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Archive for April, 2010

Molly Ringwald & The Happy 4-0

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

So, here’s a charmed life: get the chance to act in AWESOME 80s movies while in your teens with the hottest director of the era.  Grow up.  Get married to a French writer.  Divorce him, then marry an even younger and hotter writer and live in NYC…oh, yeah, and keep on acting AND not look like you’ve gotten any older SINCE you were 16 DESPITE the fact you had 3 kids!

Sound familiar?  Yup!  I’m talking about Ms. Molly Ringwald.  SO wanted to have a Jake Ryan like her when in high school and YES, her real life still sounds pretty awesome now that she’s in her 40s.  GOOD FOR HER!

Best part?  She just wrote and released a new book, called Getting the Pretty Back:  Friendship, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick. Although I haven’t read it yet, (and definitely WILL after the ickiness of law school finals are officially over in another week or so), I saw her interview online from the Today Show this morning and she’s confirming what so many other women have also said about turning 40: her 40s have been even better to her than her 20s and 30s. YAY!

I’ve been contemplating this seriously as my own 40th decade of life is coming soon to a birthday near me in the next few years…I won’t say exactly how many…but I’m thrilled to hear that the 40s are some of the best years yet for so many women, including Molly, one of my movie star peers, of my generation, X.

GREAT NEWS!!!!

Overdraft Protection on the Social Capital Bank Account

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

I’m nearly wiped out.

In my bank account.

Not the $$$ account, but my social capital bank account!

Between all the awesome help I had at my 5th book and first book launch party, coupled with a law school program I’m working on to get a pretty big docket of rock stars in to discuss public entrepreneurship along with my other fellow, I’m running near the red.

I’m certainly no capitalist rock star banker, but here’s how I’m trying to manage my own social capital account with a little overdraft protection:

1. Thank you notes, stat, written by hand, to all who volunteered to help out.  Even if it was just passing along an email.  That’s really important.  It doesn’t make the account even, by any means, but it can help restore it a bit.  They didn’t have to help you, and everyone is super slammed busy these days.  But they did help you.  That’s cool, and that deserves some props.

2. NEVER FORGET who helped you out.  YOU OWE THEM. BIG TIME.  Do your very best to PAY THE FAVOR BACK, ASAP.  Go out of our your way to look for ways to pay it back asap.  I’ve still got some massive social capital overdraws out there that I haven’t forgotten about.  I won’t forget either. I’m eager to help!

3.  This is one thing Facebook is helping me with: BIRTHDAYS.  Remember them for people.  Try to send them a greeting, again by hand is preferred.  Anyone can write on a wall “happy birthday” but it takes just a little more effort to send a card, and it is a volume more thoughtful because it took the extra effort that not many others take the time to do anymore.

4.  Be sure YOU help others too.  I know we’re all busy (see #1) and sometimes, I have to say no to people that I really want to help, but when others really need you, do your absolute best to clear the path and make things happen for them….ESPECIALLY those not only who have helped you, but also to those who REALLY need the help – the new career person, the new graduate, the new person in town.  This is paying your social capital forward a bit.  It’s saving your capital for a rainy day.  It’s investing in your social capital bank account in order to AVOID the overdraft in the first place.

If you have other thoughts on overdraft protection in your social capital bank account, hit me with them! Like I said…I’m still in the red!

A Self-Perceived Failure

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

I took a study break this evening and watched Bright Star, a Jane Campion film portraying the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne.  Keats died a self-perceived failure, because he was basically penniless, and couldn’t really marry the woman he loved because he was broke and suffering from TB.

Bummer, dude.

Then, I thought of the story where I compare VanGogh and Picasso.  One died with an estate worth over $700 million.  The other died penniless.  I’ll let you surf (or surf my blog) and figure out who was who (I’m sure you can guess.)

But then, I started to wonder, our world would have been so much the poorer without all of these characters, not just the rich ones.  Hopefully, there is some kind of positive karmic retribution out there…where all of these wonderful (albeit somewhat tortured) artists get to come back as a well-kept pet or something more fun and LESS tortured.  Or, maybe we just need to look at things a different way. Maybe we as a society need to value our artists more and try to celebrate them while they are among us – among the living.  Or, maybe we all just need to get more comfortable with failure, and look at it another way.

Maybe my cat Bob is Keats.  Although, I’ve never heard any poetry come out of him…

Happiness County, State of Bliss

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

I really am TRYING to study for my finals…but I had to digress a moment.

One of my profs wrote a law school exam hypo that took place in “Happiness County, State of Bliss.”  That place sounds rad!  Here’s how I imagine it:

  • You can eat as much candy as you want and never gain weight.
  • Everyone has the freedom to do what they want, and they all do good.
  • There’s no illness, war, or hatred.
  • The only rule is the golden rule and everyone abides by it.
  • Stress really doesn’t exist.
  • People all genuinely try to help each other…and most importantly, help each other find their bliss and true callings.
  • Anyone who has passion and ability to get an education may do so…and go as far as they like.
  • The only limits are bound by what you as an individual can dream up!

Oxymoronically, there was a breakup of a marriage in the hypo.  Would there really be breakups in Happiness County, State of Bliss?  I don’t know.  But I do know this: it would be an awesome place to visit!

What I WON’T Be Doing in China

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

One of my friends sent me info on this site today in China–Mt. Hua Shan–and asked me if I’ll be heading there for lunch while visiting.  Last time I checked, I was still sane, so the answer to that would be NO.

