MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR

Posted January 6, 2011 by tuniemb
Categories: Uncategorized

Life just keeps getting stranger.

After posting the blog entry that precedes this one, I returned to the Twitterverse.  Decided to let my eleven followers know that I was back (surely able to fit posting one-liners into a schedule devoted to fiction writing, right?).  I joked: Heard you missed my tweets, Yoko, so I’m back.  BTW, this year could we ALL finally give peace a chance?

And then I checked my messages.  There was only one, sent way back in August.  It was from Yoko Ono.  I thought that maybe this might be an automated response to anyone who decided to follow her so I checked her stats next.  Not surprisingly, she has over a million followers, but she only follows less than half of them (a paltry 486,774).  So far, she has posted 2,269 tweets.

Yoko sent me a shout-out.  What are the chances?  And this morning the hubster told me about a vivid dream he had last night about us hanging with John Lennon.  My left brain/head tells me this is because I told him Yoko had sent me a message; my right brain/heart tells me not to discount synchronicity, to stay open to other possibilities.

After all, the life lesson of the past couple of months seems to have been that almost nothing is as it seems.  Suffice it to say that December was surreal.

I went to the October bloggers conference to learn about best blogging practices and the biggest takeaway turned out to be a reminder of how much kids hate it when a dog dies in a story; a presenter referred to a popular booklist (“No Dogs Die”) that reassures readers in advance that the pooch in the book doesn’t perish.  That did it; I decided to let my dog live. So, I asked an agent who had requested a “full” if she would please wait a bit longer so I could revise the book, which I did in November.

And it was meant to be.  Not only did letting my canine character live improve the arc of the story, but all kinds of inspired writing enriched other elements – the addition of a minor character in the form of a kickass grandma, more details on b-girling, an entourage of angel-dudes in a hospital hallway.

I emailed the manuscript to the agent and admitted that a number of advance readers originally had urged me not to kill off the dog, so I was finally honoring their instincts:  “The dog in the story now lives,” I told her.  “So, incidentally, does my own dog Tuck, who, at 18 ½ years, may, in fact, turn out to be ‘everlasting.’”

As if this claim to immortality was what my beloved dog had been waiting for, he died in my arms the next morning.

I’ve been thinking about a blog post of mine (“Tuck Everlasting”) about Tuck’s earlier reaction to the completion of a draft of the book.  And others that have in common the awareness of the road trip to publication being something of a magical, mystery tour:  certainly the recent “Letter to the Universe,” two posts on synchronicity in Santa Fe; two posts on guidance coming from out of the blue; yet another (The Ultimate Collaboration”) on cosmic nudges; two on “Signs & Wonders” –signposts or markers that prompt one to keep moving forward, to name a few.

Yes, my novel is about a girl who prefers to be “invisible” and another who sees the invisible… but focus in this blog on the metaphysical has gone beyond the story itself (Mona & Me & the Other Side:  aka 2 BGFs & the Dz) to my writing process, not to mention a way of experiencing the world.  Perhaps it’s a direction to go in the new and improved blog, if I don’t decide to direct content specifically to tweens or to zero in on content driven solely by marketing savvy — on any day wooing as many visitors to the site as possible.   We’ll see.  I’m happy that I’ve recorded the journey, so far, for my own future reference and, perhaps, for others’, once the book is in the world.

I’m holding this thought:  there are limitless possibilities (which I’ll explore by and by).  But now, to the work at hand.  Ciao!

Revolutionary Petunia

THE ARTFUL BLOGGER

Posted January 4, 2011 by tuniemb
Categories: Uncategorized

If I learned anything at KidLitCon 2010 in October, it was that to build a following and to attain success, a blogger must post frequently and consistently.  “Never on Sunday,” warned bestselling novelist Maggie Stiefvater, a blogger out-dazzling every other.  Consider that she managed to post an original painting every day for two and a half years, and, along with the two other Merry Sisters of Fate, has knocked off a weekly short story for quite a spell.  But I digress.

The fact is – it’s been almost three months since my last blog entry.  So much for the power to put what one learns to practical use.  There are reasons for the lapse, noted in my next post.  First, however, I’ll cite for fellow bloggers the elements in blogs that, according to the experts, win hearts and minds… and repeat-readers.  Here’s the list:

*Keep it short. It’s only possible to read lots of blogs (which bloggers do) if each is brief.  Someone suggested that a post has to be read in two minutes or less before the internet rambler gets ready to click away from your site, no matter how scintillating.

