Category Archives: The Daily Communiqué

The Daily Communiqué: 09 April 2019 – Music

My curiosity for music can more easily be satisfied now with technology.  I’m in love with searching through the global record collection available to anyone with the bandwidth to listen.

Here are a few I’m enjoying currently

Ash Grunwald “Money”- Aussie blues singer
I’m pretty enamored of Grunwald’s work, adding him to the heavy rotation list

Joe Bonamassa “The Ballad of John Henry”- American blues singer
It’s easy to forget just how young Bonamassa is, he’s been blues royalty for so long it seems like he should be older.

I love knowing about other creators’ process, it’s fun to watch Bonamassa in action. But watch how awkward he is without his guitar when it’s just him in singing in front of the mic.

This is a twofer, Leonard Bernstein forever won my heart with his Young People’s Concerts.   Aaron Copland was a favorite on Sunday mornings in my family.

Jamie Cullum – “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” – British jazz singer

This came up on a random playlist, and while I’m not much of a ballad/love song person, something about Cullum’s voice caught me.

Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong – American singers

What a surprise find! These two work really well together.

Amon Amarth – Swedish death metal band

I’ll end with this because it’s so delightfully bad. The instrumentals are standard metal, the leader has an incredible deep voice which he can use to great effect, but the lyrics and presentation are just so …. pedestrian.

The Daily Communiqué: 8 April 2019 – Hugos

2019 Hugo nominations have been announced.  I’m so pleased to see at least one book I’ve read, and a fanzine I know well, nominated.

WorldCon 76 was almost literally in my backyard, someone helped me decide I HAD to go, and it’s the only time (so far) I’ve been able to vote for the Hugos.

One of my favorite authors Mary Robinette Kowal, and astronaut Kjell Lindberg hosted a “Koffee Klatch” to talk about their work, and answer questions.  There were ten of us, and we were enthused about meeting them.   We learned some pretty interesting stuff about writing and being in space, and carried out a good amount of signed swag.  (Kjell even signed the inside of the Canadarm hatch door on my model shuttle.)

Since I don’t anticipate going to WorldCon 77 in Dublin, sad doesn’t begin to cover how I feel about not being able to vote for at least these two nominees.

There’s such good stuff which has been nominated, and good lord how do people read it all?  I’m still working on last year’s packet!

Being a list making/keeping type of person, it’s tempting to download the list of all Hugo winners/nominees and see how many I can read, but that way lies madness.  There are two many other books to read, my apartment would explode with that large an influx of books.

Speaking of which, Marlon JamesBlack Leopard, Red Wolf just arrived.  Here’s a great long read from The New Yorker published just before the book was published.

Part of my assigned reading for LitCrit involves N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth Trilogy, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and James’ book.  To bring it back to the Hugos, Jemisin won three years in a row for Broken Earth, and with as much hype as there is about Black Leopard, Red Wolf, I won’t be surprised to see it nominated for a Hugo next year.

The Daily Communiqué: 7 April 2019 – Recap Week 1

Weekly wrap …

When the idea arrived, I could barely contain my excitement.  It was scary but it just felt like a thing I was ready to do.  Basically, free write in public every day.  The story about my inspiration was the very first Daily Communiqué.  Back at my desk after lunch, the voices got to work.  You know those voices.  The ones that jabber on about how you’re just gonna fail anyway, so why bother.  Yeah, I argued with that one all afternoon.

Fortunately, I have a cheering section who told me to “do that thing!”  And here we are, at the end of the first week.  If my stats are right, people are finding and reading my pieces.  Thank you!

The Drink Tank‘s issue about Hamilton was published on Saturday. I’m excited to read what others have contributed.  Almost as excited as when I finally finished my piece.

Writing about procrastination, was a great reminder to look for ways to remedy my own.

