Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Poem for Today

Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things

An experiment: please write to me at helenfromthelistserve[AT]gmail.com if this poem matters to you in some way.

Palo Alto, CA

Monday, May 25, 2015

little lies I tell myself until I start believing them

Yesterday, I did the math. I tallied up the hours spent in a cramped room with a laptop surrounded by people doing the same. If my job’s based on 160-hour months, then so far this year I’ve worked through June. It was 8 pm. I almost fell asleep in the elevator. This is leading to something. I'm counting all this time spent 26 floors up as time spent with my head scraping the sky. I have to.

My last cigarette ever was in the Mojave desert, bathing in moonlight halfway up the Kelso Dunes with a Mag-Lite and a bottle of scotch. I felt small, quiet, so I promised to myself that I’d reach the summit someday when I’m not off an overnight Vegas bender, with proper gear and a lung cleaner of tar. That was New Year's.

I could never see myself living in New York. I’ve got so many ghosts in New York. Hell, everyone’s got ghosts in New York. Chicago’s a smaller, cleaner take on that city, brutally cold but with humble Midwestern charm. The spring may thaw, but this winter softened me. I like falling asleep to the gradients of purple and white the sky paints on my windows.

Years ago at a cafĂ© called Antidote, I sat in stilted silence and felt heartbeats trickle through the floorboards. On the table next to me was a small wooden box. It’s there right now, it’s gotta be. In it was a scrap of paper with a Khalil Gibran quote that's still sticky in the back of my memory: “…Ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”

I’m a copywriter. I was even featured on Modern Copywriter, but a year or so removed now I wonder how much of that was a crock. I write a lot for social media. I goad myself into calling what I do “commercial art”, that the kind of writing I'm burning out on is poetry. The distillation of a single idea to its barest bones. But I’m not a poet, not like that, not anymore.

Mental illness has me convinced I'm living a massive prank. Whenever I have too much red wine or more often, when I don’t, I live as a wound spring. Teetering, waiting until my ears start ringing. Waiting to wrestle with my darker corners. But I'm better than them. I can love until loving grows ragged. Until rain tears down sewers, until the front door goes creaky. I can care.

The odd, misshapen hollowness pulling at me will fill. I’m someone who hurts weary, listless. I’m typing this sitting on my couch in my underwear with soapy fingertips. If only I were a praying man.


Some letters I’ll dedicate this email to: J for introducing me to The Listserve, A for pushing me to keep creating, V for being my art director and somehow tolerating this nonsense.

Still can't believe I won the Listserve. Considering I also beat the odds of the H1-B visa lottery (look it up and tell me it's not massively fucked) a few weeks ago, maybe I should buy some scratch-offs.

I’m @ananter on most social media. Look me up and say hello, that’d be really nice. If you like my writing, there's more at arbitrarynumbers (dot) com. Thanks for reading.

Chicago, IL

Sunday, May 24, 2015

On living a queer werido life.

I spent most of my life believing that if you were gay, you must have known it from a young age. Most of the coming-out stories I had heard involved always feeling different and just knowing that you were, most definitely, not straight. I believed this until about three years ago.

Three years ago, I found myself in a social group of mostly gay women and whenever I was asked if I was gay, I said no. This was not a lie. I have self identified as straight my whole life…I’ve had crushes on boys since I was in elementary school and I’ve had many dates, boyfriends, lovers, etc. Maybe it didn’t always work out and maybe I didn’t find ‘the one’, but I loved men and I never had a crush on a girl…so I was straight, obviously. Right? Well, no, not exactly.

When I first met her, I just couldn’t stop staring. Soon we started talking and I felt compelled to always be near her. Anytime we were in a group of friends, I had to stand near her. It felt almost subconscious, this desire to be around her. I couldn’t form thoughts or words to explain it. Then one day she took my hand and that was pretty much it. It was unlike anything else I had ever felt. We’ve been together since that day.

In between the sighs and swoons of those first few months, I kept thinking ‘how did i not know that i was gay? how do you get to 32 and not know? am i so clueless about who i am???’. It was a real struggle to figure out how I wanted to identify. It was a crisis of self way after I thought those things were over. I didn’t feel gay or straight or bi or anything really. I read that bisexual women have a higher rate of anxiety and depression than straight or gay women and I can completely understand why.

Why am I telling all of you this? Because it’s hard to not fit. It’s hard to not feel like you are like everyone else. Your struggle isn’t exactly like mine and mine isn’t like yours, but we’ve all got one. Everyones’ struggle is real.

I don’t wonder quite so much about what i want to call myself these days. I really just feel like a queer person. Most specifically a queer weirdo and I feel good about that one.

I would love to hear from anyone that feels like a queer weirdo! Let’s talk/type at each other and then maybe send some postcards or other real-life mail. Bonus if you’d like to talk about Uhh Yeah Dude, immunohematology, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Bob Dylan, button-making, Mix-tapes, or Twin Peaks.



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Take a minute and think of everything good in your life.

Hi Listserve!!!!!!!

Do me a favor. Take a minute and think of everything good in your life. You are blessed beyond measure when you count the simple things.

1. (A little about me)
I was born and raised in Northwest Indiana. I recently graduated from Purdue with a full scholarship, a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management, excessive experience and a dream of being a CEO since I knew what one was. I want this because I want to change the world for the better and impact a multitude of lives.

2. (Something that I’m passionate about)
I have a deep fascination and love for solar technology. I hope to one day create a thermostat-like device that measures the solar footprint of a house/building and allocates energy from solar panels my company has installed in effective locations. My company would then buy the excess output and allocate it to those that need greater amounts of energy. I would also like to target the automotive industry. Electric cars are not reasonable to many because they cannot go long distances. My dream is to install a solar grid on all highways that transports captured energy to the car via some sort of “power grid.” Something also needs to be done with those grass patches in and around highways! Do I have all the answers? No. Do I dream about a world existing without the dependence of fossil fuels? Constantly. Our planet has given us so much and it is time for those who think outside the boxes and lines established by our forefathers to go out and change the world.

3. (Something you should definitely check out)
1. Some look up to celebrities or athletes. I look up to Elizabeth Holmes, CEO and founder of Theranos an incredible company that will likely revolutionize the way blood testing is done and the healthcare industry functions.

2. Spencer Antle founded the Island Company. It encompasses the idea of turning a passion into a career. I would move to the ends of the Earth to work for this company.

4. (Something you should read if you don’t read anything else)
I hope someone told you hello, asked how your day was, and smiled at you. Seriously, happiness cultivates happiness. If you can’t be anything else, manifest what makes you happy and add more of it to your life.
Google the article, “Why I gave up a 95k job to move to an island and scoop ice cream”

Do you live in and around Chicago? Do you have recommendations or advice for a girl whose ready for a full-time job and wants to be a CEO one day?
Do you love education, reading, the Art Institute, monograms, summer, the color blue, or traveling? Do you just want to chat?

