What can you give me for Christmas?

bonanza gift

Having worked my way through various careers (i.e., advertising copywriting, TV writing, acting, graphic design), it’s become clear to me what I am not (copywriter, screen/TV writer, actor, designer).

And, having spent a fair amount of time now writing (on this here bloggity-blog, among other places) and speaking (at my Toastmasters club, although I’m happy to come and talk to your group, if you like), it’s also become pretty damned clear to me what I should be doing next.

There’s just one problem. For someone who’s spent her entire adult life in one form of communications or another, I have a surprising inability to articulate what the hell it is I have to say and what the hell use it is to other people.

Okay, see? That’s two problems. Start talking about myself, and I get all bollixed up.

I realize this is my issue to grapple with, and grapple, I do. I have also enlisted grappling assistance from my marketing coach and my shrink, who, upon hearing my egregious ineptitude at self-summary, immediately volunteered herself for grappling duty.

But I would like to enlist your help as well, dear reader. After all, you, those of you who actually come back here and read these little stories and essays and illuminata on nerdery, most likely have a better handle on why you return than I.

Also, I have found that the odd email that comes in over the transom or the random comment left on a particular post is often more illuminating than hours of cogitation or reflection or self-help exercises. Really. You guys are beyond awesome as a mirror. And the answers that have started coming in since I started focusing on this and asking out loud for help have, well, already been helpful. It’s just time to ratchet things up a notch, I think.

I don’t expect a fully articulated brand statement; I don’t really have any expectations, other than this might be an interesting experiment. But, because ’tis the season and because you are doing me a solid and also probably because, as my exasperated shrink says, I have the LOWEST sense of entitlement of anyone she’s ever treated, I will do this: for every helpful comment (or email, if you’d prefer not to be public) that I receive by this December 25th, I will donate $1 US to Habitat for Humanity, up to a total of $1,000. I don’t really expect 1,000 comments and/or emails, although that would be great, but hey, it’s a great organization and if I’m getting huge blessings, I’d like to pay it forward in an immediately tangible way.

Of course, I hope you know that my ultimate goal is to take the information and help make the world a better place. It’s dorky, I know, but my mission statement (this, I have) is to be a joyful conduit of truth, beauty and love. I’ll keep doing it at ground level, no matter what; I’ve just had a nagging (and growing) feeling these past few years that I should be doing a better job of putting myself out there.

If you’re a genius whiz-bang marketing type and you can sum me up in a genius-whiz-bang mission statement, that’s awesome. If you just tell me why you like reading the blog, or the newsletter, or the acting column, or the design column, or my emails, or any other of my writing, that’s awesome, too. You can also…

  • tell me what your favorite post is (and hopefully, why)
  • tell me how you describe this blog to other people (if, if fact, you do this)
  • tell me when you think I’m “on” and/or when you think I’m “off”
  • tell me which posts best sum up “communicatrix”
  • tell me what the hell a communicatrix is
  • tell me (your idea here)

And if I get no comments or emails, well, that’s fine, too. This is a process, and an evolving one, and what’s supposed to happen will, in its own time. Hell, I’ll probably give a bunch of money to Habitat anyway because I really dig them and Jimmy Carter is one of my personal heroes.

But I just thought I’d ask. Again. Out loud.

If nothing else, it’s one step out of the hole of anti-entitlement.


UPDATE (1/1/08): Another 8 or 10 replies came in via email since the last comment, bringing the tally up to $45. I’m rounding up to $50, and heading over to H4H right now. Thank you, everyone, for playing! And if you’ve come to this late, but still want to contribute, email me: I’ll keep the offer open up to $500 in calendar year 2008!

Image by wallyg via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Um, this is fluid, a process, and the best we get is a snapshot.
    I’ve found in these look-at-me moments that it’s (gulp, gasp)
    best to trust yourself to trust yourself, and that the mind is
    really good at cleaning house and putting things in rows
    that push us out of bed in the morning. Yes, I have actually
    felt powerful arms lifting me up into the day, and I swear my
    bed jiggled with the farce of it.


  2. Jon – You are right, of course. Perhaps this is me shouting “Grow!!! Grow, dammit!!!” at the lima bean on the damp paper towel.

    But, you know. Just in case…

    ($1, btw.)

