December 18, 2009
Alice Anderson is in town for the holidays. Alice is a board member and a college student at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. I’m refreshed by and grateful for Alice’s energy and perspective.
We had lunch at our local favorite McMennamins and trolled the Web looking for images of textiles from Africa and the Philippines, trying to find colors and patterns that would represent the countries and women we hope to serve with our scholarship program.
Alice discovered this blog: http://cesandherdishes.blogspot.com/. It features the work of a Filipina artist, C.P. Adorio. When we found the painting of the three women in traditional attire in a rural setting, we thought it was perfect for our purposes.
Oh, the power of technology. We sent the artist an e-mail and explained the mission and work of Isis Initiative, Inc. and asked if she’d be willing to let us use her photo on thank-you note for our donors.
The next day we received an enthusiastic response from Ces, the artist. Today I received a large jpeg file. And I learned she lives in Houston. We had imagined she was in the Philippines. I’d like to meet her and see her work in person.
Thank you, Ces. Thank you, Alice.
November 14, 2009
It’s stated with the upsweep intonation of a question.
“What are you doing back at the GT?
I’m sitting in Francesco’s gelato cafe in downtown Corvallis. I sometimes sit in a comfy chair by the window in the evenings and write my blog entry, taking advantage of their free wi-fi and the lively atmosphere.
I look up and toward the direction of the voice.
Karl Maasdam. With his wife and two lovely daughters.
I have answers. None are easy. Or short. None that can quickly respond to a man with his family waiting by the door to exit.
“My non-profit,” I say.
Karl worked at the Gazette-Times as a staff photographer after I left a position vacant when I went to graduate school. He eventually left the newspaper to start his own successful photography business in town.
I had asked myself the same question before I accepted the job. Why return? There were many reasons not to return.
Yet, I wanted to write again and I wanted a steady income stream–to help nourish and support the growth of Isis Initiative, Inc. For two years, Isis Initiative has been my passion and my focus–on my time. I made those volunteer hours work by working independently–and sporadically.
I wrote freelance articles. I received a Writer-in-Residence appointment from Fishtrap. Inc. last spring. I taught high school journalism and photography in Condon and Fossil, Oregon. I did public relations and media consulting.
I had freedom–time to focus on my health and my nonprofit. I loved those years of liberty–and I struggled in them.
I chose a time of solitude and healing.
Now I’ve chosen to use my time and talent in service to my local community while I build a nonprofit that serves women worldwide.
I get paid to write. I have the privilege and sacred trust of listening to people’s stories and sharing them with others.
And, I have a stable income that grounds me as I grow the nonprofit. (It would be great if President and First Lady Obama would respond to my letters and donate some of the Nobel Peace Prize award money to Isis Initiative.)
I’m working locally and making a difference globally.
I put my cameras down. I didn’t want to carry them anymore–nor carry the burden of the events and images I’ve photographed over the past two decades covering breaking news and war.
I photograph now when I write. I see details and capture them–write them down. I arrange vignettes of a story as if I were moving slides on a light table to prepare a slide show.
I am still a visual storyteller. And I dig it.
September 6, 2009
I promised myself I would give myself a rest from the Internet at least once a week. Sunday is the day I picked. And here I sit, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, in the public library, writing a blog post.
Blogs, it seems to me, are like gardens: they need regular attention and tending. If I neglect my blog, in doesn’t get choked with weeds, it’s ignored. It becomes a flat line, those African savannah stats I mentioned in an earlier post.
To post a blog, I feel I need to have something to say…and I need access to the Internet. I don’t have either on a daily basis. Since I don’t have Internet access at home, I go to the public library or Francesco’s, the local gelato shop, or Allan Bros cafe, all within walking distance.
I made a deliberate and thoughtful decision not to be tethered to the Internet in my home. Just as I made a deliberate and thoughtful decision not to be on the Internet every day, especially not on the weekends, particularly not on Sundays. A commitment to my self. And here I am.
There’s discipline and a commitment involved in either component: in maintaining the blog and in maintaining some distance from the nonstopness of the Internet.
I had an e-mail from Samanda, our treasurer. She tried to file IRS Form 990N, the e-postcard that a nonprofit organization may file if it has not received more than $25,000 in donations during the fiscal year.
Sam went online, pulled up the form and got an error message when she tried to file. We have a Tax ID number; we don’t have an official acceptance letter from the IRS yet.
Here’s the error message:
When you enter your organization’s EIN, our system verifies that the EIN is on the IRS list of organizations eligible to file the e-Postcard. If you are certain you entered your EIN correctly, the IRS may not have your organization listed as a tax-exempt organization. This does not mean that your EIN is not valid. You will need to call IRS Customer Account Services at
If your organization is a that is not included on the parent’s group return, your parent organization may have failed to list your organization on the list of subordinates provided to the IRS annually. The best way to resolve this is to have the parent organization ask the IRS to update its records by writing to the following address:
1973 North Rulon White Blvd
Ogden, UT 84404-5402
ATTN: M/S 6273
If the IRS must update its records, it will be approximately six weeks before you can file your e-Postcard. You should not be concerned if your organization’s filing is imminent as there are no late filing or delinquency penalties associated with the e-Postcard.
The e-postcard. “E” for electronic? “E” for easy maybe?
I still like to send postcards with stamps.
And I like to receive postcards.
February 3, 2009
The moon is framed in the top right pane of glass. It’s bright, a half-moon, titled slightly, with its diagonal running from 2 to 8. I’m up way too late.
There are petty things I could rant about…like laundry room etiquette…and yet I’ve had a grand day. I find myself going to bed happy and waking up happy. And there’s this bright moon in the sky keeping me company.
The swim-a-thon garnered $335 in donations thus far. I spent my morning hand writing…funny I need to specify “hand” writing, since most writing is done on computers now, via e-mail, or blogs, or Facebook. I’m learning the beauty and benefits of these modern tools.
Yet I adore a handwritten note. With a beautiful stamp, paying homage to someone or something. A piece of art on the envelope. I smile when I open my post office box and find a note, a personal note, with human handwriting, among the mass-generated machine labels on credit cards offers and solicitations.
I’ve traveled the world and I’ve sent postcards from some crazy places, from the anarchy of Somalia once, just to see if the my thoughts and writing would reach the intended destination. From war zones and moonlit beaches. From forests and deserts.
I love writing and sending notes, cards, letters. I look for special paper, the right card, a fine stamp. I put time, care, thought, energy into my personal correspondence. And it makes me happy, truly happy, to send my cards and letters.
I sent more than 50 e-mails telling people about my swim-a-thon. I got a handful of responses. It seems a few people still write checks and mail them; however, I received inquiries about online donations.
So, I opened a PayPal account.
You can now donate through our Web site.
Or you can send me a check and a note in the mail. Thank you.
Good night moon.