Henry & The Boy Wonder

Last night after Henry’s appetite was satiated, thanks to a dinner of salmon and rice, and after a rather pleasant constitutional, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rested idly on the couch. With all the reverence I could muster, I said this to his Highness, who without any question, descends from royalty:

“Master Henry, as I am heading to the country soon for a long, relaxing weekend, would you be so kind to post a blog in my stead?” Continue reading

The Race 2012 Blogging Project Begins

Race was an issue during the Civil Rights era. Is it still an issue today?

If you ask me, with 40 days left to the election, the best reality show around just kicked it up a notch.

I’m talking, of course, about the 2012 run for the presidency. I mean, just think about it. There’s enough drama here—machinations,  angst, he said/he said accusations, secret tapes, backstabbing, blunders, greed, politicos being thrown under the bus, backroom meetings, not to mention out-and-out brawls—to spice up at least a dozen reality shows.

And, while everyone’s wondering who’ll end up with the rose, or be thrown off the island–there can only be one president, after all–the real question to consider, is:

Is race a factor in this year’s election?

On the surface, this may seem like a yes or no question, but, really, it’s one that begs an explanation. Closer examination, if you will. And the answer, no doubt, will be influenced by your race, your religion or lack thereof, your class, and other key markers that make you, well, you.

For, these factors form the prism through which you see the world, including politics. And, there is no one way to answer this question. There are countless ways.

I have voted in nine presidential elections. This upcoming one will be my tenth. And, while the question of race didn’t really occur to me the first eight times I voted, I started thinking about it in the 2008 election when, for the first time, we had an African-American presidential candidate running for office. And, it’s an issue that continues to pervade my thoughts today.

Which is why, I’m pleased to launch the Race 2012 blogging project.  From now through the election season, Race 2012 bloggers will be posting about this very subject. And, all the views conveyed in their posts are, most definitely and unequivocally, their own. But, they’ll be speaking from the heart and sharing their personal feelings about race and the election.

Some of the bloggers have already posted, and I am including links to their posts on the new Race 2012 page, which I’ve set up right here on this site.  Please visit the page and keep coming back to check for updates.  I encourage you to read these posts and then add your own comment, for we want you to be part of the  conversation.

If you’re interested in blogging with our team, just let me know and I’ll send you some information.

The Race 2012 blogging project is conducted in conjunction with a new PBS documentary, Race 2012: A Conversation About Race & Politics in America. This one-hour election special, which airs Tuesday, October 16 (please check your local listings), uses the presidential election as a lens through which to examine America’s increasingly complex racial landscape.

Race 2012 navigates the high-stakes world of racial pollsters, strategists, spin doctors and candidates as they compete for voters of many ethnic and racial groups. The election will serve as an important indicator of the role race will play in our nation’s political future. How will today’s immigrants shape our electoral landscape? What effect will the economic differences have on America’s political future? Race 2012 offers a fresh view of the shifts that are transforming our nation.

I, for one, am looking forward to having a thought-provoking exchange of ideas and beliefs. And, who knows? Maybe, together, we can get to the bottom of this, and thus solve all our economic and social problems in one fell swoop.

Too much to hope for? Perhaps. But, keeping the conversation going is a good place to start. Your thoughts?

Henry the Blogger

If you ask me, my dog, Henry, is getting kind of uppity.  Sure, he’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which means he descends from royalty. And, yes, he also expects a certain lifestyle, one befitting a king. Some might even say that Henry is a high-maintenance dog. But that would be an understatement.

Does this dog deserve a blog of his own? Hmm...

Recently, Henry noticed that there are many dogs out there with a blog, and now he has decided that he wants one, too. But here’s the thing: Henry can’t type to save his life. I don’t know how the other dogs do it, like Lola, Bassa or Uptown Dog. They have great blogs. But, when it comes to typing, Henry is all, ahem, thumbs. I’ve tried to teach him the basics. I figured, if he could type with just one paw, he’d be ahead of the game. But he refuses to even learn, and often ends up just pawing at my desk.

Clearly, this is one dog that cannot learn new tricks. Which is why, last night, during dinner, he asked me to be his secretary.  I nearly choked on my peas.

“I beg your pardon, Sir?” (You need to use words like  “pardon” and “Sir” when addressing royalty.)

