Why would anyone publish in print? Here are 4 good reasons.

I’ve been a believer in books my entire life. Even when the Web came along and threatened to make them obsolete, I had a sneaking suspicion that would never happen. We love our books. And authors and infopreneurs should definitely consider print publishing — not just eBooks or digital editions. Print has a lot of upsides – even more than what’s listed here.

From E to Ink

old books on a shelf Why would anyone publish in print, when digital is so much easier?

Why would anyone want to create a printed book, when they can create eBooks a lot more easily – and cheaply?

Why would anyone want to get wrapped up in the process of designing and producing physical books that take time to deliver to customers, when they can deliver a digital information product immediately, with no additional production or shipping costs?

What’s the point of having a tree-killing artifact of yesteryear in your creative portfolio? Aren’t printed books so… 1990?

1. Comfort. Familiarity. Ease of use.

A lot of people still prefer printed books to eBooks. They like – no, they love – the feel of a physical book in their hands. It gives them a sense of well-being and solidity, to have something tangible they can carry with them and put on their bookshelf. They’re “old school”…

View original post 636 more words

Our Part in the Darkness – The New Yorker

Right after the election, my Twitter feed exploded with shock and moans. It seemed that everyone’s favorite phrase was “We are better than this.” I considered the statement so obviously wrong. I understood the convoluted logic of it, the jolt and hurt that would lead someone to type this, but it was not true.

We are not better than this. We are this.

The man was elected President. Ipso facto, America is this, we are this.

Exactly.

Read the full piece at: Our Part in the Darkness – The New Yorker

Feeling underrepresented? Of course! So, I handle it myself.

According to a new paper Degrees of Difference: Gender Segregation of U.S. Doctorates by Field and Program Prestige published February 6, 2017, women not only earn fewer doctorates in fields that are traditionally separated by gender (golly gee, “Math is hard!”), but also are separated by prestige. Here’s what they say about the paper over at Sociological Science:

Abstract: Women earn nearly half of doctoral degrees in research fields, yet doctoral education in the United States remains deeply segregated by gender. We argue that in addition to the oft-noted segregation of men and women by field of study, men and women may also be segregated across programs that differ in their prestige. Using data on all doctorates awarded in the United States from 2003 to 2014, field-specific program rankings, and field-level measures of math and verbal skills, we show that (1) “net” field segregation is very high and strongly associated with field-level math skills; (2) “net” prestige segregation is weaker than field segregation but still a nontrivial form of segregation in doctoral education; (3) women are underrepresented among graduates of the highest-and to a lesser extent, the lowest-prestige programs; and (4) the strength and pattern of prestige segregation varies substantially across fields, but little of this variation is associated with field skills.

It’s not much of a surprise to me. And looking at the graphic of the distribution of PhDs, why look – there I am in one of the least represented areas – Comp Sci – which looks to be #5 from the bottom, with philosophy not far behind.

soc-science-phds

At first blush, it’s a little irritating (that’s catching me at the start of the day after 9 solid hours of sleep). It speaks to systemic issues of segregation, exclusion, good-ole-boy-ism, and so forth. You know, the standard-issue stuff that women in STEM come to take for granted, but never 100% get used to. Maybe 97.352636%. Or maybe not.

Anyway, be this as it may (here’s hoping it changes – and I suspect it will), the fact still remains that there are ways to enter those fields without a doctorate. True, you may not be ensconced a the highest tiers of the ivory tower, but you can still get in, and you can still work your way up.

As I have, for example. Back in the day – not as early as the ARPANET, but earlier than most people thought they would ever need an email address – it was possible to build up considerable skill and ability on your own. Get yourself access to a computer and an internet connection (at home or at your local library), print out some documentation on emerging technologies (since there were no books, yet, to teach you), study on your own, practice on your own, built real-life applications and design increasingly sophisticated implementations, and before too terribly long, you’d have a solid skillset you could parlay into a real job. A good job. An opportunity that was only available to people with actual skill.