  3. I think I recall someone saying, in some workshop, back in the 70s
    (yes, I am old, OLD!), that you can’t “Grow!!! Grow, dammit!!!” unless
    you are _in over your head._ That’s a scary place to be, but you
    don’t have to hire professional hand-holders. We do everything
    alone, ultimately. Yes. Everything. Alone.

    Thanks for the $1.


  4. I read you because you show little glimpses of your life which are told in a manner I find both intelligent and enthralling. Never giving away too much– just enough to keep me coming back and wondering about your many facets. I still have no idea what g.p. is…

    I hope someone in Washington will match your donation.


  5. I’m here, repeatedly, because there’s almost always something that makes me think. sometimes just for a moment, sometimes for longer. And I like to be provoked into a thought or two.

    That said, the self-summary thing is a bugbear with many of us who communicate. You need something that will enable people to glimpse, in a flash, why they should pay you, and pay you a little attention. And unless you’re an “expert” with “a proposition” they don’t want to. Unless, of course, you are a certified celebrity, in which case they’ll pay you to read your laundry lists. Badly.

    So I say, your best marketing friend will be word of mouth. Buzz. That kind of thing. Which means, I think, that you need to pull in some favours and ask someone near and dear to you to propose you for some kind of event — maybe an after dinner thing, I don’t know — at which people will simply get a load of what you have to offer. One or two of them may need someone like you. And so it will grow.

    But what do know? “If you’re so smart,” as my little sister used to ask, “how come you’re not rich?”

  6. The history lesson of why I am here:

    If I remember correctly, as a regular reader of JSDC I purchased the DVD of the Blogging LA show Shane put together to watch her act (which was pulled from the DVD pre-publication, but let us set that aside for now) and I thought your portion was pretty funny so I decided to check out your blog. I commented in-frequently, and at some point I really purged my RSS feed list back and I think I cut you. Then I think I got some type of SPAM/trojan horse invite from you to join some on-line thing (I think it sent notes to everyone in your address book or something), and I added you back into my RSS feed reader and started reading again.

    I comment when you have a post that is applicable to me, or where I think I can add a relevant personal story. At least, that is how I see my comments — your mileage may vary.

    Honestly, I don’t really pimp for blogs that much any more (other than Jess’ projects). I used to try to get people to read the ones I liked, but my friends mostly have awful taste and wouldn’t know quality if it bit them in the ass. (Well, that and everyone is so busy these days it seems like by the time you read blogs of friends / family you have very little left to give to another blog.)

    If I need design work or know anyone who needed design work, however, I’d send them to you.

  7. I like any post with creative profanity. Bring on the F bomb : )

    On a slightly more serious note, your life is much different than mine. I like a different perspective. Even when I think you are smoking crack, you still make me think.

  8. I read you because you are both amusing and articulate. An “easy read” as it were. I also like the fact that I think that you have many “rooms” in your head to both explore and for others to enjoy as you slosh around in there.
    I think most people have these “rooms” but can’t get the stuff out so that others can take a look at it. Do what “makes you happy” is on the list as always. However, you can’t be taught to do it, jump in — what’s the worst that can happen — if you don’t get beat up or arrested, you’re ahead of the game already and flying without the net can only make you stronger, and IT JUST FEELS SO DAMN GOOD when you land.

  9. Jon – I was actually attempting irony in that reply comment, which I guess I could stand to work on. So what the hell—another $1 for pointing that out, however obliquely. (TOTAL: $2)

    Q… – g.p.? I don’t know what that is, either. Now I must look. Thanks for the insight. $1. (TOTAL: $3)

    Jeremy – Excellent insights! And encouragement, too, which I wasn’t asking for but is always welcome. $1. (TOTAL: $4)

    Curtis – I’d forgotten the story. But I’m glad something came out of that abysmal sp@m factory that Q****p was. I am also glad I was funny that night. Phew. Thanks. Don’t worry about the pimping. Pimping is highly overrated. But design referrals are always appreciated! $1. (TOTAL: $5)

    Rachel – You know, I’ve been thinking of releasing my swears as ringtones. Talk about a great revenue stream! Who wouldn’t want to hear “Fuck me, these peas are delicious!” instead of Sir Mix-A-Lot or some Bono crap. Easily $1’s worth of info. (TOTAL: $6)

    Carol – I agree that we all have rooms. I guess mine just needed emptying more than most people’s. (Well, come on—you’ve seen some of what’s in there.) Thanks! $1. (TOTAL: $7)

  10. I like that you’ve got a picture with every post, and that usually they aren’t your own photos. Sometimes I sit around and try to figure out why you’ve chosen a particular picture…like a little puzzle.