Please email me! I would be honored to hear from you and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to share my take on this crazy, beautiful life with you.

Shoutouts to:
My parents, Thank you for all of the love and support in the world.
George, Thanks for being my travel buddy and the first person I call.
Dodo, I miss and love you immeasurably.
My brothers (Peter & Michael), I love you beyond measure. I am a proud sister.
Kenny Chesney, Your music is the soundtrack to my life. Love, Wild Child.
BFF Mary Kolodzej, You inspire me every single day.
Eias Jweied, I have all of the love in the world for you.

Paige Patricia Alaynna Opinker
Munster, IN

Friday, May 22, 2015

A rock, a hard place and a Diamond ring

I have a secret. A secret marriage. A year ago my husband and I just popped down to the Chicago courthouse and said our “I Do’s.” But was that’s it, we didn’t share it with everyone else, I didn’t tell my coworkers or friends or family. We don’t pick out colors, menus or spend $60,000 on a wedding. We don’t wear rings, but at home he’s my husband. It’s our marriage. And it’s turned out quite nice. But it did not start that way.

See my boyfriend is an immigrate, which has left our lives limited in many ways. We were backed into a corner by the government, if we wanted to continue date we needed to get married or he would have to leave the country. So many people face situations like this in their lives. A shit or get off the pot moment. This was mine. We had been dating and living together and knew that marriage would be down the road but we did not feel ready to “be married.” So we filed our marriage license and deepened our commitment to each other.

It’s been a stressful year, dealing with the immigration processes and as an American citizen, it’s been an eye opening experience. The process is HARD, complicated and a lot of work! I’ve spent hundreds of hours of my life filling out paperwork and submitting forms, just to have them rejected and doing it all again. For anyone else that is going through this process, I would recommend hiring a lawyer. I was very anti-lawyer in the beginning. I wanted us to complete everything together because I felt it was really important for him to take an active role in his journey towards becoming a US citizen. We had a wonderful sense of pride and accomplishment finishing the paper ourselves. But with that being said it’s worth the money to have a knowledgeable legal professional there for you.

We took the leap. It was not perfect and it was never how I expected my life to be but they were the cards in fount of me. And I played my hand. Our relationship has only gotten better and I’m hopeful for our future. We fill our lives with love and supportiveness. And in our own time and on our own terms we are going to have that wedding with all of our friends and family there to cheer us on (the government will not be invited).

Write me if you have a secret you would like to share with me.

Thank you to my dear friend Watson for introducing me to Listserve, she’s a wonderful beautiful women who has manager to channel her strength in the last two years and take her own leaps of faith. I miss you. And congrats on the new house.

I love to read, if you have not checked out Goodreads, I would highly recommend it.

And you should add these books to your list.

-Apocalypticon by Clayton Smith – Local Chicago author

-The MaddAddam Series by Margaret Atwood

-The Never Born (Locus Origin Series) by my Icelandic friend Christian Matari.


Chicago, IL

Thursday, May 21, 2015

In the Suburbs I learned to drive

I can't believe I won this; I haven't been to Thailand yet.

I find myself pretty jaded and cynical about the listserv emails. The advice and life's lessons that get bandied about are often naive, under-informed, or one-sided. You can't really start your life until you've backpacked across Tanzania on a kangaroo's back. How did that kangaroo get to Tanzania? It swam. Obviously.

TV likes to talk about midlife crises a lot. Or at least it did in the 80s and 90s, when we didn't have amazing prestige television. I'm almost 37, which is ancient to many of you, young to a few. For me, it's definitely not a midlife crisis, it's more of a midlife malaise. I'm solidly living the American middle class dream, such as it is. But I still really don't know what to do with my life. I'm clearly in no place to give you life advice. The things I know I should do, but probably won't: Exercise more. Drink less. Be more patient with my kids. Stop procrastinating.

If you're looking to procrastinate, however, I'm going to suggest some animated shows. Most of the TV my kids watch is garbage, but occasionally they come across some gems. My favorites are Phineas and Ferb, Gravity Falls, and Adventure Time. They're funny and clever, and actually have some depth to them.

That's all I got. Seems like a wasted opportunity to address a semi-captive audience, but so be it.

Grand Rapids, MI, USA, Earth, ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Your thoughts

When I got the email that I won the lottery, I spoke to a few people and asked them what they would write.

My dad said something in particular that sparked the “aha” moment in me. He said, “What is it that you think about before you fall asleep?”

A little about me. I’m 23, born + raised in Vancouver, Canada. I spent about 3 years in Montreal, Quebec - living, working, learning French. A year after I graduated high school, 2011, my parents bought me a ticket to Montreal to visit a friend, who was studying @ McGill. I instantly fell in love with the city (middle of February in Eastern Canada, mind you). I expressed an interest in revisiting the city to my mother and brother. On my way to the airport, with 4% battery life on my phone, my brother calls me up and tells me: “If you like it over there so much, why don’t you stay? I’ll throw you $250 tonight if you don’t board your flight. I’ll even pay for your first months rent. Then you’re on you’re own.” I didn’t even have enough money to pay for the cab. I didn't even have enough time to think it through. I skipped my flight anyway.

The best years of my life, thus far, were spent in Montreal. And I’m not talking about fun times, camaraderie and drunken bullshit (although that played a part). I’m talking consistent challenge. Always on your toes. Work at your most efficient. Challenge others. Learning another language is difficult, especially in a city where lack of knowledge of said language is a burden before you can even recognize it to be so. Humility plays a huge part in it all. So does perseverance. And pride, unfortunately.

Side note - I feel my entire life, I’ve flip flopped between the need to chase the American Dream and living a solitary life, making an honest living without much care for where I stand in social circles. Across the board I can tell you that I feel the need to contribute in some substantial way to current culture.

I’d like to ask you all: what you think about before you fall asleep?

I shoot 35mm film - you can find my pictures at thegofg dot tumblr dot com

My ex boyfriend is plenty more talented. His name is Stan Troitsky - you can google him, or his website Mook Life, for some very real life photography…

Feel free to send me photos you have taken that you are particulate proud of! Feel free to send me whatever the hell you want to share, really.

"...whether the stuff of creation may be shaped to man's will or whether his own heart is not another kind of clay." - cormac mccarthy

Jane Voytcheff
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How I became a tugboat captain.

“OMG I won the pressure is so and i don’t know what to 28000 people will be oh my god zoh my God” -- everybody

A quick story about my childhood - there's no advice or anything in it, I promise. I mean I think diva cups are probably a good idea too, and you should good will hunting the duck out of your carpe diem you kings of Maine, but that’s getting really boring.

This is about the biggest decision I ever had to make. I had a great job with a great company making great money and I left all that to become a “tugboat captain” This is the story of that journey...

