what I did that night
what I did the next day, or the day after.
the first time I saw his room without his bedcovers turned down.
where I went during the wake.
where his clothes went.
why no one saved me his paisley pajamas.
what my sister said to me about dad being dead
what my brother said to me about dad being dead
what I said to my sister about dad being dead
what I said to my brother about dad being dead
what my mother told me after that thing about mourning
when the next time anyone said his name was
where I went next
what I wore
why they sent me away before the funeral
what they said to me about the funeral
How I got to Illinois
who took me there
Why they slept my older cousin on the porch with me
How he knew about sex
What I said to my grandmother about my father
what she said to me
when I went home from Illinois
how I got home.
the first time I looked at the piano without him there
the first time I looked at the bass without him there
the first time I looked at myself without him there
what I ate that day
what I ate the next day
what I said when other people said, "I'm sorry."
when I stopped liking the attention it got me
when I started feeling guilty
when I realized it wasn't fair
the first time I cried
the first time I wished him back
February 21, 2004
what I did that night
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:34 PM
Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:23 PM
Draped in pink linen
and white lace,
seams pressed to
slice the inside of my
reminding me to behave.
a layer beneath
no one sees
just how low
the crotch of my tights
between the thighs
not every bit a lady.
I lived to run ragged
trade patent leather prisons
for blades of grass
pressed tight between my thumbs,
cross legged on a bale of straw
calling to the orioles.
Come down, come down.
I am their splendor
black against orange,
cascading clash of colors
dipping and climbing
among the pines.
You had to know
I would go.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:10 PM
Jonathon stops by once in a while to remind me what I should be doing. He never says it outright--like, "what are you doing writing about all this social software shit--do social, don't talk social," no, he doesn't say it that way. He doesn't say, "be human, stop talking about humans." He's funnier than that. Instead he sent me a link to Unbillable Hours, which he'd sent before, but last night I dug into the blog; an amazing world, an amazing writer. He has the best "About" writeup I've ever read. This was the post Jonathon sent me a link to. In that post I read:
A recent conversation reminded me of the potential for legal education to change how I think. I never lost, as a result of law, that sense of enjoyment of the reckless and the beautiful, but I did lose a lot of my ability to think in a holistic, fuzzy sort of way. To think as I needed to in order to write poetry.
The message wasn't lost on me.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:44 AM
Flickr is like Orkut WITH an answer to that nagging feeling, "So now what?"
I wasn't going to bother with flickr, then I read this post over at tech ronin, and usually what I read there feels right, so I said, okay--let me check this flickr thing out...
All of the calories, none of the fat.
Really. Very fun.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 9:02 AM
February 20, 2004
The orkut "uncompany" community has taken to SocialText and with a go-get-em and welcome from Ross Mayfield, we're noodling around in socialspace talking about how we can bring together far-slung talent in an unworkplace to collaborate on some projects, or at least share some knowledge, and everyone's old fav, best practices, but, even better, some worst practices.
Four of us are also snooping around Project Desk, which lets four users on for free, and for now "trial" and "free" are words that we like to hear.
Look for updates as we get social out there in the social software universe.
By the way, I think social's a bad word for what we're doing. To me it rings of a debutante ball or an ice cream social or an online dating service. We're not being social. The software may be social--if software can be social--but what we the people want from this power loom that's weaving us all together isn't a way to get "social." We're not necessarily anti-social, although I think that some of us may be.
I have to think on this. When it gels, I'll post some alternative names for what this is. But I don't think social is it.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 8:39 PM
I'm imagining a PR brainstorm session for Pepsi. I'm imagining the creative brainstorming meeting set-er-up-er splish splashing stress balls and play dough and mini snickers bites and clappers and paper clip magnets around the table, and of course a bottle of Pepsi at every seat. (Yes, this really happens.) I'm imagining a team of bright PR people tasked with generating news, ink, impressions for Pepsi's iTune giveaway. I'm imagining white boards and post it notes full of ideas.
I'm imagining a clean-shaven, designer-polo wearing, brown haired, blue eyed young man of around 24 playing with his closed bottle of Pepsi, fidgeting, staring up at the ceiling, thinking. I'm imagining him looking down at the table, deciding to open his Pepsi, tilting it and wrapping his fingers around the top, ready to twist, when he notices.
"Um. Holy shit?!"
"What greg? Watcha got?"
"LOOK! You tip it and you can see that the bottle's not a winner--you can see the 'AGAIN' as in 'Try AGAIN'!"
"No. Lemme see."
They huddle around Greg's bottle, tilting it this way and that way. The spend 10 minutes talking about whether it's just this botttle, a screw up in manufacturing, saying Sherry look at yours, is yours the same? Laura? Tim? Stephen? Everyone is tilting their bottles this way and that.
