Archive | April, 2013

The almighty conference.

23 Apr

I’ve been a deadbeat blogger as of late.

But let me rationalize. My first writing conference is this weekend and I’ve been consumed by preparation. I am exceptionally excited about attending this conference, but my snarky side can’t help itself, and it’s already making some assumptions as to what’s in store.

**Disclaimer** I have been to my share of conferences. I’ve also helped plan and execute my share of conferences, so I know that blood (well, let’s hope not too much blood, maybe from paper cuts?), sweat, and tears go into pulling off a conference, regardless of the subject matter. So, to be clear, these are my observations of conferences in general, not any one conference in particular. Did I cover myself? Apparently, I think that I am opening myself up for a lawsuit or something…

Now, I’m not a betting woman. Seriously. My roommate and I used to host ladies poker night where we attempted Texas hold ’em, mostly drank wine and Googled things like “ante in.” Anyhow, like I said, I’m not a betting woman, but I will wager on a few occurrences at this conference. I will even go as far as to say that at least three of the following will happen.

1. Someone will have technical difficulties and say, “I swear I tested this out before and it worked just fine!”

Now, I’ve been this person, so I sympathize. These phrases can also be substituted: “What the hell is this cord for?” and “I don’t know what that means! (to IT guy). Gotta love technology! (to audience).”

2. Someone will monopolize a workshop.

I hope this isn’t me since I am feeling like a little sponge wanting to soak everything in. But seriously people, this isn’t your private therapy session/one-on-one tutoring lesson.

3. Someone will be sleeping during a presentation.

Man, I hope this one doesn’t happen as I assume most people are paying for this conference themselves and not being sent for work. But then again, I saw plenty of people sleep in college and grad school, and I’m sure some of them were paying their own way.

4. Someone will argue with a presenter.

This one is always like a car accident. At first, it’s exciting, but then you realize it is just terrible for everyone involved.

5. Someone will get too drunk.

I hope someone gets too drunk and agrees to publish my book. Fingers crossed. 😉

If you can relate or if you have a good conference story, feel free to share!

Boston.

16 Apr

I couldn’t bring myself to blog today about anything aside from what happened in Boston yesterday.

When I first heard there was an explosion at the Boston Marathon, my initial thought was not terrorism. Granted, at that point I didn’t know much about the story, but in retrospect, I am pleased that even in this post-9/11 world, I can say I have not been completely consumed by fear. Things have changed, and yet our American way of life prevails.

Of course, the more I learned, the more I realized this was some kind of act of terror, regardless if the “mastermind” is a lone nut or an organized group. As information flooded my computer, phone, and television, 9/11 entered my thoughts. What if this kind of instant access to media had existed in 2001? Is it even possible there was once a time before Facebook and Twitter? But our increased technology since then ensured that when this happened, 99% of those Boston Marathon spectators had video and photos on their phones. Thousands of pieces of near instant evidence. Of course, all this technology has some negative impact. Opinions and half-truths become fact as the train speeds by and it becomes impossible to check everything, to decipher true and false.

The marathon, or any running race for that matter, embodies the triumphant human spirit. The environment is charged with positive energy and camaraderie. I have been both a participant and spectator at many running events and I have always left feeling better, even if my body left in pain. I ran a half marathon here in St. Louis last weekend and like thousands of races across the country, it was chock-full of volunteers, cheering us on, when they could have been sleeping in that Sunday morning.

And guess what? That is not going anywhere. Yes, security will be tightened. Yes, we will all be more vigilant. But after yesterday, I felt more inspired to attempt the Boston Marathon than ever before. Terror was incited, but only to breed resolve and unity.

So, what can we all do?

1. Show respect for those affected.

2. Tell your loved ones that you LOVE them.

3. Educate yourself on what is going on.

4. Pray.

5. Sign up for a running race.

You can also find ways to help victims here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/04/boston-marathon-victims-how-to-help-find-information/

Count your blessings.

Book club.

10 Apr

Let’s talk book club.

I will do whatever it takes to get my book into the book club circuits (sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?). Of course, this is a little premature as the book is not even finished yet, but life is all about thinking ahead, isn’t it?

So, what makes a good book club book? The obvious answer is a “good” book, right?

I’ve found the best book club books aren’t just well written books. They are books that create discussion and ask open-ended questions. Books with the ability to compel a group of ladies, cheeks pink from wine, to put down the cheese and crackers long enough to ask themselves, “What would I do in this situation?”

Mmmmmm, cheese and crackers…

When I lived in LA, my book club should have been re-named ‘Eat, eat, eat, eat, oh yeah, there was a book’ club. And cheese and crackers were for amateurs. We are talking macaroni and cheese bar, make-your-own homemade pizzas, and brunch for dinner. Side note – I need to hurry this blog along so I can go eat lunch. And now that I’m in a book club in St. Louis, I’ve brought the “food is as important as the book” sentiment with me. We just read the Omnivore’s Dilemma and everyone had to bring something local or organic. Though the content was interesting, I think I might have enjoyed the Missouri tomatoes more than the book.

I also think this post might be more about food than books. Maybe I should have written a cookbook.

On that note, any good book recommendations? And let’s be real here, recipe recommendations? Extra points for a book and matching recipe.

 

Simplicity.

2 Apr

I have ADD. Well, not really. But my mind can be distracted quite easily. I’d like to think that my brain just works too quickly for my own good, but I’m guessing that little ‘self-diagnosis’ is not really the case.

There are times I just want to tell my brain to hold still, quit running around. And like a toddler, it listens for a few minutes before chasing shiny objects again.

This is why I love simplicity. This does not mean that I always choose simplicity. I mean I have at least six tabs open in my browser right now.

My husband and I went grocery shopping on Saturday. It was the same store we often go to, but a different location. As we were perusing the aisles, I said, “I like this store better.” “Why?” He asked. “I don’t know. It seems nicer. There are more options.” Cut to fifteen minutes later. We’re hungry. We haven’t gotten half the items on our list. I’m yelling, “Look how many types of wheat thins there are!!”

I want options and yet they overwhelm me.

I think this is why my blog entries tend towards the shorter side. These blogs are off the cuff, so while they might be mildly entertaining, we’re not talking exceptional devotion to the craft here. I’m not sitting down to write a novel just as you aren’t sitting down to read one. When I read a blog, I don’t really care to read 37 paragraphs, and I sure as hell don’t want to write 37 paragraphs. I like to keep things simple. This doesn’t need to drag on in complication and confusion. I’d like to think of my blog as original flavor, not low-sodium spicy buffalo.

Also, I should point out that in the middle of writing this, I checked my email, clicked on a link in the email, which reminded me of something I needed to do, so I looked it up and then remembered I was in the middle of blogging. Sigh.

 

 

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