That’s how I got started web development, back in 1995, and that’s how I landed a fantastic job at one of the planet’s leading financial services firms in January, 1997. From there, it was onward and upward — with a lot of bumps and slams along the way — and guess what. I’m still here.

See, this is what people tend to forget in this age of globalized skillsets, where certification and qualification are the currency of the job-application hopefuls. Granted, with regional and cultural barriers to entry considerably less, we need more ways to figure out if someone is actually going to do what they say they’re going to accomplish. Certifications, degrees, standardized qualifications, etc. are great ways to vet people up front, weed out the wanna-bes and put people through the paces before handing them the reins.

But we can get so caught up in the surrogate screens of official vetting, that we stop thinking for ourselves, relying on those official blessings as a cognitive short-cut to save time and energy. We can lose sight of the validity of actual experience, genuine innovation, and the drive of those who are opening up the jungled path before us… not trailing behind, taking advanced courses in road-paving. The work of opening up a path for the first time, takes a certain type of person, while the work of paving that path, then widening it so heavy equipment can fit, is quite different.

Which is why I can’t lose too much sleep (for myself, anyway) over the barriers of entry to anyone who’s not a well-heeled “pale male”. Yes, it’s troubling that women are so under-represented. But there are corners of the world where it’s possible to practice and contribute and innovate, regardless of academic qualifications. And it might just be that the numbers about segregation in doctorates doesn’t tell the whole story, in terms of the true leaders, the true innovators, the ones who are actually leading the way.

It’s still possible to dive into cutting-edge technologies without an advanced degree and open a new path in ways that no one ever thought possible / necessary. In fact, for the most advanced, innovative, emerging areas, you’re not going to find a whole lot of formal education, anywhere, because standards have yet to be defined, textbooks have yet to be written, syllabi have yet to be compiled. Likewise in philosophy, it’s perfectly possible to use your own mind for the furthering of the practice. You can develop your own theories, you can evolve your own individual thinking process (which is nothing like anyone else’s), and there’s nothing to prevent you from putting your work in writing, publishing it, and carving out a place for it in the world.

This sort of activity, this sort of developmental discipline, doesn’t require the presence or avid support of an academic community. In some ways, in fact, you might be better off not having any of that. You might not have a built-in entourage of colleagues who eagerly support / promote / challenge / criticize / plagiarize your work, but there’s nothing to prevent you — as a woman, as a person of color, as a non-PhD philosopher — from moving your own work forward.

In the end, it’s what we all have to do, anyway. Your mind has to be your own (as much as possible). Your work needs to be original. And it needs to stand on its own. Smart people who take the time to think for themselves may respect your work on its  own merits, and those are the folks you care about, anyway.

A doctorate isn’t going to guarantee that any more than a daily discipline to targeted development that’s totally devoted to your path. So, while it might be nice for various industries to have more diversity in more advanced positions (they seem to think so, based on all those inclusive-seeming Super Bowl 51 ads), it’s not a prerequisite for your own path. You can still do The Work. You can still develop your skills in ways that no one else on earth can rival. Innovation has its home far out in front — where there are no courses or certificates yet available.

If that’s where you belong (as do I), looking back is just going to delay your forward movement. So, look ahead, beyond, above, ahead.

The world needs you there.

One Woman’s Brilliant “Fuck You” to Wikipedia Trolls

A young editor withstood a decade of online abuse. Now she’s fighting back — on Wikipedia itself.

The “fuck you” project crystallized one Friday night last year. As Emily Temple-Wood video-chatted with friends, an email pinged in her inbox:

“There are alternate realities where I raped you and got away with it,” it read. “In those realities it’s legal for me to rape you as long as I want and as hard as I want. I am dead serious.”

The note came from someone with a history of harassing the 22-year-old medical student. This man hates women, Temple-Wood thought to herself. Then she had another thought. What do misogynists hate more than successful women?

Nothing.

