I’ve missed you. How the heck are each of you?!
I’ve been busy working on projects. Lots of projects!
So, here’s what I was up to while I was away…
Co-Hosting a Film Screening
That’s right! My talented and inspiring new friend, Stephanie Sharp, invited me to co-host a private screening of the indie arts collaboration film, Indie Kindred.
Are you ready to get inspired? Watch this!
The film and movement behind Indie Kindred comes from storyteller and filmmaker, Jen Lee. You might recall that name when I talked about The 10 Letters Project, which another local writer and I are emulating in a local magazine.
Indie Kindred is the story of makers paving their own paths, finding other creatives they can work with, and collaborating to make something good. Indie + Kindred + Collaboration.
So, 2 weeks ago, about a dozen of us makers (artists, designers,chefs, writers, and repurposers) met in Stephanie’s home for some good food, show and tell, a film screening and makers chat. Most of us did not know each other. Now, we’ve created our own private group of local makers online and have plans for a second gathering and retreat! Because as Jen Lee so eloquently puts it “Doing it yourself, doesn’t mean do it alone.”
Interested in hosting your own screening or meeting other makers? There’s a public facebook community for Indie Kindred!
A sampling of the work shown at our makers meetup.
Held Auditions and Cast a Show
Three days. Eleven hours. Almost 40 auditioners. And now…we have a cast!!!
La Crosse joins 40 other cities giving motherhood a microphone in our debut, live, on-stage storytelling event, Listen to Your Mother! I’m so pleased to be working with each of the cast members we selected to share their stories and to raise funds for our local YWCA who has worked to end racism and empower women and girls.
Behind the scenes at auditions.
Here’s an accurate account of my life right now…
And here’s what I came across on the internet and thought you might enjoy…
Me whenever anyone offers me caffeine lately.
This Tumblr account that imagines Kylo Ren living at home with Han and Leia.
This comedian talking about what we do when the doorbell rings.
(found via the hilarious Darla of She’s a Maineiac)
This book we bought for our nephew. Ok, actually for his parents.
You can’t beat this hilarious bedtime story for adults.
That’s what I was up to while I was away.
What have YOU been up to, friends?
It’s entirely possible I’ve taken too much on.
Well, I’m not admitting anything, I’m just saying it’s possible.
I’ve been having a tough go of things at the day job, and in my attempt to focus my energy on the things that I love, I’ve said yes to a multitude of projects and commitments.
I now find myself busier than ever with a full-time job, part-time freelance assignments, rehearsals and show dates with an improv group, a once-a-week adult storytelling class, a twice-a-month writers critique group, and oh yah – I’m directing and producing a Listen to Your Mother show this spring and auditions are in less than a week!
You can understand why my main hobby right now is drinking coffee.
Hobbying like a boss.
My days off were out of the ordinary this weekend, so I tried to plot out some time to relax.
You know, in between 2 radio interviews, 2 improv shows, a six hour shift tabling for the health clinic I work at on VDay – One Billion Rising, and one of my writers group critique sessions.
I did manage to spend Valentine’s Day Eve with my main squeeze, also known as He Who Says Weird Things While Sleeping. We stayed true to our tradition of watching a very un-romantic movie together. For example, past Valentine’s films have included Tremors and Silence of the Lambs. This year we watched The X Files (1998 movie).
Anyway, enough about my crazy week, because I’m sure you’re all just as swamped with projects, commitments, running little people places, and whatnot as well.
Here’s a few of the things I managed to sneak in so I achieved some self care time.
Most of you know I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and it’s the only way I get so much reading done. I listen while I get ready for the morning, while driving in the car (even though I only have a 15 minute drive), and while I get ready for bed at night.
It is not unusual for my husband to find me sitting on our bathroom floor just listening to a good story. It’s my zen moment at the end of the day.
2. Take a bath.
I know baths aren’t for everyone, but I sure love them. They are so relaxing to me, and I did manage to sneak one in. They are also a great time to listen to an audiobook!
3. Indulge in a guilty pleasure.
For me that involved watching a few episodes of Felicity on DVD. I watched while I ate my lunch or folded laundry and enjoyed an old favorite show.
BTW, Felicity and Ben are broken up right now…again, and Noel is trying his very Noel best to move on, but it’s not going so well. Javier, on the other hand, is still my favorite.
That may not seem like a lot, but in their own way, each gave me a little escape and some relaxing down time.
