The first and most obvious sign that your partner isn’t enjoying sex is your partner is not having an orgasm. This may be clear to Captain Obvious, but it eludes Captain Oblivious.
Therapist: How’s the sex?
Dave: It’s getting so much better. Last night she gave me a blow job!
Dave thinks this is a positive sign, but it is not. This becomes clear when the therapist asks what happened then. Dave says he felt so good he drifted off to a wonderful sleep.
Dave, who thinks he is on the highway to happiness, is in fact speeding down a dead end street. He has been complaining of not having enough sex, but he has forgotten or never learned the cardinal rule. If you want to have more sex, you have to make it fun for your partner; and this certainly at least includes making sure your partner has an orgasm.
“We had intercourse; she didn’t come but she felt really good and enjoyed it.”
Polite is not the same as positive, and sat still for it does not equal satisfied by it.
Polite wears down, polite doesn’t last.
Another sign that your partner isn’t enjoying sex is the timing argument. Here the sex itself may be “fine,” but that won’t matter if the romantic encounter never occurs.
In our book Argument Addiction we write that couples differ over how frequently they want to have sex. There are many variations of this argument. Here’s a typical story we hear. Dave comes home from a business trip. He walks into the kitchen where Jen is preparing dinner and grabs her ass.
Dave: Are the kid’s at hockey practice? Let’s do it!
Jen: God! Is that all you want from me?
There is a ‘chicken or the egg – which came first?’ quality to this argument. Dave is saying “First we’ll have sex, then we’ll feel close.” Jen is saying, “Not so fast: first we’ll feel close, then we’ll have sex.”
If you are having this argument, the antidote is to appreciate rather than resent a fundamental difference between the sexes. Men often achieve emotional closeness through sexual intimacy. When they have sex, they feel it is a way to be closer to their partner. Women, on the other hand, often need a sense of emotional closeness, understanding, appreciation, and connection in order to feel interested, in order to feel ready for sexual intimacy.
How to talk to your partner about sex:
People have trouble talking about sex because there is so much self-esteem tied into sex. Neither partner is comfortable with the idea that they might not be the best, not only the best in the present but also better than all who came before. A tall order!
The trick is not to be defensive, and not to attack.
Attack is basically telling the partner they’re no good. “Other guys last longer,” “my high school girl friend gave better head,” “you take too long to come.”
Many avoid attack by being silent. Partners who are more than free with feedback in other areas (“Is that any way to stack the dishwasher?”) are curiously silent on the subject of sex.
The fix is to be steadfastly curious, while giving helpful rather than critical feedback.
The default position is “What can I do to make this the most fun possible for you?” Of course you can only make it easy for your partner to give feedback, you can’t waterboard them. On the other hand, if they summon up the courage to give some actual feedback, (“Right there is better” “Slower” “Like this”) then you had better be happy to hear it. If you are resentful or defensive, this will be the last feedback you get!
Why Scheduling Sex Beats Waiting To Be In The Mood
There are no couples where each wants sex the same amount. There is always someone who wants sex more, and someone who wants sex less. To be fair, the roles can switch: perhaps Dave wanted sex more often before the enforced diet of sex when the couple were trying to get pregnant. But in any case, it would be safe to say that right now, today, someone wants sex more, and someone wants sex less.
Things certainly didn’t start out this way. When the couple first met and — as Shakespeare would say — first started coupling, everyone was eager.
Of course, this dynamic is the same with same sex as with heterosexual couples. To make it simple we’re going to talk about Dave and Jen. When Dave and Jen first met at work, or on Tinder, or at a party or on blind date, or in a bar, or wherever — when they first met they were “hot” and sex was great.
What happened? How did we get from there to here?
When they first met the potent chemicals of infatuation flowed through their brains and bodies. It was almost like a visit to the crack den. Dave was amazing, thought Jen. Jen was fantastic, thought Dave. They were in love.
The crack den is great, the people are great…until the crack wears off. Then the place is full of cockroaches, the people have rotting teeth…
When the chemicals of infatuation wear off, it’s not as bad as in the crack den. But certain characteristics of your partner, to which you may have been blind (or deaf) previously, now come to bother you. Furthermore, there may be characteristics of your partner that he or she was not rushing to reveal in the infatuation phase. Same for you.
In any case, you are less enamored.
All this is natural, and not that far from normal. The question is how you deal with it.
Both people are less happy, and they start to blame the partner.
Now think about this: If last night they went to a cinco de mayo party, drank half a bottle of tequila, and had a jolly time…then today they would not be blaming each other because they were now less jolly. They would realize that last night jolly came out of a bottle. But no one says, “Gee I’ve got a hangover from those infatuation chemicals.” Instead they blame their partner. He/she/they used to make me happy. Now not so much.
After that, the arguments start:” All day and still you didn’t take out the garbage!”
“This is how you stack the dishwasher? The spoons are nesting with each other.”
“Late again? Can’t you ever be on time?”
There are countless arguments, and as the relationship sinks into argument addiction, sex very commonly gets added to the pile of disagreement.
“Let’s fool around.”
“I’ve got a headache.”
That is so common that it has become a punchline for comedians. Over time it becomes less comedic for those who live it
Let’s say Dave, because that’s how this would be portrayed in most dramas, wants sex. Jen is tired, or not in the mood, or has that “headache”, or the kids are still up, or may wake, or whatever.
He continues to push it, she fends him off, and so it goes.
He either becomes more angry or more sulky.
She becomes more convinced that he doesn’t understand her feelings. becomes more convinced that he doesn’t “really” care about her, doesn’t appreciate her, and becomes more determined not to “give in.”
Then sex turns into a power struggle. He wants it, she doesn’t.
On top of this is the fundamental difference between men and women regarding sex.
Men think: We’ll have sex, then we’ll feel close.
Women think: First we’ll feel close, then we’ll have sex.
Sex turns into a point of contention. Worse yet, it turns into a competition: if you win (and have sex) I feel like a loser. Meanwhile, if I win (and thus no sex) you feel like a loser.
We have the zero sum game, someone always loses.
Wouldn’t It would be so much better if sex was like the Mexican/Italian argument?
Dave: I’m up for Mexican food.
Jen: I was thinking of pizza.
Probably this will get resolved: ideally Mexican, and then next week Italian, or vice versa.
What would work best is if sex got resolved the same way.
Ideally, this would be relatively easy to resolve. (Mexican this week, Italian next week, etc)
The difference is that personal self esteem is tied up in sex. If she doesn’t want to have sex with me I’m not worthy, If he just wants to have sex with me I’m a doormat.
The argument about sex usually revolves around frequency. The argument can be like an
expansion of the old New Yorker cartoon.
Dave: How about sex?
Jen: Not now.
Jen: How about never? Does that work for you?
Better to get the competition and the self esteem out of sex. The problem is that other disputed areas bleed into sex.
Jen is angry about the kids, or the division of labor, or something, so now she doesn’t want sex.
Dave is angry about how she berates him, or how she watches cable news and won’t talk to him, so now he is “turned off.”
Now, let’s step back. In the real world if you have a problem in one area, you don’t want it to spread into the next area. In a large office building, if there is a fire, everyone will shut the fire doors so it doesn’t spread.
In a hospital, if someone has a contagious disease, the effort will be to contain it, to use an isolation room,and prevent spread.
In marriages, there needs to be an equal effort to prevent the spread of discontent.
If Dave and Jen disagree over where to eat, there is no need for that to spread into a disagreement over what movie to see.
The target is to contain disagreement, as opposed to encouraging its spread.
The same is true with sex. Sex at least was fun; let’s keep it that way.
It should be the opposite of you didn’t do x so I’m not interested in sex. It should be you did x but I’m not letting that affect my interest in sex.
That said, there is tremendous argument over when sex will occur.
Obviously, we propose that the couple schedule sex on a mutually agreed basis.
How would this work?
Let’s imagine that Dave wants to have sex once a day, and Jen comes up with once a month. Suppose they settle on once a week.
We maintain that marital happiness will markedly improve.
Doubters most often complain of the “loss of spontaneity.”
The question is what spontaneity?
The spontaneity of demanding, pleading, threatening — and the inevitable responses of evasion, denial, and postponement? For many couples the spontaneity ship has already sailed.
If you were having a bounty of spontaneous sex you wouldn’t be reading this.
Forget spontaneity. Focus on preserving a source of nourishing fresh water well in a possibly increasingly arid landscape.
Sex can be a positive in your relationship. Couples that are having a sexual relationship generally get along better than their counterparts who aren’t. You may feel that scheduling will inhibit “stick your finger in the wall socket” sex. But if that isn’t what you are having then you are not giving that up. Stop swinging for the fences, and striking out.
Of course, both partners have to enthusiastically undertake this plan, or it will devolve into the old conflict. If the “once a month” partner starts finding excuses to avoid the once a week, encounter things will soon return to where they are now. Likewise, if Mr. once a day continues to complain that once a week is not enough, then the partner will lose interest.
But if both partners enthusiastically embrace the compromise, then the relationship will markedly improve, and not just sexually.
Surprisingly, degree of compatibility and satisfaction in your relationship can dramatically increase in short order when sex is scheduled.
I’ve been haunted by cupcakes, those extra sugary ones from Magnolia Bakery that taste like your Mom’s cupcakes on steroids. I used to order them for the office every chance I got, but no one was fooled. They knew I was an addict.
I’ve know HUGELY talented achieving people who are also sugar addicts. I had an author who used to sneak in the side door of Duane Read so her neighbors wouldn’t see her buying cookies everyday. I know a woman who, every time she started a new diet, she locked herself in the pantry and ate a half dozen donuts. My best male friend has a deep fear being cut out of his car with the jaws of life – only to be found clutching the wheel AND a Little Debbie snack cake. We are all haunted people.
The bottom line with sugar is that it is an addiction. Some can pick it up and put it down (like those people who smoke a cigarette a week, the jerks) but most cannot. Sugar takes you on a ride just like alcohol – up/down, up/down – mimicking a mood disorder. I mean, why would you go out and willingly catch a MOOD DISORDER? You wouldn’t and without facing your sugar problem head on, you’ll spike and crash endlessly and those extra 20 lbs may never come off.
The good news is that once your stop eating it, you no longer want it. In Rena Greenberg’s EASY SUGAR BREAK-UP , she gives you the latest tools to break sugar addiction. A simple two-week detox is followed by whole clean foods and movement. She supports this with the latest CBD oil products to balance blood sugar and ease anxiety that leads to emotional eating. Recipes are written for simple, quick meals that will satisfy a family.
If you can beat being haunted by cupcakes and cookies and such, you have a good shot at beating the battle of the muffin top. You’ll have more energy, better mood, and lose weight. Do it for a couple days and you’ll say, “Sugar who?”
Focuses on Everyday People and their Experiences with Life After Death
For Immediate Release
Virginia and New York, May 10, 2019 — Lisa Hagan, CEO and Founder of Lisa Hagan Books, announces a new imprint dedicated to the afterlife. Love Never Dies will highlight stories from among the millions of experiences between the living and the dead worldwide. These experiences create hope and understanding with each new encounter.
“One of my first jobs in publishing was to assist with the sale of James van Praagh’s “Talking to Heaven” and that book forever changed my life,” says Hagan. “It sold millions and millions of copies worldwide. We have evidence that there is life after physical death. The soul never dies. This communication gives us hope, helps us to heal, and helps us find the courage to go on. This line between the living and the dead gives us a vision of the peace and unconditional love that awaits us all.”
The series begins with Joe McQuillen’s Searching for Christopher on the Other Side, his memoir of connecting with his young son who drowned after a night of partying, and Finding Color in Darkness, a recounting of Margaret Thompson’s bipolar son’s march toward suicide. While their deaths are shattering, each parent stares the loss in the face and refuses to back down. The result? Healing and meaning. In Understanding is the New Healing, Dr. Mary Helen Hensley shares stories of clients’ miraculous and often instantaneous healing achieved by guiding them through debilitating grief, often including visits from lost loved ones. Understanding is the New Healing has been optioned for TV/Film.