Leadership is one of my favorite topics, mostly because I don’t understand how people can get it so soul-searingly wrong, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

My favorite piece to write was “20 Questions,” whose inspiration came from several places.  Dinner with a friend revealed an interesting tidbit about one of the aforementioned bad leaders.  I wondered if I could tell the story by playing the game Questions, and played with the notion of Twenty Questions.  All of which proves the point inspiration comes from anywhere.

There’s plenty of inspiration for me in my email and on one of my Pinterest boards, but there’s no plan other than to write something every day.  That’s the only rule for The Daily Communiqué.  Thanks for coming along on my adventure.



The Daily Communiqué: 6 April 2019 – Questions

For Michael and Cody

20 Questions

  1. “Are you ready to hear this?”
  2. “Why do you ask silly questions?”
  3. “Guess who has a clause in their contract stating they don’t actually have to do their job?”
  4. “Are you kidding me?”
  5. “Why would I do that?”
  6. “Who else knows?”
  7. “Do I look like Information Central?”
  8. “Is this why the budget’s shot?”
  9. “Is the budget shot?”
  10. “Are people lying about the budget?”
  11. “Are they telling the truth?”
  12. “What’s being done?”
  13. “About which?”
  14. “Can’t they be fed to the dragon?”
  15. “Which dragon?”
  16. “Won’t the Regents do anything?”
  17. “Who do you think approved the clause?”
  18. “Shouldn’t we ride out and warn others?”
  19. “Against what?”
  20. “Why are people so stupid?”

The Daily Communiqué: 5 April 2019 – Leadership

Trust …

Hat tip to Hugh MacLeod and Gaping Void Art, I’ve been a fan for years and find his advice on leadership to be common sense.

Positive Relationships. Trust is in part based on the extent to which a leader is able to create positive relationships with other people and groups.

Good Judgement/Expertise. … the extent to which a leader is well-informed and knowledgeable. They must understand the technical aspects of the work as well as have a depth of experience.

Consistency. … the extent to which leaders walk their talk and do what they say they will do.

(Zenger, J. and Folkman, J. (2019). The 3 Elements of Trust. Harvard Business Review. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019])

And lord, how many jobs have I had where no one, not one executive or manager understood these three basic tenets of good leadership.  It always frustrated me that at the lowest end of the totem pole possible, I knew more about leadership than anyone running the company did.

I have watched institutions, big and small, fall completely apart because leadership didn’t understand how to  use the Golden Rule.  To start with.

As a temp, and sadly, as a woman, I’ve been witness to more sexism and classism I ever thought possible.  Because, c’mon I’m educated and smart, I work hard and get the job done.  Over the years, my radar has become very finely tuned and can pick up micro-aggressions from across the building.

Most of my life, I’ve been like the canary in the coal mine. I saw it coming but was powerless to do anything about it.  Pointing out the flaw in the system was usually dismissed until months later, the problem got too big to ignore.  I’m over thinking, “If people would just listen to me …”  But I’m just sayin’.

It’s not hard to gain an employees’ trust, if a leader is doing their job right.  At a month into my latest day job, I trust them to do right by me.  Because they’ve already shown me they know how to be a leader.  The company is enormous and, granted, I have purposely stuck my head in the sand because I’m just tired of playing, but this company does things well.

As a contractor, I expected to be left out, for people not to remember my name or even be willing to acknowledge my presence.  None of it’s happened.  One executive walks through our area every morning greeting us by name, me included.  Another manager makes sure the snack drawers are loaded and sets up the monthly birthday potlucks.  And make sure to include me.

Cynicism in the workplace has become my go to strategy.  That way I’m not hurt or surprised if someone looks right through me because I’m a temp or contractor.  It’s happened.  More than once.

At first I would get all tangled up and hurt but I’ve moved on.  Because what kind of person are you that you stand right in front of someone and completely ignore them while introducing yourself to the person sitting at the table next to them?  I’m certainly not the asshole in this scenario.

(Did I tell you the one about being denied access to the extra food which was going to go to waste because I was a temp?  True story.)

