Category: writers (page 1 of 2)

I want to make this into a t-shirt

Someone I know who has published his own books agreed to read my book.

He had excellent notes throughout, and some of it was really helpful.

But.

At the end, he goes:

“You need to buy a book on plot and read it.”

ZING/OUCH.

Once I got over that BURN enough to digest what he was saying, I started laughing. Something about the writer-on-writer passive aggression makes me giggle.

FTR: hidden in this burn is a huge compliment – that my book is a very realistic portrayal of a journalist. Which, I realized after the smoke cleared, was exactly what I had set out to do.

https://cdn.meme.am/instances/400x/56631950/yes-.jpg

His biggest complaints were the last sentences in the last few chapters, and the bit between the climax and ending. I don’t exactly need to read a book to figure this out 😛 I do have some choices to make about the ending, which is fair. And it IS where I pushed to just GET IT DONE.

Writing a book is hard, and editing it is no fun. I’m grateful to everyone who reads it, and appreciate all the feedback.

And now I have a new t-shirt design.

The Book is Done.

OMFG I finished my book.

Book. is. done.

Me, finishing my book.

“Finish” is a strong word, of course. I  still need to have it edited, picked up by an agent, publisher, edited by them, etc. etc.

But! The biggest, hardest, baddest part is done. And:

I WROTE A NOVEL Y’ALL.

It clocks in at 296 pages, 113,496 words. WOO doggies! Now THAT is a BOOK!

I did a mad push the past two weeks. My life-coach-friend “Portland” kind of called me out on sniveling my way through my third year of writing this thing. I *was* working on editing the beta draft. The pieces to the dress were cut out, it just hadn’t been sewn together yet.

Of course, he wanted me to finish in a night. There IS a solid balance between creativity, burnout, and leaping over roadblocks (self-imposed or otherwise.)

Why bother with this book?

I heard something in this time that smashed through one of my “blocks.”

“I procrastinate because I think, ‘why bother? it’ll never be good enough. it will never reach my standards of perfection. who’s going to care, anyway?'”

Ooo ee. Was I there for that!

It was nice to learn that I’m not the only writer that feels this way.

I wasn’t finishing my book, and I knew it wasn’t because I was lazy, didn’t like my story, had ‘writer’s block,’ etc. etc. There was SOMETHING else going on. It felt like a squishy foam pad over a trap door, but I couldn’t identify it.

I have read so many books: Artist’s Way, Bird By Bird, On Writing.

Still didn’t really tip it off.

But then a friend, sharing on why he procrastinated at work, said the above.

Zing! Beautiful. Totally Tetris’d into place for me.

Just sit down and write

For me, I’ve always known the very ‘easy’ answer: “Just sit down and write.” But crawling past my mental harpies to do it has, at times, been incredibly difficult. Especially when the task seems Sisyphean. Like … writing a book. You have no idea how many more pages ‘to go.’ So you just keep going.

Recent Reads: Carnegie, Dune, a do not, & a must

Four days ago, I finished two books.

Two weeks ago, I finished an 800 page book in two days.

Two days ago, I finished two books.

Uh, what, LP? You ask.

Blessed audiobooks, that’s what!

Andrew Carnegie: The Biography (audio book)

This was fascinating. It was a really well-done biography (not always easy.) The author did well against Carnegie’s own widely read autobiography, against the myth and legend of the Carnegie name, and Carnegie’s wife’s fiercely protective work on his legacy.

I really enjoy learning how household names get their start. Carnegie came from NOTHING and got dang lucky with money. It really was like he was meant to have it. (This was also at the time before insider trading was illegal. It was par for the course for anyone in business. He saw opportunities and took them, major. He also took some massive risks – like, literally risked ALL.)

The most interesting part for me, aside from how one chooses to live with all that wealth, were the paradoxes contained in Carnegie: he didn’t want to give his workers raises or better hours, but he gave them, their communities, and communities around the world libraries and other donations that would drastically improve their quality of life. He was the least ruthless of the major capitalists of that age (by comparison), yet he made the most profit. Carnegie was a huge advocate for world peace, but considered making bullets and did make armor for warships. This poor immigrant had no political or formal education, but ended up with incredible access to multiple Presidents – to the point he annoyed them by being a doddering old man who injected his “thoughts” into major world events.

He was the richest man in the world, and the first millionaire to pledge to give away his millions.

I think history has tilted for Carnegie because of the huge impact donating his riches has had on the world (especially to libraries! Yeah!) Nonetheless, it was fascinating to learn about his many facets.

Dune (audio book)

FINALLY. I’ve been intending to read this book for about 10 years. Why hadn’t I? I have no idea.

It was … weird. It was science fiction, so of course it was weird. (Do the sand worms make it fantasy?)

I can see why it might have been amazing back in the day. Before ecological annihilation were mainstream. Before Eastern philosophy was so pervasive in Western vernacular.

Its top quote on Goodreads:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

The book is essentially how one Jesus-type figure grows up, and then confronts the apocalypse and return. Some of it is confusing and too esoteric. And some of it, like the quote above, were definitely probably revolutionary back in the day. In the current generation, it’s mainstream. Everything comes from somewhere, eh?

The main female character (the Mary figure) gets a bit annoying. Her inner life is portrayed as a little repetitive and anxious. Especially once her son comes “into his power.” He is still like 15, and she is supposed to be a highly trained, revered master? Yeah …

There was also one chapter where the author mentioned “her unborn child” like 97 times. I almost threw my phone across the room.

The ending was also a bit amorphous. I understand there’s a huge series after the original, but I would like to feel like I got some sense of what was going on after (especially since diary entries from the future were dotted throughout this book …)

I’m glad I’ve read it.I intend to look into a bit more about why it’s such a BFD.

No More Mr. Nice Guy (eBook)

This was an interesting book that I read for an online group. It is a quick read, with really in-depth exercises. (While it ostensibly aims at men, it applies to women too!) The author suggests meeting with a group and/or accountability partner, which would of course take longer. I’ve also done a lot of the work outlined in the book, so that probably helped speed things along.

I liked his no-BS style and his ability to cut to the core of issues. Most of which are fear, fear of abandonment, and feelings of inadequacy. His final chapter is on career, so that hit me pretty hard and gave me some good things to think about. I’d recommend it for a friend going through a transformational phase, who is willing to look at this stuff.

Top quote, via Goodreads:

“In general, people are not drawn to perfection in others. People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems, and an individual’s life energy.

Humans connect with humans. Hiding one’s humanity and trying to project an image of perfection makes a person vague, slippery, lifeless, and uninteresting.”

The Senator’s Wife (audio book)

Did you know that women struggle with how they look? Their changing roles as wives, child-bearers, and in the workplace? Did you know that childbirth is really painful? That famous men cheat? That it’s one-sided, and women have no autonomy or power in a relationship?

Then … don’t read this book.

I was looking for something “light” and I got it, alright. Blech.

Desert Solitaire (paperback)

This was my favorite of the bunch. I bought it at Terry Tempest Williams’ home book store, in Moab, the town at the center of the book’s geographic world. He wrote it while a park rangers at my favorite park down here, Arches.

I held on to the book for about six weeks after buying it, waiting to read it until I could savor it, and I am so glad I did. I’ve been reading it in bed and in coffee shops and over tea.

It’s a beautiful meditation on the region I’m in right now. The author, Edward Abbey, is basically the Thoreau of the Southwest. He is writing in the 1950s, a fascinating period of social change, when America shifted from a focus on the natural, the outdoors, to the cubicle and the city. He’s writing about a region that is some of the most remote and challenging in the country. He does it in a very focused and poetic way.

There’s a chapter he has on the National Parks System, automobiles, and Industrial Tourism that is amazing. You can read it here (not the same Lauren.) It really made me think, especially considering my own recent trip and what I’ve seen in the parks, from both the administrators and tourists. This chapter also made it ironic as hell that the Park Service is selling it in National Park gift shops. I’m sure that one has Abbey howling in his desert grave, either in indignation or appreciation for the double underline that does to his point.