And I did just run across this gem of a blog post, and wanted to share it with you, my fellow busy bees. 23 Way to Treat Yo Self Without Buying or Eating Anything
How are you practicing self care this week, friends?
Listen to Your Mother is coming to La Crosse!
It’s safe to say I’m really excited to be bringing this national production that gives motherhood a microphone to my city.
If you haven’t heard about LTYM, it all started six years ago in Madison, WI with a mom and blogger named Ann Imig. She put the first show together in two months, folks! This woman is a woman after my gamechanger heart.
Now, La Crosse, WI is 1 of 41 cities across the country (and Canada) producing a live on-stage performance of original, true stories about mothers and motherhood!
Every city has a different show. Yet every city is recognizing the humorous, heartfelt, sometimes hurtful, hopefully helpful stories that come from our mothers or from being a mother.
But here’s another cool thing!
It’s really inclusive. So the show is open to women AND men. You can write about being a mother. You can write about your mother. OR you can write about the person who raised you.
Auditions are coming up all over! If you’re interested, check out the participating cities and see if there’s a show near you!
For my local friends, auditions are at the end of this month, February 20th, 22nd, and 24th by appointment. And the show date is April 30th. You can visit the Listen to Your Mother – La Crosse blog for full details.
Why am I so happy to bring LTYM to La Crosse?
Because we have a bustling arts community here with so much talent. And I’m sure a lot of people with great stories! No prior stage experience is needed. But what I truly love is the mission behind LTYM, who is committed to sharing diverse stories from all kinds of people. That’s what I love about freelance writing, interviewing strangers, performing improv, and working with my writers group.
Plus, proceeds from every show go back to an organization that benefits women and families. I’m thrilled to be working with the local YWCA for our show, whose mission is to end racism and empower women and girls.
My Local Production Team: L to R – Beth Erickson, Me, Molly Hilligoss
My production team is amazing! I’m super proud to be working with Beth Erickson, owner and editor of Jobe Communications LLC, and Molly Hilligoss, diversity and social justice advocate from the local YWCA.
We’ve been waiting a long time to hear your stories!!
Seriously, this is us gathering last November for an early Thanksgiving lunch production team meeting.
Since I had just signed them up for a lot of work,
I thought the least I could do was cook for them.
You don’t have to be a professional performer or writer to try out. You could have been on stage 100 times or 0 times. We’ll cast our show based on the full spectrum of stories we hear – kind of like making a great playlist.
So start writing, La Crosse!
Everyone has a mother story.
The wide world of the interwebs has been on a role lately. It gave us these amazing gifts and scattered them across our Facebook feeds, blog readers, twitter timelines, and one of my particularly favorite time wasters, YouTube, and its endless rabbit hole of clips to watch.
With the new year already flying by, friends and family alike are feeling overwhelmed. Adding in the loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman only heightened all “the feels” and I think we could all use a little entertainment that makes us smile, or better yet, bust a gut laugh.
I Give You These Gifts the Internet Gave Us
Go Ahead and Laugh
Because everyone loves a good pun, Comedy Central sent out the hashtag request to #InternetABook, and Buzzfeed collected 29 Hilarious Literary Internet Puns. Don’t judge me, but my favorite one was “Moby Dick Pic.” I died laughing.
Reaching ERMAGHERD status – James Corden and Tom Hanks acted out Hanks’s film career in a matter of minutes and it’s spectacular.
Stop everything you’re doing right now and take this quiz. Wes Anderson has to be one of my all time favorite film directors. I will watch anything that man creates, even if it was an ad revival to bring back yellow pages on the home shopping network. (But why would anyone want that?) Anyway…
I got: Jane from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
“You and Jane share a tenacity and a love of words. Whether you’re also a journalist or not, you’re always searching for the truth and greater meaning in life, just like Jane. You’d make an effing great duo.”
Brace yourselves, children, because Anne of Green Gables is back!
Or check out celebrity nano-impressions by Ross Marquand! See celebrity impressions in common day snafus. My fave: Brad Pitt forgets what he was going to say.
In honor of Alan Rickman, let’s talk about that time he pranked Harry Potter with a fart machine. Don’t you wish you were a fly on that set?
And Now For Some Self-Care Super-Stories
August McLaughlin is my sister from another mother, and she penned this awesome post about 5 Empowering Questions to Ask Yourself Daily for a Groovier, More Impactful Life. I am all about the side hustle right now.
Kirsten Weiss of the Para Your Normal blog shared 5 Mantras to Boost Your Magick. Let’s just say, the universe has been telling me this for awhile, and I’m ready to listen.