Henry then said that what he really means is, he wants me to take dictation for his new blog.  But he doesn’t understand that:

  • I’m pretty busy as it is, and can’t take on yet another project, even if it is for a good cause.
  • He barks his thoughts rather slowly, which in turn, would take me forever to write down.
  • Sometimes I can’t figure out what he’s trying to say. Learning bark language isn’t the easiest, you know.  Like one time, when he said, “Cavaliers make amazing….and that’s how I lost my dignity…if only they fed me better.”

That’s all I could get out him. “Make amazing” what? Crocheted sweaters? Annoyances? And what’s this about losing his dignity? I’ll never know.

So I asked Henry, what he would call his blog if he had one.

“Untangling the Web,” was his immediate reply.

Apparently, he’s under the misguided impression that I’ve been successful with my tangled web of a blog, and so, he wants a crack at untangling it.

“After all,” he added, “Your readers have yet to hear my side of the story.”

His side? “What exactly is your side of the story?” I boldly asked. He shrugged and told me I could read about it in his blog, if he had one.

I then said, “A year ago you didn’t even know what a blog is.” He curtly countered that, a year ago, I didn’t have much of a following, and suggested that it is only when I’ve used photos of him that my readership has seen a spike.

“Not true!” I cried. “You haven’t seen my stats lately!” I then reminded him that he cannot have a blog, simply because he cannot type. To which, Henry said, rather miffed, that it was rather unseemly of me to remind a king of his flaws.

Henry retreats in a huff.

Feeling guilty, I said, “Cheer up, little man. I’m happy to write about you in my blog, now and then.”

He, cheekily replied, it’s the then I’m concerned about. The tall person allows Bassa to blog everyday. With you, I’ll be lucky to get exposure twice a year. I pointed out that he likes Roxy and she doesn’t have her own blog.

Which is when he gave me the stink eye, and retreated to one of his many plush beds, looking a bit despondent.

“Well, Henry,” I said, “Is there anything else you want to add in your defense?”

“Blogs about dogs are trending now, you know,” he said, wagging his tail.

Shaking my head, I went to wash the dishes. Oh, Henry, it seems we are at a standstill.

For a royal dog, he’s quite good at laying on the guilt. In fact, you could say, he’s got me feeling rather sheepish these days. Still, I’m not ready to give in and will have to think about this some more. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

BlogHer 2011 Diary, Day 2

And so, my first ever conference for bloggers comes to a screeching halt.


I was just beginning to learn at the feet of giants!  And by this I mean, bloggers who have been blogging way longer than I and who have far more experience than this gal from Queens, aka, me. And yet, this week does mark my one-year anniversary of blogging. One year?

Hooray for me! That’s 112 posts in 12 months and nearly 30,000 page views!

But anyway, I was just beginning to learn the secrets to their success!  And I was beginning to recognize that Mommy Bloggers–of which I am not one–are the new Soccer Moms, and they sure have a whole lot of clout!  Witness all the private parties, luncheons, spa treatments, hosted by big-ticket sponsors—just for them! From what I could tell, Mommy Bloggers represent 75% of all bloggers.  But that is solely based on how 2 out of 3 bloggers I met were MB’s.

Here’s what else I discovered:

Bloggers are very supportive of each other:  I met many a blogger willing to answer my questions and offer me tips of the trade.  Like, how mediabistro is a great site for anyone who creates or works with content, and I can learn my clout score by going to klout, which determines your level of engagement in social media. I’m a 37 and my score increased by 1 point over the past day (which I assume is a result of attending the conference and tweeting like crazy while I was there). Here are some other highlights of my conference experience:

Here, I’m with She Writes member and Assignment & Syndication Editor, Rita Arens. Rita participated on a panel, “Owning Your Beauty: If We Change the Conversation, Can We Change the Culture?”  Hmm, that’s a tough question to answer in just one sentence. What do you think?

Each of the sponsors had a suite. Here I am in the Hallmark suite with new friends and fellow bloggers, Margo (Nacho Mama’s Blog) and Berenice (Adventures of Three). Aren’t we cute?

Lisa Stone, Co-Founder & CEO of BlogHer, moderates closing keynote with, from left to right: Fatemeh FakhraleRicki Lake (yes, the Ricki Lake!), and Carol Jenkins. The topic, “Women in the Media, Women Making Media” was very insightful and empowering.

After all is said and done, I got a chance to sit down with Lisa Stone, Co-Founder and CEO of BlogHer, and let her know just how much the conference meant to me. Lisa gave a big shout out to Kamy and She Writes.  “I LOVE She Writes!” Lisa exclaimed.

