Granted, I write on my personal blog less frequently these days due to a number of circumstances, but I’m both proud and saddened to say that I haven’t linked to an online Times-Picayune article from my site since 2009. Why is that? Let’s take a look… Every so often, Alex Rawls of the local music […]
Category Archives: Writing
I recently received my yearly report from WordPress on the progress NOLAFemmes made in 2012 and thought I’d share some of it with y’all. It was all good and some of the stats included in the report were:
- NOLAFemmes was viewed about 190,000 times in 2012. (!)
- The busiest day of the year was February 24th with 85,727 views.
- The most popular post that day was Lit Up Like a Parade.
- The top referring sites were Facebook, Twitter, WWL TV and Nola.com.
NOLAFemmes was just a baby of an idea I began tossing around in my head about four years ago because I realized there was no local group blog made up entirely of women writers at the time which I saw as a serious flaw in the NOLA blogosphere. As far as I know, we are still the only local blog staffed entirely by women. Some people say blogs are dying but our stats and our readers call BS on that. Our first post was published on July 12. 2009 and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.
It was a very busy 2012 for this blog and it started off with a Very. Big. Bang. in February with A.L. Mueller’s heartfelt post “Lit Up Like A Parade” which went viral nationally very, very quickly. (Examples here, here and here.) Emily Gras grew out of that post and was one of WWL TV’s most viewed stories for 2012 and WDSU’s Top Stories.
In March Lunanola was the first New Orleanian to tweet about the sidewalk defacement in the French Quarter by representatives of CoCa Cola looking to advertise during the NCAA Men’s Final Four event. She quickly blogged her outrage in her post “Historic French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé defaced with graffiti advertising Coca-Cola products” and was joined in her outrage by many New Orleanians. Due to her activism, Coca-Cola subsequently apologized and had reps scrubbing the sidewalks.
Liprap’s poignant and personal post “Help. Now.”, including helpful information for victims of Hurricane Sandy, earned the blog a prominent spot on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed page. This is a big deal in the WordPress community and gives a blog great exposure. (This made our third time on FP!) It was a well deserved honor and we thank Word Press for the nod.
These are only three of the many well-written, informative and entertaining pieces written by the women of this blog who were all hand-picked for her individual talents. We strive to be a well-rounded site incorporating local issues of interest to New Orleanians as well as cultural and personal pieces of interest to all. We don’t want to be only a “political” blog, a “mommy” blog or a “pop-culture” blog; we want to be all of that and more. We want to inspire, inform and entertain. Our readers are why we are here at all and we always want to give them a perspective they won’t read anywhere else. Our perspective.
So I want to thank all of our readers for choosing to read this blog in a world where an internet surfer’s interest is increasingly being vied for, especially in the social media world. We couldn’t exist, much less thrive as we have, without you.
Thank you all, my writing companions, for all you do for this blog. You’re the best!
We look forward to another great year here on NOLAFemmes. May you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
I’ll admit it: I’m a slacker mom about many things, among them my son’s homework.
Well, considering his attention-deficit diagnosis, I’m not as much of a slacker as I’d like to be. I’m constantly having to remind him not only to do what he wrote down in his assignment book, but to stay in one place and do it. Bribes such as the eventual watching of MythBusters episodes, Angry Birds and Bad Piggies playing time, and dessert upon the completion of homework also enter the picture…but I’ve rarely been uneasy about the subjects he covers in school.
First of all, head here and check out pages 107-108. Take your time. Look it over.
Yes, you all read it right. It’s asking kids for a criminal description.
Okay. It doesn’t say what the crime is. It just says you caught someone doing something illegal and you need to write down a description of the perp for the police. In that imaginary vacuum where crime is a rare occurrence, this isn’t a big whoop, you just describe somebody.
