WHO IS STAN CHARNOFSKY? PROBABLY THE CATALYST FOR DEVIL’S PARTY PRESS…

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Who is Stan Charnofsky anyway?

MOST IMPORTANTLY, TO ME, Stan is my friend (and it looks as though his desk is as messy as mine!).

Years ago, when I was in Los Angles, I decided to try to revive my writing, both as a career and a passion.

A friend said to me, “My college mentor, Stan, has a little writing group I bet you could join.” And I did join it.

When I had to move back east from Los Angeles, losing Stan and the writing group was one of the biggest losses for me. I was heartbroken.

A year after settling in Milton, I decided I could do without Stan’s group no longer! But, since I could not get Stan to Milton, I started my own workshop, 100% in the style of Stan’s. I coped exactly what Stan was doing with his group, and now my group has been going strong, even through lockdown, for five years. And that group, a bunch of folks who all happened to be over 40, was the catalyst for Devil’s Party Press (DPP).

In addition to Stan running an awesome writing workshop, he is also awesome in a lot of ways. To find out all the interesting things there are to know about Stan, including the story behind this photo of him (he’s the hunk in the middle),

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head on over to the DPP blog. We’re giving away Stan’s book, Charlotte, on Kindle (aperfect read if you like Miss Marple, by the way)¬†beginning today and lasting for 5 days.

If you need a discount code for a paperback copy instead, contact me. ūüôā

Later in the month Stan will read from the book, LIVE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, and take your questions about murder, Charlotte, psychology, baseball, anything!

Pick up the free Kindle version of Charlotte, or one of Stan’s other books, HERE.

Then pick up a ticket to talk to Stan HERE.

The live event is May 23rd @7:30 EST. Grab a beer and a snack and hang out with Stan.

Stan’s event is free, live, and on ZOOM, but tickets are limited, so get yours today!

Love you Stan….

 

FELLOW DELAWARE WOMEN: FRESH START SCHOLARSHIP

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2020 ‚Äď 2021 Fresh Start Scholarships

The¬†Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the continuation of the¬†Fresh Start Scholarship.¬†Our scholarship is specifically designed for women who have interrupted their education for various reasons and now seek to return to school to better their status and their opportunities.¬†We award annual scholarships based on need and provide mentoring support.¬†Candidates must be enrolled in a two- or four-year degree program at an accredited Delaware college or university.¬†Since its inception in 1996, the foundation has awarded over $1.1 million in scholarships to more than 250 women who have been given the opportunity to achieve their goals.¬†Each of these recipients is unique ‚Äď her goals, her skills, her dreams.

The Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation has over $100,000 in funds available to award scholarships to deserving women in financial need for academic year 2020-2021. There are scholarship funds available to students in ALL majors. We ask that candidates be recommended by a social service/government agency, a college/ university, or an employer. The Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors, based upon the applications received, will make all decisions regarding the recipients and the amounts of the awards.

The application is now available online at www.freshstartscholarship.org.

Please share the attached fact sheet to help us solicit candidates as soon as possible. PLEASE NOTE: Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year must be submitted by May 15, 2020. All applicants will be notified on or before July 31, 2020.

For questions concerning the Fresh Start Scholarship, please send an email to FSSF@freshstartscholarship.org  or call 302-397-3440. Through this scholarship we aim to make a difference and contribute in a meaningful way to an improvement in lifestyle for deserving women. Thank you for your assistance in sharing the application information with qualified candidates.

Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

P.O. Box 7784 | Wilmington, DE 19803

302.397.3440 | FSSF@freshstartscholarship.org

www.FreshStartScholarship.org

Virtual Tutoring vs Feminism

IMG_3502One of the things I am doing during the shut-down is tutoring virtually. I tutor writing, as you might expect.

Today I was sent a paper to look over for a student in the Abnormal Psych. class. The student is a woman, and she wrote a paper arguing that Miley Cyrus is mentally ill.

NOTES ON MY FITNESS FOR EDITING THIS ASSIGNMENT:

#1. I know nothing about Miley Cyrus.

#2. I took this class at the college myself, and everyone has to write a dumb paper arguing that a famous person is mentally ill. My paper argued that Donald Trump is mentally ill.

My paper was, of course, brilliant.

LOL. No, I have no idea if it was brilliant or not. The point of the paper is to show an understanding, at the kindergarten level, of the ideas of abnormal behavior.

#3. Not the best paper for me to help with because I personally think very few behaviors are abnormal. AND I’m mostly supposed to check their APA formatting… real boring shit.

But here is what the student said makes Cyrus “abnormal”:

#1. She used to wear pink; now she wears black.