Read the full article here: One Woman’s Brilliant “Fuck You” to Wikipedia Trolls

Fecund/Fallow – a #poem of balance

Fecund/Fallow

I am searching for poetics
between jobs.
Like a displaced, untenured professor,
cast adrift by budget cuts
at the local community college, I
languish
amid my books, scanning the want
ads, knowing I can do better,
I must do better (and fearing I’ll never
do better)
than my last job, jealous
as I’ve ever been
of these uncertain moments between
prospect calls
and resume faxes,
when I catch a glimpse of heaven
in a cat fight
below my window.
1994

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems

 

If no one else did – a #poem of passing through

If no one else did,
I saw you.
Trapped in a car turned on its head, the
hood sucked into itself, the front wheels
hanging crazy like palsied fists
of a punchy, cauliflower-eared worn-out boxer,
with two firemen wedged in
the cockpit, trying to separate you from the
steering wheel’s embrace.
I saw you, your eyes wide
with lazy rainy day disbelief, the pain
taking a backseat to shock, one hand reaching out to clutch, to grab,
to feel, to touch life
you saw flash before your eyes
on the slippery X of an on-off ramp.
You weren’t in any hurry, this afternoon,
but the other driver filling out reports
with the police, was.
I prayed for you and cursed him,
and pulled into the passing lane, checking twice
behind me as I signaled.
1994

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems

 

Firewater – a #poem of retrospective hope

Firewater

Days of showers,
weeks of rain.
When it first comes, we’re taken by
surprise. Didn’t anyone tell the sky
this is the worst drought in 50 years?

Days of showers, weeks of rain.
the only consolation of running laundry
to the laundry room in pouring-down rain,
is that now we can do extra loads,
and not worry about running up our water tab.
We can take long, hot showers again,
too, now that rationing
has been lifted.
But habits that mix hygiene with fear
can be the hardest to break.
Natural compliments, they still make us think
twice about flushing the toilet
while its contents are still light.

Days of showers,
weeks of rain,
Back East, they think us crazy when we call,
whooping for joy at this should-be-everyday
delight.
Why should it delight us at all?
Days of showers, weeks of rain.
Smoke from wood fires hangs low
in the air, smelling good — a far cry
from the anxious tinge
to wildfire scent. And there are some who live
in the hills who think twice,
I’m sure, about lighting fires in their hearts
after the blazes a few years back…
but now we have days of showers,
and weeks of rain.
Light the match and set it to wood
and bless the warmth the cold wet
necessitates
and will allow.
1994

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems

 

Steam, not Smoke – a #poem of waking

morning fog over a pondSteam, not Smoke

Now the rains have come
and there’s’ no threat of wildfire
for another year, at least, provided
they stay.
May the rains stay.

Coffee cup in hand, I linger over the steam
rising from my reflection-in-brown,
and breathe deep —
Now I can greet a sharp bite
in my nostrils
first thing in the hazy morning
without checking on the waist-high tawny grasses
waving from the hills beyond
my kitchen window.

1994

Copyright © 2017 by Kay Lorraine – All Rights Reserved

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

 

I once had a friend who drew… – a #poem of a different kind of art

I once had a friend who drew
faces for dollar bills for a living.
She said it was more challenging
than most people realized
and more rewarding.
And I wondered if I ever saw her work,
or if she only did 500’s and Thousands.
And I wondered if she made commissions or royalties, or if
she was just a work-for-hire skald
who could only create the big bucks,
not own them.
I think of her often
whenever I pay large bills in cash.
1994

Copyright © 2017 by Kay Lorraine – All Rights Reserved

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

 

Money Musk – a #poem of rumination and finance

wallet with money sticking outMoney Musk

At four in the morning, I might as well
be up and about, leftover mutterings
from my pre-sleep ruminations
six hours ago
rattling between me ears with REM-deprived
self-importance.
At four, this morning, I am
up and about, looking between clock and kitchen
window, for the first faint tinge of dawn,
forgetting
we turned our clocks back last weekend,
and now nothing
feels right
or will
for at least another month.

