Monday, August 28, 2006

Teachers and the Administration

Detroit Public School (DPS) teachers rejected their contract presented to them yesterday. They have chosen to strike. The superintendent says a strike is illegal. A week or so ago, Northwest airlines flight attendants rejected their contract and also chose to, not strike but, create chaos. Northwest airlines says they can’t strike either. It all boils down to the same thing, delays going to work.

Here is my personal issue with both messes. First, with the teachers, the students will end up on the losing end. Yet, as a staunch union supporter and future teacher, I firmly believe the teachers have a right to fight for what they believe in, so too, the flight attendants at Northwest. Second, it is a shame that employers cannot seem to find common ground with their employees when it comes to working together. If all the cards are on the table, how hard can it be to reach a compromise?

That is where I find myself wondering if what I hear from both sides is the truth and nothing but the truth. Too many times in the past I have heard different explanations for conflicts. I hear more neighborhood type “he said, she said” garbage. So I ask again, what is the true story to these potential crisis?

When it comes to the DPS situation, the students will suffer. They are already behind the learning curve, nation and world wide. Anymore delays to their education would not be beneficial to them. Yes, I understand the teachers may be having a hard time teaching. With lack of supplies, space, and support, it is obvious to teach is daunting. But where is a line drawn when it comes to the students?

Over and over I find myself caught, as the old saying goes, “between a rock and a hard place.” In other words, dam if I do and dam if I don’t. I want to believe that DPS teachers are fighting for a just cause. But, I did not return to school to get a teaching certificate just to acquire it and not teach. The drama going on now is only a repeat of past years.

If the problems weren’t solved then, why is the system still operating using the same manual? As a lover of “more education,” I am now beginning to wonder about taking part in the educational system we have now. The current system in Detroit is broken and no one wants to concede to that thought. Reason being, it would require gutting it and rebuilding from the ground up, like a building. We all know that says “more money” which Detroit claims they don’t have.

It is said the population in the city is down, therefore, school needs are down. Tell that to the students who still live here. Somehow, I have a hard time understanding if the body numbers are lower and the costs are higher, whose paying for the decision makers and with what money? Maybe it’s time to get better money managers.

However long this battle goes on, I hope the students are not forgotten. We all know missed school days lead only to missed education. I think we’ve committed enough of that crime already.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Blog

The blog has become an oasis for novelists, journalists, publishers, TV personalities, radio mavens, and just about anybody who has an opinion or information they feel a need to share.

It is obvious that I am one of the aforementioned, maybe even two or three. Why do I have a blog? First, practice. My blog allows me to keep my writing skill in check. Second, I’m opinionated. My blog gives me plenty of latitude to state what I think, while practicing how to disseminate the information to others with a slant/style of mine own. It’s that simple.

Why do others keep a blog? There are any number of reasons. Novelists keep them to give the public a peek at their novels still under construction. Journalists provide blogs to report what newspapers don’t always print. Publishers feel a blog is a free advertisement. TV personalities have to deal with a flood of established stars, stars on the rise, and wannabees. Like writers, they feel they have to have a brand of their own. Lastly, the radio mavens are heard and not seen. Why not mix a picture with the voice and text. The public is known to forget easily what they hear, but not what they see.

No matter the reasons, people and businesses have created blogs. Blogs I can tell are here to stay, like it or not. I say this because now even blogs are becoming specialized. I have seen or heard of blogs that started out for kids (myspace) and writers (blogging is just to name a couple.

Like in the beginning with e-mail, when many said, “No way,” try finding an individual, young or older, who doesn’t have an e-mail address,let alone a blog. Instead of asking someone for their phone number, you now say, “e-mail me,” then proceed to spell out the address like a phone number. I didn’t believe e-mailing, when it first started, would proliferate to the extent it has. Yet, now I’m starting to feel like I need more than one e-mail address, like the four separate phone lines I have. Yea, you heard right. Four. My house line, my fax/computer line, my cell line, and my business line.

So I ask you, do I need another blog when so far this one serves my purpose? In my blog, I state my thoughts, fill you in with personal promotions and do it once a week. I’m starting to wonder. The blog was my own way of syndicating my column. The column with no pompous or pretentious writing, just my “view points” on whatever crosses my mind.

