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Who’s doing Nanowrimo?

I haven’t seen kredwyn, but I know she’s novelling this month.

Who here is writing a novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge?

There are nifty widgets for you, lots of online sympathy and support and another ten days to join and write a 50,000 word or more opus. (Has to be in by November 30th at the stroke before midnight!)

Misery Creativity loves company.  Hope to see you there.

(Because I’m still staring at a blank screen and doing everything in my power not to go back to speed marathon writing.

And one last thought – there’s nothing in the rules that say a novel can’t be group written (at least I think there nothing in the rules that says that.  I guess I should actually read the rules….hmmmm, another plot point).

But I digress:  How about a group written novel on an open thread?  Everybody contribute via the comments and someone who registers at Nano could submit them for the word counts.  

What a blast to have a freely associated, mind-blowing creative, snarkalicious Docudharma group novel!

And just to inspire you, Nanowrimo’s motto is:  

No plot?  No problem!

Help! My plot is killing me

Many of you know that I’m trying to meet the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing a 50,000+ word novel by the end of November (in other words, by the end of next week).  While I started out fingers on fire, I am finding that it’s rough going now.

Inspiration, please (and I don’t mean to breathe in deeply.)

How Do You Label?

I can’t get away from Docudharma today.  Every diary has been intriguing.  Commenters are on fire. And I keep generating more questions which beg for conversation.

Plf515 wrote an essay about the use of labels and how we perceive and use them.

Buhdy has been writing about who we are and what we are about.  

NLOB has been contributing to our collective understanding.

Robyn writes so eloquently and heart-wrenchingly and always insightfully about self-identity, inclusiveness and ostracism as an integral part of who she is.

And many others are writing and thoughtfully commenting about us, who we are, what our purpose is and what our contributions are and can be.

To that end, I am interested in learning about:

how you describe yourself

how your describe Docudharma


what your perceived discrepancies are between how you are and how you wish to be

how docudharma is and how you wish it to be

Anyone game?

The No News Is Bad News Media Symposium

I attended a riveting symposium yesterday, hosted by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, titled: No News Is Bad News – The Role Of The Media In Our Democracy. The panels were interesting for who wasn’t included as much as for who was.  

I was intrigued to note that no television or radio-based media representatives were present, but that the blogosphere was more than ably present in the guise of Marcy Wheeler – emptywheel – who blogs at home on The Next Hurrah, provided amazingly detailed live-blogging on Firedoglake of the Libby trial, and who is recognized for her meticulous research and detail into the intricacies of the legal finagling being performed by the Bush/Cheney administration.

The three sessions presented included war reporting, political reporting and the news business and the business of news. The discussions were animated, at times intense, and they were insightful for what was said and asked, and for what was left hanging in the air.

One elephant in the room was walking a circus tightrope and another was flying on a trapeze.

Field Trip

The mechanical engineer designed and built coal and oil-fired power plants.

“More capacity! More steam generation!  More!  More!  More!” was the mantra under which he performed. He brought home little brown wire-bound booklets in which his precise mechanical engineer’s writing discussed tubes and cyclones and pulverized coal and sulfur emissions.

Sometimes he packed his family in the Le Sabre, and he drove them down along the Ohio River. During one such trip he pulled into a long gravel drive and onto the parking area of one of the big, belching, slightly egg-smelling power plants.

The oldest would excitedly grab the door handle and start to scoot outside when the mother admonished, none-too-warmly,”You do exactly as your father tells you.  No running around.  Don’t make noise.  And don’t get dirty.”

I Apologize – An Explanation Of Sorts

Just dropping in for a few minutes to thank essayists, commenters and participants.  And to apologize for not engaging by reccing, commenting, etc. on the blog.

‘Net access is sporadic at best, and I don’t have any ability to predict when I can read. Chaos is my norm.

I have many days and nights where words don’t come easily – and many more when they don’t come at all. When they do, I try to do “remedial” work here and catch up with recs, a few comments and the occasional email to thank people for efforts and accomplishments.

I appreciate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.


“It Takes A Network To Defeat A Network”

Crossposted from To Us.  Permission to use noncommercially with attribution. For faster response to questions please email me at aek2013 at columbia dot edu.

Northeastern University hosted retired Central Command General John Abizaid to speak to its Middle East Center for Peace, Culture, and Development students about the U.S. and the Middle East this morning. The public was also invited, and I think I may have been the sole representative of that element of the audience.

General Abizaid, a Colorado Rockies fan, apologized for competing with the Red Sox homecoming parade.

However, the NU Middle East Center host, Professor Denis Sullivan, let him know that his presentation would end in plenty of time to take in the festivities.

Northeastern’s President Joseph Aoun, a professor of linguistics, introduced General Abizaid with this intriguing proposition: America is unique in being “hyphenated”.  People can be Arab-Americans, Latino-Americans, African-Americans, etc., and in America, this enrichment thrives and cultural and ethnic heritage celebrated and valued, instead of the enforced assimilation that occurs in other countries policies toward their immigrants.

Were that it was so.  President Ayoub has not perhaps lived in homogeneous communities in the South or Midwest, for example, where immigrants are not only not rewarded for cultural pride and immersion, but are discriminated for it.  However, I digress, and this optimism is not a bad thing.

General Abizaid had spent time introducing himself to the students beforehand, and he opened by acknowledging them, ROTC members, active military and Northeastern community audience members in attendance. He was comfortable in front of this audience, and he was at home and in command of his message at all times.

Frank Rich Says the Four Letter Word: COUP

Short and sweet:  Rich finally says it once and for all.  Bush and Cheney executed a silent coup.

Read it all – every word, cut it out, email it, but make like Revere and ride that pony!

“US Army: Return Our Documents To Iraq”

Please crosspost far and wide.  Dr. Eskander is relying on concerned Americans to support the efforts to return Iraq’s cultural history and treasures to their rightful home.

This evening, the Boston Public Library hosted a talk by Dr. Saad Eskander, the Director General of the Iraqi National Library and Archives, which is the equivalent of the US Library of Congress and National Archives.  His story is devastating, and yet, through it all, he will only repeat, “I’m just doing my job.”  His story is unknown to most Americans, and it is in this retelling that I hope to remedy at least a small part of that. The link is to his 6 month long blog via the British Library which chronicles some of what he experienced and what has happened to the Iraqi National Library and Archives.  It’s s story of almost total and complete devastation, the beginnings of restoration and reparation and continued violence and terror against the staff and patrons, but which have only stiffened the resolve of them to continue to forge a new future of democracy and open and secular culture in rebuilding what has been lost and creating a preferred national future.

Admit One Novel Excerpt Part III

I pulled the draft and saved your comments due to the inability to protect publishing rights here. Thanks for your comments and critiques.

Reality Aversion Is SO American

Over at Salon, Michael Massing wrote a disturbing post about the use of language by American traditional media and government to distort, obfuscate and hide truth. And how Americans overwhelmingly embrace this and attack purveyors of accuracy and truth.

We are the Thought Police By Michael Massing

Orwell’s Big Brother never showed up. Instead of centralized Iraq war propaganda, we have an America in which the public and the press jointly impose their own controls.

Salon Editor’s note: This essay is excerpted from the anthology “What Orwell Didn’t Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics,” edited by András Szántó. A related conference on journalism and public discourse takes place at the New York Public Library on Nov. 7.

Join me below the fold for more.

Wanted: Scallop/Sealife Artist

Stupid idea.  

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