I don’t often reread books, but because Abbey brings to life the atmosphere of this region that I love, it makes me want to dive back in again. I highly recommend it, and would venture to say it’s a must-read for college students.

Next?

What books are you reading? Which books should I read next? What are the best atmospheric nature books? The best biographies? What niche genre do you love?

Happy pages!

Writing 10,000 words per day: is it possible?!

As we came to the end of National Novel Writing Month, one of the writers in my region posted this article by Rachel Aaron about how to go from writing 2,000 words a day to 10,000.

At that rate, you could write a novel (50,000 words) in five freaking days!

Is it possible?!

After toiling away on my novel for three years, the idea of upping my game appeals to me. I want to finish!!!

I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time this year (YAHOO!) but that was hard! And that was just 1,667 words per day. How the heck can I keep this up, so I get this stinkin’ book done, finally? (And in your lovely hands?!)

I see this article as the way, as my “challenge accepted.” What’s involved?

 

My office in the Tetons.

My office in the Tetons.

The Game Plan

First of all: I love the name of her blog.

Secondly, Rachel Aaron/Bach has three main suggestions. These are also in a helpful graphic in her post. Go check it out!

1. Know what you’re writing before you sit down to write.

She suggests writing it out on a pad of paper before you write.

2. Keep track of your writing time in a spreadsheet.

Statistics help! We’ve seen this with FitBit and Nano, so it makes sense. She recommends two months of tracking.

3. Get excited about what you’re writing today.

She realized that the most word count came when she wrote the scenes she’d been thinking of since conception of the novel. That makes sense, and I like how she put it!

Writing Results So Far

Lo! I’ve done pretty well. So far in December, I’ve written 15,042 words – just on my novel, not on all the blogs/texts/emails/books about Kanye I also write each day. I’ve averaged 3,000 words a day this month. I’ve also averaged 1832 words per hour, in the seven writing sessions I’ve had so far.  Rachel said her wph was 500-1500, which I just reread, so wow, I guess that’s pretty amazing!

LP Tracker

All of that comes from my handy dandy tracker. I’ve been using it for about a week now, and I really like opening it at the beginning of each session as a bit of a ritual, without going right into the novel.

My columns are: Date | Time | Location | Words Written | Hourly Rate | Pages | Music | Food | Kind of Sit/Distractions | Notes.

When I log in for the day, no matter how I’m feeling, and I see the previous day’s word count, I’m like, “oh yeah …” And get a little bit more energizy. After I insert my stats for the day, I see my progress. I also parse out the statistics (most productive time of day, best playlist, etc.) If I really want to nerd out, there’s the potential for GRAPHS and such in the future! Woot woot! (Nerd Alert!)

Hand Writing Ideas Helps

Part of the insane word count I get is that I type crazy fast. Like, fast enough that people comment on it when they see me typing on my phone. Still, I very much like her suggestion to start the beginning of each session with a quick, handwritten list of what that day’s scene(s) will be about. There’s something about the magic of handwriting, especially for writers, that is undeniable. This has really helped me focus and then dive in for the day. Thumbs up to this suggestion, too!

Get Pumped!

So, not going to lie … this one has been the hardest of the three. I think that comes from these ideas fermenting, and me writing or thinking some version of them, for like, 3 years. Overdone, much?

That’s not entirely true. I like that I’ve been able to get to about 3,000 words and stop, no matter where I am in the scene. I can see what’s coming next, which makes writing about it first in a notepad at the top of tomorrow’s writing sesh super easy. So it becomes this sweet self-perpetuating cycle!

I can get pumped about finishing this freaking book. And upping my word count as freaking awesomely as I have – and committing to a daily practice – is giving me the energy I need to get ‘er done.

Final Thoughts

One of the hardest things about writing a novel is that it seems Sisyphean. There’s so MUCH to write, and even 3,000 words is just 3% of a novel. Just sitting down that day will not mean I’ve “finished my novel” by the end of the work session. In journalism and PR, we have short, tight projects with measurable and attainable goals.  It can be overwhelming and hard to start. It’s probably why most people don’t write that book they’ve “been meaning to” or “always wanted to.”

Then, many of the things I have read about professional authors, and even Rachel in her blog, say that they sit down “at least four hours a day and write.” My eyes bug out at that. For multiple reasons.

One: I’m traveling around the country, so that’s a huge chunk of daylight that I could devote to sightseeing.

Two: that’s a huge chunk of time to get over my overwhelm, and be poring out my heart and soul.

It seems silly, having come from 8+ hours professionally at a computer, not to mention glued to my cell phone.

But fiction writing is different. It’s a totally different habit and set of issues to face. Frankly, I’m proud of building up to about an hour and a half solid writing (which, to hit 3,000 words can sometimes end up being 2 or 2.5 if I’m particularly ungrounded.) And I know the trials of trying to write on top of a full-time job, or trying to wake up early to write before that full-time job, etc.

So I’ll take this success and keep it up. Who knows? Maybe one day I can build up to four hours. Ole!

T-Minus 31 Days: The Creative Muse Knocketh.

Good morning.

/ argh!

I *never* get out of bed if I wake up in the middle of the night. Usually I just pop a soothing video on YouTube & shut my eyes until its gentle sounds carry me back to the Land of Nod. But, no matter the amount of ASMR or meditation videos I watched in the last 1.5 hours, I have not been able to even start to close my eyes. Like, I made coffee when I woke up. At 12:30 a.m. That’s how futile I could physically feel my body saying it was to attempt sleep tonight.

I suppose I could blame this on the full moon, or the stress of the previous week, or the impending moving, or the excitement of my upcoming trip. Maybe the two homemade brownies from the pan my GED program supervisor made for us, and/or whatever the heck my foam roller stirred up. (Despite being miraculously physically FINE all day, I twinged my left sacriocillac muscle somehow, which is now messing with the bottom of my left shoulder blade. Lervely.) But, I’ve also been into this pattern of like, 6 hours of sleep a night, since I started stirring up my possessions & prepping for this move.

So, I guess now I stay up or wake up and write. Really late at night.

Like, my eyes are burning right now more than my brain is sleepy. I may actually be able to fall asleep because my eyeballs revolt & are like, “we can’t take being open anymore, mate! Fuck off to sleep now, would ya?”

This weekend, I was telling my mom about my fears of staying up too late when camping (mostly bc of fears, ie ‘what was that noise?!’) & then napping midday. She was all, “but, Circadian Rhythms!”

But, it turns out I may be on to something.

I have always been a night owl. In my wise 30s, I’ve sometimes practiced Arianna Huffington–style sleep hygiene and force myself to to sleep at 10 p.m., because I’m forced into this stupid 9-5 structure, and I’m at least learning, so that my productivity isn’t utterly shot the next day. (I’m starting to realize that has more to do with lack of inspiration at work …) But I usually feel like I could take a nice siesta from 2-4pm, and on my days off, I seem to follow a “get up and go, lull, go” pattern. I wonder if people survive on 4-6 hour nightly sleeps, with a 2-4 hour midday nap. Guess I will have literally all the time in the world until I run out of money to find out!

But, lately, call it alignment, call it whatever: the creative muse appears to be knocking and cannot, will not, be ignored. It feels like she’s Tinkerbell, in that scene from Peter Pan where she gets locked in the cupboard and is knocking about, sparking rage and sparkles everywhere.

That’s fine*.

Especially because it means I will be able to update, and back date, some of the stories from the previous 10 days or so that I’ve missed because of my uncle’s passing and my subsequent road trip to MI. So, in the interest of full disclosure: I’m writing on 4/14 the posts from 4/11-now, and not publishing any posts for 4/5 – 4/10 out of respect for my uncle & my need to grieve during that time.

