Tag Archives: Online Communities

Stuart Sheldon’s Old-Fashioned Letter

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Guess what, everyone? I just shipped off another letter to Tech as another bloggy friend has submitted an entry in the Write My Kid an Old-Fashioned Letter” Contest

This one traveled all the way from Miami.

When I tore open the envelope, I found a miniature piece of art because this little card? It’s hand-painted on one side.

Remember that guy who was following me on Twitter? @Stuart_Sheldon? I wrote about him HERE? Well, Stu wrote a letter for my kid. How cool is that?

I call this one “For a Bro.”

Because Stu penned “For a Bro” in ink on the front of the card.

See?

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Letter 2 – From Stuart Sheldon

Stu’s letter contains some profound advice.

On the surface, Stu’s advice may appear to be for the heterosexual male.

But.

If you look deeper, you’ll understand that his words are really a life metaphor for anyone of any sexual orientation.

In fact, Stu’s letter is so profound, the counselors at Tech’s camp should read it to all the campers in the village and then launch a 3-day mass program based on his words of wisdom.

Check it out.

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Click to make Stu’s words bigger-er!

In case you can’t read Stu’s words, I’ve translated here:

So Tech, here’s the thing about camp –

Talk to that girl you think is ALL THAT. You know the one! She makes you feel all shy cuz she’s so pretty and nice and natural and smiley. And maybe you think, “I could never talk to her; she’d never like me. She’s out of my league.” WRONG! She will like you and think you are kind and a gentleman…BECAUSE YOU ARE. Worst case, she will be your friend. Best case…who knows.

But life is about marching up to what you desire most and introducing yourself.

Trust me, little brother. I got your back.

Stu. 

Are you crying? I kinda teared up a little when I read Stu’s words.

The tone found in the letter is a lot like the one in Stu’s blog where he writes beautiful, heartfelt pieces about being a father to two young sons. About being a husband and a father, a writer and an artist, a thinker and a dreamer, finding his way in the world.

I know it’s easier to type or text these days, but typed letters don’t feel the way a real letter feels in your hands. I don’t care how many emoticons you use.

There is intimacy in the ink.

I love Stu’s loopy letters, the lightness of his hand in some places, and the places where he chose to linger and make things dark. 

For emphasis.

And I love Stu’s message, too. And I assume Tech will, too. Once a counselor reads the letter to him. You know, because he can’t read cursive since they don’t teach it in school anymore.

Read Stu’s latest piece HERE, and poke around a bit. He likes that.

Who sent you the last handwritten letter you received? Do you feel the difference between typed and handwritten letters the way I do? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

Fabulous Followers: Featuring @Stuart_Sheldon

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Gratitude to Val Erde at http://artyoldbird.com for letting me use her image.

Not long ago it occurred to me, I have all these followers on Twitter, but who are they? I mean, I don’t know everyone who follows me.

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Cute, right?

So I picked one cute guy and I sent him a quick tweet, asking him, you know, why me?

As you can imagine, we struck up a lovely cyber chat, and I learned a lot about him. And guess what? Now I’m following him!

I intend to make this a kind of semi-regular feature, so if you follow me, don’t be surprised if I tweet you and ask you to tell me about yourself and share your story with my readers. Because everyone has a story, right?

So today I’m introducing you to Stuart Sheldon.

He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife and their two sons.

He blogs HEREAnd he tweets at @stuart_sheldon. 

• • •

RASJ: You’ve been following me, Stu. Tell me a little bit about yourself. You know, so I feel a little less stalked. 

SS: I am the guy who constantly reinvents himself, because I want to taste everything in life. At 25, I was the youngest vice-president at Smith Barney and destined for untold riches, but I threw it all away at 27 to pursue my artistic dream. Twenty years later, I’ve hosted my own television documentary, written for, launched and sold my own magazine, and exhibited my paintings and sculptures on nearly every continent. My greatest creation has been the mixed media collaboration my wife and I worked tirelessly to manifest – two beautiful boys who teach me each day. With the major bases now covered in life, my laser beam is now focused on the sale of my recently-completed first book and the inception of my second. 

RASJ: Whaaaat? You finished a book! Tell me about it. You must be stoked.

