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I broke my Facebook argument virginity and all I got was this lousy blog post

I have a hate/hate relationship with Facebook. Sure, I didn’t have to rejoin the social media giant three times. But I did. The reality is that Facebook is a necessary evil. For me? It’s a networking tool for freelancing. Also, after moving across the country, it aided me in remembering new faces and new acquaintances.

Facebook, really, isn’t evil. I try not to be an either/or type of person. I believe it’s best to live somewhere in the middle. Between the mean of two extremes, as Aristotle would tweet.

Facebook arguments, however, are evil and dumb and silly and fun to watch.

They have never settled well with me. Mean spirited. All-too-easy. Festering and sprouting at every opportunity, usually ending in a dog pile of earnest, hurt emotions.

As a veteran online-conscious being, I have abjured all temptations to join any form of online argument. Even as a political Independent. The stuff I see on Facebook (racist, ignorant, stereotype perpetuating, heavy bias journalism) makes me want to scream my fingers off. And the way people pounce on one another. Ugh.

Facebook is a daily lesson in self-restraint, certainly.

That is, until I broke my Facebook argument virginity. I caved in. I can’t even find my promise ring.

The Facebook Argument

There are many kinds of online arguments. Let’s break this down. (more…)

Kevin on the Web: High Tech, Small Business & Fringe

This week, you can find my writing at three different online outlets. What the kids call, “the web.”

RocNext: Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Small Business

First, travel to Rochester’s biggest newspaper, the (Gannet owned) Democrat & Chronicle. I’m honored to join their blogging team for RocNext. RocNext is a small business and entrepreneurship blog. My first post is called “Rockstar Entrepreneurs: Beware the Narrative.”

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NEXUS-NY: “Clean Energy”

Next, hop on over to NEXUS-NY for a look at their brand new magazine called “Clean Energy.” I wrote two articles for them and I couldn’t be happier for how the issue came out. My first article is called “Pure Quantum.” In it, I feature a clean tech startup from Cornell who is manipulating and manufacturing quantum dots for the solid state lighting industry. Whew. It’s more interesting than it sounds, I promise! My second article is an interview with Dr. Stanley Whittingham. In the 1970’s, he discovered the technology which led to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Both articles, as well as the whole magazine, can be viewed for free here.

Also, I was quite intimidated and stressed writing these dense-ish, high tech articles over summer. Seeing them in print is an accomplishment I won’t soon forget. (more…)

Open Letter to the Mysterious Animal Hiding in My Apartment

Dear Mysterious Creature,

Welcome. Out of all the windows in Rochester, you chose mine to climb through, and that is an honor. Thank you. My wife heard your ruckus in the living room, the other afternoon, during her day off. I’m sure you weren’t expecting us home. Anyway, the next day, I came across your marking on the window screen which revealed your entry and exit point.

Monster Screen-2

I guess you could say the gig is up.

Nevertheless, since we now share living space there are some ground rules to cover.

1. My wife is not a fan of mysterious creatures. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you; it just means she doesn’t know you, and that you two should avoid each other for the time being.

2. I, on the other hand, am a HUGE fan of mysterious creatures, proven—of course—by the sweet hum of The X-Files theme song, sweeping out of my bedroom nightly, and—no doubt—into your ears as you watched us from outside, below our bedroom window.

3. Label your food. Don’t eat mine, and I won’t eat yours.

4. If you want to borrow any of my books, please ask. It is polite. Also, I’m weird about the aesthetics and order of my bookcase, so don’t just return titles willie-nilly.

5. The bed is off limits. Though if you prove yourself, we can revisit this rule in time.

I’m curious, monster, where do you come from? Are you a cousin of El Chupacabra? Friends with the Jersey Devil? Are you on your way to visit Champ, the lake monster of Lake Champlain?

And I wonder what you normally eat. I found no food missing from the kitchen, which adds to the mystery. Can I get you anything from Wegmans? No doubt, we are almost out of Ben & Jerry’s; I can pick up your favorite ice-cream pint. Let me guess, Late Night Snack(more…)

How I Write Right (or, #ThisThatAndTheOther)

The other day I was asked to participate in a “How I Write” blogroll by my friend Tony from A Way With Words. He wrote a great post called “Brewing a Fine Story: My Writing Process,” and he nominated me to keep the blogroll rolling. Unfortunately, Tony overestimates my ability to keep my word, and I haven’t had any time to appropriately nominate any other writers. Nevertheless, I have highlighted a few writers (at the bottom) without their foreknowledge. Whether they keep this going will be up to them.

SIDE NOTE: Check out their blogs if you can.

In Tony’s blog, I thought he hit the writing process on the head: “1. Read 2. Steal. 3. Repeat.” I’m tempted to just stop there. But I won’t because research suggests you’re willing to read up to 500 words. So I’m going to write 600 and cut 100 out. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Kevin’s Awesome Writing Knowhow Process for Blog Domination

When it comes to short story and fiction, I’m still very much finding my groove. And let’s be honest, no one wants to see my groove. Below is an ordered list that reflects my nonfiction writing process.

For my blog, there are two writing tracks: a) Inspired b) Needful

Inspired

1. An idea hits me from one of many sources (e.g., my wife’s wisdom, a recent life experience, any time I’m in church, a bat in my bedroom)

2. If I can’t write it in the moment, I’ll put a note in my iPhone Notes app

3. As soon as I can, I’ll jump on the computer at home and write directly in to WordPress

4. Though I wish I could say I wrote without stopping and saved the editing for the second draft, I just simply don’t. I go line by line. It takes forever. However, if I’m inspired, I usually can’t stop writing, and the best stuff rarely requires much tinkering. (more…)

Smorgasblog—My 200th Post!

Well, well, well. What do we have here? Blog number 200? Watch out, The Simpsons.

Bloggers who post everyday probably hit 200 in their sleep, but for part-time posters like myself, I like to pause and reflect upon arbitrary three-digit milestones.

(Pausing…)

Mmmm. Nice, isn’t it?

(Still pausing…)

*Checks watch*

I think that’s enough pausing.

When I last hit an arbitrary three-digit milestone, I was living in California, working for a music education company, enjoying citrus off the tree, and smiling a lot. Since then, my wife and I have abandoned familiarity in favor of fundamental, paradigm shifting change. We traveled the country and moved to upstate New York; we were attacked by an evil bat in the middle of the night; my face froze off due to something called Polar Vortex; I wrote a play which won an award; we broke veg to eat haggis. It’s been good and bad.

Forward!

And so life goes. Personally, I’m still figuring out what the hell my life is all about–and further, as an extension, what this blog is all about.  (more…)

5 Lessons for the Workshop Writer

Now, my darlings, a quick lesson on workshopping. Every writer must seek feedback on his or her work. It’s imperative. Thirty minutes in a workshop table can fuel you for an entire week. Don’t accept the adage of “All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy,”—a writer by himself going crazy from the lonely craft. Writing is, or should be, a team effort.

Last semester I had a playwright workshop course; currently, I’m in a short story workshop. Because I’m nice, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned. You’re welcome, America (and possibly Croatia).

Fair Warning: This blog post was not workshopped. I know, I know.

Here’s my top 5 lessons from the workshop table.

1) Prepare for the worst. Sorry, but your first draft wasn’t perfect. Embrace what’s coming. Get into the habit of looking forward to the edits. (Edits are your friends. They take you to new places and introduce you to new things.)  (more…)