Explorations of New and Old Ideas

Remember when many schools let out for Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays? No?

How about when Veterans’ Day always involved a parade? Even when we weren’t at war?

Really?

Oh, oh, I’ve got another one:  Do you recall when people knew what Labor Day commemorated? And took the day off?

You aren’t alone. Many people don’t remember these things, or only vaguely recall them.

Soon, I predict, Thanksgiving Day will be more like Labor Day or Independence Day. It will disappear into a long list of other days that represented something important, days that had meaning other than another chance at frenzied purchases and sports events.

I don’t know how I feel about this.

I like Thanksgiving. I like the gatherings of friends and family. I like the feast, though our small family of three has usually eaten out rather than cook more food than we can eat in a week. I like the idea of thinking about the last year, its fortunes and misfortunes, and the hope of the next one.

The last few years have been sad for me. I’ve watched Thanksgiving preparations become more focused on getting it over with so people can rush out to shop. Caught between the frenzied orange-and-green gluttony of Halloween and the desperate red-and-green materialism of Christmas, the simple act of sharing and giving thanks seems too simple somehow. It has trouble holding its value when competing with so much excess and raw emotion. Thanksgiving seems like the burdensome and obligatory starting gate towards the end of the year on New Year’s Eve. A wild and exciting ride through Advent, winter’s beginning, and Christmas, it is an auspicious season, though increasingly a stressed and worried one.

This year stores didn’t just count on ‘Black Friday’ to boost their incomes. They remained open all day Thanksgiving.

I understand the need to increase income, especially this year when our economy is struggling and our leaders just…don’t. As corporations seek to be treated as individuals, it seems to me they must also seek to be decent, good citizens. They must follow the same universal values that are present in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. They must be held to the same, if not higher, moral standards as other individuals; after all, they represent many individuals in their financial dealings. If they cannot act responsibly and legally, they must be held accountable as any individual would be; the individuals that make up the corporate individual must each be held accountable for their corporate entity.

This is especially true when businesses set up situations where it is obvious that violence will occur, such as Wal-Mart and its gamesmanship with prices that lures in those desperate to provide things for their families that they cannot otherwise afford. With our economy soured, there is no excuse for offering prices only on one night at a certain hour that could just as easily be offered at a staggered rate throughout the holiday season, thus avoiding the dangerous crush of frantic shoppers. It is irresponsible to do otherwise.

I wish we were able to go back to Thanksgiving as a meal shared with those we love. I wish businesses would stay closed until their usual hours on the Friday after. I wish businesses would spread those sales out so more people could safely participate in them.

I wish we still gave thanks for what we have and focused less on what we wish we had.

FIRST ADVENT

Mark 13:26

Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.

In the beginning was God – creating, giving birth to the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and in darkness.  But God spoke into the emptiness, and light appeared:  the dawn of our beginnings.  God kept creating – flowers, trees, seeds, and fruit:  things that blossom and things that grow.  God created more—life that crawled and life that swam, life that sprang on hooves, and life that soared on wings!

The sun, the moon, the stars burst forth as light; the skies and the earth were filled with life – plants, creatures, and birds of every kind.  And God rejoiced saying:  It is good!

* * * * * *

From:  Pg. 43, General Liturgy 7, Celebration.  Moravian Book of Worship.

 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Moravian Church in America, 1995. Copyright by the Interprovincial Board of Publications and Communications.

Jobs Initiatives

There are several initiatives that could bring jobs to the Triad area of North Carolina. One of the most promising is One Job for Greensboro.

The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce announced this new initiative in August 2011. Designed to increase the number of jobs available, the premise is that each of the 16, 000 businesses in Guilford County should commit to hiring one new employee in 2012.. One Job for Greensboro is supported by the Chamber of Commerce, the Guilford Merchants Association, the City of Greensboro, and an advisory council of area companies.

More information available at www.onejobgreensboro.org

 

Starbucks, the coffee giant, has begun a program in conjunction with a lenders consortium that provides loans or microfinancing to small businesses. Smaller businesses and entrepreneurs are traditionally sources of job growth.

Check  http://news.starbucks.com for more information.

 

Honda Jet has confirmed its intention to hire positions in the  next two years for its facility in Greensboro.

 

This is all good news. I would love to hear of more.

 

A Few Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Romare Bearden

The Mint Museum Uptown is showing works by Romare Bearden in the Brand Galleries
through 8 January 2012. Nearly 100 works will be on display. His works in collage are considered masterpieces. A catalogue of the exhibition is available.

More information about these works is available at the Mint Wiki .

“Ballet in Cinema”

The Hanesbrands Theatre is presenting Emerging Pictures “Ballet in Cinema” in Winston-Salem on 20 November.  Included are pieces from the Royal  Opera, the Bolshoi, and the Royal Ballet.  More information is available at www.hanesbrandstheatre.org.