Xo

LJP

*Except …

My internet isn’t working right now. Now! It picks this moment. Thanks, Mercury Retrograde 😉 (&Comcast. I just put my check in the mail! It’s not due for a few more days! WTF!) By this moment I mean apparently the entire hour and a half 3.5 hours now I’ve been up writing this.

So even if I wanted to, I apparently was not going to be able to watch any more videos in bed. I heed the call, and back date the blog with 3,000 7,000 words. Fortunately there’s Microsoft Word that I can save my musings into, until I figure out WTF is with the Internet. [Realizing things like “1700 words per hour + readthroughs … not bad, right?” affirm that my writing Tinkerbell was indeed a-knockin’ for a reason, and sometimes I think this is more valuable than sleep. J]

Book Reccs

Every so often I come across a list of recommendations that makes me want to place holds at my library immediately. Today, it was this list by Jon Mixon, a response to a Quora Q:

  1. The Bible
  2. The Qu’ran
  3. Great Expectations
  4. King Lear
  5. Parallel Lives – Plutarch
  6. The Upanishads (This alone could take year or more)
  7. The Decameron
  8. Aesop Fables
  9. A Treatise on Human Understanding – Hume
  10. War & Peace
  11. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  12. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  13. The Art of War – Sun T’zu
  14. A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens again
  15. The Rainbow – DH Lawrence (not the usual DH recc-LP)
  16. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  17. The Canterbury Tales
  18. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  19. Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Luo Guanzhong
  20. One Thousand and One Nights

Monetize yo self

I mentioned to a friend the other day that I was going to look into ways to “monetize my online properties to make passive income.”

Can you tell I’ve been listening to too many Tim Ferriss podcasts lately?

Anyway, I found a nice list with dozens of good ideas. I will look more into some of these as my trip (or money) ramps down. The idea of hibernating, hunkering down and churning out some actual work seems more like something to relish when I am refreshed. Here’s a sample for my fellow writers:

Please send me any additional ideas, successes or websites! I’ll definitely need them come the fall.

xoxo
LJP

How to Quit Your Day Job

I’ve listened to the Being Boss podcast for about a year now. The two powerful women at the center of that, Kathleen and Emily, are modern & engaging. In this episode, they share how they left their day jobs, how others do it, and what you need to do to prepare. They recommend having a plan, but reveal that a large financial safety net isn’t always required. To hear the whole episode: https://beingboss.club/podcast/episode-108-leaving-the-day-job

Marcus Aurelius’s Guiding Principles: Meditations Book 1

As mentioned, I’ve been reading “Meditations” by Aurelius. Book 1 reads like a thank you/gratitude letter. Below, I break up the values that resonated with me by who he learned them from:

Male family members

  • decency
  • mild temper
  • modesty
  • masculinity
  • private school
  • good teachers
  • spend lavishly on good teachers

His adoptive father 

  • generosity
  •  no wavering
  • no need for honors
  • stamina and perserverance
  • ear for anyone with any proposal for the common good
  • knowing where to tighten and where to relax
  • foresight for the longer issues
  • unfussy control of the least detail
  • enjoy the comforts of life without

His mom  

  • piety
  • generosity
  • simplicity of living
  • avoid wrong-doing … and thoughts of it

Tutors and other philosophers

  • don’t pick sides in sports
  • tolerate pain
  • feel few needs
  • work with your own hands
  • mind your own business
  • ignore gossip
  • avoid empty enthusiasms
  • disbelieve ‘miracle mongers’
  • don’t be excited by animal fights
  • tolerate plain speaking
  • have an affinity for philosophy
  • listen to Baccheius, Tandasis and Marcianus; read Epicetus’s Discourses; understand Thrasea, Helvidius, Cato, Dio, Brutus
  • write essays
  • love simple furnishings
  • “wanting treatment and correction of my character”
  • avoid a taste for rhetoric, especially your own
  • use simple language
  • wear unaffected/simple clothes
  • forgive easily 
  • be the same man no matter what happens to you
  • be proof a person can “combine intensity and relaxation” 
  • have a kindly disposition
  • live life according to nature
  • practice tolerance
  • have an agreeable manner with all
  • never give the impression of anger or any other passion
  • praise without fanfare
  • wear great learning lightly 
  • don’t leap on the grammatical mistakes of others
  • to never say “I’m too busy” 
  • don’t ignore a friend’s criticism
  • work to restore a friend’s good will toward you
  • love family, truth and justice
  • equality and freedom of speech in the commonwealth
  • liberty 
  • benefience, generosity, optimism
  • confidence in affection of your friends
  • open likes and dislikes so no one needs to guess
  • self-mastery
  • good cheer in all circumstances, including illness
  • gentle, dignified
  • uncomplaining energy for what needs to be done 
  • to never be hurried or hesitant 
  • never downcast, cringing, angry or suspicious

TIL

Here’s what I’m listening to: 
Tim Ferris’s Podcasts with Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova, and Peter Diamandis.
Kathy & Mo’s back catalog

Reading: 
-Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations
-John Updike’s Travels with Charley

On deck: 
Stumbling on Happiness, Vagabonding, The Taliban Shuffle.

Thinking about: 
-How Obama mentioned the prescription drug crisis in the first two minutes of SOTU last night (but didn’t elaborate later. What a missed opportunity, with that platform. SIGH.)
-My future

Doing: 
4HB diet
http://www.fiveminutejournal.com/
http://www.tut.com/index/infinitepossibilitiesproject 

Viewing: 
http://literaryjukebox.brainpickings.org/

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/sam-harris-the-salon-interview

http://www.vulture.com/2015/10/one-podcast-to-start-with-across-24-topics.html

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/01/valeant-wall-st-darling-to-pariah.html

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/ask-polly-how-can-i-make-my-marriage-last.html

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/feminist-resolutions-for-2016.html

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/how-would-you-like-your-hot-dude-today.html

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/01/you-dont-need-to-make-time-for-mindfulness.html

http://www.vulture.com/2015/10/one-podcast-to-start-with-across-24-topics.html

Neil Gaiman’s Commencement Speech: On Writing

Neil Gaiman‘s 2012 commencement speech at U Arts Philly contains a number of gems for writers – “everything I wish I’d known starting out”:

  • “[…] the prospect of four more years of enforced learning before I’d become the writer I wanted to be was stifling.”
  • I wrote, and I became a better writer the more I wrote, and I wrote some more, and nobody ever seemed to mind that I was making it up as I went along, they just read what I wrote and they paid for it, or they didn’t, and often they commissioned me to write something else for them.”
  • He made a list “of everything I wanted to do […]. I didn’t have a career. I just did the next thing on the list.”
  • When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can. If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do.”
  • “If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that. And that’s much harder than it sounds and, sometimes in the end, so much easier than you might imagine.”
  • As a journalist, he “was being paid to learn how to write economically,  crisply, sometimes under adverse conditions, and on time.” 
  • Sometimes the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes  it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing […]. Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be […] was a mountain.”
    • “And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.”
    • “I said no to […] proper jobs that would have paid proper money because I knew that, attractive though they were, for me they would have been walking away from the mountain.”
  • “I learned to write by writing.”
  • “The problems of failure are problems of discouragement, of hopelessness, of hunger. You want everything to happen and you want it now, and things go wrong.
  • “I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.”
    • “Every now and again, I forget that rule, and whenever I do, the universe kicks me hard and reminds me.”
  • “I don’t know that it’s an issue for anybody but me, but it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.  The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them”
  • “The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It’s Imposter Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police. In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don’t know why he carried a clipboard, in my head, but he did) would be there, to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn’t consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where you don’t have to make things up any more.”
  • “[…] now they had to earn a certain amount every month just to keep where they were. They couldn’t go and do the things that mattered, and that they had really wanted to do; and that seemed as a big a tragedy as any problem of failure.”
  • “And the mistakes in themselves can be useful. I once misspelled Caroline, in a letter, transposing the A and the O, and I thought, “Coraline looks like a real name…”
  • “[…]whatever you do you have one thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art.”
  • “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.
  • “I didn’t stop and look around and go, this is really fun. I wish I’d enjoyed it more. It’s been an amazing ride. But there were parts of the ride I missed, because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next, to enjoy the bit I was on.That was the hardest lesson for me, I think: to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places.
  • “Someone asked me recently how to do something she thought was going to be difficult, in this case recording an audio book, and I suggested she pretend that she was someone who could do it. Not pretend to do it, but pretend she was someone who could. She put up a notice to this effect on the studio wall, and she said it helped.”
  • “And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.”