Oh, and I have a long memory.  There’s a list several miles long of people I will never work with again, ever.  As a potential leader, I have learned great lessons on what not to do.

If a leader doesn’t treat their staff with respect, asking questions as they go along, the staff will never return that respect.  And when crunch time comes, they won’t be motivated to go all in to get the job done.

Probably the worst thing is working for people who have no idea what my job is, how it’s done and what I need to get it done right.   At one job, the first week my new manager started, I asked to schedule 1:1s, because I had a lot of questions and we needed to start setting policies.  He blew me off.  Completely.  In his first week as a new manager with a staff of one, he blew that one off.

So, of course, as I continued to fumble along things went horribly awry.  I had no back up, no one to turn to, and was set up for failure.  The shocking thing is how common this is, across industries in companies small and big.

Over 30 years in Silicon Valley and I could tell stories that would make people weep.  I probably have.  And it’s so freaking simple.  Walk around, introduce yourself (or reintroduce yourself), make yourself available.  And show your staff that if you don’t know about their job, you want to learn.  Take 15 minutes every week just to walk past and offer your hand, “How can I be of service to you?”

Don’t wait for the bullies to come knocking and watch a major blowup happen to one of your staff members.  (Yeah, that happened too.)  Set your entire group up to succeed.  Lead by example, show them you’re not too good to get in the trenches with them if necessary.

And my goodness, praise them.  Thank them  for their hard work.  Regularly.  Don’t save it for meetings.  Walk into someone’s cubicle and tell them how much you appreciate their work.  Bring lunch in and sit at the table with them.  And listen when they talk.  Listen to what they have to say, don’t just wait for your turn to talk.

Good leadership isn’t hard.  It shouldn’t be and makes me more than a little grouchy when I see how badly people botch it.

The Daily Communiqué: 4 April 2019 – Procrastination


“… procrastination is deeply existential, as it raises questions about individual agency and how we want to spend our time as opposed to how we actually do.”  (Lieberman, Charlotte. “Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control).” The New York Times, 25 Mar. 2019)

Been there, done that to the point where I’ve lost complete track of what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s the worst when I’m between day jobs and sit at home trying to convince myself things are getting done.  When clearly they’re not.  “I’m not writing right now because I’m thinking.”  Possibly true, but also a great disguise for procrastination.

I don’t wanna do that thing, usually write that thing, because it’s scary in there.  Big scary.  Even if it’s something no one but me is ever going to see, the inner critic/imposter convinces me I’m better off not even trying.

I mean, it’s not going to be any good right?  So why even try?  I’ll toddle off to do something completely mundane like filing or website clean up or, heaven forfend, dishes.  Yay!  I’m cleaning!  Boo, I’m still not doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing.

It becomes a spiral.  I recognize I’m procrastinating and I feel crappy about it, but I keep finding other things to do.  Until, finally I just give in and do the thing.  Then I wonder what all the fuss was about.

“Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.”  (op cit)

As I become healthier, I look to my emotions first.  “This is an interesting reaction to whatever just happened, what’s really going on?”  Knowing my emotional state helps get me going.

As I’ve developed in my writing, it’s gotten harder.  Many writers talk about this, “the better you get at writing, the harder it gets.”  And I often find myself putting off writing something because “ah, man harder?”  As far as I can tell, there is no point at which writing gets easier.

This is why it’s important to me to follow my favorite authors on Twitter and Facebook.  All of them have published books and work hard on their craft.  And all of them, these people which books I’ve paid for and admire from afar, say “This is hard, just shoot me now.”

So it appears I’m in very good company.  And that helps me get past the big scary and write.  Or at least be willing to face the big scary and write anyway.


The Daily Communiqué: 3 April 2019 – Happy Talk

My dear friend, Alexander Watson, sent the song “Happy Talk,” sung by Shezwae Powell, from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific.  It’s a reminder not to listen to the inner imposter who tells me I’m not good enough to fulfill the many dreams I have.

