Apr 11

Vid from the Web

Back in the day, there was something called surfin' the Web. Now the Web surfs us. But it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, or break them of old ones, so from time to time, I'm going to share something extraordinary that I've found, while surfin' the Web, in my old shoes. -- gg



I watched Zuckerberg testify for a short time on Tuesday and then listened as I did some work. A couple of things came to mind, a couple of things struck me:
  • He still looks and acts like a rich college kid.
  • Has he ever worn a tie before?
  • Does he really expect we'll believe him?
I can't shake the image of his haughty outrage shortly after the November 2016 election when he said that it was ridiculous to think that Facebook had anything to do with the election. He's been backpedalling ever since. And it makes me think that, in fact, he still was in the mentality of a group of guys in rented house madly coding and re-inventing the platform initially designed, lest we forget, to let Harvard students rate women. Yes, that's true. It was called Facemash and it pulled photos from Harvard sites and set up a rating system for the "hottest" women on campus.
Apr 03

50 years ahead of his time

As some of you may know, each year I tap the maple trees behind my house and make syrup. It is a peaceful, methodical process. There is no way to speed up liquid boiling, or to hurry along the sap flowing out of the trees when done the way I do it, the old-fashioned way, a single tap per tree on which hangs a bucket and a top. The process is driven by nature -- temperature changes, physics and weather. It is an exercise of patience and affords me the time to slow down, to notice, to think. And as I chop wood, load the fire box, as I empty the buckets and haul the sap, as I feed the fire and, finally, drain off the syrup, I have plenty of time to think. 

This year, on Easter, I decided to listen to this sermon by Martin Luther King. I am not a Christian, but I respect the faith as I do all the religions and their power to make one think about one's place in life, to think about one's purpose, to align our souls to goodness. 

Invisibilia Story

A panel of judges sits to decide the fate of the young woman. She's the child of addicts and an ex-addict and ex-felon herself, and she's asking the court to trust her to become an attorney. The outcome of her case hinges on a question we all struggle with: are we destined to repeat our patterns, or do we generally stray in surprising directions? - a question increasingly relevant in an age when algorithms are trying to predict everything about our behavior.

Invisibilia -- NPR

I like ... gg

I love sugaring. It's crazy really because when you add up all the time and money and effort you put into it, cleaning the buckets, tapping the trees, hanging the buckets, emptying the buckets, chopping down the dead trees, sawing, splitting the logs, feeding the fire, draining off, refilling the evaporator, collecting more sap, filling the fire box, checking the density, draining off more near syrup, filling the holding tank, collecting sap, filling the fire box.... for what? 

For this:

Mar 27

A NYTIMES OpEd: I tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz

This appeared March 27 on the OpEd page of the NYTimes. You can read it on the Times, here: 

I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz.
He Still Killed My Friends.

MARCH 27, 2018

PARKLAND, Fla. — My first interaction with Nikolas Cruz happened when I was in seventh grade. I was eating lunch with my friends, most likely discussing One Direction or Ed Sheeran, when I felt a sudden pain in my lower back. The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes. I turned around and saw him, smirking. I had never seen this boy before, but I would never forget his face. His eyes were lit up with a sick, twisted joy as he watched me cry.

MGMC Featured at Poetry Riot Tonight!


Photo by Ron Sherman
Excuse the intrusion into what is your space. But I think it important that we mentors share our own writing from time to time. And, well, I like this. I worked hard at it. And I'd like you to read it. And tell me what you think. Because like any writer, young or less-young, I like feedback. Be well. gg

As many of you know, I'm as old as the hills. Well, not quite that old, but some mornings I feel that way. I wanted to share with you my perspective on the events since February 14, 2018, which made me look at when I was 18, and I took to the streets, as it were.
Mar 19

The boy

The boy isn't sure what the thing is the man is holding. A big box on three legs with a cloth in back and some glass thing in the front.
What's a camera? he asks. 
He still isn't sure even after the man tells him, but he tells the man he's OK with doing whatever it is long as it doesn't hurt. Stand still as you can, the man says. So the boy stands still as the man gets under the canvas in back and he hears a click and sees something move behind the glass and then the man pokes his head out and says, that's great. perfect. thank you. here you go. and hands him a silver coin. He thought it was a nickle but in his hand he sees it is a quarter, a whole 25 cent that he knows will be needed in his home.
Thank you, the boy says as the man folds up the three legs and slings it all on his shoulder and walks away, waving as he heads to his black sedan parked on the edge of the field.

Creating the Protaganist

A story -- non-fiction, fiction or narrative poem -- has these elements:
  • A setting -- the place in which the action takes place. Sometimes the setting itself becomes a character or is important in shaping the characters.
  • A protagnist -- the main character, the one the reader is supposed to care about.
  • A want or neet -- the main character needs or wants something and that want/need drives the action; this could be something specific or it could be something based on an emotion.
  • An antagonist -- the opposing character, the one who is preventing the protaganist from getting the thing he or she wants/needs.
  • A climax -- the moment when the opposing forces meet.
  • A change -- after the climax one of the characters needs to change.