The Flash Fiction I Wrote for Inner Writer

partone

The Shoes at the Edge of Tomorrow

Today I woke up and the world is broken. I’ve read about people having their shoes knocked off when hit by a train or a bus. But there are no trains, no skid marks, no blood or bodies. Just shoes. Far in the distance the sky is lighter, too light, without explanation.

The lack of sound, as if it were vacuumed out of the air, surrounds me. It fills my ears, creating a buzz of nothingness inside my head. I smash-kick a shoe out of my way to make it stop.

I love old houses, especially those which are weathered, neglected and left in ruins. I planned my weekend, charged up my camera battery, packed my map and left my hiking boots by the door. I’m photographing the derelict, forgotten houses but they seem less abandoned today.

The road is full of empty shoes and no one to wear them.

Content Designer/ Writer Job Post

Found this posted to FreshGigs.ca

Content Designer/Writer Full-Time

Our philosophy is and yours should be ‘people using our products come first’.

We’re working to create marketing products that people want to use and words play a big part in that. Join the Trade and Marketing Division of the Ministry of Economic DevelopmentEmployment and Infrastructure where you will write, design, develop and produce marketing content, materials and products to market ministry programs and initiatives to target audiences through multiple content formats.

What can I expect to do in this role?

In this role:

  • you will create marketing products to market ministry programs and services using the written word, digital technologies, graphic design and other media
  • you need to be user-focused and know how to write and create with a real-life person not a department in mind

How do I qualify?

Marketing and Communications Knowledge and Skills:

You are able to:

  • create marketing content using a wide variety of media including written, digital, video, graphic design, etc.
  • take complex language, concepts and processes and make them easy to understand
  • clarify and communicate content objectives and bring a broader perspective to a topic so that it can focus on the right information for the user

Technical Knowledge and Skills:

You have proven experience:

  • writing for the web and creating marketing content that is clear, accessible and usable
  • developing marketing material in a variety of mediums and formats
  • choosing the best format for communicating information to the user
  • using existing content and repurposing it into alternate formats for additional uses
  • implementing content marketing strategies
  • using metrics and user feedback to define/refine content
  • marketing in a B2B setting

Analytical and Evaluative Skills:

You can:

  • analyze client needs and target audiences and recommend the most appropriate approach/medium/format, etc.
  • plan and design user-focused content
  • identify content gaps and overlaps and map out content strategies for different audiences using different formats
  • work with a multi-disciplinary team to understand user behaviours and feedback and develop effective content

How to Survive Alone in a New Town or City

Why don’t more people travel alone?

I never thought of it as being especially brave. I enjoyed being able to choose my destination each day and push myself along into meeting people, trying new things and just plain getting out there and discovering new things every day.

It’s probably easier for younger people, those who don’t stop to think about what might happen. Most of the time, all those worries are based on very little real information. Seldom did any of those worries ever become fact.

Getting lost is something I don’t even count as a problem. It’s when you do get lost that you find something really wonderful. It may be a tourist thing, a new restaurant, an attraction or an event. Sometimes the thing you discover is yourself, your own resilience, ingenuity and ability to adapt and change.

Get out there, get involved and find your way around – those are the keys I have found to living or travelling in a new place, town or city.

Getting Started by Getting Out There

The number one thing to do in a new town or city is NOT staying indoors, shut away and safe. Jump in and join in. The purpose of travel is to see new things, meet new people and broaden your horizons. Also, to enjoy yourself and relax. But, if you just stay safe inside a hotel or a safe little area you could just have stayed home and saved your money.

Start slow and build your way up, feel your way around. I often went out for breakfast somewhere. Look for a local place rather than going for a chain restaurant just like the chain restaurant you see in your own city or town. Talk to the waitress or waiter, whoever takes your order and serves the meal. Make conversation by asking them about the town, what do they recommend?

You don’t have to take any suggestions, unless something does perk your interest. The point is to find out what local people think would be good to see. Often the local people have never explored the tourist elements themselves, they just know there is a local museum or art gallery but have never taken the time to see it. Locals tend to take their own town for granted that way. If you think about it, you like do the same in your own town.

Get Involved with the Local Community

Check for event listings in the local newspaper. See how many events and group meetings (clubs and societies) you can find and attend.

Go to local shops, stores and restaurants rather than big, well-known stores and retail chains. Local places will have local people and know more about local things you can do and get involved with.

Local places will also sometimes have flyers, business cards and other media which will help you find more local things to get involved with.