Alexander also keeps reminding me that I’m allowed to succeed.  Being allowed to succeed is counter-intuitive to me.  There are so many ways I was set up to not succeed that I began to take it as a given I never would.  Despite the many things I could point to as successes, the overarching attitude I had was I would never succeed.

This has been changing for me, slowly, over the past few years.  Instead of seeing only the failures, I concentrate on the successes.  Sometimes that’s getting out of bed and getting showered.  Other days it’s about writing something I’m proud of.  Little steps take me as far as big ones, so long as I’m patient with myself and keep up the reminders that each moment is an opportunity for success.

Survivors of childhood trauma usually have diagnosable mental illness.  (A cold’s an illness, so is depression.)  And we are hardwired to believe we’re no good, despite evidence to the contrary.

What works for me is finding things to be grateful for.  If it’s a really horrible no good day I look to remembering the things I often take for granted.  I have a place to live and stash all my books, and it has hot and cold running water with indoor plumbing.  I have food in the fridge, clothes to wear, and books to read.  There are friends I reach out to who listen and hold my hand while I take the next step.  I am always and forever grateful for them.

It’s not easy and there are days when I would rather sit in the gray fog, but I’m a busy woman with dreams to make come true.  One more thing to be grateful for.

I’ll end with Ella’s version of “Happy Talk.”

“You gotta have a dream
if you don’t have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?”

The Daily Communiqué: 2 April 2019 – The Drink Tank’s Hamilton

I’m in a hurry today.  My editor, Chris Garcia, is patiently waiting for me to get my piece on Alexander Hamilton polished and delivered for publication in his zine, The Drink Tank.

March was unkind to my writing schedule.  Three weeks of bleurgh will do that.  (That’s a highly technical term for the head cold that won’t go away.)  A couple of weeks after starting my new day job, the bleurgh took me out for most of a week.  That was followed by a couple of weeks’ worth of more coughing, wheezing, and general yuckiness during which I’d go to work and then straight to bed.

Chris and I were once co-workers.  I took great delight in getting completely esoteric with him.  My first comment to him was how from a distance he looked like Alan Ginsberg.  Chris’ response literally stopped me in my tracks, “I miss Alan.”  Encounters like this are not rare with Chris.

After parting from our mutual work place, I asked how I could support his zines.  “Words, send me words,” he said.  And that was how my adventure there began.

Click on the tag “On Writing” in the pull down menu labelled Categories on the left hand side and you’ll see links to the editions I have pieces in.

So yeah, I’m in a hurry and need to get the piece about Hamilton to Chris.

The Daily Communiqué: 1 April 2019 – It Begins

The Daily Communiqué is part Brain Pickings, part homage to M. Todd Gallowglas’ Nine Tenths Project, definitely more than online diary.

I have long admired Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings while being completely overwhelmed and intimidated by it.  To be able to spend that much time and energy to go deeply into so many topics is a dream for me.  Maria takes such care with her work, it’s an inspiration.

Which leads me to the work I do with my mentor M. Todd Gallowglas, whose tutelage in Literary Criticism has opened my mind to new ways of reading and writing.  It’s tough work sometimes, learning new ways of thinking usually are.  I have become completely enamored with it.

The Nine Tenths Project is Gallowglas’ annual challenge to himself for writing.  He writes a vignette a day and publishes it on his Patreon.  This project is open to anyone.  It’s exciting to watch the story unfold.

The genesis of my own annual challenge to write and publish daily came while on lunch break not long ago.  Gallowglas’ The Stopwatch Chronicles is part of the inspiration.  His vignettes are nothing short of breath taking, some only a few paragraphs.

I suppose I would describe my project The Daily Communiqué as a way to address all those newsletters in my email that I set aside as something I’ll write about “later.”  Later is now.  Welcome to the show.