Tara's Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

This post is directed to all the writers out there who may have an interest in sharing your vision for a world that has found its way through the Climate Crisis.  AND there is prize money involved here, folks!  Grist is accepting submissions through April 12, 2021  (11:59pm US PST).

What is Grist? Here it is in their own words:

“Our independent, nonprofit newsroom pursues in-depth stories on under-covered topics like clean energysustainable foodlivable citiesenvironmental justice, and a better economy. We elevate solutions, expose inequity, and give our readers the context, knowledge, and tools to make a difference.

Grist was founded in 1999 as one of the nation’s first online-only publications, covering serious topics without taking ourselves too seriously. TIME magazine calls Grist  the Colbert Report of climate change … except with real reporting and analytical journalism.”

And here is their Media byline:

“A non-profit news organization for people who want a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.”

Well said!!   OKAY, so. Here is what Grist is offering via FIX, their Solutions Lab:

“All 12 final stories will be published in a digital collection on Fix’s website, and the authors will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.”

Here are the rest of the details and submission guidelines:

“Welcome to Imagine 2200 — a new climate-fiction contest by Fix, Grist’s solutions lab. What we’re seeking: short stories that envision the next 180 years of equitable climate progress. What we’re offering: $8,700 in prizes, publication, and a reason to stay hopeful.

The world is crazy right now, and the stakes are high: just, you know, our entire frickin’ future. Our newsfeeds are full of denial, delay, and doom that make us want to scream into our pillows. But that’s just the old story. At Fix, we are telling the new story, of a path to a clean, green, and just future, and the people who are driving it. Our mission is to make the story of a better world so irresistible, you want it right now.

With that goal in mind, we decided to launch our first foray into the world of hopeful, forward-looking fiction — to inspire visions of the future that haven’t even been dreamt up yet, and welcome more voices into the climate conversation. Join this uprising of imagination, and help us turn the page on earth’s next chapter.

Nuts & Bolts

  • Entry is free!
  • The contest is open to writers anywhere in the world.
  • Authors must be 18 years or older at the time of submission.
  • Submissions must be short, fictional stories, between 3,000–5,000 words.
  • No previously published, multiple, or simultaneous submissions accepted.
  • Submissions will only be accepted through Submittable — click the “submit” button at the bottom of this page when you’re ready! If you need accessibility accommodations, please email the team at imaginefiction@grist.org
  • Stories will be judged by a board of literary experts, including authors Adrienne Maree Brown, Morgan Jerkins, and Kiese Laymon.
  • The first-prize story will be awarded $3,000; second prize $2,000; and third prize $1,000. Nine additional finalists will each receive a $300 honorarium.
  • All 12 final stories will be published in a digital collection on Fix’s website, and the authors will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.
  • Worldwide copyright and ownership of each story remains with the author.
  • If a story is accepted for publication, Grist retains the first serial rights of the work to publish, produce, reproduce, distribute, and market.
  • All other remaining rights revert to the author upon publication.

Find more information about the contest at Grist.org/fix

And head over to their Submission Portal for complete guidelines: Grist.submittable.com

(When you are ready, click the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the Portal page.)

————————–

Please let me know if you decide to submit your story.  And, by all means, share this opportunity with any other writers you know.

I will end with one more quote from the Grist web site:

“Climate, sustainability, and social justice are the most important stories on the … well, on the planet right now. The stakes are high: just, you know, our entire frickin’ future.”

So write your hearts out and use your vision to inform, educate and enlighten, well, everybody you can so we can create a healthier world that, as they say on the Grist site, doesn’t suck.

Author Bradford R. Kane Supplies The Answer

Pitchfork Populism; the book by author Bradford R. Kane available on Amazon and at pitchforkpopulism.com

In this post I am featuring the work of an author with deep roots in political history, government, and social justice. 

(Full disclosure: Bradford R. Kane is my cousin and I am very proud of him!) 

“Pitchfork Populism; Ten Political Forces That Shaped An Election And Changed America” Prometheus Books; 2019)  connects the dots from where we are now as a country to times, circumstances and players deep within the history of the United States that opened the doors to what we are living through now. Mr. Kane’s book offers a journey through this landscape that reveals the roller coaster of our history and the long tendrils of past events, strategies and divisions of intent that continue to affect our country today.  

This book is a valuable tool for anyone seeking insight and clarity into the political forces that have shaped our country and offers an educated vision of what our future might look like. Kane’s well-crafted writing does a masterful job of explaining the context and history of a potentially confusing and multi-level subject without being dry or professorial. His personal stake in the world of politics and its consequences remains present in his writing giving the reader a human experience and a sense of just how relevant this analysis is to our own lives.

For those wondering whose agenda is being supported here, put your concerns aside. Kane views his subject from a non-partisan standpoint and has, in fact, a long-standing history of encouraging bi-partisan communication. Among many other efforts over a lifetime career in politics and public policy, Mr. Kane is the Founder and Executive Director of The Bi-Partisan Bridge, a resource for information with a mission of encouraging those with differing political views to find common ground.

