To my fellow mothers and fathers: How to get out of the new road gracefully (and in doing so, lend your hand)

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

When I was young, I thought Dylan meant that grown-ups should just fuck off, really. 

As a grown-up in the middle of another rapidly aging road, I find myself thinking about how I can lend a hand—and also about how to get out of the new road—gracefully, thoughtfully and even helpfully.Route-66-road-sign-dead-end_by_Laure25255B125255D

Just. shutting. your mouth on Facebook. Or as I suggested to a lifelong communication combatant, in a private email: "By not shrieking at each other on Facebook and making all about us again." Maybe it doesn't make any difference at all what a bunch of fifty-year-olds are yelling on the social media equivalent of a rest home about statues and how far pendulums should swing and slippery slopes and bad apples and what the BLM people are or aren't setting the movement back. But whatever ripples this sends out, you wouldn't want to drink.

Biting your tongue when young people say things that sound simplistic. “Make love, not war” was simplistic, too. It was also right on, man. Would the effectiveness of the young people who drove the anti-Vietnam movement been improved by long, solemn dinner table lectures on the subtlety of geopolitical power from a million armchair Henry Kissingers? 

Look for chances to lend your experience to young people's efforts. No horse puts itself out to pasture; and to be honest, we middle-aged folks aren't financially prepared to be made irrelevant. For the even the most selfish reasons, we mothers and fathers should be looking for chances to make their skills and connections available to activist young people—and in the process, perhaps moderate their most rash impulses. Lately I'm doing my best to support several such projects in my sphere of influence. And many of these came to me through other prominent elders in my industry who weren't shy about recruiting me to help. (Q. But what if some of these projects amount to nothing in the end? A. Who cares?)

From your new position on the side of the new road, stand and cheer on the parade! Vital Speeches' Vital Speech of the Week this week is Obama speechwriter Cody Keenan's valedictory speech to Northwestern University grads this month, in which he  urged the young people, "Open the floodgates, overwhelm us, run us out of town … Don’t look for reasons to hope, don’t look for other people to make you hopeful, be those people, create those reasons. Be icons of idealism, be rock gods of activism. Be the new vanguard of anti-cynicism, because there is already another generation coming up behind you that’s growing up even faster than you did, because they had to.” Just because you're out of the road doesn't mean you have to be lying face down in a ditch. 

I love to rattle off my dad's lifetime voting record:


If you'd asked him, he'd tell you that the Iraq war was what turned him away from the Republicans. If you'd asked him, he'd also tell you that my younger sister and I were in our thirties by then, and both pretty intense Democrats (our views also strengthened by the war) … and the future was ours, not his. So when in doubt, why wouldn't he just vote the way we wanted him to vote?

And when he returned from the Middletown, Ohio polling place after voting for Obama, the 85-year-old WWII veteran with two months to live cried with astonishment that he had just voted for a black man for president.

If that was possible, what else might be?

That's up to us now to answer—mothers and fathers throughout the land, and the sons and the daughters beyond our command.

Let's each do our part, the best way we can.

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BEANSTALKER and OTHER HILARIOUS SCARY TALES by Kiersten White / Book Review #BeanStalker

By: Kiersten White
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: July 25th, 2017
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase Links
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales; in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

Snow White is a vampire, Little Red Riding Hood is a zombie, and Cinderella is an arsonist — and that is only some of the mayhem the reader will find in this collection of fractured fairy tales.

A laugh out loud debut middle grade book from one of my favorite YA authors. Kiersten White has created my favorite mix of fractured fairytales and nursery rhymes to date! I loved the way she intertwined, and interconnected so many classics, and the spin she gave each one. If having vampires, zombies and stepmothers isn’t enough to entice you, the illustrations, and the narration will be. 

This is the perfect blend of fairytales and nursery rhymes. Who knew you could combine stories like Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, Jack & Jill, The Dish and The Spoon, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack Be Nimble, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Stepmother. White’s intertwining of these stories was awesome! Numerous times while reading this book I wondered how White was able to pull this off so well. 

The narration in this story is my favorite part of the entire book. Talk about sassy! The narrator definitely stole the show in this book. It’s what made this story so much fun to read. It’s not just their self awareness that makes the narrator so appealing either. The narrator would make a great language arts teacher. Numerous times in this story the narrator points out the homonym and homophone words that characters miss. Like The Princess and The Pea. Let’s just say it’s not, well, you wouldn’t want to sleep on that mattress. This narration definitely makes for the perfect, hilarious, read aloud. 

This book is a must read! It’s equal parts hilarious, and spooky, though it is way more hilarious than spooky. It’s spooky in the best way possible, because some of these characters are not the sweet, innocent characters we all grew up reading about. The spooky twists come from some of them being vampires and zombies. This may be written for middle grade readers, but it will definitely be appealing to all readers ages 8 and up. Including adults. It was part of my Halloween read up earlier this week, but this is one book that can be read all year long. 

Describing an interview-based assignment to writers

Recently a company contacted me to write an interview-based post for its blog. I’ve often done this for blog posts that show off the expertise of the company’s staff. However, what was unusual about this request was that I’d need to interview experts outside the company for the post. The need to find external experts makes an interview-based assignment more time-consuming and less attractive to writers. It’s more like writing a magazine article than a typical content marketing piece.

I learned later that the company’s marketing director had omitted an important piece of information when it described its interview-based assignment. It could have reduced my qualms about accepting an assignment requiring interviews of external experts. I describe it below.

The challenges of using external experts

Using external experts is challenging for two reasons.

First, it takes time to find and schedule them. If the writer doesn’t know relevant experts, a good deal of networking may be required to find them. That’s especially true if there’s no trade association or other group where such experts gather.

Scheduling can be more challenging than when working with a company’s internal experts. Internal experts are motivated to participate for the good of their employer (though they still can be challenging to schedule, but that’s another story). External experts don’t feel a pressing need for your company to succeed at its marketing.

Second, the experts may not wish to use their expertise on behalf of the company that’s your client. It’s generally less prestigious to appear on a corporate blog or in a corporate magazine than in a publication that’s perceived as independent. Also, the expert may worry about appearing to endorse the products or services offered by your client. On the other hand, some corporate publications don’t quote experts by name. That’s even worse because the expert gets no visibility in exchange for sharing insights.

The missing information

After I turned down the interview-based assignment, I learned that the marketing director had unwittingly withheld a piece of information that would have made it more attractive. He told me that he planned to find experts for the writer. That was potentially a big timesaver for the writer.

Of course, just naming experts isn’t enough. For the reasons mentioned above, experts may not want to help a corporate publication. However, if you’re a marketer assigning articles, and you can promise cooperative sources to your outside writers, that’s a big plus. Don’t hide that; feature it!

Of course, there’s other information that writers will seek, including:

  • Your topic, defined as specifically as possible
  • Pay
  • Word count
  • Place of publication
  • Target audience and why they’ll care about your topic
  • Your timeline and editing process

When you provide complete information up front, you’ll get a more realistic price from your writer. Also, the entire writing and editing process will go more smoothly.

The post Describing an interview-based assignment to writers appeared first on Susan Weiner's Blog on Investment Writing.