#2. She now dresses sexy.

#3. She uses black eye-liner.

#4. She gave up country music and Disney.

#5. She used to dress like her dad wanted her too; now she dresses like she wants to.

Okay, at this point my eyes are popping out of my head.

Fellow feminists, grand dames Gloria, Jane, the grandmas of the mothers of these girls, and the mothers of the girls, WTF?

How does this happen?

How do we allow ourselves to be erased from our own choices in this way? This young woman never assumes that Cyrus wanted to change, needed to change, is allowed to change, no. She is not dressing like her daddy wants. She gave up pink, for goodness sake! The horror! The horror!

How do we allow ourselves to judge each other like this?

I get how we all feel like we own our favorite celebrities, and we don’t want them to change, but how do we come to a place where young college women think not wearing pink is abnormal?

And I get that country music, like folk music, is about the day-to-day living of people in rural areas. HOWEVER, it should scare us all that their day-to-day living is misogynistic, and Christian-centric (also misogynistic. sorry Christians, but it is true), finding-a-guy-with-a-truck-to-love-me-centric, and patriotic to the point where even questioning whether America is doing the right thing is seen as treasonous, amoral, and insane.

Yaaaa!

Good to have that off my chest.

I am ill-suited to my job. This is very true. Because while I am a fantastic editor (I can spot the tiniest of plot holes), I cannot stop myself from telling a student that not liking pink is not a sign of mental illness. Fuck pink.

GOODBYE BILL WITHERS

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When I was in 9th grade I bought my first records (yes, my mother was against records, so I was not allowed to buy any before then) at Sears, lol, and I bought one LP (London Town, by Wings), and the following 45s:
All Alone (Rita Cooledge)
Give a Little Bit (Supertamp)
Tired of Towing the Line (Rocky Burnett)
On and On (Stephen Bishop)
Telephone Line (ELO)
& Lovely Day (Bill Withers)

Bill, your 45 is no longer with me; I wore it out, the needle topped with a nickel, weighing down into the grooves. I have to get me another.

Back in the day, my day, we couldn’t just grab songs offa iTunes, and I never had any money. If I had, I think I would have had some Bill Withers albums. His hits are many an legendary, and he always made me feel like dancing, moving and singing. I’ve never found my true soul soul-mate yet, someone who loved me and soul music too. Maybe someday. How about you?

This has been a hard couple of weeks, lost Adam Schlesinger, lost Wallace Roney, and now Bill.

Ain’t no sunshine now you’ve gone Bill. I’ll miss you always.

FREE BOOK!

mosquitoes-front-cover-05.31.19For the next 5 days, Mosquitoes and Men for Kindle is on us (us being my company, Devil’s Party Press)!

Free Kindle version!

We are so grateful that you read our books and support our authors that we want to get a book to you, without you having to touch anything that anyone else has touched, for free!

We hope you feel well, we hope you feel loved, and we hope you enjoy this Southern drama as much as we did. Hopefully, by the time it is as hot outside as it is in this book, we’ll all be outside too!

Love Di (and Dave too!)

PS. Amazon only lets us give the book away for free for 5 days, meaning this opportunity ends on 4/10, so get yours today!

THOUGHTS FOR JOHN PRINE

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John Prine has Covid19 and is critical. Sending him love, hope you will join me.

It’s funny, people who only know me now may not know, but in the 70s, I was a Philly WIOQ listener (Adult Rock Era:¬†Under Outlet, WIOQ evolved into an eclectic music format often described as “adult rock“. The station played a blend of softer songs heard on rock music stations, some deeper album cuts, a few top 40 crossover hits, and a bit of uptempo jazz. Leading air personalities on WIOQ in this era included John Harvey (“Harvey in the Morning”), Helen Leicht who hosted a show called “Breakfast With The Beatles” on Sunday mornings, David Dye, Ed Sciaky and Michael Tozzi. (Leicht and Dye are now the midday DJs for the adult alternative public station WXPN. The former continues her “Leight Lunch” program at noon, and Dye is the producer and host of the nationally distributed World Cafe.)Thank you Wikipedia….

I have fairly varied tastes; I love “old school” jazz; I love funk, some rap, some very pop/teeny-bopper stuff, and I might make this list of my current favorite bands (in no particular order):

  • Cake
  • Fountains of Wayne
  • Jack Johnson
  • Beatles
  • Stones
  • Kinks
  • Chili Peppers
  • Luna
  • Sugar Ray…

But I think most folks in my life today wouldn’t associate me with a very folky sort of past. Loved me some deep cut Jackson Browne, Bonnie Rait, Joan Armatrading, CSN, Neil Young. Love them still, just kinda wore them out a little, and life takes you in different ways. If I were still with my first love, I’d still be right in that folky-rocky pocket. But love doesn’t stay; tastes change, and we don’t last forever, or even as long as we should, in some cases.