The Bi-Partisan Bridge

Now, to show you that my admiration for cousin’s work is not just familial affection, here are some of his credentials:

Bradford R. Kane began his career in Congress as legislative counsel to Congresswoman Cardiss Collins (D-IL) and has served as counsel to the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce & Consumer Protection, and as a member of President Clinton’s Task Force on Health Care Reform. Kane has also served the State of California as Deputy Controller, legislator and subsequently, deputy secretary for information technology.  In the global arena, he was CEO of the International Commission on Workforce Development and a strategy council member of the United Nations Global Alliance on ICT & Development (UN GAID). He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, and his law degree from Hastings College of Law.

As further proof of the heights Kane has reached with this book, there are the  reviews (on the book cover and online at Amazon and Pitchforkpopulism.com) from the likes of William S. Cohen, former Secretary of Defense, Henry Cisneros,  former Secretary of Housing and former Mayor of San Antonio, Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and best-selling author, and Leon Panetta, former White House Chief of Staff, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of the CIA.

To make this an even easier read, the author has constructed his book so that you can start with any chapter that interests you and jump around as the topics catch your eye. This engaging read left me with an appreciation of Kane’s offering of hope looking forward and his conclusion that we are at our strongest as a society and a country when we work together in unity and mutual respect.

One of my goals for this blog is to offer a platform for authors whose work I admire.  I know a lot of wonderful writers and poets.  When a new work is available I make it my mission to feature their work or point to it so you can take a look at it.

This charming little story was sent to me by Carole Field, MFT, published author and playwright.  You can find her books, “Dating Down And Those of Us Who Do It” and “New York Guns, Kansas Nuns, Birth Control!” on Amazon.  I have known Carole for many years. We talk about everything. She is an educated listener and a deep thinker. I can always count on her to give me a unique, well-considered perspective on any issue.

Knowing her as I do I can absolutely accept that she wrote this story in one session while sitting in the parking lot of the Food 4 Less!  “The Smell of Make-Up” struck me as engaging, lovely, funny, and touching. Here she captures a moment in time that takes a bit of nostalgia, a bit of fantasy, and our current planetary restrictions and ties them all up together into a little bit of hope.  Seems like a gem of a holiday gift.

THE SMELL OF STAGE MAKE-UP   by Carole H. Field

I am never really vexed by the randomness of thoughts. I’m aware our synapses aren’t linear. Ultimately, we just make them work.  But this particular, glaring, non-sequitur was so unhitched, I had to go home and scribble it on paper.

So- there I sat in the parking lot of  Food  4  Less on Van Owen Blvd. Not the most religious of experiences. And I watched the masked and gloved, largely Mexican, families cajoling and joyously poking each other towards their/our essential pilgrimage.

And so, what else do I think of when I’m in a grocery store parking lot on a scorching, Sunday morning during a pandemic? None other than-  how much I missed the smell of stage make-up. Naturally.

Yes- the smell. Not the pretty colors or what it did to these deep-set eyes, but the smell. That first blast when you unscrewed the lid and it hit you, without permission.

              “How do you do, Sugar? We’re in this together “, it would say.

I  would light up like a twin finding his counterpart, or, even, a virgin birth.

The make-up from Macy’s or Bloomies or the cheap drugstore on W.  53rd  never had that certain smell, nor, the voice, avuncularly calling me  Sugar.

That darling little man on E. 41st s who never looked up from reading Backstage or Show Business but could accurately advise you from some third eye.

              “Watcha up to?” he would ask.

              “Yay- I am going out with ‘No, No, Nanette’ next week, “ I would respectfully reply.

              “Mazel tov,” he would say. “Get the Max Factor #5. You’re part light olive, part pink. Anything else will drown you out. We got new lip brushes from Berlin. They’re on sale. “

And, I’d leave there, smiling, with my new stash, still never seeing the color of his eyes.

And in the subway, I’d steal a bench, peruse the area to begin my new relationship with no interruption, and uncap one of my new potions.

 And, there it’d be again. The waft, the greeting, the historical ambrosia left by every actress before me and every actress henceforth, hoofing, in “No, No Nanette”. And it would say,

              “Hi, Sugar. We’re in this together.”

 Whether it was the Belasco, or a black box on Melrose, or Temple Israel‘s backstage in Detroit, the smell of stage make-up had the same voice.

I pulled myself inside the grocery store. No doubt everyone in there was thinking the same as me. Understandably, I hobbled over to the lonely make-up stand. There, far from commanding,  smiled the Revlon and the Maybelline. They were trying. But I pretended, for just one second, that I was surrounded by the smell of  Max Factor and Ben Nye and….And, that the word pandemic was only something cobbled together on a Scrabble board.  And, that the lights were as radiant as ever on the Great White Way. And, the only masks anyone was wearing were for effect, for something theatrical, under the silly magicians, cheesy sleight of hand. Undoubtedly.

              “Sugar,” said the voice from Max Factor #5.  “Hey- you got it goin’ on. This pandemic thing is temporary. They all are. Go with your inner resources. Go for the love, Carole. Because whether you’re basking in the smell of odorous, legendary, rouge, or of the inhibitions produced by your mask, it’s all about the love. Did you ever believe it was about anything else? “ he laughed.

I cautiously moved away from the make-up stand and filled my basket with food. I now had to look at Food 4 Less with different eyes. Yow- who knew that roast chicken and mascara had so very much in common?              

Oh…..what was it I said about random thoughts?


Tara Sitser - Leadership Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

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