The day before I decided to give up being a sysadmin for BuzzFeed started as one of the best days of my life. It began with a pod of dolphins and a few shrimp boats on the horizon & ended with the most amazing fireworks show in the sky. I laid on the deck of my tug staring into the heavens identifying constellations & watching shooting stars for hours.

Tonight was different. I wasn’t yet comfortable enough with my tug to fully trust it. More accurately, I wasn’t comfortable with my ability to handle her under load. Not at night. Not with wind this strong.

Tonight’s sunset was as beautiful as any I’ve ever seen, but when the stars disappeared and the wind picked up, I knew I was in for a long night. Soon the lightning appeared and the waves grew.

By 1am my motor was struggling to keep the boat pointed in the right direction. Every time a wave lifted the back of the boat, the motor would lose contact with the water and scream the most mind jarring scream you’ve ever heard. It would float in the air for what seemed like minutes before another wave would pick up the front of the boat and the motor would again find traction below the surface.when I realized that there was only one thing to do, so I whistled for a cab and when it came near the license plate said fresh and there was a dice in the mirror, if anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought "nah forget it, Yo homes for Bel-Air!" I pulled, up to a house about 7 or 8 and i yelled to the cabby "yo homes smell ya later" looked at my kingdom, I was finally there, to sit on my throne, as the prince of Bel-Air!

Thanks for reading - Please join the Jason Derulo Fan Club (Serious Fans Only) on facebook. It's not for profit, but it's as much fun as a lemon party.

NYC by day - NJ by night

Monday, May 18, 2015

a great success story you never heard of

I’d like to share a great success story involving a problem (and solution) you probably have never heard of.

First, some background. Most people I know (at least those who live in the US) never give a moment’s thought about their access to a basic resource: clean water. For them, it’s abundant, cheap, and safe to drink.

That’s not the case in many other parts of the world. Millions of people do NOT have a reliable source of safe water, despite charities and foundations spending huge sums attempting to solve this problem. When their solutions don’t work, there’s often a common cause: they may be based on technology that is inappropriate or unsustainable outside the developed world, and they often ignore or don’t understand the social and economic context in which they’re going to be used. Thus, a new well and pump may provide water to a village for a while, until the pump breaks, and nobody is responsible for fixing it, and nobody knows how or has access to the parts and tools they would need.

Under these circumstances, solutions that work have some common characteristics: the technology is relatively simple and cheap to build, use and maintain. But more importantly, there’s a social and economic structure to support it.

Here’s a great example of that kind of technology: biosand water filters. They’re simple, yet clever, in design, using mostly concrete, gravel and sand. They are a proven, effective way to help solve the problem of providing sustainable, affordable access to clean, safe water. If you google the term, or go to the Wikipedia article about them, you’ll get a basic idea of how they work. The technology has been adopted in many parts of the developing world, but the technology by itself is not enough.

Here’s the success story you never heard of: Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Western hemisphere, and reliable access to all of the resources that people in the developed world take for granted (safe shelter, healthy food, medical care, and clean water) are beyond the reach of much of its population. The problems are deeply systemic, but a great place to start solving them is to support access to clean water. This is a prerequisite to health, which in turn is a prerequisite to being educated and employable. Many organizations in Haiti have been working on this cluster of problems, but one in particular has had remarkable success for nearly 15 years: Clean Water for Haiti (google that phrase, and they’re the first non-ad driven result). They have delivered nearly 20,000 filters, developed improvements to the design, and most importantly, created programs that help make sure the filters are used properly and stay in use. This has improved the lives, and literally saved the lives, of many thousands of Haitians. And there’s a side benefit of providing employment to local people who make and deliver the filters. To me, that’s a real success story.

Paul Jonusaitis
Redmond, Washington, US

PS/disclaimer: I've known Chris and Leslie Rolling, the couple that runs Clean Water for Haiti, for a long time. Great, lovely people who have dedicated their lives to this cause.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Today was a good day

I don't believe in luck but sometimes the universe throws us a bone and balances life out. Today was one of those days. I woke up in a good mood only to have it momentarily crushed when I arrived to work and my Mac died. Two and a half years of work suddenly gone (well not technically, but you catch my drift). After finally giving up and letting it be, I check my email and found out I wont the listserve. I am never one to win lotteries, sweepstakes, or anything where luck is involved; clearly I was elated.

I thought that I would always know what to say if I ever did win. I probably had it all typed out and here I am looking at the screen trying to figure out what to say to 20K subscribers. Here's a little insight to my life currently:

The day before starting my second part-time job as a waitress (hey, Brokelyn is expensive), my boyfriend of four years and I broke up. It's a song and dance we've been doing since the beginning of our relationship but I have no hopes or desires to continue it again. I'm emotionally wiped out. The love I have for him will always be there, but I wouldn't mind it if I never had to see his face again. Everyone around me says I am dealing with it gracefully and I have to thank the universe for placing new people and opportunities in my life to keep my mind off things.

It's May, which doesn't mean much, unless you are a home seamstress. “Me-Made-May” is a month where we try our best to wear something we've made each day for the entire month. If you're curious as to what I've been making you can find me via ig search. I became a seamstress because at the age of 5 I always knew I wanted to be a designer. My parents called me stubborn but I like to think of it as determined. Not once in the next 25 years have I changed my mind. It’s pretty freaking amazing to take two dimensional pieces of fabric and fit them together like a puzzle to create wearable art. Most importantly, I became a seamstress because I didn't want to contribute to the cycle of fast fashion and the unfair wages and living conditions of clothing factory workers.

It's May, which doesn't mean much, unless you are counting down the days to the Movement Festival in Detroit. If you are reading this and are planning on going, message me. I always love meeting up with like-minded people.

Lastly, if you've made it this far... all life matters. Even the ones you think are not worth saving... even the ones who think their life is not worth saving. Sometimes the best way to show support and solidarity is to sit down, shut up, and listen. I don't have words of encouragement or life advice, I feel like every other email I've read included those... but tip your waitress/bartender when they’ve given you good service. The urban legend is true; we always remember you.

If you're in New York, reach out. I love getting to know new people.

Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Is Everyone Good in this world?

Hi there,

I have always had this thought in my mind, there is no better place to validate it than Listserve, here it goes.

Is everyone good in this world?

Right from childhood, we always categorize people into two groups, the good guys, the bad guys and you. People whom we like are good and they are presumed to have good deeds and there is this bad people. Let us say, you become friends with one of those bad guys, then you realize that they are not bad, they have reasons behind their actions and they seems good to you now. I have wondered, what if we get to know every bad person, then will they all look good to you after you become their friends?

How come we never label the people whom we know as bad or how come our vision changes when we know them. Does that mean everyone in this world is good and it is only our perception?

Take Fast and Furious movie for example, (if you have not seen that, then take any movie/book where the protagonist is a bad guy, who steals/robs/kills etc). How do we want those protagonist to win, when a police chase happens, how come we want the bad guys to escape.

