Home of the Free (Labor)

by Ilinap on July 25, 2016

Some of the same people who say we shouldn’t ask for handouts or ask for anything for free are asking me to provide free work. As in, use my talent as unpaid labor. I’ve been out of college for 25 years, but it seems that some businesses want to use me as an intern. Recently, in the same breath that someone touted T. Rump and denounced Hillary, I was invited to provide free professional writing services. This person was tired of Americans asking for handouts, frustrated with the lack of bootstrap pulling, angry at the milking of systems (not my expressions). Somehow asking me to work for free doesn’t fall into the camp of getting something for nothing (which, by the way, is not how I view social programs).

My words, effort, talents, influence, and time have value. Ah, but write for our publication and get exposure to millions of eyeballs! Your name will be in a byline all over the place. Build your brand, they say. You see, I am in the business of branding. I am a brand strategy and marketing consultant. As in, I do this for a living. For pay. Real money, not exposure or access or accolades. Actually, when I do good work for my clients, I do get exposure, access, and accolades. And a paycheck!

If I work for free, it brands me as a writer who will create content for free. “Hey, if you need some kick-ass writing by a real pro but don’t have a budget to pay freelancers, call Ilina. She writes for free!” Why would other publications pay me to write when they know I provide content for free for others? This is not the way I imagined my brand (or my bank account) growing. Writers, let’s stop doing this. We hurt each other and our fellow creative class when we sell ourselves short. Our creativity, perspective, and insight are more than generic commodities; they are valuable assets to organizations that warrant compensation.

“Exposure” does not pay my student loans. Exposure buys me nothing. Exposure only affords me more exposure…as a free content creator. This sense of exposure as a value to writers can be filed under F for fallacy. This is simply a way to mask business not valuing the creative class. We must stop this practice and demand that our talents are appropriately valued and compensated. Do these same business is at lawyers to work for free? Do they ask accountants to work to work for free? Are creative professionals any less professional than their suited counterparts? Why is it an acceptable business practice to ask for free content from writers, photographers, designers, illustrators?

Home of the free must mean something different these days.


Words & Deeds to Heal the Schism

by Ilinap on July 19, 2016

There’s a schism in this country. Strike that. In this world. We are being torn apart by the limbs while some twisted spirit in the ethers looks down upon us cackling. These are not the age old war, famine, and familiar strifes we have known through the passage of time. This schism is intersectional and deep. It knows no boundaries. Fear is fuel. Embedded in this schism are a host of other -isms.





Hell, even Plagiarism

We are hungry for healing. This is perhaps the only non-partisan issue left, the yearn for healing. Recent events are too numerous to name, too painful to recount. But there continues to be good in this world. There are myriad people lifting others up rather than holding them down. Our community is brimming with more good deeds than bad eggs. Hands are outstretched to help, yet, we still feel helpless. President Obama recently said we must focus on our words and deeds. Each one of us, in ways big and small, can be deliberate with our words and deeds to tilt the axis of the earth to close its schism.





Hell, even a little Silliness


We are weary of feeling wary. Let’s try a little tenderness.


Reflections on the Setting Sun

July 11, 2016

The problem with a sunrise is that it happens too early in the morning. The sunset, however… Now that’s a different story.   A sunset is time for reflection. A sunset reminds us that one day closes, as if it were Mother Nature’s etch-a-sketch shake. A sunset means a fresh day follows, a chance to reassess, […]

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Community Comes Together to Support Backpack Buddies

June 30, 2016

There is nothing more beautiful than a community coming together to help its own. The world has been brimming with sad news of late. Here in North Carolina the tales from Jones Street continue to be the stuff of nightmares. It’s all the more heart wrenching when our state’s children aren’t looked after and prioritized […]

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My Baby is 11

June 22, 2016

  He cares more about changing the world than how the world changes him. He is a snuggler, more puppy than kitty by nature. His laugh will make your heart swell. This kid of mine, newly minted 11-years old today, is pure happiness. When he was a little boy, I used to call him Happiness. […]

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I Want You to Hear More About Hearing Loss

June 16, 2016

When I was pregnant (both times), I was what doctors called “advanced maternal age.” That’s a pretty uplifting way to begin a pregnancy.  I faced a battery of tests, and in just a year plus between pregnancies, there seemed to be even more tests and areas for concern. There were new ways to gauge what […]

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Words of Wisdom from a Child

June 15, 2016

In my estimation, there’s never been a time more than now that the world needs hope and peace and encouragement. I live down the hill from an elementary school, so the sounds of encouragement ring through my windows as the classes roll through recess each day. The giggles and yelps are my fuel as I […]

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The Letter the Stanford Rapist’s Father Meant to Write

June 8, 2016

The media and my own personal circles alike, are brimming with outrage and incredulity of the Brock Turner case. He’s the Stanford rapist. Any other title he had he traded in when he raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster. Yet here in North Carolina we worry about bathroom stalls and the transgender boogeyman. But that’s another […]

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The Onus is On Parents of Sons

June 6, 2016

I am the mother of sons. My goal is to raise them to grow up to not be assholes. I do not count myself in the same ilk as the Stanford rapist’s father who admonishes his violent act of rape as an incident, nay mistake, that resulted from binge drinking. I know plenty of boys […]

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$1 Can Help Stop Summer Hunger

June 5, 2016

The end of the school year is a frenzied, rushed race with summer monotony bleating at the finish line. Each year is a bittersweet end, and I have visions of family time adventures and cookie baking as we laugh and dance in the kitchen. Mind you, this is still a wistful daydream that has yet to […]

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