Month: December 2008

100 Things I Learned in 2008, Part II


I know! I know! You’ve been on pins and needles, those of you not on tenterhooks. (Go on, click. I didn’t know what they were, either.)

Here’s the second half of my Sweetly Grouchy Look Back at 2008. Which, to wrap it up in a sentence, wasn’t bad, exactly, but felt an awful lot like having a baby elephant: a long time in coming, and at the end of it, you end up with…another elephant*. (Although, hey, I guess if you’re the Mother Elephant, that’s a good thing.)

All right! Enough of this jibber-jabber! Let’s get on with the main event.

And hey, if I don’t see you before then? Have yourself a merry little new year!


  1. Never schedule a haircut while your stylist is going through a divorce.
  2. The new stuff of today is the #@%*! crap of tomorrow.
  3. There’s no place like home.
  4. Especially when I’m the only one in it.
  5. Although visitors of both the two- and four-legged variety are welcome.
  6. Money is AWESOME.
  7. When the action is “networking,” the equal and opposite reaction is “cave time.”
  8. A multitude of puzzlements are made clear after spending a little quality time meditating on the size of the left half of the IQ curve.
  9. Backup.
  10. Backup.
  11. Backup.
  12. Just because something is the opportunity of a lifetime doesn’t mean it’s the opportunity for you.
  13. Blogging is nice, but it’s good to be in print.
  14. Doing stuff is a lot harder than naming stuff.
  15. Root canals are every bit as horrifying as you’ve been led to believe.
  16. And twice as expensive.
  17. And my previous dentist? IS AN ASSHOLE.
  18. Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but without it, your filing system might as well be on Jell-O.
  19. White people love their fifteen minutes.
  20. Having principles can be costly.
  21. Because, like the old saw about divorce, they’re worth it.
  22. Once you let your freak flag fly, it’s hard to put it back in mothballs.
  23. Never underestimate the power of a good subject line.
  24. If I’d gotten what I wanted at 22, I’d be dead by now.
  25. Ditto 25, 28, 31, 35 and 40.
  26. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’m ready today.
  27. In order to get anything meaningful out of your life, you have to be ruthless about what you let into it.
  28. Don’t try to manage anyone else’s expectations until you’ve got a firm grip on your own.
  29. Bread is the devil.
  30. The lovely, lovely devil in white vinyl hot pants and a push-up bra.
  31. There are two things you can never have too much of, and one of them is music.
  32. Random acts of kindness happen far more often than you have your eyes open to see them.
  33. Underwear stretches.
  34. A lot.
  35. Denuding your toiletries of their signage is a subversive delight.
  36. Surprisingly, it also makes performing your ablutions more enjoyable.
  37. Provided you have a good memory.
  38. There are many reasons to own Photoshop, but making people laugh is numero uno.
  39. When in doubt, engage in a little manual labor.
  40. Preferably the kind that makes the world a better place.
  41. “The world” being anything from your sock drawer to…well, the world.
  42. I’m going to make a fantastic old lady.
  43. Buy art.
  44. Even if you’re broke.
  45. Especially if you’re broke.
  46. If you don’t hang out with your betters, you’ll get worse.
  47. Fortunately, the opposite also holds true.
  48. If you really figure out where you’re really supposed to be, that you found it out late won’t mean a damn.
  49. For better or worse, 2009 can’t possibly be anything but incredible.
  50. I’m not nothing without you, but I’m sure as hell glad you’re here!

Next 100 Things: December 2009! In the meantime, you can still enjoy the even more distant past:






*None of which has to do with the fine photo illustrating this post, which is most clearly not of an elephant but rather that pachyderm beloved of French and non-French Absurdists alike, the rhinoceros. And because you may not click through (hey! you’re busy!), I’ll give you the title of the photo right here:

“Homesick,” by Merlin Mann via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Someday, I really need to do a post on the use of illustrations in text. Or at least, of the way I use illustrations in text. It might be illuminating. Just like illustrations are supposed to be

100 Things I Learned in 2008, Part I

I love lists.

Making them is soothing, stimulating and illuminating all at once. (Also, a hands-on lesson in the old saw that making something look easy is hard work.)

I’m not sure how good this year’s list is; honestly, I think that having so much social media in my life has acted as kind of a steam valve for my one-offs, instead of serving as a record of the past year’s minor frustrations, accomplishments and general oddities. But I gave it a go because dammit, that’s the kind of gal I am.

So without further ado, I give you my year in a list, Part the First. Enjoy!


