Trigger Warning: "On Fire"

The editors of the magazine, cahoodaloodaling, put out a call for work centered around the theme of "things we don't like to talk about."  Not my usual theme, and not my usual content.  But I took a leap and wrote this highly personal, and unironic, essay, "On Fire."  

You can find it in the latest issue by downloading the PDF, which contain my work along with many other (brave) writers.   Click here

Trigger Warning Cover cropped

Carla's Career Advice, in Skirt! Magazine

The new women's magazine, Skirt!, put out a call for a Work Issue-- and that prompted me (since I LOVE to give advice) to offer my funny, but practical, tips for How to Flop in Business Without Really Trying.  Spoiler alert:  one of the best ways not to succeed is arriving late and leaving early. Go for it!

You can find the article online in the current issue of Skirt!  (Skip to page 74 if you're eager to read me.)

Review of Leaving Orbit in Blue Lyra

Blue Lyra ReviewThe great editors at Blue Lyra Review asked me to review Margaret Lazarus Dean's LEAVING ORBIT.  Since I am huge space travel fan, of course, I said YES!

 You can read my review here:

A Poem of Love by Dan Essman

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A new poem from friend and poet Dan Essman of Willits, California.  Dan sends these gems from time to time, when the spirit moves him. 

a poem of love

any afternoon in the house of december
where janey lived and janey played
paper flowers tumbled on the hardwood floor
playful roses pale pink trembling in the december light
there we were...there we stayed, and there we prayed
broken hearts, failed friends, the cancer dead
their names like light bright bells
summery names remembered to defy the winter cold
names we scrawled on the listless obituary wallpaper
our own kind sad graffiti..
antique names pealing from that mildewed wall
in our ancient playhouse
names that ring and ring among the trembling rosebuds
in our prayers for the faded and the dead,
how hard we prayed for the failed and fallen blossoms
the long gone he who loved the she
and that pale she, my dear gone jane, who loved the he
our own sprung lives cut sudden, cut short
i remember how the whispered names sliced the silence
and the winter light and empty playhouse rooms
like the passage of a scimitar through dust motes
prayers to our small family vaguely revivified
prayers in whispers to an ark without salvation
on which the lovers never sailed
not in flesh, not ghosts, not memories
we named them then, and now, and ever again
our lost family of the december dead.

daniel essman march 28, 2016

What I've Learned from Facebook

Last year, the word was that The Daily Show was replacing traditional news outlets for its audience.  Now, it seems that people are turning to, of all places, Facebook.  I guess people feel too busy to read newspapers (yes, these still exist) -- and I can well understand the aversion to  the shouting matches that call themselves cable news.  I am not surprised that people opt for a replacement (or relief)-- and I've been known to search on Twitter to see what I missed in the hundredth TV debate.    

But I wonder.  What kind of news, exactly, are users getting?  So, I explored my "news feed" to see what's happening in the world. What have I learned This Week on Facebook?  

So, what exactly do I see?
Image result for dogs
1.  Dogs are cute, and lots of people love their dogs.  They post pictures of their dogs eating, running, but most of all sleeping.  They show pictures of dogs waiting to be fed.  Their friends agree that the dog is very cute, and sometimes they post pictures of their own doggies who are also cute.
This cat, originally named Corey, took social media by storm due to his resemblance to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" star <a href="" target="_blank">Adam Driver.</a> Within a few days, he was adopted and renamed Kylo Ren, the name of Driver's character in the movie.

2. Cats are cute, and lots of people love their cats.  They post pictures of their cats in repose, usually sleeping.  Their friends agree that the cat is very cute, and sometimes post pictures of their own feline or just any old cat video.

3.  Babies are cute, and lots of people love their babies.  They post pictures of babies, often sleeping.  Their friends agree that the baby is very cute.

4. Coffee is good, and lots of people love drinking coffee.  They post pictures of large coffee mugs, daily, and some even show pictures of cats and dogs with coffee.  They post slogans about how awful it is to face the morning without coffee.

5. The President and the First Lady are cute, especially when they are hugging kids or joking on late night talk shows, like The Daily Show.  Oh, and they love to see the First Lady dance.

If I turn from my "feed" to what's trending on Facebook, I see that in Pennsylvania, a retired state trooper has shot a toll collector. Whew, glad I didn't miss that one.  Also, some actor whom I've never heard of has endorsed Donald Trump.

Well, that's all the news that's fit to post.  



My Anti-Resolution, defeated

I started 2016 with my Anti-Resolutions, one of which was not to discuss politics in public, or watch cable news of any kind, lest the screaming darken my otherwise sunny mood.  (For I am generally blessed with optimism.)  I have always felt that public declarations of political preference are a waste of time -- people are never persuaded by tweets, Facebook posts, or emails to change their mind about anything, much less whom to vote for.  (As a social scientist, one might observe that change of any kind is relatively rare, which is why companies spend billions of dollars to alter consumer brand preference. It's rather tricky to get anyone to switch brands, much less vote differently from their friends.)

But I guess every year has its surprises...and I never anticipated the coarseness and vulgarity of the Trump campaign.  Yesterday, I violated my own Anti-Resolution, and peeked at the GOP Debate, where I was assaulted with dirty jokes (yes, during a Presidential Debate) and almost shocking ignorance of economic realities of free trade.  The audience must have taken a brain-numbing drug to shout hooray when facts were blatantly ignored, defied or mocked.  The patient Fox moderators forged ahead in this sea of rudeness (and I had to admire their good temper, in the face of the nastiness and blustering of Mr Trump.)

The debate seemed a perfect example of what happens if schools ignore American history, and students are taught that self-expression matters more than dull facts and figures. No, you cannot make it up as you go along, and numbers (about spending, about budgets, about demography) do matter, especially to a President.  A strong opinion based on nonsense is still nonsense, no matter how you "spin" it.  Decimating free trade is nonsense. America's been trading since before the Revolution-- we imported our coffee, tea, mahogany, silk, and much else as we became a powerhouse.

We ignore history at our peril.  In December, I wrote the last pages of my novel.  I learned much about Philadelphia's history while writing it and I gained a new respect for the fragility of our republic.  "A republic if you can keep it," Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said at the close of the 1787 Constitutional Convention.  

A republic if you can keep it, indeed.  

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