-Neil Gaiman

h/t Tim Ferriss

How to Become a Better Writer

The secret on How to become a better writer is revealed, in that link, by Scott Adams (Dilbert). He references business and humor writing, and I can confirm this is what I learned getting a bachelor’s in journalism:

  • Keep things simple. “A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences.”
  • Cut the fat (get rid of extra words.)
  • Word choice counts: “Don’t say ‘drink’ when you can say ‘swill.'”
  • “Your first sentence needs to grab the reader.”
  • “Write short sentences.”

I printed this out for my desk, and will happily send to the next person that asks me how they can be a better writer.
 
h/t: Tim Ferriss

1st Draft of Greatness

I LOVE things like this: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/manuscript-study-robert-lowells-epilogue

It reminds me that not everyone who’s admired just spits out Pulitzers.

The first time this concept gelled for me was when I saw a photo that George Stephanopoulos, Communications Director for President Bill Clinton, put in his own book, “All Too Human.” It illustrates this concept well. The photo doesn’t even show GS, whose job it was to deliver final drafts of speeches. It’s of Clinton, in the back of the limo, the door open, you can feel the tension as they are waiting for him to get out to get in the Capitol to deliver the State of the Union, already!, and he’s holding his script and a pen, poring over the paper, which is rampantly marked up with notes. There was not going to be any time to reload this into the teleprompter or reprint it, not with that many edits.

When I saw that photo, I thought, “Phew. OK.” 

Because 1, this proves speechwriting is hard, and 2, even what you think is a final draft might not be perfect, or might not ever be “done.”

It’s like they say: a piece of art is only “done” when you walk away.

Sometimes, that’s the hardest part.

New developments make for good stories and happy people

Cloudy day = 89 degrees instead of 90 = No heatwave. Eat that bastard weathermen.

Nice editor + healthy fear = her giving me her air conditioner for my room. <3!
She even let me take a half hour break on top of my lunch break to go to her apartment with her to “get it”, which turned into us walking her dog around her neighborhood and discussing journalism philosophy in a privileged heart to heart.

Also, comments the exact opposite of what I anticipated when I got in this a.m. = ROCK.

This adventure has turned out to be a very, very good one as of 7:19 p.m. Friday, June 10, 2005.

Let’s hope the rest of it follows!

Out with Jeff tonight, Hartford w/ the cool interns tmrw and then party @ Dave’s.

Rizzock.

All of my food is turning into leftovers

Giving my roommates a chance to watch something else on t.v. They were kind enough to put up with my muttering and cheers while watching Game 1 of the Finals.
If you ask, our friendship will be evaluated.
#
Speaking of friends, I <3 and miss you guys. ;-( The essay I published yesterday was my way of venting an experience that for once I didn’t feel comfortable coming back to the newsroom and sharing. I don’t know that anyone outside a newsroom could appreciate a similar experience, and I don’t want my colleagues here to think I can’t hack it. I know they wouldn’t, but I don’t know them well enough to think they would read it as anything but.
The strange thing is, I can hack it.
And mostly, it’s because of my great friends.

I have people who I know can turn any bad experience into a positive one, or who can cancel out a bad day with a day (or night) full of fun and laughs.
I don’t have any great friends yet here in Connecticut. I have acquaintances that are slowly moulding into friends, but we’re not there yet.
I can’t wait to come home and reunite with everyone. That’s the best thing about going away – coming home.
Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. I’ve learned more about ledes, legislation, and Connecticut way o’ life than one gal should in three weeks. That’s what I’m here for, so it’s only right that’s what happening. One day, I hope to return here, when the time is right and I’m more emotionally prepared to sever daily ties with the people I love.
But for now, I’m feeling slightly homesick for some good ol’ hugs and love.
So, this post is a shout-out to you.
You who cares enough to read this.
You who keeps me sane.
Most of all: you, who I love.
😉

‘Night guys!!! And please, don’t comment – this is for you, and I’m fiiine! I love it here, I’m going to a day of events in Hartford with a bunch of interns this weekend and for Cryin’ out Loud the Pistons are in the Finals. In fact, the only thing wrong is that my parents somehow found out I blew some of my “living expenses” on Polo. Oooops… hehe.

###

W. Rice

A man died today.

It was ironic enough that when I asked my male editor if he had anything for me to do before a night meeting, the scanner went off before he could open his mouth.
That it was a reported car fire was intriguing, considering the 90+ heat the upper right region of the U.S. has been enduring.
But even after exposure to 200+ car accidents in my short time, nothing prepared me for the scene of my first breaking news story at the Courant.
Police still are unable to name the silver compact car the man was driving. It was that smashed up.
All by a woman who was driving a Ford Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle, approximately twice the size (I’d venture three times) of his car.
He was 64.
She was 35.
He was driving on the correct side of the road.
She was not.
The accident occurred at 5:30. P.M.
She was lifted by helicopter to the nearest hospital.
He was taken in a body bag to the nearest morgue.
Who knows if he has a wife, a family, a dependent?
Who knows if she will ever face convictions on manslaughter charges?
Who was this woman, that she had this fate?
Who was this man, that he died that way?

I saw his body.

That was an accident. I didn’t know why the officers were holding up the yellow sheets, and as I walked too close to the scene, I was able to see into the spaces between them.

Those are the details that rightly never get into any story.

I found out later it took them 20 minutes and the jaws of life just to get his body out of the car and onto that road, waiting for his resting place in a body bag.
#

I will never speed again without guilt. I will never drink and drive, I will always say a prayer as I get into my car and I might consider leaving five minutes early. Always.
###

Cools even the reddest lobsters

Or so promised the ad for Vaseline… which was flown over my head by one of those crop-duster planes that trails the banners behind them.
This is my sixth or seventh encounter with a beach in my time on the East Coast, and my sixth or seventh encounter with one of those plane-driven advertisements.
I am torn on my feelings about them.
First, I’m annoyed.
Damnit, I’m at the beach, I want to relax and the only plane I want to see above me is a sight-seeing plane with the same intent, passengers who want to relax and take in the view.
Second, I’m jealous.
What a sweet job. Flying a plane all along the coastline. Just be sure our $7,500 banner doesn’t get ruined. Easy enough. Imagine the views.
But the scenery gets monotonous and the job’s just a job after awhile, right M. Pilot?
That leaves you with a noisy motor disturbing my latest Jack Lazare novel in between Harper’s Bazaars and Gatorade, slightly interrupting my tan as you cast a shadow over my beach blanket.
::Leans back in chair::
Ouuuch! Damnit! Where’s that Vaseline!? I knew I should have put more sunscreen on today.
###
On that note, this weekend, I went to the following beaches:
(saturday) Rocky Neck State Park
Ocean Beach Park
Bluff Point State Park
Harkness Memorial State Park
(sunday) Hammoneset State Park
these can be found here: http://dep.state.ct.us/stateparks/maps.htm
-You’re supposed to pay an admission charge at each one, but I skirted that by parking outside the gate and walking to each beach. (I discovered they actually call it “collegiate parking” because it’s a lot of poor college kids like me that park in these areas.) My frugality ended up being mini-hikes and it was soooo nice, because each beach is preceded by unique land, and being out in nature is what summer is all about and is precisely the anti-work. Yes weekends! Saturday’s beach-hopping was sight-seeing driven. Sunday’s beach-bumming was tan-driven and the fact that it was 91 degrees at 11 a.m. was reason enough to go. It ended up being 85… in the shade.
However.
New England, New England.
Shoreline that rivals Florida in the summer, right? Florida, where the water never gets cooler than 65 degrees.
New England, New England.
YOUR WATER IS FREEZING!!!!
Even in 90+ degree heat, I couldn’t bear to immerse more than my legs in the water, it was that cold. It was real refreshing and all, but chilly polar bears, it was frigid. I looked down the 2+ mile beach, and you didn’t see anyone further than ankle-deep in. Hehehe. Of course. Damn you, New England. Gorgeous beaches. Can we turn on the water heater now?