SS: A Lonely Fool’s Masterpiece is the true story of a forlorn artist in his late-30s who decides to paint the wife and child of his dreams into existence. This is what I did and, thankfully, the journey burned my oversized ego like feathers in a flame. Now I am calmer, more grounded, and full of constant gratitude. If nothing else, this book is my legacy and gift to my kids, chronicling the emotional play-by-play that led, after much laughter and tears, to their arrival. National Book Critics Circle Award winner, Edwidge Daniticat, called it a “moving book for our times,” which was awesome. Now I’m querying publishers.

RASJ: Wait, you’re a writer and an artist? Have I seen any of your work?

SS: Maybe. One is my favorite sculptures, titled Play! is made entirely out of toys I found in thrift shops in the Bay Area. It now lives in the collection of a producer somewhere in the Hollywood Hills.

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Stu Sheldon’s piece entitled “Play!” Isn’t it cool?

RASJ:  That piece is wicked cool! Okay, let’s have a little fun. Look! A penguin walked into your room wearing a sombrero. What does he say? And why is he there?

SS: That’s so weird because a penguin did walk into the room. My back was turned and he did not recognize me at first as he said, all spineless and fish-breathed, “Senor (he incorrectly pronounced the enye as a hard ‘n’), you want tamale?” I spun around, grabbed the brim of his hat and tossed it like a Frisbee into the hallway. This penguin, incognito as a tamale salesman, owed me money. But I saw right thru his ruse because I can read people … and flightless birds.. I said, “No, I want those twenty clams. Cough it up, Happy Feet!” 
Unfortunately, he actually coughed up twenty little neck clams. Directly onto my new Bermuda shorts. I will never again do business with a penguin.   

RASJ: So seriously, what made you decide to follow me? Which of my posts caught your eye? You can tell me.

 SS: The Day the Last Baby Tooth Fell Out” really punched my lights out. And not because it rode the tails of Sandyhook. No, this one was a direct line from your heart to the rest of us with kids. It really captured the essence of our perspective as adoring yet helpless observers of our children.

Your son sounds like such a good boy. Through your words, I love him and his cream soda eyes. He is kind and patient in the face of inconvenience and even pain. He does not play the victim. Far from it, he is every bit a mensch. As the father of two young sons, I understand every bit of the idea of time passing. And milestones falling. And the purity of youth evaporating. In that piece you magically transformed your son into one of my own.

RASJ: Thanks for your kind words, Stu. It’s nice to learn a little about you. We have a Happy House in Florida. Maybe we can meet up in real life sometime, you think?

• • •

If you’ve been lurking around and you’d like me to notice you, tweet me. You could be next!

tweet me @rasjacobson

On Winning & Birthday Questions

It’s Hump Day.

So I need to hump thank you.

Because of your votes, I won the brand new, but much coveted Peg-o-Clio Award after submitting a piece of fiction to try to come up with a use for and then “sell” a product that Peg had at her blog.

To read my winning entry, click HERE. (Note: It’s short!)

Check out my awesome cyber-trophy. Those red shoes are smokin’. I wanna get me some of those. Perhaps I should forget this whole author thing and just go into advertising. Obviously, I possess the ability to turn chicken shit into Chicken Cordon Bleu. The book thing is taking a lot longer than I ever expected.

Thanks also to all of you who voted in RobShep.com’s 2nd Annual All Star Blogging Contest. When I sent out the call to my friends on Facebook and Twitter, you came through at the polls. At one point, the two teams were in a dead heat for hours. I am confident that it is because of my followers that Team Ricky was able to close the deal. So thank you for utilizing every device you had in your houses. And offices. Seriously, y’all are the best. Be sure to check out the great blogs from BOTH teams. Because, honestly, these people are wonderful writers.

I know these little contests might seem silly to some of you, but for some of us, they are fun and they offer our writing community the opportunity to offer a little recognition to some of the stellar writers here in the blogosphere. I’m hoping to one day read a book by The Good Greatsby and I can’t wait for Tamara Lunardo‘s anthology of essays What A Woman Is Worth to hit the shelves!

Last, I wanted to remind you that if you haven’t yet asked TechSupport a question for his birthday, you still have a chance to do that HERE by 8/12. All questions must be on the blog. On August 13, 2012, TechSupport will be made to sit in a chair and write responses. I will not correct his grammar. (Who am I kidding? Yes I will. I am going to try to get him to remember when to use capital letters and commas and how to identify run-on sentences. And fragments.)