I am not talking about moral dilemma here, but I wonder how things change when we look it from a different angle. If everyone is good to someone, why is this world like this?

One thought:
No one is below you in this world and likewise no one is above you as well. Everyone is same, including you.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Does this count as talking to strangers?

It’s funny, because I feel like my life has been full of surprises lately. In 30 days, I'm moving from NYC to Boston, which isn't that big of a deal geographically speaking. But it's unusual because I made this decision on my own which is rare for humans today. I'm taking my job with me, because I can. I'm not moving for a guy-- as so many of my peers assume.

As soon as I made the decision to do this, it all started to fall into place. So it’s par for the course I won the listserve right now.

7 thoughts:

1. Today alone, on my way into work I saw a cat on a leash and a woman rollerblading into a Home Depot. All before 9:30am: only in NYC.

2. When I was about 8 years old, the 'bad boy' in elementary school went around asking all the girls if they were 'still virgins'... and the thing is, I thought a 'virgin' and a 'vegetarian' were the same thing... so when I shouted 'NO' back because I REALLY love cheeseburgers, things got a little weird. Make sure you're listening.

3. I'm the oldest of 5 kids and 4 of us are girls, and before you say 'oh your poor brother' please know he is 'the one true king.' Growing up, we teased him a lot about girls. When he was 7, he said he didn’t 'like' the girl I accused him of 'liking' because she was 'stupid and ugly' and my littlest sister, all of 4 years old, said: 'you can't be stupid AND ugly, you're one or the other! No one has that much bad luck!' Thank God for that.

4. I was born with this gigantic magnet on my forehead that emits an energy to strangers that want to tell me secrets about their life. At any given moment, a random person will tell me a random story. The last time this happened, I ran into a yoga teacher I hadn't seen in 6 months. I said '____! How are you ?!?!' She said 'Bethany, I'm just so constipated.' Maybe if you tell a stranger a random story, it will make their day, or, they will make fun of you.

5. I hesitated in sharing this idea I have but it's Friday and WTF. I feel like someone should make a movie about getting Bill Murray to be in your movie because apparently it's not only very hard but possibly hysterical. There should also be a sub story about Bill Murray trying to help save Rob Kardashian from the rest of the Klan because whatever they are doing isn't working for Rob. Help people, in any way you can.

6. I always remind myself 'You only need 20 seconds of insane courage, embarrassing bravery, and something great will happen.' This is gotten me into a lot of trouble. But has also made me (believe I am) very smart. Think about something you want, make a move towards it and count to 20. That gut wrenching feeling within? It will go away. Nothing is forever.

7. While I literally never thought the Beibs and I would have anything in common other than we both have eyeballs and some tattoos; it was announced on his Comedy Central Roast, that his favorite comedian is Chris D' Elia. It turns out, Chris is super funny! So thanks to the Beibs, I found something/someone cool and funny. So got something to say (re: #4)? Have some funny clips or note to pass along?! (re:#7) Send them over!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Morning After

[TW: Sexual assault]

Almost exactly one year ago, a show I wrote and directed, called Morning After, opened at my college. The play is about sexual assault on college campuses, and it was inspired by my own rape in the fall of 2012. In honor of the show’s anniversary, I went back and reread everything I could find from the production process. One of the things I uncovered was my director’s note, and I want to share part of it with you all here:

“Morning After is my reaction to a national dialogue that too often focuses on the act of violence itself rather than the aftermath. It is a response to the numerous plays I read that depicted sexual assault survivors as broken and defeated rather than working to feel better. It is my challenge to a culture that continues to blame victims instead of the perpetrators, and that shames survivors into silence. Most of all, it is my attempt to do what I previously thought was impossible: turning a traumatic experience into a personal triumph.

An important person in my life once told me that love is when a person or thing becomes a part of us, when one can no longer be fully understood without the other. In the years since, I have never forgotten his words, and I can finally say with certainty that he was right. I do not love or forgive the man who assaulted me, but I love this show, the way I found to heal. I love the countless people who helped shape my vision into the performance you see today. I love the women who trust me enough to get onstage and bring my words to life. I know that a piece of me is in every aspect of Morning After, just as I’m sure that this show is now a part of me.”

It’s hard to know which experiences will change us, for the better or for the worse. I was always someone who needed to know what would happen next. Forget just having a 5 year plan- I had a 5 day plan and a 5 week plan and a 5 month plan. But being raped wasn’t something I could plan for. My need to process and react through theater wasn’t something I could plan for. And the new path I’ve found myself on certainly wasn’t something I could plan for.

In the year since the show opened, I graduated from college and moved to New York, where I started volunteering as a rape crisis counselor. I just left my job in advertising, the career I thought I wanted all through college, for a more flexible job so I can focus on activism. I made the decision to go to law school to help survivors navigate the legal system, even though I never really saw myself as a lawyer before. I am the woman who can be found explaining consent culture at parties, the loud mouth who is no longer afraid of seeming too angry or too emotional or too biased. On one level it bothers me that it was an assault that set me on this road, but I can’t argue with where I am. The work I’ve found myself doing is hard and upsetting and incredibly rewarding, and I wouldn’t change anything about the woman I’ve become.

I haven’t made a new plan yet. I realized that it’s sort of worthless. I mean, it’s gonna change anyway, right? So I’ll just be here doing what I think is important right now, waiting for my next Morning After to come along.

Kelly O'Hara
Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Two excerpts

“To go it alone or to go with a partner? When you choose a partner, you have to make compromises and sacrifices, but it’s a price you pay. Do I want to follow my every whim and desire as I make my way through space and time? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, do I need someone when I’m doubting myself and I’m insecure and my heart’s failing me? Do I need someone, who, when the heat gets hot, has my back?”

“So…do you?”

“I do.”

Here we are again, although I have never written in this exact setting.

We are both right here, so close, but also incredibly far away. As far as you are concerned, I’m probably not even here. I don’t know why I continue to try, but here I am anyways. Because, I continue to be an idiot. I’ll keep on living with the false hopes of someday requiting this unrequited crush. And deep down, I know it’s foolish. That I keep glancing and hoping that this time it’ll be different, while you are possibly oblivious and texting someone else. Laughing at things I don’t understand, never realizing that all I want is your attention. That all I want is for you to ask about my day and tell me stupid stuff about your life and not force me to do all of the asking. That all I want is you.

