I Don’t Care What You Say

Nothing should be more effective in stopping an argument than these words:

I don’t care what you say…

There are other variations — “no matter what you say”, “you can’t tell me”, “I know for a fact”.


These are STOP signs in any conversation. The person who injects these phrases is telling you that any further discussion is pointless.

So the proper reaction is to just end the conversation. Walk away. Move on to something else.

Yet — in real life and certainly in internet life — that’s not what happens, usually. Instead, for no apparent reason, these words increase the volume or accelerate the typing. When someone says “I don’t care”, we take that as a challenge that must be answered, swiftly, with even more words, facts, opinions, sound bytes.

How often have you turned right back into the argument, determined to get in the last word and end it on your terms, not theirs?

Why? They’ve let it be known quite clearly that they aren’t open to any further evidence or reasoning or authoritative findings. Yet you persist.

Take them at their word. They don’t care. It doesn’t matter.

Move on.

Oh, right — before YOU inject this into your speech, STOP and think.

Words To Replace “Ummm”

When you listen to interviewers and interviewees on the radio or television, count the number of times you hear words that replace “ummm” and “uhhh” — words that allow the speaker to stall until they can think of what to say.

Here’s one that makes me cringe: It’s interestingI hear this from questioners and respondents alike:

  • “It’s interesting, because …”
  • “That’s an interesting question. …”
  • “You know, what’s interesting is …”

While I’m glad to be told that something is interesting, I’m a little insulted — if it’s really interesting, I’ll recognize that not because you told me, but because it’s interesting.

So all of these “it’s interesting” uses are just stall tactics … no different from saying “uhhh” or “ummm”.

What are some other modern-day replacements for “ummm”?

Can We Talk?

No, I don’t mean “Do you have some time to talk?” I mean, really — are we able to have a conversation?

In an interesting column, Pamela Druckerman describes her observation, and her learnings, of cultural differences in conducting conversations in the French, the British and the American styles. The French style, she writes, is to seek out ways to prove someone wrong or skewer them “with a biting remark.” Their tendency, developed over hundreds of years’ experience, is to reward “clever, erudite and often caustic wit, aimed at making rivals look ridiculous.”

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Who Said What? NYTimes Editors Take A Day Off

In the First Draft post for the New York Times today:

As Mr. Blum introduced Mr. Paul, he spoke about casting his first vote in Congress against John A. Boehner for speaker.

“I don’t report to John Boehner. I report to all of you wonderful people,” the senator told a crowd that had gathered in a sports bar to see him.

The room erupted in applause. Mr. Paul stood there looking on.

In this excerpt, there are two people named as “actors” — Mr. Blum (a representative) and Mr. Paul (a senator).

The first sentence uses the pronouns “he” and “his” — but does that refer to Mr. Blum or Mr. Paul? Grammatically, it should refer to Mr. Blum, who is the actor (the subject) of the opening phrase “Mr. Blum introduced…”. This is also reasonable since Mr. Blum is a representative and only representatives vote for (or against) the candidate for speaker.

But the next sentence attributes the quote to “the senator” — that would be Mr. Paul, not Mr. Blum. This is reinforced by the reference to the crowd that had gathered to see “him” — Mr. Paul is a well-known public figure, Mr. Blum is not. But if the senator is making the statement, what do we make of the quote “I don’t report to Mr. Boehner”? No senator does, since Mr. Boehner is speaker of the House and has no leadership role over senators. For this statement to have meaning, it should have been made by a House member — by Mr. Blum.

The final sentence, however, says “Mr. Paul stood there looking on.” This makes it sound like he was a spectator to all of this, not an actor. Was it Mr. Paul (“the senator”) who said the words that caused the room to “erupt”? Or was Mr. Blum speaking, relegating Mr. Paul to the role of a spectator who “stood there looking on”?

Where is the editor? Couldn’t this confusing misuse of words and pronouns have been detected on first read and reconstructed for clarity?

Whenever two people are named as actors in a piece of writing, the writer must use pronouns with great care. To cast pronouns about as they are in this real-life example leads to a jumble of words and messages that leaves the reader with more questions than answers.

I’ll grant that this section is “First Draft”, and perhaps that signals the use of “raw thoughts” published without the benefit of an editor or a grammarian. But this is the New York Times, not some words scrawled into a reporter’s notebook.

Conscious Choices – a new ALLLC publication

Conscious Choices: What I CHOOSE to BE as I create me by Celeste R. Pichette is the newest publication by Artists Lifeline, LLC.

Available for purchase at CreateSpace or at Amazon.
Conscious Choices: What I CHOOSE to BE as I create me

From the back cover:

Conscious Choices explores the concept of choice, creation, and what it means to BE versus DO.

Using these concepts, you will be guided through a self-creation process that encourages awareness and personal transformation.

The simplicity of the process provides both inspiration and empowerment to create the life you desire.

One simple question will change your life from

“What do I have to DO today?”


“Who do I choose to BE today?”

Lindsey Watson: strange and beautiful

Lindsey Watson has her first book of poetry on the market. strange and beautiful, a volume of poetry that captures the passion of romance, love, beauty and sex, is now available.

strange and beautiful (cover)

You can order this volume from CreateSpace at:

or contact me at sales@artistslifeline.com.

Congratulations, Lindsey!

strange and beautiful

a collection of poems by

Lindsey Watson

an Artists Lifeline publication

Available now from CreateSpace.com


strange and beautiful

[Edited: Strange and Beautiful, Lindsey Watson’s book of poetry, has been published and is available for purchase at https://www.createspace.com/3499887 and at major book outlets.]

It was some time ago when I first wrote about Lindsey Watson’s poetry. Now, her first published poetry book is nearing publication.

This also marks the first Artists Lifeline publication, through the self-publishing services of CreateSpace.com

You can be one of the first to preview this in the gallery before publication.

The book is strange and beautiful, previewed at  [Edited: this preview is no longer available].

Please take a look and offer up some honest feedback.

Photography as Fine Art

I’ve been thinking about the opinion that “photography isn’t art”. Needless to say, some photographic artists I know take a pretty dim view of this. Nonetheless, it’s something you will hear, if you haven’t already, especially at galleries and other exhibitions of artistic photography. It would be best to keep the wine to a minimum when this discussion breaks out.

What makes photographic work qualify as art? It is, in part, the actual photo, as taken, and the preparations that the photographer makes to compose the photo — not different from a poet composing a poem or a lyricist composing a song. The art is in the approach that the photographer takes to produce the final work.

Some people aim-and-shoot, point-and-click — the Eastman method. Others, the artistic photographers, search out the right subject at the right time in the right place from the right angle with the right lighting and the wind blowing just right, and aim the right camera with the right shutter and the right apeture setting — then click. One of these is artistic, one is not.

Beyond that, for the artistic photographer, the work is not done when the shutter clicks. Now the post-process begins. The photo captures what is there; the artist adds to it, subtracts from it, emphasizes this and diminishes that, until the work shows what was not there, what was not anywhere, ever. This is now the artist’s creation.

This is art. This is fine art.

Consider a sculptor, who begins with a raw lump of clay or a block of marble, then removes the excess to reveal the art within. Or a painter, with pencils and palette and knives and brushes at hand, who projects his imagination onto a blank canvas. We believe this is art, and few question it.

Consider the photographer, who looks out onto a rich landscape, captures it in a digital image, then adds colors, removes shadows, reveals details invisible in nature. The result — an artistic extension of nature, embellished by the artist’s imagination and vision.

Photography can be fine art, in the hand of an artist, from the fertile, creative imagination of an artist. And when photography is raised to the level of fine art, there is no purpose served in diminishing it.