“Most cultures have a deep history of relationships with the dead — except America. Here, you’re expected to bury love one day and be back to work the next,” says Beth Wareham, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief. “While most world religions have well-defined ideas about the afterlife (‘Love Never Dies” is taken from 1 Corinthians 13:8–10), these books will have no boundaries and all visions and experiences are welcome. From Mexico’s El Dia de los Muertos to Native American beliefs that the dead can enter our world and we can travel into the past, these stories are all about memory, understanding, wisdom and honor. But most of all, these are love stories and I’ve always been a sucker for those.”
I did something ridiculous; I published my husband. That’s him – a music critic at the New York Times – looking decidedly unlike any classical music critic I’ve ever seen. His book is entitled Something I Heard, and if you love music – and more importantly, GREAT writing – he’s your guy (along with The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, once a young critic under my husband’s tenure as chief critic.)
I’m no classical music fan. Hendrix is my go-to and I’ve been waiting for Cardi B all my life. But I’ve learned about classical music – oh, how I’ve learned – sitting in concert halls around the world with him, rushing up the aisle so he could get home to file his review. I know my Haydn and found out I’m an Alban Berg fan (who knew?) I’ve been to Puccini’s house, saw Wagner operas in Berlin and know where Dvorak wrote Rusalka. Weird, right?
But that’s not why I fell in with the dude. I fell in love with a writer and what he wrote and what he read. In his book Something I Heard, you’ll hear it, great writing like this:
“The tango is sublimated warfare. It rarely smiles. Elegance, ritual and a deep dignity win out over darker impulses. In a single Argentine dance form the universal paradoxes of romance between two human beings seem to gather.”
That’s one hot paragraph and it’s what the guy does, boiling intense experience into a few tight sentences. It’s the writing that he’s known for, but don’t ask me. Ask The New Yorker. They say, “no one today can match the limpid elegance and intellectual precision of his style, which recall the heyday of Virgil Thomson.”
Wow. That’s some praise. I do chase him about the house yelling, “what does Mr. Limpid say to that, huh?” But man, what praise. I agree with those rascals at The New Yorker. If you want to understand music more deeply or just want to roll around in great writing, this just may be your book. But what do I know, I’m just the wife.
I don’t believe in monster monsters; there are just too many horrifying people to get past. I believe what you see can hurt you so don’t worry about beasts in the forest. (Nor the fins in the sea; shark attack stats are stacked high in your favor.) I moved through the world without fear.
That’s before I walked into the room where my husband was watching a documentary about the Menk, the Russian Yeti, or Big Foot to you. In 1959, nine students in Siberia set off on a camping trip and never returned. Rescue parties found them later, scattered half-way across a plain before the land rose up toward the Mountain of the Dead.
The tent had been ripped open from the inside; none of the students were there. One group had run into the tree-line; another in the other direction. One group was slumped around remnants of a fire, as if they had been trying to stay warm. The cause of death would later be judged exposure. The other group was scattered about. All died of internal injuries; it was almost as if they had been tossed in the air and brought down on a rock. One young woman had her tongue pulled out.
The bodies and their belongings were brought down out of the mountains and examined. A camera with film — all the shots taken – was found and developed. This photograph (above) was the last one on the roll. (If you ever find yourself in Siberia, there is a museum dedicated to this event. You can even see the negatives.)
Tonight, Wednesday April 3, our favorite monster hunter Nick Redfern joins The Travel Channel’s new series In Search of Monsters, traveling to the spots in the United States where you are most likely to catch a glimpse (and hopefully that’s it) of our Menk, Big Foot. Here’s some recent data on sightings from the Big Foot Field Researchers Organization:
Joe McQuillen is just a regular American dad who, after his son’s early death, embarked on a journey to reconnect with his lost child, soul to soul, in any way possible. His journey became a great love song to the bond of father and son, a relationship that extends far beyond the line between life and death.
Q When you were meeting with mediums since Chris’ death you kept very good notes. Did you know you would eventually write a book?
A Absolutely not. I thought I was keeping notes so that at some later time sitting on a porch in a rocking chair I would have something to refer back to.
Q Did you buy into mediums from the beginning.
A From the beginning I was given enough evidence to know that I was communicating with someone I loved on the other side. The more evidence I was given the more convinced I became
Q Did you ever meet with a medium and flat out strike out
A I did. It was on his birthday about 3 ½ months after he crossed. But I wasn’t about to throw in the towel. Like chefs and relief pitchers I believe a medium can have an off day. I also believe spirits are more comfortable with some mediums than others. And the reason for that is …… I have no friggin Idea.
Q Give me a few examples of mediums telling you things no one else could know.
A On June 30th 2016 I met with Andrew Anderson for the first time and he told me Chris acknowledged that I was planting something recently at his grave and that I was wearing a bracelet Chris gave me. I was in fact at his grave that vey morning planting shamrock seeds. I had also put on a bracelet Chris gave me in Disney World when he was 5 or 6 years old. I hadn’t put in on in 16 years but it was indeed under my right cuff.
Q Writing had to keep you in grief. Did you ever consider just walking away from it
A Not once. While the writing at times did keep me in grief it also kept me connected to him. And although sometimes the grief felt overwhelming it was worth it…. Every time.
I hadn’t thought of ghosts and the paranormal since the days when we held flashlights under our chins to tell a late night story. I lived in the daylight; business in Midtown, fluorescent lights, swimming pools, beaches.
Then my business partner and her client, the great monster hunter and weird meister Nick Redfern, entered my life. The first Men in Black manuscript arrived and within a week, they began popping up in my world. All the cliched Men in Black characteristics were there; endless telephone interference; black-suited men with pale skin, fedoras and sunglasses, jerking in and out of view, and strange photographers arriving to snap pictures of the house. In the midst of a telephone call to Los Angeles, I was talking about a deal getting done and a rasping male voice said “you just think so” when I remarked it would go forward. My callee did not hear him; the deal fell apart in days.
Being me, I got mad. Things got quiet until one night, I was looking into a mirror and saw two pairs of those skinny, jerky, black-suited legs running down the hall behind me. I did what any red-blooded American woman would do: I told them off, loudly and with swear words. They didn’t come back. No, those particular ones did not come back.
After Men in Black was published, Nick sent in another manuscript, Women in Black. Great, I thought. Now a bunch of skinny women in dark suits will jerk through here. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The process was peaceful, uneventful, boring almost. The women weren’t interested in me, I thought. Phew! We published the book. I felt that great sense of accomplishment I get whenever another book launches out into the world. It wasn’t until Nick was doing his publicity that I saw her across the street on the stoop. She looked to be an octogenarian or older and was dressed like a 19th century Sicilian widow, all black lace and long black skirts. I jumped into the street and charged toward her, calling “ma’am! ma’am!” just as a Comcast van bore down on me. It passed and she was gone.
Did I make her up? Did I make all of them up? Am I that suggestible? I suspect I am. At the same time, I find it thrilling to think about parallel realties, one where everyone wears black and knows the future. But be forewarned; opening this book will open you up to something. Its origins? No one is sure.
“In powerful lyric prose that sometimes can’t help give way to poetry…Gabrielle Myers sings her own, very personal love song to the soil under all of our feet. The voice in Hive-Mind is complicated, edgy, vulnerable and deeply in love with fig trees, cherry tomatoes, and the sound of crickets on a hundred and ten degree summer day. In these dark, environmentally catastrophic times, we need books like this one to shake us out of our slumber, remind us where we came from, reconnect us to what we are.”
–Pam Houston, Author Contents May Have Shifted
The late spring BBQ season comes with a rush as cherry trees flush with fruit and tall grasses tangle against our ankles. Rather than rely on additive and sugar-packed store bought BBQ sauces, follow this recipe to make your own savory sauce. Ridiculously easy to make, BBQ sauce should accentuate the fattiness of the falling off the bone rib meat. Instead of the odd and likely chemically processed liquid smoke, use naturally smoked paprika to give the sauce a smoky kick. The lycopene in the tomato paste and the Manganese and Magnesium rich molasses make this sauce leap with health benefits.
Rub for the ribs:
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
½ teaspoon black pepper
Salt, to taste
7 ounces organic San Marzano tomato paste
2 tablespoons organic blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons smoky paprika
½ teaspoon garlic paste (make fresh)
Salt, to taste
1. Put all the ingredients in a stainless steel bowl.
2. Mix the ingredients well.
3. After the ribs have cooked for 1.5 hours at 315 degrees Fahrenheit, lather the sauce on both sides of the ribs.
4. Turn the ribs about every 30-40 minutes as they cook for another hour or hour and half. Add more sauce to cover the ribs as necessary. Once they pull away from the bone, the ribs are done. If you like to grill, place the ribs on a low flame and gently grill them for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.
“U.S. companies are poised to launch a merger and acquisition spree fueled by the recent tax overhaul, reports the Wall Street Journal. A new Ernst & Young survey of 500 major company executives showed 73 percent plan to “accelerate” deal-making strategies with 48 percent of them willing to pay more for acquisitions in light of tax reform.” (Corridor Business Journal)
Over the past 37 years as a recruiter, I have seen a pattern that appears to be repeating. It is an interesting pattern that impacts many professionals in a negative way.
With the new tax laws in place, professionals do benefit with increases in spendable income. Unfortunately (or fortunately in some cases), it gives corporations more profitability.
How can that be a bad thing? Those companies will have more profits to acquire other companies. They will take advantage of “synergies” created by the acquisition.
What are synergies? Let’s look at the acquisition of one bank by another. If both banks have a branch at opposite ends of a shopping mall, will they keep both branches open after the acquisition? No, not if they are taking advantage of the “synergies” created by the merger. What does this mean to the workers at one of the branches? They need my book to find their next job.
Continuing to use the banks as the example, will they need two Demand Deposit IT organizations? No. Will they need two whole Personal Banking organizations? No. Will they need two Vice Presidents of Human Resources? No. Will they need two Chief Financial Officers? No. You can see how this process flows.
Unfortunately, especially since companies tend not to have success metrics in place for their annual reviews, excellent performers are released at the same time as poor performers.
Certainly, some of you reading this blog have been caught up in one of these reductions in force. Over the years, I either recruited or career transition coached some of you.
How do you avoid becoming one of the victims of these synergies? Become Employee 5.0. This is a person who ALWAYS has their search for a new position on simmer, ready to turn to boil as soon as the rumors of an acquisition begin to swirl around their company.
The choice is yours. Be the victor or be the victim. Now is the time to start plotting your next career move, not when the corporation tells you to.
Getting a copy of Employee 5.0 is a really good start. Use this simple system and you’ll have job offers in 90 days, guaranteed.
Below is a recipe from author Gabrielle Myers, author of the HIVE MIND, the story of a doomed love affair set on a farm in Northern California. Myers is as good with grilling tongs as she is with selecting the perfect word.
PRAISE FOR HIVE MIND
“In powerful lyric prose that sometimes can’t help give way to poetry…Gabrielle Myers sings her own, very personal love song to the soil under all of our feet. The voice in Hive-Mind is complicated, edgy, vulnerable and deeply in love with fig trees, cherry tomatoes, and the sound of crickets on a hundred and ten degree summer day. In these dark, environmentally catastrophic times, we need books like this one to shake us out of our slumber, remind us where we came from, reconnect us to what we are.”
–Pam Houston, Author Contents May Have Shifted
Hedgehog Mushroom, Green Garlic, Pistachio Relish
This relish accentuates the wild Hedgehog mushroom’s delicate woodsy flavor with a backdrop of spicy green garlic and pistachio’s round buttery crunch. When wilted, the creamy yellow and orange ‘shroom turns brown as the flavor gets concentrated and the water in the flesh evaporates.
Hedgehogs have a long growing season and are widely available for a wild mushroom. These fungal gems also contain high levels of vitamin D and selenium (Baldy).
Spoon the relish over the crispy skin of pan-roasted chicken breasts or thighs, marinated tofu, or a juicy rib-eye steak. You can prepare this relish ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, but don’t add in the chopped pistachio until right before serving—this will help retain its crunch.
