How Do Notions of Privacy Affect your #Writing and Life ?

Information for sale and PrivacyLike many others of my time, I spend a fair chunk of my real life online. I’ve been mulling about Privacy, abut our private and public selves. About who we are, who we project ourselves as, about how much of our privacy we cede away to the notions of convenience, entertainment, and security. Our governments spy on us, as do our smartphones, and corporate entities. Here are links to what Facebook and Google do to us and our information.

I’ve been aware of it for a while, because years ago, I spoke of divorcing Google. Haven’t done it, of course, merely deleted a few apps, and turned off access to my phone’s microphone, camera, and photo gallery. But besides the issues of these companies selling us and our data without our permission, there’ also another, more insidious issue, that this article discusses:

One of the great fights of the 21st century will be the fight for privacy and self-ownership, which is also, to my mind, the struggle for literature as distinct from the dark babble of social media. Writers thrive on privacy, not on Twitter, and so do readers when the lights are low. Giving your sentences thoughtlessly away, and for nothing, seems a small death to contemplation, and does harm to the profession of writing, where you’re paid because you’re good at it.

I try not to share too much of how I feel on social media, because writing fiction needs an inner momentum, and I sense that dissipating as I share. I need to be able to speak through my fiction, not just my social media platforms.

On this blog, I share sparingly about my private life, but this blog has been up for ten years now, and that can be mined for a fair amount of information and emotion. When we visit a blog over time, we tend to gain a sense of the blogger’s persona, and in some cases, their characters, lives. I blog as myself, but many bloggers and authors use pseudonyms, for a slew of reasons– and they are successfully able to fictionalize themselves.

We can be whoever we want to be, and share as much as we want with as many as we fancy, but that is not without its perils. From time to time, we addicts might just need a social media detox.

How has the internet affected your notions of privacy? Your reading and writing habits? Your idea of who you are? How do you interact on social media? Are you concerned that your information might be used without your permission? Has being on the internet affected your creativity?


We are the World Blogfest Happy

I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here is a great example. Click here to know more. Sign up here and add your bit of cheer to the world on the coming weekend of July 28th!

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Have Questions for the Editor-in-Chief of a Literary Magazine? #AmWriting

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my pleasure today to welcome Mary Cool, editor-in-chief of the Ducts Magazine.

  1. What drives Ducts magazine? What are your plans for its future?

Well, it just so happens we’re in the middle of an exciting time for Ducts. We just redesigned our website to further drive our passion for personal narrative. It’s a tumultuous time in our world right now, and we believe that strong writing that connects diverse viewpoints is more vital than ever.

2. What do you look for in a story you accept for publication?

We have multiple content areas that we accept submissions for, including fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, and humor. (Go here for details.) Generally though, our content editors are looking for pieces that take a personal, unique approach to narrative and language. We’re looking for passionate material from diverse corners of the world (we publish US and global writers).

Mary Cool editor-in-chief of Ducts magazine

3. What would you like to see more of in the submissions to your magazine, and what would you like to see less?

Really, the biggest thing we want to see is a strong narrative—one that takes us on a complete journey, from start to finish, and moves us. And also send us your quality work—spellcheck, read it through, and make sure it coheres.

4. What tips would you give unpublished writers who are trying to get their first story published in a magazine?

Quality is key. It’s really good work that drives interest and makes readers (and us) want to share your work far and wide. Do that, and you will find a home for your piece.

5.  Please link us to three of your favorite pieces at the Duct magazine.

I can actually give you 5! They are the feature pieces in our latest June issue, and they have each been set to art and a jazz “playlist” by guest arts editor Tierney Malone. Just go to ducts.org and you’ll see them all on our home page.

6.  Where are most of your contributors from? What sort of voices have you published so far?

Our contributors are from all over the world, although the majority tend to be from the US. And the voices we’ve published run the gamut—from new to experienced writers, from multiple genders, ages, races, and backgrounds. We’ve been around since 1999 and have published 39 issues—that adds up to a lot of viewpoints over time!

7. Do you sometimes work with writers to help shape their story?

That depends on how the content editor feels about the material. If she’s excited about the content, she might choose to work with the writer or make some suggestions for submitting a redraft. If the subject and the voice are right, it’s an option—but generally, we’re hoping to provide a home for work that speaks for itself without major editing.

8. You’re a writer yourself. How does that affect your reading as an editor?

I think it makes me appreciate the work and commitment that writers bring to their submissions, and to treat those submissions with respect and careful consideration.

9. What is your comment on the future of literary magazines?

I think the future is bright—although I may certainly be biased. With social media and a world that is more connected than ever, narratives posted online and published in literary magazines have a better chance than ever of reaching the audience that will embrace them—and perhaps even audiences who will be provoked by them! It’s a good time both to be a writer and a publisher.

Do you read or write short stories, and submit them to magazines and journals? Do you have questions for Mary Cool? Finished a flash or short story piece and published it? Tell us all about it in the comments!

editor Mary Cool Ducts magazine

Mary Cool is a writer, editor, and artist living in Brooklyn, New York. She is Editor-in-Chief of Ducts magazine at Ducts.org, and co-host of a literary reading series, Trumpet Fiction.

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Blogspot Friends, Could You Help Make it Easy for Us to Stay in Touch? #Blogging

I used to blog via Google’s Blogspot, or Blogger, for about 8 years– it ran parallel to this one until last year, when I merged the two blogs into this site. In all those years, I made tons of friends on Blogspot.

I still visit as many of you as I can (never enough, but still), and sometimes I wish I could talk to all you friends on Blogspot, tell you my wish-list as a visitor, commenter, and friend.