My friend Liz from Be. Love. Live. is offering free life coaching now – and I jumped at the chance. Liz has 20 years of experience as a mentor and coach and her blog is one of my favorite motivational/inspirational blogs. It’s real, she’s on a journey too, and it’s full of her beautiful photography not stupid posters with kittens hanging from tree branches. (Note* I have nothing against kittens on tree branches.) Check out Living Intentionally: How to Take Control of Your Life One Moment at a Time.
“Raise your hand if you’ve felt completely overwhelmed sometime in the last six months.” That’s the comaraderie you’ll find with Heather at Hiya Tootsie who gifts us with How to Handle the Overwhelm: a 6 part strategy.
If inspirational just isn’t your thing, then I leave you with Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. He’s got this thing figured out, and it’s funny.
What’s been making you laugh this week?
How are you following your dreams?
This is my husband, Joe.
To clarify, he’s the non-reptile one.
Joe likes road trips, playing 2 recorders at once,
and making his wife sing songs with him.
Whatever he says, it’s typically entertaining, so I like to share it with all of you!
Recently, we went to see the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. We both really liked it! And I guess he had the movie on his mind one night when I overheard this…
Joe: Aiding and abetting…
Joe: Chewbacca lovers.
Me: What about them?
Joe: I don’t know… They’re up to something.
Then, a few nights later, he made this random statement.
Joe: I wish I had some coconut oil.
He claims that dream came from a Facebook ad in his feed about coconut oil being a fix-all solution for any problem. Sure, Joe. Whatever you say.
What do YOU think the Chewbacca lovers are up to?
And in case you missed it, celebrity themed movie marathons are back! Every wednesday night this January, we’re watching an Emilio Estevez film and celebrating #EmilioFestevez!!!
Watch along and live tweet the film using the #EmilioFestevez hashtag.
And now, there’s a Facebook group for that!!
Movie marathons are bi-monthly, and if Twitter’s not your thing, you can hangout on Facebook too. Find out the movie lineups, share your ideas for future marathons, and meet other film-loving fools like you! Hope to see you there!
I have always wanted to be a writer. Sure there were passing ideas about being a translator for the United Nations, a spy, and a voiceover artist, but through all those fleeting occupation plans, I’ve wanted to be a writer.
I think the first story I ever wrote was called ‘Fluffy the Cat,’ and it was about a cat named Fluffy. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, I did show talent early on. You can call me gifted, I don’t mind.
When we start out as little baby writers, we emulate the authors we know and love. I went through phases where I wrote like Dr. Seuss and Cicely Mary Barker (the author/illustrator of all those Flower Fairy poems), Sylvia Plath and Peggy Hong. When I found Adrienne Rich’s The Fact of a Doorframe, it became my Bible. My copy is full of post-it tabs and the binding is broken. I wrote like 20 papers on her in college.
I know all of us make stupid decisions while in high school, but I made really stupid decisions in high school. For example, I thought a stellar look for my first homecoming dance would be to have my friend’s mom make me a renaissance outfit using gray and lavender plaid flannel fabric for the skirt. Who thinks of flannel for a formal dance? This girl. But this isn’t a post about fashion, it’s about writing. And I’m going to confess my most stupidest act as a writer. Are you ready for this?
My Most Stupidest Act as a Writer
I cheated on my boyfriend. I see some of you are confused. I can explain. I truly believed, in the deep down pit of my soul, that I did what I did because I thought it would make me a better writer. Pretty stupid, huh?
I was reading all these books about forbidden romances and free love and I was talking about them with someone I thought was a friend. I trusted her when she gave me advice. I know now, I was pretty much just a form of entertainment for her. She could live vicariously through me because I was the one making bad choices, hurting others’ feelings without any regard. How I wish I hadn’t been so naive.
Of course I’m sad that someone I thought was my friend didn’t talk a lick of sense into me, but ultimately this was my mistake. I believed the only way I could write like all these other authors I loved was to “experience everything.” Did the pain I caused my boyfriend make me a better writer? No. Of course not. Did it make me a better person? I hope so. I sure as hell would never put anyone through that kind of pain again, and as karma would have it, I felt what it was like personally a few years later. I don’t condemn all cheaters. People do what they do for all sorts of reasons. But thinking it would make them a better writer? Yah, if I hadn’t fooled myself into thinking that, I wouldn’t understand it.
