The Power of Lightness:
On Being Your Own Parachute
by Jennifer Paros
Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
~ Guillaume Apollinaire
Recently, I met up with a large spider in my bathtub drain. I preferred showering alone but didn’t wish to squish, vacuum, or rinse away the visitor. So I fetched a cup and piece of paper, carefully made the transfer to the bathroom window, and set him free. As he fell to the grass below I realized how light he was, and it occurred to me it was as if he were his own parachute.
I’d like to be my own parachute. Though I cannot emulate the spider’s physical lightness, I do have the capability to go light in my thinking – to soften my mental and emotional landings. The way I focus serves me as a parachute or a weight. I can face a subject that might feel heavy and big - like a stymied book project or a rejection letter - without matching its intensity.
In an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class profiling Billy Bob Thornton, the actor/director reflected on the seemingly bigger, heavier subject of the death of his brother. more...
Millennial Marketing and Asking for the Sale
by Kristen Lamb
One misconception is that social media’s purpose is to sell books. Yes, and no. Social media is for networking, creating community, and generating word-of-mouth (much like book signings once did). When we use social media to create authentic connections, sales will organically follow.
The Time Crunch
Discoverability is the greatest challenge writers face when it comes to selling books. Consumers are strapped for time, worn out and overwhelmed. Anything we can do to help narrow the field of choices is appreciated (and noticed). Consumers buy from those they know and those they like, which is why relationships help us stand out from the din.
That said, social media is for selling books, but we have to do so in a way that appreciates the vast changes in our culture. The Golden Age of Advertising is as dead as that meatloaf I forgot in the back of my fridge three weeks ago…and about as appealing to ingest.
Yet, what I’ve noticed over the years is writers tend to gather at one end of the spectrum or the other. Either they go marketing crazy or they never tell people they have a book(s) for sale. More...
reviewed by A.B. Mead
Godbersen takes what could be an outlandishly comic premise and spins a tight, fascinating historical drama from it: What if Marilyn Monroe were a Russian spy connected to the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Here the Russians approached a desperate, starving Monroe at the start of her career. She was offered guaranteed stardom in exchange for a Godfather-like promise that “a long time from now . . . you'll do something for us.” Now it's 1960, and her handlers want some sort of dirt on the up coming Senator Jack Kennedy. They also tease Monroe with the prospect of reuniting her with the father she never knew if she can come up with something juicy and secret. The novel traces the next three years, through Kennedy's nomination and presidency and Monroe filming The Misfits with Clark Gable. There are plenty of extended cameos by Arthur Miller (Monroe's husband at the time), Frank Sinatra, and Bobby Kennedy. Meanwhile, Monroe is under observation by an FBI agent who can't quite make sense of what he's seeing. Although, he muses, being under Russian protection might explain how Monroe manages to remain famous despite the fact that she makes so few movies. The novel is packed with keen-eyed observations, both historical (Kennedy at a party: his tie was “loosened, but not undone, as though to remind everyone that he was just a visitor in carefree California, and would be going back to the grown-ups' table shortly.”) and personal (Monroe speaks “in the small, breaking voice of a girl whose father has gone down to the racetrack for too long and forgotten about her.”). more...
Depression and The Creative Mind
Embracing Our Normalcy
by Ingrid Schaffenburg
I know there are lots of people speaking out right now about Robin Williams and I don’t mean to jump on a bandwagon here but I genuinely feel moved to speak out since the tragedy of his death brings up a very important issue that’s close to my heart. The issue of depression and the creative mind.
I, like millions of others, fell into shock upon hearing the news that one of my favorite actors of all time had taken his own life.
What? How could that be? He was such a brilliant artist! So full of light!
Then, remembering what I’d been told years ago about the fact that all comedy is birthed from pain, I sat back in quiet reflection and deep compassion.
But of course.
And then sadly, it all made sense.
Light and dark exists within each one of us, just as it does in the outside world. The capacity to which we can shine our light seems to mirror the capacity to which we feel and experience darkness. It’s a doubled-edged sword that has some of us walking the edge of the blade from time to time. In reflecting on the enormity of light that Williams emitted on such a consistent basis for all the world to see, I can only imagine the level of darkness that he dealt with behind closed doors and the demons he must’ve faced. more...
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Some species just won't die.