1.5 cups, sliced Hedgehog mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil to cook the Hedgehogs
1 tablespoon, roasted and chopped pistachios
1 teaspoon, chopped sage
1 teaspoon chopped Castelvetrano olive
1 teaspoon finely chopped green garlic (or shallots)
¼ teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to finish
Salt, to taste
1. Heat up a medium fry pan on high heat, add the olive oil, and throw in the sliced Hedgehogs.
2. Shake the pan and stir the Hedgehogs as they cook. They will lose their liquid and then start to brown. Once the liquid is released, turn the heat down to medium. Aim for a slight golden brown. This should take about 5 minutes.
3. Right before the Hedgehogs are done cooking, add in a pinch of salt and the green garlic (or shallots), cook them for 1-2 minutes, and then add in the chopped sage for a final minute of cooking.
4. Set the pan aside to cool.
5. Once the pan is cool, add in the Balsamic.
6. Right before serving, add in the chopped pistachios.
Baldy, Meagan. “Fall in Love with Fungus.” News from Native California, vol. 29, no. 3, Spring2016, p. 19. EBSCOhost,proxy.deltacollege.edu:8080/login? url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=113773061&site=eds-live&scope=site.
I’m calling bullshit on the Harper Lee estate. I know some of the actors – and I choose that word carefully and correctly – and their greed at the end of Harper’s life took Atticus Finch away from us.
Let me explain. Harper Lee published one book in her lifetime – To Kill a Mockingbird. She did not publish – nor would publish – another book. She also never allowed another film version of the book because she loved the Gregory Peck one so much. When she died, her estate whipped out To Set a Watchman, the prequel to Mockingbird, and Harper Collins raced to publish. It was a multi-million dollar deal, big by publishing standards.
The problem? To Set a Watchman was about the racist, unconscious Atticus Finch. (And God knows, we have plenty of those characters, imagined and real.) When her editor at Harper Collins read it all those years ago, the editor said, “go back home and try again.” Brilliant words, it turned out. A wonderful couple in New York City paid Harper’s expenses for a year and she wrote her masterpiece. America now had Atticus and he is an important figure in all our imaginations, a morality that goes where we do.
So now, the estate is swooping in to control the Broadway play that Aaron Sorkin is mounting. That’s all fine and good – it’s their property – but don’t come to the aid on Harper’s behalf. You already sold her and Atticus out for money, something she managed to avoid in her lifetime. The play was produced everywhere by school children because again, money wasn’t her thing.
Because Harper was a great artist – she took a huge societal cruelty and fought it with a story – and her “estate” is a bunch of moist-handed “businessmen,” I’m going to skip the Broadway play – if it happens. I skipped the second book and To Kill a Mockingbird is here on my beside, where it will stay.
How about this, everyone. Stop messing with To Kill a Mockingbird and let future generations discover To Kill a Mockingbird by reading it. Let the Atticus feng-sui cover them like warm caramel as they begin to feel their own moral center, a world based on fairness, kindness, and the idea we are all innocent until proven guilty.
Photo: A group of editorial assistants strike out for lunch at Chipotle, New York City, 2018.
#writing is an occasional blog about writing, editing and publishing by Beth Wareham, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Lisa Hagan Books.
Yup, we’ve gone down the rabbit hole. No longer is a complete sentence of value to much of anyone. Shouts, blurts, name-calling and a general idiot wind are the order of the day. And everywhere, glorious coal waves as they chip away at the cilia in our lungs. (Land in Beijing and their coal dust-saturated air triggers a chest infectionin in MINUTES. Wow! That’s coal! Let’s also celebrate what coal does to our drinking water too. Yummy!)
As coal spreads out, the “John Q Editor has left the company” email rebounds across the electrified universe at an alarming rate. Agents, writers and editors stare into space and murmur, “does ANYONE still work in publishing?” An actual publishing company seemed to disappear overnight and everyone was left holding every kind of bag. Heck, everyone I know left except the ones that weren’t any good at it.
I feel bad for coal miners. They were made obsolete through technology. So was the steel worker. You can make a ton of steel in an hour with just one person because of automation. I feel bad for the publishing worker too; but less bad because he or she is supposed to be smart — and I’m not talking about the ability to talk about Henry James.
Technology has overrode much of publishing too. Get rid of that ridiculous office and layers of nonsensical workers and take to the machines. That’s all you need to make a book. Focus on the language, strengthening it for future generations. Focus on subjects the world NEEDS, rather than your idiotic and vague suppositions about what you think will sell. Develop GOOD and it will sell. Take the time you spent in manufacturing and join the 21st century. Make the writing as good as it can get.
That’s the hard part; great writing. “Fire and Fury” is not going to do it. Something big, meaningful, profound. Just because so many great stories have gone visual doesn’t degrade the imagination; images enhance it. Watching Netflix is not the enemy; focusing on it as the enemy is the enemy.
No, you’re not a coal miner. You’re a writer or an editor or a publisher. Work harder on your words. Delight someone. I swear, words burn hotter and longer than coal and don’t give you a lung infection.
You’ll be writing and dreaming years after the last vein has been tapped out and the last miner rips off his Davey Lamp, enters the cage and rises up. Coal will truly be over – as it should be – and publishing will still be okay because our need to learn and connect through stories will never go away.
I am hopeful that coal will pass (it’s not healthy for human or planet!) and publishing will finally ride those machines and be of interest to many. Then, the publishing overlords (not cool ones like in Game of Thrones, believe me) might let some of these workers live. Publishing could use the extra hands.
You have heard from almost every job search and recruiting blogger on the LinkedIn topic. This blog is different because the author is both an expert recruiter with 37 years of professional and corporate recruitment experience; and an expert career transition consultant with 20 years of career consulting while being the published author of 2 books on finding a job.
Why develop your LinkedIn profile? In today’s world order, LinkedIn is more valuable than internet job boards to identify and network into your next exciting position. The job boards provide you with the names of companies that are searching for your ideal position.
Then, it is wise to write the name of the company in the search box of LinkedIn. Click on people instead of jobs. As you page through people, search for leaders of your area of expertise in the targeted company to invite to link with you.
With every new profile you uncover, look to the right column under People Also Viewed. Are there people in that column who are interesting to you for your networking purposes? If so, find something you have in common with them – and invite them to link directly with you.
For instance, did they mention they are interested in education? Mention one of your education interests where you volunteered in your invitation. Then ask if they would like to link with you. Adding your phone number creates an opportunity to speak with them in person and a sense of sincerity.
Sales and marketing professionals in your industry or field are great to add to your LinkedIn network because they typically know many people in higher positions – and who those leaders would like to hire next.
Once someone links directly with you, most times you have their direct phone number in the top right of their profile under Contact Info. Click on Show More. If they do not list their phone number? Not a problem! You know their company. Call the company number. Many times, their voicemail system has a directory – fewer and fewer gatekeepers!
Hint! Work building your LinkedIn profile and connections during non-Prime Time – after or before hours when you can network directly with your LinkedIn connections.
Create an interesting profile for your new potential connections and recruiters. What is interesting? Include accomplishments with their metrics. Most people like to connect with other people they feel are top performers – and you just proved you are a top performer!
Add blogs to your profile under your articles about the length of this blog on the topics in your field where you have demonstrated expertise. This is a great way to build the perception of topic knowledge – in other words that you are an expert.
Interesting people are the ones who are offered interesting positions. You are on the road to becoming more interesting – and someone others want to network.
This is the best way to link up with LinkedIn. Intelligent, thoughtful linking will build the network you want — and the network you will go to time and time again in the course of your career.
Remember, it is your career and no one else’s. Reach for what you want and let LinkedIn help you build it. It’s just another tool in a world filled with them.
To receive job offers in 90 days, order Humbert’s new book, Employee 5.0, and use his 12-step program, sure to bring offers if the plan is worked hard and true.
Currently, trash-the-dress parties are all the rage. Some brides do it immediately after the wedding. But it’s a great centerpiece for a divorce party so, here are some ideas for your version:
Light it afire. As the photo above shows, a large body of water should be at your back. For putting out the dress.
Invite your guests to spray paint their names all over your dress. Or, use a different medium – say Sharpies or acrylic paint – and add a message!
Jump off a high wharf or dock into water. (Make sure to divorce in summer!) Snorkeling and diving are also encouraged. Pools are good if it entails an afternoon of swimming. A river float is best. (Imagine the Selfies!)
Remove sleeves of wedding dress. Cut the skirt into a mini and hem. (A hi/lo hem might be nice.) Lose the veil and find some platform pumps in any color but white. Turn the sacred into the profane and party, girl. It will cheer you up.
“Dye” your wedding dress by tossing drinks on it all night long. See the pretty colors and shapes, just like Jackson Pollack.
Whatever happens at this stress filled-time in life, remember to pause and be grateful. A new life begins. Celebrate it. Smile and laugh with your friends. You’ve earned it.
As a professional Recruiting Consultant with 37 years of expert recruitment experience, employee engagement is important to me, my business and my clients’ businesses. The 2017 State of the American Workplace by Gallup (http://news.gallup.com/reports/199961/7.aspx) produced some eye-opening results.
According to the Gallup study, only 29% of frontline managers were engaged in their jobs in 2016. Consider the impact of 71% of frontline managers who were NOT engaged in their jobs. According to the same study, only 34% of American professional workers are engaged in their positions. This should not be a surprise, given that most of their managers are not engaged.
People can love their company, its goals, and social brand yet hate their job because they are managed by someone else who does not want to be there. Many times, that person exhibits passive/aggressive behavior towards their direct reports. They may take credit for the successes of their direct reports. These behaviors take initiative away from the staff. Politically, those managers know how to play the game to remain as a manager while professionals in positions below them leave one after another. Worse yet, are you an employee of a company that forces you to resign your position and reapply for the same position with fewer benefits?
This is where you come in. Are you one of the 66% of American Professionals who are unhappy in your position? Do you realize there are good companies out there with top managers? Are you willing to work to find one of those companies? Do you want to earn more than 0% to 2% annual raises?
The answer is to become Employee 5.0 and leave that job! No, not until you identify and accept an offer for your new position where you will accept a new challenge, where you can have fun at work; and report to someone who is building a team of top performers.
Both women and men experience these poor managers. It is amazing how many people feel trapped. Employee 5.0 is empowered to make a positive change in their lives. There are jobs in the world (even in your town) where you make impacts; and enjoy your work so much that you cannot believe you are being paid.
With 12 short chapters, Garrison and Famiglietti lay out all the elements of a perfect end to anyone’s marriage — a really great bash done the exact way you want it to be. After all, it’s about you now. Let ‘er rip.
Here’s some of the many details you must consider:
Location Location Location – Don’t just have this in your living room like every other evening ever. You are announcing to the world a new you, complete with new energy and a new outlook. This about booking a private room in a a restaurant, or its entire bar. Love to bowl? Reserve as many lanes as your budget allows and have a blast. Book a spa weekend with your bestie or chase tiger fish across Africa.
Confection Selection – You’d have to be in a coma not to notice the amazing divorce cakes in the pages of glossies and lifestyle websites. Pastry chefs say this divorce dessert business is growing exponentially every year. It’s your chance to make a profound statement and eat it too. Pinterest is a great place for design ideas.
Make a Break-Up Playlist – Every party is about great music and yours will be no exception. The end of love enthralls songwriters and you have a vast library to choose from. Here’s mine:
You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt
Don’t Hurt Yourself – Beyonce with Jack White
You Outa Know – Alannis Morrissette
It Ain’t Me Babe; Idiot Wind – Bob Dylan
We Gotta Get Out of This Place – The Animals
No More I Love You’s – Annie Lenox
Get Back – The Beatles
Love the Way You Lie – Eminem with Rhianna
I Feel Free – Cream
Bye Bye Love – The Cars
So Cruel – U2
I Need A Lover – Pat Benatar
I Can See Clearly Now – Jimmy Cliff
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
If you are divorcing, celebrate the ending and beginning of a new you. If you have a friend or family member uncoupling, slip them a copy of The Divorce Party and help them start planning a bash and fun and hopeful as their future. Gather together and make a little lemonade.
