Crafting A Message

What is the mark of an effective communicator? This is a question I’ve asked myself a lot lately as I prepare to reenter the job market. To be sure, an effective communicator must be passionate about the message, but how should that passion be relayed to an audience? Certainly not with the belligerence often displayed on social media. Even those schooled in the art of communication sometimes trip over their biases until both feet end up in their mouth. How can the public be expected to make sense of messages delivered with malice? The answer may be as simple as – we are not expected to understand them at all. Instead the intent is to provoke a response so ignorant, so violent that messages are exchanged until only their damage remains.

These last few weeks I have done a great deal of research into leadership opportunities as I decide what’s next for me, and this is what I think – in the wake of recent bloodshed at home and abroad, there is an urgent need for a coherent message that will unite those of us who desire to live in peace. In my reading, I came across these words:

We live in age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction. There are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our own ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves.

This message is as relevant today as it was in 1907, when it was included in an address given at Princeton University by Woodrow Wilson. It does not surprise me that we have made little progress in effectively communicating the message that we are all in this together, because there are many people committed to creating divisions that serve their own agenda. This is effortless for those who live for the sound bite. Abraham Lincoln said in his speech at the Republican State Convention in 1858, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” How’s that for a sound bite?

There will always be those whose goal it is to spin thoughtful remarks into a puddle of blather. It occurs to me that my quoting Lincoln paraphrasing Jesus might be contorted into some insensitive religious commentary on the uncivil war currently underway in the United States. To rise above it I think Rudyard Kipling said it best when he counseled, “…If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,…” I take comfort in knowing I have the courage of my convictions. Plus, we don’t have knaves in the U.S. We do, however, have our fair share of fools.

I obviously have too much time on my hands.

None Of Us Were Ugly Children

Copyright - Jean L. Hays
Copyright – Jean L. Hays

We were somehow misdirected. Shuffled off to Buffalo or wherever it is that kids go between birth and adulthood. Herded like cattle toward the edge of nowhere we ever wanted to go.

We find ourselves on a long, dark highway, looking for that road not taken. Much to our surprise we awaken just before we’ve gone too far.

Winds of change rush past our ears and we listen for the voice we used to hear. The one that says, “All aboard. Destination unknown.” None of us were ugly children. Now that we have grown, when shall we see ourselves again?


So many ideas came to mind when I first saw last week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. I’m late. I’ve been lost this last week. Recovery is taking a toll on me. I want to write. It seems every effort leads me back to my own current misery, and who wants to read about that!

Serious Dead End

Thanks for reading. Friday Fictioneers are here. Check them out and be amazed. I know I always am. I will be back to a somewhat regular post schedule soon. I still have a lot to say.





Finals are over and it’s time to celebrate! We kicked off the holiday season on Saturday. One guest responded to the request to bring a desert in true HonieBriggs fashion, showing artificial intelligence is no match for the clever human. The spell check fail turned just another office party into a grammar police riot of holiday hilarity.


Yes, we are quite the party animals.


So, it’s that time of year again to reflect and express gratitude for the comfort and joy we have experienced. 2014 has truly been amazing. I’m humbled and privileged and so very happy in this moment. Until next year, peace.



The Precipice Of Our Own Madness

Copyright - Janet Webb
Copyright – Janet Webb

In the safety of community, we find guidance, choices, hope. The way forward is not behind us. Children watch us, taking note as withered wisdom’s blossoms fade, fortunes lost, ransoms paid. Icy roadblocks freeze our tracks, keeping us ever looking back, wishing for a different way than living to fight another day.

Surrendered to the calendar life seems futile. Commanded to obey instinct we lose the game of pray for prey. Melted puddles underfoot, embers defying ash and soot, dreams won’t be held against their will. Flickers flash one last mad dash soaring, imploring better angels, “Save us from ourselves.”


This week’s Friday Fictioneer prompt, courtesy of Janet Webb, inspired this poetic prose that pretty much sums up how I feel about current events. Final exams are next week and my brain has been working overtime. So, feel free to reel me back in from the deep end.



Terms of Service


1-Fullscreen capture 11212014 90907 AM1-Fullscreen capture 11212014 90850 AM-001It seems service representatives everywhere are getting a pink slip and being replaced with what can only be called World Class Tweakers. That’s right, bloggers. If you or I, hereafter known as bloggers of the first blog, comment on another blogger’s blog, and receive notification that the other blogger, hereafter known as blogger of the second blog, has responded to our aforementioned comment, don’t expect to simply click on the notification bubble to see what the blogger of the second blog said. Oh no, that would create a feedback loop. Instead, we prefer a feedback logjam. Yes folks, you heard it here first. It seems we are no longer supposed to engage in dialogue on this platform. Awesome! Now what? I have to go back to asking and answering my own questions? I suppose so.

I stopped waiting for an answer. So, now it’s time to unleash the amazing works of the Friday Fictioneers, making every word count and doing so with style. Below is this week’s photo prompt provided by Claire Fuller followed by my 100 words. Thanks for reading.

Copyright - Claire Fuller
Copyright – Claire Fuller

Fall of the Human Empire

We’d come to expect it from faceless corporations.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

“We’re going paperless.”

“We’re updating, upgrading, the economy, blah blah.”

It trickled into society at large; the feckless became the new majority.

“The economy, the weather, the Republicans, the Democrats, the NFL, the NRA, the PTA, the NAACP, the HOA, the economy…”

Some claimed it was the loss of manufacturing. Others argued it was the destruction of the environment. There were those who shouted, “No more tired lies and retread excuses!” But who could hear them really, when there was so much noise? No one, I suppose.