Every single person there can see the AGAIN, when the bottle's tilted j-u-s-t- r-i-g-h-t. Before they ever buy the product customers will know they're not a winner.
"Someone in bottling's going bye bye."
"Well, we have to tell them."
"Oh fuck. Who's gonna make the call? And what are we gonna tell them?"
One lone voice says: Maybe it's not a bad thing.
"Maybe it's not a bad thing."
None of them know that this weblogger in disguise is living a secret life as a PR flack.
"How can it not be a bad thing--no one's going to buy Pepsi and try to win the damn iTune if they can already see that the bottle's not a winner."
"Uh.... well. What could be good about that?"
"Our job is to get the ink. What they want us to do is create the noise. I can do that."
"You can do that? And embarass the client? What happens when it comes out?"
"It doesn't have to be embarassing. In fact, it could be a lot of fun."
"Okay, you're insane. But tell us more. BEFORE we make the call...."
Smarter still? The brainstorm at Pepsi where someone said: "Hey, I have an idea. Let's make this one so they can see if they're a winner before they buy."
Thanks to David and Dan for the links.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 2:48 PM
February 19, 2004
John Desmond, Publisher of Software Magazine, sent out an email today warning that another company is hawking Software Magazine's Software 500 plaques. John works hard and taught me a lot personally as a youngish freelance writer contributing stories to ADT, and then SW Mag. It's a shame some quick-hit operation is trying to leech off of SW Mag's brand. Do those guys a favor: Don't buy Software 500 Plaques from American Registry. John explains what's up in the email:
Dear Marketing and Public Relations Professional,
A company not authorized by or affiliated in any way with Softwaremag.com and Software Magazine has begun to promote 2003 Software 500 plaques.
This message is to let you know that this company, American Registry LLC out of Lyndhurst, N.J., has no permission from us to use our list or our trademarks. We will be pursuing legal avenues to have them cease and desist.
Thank you for your support of Softwaremag.com and Software Magazine, a brand name in the industry for over 20 years.
We have our own 2003 Software 500 plaque marketing effort going on. Please let me know if you would like to have a salesperson contact you to pursue the opportunity.
And thank you to those who received messages from American Registry and asked us if we were working with them. The answer is no. We have never been contacted by them. We appreciate your consideration.
Publisher and Editorial Director
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 3:00 PM
Talking to RB today, and it's one of those talks, so I'm filling him in on the news, the story about the guy who ate coins--this mental illness has a name, I forgot what, the story's out there, he never reads the news, and I explain about this illness that is quite debilitating considering that the crux is the illness is a compulsion to eat things that aren't edible.
In this case coins. Ten year's worth of coins. 12 pounds worth of coins.
So, I say, they operate on the man, who had been through the coin eating ordeal before, and he dies 12 days later, and I launch into a jag about how I could easily slip over the edge into a compulsion like that, at least I was thinking so while I was reading it, here, alone, avoiding MicrosoftWord, and after all, what keeps me from eating a penny right now. It sounds interesting. How many would it take to feel full? If you have one or two dimes, what would be the point of stopping there? And what an ingenious way to fill that emptiness inside.
Anyway I'm done telling the story about the man who ate pennies and quarters, probably nickels, and I assume dimes, and RB verifies that yes, this is an illness that's been around for a long time, and some people eat knives, and he tells me how there was once a guy who ate an entire bicycle. I say, a whole bicycle? I think about it.
I think about it some more.
Man. A whole bicycle? I say, what's that gotta feel like--passing shrapnel, right?
No shit he says.
And so I tell him how I've had this annoying headache today, not like a regular headache, more of a headitch, where I feel that if I could just reach in with a fork between my brain and the inside of my skull and itch, it would be gone. It's an itch of some kind, but an inside itch beneath my skull that hurts.
So he tells me about the third eye thing and Trepanation, and how some people make holes in their heads with drills to relieve pressure while achieving genuine fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment, thereby curing their individual human conditions, and how it's an ancient practice, one that dates back to ancient times, one that I should probably avoid and not spend time looking into online.....
which is precisely what I do, look into it online that is, not drill my head, yet, and I find trepan.com which demonstrates that trepanation is alive and well and boring holes in heads worldwide, and why not?
I love this place.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 2:29 PM
I was trying out the new Yahoo Search, which generated about 16,000 hits on my first search, which was of course a vanity search. THERE on the first page of results, I find that someone set up a google fight between Halley and I, and she kicked my ass! Well, how do you like that!
Why is Yahoo serving me up a google fight with Halley on the first page of my search results anyway? This is ironic in oh so many ways.
I think I know what the Yahoo search engine is doing--it's executing a google search and simply delivering the results to us in reverse order within their googlish UI.
Takes long enough, huh?
