Tag Archives: WriteGirl

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you towards some recommended reading for the weekend:

1. I have always admired Steve Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) for his contributions to our understanding of economics. But I admire him all the more for this brave and deeply personal video about adopting his daughter from China.

2. And speaking of bravery and admiration, I’m so incredibly proud of Colleen Wainwright for hitting  – and surpassing – her goal of raising $50,000 for the WriteGirl non-profit  in Los Angeles by her 50th birthday. Here’s Colleen’s own video about this amazing journey, recorded on Day 50.

3. Also not to be missed is the plug for Colleen’s project in the Dear Sugar advice column over at The Rumpus.

4. I absolutely cannot wait to see the film version of the UK best-seller, We Need to Talk About Kevin. The wonderful Roger Ebert interviewed the equally wonderful Tilda Swinton about her role in this dark work of art at the Toronto film festival.

5. OK, so after all that, you’re probably weeping now. To cheer you up I give you Voice Recognition in a Scottish elevator. For all those who’ve ever been on the wrong end of a customer service call with a Scot, eat your heart out.

6. I’ve written before here about my fondness for David Sedaris. Here’s an essay he wrote about eating Chinese food (in China), which he read aloud the night I went to see him and is reprinted in The Guardian. I can assure you that it will put you off Chinese food for a good, long time.


Have a great weekend!


Aging: The Power Of Giving Back

When I was younger, I didn’t think all that much about “giving back” to my community. The professions I chose – academia, policy, journalism – I selected because they tickled my fancy. They were fun, exciting, challenging.

And if – in the course of pursuing them, I happened to make a difference in someone else’s life – so much the better. But that wasn’t my primary goal in life. It was all about me.

As I delve ever more deeply into middle age, however, I find that I derive the most meaning when I’m helping other people. Perhaps this is unusual. We are, after all, purportedly living in an age of narcissism.

But I don’t think I’m all that unique. Indeed, I think that one of the great unheralded truths of middle age is that all the clichés turn out to be true. Among them:  the power of giving back.

Which is perhaps why I am so taken with Colleen Wainwright – aka Communicatrix’s – 50th birthday party celebration. Colleen has decided that as she hits this landmark birthday, she really doesn’t need any more “stuff.” She already has plenty of toasters.

Rather, what would really make her happy is if she could raise money for a non-profit in her home town that’s in need of some help. The non-profit is called WriteGirl. It’s a Los Angeles-based organization which partners teen-aged girls with women writers for creative writing workshops and one-on-one mentoring.

Colleen’s been involved with Write Girl for several years now. As she explains in this blog post about that experience:

I have cried at every WriteGirl workshop I’ve been to. I’ve also rarely laughed so joyously as I have there, nor felt more hope for humanity. These are amazing girls, all of them. They vary in their levels of introversion and extroversion, boldness and shyness, just like the rest of us, but each of them has been 100% present and committed at every workshop I’ve been to…They engage, they ask questions, they play, and they write. Oh, boy do they write, and how.

So in honor of her 50th birthday – which is exactly 50 days from today – Colleen has set herself the challenge of raising $50,000 to support Write Girl. As she notes, mastering the ability to write opens doors, builds self-confidence and self-esteem, and increases a girl’s chances of earning a living for herself and changing the world for present and future generations.

Pretty simple, huh?

So please. Pop by and pay a visit and see for yourself what this whole thing is about. See if you aren’t inspired to give something – even something small – to support this fabulous cause.

Bonus? There are lots of cool give-away prizes.

Double Bonus? If Colleen hits her goal by her birthday, she will shave off all of her hair.

(Wow. If it were *my* birthday, I might need to buy a wig.)

And thanks.


Image: Day 167 – Head by TiggerT via Flickr under a Creative Commons license