header image 1

A first book at 65… Why not?

January 24th, 2011 · When I'm 65

Spryto.com Editor Shelley Buck writes about launching a new career at 65.

ALL my life I’ve known I wanted to write books. But there were other things: a child, a husband, a house to buy, work to attend to, dirty dishes, even. Also, I’m shy, and even though I was a feminist, a journalist, and later a professor teaching writing, tooting my horn for my own needs came hard.

And then we moved to a boat. While there was plenty to repair, I wasn’t handy or good at it. Other family members took on these tasks. Living aboard a boat changed my perception of what a home meant: In a galley a quarter the size of the usual cubicle, there wasn’t much opportunity to do gourmet cooking. Dusting became easy in a salon living space of less than a hundred square feet. I couldn’t, even if I desired, shuffle the furniture around. Almost everything was built in. With only three plates and a handful of cups, there was little temptation to spend my days washing dishes. I walked the dog out on the wetlands paths, and while my son was at school, I wrote.

And eventually there was a book. I was working. It took time to finish and edit up the book. Time to format it for publication, time to learn web design skills for promotion, time to find an editor, a community, and the encouragement to proceed, time to learn about eBooks and how the opportunity for online publication might streamline the process.

I had been waiting all my life for permission to write. Now, I decided to give myself permission to publish, too. And on November 6, 2010, Floating Point was born. And now, as a publisher and author simultaneously, I really do have my hands full. It feels wonderful!

→ 2 CommentsTags:·········

New Move for Public Health Care Option

July 22nd, 2010 · policy

Proposed legislation adding a public option to the health care legislation enacted earlier this year was introduced July 21, sponsored by Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

HR 5808, introduced with 128 co-sponsors, would  require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to begin offering affordable health benefits as a public option as part of  health care exchanges beginning in 2014. Co-sponsors include, among others, California Representatives Anna Eshoo, George Miller, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and Henry Waxman, as well as Barney Frank of Massachusetts, and Alan Grayson of Florida.

The bill calls for offering at least three tiers of plans, “including a low-cost plan without compromising quality.”

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

It’s about time.

Read the full  HR 5808.  It’s short.

→ No CommentsTags:··

Facing up to Facebook?

May 13th, 2010 · technology

I have two pieces of information that I haven’t acted upon. A relative has indicated that she is now on Facebook. And so has a professional organization.

I haven’t heard much from the relative lately. I suspect there are more frequent communications on her Facebook page. But I haven’t looked. Suppose I “friend” her?  Will the writers’ organization I belong to then be treated to discussions of our extended family’s baby pictures?

Can I count on Facebook to keep these currents flowing separately?

Facebook pages are free and they are available worldwide. At a convention, I met Pakistani journalists, also using Facebook.  It’s great to have international colleagues, but I suspect we have very different feelings about a woman’s role in society. Should I share my history as a feminist editor-a history well-known to my friends? Or should I seek out some professional common ground without giving out quite so much information?

Facebook has privacy standards, but they are still evolving.  And so am I. I am still pondering which way to face in a world where all our faces are increasingly public ones. And as Facebook and other social media continue to grow, I am wondering whether that choice will even continue to be mine.

A friend tells this second-hand tale of a student seeking an internship: The organization the student applied to requested to see her Facebook page, then instructed her which entries to delete. Is some boundary being crossed here?  Should it be?

As a woman writer, will I pay an extra price when work and family mingle in public? Do I want family pictures, with children’s names and personal information, available on the Internet? What do I do about the college students I taught, who now want to “friend” me? Would they enjoy a funny snapshot of my dog Porschy fleeing the buzzing vacuum cleaner? Would the Pakistani colleagues?

The  “whole world” may have been watching at sixties anti-war demonstrations, but back then it was usually possible to go home afterwards. Which face do I face the world with nowadays, when the scrutiny can be 24/7?

Meanwhile, my high school held a reunion. And yes, I got more Facebook requests.

Perhaps I should grow a separate set of names to greet the faces that I meet. Maybe avatars are the solution.  I feel a twinge of atavism. I wonder if  Currer, Acton, and Ellis are pseudonyms that can be taken.

While I’m still deciding, I’ve tweaked my privacy settings again. Don’t look for me on Facebook. If you do, you won’t find me … um …  I hope.

→ No CommentsTags:····

Resolutions: When I’m 65…

January 17th, 2010 · When I'm 65

I have decided 65 is the new 30.

Many of us who after 30 “got serious,” raised our children, bought a house, and worked at jobs we may not always have loved to try to hang onto it, get another chance. Those of us who at 18 or 20 roamed the world but later stopped because we were busy being  “grown up,” get another chance at roving. Those of us who wrote plays or poetry,  get another chance at creating. Those of us who sat in, or perhaps campaigned for women’s rights or peace,  get another chance at seeking justice.

People are living longer now. We made history as kids, and we still have a dream or two. So it’s time to make some new life’s resolutions. Right now. Here are some suggested ones:

Finish that book. If some corporate New York publisher won’t run with it, publish  independently, using the nifty new online tools.

Share. We are about to get a break on medical bills. Insist that our younger sisters and brothers, our neighbors and our children get one too.

Travel, but stay in a village. Do something about what you learn there.

Add to the list. Make some resolutions of your own.

We are not used up; we are pent up. And we’re back!

→ 2 CommentsTags:···