Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest-blogger Ellen Cassedy on 5 Links to Learn Yiddish

Ellen Cassedy is the author of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust (University of Nebraska Press, March 2012)

Ellen Cassedy set off into the Jewish heartland of Lithuania to study Yiddish, the language of European Jews, and connect with her forebears. Once there, however, old certainties began to dissolve, what had begun as a personal quest expanded into an exploration of how Jews and non-Jews in a land scarred by conflict are confronting their Nazi and Soviet past in order to move forward into the future.

Probing the terrain of memory, massacre, and moral dilemmas, Ellen asks: Can we honor our diverse heritages without perpetuating the fears and hatreds of the past? Her account shines a spotlight on fragile efforts toward tolerance, and finds reason for hope.

Learn Yiddish: 5 Links

When my mother was alive, I could count on her to keep hold of the old Jewish world. But when she died, all those who’d come before seemed to be slipping away. My mother had sprinkled Yiddish words into conversation only occasionally, like a spice, but once she was gone, I found myself missing them. I developed a craving to connect myself to my origins by learning the old mother tongue. Learning to speak Yiddish – and to understand, read, write, sing, and translate – has been a mekhaye, a great pleasure.

Even a taste of Yiddish feels delicious on the tongue. Here are some links to get you started:
Yiddish Twitter
Who knew? Twitter can help you find the Yiddish class or program that meets your needs.

Yiddish Farm
You can even choose to learn the language while working on a farm.

Yiddish Primer
An easy place to begin (without farm work) is the 20 simple online lessons offered by the Dora Teitelboim Center for Yiddish Culture. Start with the alphabet; sound is included to help you pronounce.

Yiddish Online Dictionary
It goes both ways, from kiss to kush and vice versa.

Yiddish Book Center
Check out the Yiddish Book Center to connect to a wealth of information about all things Yiddish.


---> For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blog posts, click here.
Recent guest-bloggers include novelist Peter Behrens, translator Harry Morales, and New World heirlooms expert Steve Sando.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Podcasting for Writers: Trailer for the iBook and Workshop at the Writer's Center

UPDATE: The ebook is available December 2012.

>>Visit the book's webpage

Meanwhile, I'm offering a 2 hour workshop at the Writer's Center in Bethesda MD (right outside Washington DC):

May 5, 2012
Bethesda MD
The Writer's Center
One day only. 10 am - 12 pm
Audio podcasts, on-line digital files, not only serve as an important promotional tool for writers, but they can be storytelling vehicles themselves, whether as stand-alone works or complements to text. This workshop provides an introduction and overview of podcasting for writers, from basic concepts to nuts-and-bolts tips. The goal is that by the end of the workshop, you will be able to go home and use your iPhone or digital recorder and computer to generate and then post a simple podcast on-line.
>>Listen to C.M. Mayo's podcasts here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marfa Mondays Podcast #4: Avram Dumitrescu, An Artist in Alpine

The monthly Marfa Mondays podcast is live: an interview with Avram Dumitrescu, an artist whose paintings have been featured in "Marfans: Art from the Plateau" at the Nancy Fyfe Cardozier Gallery in Odessa, and also showcased in Cenizo Journal. A native of the Channel Islands and raised in Belfast, Dumitrescu earned a bachelor's degree and Masters in Applied Arts from the University of Ulster at Belfast. He is married to journalist Megan Wilde. For more about Dumitrescu, and to view his portfolio, visit

Recorded in late January 2012. (About 36 minutes)

>>Click here to listen in.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Email Eureka

UPDATE: Email Ninjerie in the Theater of Space-Time

A total eureka moment! Mindfulness applied actually works.

In a notebook:

-->Time session begins.
-->Estimated time for session end

--> Session name (I know that sounds wacky, but it helps focus attention)

--> # emails downloaded (not counting spam, which is immediately deleted)
--> # emails dealt with (in reply to both current and backlog)
--> Net # emails dealt with (not counting new emails)
--> # new emails (that is, emails sent that are not replies to existing backlog)
--> Total number of emails sent (both in "dealt with" and new)

--> Time session actually ends
--> Note difference + or minus estimated time
--> Total time spent this session

--> Then, in a box at the bottom of the page, the running balance of emails dealt with (not counting the new emails)

End of day, total all sessions in box at bottom of page.

+ + + + + +

So now I clearly see the actual time I am spending on email and the progress I am making in plowing down the backlog. This seriously helps. Above all, this method has kept me from checking email at inopportune moments. When I sit down to look at my email now, by Jove, I sit down and deal with my email.

So far this week: +55. Time spent? Don't ask.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Why Don't We Chatter Away to the Dead, Too, While We're at It?

Ayy, less than sparkling conversationalists are these individuals who feel the need to incessantly check their email and thumb-away while at the table. (Did they not take their Xanax? Or, was their house just hit by an asteroid?) Well, like my grandpa used to say, your world is 500 people and you choose who's in it, so it looks like Yours Truly needs to do some rearranging of the guest list.

Seriously, I oftentimes feel as if people who have always been perfectly sane and civilized have been enchanted by some evil spell.

P.S. Here's a TED talk by Sherry Turkle, "Alone Together."

(Not that talking to the dead is ever and always a bad idea. Just not at the table, folks. Unless you plan on tipping. The table, I mean.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The iBook: Podcasting for Writers & Other Creative Entrepreneurs

December 2012

The iBook, PODCASTING FOR WRITERS AND OTHER CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS, will be published this summer by Dancing Chiva Literary Arts.

The website for the iBook is in progress; the trailer and a promotional podcast will be posted soon.

Want to be notified when this iBook is availble? Sign up for the (free) Dancing Chiva newsletter here.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a novel and a new travel memoir on West Texas. (You guessed it, I gave up on TV and I am massively, hopelessly behind on e-mail.)

Monday, April 02, 2012

Podcasting for Writers at the Writer's Center, Bethesda MD

I've had such fun learning to podcast, I am really looking forward to giving the new 2 hour workshop PODCASTING FOR WRITERS at the Writer's Center on May 5th. (More information about my other workshops, including HOW (AND HOW NOT) TO WRITE DIALOGUE here). I'll be talking about the technical stuff, of course, but also choosing from the among the astonishingly wide range of possible formats. Just for example, I've made podcasts out of

a panel discussion at a writer's conference

a book presentation

reading of an excerpt from a book

reading of a guest-blog post

some tips for my workshop students

an interview with another writer
an interview with a wilderness expert as part of an ongoing travel memoir

And there are many more formats to consider... it's a cornucopia.

So we'll start off with your intentions; an overview of the flourishing menu of options; looking at your time and money (and anxiety) budget; and with that in mind, figuring out what works best for you.

The goal is that you will be able to go home and make your own plain vanilla podcast.


UPDATE: PODCASTING FOR WRITERS & OTHER CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS is available from Dancing Chiva as an ebook December 2012
>>Click here to visit the website