*Make it snappy. Not too reflective.  Conversational in tone.  Humorous when possible.

*Post at the same time every week, multiple times each week if you can.  Mondays are good for traffic.

*To ensure that you don’t spend too much time creating any one post, use an egg timer.

*Use keywords related to your subject matter to draw in newcomers.

*Actively seek exchanges and make connections.  Leave comments when you visit other blogs.  At your site, answer every comment.

*Keep a specific audience in mind (teen readers, middle grade gatekeepers, fellow writers) with regard to subject matter.  Match your tone to their sensibilities. Think “pout” for teen readers and “smiles/happy endings” for middle graders, one writer suggested.

*Make the blog user-friendly, including in sidebars your brief bio, your picture, your links (email, Facebook, Twitter, a website), blogs you actively follow, and, if you have one, your brand or graphic and book cover(s).  Keep track of your stats (number of visits, etc.).

A look at this list may convince you that you’ve mastered the art of blogging.  On the other hand, it’s clear to me that I’ve pretty much broken all the rules in the blogger’s bible.  My earliest entries in 2009 morphed fairly quickly into essay-like reflections on the writing/querying process or on content in the book-to-be.  I spent so much time crafting posts, there was precious little left in the allotted timeframe to visit favorite blogs or to post weekly.   Some of my most popular posts (WordPress.com keeps stats) drew visitors interested in “angels” or “hip hop,” not likely to return — at least not until a book materializes.

I’m still on the road trip to Shangri-La (aka Publication), but from now on, a periodic “post” card from me will have to do.   I’m absorbing all the info –- takeaways for a new and improved blog that supports a book launch; tech tools that serve book promotion around publication and that make school visits at a distance possible; sites like Kidlitosphere Central to frequent.  I’ll be tinkering with a whole new format for a tween audience down the road.  But, first and foremost, I’ll be writing – well, actually revisiting and revising three manuscripts that have promise.  I’m def on a roll here.

Photo by Kathleen Kimball-Baker; Bruce Nauman/Philadelphia Art Museum

KidLitCon’s zeitgeist of mostly thirty-something, white, female uber-bloggers gave me pause.  Did I want to spend my immediate future immersed in reinventing my blog or in a major revision of my book for an agent. “Of course, writing books is more important…” was a throwaway line during one of the sessions, but it was the prompt I needed in order to choose to do the latter, asap.  Actually, a book list on a blog mentioned at the conference inspired the revision.  This work in November (and flying monkeys in December) kept me from posting here until now.  But more about that tomorrow.  After my long silence, thanks for stopping by.

A LETTER TO THE UNIVERSE

Posted October 11, 2010 by tuniemb
Categories: Uncategorized

Fear is the cheapest room in the house.  I would like to see you living in better conditions.

Hafez

The results of writing my first letter to the Universe were amazing.  Even two decades later, I’m periodically moved to offer up thanks.  So it’s hard to explain why the experience didn’t prompt a whole string of epistles.  I’m chalking up the two decades that passed before I penned a second, just a couple of days ago, to an ingrained resistance to asking for help, especially on behalf of me-myself-and-I.  That and the  fear that I couldn’t fully know what I needed.  The fear that, in the long run, a “gimme” would lead  to unforeseen complications, disappointment, regret.

When I wrote that first letter, our family had, for many months, made countless forays into surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs to find a house to replace the one we’d outgrown  — only three of us able to sit at the tiny table against the kitchen wall, my teen daughter less than enthused about still sharing space in her bedroom dormer with my writing desk, file cabinets, a floor loom and me.

The hubster did his paper work next to the pile of laundry in the unfinished basement, the cellar a black hole for not only the detritus of our lives, but a ghost whom each kid had seen on a couple of occasions.  Not a cherubic Casper, but a creepy geezer whose appearance always sent them hightailing it up the stairs.   We agreed that we couldn’t be sure that renovating the basement would send the spook packing.  And we also agreed we couldn’t bear to expand by cutting down the magnificent old maple at the back of the house, beneficiary once of love offerings from the neighborhood kids at a party we’d hosted to honor the tree.

