Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

October 30, 2009

This Friday I point you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. I’ve long been a fan of Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. So when the popular NPR news quiz Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me came to New York City last week and invited Williams on the show, I knew it would be a gem. It was. If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, do listen to the entire Williams segment as he plays a game called “Not My Job.”

2. On a much more sober note (no pun intended), here’s an essay from the NYT.com’s Motherlode blog by a stay-at-home Dad – Mike Adamic – who explains why it isn’t cool to drink in front of your children.

3. This is a laugh-out-loud list of 50 office-speak phrases that really grate from the BBC News Magazine. (Hat Tip: @gretchenrubin.)

4. Finally, for those of you still wondering what Twitter is, here’s a clever essay by my old pal C.M. Mayo.

Enjoy!

Oh yes, and if you enjoy these reading tips, please follow me on Twitter.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Reluctant Soccer Mom

October 29, 2009

I had a formative cultural experience in London last night.

No, it didn’t entail that controversial new Damien Hirst exhibit over at the Wallace Collection. Nor did I catch that hot new production at the Donmar Warehouse. Nope. My cultural immersion was much more authentically British: I attended my first professional soccer game.

Today, I’m over at PoliticsDaily.com talking about the seminal role soccer plays in European life and how living here has changed my attitude towards the sport. Read it here

Image: Soccer Dude by Brit. via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Tips For Adulthood: How To Manage Your Title

October 28, 2009

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

One of the biggest quandaries we face in adulthood is what to call ourselves.

This is true for our professional lives — some jobs come with a built-in title (e.g. Dr.), some don’t. It’s also true in our personal lives – should my son’s six year old’s friend call me by my first name or by Mrs. X? And what if I’m not a “Mrs.”?

As a freelance writer, I’ve struggled with the whole title thing for a long time (not to mention what my last name is.)

So here are five tips for how to manage titles in adulthood:

1. Ms., Mrs. and Miss are all ok. As Nancy Gibbs pointed out in a recent article in Time Magazine, one of the great triumphs of second-wave feminism was that women obtained a title – “Ms.” – that didn’t identify them by their marital status. But now that we’ve won that battle, many women (myself included) don’t really care what they’re called, and revel in the multiple identities afforded by Ms., Miss or Mrs. Be careful, however. Some people are very sensitive about these things. I’ll never forget a grumpy senior colleague addressing a young, fellow co-worker as “Missy” many years ago. She responded: “That’s ‘Ms.’ to you, Sir.” You said it, sister!

2. Madam is not ok. For reasons that elude me, Brits continue to use the term “Madam” to refer to married women. I mean, I know the English like to sound formal and all that, but seriously…Madam? What, do I look like I run a brothel?

3. Freelance Writers are now Professional Entrepreneurs. In her blog WordCount, Michelle Rafter argues that freelance writers in today’s world are performing many different tasks across many different industries, including writing, copyediting and web content. And because journalism is morphing so rapidly into…something else, freelance writers must also do a ton of self-promotion. Thus, they now resemble entrepreneurs much more than just plain old “writers.” To which I say, Hallelujah! You mean I don’t have to describe myself as a writer/journalist/blogger anymore? Bring it on, baby.

4. Calling yourself a “Dr.” may be unnecessary. I have a Ph.D. But whenever someone addressed me as “Dr.” back when I was still a practicing academic, I always found myself turning around to see if there was a doctor in the house. It’s a personal thing, of course, and some people like the honorific. But for me the term “Dr.” should be reserved for those who wear a stethoscope around their necks and write prescriptions.* (*Unless you’re trying to do research in Mexico, in which case I’d mine that PhD as much as you can or you won’t get the time of day. Trust me.)

5. When in doubt, buy a title. When the school nurse at my son’s new school revealed that she was actually a Lady, I was momentarily flummoxed. What on earth should I call her? (I tried writing a letter to her and the co-Matron (old-fashioned term for nurse, speaking of titles) which read “Dear Ladies,” but that didn’t seem quite right.) But then a friend of mine told me that you could actually purchase titles on line. Yes, you, too can become a Lord or Lady for a mere pittance. Who said feudalism was dead?

I remain your humble servant, Herr Lady Dr. Ms.Delia, professional entrepreneur.

*****

While we’re on the subject of freelance writing, if you haven’t checked out Susan Johnston’s Urban Muse blog, it is well worth a visit. Susan provides incredibly handy writing and publishing tips with a sunny, upbeat tone. I’m a regular.


Image: My Doctoring Toolz by Churl via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Is Part-Time Work the Wave of The Future?

October 26, 2009

Here’s an unorthodox policy move in the midst of a recession: Tell businesses to create more part-time jobs.

The British government has recently unveiled a series of initiatives to bolster part-time work, including urging employers to post full-time jobs as part-time or job-sharing arrangements, as well as creating a national data base of part-time jobs. In a particularly bold move, the British government is also considering extending flexible working laws — which allow employees to ask their current boss if they can reduce their hours — to future employers as well.

Today I’m over on PoliticsDaily.com talking about why this may be smart economics and smart politics…and why it may also make women happier.

