From SALON: Is Chick-Lit Dead?

This morning in the newsletter, there was a piece by Laura Miller asking, “Is Chick-Lit Dead?” I can see her point that characters like the Shopaholic really don’t translate to the current economic climate, but one of the reasons I like chick-lit (or, as I call it, “bathtub reading”) is that it does have an element of escapism. Sure, sometimes I want to read deep, thought-provoking novels, but other times, I just want a little literary mind-candy.

In any case, Ms. Miller’s piece begins:

Is chick lit dead? Less than a decade after commentators clucked at bookstore shelves lined with cartoon high-heels and pink cocktail glasses, the only debate that the once-flourishing genre inspires now is over when to run its obituary. Some say chick lit is well and truly defunct, while others insist there’s some life in the old girl yet. Since there has never been much agreement on what, exactly, chick lit is, perhaps the question can’t be settled.

You can read the rest by following this link. It opens in a new window.

Aluminum for Remembrance, Post-Its for Pleasure

Anniversary Post-its from Just Paper Roses

There’s a scene in the movie version of Under the Tuscan Sun where Frances, having decided to pick one room at a time in her new Italian villa and make it her own, begins with her writing desk. She turns it so that she can look out the window while she works, and decorates it with pretty boxes, and bouquets of both pens and flowers. While I enjoyed the movie, for what it was, that scene really resonates with me, because I’m the same way about my writing desk. Oh, I can’t always afford to keep fresh flowers on it, but whenever I can, there they are, and even though I tend to compose everything I write at the computer keyboard these days, I have to have paper. Real paper. I have baskets of blank note cards and piles of post-its, and while none of them are about my anniversary, if someone gave me such a pad, I’d laugh delightedly, and add them to the stack. Post-its are great for jotting down notes, and the one thing I hate about no longer working in the corporate world is that I no longer get post-its for free from various vendors.

The post-it notes are just one reason I’m digging this great web-shop that specializes in wedding anniversary gifts, Just Paper Roses. Not only do they have a selection of faux flowers designed for every anniversary, in both artsy and “lifelike” versions, but they also have post-its, picnic-ware, teddy bears, and lots of other cool gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, and just because.

One of the items I thought was cool was that for the 10th wedding anniversary gifts, which are supposed to be aluminum, they offer metallic roses in a shiny aluminum vase, that should look tacky, but instead feels sort of retro-chic. In fact, if my next wedding anniversary wasn’t going to be my 16th, I’d be asking Fuzzy to get it for me, to put on the desk in the Word Lounge.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to give me the tiny square booklet-calendars she got free from the florist or the bank, or wherever. I always got a kick out of reading the list of anniversary gift themes. You know, first year, paper, and all that. I’m guessing the folks at Just Paper Roses liked those calendars too, because their products suit every taste from serious to silly, and their prices are reasonable.

One of my favorite books is a tiny missive by Alexandra Stoddard called Gift of a Letter, that basically talks about how letter-writing is becoming a lost art. I’m a die-hard letter writer. I’m also a die-hard lover of flowers, but I have many friends who feel sad about sending cut flowers because they don’t last. As you can imagine, I’ll be turning them on to the fabulous silk and paper roses Just Paper Roses offers.

Well, just as soon as I place a bouquet on the corner of my writing desk, light some incense, and sit down to write to them about it.

Online Nursing Degrees? Why Not?

In reading three Michael Perry books in succession, I was struck more than once by the fact that he attended – and completed – nursing school. While I’m fairly certain he went to a physical school in Eau Claire, WI, I like the notion of such a person attending an online university.

One such school is Western Governors University, which has a program allowing you to study nursing (rn to bsn online) via distance learning. What’s more they’ve designed their program so that motivated learners can work at an accelerated pace, writing papers and meeting challenges to prove their knowledge, and not suffering through a traditional educational environment.

In a way, it reminds me of the “College of Professional Studies” my mother went through when earning her Organizational Behavior degree via the University of San Francisco. She wrote papers to earn either upper or lower division credits, and only had to meet with a live person once a week, though she made it very clear that earning her degree was her primary job during that time. Western Governors University says it expects distance learners to put in a solid 20 hours a week of work, and I know my mother did at least that much – and that was in 1987, before internet learning was even possible.

Distance learning isn’t for everyone, but if I were going back to school, I’d look for something similar to Western Governors University’s program. It separates coursework into six-month chunks, during which each person works at her own pace, completing “…as much of your degree as possible…” with the assistance of a mentor, who guides you through the process and the required information.

I have to confess, when I was asked to give an opinion of this program, I thought, “you can’t learn nursing online,” but I was wrong. After reading the information, and scanning the website, I’m confident that WGU has created a comprehensive nursing program for nontraditional learners.

Don’t you just love it when technology is used to make the world a better place?