Most of the candidates that were within our budget required a huge amount of work to refurbish.  Others were unsuited to our needs or just plain ugly.   I finally stopped looking, though daughter-and-dad continued making the rounds of open houses.  I suppose I wanted to make a show of doing something and announced I’d write a letter to see what the Universe could deliver on our behalf.  It was an  exercise described in a book I was reading and the guidelines were simple enough:  Relay a request for something that is one’s heart’s desire.  Be as specific as possible, providing details of what one hopes for.  I didn’t visualize a particular house, but I did mention qualities I’d love in any space  — beauty, whimsy, innovative design, a place to write, that kind of thing.

I was to focus on what I, the sender, desired, but I cheated a bit, including features I knew family members hoped for.  Another rule was that the sender needed to engage in the willing suspension of disbelief.  One was not to worry about “how” the desired object or situation could possibly manifest.  Let go, was the advice: Be sure to not only put the letter out of sight, once completed, but out of mind. I set a date by which the house should materialize, signed the letter, and let it disappear under a pile of papers.

I didn’t even think of it, a few months later, when an acquaintance phoned to say he’d jogged past a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign by a house that, for some reason, he pictured our family living in.  I reluctantly went to give the umpteenth prospect the once-over and instantly fell in love. Barely past the entry, I gushed to the owners, “I have to live here,” as my mate reasoned that any bargaining leverage had just gone down the toilet.  We both celebrated the privacy afforded by the surrounding woodland, how the house managed to be both whimsical and beautiful, the ingenious design by the architect– and, my astonishment growing, the fact that it also was within our budget.

However, the owners were selling the adjacent woodland as a separate parcel, with an access road to be built close to the front door of this existing house.  We were definitely not keen on the idea of any honkin’ cars or Harleys moving through our front yard, day and night.  No other potential buyer seemed so inclined either. We waited, hoping the owners would eventually decide not to divide the property.  More than one friend told us we were crazy; urged us to nab the wondrous house before someone beat us to it, but oddly unperturbed, we stood our ground.

At last, defying all logic, the sellers decided to throw in those woods with the house for an insanely low sum.  To our dismay, they also put the sale in the hands of a realtor who found lots of interested buyers willing to bid significantly higher than we could, even given our advantage, as original prospects, of exemption from the added realtors’ fee. 

Ultimately,  to our astonishment, the owners opted to sell to us.  We were the family their daughter thought should have the house they’d loved as much as we clearly did.  We were still pinching ourselves on the day in mid-July when the sellers, already living on the East Coast, faxed us documents to finalize the deal.  I was packing for the move when my forgotten “letter to the Universe” surfaced at the back of a desk drawer.  I reread the request — one fantasized feature after another having become real, not to mention ones I couldn’t have dreamed up.  When I saw the deadline I’d penned, my heart skipped a beat.  It was the exact day in July we’d signed the faxes, making the dream-house ours.

I’ve spent subsequent years affirming my intentions, convinced that “energy flows where attention goes,” but the other day I went a step further. I picked up a pen, ready to clarify, once and for all, the direction to go with my writing, welcoming any and all impossible-to-ignore signs related to whether to continue work on my current manuscripts or to move on to another book that intuitive friends insist is in my future.  I made a request from the heart to write what I’m meant to write… and, doing so, to make a difference in readers’ lives.  Tucked the letter into the back of my current journal.  Felt the impulse to acknowledge this move in a blog post, but, again, to consign the letter’s existence to a cobwebbed corner of my mind.  I recognize that this ritual is as much about trusting the Universe as it is communicating with All-That-Is.

Do you have such a letter in you, begging to be written?  An added perk:  no postage is required.

GOOD MEDICINE

Posted September 22, 2010 by tuniemb
Categories: Uncategorized

I last posted over a month ago, but not for any lack of writing prompts.  There was no shortage of moments when I found myself thinking,  “I need to write about this.”  I coulda-shoulda provided an entire post about the first-ever WriteOnCon, for instance — an online conference in August for writers of children’s and young adult literature.  The savvy group of bloggers who dreamed up the event ingeniously added live chats, live panels, and live workshops to the hourly offerings so that some sessions were even interactive.

I missed an author’s welcome and keynote, scheduled for 5 A.M. in my time zone, but I savored editor Molly O’Neill’s 7 A.M. session called “Give Yourself Permission,” wondering how many of the 1400 other “attendees” were jotting down her advice, still in their pajamas.  She provided what may be the exhaustive list of ways writers must give themselves permission… to kill a character; to write something new; to royally fail, maybe more than once; to be where one is in the writing journey (instead of farther along); to stop measuring oneself against other writers.

