Archives for January 2009

Octuplets- Something is Wrong Here

Don’t have time for a long analysis so this will be a hit and run type post. The story about the woman who gave birth to Octuplets troubles me. The mother already had six children and now has more than doubled her brood.

The LA Times reports following.

“And look what happened. Octuplets. Dear God,” Angela Suleman said four days after her 33-year-old daughter became the second person in the U.S. ever to
give birth to eight babies at once.

Suleman stressed that her daughter “is not evil, but she is obsessed with children. She loves children, she is very good with children, but obviously she overdid herself.”Angela Suleman said all the children are from the same sperm donor, but she did not identify him. Her daughter is divorced, but Suleman said the ex-husband was not the father.”

My first question is what sort of income does this woman have. As a father I know first hand just how much money is required to try and support a family. Providing for 14 is going to take an enormous amount of cash.

And let’s not forget that they aren’t exactly spaced. How do you take care of 8 infants. You cannot do it by yourself, it is impossible. Even splitting the work between a mother and a father would be exceptionally taxing.

But let’s say that she is a billionaire and that money isn’t a problem. I would be very concerned with the mother’s ability to spend time with her children. She is going to be pulled in so many different directions someone is going to miss out. Someone is not going to get as much love from their mother as they deserve.

I’d like to know more about the screening process for the procedure she went under. Don’t they have responsibility here to look at each candidate and qualify them. I know that sounds bad and in theory everyone should have access to the tools and resources they need to become a parent. But the reality is that not everyone should be a parent and even the greatest parent has limits.

Someone dropped the ball on this one.

My Best Writing

If you asked me to describe my blogging style I might say that it is fast and furious. I have a tendency to blog in waves. There have been days in which I have put up somewhere between eight and ten posts. We’re talking about original content and not the cut and paste work that some people thrive off of.

And if I am doing it write then the quality of the posts matches the quantity. I don’t want to be like the rockstar who puts out a new album with fourteen tracks, only three of which are worth listening to. That is not to say that I don’t miss the mark, because I do. There are posts that should be shredded and burned.

I have spent some time trying to identify what characteristics my best posts have. Simple truth, identify what elements you need to be successful and then try to replicate that over and over again.

I have come to believe that some of my best writing comes during moments when I am upset. It bothers me to say that being really sad is a great tool for putting up great posts, but there seems to be some truth in it. That feeling of loss and disappointment really lends itself to coming up with more descriptive sentences.

Especially when it comes to writing posts for Fragments of Fiction. Not unlike many writers I take elements and experiences of my life and use them in my stories. It is a useful tool. So sometimes when I am trying to write and having trouble I go searching for the pain of the past. I look inwards and try to remember the sorrow.

Sometimes I look in those dark corners and I remember what it was like to feel like the world had collapsed upon me. I think about how it seemed like my ability to be happy had been stolen from me. I focus upon how unfair it all was, to be so close and yet so far and the words just flow.

But I can also say that there have been many good posts that were written in moments of great personal satisfaction and happiness. Sometimes that bubbly feeling lends itself to the post/story just as well as the sadness.

I suppose that the confession of the moment is that I read this and wonder if I am saying that the only way I can write is to be really happy or really sad. Does it really have to be so extreme. I am fairly confident that the answer is no. I can produce solid content without having to rely upon emotion.

So now I am going to have spend more time trying to figure it all out. Damn, blast and blarney. And now if you’ll excuse me I am off to gather enlightenment by banging my head against the wall.

My Blogging Style- Personal Versus Professional

In the previous post I constructed a relatively dry post about what it takes to produce a professional blog. This post is going to be far more enjoyable for me because I am going to spend a little time talking about how I write for this blog.

I began my interaction with the online world in my early twenties. Chat rooms on AOL and Compuserve were sort of the training grounds in which I began to learn what lay in cyberspace. I graduated from those into debating and discussing politics and life on some message boards.

For a while CNN was one of my regular haunts. Those message boards taught me a lot about many things. It exposed me to some of the finer experiences online and it educated me about how nasty things could get when people weren’t looking you in the eye.

I also learned that the moderators of the boards had tremendous influence on the discussion. To a certain extent you could blame some very negative experiences with one mod as being the reason I started blogging. I am sure that if you asked the Shmata Queen she’d tell you how irritated we were with a woman who thought that it was her job to edit our comments.

Eventually I decided that I was tired of the shackles that I was bound in and I started this blog. Unfettered I started my blogging career with a little hesitation but a lot of energy. Over time I developed a style and a rhythm that has stuck with me.

Here at the Shack I just write about whatever and whenever. I don’t spend any time worrying about my writing. I rarely edit the posts and don’t concern myself with whether the posts are going to offend or upset others. And while I am quite aware of my stats I really don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out ways to gain new traffic.

Look, I am like a million other bloggers. I’d love to say that each month ten million unique users come here to see what I have to say. I’d love to see a 100 comments on each post. It would be nice. It would be great to see that happen and it would be even better to have someone pay me enough to do this on a full time basis.

But I write because I really do love it. I write because when I feel pain in my heart this is one of the ways in which I exorcise those demons. I write because it helps me to clarify and better understand myself.

I write because I write. I write because without this place all of my fair would fall out, my teeth would be ground down to little nubs and I’d have a massive coronary from stress.

It is a coping skill my writing.

How to Write a Professional Blog

During the past few weeks I have been employed as a consultant for some companies that are interested in using the blogosphere to engage in a deeper and more serious dialogue with both existing and prospective customers.

It is an interesting change of pace for me to sit down and take a more professional look at blogging than I do in my role as a private blogger. As a professional blogger I have very different concerns than as a private blogger. In a professional capacity I look at every aspect of the blog with a very critical eye, but I also take care not to overthink it.

It is a simple three minute presentation that goes something like this:

  • Start by preparing a business plan for the blog.
  • Identify the purpose of the blog.
  • Determine what sort of content supports that purpose.
  • Find a template that is user friendly.
  • Prepare an editorial calendar.

About this time I count to ten and sure enough someone inserts their two cents about how content is king and we haven’t even discussed it yet. They are right. Content is king. Solid content is the X factor. It is the backbone and without it your blog is doomed. But they don’t pay the big dog to come in and lecture about how your blog must be well written. Everyone knows this.

But in an age of instant gratification some people seem to have forgotten that there certain business principles are still applicable and establishing a plan is important. You plan so that you can avoid pitfalls. You plan so that you can figure out what sort of metrics you are going to use to measure the success of your blog. You plan so that when the boss or bosses ask you to give a report about the blog you don’t look foolish.

In the next post I’ll spend offer a few thoughts about the difference between the professional and personal blog.

Battlestar Galactica

I was a bit late getting into the current incarnation of Battlestar Galactica but I am quite glad that I have. While the cylons aren’t as much fun as those I used to see at Universal Studios it has been a lot of fun.

I am not going to spend any time discussing whether the show offers a metaphor for what is happening in the real world. No time talking about whether Cylons are really Soviets and Humans are Americans.

In general I stay away from that sort of crap. I watch television shows for one of two purposes. It is either educational or entertaining. It just kills me to spend time talking about what the writers really meant. Sometimes water is just water and a red shirt is just red.

Life is far too complicated as it is.

Anyhoo, I loved this latest episode. I like seeing the momentum build towards the final few episodes and I still don’t buy into who they have set up as the final cylon.