  1. When in doubt, throw shit out.
  2. Always be reading.
  3. It takes a (global, electronic) village to make a video.
  4. The iPhone is like a unicorn that actually exists.
  5. With magic ruby peonies woven into its mane.
  6. And a double ice cream rainbow in the background lighting the way.
  7. Facebook is still the AOL of social media platforms.
  8. Sometime in the middle of this year, that became a good thing.
  9. The shortest distance between you and regular exercise is a youngish dog.
  10. She who makes fun of LOST is doomed to become addicted to it.
  11. It sucks that making the logical, mature decision is considered a miracle.
  12. But that does not diminish the awesomeness of it happening.
  13. Working is easy; focusing is hard.
  14. A good bra is like money in the bank.
  15. Only it’s not, because good bras are REALLY expensive.
  16. And banks are, like, not so good with the money, as it turns out.
  17. Have a plan, but make it a loose one.
  18. Learn to say “no” or die buried under your crushing pile of well-intentioned “yes”-es.
  19. The Wire may be the most clearheaded depiction of America since The Godfather.
  20. When in doubt, just add water.
  21. And coffee.
  22. Lots and lots of coffee.
  23. Change takes longer than you think it will, but is generally worth the wait.
  24. The Change takes even longer and had goddamn well better be.
  25. If you think COBRA is bad, wait until it runs out.
  26. And you are over 40.
  27. With a pre-existing condition.
  28. Networking does not, in fact, have to suck.
  29. Everybody farts.
  30. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think Wiis are stupid, and those who have played them.
  31. I miss performing (NSFW).
  32. And, apparently, starring in commercials.
  33. And, finally, at long last and without reservations, my dad.
  34. Setting a goal to have more sex is a great idea.
  35. Telling the person you’re going to be having the sex with about the goal to have more sex is not.
  36. Life becomes exponentially more awesome for each person you add to your life who is cooler than you.
  37. And a better citizen.
  38. And more talented.
  39. Astrology may be bullshit, but I’ll be damned if I buy another piece of electronic equipment when Mercury is retrograde.
  40. I am a starter, not a finisher.
  41. I don’t hate TV; I hate paying for it.
  42. Also, sometime while I was watching Hulu, Bravo devolved into the Schadenfreude Channel.
  43. If you want a real-time demonstration of the journey being the point, get yourself to Inbox Zero.
  44. The world won’t end if you hide your light under a bushel, but someone is sure to trip in the dark.
  45. Legs’ status as The Last Things to Go notwithstanding, there is an age after which one should not wear a miniskirt.
  46. At least, in public.
  47. Don’t bother using Firefox with less than 4 gigs of RAM at your disposal.
  48. A made bed and a clean sink won’t solve everything, but they make it easier to deal with almost anything.
  49. I would rather win one fan for life by telling the truth than a thousand for five minutes by fudging it.
  50. (Did I mention that’s a really great outfit you’re wearing?)

Can’t wait until the next installment? Why not learn from the past while you wait?





Ramping up to the end-of-year lists


It’s that time of year again. You know, the end part.

The part where everyone posts their lists of “Best Stuff of 2008 (That I Still Remember, Anyway)”. I know that a huge part of my so-called brand involves being a “rebel” and an “iconoclast” as well as a “deep-thinking blatherer,” but another, also huge part of me is a goofball who likes writing pithy bits and marching in lock-step with the rest of the world.

Don’t believe me? Well, then, clearly you’re no longtime reader of communicatrix-dot-com, as you’re not familiar with a little annual tradition I’ve had in place since Year the First. In involves recalling what I can actually recall of my year, or piece together from old posts, calendar entries and marathon sessions with the “search” function in my gmail archives, here, in list fashion, with some mirth and many more self-links.

That’s coming up soon. But it is a MAGNUM-FREAKING-OPUS, baby, and not to be rushed. Besides, I hate it when year-end reviews don’t include the end of the year they’re reviewing.

So in the meantime, I’d like to share a few sillier items to ramp up to those, the first of which should drop next week. (“Drop” being the technical term for “post” when I’m getting my journalist on.) Because I selfishly and transparently want to whet your appetite for my MAGNUM-FREAKING-OPUS so you’ll actually maybe possibly swing around here and take a gander, rather than let it, or them, really (it’s in two parts), molder away here, unloved and unread, as you par-tay down, holiday-style, away from the computer.

Also, I kinda-sorta think it would just be nice to start having a little more fun around these here parts. Not all the time: there will still be puh-lenty of deep probing and suchlike in the coming months. (Ahem.)

But in case you hadn’t noticed, things are getting rather gnarly out there. More joy!, say I…and will say, throughout 2009.