    Other people have already mentioned that you’re articulate and that you cover a lot of different material which means you’re easy to read and the topic shifts around. I love that you get themes going and stay on a topic for a little while before it goes away. I also really like the tone you’ve got going. Positive, with just enough personal details that I can understand why you think the way you do, and a feeling of progress. Mostly, I suspect, I just enjoy self-analysis and you seem to be good at it.

  11. Today Wendy – Excellent input, and I’m delighted to hear someone besides me likes my weird picture habit. That’s exactly how I hope it will be: an illustration of the idea, but not a completely obvious or expected one. I love that you enjoy the puzzle aspect; selecting them is one of my favorite blog chores.

    This is the BEST Christmas present I ever thought of for myself! Thanks, and $1. (TOTAL: $8)

  12. I was originally drawn to your beautiful writing. Seriously, you are a wonderful writer. Your writing is clear, honest, funny, interesting, beautiful and more. As I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve come to love the insights into your life and the world around you that are fascinating to read. Your writing charts a path of your growth as a person, writer, girlfriend, patient, daughter, thinker, and all the other roles you play in your life. I find that so much of what you are called to write about seems to reflect things with which I’m struggling. Not just that it’s about me, but your writing helps me clarify some questions/growth issues with which I am faced in my own quest to learn and grow.

    On the flip side of someone else’s comment, I actually like the fact that you don’t use a ton of profanity. Maybe this is the Ph.D. in me, but relentless profanity seems to me to be a sign of a lazy writer/speaker. Your profanity seems to be fairly judicious and is sprinkled here and there like an extremely strong spice–one you want a bit of, but not lots of.

  13. So who is the Communicatrix? Jeanne, in the above post hit upon something that made perfect sense when she addressed your restrained use of profanity. You’re the Chipotle of peppers. Well-seasoned and flavored with the occasional zing. Your readers know they won’t be bored reading you; and we expect some eye-poppping prose sprinkled in. That’s what makes your work work so well. Your writing epitomizes the “Zoom Zoom” that Mazda promises its drivers.

    Thought-provoking, inspiring, actionable. These might not be the exact adjectives you choose to describe you in your elevator speech, but they may be a start in helping you determine your brand message.

  14. Jeanne – Thanks for the kind words and the interesting perspective. And I do try to be judicious in my employment of the swears, dammit—thanks for noticing! And $1. (TOTAL: $9)

    Charles – Really great stuff! Something tells me you do this for a living. Or could. Well worth $1, and more. (TOTAL: $10)

  15. > Something tells me you do this for a living.

    I think you have attracted more of these than you think. *G*


  16. Well, my memory is pretty much like the memory of that guy in Memento, so I can only comment on your most recent , still dripping ink, hot of the press, edition of Focuses. I really, really like your brazen unspoken love for self-help tomes that promote actionable change of bad habits. Lord knows I got me a baker’s dozen of those. Based on your recommendation, I think I may go out and purchase, Your Best Year Yet.

    The best thing that i like about your newsletter is that it is written in first person. You have shed the old skin of copywriter, screen/TV writer, actor, designer, and just decided to paint a self-portrait of a work in progress. What’s not to like?

  17. I discovered two bloggers via 43 Things when I first signed on there years ago: my (now) friend Pam at Nerd’s Eye View and you. You had two things going for you that appealed to me back then: you were witty and you were on the left coast (which I was missing desperately from my isolated Caribbean hideout). So the wit is what drew me to you. And I’d guess that I’ve read damn near every post of yours since, even though I seldom jump out of Bloglines to comment. I like the smart and funny with some new age-y stuff thrown into the mix. You’re a girl after my own heart…you’re on the quest…but you still wanna throw down some snark once in a while…even if it’s self-directed…or maybe I should say, especially if it’s self-directed. On a practical note, I found Pam Slim’s (and she writes a great blog) tips for slashers in this NYT column helpful the other day: http://tinyurl.com/33xmpx

    Lastly, it was through you years ago that I discovered Crossroads Dispatches…and I finally met E. in person a few days ago…and adore her even more now. :)

  18. What/who is the Communicatrix? Great writing that’s inspiring, funny, thought-provoking, helpful, hopeful, surprising and always relevant to at least one reader: me! (I wish I had thought of “the Chipotle of peppers” like Charles.)