Now onto the important stuff--I matched up "google search" and "yahoo search" on googlefight, and yahoo search WON.
These results clearly demonstrate that googlefight is hosed, and that I most definitely beat Halley.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 12:18 AM
February 18, 2004
It's pretty funny, isn't it, that some of the folks talking about civility and correctness are some of the same folks talking about folks (well, this folk) behind their backs. You're right, Joi. You've got *some* community going on over there.
I've enjoyed Joi sharing in my comments the reasoning behind his thoughts on how to positively influence community. I see better now why that's a concern of his. Rather than somehow attempting to influence or nudge or force social civility among those who claim to be ultra-civil (a claim I'd never make ;-)), perhaps the best approach is to go completely hands off and let the community either cast out the bunthorns, burn itself out, or spin off pieces of value into new, more public spaces.
One of these things is likely to happen.
Me? I'll hang out and watch.
I like to watch.
When I started Blog Sisters two years ago, I didn't think it would morph into a 100-member community of really fine women thinkers and writers. But it has. And one thing I learned early on in team weblogging is that to be effective, I had to let the blog go completely. In other words, give up control, slide my voice into reverse, take my voice outside and elsewhere, let the space take on its own voice.
When Elaine, and then Andrea, agreed to jump in as co-administrators, the place stopped being "mine" completely and didn't really belong to any of us. The nature of threesomes, I suppose.
This approach is both smilar to and different from what happened with Gonzo Engaged, which was a very early, and now enduring, team space for not-quite-right-minded bloggers.
Gonzo stopped being my place a long time ago. It ceased even being about Gonzo Marketing, and by doing so, became moreso. Does that make sense?
To push it further, I made every member an administrator. That's a dozen or so administrators, all of whom have equal power to edit, fuck with, fuck up, or delete the entire weblog. I still say, that takes balls. It's full disclosure over there--everyone sees the stats, everyone can do whatever anyone wants. I understand WIKIs now have that same feel, that same level of equality-of-voice. As yet, I haven't tried one. I can't say why. I guess I'm a blog chick, deep down, where it counts.
Community freedom is lot like cold war. When all participants have an equal ability obliterate one another, generally they won't. No threat, no fret. And when disagreement or sidebar war begins, it takes place in public view, in plain sight of those with their own warheads. We get personal. In front of eachother. And we like it.
Which reminds me. There's something about getting personal I've been meaning to write about this past week.
If you haven't been around me in the blogworld for long--lots of new orkut friends here who must be wondering why the hell they clicked "yes"--you don't know that while I'm an open heart blogger, that doesn't mean I'm afraid to get down.
Using blogsisters as an example, Elaine and I have gone more than a few rounds in full public view, getting plenty personal, and it wasn't pretty. Or was it? Elaine, was it pretty? I think it kind of was, in retrospect. Pretty because it was real. My bet is that Elaine doesn't care whether it was pretty or not. She may come over here and have her own say.
But I do know that in our knock downs, I gained respect for Elaine because, among many other things, she didn't run off and talk about me on an IRC channel. She kept it real, and she kept it where it started.
I didn't come to blogging to be part of a debating team with rules and mores beyond those I brought here on my own two shoulders and in my gut. I didn't come here for nicely packaged academic debates. And I especially didn't come here to listen passively to passive aggressive rhetoric that slices people in two, but with such a shiney bright knife that everyone spends time commenting on how shiney the knife is, not the friend left bleeding in the corner.
No, I don't want your stinkin' mores. I don't want your civility. Sometimes I want to kick your ass for being an ass.
And if you weren't such an ass, then sometimes, maybe just once even, you'd bend over and take it.
Do nice girls misbehave? You better fucking believe we do.
AND we do it with the lights on.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:07 PM
February 17, 2004
Keep in mind, there is a difference between the A-List Wanabee species and the actual A-List species. The former is known to charge without warning, while the latter wanders about quite peacefully waiting for mating season.
On a related note, you'll find some useful tips here.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 11:43 AM
February 16, 2004
Three or four months ago, I didn't know Joi Ito from a french fry. I still don't know much. I wandered into a couple of joi communities because some of my long-time blog friends were hanging out there and I wondered what the hell a #joi or $joi or whatever the little symbol thing was was.
At the time, I thought Joi was a she by the name of Joy. Now I understand, through the chatter of blog back circuits, that Joi is 1) a guy, 2) a nice guy, 3) a very rich guy who travels a lot, and 4) a guy with a lot of money and clout who thinks blogging is important. Then I started reading his blog now and then, and I found even more interesting than what Joi wrote were some good discussions that took place in his comments.
Let me reiterate, I have had exactly zero personal exchanges with Joi since I began blogging in 2001; therefore, I can't speak to who Joi is as a person. Just that I know he's actually, like, Joey, and not Joy.
