Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Screenwriting in the Country (with kids)

Laptops and banana bread and new scenes and a frittata.
And coffee.
And kids.
Porches and hula hoops and deciphering handwriting for data entry 
And pajama pants and a black dog.
And coffee.
And kids.

You do what you have to do to GET 'ER DONE!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lean On Me: How and When to Give a Sister Some Help

Excerpted from my advice column, Like Sisters, for Cville Weekly.  Please click here to read the whole column.

You want to save her, don’t you? You’re a good super-friend. You probably inherited it like I did. I’ve got a good bit of my grandmother in me. Not the part that ate like a bird, but the part where she squinted her eyes and helped you plan your escape. Hardship made her crafty. Until she died at 91, she held onto a thank you note from a friend who she helped elope circa 1935. In this issue, I answer three tough friendship questions using the skills passed down to me from Kitty Kane, my awesome grandma.

What do you say to a friend who seems to be dissatisfied with her job?
Get her a card—a funny one about friendship or cats. On the inside, include a handwritten message: “You deserve the best. Can I help you find a new job?”
Her: I complain too much about my job, don’t I?
You: Nope. You complain just enough for me to know that it sucks. I’ll help you find a new one. Do you daydream about walking away from it all, like you might quit at any moment?
Her: Yes. I feel like I don’t even know who I am.
You: I want to shake you by the shoulders, but I don’t want to make a scene. Start picturing your last day, and when that starts to sound good, I’ll help you.

Read on...

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Build Good Blog JuJu: Step Ten

"Danish Abandonment" by Andrew Shearer

Don't Abandon Your Blog for More Than 20 Days

Whoops.  I've been gone since August 20. What happened? Here are some of the things that MIGHT have been happening to me while I was away...I MIGHT:
  • have had a "crisis of meaning" and thought that the JCPenney catalog was more interesting than anything I could possibly write.  If you spend $75 there this weekend you can get $10 off.  
  • have been blogging in my head and forgot to type it out and push "publish".
  • have had my niece here from Seattle for a good long visit and used that as an excuse to get busy baking chocolate cake, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and taking her to the houses of dead presidents.
  • have been planning on how to come back stronger than Elizabeth Hurley on Gossip Girls.
  • have taken up yoga and gotten stuck inside a nasty, possessive Bird of Paradise.
  • have been scribbling, scribbling, scribbling away on this idea and having meetings with my friends and saying things like, "What do you think?" and "I scare myself."  And thinking, thinking and then more scribbling...now I think I've got it.
  • done this thing where when I get really focused on the future, then I get really intent to undo the past, and then I can't do jackshit about the present.  Creative babies do this to you.  Luckily, you can still drink coffee and wine when you are pregnant with them.
  • gotten called-back for a lottery commercial which I didn't get which is fine because I would've hated to have signed over my chance to win the lottery.  WHAT A RELIEF.  
  • just eaten half of a sesame bagel with cinnamon-raisin spread and half of a caramel apple and gotten PUMPED UP enough to crank out a Friday afternoon list.   
  • have gone through an internal, violent debate between attachment and commitment and come out on the other end of the wood chipper.  But I'm better now. 
Maybe you've been there, too.  Maybe you've abandoned your blog or some other worthy project.  I went to the little cabin in the woods (really just in my bed early in the morning and late at night) for a few weeks, and I wrote in my journal and I worked on this idea.  Please excuse the absence.  I don't have a note.  But...I'm back.  I'm back.