Lisa Hagan Books is proud to publish this wunderkind’s series of men, women, and children in black, a bone-chilling look at dark entities that show up at the door and start knocking. Don’t open it; they have an agenda and it isn’t nice.
Some folks like the Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones M.I.B. characterization, but it could not be further from the truth. The M.I.B. are often threatening and always deeply weird. (We’re talking a lot worse than Stephen Miller and his awfully large forehead.).Their legs jerk and their suits flap off their bodies, five sizes too large. They use equipment from the 1930s and 40s and can’t taste food. They’re everywhere.
Why? Redfern, in his final yet-to–be published book on the MIB, WIB, and Black-Eyed Children phenomenon (Lisa Hagan Books, April 2018) introduces the idea of the tulpa, the Tibetan belief that thoughts can become real. No longer will you be safe if you just stay away from strange activity; you can be a victim by just having a thought!
As you read these books, you’ll have more questions than answers at the end and that’s the point. Nothing is ever wilder than our wildest imaginings, as Redfern has repeatedly pointed out.
Order Nick’s MIB series and plan to stay up late. The shadows will move and the floorboards will groan because just picking up one of these books invites them in to your head and your house. Be prepared for creepy all around.
Bill Humbert, dba recruiterguy.com, is a corporate recruiter who has dedicated much of his life to matching talent with employer. In Employee 5.0, he tells the job seeker what it takes to get into managerial roles and corner offices, all in an organized sales system sure to generate job offers in 90 days. If you’ve been spit out of your corner office during downsizing, Humbert shows you how to dust off the uniform and get back on the field.
After a career of reading thousands of resumes, conducting thousands more interviews, and negotiating on every side of the table, Humbert says that one element of a job interview launches it from good to great:
In the book, Humbert asks you to make a list of your “impacts” and create stories around each one. The people who interview you don’t say, “remember her great skirt?” They say “remember that woman who told the great story about doubling walk-up business with her phone?”
Which of the following would you remember?
“I sold 233 units in the first quarter, 233 in the next, 275 in the third and 299 at year’s end.”
“Last year, my final sales were up 33%. so I bought my wife a boat.”
It’s true; you’re divorcing. Whatever signaled the end – a loud booming fight or a harrowing lawn mower flight – it’s time for you to gather yourself, think about the future, and throw a damn great party to show the world you know how to take it on the chin with style.
Enter two young filmmakers, Mark Famiglietti and Lane Garrison, and their movie tie-in THE DIVORCE PARTY: 12 Steps to Celebrate the New You!. In one nifty little book, they dish on marriage – and it’s dissolution – factoids as well as history’s great divorce parties. In twelve clear steps, they show anyone how to plan and execute a divorce party that proclaims, “I’m an individual and here I am!” It’s an ending, sure, but it’s a great beginning as well.
All over the world, reports of life-changing divorce parties are rolling in. Here’s just a sampling:
1. A woman in Cornwall, England rented a hot tub for her divorce party. It was so much fun she started a business renting and installing hot tubs all over Cornwall.
2. “Take It Back” ceremonies abound. Sometimes called a “reverse wedding”, a divorcing “bride” or “groom” walks through the marriage vows in reverse order, undoing their promises and releasing themselves – and their former partner – to the greater world.
3. “Never Scared” parties include skydiving, pole dancing, surfing and hang gliding. Many use the divorce as a moment to try a risky sport. Why not? Nothing more dangerous than marriage.
4. “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My…” parties usually take place at a spa or retreat-like setting where women can symbolically exfoliate an ex and come home radiant and ready to rock and roll.
Pick up a copy of The Divorce Party: 12 Steps to Celebrate the New You! and start planning. Better yet, buy a copy for a friend and jump-start their joy. Today really is the first day of the rest of your life. Meet it with a smile on your face and an open heart. This time is for you.
authors Mark Famiglietti and Lane Garrison give every divorcing person 12 simple steps to creating the most fabulous, funniest party to mark an end and celebrate a beginning. And why not? Everyone who has made the finish line KNOWS they deserve a party.
Publishing right into the heavy divorce time (it starts up every year the day after Valentine’s Day) and in plenty of time for the companion film’s summer release, The Divorce Party is sheer how-to with a wink and a smile, a reminder to make that lemonade in the face of struggle.
While this party has many of the aspects of other parties, it is unforgettable in most other ways — invites, dress, decorations, and mood. The “ex” might be a part of the scene or never mentioned. A Las Vegas party went on for three days and included countless changes of clothes. Another divorce party was on a fishing boat (aluminum fishing boat).
Any spot can be the site of a great divorce party. All it takes is the will and imagination. And, if you can go to all the trouble of getting married, put some effort and get unmarried with style.
Grab a copy of this nifty little book or buy it for a friend and help them start planning. It will take their mind off of who gets the house.
“Be looking for your next opportunity all the time,” says RecruiterGuy Bill Humbert in his new book, Employee 5.0, “because layoffs are the new normal. Employee 5.0 keeps the the job search on a simmer so that you can drive your career through whatever is going on.”
Retailers amazon and B&N announced layoffs this week, sending hundreds of families into crisis management. But, does it have to be this way? If we know that corporations have adopted layoffs as an annual strategy to their stockholders, why not be ready?
Here are a few tips to keep your job search going even while you’re on the job:
Keep a running list of your “impacts” at your current positition — the strengths you bring to the effort and the results of those strengths — as you do the job. When you work hard, it’s easy to forget all the things you do that make you valuable to an organization. If the organization didn’t notice, that’s on them.
Take calls from recruiters, hiring managers and job candidates. Offer assistance even if the call doesn’t immediately impact you. If you are helpful to someone, odds are, they’ll help you should you call.
Network. In the new normal, we are all looking for a job all the time. This doesn’t mean you hit the cocktail party circuit, but you should show up every so often at industry events. Stay current and stay in touch with colleagues.
Employee 5.0 offers a new way in the new world, a 12-step program that results in job offers in 90 days, and puts the talent back in the driver’s seat.
In veteran corporate recruiter Bill Humbert’s new book, Employee 5.0, he confirms that we have a new normal. As markets shiver, so do the hiring and untiring practices of modern corporate America.
Most of us will find themselves in the “unhired” category sooner or later and it is at that moment, says Humbert, that you begin to heal. How! By celebrating your strengths. The first step in getting that next job is incredibly simple and incredibly powerful: Make a list of what you do well. Sit down for 20 minutes with a legal pad and begin:
Turn your legal pad sideways; you’ll be writing in three columns across the page. On the left hand side, list your skills. It should look like “organized”, then underneath, “building creative campaigns for brand recognition”, then underneath that “managing creative teams.”
In the middle column, cite the actual projects: company-wide calendar to create synergy; devised ten branding campaigns, and assembled and managed more than five teams.
On the far right, write down the positive outcomes – or “impacts” as Humbert calls them – of your skills. Again, be specific. You might write, “created events with three other departments in company to create cross-promotions and cross-selling synergy”; “increased five clients’ brands by an average of 54%”; and “hired A-level creatives while saving more than 22% on expenditures. A list of awards for these campaigns includes…..”
Humbert, (aka Recruiterguy) goes on to lay out the next eleven steps to getting job offers in 90-days. Pick up a copy of Employee 5.0 and start using the new world order to get what YOU want out of your career.
What keeps the stars from falling on our heads? Is some kind of heavenly geometry in play? Does it steer the planets along their predictable paths, keep them more or less collision free. And what takes those ever bigger bites out of the moon each month?
Modern science tells us with some authority (and with a bow to gravity) what holds the planets up but no explanation is quite so seductive as an idea that has held Western imagination since the time of the Greeks. It is called the Music of the Spheres _ an ancient astronomy that tells us that the skies can not only be seen but heard. It bids us put down our slide rules and calculators and then let it sing to us. How dry celestial maps appear in comparison.
The Music of the Spheres suggests that as we sit at our pianos and pick out progressions from, say, g-minor to D Major we are emulating in microcosm the measurements of the heavens. Pythagoras is our ground zero for this thinking, for not only did he promote the Music of the Spheres, he measured sound vibrations here on earth and in ways that gave us the musical scales on which several thousand years of Western music are based. The ancients and not so ancients took all this seriously. If music education today adds a little culture to our lives it was once believed to be essential and taught alongside mathematics and geometry. What better way to represent the universe at work?
What does this musIc sound like? We scarcely know. Plato says we hear it from birth but push it to the back of our minds.We know it’s there but its musicology escapes us. Maybe animals hear it better. Maybe we might pay more attention.
Shakespeare said, “The earth has music for those who listen.”
Necessity truly is the mother of invention. This includes the biggest invention of the millennium: the World Wide Web. Slowly revealing itself as a miracle of communication—though one that’s hell-bent on replacing all other communications—the miraculous WWW has many sides, some bright as the sun, others murky as the night.
Officially established in the late 80s, by the early 2000s, a series of global catastrophes (natural and man-made) thrust the web into our lives like a speeding ambulance. Whether using its communication tools to find people lost amid the rubble of deadly terrorist attacks, or buried under the boulders of sudden earthquakes, or stranded on their rooftops after hurricanes, or swirling in the aftermath of tsunamis—our need to locate and rescue each other made the Internet an information hub of unsurpassed proportions.
Then the internet began speeding up the news coverage. The minute something happened anywhere, people knew about it everywhere. But is that always good? Something got lost in the immediacy of absolutely everything. And that something was our understanding.
“Thankfully, amid Hurricane Katrina’s worst screw-ups in the history of emergencies, some agencies and individuals respond heroically. The Coast Guard rescues 34,000 stranded survivors. The Humane Society and other animal groups save more than 15,000 animals left behind by evacuees who thought they’d only be gone for a day.
From the ashes of government failures, new technologies for better crisis response are created. Emergency websites, maps, blogs, chat rooms, and help lines are posted and updated—all creating one online disaster community that will soon facilitate the rescue of so many people buried in 2010’s Haiti and 2015’s Nepal earthquakes; as well as those caught in 2017’s Hurricanes, Harvey and Maria.
As tech becomes the story of the new millennium, for me it becomes a good door through which I can leave my work of nearly 15 years. An LGBT Internet company buys our parent company. As with most online media, the “editorial wall” standing between content and advertising, blows over completely. Everywhere I look this once paramount wall is replaced by some mercurial gibberish ushered in by computers, the Internet, cellphones, tablets, and social media. The “highway of information,” as the Internet was once called, is now a shifty piece of work snapping up sound bites of things that have already taken place. For a nanosecond, we think we know something; we even pass it along to others who are grateful because now they think they know something. But, really, we’re all just echoes. What does it mean if we don’t understand it? And how can we understand it without context, backstory, investigation, questioning, and real analysis by professionals who know something to begin with and are willing to study to find out more? Without the connections that surround each breaking-news event, awareness goes on a very undernourished saga. Uncontextualized content is a moody, excitable thing that will leave us all anxious and starving.
Privately, I continue wondering how long we journalists are going to be okay with our content fighting for air amid a playground of advertising and product placement. Without authentic anything, who is going to be our Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) who grabs the media before it plunges way past mediocracy and crashes hard into clear evidence of a society in the toilet.”
What a life. Judy Wieder is the unicorn; a smasher of ceilings every which way. She was the first female editor of The Advocate, the oldest LGBT publication in America, where she published talent such as Ellen Degeneres and Melissa Ethridge.
In a world of no women, she wrote pop songs and hit number one. She was so talented, she was soon working for Motown. Can you imagine, female AND white at the hit factory in Detroit? Did she and her colleagues understand they worked in a place that – like Sun and Abbey Road studios – would become a monument to music? Something big was happening there and the air had to be charged with rock and roll energy. Let’s do an interview with Judy and see what it was like…….
The title – Random Events Tend to Cluster – is the perfect way to sum up a life. In Judy’s case, her life does not seem so random. Far from it. Each step has been towards the right to be an individual, to be equal, respected and free. She marched through one of the wildest times in 20th century America – the 60s, 70s and 80s – and came out the other side. She helped shape the world of women’s rights and the LGBTQ community in more ways than we can ever know.
