Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking Advice from Rilla Askew and David Sedaris

One of the things I miss most about my job as community relations manager for Barnes & Noble is being immersed in the book community. When I was hired, my dad asked if they would be paying me in books (he knows his daughter well) and my response, "They give me a paycheck and I trade it in for books". During my 7 years, I met and got to know many authors. Some were best-selling authors, some were not but most were struggling, local authors doing their best to self-promote the books they had lovingly written and had published through e-publishers like iUniverse.

I think desktop publishing and "print on demand" publishers provide a wonderful service for the industry, but sadly they have become the vanity presses of the past. Anyone can become a published author......but that doesn't mean they should. I couldn't tell you how many times I would meet with a local, print-on-demand author to tell them my store would not be able to host a book signing for them AND that we wouldn't be able to stock their book on our shelves. Some books were good, but most of them weren't. It was by far the worst part of my job; dashing the hopes of someone's dream to see their book on the shelf of their local B&N. I tried, as gently as possible, to explain the reasons we couldn't carry their book and to push them in the direction of submitting the book to traditional publishing houses if they wanted to go further with their career as a writer.

What does this have to do with Rilla and Dave? Bear with me and we'll get there!

I am writing a novel.

It seems so cliche and that's probably the reason I've not told many people. I think of all the years I crushed the dreams of aspiring writers beneath the heel of corporate guidelines and I tell myself I'm insane for taking on this task. I've become so jaded I think I don't have a story to tell that anyone would want to hear (and maybe that's true). But that's where Rilla comes in! Two weekends ago I heard her speak at the 22nd Annual Oklahoma Book Awards where she received the lifetime achievement award. She spoke of the rich literary history of our state and how each author's writing was a voice of Oklahoma with an Oklahoma story that needed to be told. This spoke to me and made me feel my book was MY Oklahoma experience and it is a story that should be told. My voice is an Oklahoma voice that needs to be heard!

Last night I went to listen to David Sedaris. He was quirky, irreverent, hilarious and inspiring. After he read, he asked the audience for questions. One man asked how many times he'd had his writing rejected before he was published. His answer was charming. He said he had never submitted his work because he couldn't take rejection so he just tried to put himself in places where people would eventually ask him to write something for them to publish. That is brilliant! And seeing as how I was convinced to write my novel by an editor, I feel I'm taking David's advice, too.

I still have snippets of self-doubt as I forge ahead with my writing, but I'm feeling more confident that maybe, just maybe my dream will come true! And maybe someone will want to read my story.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sorry You're Uncomfortable: Language Should be Deliberate

As a life-long, avid reader I am partial to words and vocabulary. Pair that with my keen intuition and you'll have a road map to most of my relationships. I couldn't begin to count the number of times I've intuited the uneasiness of a partner/friend/colleague and took the initiative and bypassed the uncomfortable conversation they were dreading. In short, I give an easy way out because I know how to be very deliberate with my language.

I feel everyone could and should be more deliberate with the language we use. I've written about my struggle to use the words "want" and "need" correctly. Those words are not synonymous and "need" is used far too often in place of "want".

But, I digress. What has my ire up is an unexpected "poke" I received notice of via Facebook. If you and I haven't communicated in 5 months, "poking" me on Facebook isn't going to open back up the lines of communication between us. I know I could make it easy, more hospitable even, if I would just "poke" you back, but after a decade of making every situation between you and I easy for YOU, I'm drawing another line. Where we stand is a direct result of the choices YOU made, so if you want to communicate with me, you must address some of these issues.

Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable. It's your turn to bridge the gap.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Out Like a Lamb

March 22nd would have been the 10 year milestone for me and Pepe. The day came and went without any fanfare or even a mention of him from me. To be quite honest, I really wasn't sure how that day would be or how I wanted to approach it. Mostly I was scared I would cave and at least send an e-mail acknowledging the significance of the day. It's difficult to look at something that is basically a failure and not feel badly about it. [And for me, it's the the most substantial "something" I've ever had the willingness to commit to for such a length of time.] Now that it's 2 weeks behind me, I'm able to reflect and try and gain some perspective.

This morning, a text exchange with a friend made me think of something I'd written long ago about Pepe. I figured it was in a blog written about the night we met so I hit my blog archives in search of those words which were a tiny flicker in my memory.

I read back over 5 years of blogs written on or about March 22nd trying to remember how I felt and why I felt it, but I couldn't find the passage I was looking for. After reading more old blogs than I cared to read today, I finally ran across a short paragraph written in a blog near Thanksgiving 2007 which contained what I'd been looking for. As I re-read the short paragraph it made me smile, feel at peace about the past and helped me NOT to feel as though I wasted a decade of my life waiting for something which would never happen.

