Some call this pandemic a “lost year” — for me, it was a time of finding hope

Credit: Priscilla duPreez for Unsplash

I n early February 2020, I got a call from my dad.

While that itself may not be particularly momentous, it is unusual. My dad and I get along great, but neither of us is great at keeping in touch. We understand this about each other, so it works.

But turned out, this call was especially unusual.

My grandpa, who’d recently turned 89, was in intensive care in the hospital. He had a few different medical conditions which had, cumulatively, left him barely…


3 simple changes to effectively teach, lead, and engage

Why shouldn’t video calls be this fun? (Image: StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay)

I used to never — never — do online workshops.

Then… You know. Global pandemic.

And suddenly online was our only option.

After a year of developing and facilitating workshops remotely, I’ve discovered a game-changing secret.

Remote workshops and presentations don’t have to be boring.

But boy oh boy, they can be.

Here are three (very) simple steps you can take to ensure your virtual “room” has a reason and the will to stay engaged.

1. Ditch Your Slides

“Death by Powerpoint” is a phrase for a reason. Even back in the days when we…


How do I get my partner to back off and respect my time to cope?

Q: My partner and I have been working from home for the last month. After three days, they started getting on my case to do more chores because I “have so much time now.” But I’m still working and trying to live and also trying not to lose my mind during this lockdown. I do not magically have more time to do all the chores they want me to do. How do I get this across?

A: *produces tiny soapbox to stand on*

We have…


Tips for those of us isolating in true isolation.

Q: Physical touch is my love language, but I live alone and there is no. One. To. Touch. I haven’t hugged anyone in weeks. How am I going to get through weeks — or months — of this?

A: Ugh. Great question.

First thing’s first: you are allowed to say — and think — that this sucks. It totally sucks. Nobody likes this pandemic and it’s awful.

Nobody knows how long our social restrictions will last, but it could realistically be several months.

It’s a fine line to walk between being…


The sudden changes to our work lives are impacting our love lives

Q: My partner and I are suddenly co-working at home together. How do we create boundaries between work and the rest of life?

A: Four years ago, my partner and I were living in a one bedroom apartment, albeit with a sunny and spacious living room. He generally had a flexible schedule, rarely working out of a true office space, and did the bulk of his work from home. …


The past wasn’t so good for everybody

Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay

Columbus Day falls on the second Monday of October. It’s one of just a few federal U.S. holidays, meaning that all non-essential government offices will be closed, some people somewhere will receive holiday pay, and Italian-Americans will take to the streets of Jersey City to celebrate their heritage.

How Christopher Columbus — a 15th century Italian who paved the way for the colonization of the Americas and all the torture and disenfranchisement of indigenous people that followed — became a symbol of Italian-American identity, I don’t entirely understand. …


How, why, and where we consume the written word

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

Most of us say we don’t have time for it.

And yet — we do it every day.

It is as common as it is complex, for though we are continually reading, the process of seeing and deriving meaning from a series of little squiggles is a kind of magic.

How We Read

Of course, it all begins with sight.

Through a series of rods and cones which bend and refract light — and probably some other stuff I didn’t follow in science class — the objects around us make themselves known.

To keep…


Looking at the written word in relation to the world

Photo by Yusuf Evli on Unsplash

Is writing a science, or is it an art?

There are plenty of voices out there — loud ones — that passionately claim it’s either one or the other.

Sometimes writing is exacting and precise, with clearly defined codes. It breaks through ignorance or confusion to set the reader straight and is guided by certain measures of stylistic consistency. Think of research papers or scientific writing, where a misplaced set of parentheses or incorrect citation formatting can sink the reputation of the whole piece. This writing is a vehicle to impart knowledge, or communicate the results of an experiment.

But…


Tips for Building a More Disciplined Mind in a Distracted World

Photo by Elena Taranenko on Unsplash

I’d like to talk about focus.

But first I’m going to read this book.

Wait, I’m thirsty, I need a glass of water.

No. No water until I finish reading.

Look, a bird!

It’s such a beautiful summer day. I should really make the most of it. Maybe I’ll go for a walk later. Or a swim.

I should really improve my swim strokes. I’m going to Google adult swim lessons in my area, hang on…

Wait.

What were we talking about?

Ugh. I never finish any books.

If…


Just add me to the pile of entitled/liberated gig workers

This is totally what my office looks like… Credit: Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.

I am, by nature, not a disciple of fate.

I can very rarely be heard saying, “Everything happens for a reason.”

I did not leave my 9–5 desk job with soaring wings and shining eyes. I did not throw myself into the hands of (fictitious) fate, crying “Do with me what you will!”

I quit my job because it felt to me the only rational choice.

I left an environment that made me feel small and sad because a steady paycheck…

J. Lawler

Gender — Relationships — Doing your own thing without pissing off everybody else. https://onwordwriting.com

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