Beth Wareham is the editor-in-chief of Lisa Hagan Books and this is a random blog for anyone interested in books, writing, editing and publishing.
People read memoirs to find out about interesting lives. I read them for the recipes. Think about Nora Ephron. Teaching Carl Bernstein how to make the salad dressing and then walking out haunts me. (Plus, I can now make it myself.) Now that was a woman, mixing dressing and walking out of a marriage and into an extraordinary, successful and creative life.
Below is a recipe from one of our best, HIVE-MIND by Gabrielle Myers, a late summer jewel from her blog (click on her name above):
Summer’s last swing in California weighs in figs hanging so low you bang fruitfulness with your head as you walk down streets. Fall fruit reminds us of life that we are just stupid to ignore. Smell the fat belly hang of a fig and wake up to life. Be here with the pollen’s sticky aroma and fecund life. Cut figs into eighths, lather them in Balsamic, olive oil, and mint, and sprinkle relish richness into the fatty folds of roasted tri-tip. Live, and poison everything with your version of life
1. Wash, dry, remove the stems, and cut the figs in half and then in quarters.
2. Gently place the fig bits into a small bowl.
3. Add the Balsamic vinegar, oil, and salt, and fold the ingredients together.
4. Set the fig relish aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.
5. Right before serving, thinly slice the mint and stir it into the fig relish.
6. Spoon the relish over grilled tri-tip or eggplant slabs, pan-roasted pork or salmon.
Beth Wareham is editor-in-chief of Lisa Hagan Books, an independent publisher. #writering is a random blog about all things publishing, writing, and editing.
The first post on publishing disasters led to requests for part II. I aim to please. Enter Mary Carlomagno, former national events coordinator for Barnes and Noble. Mary was our “go to” person to get the ear of the then giant retailer. Mary had the power to assign your author to a plum store in New York for a signing or a strip mall ten miles outside of Boise. Mary could make you look like a marketing genius or just another cube lurker. You didn’t mess with Mary.
In addition to brokering events nationally, Mary oversaw the big signings at the flagship store in New York. Movie stars. Sports icons. Presidential candidates. These events often included a lot of cameras and lines that snaked around the block. NYPD had to manage the street with barriers. And there was Mary, curls flying, keeping it all in order.
Feels like those days are gone, but maybe not. Someone always comes along that seizes the imagination and a new line forms. Whether this event is about theater, art or celebrity, it doesn’t matter. It’s still a lot of fun.
Here are some of Mary’s favorite memories for her life working the lines:
“I went to the back of the store to see if he was ready. He was. He stepped out, a 7-foot basketball player, in a wedding dress with full make-up. He asked me if he looked pretty and I said, ‘of course you do, honey. Now go sell some books.” The same man went on to attempt getting North Korea and the U.S. to be “Sister” countries. The project failed.
“Hunter S. Thompson required a bottle of 75-year old Scotch and Cabernet all day long. If it ran out, everything stopped.”
“I was working with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith when a woman approached me and rambled on for many minutes about the last time she saw me in the student center. Then she walked off. Steven looked at me, laughed and said, ‘you have no idea who she is, do you? Happens to me all the time.’ Then he pulled me to him where he sat and kissed my side. I’ve not washed it since! I LOVED that guy!”
“A former First Lady, turned Senator, turned Secretary of State turned Presidential candidate needed something soft to stand on as she shook hands with each person in the line – she had signed her name on the books beforehand. I had to run to Bed Bath & Beyond down the street to find a ‘soft landing’ for her campaign-weary feet. I grabbed what looked best – a bath mat – and that’s what the New York Post wrote about the next day: the bath mat.”
“Whenever Whoopi Goldberg signed, she liked to answer the phones in the store for awhile. She was amused by callers reacting to her distinctive voice.”
“Cindy Crawford demanded hot chocolate with mini marshmallows in the green room. She wanted other things I’ve long since forgotten but I remember no one but the staff could touch anything.”
“I almost had to call 911 several times when women were fainting at the sight of L.L. Cool J.”
So, that’s Mary. She’s got a lot more but isn’t spilling. So I’ll throw in a few of my own:
I was pulling up my Spanx in front of my desk when Stephen King walked in and kissed me on the neck.
I went to the bathroom and there was Leonard Nimoy, lost.
I went to the bathroom and there was Yogi Berra, lost.
The cast of Jackass pitched me a book and the one who had been on “World’s Stupidest Criminals” asked me out.
Now that the cubicles have so taken over the business, all of this wild activity might be gone. I hope not. Publishing was and can be EXHILARATING, almost as good as a raucus party in hotel suite overlooking New York City. There is glitter and thought and crazy and chaotic and I say it was just really good for the industry, all this “show business” of yesterday.
I say, let’s get our goofy on. Throw some heat and create some energy. Everyone still loves a good performance. Get out of your cubicle and get it on.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of a “literary gathering,” you do not know the wonder of a room of fashion victims trying to beat one another over the heads with words. I listened to two New York Times critics go down for the count over whether France was on the uptick, culturally-speaking, or not. I got bored, wandered away, and there was Michi, describing a performance piece where monkey brains were consumed. (You should have been around when Art Garfunkel asked Michi out. What a to-do.) It was a party, Michi, and you just made my cheese spread and cracker look unappetizing. Nothing has more “literary” pathology for study than one of these events. The war is always on and it’s all words.
Enter the man above. When he walks in a room, even those that have not stopped taking for decades shut up. The very definition of “walk softly and carry a big stick”, “don’t open your mouth unless you have something to say,” and “outsider artist” ooze from this man. He’s not your plaything or your patsy; he doesn’t perform for the mob. He’s in a leather bomber amongst the bad tweed and sensible shoes. He works his way across the room and all the posers and nattering nabobs part. They know the King of the Jungle when they see him.
*Don DeLillo has never gone online. He sees it as a complete assault on his individuality and his life: He does not know there are ebooks of his work. He may know now, but he didn’t for years.
*He was obsessed with the image of a man falling through space many years before he wrote Falling Man. (He wrote that book using a simple chronology, didn’t like it, and rewrote it starting in the future and backtracking to 9/11. Don’t try that at home, kids.)
*When Underworld was first published, critics received no additional information about the book. How could you capture the 20th Century with a press release? The book, however, is the finest novel about that most violent 100 years in human history. The last word of the book is very famous.
*His editor and publicist almost came to blows over what kind of condiments Don liked on his sandwich. Silly? You bet. But that’s how ridiculous it gets around this great American novelist. Everyone wants to please him because he is great. Oblivious to all of these machinations, Don DeLillo lives in a part of the atmosphere where we can’t get.
*DeLillo is obsessed with the 1951 MLB playoffs when outfielder Andy Pafko ran to the left field wall and watched Bobby Thomson’s 3-run homer fly over his head. DeLillo opened Underworld with this scene, wrote about the event for Harpers Magazine, and published a novella entitled Pafko at the Wall in 2001.
If you haven’t read the great man’s books, I humbly offer my reading list: White Noise (the first book I read and simply the best with its “airborne toxic event”); Libra, a novel imaging Lee Harvey Oswald on his journey toward a world-shattering act; Falling Man, his novel of 9/11; and finally, a sweeping look at the 20th Century, Underworld.
“A writer’s writer” does not describe him. DeLillo is a law onto himself and will remain so forever. DeLillo is the consummate individual, a term I think he would like.
Do right by Don DeLillo. Turn off all the gadgets that allow you to read this and sit down with one of his books. Don’t read criticism or look to the opinions of others. Don’t natter with nabobs about him, ever. This read is for you, the one thing that cannot be replicated. Let your particular arrangement of molecules collide with DeLillo’s story and see what comes about.
Because all truth must reside in one individual before it spreads, DeLillo wants you to step up, quit bullshitting and walk the walk. He wants you to read and think, activities in short supply these days. (See references to “the base” in mainstream reporting…)
Yup. That guy is the real damn deal and he’s not letting anyone off the hook. Think for yourself, folks. Read. Stop acting like cows. We are individuals responsible for ourselves and our actions. Anything else is just nattering and nonsense, a series of “literary gatherings” filled with sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I met Jeannette a long time ago (a decade ago!) in a tiny room in the center of an airless midtown tower. She was with a young colleague signing stacks of her first memoir, The Glass Castle which would remain on the bestseller list for 7 years. A childhood remembered, it is by turns delightful and horrifying as her family bounced from desert shack to a dilapidated mountain shanty. Jeannette and her siblings slept in cardboard boxes rather than beds. Her father – often drunk – and her mother – depressed and refusing to get out of bed – seemed unable to care for their children. And just when you believe you can’t take it any more, Jeannette takes you to her father’s boyhood home, examines his mother, and this hell makes more sense. Jeannette’s love for her family is unwavering, even to this day. All of Jeannette’s childhood is bearable to us because it was bearable to her: She emerged full of human grace.
Somehow in that sad little book-filled room, Jeannette looked like she does in the photograph above, a yearling at the edge of a field, sun back-lighting her . Maybe it’s that mane-like hair. Or it’s the eyes that have that equine ability to be look deep while scanning the perimeter for potential predators. She gave an impression of being vulnerable and she was very kind. Her gaze was direct and strong: In retrospect I’d even describe it as unbroken. In fact her third book was called Half-Broke Horses.
I remember thinking, she’s no gossip reporter. She’s already a writer, a philosopher, something quiet, dignified, not reporting on Beyonce or Justin Timberlake. I don’t know how long she kept at that job, but I can’t think of a more improbable pairing. I see Jeannette in that sunny pasture walking among her horses, blending into the sunlight.
I am hoping the movie version of Glass Castle remains true to the book; the trailer makes it appear like happy Hollywood malarky. It’s the darkness of that book that makes the story so amazing: Those two deeply flawed parents raised remarkable children.
A) On the night of October 25, 1973, there was a very weird Bigfoot-UFO encounter in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The weirder side of the Bigfoot phenomenon interests me a lot. Also, the crop circle phenomenon is one that interests me a great deal, too. There are 4 or 5 such cases in the book of crop circles.
Q) Are there stories and reports that just keep drawing you back in?
A) Yeah, I would say the Men in Black-type cases. That whole phenomenon (MIB, Women in Black, Shadow People, etc) is my favorite to investigate and write about. I keep coming back to it and probably always will! It’s very different to the MIB of the movies – much creepier and weirder.
Q) Have you always “believed” or has there been an episode in your life you couldn’t explain?
A) Well, I try not to get caught up in belief systems too much. I try and work on facts and evidence. But, yes I have had some weird experiences over the years. I have had a lot of very strange synchronicities. I also had a very strange experiences with a ghostly pet back in 2003, Charity the Sharpei, who was a great friend and still missed.
Q) What is the most disturbing aspect of UFO phenomenon? The most hilarious?
A) The most sinister aspect, as I see it, is when people get manipulated by the phenomenon and it can have a big, adverse effect on them. I think there is a dark side to the phenomenon that manipulates people deliberately and it can cause a lot of havoc. Some of the most hilarious stories are those from the 1950s, the era of the Contactees. One of them, Truman Bethurum, told of meeting an alien woman named Aura Rhanes. He described her as being “tops in shapeliness and beauty!” There are lots of wacky stories like that!
Q) Do you think we’ll ever find out what happened at the most famous of sites/crashes?
A) It’s hard to say. Roswell is the most famous crash case and, even with the 70th anniversary now looming on the horizon, we still don’t really know what happened. And no files have ever surfaced. So, it’s very difficult to know for sure what happened. I’m not sure with Roswell if we will ever get the proof of what happened. It may be in lock-down mode forever.
Q) If you could stand at any moment during all we know of the history of ufo sightings, what moment would you want to see?
A) I would go back to the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in early July 1947. That was when and where the Roswell craft came down. Ideally, I would be right there as it slammed into the ground and I would know what really took place.
Q) If I saw a UFO, I’d run. Is that the correct response? (I’m thinking, “never run from a lion, they’ll think you’re prey” here…)
A)I think the ideal thing to do is stay there and take it all in. But, some people are definitely traumatized by UFO encounters, and it’s hard to predict how people might respond when faced with a UFO.
