Business Writing 101a – what those classes and self help books may have left out.

this applies to both email and snail mail communication.


Business Header –

Dear So n So,

Paragraph 1 – Why I am bothering you with this.  Always start out with the quick overview of what this letter is about.  why should your boss/client/[fill in blank] bother to read further.  What-Why-When- and possiblyWho and Where.

Paragraph 2 – Something about you, even if you know them.  this is when you remind them of how great you are and how much they need you.  This can be short, but should be {reasonably} accurate.  It is to put the reader in positive frame of mind for what follows.

Paragraph 3-  Your proposal in some detail.  If this takes more than half a page, create an attachment document to put with this cover letter/email.  If you sell them on it in this communication, they will read the rest, or at least look it over and save it.  If you drown their interest in too much info, they will quit and go on to their next task.

Paragraph 4 – How you are going to work together with them/their staff/other stakeholders to make the project a huge success.  Who you have already touched base with about project.

Paragraph 5 – The closer.  The hardest one to write that it doesn’t sound directly cut-paste from some manual.  This is about how much you are looking forward to this new venture/project (even if only mildly true).  Thank them for their time.

Your Name
Communication Info- ALL of it.

For the following letter, I could have written.

“Enough is enough.  I’m out as of {date}. Please advise of procedures to terminate my employment.”

BUT instead I, couched the sentiment in:

Things I won’t Have to Do Now

  • Give two sets of eyedrops two times per day.
  • Give 1 ml gavapentinol dilute with water once per day.
  • Prepare 1 tablet of tramadol with peanut butter on a cookie  two times per day.
  • Prepare 1 tablet of Rimadyl with peanut butter on a cookie once per day.
  • Worry with the hots spots on the fur, shave, and apply ointment twice per day.
  • Pick up after the #2s incontinence several times per day.
  • Take outies breaks for #1s – of increasingly longer times – several times per day.
  • Carry the furry butt to the grass if she can’t get there on her own in time.
  • Lift the furry butt in and out of the van.
  • Prepare meals of prescription food with beef stew mix ins three times per day.
  • Give snacks of banana-chicken or turkey jerky or apple-cinnamon or peanut butter cookies.
  • Rush home at lunch time and dinner to take care of outies.
  • Trip over the bar at bottom of gates on kitchen doors.
  • Keep kitchen garbage in trash bin with a lid.
  • Go to hydro therapy once per week.
  • Go visit with friends at Playtime Doggie Daycare.
  • Walk behind the perky white ears at least once per day.
  • Get Lady kisses.

Love You Little Bear.

I Think My Dog Likes Hurricanes…

at least I think that is what she would tell you, if asked.  The weather before the hurricane cools off and the weather after the hurricane is usually spectacular.  Case in Point:  Late this afternoon (Sunday Aug. 28) was the most magnificent day.  It was warm with a cool breeze.  The sky was exceptionally clear with a few cumulous clouds.    From my dog’s perspective, the time spent inbetween brings many welcome friends to stay the night (just like holidays) and everyone is home all day long.  Plenty of company, which Samis (Samoyeds) crave.

I do not like hurricanes.  Then again – I have yet to hear of a person who does.  This year it was a  Category 1 hurricane named Irene.  I was relieved to find out that I have recovered somewhat to my hurricane PTSD (thanks to Isabel, Charlie, Katrina, Rita, & Ike).  Two years ago, if the word “hurricane” was mentioned in the media, my first reaction was panic.  I did not experience much anxiety about Irene, until in the midst of her arrival, she began to spawn tornadoes.   Here we were, about 20 miles or so from the eye of the hurricane,  being given advisories about tornadoes that were coming closer and closer to our direction.   FEMA advice:  Take refuge in basement.

Oh my what a dilemma – the basement was flooding due to the hurricane, and two of our house occupants were elderly and could not walk to the basement themselves.   And then there were the cats.  Just how do you coax an anxious cat who is already hiding somewhere from the hurricane storm sounds, out to get in a carrier?  NOT happening.  I stood in the middle of my little ranch house and knew it was just plain beyond us.  Perhaps next time, I will confine my cats ahead of time for rapid evacuation.

In retrospect, in comparison to Isabel (Category 2 – 2003),  Irene was a category “Meh” on the scale of hurricane trauma in our area.  Many thanks and appreciations for being in this category of East Coast residents.  As my niece said after Irene passed further NE,  “Was that IT?”  I was heavily involved with animal rescue efforts in NOLA post-Katrina, and was quite pleased to see that the memory of that trauma had borne some good down the road.  Red Cross shelters and NY taxis were permitting owners to evacuate with their companion animals.   Though there are always those who make themselves feel better about criticizing government leaders in the wake of any crisis, I can’t help but compare the status of our governments pre-Katrina and pre-Irene.  The attitude of the Federal Government pre-Katrina was – “If they need us, they will let us know”.  Pre-Irene the FEMA etal were taking a pro-active stance – contacting all local government leaders, staging supplies, making all kinds of contingency plans.

Could say a lot more comparing post-Katrina to post-Irene.  I will just finish by saying, I am willing to bet good money that six years from now, the number of people who are still out of their homes and neighborhoods due to Irene, will be negligible.  I still have friends who are not living (yet) in their NOLA homes, as it is still beyond their financial means to do the necessary repairs.

Refreshed and Renewed

I have returned from a reprise of the Ultimate Clown School.  It was the most perfect thing I could have done for myself at this time.  I was so far in an artistic funk, beginning to question me, my ideas, my talent, everything.
I got some sorely needed validation from some of the best in the genre today.  I was so fortunate to meet and work with Tom Dougherty especially.  A very special person, and an exceptional clown.