NOTE: Be sure to read the questions that people have already posted so you aren’t asking the same question that has already been asked already so you aren’t asking it again which would be repetitive and redundant.

Do you see what I did there?

If you ask a question that has already been asked, Tech might ignore you. I would hate for that to happen!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

What good things have been happening to you? Who do you need to hump thank?

Tweet This Twit @rasjacobson

Teachers Who Sucked vs. Teachers Who Scored

Schoolboy receiving bare bottom birching, from...

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Back in May, I realized my fall 2011 semester was going to be hectic, so I asked a bunch of people to consider helping me out by writing about a memory of a favorite (or not so favorite) teacher who helped them learn something about themselves or the world.

Because everyone has a favorite teacher, right?

And, let’s face it, even the bad ones taught us something.

I was stunned by the response.

Everyone was all: “Omigosh, this is like, totally awesome!”

The guys were slightly less Valley-Girlish.

I am truly grateful to everyone who submitted a story.

So starting next Wednesday — and running every Wednesday until the well runs dry — I will post one story.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag will be #TWITS – an acronym to stand for Teachers Who I Think Scored or Teachers Who I Think Sucked.

(It only took me eleventy-bajillion years to come up with that one.)

If you’d like to be part of the action, I would love to read your words.

Maybe as we go along you might say, “Hey, I don’t see my experience represented here.”

Well, that’s so not okay!

So haul out your yearbooks.

Now, stop looking at yourself.

Okay, now stop looking at you-know-who.

What do you mean: “Who?”

You know the one.

Now turn to the teachers’ page and write about something that one of them did that you promised you’d never forget.

You can find my email address under the “Contact Me” tab. 

Tweet this Twit @ RASJacobson

Schedule:

Renée Schuls-Jacobson • August 17, 2011 • Lessons From Teachers & Twits • “Spot Check”

Jessica Buttram  •  August 24, 2011 • Meet the Buttrams“Hard Ass”

Save Sprinkles • August 31, 2011 • How Can I Complain?“A Different Kind of Punishment”

Steven Hess • September 7, 2011 • “Read the Books”

Piper Bayard • September 14, 2011 • On Life, Belly Dancing & Apocalyptic Annihilation“The Power of a Swift Kick”

Zach Sparer • September 21, 2011 • Faux-Outrage“Substitute Preacher”

Kelliefish • September 28, 2011 • Kelliefish13’s Blog“Mrs. Clayton”

Larry Hehn • October 5, 2011 • Christian in the Rough“Ode to Werner Berth”

Kelly K • October 12, 2011 • Dances With Chaos“Buzz Champion”

Tyler Tarver • October 19, 2011 • Tyler Tarver “Yo tengo el gato los pantelones”

Tamara Lunardo • October 26, 2011 • Tamara Out Loud“Those Who Can’t Teach”

Leonore Rodrigues • November 2, 2011 • As A Linguist“Damage Done”

Mark Kaplowitz • November 9, 2011 • Mark Kaplowitz’s Blog“My 1st Grade Teacher Must Have Had Stock in Crayola”

Mary Mollica • Novemeber 16, 2011 • The Decorative Paintbrush“Not to Be Trashed”

Paul Waters • November 23, 2011 • Blackwatertown“The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”

Penny Thoyts • November 30, 2011 • “Lessons From Mrs. Gurney”

Chase McFadden • December 7, 2011 • Some Species Eat Their Young“If You’re Lucky

SaucyB • December 14, 2011 • Life & Times of a Self-Proclaimed Saucy Bitch“Hidden Potential”

Kathy English • December 21, 2011 • The Mom Crusades“Mrs. Schmidt’s Wonderful World”

Annie Wolfe • December 28, 2011 • Six Ring Circus“The Day Mrs. Dean Saved My Life”

A Twit Learns To Tweet

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Way back on Monday, April 25, 2011 at precisely 8:07 AM, I emailed Clay Morgan from EduClaytion.com. He and I had established an “easy, breezy, beautiful” rapport; we’d talked on the phone a few times, and for a while, we were on the same cyber-page. But suddenly, Clay had a Twitter icon on his page. And I didn’t.

What the deuce? I thought. So I tapped out a quick note.

Dude, I seriously need to understand Twitter. I either need a 15 year-old girl. Or you. Can you call me?