That’s dumb though, right? See, my conclusion—I am an idiot. Err, I guess that wasn’t a conclusion, it’s more like the thesis. I prefer to think of myself as a hopeless realist though. Or maybe, realistically hopeless. I know I’m wrong, but I still can’t talk myself out of it. Because occasionally, you’ll give some small hint that maybe it’s different this time. An almost dead ember on a piece of dried wood. No wait, that’s not quite right. That would suggest that there was once a fire. Instead, it’s more like there was a fire over there, and it’s basically out, but here I am, all the way over here. And like, it hasn’t rained in a super long time, so like just the tiniest spark or flicker or even a strong magnifying glass, will set everything ablaze. But I have to continuously carry around a massive 5 gallon bucket of water, because I can’t just start a fire based on false subliminal messages and misconstrued suggestions propagated by an overactive imagination. Fires should be shared by two people, and it just won’t do to have one on your own. It’s not safe, someone will almost certainly get hurt, and there is no one to reign in the other side. Before I know it, it’s out of control, but no one realizes that I am in danger of breaking my own heart once again. Because I snuck off into the woods on my own, following a trail that never truly existed and thought, here, I’m ready for you—you will be the one that changes everything. You are the one that might’ve known the direction, but you don’t have a trail map, or a compass, and you’ve never even really looked at the stars.

This smoke signal never had a chance, thanks to the cascade of cold feelings poured all over it, and I didn’t think to leave a trail just in case. I’ve become so accustomed to never being a choice that I wandered on my own knowing quite well that I would never be found. There’s no one that wants to find me.

[Email me for where these are from, if you want a new friend, or if you are a cook looking for part-time work in Boston]


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Inside startup land

Hey there!

Can’t believe I actually won the listserve!

I’m a 22 yo marketer who moved to San Francisco last year. Startup culture is pretty amazing, but I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves that we miss the bigger picture.

Here are some of my ideas on running a great startup:

1. Make a 10x improvement. The world doesn’t need another messaging app. Sure, messaging apps like FB Messenger, Line, and WhatsApp are the craze of the moment, but I’d much rather start something like Theranos (their lab technology could save the US healthcare system ~$200 billion over 10 years).

2. Always put people first. Both for customers and employees, putting people first might be more expensive in the short-term, but it always pays off in the long run. It’s easy to focus on the numbers, but invest the time to build a humble, transparent company culture.

3. Don’t be mediocre. Lots of companies can build pretty decent products, but the really epic experiences are fairly rare. I recently had a problem with my GoRuck backpack, and they immediately sent me a brand new backpack under their lifetime guarantee (more than two years after I first purchased!).

4. Find a way to make money. Too many startups take a loss for years and run off venture capitalist investments. Sometimes that’s necessary (like if you need a large infrastructure), but cash flow is quite freeing.

Also, I’m a bit of a book geek, so I’d love to hear your favorite books! (My favorite lately was Red Notice by Bill Browder)

Nate Desmond
San Francisco, CA (SOMA neighborhood)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Grand Opening Invitation

I have thought and thought about this opportunity to write for the Listserve several times. Each time I thought I would write something long and touching. Not necessarily profound, but maybe a story or a piece of writing I have locked away on my computer. I used to be a writer, or at least I wanted to be. Now it feels like a life I never lived.

But, of course, I win the lottery at the worst time, the busiest time of my life. For the past two years I have been planning and building a restaurant. By no means should it have taken this long, but it has. The lottery win didn’t come two years ago, a year ago, or even last week when I was waiting for construction to end. No, it has come today, when construction is finally complete, and I have finally passed all three required inspections. It means that I can announce my Grand Opening date today. It means that I have so much more work to do.

So I part with an invitation to my Grand Opening event. If you live in the Bay Area and love fantastic chocolate cakes, stop by The Prolific Oven in downtown Sunnyvale on Tuesday, May 12th. We’ll be giving away free cake!

I must admit I don’t read every Listserve email, and I haven’t enjoyed reading all the ones I have read. But every once in a while an email will touch me in a way that I never thought an email – words on my screen – from a strange, no less – could. So, thanks Alvin Chang, my friend and co-founder of The Listserve, for creating something cool. You’re amazing!

Bay Area, CA

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Why I Run

One Saturday last summer, I had a stretch of Fifth Avenue in New York City all to myself. It was the day of my favorite race, the Fifth Avenue Mile, where runners sprint from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Grand Army Plaza.
Since I was training for a marathon and had to run 12 more miles that day, I decided to go easy. I wasn’t going to race. I positioned myself at the very back of the field, knowing that everyone else was going to go out hard. After a block, I was completely by myself.
As I ran, I watched all of the other runners get farther and farther away. I wondered, what did the spectators and other runners think of me, falling back so quickly, going so slowly? Did anyone think that I simply wasn’t capable of running faster? Did I look fat? Were people wondering why I signed up for this race at all?
Then I noticed another runner on the west side of Fifth Avenue. He ran slowly, hunched over, using a walker to help him balance. A woman was walking alongside him, talking, but he was completely ignoring anything she was saying. I recognized the hard, stubborn look on his face. Focused, determined, fully concentrated on each step toward the finish line. I recognized it as the same look I have in all of my marathon photos.
I began to cry.
I remembered how I felt finishing my first mile back in 2010. It was something I didn’t think I could do—until I gave in to the repetitive footfalls. I keep moving forward, one foot after the other until the app on my phone signaled I had run a mile. I remember it took thirteen minutes and eleven seconds. I felt like I could keep going forever. I had the same feeling during the New York City Marathon in 2013—that I could just go and go and go, fueled by sheer determination and faith. I knew exactly what that stranger on Fifth Avenue was thinking, even though our lives seemed very different.
In these moments (and so many others), I’m reminded why I run. No matter how many races you finish or how fast you are, all runners share common ground. My husband and I recently moved to San Francisco, where we don’t know many people. As adults, it’s been slow and awkward making friends. But I’ve made a few, mostly through running groups. Yesterday, I participated in a group track workout with a new friend who just started running. After a tough sprint she said, “I’m not sure I’m ever going to love this, but I’m trying.”
I recognized myself instantly. I didn’t know how to tell her about the feeling I have when the footfalls take over and running isn’t difficult anymore. I didn’t know how to describe the sense of love and unity that comes from a pack of people you don’t know providing encouragement at the exact moment you need it to finish your first marathon. I didn’t know how to tell her about what happened to me on Fifth Avenue, when I suddenly recognized myself in someone else so clearly that it brought me to tears.
And I really didn’t want to seem weird. So I found myself instead saying words that had been said to me when I first began. “Just wait. You’ll find it.”I want to give a special shoutout, thanking the San Francisco Road Runners and Run 365 for being so friendly and open to a newcomer.

Meghan Stevenson
San Francisco, CA

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Through a forest wilderness

HOLY SHIT I WON THE LISTSERVE. I'll cut the crap, this is my story.

My life took a complete change for the better when I took matters into my own hands. I was always a bright kid and at the insistence of my parents I went to the university, put myself in debt, and got a BA in a field that I wasn't too crazy about, Psychology. Had it been up to me, I would've studied art.