Q) What’s the scariest place you’ve ever been? I was afraid of the monster on the Mekong in your book. Whoa that thing scared me.
A) I don’t really get frightened on expeditions, etc. For me, it’s more of an Adrenalin rush. I have had a lot of good times on Puerto Rico searching for the Chupacabra. The island’s El Yunque rain-forest is a mysterious and cool place!
We have a special promotion to celebration Nick’s work, the perfect “big picture” UFO, monster-hunting, crop circle whirling tour-de-force through every day of the year through history: 365 Days of UFOs by Nick Redfern.
ON SALE MARCH 15 the HAIR CLUB BURNING pitch got over 120,000 views on Facebook. Maybe more. Weird. Exciting. Alarming. And it’s all about the racial harmony and integration. The integration that matters: FRIENDSHIP.
We made this short pitch tape for a famous Hollywood director so he could critique us. He told me to keep my hair out of my eyes.
In my long, lonely corporate publishing career, I read way too much. Some of it still haunts me, strange sexual longings and random violence that popped up in the strangest of manuscripts and proposals. But most of it just bored me silly. I remember reading this long passage of a Hollywood “Dermatologist to the Stars” who rushed to a starlet’s house to pop her pimple with a Q-tip so it didn’t read on the camera the next day. And we wonder why movie folk get so infantilized.
But that pimple was a good day. I still remember it, right? What I don’t remember are long, meandering stories with little plot and lots of author ego. I remember novels (my colleagues’ favorites) whose prose had been picked clean like a European forest. Perfect. Beautiful. Bloodless.
Give me blood. Give me fast and raw and take me somewhere. I don’t want a perfect 2 hour moment of strolling though the Vienna Woods, I want to feel, move, challenge, fight, fuck, love, retreat, surge forward, and maybe win, maybe not. I want life.
How to convey that speed, that rawness? First, get the right story. Only you know what the right story is. It’s the one that gets your blood up, the story you want to rise to and conquer. Next, read other stories you admire. Watch how writers write raw and fast. It’s plot, word choice and length of sentence, graph, chapter, book. If you can’t get it done in 60,000 – 80,000 words, rethink it. And, I’d even shoot for a shorter book: 50,000 sounds good these days.
Get real. Your competition is Homeland on Showtime and Fargo on FX. Your competition is 24 hour war coverage, the weasel that dances atop Donald Trump’s head, and all the shiny things the internet throws up that keeps you surfing for hours.
Here is a short list of books that changed the way I thought about the velocity of narrative. Or, as my husband says, “they know how to write clean.”
My Traitor’s Heart by Rian Malan
Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The White Album by Joan Didion
There many more. I hope you tell me some of your favorites because I’ve been watching way too much on-demand. And just as I had to change for my health and eat clean, my brain needs a’washing and I want to read clean. Help me.
As a publisher and editor, I am not renowned for my alien drug cartel books. In fact, this is my first one. So, at 55, I lost my virginity and finally took the plunge into alien drug cartel novels. I had to: The book is that good.
You might know Joshua Warren from his many non-fiction books, including the bestselling USE THE FORCE: A Jedi’s Guide to the Laws of Attraction. Or, you might know him from his frequent appearances on The History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy. You might even have wandered into his Asheville Mystery Museum in North Carolina. Wherever you first encountered his work, one thing is for sure, you’ll never have a wilder, more hilarious, page-turning ride than with Warren’s foray into fiction, THE GRINGO MANIAC MURDER SPREE.
Set in Puerto Rico, smack dab in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, Dick Peck (our hero) is fighting the insidious alien infiltration into the drug cartels of the island. To solidify power, these alien drug lords have kidnapped the greatest consciousness in the Universe and are holding it hostage. Until Dick Peck arrives, that is, and begins to take them out one by one.
Filled with gratuitous violence and hair-raising adventure, this R-rated story is a colorful grab-bag of UFOs, aliens, spirits, MIB, cryptids, ESP, and a kaleidoscope of inter-dimensional phantasmagoria, capped with cold-blooded wit.
This book will be a movie; mark my words. In the meantime, it is the perfect, page-turning, page-burning, two-hour read to get you through the boredom of air travel, the sluggish narratives of on-demand television, or even a long business meeting. (You put the book under the table and read, looking up occasionally and nodding. Worked for me.)
But don’t believe just me. Here’s a quote from a really cool film guy about the read:
“This is the most insane fun I’ve ever had reading a book in my life. I called in sick so I could finish it.”
– T. Beckett Scotland, Film Producer, The Devil of Blue Mountain
Gabrielle Myers author, cook and chef releases Hive-Mind with Lisa Hagan Books/ShadowTeams
“In powerful lyric prose that sometimes can’t help give way to poetry…
Gabrielle Myers sings her own, very personal love song to the soil under all of our feet. The voice in Hive-Mind is complicated, edgy, vulnerable and deeply in love with fig trees, cherry tomatoes, and the sound of crickets on a hundred and ten degree summer day. In these dark, environmentally catastrophic times, we need books like this one to shake us out of our slumber, remind us where we came from, reconnect us to what we are.”
–Pam Houston, Author of Contents May Have Shifted
“It’s gorgeous. The writing is so precise and riveting that you can’t tear yourself away from any moment. Myers is a writer of elegance and heart, and also of extraordinary intelligence. I’m not quite sure how you create this hardhearted and yet spiritually elevated work; but she has somehow managed it. It’s a remarkable experience to read this book. So please do.”
–Wesley Gibson, author of Personal Saviors
The quotes above will hopefully convince you of the writing in Hive-Mind. Now we want you to know that Myers can also cook. This puree will become a go-to dish for entertaining or that magic hour of just sipping a drink at day’s end.
And really, how much hummus can we eat?
Lemon-White Bean Puree
“I suggest using following recipe as a base bean puree recipe. From this basic recipe, you can add chopped olives, tomatoes, spinach, or capers, crushed fennel seed or cumin, or even sautéed ribbons of kale and escarole. While you can lather the puree on a toasted baguette and top it with a generous drizzle of olive oil and pinch of parsley, this smooth mix also acts as a healthy alternative to the ranch and sour cream dips often served with crudité. Try this savory puree as a substitute for the often canola-heavy mayonnaise in your favorite sandwich.”
3 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans
2 lemons, zested
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 to ¼ cup water, depending on consistency
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1. If you use canned cannellini beans, rinse the beans in a colander under cold running water until the starchy residue is removed. Allow the beans to drain until all the excess liquid is gone.
2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick and the ingredients aren’t easily blending, add a few tablespoons of water.
3. Season the puree with salt and pepper. If you like more spice, consider adding an additional 1/8 = 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper.
4. You can serve the puree immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
(This recipe originally appeared in the Prostate Forum Blog in September 2013: prostateforum.com)
REMINDER: YOU COULD WIN
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Chris Heivly Author of Build the Fort. Whether you are launching a book, building a business or managing a huge project, Build the Fort’s 5 simple steps will help you create something where there was once just a dream. He’ll help you accelerate growth and strengthen connections as you build your fort in the New Economy.
Simply add your email below and a winner will be chosen at the end of November.
After 27 years at the New York Times, the incessant need for space was like water running over a stone and Holland, through the sheer practice of his craft, learned how, as the San Francisco Chronicle so eloquently said, the
“remarkable ability to conjure up the essence
of a composer or a piece of music in a few deftly
chosen words. He is, I think, an aphorist of
But don’t believe us. Read the book. See how he does it. Learn by watching; there are few better teachers than this one. Click here: Something I Heard
And until the book arrives, he’s given three solid pieces of writing advice below to get you started on the short life, writing for the age of social media. Never before has it been so important to boil your idea down to the essence and in the process, concentrating its message and power.
Our favorite business author, Chris “The Startup Whisperer” Heivly, has donated a two-hour consultation to a lucky winner who wants to get somethin’ started.
Chris and his partners sold MapQuest to AOL for over 1 Billion dollars and now mentors budding entrepreneurs at The Startup Factory. His book, BUILD THE FORT, takes 5 simple steps he learned building forts as a kid and turns them into a clear roadmap for building any project, whether it’s a startup tech company or the launch of a book.
Here’s Chris’s piece from Inc.com on becoming a first time author: inc.com/chris-heivly/curious-how-to-write-your-first-book.html
Here’s what are the parallels he found between publishing and startup: shadowteams.co/2015/10/11/every-publication-is-a-startup-a-qa-with-chris-heivly-the-startup-whisperer/
This is a once in a lifetime chance to speak with Chris Heivly about your startup project, your book or business venture!!
BERNARD HOLLAND: What were your goals in life? Have you achieved them?
BH: From an early age my life’s ambition was to do absolutely nothing. After 60-odd years of obstacles and detours I am nearing my goal.
BERNARD HOLLAND Who was your role model?
BH: Friends of D.H. Lawrence say that he would sit in a chair for four or five hours at a stretch, immobile and silent. I’m not a big fan of his books (I do love “The Sea and Sardinia”) but he’s my kind of man.
BH: Very few. I admired Ian McEwan’s “Amsterdam” for nailing the contemporary music community (spot-on, uncanny}.Thomas Bernhard’s fantasy Glenn Gould (“The Loser”) is fun too
BERNARD HOLLAND: Do you read critics?
BH: I always keep up with Alex Ross. I’ve read things by Justin Davidson I admire. I like the depth and civility of British music magazine writers but they are usually engaged in a kind of Consumer Reports (this performance is better than that one). I try not to listen that way. Every performance is different; learn from each of them. The New York Times has some interesting new stringers.
BERNARD HOLLAND: How are you coping with retirement?
BH: During my working years I was surrounded by connoisseurs and experts always happy to lift me to their stratospheric levels of wonderfulness. Retirement has freed me from the chains of excellence. Mediocrity interests me. My scotch is at the bottom of Johnny Walker’s color chart. Great wine gives me hives. I doze in the arms of the second-rate. Oh how happy I am.
BERNARD HOLLAND: What are you listening to these days?
Former New York Times Chief Critic Bernard Holland, author of
SOMETHING I HEARD, is much celebrated for his ability to capture a composer or performer in, what the San Francisco Chronicle called, “a few deftly chosen words.”
In an almost 30-year career at the New York Times, Holland had to make 400-word reviews sing nightly.
Few can do it.
(Another great practitioner was the late architecture critic at The New Yorker, Brendan Gill.)
In age of twitter and wordpress, you best be able to write short too.
Here are a few tips from a Master, or Maestro, whichever:
1. Never state the obvious. For example, don’t start your piece with “I went to an important concert last night” We know it’s important or why would you be there?
2. Write it, Read it. Cut it. Mercilessly (Awk! An adverb.) Take out every extra word that does not forward the action or thought.
3. Use words, of course, but use the right word. Don’t use an obscure or big word to impress. Don’t use long phrases and write around the point. Choose the word that gets right on top of what you want to say – provocative or not – and press the button.
(Or in this case click on the book)The crowd shouted more Holland
Despite repeated requests by his editor to write something dirty about classical music, former New York Times Chief Critic Bernard Holland refused, saying “classical music showers daily, just like me.”
To read more of Mr. Holland’s thoughts, check out http://amzn.to/1S9AQIV. You’ll hear the music. No way you can’t. I even loved it and baby, I’m a rocker.
1. You’ve been away from the New York Times for 7 years. Why did you release this book now?
Two close friends – Richard and Dee Wilson – (Richard Wilson is a composer/pianist and holds the Mary Conover Mellon Chair of Music at Vassar) came upon the piece on Glenn Gould and said I should think about a book. It was some kind of tipping point for me and seven years after leaving the paper, I thought “yes, I’ll do a book.”
2. A google of your by-line puts your contribution to music criticism at the Times to over 4600 articles and reviews. How did you begin to approach what you wanted in this compilation?
I remembered certain reviews and started rereading them together. I began to appreciate the work more. Before, I just wanted to enjoy being retired. Now, I can look back at a career and think “it was a wonderful job but there was too much of it.” I needed to put it all aside. I was overloaded.