However, New Orleans is anything but a vacuum crime-wise; in fact, this assignment could well be viewed as prep for when something happens. Much as I and many other parents I know do our best to protect our kids from it out there – whether it’s locking our house and car doors tight, making sure that no valuables (or anything that may look like it could hold valuables) are within view in either place, not doing too much alone after dark, or just not watching the local news – we still can’t keep our kids from hearing about it. Crime affects us all here in one way or another. Our neighbors have had things stolen out of their yard. I had a bicycle stolen right out of my foyer last year. Hearing gunshots is not an unusual occurrence, sadly. Trust in the police is a laughable concept. And that’s just addressing the likelihood that an assignment like this will become something more.
As to the actual description of a criminal: shouldn’t it be “alleged criminal,” first off, or does that point out how farcical “innocent until proven guilty” can be? Also, there’s a little something known as profiling that happens even with the best of us. My son chose not to do this assignment and got a zero on it (even after repeated reminders from my husband all through Thanksgiving week to do it), but when he did do it the second time around (which his teacher has him do as practice), he used this episode of one of his favorite shows as inspiration. Something makes me wonder if studies have been done on what types of people 9-to-10-year-olds describe as “criminals” and why. I’m sure if we could hold that mirror up to ourselves, we wouldn’t find it funny or charming…not even if the kids wrote beautiful descriptions of the teacher as a giggle.
I asked my son’s teacher about this assignment. Was she concerned about the content the kids would be writing in their criminal descriptions? Was the content discussed at all or were the mechanics of the essays the only focus? No, this wasn’t about my son’s grade – he didn’t do the assignment and suffered the consequences: a big fat zero (if the essay had involved describing airplanes or snakes, I’m sure the little guy would’ve been ON IT.).
No, she wasn’t concerned.
Yes, they did discuss the content some. The teacher felt that as long as a specific crime wasn’t described, the possibility of controversial content wasn’t an issue.
Apparently, I was the first parent out of all the students in all the 4th and 5th grade classes (this assignment was given to more students than just the ones in my son’s class – it’s prep for the state exam) to raise these questions. Which made me wonder if I was just being a busybody.
My opinion? The fact that I’ve been the only parent to bring this stuff up definitely says something. I just wish I knew what that something was…
…and why it makes me feel sad.
Today it happened – a burst of clarity came to me as I was reading the paper this morning. I don’t want to necessarily call it an epiphany, but instead more of a definite decision has been reached. This lucidity was then worked through as I worked out – while walking several miles this morning at the park, the details began to emerge. I got home and quickly wrote down the “road map” – the place, the time, how to traverse the journey, the contingencies on other events and taking those factors into consideration, how long it will take, and then I tacked it onto the cork board above my desk.
I am a methodical planner – I do give in to spontaneous joys, like catching a band and deciding to go ten minutes before the event, or heading out to dinner on an hour’s notice. But this, the life changing event that will eventually manifest, this takes time. Whether or not it works out remains to be seen, but I am steadfast in the decision.
This path has been a long time coming. I’ve been lost, so to speak over the past several years, accomplishing goals yet losing much, too much in the process. Its been an empty time, being stuck in limbo, not knowing what lies ahead and too emotionally broken to attempt to begin forging a new direction. I cannot tell you how hard its been, like being on a rudderless ship, going around and around in circles with the shoreline lost in the fog. Putting on a brave face to mask the internal struggles has helped getting through the day to day, that until now was like living a lie in public.
But no matter, its all going to be OK. For those of you who have gone through the same struggle, I know you can relate – it is so profoundly crushing that once the direction becomes clear, all else falls away and makes getting to that new destination that much more tolerable. I was able to find comfort in “just being” over the past few years, I knew that the future destination would eventually become evident. I can now be comforted in the fact that the compass is working and the ship is sailing. I now feel calm, daresay happier? And for those of you still stumbling in the fog, I hope it clears for you sooner than later, as it just did for me.
“He really acted up today,” was what I’d been told the day before.
I intimated that it might be more than just post-hurricane, out-of-school-for-far-too-long restlessness to the school administrator, contrary to what my husband wanted me to say to any of the school higher-ups this year. The office assistant told me it would stay between the two of us. I hoped so.
