SOPA/PIPA and John Milton’s Areopagitica

After much research, I decided to join yesterday’s Internet-wide protest of SOPA/PIPA.

On the surface, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP) are anti-piracy bills. Antipiracy is a good thing; it’s necessary, and when administered properly it protects artists, writers, musicians, etc. The problem with these bills is that they are so broadly written they go too far and allow for abusive control and censorship — not good things.

SOPA was shelved before yesterday’s protest, but it’s not dead yet. PIPA goes to vote on Tuesday, but support is fading fast. We do need antipiracy laws in place. We most certainly do, but not at the expense of free speech.

As I researched SOPA/PIPA, I remembered a post I did back in June 2010 on Areopagitica, John Milton’s passionate essay on the right to freedom of speech and expression.  I thought it was worth repeating:

Enjoy Freedom of Speech? Thank John Milton

For more details on SOPA or PIPA, this video from Fight for the Future does a great job explaining it.

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Making the Time to be Quiet and Write

You write by sitting down
and writing.
Bernard Malamud

Sounds easy enough, but those of us who write know there’s more to it than that.  Endless distractions can pull us away from our writing.  Then a few days, turn into weeks, months, or more of not writing, and our initial excitement turns to dread.

The only way to break that cycle is to follow Mr. Malamud’s advice:

Sit down and write.

If you have a hard time motivating yourself to do that, join The Silent Writer’s Collective for a Silent Write-In, a weekly online writing retreat that helps writers put aside distractions and write.

By committing to a group effort, (think Weight Watchers or NaNoWriMo) many writers find it’s easier to stay motivated and reach goals.  Writing, as we’ve heard ad nauseum, is a solitary endeavor, but sharing our efforts with a group makes it easier, and can help us reach our writing goals.

Our next retreat is tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 17, at 9 PM EST (US), if there’s interest, we’ll also meet at 9 PM PST.  We start on time with a minute or two of hellos, then the “buzzer” sounds and we start writing.  You can work on your own writing project, or use one of the provided writing prompts or exercises to get started.

We meet via Twitter using the hashtag #SilentWriters. If you aren’t on Twitter, we have a group on Facebook. If you don’t have either, just join in on your own at 9, and know you’re not working out there on your own.

For more information, check out the SWC FAQs.

Monday Motivator: Philip Roth

“I turn sentences around.
That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around.
Then I look at it and turn it around again…”

— E.I. Lonoff
in “The Ghost Writer” by Philip Roth

That’s the glamorous life of a writer.  Writing, revising, repeating.  It’s also what I’ve been caught up in for the past five or so months … turning sentences around, then around again.  I like to think I’m making  progress, but sometimes I  wonder.  That’s another part of the glamorous life of a writer: Uncertainty.

The Monday Motivator is meant to motivate and inspire, but my commentary doesn’t seem very inspiring does it.  In fact, it feels pretty negative.  Maybe that’s why I turned to my blog today for the first time in months.  This writer is in need of some blogosphere love.   How about it folks?  Lay it on me! Share a tip or trick you use to keep going when the words have turned you inside, outside and upside down?

♦ ♦ ♦

The Monday Motivator is a quote posted on Mondays to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote you’d like to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

 

Monday Motivator: Wallace Stevens

“After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.”

— Wallace Stevens
from The Well Dressed Man with a Beard

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote you’d like to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Wallace Stevens, The Well Dressed Man with a Beard, *~Dawn~* on Flickr, The Daily Post.

Monday Motivator: Muddy Waters

“My grandmother, she say
I shouldn’t be playing.
I should go to church.
Finally, I say
‘I’m going do this, I’m going do it.’
And she got where
she didn’t bother me
about it.”
— Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield on April 4, 1913, used his meager sharecropper wages to buy his first guitar when he was 17,  and he taught himself to play.  Today he is considered the father of modern Chicago blues, but his influence reaches far beyond that and into folk, jazz, country, and especially rock ‘n’ roll.

  • He helped Chuck Berry get his first recording contract.
  • The Rolling Stones named themselves after Mr. Waters’ song “Rollin’ Stone.”
  • Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, is based on the hit “You Need Love.”

For a little taste of the voice, the guitar, the harmonica, and the power, watch Muddy Waters perform “Manish Boy.”

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: The Official Muddy Waters Website,The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Ray Bradbury

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Ray Bradbury, The Daily Post

For ‘Tolkien Reading Day,’ a Favorite Quote

As someone with a strong sense of wanderlust, the second line of this quote always meant something special to me.  I heard it long before I became familiar with J.R.R.Tolkien or The Lord of the Rings, but when I found out Tolkien wrote it in The Fellowship of the Ring, I smile and thought, Yeah, that makes sense.

In honor of Tolkien Reading Day 2011, I’m happy to share a few of his words.

Resources: The Tolkien Society, Playdura on Flickr, The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Flo Ziegfeld

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote you’d like to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld, Susan Fleming, ky_olsen on flickr, The Daily Post

Yosemite National Park: Near and Far

In October, Hon and I visited Yosemite National Park in California.  It was my first visit, and I can’t wait to go back.  These pictures might explain why.

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All images by Olivia Tejeda.  Some rights reserved
Resources: Yosemite National Park, The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Erica Jong gets Subversive

Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it … It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.
— Erica Jong
“How to Save Your Own Life”

♥  ♥  ♥
Happy Valentine’s Day

The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Erica Jong, The Daily Post