What I Knew at 18 That I Wished I Knew Now

This post is a response to Jonathan Fields’ contest in honor of his new book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance.  He challenged his readers to tell a tale of a time when they embraced uncertainty and were the better for it. * * * There may be other stories to tell, but I reached way into the past for this one. I’ve had greater and lesser experiences with uncertainty, but this was a pivotal one and I needed to revisit it. When I was 18, I started working in a used bookstore. The owners were friends of my parents and I loved books so this was a pretty dreamy job as far as summer jobs go. Plus, I was starting college in the fall and it would be great to have a part-time job already established. I had settled into my routine and was getting pretty comfortable with the situation. I’d spend a few hours at the store, then take advantage of my free time and read the books I was allowed to borrow as a perk of the job. Then I got a game-changing letter from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Summer Seminar for High School Juniors: one of the eight senior assistants had to drop out at the last minute; could I take her place? I felt like I’d won the lottery. Theatre was my life! It gave meaning and depth to my high school years and was my declared major for college. This had to be a sign from God that I was on the right track. I’d attended the Seminar as a...

Book Review: Facebook Fame

Last week I talked about my experience at the launch party for this book. This week I read it and was very happy with my purchase. I’ve been following Laura Roeder for awhile now, and she knows her stuff. She’s also very authentic and likeable, two reasons I liked her book so much. The Deets Title: Facebook Fame: The Facebook Marketing Bible for the Small Business Author: Laura Roeder Purchasing info.: $4.99 Download at Amazon.com* Who it’s for Small business owners, solopreneurs, DIYers. Whether you’ve dabbled in social media or not, this book will get you up to speed on using Facebook as a (free!) tool for marketing your business. Why the you should listen to the author Laura is an online marketing and social media expert who specializes in educating small businesses in those areas. She has a great way of breaking down material without sounding preachy or making the reader feel dumb. This book is organized so that it is useful to people who are brand new to Facebook as well as those who have been using it for a little while. Laura helps you get clear on your strategy and walks you through implementation  with actions you can take right away. What I found most useful I thought I understood this well enough, but I really appreciated the clear and concise explanations of the differences between Profiles, Groups, and Pages. Instruction on how to use your Page to grow your email list and get “Likes” at the same time. Answering these questions on what I want to get out of my Facebook Page: “Are you primarily...

My First Book Launch Party

Yesterday was the launch of Laura Roeder‘s Facebook Fame* on Amazon. To help celebrate and encourage sales for her digital book, she held a live, virtual book launch party. The service she used, Vokel, allowed her to broadcast via webcam, have a live chat, and feature guests or attendees could be seen through video as well. She did giveaways of Kindles, an iPad, and sponsor products (I did not win anything, alas). There were special guests, such as Derek Sivers of CDBaby fame, and opportunities for guests and attendees to do dramatic readings of the book. I don’t know the final numbers, but for the two hours I hung out there were around 250 attendees. The Hater One guy was really not happy. He seemed to be in it for the prizes and was not shy in voicing his opinions on what was wrong with the whole thing. I never saw Laura confront him, and I was glad. As much as I wanted him to be told how rude he was, it was better to ignore the one partypooper in favor of all the happy campers. His complaint that the LKR team wasn’t as prepared as they should have been did have some merit. One note I took was that when I do one of these, I will do a trial run with the various tech services I will be using. While it didn’t really bother me, the lack of flow because of problem solving did take some of the professional edge off. On the other hand, seeing an internet celebrity deal with mistakes in an authentic way without...

Writing Workshop: “The Help” Lights, Camera, Action!

You can read about the basis for this series here. I am so pleased to report that the movie lived up to my expectations. The theater was full but everyone was quiet and respectful; at the end, everyone clapped. Usually that makes me roll my eyes (you know the actors can’t hear you, right?) but I was so gratified by the film that I just smiled. Even though I had heard many good things going into the movie, a part of me was still apprehensive. I’ve been burned by books-turned-movies before. What is it exactly that makes or breaks this kind of film? Here are some fears I’ve identified, and how “The Help” overcame them. Fears about seeing movies based on books Key information will be left out Take for example the Harry Potter films. I made the mistake once of re-reading a book right before going to the movie, and I couldn’t enjoy the movie because I was too busy being indignant at how different it was from the book. I knew that there was no way to include everything from a book that is so rich and detailed, but I still missed seeing some scenes brought to life in the movie. Characters will be altered beyond recognition A book can have as many characters as it wants, as long as the author can keep track of them. A film has a budget to consider, and often that means cutting actors. Characters are left out or blended, which may work for the movie but can be disconcerting for the reader. It doesn’t translate from page to screen Keeping...

Writing Workshop: “The Help” Extras

You can read about the basis for this series here. A few extra thoughts “I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.” Ch. 27, Skeeter I adore this sentence, both for it’s phrasing and use of language and for it’s description of a complex state. I find the descent into insanity passes through the bitter dark of depression to the delicious freedom of surrender. It is a loss of attachment to people and outcomes. It is a loss of inhibitions, of trying to conform. It is choosing who you are and what feels right, no matter what people may think of you. This kind of insanity is different than the certifiable mental illness that constitutes a break with reality. This kind of insanity is a break through to reality, the reality of being completely honest with yourself and others. For Skeeter, this means wearing a too-short skirt, publishing a controversial book, letting go of the “right” friendships to forge “forbidden” ones. It all comes with danger, which is perhaps the insane part, but for people like Skeeter the true danger would be in not risking everything for authenticity. The peace that comes with this kind of insanity feels more expansive and thus a bit wild and scary; I hope that for Skeeter it is exactly what she’ll need as she builds a writing career in New York City. Subtexts As someone trained in acting, subtext has always been fascinating for me. It is where all the nuance comes from, the conflict, the stakes that...