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The Power of Lightness:

On Being Your Own Parachute


by Jennifer Paros


Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

~ Guillaume Apollinaire



Recently, I met up with a large spider in my bathtub drain. I preferred showering alone but didn’t wish to squish, vacuum, or rinse away the visitor. So I fetched a cup and piece of paper, carefully made the transfer to the bathroom window, and set him free. As he fell to the grass below I realized how light he was, and it occurred to me it was as if he were his own parachute.

I’d like to be my own parachute. Though I cannot emulate the spider’s physical lightness, I do have the capability to go light in my thinking – to soften my mental and emotional landings. The way I focus serves me as a parachute or a weight. I can face a subject that might feel heavy and big - like a stymied book project or a rejection letter - without matching its intensity.

In an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class profiling Billy Bob Thornton, the actor/director reflected on the seemingly bigger, heavier subject of the death of his brother. more...


Millennial Marketing and Asking for the Sale


by Kristen Lamb




One misconception is that social media’s purpose is to sell books. Yes, and no. Social media is for networking, creating community, and generating word-of-mouth (much like book signings once did). When we use social media to create authentic connections, sales will organically follow.


The Time Crunch


Discoverability is the greatest challenge writers face when it comes to selling books. Consumers are strapped for time, worn out and overwhelmed. Anything we can do to help narrow the field of choices is appreciated (and noticed). Consumers buy from those they know and those they like, which is why relationships help us stand out from the din.

That said, social media is for selling books, but we have to do so in a way that appreciates the vast changes in our culture. The Golden Age of Advertising is as dead as that meatloaf I forgot in the back of my fridge three weeks ago…and about as appealing to ingest.


Yet, what I’ve noticed over the years is writers tend to gather at one end of the spectrum or the other. Either they go marketing crazy or they never tell people they have a book(s) for sale. More...


Depression and The Creative Mind:

Embracing Our Normalcy


by Ingrid Schaffenburg




I know there are lots of people speaking out right now about Robin Williams and I don’t mean to jump on a bandwagon here but I genuinely feel moved to speak out since the tragedy of his death brings up a very important issue that’s close to my heart. The issue of depression and the creative mind.


I, like millions of others, fell into shock upon hearing the news that one of my favorite actors of all time had taken his own life.


What? How could that be? He was such a brilliant artist! So full of light!


Then, remembering what I’d been told years ago about the fact that all comedy is birthed from pain, I sat back in quiet reflection and deep compassion.


But of course.


And then sadly, it all made sense.


Light and dark exists within each one of us, just as it does in the outside world. The capacity to which we can shine our light seems to mirror the capacity to which we feel and experience darkness. It’s a doubled-edged sword that has some of us walking the edge of the blade from time to time. In reflecting on the enormity of light that Williams emitted on such a consistent basis for all the world to see, I can only imagine the level of darkness that he dealt with behind closed doors and the demons he must’ve faced. more...





Who Said That?


by Cherie Tucker




You will hear people talking about Meand in conversations all around you.


Meand Jim went to the game last night.


Meand my dad had lunch at that new restaurant.


Meand the book club hated that new novel.


It is becoming a commonplace speech pattern among folks who should know better. Remember, starting a sentence with Me gets you nowhere. Me can’t do anything. Me can’t go to the game with Jim. Me didn’t have lunch with Dad. Me didn’t hate that new novel. Me isn’t active; Me doesn’t do. Ever. Me gets done to:


Please don’t hit me.


They took me to task over that mistake.


I don’t think it suits me. more...





Why Not Us?


by Noelle Sterne





Football, and especially last season’s crowning game, Super Bowl XLVIII, may be only a chilly memory as the summer baseball season swings forward. At Super Bowl, chain beers drowned football fans’ shock at the performance of the disappointing Denver Broncos and their star Man Peyton Manning. Fans’ whining about the boring score that kept the Seattle Seahawks piling on the points to 43 and the Broncos unbelievably paralyzed at 8 have faded into reruns of greater games. And my husband and our Super Bowl guests have finally recovered and almost lost the weight from stuffing too many veggie chips, flaxseed chili dogs, and low-fat tofutti sandwiches.


But one thing shines from that Super Bowl. It was a sentence, or rather a question, related by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who at 25 looks 17 and prompted one announcer to joke that Wilson may be the only NFL quarterback to get carded at bars.


In an interview, Wilson was asked what he had told his teammates that spurred them to such great defensive action. He said, “I told them a story my dad used to tell me. He always used to tell or tap me driving in the car and say, ‘Russ, why not you? Why can’t you be a world champion or whatever you want to be?’”. So, bringing this rhetorical wisdom to the clubhouse, Wilson asked his teammates early in the year, referring of course to even competing in the Super Bowl, much less winning, “Why not us?” more...


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