Writing Tips from the conference: BlogHer’13 Writes

I posted yesterday the six pieces of advice I heard over and over at BlogHer ’13.

Today I’ve posted on my other site the highlights from writing and publishing panels and workshops from the conference.

Take a look at both for ideas to help your writing and publishing projects.



Stop to think

I had forgotten This Is Water.

Not forgotten, really, as forgotten to remind myself. And this forgetting, in itself, is problematic since one theme of the speech’s text (and the book rendered from that speech) is choosing to be aware enough to remind yourself about the many intersecting realities informing what is otherwise boring, frustrating, or irritating in our lives.

Thanks to AdWeek for catching the video created by The Glossary.

Watch this. Please. This is not just water. This is humanity, this is life, this is truth. This is the answer to my question, posted here all too often, about how to make it through.

This is living rather than surviving.

And this is one of a dozen reasons I so adore David Foster Wallace’s art, writing, perspective, and contribution to our generation’s struggle with what it means to be alive.

Here you go.

A collection of links to entertain you, your cats, and your children.

The coolest: The world’s smallest stop-motion film. Playing games with atoms. Super duper cool.
IBM’s atomic stop-motion short.

The goofiest: Cluck performing Some Nights. Hilarious. And really hard to get out of your head.
Poehler, Fallon, and Buble clucking.

The cheesiest: A quiz. About cheese. Bets are that Cathy and Jen won’t be able to resist this one.
Cheese Quiz from Jonathan Gold (90%, if you’re keeping score, which I always do. No fair having an unrelated sports question in there.)

The duckiest: In *my* day, Boston’s improv scene was all about Vassar St. rehearsals. But it seems kids these days fight about brands and who named what.
Boston improv smackdown.

And my favorite YouTube clip of the whole year.

Every day miracles for once in a lifetime

Remember when I asked you to send your thoughts, prayers, and good vibes to my friend? I promised you an update on his battle.

Here’s an update, in his words.

Go read this post. I don’t bandy about hyperbole often, but it is a breathtaking story of heart and humanity.

Look, aphorisms are cheap and annoying. But genuinely good friendships are something into which to pour your every energy. Use whatever words you want but send to some lovin’ to your friends.

And, as you did when I wrote a weepy plea for your thoughts, send a little love to my friend.

SF neighborhoods—a sassy primer

Do like information chock full of stereotypes? Accurate-adjacent and amusing information guaranteed to upset legions of natives?

(If not, just check this map of prices sans commentary.)

If you do like snarky generalizations, I offer you this: the funniest thing I’ve seen about San Francisco neighborhoods.

(Note: he totally forgets that everyone from hipsters to migrants in the Mission is waiting in long lines for burritos. The Mission is burrito-landia. There. Now my work here is done and I can sleep tonight. Except for the omission of the Richmond, Inner Richmond, Laurel Heights, Russian Hill, Hayes Valley…I’ll wait for Part Two. And a real map.)

So if you’re considering a long-distance move and don’t know which neighborhood box to check on craisglist, peruse Drew Hoolhorst’s glossary of SF neighborhoods.

If you’d never move here in a million years but want to be vaguely educated while you mock us, use the same link. Information is information, yo. And the more you know…

(NB: if you’re a local, read the comments. There are some seriously uptight people in the Western Addition.)

Stealing Beauty

Not the movie. I’m mostly stealing posts I found all over the Interwebz during my deliriously happy half-day-by-myself afterglow, which lasted DAYS.

So go read this striking post (to which I hopped after being almost forced by She Suggests) over at Mom 101 about how the grass is definitely way greener. Definitely.

And this post at Momastery about how ignoring tantrums in Target will get you arrested (and how thoughtful parents always save the day). And how, when someone tells her to enjoy every minute of her children, she tells them, “I can’t even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.”

Or this article, a personal favorite, about how academics need to play even more than children need to play. Oh, dang, I misread the headline. It says kids need to play more than they need academics. Stupid Twitter got me all excited that I get to play a bit more. But this is just more about playing instead of studying? I knew that. But now it seems I’m back to thinking I should homeschool. Damn.

Bad Lip Reading

Okay, everyone but me knows about Bad Lip Reading by now. (Eternal Gratitude to Maureen Johnson for initiating me.) But just in case you haven’t seen this genius hilarity, you simply need this post.

Because this is the funniest thing I have seen maybe EVER. I have watched it for days and can’t stop laughing.

Basic premise? Take video (anything from politicians to music videos), and overlay a track of you reading the outrageous things it *looks* like they’re saying. String together as many as possible to comic effect.

Just watch. Just know that you will have to hit pause a few times so you can laugh your face off.

Laugh. Your. Face. Off.

Here you go. Because everybody needs toucan stubs.

GASP! Hackermom Finds the Mothership!

This is an idea whose time has come. A creative-women-who-are-also-moms hackerspace. A studio where women can explore individual and collective projects, feed their creative side, express themselves among a community of similarly driven women? With childcare? Shut the front door.