+bonus+ Here’s a tip for all you land-based folk not used to beach culture: Take Gatorade to the beach. That hot sun sucks you dry and you can get nauseatingly sick. (IE me on Saturday, who came home way and passed out for 14 hours because she was so hot/dehydrated.) So! take Gatorade, it does wonders for your hours at the beach. Along with Real Suntan lotion – 15+ SPF. 🙂 Lessons learned the hard ways, my friends.

+another bonus+. Thanks to bored Facebook snooping, I’ve discovered a good band: Westrin/ Mowry. Thanks, John Paul!

So after my beaching on Saturday and Sunday, I decided a hot dog was in order. The adventures of grilling and Match-Ready briquets resulted in the following conclusion: They’re a BAD IDEA. First of all, there’s a published risk of Carbon Monoxide- says so right on the bag! Then, the flame started by the briquet, which is marinated in lighter fluid, takes a friucking long time to go down – like 20 mintues. Yeah it’s bad. Screw that. Plus, it smells bad. But damnit if I eventually got my grilled hot dogs. And made the backyard smell good.

So after frying myself in more than one way, I decided to finally hit one of the five local coffeeshops (not including the Dunkin’ Donuts NE has on EVERY corner (no joke. There’s even one in the grocery store.)) with the intent to make some new friends.
Made a new friend, Dennis, who’s like 25, employed half the year, just entering community college next semester, but very, very nice. (more on him in a seperate entry where I discuss the whole “why do I attract nice people who have never heard of Lagerfeld, culture, or couture, and scare away people who have?” complex I seem to live. When I’m not exhausted and have time to delve into this.) I found a new scene at Keokola, a hep coffeeshop with local art and local kids, very Espresso Royale, very Espresso Milano, more worldly than both.
Now that I’m here and experiencing it, I’m beginning to realize it’s nice to live in a town where the majority of white people is less than 75%. It more borders 50% white, and might not be that high, except Middletown is an exact transplant of Sicily. But even the Italians speak their native language and preserve most of their original culture, so it’s a new dimension. The opportunity for different perspectives is refreshing and pushes my predominantly-white-born and bred comfort zones. It’s not that I’m racist or anything near that, it’s just that I’ve never lived where there is an abundance of skin colors and backgrounds. I think it’s great, because it offers more experiences than just the Anglo-Saxon ones I’m used to.
(Thank God.)

All right, this lobsta is hitting the sand.

Ciao and have a fab week! :O)

*Hugs and all my misses*

Deep Throat Anticlimatic

Yeah that’s meant to be sick.
—————————–

So, Deep Throat Revealed!
I really do mean it when I say, this latest event is SO anticlimatic.

I grew up on Woodward and Bernstein. All The President’s Men in Intro to Journalism in HS changed my life.
There I am, an awkward, barely-teenager, and it is then: through the images of a story of shadowy parking garages and a president left with his head hanging in his own crookedness, I instantly know what I want to do with my life.
“I want to do that,” I thought to myself over and over, eyes wide open, watching the work, the technique, that Robby Redford and Co. portrayed, taking in every detail, all while my classmates slept.
It was in that two-hour story I found myself and my life’s work.
The ultimate in truth and justice was not found in the fucked up systems of government.
It was found in the pages and columns that monitored them.
It was found by the people who filled those pages and columns.
+Bonus+ Little did I know that their job would leave them teetering on the edge of insanity, but, hey, it’s a big world and g’damn if somebody’s thanking you yet today.
But yeah, those shadowy figures in the parking garage, the mystery, intrigue and promise of his revelation-upon-death…

Instead, the faithful disciples of this dream that DT helped fuel received as their dominant photo on the front page ends up being an elated old frog who looks like he just won publisher’s clearinghouse, instead of a poised, strong, 1973 mug -with those huge defensive glasses, of course!- that smugly says, “Yeah. I’m a motherfucking badass. I took down the president, whatever. I represented the truth.” Noooo. That’s too much to ask. Now, we get decrepid remanents of the glorious figure of old. And then there’s his daughter behind him going, “sweet, you better croak soon buddy.”
Why?
Mark W. Felt, I am calling you asap. Because I want to know why you burst the bubble. Maybe it was your own bubble of pressure and curiosity you burst. Who knows.
You were always a tattletale.

Yeah I said it. Sure, what he did was noble and hats off to him for his bravery. But after reading about all of the coverage of this event, {gracias to Romenesko http://poynter.org/column.asp?id=45}, I have to confess that I’m more than perturbed by this latest revelation-sans-explanation that one of the most notorious figures in political history has imparted on the world.
Why?

Money? Hell, I’m a journalist and let me tell you, the pay ain’t that great.

I can only hope he was dying (literally) to know what everyone thought of him and couldn’t take the possibility of never finding out.
I can empathize with that.

But if that Jane Fonda-esque daughter or sleazemonkey defense lawyer had a damn ounce of manipulation in this, so help me god, I will walk out to California and beat them both senseless.

A great secret has been spilled. It hasn’t changed a nation. It won’t shape the future. It had no powerful release. It was dumped, off one man’s shoulders, splashed on the cover of a fairly uninfluential media, on an innocuous day in June.

There needs to be more answers.
The one lesson M. Felt has imparted on the skin of this young journalist is that there is a difference between media and journalism.
Media- pop culture magazines. Broadcast journalism. CNN. (nancy grace remains below this category. she should burn in hell.) Fox News. Court TV. The list goes on.
Journalism- Newspapers. Newsmagazines such as Time and Newsweek. Some online sites, like Poynter.org, BBC.com.

Deep Throat is one of the most notorious events in journalism; we as journalists are supposed to answer the important questions, and we haven’t even asked IT: Why?

Truncated

Ho-ly crap.
It’s been a long, long week.
Sorry about not updating, my internet is weird and I’m figuring out how to work this bojankity mess. Heh.
It works like this: Imagine wiring a 1918 farmhouse with internet. And having 8 kids manage it for 5 years. There are some loops you need to work with. Literally, as in looped wires…. and blah.
So I promise I will eventually update the lower entry since I left many of you hanging, and will fill this entry in more, but here’s this week:
Monday: Work on three stories
Tuesday: One published, two held, update those two and work on another
Wednesday: Interview Police Capt. who moonlights as an actor/stars in musicals. Work on story about “brown alert” – there are bears in CT (gasp) and when this one school district spots one near a school, they call a brown alert for safety measures. Score.
Thursday: MY FIRST ALL-EDITIONS STORY RUNS!!!!! That means instead of running in just one zone, it runs all over the state of CT. YESSSS. 🙂 It’s the bear one! I ALMOST made section front was bumped by the last minute. By a story by my mentor, so I couldn’t feel too sour, haha. Two interviews today. One lasts 2 hours with the mayor of the town I’m covering. Rock. He motorcycle-tripped through Michigan in the 50s and crashed in Saginaw with a couple who worked at GM. My grandpa lived in Sags and worked at GM in the 50s. Whoa weird. Way to start out source relations tho! Find a story that turns out to be “big” and my editor said he was proud of me. Cover graduation at 8 p.m., story due at 10, turn in at 10:00:00 (maybe 00:00:01).
Tmrw: 10 a.m. murder trial sentencing (invite from C&C reporter who immediately picked up on my obsession. Hehe.) 11 a.m. interview with Town Clerk. Begin “big” story. Finish profile. 2:30 p.m. press conference (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sidenote/Future FYI: Press Conferences scare the hell out of me. More than capitol. Actually, I see them in the same nightmares, usually on Capitol steps or lobbies. Eeeep. All of those videocameras and competition, there to see as you ask a dumbass question or f* up or show you don’t know an issue or sweat. I don’t know. Way more pressure than any other aspect of this job, even deadline. They are so unfulfilling!) Now that I read back on that, this press conference is about legislation. But it’s led by companies and chamber of Commerce ppl, not legislators. (thank god.)
So busy busy, which is GOOD. Hopefully not overwhelmed so I fuck up. Had a few flashbacks in my car as I’m driving home this week: “OH GOD, DID I SPELL THAT RIGHT?!”
###