    I got here because you posted a nice blurb about one of my company’s products on The Marketing Mix. It was so fresh and sincere and 100% unsolicited that I thought, “Wow–a great writer and a generous person to boot.” I followed the links and here I am.

    (Ha! I just reread your comment and it ends with the phrase “to boot.” I never use that phrase, but I must be subconsciously emulating you!)

  19. Jon – Maybe I have at that, my friend. Maybe I have at that…

    Marcel – Wonderful ideas! And great imagery, as always. I have such creative friends! That’s $1. (TOTAL: $11)

    Marilyn – So much in one comment! I like the feet-on-the-ground new age thing. There’s something in that, definitely. I read the NYT piece–so good, and we’ve featured Marci on the MMblog–and will def. sign up for Pam Slim’s blog, so thanks for that. And yes, Evelyn is even more marvelous in person than on the internets. She was one of the first bloggers I followed, and also one of the first I met. How could things not go downhill from there? Great input. Another $1 to H4H. (TOTAL: $12)

    Jean – Yeah, that Chipotle line is a good one, huh?

    Your company is great and your new blog idea is fantastic and on its way already to be great (aunties, go click on Jean’s name now!) and your comment is very helpful. As to the picking up of my bad verbal habits, I cannot be held accountable. I am bewitching, I tell you–BEWITCHING!!!! Another $1 bites the dust. (TOTAL: $13)

    (And so we stay up to date, I’ve processed the email comments from today, for an additional $5. TOTAL: $18)

  20. I read you because you’re warm, personable and colorful. I feel I connect with you. Sometimes I read to be entertained; other times because I’m hoping for a perspective or insight I can use in my life as a marketer.


  21. Joe – “other times because I’m hoping for a perspective or insight I can use in my life as a marketer”

    That’s pretty interesting, right there.

    Not that I don’t have a medium-okay marketing head on my shoulders, but I’m truly surprised to hear about this. I’d be curious to know how you get this insight from what I write.

    Aaaand…$1! (TOTAL: $19)

  22. I didn’t read any other comments so here goes…

    (Why do I read you???)

    -You’re a better writer than me.
    -You make me think.
    -You’re pictures are the chocolate to your peanut butter writing.
    -You’re honest.
    -You’re real.
    -Every so often a line in your posts make me say…Fuck, I wish I would have been so poetic.
    -Yet you don’t write like a lofty poet.
    -You write like you talk.
    -You inspire others to write.
    -You tell us just enough.
    -You care about people like Uma.
    -You’re design shit is cool.
    -You’re a tad insecure.

    What to do with it?
    -When you figure that out, tell me.

    But in the meantime, keep writing. Have faith in the unseen and miracles happen.

  23. annie – With ideas like that, who needs to read other comments? Just keep reading me, please. And thank you. And $1. (TOTAL: $20)

  24. I’ve been mulling this over a while and I’m going to plunge ahead without rereading your post so please bear with me.

    I think my personal experiments used to connect outwards comment from a couple posts ago is my best take on your blog. That’s gotta be worth a buck.

    Do you really think your blog has a mission statement? I would say that most don’t unless their subject matter is quite narrow. You could do that with yours, make it nothing but 21 day salutes, say, but I think it would lose something in the narrowing.

    I like the photos you pick also and that you credit their shooters.

    Posts that are most on for me are generally the ones I comment on. Doesn’t mean the rest are off if I don’t comment though as I don’t always have time or something to say that feels worth posting.

    I like reading about how you got to where you are now and where you’re trying to go- emotionally and professionally. I relate to those struggles and find encouragement in them.

  25. Hey there… I’m a faithful reader of your newsletter. I’m not as faithful at visiting here (although I’m never disappointed when I do stop by). If I put you in my RSS reader, then it’s just another thing doesn’t get read. Instead, I like the convenience, conciseness and tip focused newsletter that pops up in my inbox. It always makes me think… ahhh, I wonder what Colleen is up to and wow, that was helpful. You always get my undivided attention by email. Does that make me anti-Web 2.0?