So sorry that we lost Adam Schlesinger, formerly of Fountains of Wayne (FOW), to Covid19. I adore FOW, and am so very sorry to know there will never be a reunion concert now. He was too young to leave us. I hope that John Prine will not soon join him.

I love your songs, John, and I wish you recovery, music, and love.

PS. Check out my previous John Prine post why don’t you?

Previous JPPost

BY THE WAY…

Fireball-Cinnamon-Whisky-Heart__21618.1580421511I happen to know (because I often talk to him, probably more than he would like actually!) that my mailman, Steve, likes Fireball. And so, last week, when I did a run to Acme for my mom so she would not run to Acme (“…because they have frozen vegetables, 10 for $10! I don’t mind going myself. I’m not worried.” Acme, stop having sales that seniors can’t resist!!!) I picked up a bottle of Fireball for Steve, not because I want him to have a drinking problem, but because he works damn hard and very soberly all week, and this week will be bringing me my coffee from Amazon, which is way cheaper than I can get it anywhere else, and for which I am supremely grateful.
So… take care of your mail carrier folks!

(And, btw, the Acme, which is technically in Rehoboth Beach, looked like it was 4th of July weekend. WTH? Stay home people! I am so glad my mom didn’t go.)

AND THEN THERE WAS COVID19

IMG_6488Aaaack!

I was doing so well, writing my blog, handling my business… and then…

Awesome! One school where I teach got 2 extra days of spring break before spring break. Wooopeee!

But then, a few days later… this Covid19 was really serious, and going to travel ’round the country like some game where Russian Roulette has been merged with Whisper Down the Lane, and we had to stop going to buildings. No more buildings people!

And so no more live school, for me, for my daughter, and for my students. And what do I have, over 100….

The next decision, both of my schools got extra spring break, more than, IMHO, they needed, Covid19 or no Covid19. If you’re sitting at home anyway, why not be doing school work?

Well, because the colleges weren’t ready for them to do school work.

Of course, I’ve been teaching online since 2003. I was ready for it.

The schools were, and still are, not.

These are all the full-time people, who teach 12-15 hours out of the 40 hour week they are paid for, hold office hours for 2-5 hours more, and go to an occasional meeting.

WTF are they doing with all that extra time all the time? ‘Cause I can tell you, they aren’t doing research or writing novels. Playing Fortnite? When I was in college, in the dark ages, all the teachers in the English departments were writers and doing research or creative projects. Somewhere along the way that disappeared in many colleges. Now they just teach, hold office hours, and attend meetings about how to deal with inept adjuncts like myself. ūüėõ Can you tell I hold a dim view of full-time faculty? What happened to the faculty who used to have us to their homes for salons? Ride the subway with me discussing world religions? Share pieces of their poetry manuscript with us? College teachers, in the places where I teach anywho, don’t do that anymore.

In any case (that last paragraph was a trip down “old man yells at cloud” lane; wasn’t it? Grouchy much, Di?) it’s been two weeks of scrambling to try to prove to my colleges I can teach online, and get Sophie and Dave and I squirreled away as a small country of three people that exists on a houseboat in the middle of the ocean, with occasional shore leave to walk Oliver, and there went the blog. Which, just a quick aside, reminded me just now that when I was a kid and had twin beds in my room Regina and I used to pretend they were two house boats next to each other, and the ocean was full of very hungry sharks. I loved that game.

This song seems appropriate to the times Wooden Ships.

All this has thrown me off of my course of scheduling my life, working on myself, I put on 2 pounds that I had taken off because…. we have so much food in the house, and food and I love each other dearly.

Today, time to try and get back on the path of self-discovery and improvement (while teaching at home and living in harmony among we three).

And so, I very humbly say that I consider myself crazy lucky at this time because:

#1. I am adroit in an online environment. There is no online program out there that I haven’t taught with, and, this past Thursday, I logged in to Zoom to “work” a virtual writing center, and I spent from 9-3 watching other teachers not know how to click a button, turn on their sound on their computers, use the mouse pad, etc. Full-timers, part-timers, tutors, all hopelessly analog. Of course, I had to sit there while they all tried and tried again, for my full shift, and it was maddening…. I truly feel like I should have “I try harder” after my name, because I do. I have always taken any training I could get, and I am usually a fast learner, which, to be fair, that second part is just function of lucky genes. That, and, probably another function of lucky genes, I’m not afraid of new things. I am sometimes stressed and annoyed by them, but I am ultimately not afraid of them. Being a person who is mostly not afraid is a very lucky thing. And so, thank you Universe, for making me technologically adroit in a difficult time.

