Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Killer Shall Remain Nameless....

First a disclaimer - I'm supposed to be posting the first in a series of discussions on The Mists of Avalon that were arranged on my old blog at writingup, Merryone That discussion will start tomorrow, for anyone stopping by for the book club blogs - or anyone interested in following the discussion.

The Killer Shall Remain Nameless

This topic has caught my attention and I'd like to take a little detour from my normal 'writerly' discourse to address it. Of course, you've all been bombarded with the same media frenzy as I have over the last few days. My mind is on the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech.

Here's where my mind reels - articles upon articles, press clips upon press clips, all about the killer. The killer shall forever remain nameless on this blog, and I'll tell you why - he deserves neither fame nor infamy... mental illness is not a good enough claim for what this is - obviously he wasn't sane, I got that. Maybe things should have been done... whatever. But let's look at this for one second. He took a two hour coffee clatch in between shooting unarmed people to send scads of material to NBC News!!! He did this so that you would know his name. It seems to me that most of what he did was so that you would know his name.

To me, he remains nameless. He decided that. He left nothing of worth and, in fact, left a debt so deep that I doubt a life time of good deeds might balance it. He took away a life time of positive influence that thirty two other people might have had on the world.

The other thing that struck me, besides the fact that this fellow's name is all over the news... speculation about his reasoning... what was it in his life?.... why was he so troubled?..... The other thing that struck me was that in one of these rambling tirades he made mention of the columbine killers, who shall also remain nameless here... he called them by name, he spoke of them in reverence... perhaps if their stories weren't propelled to the spotlight... perhaps if the news did not focus on the killers, their lives, their names... this nameless lost soul would have self destructed without taking any innocent people with him... perhaps he wouldn't have self destructed... or maybe at least, he wouldn't have seen a viable way to make his name forever known at the expense of innocent lives.

So let's not speak of the nameless killers. Just for today, for this blog, maybe forever would be a better fix. Let's not look with kindness on his tortured life, giving a new generation of the criminally insane a glimmer of immortality at his example. Why not, instead, remember the lives he extinguished... the ones who deserve to live on in our minds... the ones who deserve the fame they may have earned through their lives and actions had they only been left with the chance.

There's a site up, devoted to these victims.... if you must study some portion of this tragedy, honor them, rather than the nameless killer...

Names to Remember

One person that I will spotlight here, because the story so touched me, was a professor at the school named Liviu Librescu. He was a Holocaust survivor... The man made it through the terrors of the holocaust!!!!! He died, holding the doors closed in order for his class to escape through the windows.... He was shot through the door in his attempt to hold off the killer and allow his students a chance to get to safety. His heroism saved his students' lives.

Liviu Librescu, there's a name to remember.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Author's Promotions on the Cheap

Hello my fellow readers, writers, and bloggers extraordinaire. I was sent this link in an email, but it may just be the funniest, cleverest example I've seen of author self promotion in a while.

The Author's Promotions

If you get time, and I hope you do, go and check out what she's done. There is humor, color coordination, and a violated refrigerator, if that piques your interest.

I don't know the author, or the book, but from what I've seen, I'll definitely go out on a limb and buy a copy. How about you guys? What do you think of her form of promotion and does it make you want to read further?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ethics in Ghostwriting

In another post, found at Laura Spencer’s blog, the discussion on ethics in freelance continues… For those of you not aware, there have been a number of blogs posted lately debating the ethics of ghostwriting.

I did drop a rough response at Lillie Ammann’s Blog on the subject, but thought a fuller post detailing my answers to some really profound questions posed by Ms. Spencer would be a great springboard for discussion. For those of you interested, both Laura Spencer and Lillie Ammann included thoughtful insights into the topic as well as a host of excellent links to follow for other writer’s opinions. Here are my answers:

1. Would you completely write a book, play, or other creative work and allow someone else to have the credit?

Most definitely not!!! But that’s not to say that I consider it unethical, I’m not judging anyone else’s mode of writing – for me, fiction is out as far as ghost writing is concerned.

