How can we fight poverty?

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Long-term Help or Right Now Needs?

DSCN0672Are you a person who has experienced poverty and/or trauma and are now living a better life? Were you a first-generation college student? An abuse survivor? I am looking for people willing to share about the things that helped and hindered them the most. If you are interested in a brief, email interview, please send an email to larinamichelle(at)gmail.com with subject line “Interview.” You will have the option to keep your responses anonymous or to identify parts of the interview you don’t want to share. Nothing will be posted publicly without you seeing it first and without your explicit consent.

5 Food Help Tips that Make a Long-Term Difference for People in Poverty

Food is a right-now need, but it has long-term consequences. Undernutrition has significant long-term consequences that can keep someone from moving out of poverty due to chronic health conditions, increased stress on both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, mental health strain (your body is consistently in fight-or-flight mode), cognitive impairment, and other factors. In the U.S., it is also a problem because many people, including physicians, don’t recognize it as a problem. At the height of my physical impairment, I was low on Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, magnesium, and potassium–years after I ceased being “poor.” My early childhood years were relatively stable where food was concerned, but the years that weren’t stable had a long impact. Even now, my body does not process vitamins the way it should.

Here are a few things that you can do to help:

  1. Donations come in fast around Christmas time, but people are hungry year-round. Summers are especially difficult for families because children who might usually get free or reduced lunch at school aren’t getting it. Fall is a hard time of year because families have just paid for school supplies. Add a date to your calendar in the late spring, mid-summer, and early fall to donate.
  2. If you donate food to a food drive, be conscious of the nutritional value of the food you donate. For every 3 food items you donate, donate 1 non-food item (toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, toothpaste, etc). Food stamps do not pay for non-food items.
  3. Volunteer for a gleaning organization. Gleaners pick up leftover crops from fields so that people have fresh produce. People with disabilities and many senior citizens rely on volunteers in order for them to participate in these activities.
  4. If you have some garden-able land that you aren’t using, consider allowing some families to set up a community garden on it.
  5. Consider lining your front yard with pick-able produce like string beans.

Have other ideas? Email them to me at larinamichelle(at)gmail.com and I will add them to the list.

How Preparing for TEDxRoseburg Was a Lot Like a Nickelback Song

I have many identities. Some feel truer than others. I used to think I was weird because of this, but my studies and my experiences with a wide variety of people lead me to believe I am nowhere near alone. In fact, I might be weird if I was the same person everywhere, all the time.

We have selves: creative selves, spiritual selves, emotional selves, work selves, academic selves, secret selves and more. Don’t believe me? Think about how much a couple (romantic selves) change when their child walks into the room (to parenting selves). Think about how you answer the phone. It depends on where you are, who is calling, what time of day it is, who is with you, and a host of other factors.

Preparing for my talk, The Other Statistic, at TEDxRoseburg was a journey through past selves and a big question mark for the future self.

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Five Reasons to Get REALLY Excited about Gamut

  1. Speculative fiction needs more professional, paying markets. In fact, the literary scene in general could use more professional, paying markets. Too often, writers are writing for free. Gamut will pay professional rates to its writers and artists.
  1. Gamut already has “street cred.” The editor has connections with established writers and artists in the field. This provides the journal with a jump start into the field that other journals have to work their way up to. In short, Gamut has basically overcome years 1-2 in the new business scene before it has published a single word.
  1. Similar to #4, Gamut is using a Kickstarter campaign to get going. When businesses are started through crowdfunding, they start with a level of patronage that doesn’t exist for many other new businesses. Just how much support is this? In the first 13 days of Gamut’s campaign, the Kickstarter campaign has earned over $25,000 toward their $52,000 goal. That support comes from 77 countries.
  1. The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers. Speculative fiction is dominated by men. While the editor of Gamut is a man, Richard Thomas is also dedicated to advancing speculative fiction by women. The Lineup, edited by Thomas, is haunting and thought-provoking. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re a woman, read it. Support work by women. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re a man, read it. Support work by women. And know that you won’t regret the read.
  1. Gamut will be a place for literary speculative fiction, a genre that exists only in bits and pieces right now. Both Thomas’s own writing and the books that he has edited demonstrate that literary quality is of paramount importance to him. Those of us who love speculative fiction that attends not only to the needs of the genre, but also to the craft of writing beautifully will at last have one place to which we can turn to get our fix. No more wading through half a dozen SFF magazines to find the one story that speaks to us!

Are you in yet? Support Gamut’s Kickstarter campaign here. Do it now!