Clay responded like a firefighter would to a burning building. He emailed me and assured me Twitter was “pretty intuitive” and that I could probably figure it out. He said he had faith in me.

Whaaaat? Twitter? Intuitive? To whom?

Clearly, he did not read this article.

We set up a time to talk.

Then I lost his phone number.

Still, I had every intention of making Twitter priority #1 on my list of Things To Do. (You know, after I got back from Florida. And all the grocery shopping was done. And I had unpacked and put the suitcases away and done all the laundry and scrubbed the baseboards and taken out the garbage and fed the animals.

(Note: We have no pets. Not even a goldfish. Not even an ant.)

I was a little bit horrified that I had so easily morphed into one of the typical student-types: the kid who pretends the deadline hasn’t come and gone, but never goes to talk to the teacher about it.

But Professor Morgan was onto me.

Clearly I was delaying. We set up a time to conference around noon.

After my massage.

(What? I have a long-standing back injury, people.)

On the day of our exciting teleconference, we started with the simple stuff.

Clay explained that, for a writer, the purpose of Twitter is to help network with other writers, to acquire followers, and to spread one’s writing around to other interested readers. He said Twitter can be a place to gather with my fellow writers, where I can find people to hold me accountable to achieve my writing goals, and where I can find people willing to critique my work.

That all sounded good.

He explained it also meant supporting and promoting the people whose writing I adore.

I heard “cheerleader.” I was a cheerleader in high school. I may have lost my splits, but I can still cheer. And if tweeting and re-tweeting my favorite writers’ stuff was going to help them, I could drink that Kool-Aid.

So Clay taught me the basics. About the Timeline. And how to check my Direct Message Box — to see if anyone has sent me a private message.

“How do I know that?”

Clay patiently explained.

He also told me I should always check Mentions to see if anyone has tweeted any of my posts and, if they have, that I should be absolutely certain to send that person a short thank-you.

“It’s Twit-tiquette,” Clay explained.

He taught me about how to set up a list of my most favorite bloggers. And while we were on the phone, I understood everything perfectly.

Clay was extremely patient and gracious. And then, like any good therapist smart person with outstanding time management skills, after one hour, he announced our session was up.

Whaaaat?

“I haven’t mastered this yet!” I whined.

He assured me that I’d figure it out if I played around with it a bit.

I thanked Clay for “eduClayting” me, and I messed around on Twitter for a while.

I tried to send messages to the people I knew best.

Eventually, I got a response from Clay himself.

Whaaaaat? I was sending messages to myself? Awk.Ward.

I tried to figure out that mess. And I set out again.

This time I heard back from Leanne Shirtliffe aka: Ironic Mom.

After a few weeks, I saw I got my first retweet! And then I got a RT from Mark Kaplowitz, someone whose writing I really like:

And then that started to happen more and more.

Eventually, I figured out the secret language of hashtags: the weird letters that come after the numbers’ symbol (#). Like #MyWana. Or #IYKWIM. For a while, I felt like I sitting alone at a table in the middle school cafeteria, and everyone knew everyone else and everyone knew what they were doing – everyone except me. But then I learned that you can Google these letters after the number symbol and find out the inside joke. And boom, I was instantly sitting at the cool kids’ table because I was speaking the same language.

And guess what, writer tweeps are a lot nicer than the mean girls in middle school.

The big moment came when author Kristen Lamb sent me a tweet. I would post it, but it’s kind of like looking into the sun. Too much truth. Your pupils might burn, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that.

These days, I have myself on a strict Twitter diet. I check in three times a week,  spend 15 minutes responding to people, sending thank-yous, and trying to connect with one new person. I literally set a timer. It is really easy for Twitter to become a time suck.

Alas, now that all this time has passed, I don’t remember how to add people to that list Clay helped me to create. Also, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with that list. I think it was supposed to save me time somehow. I’m not really sure. So that’s not great.

I told Clay that I was going to write a blog about how much he helped me.

I estimated that I would have that post written by late August.

So I’m a little ahead of schedule.

But I really need to work on my fall curriculum. And my book.

You remember, my book?

The thing that started all of this…

Yeah.

It’s calling me.

Gotta run.

Do you use Twitter? If so, who taught you? And what do you get out of it? Any funny stories about stuff that has happened to you while you were learning to tweet? What are your Twitter woes?

Tweet This Twit @RASJacobson