Saturday, December 31, 2011

"She smiles – not because she’s unaware of the alligators – but because she’s aware of them and because she knows how wonderful it feels when they release their jaws from your ankles."

-Wisdom from The Bloggess

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Honey instead of vinegar

David Malki! on dealing with someone who steals your stuff, but useful advice for life in general:
The knee-jerk response is “Cease and desist! Sue! Call a lawyer!” This implies that (a) the issue cannot be solved through more amicable means, and (b) I have a lot of time and money to throw at this kind of problem. The latter is not true, and I like to at least allow for the chance that the former isn’t either. There’s a lot of double negatives in that sequence, so I’ll restate: Being aggressive puts people on the defensive. Being friendly gets people to help you.

Also, always give the party in the wrong the ability to back off gracefully.

Learning this is one of the biggest things that has helped me in life: avoid putting people on the defensive. Sometimes it is necessary to be firm, or to express dissatisfaction, or to press for remedy of a situation. But I have never found yelling and shouting to be the easiest way to that end — at least, not as an opener.

Friday, December 16, 2011

And your problem with that is?

I submit as a law of editorial physics that the author’s desire to include a fact in her narrative is directly proportional to the effort she expended to find it out, not to its relevance.

Editor: Betsy, this paragraph about how the congressman won a Boy Scout merit badge for whittling doesn’t really seem like something we need right here. Or anywhere.

Betsy: But I got that from his old troop leader! The guy wasn’t even in the phone book – I found him living in a mobile home at the end of a dirt road. It was a sweltering day, I interviewed him in Spanish…

-"When Journalists Become Authors"