3. As a writer, you are known as a skilled “aphorist.” How did you get to be that way?
I say it in the book. I had to write hundreds of short reviews. I had strict boundaries and that allowed me freedom. Boundaries are liberating. You know exactly where you are and it really makes you think. I became good at throwing out any word I didn’t need.
I had to operate within a space and that space only. There’s a quote from Stravinsky that says – and I paraphrase – when I begin to compose, I have limitless opportunities. It’s up to me to choose one.
As a writer, you can’t sprawl, you can’t run everywhere. I feel the same way musically about Mahler. I think sometimes in his symphonies, he abuses his space.
4. I have to ask it: What are your desert island pieces?
Haydn’s “Last Seven Words of Christ”
Schubert’s G Major Piano Sonata
Liszt’s “The Fountains at the Villa d’Este”,
Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”
Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony
Astor Piazzolla’s “Maria de Buenos Aires”
Any Nelson Riddle arrangement of Frank Sinatra and Linda Ronstadt.
5. And finally, what’s your favorite part about being married to me?
“When I go into the kitchen, the sun’s started to angle itself at Mount Vaca. The golden light casts a reddish filter on my knife work as I thinly slice the halibut filet, fish so fresh the white flesh looks slightly blue and feels sturdy under my knife. After I cut the halibut into tiny cubes, I place it in a stainless steel bowl on top of an ice bag, grate a pinch of lemon zest, sprinkle sea salt and mix in a good amount of olive oil. All the time I maneuver around the kitchen’s gravel floor and awkward cutting boards that jut over the table at weird angles….
Baker walks across the herb circle to the kitchen; her leg brushes a tarragon plant the size of a small citrus tree.
We each do our bit of tidying, and set the table. Gina arrives smiling, flush and tan from her day in our fields. I begin to disk the okra with my sharpest knife. I gently mix the tartare and arrange a thin circular layer on each plate. I distribute five disks of okra on each circle, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the whole plate and sprinkle wild fennel pollen that I harvested near Lake Berryessa last weekend over the tartare.
Tartare: beef, lamb, tuna, halibut; all I have to do is cut, put sea salt on, pair it with a good olive oil and garnish. The tender fragile quality of the meat or fish plays against the texture present in each bite. Tartare was my favorite dish to serve at Oliveto. We’d fry capers until they were stiff star-like flowers, or take nasturtium petals and dot them over eye of round, ground and moist with oil so the dish looked like a Monet painting…
Chris, when I read your book about how to get to yes in the startup scene, I was relieved that the startup I was working on – in this instance, a publishing company – had made many of your moves instinctively. It turns out that I was building my own publishing fort. I also realized your book, Build the Fort, was about startups and each publication was a microcosm of that launch.
1. Do you view your book as a fort-building experience?
Yes very much so. I can even take it a step further and share that I viewed the book as a startup in itself. So if fort building is like startups . . . you get the picture. Like every startup, I had a concept that I thought people would enjoy. I also experienced highs and lows as I built out the product (the book) and now I get to enjoy the feedback (good or bad) from my customers (readers).
2. In Build the Fort, your 5 essential steps for startup success are presented as a parable about building a hideout in the woods with your friends when you were young. The analogy works. Step 1 in Build the Fort is to socialize the idea. Many a book has failed because it could not be described succinctly. How should an author “socialize the idea”?
The first thing is to go talk to your target audience and share the concept and point of view. In Build The Fort, I had a thesis that there are no books that concentrate on the months leading up to your decision to leap. So, I asked a bunch of people about that and determined that I was right. Interestingly, I also used the socialize the idea to talk to potential publishers, agents, other writers and industry people so I could understand how this was going to play out and what my options were.
Writers need to be matched to publisher carefully or the entire project can derail. How do you recommend, as you do in your book, that a writer find the right people? Obviously, information is power and the only way to get information is to talk to as many people as possible. Or Step 1 in the parable. Some talk to too few and others dont talk to as diverse a group as they should. I talked to major publishers, agents, hybrid publishers, 1st time writers, freelance editors and startup publishing services folks. Sound like a lot? It is easy when you have no fear and nothing to lose.
3. Every author confronts the same difficult beast: marketing and promotion. Can you talk about how you gather the assets closest to you to move your book sales.
Yea, this is the biggie for me right now. I decided early on that ultimately the success of the book was going to be on me. I heard that from everyone during my socialization tour. Turns out that writing the book was the easy part. The marketing assets are a mix of mine and others. My assets were the 6,800 email contacts I had amassed over the last 5-6 years. It took me all weekend to get them into one email database. I also started turning every one of my speaking opportunities into a Build The Fort story a year ago. Every public opportunity was a chance to tell people that a book was coming out. Call it brand building. I also researched a ton of ideas on marketing a book and took the ones I thought I could execute and put them in a spreadsheet of ideas. I am still adding, subtracting and rolling those out.
4. Create short term goals is perfect for the independent authors. Many get discourage when their book doesn’t perform immediately, but it is a process for the tortoise, rarely the hare. Can you talk about your short term approach for Build the Fort?
This makes me laugh as I am struggling with this right now. Let’s start with the actual writing of the book. I have a full-time gig so I needed to give myself permission to only write 3-4 times per week for 1-2 hours per sitting. My overall goal was to finish by the end of 2014 (I started writing in April). My near term goals were to write 1,000 words per sitting.
In terms of sales and marketing, I set a personal goal for sales and then asked the publishing team their goals. I then readjusted mine down. But, like any startup, I am not satisfied with the pace. That will never change for me. The one point I will make is that with 2 other businesses (The Startup Factory and Big Top Reverse Job Fair) the book comes in third on my priorities. To that end, I needed to give myself permission to execute at 30-40% of what was possible. Time is my enemy. I told me to not beat myself up for not executing everything that was possible. Knock off the big items one by one when I can. That is good enough.
5. At what point in your publication will you be satisfied that you have Built a Fort?
I have already built many forts, and look forward to building more, it is my passion. Now, I have a published book that thousands of future entrepreneurs are reading. It is an exciting life.
“Holland has a remarkable ability to conjure up the essence of a composer or a piece of music in a few deftly chosen words. He is, I think, an aphorist of unparalleled virtuosity.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“No one today can match the limpid elegance and intellectual precision of his style…”
— The New Yorker
The day I put “music critic” after my name people started asking me about music. Before that no one asked my opinion about anything.
ON GLENN GOULD’S “WELL-TEMPER ED CLAVIER.”
He is the most interesting Bach player in memory, but when taken as a model of how Bach should sound, he is a catastrophe. People who blow up buildings get our attention, and sometimes their messages clean out our heads, but we don’t let them be architects.
ON THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
They will no more grow than Mother Nature will take the liver spots off my hands. We have grown old together.
There’s a more relevant question behind the one that asks why so few black musicians go into classical music, and that is: Why should they want to?
ON EARLY MUSIC
If the early music movement taught us anything it is that all music is contemporary.
The tango is sublimated warfare. It rarely smiles. Elegance, ritual and a deep dignity win out over darker impulses. In a single Argentine dance form the universal paradoxes of romance between two human beings seem to gather.
ON AMERICAN MUSIC
I would trade some Strauss, most of Hindemith and even a little Brahms for the first eight bars of “April in Paris.”
ON ELLIOTT CARTER AND HAYDN
One wonders what kind of music Carter would have written had he, like Haydn, lived his teenage years in frightening poverty.
SCHOENBERG ON HIS CRITICS
“My music isn’t modern. It’s just played badly.”
FARRAKHAN AND HIS VIOLIN
In the green hills of North Carolina on Saturday night, the lion lay down with the lamb. A reputed sower of discord communed with a maker of harmony. Louis Farrakhan, meet Felix Mendelssohn.
ON CASTING BAYREUTH’S “RING.”
Gabriele Schnaut’s Brünnhilde bore down on the helpless listener like a sopranic freight train threatening derailment at any moment. Her Siegfried (Wolfgang Schmidt) could offer only strangled desperation. When we were lucky, Mr. Schmidt landed on no pitch at all, creating a kind of 19th-century German Romantic rap.
HENRY BRANT INDOORS
The Brant aesthetic, when brought under a roof, shrinks to a form of encirclement. Here the audience, Custer-like, receives incoming fire from every direction.
Wagner lovers are besotted people, like the sharers of some extraterrestrial visitation who are compelled to gather in cities like Seattle, Vienna, New York, San Francisco and, of course, Bayreuth to trade sightings.
RING FOLLOWERS II
When doom is announced on Monday but does not arrive until Saturday, the “Ring” and its audiences are captives in time, forming a kind of space capsule in which listeners are as much crew members as the performers.
PETER SELLARS AND EL NINO
Mr. Sellars takes his usual role as honorary member and emotional spokesman for the oppressed and the slighted. It must gall him at times to be so showered with attention and success.
OUTIS AT LA SCALA
The brothel scene steams with bare skin, gyrating pudenda and simulated (I think) copulation.
ON THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WEATHER
The sorrows of this story’s title lie in togetherness and loneliness made to stand side by side.
GIACINTO SCELSI AND HIS BLACK HOLE
A Beethoven sonata begins at the front door, takes a trip, meets new friends, goes home. A Scelsi piece closes the front door and digs in the basement.
CASTING WOES AT THE MET
Gorgeous to look at but virtually uninhabited, the Metropolitan Opera’s new ”Traviata” seems to have been the victim of a neutron bomb.
ON AVERY FISHER HALL
This building is cursed and should be leveled. It doesn’t need an architect. It .needs an exorcist.
ON HIGH PAY AND THE THREE TENORS
Perhaps a more apt title for these events would be “Three Tenors, One Conductor and Four Accountants.”
ON BRUCKNER AND CLASSICAL STYLE
Bruckner is a Mozart sonata that ate too much.
All of us should go home, find a dark room, sit down and be silent.
ON MUSIC APPRECIATION
That leap from ”understand” to ”appreciate” is long and blind.
ON CONDUCTING MAHLER
You do not keep “Das Liêd von der Erde” together by snapping your fingers like Harry James.
ON ACOUSTICS AND LISTENING
Good acoustics, like a good haircut, go unnoticed.
Acoustics are to music what bookbinding and typeface are to Faulkner. If our minds are doing their work, Faulkner’s voice will sound the same in the roughest, smallest and most unwelcoming old paperback as it does in the most luxurious special edition.
MYSTERIES OF CONDUCTING
Look no farther than Leopold Stokowski who managed to pack his dessert-like sound into a suitcase and carry it from city to city.
The critic’s duty is to report that Mr. Bocelli is not a very good singer.
MOZART FROM MINOR TO MAJOR
Just as we put up our umbrellas, the sun comes out. We don’t know whether to be happy or sad, and so we are both.
Critics may speak German or English but they can’t speak music. Music is sublimely illiterate
Messiaen invented a Christianity with no missionaries and a congregation of one.
Dear Friend: Shadow Teams now powers Lisa Hagan Books, an independent publishing company working in the United States, Canada and the U.K. We now believe everything everyone told us about how hard you must work on a startup.
We are extremely proud of our first group of books. We offer them below.
Simply click on the title of the book to order.
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For twenty-plus years, music critic Bernard Holland heard it all. He reviewed and interviewed many of the most celebrated classical artists – singers, conductors, instrumentalists, composers and the avant garde – of the twentieth century for the New York Times.
Reporting both sides of the culture war between music history and radical change, Holland writes critiques on Philip Glass to Verdi, Messiaen to Bach, Peter Sellars to Zeffirelli, and Linda Ronstadt to The Three Tenors.
Along the way, the reader chats with Herbert von Karajan, takes a plane trip with Yo-Yo Ma, joins in with the boos at Bayreuth, and walks the slow walk with Robert Wilson.
“No one today can match the limpid elegance and intellectual precision of his style, which recalls the heyday of
-The New Yorker
by Gabrielle Myers
With the lyrical precision of Annie Dillard and the exquisite food writing of M.F.K. Fisher, Gabrielle Myers takes us on a Northern California idyll – an internship at the Tip Top Farm and Produce in Vacaville.
