Job hunting? Facebook is bad; a blog is good.

Who asks her prospective employers to look at her Facebook page? A Forbes article today, though, reports that “56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool.” Charles Pooley’s quote there makes sense: a personal site gives you “creative freedom to express your personality in ways that are not be possible through your resume.” While the article goes on to suggest maintaining an attractive but bland site, it also suggests a professional blog. However, perhaps you’d like to work with the kind of people who might like the content of your personal blog.

Last week, as part of my triennial evaluation, I referred my employers to this blog. There are few better ways to learn about writer than through his writing. I understand the need to be discreet, sure. Outside of that, if my employers don’t want me to work for them because of my writing, then I figure it would be a mistake to work for them, anyway.

slow reads > thus

I hadn’t played with a set of watercolors since I was in elementary school. Lots of the usual demons came out to play along with me: the “I don’t know how to do this” demon, the “Hers is better than mine” demon, the “I don’t want to do this if I don’t make something good” demon. Ah, demons. Always around, wanting attention. I try and think of them as small, hyperactive pets, or ill-behaved but basically decent children.

From (thus).

slow reads > Hydragenic

Also, the desire for conversation and community in the social spaces where ‘everybody’ hangs out seems at odds with the unshakeable belief in the need for an online space that is purely my own, but which no one might ever visit.

From Hydragenic.

slow reads > praxymetry

Exxon is allowed to control the media coverage, as well as the air 1,000 feet above the site. They have done their best to keep reporters and concerned citizens entirely out of their spill site. I have, however, on more than one occasion, entered the site carefully and without incident through the woods to the north of the site and gotten into position to photograph and video these events as they unfold. I have seen tremendous devastation and a company hard at work removing hundreds of tons of plant life & soil from the site.

From Sam (praxymetry).

Four deaths

A year ago, at a small reception following a  funeral in south-central Tennessee, I took out my phone and recorded a sweet older couple getting us up to date. I transcribed some of it this morning, and in doing so I changed the names. My transcript borrows a helpful convention from Annie Baker’s book The Vermont Plays: a slash ( / ) indicates where the next speech begins. Baker has gotten me interested again in what people actually say, something that first interested me as a lawyer studying deposition transcripts.

She: They don’t let ‘em meet, uh, they don’t even let ‘em know their names for a while, I mean they have, they have questions to answer and back and forth, you know and, they don’t even let ‘em know the telephone number for awhile. They protect ‘em pretty good. And, uh. So that was the first day they met after they dated over the Internet, and I don’t know when Claudette died, I don’t know what, it seemed like I thought it was in the spring of the year –

He: But this ol’ / black boy –

She: or some . . . in the fall of the year –

He: he was sharp in / that Bible –

She: or something . . .

He: He knew where everything was he could answer questions, you know, we go to all these Bible classes with Harry and them to singles group, and he’d uh, he pop them just as quick as they [snapping his fingers] he’d pop them [snapping his fingers] answers out you know and make good comments and . . . but he didn’t, he couldn’t . . . he . . . he . . . he didn’t want a, I didn’t reckon he wanted a good job. He had been a security guard in a . . . a big school somewhere, and Harry tried to get him on at Georgia Tech for security guard, and . . . and he coulda got him on. In fact they just about got him hired, he didn’t show up that day, but he didn’t show up that day, and, uh . . . but he liked to work at fast food places so he could get his food . . .

She: And he was diabetic.

He: And he carried it home, see he / could carry it home –

She: He couldn’t eat all that stuff.

He: . . . so he could eat the rest of the day, probably carried his / brother –

She: Uh-huh.

He: . . . some home, too. [Pause.] You see in the paper where that thirty-seven-year-old girl died, thirty-seven-year-old girl died, uh . . .

She: She was a real pretty girl, Heidi. . .

He: She was a Fortner, married / a Fortner –

She: Heidi Fortner.

He: She was a Bateman or . . . / something like that –

She: She was a Bakeman.

He: A Bakeman, but / she was –

She: A year older . . .

He: . . . a juvenile diabetic, Type 1, and her daddy was a pharmacist, and uh, I don’t know, you’d think maybe he woulda really tried to kep her medicated right, and everything, but she, she . . . they say she that’s what killed her. And she, she was married, lived out here in the . . . Southgate subdivision in on of those big houses, and she / was beautiful –

She: She must’ve had a heart attack.

He: Well, uh, you know, that, but this . . . when you see those thirty and forty and fifty-year-old people dying, you know, and you seventy-five, it kind of sceeres you.

slow reads > Via Negativa

She was such a dogmatic atheist, she didn’t even believe in the heart. It’s just a pump, she said. The skin is the only truly romantic organ, and it doesn’t need to hide in a cage. You can tell at a glance whether a scar has healed. I was heating a razor with a cigarette lighter to sterilize the blade; she needed some blood for an art project.

From Via Negativa.

Furniture shopping at the Piggly Wiggly

We are too old and proud to go trashing anymore. We recently started buying furniture at stores. Tonight we got two metal-and-mesh rockers for our front porch from the local Piggly Wiggly.


Actually, we got them at another grocery chain, but I wish it were Piggly Wiggly because forty years after first hearing about them and twenty years after marrying Victoria, a Tennessean, I still haven’t gotten over how epic the name is.

Did you know that Piggly Wiggly was the first grocery store to switch to self service? Indirectly, then, Piggly Wiggly was responsible for my almost getting arrested. As a teenage tourist, I had helped myself to an ice cream novelty in an Arles grocery store. I was going to pay for it and stuff. The French, I was to learn, have nothing like Piggly Wigglys.

American self-service grocery stores have led to self-service gas, to self-service wills and tax software, and perhaps to the explosion of pro se litigation. Maybe Piggly Wiggly is one reason why I’m no longer a lawyer.

Anyway, I’m rocking on the front porch now, posting from a phone for the first time, enjoying this year’s first really pleasant spring evening, and reflecting on how far we have come as a family and, in my short lifetime, as a nation of consumers.