Navigation in a New Place

Get local maps and learn the roads. When you plan to go somewhere study the route so you will begin to understand the streets and be able to navigate around without needing a map eventually.

Know the local transit system. Know how much bus fare costs and the general route.

Keep the phone number for the local taxi service in cause you wander too far and don’t like where you end up. You don’t even need a ride all the way back, just get dropped off somewhere you would rather be.

Don’t Fear for Your Life

Don’t be afraid to wander around on your own. Even in the “big city” you don’t have to be intimidated or afraid. Too often I hear people from smaller towns claim bigger towns and cities are dangerous, so much crime, so many guns and robberies… Of course there are more crimes in an area with more people to create them. This does not mean you are not safe.

There are more areas more places as well as more people. Actually, having lived in both big cities, small cities, small towns, villages and one town too small to have more than one traffic light – I can say you are equally safe in any of those places.

Of course, there are precautions you can take, things not to do and situations to avoid. This is regardless of your location – village, town or city.

Don’t become an easy target. Going out drinking and then stumbling around drunk is not the smartest plan. Being an ignorant loud-mouth is bound to make you less friends and give people a reason to feel resentment and anger towards you. So, mind your manners.

When you go out, have a plan. Know where you are going. Have a plan for getting there and back. This way you won’t be vulnerable if something happens and you need to leave or get back to an area you know better. Also, people who walk as if they have a purpose and a planned destination are less likely to be approached.

If people tell you are area is not good for whatever reasons, avoid that area. You can be in a small town and discover an area which is run down and usually badly kept with people who don’t have much and may be risky. This is not just a big city thing.

A Few Links

Start a Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Five Easy Steps to a Little Free Library in Your Neighbourhood  

 

1. Identify a location and steward.

2. Decide if you want to:

Order a complete Little Library or kit from our online catalogue.

Build it Yourself.  Make it official!.Get plans and instructions.

“Endow” for someone else (tax deductible!). Support Books for All in Africa, India or your community, Little Free Libraries for Small Towns or other initiatives.

Honor someone or have a Memorial Library

3. Contact us.  Use the Contact Us form on the website.  Reserve an official number and style, supplies and access to books.

4. Build Support

Lead the way. Be the first to give to the Little Free Library G.I.F.T. (Give It Forward Team) Fund.

Find a business or group sponsor

Tell your neighbours and friends. Invite them over for a little house party or send them a note asking them to join you.

5. When it is installed, celebrate! Send your photos and information to the website and get on the worldwide map!

 

Keep your Little Library full of books.  Protect it. Enjoy it. Feel great!

P.S. Always support your public and school libraries!

Bookpacking is Such a Great Word

winter readingI first heard of the word, bookpacking, in the Suite101 post which I have linked to below. I think it is great to have an actual, understandable, word for something I have been doing since I learned to read.

In the bookpacking post the writer combines bookpacking with exercise. I haven’t always done it that way, at least not deliberately. I do take the bus, walk along downtown, go shopping or even take a day trip or road trip. I always pack a book with me (and my camera for the past several years).

Bookpacking is such a great word.

Are you one of the people who typically carries at least one book around with you, where ever you go? Even if you might not get a chance to settle in somewhere and have the alone, or quiet time to read… do you always have a book, just in case? I do.

I don’t think you can take an eReader on a bookpacking excursion. It might get bumped and banged around, it could get wet or you may not have enough battery power to keep the lights on. Besides, there are always times when the old reliable paperback is just what you need.

The Elements of Successful Bookpacking

First, the book you want to read. Not just any book you happened to pick. You need a good book and a book you are in the mood to read. You could pick a book which is well written and seems to have a great story… but you just aren’t in the mood to read it for some reason. So, you need the right book at the right time.

Second, you need something to carry your book and other accumulated gear around with you. These days we often carry around more stuff in order to be green. I keep a backpack with cloth bags for grocery shopping, sometimes a reusable coffee mug too. The mug doesn’t work out so well if you stop at a second place before you have washed it out.

My backpack gives me space to stash my purse inside it too. If I’m on a longer trip I carry a map book, my camera, paper and pens and assorted other standard stuff (for me).

Make sure whatever you use to carry around your stuff is easy to carry around. Don’t pick something which is already a bit heavy, even before you pack it up. It’s only going to get heavier.

Next up is location. Not everyone can read just anywhere. I like semi-quiet. A little distraction with people watching is nice too. I tend to pick coffee shops. I really like enjoying a coffee while I read. Other nice places are libraries, museums, restaurants… pretty much any place with a comfortable chair, table and a niche that blocks out noise if it’s a busy place.

