A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper personal column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, with readers in 131 countries.-- Sunrise on the old Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto

Friday, December 19, 2014

Six days to Christmas, from the sacred earth

Where earth is always sacred, watercolor card
Adobe...the earth, the ground on which you walk. In the Southwest, it's also the ground in which you live. There is no more iconic testament to that than Taos Pueblo, in New Mexico, where real Americans have been living longer there is history.
Yes, they have adopted Christianity, as have many peoples, and adapted it to their culture and even older beliefs and religion, as all people have in one way or another. But underneath is this reverence for the land, the unity of all creation, sitting at the base of a sacred mountain where eternal gods dwell.
When you walk here, you gather a deep sense of time, of community, and of the truely sacred.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Inspiration and energy by free spriit in #clarkclass

From @okieprof, #clarkclass

The joys of this job are the students, present and past, and my current students in twitter for media today were energized and inspired by a former student, Heide Brandes, @HeideWrite.
Heide is a free spirit who lives life to the fullest. She's succeeded as a community journalist and a PR professional, and now as a freelance writer and professional belly dancer.
Her talks with the class are off the wall, like her, wide open where everything can be discussed, and so full of practical advice about life and living, in addition to her careers.
When I asked the class general impressions before we began our debriefing, one female student just said, "Wow."
For the record, Heide is the student who appeared in an ad with me promoting UCO. Yes, she's also a belly dancer and owns a belly dancing school. Energy personified, in her very early 40s.
Here, recorded by current student student Alyssa Ramsey @alyssaramsey13, a photography major are my students' debriefing impressions of Heide.
  • Cool how she doesn’t really care and she is honest and upfront about her work. She is professional, but in her own way
  • Makes me want to quit my job and just do what I want to do for the rest of my life
  • Freelancing is really cool and if you can make it work it would be a really cool job to have
  • She said “always tweet with value, don’t tweet when you’re pissed off.” If more young people did that on social media we would all be better off
  • If you can help people on twitter do it. It shows that you’re engaged.
  • Don’t be afraid for what you want. The worst thing you can do is not go for it
  • She made a blog post that was about how to clean up your digital footprint
  • She used hash tags to research things on twitter
  • She said don’t try to fit in. Stop trying so hard and be your own person
  • Be genuine but also be careful. You can get a long way being yourself
  • Huge thing for people to realize that fighting with others on twitter will really reflect in your personal and professional life
  • If you say something about a specific political party, you never know what your future employers' beliefs will be; it could hurt you in the long run.
  • Posting pictures getting wasted or posting things while under the influence will hurt you
  • It's not the end of the world if you make mistakes, you always learn from your mistakes
  • Be engaging--if you see something someone said that you like tell them. If people mention you reply
  • If you want to be an excellent writer be an excellent reader. It gives you a sense of credibility
  • It's good to have boundaries of what you won’t write about
  • 30 to 40 stories a month is a lot of stories and she is still free-spirited and doesn’t let it bog her down--she is very positive
  • should know, need to know, want to know
  • If you don’t ask you’ll never know. Twitter helps with that now it makes it easier to contact people.
  • Twitter is your business card
  • She gets a lot of leads and jobs from hashtags on twitter
  • Talked about how exciting her life was being a freelance writer
  • Hashtags will tell you what's important and what people are talking about
  • Who she follows is very important because that’s how she gets news stories and resources

Here's the newspaper ad we appeared in together, thanks to her talking to my administration.

Wilderness, sanctuary, grace--seven days til Christmas

Grace, watercolor card
Sanctuary in wilderness...a line shack, a lonely cabin, peace and safety amid a storm--it's not about religious beliefs, or politics, or wealth, or how you've lived your life, or the mistakes you've made, or the regrets of the past, or worries about the future. It's not about fancy, and riches, and comfort, and how much you have. It's now. In spite of our man-made religions, materialistic, brightly lighted, judgmental Calvinistic society, and turmoil-wracked and unjust world, is that not what Christmas is about? The promise of sanctuary-a place, a person, a group, yourself--in a storm?
Grace is just a simple cabin in a storm.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ambassador, storyteller, journalist

From @okieprof #clarkclass
The Oklahoman Sports Editor Mike Sherman @MikeSherman spoke to #clarkclass today. The UCO grad came in wearing his bronze and blue UCO neck scarf, and within minutes began an hour and a half storytelling session, impressing my students with his humility and humanity, changing their views on the people who work in media, challenging them with questions and quotes, and his wide range of knowledge and reading.
This is what education is about, to me...providing students with opportunities to see the world in a different perspective, helping them to learn how to think and adapt.
After Mike left, we debrief, and each student comments on what made an impression, what stood out. They still don't take enough notes for me,  and I kept wanting to interrupt and say "Get that quote," but I didn't. This is the fourth time Mike has spoken to the class--and he looks forward to it, made #clarkclass a verb ("I've #clarkclassed it"), and he's always a hit.
Here are some of his comments and  reactions today, recorded by student Alyssa Ramsey @alyssaramsey13, a photography major who will be interning at the Oklahoma in January.

    •    You have to distribute your own content
    •    You're your own paperboy
    •    Rapid thought process for problem solving and his willingness to do whatever it takes for the problem to be solved
    •    "Prospecting is another term for creeping."
    •    (On posting on Twitter) "You're opening the window and shouting out of it, don't get mad at me if I hear you."
    •    "God's not finished with us. We're all still learning."
    •    Liked the “What’s the Headline” and the use of reader involvement
    •    Need to make sure you are educated when you go out and say things on twitter
    •    Staying connected and getting connected is important
    •    Conversation is the most important technological medium
    •    The newspaper should be called the understanding papers and its not really just news; it's about understanding what’s going on
    •    Humility in admitting when they were wrong
    •    Twitter is a deciding factor in who to hire
    •    You have not because you ask not. A good reminder to not be afraid to go out and try and ask
    •    The world is flat. Thomas Friedman. A lot of jobs are getting narrowed down to one person jobs with technology. You don't want to be flattened.
    •    It is important to be close to the people you work with, and twitter is a good way to see how people interact with others
    •    Twitter is one of the greatest listening devices of all time and one of the greatest search engines
    •    People that get angry for things that are said about them. If you put something out there on the internet you can’t be mad when it is used against you. It’s out there for the world to see.
    •    The Oklahoman uses twitter to get information and get leads from what people are talking about
    •    After "Mr. Unreliable," he went on twitter and asked the public what ideas were for headlines, admitting they were wrong to lighten the mood about the situation
    •    The paper is a way of answering questions for the people that can’t ask them themselves
    •    Old school vibes and he is still himself even with all the new and upcoming media. Still likes conversation and phone calls. Not always about the new media.
    •    When you’re wrong don’t debate, always apologize

You can see more class comments on twitter #clarkclass, and this also appears onthe class blog, #clarkclassUCO

Water in the desert, eight days til Christmas

Desert dreams, watercolor card
I've learned to love the desert, growing up in New Mexico. You're very aware of how fragile life is, of how much life adapts to survive, of the value of water, of a landscape where history and geology are open books--things you forget where there is lots of green and moisture. Only desert dwellers appreciate water and life so much.
 It tells you something about Jesus and where he was raised that he would say
"but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."  --(John 4-14)
The land is raw and eternally changing and beautiful, and scarce water becomes even more beautiful. Those who adapt are also often raw and beautiful and survive and use the earth, whether adobe from the earth, or springs, or acequias or lessons learned from the ancients. 
In cold winters the only colors are the whites and blues of the snow, the earthen tones of the bones of the land and adobe, and the deep blues of the sky and the rare water.