***More info***
Jeff, my other roommate, moved in.
He’s in finance at UConn and has an internship with a mortgage company in Middletown.
Oh, and he’s hot.
🙂 Let the fantasies begin.
He has those lines on his hips. “The arrow.” Dark hair and eyes, “pools” if you will, taller than me, tan white boy skin. Seems really nice. Pretty sharp, was interrogating me about Journalism. Fortunately I can hold my own somewhat. Yay for TSN mentors and THC (omg, hahahaha) co-workers who discuss the world of J. Jrn. Whatever.

Beautiful

I was craving a song with the word “Beautiful” in it.
I suppose I do have some quirks.
Nothing as cheesy as Christina’s Beautiful. Right along the lines of Kelly Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster”- a gorgeous song by a girl with a gorgeous voice, a melodramatic song that is beautiful and meaningful at once.
Today was a great day. Slept in ’til my roommates smoking pot on the porch woke me up. I’m not going to lie- I love the smell and if they made a pot-scented incense, I would burn it constantly.
Didn’t smoke it tho, no worries my friends. I was tempted, but the fact that the Courant gave me a drug test before I even got hired there was a screaming-red ‘no.’
So after waking up and showering, I FINALLY CLEANED the apt. after those very messy socialites ciao-ed out. It was sooooo relieving. My landlady (who I discovered not only looks nutty but also talks to herself) came over as I was prepping to go to dinner at my editor’s and she kind of helped me clean, which was nice considering she was supposed to hire a cleaning lady and apparently, isn’t? She should pay me, that’d be nice. /dock some rent. Whatever.
So dinner with the editor was -surprise- amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He was really, really nice to me, once again proving my theory you can either work well together or be great friends outside of work, but not both. At least that has been true with all of my male coworkers. Don’t ask where you lie, I’m not playing that game.
So I made Ghiradelli brownies, at the last minute, and tried to cut them before they were cooled, making a mess out of the presentation. YES! Jk. It was embarassing. But my ed and his wife Hilarie, who also writes for the Courant (they met there! awww) were nice about it.
Wow, I just got really tired. I’m going to finish this tmrw when I can comprehend what I’m writing. Sorry guys. Good night tho.
Y’all have one too.
<3 LP Finally updated! :)
So my ed and his wife are really nice. I ended up staying at their house ’til 10 – Six hours!- after being all nervous about going.
More importantly, my ed and his wife’s friends, are friekin’ sweet.
The more they got drunk on red wine, the funnier they were. And they were very good about including me in the convo. To describe the women, think of Sex and the City. With kids. Very chic and worldly. Rock.
This one woman is friends with the publisher at the __ ___ _____ News, and she said that was my “next step” in internships. Holy hell woman, I love you.
It was a very ego-friendly night.
It was also very nice to be in a home, family setting again. Even the abundance of children made me think of all my family gatherings. Being able to sit at the adult table, while strange, is still WAY cooler than the kiddie table.
🙂

The Life

I walked in the Atlantic Ocean today.
It was all I could do not to immerse myself in that vast sparkling expanse. It was the water itself that eventually would deter me – at a brisk 45 degrees, I held back.
But I walked in it. Skipped a little, just a little, in joy.
I took a two-hour roadtrip today to Rhode Island, out to Newport to be specific. It’s an Island of sorts, where the Vanderbilts, Rockefellars and others had their SUMMER “cottages.” These are the world’s largest homes by today’s standards- I can’t imagine their regular homes.
www.newportmansions.org
I took close to two rolls of pictures but don’t have them developed, and when I do, I don’t know how to work the Blogger.com photo linkup. So just go to the website. 🙂
First, I went to Brenton Point state park, a rocky expanse of shore that looks out over the Atlantic Ocean and is very natural, miles untouched by man. The “beach” is made of cliffs of rock, so you can’t go on it, but it is really pretty to look at.
A kite seller was there, and had about 50 kites displayed. Coming off the shore the wind is strong, so all 50 twinkled like individual rainbows, high above the beach.
I drove up to the mansions, which are now historically preserved. As I drove there, I passed by real mansions where people actually live now. Four stories, sometimes, covering an acre with the house alone, and all beachfront. In Rhode Island! Who’da thougt.
I walked all the historic mansions – the Breakers, Rosecliff, the Elms- and then did half of the seven-mile “Cliff Walk:” first started by the socialites of the late 1800s, it really is a walk along the ocean cliffs. It’s very very scenic, looking out on an outlet of land covered in a town full of New England cottages (the wood ones most people think of) and ending in a lighthouse. The walk looks back on the huge lawns and mansions. It leads down to a sand beach – the shore – where there is swimming and surfing.
As I said, it was a bit too cold for swimming just yet, but it was an Absolutely. Gorgeous. day – 75, sun for miles. I walked along the Grey Sand beach, down to this boardwalk, where when I sat down for a drink, a plane trailing a Capt. Morgan’s banner flew by and I thought of Laura and Lesley and all that drunken and non-alcoholic happiness. :* I thought of Innes too just a little bit and wondered how he’s doing in Thailand and if I will ever see him again like I want to.
I walked back, up “The 40 steps,” drove down Bellevue Ave. one more time, then walked all over Newport.
It is exactly how any town should be. On the water, with miles of marinas dotted with sailboats and yachts bigger than P. Diddy’s. It’s crowded with hundreds of shops, people are everywhere, saltwater scents the air, there’s blue sky forever.
It was a good way to start a summer tan.
I ate at this place right on the water, I think it was called the Landing. It was very nice, they had a second-level covered deck where I ate my first New England Clam Chowder (you people in Michigan call that powdered glue chowder?!) and had a Lobster Roll, which is just that, Lobster on a Roll. All overlooking the Newport marina with its sailboats reaching out to the Atlantic Ocean which glittered in the distance.
It was then, as I was sipping my ice water, I knew it was going to be a very good summer, and thinking on to next school year- it will be very good. 🙂
I still miss everyone back home and wish you all were there to lay out on the beach with me.

Soon enough, soon enough.

+bonus+ Tonight, I’m going to this coffeeshop with James hopefully to meet more people. Tomorrow I’m going to Andover, CT, for a soiree in the countryside with my male editor (who I thought hated me), his family and the features editor and her fam. I don’t know what to wear. Hopefully the weather’s as great as it was today!!!

HUGS!!! and misses and much love,
-LP

It’s Friday night and you’re blogging?