    So here’s my suggestion for others like me: in your newsletter, perhaps you could highlight your best post from the last month, provide a blurb to entice me and a handy link to jump over here to read. You bet I’ll come.

    Keep building your brand! It’s wonderfully you!

  26. I visit your website because I can relate! I have a difunctional family with nutty relatives. I know some jerky men. I (supposedly) have Crohn’s disease. I like to think and be challenged so I like hearing what you have to say. I bought the book the Diving Bell and Butterfly based on your comments about the movie. Maybe you are the “relate-trix” I also love your nicknames for people especially the Chief Athiest. It is a gift to look back and be able to see more clearly how you got to be where you are. I can’t help thinking you are bit like a stand-up comedian.

  27. Your request was for feedback, and the prompt seemed to be a nagging sense that you’re not in the right place exactly. Four careers, none of them quite the right fit. Lots of experience being a conduit, but not a whole lot of success at self-summary.

    So, okay. I don’t want to comment on what I like about your blog (although I do like it) or favorite posts or what you do for my life.

    I want to comment on your del.icio.us links.

    I happen to like the fact that you’ve got wideranging interests and a lot of curiosity and opinions. Those are all a plus to me. But why on earth do you have so many unbundled ones? Where’s the theme? Where are the connections? What’s the narrative? Why are you interested in what you’re interested in?

    It seems to me that if you actually sit down and throw all those interests onto the floor like a giant handful of oracular yarrowsticks, you would get a much better sense of the narrative flow of your own life and interests, which you could act on. If you don’t, you’re just going to continue to be an insatiably interested consumer, which is going to really handicap your efforts at producing.

    I suggest you go look at the career of my favorite musician, the shaggily handsome nerd magnet Jonathan Coulton. He took the themes of his background — snare drums, a cappella, software writing, humor, science, videogames & robots, and formed himself a very unique & sort of accidental career around all that stuff. But he didn’t really do any of it until he took a plunge and decided he would have to lead a life his new baby could be proud of.

    Throw the yarrowstalks, figure out what they say together about yourself, and then go live the life that tells you to live. That’s my comment. :)

  28. claire – You’re right: it was a great comment, and part of the reason I decided to do this more formally. If I wait for *everyone* to be proactive, I’d be waiting a long time :-)

    I’ve thought about narrowing the focus of this blog and cast it aside. I agree that while it might be a more “sensible” idea (easier for people to grok), it’s not serving the message–whatever truth it is that my sack of cells is conduit for. So that’s out.

    And the mission statement? It might not be anything that turns into a tagline. It might not even be a mission statement. It might just be a clearer articulation (for me) of what it is that I do, which will offer some sort of clarity going forward. I could do this–amble along forever, just putting stuff out there–but I feel like a piece is missing. Maybe all I’ll find out is that I need to get comfortable with missing pieces.

    This was valuable, though, and I thank you. I’m saying $2, one for this and one for that last. (TOTAL: $22)

    Queercents – That’s a great idea! I did create the newsletter as a more focused version of what I do for people who don’t like wading through all the stories. Everyone learns/enjoys differently. But some people might like both more than they know. Thanks! $1. (TOTAL: $23)

    Amy – Very valuable. Very simply stated, which is also valuable. Thank you. Sorry about the Crohn’s, but as grab-bag illnesses go, we could certainly have done worse. $1. (TOTAL: $24)

    jinx – Interesting take. I don’t know if it’s unhappiness with where I’m at or a frustration with not being able to see where I’m going. Maybe it’s the same thing.

    Anyway. RE: del.icio.us…

    I am doubtless the asshole of the universe for this, but I JUST DISCOVERED bundles!!! I mainly use the site to tag & go, and lately, there’s been a lot of stuff building up. So you’re right: it would be both useful to me and the world if I got off my lazy/ADD ass and bundled that shit. Funny, b/c that’s just what I”m doing offline: painstakingly combing through blog posts, notes, emails, etc and organizing them in DevonThink to try to find the patters. So I’m super-excited for your suggestion.

    And I’m totally going to check out Jonathan Coulton. There are great gaps in my edumacation, so he’s probably scary-famous and again, I’m the asshole of the universe for not knowing about him. Appreciate the tip.