After I graduated I was burnt out from school and I knew I didn't want to pursue Psychology any further. So I did what any other angsty, passionate twenty-something year old does and ran away into the wilderness. Yeah, actually, what I did was I picked up a seasonal job and spent the next five months living, working, and exploring in Yosemite National Park. To say it rejuvenated my spirit is a complete understatement, I not only had a national park as my playgrounds and backyard, I was in YOSEMITE. I was hiking, having a great time, and taking photographs of my adventures along the way and the scenic landscapes. I even made a small book for friends and family of my time there.

After my stint there was done, I knew there was no way I could return to the desert wasteland that is the Inland Empire, CA. My soul was on fire and needed to be stoked. So I followed the rest of the transients, packed up all my belongings in my car, and drove up the coast (a worthy endeavor everyone should try at least once), did my first solo camping expedition in Big Sur, and moved to Portland, OR. I met some of the kindest, greatest people I have ever met and some incredible friends I intend to keep for life (including the one who introduced me to the listserve, HI CASEY, LUV YEW!) as well as the love of my life, but that's a completely other heartwarming story. I loved Portland with my entire being, but after spending half a year in the wilderness I was restless for more than sleepy little Portland had to offer, no matter how good it was for me. The job market was awful and I was stuck working a job I hated, so at the insistence of a good friend I moved to Seattle not even having spent a full year in Portland.

I’ve been in Seattle now for six months and I’m pursuing my dream of photography. I’m mixing it up a bit though and combining my love of adventure, the great outdoors, and portrait photography to create some really badass wedding photography. At least, that’s the goal. I’ve been lucky enough that the community in Seattle is incredibly welcoming and I’ve reached out to some photographers whose work I admire and they’ve lent me a helping hand, I’m constantly humbled and grateful for this community and to have found something that I’m enjoying creating so very much. My goal is to become a destination photographer and use this as a means of traveling all over the world, experiencing new cultures and meeting wonderful people along the way.

There may be a lesson in this somewhere, but really this is just my path and how it’s turned out. I’m just starting out, it can only go up from here. I’m one of the lucky ones.

But my restless spirit can’t be tamed and I’m not too fond of the idea of spending another winter in the Northwest, guess I’m a California girl after all and need a little bit of sun. The question now is, where to next?


Marcela Garcia Pulido
Seattle, WA

Friday, May 8, 2015

(no subject)

I'm a 46-year-old woman, married with an eight-year-old son. I'm funny and talented and extremely creative. I have a rewarding career in the nonprofit world.

I'm also autistic.

Autism is a difficult concept to grasp unless you're living with it or dealing with someone close to you who has it. Most people are quite uncertain about what it actually is; they just know that it's something really, really bad. That's because autism is a very wide spectrum, and it's nearly impossible to paint an accurate picture with just a short definition or soundbyte.
So I'd like to paint a picture of what autism looks like for me.

I've always been "different." Quirky. Odd. When I was a baby, I crawled backwards. I'm hyperlexic; I started reading at age 2 (yes - really).

Before I was diagnosed, I used to say that I felt like I was "born without skin." You know how, if you hurt yourself and abrade away the outermost layer of your skin, suddenly even the tiniest touch is excruciating? That wound might not look like much to others, but it sure hurts like hell. That's kinda what autism is like for me.

Everything about me is like that abraded patch of skin. If you can imagine the outside of your entire body, every inch, lacking that protective outer layer of skin, perhaps you can imagine the level of anxiety that would create, all the time.

A lot of people think of "high-functioning" autism as primarily an impairment of social skills. (By the way, "high-functioning" is a term I hate for many reasons, but I'm using it here because it may help you understand.) Yes, I'm quite socially awkward. But my social impairment is minor compared to my sensory challenges. I'm The Princess and the Pea, come to life. I'm exquisitely sensitive. I have supersonic hearing ( I wear noise-cancelling headphones all day at work, usually blasting white noise to drown out distracting sounds around me so I can focus. I have a hair-trigger startle reflex. If the restaurant menu has too many choices, I have a really hard time focusing on any of them. To button my shirt, I have to close my eyes to block out visual stimuli so I can focus on directing my movements.

As you might imagine, I spend a lot of time looking like a scared chihuahua. Shaking. Panicky. Awkward.

The hardest part is that certain people seem wired to zero in on my exact kinds of vulnerabilities and relish exploiting them. Those are the people who make having autism really, really hard.

Unfortunately, my own mom was one of those people. Fortunately, I found a husband who's the total opposite of that. He's amazing and patient and kind and funny, and so accepting of my quirks. And he helps me heal more every day.

By the way, don't buy the idea that autistics cannot empathize. If anything, I'm far too empathetic. I cry at phone commercials. For me at least, it's a ridiculous excess of empathy (which created in me a lifelong desire to help those in need and seek social justice (there's where the nonprofit thing comes in).

So, with an audience of over 20,000 people, what one request do I make? I don't need or expect others to really understand autism. The only thing I ask is that you be understanding of others' challenges and quirks. Allow everyone their essential humanity and treat everyone with dignity, even though they may be very different from what you're used to.

That one simple thing? It makes all the difference in the world.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

I made us something, hope you like it.

The best words are generally actions, so when I got the "You've won!" yesterday I decided to make us all a present instead of a lecture. You can open it at thelistserves dot com.

Seriously. Check it out. It's for you.

But as long as I've got anoJSON! 559 words...

Why'd you make this?


Because, man, what happened to the listserve? "What would you say to a million people?" That was the (super excellent) idea three years ago when it launched and popped up to ~20k subscribers. Since then ... since then I've gotten way too much fluffy life advice. And we're still at ~20k subscribers.

Occasionally there's some really good stuff on here (The Dark Room was neat, and the Summary of changes, and probably others I missed) and I want to discuss them with listserve people. But there's no way to do it. This present is a place where we can get together after an email comes out. Props to Simon Weber for encoding past emails as JSON!

Hmm OK yes but who are you


Storytime? Here's mine. A couple years ago I knocked out my front teeth and got fired from my first job - completely unrelated, I swear - and started moving around a lot to different parts of the world, doing freelance code stuff. There's a lot out there that's awesome-as-in-awe-inspiring. I run, I climb, I play frisbee, I look back at myself with loathing every six months and wonder how somebody so profoundly stupid could have even drawn breath. Which is progress! Right?

Now I'm back in Boston where I run a totally baller co-op for freelancers (Unqualified, the co-op consultancy) & hack around on stuff like this. I'm putting together a workshop called the Lean Startup Machine in early May that teaches folks how to actually innovate, with testing and science instead of visions of sugarplums. It's gonna be fun. I'm heading to Istanbul, Prague, & Vienna next week - anything I should check out besides the obvious?

But wait, where's the deep meaning-of-life part?


Well. I've written some of that stuff. My site is just my name followed by dot com, and you can read it there if you like, I'm not going to inflict it on you. You've suffered enough. (Though there is a story there where I almost castrate a dude, good stuff.) No, I'll turn the realness over to the pros:

"To whom will you compare me?

Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one

and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing.

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint."