And excerpt from their site:
“Life with young kids can be an isolating state and a fractured existence. … Mothership HackerMoms evolved with babysitting as an integral part of our creative process, giving us the time and space to work. Traditional moms groups tend to be about the kids. We are here to first support the mother, her identity as a powerful creator, woman, explorer, entrepreneur, the artist of her life and of family life. We want to model active creative lives for our kids to learn from, so it’s important for them to be present with their projects, too…. If we don’t support this playful creative self, we risk burnout, depression, and 2-yr-old-level temper tantrums. It’s a use it or lose it philosophy to motherhood sanity. All work and no play makes mom a dull mother, lover and friend!”

I have thought many times as I walked past one particular empty office space on my favorite path that it would be cool to open a creative spplace ace for women who just need a proverbial Room of Their Own. Where they can paint and write and build and compute and cogitate and congregate and communicate. Did I mention the childcare? And not in a “pawn your kids off and get them out of your hair” kind of way, but in a “someone to keep them safe near you while you do your art or intellectual thing.”

The simple fact that these women exist makes me happy. These are my peeps, yo. I must go find them and join. And tell you about it so you can do the same thing in your ‘hood.

I must go learn more. I will report back. Because every town should have a hackerspace for artists and especially a hackermom space. If you are a wealthy philanthropist or investor who wants to see the amazing benefits of such a space, send money. To Mothership Hackermoms. Or me. With enough money I’ll open a hackerspace for creatives, too.

But for now, they are it. Huzzah.


I found this on A Magical Childhood‘s pinterest. She found it at The Hermit on a Hill’s Tumblr. I wanted to share.

A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform.

She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it, and really mess it up but to not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out, and look at how scarred and dirty is was.

She then told them to tell it they’re sorry.

Even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. They might fade a bit, but they’re permanent.

That is what happens when a child bullies another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever.

The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Pass it on or better yet, if you’re a parent or a teacher, do it with your child/children.


Yes. Do. Stick and stones may break my bones, but words leave scars.

Holiday Gift Abuses

I just posted a link to Jonathan Liu’s phenomenal list of the best toys of all time that included a stick, a box, string, and dirt.

Then someone on that Twitter thing showed me this and I was undone.

Seems these days girls don’t have to get their science in the kitchen. Science for girls is now…in the bathroom. Baking is so 1950s. In 2012 we exfoliate.

How long will it take before girls get their science in the lab, like the so-called boys’ science kits offer?

Science kits are great gifts, even though almost all science can be done with regular household ingredients and a grownup who can read. But apparently girls can’t be interested in science unless it’s Barbied. And they can’t forget what’s important: being “pretty.” Ugh. Read Peggy Orenstein’s post on these horrifying “spa science” and mani/pedi appeals to girls that seek to either trick them into doing that abhorrent-and-boyish-activity known as science or dumb it down enough that “even girls” can find it fun.

Yuck. Hope any child in your life interested in science gets the chemistry and physics set, not the one branded for their early objectification.

Holiday Wish Lists

Fabulous post from Geek Dad on the Five Toys a kid *must* have.

No need to pepper spray other shoppers: these items are easy to find and priced well almost everywhere.

I don’t want to spoil the effort and research that went into this tech-centric dad’s methodology, so please click to read Jonathan Liu’s hilarious post. I’ll give you some hints on the first two necessary holiday toys:


Okay, those weren’t hints so much as actual items from the list.

Such toys, if you don’t know, even have awesome user manuals written by Antoinette Portis.

Go read the post. The third, fourth, and fifth best toys of all time might surprise you. But they’re guaranteed to thrill every child on your holiday gift list.

It’s almost midnight and not much is well

Long day, fair readers. Long day. And I can briefly say that Peanut is handling kindergarten well, that he was reasonably eager the first few days of school.

Things are a bit stressful over here, between kindergarten and sibling asshattery and a mountain of freelance work (which I really wanted but which is piling up in my eagerness for work and inability to admit that two very active people demand almost all of my time).

So today I offer you this: someone else’s post. On keeping your cool. On seemingly insurmountable parenting anger and how to manage it. How to keep from sitting up at midnight worried that you’re making horrible, terrible, awful parenting choices. (Actually, that’s not in there. I really wish it were.)

Here. Enjoy. Identify your triggers, let the little stuff go, remember you’re teaching, and don’t take it personally. Thanks, www.mothering.com.

Yay for fun on the Interwebs

Ah, the link post. You’ll forgive me when you see and read these…

Hilarity and awesomeness in this post rooted in mocking a cat lover. Please try to laugh quietly. Not sure you can, though.

An interesting game where you can try to balance the federal budget by honoring your priorities. See how much you can cut, or add, or raise, or lower debt, taxes, spending at this Marketplace Money citizenship game.

And, to round it out, a shocking and adorable and, have I mentioned, jaw-dropping video from a girl and her science project.

Unfair standards

Found a post at Por Completo that discusses the low standards society has for paternal involvement with children. Give it a read. The last two graphs, quote then commentary, are what intrigue, frustrate, and inspire me most toward change.

More of the Louis C.K. interview, incidentally, at Funny or Die.

What do you think? Does society have a different standard for “Good Father” than for “Good Mother”?