07. Bits and Pieces

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Tiny Lights, A Journal of Personal Narrative, a favorite on line Journal, is the love-child of Susan Bono.  TL publishes a biennial newsletter on paper as well as monthly and quarterly features on line.  Its essay contest is now in its 17th year.  The pool of prize money is the handsome sum of $1250.00.  The contest seeks storytellers who respond to the interesting challenge of writing “in a distinctive voice, discernible conflict and an eventual shift in the narrator’s perspective.”  Contest deadline is Feb 18th.  If you have a suitable story in your head or your desk drawer in search of motivation, I encourage you to visit http://www.tiny-lights.com/contest.php .

The Topcoat, a 500-word little parable I wrote was published in Tiny Lights, can be found at http://www.tiny-lights.com/flash.php?id=329

I came across a charming little book this weekend.  Karen Ireland’s Job Survival Instruction Book ought to have a more universal title, JSIB is wisdom disguised as wit. The book’s 400+ tips offer many practical suggestions and caveats for navigating the workplace.  But most of the one-liners deserve a home on the door of your fridge or at the top of each page of your daily journal.  Ask your favorite local bookstore or order on Amazon.

A Year on the Road had its half-birthday last week.  After over 30 posts, 1000s of page views, and 100s of comments, AYotR could use some tweaking and perhaps experimental growth.  I am looking for a bit of mentoring with advanced features of WordPress and blogging.  Any suggestions? Volunteers?

Yesterday, at a workshop sponsored by my writers club, I sat next to an Egyptian woman and got to talk with her a little about the turbulent events in her home country.  She is excited and optimistic.  She believes the downfall of Mubarek is what it seems to be: an eruption of democratic ideals.  She believes the military will turn over power to the formative democratic government.  She believes the military’s statement that they will not disturb the peace treaty with Israel.  She believes the movement will not be co-opted by the militant Islamic fundamentalists of the region.  She believes the young people view war as a waste in a country with better use of its resources to build the country.  A nation with  a large population of highly-educated unemployed.

She told a joke about Mubarek arriving in some afterlife and was met by Nasser, whose regime ended when he was poisoned, and Sadat, who died by an assassin’s bullet.  They asked Mubarek what weapon ended his regime.  He responded, Facebook.

14 Responses to 07. Bits and Pieces

  1. karen wittgraf says:

    How interesting on the Egyptian woman’s comments- I think most of us could FEEL the integrity and passion of the progressive movement and absolutely the revolution of real people. Facebook perhaps was the weapon, but in the end, human need held that weapon. This is exciting and so hopeful.
    On the road again- soon? Love your blog, Karen

  2. Janet says:

    Hey Al-just read and really enjoyed your story in Tiny Lights-it’s one of my favorite online journals as well and have also had the privilege of being published there myself. Sounds like a great journey you’re on-happy trails to you. I know of a woman who travels across the country with her dog in an RV-she’s been doing it for quite awhile I believe – a la John Steinbeck and Charley. She’s also a blogger-I’ll pass your info on to her. Take care, drive safely and keep writing.

  3. Laila says:

    when I left Egypt in 1972, I never thought that one day I will be talking with such passion about my country. I hope the changes taking place now will include changes in the social laws for women.

    • allevenson says:

      Laila’s book about the state of women’s rights in the Middle East is soon to be in the hands of her editor. I wish her luck finding an agent and publisher and look forward to reporting its debut in my blog.

  4. john miller says:

    I was supposed to be in Egypt January 29th but the US State Department canceled the Conference the day before we left for Cairo. Nevertheless we via Al JAZEERA in English, our wonderful world news channel here in Turkey were glued to the television coverage. Al Jazeera provides in depth world wide reporting on so many issues. We now plan to use our nonrefundable ticket to go to Egypt in April, using tourist dollars to support thr revolution and we urge others to do so. It is a beautiful country. John

    • allevenson says:

      John, thanks for writing. I am very curious about what your observations of the Turkish reaction to the revolutionary movements in the countries adjacent to the Arabian Peninsula. Anything you can share with us?

  5. I enjoyed the heck out of your parable about Mr. Topcoat. Good stuff, Al. As for Egypt, and now the other big one, Iran, I hold my breath in anticipation. This tired old world will not get another big chance like this one to clean itself up.

  6. AL PEDERSEN says:


  7. john miller says:

    Al asked me to comment on reaction in Turkey about Egypt. There is official policy: In praise of the newly gained freedom and then the on the ground repressive politic of the governing party: undercover police on campus, regular arrest and censorship of journalists and the press, police checking random id cards, etc It is not the “model” Middle Eastern country so touted in the US press. Today there was no US coverage of the arrest, the Kurdish protests of yesterday and closing down of a dissident journalist and his newspaper or the detention of a woman dramatist in the main square of Istanbul. Hurriyet which you can get on line in English tends to reflect Turkish reality. It is my main press source. I have sent Al my partners blog on his experience here. Hopefully he can post it. John from southeast Turkey

  8. Colleen Rae says:

    You piece, the Topcoat was excellent. Really enjoyed it. Keep up the good writing!

  9. Colleen Rae says:

    Power to the people in Egypt, Iran, Turkey, where ever they feel oppressed! I’m thankful more people were NOT killed in the revolution in Egypt. I’m afraid that is the price of Freedom; putting our bodies on the line. Humans have been doing it since the beginning of time.

  10. April Edsberg says:

    Your overcoat story was terrific. I like your writing style.
    The joke is right on.

  11. MaryAnne says:

    Hi Al,

    Just want to thank U so much for responding to Pat last eve. re: our journey back to CA from AZ. I am looking forward to meeeting U.
    You are so right about the AZ sun rises (and sets)……just lovely!


  12. Leanne Nelson says:


    Sounds like you’re back in NorCal. There’s a Word Press MeetUp group in the Bay Area that tackles the kinds of questions/issues you have about the medium. If you’re not familiar with MeetUp, go to: http://www.meetup.com and then in the search engine write “Word Press” plus the area of the country where you’re looking for a group.


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