More Powerful Than Pundits

Much has been made of Miley Cyrus’s recent train wreck of a performance at the VMA’s Sunday night. Head shaking, name calling, open letters admonishing the youth not to follow in these footsteps.

What I can’t help but wonder is, how can everyone who participates in this circus not know that they’re part of the problem? My bet is, she had little to do with the choreography and was instructed to behave as such by someone who stood to make money from the boost in attention and ratings. You know someone has to be making money off all the replays, which in a sense means Miley’s performance was a raging success.

The only way to discourage kids and teens not to behave in such a manner (and when I say, “such a manner” I’m also referring to the behavior of almost everyone on reality television as well) is to refuse to pay attention to it. Don’t click on articles about it, don’t watch videos about it, don’t talk about it. My guess is celebrities will stop the nonsense as soon as it stops being lucrative.

I don’t think the chin wagging and open letters accomplish anything, really. All kids and teens will see is how much attention people are paying to this kind of behavior, and realize that this is the kind of thing that gets noticed. Nobody is praising the celebrities who graduate with honors from Ivy League schools, but for the girl in a plastic bikini? Endless coverage.

Imagine how amazing it would have been if, instead of sitting there and squirming uncomfortably in their seats, everyone in the auditorium just stood up and left. If the next day, there wasn’t any mention of the lewd dancing. If Miley woke up after compromising her morals and realized no one cared. If she saw instead that celebrities were being commended for acts of philanthropy.

Wouldn’t that send a more powerful message than anything any pundit could ever say?

Crowd Sourcing My Coiffure

A sign in the lobby of a business I frequent informed me of a discount available to me since I’m a customer there. The discount applies to a local salon, 50% off cut and color plus complimentary wine during the appointment.

Pretty tempting, no?

What I can’t figure out, though, is whether the discount is worth the risk. I have a stylist I love, but he’s not cheap. His salon is in Bellevue, a 30 minute drive, and this salon is in Issaquah, which is 15 minutes from my house.

Hmmm. What to do? I need a haircut and my color touched up, and saving money is always nice, but there could be untold consequences.

Care to weigh in?

[poll id=”23″]

Feeling Not So Chum-y

The writers conference I went to last month was a lot of fun for me, maybe more so than the conference I went to way back in 2011 when I pitched my book to Champagne Books. It was kind of nice being at a writers conference without anything to sell, to just be there to learn and enjoy.

I have to say, going to a writers conference with a book to pitch is what I imagine going on a blind date is like. There’s the exhilaration of hoping your hopes, the squirming uncertainty of rejection, the conflict of simultaneously dreading the moment to come but also wishing it were already over.

I’ll fully admit, I had no idea what I was doing at my first writers conference. I knew I’d be pitching my book, but spent precisely no time beforehand researching how to pitch. For crying out loud, I wrote my pitch on the back of a conference program during my fifteen minute lunch break!

Somehow, despite all odds, my publisher saw something of value in my story and ended up publishing it two years later. Amazing.

I just can’t help but compare the two experiences, the 2011 conference and the 2013 one. I was pretty nervous two years ago, soaking in every single thing I learned like I was going to fail the Be a Real Writer class if I didn’t memorize everything I heard. I sought out every single agent and publisher there, pitching them all while doing my best not to pass out from nerves.

Last month, however, was more like a vacation. I was relaxed, curious, introduced myself to other people but without any specific agenda. It was interesting to watch the writers who were there to pitch, though. They were easy to spot: Their eyes raked over my name badge, noted the absence of, “PUBLISHER” or, “EDITOR” and then lost interest. If an agent or publisher outed him or herself, it was like chum in the water at a starving shark convention.

I wonder whether I’ll be able to affect that same calm enjoyment next year when, Lord willing, I’ll have something to pitch. I’d like to avoid joining the fray, as it were, but know myself well enough to know that might not be possible.

We’ll see. Maybe someone I met last month will remember me next time and ask me if I have something to pitch to them. Ha! Right! And maybe I won’t get jet lag and I’ll weigh 160 pounds.

A girl can dream, so I may as well dream big.

Last Gasp of Summer

I bounded outside early this morning and froze as soon as my garage door finished opening. There was something in the air, a crispness, an edge, that told me one thing unequivocally: Fall is coming.

Isn’t it funny how there’s this distinct shift in the air at the end of summer? You get so used to walking outside into that oppressive wall of heat and then one day it’s gone, replaced by something refreshing that still feels like an ending. I always think summer is going to last forever, that the outdoor adventures and beautiful weather will never end. I end up surprised by fall every darn time.

Bainbridge Victory!

Let’s take a break from me complaining about my knee, hmm?

I had the pleasure of doing a book signing yesterday and it was so much fun it’s a wonder to me that more people don’t make up excuses to sign their names on stuff. A friend of mine is in good with the co-owner of the Eagle Harbor Book Company, a fantastic little book store on Bainbridge Island here in Washington.

Accessible by ferry, (side note: The nice thing about taking the ferry in WA is you never know what you’ll see next. I saw five teenagers on their way back from HempFest cradling bongs in a startling variety of colors and shapes) the island is a quaint little destination with fantastic little restaurants and shops tucked neatly away on either side of the main street. The book store was exactly the way a book store should be: Clean, well lit, organized, and colorful.

Smiling author 8-18-13

In addition to my friends and family who attended, there were three people at the signing who I’d never met before. Three strangers! For a nobody author, that’s a pretty big deal.

Reading 8-18-13

I even did my first reading! How I’ve managed to do six book signings with never a single reading is beyond me. Considering I had no voice a few days ago, I think it’s a wonder I was even able to speak at all!

It was a great day. I feel really lucky that I have so many friends and family who are willing to come to my events. I wonder how many would come to a book signing in Hawaii…

My next scheduled appearance is at a teen writers group in January, I’ll be speaking about creating realistic fiction. I’m so excited!