Meet the World

A friend just sent me the URL for MEET THE WORLD.

Icaro Doria is a 25 year old Brazilian and the author of the flags campaign Meet the World that has been circulating the earth in chain letters via e-mails. "There are eight flags that portray very current topics like the division of opinions about the war in Iraq in the United States, the violence against women in Africa, the social inequality in Brazil, the drug trafficking in Columbia, Aids and malaria in Angola, etc."

Looking at the flags, and the interpretations that Doria has given the colors and symbols, the topics take a life of their own, don't they? They did for me.

The Weight of Being Fat

Talking with a young woman today through Yahoo's Instant Messaging I was once more reminded of the sadness that can envelop a person just for being overweight. While chatting I googled "weight does not define me" and the title of the second listing that came up jumped at me, The Weight of Being Fat. I clicked on the URL, read Ashley Michael's article, and sent the URL to the young woman through the chat window, encouraging her to read it and write her own essay. Does this story sound familiar to you? What has helped you with your self-esteem as it relates to weight when all other things have failed? If we know that fat does not define a person, why do we allow it to happen? How can we stop looking at ourselves through man-made mirrors and start seeing ourselves as the priceless, unique, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, individuals that we are? Each one of us has a unique gift inside, a gift that was meant to be given to the world at large. No one else can gift the world this way for no one has that unique gift. How can we release ourselves to be true to ourselves and not allow the world's perception of what is beautiful to rule us any longer? Tell me how you did it...or are doing it. Let's talk.


"The Ethical Brain" by Michael Gazzaniga

Have you ever wondered about how the study of ethics would enhance whatever field of work or study you're presently involved in? I think this is a timely field and The Ethical Brain, a book reviewed by Stephan L. Chorover in The Lancet, is thought provoking. This book review starts out by talking about another book, "The Astonishing Hypothesis....."
In The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (1994), Francis Crick famously suggested You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules ... You're nothing but a pack of neurons. The idea that neurons and their associated molecules behave and that there is nothing more to it than that is, I would suggest, a flawed supposition.
As Chorover reviews The Ethical Brain, in the last paragraph he argues that, "There is simply no escaping the fact that we are social organisms. As such it is not our brains in neurological isolation, but we, ourselves, individually and collectively in our relationships with each other and our surroundings who must be held responsible for our actions..." Chorover talks in his review how especially in the US and under President Bush's direction, "entrepreneurially inclined neuroscientists are increasingly able to claim 'ownership' of 'intellectual property' arguably belonging to the public. Unfettered by moral and ethical concerns for the greater public good, private, for-profit, biotechnology firms can thus easily and legally pursue new neurotechnologies, not because they are socially needed, but merely because they are technically possible and likely to generate lucrative financial returns."

I found the book review thought provoking. This type of reading/field of study fascinates me. The more technical advances within our reach the more we need to understand their ramifications. I feel like I'm in kindergarten when it comes to understanding these things but I'm willing to "go back to school" and become conversant in the subject.


Narrative nonfiction vs Historical Fiction

I recently was asked the question, "Could you give us a definition of narrative non-fiction? How is it different from historical fiction?"

I'm trying to nail this down because while attending this year's Pikes Peak Writers Conference I was told the middle grade novel I'm writing is narrative or creative nonfiction and not historical fiction as I'd thought all along. When I met with the Viking Books for Children editor she kept saying, "but why are you calling this historical fiction? Why fiction? This story runs on its own. Why fiction?" And I didn't have an answer for her.

Next day I spoke with a publisher at the conference and he gave me the term "narrative nonfiction" and after listening to what my novel is about he said that's what my novel was. I've asked this question in other author lists I belong to and have receive some great URLs that talk about the difference between narrative nonfiction and historical fiction.

The best definition of Creative Nonfiction I've come across is from the book The Art of Creative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind.

Creative Nonfiction may include dramatized biography, compilations of articles and essays and book-length memoirs. CNF must go beyond an expression of the self. The personal experiences should connect with the rest of the world and include some kind of research (i.e. secondary research of primary research where the writer interviews other people about the experience) and thus connects the personal experience to the rest of the world. CNF includes such fiction techniques as dialogue, description, point of view and character development.

Lee Gutkind's website is a veritable storehouse of information on creative nonfiction. His books are also worth looking into.Click this link to access Gutkind's books at amazon.com. You probably can get them from your public library as well.

Besides Gutkind's website, these are other ones I've come across. Please send me other URLs you know of that explain the difference between these creative/narrative nonfiction and historical fiction. Also, check out my "Narrative Nonfiction Middle Grade Novels" blog and add your titles there. Thanks! Use the "Comments" link to add to this list other URLs that explain what narrative nonfiction is:

  • Creative Nonfiction -- Lee Gutkind
  • Lines in the Mud: Exploring Creative Non-Fiction -- Aaron Pope
  • Narrative Nonfiction: The Art of Being There -- Edward Humes
  • What is Literary Nonfiction? -- University of Oregon

    Creative non-fiction man holds flag that proclaims, "TRUTH!  (sort of)"
  • The Written Word

    Are you all familiar with "thewrittenword"? TheWrittenWordEZine is a daily source of inspiration for writers, editors and publishers. Jade Walker sends these nuggets of inspiration to writers and it's free to subscribe... A recent quote applies to both published and yet-to-be-published writers: persistence is the key, it really is... I am encouraged on a regular basis by these quotes and wanted to share this resource with others... along with how to subscribe to it if you want to (click the link at the beginning of this paragraph). --- Also, if you know of other good sources of encouragement for writers use the "comments" link to blog your suggestions! Thanks.

    5/27/05: Success
    "Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties." --Bonnie Friedman


    Paid Surveys: Bad Telecommuting Jobs

    I'm looking to canvass telecommuting jobs that actually pay. One that comes up frequently is how people can get paid for taking online surveys. Signing up for this was a huge mistake! I've taken several surveys but have received no payment. What I have received is a deluge of spam mail offering me the chance to sign up for even more things.

    The site we signed up under looked credible and had the right message: "Would you believe there are people who make thousands of dollars a month just for giving their opinions? It's quite possible... "The good news is that getting paid for your opinions doesn't involve skill or hard work ..." "You're here to make some money, so let's get...started ...one favor to ask - would you please tell at least two people about us?...We appreciate your help in letting people know about us and your friends will too."

    I very much doubt your friends will thank you if you actually refer them to any of the paid survey sites online. The offers that are pouring in promise free items, from computers to designer bags, to dating services to prescriptions, but to access them you have to sign up (read give credit card info) for "trial" memberships on various offers from known and unknown companies. And not just sign up with one but rather several offers.

    My advice, if you sign up for ANY "paid" survey taking opportunities online: Use a different email.Don't use your regular email to sign up. Use one you can easily delete when it begins receiving spam by the 100s. Do not give personal information out. If they ask for first name, give first initial. If they ask for your birthday, don't give out your real one. Make one up while keeping the year the same. Use January 1 and your birth year. That way you can remember what you used. Don't give your actual street address to the sites you sign up with. If you have a PO Box use that instead.

    My experience with "getting paid to take online surveys" has not been good. This is a thumbs down option as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to hear about other folks' experiences on earning money by taking surveys online. Is there any wheat out there? All I found were weeds.