    $1. (TOTAL: $25)

    And for anyone who’s emailed me off the blog, I still haven’t tallied most of those. This Crohn’s mini-flare has bollixed me up, bigtime.

  29. As far as mission statement/tagline/clarity, maybe it’s less about sifting through what you’ve already done and more about choosing what you want to do/say/communicate. Maybe the focus making that choice would bring is what you feel is missing.

    What will the purpose of the brand you’re building be? To make money by writing/blogging? To promote yourself in some other way? To connect with more readers? To…?

    If it’s making a career of it, maybe looking through the Writer’s Market Guide might help you see where your writing fits and places to submit it or sites/mags to emulate.

    And on another note, I like your thoughtful replies to comments. A bit of interactivity makes a blog more appealing to me, and also increases the chances I’ll comment.

  30. claire – Was going to answer privately, as am a wee bit embarrassed by some of this (hubris alert! hubris alert!) but figured what the hell–a huge part of what I do is “externalize the process”, as my pal, Mary Ellen, likes to say.

    There are many stories I want to tell. Really. I’ve got enough things lined up in the chute to keep me going for 5 years, and they keep coming. Funny, for someone who struggled to find one 20 years ago. So it’s more about choosing what to say next and to whom, you’re right. But going through what I’ve done will (I hope) give me some sense of where my biggest interests lie. Like jinx said.

    The purpose is to build a platform for any/all of the above. I love doing design, but I can only do so much of it and reach so many people; something about that exhausts me. I have that cursed Writer’s Market and have started to go through it. Again, having less than total objectivity, I’m looking for insight/guidance from the people who read it. But yes, Dawud Miracle called me on this the other day (as my coach often does), saying I need someone to hold my feet to the fire.

    And hey, a thoughtful comment merits the same in kind! Frankly, yours was worth another buck. So…$1. (TOTAL: $26)

  31. You live out loud, think out loud and write out loud, my friend. To me you are and have always been a gifted, naked soul who sees the sacredness inherent in being human, even as you bemoan it…and you bemoan with the best of ’em! You and your blog have already made my world a better place. My line of work requires a steady quotient of contact with folks who refuse to flee from their humanity. You’re brave, bold, unapologetically irreverent (something I warn patients about when I direct them to your blog) and for all these reasons I love your work and you, too. I’ve discovered my own antidepressant–Miranda July, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Amy Krause-Rosenthal, Pema Chodron, David Sedaris, Ira Glass, and you, you, you. No side effects and endlessly soul-enhancing. Thanks for sharing the contents of your head with the rest of us.

  32. Mary Ellen – I like that thought of us having a string of positive input we can turn to as our antidepressants. And, of course, I’m honored to be on your short list of meds.

    I also love “unapologetically irreverent” as a polite euphemism for “Swears with Vigor.” In fact, if we were still being politically incorrect, I might make that my Indian name.

    Thanks, as always, for the thoughtful insight. Worth well more than $1. Oh, well–some day, when I’m loaded… (TOTAL: $27)

  33. hi there, colleen — i read you for every reason all the other articulate folks here have stated. i’m not being lazy: i swear i would say the same things, and those things would sound pretty much like a stew of the comments above. here’s maybe one different thing, and it’s an idea based on what i like & think about you.

    i think of you as a monologist, in the tradition of spalding gray. driven and riven by your own particular point of view and experiences, which somehow becomes spectacularly universal, funny and even tragic. so . . . why not video? make monologues. talk to us. let us see you seeing you, and the world. youtube it. i don’t know what, if anything, it would lead to — or if it would get you any closer to a “career” that might pay — but i have a sneaking suspicion it’s a good vehicle for your talents & pov, and would make an interesting platform for talking about all kinds of things. a little ze frank, a little spalding . . . dunno . . . does that make sense?

  34. Cheri – I do love that idea. And it is high time I did some vids. Funny, I just looked at Ze Frank’s TED talk and a few of his shows, and it’s pretty much what I wanted to do with mine. So now I need to think of how to make it mine. But great idea, definitely worth a buck. (TOTAL: $28)

    I also had five more email comments come in, for a…TOTAL: $33.

  35. Some remarkable things about you, from my vantage point (a.k.a. “why I come back”):

    First and foremost (the first response that came into my head before I even started typing):

    >>Your writing always instills me with hope; for myself, and for the world.