“I need to write about this,” I thought, but when real-life concerns took precedence, I not only didn’t blog about her very valid points, but ended up missing the rest of the editors’, agents’, and authors’ talks. Last night, however, I discovered that the conference hosts — bless them — ensured that every session would remain accessible for an entire year.   Anyone can go to the website for exposure to these freebies.  How cool is that?

Incidentally, this is not to be confused with KidLitCon, the 2010 national conference happening in Minneapolis this year on October 23rd.    Organizers of the annual convocation are dedicated to providing writers, bloggers, and editors, who typically connect in the kidlitosphere via blogs, emails, Twitter, and Facebook, with the rare chance to interact face-to-face.  NYTimes bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, who also happens to be a blogger – one of the three Merry Sisters of Fate with legions of devoted followers, says the bio   — headlines as the opening keynoter.  I’ve registered for the gathering.  If you’re up for such a meet-up, find out more here.

Truth be told, I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely had time to take a deep breath, much less do any writing.  As soon as Peter, the partner with whom I’ve shared most of my days on this planet, received a diagnosis of cancer a few weeks ago, our survival instincts took over.  The two of us morphed into hunters and gatherers, hunting for the fittest medical team, gathering the most relevant info and options as well as resisting the fear-based “what ifs,” refusing to play any what-are-the-odds head-games.  (I did find myself reading The Hunger Games, at last — the popular dystopian YA novel –a first of three– in which each teen battles for survival, yours truly identifying with the characters much more than I would have just weeks ago.)

I also felt as if I spent a few days inside an enormous bubble during a reunion in California with women all lost to each other for decades, but reuniting suddenly, amazingly, for a magical weekend.  The hubster insisted that I go since a benevolent Universe perfectly timed the gathering to fall between our Thursday afternoon interview with a third surgeon whose clinical manner and reputation prompted Pete to sign on as a patient and the Tuesday morning procedure to insert a portable catheter into his chest, prior to a first chemo treatment.  I told no one at the celebration, btw, about this ongoing challenge.  Here were women with stories to share of myriad roads taken, and sufficient distance from the experiences, to be able to laugh (often uproariously) about them.  It was so therapeutic.  “I need to write about this,”  I told myself.

Storytelling at the Reunion

And then it dawned on me.  I need to write. About anything.  Period.

So I’m back to blogging.  And journaling.  And querying.  And revising.  Even daydreaming about writing a letter to the Universe tomorrow.  (More about that later.)

You’ll get no argument from me about laughter being the best medicine, but writing, in all its forms, has got to be the next best thing for healing what ails me, keeping me whole.  I’m so thankful for this gift in my life.  Such good medicine.

“FULL” DISCLOSURE

Posted August 17, 2010 by tuniemb
Categories: Uncategorized

Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul/And sings the tune without the words/And never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson

There was this promise on the cool breeze that wakened me after a string of hot days and humid nights that it was going to be a glorious birthday.  The sudden shift in the air altered my external world and inner weather. I wasn’t alone in acknowledging this.  Among the friends and family who posted wishes on my Facebook wall yesterday, several asserted that the barometer guaranteed a birthday as near-to-perfect as possible.  And the day was perfect … long on love and joy.  Nothing short of miraculous, given unexpected news of a huge health challenge in the family only days earlier.  Reflecting on the beautiful day that had been, I kept thinking, Wow… what were the chances?

Recently I ran across a blog post addressing other chances  — those of an agent requesting a “full.”   Literary agent Jennifer Laughran provided the numbers regarding what her request for an entire manuscript actually signifies.  At the query stage, btw, a whopping 85% of the queries get a form rejection, at best.  Another 15% rate a personalized no-thanks.  Only five percent of submissions prompt her to request a “full.”  (Ms. Laughran had just requested my “full” so, at this point in my reading of her post, my heart skipped a beat, but the agent continued, “I reject almost all fulls… Maybe I liked it but didn’t love it.  Maybe I loved it but didn’t think I could sell it.  No matter what… almost all of the Full roads end here.”)

Stunned, I stared at the rejection rate for “fulls” on the screen — a whopping 95%.  But then a wave of relief washed over me because I no longer need to interpret a returned “full” as being the exception to the rule (a “rule” I’ve only imagined translates to “likely acceptance”).  Besides, there’s still a chance.  With the hope that a writer is capable of fixing a book’s “deep flaw,” she provides extensive notes and offers the opportunity to re-submit.  Blame my lifelong inability to connect with numbers on this cockeyed optimism in the face of a slim chance she’ll ask me to do likewise. Four percent, to be exact.