However, I cannot contain my excitement for heading to China.  This trip will truly be a once in a lifetime event for me.  Only having been to Europe and the Caribbean in the past, I CANNOT WAIT to get to Asia!  Only have to get through two very icky finals before that happens.

Yeah, I saw The Sound of Music and all – and Julie Andrews looked pretty cool dancing around the hills of Austria.  But those were hills.  Mt. Hua Shan is not a hill.  It’s a mountain.  A mountain that I will NOT be climbing.

…but I WILL be having fun in other parts of China!!!

The Ultimate…PowerPoint

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Yesterday, I spent a big chunk of my day writing…a PowerPoint slide deck.  While it is a challenge to write slides, I often find myself much more intrigued by the “True Hollywood Story” factor.  That is: what was the motivation behind this project or story or thing you’re describing?  It’s the stuff NOT ON the PPT slides that is usually the most interesting and juicy.

Another way to describe it is the story behind the story…or storytelling.  We ALL LOVE STORIES, myself included.  Something that begins with “Once upon a time…” is way cooler than “the stats for last month’s budget were 4.5% off from the previous.”  How about instead focusing on WHY the stats were 4.5% off from the previous month?  Now there’s the juice!

As a writer, I always look for the THS.  The stuff on paper is nice, it supports THE story, but at the end, the coolest stuff is usually NOT included on the PPT deck.  So, I’m going to really give this some extra thought before I actually give this presentation…because I’m guessing my audience is similar to me – I’m guessing that they, too, would like to know the background as to why this XYZ came to fruition.

Rejection: Facing the Wheel of Yuck

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Ok, first off – props to FlavoRx for their Wheel of Yuck – which has saved me and many kids from the ickiness of some drugs!  They actually posted today on Facebook about their Wheel of Yuck going digital – which remided me of another yucky thing this morning that happened to me.

One of my proposals was rejected, friends!  Yes, rejection is yucky.  I’m not a fan of it.  However, I look at facing the yuck this way – if you’re already getting  yucked on, you’re just that much closer to acceptance, winning, and success.  Besides, the most successful people I know are also the ones who have faced the most yuck!

So, embrace the wheel of yuck, people – if and when you can!  It makes the success that much TASTIER!!!!

What’s Lurking in That Desk Drawer?

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

The more I read pieces like these, the more I get disturbed as both a reader and a writer.  How many awesome books are out there, just sitting in a drawer or in a box or attic, covered in dust and rejection letters, just waiting to be published to future acclaim?  What if the next Hemingway or Buck or Fitzgerald is just hiding out, waiting to be discovered?  And, how many of these books, if they were published, would have given others inspiration for even more great ideas and other cool books?

Are publishers out of reach with their audiences, or is something else going on out there where the world just says no to say no, when in fact, we should all be saying yes…?  Why not let the market bear the winners and the losers, rather than the gatekeepers telling us what we think we should like.

Maybe I should start a publishing company, where all awesome books are welcome!  (Now, if I just had the time…)

ps – someone responded to this post and asked about self publishing.  ALL FIVE of my books have been published by a self publisher….so I really have nothing to compare it to.  Bluntly, I think if you are truly passionate about what you’re writing, shopping for a traditional publisher is a big waste of time.  Getting your message out into the world on your own timeline in your own way I think is the best way to go.  Why wait for permission from someone else who doesn’t care as much about your book as you do to publish???

The Coolest Book Launch Party Idea…EVER

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

So apparently my doorbell rang this evening while I was wading through the mess of my basement…then I got a text to tell me to go out to my front porch.  Low and behold, there was a magical package awaiting me – and it turned out to be this:

If you write a book, consider throwing a book launch party, getting a matte, and have EVERYONE who participated in the party sign it. Then, blow up your cover art and put it inside the frame. It’s a priceless piece of history that you’ll never forget!

Oh, and if you don’t have a cover artist, feel free to call mine – Bridget Gurtowsky of Gurtowsky Graphics. She’s AMAZING and I sincerely thank her for dreaming up possibly the COOLEST idea EVER when it comes to a book launch!

The Writer’s Moral Book Dilemma

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

As an author, writing a book is one thing.  Promoting it?  That’s a whole other ball o’ wax.

I was talking to another writer yesterday, and he made the interesting comment that I agree with: when you finally get a book published, it’s a lot like having a child.  You usually poured a TON of hours into the effort, to FINALLY produce something you can live with (I dare not use the “P” word, because a book never really is perfect…) but anyway, that first copy comes, and you’re happy, but EXHAUSTED.  But wait!  That’s not all!  Then…a whole other level of exhaustion occurs…someone’s got to PROMOTE it!

If you have a traditional publisher, maybe they’ll do a press release for you and arrange a book signing or two, but honestly?  There HAS to be a better way to spread the word.  After my 5th book launched as I’ve shared, I threw a book launch party.  While it was a blast and all 150 copies of my first order are officially gone, and I LOVED sharing the launch with the city of Indianapolis, now I still am responsible for promoting the book.  No one is writing any press for me, I have to do it on my own.

Last but not least, the other curse of the writer who does her own promotion is that if she loves to write (as I do), we’re already thinking ahead to our NEXT book.  This is tough because we just finished this new book and technically, we should be promoting it, not moving on to writing the next one.  Then comes the writer’s moral book dilemma: should I be promoting my last book, or writing my next?

Well, this time, while I’m cooking on my next book idea in my head, I promised not to write anything until I finish summer school this year.  That forces me to not write and instead channel my energy into figuring out creative ways to get this latest book into the universe.  (That and study for law school finals…ick.)

The curse of the writer’s moral book dilemma – agh!