Thursday, September 30, 2010
Sarah was a distant, distant relative. If I remember correctly, her brother was my father's brother-in-law. My father's sister died far too early, so the "blood" connection was broken when I was very young. And yet ...
Sarah sent everyone in the family birthday cards. She never, never forgot a birthday. Friends might remember or might not. Aunts and uncles sent a card, but not always on time. Sarah, on the other hand, was clockwork.
To her, those cards may have been a little thing. To me, they're a treasured memory.
Sarah made me feel special.
One of my favorite people celebrated her birthday this past Tuesday. But you know what? I'm a really busy gal. Who has time to remember birthdays? Who has time to let people know you love them?
Faye's death reminded me of Sarah's life. So I'm sending a birthday message to Lucinda today -- and I'll send it on time next year.
Little things make a difference. And today is the best day to let people know you love them.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
*Yes. I know a compound modifier should be hyphenated: One-Word Wonders. I don't want to hyphenate it. And it's my blog, dang it.
**Yes. I also know that-- TECHNICALLY -- my response is two words. Here's the deal: It's a game. We make up the rules. We can break them. Ain't life grand?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Because I was writing for a client until after 7 p.m.
Because I went on Facebook for mindless recreation
Thanks to David for posting this link to the American Book Review's list of the 100 Best First Lines from novels. What can you do with this list? The opportunities are endless. For starts:
- Check the list and see how many of the novels you've read. Read more.
- Choose a line and use it to start a 3-minute free write. (Just write. No edits. Pen to paper, preferably.)
- Decide which of the 100 is your favorite. I choose #15. It's poetry. Although I wouldn't argue with #16. And, yes. I read all 100. You are such a skeptic.
- See how many of the titles you know or can guess simply from reading the line.
- Be amazed that "It was a dark and stormy night" is #22. Who knew?
Tomorrow, I will not rely solely on the kindness of Facebook friends. I'll write something before I'm too tired to think. Cross my heart and hope to have a line on someone's list.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Now, go write your love note!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Thank you. Now, let's get back to business. Here's a tip I use to make myself feel better on days when my longest piece of writing is my to do list. I add items I know I'll quickly cross off.
For example, I'm writing this sentence at 6:14 a.m. I woke up at 5:45 a.m. and realized I needed to put money into Mary's school lunch account online. After making coffee, before going online, I added that task to my ridiculously over-extended to do list.
Why? Because now it's 6:15 a.m. and I already have something crossed off my list. That's right! I went online and four clicks later had paid for incredible school nutrition for my baby. Good lord, I'm one productive, creative woman! I'm amazing! It's 6:15 a.m. and I'm already crossing things off the list. And, back in the running for Mother of the Year.
Fake it, folks.*
*Digression that some of you will understand: If you haven't watched When Harry Met Sally in a while, watch it again. The scene in the diner is still hysterical. Rob Reiner's mother has perfect timing.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
- If you were going to blog, what would you blog about?
- If you do blog, how important do you think it is to stick with one topic?
- Why would you start a blog? OR ... Why do you blog?
Please link to your blogs in the comments section. There are an amazing number of CI team members with really cool blogs. We're quite the talented team!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I'm blaming it on Mary, my youngest. Thanks to her, you get an early tip for Halloween planning.
Mary recently went to a costume party with a celebrity theme. She initially planned to buy a bunch of baby dolls, attach them to her shirt, pen on some tattoos and go as Angelina Jolie. I liked that idea, but questioned how expensive the dolls would be. (There you have it, practical mom, squelching creativity.)
For some reason -- and it wasn't practicality -- she and her buddy Erin decided to go as Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen. Now, if you get People magazine, you know they're holding a cup from Starbucks in almost every photo. So, the girls went to Starbucks, asked for empty cups, fixed their hair and went.
Pay attention to details. They really do prop up creative ideas!
Monday, September 20, 2010
It's a new week! Welcome! (Seriously ... come on in. The water's fine.)
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
"Udder nonsense? Scientists think not. After studying the working relationships between farmers and dairy cows, researchers at Newcastle University in the UK found that farmers who gave Bessie and Gertrude TLC reaped the benefits of increased milk yield over a 10-month period."
Yes! Creative proof for my theory that being nice isn't just the right thing to do: It's good business.
Let's milk that for all it's worth.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Then, she wrote this. As a longtime blogger and a lifetime writer, every word of her advice rings true. And she has roped me right back in.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Think about it ... and we're talking big picture "creativity" here. It could be a child, a birthday cake, a poem, a strategic plan, a photo, an essay, a quilt, a friendship ... whatever.
Now, as you think about it, remember: You define best. It could be the one thing that brought you the most joy. The most money. The best response.
Whatever you created, however you define best, celebrate it* today. Applaud yourself.
You totally rock.
(Want a creativity exercise to go with the tip? Easy. Write a song to celebrate yourself, to the tune of Popeye the Sailor Man. Yes. I'm serious. Start writing!)
