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Youth Art Contest: Endangered Species January 27, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography.
10 comments

2010 Grand Prize: Polar Bear & Beluga Whale, Carter Schroeder, Anchorage, AK

Endangered Species Day, started by the US Congress in 2006, celebrates our nation’s imperiled wildlife, plants, and wild spaces.

The event features a Youth Art Contest, organized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service,  Endangered Species Coalition, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art/ University of New Orleans.

Teachers can include the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest as a featured activity for Youth Art Month in March. 

Entries are due March 15.

For more information on how to enter: National Audubon Society Advisory

If You Are Going To Tell MY Story . . . January 27, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Writing & Writers.
32 comments

150px-Carlo_Crivelli_052Yesterday, someone in the blogosphere used “my story” to support his view that writers can be writers even if they don’t write.

Here are his words:

Then, finally, there are people like my writer friend Nancy, who for years had worked as a lawyer and had made a great living, but who, despite all this, felt incredibly unhappy.

Inside, Nancy knew that she was a writer, but because of her life circumstances she just couldn’t write. Life had gotten in her way.

Since then, Nancy took the big leap, left her law career and is now pursuing her passion: writing.

I am very happy for her, and admire her for the guts it took to take that big step, but I know that many of my writer friends are not as lucky, and maybe not as brave. And you know what? I don’t blame them for not having the courage–or the luck.

You see, for many writers, life doesn’t unfold magically and perfectly as they would wish. No, for many of us, life tends to do the EXACT opposite of what we want it to do. In fact, it seems that life will do it’s [sic] best to GET IN THE WAY of your successful writing career.

When I first read his overview of “my life,” it bothered me.  I felt violated by his off-kilter summary.

I tried to brush it off, reminding myself that we have as many reputations as we have acquaintances . . . and none is accurate.

But I woke up this morning still dismayed by how he had characterized my life for his readers.  I returned to his blog and left the following comment:

I’ve thought about this post a bit more, and feel that I do need to clarify “my story” for your readers:

(1)  You say that I felt “incredibly unhappy.” That is NOT correct.  I felt quite happy, except in my choice of career.  That made it easy to determine the source of my unhappiness and eliminate it from my life by transitioning from law to non-profit work and eventually to writing as a full time occupation.

(2)  You say “Nancy knew that she was a writer, but because of her life circumstances she just couldn’t write. Life had gotten in her way.”  Also, incorrect.  I never stopped writing.  I never allowed life to get in the way of my passion.

Cooks cook.  Dancers dance.  Writers write.

(3)  You say, “Since then, Nancy took the big leap, left her law career and is now pursuing her passion: writing.”  Not entirely incorrect.  But you left out a span of 10 years where I ran first a domestic violence program and then an AmeriCorps program.

(4)  You attribute my transition to “luck.”  I attribute it to a mindful evaluation of my life to determine whether my focus was on my priorities.  I attribute it to a series of choices that I made over time to move away from what wasn’t working and move toward a life that would be a better fit for me.

Thanks for allowing me to clarify my story for your readers.  If I ever decide to share your story, I’ll run my thoughts by you first.

I am not writing this post to make him look bad for what I  hope were a series of innocent misrepresentations on his part.

Rather, I am writing this post to remind writers of non-fiction that they should be careful when using the stories of others to advance their own agendas.

Sharing specific anecdotes we have observed first hand is one thing.

Attempting to summarize someone else’s life based on second hand evidence and hearsay is another ~ especially when we are using the summary to support a theory with which they disagree.

Cooks cook.  Dancers dance.  Writers write.

What I found most unsettling is that he seems to understand me so little, and yet he called me “friend.”

Quote:  Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~ C.S. Lewis

Related posts:  Cooks Cook.  Dancers Dance.  Writers Write * Brief Bio * Other Stuff * Whose Shoes Are They Anyway? * “I Know What YOU Should Do”

Cooks Cook. Dancers Dance. Writers Write. January 27, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
22 comments

For me, writing has always been about the journey, not the destination.  It’s not about going somewhere or achieving something . . . it’s about enjoying myself along the way.

I never decided to become a writer ~ I just wrote.  It is in the doing that we become.

Cooks cook.  Dancers dance.  Writers write.

From the time I entered school, I enjoyed playing with words.  I wrote silly poems, and sillier stories.  I wrote letters to friends and family members, and kept a journal with entries intended for my eyes only ~ my younger brother, a budding Private Eye, searched for that journal on a regular basis.  

Sometimes, I shared my writing with others; generally, I did not.  I wrote for the sheer sake of writing, and read for the sheer pleasure of enjoying words penned by other more experienced writers.

Cooks cook.  Dancers dance.  Writers write.

In high school, college, and law school, all that practice with reading and writing assisted me, especially on essay examinations and required papers on esoteric subjects.  Since I knew how to write a concise sentence, when other students apparently did not, professors gave me “bonus points.”  My grades reflected not only mastery of the subject matter under discussion, but  understanding of the English language as well.  

As an attorney, my communication skills stood me in good stead on a daily basis, allowing me to convey to judge and jury why my client deserved a verdict in his or her favor. 

In the non-profit arena, I found that good communication skills made my life that much easier, especially when writing grants to request money.  Being able to convey what we had done with money in the past enabled us to get more money, and continue our efforts to make the world a better place. 

Writing has eased my personal and professional life from the time I entered school until the present.  Writing enhances my life in almost the same way as knowing how to breathe  enhances my continued daily existence.

I breathe to stay alive.  I write to feel alive.

Cooks cook.  Dancers dance.  Writers write.

How about you?  Do you make time to enjoy your passions on a regular basis?  If not, why not?

Quote:  Do not delay; the golden moments fly!  ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  To Share . . . Or Not To ShareLife . . . A Journey, Not A DestinationOur Field Of Dreams * Our Internal Compass * Blogging:  A Waggish Waste of Time? * Writers Who Don’t Write (Courage2Create) * What Did You Want To Be . . . When You Grew Up (Footprints in the Sand)