So there you have it. My confession. My dirty little secret. I’m not proud of it. But I often wonder if the life lesson overall wasn’t worth it. I learned what it means to hurt someone, I learned what it means to be hurt by a friend. I don’t think it helped me with craft or editing, but it helped remind me I’m human. I will make mistakes – foolish ones I won’t believe I did. But I will try better next time.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in the name of writing? I bet it’s not as stupid as mine.
I’m at the Madison Writers’ Institute this weekend filling my head with all kinds of wordy knowledge. Wish me luck!
I’ve got my road trip priorities (audio books, coffee and cake pops) all set!
To entertain you while I’m away, I’ve compiled some of my favorite reading spots to keep you company. And if you really, really miss me (Aww, aren’t you the sweetest?!), you can find me hanging out with The Indie Chicks. I’d love if you stopped by!
For the Writerly
Editing tips from The Secrets of Midwives author, Sally Hepworth, in What the Editing Process Really Looks Like.
Rachel Funk Heller guest blogs at Writers in the Storm with 8 Tips on Writing Faster – And Why You Should Try It!
Hopefully you haven’t missed Bayard & Holmes Writing Spies series. It’s pretty cool. The latest is How the Pros Bug a Room.
More thriller fun came in Kristen Lamb’s latest, Series and Psychopaths – The Author Sadist & Why Audiences LOVE the Pain.
It’s part of the job for writers, right? Social media is a must. Jane Friedman offers tips for managing it, My 5 Philosophies of Social Media.
For fans of Top Ten Tuesday and book lists, check out Maren’s post at The Worn Bookmark – Top Ten Books I’d Love to Revisit From My Childhood.
Looking for your next great book to read? Waste no time! Grab a FREE (for a limited time) copy of Tameri Etherton’s book, The Stones of Kaldaar. Already own it? Book 2 is out now!
For Those Who Love to Learn
I love the notion of “arousing your life” in August McLaughlin’s 3 Powerful Ways to Spice Up Your Bedroom Life. A must read.
“Life requires brave. And you’ve got it.” That’s the message of Erin’s #52Dares Challenge. I recently discovered this inspirational blog that gives you a new challenge each week to grow your own self confidence, boost your outlook on life, and be brave!
One of the founders of The Indie Chicks, Chiara Mazzucco, tells it in her signature straight style Accept Yourself – You’re All You Got.
Who doesn’t need a little nudge now and again to turn off social media and start tackling those to-do’s – 5 Ways To Manage Your Time So It Doesn’t Manage You.
For Your Funny Bone
Displaying micro-blogging at its best, The Bloggess, gifts us with There Should Be a Yelp For Places You Visit in Your Sleep.
Queen of Comedy, Her Royal Thighness, admits her kids don’t think she’s funny in What? You Don’t Like My Knockers?
Think you have skills? Let Steve from The Brown Road Chronicles tell you all about Slicing Bananas Like a Fucking Ninja.
What would you do if you discovered you didn’t have fingerprints? Aussa Lorens plans 5 Absolutely Justified Crimes I Might Actually Commit.
And I can’t wait to pick up the 3rd book, Allegiant. Alas, I’ll have to because I borrowed all these books from my sister and she hasn’t finished reading it yet.
Insurgent is the continuing tale of a dystopian society that has had its infrastructure broken apart. War is on the verge.
In Divergent, we learn about Beatrice “Tris” Prior, a sixteen year old girl born into the Abnegation faction. There are five factions in the world she lives in. Abnegation – the selfless. Amity – the peacemakers. Candor – the honest. Erudite – the scholars. And Dauntless – the brave.
Every year, the sixteen year olds attend the choosing ceremony, where they select the faction they will belong to the rest of their lives. Beatrice has a duty to her family to uphold her abnegation birthright. But Beatrice doesn’t choose abnegation.
She chooses Dauntless. And that’s not all that’s unique about Beatrice.
She is also Divergent – a person who doesn’t belong to any one faction, but has aptitude for multiple ones. They can’t be controlled, and they are viewed as threats.
This is why I stayed up late at night and read all morning on the weekends. Why I’ve got barely any writing done. Why I missed mealtimes. And why I didn’t bother to shower every day.
I was too busy reading Insurgent.
I was totally hooked. Someone get me a copy of Allegiant STAT!
Even my Instagram account is being taken over by Divergent and Insurgent…
What am I going to do in the meantime???
Have you ever been this hooked on a series?
Have you read any of the Divergent books?
What should I read in the meantime???