Stations

thoughts before i start a new job

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 Beasts know it true

to guard against the larger

and feast on the lesser

this is not the only rule

rather a lesson of bounty;

of knowing ones station:

what stands before us

always a conflict of weight.

And yet we are burdened

with other means. A look 

in a look in an instant. 

And what we look for 

are cues of weakness, smallness

in another. We are looking 

outward with wide thirsty eyes

when the vital notion is inward,

essential and unknown. 

–ECW

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Library poem 1

Vanessa please don’t bless me
Don’t lay down a prayer in my name
Don’t deem my unpainted toes divine
Don’t wallow in your gratitude.

Vanessa please don’t praise me
Don’t sing your relief in alto
Don’t write me sonnets of self
Loathing. This is my job Vanessa

And this is my name tag, don’t
Clasp my hands and beg my forgiveness
Vanessa, and end each sentence
With my name. Don’t thank me

More than the usual, cordial grateful
But aloof thank-you of a not so
Invested adult. Vanessa. Let’s be adults
About all this computer shit, it’s fine.

Vanessa please don’t wrap your hands together and thank god for me,
For doing the things I do for everyone,
For strangers, Vanessa, it’s just my job.
–ECW

Letting go of NaNoWriMo

I’m not quitting, exactly.

I’m just letting go.

I had never written a novel during National Novel Writing Month. I have never written a novel before; not the whole thing anyway. So this, for me, was a good test of if I really wanted to write something like this as all. I am a poet after all, and that tends to make me more a sprinter than a marathon runner.

As fun as this project has been, I have more pressing real life matters (like finishing my classes for the semester and assembling invitations for my wedding, yikes!). With the holidays coming up I thought I would give myself permission to make this project a little longer than the back breaking 30 days prescribed by NaNoWriMo, but I wanted to share my thoughts none the less.

So, 7,500 words behind and fingers nearly raw, I have come to a few realizations about writing and the race that is NaNoWriMo:

  1. Jumping the gun

I wanted to write so badly on October 29 that I actually had to hold myself back and focus on other projects. The idea of writing those first few days was such a thrill I ended up writing 3 days worth on the first day. The glitter faded of course, as I was only displacing other things like homework and this blog for the chance to put energy into the novel. It was not that I was more inspired, or suddenly more talented, but that I had given myself the forum to write and write I did.

  1. Write and you will succeed

The exciting and rather simple truth about a game with a word count, is that the words don’t have to be particularly compelling, they simply have to be numerous. I was almost relieved that the words weren’t being graded by anyone, and my quality was not in question. This allowed me, an over thinker, to turn off my brain and just write. Since I am writing a memoir, more specifically about a year in my life in a particular job,  just letting myself write and allowing the simple truths and patterns reveal themselves was more compelling than my own flowering language.

  1. I do have time to write

I think the knee jerk reaction is: no one has time. We aren’t able to sit down every day and write for hours so the books in us are trapped until we have time. But I found time to write 23,000 words in 14 days, almost half a “book” in half a month. Then things got busy and assignments were due, and I took a few days off. But the evidence is there for me at least, there is time, even when I’m on the couch, to write a little down.

  1. 1,000 words a day is a totally realistic goal, kind of.

NaNoWriMo asks the diligent writer to make 1,667 words a day to get to 50,000 by the end of the month. This is a challenge for most of us who work or go to school (or both). Anyone who needs to make dinner for a family or pick up kids from school after work might think any number is a reach goal. But I have found that 1,000 words is pretty easy to get in one thought. I tend to write about 100 words a paragraph, so 1,000 words is just 10 tight paragraphs. Totally do-able.

  1. I am a better writer, even if I lose

I don’t plan to write the next great American novel. Not on the first time. This was just an experiment for me and I am happy to say it was a success. I am a better writer now that I know how I write, the constraints of my style, and the way I can push my writing when I get fatigued. I even got better at dialogue with practice!

It’s a shame that this challenge happens in November; I feel as if there might be a better time of year to ask writers to pause their lives. But there’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday next week and I need to be realistic. I may not finish Diary of a Dancing Goat this month, but I think by the first of the year I will be editing and sculpting rather than just monkey-smashing my keyboard!

These are my thoughts. Hope you are having a lovely end of 2015!

Keep writing!

—ECW

LIBR 202 Information Communities – Ethics of Blog Writer

Ethics of Writer Bloggers

Ethics are a tricky thing on the internet. Some feel the internet is a volatile place, like the wild wild west of the world wide web, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Most days no one is in charge, and we post and comment as we please. On Blogs, where the content creator is also the editor, decider and enforcer, there is not much that goes on without their knowing.

Other days, the internet is not so neatly organized. Content creators on third party platforms, especially message boards and community sharing sites are subject to moderators, or mods, who make judgement calls on what is and is not appropriate for the site. They patrol from page to page looking for language and content that offends or violates human rights. They also may decide a post is irrelevant, which poses questions about freedoms of speech and self expression on the web. Bloggers are in many ways relieved from the eye of the mods, but must make the same judgement calls on their comments. Are people allowed to comment without approval? Who makes the final call on a shared space blog? What constitutes inappropriate? Are negative comments permitted to stay?

Of course ethics extend far beyond the mere decision to delete a nasty troll.

Content creators wrestle with plagiarism, borrowing and apprenticing work of others in order to improve their craft.

Plagairism, the most black & white of the three involves a willful copying of other’s work without fair credit. Copy and Paste makes this especially tempting, but most of us are in the clear of this ethical breach. However, posting images without credit (which I have done on occasion) may be considered unethical, if they don’t link back to the original source…

Borrowing and apprenticing are forms of copying that are less recognized and fall within the preverbal grey area. Borrowing is the act of taking content and elaborating upon it. Perhaps this means quoting another article; maybe you leave a trail with a link. This is more a matter of length. How much can someone copy before it is plagiarizing? Is it fair to host someone else’s content on your space without asking? Are there ramifications if you misrepresent?

Apprenticing, which is something I did in undergrad, is the close study and emulating of another’s work. Not copying in a traditional sense, but mirroring, practicing, sometimes repeating what has already been created by another to improve one’s craft. This level is in some ways the most dangerous in an ethical sense. Where does your work begin and there’s end? How do you determine what is too similar? What happens when it gets published? Do you mention that you studied their work closely in a footnote?

Bloggers are as uninhibited as anyone on the internet, which makes them culpable for the ethical issues they face every time they post. Are your words really your own? Do you represent yourself and others fairly? Is your conduct in line with the spirit of the community?

Sometimes having no rules makes it even harder to play fair.

Thanks for reading!

Keep Writing!

–ECW