Television won’t help.
That much I know, so I don’t bother
with the clicker,
The book I started two days ago has lost
my interest halfway through
chapter four.
I’d make some tea, but my lover would love
me less if I woke her with the kettle’s pre-
boil rumble.
One of us awake at this hour is enough.

So, at 4 a.m., I find myself counting
money. The checkbook needs balancing,
my wallet needs cleaned out,
I need to know how tight
and troublesome
or plump and promising a week I can expect.

I once knew a woman who always knew
exactly how much money
she had
on her and in the bank.
I slept with that woman, too, but the only thing
that rubbed off on me was
a vaginal infection and an aversion to burgundy
checkbooks.
She hated blue and green checkbook covers
almost as much as she resented latex —
blue and green were too bourgeois, she said. Besides,
they were the colors of her
abusive father and acquiescing mother.
Her dislike made a true believer out of me.
My checkbook covers are all blue, and I love
the smell of latex in the early Saturday a.m. hours.

I’ve found a fistful of dollar bills tucked
between deposit slips, old
and unused, in my wallet.
Right behind my one-day-at-a-time tattered,
meditation card I picked up along the path
to elusive serenity.
Calm now comes, as I count out — 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, plus a 5-er
makes 11, and one last single makes
12.
The number of the disciples of Jesus
and the Tribes of Israel. The sacred number
of the medieval Church that chased out
the Goddess’s 13.

I find my lover’s wallet in the pocket
of her coat hung by the door,
fish
out another single and make more holy
the haul I’ve got in my hands.

My parents used to frown when I counted
out the stash in my metal globe bank,
the many-sized chunks
of change jamming in the half-dollar-sized hole
in the bottom, as I shook the booty
free
onto my rumpled bedspread.
That bank had been a Christmas present
meant to distract me from the contents with all
the many-colored continents
(half the African and Eastern European country names obsolete)
drawing my attention to Rhodesia, the Red
Sea, the Northwest Territory/Yellowknife,
Greenland
instead of my fiscal net worth/
It was 1972, and maybe it was okay
to collect money,
as long as you brushed up on your geography
whenever you went near it.

But I cared about the contents.

And with eager hands, I’d tug the dollar bills
through the hole, poke the coins
and set them free, sprinkling onto the cloth
before me.
Pennies, pennies, more pennies …
I separated them out, taking pity
on their different shade, paltry value, and counted
them out by date and condition
and where they’d been minted — if they said so.
Arranged before me with Lincolns facing left
like and army of brown eyes
surveying my bedroom from a central perch.
Sorting by chronology, I examined
20-year-old coins in search of traces of fingers
that had counted them, machines
that had swallowed them, sings of the myriad
cash register drawers they’d hopped in
and out of
like promiscuous teenagers making their way
through the drive-ins and lookout points
of America, ever hoping
this time might bring
true love.
Kneading those coppery witnesses to the saving
grace of commerce between 7-year-old
fingers, I needed to know where these
had been, I needed proof there was more
much more
to the world than bell-bottoms, macramé,
Saturday protest marches, and an unending stream
of reasons to mistrust the government,
I needed to believe
if I collected enough of those small, brown
buttons — or, more importantly, the right
kind — I might trade them in someday for something
I wanted
for myself. Just what that might be, was
unimportant. But it had to be
for myself.

And the metal smell that clung to my hands
seemed somehow holy to me.

But that was 1972, and the smell
of money was not holy
beyond the territory of my bedspread
on Saturday afternoons.
I learned
to distrust that scent of past-present-future
hopes and dreams.
I put away my coins.

I spent my pennies, all wrapped in anonymous,
collective tubes.
I stopped examining dates and mint marks.
Pennies stooped being coins
and turned into loose change, yet
still, the sight of a wheat penny
all these years later sends a thrill
through me.
And I make a point to keep it.

At last, there is dawn.
The checkbook is balanced, red tinges the sky,
and I lift my money-musky hand to my nose.

1995

Copyright © 2017 by Kay Lorraine – All Rights Reserved

Depth Perception - Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine

From Depth Perception – Selected Poems by Kay Lorraine