Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Parting Glass

In one of those other lives I would have loved to lead if I hadn't stumbled into this one, I would have been involved in politics somehow. Probably as a reporter. My idols are Molly Ivins, Cokie Roberts, Mark Shields, Al Hunt, Bob Schieffer, James Carville, Paul Begala, and George Stephanopolous. And of course, Tim Russert.

His death saddens me more than I could have imagined the death of someone I didn't know personally could. I literally sat at a traffic light and bawled when I heard on Friday evening that he had died.

Tim Russert took over Meet the Press in 1991, just when I was becoming immersed in politics as an adult. I have always been a news and politics junkie. I remember watching the evening news as a very small child and asking my grandmother questions and listening as the adults around me talked politics. It sure seemed to happen a lot more back then than it does in my life now.

My whole life, politics has mattered to me, but it was when I graduated from college and saw how politics was not just some idealistic belief system that affected other people, but rather, was something that had a direct impact on my life that I really became impassioned.

Russert was there. One of the first pundits I looked to to learn from and hear discussions that didn't dance around a matter, but delved deeply into the essence of whatever the discussion was, whether it was universal health care or war in the Middle East or simply being a decent human being.

I think Tim Russert was probably one of those people who really is just too good for this world. By all accounts he was exactly the kind of guy you would want as your son, your father, your husband, or your pal.

I feel awful for his wife, his son, and of course, his dad. I can't imagine what life would be like after losing someone who clearly had such a big and impactful personality. It's a space that can't be filled.

I think the world is a little less nice knowing that such a good-hearted, joyful, passionate person no longer resides here. But I bet Heaven just got a little smarter.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Going to the Chapel

I don't know a lot of folks getting married or burying themselves deep in their wedding planning these days.

If I did, I would tell them about this new organization I just learned about today: it's called I Do Foundation. With the tagline, Celebrate Generously, I Do Foundation makes it easy for brides and grooms (and their guests) to give to their favorite charity in honor of their wedding day.

Right now, brides and grooms creating bridal registries with Target,, REI, or Linens and Things, can give up to 10% of the purchase price of gifts bought off their registries to the charity of their choice.

How cool is that?!

I understand that giving is supposed to be a sacrifice and should teach us something real about the nature of giving and maybe even ourselves. But I also like it when companies find unique ways of giving that allow us to feel good about shopping with them.

So, if you have friends or families planning their weddings right now, let them know about this easy way to turn their wedding into a gala fundraiser for their favorite charity.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

None of Us are Free

I suspect that if I were receiving a report card today, it would say does not play well with others. And after reflecting on this, I think I've always been this way, to some extent.

I do not like being part of a team. I want to be given a project and told to go at it. If I have to work with someone else, I want them to do their part and let me do mine and for them to keep their mouths shut and not tell me what they think about my work. And I'll do the same.

Now, why am I on about this, you ask? Well, I started a new job. There's the boss, who can give me feedback. That's part of the inherent, unspoken contract between a boss and an employee. There's a tech guy. And there's me... the marketer, the writer.

The tech guy thinks he can criticize my writing. And that pisses me the hell off. Especially when the writing is on a blog.

Ah ha! That was an example of exactly the thing he'd criticize... a sentence fragment.

I'll be more specific. I have a new job as the part-time marketing director for a small company. I am writing a blog on the subject matter of that company. I have worked with the tech guy on the blog because it's on WordPress at his suggestion and I am finding WordPress very user-unfriendly and ugly and it doesn't handle text well, etc. So, I've lots of questions.

Because it's a blog and I'm ghostwriting it, I've tried to find a way to match the conversational tone of my boss and keep it readable. I'm writing about specific subject matter and I need to sound like I know what I'm talking about without being stuffy or pompous. As I've shown here, I think that a blog is a conversation. And I tend to write in a conversational tone, phrasing things as I would say them if I were speaking to friends. I do not write in the formal manner, using all the conventions of correct grammar, as I would were I writing an English paper or an article for a magazine or speaking in front of a group of English professors who weren't also my friends. (You would be shocked at how many of my friends and Scott's are actually English professors.)

In writing this other blog, which has kept me away from here for more than a week, I think, I have used a sentence fragment for effect. I have begun a sentence with And (more than once), also for effect, and I have been soundly called out for those things by Mr. Techy-Smartypants. To my boss!

I met him for the first time yesterday and he gave off a cold and smug vibe that really rubbed me the wrong way. During the meeting, I learned that my boss is hiring another writer who was recommended by this tech guy, who by the way, I now think is a dirty louse for recommending another writer.

My boss says I shouldn't be insulted. He wants me to manage the marketing efforts and not write. But I love writing. LOVE IT. It is the one thing, other than my family and friends, that I am passionate about. Marketing is just something I do. Not what I love... what I wake up thinking about in the middle of the night. I don't compose marketing plans in the shower every day, but I do mentally write... fictional stories, blog posts, love letters to my husband and children, letters to congresspeople, magazine articles.

I know that if I were a better person, a team player, as it were, I'd be egoless about this. I would believe this is what is best for the business and I will be able to focus my efforts on generating great marketing ideas every day if I don't have to write the blog and web content. But I'm not there. I'm not selfless and egoless. I do believe I am a better writer than anyone else my boss will hire. I went to Agnes Freakin' Scott, dammit! No one trains better writers than Agnes Scott.

So, now that we're clear... Dawn doesn't play well with others and thinks she's a better writer than 95% of the people available to be hired as writers and she doesn't like being corrected by know-it-all techies... I feel much better. And I hope you don't think less of me for venting about it. Or for actually having the feelings in the first place. I never claimed to be perfect, right?

I will see letting go of the writing aspects of the job as an opportunity to focus those energies here and on other writing projects and I will try to see focusing on the marketing efforts as my actual job and the building up of those muscles.

Wish me the best.

*Tech dude actually criticized me for writing directly into the blog, as opposed to using a text editor and cutting and pasting. First of all, if WordPress actually came with a built-in spell check it wouldn't matter, and second of all, he must not know who he's talking to. I can only compare it to folks who do crosswords in pencil.

So, y'all, how do you write? Directly into the blog or with a text editor? Do tell, because I think he's insane and presumptuous to believe that I would need to do that.