2. Would you write a blog and allow someone else to claim it as their own?

Yes. Not all business owners can write well or capture an audience, but blogs are a fantastic way to keep constantly updated information on your website and to build a community feel for your business. I don’t see anything wrong with hiring a ghost blogger to update company blogs on a regular basis.

3. Would you use a pen name or pseudonym?

Yes – actually, my byline for fiction is my maiden name, which for me is more my own than my married name and I prefer to keep it that way… I use my legal name for non fiction, freelance, and this blog as a matter of fact – as well as editing.
I don’t see anything wrong with a pen name, and am not quite sure how it made it into the topic of writing ethics – many authors have multiple facets of interest and they may not want their primary writing to cross over to their side or hobby work… say a children’s author with a pension for erotica – you can see how the pseudonym might come in handy there.

4. Would you write a nonfiction piece and allow someone (or something as in the case of a company) to have the credit?

Yes, and I have done this type of ghost writing. There are certain instances where this may border on ethic dilemma, but that’s up to the writer to study and decide.

5. Would you write someone’s term paper for them?

NO! NO! NO! Anyone who writes a student’s work, thesis, anything along these lines, is as much of a cheating lowlife as the student who hired them… This is a huge pet peeve with me – but let me just clarify, in case some ‘writer’ who’s done this stumbles upon my blog – You are not a writer if you take this kind of work – you are a dishonest moron enabling a new generation to miss out on their education and infiltrate the world with mediocrity.

I’ve actually covered the ethics of cheating college students and the idiots who enable them in multiple posts at my old blog, Merryone Those posts will probably be moved here eventually, as I clean out the old blog of the extraneous and move the better nuggets here.

I would like to take the time to invite any writer, freelancer, or reader to respond to the above questions, or simply post their own take on ethics in writing on their respective blogs. Drop a link here so that I can find you – or drop a comment to more fully discuss.

Friday, April 06, 2007

An Imbalanced Life

Two of my favorite bloggers, Dana and Believin, set me a challenge to discuss how I find balance. I might take that as how I find balance in my writing life, between paying assignments and fiction. I might take that as finding balance between work and motherhood… I might take that any number of ways, I suppose, but the truth is, across the board, I don’t. I am forever imbalanced.

I have friends that have described me as over analytical, and to some extent they’re right. I like to pick apart situations, literature, nuances of writing to find some kernel of uncharted territory or hidden meaning. I pick apart conversations and do much of the same; a good deal of my life is spent in my own head – only paying partial attention to the world around me as I wander through it. By the same token, I am the flighty nitwit who doesn’t look before she leaps. That’s me, the girl who gets in the car with no directions to a place she’s never been and assumes all roads will lead where she’s going. This drives people crazy. Personally, I kind of like the adventure and I really don’t mind being late or missing something entirely if I’ve been present in another experience.

Two ends of the spectrum, but both of them are very much me. Does this give me balance? Not in the least. I teeter, dance, run, and fall often. Occasionally I can do little but crawl through. All nighters to finish what I’m responsible for, lack of motivation on days that don’t have absolute deadlines…. In life, in writing, in everything. For me, balance is not a state I’m familiar with and I don’t quite know what I’d do with it if ever I should attain that perception. I twirl in the middle of the room, stagger, fall, slide, laugh, and fall on my ass quite often. So far I’ve always gotten back up.

Balance would be easier, maybe. Maybe those with balance don’t need to rush through some things and are more at peace… What I’m finding with all of the over analytical introspection is that it does not balance out the flakey, fly by the seat of my pants side of me…. Instead it only replaces the reality of life with a daydream of what life might mean or could be… Possibly every writer out there does this to some extent, daydreams scenarios while they should be living in them… I think I prefer to teeter and dance, stumble and fall, and laugh a whole lot. But, balance? Well, perhaps I’m just not that graceful on my journey………..