This afternoon threatened to make that conversation the least of my and my son’s problems, though. The little guy had recovered from his rusted-out frying pan of bad behavior only to be cast into the flames of the bad behavior of his entire class. Although his day overall had been “better,” his mind latched onto the injustice of removed recess privileges (no one was quiet, no one was listening, so those were the consequences for everyone) and worried over it like a dog with a bone during the car ride from school. Initially, I wasn’t too worried, myself. This had happened a few times before the previous year and was a common complaint that he let go of once he got home.
We unlocked the door, climbed up the stairs, and, once the after-school snacks had been devoured, took a look at what was in the homework folder – “Oh, I see the behavior flow chart you had to fill out,” I said, signing it. There was a note from the school asking for payment for a small instrument for use in the kiddo’s music instruction; okay, will send a check with him to school tomorrow, I noted. “Is there anything else?” I asked.
The little guy’s face fell.
“I have to write an essay about my day,” he said sorrowfully.
I sighed. From the tone of his voice, I knew what was coming. What would normally be forgotten, dropped at the door and allowed to waft away in the early September warmth, was now etched in his brain. Attempts to get him to recall anything other than that missed recess would prove fruitless; in fact, further questions and calm admonitions to get him into a better frame of mind only made things worse. He wandered off to his room in a teary huff, looking for his own brand of calm as far away from a blank page as he could get and still be indoors, while I called my husband.
“Please kill me,” was what I wanted to say.
Instead, I poured out my frustrations to my husband and got a different kind of slow stiletto to my heart.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” he said. “I guess you can tell him to just use the pain. Write out what he’s feeling, whether it’s in his notebook or on a scrap piece of paper to get it out and clear his head so that he can write something good about his day.” That advice felt to me what I’m sure my admonitions to my son felt like to him – like boiling water on a fire out of control. Now there were two people in the house that needed calm.
After a bunch of internet games and some reading to take my mind off it all and thrive on the quiet, I gave the subject some thought. I whipped up dinner, called the kiddo to the table, and we ate together, chatting of other things. We cleared the table, and then it was make or break time.
I broached the subject again. The little guy started crying. Again.
I fought the impulse to yell in frustration, instead giving him a hug we both needed. “I know this is hard. I know this is hurting you to remember…but you know what? Sometimes, that’s where writing can help.” He sniffed, looking at me questioningly.
“You want to leave these feelings behind? You’re really sad that this assignment wasn’t more specific than ‘write about your day?’ Guess what? You can use that,” I said, warming up a little more, kicking my own recent writing frustrations into it. “Go ahead and write what you’re feeling, right here and now. Leave it on the page. Just write it all out, kiddo.” There were some more sniffles.
But he turned back to that page. He confronted its blankness, stared its taunt in the face. The pencil began to scratch the surface. The redness disappeared from his cheeks. Even though the teacher’s work was meant to get the kids to do longer pieces of writing, the little guy stood up after two sentences. “I’m done, Mom.”
Some time after the kiddo went to bed, my husband came home from his rehearsal. “How’d he do?” I was asked. I gestured to the still-open notebook on the table. Dan looked it over. “Two sentences?”
“Sometimes, that’s more than enough,” I said.
For today, it was.
Isaac just blew through southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi with a vengeance. He was cunning and wily, and decided to sit and stay for awhile, spinning over us for 60+ hours, dumping 20 or so inches of rain, swelling lakes and rivers and causing massive destruction to the electrical grid, trees, and unfortunately massive flooding […]
Shortly before moving back to New Orleans about a year and a half ago, a close friend gave me a going away present—a book along with a notecard. The notecard wished me luck on taking on a city that is larger than life. The book was “Lives of the Saints” by Nancy Lemann. Nancy Lemann […]
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By Emilie In 2007, I did NaNoWriMo for the first time. I sent out the e-mail the organizers suggest, warning friends and family of what you are about to attempt and asking them for encouragement and accountability. My sister Aimee got that e-mail and was my biggest cheerleader that year. We wrote together as kids. […]