*Can't choose just one thing? Isn't that wonderful? Mazel tov! You're spectacular!!!
Friday, September 10, 2010
I should have left them zipped.
I think that's good enough to score a trip to Paris. But humility has never been my strong point.
Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Go play! (And you know what to do with your zippers.)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Now, I'm a Jewish mother, not a Jewish theologian. But here's my basic take on it: If you compare the Jewish New Year to the secular celebration, Rosh Hashanah is more about making peace and less about making resolutions.
It's a time to make amends with people you've wronged. A time to forgive people who've wronged you. It's a time to start fresh -- which is different than starting over.
If I have hurt you this past year, knowingly or unknowingly, please forgive me. (If I hurt you knowingly, I've probably already spoken to you directly. I'm making the rounds.) If you have hurt me, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive you.
Here's to a happy, healthy year. A sweet year. A year filled with love and learning, friends and family. Here's to hope and dreams and faith. Here's to creativity that brings you joy. And here's to the work that makes it real.
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
To set the stage, Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my all-time favorite books. I think it's brilliant. Fortunately, I read it before I read Until I Find You -- because I may never read another Irving book again.
Until I Find You proves that talent is no guarantee of ... well, anything. Irving is obviously a talented writer. And yet ...
The characters in this novel are unappealing and unreal. The only characters with any charm are too-soon killed. The dialogue and much of the action is completely implausible. And repulsive -- do any siblings really discuss the proper way they should kiss each other on the mouth?
Oh, heck. Forget the uncharismatic characters and the overwrought plot. The writing is awful. (By which I mean, not good. Not good at all.) Irving has a ridiculously unnecessary parenthetical phrase (that is to say, not needed) on almost every page. And there are more than 800 pages (which, one might say, would be many chapters indeed).
My big learning came from my buddy Lynn, after she listened to me whine about the novel.
"You don't have to finish it, Janet," she said. "If you're not engaged in a book, stop reading. Find another book."
Next time, I'll listen to Lynn. This time, I kept reading -- hoping against hope that John Irving would pull it out of the fire. He never did. Too bad. He was one of my favorite authors. Until He Lost Me.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Then, on Facebook, author Stephanie Calmenson posted a note about the first Brooke Jackman Foundation Read-A-Thon -- scheduled for this morning. If you're in NYC, check it out.
After I looked at the Read-A-Thon info, I read all about Brooke Jackman, a lovely 23-year-old woman who was killed in the 9-11 attacks.
Throughout the week, we'll hear stories tied to the 9-11 anniversary. It's a national story. For New Yorkers, it's a local story. And for oh so many people, it's a personal story.
Remember when you write: Every word matters. Every story is personal to someone.
Friday, September 3, 2010
I have never been any good at Pacman. This was a problem back in the ... what? '70s? '80s? Whenever. Back when I was dating. I definitely couldn't impress guys with my Pacman skills. I also couldn't feign interest in their high scores.
Level 5? Really. Wow ... look at the time.
That said, I'm guessing a few CI team members love Pacman. So here's one version for you. And if you'd rather play with Homer, I found a Simpson version. At least the "d'oh!" with this one amused me.
Here's to an amusing three-day weekend! With very little labor ...
(Does "play with Homer" sound bad to anyone but me? Perhaps I need a three-day weekend.)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Ten years ago, TIME magazine named the PET/CT scanner the medical invention of the year. As you can tell from the Wikipedia article, the device was created by brilliant people building on the learnings of other brilliant people.
I really appreciate all these people. They're helping Amber, my 26-year-old niece, kick her ovarian cancer.
Since many of you have asked how Amber is doing, I want to give you a quick update. The PET scan taken after Amber's last massive round of chemo revealed two tiny spots of cancer. So, now that she has built up her strength, she's heading back to the hospital today for one more operation. The chemo shrank the tumor by her heart to the point where the surgeon can remove it. The surgeon will also be removing the itsy, bitsy cancer by Amber's belly button.
Ovarian cancer is tough. Fortunately, so is Amber. She's also looking dang good for a young woman who's been through so much! (I know. Looks are not what's important. But, in this case, Amber's beauty is as much a reflection of her indomitable spirit as a tribute to her gorgeous eyes. My nephew Cary does know how to pick 'em!)
Thanks for all your good thoughts and I'll keep you posted.
By the by, Amber had no idea when she joined the CI team that she was getting an arsenal of cheerleaders -- she really appreciates the support!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
You get the picture: September starts a fabulous season. So, celebrate properly. Go for a long walk today and look for a fall color. What color is that? You tell me. We could go with the basic yellow. Or orange. Or brown. But fall to you might be burgundy. Or pink.
Whatever. Choose one of those lovely colors, and go find all the shades of it you can.
(We fall in love, don't we? We don't spring into love. No one summers or winters love. Heck, winter is the time of our discontent. I could go on, but I lerve you too much to continue.)