Are you sick of hearing about “fake news”? I am. The term has been rendered useless, devolving into an empty rhetorical device. People on both sides of the political divide have taken to simply calling something they disagree with “fake news,” as seen in a recent exchange on CNN. Here’s a hint: using that term now labels you as a shallow parrot.
Everyone has ideas. But like most everything else, ideas cannot live without flesh.
Happy Valentine’s Day! At least, I hope it is a happy one. I hope that you have someone to love, and someone who loves you. That doesn’t necessarily mean romance, by the way. Just that you care about each other–relatives, friends, lovers, it doesn’t matter, and it’s none of my business. But I wish something good for you.
A colleague commented on Facebook recently about the “coaching method” for teaching college composition. That label carries with it quite a bit of detail regarding approach to teaching, but there is an aspect that, I think, should be a part of every college teacher, and every speaker to some degree.
When I hear “coaching method,” I think of the football coach at my high school, Walter Kilzer. Continue reading “What does coaching really mean for teaching?”
It is time to get serious.
I have preached before about the need to create regularly, to write regularly, and to do so whether you feel like it or not. On the other hand, I am quite sympathetic when people struggle with this, because of my own circumstances.
I seldom mention it here, because I don’t want to whine. But these are facts: I have a severely disabled daughter who requires around-the-clock nursing, and my wife is partially disabled (in a wheelchair mostly, because of arthritis. I’m also the sole breadwinner in the household. Though we have tried to navigate the swampy morass of disability for both my daughter and my wife, we have been overwhelmed by the bureaucracy. No doubt we could crack through it, but it takes time–and time is my shortest resource.
Despite the importance of writing to me, I often find myself going days at a time without writing, mostly because all my time is taken up with taking care of The Princess (as we call my daughter), The Queen (my wife), or one of my two jobs. Plus, you know, every so often, sleeping. But writing is right up there with sleeping and eating in importance to who I am, so I am slowly starving to death.
Growing up in West Tennessee, in farming country, I learned that if you want a crop in the fall, you have to plant seeds in the spring. I am planting some seeds this month. To help get the time I need to help more people more often with effective writing and speaking, I am now offering a subscription through Patreon.
With enough subscribers, I could quit my second job, which would give more time for writing and speaking–a real win/win situation.
For most of my life, I made part or all of my living through writing–on a newspaper staff, freelancing for magazines or business publications, writing advertising copy, writing academic materials. In the last few years, as most of you know, the economy for writers has changed dramatically. The very Internet that has, to a great degree, killed traditional outlets for writers now makes it possible to connect directly with readers.
If you have never dealt with Patreon before, you may not know that it is not just a subscription model, like a year’s subscription to Time magazine for $40. There are tiers of support, and I can offer various incentives to those different levels of support. Which is what I have done.
I’m happy to share content here on the blog, and I will continue to do so, but I will also be producing content exclusively for Patreon subscribers as a way of saying thank you for the support. Would you consider checking things out and seeing if it would give you satisfaction (and a meaningful reward) to support our efforts?
You can check out the Patreon page here.
TL;DR: I’m setting up a Patreon subscription for those folks who would like to support what we’re doing here. Please consider?
This is not a post about religion, but it is a post inspired by religion, I suppose. Continue reading “End of your rope?”
As I write this, I am in my disabled daughter’s bedroom looking at some of the balloons that float over her bed. She has no volitional control over her body–can’t sit up, can’t roll over, can’t communicate. She has never even been able to do something like blink once for yes and twice for no. We see evidence that she hears and understands what goes on around her, though–for instance, now that she is 13, if I come in and say something like, “How’s Daddy’s baby today?” she will roll her eyes like any 13-year-old would. Since she has no volitional control, it suggests to me that eye-rolling is simply a teen-aged reflex.
She follows things with her eyes, and that’s one reason for the balloons. They can float in her field of vision and provide some entertainment and diversion for what must be a very isolated experience, even though they are starting to lose their helium and dangle just above her headboard now.
As I watch those balloons, I am suddenly transported to a Nash automobile in 1959.
This quote attributed to the late historian Howard Zinn seems particularly significant to me these days.
James Altucher has really had an impact in the last few years with his books, his blogs, his videos, etc. His core ideas are contained in Choose Yourself. I want to encourage you particularly to apply one of them he advocates for exercising your “idea muscle” that I have started calling the Ten List.
The Ten List is part of his four-part system he calls The Daily Practice–or, actually, a technique that addresses the Mental part of the four. So it’s not particularly about speaking or writing, but I have found it to be really useful for both.
I have mixed feelings about what some people call “disability porn.” Whether photos or videos, they feature someone with some sort of disability accomplishing something that would be a challenge for anyone, or maybe would just be an everyday thing for most people, held up as inspiration for the rest of “us.” Stella Young clearly articulated the dark aspect of disability porn in her TED talk.
On the other hand, such things really are a reminder that people–everyone–can overcome challenges. What may be missed in all this is that we all have challenges. Nobody has it easy, although when you look at someone else from the outside, it may look as if everyone else has it easier.