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Steal this look?

12 Aug

Steal this look?

I’ve spent the last ten years moving back and forth from print magazines to online publications. I used to worry that the shifts would make me look unfocused, but now the lines of print and digital are blurring. You can’t be a good print editor if you’re not thinking about digital, and — while this is perhaps less obvious — you’re a stronger digital editor if you understand how to put a well together.

Lately, for reasons that will be obvious in a moment, I’ve been thinking about ethics with regard to ownership and copyright. As anyone who’s been following Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarism and Jonah Lehrer’s quote fabrication knows, even journalists at the top aren’t necessarily above lifting the work of others or just plain making stuff up.

Which brings us to BlackBook magazine.

A few weeks ago, Sabs informed me that I was in BlackBook. More specifically, the back of my head was sitting next to Katniss Everdeen’s face. The photo was taken for a braid tutorial at Sugar, and it was used without permission. Did we receive an email asking us about the photo? Not at all. I expect this sort of lifting from Tumblr blogs, but not from a print magazine. So I emailed BlackBook’s editor, Joshua David Stein, to let him know about the issue. After two weeks without a reply, I nudged him this morning, and he’s putting me in touch with the photo editor. Story at 11.

I’m writing about this not to trash BlackBook; I assume this isn’t standard procedure for them. Do mistakes happen? Yes. Of course. I’ve worked with writers who, knowingly or unknowingly, lifted someone else’s work — and I’ve had to let them go. But for some people, the idea of content ownership is passé, a dusty old-guard way of thinking. That’s fine if you’re into curation, but not so great if you’re hoping to encourage originality and creativity. And it’s definitely not good for writers and photographers who’ve traditionally been paid for their work.

Last week, in some sort of publishing-industry balancing karma, a different magazine’s photo editor reached out about publishing a photo from Admiring Distance. And as excited as I am about that, I’m also glad that seeing my photo in the magazine won’t be a surprise.

I am a cliche you’ve seen before

7 May

I am a cliche you’ve seen before

The Southern Gentleman and I were eating somewhere the other day. I can’t remember where, because lately I can’t remember details too well. I blame my 10+ hours of internet each day and its nonstop flow of information demanding to be evaluated, filtered, parsed, tossed away. Too much for the mind. Anyway, the setting isn’t as important as this moment is:

We were talking about our respective birthdays — coincidentally, the same number of days and years apart — and how growing older means grasping new things and letting go of other ones. “I used to be a writer,” I lamented, and I meant it. I tried to remember the last time I’d written something strictly creative, or the last time I saw a byline on paper. I didn’t even try to remember the last time I’d gotten lost in the act of writing. It’s been months. Maybe a year. Maybe more.

Writers write, as they say, but lately I don’t write. I work, I cook, I clean, I occasionally and happily read. I don’t write, though. And writing is something I always did, even when I was three years old. Without it, I don’t really know what to do. Or maybe the things I want to write about are too personal, or maybe you don’t want to read about how much I still miss my father, or maybe — with the noted exception of feeling like a failed writer — I’m happy with my life and just want to sit back and enjoy that rather than work, work, work. (Writing is work.)

“You’re still a writer,” the Gent said, because he loves me.

In unrelated and seemingly (seemingly!) contradictory news, I’ve started a travel website as a hobby. I did it mostly because I spent 100+ days traveling last year, and all of those pictures had to go somewhere. I call it The Website That Nobody Reads, but officially, its title rips off a Joy Division lyric: Admiring Distance. So there you go.

A case of the Mondays

21 Jun

A case of the Mondays

This morning I ascended from the bowels of MUNI to find Cool Hand Luke standing at the top of the stairs. “Long time, no see,” I said as he hugged me hello. (This is exceedingly clever because I’d just seen him a couple of days before. ) I hadn’t expected to see him for another month, so it was a nice surprise.

Too bad the day went — well, not downhill, exactly. Just all over the place, like a wacky zig-zagging road with deep potholes. If something could get complicated, it did. I didn’t get home until nine, at which point Meg rewarded me with a margarita. Three sips in, I got thrown into another work situation that kept me busy until 10 minutes ago. Serenity now!

Speaking of work, two things of note. First, you can read my ramblings about sunscreen at Style.com; thanks to Celia for including me in the piece. Secondly, my story on the Black Keys is out in the new issue of Nylon Guys. It’s the one with Jonah Hill on the cover; for the longest time I got him confused with Jonah Hex, and wondered why the schlubby guy from Superbad was in a Megan Fox movie. Anyway, I’m 90% happy with how the piece turned out. Honestly, the turnaround was so quick that it’s a wonder my brain pushed out anything better than “Ohio duo cute, play loud music, new record good.” All of those things are true, for what it’s worth.

A newer dream

14 Jun

A newer dream

Well. Almost fourteen years now, and I have to shift from Newdream. I love those guys, especially Dallas, who was always nice to me when I was a dorky teenager. Anyway, I couldn’t figure out how to use WordPress at annie.newdream.net, nor could JC and Toby, so here we are. I’d greatly prefer to stay at the old URL, but this one is hosted by Dreamhost and is therefore a suitable silver-medal setup. Still have a lot of tinkering to do, but it’s good enough for government work. Regular updates resume… now!

Next girl

16 Apr

It has been quite a week. Regular-ish updates to resume shortly.

In other news: I am participating in the 826 Valencia 5-Minute Volunteer Reading Series next week. I’m tired of suffering for my art. It’s your turn.* The event is at Amnesia on Tuesday, 7pm. To be followed by an excursion to the monthly emo night, because as we all know, nothing says “party” like listening to Sunny Day Real Estate. See you then.

*Good writers borrow, great writers steal. (Thanks, AS.)