But what he says in LLL's comments in relation to her self-congratulatory post on how uncivilized some bloggers have become makes me think that 1) Joi's popped a gasket, or 2) Joi wants something out of blogging that I hope he doesn't get.
To a certain extent, I have to begin taking responsibility for "the community" does, and somehow influence the behavior of the community without exerting authority or control.... I have a feeling one of the best ways to influence the behavior of a community is really to try to generate memes or social norms that amplify good behavior and discourage bad behavior. They need to be nurtured and reinforced. But as with most emergent systems, I don’t think it’s easily designed and more a process of being sensitive and aware of the issues as things develop.
TO INFLUENCE THE BEHAVIOR OF A COMMUNITY?
AMPLIFY GOOD BEHAVIOR?
DISCOURAGE BAD BEHAVIOR?
THEY NEED TO BE NURTURED AND REINFORCED?
What the fuck?
Then what? Segment and target?
WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?!?!?
Have you swiped Stavros' glue?
To all of you of who think that this is your classroom, your experiment, your personal research project in emergent social networks, in emergent democracy, or emergent brands of toilet paper, I pledge to you, from this day forward, that I will do everything in my power to skew your research, disrupt your leadership styles, cripple your ability to peg me, and if that doesn't work, to egg your houses.
Ms. Behaving asks how dare shelley.
I ask, how dare YOU.
How dare YOU and how dare YOU.
Emergent shit from my anus.
That's what I say.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 8:53 PM
Shelley wrote something the other day that is among the most important and wide-open challenges I've seen put to the blog community in a long time. Actually, she's written a million great things about weblogging, community, and voice lately. Look here, here, and here. Shelley does a good job, as always, of linking to those involved in the larger discussion to provide context and layering.
Within these posts, Shelley offered the challenge I'm talking about, a challenge that she didn't phrase as a challenge at all, mind you, but for those who take issue with what she wrote, it is a challenge--a substantial one.
And it's a challenge that anyone with too much riding on their success as a weblogger will never, ever accept, can't aknowleldge as valid, won't risk looking at. Because they can't afford to. They can't risk it. Instead, they'll project, they'll turn it around, they'll wag a finger.
"If community causes you to alter your writing—not to say something you think should be said, or to write a certain way to get attention—then you are betraying yourself as a writer."
I would add to that: "You are betraying yourself--period. You are betraying your friends, your family, and the communities you say you hold so dear."
And I would add: "You are a fucking coward. You are in hiding. You are afraid to be real."
Weighty accusations? No more so than those those accusations that have been leveled against Shelley, StavrosTWC, and Me in recent months by Liz Lawley and her band of merry maids.
Oooooh, jeneane, that's catty! That is negative. That "behavior" is beneath you.
I say that negativity, challenge, holding people accountable for what they say and do here is far more "benevolent" (see Liz's facination with the belevolence test) than castrating voice, silencing those who would challenge your ideas, throwing the guy with the broken leg under the bus so that he doesn't slow down the progress of you and your pack of she-wolves.
A benevolence test for bloggers? Are you kidding me? The only person I'd trust to administer that test is AKMA, and I trust him because I know he'd laugh at the notion of enforced benevolence. I know that he would see the irony in that.
I don't care about making friends here, forcing friendship, sacrificing who I am to have powerful friends in this space. I don't care that an a-lister leaves me a comment, and if he or she does, I don't consider that necessarily kind. I consider it part of a conversation.
DO YOU HEAR ME?
As someone who participates in this space, what I gain personally from a comment -- a-lister or otherwise -- is NOT important. THE IMPORTANT GAIN IS TO THE CONVERSATION, NOT TO ME and NOT TO YOU.
The gain should go to the community, not to your fame ranking or your resume.
You? You take the hits. That's your job here.
You take the fucking hits and you keep on going. You love. You Seeth. You Grieve. You write. The hits are yours to take, to grow from.
Sucking power from the powerful and using community to persuade others that you are helping community is like hoarding all the power from the electric company and doling it out to those you deem fit while those you take exception with are left shivering. How benevolent.
That power shit can't last here. Not for long anyway. And She and He and Me will keep talking about it and blowing things up. And those who have known us a very long time can judge for themselves who's being real and whether you want to light a fuse or run for cover.
It's about rolling in shit and getting dirty and wiping the crust from your eyes and going on. It's about being sewn up and busting your stiches from laughing so hard, even as the blood drips down your underwear. It's ugly. It's beautiful. It's real.
You can research, you can confer, you can pontificate, you can wag your finger at Shelley, at Stavros, at me.
Liz can take Halley to task without naming her because that wouldn't look nice-nice on Liz's comment-free webzine.
In this space, you can fool yourself.
But you can't fool us.
Nuh-uh, baby. You can't fool me.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 12:54 PM