Here, the beauty of the land – light streaming through fig branches; carnelian tomatoes exploding in front of rows of sweet peas – is tended by the mysterious frenetic Farmer and her companion, Baker. Together with their intern Gabrielle, the trio tends a landscape full with sustenance and life. Their days are filled with back-breaking farm labor and their nights are alive with the freshest, most creative meals imaginable.
At night, Gabi lays in her yurt pondering her mother’s suicide attempt, working on stories to tell herself to make it alright, while just up the hill another mind, busy as a hive, fights a storm of loss and sorrow that threatens to shatter their eden. And what of these stories we tell ourselves? Myers asks.
Sometimes, they can’t be rewritten.
“The voice in Hive-Mind is complicated, edgy, vulnerable and deeply in love with fig trees, cherry tomatoes, and the sound of crickets on a hundred-and-ten degree day. In these dark, environmentally catastrophic times, we need books like this one to shake us out of our slumber, remind us where we came from, reconnect us to what we have.”
– Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted
Order now from Amazon.com by clicking on the title above.
Nick Redfern’s new, and third, book on the Men in Black is filled with the very latest revelations on the sinister and deadly MIB. Never-before-seen witness testimony combines with papers from some of the leading figures in UFO- and paranormal-themed research to provide an outstanding look at this creepy and disturbing phenomenon.
Men in Black: Personal Stories & Eerie Adventures takes the reader on a mysterious, macabre, and menacing journey into the world of the dark-suited silencers. It’s a journey that encompasses tales of UFO conspiracies, government agents, strange and bizarre monsters, the occult, demonology, and psychic attack.
“Reading and reviewing the always-fascinating writings and research of author and “unsolved mysteries” lecturer Nick Redfern, for more than a decade, has allowed me to gain new insight on conspiracies and paranormal subjects. And Redfern refuses to let up…..”
– Red Dirt Report
Order now through Amazon.com by clicking on the title above.
In Build the Fort, Heivly breaks down his childhood personal fort-building experiences and uses them as an analogy to his journey as co-founder of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2 billion) as well as The Startup Factory (a seed-stage investor & mentorship program).
Build the Fort outlines five basic elements that are common to both fort-building and startups:
• Socializing Your Idea without fear or inhibition,
• Identifying and Marshaling the People You Trust,
• Gathering the Minimal Resources Closest To You,
• Acting on the Smallest and Simplest of the Idea, and
• Build the Fort.
Whether you are 16 or 60, Build The Fort will provide the reader a better understanding of the earliest micro-steps of starting your own business by overlaying Chris’s 30 years of experiences in startups, investments, big-company intrapreneurship and community development.
“Chris is a ‘been there, done that’ kind of guy when it comes to startups. From his own highly successful startup, to leading a venture capital firm, to running a successful accelerator, to personally mentoring hundreds of entrepreneurs, Chris is not only someone who knows his stuff, but is the kind of person who truly cares.”
– F. Scott Moody
CEO of AuthenTec (sold to Apple)
Available on Amazon.com by clicking on the title above.
An island appears and disappears. A mysterious animal stands at the edge of the forest, watching. A door becomes a portal to the deepest secrets of the ocean. Through the darkness, a wolf strikes for life.
Born in a downpour that breaks a record drought, she is named Rainy. A young Native American girl, orphaned at 5, she lives with her grandfather on the white sandy shores of the Florida coast. As she approaches adolescence, Rainy struggles with her love for the Earth and the horrors inflicted on our natural world, facing questions of loss and identity, and the very essence of the human spirit. They are questions that hours spent in classrooms, and even her grandfather’s ancient wisdom, cannot answer. Exasperated, a storm rages inside of her, ultimately releasing her own spirit to the storm raging outside, and lifts her into a dream that is more than a dream.
Beyond this dream, in a place where the ordinary and extraordinary merge, Rainy Peek realizes her destiny and what it truly means to be MOTHERLESS.
“…insightful and eloquent”
– The Tampa Tribune
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Being married to a legend has it’s downside. When our wedding announcement ran in the New York Times, a publishing colleague remarked “I didn’t know you knew Bernard Holland.” Yeah, lady, I knew him. Every inch. But I wasn’t pitching him books. I had bigger fish to fry.
When I traveled with him, people would elbow me out of the way to get at him. Young music students would trail him at events and I would whisper in his ear “you make me famous, I suck your dickee.” No one thought I was funny but me and I kept myself amused at the edges of these “high culture” events.
As his wife, the legend took me everywhere and taught me how to be a woman of the world. I stood at the Bebelplatz in Berlin where Hitler’s brown shirts burned thousands of books just before I walked into the Staatsoper to hear Wagner. I sat on the water at Puccini’s house on a tiny lake in Italy where he lived, composed, and hunted ducks. He took me to Havana for a string of concerts with the visiting Milwaukee Symphony; I met Royalty on the manicured gardens at Glyndebourne and then watched the bloody despair of Berg’s Lulu inside.
Fast forward twenty years. I own a publishing company and it was time to put out some of this huge body of work. BUT WAIT! The New York Times owns 4600 of my legend’s bylines. That’s about a 2000 page book right there, I thought. I rolled my eyes. I would have to penetrate the Times wall to get permissions, a task that even Pinch Sulzberger would find hard. But luckily, we found the great Sam Sifton and he, well, sorted it out.
Next came assessing all those critiques into a larger whole that would paint an incomplete picture of classical music albeit a tantalizing one. Working with my legend, we chose reviews whose music led to discussions of real life: love triangles, serial killers, power grabs, lying, cheating, love, and loyalty.
I learned that music lives above words; it is impossible to capture again once released. No two performances will ever be the same and the best music is that which lives in your head, in memory. It can not be pulled out of the rest of you any more than your soul can.
And there it is. There was no divorce, no fighting, only a deeper understanding of what my marital legend had been blathering on about for the last twenty years. The writing is beautiful with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s (the writer he most reminds me of, stylistically) elegant, lilting language.
And now I’m going to turn off the Stone’s “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” and change the pace. Today, I’m going to listen to Tristan und Isolde and see what it does to my soul. I could use it.
Peter Beckman is, to put it mildly, a notable character. Having grown up in northern California, as a youngster he gravitated towards the arts and acting and was soon involved with local theater and production companies. In his early twenties, Peter attended the California Institute of Arts, where he studied screenwriting alongside Alexander Mackendrick, of The Man in the White Suit fame. His movie appearances include Chud II, Orson Welles’ unfinished The Other Side of the Wind, and Echo Park.
Beckman is the voice of General Wolf in the SyFy Channel’s series, Monster; he worked as a voice-artist on Street Fighter 4 and 5, and is the author of a highly entertaining paranormal-themed novel, Dead Hollywood. In addition, Beckman is the male voice in Josie Cotton’s recordings of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! And, if like me you’re a big fan of the Ramones, you’ll be interested to know that Peter had a starring role in the video for the band’s 1983 single, Psycho Therapy, in which he receives a kicking in the head, courtesy of a psychotic punk-rocker!
Psssst! Something happened to me and I saw the future. The end is not nuclear and its not aquatic. It’s human beings willfully leaving their brothers and sisters to die, for money.
Let me explain. I was taken off a passport line in Nassau, Bahamas, suffering from severe dehydration. American Airlines would not let me fly and rightly so. They put me and my husband in an ambulance to Princess Margaret Hospital, the great killing machine of the Bahamas.
In the waiting room, gurneys are everywhere, end-stage AIDS and Alzheimer’s patients, smeared with their own feces, lay groaning and screaming. They get up and wander around and all the nurses and doctors do is call security. I saw a dead man on a gurney – no way that man was a color that could have sustained life – with his dinner of baked chicken leg and rice strewn all over his body. In fact, bodies are stacked up in every hallway, waiting to be delivered to another part of the hospital or to the morgue.
After 5 hours, a little man – he’s a nurse it turns out – appears all sweaty and beleaguered and begins taking blood pressure readings and everyone’s temperature. It is the first time anyone has asked my name — in five hours. He turns my rehydration tube back on – it’s the first liquid I’ve been given in 5 hours – and that’s it. I will find him again before I leave and tell him what I think of him.
They take me to the back of the hospital and once again ask me my name and begin filling out a form. A mother is chasing her son who is wrapped in bloody bandages up and down a hall. A janitor, complete with milky eyeball, pushes a broom in front of me, asking me to pick up my feet every two minutes. Then, I have the vision thing.
THIS is how the world ends; doctors who no longer care if people live or die. THIS is how the world ends, with a country whose GDP is 40% tourism, but lets cab drivers and boat operators and waiters die without a thought to them. This is how the world ends, with a Prime Minister, a Minnesota educated physician. who comes home to kill his people.
So this is it. The poor die by the road like a donkey. The middle class save all their lives so they don’t have to die by the road like a donkey, and the rich jet into Nassau for rarefied medical treatment unavailable in the United States. Yeah, that’s how it ends.
In the sixth hour on the killing room floor, I went and found my sweating nurse. I asked him how much longer and he said, “at least 2 hours.’ I blew sky high. Rage, tears. Even security was frightened. I found my husband who shouted over the writhing bodies, “WE’LL CHECK INTO A HOTEL AND TAKE JET BLUE OUT OF HERE!” I whirled around toward Nurse Sweaty and ripped him a new one.
I recovered with the help of $60 in gatorade and a case of bottled water. And at every meal, the wait-staff told me their stories:
“My little brother went into the Princess Margaret Hospital one morning and by evening, he was dead.”
“My father checked in with a huge stomach like a pregnant woman. In three days, he died and no one knew why.”
And on and on it goes. Even in our hotel room, we could not escape. A local cable channel station ran death announcements and guess where every death had taken place: Princess Margaret Hospital.
The young people of the Bahamas want to do something; I talked to at least 20 of them while I was rehydrating. They brought me their friends who had stories after telling me their own. Napkins with scrawled phone numbers were slipped to me as I stood in the buffet line. “She has a story. So-and-so lost her baby.” The suffering was unspeakable. The people of the Bahamas – dignified, hardworking, deeply spiritual, kind and funny — deserve so much better than this.
The beauty of the country was thrilling but I think I’ll steer clear of the Bahamas going forward; I’ve seen their killing machine. Africa was kinder to me when in distress and even in the remote bush, there were better medical facilities for human beings.
I don’t know if Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis took the Hippocratic oath; he was educated at the University of Minnesota before going on to medical school in Jamaica. I know he did his residency at Princess Margaret Hospital (OB/Gyn for god’s sake.) I also believe that just as a doctor should be sued for malpractice on an individual, he should be sued (or put in jail?) for MALPRACTICE ON A COUNTRY.
And by the by, Dr. Minnis’s personal wealth is estimated at over $10 million. Not bad for a doctor, eh? And believe me or not, on a one website, he relaxes playing the cowbell. I’ll bet it’s one hot cowbell, swiped from the hands of people who need healthcare.
When I first saw this picture, I fell out. I cried and cried, inexplicably, and spent days sorting through my reaction. Here was my business partner’s grandmother paused in the shop she owned – now long closed – book clutched to her chest while staring into the middle distance. What was she thinking? Was she dreaming about the life she wanted to live next? Was she full of regret? A little of both?
Was she thinking, “if I were Madame Bovary, I would have just split…” or “if the Greeks had worked out as much as the Spartans, they wouldn’t have lost.” Maybe she was pondering using living room curtains for a dress to impress Rhett or the fact that Gatsby was alive in East Hampton. But she’s not talking and that’s the point. Books are someone else’s dreams that you get to hold, change and make your own. Books start the conversation between you and your God about who you want to be, what life you want to live.
This woman brought the book life to her small rural corner of Virginia; a town called Bracey. Her daughter would grow up and move to New York City, became a literary agent and pioneer a genre on her own. Her daughter’s daughter joined her there, three generations of Virginia women building a massive legacy in books. I admire them all.
This picture, this picture. She is certainly in her golden years but could also be 10 or 12, under the covers with a flashlight learning about all the things that are out there beyond her room. She only got as far as Washington D.C before marriage pulled her back home to the tobacco farm. Thank goodness it did because if it hadn’t, she wouldn’t have opened a bookstore and taught Bracey how to dream some new dreams.