2.06.2017

What it means to be a refugee, in poetry

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Because there seems to be confusion about the difference between immigrants (documented or no) and refugees, I want to share a poem (h/t to Shannon).

“Home,”
by Warsan Shire


no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and teacher who lives in London and Los Angeles. She is the author of Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and is included in The Salt Book of Younger Poets. She received the Brunel University's African Poetry Prize and was the 2013 Young Poet Laureate for London.

Photo credit: Nóra Bartóki-Gönczy (Own work),
Syrian refugee woman with her sick child
[CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1.02.2017

Another think coming vs. another thing coming

The copy editor is in.
I'm presenting occasional posts on the use of English,
not to be pedantic but just for the fun of language.

This is one that bothers me when I see or hear it wrong because the original is so sly and humorous, and the "correction" is so dull.

This is the phrase in use:

"If he thinks he's going to get out of paying for that llama, he's got another think coming!"

Too often lately I see it instead as "If he thinks … he's got another thing coming."

10.31.2016

Why does my autocorrect think I'm typing that?

Good job on guessing I meant "before"
instead of "veggie" this time, Swype. For once.

I have Swype on my phone, and I've purposely turned off the thing where it autocorrects what you're typing, because — I don't need that stress, or that level of hilarity.

But, it still misinterprets what I Swype so, so much.

And I don't get it.

Wouldn't it learn that there are certain words you use more than others?

For instance, how often do I write "ashtray" over "already," Swype? How often? Huh? Here's the answer, Swype: I never mean "ashtray." Never.

As a parenting blogger, I write about my children a lot. But apparently Swype thinks I'm gaga about my "cistern." This is literally never the case.

I guess it could be worse
and people could think I'm obsessed with collagen?

6.13.2016

Need writing motivation? Put your money where your goals are with a challenge group!

Do you have trouble sticking with your writing goals — or even starting at all? Try throwing some money at the problem by starting a writing challenge accountability group.

Set writing goals together, and pay in money that you'll forfeit if you don't hit your target — or win off each other if you do!1


How to start your own writing challenge group:

  1. Get a group of friends together who are writers — Facebook groups work well for this.
     
  2. Decide on a challenge length. It could be one week or one month or some other length.
     
  3. Choose the amount of money you'll ante up. About $20 US seems right to motivate but not impoverish.
     
  4. Someone is in charge of holding the kitty and being the challenge cheerleader. Everyone pays in, usually through PayPal.
     
  5. You each publicly set a challenge goal and then check in and cheer each other on every day.
     
  6. By the end of the challenge, you each declare whether you met or missed your goal. The honor system prevails.
     
  7. Losers forfeit their money. Winners get their money back plus a share of the losers' money.
     

For instance, assuming a $20 buy-in from 6 participants, if two fail, the other four collect back $30 each. A nice little prize for completing your writing goal!

And even if you fail, you got to work on your writing and you're several steps closer to your goal than you were before, so despite the loss of funds, it's still not really losing!

Some tips on starting your own writing challenge group:

6.09.2016

Why blogging is dead (and why it is not)

I began blogging eight and a half years ago, and I feel like I no longer even recognize the landscape. Having spoken with many fellow bloggers, I know I'm not alone in feeling disconnected and like maybe blogging as we knew it has played out.

Here are the reasons why we (and perhaps you) feel that way, and at the end, the ways blogging is continuing on into the future — altered but still alive.



WHY OLD-SCHOOL BLOGGING IS DEAD

We used to blog for community — now we blog for search engines.


I remember when I got my first commenters on my blog and how thrilling it was. I joined blogging carnivals, posted others' blog buttons, and chatted with authors and readers on Twitter.

I came to know my audience from their commenting and sharing, and they were real people to me. I could put names to many of them.

The change isn't just the audience growing larger, it's that it's grown quieter. The community (mine, at least) has dissipated. Comments and shares have moved to social media and, often, behind my back (not in a bad way, just in a private way).

I check my analytics and see: People are still reading. But they're not necessarily interested in ME. No, I don't blame them (I'm not that narcissistic), but it's a sign that they're not dedicated followers of my blog but rather searchers who've stumbled on a single post of interest to them and then backed away once the information was secured. These readers aren't watching my children grow up or asking my opinion on things. My folksy, homey posts go virtually unseen. Instead, most visitors come to read a few evergreen fact posts: DIYs mostly. I'm not bitter, and I welcome any readers, but it's a sign of the change.

Commenting has moved to social media.


And specifically to Facebook, where it is now incredibly hard for a blogger to get posts seen without paying advertising money, and sometimes even with. I don't bother much anymore with posting links on Facebook, because the views are abysmal (1-10% of my followers, if I'm lucky). If it's something very important to me, I'll occasionally pay to promote it. I've mostly stopped sharing other people's fine links on Facebook, even though I used to love doing so, because no one will see them, and it just hurts my overall page metrics, making it even less likely within the Facebook algorithm that my posts will be seen in the future.

People definitely do a lot of their link reading on Facebook, so this seems counterintuitive. If so many people are reading shared links on Facebook, then surely sharing links on Facebook still works? But it doesn't for most links, only for a (relatively) few viral ones, usually from big-name news sources or very lucky bloggers. (I've had a post or two go viral on Facebook, and it's always been a surprise.) Unless a link gets a lot of traction immediately, Facebook buries it in the feed, so bloggers can no longer rely on their business pages to drum up traffic.

5.15.2016

Last day to get my parenting ebooks on sale!



Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

A gentle reminder that the deep discount on my three parenting ebooks will be over tomorrow. The countdown is on!

Right now they're at these prices:


On May 16, they'll revert to their list prices, so save now while you can!

I'll include a summary and reviews below so you can learn what people think of them!

5.09.2016

Get my parenting ebooks for only 99 cents each — hurry!



Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

I've enrolled all my parenting ebooks into a special promotion at Amazon called Kindle Countdown Deals. Starting today, each one is available starting at only $0.99 for a limited time. You can see the time left on the countdown timer. For the next week, each will gradually rise back to list price, so grab them at a discounted price while you can!

Here's where to find them:

Run, run, run, and get the discounted prices! Unless you want to learn more about each of them first — in which case, read on.
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