Monday, September 28, 2009

Full Disclosure

When I started blogging about two years ago, I chose a pseudonym--partly because it seemed literary and cool, partly to protect my privacy, but mostly because I was a tentative writer--scared to expose the real me to the big, bad virtual world.

So, no surprise that two years have passed, and two pseudonyms and three abandoned blogs later, I'm still using the same crutch.

I initially started this blog as a way to vent my frustrations about the crazed, unglamorous life of a publicist. I wanted a place to talk freely about my annoyances, grievances and failures--anonymously, of course, so as not to incriminate myself or my clients.

I initially shared my blog with a select few--an "easy" audience of very close family and friends. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and so I shared it with a few more people. And they shared it with others. And people kept saying "I thought your name was Laura. What's with this Carrie business?"

And then I realized it was yet another mask, an artificial layer to buffer me from potential criticism or commentary. Which is pretty much the opposite of what blogging--what writing, really--is all about.

As E.B. White wrote, "writing is both the mask and unveiling."

So I, Laura Scholz, am unveiling myself to you and committing myself fully to the words I'm putting out here in cyberland.

c'est moi

Friday, September 25, 2009

The New Media Revolution

I'm attending the New Media Conference today in Atlanta, and the irony is that I've neglected one my favorite social media platforms--this blog. And now I've been challenged by none other than the fabulous Chris Brogan to write a blog--today. Before he speaks. In half an hour. No pressure.

But here's the reality. When I joined MySpace back in 2006, I was simply following the pack. My sister had it, my friends had it, and well, I was between projects, and it was a great way to kill some time. Plus, you had to love the voyeurism--nothing like confirming your decision 20 years ago to break up with that high school boyfriend was a good one.

My ex, then a security analyst for a very conservative bank, hated MySpace. He thought I shouldn't be sharing ideas and pictures and personal information with strangers. He wanted me to delete my account.

I'm so glad I didn't listen to him.

It's now 2009, and while MySpace may be so three years ago, the principles that made it such a breakthrough medium are as popular as ever. The ability to form and build relationships with new people, to engage in deeper conversations about products and ideas, to have access to customers and influencers and all-around cool people you wouldn't otherwise have a chance to meet--this is what social media is all about. Sure, you can use it to stalk the mean girl from high school or watch the latest funny video on YouTube, but when you're willing to tranform yourself from passive bystander to engaged participant, it's revolutionary. And today's conversation with Chris Brogan is proof of its power.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mind Your Manners

No less than a week after I posted my ode to my home state, it made national headlines. Again. Thanks, Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina (though at least he doesn't represent my former Congressional district!).

What is it with celebrities and their manners (or lack thereof) this week? Jon Gosselin publicly declaring his love for the latest 20 something trollop before his divorce is finalized, Serena Williams threatening a line judge with obscenities and a tennis ball, Kanye West injecting himself into someone else's acceptance speech--when will it end?

Unfortunately, this behavior isn't limited to politicians and celebrities. Right now, our country's discourse--political and otherwise--is totally lacking in grace, dignity, civility and respect.

I'm all for Voltaire ("I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."), but it doesn't extend to bad manners. So, let's lose the senseless epithets, ditch the profanity and brush up on Emily Post. Please? And thank you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Carolina in My Mind

Even though I live only one state away, I still get homesick for South Carolina. Yes, Civil War, Mark Sanford and endless fodder for late night jokes notwithstanding, I love my home state.

I recently started reading Pat Conroy's South of Broad, and I'm savoring every flawed character, every nuanced turn of phrase, every classically picturesque setting. No one evokes the spirit, the essence, the guts and soul of South Carolina and its people like Pat Conroy. Throw in a peach (say what you will, but South Carolina is the true "peach state"), James Taylor (even if he did sing about the wrong Carolina), the movie Shag (Skyview Drive-Inn!) and some beach music (Carolina girls ARE the best in the world), and I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

City Mouse, Country Mouse

I love Aesop's popular fable, City Mouse-Country Mouse. It's been told a thousand times in a thousand different ways, but the fact remains that we all have very different ideas of what's home. As a former "country mouse" (or at least a "small Southern town mouse"), I now live in a wanna-be "city." If I didn't hate cold weather and were independently wealthy, I'd move to New York City in, well, a New York minute. I love the grit, the energy, the community of urban living. I love masses of people of all generations, affiliations and persuasions living on top of one another, eating and living and moving together and tripping over one another in the streets.

One of my favorite memories of city life is from a trip to Madrid, when I was strolling down a street near a park early in the evening, and I watched elderly couples in elegant suits walking hand in hand, doting parents ushering uniformed children home from school, young boys engaged in a boisterous game of soccer, tourists looking befuddled at city maps, all mingling and enjoying the same summer air, then coming together later for fellowship over food and wine and post-dinner gelato. To me, there's something so powerful and rich and alive about being one of many, of living and breathing and mingling in such proximity to neighbors and strangers alike.

While it's unlikely that I will leave Atlanta and even less likely Atlanta will ever grow up and evolve into a real city, I still long for the day when I won't need a car, when I can wake up in my aparment upstairs and wander downstairs to my storefront office to work, breaking occasionally to purchase fresh produce from the local market, snatch up that cute dress from my neighborhood boutique or share a good meal with a friend at our favorite local restaurant, while stopping to chat with shop owners and neighbors along the way. I'll end my day with a long run in the park with my husband and our dog, then watch the sun set over the orange-kissed skyline of this beautiful city I call home.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer Lovin'

It's the first day of September, and this little cold front we're having here in Atlanta is sending people into a fall frenzy. Everyone has football, sweaters and soup on the brain. And while I'll admit that running in 70 degree temps is a nice change of pace, can we just pause for a minute and celebrate all things summer?

Beaches, swimming pools, sundresses, cookouts, dining al fresco, corn on the cob, berries from the vine, flip flops, pedicures, longer days, sunshine, sand in your toes, fireflies, summer storms, rainbows, lemonade, ice cream, convertibles, fireworks, outdoor concerts, baseball, white pants---see, don't you want it to last just a little bit longer?


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