- Isaiah 40:25-31, New International Version, courtesy of the one and only Kim Bonner

Take it easy out there, listservancers. See you online.

JP Bonner

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I love reading books. I read a lot. Basically I can't imagine a single
day without reading at least one page.I've learned to read when I was four. I was seeing my mom immersed in
some book - It fascinated me (though I didn't know the word
"fascination" back then). Slowly, letter by letter, I was putting
together first words and sentences. I was reading. No one will take
this joy from me. neither back then, nor now.

Thanks to the books I was able to experience a lot - to be afraid, to
feel joy, to despair, to know a lot about the world and simply spent
good time reading.

From this passion, my first blog came to life. There I share my
thoughts about books I read & I promote reading.

If you would like to share with me about you favourite book or one
that had impression on you or changed your life - feel free to write
to me. Or maybe you could recommend me some authors from your country
(with some explanation). I will write about it on my blog and read the
lecture with pleasure.

Kutno, Poland

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bye Twitter, Hello ListServe!

I'm writing this with 2 hours left to respond to the email informing me of winning the ListServe. I feel like I'm back in school writing an essay the morning it's due.

I am going to publish an audio version of this email on my podcast - just search for "Goodstuff Daily(ish) 85". I'm often interested in the voice of a person behind a story or article so if you're like me and would prefer to listen, here's your opportunity.

For Lent this year I gave up using my personal Twitter account. It wasn't done in some grand, dramatic statement over the evilness of Twitter - just a desire to see what kind of effect it was having on my day to day thoughts and ideas. (You can hear my thoughts on this from another podcast I was on by searching for "Goodstuff Grown-ups 17".) And I have to say that despite feeling like a Twitter addict - in the best sense of the word - it wasn't as difficult to stop using Twitter as I thought it would be.

The main benefit I found was that I had more time to think through my opinions on events, news and happenings in my world without having everyone's opinion thrust in my face - albeit willingly. It seems silly, but it did give me clarity of thought.

I've since gone back on to Twitter - say hi @ichris - but with a much smaller list that I read regularly. I still dip my toes into the main timeline of the 500+ people I follow, but I'm ok with missing out on everything that's happening.

In case you couldn't tell already, I love podcasts - both listening and recording/producing them. And one podcast I do is called Show Me Your Mic where I interview other podcasters about their podcast. Meta upon meta. But I end each show asking them what podcasts they are enjoying currently. And since I don't get to ever say my own, I thought I'd end by listing of some podcasts you should check out if you're looking for something to listen to on the drive home, while walking the dog, or just sitting on the couch:

- Back to Work with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin: the best podcast about comics that's not about comics
- 99% Invisible
- Exponent - Ben and James discuss the tech world with smarts I don't possess
- Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
- Transmission - the internet's morning show.
- The Incomparable - particularly their episodes on Star Wars.
- Build & Launch - by a fellow Canadian dude if you enjoy entrepreneurial web biz dev discussions
- One for self-promotion: The podcast network I run with some friends can be found by searching "Goodstuff podcasts" and hosts a variety of shows that you may enjoy.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk to all 20k+ of you. I hope I got at least a 60% on this essay so I don't have to take summer classes.

Hug your kids, have patience and love for your family and above all else - don't watch the leaked episode of Game of Thrones season 5.

Chris Enns
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Monday, May 4, 2015

loving more than one (at the same time)

A five-sentence story: I spent 5 summers as a camp counselor. One summer I arrived a few weeks late and met two awesome female counselors who already had a great friendship. I clicked with them both almost instantly, and soon all three of us seemed to be hanging out every chance we got. I was drawn and romantically attracted to both of them, but I "knew", as far as romance was concerned, I had to “pick” just one of them, even though it felt in some ways arbitrary, especially since we all got along together so well. Why did I have to “pick"?

After more than 7 years of reading, thinking, and experiences after that, I came to recognize myself as polyamorous.

Polyamory (poly for short) is the belief/feeling/act of having multiple loving relationships, loving multiple people at the same time. Polyamory is usually contrasted with monogamy. Polyamory is distinct from other non-monogamous forms because of its focus on relationships, not just sex with other people. Additionally, consent of all partners involved is necessary for ethical polyamory to exist.

I've considered myself polyamorous for about two years now, and for the past 20 months I've been dating a wonderful woman who happens to be engaged to someone that isn't me. It was the first “real” poly relationship any of us had entered into, so we’ve learned a lot, but it's also been and continues to be an amazing and rewarding relationship.

Being poly is often challenging, but any relationship worth having takes some work. The specific challenges may be different, but I don't think it's necessarily harder to be poly than not. In fact, poly people are often more skilled in things like communication and self-knowledge because without these skills you'll quickly find yourself in many undesired situations.

Some dismiss poly people as averse to commitment or choosing polyamory to avoid true intimacy and being fully vulnerable. I disagree. Oftentimes, poly people commit to multiple partners, an act that is more intense, with greater vulnerability, than someone who is monogamous.

Some people believe being polyamorous is a choice, though for me it is a part of my identity, just like being gay/straight/queer/bisexual/pansexual/asexual is innate to a person. One CAN chose it as a relationship structure, but for myself and many others, it's an innate quality, a feeling that exists whether we act on it or not.

I sometimes think about trying to live a conventional, monogamous life; while it would certainly be “easy” is some ways (i.e. socially acceptable, and thus less oppressive), I know I would be hiding a part of my identity, which I never want to do.

I'm not saying everyone should be poly. Polyamory isn't for everyone. I've seen innately non-poly people try to live polyamorously, usually to be/stay with a partner who identifies as poly, but if it's not your innate way of doing relationships, it can be challenging or even impossible.

(Life lesson alert:) It's important that you figure out your wants and needs in relationships and then be open and honest in communicating them with those you love and are interested in.

If you'd like to learn more about this topic, I'd love to have an e-conversation with you/answer any questions you have. I also highly recommend the wonderful “More Than Two” (dotcom) website. It's extremely comprehensive and deals with many things I had no room for here.

Shout out to my Boopy, who's taught me so much and who I love very much.

Be yourself, y’all. It’s how you’ll be happy.

Chicago, IL, USA

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Blogging for Profit Pt. 3

Part 1 - Pick your passion
Part 2 - Keyword Research

Part 3 - Creating Content
Now that you have Picked Your Passions and Discovered what people are searching for online – it is time to create content!

When you are writing content for your blog, this is your time to shine! This is when you get share your passions, visions and knowledge with the world. Let people know who you are!

2 Purposes of Content
1 - Give Value
2 - Be Entertaining

People pay hundreds of dollars a year to go the movies to be entertained and thousands of dollars a year to go to college to get the value of education. These are 2 example, but people spend $100,000s on these 2 things alone.

Keep in Mind - If you did your keyword research correctly, People are searching the internet for the information you are providing.
If you can provide people valuable information in way they find entertaining - you are all but guaranteed to make money!!