Well, yes.
I worked until almost eight and have this headache like what
Proly brought on by this Thunderstorm.
This thing broke around 7:15 p.m. and is the hardest-hitting bastard of a TStorm I’ve ever seen. A storm on the plains is bad, but this thing is picking up moisture from the ocean like it’s dying of dehydration.
Damn. Is this a NE’r? I must find out.
Today was an interesting day at work. It (really) was gorgeous outside so I didn’t really want to work, but I got to go in at 11 so I couldn’t complain.
I got to do a story for Greg, my slightly flamboyant/awesome co-worker who is in fact married. So He cAn claiM. That’s mean, his wife’s gotta be cool if he’s that chic.
The story kind of sucked but Greg rewrote my lead which spawned my editor to send it on without a problem. Surprisingly, they’ve had me do a lot of legislature-related stories…. even tho I suck/blow/hate Capitol. That’s been good experience although I still suck at it.
Confirmed the guy I double-bylined my first story with won a Pulitzer.
Met Jessie Hamilton, 30, very cool guy, very nice, told me there’s buzz around the office that I’m doing well which means I now want to marry him, and finally he wants to include Ben and I in Courant activities. Rock. Necessary.
Since we’re on him, Ben once again asked me to come to Yale this weekend and I tried to skirt around the subject… until he brought up his girlfriend was coming home this weekend. Ahhh. Thank god. (Poor girl.) He still weasled my phone number out of me, in front of an older co-worker. Let the office rumors begin, god save me.
As I was leaving work, got caught up in convo with a few people left about what I was doing this weekend and got a local’s guide to cool places within NE driving distance, including Mystic/Mystic River/Mystic Pizza, Rhode Island beaches, Boston/NewYork, Walden Pond, etc.
My male editor who’s been mean invited me over to his house with his fam this weekend, which was surprising. I think I’m going to try to get out of it because it would be a little awkward. For sure.
Going to Newport Beach this weekend. hahahahaha – suckas. (NB=OC for those pop culturally challenged out there) There are real mansions there, Vanderbilt and Rockefellar mansions, and I’m going to meet the owner and marry them. yes…. yes….
Scratched the earlier Cape Cod idea after discovering its a 4 hour drive one way. Boo.
Off to crash on the porch and relieve this headache.
Stay in touch.
Much love and misses,
L.P.

Second LEDE: Editors, see previous post for all details outside of work

May 23
First day
Report to Hartford. First one there. Chill in HR for too long, anxiously anticipating that first break into the real newsroom. Finally, up, up, up, fourth floor and an expanse more gorgeous than the nation’s corn belt: computers and papers and people, for as far as the eye could see, in the name of the HC and all that is glorious journalism. Tour, talk, orientate, and then off to our assignments: me, back to Middletown, for the largest bureau that will later reveal itself to include the Shore (“The ocean” in NE-er, my favorite piece of geography.)
Walk in at 10:30 a.m. My editor 1, the male bureau cheif, walks in at 11:15 a.m. Instantly know I’m going to like this job. Whilst waiting, bonded with receptionist Sylvia, 63, orig from NYC, who has a daughter named Laureen (two e’s) and is now my surrogate grandmother. 😀 <3. Bureau chief/editor 2 comes, the woman, and instantly I have two new parents. Strangely turn out like my parents: the guy will reveal himself, while a gentleman, to be very strict about all things journalism, while the woman, while enthused all the time, is very nice all around.
Get a double-byline with a willing mentor who is also a very good reporter and possible Pulitzer, I heard a whisper of that, as this bureau was honored with a 1999 Pulitzer but the authors remain anonymous after even a Google search.
The first story? Two Conn. kids, one former, were killed when their idling Sea-Doo was run over by a speeding catamaran. Driven by a powerful businessman. In a no-wake zone.
Called the Fla.-based family. It was interesting. I hate obits. I hate calling dead people’s parents and relations. I would never want that intrusion and I privately publicly apologize for our craft. I try to look at the part about honoring the dead by getting who they were into the paper. At least 15″, that is the best we can try to do for you, Mrs. X.
Found out the editorial cartoonist works in my office. Well, not really “found out,” a few of his cartoons are blown up around his desk and there’s a drawing studio along one wall of the bureau. More like saw. Met him. Very cool. Very Nate Allen in 37 years. Which is very funny.
Got assigned my own TOWN. Think the news beats on TSN rolled into one. It’s cool and keeps me kind of busy, but out here the towns are tiny, 5 minutes will take you across one. In Michigan, that’s your neighbor’s house. 😀
Go home happy

May 24
First real day
Report to THC at 10:30. Talk with “Ben” until 11:30. Ben is the other intern. He’s from Yale. He’s cute, a lanky Prince William. Emphasis on the Lanky with this one, ladies. Think body of Prince (their dad… George? Why am I blanking on this? The one married to Diana? Me = Dumb.)
Moving on.
Ben’s from L.A., goes to Yale after transferring from Princeton, is a skinny Prince William. He’s also: an anthropology major, not sure why he’s in journalism, and has not done much. Begin sharpening knives, please.
Make calls til 11:45/when the guy b.c.hief comes in.
Meet with police chief, eat at an italian joint with cheap lunches, hear some strange babble behind the counter that makes me think I’ve lost it, turn around a brief, it’s all gravy. Get to know my town a little better. Find out the area is like 75% Italian. And not like, “Italian.” Like, straight up gen.1/2 immigrants from Italy. Still speak the language. oh, and btw, they’re not from Milano. They’re from Sicily. Yep. That babble? Straight up gangstazza, yo.
Downturn of the day: Still don’t have an intern-y computer. Upturn: When I get a computer I will have my own laptop and docking station. Rock on that. Go home happy.
+ Bonus + Bond with roommates over too many Hoegaardens after work. Find out a “Nor’Easter” is coming to town, ask roommates, get laughed at too much, still not sure if anyone knows what a “NE’r” is. 😕

May 25
What goes up must come down
What no reporter wants to hear: “Well, copy just called, and it seems your story is totally wrong.”
What I heard at 9:30 p.m. after working for 4 hours to turn in a story at 6 p.m.: “Well, copy just called, and it seems your story is totally wrong.”
WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!!?!!?
After crapping my pants non-stop for 10 minutes and scrambling with my limited no-internet in my PJs condition, we discover, NO, I’m not going to be instataneously fired. There was a mix-up in copy and they didn’t realize this was a folo to a breaking story about how the bill was being reevaluated and not voided.
Je-sus. THE BEST PART is that the other editor, who actually read it at 6, (this is not the one who has been rock hard and called me at 9:30), had pulled me off another fluff story for this breaking news folo, I turned it around in about 4 hours, and when she read it, she said “Yeah, it was great, i just had to make minor tweaks. I’m not worried about you anymore.”
Cha-ching.
Despite earlier words, after the call, this night really sucked even with apparent resolution to the problem. Molly and I just drank, commiserating in our isolation, while going between AI and Ashton and it all sort of helped in the end. If I’m ever in NYC I know where the Hoegaarden is.

May 26
Just kidding about that…
Today was a good day at work, despite all my fretting from the previous night. Finally got my computer. Wrote two stories, one ended up in the town briefs but shit if it ain’t in the paper and technically on Page Two, even though that’s where all the briefs go so no glory there. But I slowly inch my way forward… I think for the most part the rough parts have been bumped over and now I have to dust that off and hit it full gear. I get to look forward to next week beginning Intern Sessions in Hartford with some of the Pulitzer editors, etc. Going down to the Old Saybrook (SHORE!) satellite office next week, and shortly helping Greg, an amazing reporter who wore a blue and orange swirly-patterned Versace Sport shirt to work with his newsboy cap (how chic/appropriate) and Paris Hilton sunglasses. Slowly falling in love, which of course would happen because he’s most likely ___. And
+Bonus+ Three day weekend of sleep on my own bed and an overnight trip to anywhere with large expanses of sand and “The Worlds Best Lobster” draws near.

Ciao darling. Too much Haveli’s at too much Bl$ng makes the eyes heavy. Best damn Indian I’ve had in a while though.

On that I leave you with anything Damien Rice.