Have a look

*****

I was delighted to have my article about delaying the start of schooling featured on the New York Times Motherlode blog last week. Motherlode is a superb website for parents of children all ages, which combines personal essays, policy analysis and good old-fashioned reporting. If you’re looking to read a parenting blog, go no further.

Image: Registration by Dansays via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

October 23, 2009

This Friday I point you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. I love the concept (and stamina!) behind the Read All Day blog, where one woman reads a book a day for an entire year and writes about it. Wow! (Hat Tip: Lisa Romeo Writes.)

2. My cousin sent me this link to Will Pearson’s stunning photographs of London. While you’re there, have a look at this piece in The Guardian by Will Self on why British children’s author Roald Dahl – of Fantastic Mr. Fox fame –  is so very, very good.

3. If you’ve ever lost a child, or know someone who has, this Modern Love essay from the New York Times is terrifically hopeful and sad.

4. I’m a huge Lionel Shriver fan (If you haven’t read We Need To Talk About Kevin, we need to talk…) Here are her thoughts on why it can be so tricky to write about your family…even in fiction.

5. I have nothing more to say about the following clip on You Tube other than if you can still remember back when we all used rotary phones, you need to see this. (Hat tip: Formerly Hot.)

6. Finally, my thoughts in PoliticsDaily.com on why the EU may be falling apart…and whether America cares.

Enjoy your weekend!

Oh yes, and please do follow me on Twitter.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Tips For Adulthood: Five Ways to Establish A Tone

October 21, 2009

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

As a writer, I think a lot about tone. Does any given essay/blog post/tweet that I write convey not just the meaning – but the attitude – that I’m after?

Setting a tone in writing is no less important than setting a tone in person. How we speak to other people and the verbal and non-verbal message we communicate to them often determines whether they want to listen to us, befriend us, or – dare I say it – be our children/siblings/parents/spouses.

With this in mind, I’ve chosen five bloggers I regularly follow whom I think have mastered  “tone” in their writing, which in turn makes them very inviting as people. In each case, I highlight what they bring to their blogs to cultivate this tone:

1. Curiosity. Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project is a must for anyone out there looking for concrete, practical steps to leading a happier life. Sometimes this means cleaning out a closet; sometimes reading more Virginia Woolf. But the main thing Gretchen communicates on her blog  is a deep and abiding curiosity about the world around her. From the diverse range of articles and blogs that she recommends on a daily basis to her willingness to try pretty much anything  – like singing in the morning – in order to see if it actually makes her happier, you get the sense that she is, at all times, drinking in life.

2. Community. Another hugely practical site is the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network, founded and managed by Deb Ng. A lot of people come to this blog for its diverse set of writing tips, as well as its amazing daily listings of freelance jobs. I come because Deb’s passion for building community is almost irresistible. It shines through her daily tweets which always begin with “Good Morning World” (usually followed by an observation about D.C. weather), as well as the way in which all of her posts are infused with an appreciation for- and commitment to – the community of writers she’s gathered around her.

3. Introspection. You’d be hard-pressed to read a single post on Colleen Wainwright’s glorious Communicatrix and not come away feeling that this was a person who was putting herself out there, for all to see, day in and day out. Laugh-out-loud funny – but also brutally honest – this is a “self-development” blog that succeeds in making you feel like you are accompanying the author on the journey, not just listening to her ex-post musings. Check out her trademark 21-day Salutes. (She’s in the midst of one right now.) They will convince you – if you needed convincing – that the examined life is definitely the one worth living.

4. Enthusiasm. Christina Katz’ Writer Mama blog brims with enthusiasm. Written by a team of “writer mamas,”  this blog offers writing tips, links to online writing classes as well as observations on the writing life. But what most stands out about the blog is the indefatigable Christina Katz herself, who sounds so genuinely enthusiastic about writing, parenting, networking and – above all – platform building, that it’s infectious. To Christina’s credit, she not only promotes her own work on the blog. She is also extremely generous about highlighting the success of her co-bloggers and former students.

5. Wisdom. It’s really tough to try and offer advice to other authors while being sincere and funny at the same time. But Nicola Morgan’s Help! I Need A Publisher! blog does just that. Nicola manages to somehow combine a strong dose of wit and “telling it like it is” with a lot of really smart advice. Read this post where Nicola reacts to the self-doubts of a struggling writer and see if you don’t find yourself laughing while also nodding your head in agreement.

Follow me on Twitter.

Image: Tone by Passetti via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Should Children Start School When They Are Older?

October 20, 2009

It’s a question worth asking.

It’s also the chief recommendation coming out of a comprehensive new review of the British educational system.

Today I’m over at PoliticsDaily.com weighing in on this topic, which has implications for learning, policy, as well as family life.

Do drop by and have a look at my post. As of today, AOL has instituted a “comments moderator” over at Politics Daily, which should mean that the saner corners of the earth will be heard from hence forth, and not (just!) the looney fringe of American political junkies…

Enjoy!

Oh, and do follow me on Twitter.

Image: Making Raw Chocolate Fudge With Children By Elana Pantry via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl