About Yvonne DiVita
Yvonne DiVita is the author of Dick*less Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online, a book about getting those baby boomer icons Dick and Jane to buy at your website. She is also the president and founder of Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC which specializes in business blog building, social media strategy and print-on-demand publishing.
Yvonne's background stretches to those bygone days of the early Internet, where she was a web content writer and worked in several technology start-ups. Yvonne started her first blog, Lip-sticking, back in March of 2004 shortly after publishing her first book. Yvonne has been preparing an extension of the Lip-sticking brand with the launch of The Lip-Sticking Society, which will be a new website that will house the Lip-sticking blog in hopes to better serve her readers.
Some of Yvonne's other blogs include: Books, Blogs, and Beyond, a blog about publishing in a changing world, Scratchings and Sniffings, a petblog sponsored by Nestlé Purina, and a pet health insurance blog for Purina: PurinaCare. She has also been listed as one of 2009's Smartest People in Social Media.
Latest Posts by Yvonne DiVita
You’ll not be surprised to learn that books play an important part in my life. I’ve written posts about publishing and reading and books quite a bit lately. I did a short review of a fantastic sci-fi series just last weekend, and now I want to introduce a series of blog posts around a new book.
The book is People of the Bear Mother. The author is TD Austin. We emailed back and forth a bit and I asked if she would share her writing experience with us, as I read the book and prepare to write about it.
TD Austin wrote to me, “That the story of our Stone Age ancestors and their inner/spiritual lives should be told by a woman seems to me unremarkable because these hunting cultures were the most egalitarian in
human history. Scientists tell us that the women’s ‘gathering’ activities provided up to 80% of all food calories, that most of the shamans, spiritual leaders and healers were women and that the status of women was truly
equal to that of men in ways that even our modern societies have not yet attained to.
“Even those we now refer to as gay/lesbian/transgendered were revered for their spiritual gifts and ranked high in these hunting societies which only had prestigious personal abilities and talents to be honored for since they completely lacked ‘wealth’ and/or political power to stratify the society. Scientists have documented their relaxed attitudes toward sex, free choice of mates, control of family size and the lack of hereditary chiefs and priesthoods making it impossible to repress women in ways that increasingly became the rule from about 3000 B.C. right down to the present in most of the world. I did not initially realize, when my creative side was cracked open like an egg and all these stories began to flow out in a confused rush, that I was indeed channeling my own past lives.
“But now I recognize that is the level of the unseen world of the subconscious mind or, the ‘spiritual realm’ if you prefer, that I am connected to and which continues to inspire and almost compel me to write these stories.”
She goes on to say, “The creative opening that has sparked the writing of my novel, People of the Bear Mother, is the first in a series I call Periplus of the Sea of Souls, which has come at the end of a long spiritual unfoldment. I now recognize that the inspiration for these stories is coming from deep within as a channeling of my own past lives. I see that this soul-evolution has been much, much longer in coming than I ever could have imagined before this burst of creative energy began bringing these stories to consciousness. I like to say that I have the opposite of ‘writer’s block’ as these many stories are all clamoring to be told.
“After a career in academic research and writing, this flow of inspiration as a creative writer was a complete surprise and an unintended consequence of learning how to go within and open myself to the vast subconscious, or spiritual realm of existence, that lies within each and every one of us.
“I see now that I have been on this spiritual quest for many lifetimes. But like Little Bear, the heroine of this first novel, I have been searching ‘outside’ myself through others: wise teachers, gurus, authority figures, sacred writings, etc. without having ever had my own mystical, spiritual experience of connecting with something other or greater than myself until now.
This mystical, metaphysical union with the universe at the level of past lives is now the source of my creative writing. This is how the mystical traditions of all time have understood it: the mystical experience cannot be sought or taught and each must open to it in their own way and in their own time. The coming of this experience can no more be predicted than what you will dream tonight because they all come from the same source.”
by TD Austin, introduction by Yvonne DiVita
by Yvonne DiVita >>> These are my views and my views alone.
Happy New Year to the Women of 2013, and your family and friends. Including any fur-kids about the house.
The year in recap is playing on CBS this morning. I’m being reminded of the gaffes during the election. Of all the people who are no longer with us. Little stories of courage pop in and out. Tragedy dominates. Viral videos are getting a lot of attention.
I expect it’s all necessary, for some reason. As a species, we humans tend to forget easily.
Facebook is overflowing with good New Year’s Eve wishes – and angry tirades. Folks are still griping about the outcome of the election, about guns and shootings and our ‘rights’ and the fact that… they have proof that their view is correct and everyone else’s is not. I haven’t seen mention of the Fiscal Cliff, but it’s likely there. As we go over it, we’ll hear more and more about our disfunctional Congress. And, as a group, we’ll lament that Congress isn’t doing its job – but, no one will demand resignations… one and all. We’ll just go on Facebook and complain.
One thing that strikes me throughout all of the news – the tirades – the announcements – the videos – is the fact that we, as a species, are in danger of losing our humanity.
What is humanity? I’m challenged to define it. To me, it’s more than being ‘human’. It encompasses compassion, welcomeness, openness, charity, empathy, kindness, feelings, smiling, laughing, crying, togetherness, and so much more. Humanity defines not just our sense of self, but our self of others. It’s a measure of how we appear in the world and how we act – everything we do reflects our humanity, or lack thereof.
I’m worried that we are so divisive these days, we are willing to dissect the humanity out of our lives. In an effort to prove our viewpoint (to show the world we’re right and the others are wrong – when there is no right and wrong in many of the arguments being spewed about)… we are leaving our humanity on the cutting room floor, so to speak. It’s not worth worrying about, I guess. It hinders us in our goals to winning – it binds our hands and cripples our thinking and wants us to remember that the people we’re railing at, are, really, just like us. “We have met the enemy,” Pogo once said… “And he is us.” Sigh.
I would like to bring the humanity back into the conversation. That means recognizing that some of us will always be among the poorest of the poor, and of that group of people, most do not wallow in the day to day struggle of making ends meet – even when those ends are supported by “welfare.” In fact, there are many children and elderly in that category and if we do not have the humanity to care for our children and our elderly, then… what kind of people are we?
That’s MY big beef. Taking care of each other should be our primary purpose- if we do that, goodness will flow from it. And yes, the government is responsible for its people. For those who cannot take care of themselves. We, the citizens, need to step up…yes, but the government needs to lend a helping hand and to make sure big business doesn’t protect the executives at the expense of the employees – primarily by cutting benefits and paying us so little we can’t survive.
Embracing our humanity means being more thoughtful about what we do and say. It means acknowledging that we aren’t always right. It means giving in on one thing or another – as long as it doesn’t mean putting our children or elderly at risk. It means looking at a world-view – because we live in the whole world, not just in the U.S.
I’ll try to be better in 2013. How about you?
While eating my popcorn today Emily, our always exuberant hound dog, sat at my feet and gave me her best sad-eyed stare, surely hoping for a stray kernel or two to find its way onto the rug, and, subsequently, into her mouth.
“Popcorn is not good for dogs,” I whispered. She turned her head this way, then that way, tried to convince me I was wrong by blinking those big grown eyes at me, and offering a cold nose at my knee. To no avail. I was not sharing my popcorn with her.
There were sounds in the background, murmurings and such, that reached my ears as muffled silence. (Can you muffle silence? One wonders…)
“Then, I need to ask him this,” I heard, in vague undertones, still focused on Emily’s eager face – finding myself wondering how much of what I say and do actually means something to her. Or, better yet, how much of what I say and do, doesn’t mean anything to her. Truth is, most of what I say and do means something. That likely doesn’t mean what I want it to mean – her intelligence is high, but she doesn’t really understand English. Not the way you and I do.
“There’s always a chance,” the voice offering commentary went on, in its muffled silent way, “he’ll ask me something I don’t have an answer to.”
I couldn’t rely reply because I was focused on Emily.
Dear Emily, I was thinking, what is going through your brain? I know you want a popcorn kernel, and my continuously saying, “No, no popcorn for you,” is falling on deaf ears. But, are you thinking that if you wait long enough, good things will come to you? Or, are you thinking you can use the Vulcan Mind Meld on me… or, your version of it, which involves that sad stare you won’t turn away? (yes, Chester, seen here with Emily, does the same thing, but his stare is more pitiful – Emily’s is more purposeful)
Are you more interested in figuring out what I’m eating, than in eating it yourself? I think I have, stupidly, shared popcorn with you in the past. It wasn’t this kind of popcorn, however. Do you know that by the way it smells? Your nose is truly outstanding, I know that much. You spend the better part of your day sniffing around at odors I can’t even detect!
Do you think in linear terms, as I do, dear Emily? Is your brain telling you that this delightful smell is popcorn and you had some once and you liked it (how could you not like it if one of your humans was eating it?) and you would really like some more? And, is your brain also saying, “She’ll give in. She always does.”? When I don’t give in, what will you think then?
The world continues to wonder if dogs think. I don’t wonder if dogs think. I know they do. I know they do because I watch my three dogs and I can tell they’re thinking – when they come to my bed in the morning and nudge me with their cold noses (they’re thinking it’s time to get up); when they pull me across the grass at the park because their sensitive noses picked up a smell I am totally unaware of and they must, must, must get to it (they’re curious and I am sure they also identify the odor as belonging to a dog they met once, on our walks…yes, I think they are capable of that); when they realize it’s four o’clock and dinner should be on the way…so they become persistent in their need to go out, come in, go out, come in… so used to the “time to go out” instructions that are often followed by food, when they go out and come in as good dogs do.
Oh yes. Dogs think.
It’s how they think and how they conclude, that I wonder about.
Now that the popcorn is gone… Emily is also. She figured that out pretty fast.
Four More Years! That was the message that was tweeted along with this photo by @BarackObama last night after it was announced that the President won the election. This photo has become the most retweeted photo in Twitter’s history, with over 600,00 Retweets! It also has gotten 2.9 million Likes on Facebook.
Whether you voted for the President or for Mitt Romney you have to agree that this year’s election was unprecedented when it came to the world of social media. I tried to keep my political views in check on my social networks, but as this week started it was hard not to share my support of the President.
Since the President was running for his second term, he already had a huge database of supporters which included a couple of my email addresses. Obama now has become the first major example in the digital campaign age of someone in elective politics that has built up a massive database. The question going forward is, what will he do with that list and who will reap the benefits of it in the next election?
The emails I received did of course ask for donations. But the majority of them either asked me to join a list of supporters or share a photo or a message on Facebook and Twitter. In the last week I receive an email asking me to join a Twitter support group, which I did. I then received emails that contained a variety of Tweets that I could easy retweet and/or use to post on Facebook. Here’s a few of my tweets and retweets from yesterday that I just couldn’t resist sharing:
On Facebook I was getting notifications directly from the Barack Obama page asking me to encourage certain friends of mine to get out and vote. It was through this Commit to Vote app that I had registered for. Once you accept and sign up for the app it posted to your Facebook Timeline and was then able to view your friends. I was
then getting messages encouraging me to ask my friend “Debbie” in Florida to vote and my friend “Yvonne” and “Tom” in Colorado to vote. The app was targeting friends of mine that lived in the so called swing states.
I didn’t push any of these friends of mine to vote because I knew they were voting or had already voted. In fact Yvonne had written on her Facebook status questioning why Facebook keeps asking her to vote when she already had. Well Yvonne it was because you live in one of the these “Swing States”. I hope we don’t have to hear that term now for awhile.
So a question the committees will need to ask going forward is, did these social media tactics pay off? The Commit to Vote app was a first, but it did kinda freak me out a little the fact that it knew who my friends were and were they lived. The other question is regarding the millions of dollars that were spent on ads and overall marketing. Everyone, regardless of who they supported, all seem to agree that the money spent here could have been put to much greater use. It appears we need some election campaign reform badly.
Congratulations to President Obama. It’s now time for us, including him, to all get back to business. I am so proud of our process and to be an American today.
We also need to pray for that those in New York and New Jersey who hopefully will be spared from the storm that’s approaching the East Coast today. Hard to believe that this Nor’easter is heading their way just a week after Hurricane Sandy! Let’s not forget about this area and keep the donations coming!
By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente
Hurricane Sandy whipped through America’s East Coast this past week and left Americans with an enormous amount of destruction that we are now still trying to come to grips with.
I live in Rochester, New York, where we normally are way enough inland from the coast to be protected from these types of storms. But Sandy was nothing that we’ve ever experienced before which has been felt all the way to Wisconsin!
We all survived the storm fine here with just a few downed trees and some power outages. Those that live right along the shore of Lake Ontario were told to evacuate because of high waves.
At the office we experienced a little bit of Internet troubles yesterday morning. But all is back to normal and Halloween will go on tonight along with a rescheduled Bruce Springsteen concert that was originally planned for Tuesday night.
The story of Hurricane Sandy has largely been being told by the people that actually experienced it and in real time, not just through the professional news media.
The story has been unfolding mostly through photos being shared on various social media sites.
When you look at these photos it is so hard to believe you’re looking at New York City and what was the Jersey Shore. Some friends and I celebrated our graduation from high school many summers ago in Seaside Heights, NJ, on what was this pier and amusement park.
One winner to emerge from this mess appears to be Instagram, the popular photosharing app.It was reported that during the storm Instagram rececived 10 photos a second.
According to Kevin Systrom, Instagram founder, more than 244,000 photos had been posted to Instagram by end of Tuesday with the hashtag #sandy, and 144,000 more under #hurricanesandy and another 23,000 photos under #frankenstorm.
A pair of developers from the New York Times and Facebook have created this site, instacane.com which is a landing page for Instagram photos related to the storm.
Of course there are some posted photos that have been “Photoshopped”. There were no snarks swimming Down the streets in Atlantic City!
I posted this photo on Facebook Monday that I grabbed off of Flickr of the Times Square MTA Subway station before the storm after all trains had been shut down Sunday night. It’s pretty eerie. Another photo I saw last night was of the promenade in Grand Central Station completely empty. Also very eerie.
Some of the most devastating photos I think are of the fire in Queens that they now say destroyed over 80 homes in this neighborhood. This photo here helps to put it in perspective.
By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente
Dear Mr. President,
This is one of your smaller supporters. I don’t have a lot of money. I aspire to having a lot of money (don’t we all?) but right now I’m a small business owner. I’m a grandmom (mom to three – grandmom to two), a woman of the sixties, and a wife.
I’m looking forward to the DNC this week. I watched the RNC and I was disappointed by much of it, but not surprised. Ann Romney is a delightful woman – wife, mother, grandmother – though not small business owner. I don’t feel that she understands me, at all. Mitt Romney seems like a good man – good husband, good grandfather, and (so they say) good businessman. Together they make a nice couple. Which doesn’t qualify them to occupy the White House.
The same can be said for you and Michelle. You’re a nice couple. I like both of you as people. But, just as being a nice couple doesn’t quality Mitt and Ann to be in the White House, neither does it qualify you and Michelle to be there.
What qualifies a person to be president is his or her focus on America as a member of a world unit, not as a country by itself. It’s an ability to create jobs, to support women because our issues have so often been neglected or ignored, and to bring foreign policy to the meetings you have with people of other countries. There’s a lot more in all of those things, but let’s use those three things as the umbrella of why one person is better for the Presidency, than another.
I’m voting for you, again, because I believe you’ll put forth all the effort you have to make America better. I believe you support women and women’s issues (truly, and this will anger some people, I have to wonder how much a family of all boys gets the women’s issues thing… no, daughters-in-law don’t count and even Mrs. Romney doesn’t count… she lived and lives a privileged life, with no connection to those of us who sometimes wondered where our next meal would come from and why even when we worked as hard as the men in our office, we were paid less), and I believe you will continue to support America in your foreign policy, with an eye on the whole world, not just our little corner of it.
Here’s the thing – the Romney’s don’t seem to want to play nice in the sandbox, as we like to say in the middle-class. He wants to RULE. Because America is GREAT! Here’s the thing, if you’re really great, you play nice with other people, you support other countries, you give the poor a helping hand (sorry, Mitt, they can’t go ask Mom and Dad for money – there often isn’t a Mom and Dad to ask), and you don’t dictate. That’s called dictatorship, I think.
I’m writing this for a specific purpose beyond telling you why I want to see you win another four years in the White House. It’s to say – why aren’t you tapping into US – your devout supporters? Will we see a middle-class woman speak at your convention? Will you skype in someone who can tell the world why she thinks you’re the best choice – without name-calling or lies. You do use social media… I follow several pages supporting you on Facebook. But, I don’t see any real engagement.
Every commercial I see is scripted and has definitely been edited by your campaign managers, no doubt. They’re not real. They’re not today – they only reflect how I feel, about 10% of the time. I want to see your supporters saying, “Here’s why I’m voting for Obama – he’s made my life better, he’s supported the middle class, he believes in women’s issues, and he makes me happy to be an American.”
That’s it. Just getting that off my chest. I’ve had enough of the whole Bain thing, the whole “Mitt isn’t a good businessman” and “Mitt is against abortion at all costs”… Now tell me why you’re better and show me some people I can identify with – people like me, sharing their thoughts, unscripted.
Yes, I give you permission to record the real supporters and only use the ones that reflect the best of what you’re about. As a writer, I understand editing.
Thanks for listening to me.
p.s. A few pictures of the family with Bo wouldn’t hurt
From satire magazine, Free Wood Post, this ditty on the wife of a certain Republican candidate. While a ‘spoof’… it’s actually believable. And sad because while she may not have said it, I know women who would applaud this heartily.
Why Shouldn’t Women Be Paid Equal to Men?
At a meeting with the “Moms For Mitt” group recently outside Philadelphia, PA, Ann Romney was asked her opinion on Lilly Ledbetter and equal pay for equal work regarding women’s employment. Without hesitation she responded with another question that seemed to shock even the most staunch conservatives in the room.
“Why should women be paid equal to men? Men have been in the working world a lot longer and deserve to be paid at a higher rate. Heck, I’m a working mom and I’m not paid a dime. I depend on my husband to provide for me and my family, as should most women… and if a woman does work, she should be happy just to be out there in the working world and quit complaining that she’s not making as much as her male counterparts.
I mean really, all this wanting to be equal nonsense is going to be detrimental to the future of women everywhere. Who’s going to want to hire a woman, or for that matter, even marry a woman who thinks she is the same, if not better than a man at any job. It’s almost laughable. C’mon now ladies, are you with me on this?”
Well done, Sarah Wood.<author of the story>
I laughed out loud. Hope you do, too.
Helen of Troy is thought to be one of the most beautiful women in the universe. I will admit I know little of the Greek myth other than that – and I have no idea what the concept of ‘beauty’ was back then. But, the myth of Helen of Troy perseveres and the world continues to think of her beauty as awe-inspiring.
So, too, we hear people marvel at the Mona Lisa and her enigmatic smile – often calling her, “beautiful.” One expects in her day, she did exude the beauty given to women of class.
In today’s world, neither woman would likely be labelled beautiful. These are women who appear, to me, at least, to be bare of face (no false eyelashes, or lipstick, or mascara, or under-eye concealer)… these are women who were confident, worshipped, and appreciated, for their femininity – more than the length of their eyelashes, or the color of their lips.
Mind you, I know women from time immemorial have used aids to enchance their cheeks, and lips, and hair – the better to appeal to the men in their lives. However, for the most part, women born before the acceptance of full-face makeup relied on other means to be enhancing, and were often criticized if they stooped to artificial means to be more beautiful. Of course, no woman of the day would have been seen with… spectacles (glasses, to you and me: remember: Dorothy Parker said it best: men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.)
Enter – the current discussion over Hillary Clinton appearing bare-faced, with glasses, on camera.
Apparently, if a woman in politics goes on TV wearing her glasses, without makeup, she is… ugly. And, we do not tolerate ugly in this country! Women beware – ugly is not accepted! You will put on your makeup and you will dress nicely (in a dress or tight jeans, thank you – or however your husband dictates, or the other men in your life say you should dress) and you will dye your hair and you will wear sparkly lipstick and eyeshadow and … you will pay attention to the fact that without all of this you might scare someone. Like, a man who cares nothing about any of those things when it comes to HIS appearance.
Let’s see what Jezebel had to say about this, online: “The picture of Clinton’s face, which Matt Drudge helpfully tagged “Au Naturel,” features the smiling former First Lady’s countenance naked but for black framed glasses and red lipstick. I guess we’re all supposed to gasp and feel faint, to acknowledge that yes, Hillary Clinton is a real live human with monstrous, terrible flaws, and this is the pictorial proof of that. And now she should hang her head in shame and Matt Drudge wins, and he’s automatically King of America forever.”
I take umbrage with the “real live human with monstrous, terrible flaws”… really? Is that the best you can do? How about, “I guess we’re all supposed to gasp and feel faint because Hillary Clinton cares more about her role than her ‘looks.’ Maybe we’re only supposed to notice her appearance, forgetting to listen to her words.”
I know… the idea was to support Clinton for being… herself. But, I was a bit put off by the words “monstrous” and “flaws” as if going without makeup makes a woman… a monster. Yes, I know they were purposely put there, I think they create more problems than they were supposed to solve.
Clinton was elegant, and pointed in her response to the way she looks: “Hillary Clinton, for her part, is unruffled. She told CNN, “I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now. Because you know if I want to wear my glasses I’m wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back I’m pulling my hair back. You know at some point it’s just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention. And if others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change.”
For the record – she looks fine, to me. I’ve never been a big fan (I think she should have booted her husband to the curb long ago, and I think she sets a bad example for other women…but that’s just me), but I totally respect her for being strong, confident, and relaxed. I saw her interview on CNN and it gave me a smile.
Because, in the end, I’m no spring chicken and while I like to dress up and put my face on now and then, for the most part… I just wear sweats, flip-flops, and little or no make-up. If you don’t like who I am (this is me- the gal without makeup), all your “ugly” talk isn’t going to change me. I’ve lived long enough not to care about what you think. Ugly is as ugly does, as my Mom used to say.
Wait a minute – that was, “Beauty is as beauty does,” meaning… it’s what you do that counts, not what you look like. Thanks, Mom. (this is my Mom – she’s 82 and totally gorgeous).