    Reasons for this include:

    >>You ask the questions you’re asking here, regularly, in different ways, about yourself and about the world (instead of not caring). As I’m this way myself, it this helps me feel not alone, and gives me further proof that it is entirely possible to be cool, creative, and positive at the same time (or, stated in another way, you help disprove the mythology that being dark, depressed, and bitter is the only way to be interesting, or to have an interesting life). And this also helps to show me that, though it sometimes feels like people who embody these qualities are thin on the ground, if I look hard enough, I’ll eventually be able to find more of them, and surround myself with a more positively-focused creative community than I’m used to…

    >>You ask these questions with the faith that an answer will come (instead of giving up and settling). What I get from reading you is that, even when YOU think you’re searching for something to believe in, you already believe in something, and that’s hope. You believe in hope. No matter what the topic, no matter what you’re dealing with, your writing always gives off this sense that if you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, well, you’re damn well gonna keep walking until you do, because you FIRMLY BELIEVE it’s there. You get tired, you get frustrated, but you’re convinced the journey is worth it. I like that.

    >>You ask these questions, and you explore your thoughts and discoveries, but you’re NEVER preachy. That’s pretty rare on blogs. I see a lot of other bloggers giving unsolicited advice, offering manifestos on what’s wrong with the world and how it “should be” instead (according to their limited experience with it), or telling their readers how they “should” think or respond. Your writing rarely expresses that. It’s not that you seem opinion-less, but that you somehow manage to keep your personal explorations and enlightenments as just that–something personal to you. Something which you’re sharing with others, sure, but not something you’re FOISTING on them. I’ve never once gotten the sense on this blog that you’ve ever said, implicitly or explicitly, “You should be/think/do like me.”

    And lastly, I’d say:

    >>Because you write about very personal things, and aren’t afraid to do so with your real name, despite potential personal or professional connections being made to your blog. I admire that hugely.

    I hope that’s helpful in some way.

    (BTW, As another communications pro who, in the middle of life, is suddenly realizing that speaking for other people is not the same thing as having one’s own voice and living one’s own dream, my first instinct is to suggest we join forces, find a wealthy patron willing to bankroll whatever whim we come up with, and create an eccentric self-expression circus.)

  36. Nothing terribly eloquent here (the coffee is next to me, but I haven’t started to drink it), but I really like the photo in this entry. My boyfriend (he’s the guy who read all 44 pages really voraciously) turned me on to your blog, and I have to say, it’s pretty great.

    That’s all. *ahem.*

  37. Miss Syl – You’ll forgive the tardy response, but I was blown away and it took a bit to recover. Thank you. It’s extraordinarily helpful, not to mention cheering. I’m a little embarrassed, but in the good way. $1 (worth so much more). (TOTAL: $34)

    Kerry – Hey, that’s cool. I like the photo, too. $1. (TOTAL: $35)

  38. So I am beyond late in contributing to your request, but I had to chime in in support of Cheri’s response. Because I have experience of you wearing three of your hats (writing, designing, performing), I LOVE the idea of you as your version of Spaulding Gray. I was disappointed when I read that you had decided to give up acting. You are one of the good ones and maybe you should reconsider? Start short and simple and see how it goes.

  39. Gretchen – Never too late! But when, might I ask, did you see me perform? Are you one of the 40 people who go to 99-seat theater in L.A.? Or was it my tour de force in Space Jam that bowled you over?

    Seriously, I have not given up acting; I’ve given up auditioning. I will continue to perform in anything and everything I find exciting, interesting and non-revolting, especially if it pays well.

  40. You’re an authority. I’m not stifling my thoughts here. You have an immediate answer to everyone’s question/need (you don’t stifle *your* thoughts). What an excellent brain you have. It’s as though you have so many things going on and you sometimes try to define yourself and channel it, which–okay, yeah, channeling has its uses, but I would hate to see you stifle any of your power. You worry about whether or not you’re good enough, but through my eyes you’re SOOO smart and SOOO talented I want to introduce you around and show you off. (And ask you a lot of questions and have you tell me what to do with the things in my life that confuse me!) There’s so much snapping happening in your synapses and it’s all useful. Maybe not to you, but to someone. And you’re pretty damned generous with it in that gorgeous newsletter of yours.

    That was stream-of-consciousness. Better late than never.

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