Assorted Extras

Bookmarks. Of course, you can turn down the top of a page. But this contributes to making books dog-earred. Meanwhile you can use anything slim enough as a bookmark. You could even use a real, actual bookmark.

Those real on-the-go sort of bookpackers might want a portable chair. However, this isn’t practical for the added weight of hauling it around yourself. For those with a vehicle to haul a portable chair around for them, it seems a bit redundant when you already have a nicely padded chair in the vehicle. But, it could be nice if you are on a bicycle or motorbike and want to take a break to read in the great outdoors. (Even then it occurs to me that a picnic blanket would be a better choice for it’s weight and multi-purposeness).

One thing I can not do is read on a moving vehicle. So, you may find yourself enjoying to read on the bus, ferry, and so on. There really are endless great locations to pull out your book and read a few pages or a few chapters if you have the time. If you do discover you can’t read on a moving vehicle either, just put your book away and try to look off into the distance for awhile. You may need to abandon the vehicle for at least a short time. Stop off at a coffee shop and read awhile, outside the vehicle or while the vehicle is parked.

On a Side Note…

There are a few times and instances when you shouldn’t bring out a book and read. Your brother may not think well of you if you bring a book to his hockey game and sit in the arena with your nose stuck in a book, not really watching his hockey game more than the odd quick glance up. Every once in awhile this comes up in my family. But, I am the only true bookpacker in the group. Still, its good to remember that not everyone is into bookpacking.

 

Bookpacking Combines Travel With Reading | Suite101  by Nelson Shogren

One Hundred Things to Help Inspire Creativity

wallflower

This was originally posted to HubPages. When it became mothballed due to their no-index policy I pulled it and brought here to rescue it from content scrapers and give it a second wind.

100 Creative Ideas

This will be my 100th post to HubPages. I actually joined years ago but didn’t start writing here until last year. Still, it took awhile to write 100 posts.

I almost went ahead and just posted one of the ideas I have been working on without thinking to make this post anything special. Then, I stopped. One hundred posts should be some kind of milestone.

So, after considering a few ideas, I decided to post 100 creative ideas to help, inspire and push others to be creative (more creative). Yes, they are slightly slanted to women. But, I’m thinking of ideas out of my own head and that’s who I am.

Enjoy the ideas. Let me know if you try a few and what kind of creative adventures and explorations you have.