One percent of the time, she’s willing to offer immediate representation.  (She’s quick to add:  “This happens almost never.”  Yeah, got that.)  Given all this info, is there one logical reason to get giddy over the emailed news she’ll read my novel within twelve weeks’ time?  After all, she also mentioned that she picked up 16 of her 22 clients in the first year of her career; so it’s a big leap to take on anyone else.  Go right ahead and call me deranged.  I’m hanging on to the hope that my story could be in that final five percent in the same way, I suppose, that Lloyd, in the film “Dumb and Dumber” hangs on to his when he asks his dream-girl what his chances are of them ending up together:

Mary:  Well, Lloyd, that’s difficult to say. I mean, we don’t really…
Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Mary: Not good.
Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary: I’d say more like one out of a million.

[pause]
Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s a chance… *YEAH!*

There’s a chance, always a chance.  When you get right down to it, it’s about expecting miracles, whether the statistical probabilities relate to selling a book or reversing a prognosis. These days, in our neck of the woods, we’re singing the tune without the words instead of focusing on the numbers.  Good for a body.  Not to mention the soul.

(Michele Young-Stone kept singing through hundreds of rejections; here, for all my long-suffering fellow scriveners, is her homemade video about one journey and its happy ending.  I mean, what were the chances?)

TWEET, TWEET

Posted August 9, 2010 by tuniemb
Categories: Uncategorized

Entered the vast Twitterverse yesterday.  Writer Dennis Cass made me do it.

In a recent video, he’s a hapless author anxiously absorbing a host of tips from a social media guru who seems intent on bringing the clueless writer up to speed.  Clearly, to the networking novice, it seems like light speed.  The guy’s painfully aware that he needs to be” linked in,” but he’s also rueful about this overwhelming “new normal” in the arena of book promotion and self-promotion:  “You Tube!  Of course!  ‘Cause twenty years ago when I wanted to be a writer, a big part of the dream was being able to put little videos up on the internet.  That’s it!  I mean, that’s why we do this!”

It made me laugh.  At the same time, I found myself wondering if he’s talked to anyone yet about creating a platform. Or the need to become a brand — morphing into something distinctively sparkly and instantly recognizable, like Windex or Xanax.  There’s a thought-provoking NY Times Magazine essay about one author’s frequent impulse in a Facebook-and-Twitter-centric world, to privately register the most mundane act, the passing moment, as if each were being seen through a lens, its subject mentally crafting the clever tweet or captivating status report before her “experience” is even over.  It gives one pause.

Yet here I am – now a bona fide tweep.  One of a handful of articles –“Twitter 101” by Alice Pope in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of SCBWI’s magazine — sits on my desk, open to a whole page of Twitter tips.  @WriterRoss tells me:  Keep it tight.  Omit connecting words.  Twitter is a wonderful tool for learning to edit extraneous information. @glecharles reminds me to be “relevant.”   Always add value and remember, it’s SOCIAL media, not just an alternative RSS feed. (Which is why, I suppose, there was a long string of responses to critic Gael Greene’s musing about cicadas.  Made me wonder if the tweeple all a-twitter about these insects subscribe to @GirlsSentAway’s “80/20 rule” – 80% professional tweets, 20% to show your personality.

Pope, the long-time editor of Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market, asserts that Twitter can be “a powerful networking tool and an important spoke in your platform wheel.”  My platform wheel, tweeps. And she’s right, of course.  If Facebook has linked me with friends, and even friends of friends, who are writers and illustrators and publishing professionals and librarians and bookstore owners along with family and close friends, Twitter has the potential to expand that constellation exponentially.  The goal is to eventually link them to my writing, if, that is, I still have time to do the writing and adhere to the advice of @niallecclesDo not allow it to distract…  tweet during scheduled breaks.

In a Chicago SunTimes piece by Roger Ebert, literally no longer able to speak, he writes about how Twitter has permitted him to unload his zingers and one-liners, a God-given talent he could no longer use pre-tweets.  (I’ve suspected for some months now, btw, that some of the creators of the most entertaining status reports on my Facebook page have begun issuing them instead as tweets.)