Well, it’s officially over. I made lot of contacts, new friends–and so many memories! Hasta luego, BlogHer11. Thank you for giving me plenty of opportunities to network and nosh. It was sheer heaven!

Please note: Because I was so busy attending BlogHer11, The Road Taken saga will continue next week. So, stay tuned!

She Writes!

Or, Bloggin’ Baby Boomer knows no Bounds (That’s me!)

I’m a woman with backbone and I have a bona fide confession:  I LOVE to write.  Which is why I adore the printed word and which also explains why, at the tender age of 6, I drove my mother crazy while sitting in the backseat of her Chevy, obsessively reading aloud all the street and retail signs, not to mention billboards we’d pass along the road.  Shop Rite. Stop. No U-Turn. A&P. “I’d rather fight than switch.” And so on.  Sometimes I’d make my mother slow down, to give me time to read even more signs.

Fifty years later and I’m a bloggin’ fool and, if you know anything about bloggers, well, there’s nothing a blogger won’t do to get a little attention (Translation: More visitors to the blog). I mean, we love writing, but without an audience, what are we—just trees falling in the forest, with no one to hear our cries? TIMBER!

And as a writer, I must say, I love chatting, tweeting, exchanging emails and submitting comments to other bloggers.  So, who knew I could have it all with one amazing, glorious site? I’m speaking, of course of She Writes.

Here’s their raison d’etre in a nutshell:

She Writes is a community, virtual workplace, and emerging marketplace for women who write, with over 14,000 active members from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Leveraging social media tools and harnessing women’s collaborative power, She Writes is fast becoming the destination for all women who write.

I came across She Writes while discovering  “Out of My Mind,” a blog written by Linda Cassidy Lewis, author of “The Brevity of Roses.” Her post, ironically called,  “The Problem with Writing,” was recently Freshly Pressed by WordPress.com.  Well, as I read her post and scrolled all the way down reading the gazillion comments she received that day, I noticed a little icon badge on her site, that said quite simply, “I’m a member of SHE WRITES.”

Kamy Wicoff, She Writes Founder/Chief Innovation Officer

Which piqued my interest, and so I clicked. From there, I entered a whole new, exciting world of women writers who love nothing better than to write and network.  Sheer perfection, if you ask me!

Of course, I first had to complete a simple, but very probing, application to make sure I really was a writer, or at least serious about it.  Are you a blogger? Check.  Are you published? I cringed. Err, no.  Do you review books, television or film? Does having a crush on Colin Firth count? Do you offer services to other writers? Uh, a pat on the back, a “you go, girl” on occasion. Is that an acceptable response?

Are you part of a writers’ group or a writers’ salon? Is “N/A” sufficient? Though, frankly, I wouldn’t mind being part of a salon—sounds fancy!

I submitted my scant answers and was told I’d have to wait to learn whether or not they’d accept me. Talk about pressure. I was sweating bullets for 48 hours. I was sure if they didn’t accept me, it was because they’d seen me for the writing imposter that I am. Not published, indeed! Who did I think I was, trying to get in on the ground floor?

But OMG, they liked me! They really liked me! At least that’s what I assumed when I got the email stating I was in like Flint. I did a little happy dance until I realized I was in the office and everyone was staring.

When I got home that night, I dove into my new She Writes home with gusto, following their tips for newcomers, in order to create my page. Uploading a picture, writing all about my wonderful, writing self and, of course, detailing my zeal for blogging.  Then I perused the more than 250 distinct writing groups to see which ones I could join. Here, at last, my chance to find like-minded writers in such tantalizing groups as, “She Writes in California,” “Bloggers: Let’s Make It Work,” “Multicultural Writers,”  “Funny Women,” “Baby Boomers” and “Blog to Book.” (As to the latter, well, a girl can dream, can’t she?)

I’ve already made eight friends on She Writes (Soneet, Shary Folkmann, Amy Wise, Scrollwork, Julie Farrar, Tina Lane, Rukhpar Mor, Tele Aadsen and Sierra Writers), and can’t wait to make more–assuming they still like me. No matter. I just adore my new She Writes home! I may even move there and live forever within its pages of comments, encouragement, and words of wisdom from the over 14,000 members.  That is, if I can figure out how to take my toothbrush with me.

So friends, it comes down to this: If you’re a writer I encourage you to become a member (my friend, Leah, just did!). And if you do, tell them I sent you.  It’ll help me earn brownie points and hopefully keep them from throwing me out for the unpublished rapscallion that I am!  After all, I’m just having too much fun with She Writes!