  1. Write your own list of 100 things.
  2. Gather up all your pens and some paper. Have a pen testing party. Get rid of pens that don’t still work.
  3. Create a design with coffee cup rings (or tea) on a blank page.
  4. Take paper and pens – find somewhere public where you can spend an hour or longer just writing whatever comes to mind.
  5. Draw a dragon. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw, doodle until it starts to look good.
  6. Interview someone interesting, to you. Ask them what you really want to know.
  7. Write a suggestion and send it to the right people.
  8. Go barefoot (within reason) for at least an hour.
  9. People watch.
  10. Practice calligraphy. Bonus if you can use a fountain pen too.
  11. Pick up a pebble, a leaf, a shell, something small from nature.
  12. Start an account on Twitter and use it.
  13. Try ASCII art. Images created with keyboard text.
  14. Write a haiku poem.
  15. Draw a map of your local area, add all the land features, streets, etc.
  16. Play Scrabble with someone.
  17. Leave your car at home and take the bus for one day.
  18. Read out loud.
  19. Write your favourite word on an index card (recipe card) then decorate it in any way you dream up.
  20. Try a unique flavour of tea. The best I had was caramel.
  21. Make a chain of paperdolls.
  22. Write a postcard to someone, mail it.
  23. Take a unique self-portrait photograph of yourself.
  24. Read the newspaper and clip out one idea you can write about.
  25. Try baking something: pie, cake, cheesecake.
  26. Repurpose an old T-shirt in some useful way.
  27. Try Snip.it – set up a topic you want to research there.
  28. Paint your body. If you seldom paint your nails, try that. Otherwise, face painting, a temporary tattoo…
  29. Photograph water, any kind of water: rain on a window, a puddle, water in the sink…
  30. Make thumbprints and turn them into characters.
  31. Try origami. Follow a pattern and see how it turns out.
  32. Write at least one journal (diary) entry about your day.
  33. Clean out your purse or wallet (or both). Reduce clutter in a small way.
  34. Put an ice cube in a glass of water. Start writing, keep writing until the ice has melted.
  35. Try a graphics software, Gimp is free, create a web banner for your blog, site or just your own name.
  36. Write about your ultimate vacation: where you would go, how you would get there and what you would do.
  37. Rename all the characters in whatever book you are reading now.
  38. Think of something completely unacceptable to write for a woman’s magazine. Write it anyway.
  39. Photograph an abandoned place or thing in your area.
  40. Take one photograph of anyone (not someone you know) in a public place, street photography.
  41. Watch a favourite movie you haven’t seen in a really long time.
  42. Read about night photography and give it a try.
  43. Sew on a button. If you are already a sewing diva create something with a lot of buttons.
  44. Create your own bookmark.
  45. Try freestyle embroidery. Embroider a square of fabric which you can sew on as a patch on jeans, a blanket, etc.
  46. Invite a friend over for an unbirthday party.
  47. Use crayons and draw a big picture – be a kid again.
  48. Become a cartoon artist for a day.
  49. Clip glossy photos from magazines and create a collage.
  50. Write a fictional news story. Use the newspaper writing style and all 5 Ws – who, what, where, when, why and… how.
  51. Try a crossword puzzle.
  52. Crochet a granny square.
  53. Get sticks and yarn to create a God’s Eye pattern from the 1970’s.
  54. Use paperclips or dandelions (in season) to make chains you can wear.
  55. Find out about mail art. Write a letter and use what you have learned about mail art.
  56. Start a scrapbook for something. Not for family photos, but a collection of newspaper clippings and such which you keep together in a traditional scrapbook.
  57. Write your name over and over using different fonts/ lettering each time.
  58. Make your own personal time capsule to be opened more than a year from now.
  59. Recycle newspaper by trying paper mache.
  60. Learn how to tie a sailor’s knot of some kind.
  61. In winter make a snow angel, in summer try a sand angel, or something else you can lie in and make an impression upon.
  62. Make Jello, pick a few colours, add the cubes to a large bowl and squish it all with your toes.
  63. Repurpose all those unmatched socks. Sock puppets are easy, what else can you do with them?
  64. Write out your favourite quote (or find one) and share it with someone else.
  65. Settle in somewhere nice outside and try bird watching.
  66. Turn something you like to cook or bake into an actual recipe, with measured ingredients and instructions for a beginner cook.
  67. See how far back you can go with your family tree, without peeking at anything you have already written/ printed out.
  68. Give yourself a ribbon for ‘World’s Greatest…’make it out of ribbon, paper, whatever you have on hand.
  69. Read one non-fiction book from the dust bunny collection on your bookshelves.
  70. Draw happy faces. Keep drawing them with different expressions until you run out of ideas.
  71. Go without your watch for a day. Ask other people the time or find a clock in stores, on the street, etc.
  72. Watch for little lost things in the street, sidewalk, etc. What can you find when you really look?
  73. String together different sized coloured beads and see what patterns you can make.
  74. Play with the sand, the snow, a pile of leaves, whatever is in season.
  75. Try some of the other mystery settings on your camera. You might like them.
  76. Design your own business card, even if you don’t have a business.
  77. Back up your computer files. See what you forgot you had. Save the important stuff to a DVD.
  78. Write the dedication for a book you haven’t written yet.
  79. How would you sell ice to people living in the Arctic?
  80. Get sidewalk chalk and remember the world of chalk drawings.
  81. How many different kind of shadow animals can you make?
  82. Play with an ink pad and rubber stamps.
  83. Make doll clothes. They can be for paper dolls if you don’t sew.
  84. Try to fold a better paper airplane.
  85. Bake and decorate cookies or cupcakes.
  86. Use a small mirror to write secret messages or draw backwards pictures.
  87. Draw a family of stick people, add pets, the family car and a house too.
  88. Draw or sketch or doodle something you can’t see.
  89. Get big sized paper and take crayons to the cemetery. Make cemetery stone etchings. (Don’t use stones which look fragile).
  90. Create a connect the dots game for kids.
  91. Make a meal based on one colour, try to keep every food/ dish one colour.
  92. Make a list of everything you smell.
  93. Trace your hand and then draw all the lines in your palm.
  94. Try storytelling. Or just write a complete nonsense story for fun.
  95. Collect random words and pull them together into a story.
  96. Write a story using less than 50 words, flash fiction.
  97. Paint something.
  98. Draw a flower.
  99. Cut out paper snowflakes.
  100. Plant something. Use a flower pot or container of some kind if you don’t have garden space outside.