Here’s a list of things I’d appreciate from my Blogspot friends in order to make it easier for us to stay in touch: (Some of you have them all covered– this is for those who may not have thought of these points)

  1. Make it easy to follow you: Blogspot doesn’t provide a good follow system any more— have you considered adding a Feedly widget? Here’s a post on how that will help your commenters and followers.
  2. Give us an option to comment via Name/ URL: A lot of Blogspot blogs do not allow a visitor to comment unless they’re logged into Google plus or Blogspot. By allowing the Name/URL option as well as OpenID, you vastly increase the number of bloggers who can easily comment on your posts. Check out how to do this, here. If you’re afraid of spam, you could enable comment moderation!
  3. Add a Tweet button and connect it to your twitter account: This button makes it easy-peasy to tag you on twitter while sharing your post– so you can RT it or respond with comments on twitter. Check out how to do this here. The buttons below my posts allow you to share my posts on social media. I’m ever so grateful for the shares I receive. Some days, I’m too tired or unwell or busy to comment on your posts– but I’d still love to share them. Please make it easy to do so, and you shall have my grateful thanks.
  4. Make comment verification easy: A lot of my commenting and sharing happens on the phone. Please do not make me click on these picture thingammijigs — they’re a proper nightmare on a small screen. Having to tick a box saying ‘I’m not a Robot’ should be enough, right?
  5. Create a Gravatar: When you comment on my blog from a different platform, I often find no way to find you unless you take the time to type in the right link. A gravatar makes it easy for you to leave your links while commenting on blogs on platforms other than Blogspot. This is how to create one. It will take five minutes to create it– once done, add your links to your profile page– gravatar lets you add links to your blog and social media.

Afterwards, just stay logged in on Gravatar– when you leave a comment on a self-hosted blog like mine, or on WordPress, or any of the other platforms, the blogger you’ve visited can easily visit you back by clicking on your gravatar. For instance, my gravatar is here.

We all want to visit and comment on as many blogs as we can. We also like receiving comments. As a self-hosted blogger on WordPress, I’d love to still be able to keep in touch with all my Blogspot friends, and this open letter is a step in that direction.

What blogging platform do you use? Do you find it difficult to leave comments on blogs on other platforms? Is it tough for WordPress users to comment on Blogspot, and vice versa ? As a blogger on Blogspot, is there anything you wish a WordPress blogger would do to make it easier for you to comment or share?

Have you faced problems while leaving comments on this site or sharing my posts? I try my best to make it easy, but I’d like to iron out any remaining kinks, so please let me know.

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I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. You could add a link and a badge to one of your regular posts that weeked, in order to participate.Writer's Retreat

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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Are You Happy? #Happiness #Life

Are you happy?At each significant stage of my life, whether it was the first day of school, or college or moving to a new place, or marriage, well-meaning friends and relatives have asked me: are you happy?

I’ve given garbled responses, of course, because unlike common belief on the subject, there is no yes or no answer, because it is not a yes or no question. This snippet from Oatmeal articulates my response.

It is a rather long snippet, but completely worth the 25 seconds it takes to read it. Go scroll through and check it out, I’ll wait.

Some of our collective obsession with happiness is misplaced, I must say. I’d much rather have meaning, fulfillment, pain, peace, passion, in all their contradictory and messed-up glory. Happiness hides in moments, in scattered things. It is a journey, not a destination; an awareness, not a target.

Happiness is a choice. On some days, it is the harder one to make. You can choose to be unhappy on those days, and that’s all right.

What about you? Do you ever ask others if they’re happy? Has someone recently asked you this question? What was your answer? What’s your take on happiness, and its place in our lives?

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We are the World Blogfest HappyI co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here is a great example.

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Are you happy?

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(Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

 

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Will you be joining the #CHERISHED Blogfest this October?

Here’s an update on the Cherished Blogfest 2017!

Blogging is all about making connections, sharing information, emotions, opinions, memories. One of the best Blogging advice I have for new bloggers is to participate in Blogfests: choose something easy, and make new friends!

I found a very good friend in Dan Antion many years ago, and in 2015, I co-hosted the Cherished blogfest with him and other blog friends, Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat and was joined last year by Cheryl Pennington and Kate Powell.

Here’s my post for last year. The ask for the blogfest was this:

Often, objects lead us to memories.

The objects we hold most dear, harbor the most cherished memories.

For the CHERISHED Blogfest 2017, we invite you to talk to us about one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your post to below 500 words.

We will share memories, emotions, information: we’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships.

Cherished Blogfest 2017
Cherished Blogfest

The Cherished Blogfest 2017 list will be active from Friday, October 13th through Sunday, October 15th. We will, of course, open up the sign-up list in advance.

Dan has explained the reason for this change in dates very well– a conflict of dates and organization with We are the World Blogfest. It is largely thanks to Dan that the Cherished Blogfest continued last year– he did the bulk of the organizing. I hope to be a more active co-host for the Cherished this year.

The name ‘Cherished’ and the image is courtesy Cheryl Pennington, who posts brilliant images and writing on her blog. I would also encourage you to check out the blogs of the other cohosts: Dan Antion (the designer of the badge), Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, Kate Powell, bloggers with genuine and fascinating takes on everything from life, travel, fiction, art and the writing rigmarole.

How long have you been blogging? Have you taken part in any blogfests? Organised them? If yes, have blogfests helped your blog? Are you signed up for We Are the World Blogfest? Do you follow the Cherished Blogfest page? Will you be signing up for the CHERISHED Blogfest 2017?

I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. You could add a link and a badge to one of your regular posts that weeked, in order to participate.Writer's Retreat

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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