“Rembrandt in America”

The North Carolina Museum of Art has brought the largest collection of Rembrandt paintings ever presented in the United States  to Raleigh. This is the only East Coast venue for the show.  Check the

Website for more details:  http://ncartmuseum.org

Chicken Soup upcoming themes for writers:

Finding My Faith – Dec. 31, 2011

Breast Cancer Journey – December 15, 2011

New Friends – March 31, 2012

More information available at www.chickensoup.com

God said to Solomon, “Ask what I should give you.”  Solomon answered, “So give your servant a discerning heart.”

1 Kings 3:5,9 (NIV)

This is a favorite, written as I understand it best rather than as spoken by the ancient ones. I mean no disrespect to the true words, but rather offer my understanding to others. This is the first passage I memorized from the Bible as a child.

The Lord is my shepherd.

I know  he will provide for me and

I need not despair.

He leads me to rest in soft green pastures,

and to drink from life-giving waters.

He restores my soul by guiding me 

to the right paths,

and I obey because he asks it of me.

When I am followed by the shadows of fear, even by death,

no harm will come to me

because he is with me.

I am comforted by his guidance

and know his love will protect me.

He anoints my head with oil and

prepares a table for me even though my enemies are  near.

Surely his goodness and mercy will be with me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Let it be.

Asheville

FROM THE NORTH CAROLINA WRITERS’ NETWORK NEWSLETTER:

ASHEVILLE—More than two-hundred writers, editors, and literary agents will gather in Asheville November 18-20 for the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s annual Fall Conference.

The NCWN Fall Conference, first held in 1985, has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most inclusive writers’ conferences.

The 2011 Fall Conference will feature more than twenty-five workshops and panel discussions on all aspects of the craft and business of writing, including self-sustaining prompts, stage presence for writers, “Mystery 101,” “Brave New Media,” and Master Classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

NCWN is, without a doubt, the most influential and effective professional organization in the southeast for writers. I urge anyone who can make it to attend the meeting this fall. Membership is also invaluable, so take a look at their site (www.ncwriters.org) and consider the benefits.

Hinge Literary Center

There is a  new resource for North Carolina writers, especially those in the Triangle:  the Hinge Literary Center. A volunteer organization that supports the local literary community by offering classes, events, and online presence, the Hinge is working on its 501(c)3 status. Check out their website for classes and meetings.

To submit a Triangle-Area literary event to be posted on our calendar: calendar@hingeliterary.org

For general info: info@hingeliterary.org

Center for Advanced Hindsight

The Center for Advanced Hindsight, located at Duke University, has scheduled a discussion for artists about behavioral economics, dishonesty, and cheating for Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 pm. If you can’t make it, it will be streamed live online.   Deadline Oct. 24.

For more information: Visit http://danariely.com/2011/09/30/calling-

artists/ or contact Catherine Howard at creativedishonesty@gmail.com to RSVP for the discussion.

Eno River Unitarian Universalist craft fair

Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham is looking for artists and crafters for a fair on 12 November. Deadline: 5 November.  Contact Kacey Zucchino at kzucchino@eruuf.org.

The Future of Publishing

No one is sure today what the future of publishing will be. One thing is clear. The future will not be determined merely by the different types of distribution, forms of presentation, and formats, digital and otherwise, that are competing at present, or by the technologies that enable these. It will be determined by the needs and wants of the people that publishing serves. People need practical advice, based on knowledge gained in a systematic process that makes use of evidence and experience, to help them accomplish a vast range of tasks. People want entertainment that contributes to their learning. The future of publishing comes down to value and service.

If the focus stays on innovation within publishing, with the resources provided by context being ignored, then it will become a wholly technological but dwindling enterprise with impressive achievements that won’t offset its irrelevance. If, however, the focus shifts to how publishing can be a means of innovation for organizations and society as a whole, then it will thrive and continue its contribution to the lives of everyone.

Thus, the future calls for what I call deductive innovation, which comes from reading the general forces that shape the needs of potential users, rather than inductive innovation, which comes from the particulars of advancing available technology. The latter often results in people struggling to find how new products and services are relevant to the general forces at work in the world and the needs of users.

In order to achieve value and service and to put publishing in a wider context, a key role will be played by publishers, working in knowledge organizations and implementing the six stages described above. They will help ensure that valuable content is delivered to the audiences that need and want it.

 Martin Wilcox

Publishing Consultant

http://www.martinwilcox.net/

 (The terms ‘deductive innovation’ and ‘inductive innovation’ are my own. )

Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it.

E. F. Schumacher

I couldn’t have said this better.

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