Just Call Me a Millenial Girl

If I wondered what all of my work in my Second Life employment had been preparing me for, it was Day One of the 2009 VWBPE- Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference.   I and both of my alts were in full use all over the many venues of the conference.  I was pressed into service this morning to sit in Muse Isle partner site, to allow an overhead display of the broadcast in a faculty access lab, as there were issues with sound access on some of the computers.  At one point in time, all three of us were participating actively in some fashion simultaneously.   I know I wasnt the only one testing personal  limits of managing simultaneous IMs this afternoon.  I was managing 3-6 IMs on 2 different log ins at two different conference venues, and following a presentation at still a third and slipping in a comment or two.     Not something I would want to do hours on end – but today it would have to be classified as sheer fun.  Ha ha – you millenials – you aint’ got nuttin’ on me. 

Looking forward to what is coming up.  🙂


I don’t often dwell on the past.  Perhaps it means I have been successful, to a degree, of incorporating the honimyo spirit into my psyche.  Perhaps it is because simply that no one likes to revisit a nightmare.

To speak metaphorically, it is as if I was forced to cross all twelve lanes of a Los Angeles freeway.  The price of my survival was to be transformed from a magical gazelle into a dusty banged-up turtle.   My chances of survivial were slim.  But I did.   I have been making my turtlish way through life since.  Most times I do not think of how far I wish to go versus how fast I can travel.  Or how often I am forced to just stop.  There are times though, I raise my eyes up and blink through the dust, and realize that it isn’t just a patch of iffy weather stirring up the earth.  It is the herd of gazelles and all other long-legged creatures passing me by.

I know then, that they will probably reach those purple mountains in the distance, and perhaps even decide that they wish to go on somewhere else.  I am reminded then, that I may never get there.  My terrain today is greener and softer than in previous times.   I have the company of the occasional butterfly and bird.  I do not struggle so for every step.  I treasure the beauty when I find it.  I savor those moments deeply and passionately.

I get it though.  My journey is NOT to be the one I wished for.  It is going to be the one that it is.  I do not have the simple luxury of ordinary choices.  I have lived the sonnet:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate

The challenge is to remember that it is not the glass half full vs. the glass half empty.  The simple truth of my life is that I still have the glass.

New Beginnings

Today someone I’m acquainted with will be sworn in as the Vice-President of the United States.  Don’t get all het up.  This is Delaware.  I picked up trash along the Red Clay Creek with another of our Senators whose name is now part of the retirement planning lexicon.  It doesn’t mean I’m on his holiday card list either.

However, unlike most other inaugural ceremonies, I do plan to televise the ceremonies during my class periods as appropriate.  I am still a seasoned enough cynic that I don’t feel assured that the coming four years are going to be any better than the last eight.  I did not sit out in near zero (degF) temperatures on Saturday, like my sister and numerous friends, to hear the speeches at the stops along the Obama Express.  I welcomed the excitement in my sister’s voice when she reported back to me by phone about the speech in Baltimore.  I felt it was historic, but my cynic’s voice said – “Keep your feet warm.  Watch it on TV.”

I am, though, cognizant enough that this inaugural is significant.  I do not want any of my students to wish they *could* have watched it live on TV.  And I myself, want to make my own impressions and not be dependent upon the infotainment business for my understanding of what happened.

Well, its time to blog about real life

I’ve been so immersed in Second Life for future projects, my blogging time has been seriously usurped by EllCee’s needs to “speak”.

finished my Acting for TV class at the Walnut Street Theater School yesterday.  I did a creditable, but not super job on my monologue last night.  I just can’t step over some fear I have, that I can breeze on over on stage, in public speaking, in clown.  In those situations, I have no trouble “showing up” as our mentor, Melissa Quilty Eddy puts it.  It is hard to find myself … or how to let myself out … when my physical language and movement has been toned down for the subtlety of film work.    I feel like I came further than I had planned, and have seen that I can go farther… I hunger to do so.  But I don’t understand how to make that path open up for me, for myself, by myself.  We were so fortunate to have such an insightful guide, who saw where we were, what was wrong, and was replete with innumerable strategies and tricks to help us slide over the hurdles to experience where we needed to be.

Veni Vidi Vici

New York’s review of Deborah Kaufmann’s one-woman show reads:   “An exploration of human instincts at so basic a level that thought can be put aside and impulse thoroughly enjoyed . . . this performance gleams most brightly, with true mischief . . . unfettered at maximum strength”

It was exactly what I wanted to see – a short clown show that had theme and structure.  “Mud” is a clown with a four word vocabulary, the most commonly used words being “mine” and “nice”.  She has some vaguely Hindic ritual by which she performs her kind of magic to solve her problems.  Her ritual can give her the “permission” she needs to expand the circle of her chalked “spot” larger and larger on the stage or make silverware appear it what seems to be an empty paperbag.  She “kidnaps” audience participants and has them set a table for her or be “knights” thumbwrestling.  The charm of the show is that her “greed” is so natural and therefore universal.  We have all wanted those “nice” things that we could call “mine”.

Following the Line!!!!
Following the Line!!!!

The “dot” at the end of the show is when the audience discovers the chalk line of “mine” has been extended all the way out the theater door, down the three flights of steps to the street, out the door and to the street curb.  It is the final laugh, long after the formal show has ended.  

I was heartily encouraged as I know I could perform a similar 30-40 minute show if I could write it, (and find proper venue of course).  Most heartily encouraged to learn from Deborah after show was that she left parts out!!! and even so, the show seemed complete.