Monthly Archives: May 2013

THE @BEINGNOLA PROJECT

I was fascinated with the Twitter project the country of Sweden did (@Sweden).  The bio states “A new Swede every week!” I was an early follower and have enjoyed reading about the everyday lives of residents there. Sure, it has gotten a little kooky or controversial at times, but overall the project has been successful.

The About page on their curatorsofsweden.com page, which also houses the current @Sweden curator’s long-form bio, reads like this:

Every week, someone in Sweden is @Sweden: sole ruler of the world’s most democratic Twitter account.

For seven days, he or she recommends things to do and places to see, sharing diverse opinions, and ideas along the way.

After that, someone else does the same—but differently. Follow all nine million of us. Welcome to Sweden.

I think we could pull off a project like this in New Orleans. Everyone is curious about us: our food, our habits, our culture, our lives. I travel a lot, and people always ask me about what happens when Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest isn’t going on or they tell me they can’t imagine what living here is like. What better way to let them know what it’s really all about than US, the residents, constructing and controlling the real narrative? Not just the one people see on television or in the news. Can we influence the outside world’s view that New Orleans is not just Bourbon Street and a rising crime rate, but a mix of experiences, multi-layered and diverse? Hopefully. Will those things we’re famous for come into play? Most certainly. But so will hundreds of other inside perspectives.

Every Sunday evening, a new volunteer tweeter will take control of the @BeingNOLA account.  The curator will be briefed with some loose guidelines for the account, given their own password, some surprisingly non-sarcastic  encouragement and a sincere THANK YOU VERY MUCH. This Sunday, June 2nd, our inaugural New Orleans tweeter will take the reins.

I’m very happy that a lot of locals are following the account and would love it if everyone would share it with their non-NOLA friends.

We’ll try this experiment for a few months and see if it catches on. I’m also open to suggestions.

Email me to volunteer, suggest curators, or for anything at: neworleans140 [at] gmail [dot] com

See you on the internet!

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THE TRUTH ABOUT MY MOM

I wrote this for my Mom a few years ago. I know I’ve been rehashing a lot of stuff lately, but it still stands:

Several years ago, which seems like another lifetime, I was an utter mess.

I was screwing up left and right. I couldn’t manage anything: my money, my job, my relationships, my life. It all sort of happened all at once, without warning. I mean, I’d always been kind of a drifting fuck-up and loose with my standards. I never had a job I was committed to or a place I loved being in. I was without roots, I was without conviction. I thought, anyway. Without going into details, after a number of crazy events, it all finally came down to a destructive crash. My Mom, without hesitation, without question, came to my rescue. After all I’d done and all the bad I’d been, she never, ever left me alone or stopped believing in me. She helped me get diagnosed, medicated, into therapy, and on with my life. She did everything short of moving in with me, which, admittedly, she wanted to do. It took quite some time, and I never made it easy for her, myself or anyone, but I eventually got back on track.

During the upswing, I was talking to my very good friend Jonathan, discussing my whole mental health thing and he asked me a question I’d never been able to pose to myself. He asked, “Have you ever really THANKED your Mother for all she’s done? I mean REALLY THANKED her.” I was quiet. The profundity of that simple question was not lost on me. But, I was stunned and probably even a little ashamed.

He went on. “She saved your life.” He was right. She had. She did.

Not long after that conversation, and while I was still trying to figure out an answer to that question, my Grandma died. My Mom was devastated. It traumatized my whole family. My Grandma was our matriarch, our glue, our hero and beacon and one of the reasons I worked so hard to get myself back together. I certainly couldn’t put her through anything more. She fought cancer for a really long time and, in the end, she was just tired. We had to let her go. The day of the viewing, everyone in the family was getting up and speaking. I knew I was going to get up, but hadn’t planned on what I was going to say. I suppose these things aren’t planned, but in those eight steps to the podium, I realized the most important thing I’ve ever realized and it has dictated everything I do, everywhere I go, every single day since.

I’d never witnessed in my life someone who loved their children more than my Grandma. Without her and without the relationship she had with my Mom, the relationship I have with my Mom would never have been possible. It is because my Grandma loved her children so much that my Mom loves us so much.

I said I’d never witnessed someone loving their children more than my Grandma, because I didn’t know up until that day that I’d been witnessing it all my life.

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