Hugs and Misses Tons,
-LP

And so it is

Hello, friends.
Come, gather ’round this roaring fire as I weave a shadow of a tale, a tale of flatlands and 15 hours and headlines that would land one Midwestern’r all the way out in a little state they call Connecticut.
It began about 5:30 a.m. last Friday, a week ago to be exact by the time you read this.
Said girl and father jumped into semi-loaded down GMC Jimmy and began a long haul out east, with a stop at the Canada side of Niagra Falls. This little lady ordered herself a beer for lunch, and it just wasn’t as cool ordering your first legal beer with ya dad there. But he was proud, so that was cool.
A long time later, landed in my charming New England house, with housemates Aaron, Emily, Molly and Jessie. For the sake of anonymity, I won’t specify, but all are Wesleyan students, and one’s from CT, one’s from Boston, one’s dad is an editor at the New Yorker and one is Richard Dreyfuss’ daughter.
Ergh, yah. Hello East Coast.
They are all really nice and fun, except they are all inhabiting rooms so I in my air mattress crash in the living room… For the next five days.
Molly and Jessie slowly shuffled out, some mix-up in landlady crazyness put us in said five days descrepancies. And the landlady, she really is batty, with looks like Mary Poppins but shorter and with modern drab clothes. Carpet bag and tea at two, no joke.
Drove all over Hartford and southern CT, down along the Shore. Gorgeous. Long Island Sound, white sand beaches and homes that no human should singly inhabit. Stopped to take some pictures in a private neighborhood lined with purple flowers and beaches and within four minutes had a cop trailing me. Stopped at “Ashley’s” for some lemonade despite the brisk 63 degrees and met Justin, an unbelievable Abercrombie model who worked at the Old Saybrook marina instead and is unfortunately also going to be a junior… in HS. Cha-…blah.
Then Sunday it was walk all over Middletown, my hometown, and Wesleyan, as the brilliants including Peter Jennings Jr. graduated in their red and black. Jealously watched them gather and say goodbye and missed home for the first time.
Rollerbladed along the CT River for exercise and drove 91 again for practice, making it to the HC in exactly 25 minutes and getting flicked off probably only once.
Grocery shopped too much and discovered “Stop and Shop” is different than “Stop and Go” and not related though they have the same logo and that “Shop” is Meijer’s, 24 hours and all, but smaller quainter and all around NewEngland. NE=NewEngland/Northeast/it’s all interchangable.
My house is three stories, white, with two levels of the same: up the steps to a common room, through to a kitchen, down a hall to a bathroom with cool tile floors, and bedrooms connecting to the kitchen and common room and wood floors to cover the whole of it. And an attic hovering above it all. The basement and attic are straight out of the Baroque period.
My room is the smallest, purposely chosen from them all for that because the lack of furniture in a small room makes it less lonely somehow than the biggest room which would be awesome furnished with two couches, a bed and shelving for a library.
My room is the coolest, though, it’s four shades of pink and purple, one for each wall, the quietest and has a window that goes to the porch.
The porch.
Where I will spend many a sunny day painting, reading and chilling.
Where we can fit a hammock.
Where it faces the south.
Where candles can line the 25′ of window sills, on one side, and the 8′ on the other, in the darkest of nights.
I can’t wait for summer. It’s like 50 today. Bordering 34 this evening. Balmy, to say the least.
I packed all summer clothes.
Thank god for grey Stop and Shop Hanes sweatshirts.
I have a three-day weekend coming up. I have an invitation from Ben to spend it at Yale with him.
He’s a dizwick.
I have Cape Cod. I have Boston. I have New York.
I have a porch.

Chi-town, the other CT

I just got back from Chicago today after spending the weekend there with best friend premiere, Matt(y.)
He goes to Columbia College there (in case you wanted to stalk him) and is amazing in general. We used to hang out every day of our lives until I went to stupid college. And now I see even less of him because he is a world away (if you’re taking Amtrak) in Chicago.
So I decided I MUST go before CT, or I might die.
After some drama with ticket prices and budget and such things, the prices fell from $90 to $50(the normal price) suddenly as I checked at about midnight Tuesday. Phew.
So after a luxurious train ride in, I went over to the restaurant where Matty works, Osteria Via Stato, this hott hott place. I in my jeans and polo stroll in, luggage in tow, and almost knock over 50 women in Gucci, Dior, etc. etc. YES. But it’s an awesome place, and the card-sized cheese thing I got at the bar was good. I think I’m hyponatremic from all the water I drank so Matt could keep refilling it.
Then once he got off work we went to the Hard Rock Cafe bar, which was hot except for Matt’s stalker. We didn’t get carded and drank a Long Island, two vodka and cranberries and a Lemon Drop each. And then we met Jessica Simpson’s backup dancer, Jerry. Who was hott and now has my number and Matt’s e-mail (? that’s what he wanted…) in his Blackberry. What Can I say? If he doesn’t know any Q’s or R’s last names, my name could be floating next to Jessica’s in Cyberspace. Cha-ching. Whatever.
Then Matt hopped up on stage with the DJ, his stalker, and pretended to play. I was like, EEP, cuz this is in front of the entire crowd. And next thing I know, I’m up there. Good pics from that experience! hahahaha.
Then we ditched the bar (minus paying for the drinks, that’s what stalkers are for) and hopped over to SLC, the best burger joint in the city perhaps (think Bell’s but burgers but high-class, my EL friends) and got like deliciously loaded burgers and chicken sandwiches. And crashed.
Saturday was rock. Saw Matty’s apt. avec his future roommate and all-around coolcat Lisa. She’s really fun and sweet. The apt. is amazing, like nothing I’ve seen in EL, Living room, dining room, kitchen with eating space, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, windows covering three walls and all for the price of not much more than EL. It’s sick. All in downtown Chicago. 😛
Then we went to WICKER PARK, brilliant. It’s so chic and funky and fun. We went to Bluefin, apparently rated best sushi in Chicago in 2005 by AOL, but what do they know, right? It was good. Great little restaurant and good atmosphere. Proly really fun at night but fab during the day as well. Walked around up there, then back to the APT for a break then I walked up to the Mich/Mag Mile and restrained myself from blowing my CT account in Armani, aka didn’t buy anything :(. Went in all the good stores on the Mile and back agian, bought two shirts for $11 total at H&M, like GOD I love that place, and that’s about it. Came back, went to ROCK BOTTOM and had the best meal of my LIFE – Chicken Provencal. Can’t describe it, chicken, this BREAD, veggies all in a tomato sauce, but like real tomato sauce like squeezed fresh out of the tomato. It was so f*ing good. Go, if you go to Chicago. There, VTK for Thai, and Giordano’s for REAL, ORIGINAL, Chicago deep dish, and the best damn stuff too. Then go to Osteria Via Stato for there Chocolate Cake, aka Heaven in a piece of pastry. Brilliant.
So after dinner, Matt and I hung in the dorm, we were SOOO tired it was ridic, we watched what not to wear, hahahahahahaha, then we watched 3,000 commercials about a guy who got stuck under a boulder and cut his OWN arm off GAGGGG. Each commercial said, “Could you do what he did?” with a real dramatic shot of him and in our true fashion Matt and I yelled, “NO!!!”
Then we dressed up in like half of matt’s wardrobe, aka Incognito, and raided the 7-11 downstairs AND MET ELIJAH WOOD s cousin/lookalike. That was hot. We were very Paris/Nicole dans The Simple Life at this point, it was sexy. Then we stumbled back upstairs and collapsed in bed. Brilliant.
Sunday, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and stumbled into a cab. It was all and a pair of orange “knickers.” An amazing trip and so glad I got to see my Matty before I leave forever.

Four days. 5:30 a.m. Friday. Sa-weet. We’re even driving through Skin-neck-titty. (actually said like that!) All of my summer clothes lie in two boxes, it’s so pathetic. My empty closet, I mean. Work clothes in another. Brilliant.

Time for bed, more later. Hope all is well

<3, LP

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