilt for not knowing who the person is. As if I’m supposed to be familiar with every writer on earth. And then I feel obligated to obliterate the embarrassing point of not knowing before anyone finds out by figuring out who she is. Pronto.

So I went to my usual first choice for tidbits of history — Wikipedia — and found her biography. Turns out she was a French playwright, novelist, screenwriter and proverbial bad girl — she hung out with Truman Capote, did a lot of drugs, and had two very brief marriages. One lasted a year, the other two. Nice effort there, Françoise.

She didn’t write anything I’ve ever heard of: Hello Sadness is the only book they even mention, but of interest is their note that her book title was the inspiration for the first line of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence: “Hello darkness my old friend…” And there it is. That 15 minutes of fame I was looking for so I could say, “Ohhh, herrrrrr.”

So now, if anyone brings her name up at a party I can always say, “Yes, I know of her. Her book Hello Sadness inspired the first line of the Simon & Garfunkel song Sounds of Silence,” And smile sweetly. Shortly thereafter I’ll look around the room and my conversation partner will have wandered off, no doubt to jump on the Internet and find out who Francoise Sagan was before they get caught off guard again.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tupak Shakur's Redeeming Quality

Sometimes you can know a limited amount of information about someone and you spend your whole life thinking that that is all they are.

For me, Tupak Shakur was one of those people. He was in the news all the time for being a troubled rapper, a thug. But recently, I learned something new about him. I learned that he was a voracious reader, that he loved books and that he carried one with him everywhere he went. As two very different people, we never had anything in common, but now we do, for as a writer, I feel connected to anyone who reads. Without reading, I have no job. So we have this one link, this one degree of separation, if you will.

Will I think differently about him now? Perhaps. Perhaps if he had lived we would be sitting down at a Starbucks to discuss some dogeared hardcover about the unjustices of life he's just finished reading. Or perhaps we'd be sitting down talking about what I'm going to write in his biography. Perhaps!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.