In a recent Twitter Chat (#BlogChat), I had an interesting exchange with other bloggers about whether it’s a good idea to separate personal and professional blogs, or combine the two. There was no clear consensus and people were passionate about their chosen set-up. Personally, I prefer to keep them separate, since the look and feel of each is quite different. However, I also see the benefit of injecting a little of the personal into the professional to make you — and your blog! — more human, and interesting, to clients and colleagues. To that end, I’m starting a new semi-regular series to share things I’m finding interesting, exciting, intriguing, or amusing, along with links and suggestions about how you can get in on the fun. Here’s what’s got my mind buzzing at the moment:
Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk on cyber bullying and public shaming – I always assumed, as I think most of us do, that public shaming and online bullying wouldn’t happen to me. However, after a rather surprising turn of events earlier this year, I had a small brush with both. After this experience, I was quite interested to hear what Lewinsky had to say. I believe her unique position brings a valuable human element to the discussion that other more recent victims are not ready to share yet. She reminds everyone that, regardless of what you think of the current target, and regardless of how big the digital pile-on gets, the person you are targeting is indeed a PERSON. The take-away is that we, as a society, need to do better. We need to step back and think before we hit send or click that link. Do we really want to support bloggers or media outlets by upping their traffic on their vapid click-bait?
Basquiat and Street Art – The Basquiat exhibit at the AGO is both beautiful and challenging. To be honest, street art isn’t something that’s really been on my radar, but after experiencing the power of Basquiat’s images, I’ve started paying more attention to the murals, stickers and impromptu sculptures that you can find around Toronto if you take the time to look. Art, as the tired saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder, but what Basquiat has challenged me to do is to really see what I am looking at, if that makes sense, and what I’ve found is amazing. So the next time you’re rushing by that underpass or hoarding, slow down and take in what’s really there.
Activia’s World Record Hula Hoop Challenge – I’m not a team sports person. I don’t “do” big events like marathons, or charity bike rides. I’m also not really a yogurt person. But, because of my love of hoop dance, I found myself at Yonge Dundas Square on a
freezing cold Friday at the end of March, wearing my first sporting event bib and hooping with 380+ others in an attempt to break the world record for the largest hula-hoop workout. I can honestly say, it’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and I finally understand why people get up so early on the weekend to run like maniacs down Yonge Street. There’s something exhilarating about working towards the same goal with hundreds of people at the same time. The take-away? Whether it’s for a good cause, or just for fun, if you’ve never participated in one of these big events before, make this the year you step outside your comfort zone, stop grumbling about the traffic headaches they often cause, and give it a go. Not only will you help a great cause, you will have a blast, I promise!
Hot Docs on Netflix Canada – If you can’t make it out to Hot Docs, which is happening now in downtown Toronto, you now have another option. Hot Docs has paired with Netflix Canada to stream some of the most successful films from previous years’ festivals. Initiatives that make documentaries more accessible to Canadian audiences always get my vote. I’m looking forward to finally seeing To Be Takei, Blackfish and other docs from the comfort of my living room.
Authors for Indies – I love poking around bookstores, especially the indie ones, and I always die a little inside when I hear about another one closing. We’ve lost Pages, The Toronto Women’s Bookstore, Theatre Books, The Cookbook Store, and too many others to count. In fact, last year, Toronto lost 6 bookstores — both indie and big box — in 6 weeks. Independent bookstores, especially, have a lot of trouble competing with online and digital options, like Kindle and Kobo, but the Canadian literary community is finding ways to support our dwindling supply of brick and mortar treasures. On May 2nd, participating book sellers across Canada will welcome authors into their shops as volunteer booksellers! It’s a neat idea and a fun way to interact with some of our favourite, and up-and-coming writers. Check out the link above to find out who will be appearing at your local shop.
Writeshop Wednesdays – And finally, I must give a shout-out to Writeshop Wednesdays organizers, Kyle Baptista and Behrouz Hariri for starting something great. Whatever you’re working on, it is hard to make writing a priority when there are so many other things to do, which is why Writeshop Wednesdays are my new favourite thing. In essence, it’s an informal writer’s circle where you meet over a morning coffee, write for half an hour, and workshop the results. Last week was my first meeting, and I was surprised that I got most of the first draft of this post done during that short time. If you want to join us, click the link above to sign up!
So now you know what I’ve been up to and getting excited about. Now it’s your turn to continue the conversation! Tell me what new and exciting for you in the comments below.