Follow by Email

Saturday, September 7, 2013

War & Fashion: Incongruous . . . or not?

"War is ugly. Fashion is beautiful. War projects the worst of humanity. Fashion displays sartorial splendor in its highest. War is fraught with danger, even for journalists and especially for photographers who must get up close to their subjects to frame an image. Fashion is far less perilous, though photographers must also get intimate with their subjects on and around the runways. There are photographers who shoot both: battlefields and runways, guns and glamour. At first, photographing war and fashion appear as incongruous acts that are difficult to reconcile.  Until, perhaps, you take a deeper look."

As always, pictures are more compelling than articles. For more on this bizarrely fascinating comparison, I strongly encourage reading this article from CNN.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rough draft complete!

Nine months ago I set an aggressive deadline for completion of the rough draft of the latest incarnation of Companions of the Garden. Failure to complete said draft by 9/22/13 meant giving up the book forever. End of story.

I did this for two reasons.

First, I wanted to create the pressure I thought necessary to push the project to completion.  Second, and perhaps more important, I wanted a decisive litmus test that would determine just how much the book really meant to me. If I wasn’t able to meet the deadline, then it would be clear that the novel wasn’t a priority; that in so many words I didn’t want it enough.

As it turned out, I finished the draft Tuesday night, almost three weeks ahead of schedule, and this in spite of an enormous amount of other work. I finished it not because the deadline was looming, but because I couldn’t stop writing even if I’d wanted to.

Clearly – for better or worse – I do want it enough.

Now, the process involves my turning back to page one and commencing the fine-tuning process, obliterating verbosity, awkwardness, and redundancy, coaxing clarity out of murkiness, diminishing the word count, and, in general, advancing toward the published work I believe my characters deserve.   

9/22/13 was the last deadline on my calendar. It did its job, so expect others to follow. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

This morning's FurtherEd TV interview available on-demand

To those who missed this morning's webcast on FurtherEd TV, described the preceding post, the interview can be viewed on-demand on our online library: 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Upcoming FurtherEd TV webcast on breaking down barriers to coding literacy

Gender equality constitutes a central pillar of this blog, as well as the novel itself. I'm thus heartened by a recent article in amNew York – a free, daily publication in New York City – on the heightened success of those seeking to break the gender barrier in coding. The article (not available online, unfortunately) showcased the efforts of such organizations as Girl Develop It and Skillcrush to empower more women to enter the field of coding and computer programming, traditionally a boy’s club.

Since March, I’ve acted as producer and host of FurtherEd TV, an online program featuring innovators in the field of education and learning. In this capacity, I had the honor of interviewing Vanessa Hurst of the aforementioned Girl Develop It, as well as Jocelyn Leavitt of Hopscotch, which uses iPad technology to teach coding to children, another disenfranchised group. Among other topics, the interview touches on how to challenge the social and cultural factors that discourage these groups from learning to code.

To anyone interested in learning more, please tune in for a 10AM EST rebroadcast of this interview this Friday 7/26. You’ll no doubt find charismatic and inspiring these movers and shakers who seek to revolutionize their field.

The webcast can be viewed via the below:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Good cause for a celebrated 4th

     After a long series of tragedy-inspired posts, I'm glad for the opportunity to celebrate a little (if belatedly) in response to the downfall of the ironically-titled Defense of Marriage Act. At first glance, the Supreme Court decision may not appear to fall within the scope of this blog, but in fact the development has major implications both in the feminist sphere (bulwarks against gay marriage have a disproportionate impact on lesbians) and, perhaps more fundamentally, in fulfilling the promise of a certain Preamble. Liberty and justice and such. 
     Generations to come will, I hope, find no less unfathomable the interference of the state in affairs of the heart than we now find the denial of suffrage on the basis of race and gender. My praise to those who fight to retire these nightmares, and for giving me a reason to be proud on July 4th.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Photographer dresses up her daughter as five historic feminists

In precisely the kind of innovative move that feminism needs, Jaime C. Moore, a lifestyle photographer, celebrated her daughter's 5-year birthday by dressing her up as five groundbreaking women: Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Coco Chanel, and Jane Goodall. In so doing, she succeeded in educating not only the recipient of her attention, but everyone who visits her site.

Says Jaime: "It started me thinking about all the REAL women for my daughter to know about and look up too, REAL women who without ever meeting Emma have changed her life for the better. My daughter wasn’t born into royalty, but she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters. I wanted her to know the value of these amazing women who had gone against everything so she can now have everything. We chose 5 women (five amazing and strong women), as it was her 5th birthday but there are thousands of unbelievable women (and girls) who have beat the odds and fought (and still fight) for their equal rights all over the world…… let’s set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be." 

For the complete article and accompanying photos - which I highly recommend - click here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In solidarity (again)

     It would appear that only Islamophobic flashpoints bring me out of blogging retirement nowadays.
     So be it.
     The April 15th bombings at the Boston Marathon were an unambiguous tragedy.  As a marathon runner, and thus one for whom the finish line is as glorious a place as any, the massacre resonates with me on a uniquely personal level. But as a proud citizen of the planet Earth, I will not stand by idly while the Erik Rushes of the world call for Muslims to be slaughtered en masse and the Tom Brokaws blame the attack on an innate "Islamic rage."
     Muslims as a collective body can no more be held accountable for the behavior of a deranged individual or minority of individuals than the pacifists and free-thinkers of American can be held accountable for the carnage that the American hegemony has visited on the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and a vast and storied population of bloodied victims, from the villages of Vietnam to the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the genocidal near-elimination of North America’s indigenous people.  In fact, Muslims are less accountable, insofar as the atrocities of U.S. imperialism have always been carried out by individuals whom we have the capacity of extracting from office.
    I will make no move even to contextualize the murderous behavior of the Tsarnaev brothers, but I will fight – yes, to my last breath – to dismantle the crucible of fear and ignorance from which hate crimes are forged, either those by Islamist outliers or those who feel that lashing out at 23 percent of the world's population will somehow lead to peace. 
    The fight begins with speaking the truth.