#2. We (Hubs and I), at great, great personal financial expense, moved our daughter in September from her limpy public school into the only non-religious private school in 50 miles. We are talking taking on the equivalent of a second mortgage payment AND we had to buy a second car. AND, we are damn lucky, because when the kids came home from her school, her school had a full schedule ready for them for each day. She is at the kitchen table from 8/9-3 each day. She has virtual art and music as well (through Zoom meetings), and she is currently working on a biography of Fredrick Douglass in addition to her math, science, vocabulary, and, I mean, you name it. They sent all her textbooks home, the majority of which are workbooks as well, so she does her work directly in them, and she is learning, and practicing her instrument, and taking online quizzes. The poor school is closing at the end of this year because there just aren’t enough students anymore to keep it going, but we have been so very lucky to have had it this year, when we have needed it more than ever. AND I BELIEVE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, but after K-4th of bullying (my daughter is an adoptee, an Asian person, and off-beat… things that don’t go over well in conservative white white white Sussex County), and grades 3-4 of downright ignorance and neglect from her teachers (straight Ds, “…but those are passing grades!”¬†Sure they are….) my daughter had had enough. I was not going to ask her anymore to lose her love of school to support the local institution that was not supporting her, and so, we paid. We went into a debt here and there, we cut down on stuff, etc., and so what? If your kid leaves elementary school with non-passing grades, he or she is simply destined to continue to fail his or her way through a diploma, because, oh yes, the public schools will keep pushing that child forward… until the child hates school, feels stupid, and drops out, or limps to a shoddy diploma. My daughter, now, is doing her work independently, and she gets it, and she is truly learning. And if she cannot get into the charter school next year, then I will homeschool Girlfriend, because I am not putting her back in that system. And she will be ready for it because this school has taught her to like learning and to be an independent learner. Meanwhile, the public schools here (though every kid in every classroom in the school has an iPad they use in class every day) sent the children home with nothing, and now they are hoping to get some schooling together in mid-April for them. Those poor kids, and their parents!¬†And so, all ranting aside, I consider myself hugely lucky because we were able to have our daughter in such a caring and progressive school when the shutdown came, and because we were able to push our mortgage out a bit, and etc. to afford it. We just paid school off this week, actually, so we should begin to renormalize in a month or so. Thank you Universe!

#3. It’s raining a lot these past two weeks…. which helps my mother decide to stay indoors, because she is not an introvert, and she really misses going shopping, visiting friends, playing mahjongg, going out to restaurants. Momma… I love you; please stay home!

And, honestly, I consider myself lucky because I have always been a person who thinks for myself and who reads and finds things out. In times like this, when very different messages about how to protect our health are being bandied about, I feel really lucky that I read, from many sources, and listen to NPR, and can understand what I hear and what I read. My mother always emphasized reading, and learning vocabulary at dinner, and never let me ditch school, and for that I am grateful.

I am a very quiet and still introvert (I may have mentioned), and so this time is easier for me than some other folks, and we have the class pet with us, so there’s that too.

May you be well; may you discover new ideas and worlds inside yourself as you float in your little wooden boat on the water, may you be loved and be with people you love, and may this virus run its course soon.

I have no idea why you read my silly blog, but I thank you for doing it.

Much love~~

 

OFFICE

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Well, after my entire life without one, I have an office.

It’s still a pretty messy work in progress, as you can see, but so is my entire life! LOL

I am not sure if I particularly need an office, but it is nice to have one spot in the house where all the decorating is 100% chosen by me. AND, as you can possibly see, the decorating is a mixture of my love for my daughter and my love for feminism.

And my BFF from elementary school gave me the most wonderful birthday presents, one I will wear in the room, and one I have used to decorate the room, and I’m going to frame the damn packaging too!

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For all my fellow moms of daughters out there…

If you are parenting a daughter and you’re not a feminist… you need to be. Especially if you want your daughter to have control over her own body, and to not be paid 70 grand for a job a man gets paid 100 grand for.

My Christmas wishes for the coming year…

For Trump not to be re-elected (though I have little hope on this one as Santa is a fat old white man who enslaves diminutive indigenous people)

For the ERA to be ratified.

Women, you know, *hold up half the sky.

 

(*Perhaps the one concept Mao got right in his long disastrous life!)