 

Quotes for Writers from Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path

The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never scoring. – Bill Copeland

It takes five years to break in and fifteen years to support yourself as a writer. – Sue Grafton

With the power of conviction there is no sacrifice. – Pat Benatar

I wrote for twelve years and collected 250 rejection slips before getting any fiction published, so I guess outside reinforcement isn’t all that important to me. – Lisa Alther

“Now” is the operative word. Everything you’ve put in your way is just a method of putting off the hour when you could actually be doing your dream. – Barbara Sher

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot

Read more

Linguistics and Semantics

From SuiteU. Saved before it disappears. More pages of links were included back to the course writer’s topic on Suite101 but all of those links were 404 so I have not tried to include them.

Linguistics & Semantics
By Antonella Sartor

Introduction

Have you never asked yourself what is the real meaning of ‘language’? (linguistics) Why the words change? (the semantic change) Why one word is pronounced in this way? (phonetic/phonology) What differentiate the languages of world, for example, English from Italian or English from French etc? (phonological rules) Which rules are necessary for word formation or sentence formation? (morphology and syntax) What rules govern people’s behaviour? (pragmatics and speech acts) How can we analyse a poem, a critical essay, a piece of narrative passage?(textual analysis) Which rhetorical figures are the most important? (metaphor, metonymy, connotation, denotation, simile etc)

Read more

Twitter/ ASCII Artist Interview with Andrea Pacione

The Portfolio of Andrea Pacione 

Andrea on Facebook and Twitter

Q: How did you first find ASCII art, ANSI art, Twitter art or text art? Which style came first for you?

I remember seeing ascii or text art appear in some old-school programs on my Apple IIgs family computer that I grew up with back in the 80s. Since graphics were limited, a lot of these sorts of images appeared in games and educational software. I didn’t come across twitter art until about two years ago. I met a friend in my Color class who was facebook friends with New York City artist Larry Carlson, who claims to have invented the #twitterart hashtag. I began studying the posts that would appear in this hashtag, from a wide range of people from all over the world. I was entranced by this new language of expression through images and something about lining up the characters in 140 blocks was highly appealing to me. One very boring winter just before I started school, I would spend hours a day creating these little text arts or twitter arts, and after a few months of this, instead of taking two hours or more just to make one, I could bang them out in five minutes or less. It seemed like a useless hobby at the time, but I think that learning this skill has given me an advantage in my design classes, especially when working with the grid.

Q: What was helpful for you when you started creating text art? Any mentors, FAQ’s or other tutorials or guides?

I remember asking advice from Tom, also known as @140artist on twitter, who gave me a few tips and secrets. Back then, the first line of text on twitter started after your name, so it didn’t line up exactly with the other lines. This was my biggest problem, because what looked like it lined up right in the input box would look very different once you had posted it. Tom gave me the hint to put the hashtags first. Now that twitter has been remodeled, this is no longer necessary as every first line begins on the line below our names now.

Q: What tools do you use?

I use the Special Characters Map that was built into my MacBook Pro.

Q: Do you use a fixed width font or have particular fonts you especially like to work with?

I haven’t played around with different fonts much, as I only really got into this on twitter, which only uses one standard font.

Q: I hadn’t known about creating text art on different systems but now discovered PETSCII and AtariSCII. Have you experimented with a few of these, beyond the standard Windows Notepad?

Nope, haven’t used any program of any sort. Just the characters map and the twitter palate.

Q: Do you turn your art into an image file to display it or rely on HTML code or something else to keep text art formatted?

I have not used either of these methods as yet. For one or two pieces, I used the ‘Grab’ tool in my Mac to take a snapshot of the twitter art post, to post it as a picture on facebook, as the text art doesn’t line up the same on facebook as it does on twitter. But for the most part, I just create it in the twitter input box and hit the send button.

Q: Is it important to you to have set definitions and guidelines as to what is ASCII art, what is ANSI art and etc.? How do you decide which is which for yourself?

I’m honestly not that educated on the definitions. I just did it for fun and learned a new language in the process, which I don’t fully understand but enjoy greatly.

Q: Do you keep an archive of your art? If so, please include the link(s).

Right now I have a word processing and .pdf file storing about 2,000 pieces of text art I have made on twitter. A friend of mine, John the Baker, who has his own punk band and hired me to create a CD cover for his new album with my twitter art, has suggested that I publish it as a book on twitter art. I may do that someday when I’m not so busy trying to earn a college degree.