I'm not sure it will ever be possible for Pepe and I to actually be friends.....I mean the kind of friends who will keep in touch and talk from time to time, but I will always think fondly of our near decade. With that, I leave you with the words I wrote about him in 2007.

[taken from a list of things for which I was thankful]
Pepe- I don't want to get sappy, but he is the reason I don't hate men. He came into my life when I was in a very dark place and totally changed my outlook. The wonderful part is that he wasn't even trying to do that……I will be indebted to him forever and I love him for being who he is. He is very special to me. I'm also thankful that he's so understanding of my neurotic ways!

Lloyd Dobler

As I was reading through old blogs today, I ran across this post from 5 years ago about Lloyd Dobler. As recently as last Thursday night I was laughing with friends about my love for Lloyd, so I decided to re-post that blog here. Funnily enough, if I were to write this blog today, I wouldn't have written it any differently. So, here's to all my peeps who are also Lloyd Dobler devotees.

Lloyd <span class=Dobler Pictures, Images and Photos" border="0">

It's true....I am a Lloyd Dobler fan!

It's not just the boom-box-up-in-the-air-I'm-going-to-win-you-back romanticism of the character that I love, it's the idea that there could actually be a Lloyd Dobler out there for me. If most of us are honest, we're all searching for our Lloyd Dobler.

How do I know this? Go to any search engine and type "Lloyd Dobler" and you'll get thousands of results. If you click on www.lloyddobler.com you'll see just the boombox picture with the words to "In Your Eyes".....whoever created the site thinks that nothing more is needed.....I kind of agree.

There's a band called "The Lloyd Dobler Effect". It's not my style of music, but I'm sure that more than one person has checked them out just because of their name. [They have a very "Dave Matthews Band sound, so if you're into that kind of music, check them out at www.lloyddoblereffect.com]

There's even an art gallery in Chicago called "Lloyd Dobler".

Even with the huge cult following that Lloyd Dobler and "Say Anything" has achieved, I still find that people don't get it when I say, "Lloyd Dobler is my dream man." What I love about Lloyd is that he is passionate about what and whom he likes. He doesn't just blindly follow the path that others try to create for him. He does things that are common, but seem romantic because he is sincere.

Here's what I want to know: What does Lloyd Dobler mean to you? Do You have a Lloyd Dobler in your life? What makes that person your Lloyd Dobler?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Perfect Love Song [for me, at least]

Thursday night I was fortunate to spend the evening with many long-time friends as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our friends, Todd and Renea Killingsworth. It's difficult not to reflect on the last decade of memories, but Thursday was really a celebration of love and friendship. As I reflected on the last decade, I thought about love. I'm not very traditional when it comes to love and relationships, but despite that, I can be a hopeless romantic. Here's a re-post from my old blog, written 3 years ago about a song I considered the Perfect Love Song.

February 5, 2008

The Perfect Love Song? [with explanation]

I'm a sucker for lyrics. Most of the songs I love have lyrics which speak to me much more than the melody or style of music. It makes my heart beat fast when I hear a song and immediately think to myself, "this is exactly what I would have written"!

So, if I were going to write a love song, I think it would have been very similar to "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson. Here are the lyrics and why they speak to me. Enjoy!

"The Way I Am"
If you were falling, then I would catch you.
You need a light, I'd find a match.

[I don't smoke, so I don't carry a lighter or matches, so.....if I go in search of flames for you, I really like you]

Cuz I love the way you say good morning.
And you take me the way I am.

[My personality is very distinct and I definitely need someone who takes me for what I am]

If you are chilly, here take my sweater.

[I keep my house cold and it has been mentioned to me on more than one occasion. However, I think I'd be more likely to offer a hoodie instead of a sweater if you're visiting me and you're cold.]

Your head is aching, I'll make it better.

[I'm really good at getting rid of headaches......it just takes a bit of TLC. And, who wouldn't want to ease the pain of the one they love?]

Cuz I love the way you call me baby.
And you take me the way I am.

I'd buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair.

[I love bald men. I have loved them my entire life. However, for love, I'd be willing to buy rogaine for one that was reluctant to lose his hair. Now that's the ultimate in loving gestures coming from me]

Sew on patches to all you tear.

[For those that don't know, I sew. I could probably forgive a guy for cheating, but if my guy takes his sewing or mending to someone else, I can't bear it. Sewing for someone shows how much I care and is as personal as a kiss to me.]

Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise.

[I'm very non-traditional and am not really interested in traditional commitment so I totally get loving someone more than I can promise to love them.....it makes total sense to me and is the ultimate expression of how much I can love someone.]

And you take me the way I am.
You take me the way I am.
You take me the way I am.

So, that's the love song I would have written but Ingrid beat me to it! If you haven't heard this song, you should listen to it now and tell the one you love how much they mean to you!