Last night, a young woman plunked down in front of the computer to do her taxes. She had been preparing for days, entering the easy bits into the online Turbo Tax program. Tonight, she vowed, “I will focus and file.” And focus she did, until 3 head-banging hours later, one small freelance writing gig could not find its proper place. It had confused both her and the tax program, leaving her at an impassable ledge. With no one to turn to and no way to fix it, she morphed into a gorilla. Frustration took full force. Her face went red; she muffled a scream, a real scream; her stomach clenched; she made a mean phone call to some family members; she cursed at the very existence of numbers; she hated everything; she was in a full-force overreacting mode.
After the rage, she slumped in her chair like a wet rag. Everything in her brain had sizzled to a halt. Everything in her body had collapsed. Was blood still circulating? Was she still alive or had she been taken out by the process? After some pouting, she chose, in a moment of clarity, to do the only thing she could do to reorient herself. Continue reading
I ran over a mile yesterday without stopping to catch my breath. This is the first time I’ve done such a thing since I was in 6th grade (with the humble time of 12 minutes and 40-something seconds) and the only time I’ve done such a thing without someone making me. Obviously I’m not one of those people who finds running as natural as sleeping. But once I decided to give it another shot, I was floored by the ease I found in it yesterday. My only explanation: good music, good shoes, flat surface, and a meditative pace.
I keep thinking, as my quads remind me of what occurred, how amazing it is that one moment we think we can’t do something and soon after, it’s already accomplished. The very act of writing surprises me in this way. One day I think that there can’t possibly be a need for another scene in Act 2 and the next day I’m writing it. It doesn’t exist, seems impossible. And then it’s not only probable, it’s happened.
PS. I know. I use the word “interesting” way too much. I’ll try to keep it in check for next time.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday was my last day in the studio with Liz Clark. Before going into the studio with Liz, I attended the SXSW Film conference, which also featured some joint panels with the Interactive conference.
Although I enjoyed and learned from both fields, I was blown away by the contagious energy of all the Interactive panelists and audiences I encountered. Leaders like Tim Shey, Zadi Diaz, Arin Crumley and Susan Buice and more inspired me with their enthusiasm for new forms of storytelling that go far beyond the old-school model of movie-making.
I’m reading an amazing little book by one of my new favorite authors, Parker Palmer. It’s called Let Your Life Speak and in it he explores how one truly finds a vocation, a calling, a purpose in life. He writes:
Some journeys are direct, and some are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled. But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.
He traces his own “deep gladness” back to childhood when he used to write little booklets about aviation. At the time he interpreted it as a sign that he should become a pilot, when really it was his first incarnation of becoming an author.
Two childhood memories popped into my head… Continue reading
When you have a new book out, you do everything that is humanly possible to get the word out. One idea I had was to send out copies of CHEER! to all the famous former cheerleaders out there. The biggest dilemma for me was whether to send one to George W. Bush, the man I hold responsible for, well, we don’t even have enough space for me to get into it. In the end, I decided to send a copy to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Who knows? Maybe it would land in George’s hands and he’d be photographed reading it on one of his many vacations to Crawford. So imagine my surprise when I got this in the mail today.
Special Sunday edition of Beauty in a Wicked World, with an exquisitely You-Tube-Bad Still Shot
Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.