2 Hidden Purposes of Creating Content
#1) To get traffic! Without traffic your blog will not succeed. You need to learn to write your blog posts in a way that not only attract readers but also rank in search engines so your site can be found.
You will learn more about these techniques in our products.

#2) Call to Actions!
Your blog uses your creativity, wit and teaching skills to disguise the fact that your blog is really just one big ‘Call to Action’ - Directing people who read your blog to take a next step.

It may be:
- Joining your email list
- Watching a presentation
- Buying something.

You want people to do something after reading your blog. It might even be changing their diet. But you want people to take some sort of action. With Blogging For Profit - you goal is to get people into the buying process or to help them move through the buying process. You will learn more about Call to Actions through out our products.

Creating money on the internet is a 3 step process
1 – Create Quality Content
2 – Getting Traffic
3 – Making sales

That is the basis this whole system is founded.
I used to struggle in home business - showing up to Hotel Meetings, trying to pitch my friends and family the newest Juice or Vitamins. (anyone been there?) I always knew I could succeed if I could find people who were interested in what I was selling.
Blogging solved all this! Not only could I ditch the crappy products, but I could build an endless stream of traffic and leads. All while doing things I enjoy!
I get to blog about things I am interested in and that is how I make money!Pretty sweet system, huh?

As you go through the products, you are going to learn all the skills you need for Content Creation and building strong Call to Actions. But right now - Starting blogging. Take action. Don’t wait until you know everything. Get going now and start building your business. Taking action is the only way to start make money now!

See you in the next lesson!

Part 4- Syndicate your blog & Social Media
Part 5 - Being part of a community
Part 6 - Bringing it all together

Want to know the rest about Blogging for Profit? Contact me!

Daniel Jay
Minnesota, USA

PS - I seriously love talking to business minded entrepreneurs. I love thinking of new ideas and creating new things. Don’t believe me? Google: Fish Funeral Kit - Yeah, I created that!

PSS - You read this far, you are clearly interested, don’t be a wuss and email me!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

I do not even know what to put here


The reason why I read the Listserve emails is not for the stories, the anecdotes, the new insights or the advice. What interests me is the question: what do people write when they have the chance to say something to a lot of people? And, why do they choose that particular topic?

If I were to summarize the different responses people gave over the years, I would say that they most often use one of the following forms: this is what I do, this is who I am, this happened to me, this is what I love, this helped me, this could help you, this is funny or this tastes very good.

So, what does this say about us? Well, frankly, I don't know. What I do know is that I miss one kind of category. This category entails emails about the Listserve itself. No lengthy discussion on this peculiar, virtual platform. No comprehensive study on the way people answer the Listserve's request. Don't worry, I am not going to start now, but it is kind of interesting, isn't it?

I, for one, always end up with questions like these. With 'questions like these' I mean questions that play at some sort of meta-level. I cannot look at something without being aware of the way I am looking. Or, more or less concrete example, when I am having a dicussion I often end up discussing the way we are discussing. This not infrequently to the frustration of the one sitting opposit of me. With the Listserve this is the same. Even though I somethimes enjoy the content, I always wander off. Why do people invent things like the Listserve, and why is nobody writing about this? Are other people wondering the same, and do they also wonder if other people are wondering about what they are wondering about?

I, as you might have guessed, can stay in metapotamia all day long. Not in the sense that I have the capacity for it, but in the sense that I enjoy it. For me it is like using a shovel. When done using it you often just have a hole in the ground, and, well, that isn't much to show for. You can try and sit in it, but it probably isn’t very comfortable. Often, when you start digging, all you find is another layer of dirt. Dirt not meaning something purely negative of course. Sometimes you find something you wouldn't find above ground, sometimes you hit rock bottom. But it's always good excercise.

This very vague analogy may be the reason why the Listserve email only saying “Buy a bulldozer” still intrigues me.

On purpose or not, I leave many questions open. If you, despite this, feel like responding, I will gladly read it. Me and my mind are starting up a business, so everything that can spark up anything is welcome. I might even send an email back depending on, well, unkown future things.

Best whishes,


Friday, May 1, 2015

Deaf People and the Hearing World

As a deaf person in the United States, I live in a kind of deaf world where I can see different communities and individuals interact and clash and collaborate, where I can see deaf accomplishments and struggles shared on a daily basis. It makes me wonder how much a hearing person knows about any of this if they only have a secondhand impression of deaf people. There's so much that goes on, and I hope to provide some insight in this email.

To be Deaf, with a capital D, is to see one's deafness as a cultural trait instead of as a disability. (Hence the term "Deaf culture".) Today, there are hearing aids and cochlear implants that treat hearing loss, but before this technology, sign language was (and still is) the linchpin of Deaf people.

The advent of this technology has led to a clash of perspectives: disability vs. cultural. Hearing people see deafness as a disability that needs to be fixed. Deaf people do not see deafness as a disability to be fixed. These differing perspectives have formed a very large gap in understanding.

Oralism is a system that teaches deaf people to hear and speak instead of using sign language. From a disability perspective, this sounds good, since the rest of the world hears and speaks. However, this system has long overlooked the cultural aspect of deafness. There is a very rich and close-knit Deaf community, Deaf people do live full lives (as hard as it may be for hearing people to comprehend). Oralism has long been anathema to Deaf people when they see a deaf child that could be part of their community instead be assimilated away from them, with no connection to Deaf people before them. Look past the disability perspective for a moment and consider this with other underrepresented groups. Children of indigenous peoples have been put through assimilation. Gay people have been put through assimilation. Sex-selective abortion takes place to ensure a boy instead of a girl. To put it another way, oralism is hearing people representing the deaf community.

This does not mean that oralism does not work. Deaf children can grow up with hearing aids or cochlear implants and be assimilated in the hearing world. Sometimes that assimilation is complete. Sometimes that technology is not good enough, and such oral deaf people can be left out, especially in noisy and/or crowded environments. They bond with others like them in a kind of sub-community. While the technology is a way of them accommodating themselves for the hearing world, the hearing world still needs to accommodate them -- and Deaf people who are not oral. Both groups need translation-based services like captioning and oral or sign interpreting, yet despite these commonalities, the gap in perspective (disability vs. cultural) prevents compelling alliances to foment change in the hearing world to accommodate them.

This does not mean there are no hearing aid or cochlear implant users in the Deaf community. Bilingualism is an approach in which a deaf person can both speak and sign. Unfortunately, this approach is relatively novel, since oralism and sign language were historically seen as mutually exclusive. (Oralism's conventional wisdom, which persists to this day, is that sign language should be excluded for oralism to work. Imagine how the Deaf community feels about that.)

There's much more to cover, though. Hearing people who become deaf later in life and may be in denial or fear stigma. A notion called audism about superiority based on being able to hear. Et cetera. If you have any questions and comments, please email me.

Washington, DC