Ebert expresses joy over this opportunity to have a running conversation with the world.  Indeed, the very first tweet I read, after choosing people to “follow,” came from Marcus Samuelsson, the chef who visited our table more than once when he owned the restaurant Aquavit in Minneapolis.  He’s since been voted top chef in the nation, written a cookbook called New American Table and made a meal for American-in-chief, Prez Obama.  Yesterday Marcus was looking for vintage plates uptown. Did I or anybody else know where he might find some?  It struck me as oddly egalitarian and highly entertaining that both Emeril and I got the “ask.”  And as I was tweaking this post last night, Yoko Ono tweeted to say she’s become a follower of mine.  I noticed that Yoko’s chosen to follow about 37,000 others of her close to one million followers, but this sublimely democratic chance for dialogue with artist and peacemaker Yoko still tickles me.   So tweet me, tweeple.  I’m @TunieMB and happy to be here.

PROCESS REPORT #4

Posted August 2, 2010 by tuniemb
Categories: Uncategorized

Never let the fear of striking out get in your way. Babe Ruth

As noted in the first process report last November, it’s a stretch calling an accumulation of rejections progress.  If I can use the word in the querying process at all, it’s with the awareness of an attitude shift from a few years ago when I sent my middle grade manuscript out less than a dozen times.  Didn’t matter that a couple of authors in my writers group proclaimed their undying love for the book, thought it a winner.  Didn’t matter either that I sensed it was a keeper.  Each rejection was a blow to the head and heart, so I’d wait a while before sending it out again.

Two agents were upset that I’d sent them the full manuscript simultaneously.  Another subsequently phoned for the “full” and, despite my status queries months later, never responded.  After a wait of almost a year to hear from him, I decided the time to stop honoring his request for an exclusive had long passed.  A few complained that historical fiction wasn’t selling.  I came across a plea on the back of a book by a famous author, urging the prospective young reader to give her story a chance, even if it did happen to be historical fiction, so I decided the agents must be right.  I was a newbie to such trials, having sold my first novel the first time out.

I had only a handful of names of agents others had provided.  And I didn’t know enough to celebrate a track record of requests for “fulls” from half of the agents I queried.  In the biz, this is an auspicious sign, a signal to keep submitting.  But I didn’t.  In the interest of mental health and because another story was percolating, I stopped querying and focused on writing the tween novel.  In retrospect, I’m glad I did.

I can revisit the middle grade manuscript in writers group this fall.  And I’m much more savvy now about researching potential agents, thanks, especially, to Casey McCormick’s blog, Literary Rambles.  My favorite candidates are in a queue of sorts so that I don’t lose momentum. Within days of the latest disappointment, I crafted queries to a couple of agents.  I’ve  had another request for the full manuscript.  And yesterday, I finally acted on an offer from bestselling author Dannion Brinkley and another from a publisher (though her company doesn’t publish kid lit) to let them know when I finished the book.  I’m hoping they’ll suggest names of potentially receptive agents or editors.  In other words, I’m doing the work.  And I’m not looking back.

Crew of Amy Sackett (third from left): The Collective

It happens to be an especially exciting month in which to look forward, anyway.  A BFF provided inspiration for the character of the fictional mother, Maia Arguedas (and to an extent, my clairvoyant teen, Mona).  I’ve always considered her an amazing intuitive.  This week, she’ll fly to New York City to be filmed as the subject of one of a series of documentaries on miracles, to air next year.  The program will highlight her role as a psychic medium for families of 9/11 victims. (She’s featured  in the bestselling new book Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11 by Bonnie McEneaney.)  I am almost as crazy-excited about her adventure as she is.

I’m also jazzed about the upcoming fifth annual B-Girl Be events at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.  It’s been almost a year since I had my first exposure.  That was before a group of amazing b-girls here befriended me, and it will be wonderful to see them and others from around the country perform.  The fabulous Amy Sackett, who has given me so much content for the book as the prototype for the character B-Girl Phoenix, is again in charge of the showcase of national talent on stage.  This year I’m bringing a “crew” who are sure to be as dazzled as I was last year by the dancers.  As b-girl Tracy Tient Yang likes to say:  “Woot! Woot!”

Finally, in less than four weeks, I’ll head to California for a reunion with fifteen of twenty lucky former coeds who edited Mademoiselle Magazine one magical month years ago.  Thanks to one enterprising woman who did a major search, most of us surfaced on the net or through alumni channels.  None of us can quite believe this is happening.  Surely it will be worth writing about.  Stay tuned!

Long ago and far away...


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