As I said earlier, blogs are here to stay. So whether you take part or not, you will one day, jump on board. Why? If you think about it, all the definitions’ people have given for the word blog, the best one to me is an “electronic diary.” We love to keep diaries. Me, I call it my syndicated column.

You can call yours what you want. You will get no argument from me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Work Hard to Become Known

Well, this past week has been very busy for me. In one week I took on three new responsibilities to upgrade my credentials. I am now a book reviewer for a large writing group, became a student services assistant at a local community college, and signed on to be a Detroit reporter for a new worldwide Internet newspaper. Whew! If that isn’t working hard for a living, I don’t know what is.

I bring this out to inform other writers out there that you can’t just write a book or an article or two to make your name known. In my new book, The Write Life, there is a section where I discuss networking and connecting with others who may give you leads and hook you up with ways to promote and sell what you have in the way of services and products. This means that you may find yourself not only writing but, joining the ranks of teachers, advisers, counselors, and a host of other professions to become branded. What does it mean to be branded? It is the way for others to identify you and your products or services.

Since I am a writer, I want to establish myself as the writer that not only writes but, supplies information to other writers. I wish to inform, teach, and provide for others who want to grow in the field. It doesn’t matter if you wish to be a journalist, author, publisher, or magazine editor, information is necessary to attain your goal. I plan to be the one source that can direct you to the right path(s). I do it because I love to share and what better way is there to do so then writing, reading, advising, and teaching.

With all that said, you can see I am now going to be one busy bee. No, I will not be spreading myself too thin. What I am actually allowed to do is manage the work on my terms. Which by the way is another section in my book The Write Life, managing your time and money.

So ask yourself when was the last time you connected with others who may be able to lead you down the right path to success? When was the last time you tested your skills and tried a new way of branding your name? Has it been a while? Well, get up and get out there. Try connecting with different ways to sell what you have to offer. Did I mention the section on being your own sales department in The Write Life? Visit my web site at Scribal Press. Don’t forget to sign my guest book. Who knows, you just might pick up a tip or two.

Monday, August 07, 2006

This Week’s Rants

Mel Gibson

The man put his foot in his mouth and got caught. Now everybody acts like he just did something no one has ever done before. Give me a break. Gibson is not the first nor will he be the last to as my mother would say, “make an ass of himself.” The problem Gibson had been not checking everybody’s ID card to make sure he knew what group he was with before he opened his mouth. Have you ever known a drunk that did? Me neither. To keep Gibson from working is not worth it. First of all, he can well afford to make his own movies. Remember, The Passion of the Christ? Let’s not forget Michael Moore and Bowling for Columbine. Even if you don’t like them, nor agree with their politics, somebody does and they are just not talking about it out loud. Gibson has done enough damage without our help. Let it go.


I read yesterday a letter to Detroit’s Sunday newspaper from a teenager. He expressed concern for politicians playing the blame game. He had no interest whatsoever in who thought who was responsible for the state of Michigan. The young adult gave me the impression he wants to vote when he turns eighteen but, not sure if he’ll have someone to vote for. Can you imagine if he is worried at this stage of his life, in another two years, will he even care at all?


This past weekend my writing partner and I spent ten hours sitting, sitting and waiting for a cruiser to cruise on by our table and check out our books. We sat for two days trying to figure out why people will stop at a space displaying art, jewelry, clothing, incense, and the music station but, glide on by the books table. I know they go to fairs to see the unusual, unique, and updated. I could have sworn books, especially new ones, fit in all three categories. I heard the how to books, which mine is one of, are the biggest sellers now. So what’s up with no takers? Maybe selling four books in ten hours is all right with you but, it was a waste of my time. In two days, a grand total of possibly five people showed enough interest to now slide on past without even a glance at our books table. So many times I wonder why we in the metro Detroit area will not support authors like we should. Just because it’s not a favorite past time of one individual, doesn’t mean a friend or relative wouldn’t enjoy a certain book. With the first day of school, Sweetest Day, birthdays, and Xmas coming soon, why not buy it for them. In doing so, you show support for local authors and possibly stir the fire in the belly of an upcoming one.

These are just some of my passing thoughts this week.