For now, though, let me introduce you to The Six Days of Christmas, a Video Gift from me to you that is already three days underway.

These are tiny home movies of my family members from long ago: things you know as “commercials,” since I come from an advertising family, not a home-movie-taking family. (Although I remember one holiday where some uncle screened what seemed like 14 hours of various family members streaming into and out of the parish church on their way to and from the First Holy Communions, Confirmations, and Other Various Sacraments that Lay People Can Indulge In Publicly. The first 7 hours were pretty hilarious. The last? Not so much.)

You can view them via…

  • my Tumblr blog, which for those of you who don’t know about it, contains most of the interesting video and photo ephemera I stumble upon on the web
  • my YouTube channel, which also is home to the videos I create (more of those in 2009!) and the ones I find interesting, but not appropriate for my Tumblr blog
  • …the Facebook, if you happen to belong to that fine social networking community

Speaking of Facebook, as my new pal, Tim Walker, tagged me for a fun meme, the object of which was to share seven tidbits about oneself and I had just the other day been tagged for one on Facebook by my other new(ish) pal, Bryn Mooth, the object of which was to share 16 tidbits about myself, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone by liberating my words from behind Facebook’s firewall AND be nice by playing along AND lighten things up around here.

And just so you don’t think I’m a complete lazy-ass bum, I’m adding bonus linkage never before available in this version. (Facebook, in an effort to be as user-friendly as possible, I guess, is kind of weird with the linking, so screw ’em.)

So without further ado…

16 Random Things about Colleen Wainwright, a.k.a. “the communicatrix”

  1. Lists are one of my favorite literary forms.
  2. Don’t believe me? Check it.
  3. Road trips excepted, I loathe driving.
  4. I could probably eat my weight in Houston’s brussels sprouts.
  5. And if they’re out of those, the acorn squash.
  6. The butternut? Not so much.
  7. No one who meets me believes it, but I’m one of the world’s biggest introverts.
  8. Despite what my dear friend, Bryn, would have you believe, the Very Best Dog in the World is, in fact, Arno J. McScruff. I’d show you a picture, but then I’d have to kill you.
  9. I was ineligible to give blood until four years after my Crohn’s onset when I finally made the weight requirement…at which point I was on immunosuppressants and therefore ineligible to give blood.
  10. I was once flown to Montreal, all expenses paid, to sing a song about my twat.
  11. I am almost pathologically impatient.
  12. My ex-husband and I had our 12th date on the Oprah show, where he was on a panel discussing “Pre-Marital Sex, Yes or No?” He came out strongly on the side of “yes,” delivering up the unforgettable sound bite, “You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it first,” after which the woman sitting next to me in the studio audience said, “What a pig, who would go out with him?” 20 years later, I still remember the evil grin on my face as I sloooowly turned towards her to sh*t in her oatmeal. It was a PERFECT movie moment.
  13. If I could have any superpower, it would be to sing like Ella Fitzgerald.
  14. And to accompany myself on piano like Oscar Peterson.
  15. I will go to my grave saying Jackie Brown is superior to Pulp Fiction.
  16. Despite my legendary Internet prowess, until I got this @#*&! meme, I had no idea how to use the “Notes” feature on Facebook.

There is supposed to be some tagging here on my part, but my thought is to just put it out there and encourage YOU to take 15 minutes (or half an hour, or however long you’d like) to do it up if you feel like it. And then post in the comments with a link so everyone can see your own MAGNUM-FREAKIN’-OPUS and show you some love and…like that.

Keep on enjoying those holidays, and stay tuned for more excellent listage to come!


Image by thp365 via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Yo! This post contains an Amazon affiliate link to the 2-Disc DVD edition of one of my all-time favorite flicks, Jackie Brown. Buy it through the link above (or this one, here) and I get a half of a half of a cent or something; don’t, and I don’t. But check out the film either way. It’s THAT GOOD.

417 reasons to wake up NOW


Today was a bit of a wash.

Literally, for many people: we had thundamous rain here in L.A., which is quite the novelty and mayhem-maker in these parts, especially the hilly parts that have just been scorched by fire and deluged with toads. (Oh, wait, no toads. Yet. I’m pretty sure the Third Horseman brings those with him in his man-bag.)

I don’t mind rain, myself, provided I’m dressed for it (if I’m going out) or have no need of venturing out into it in the first place. Sunshine can become as relentlessly monotonous and tiresome as any other condition, the hot kind being especially wearying. After a year like this one, where summer started in April and kicked our collective asses steadily until November, I am a-okay with the water.

Today, however, was one of those days where adding water royally screwed up the works, from the sodden morning walk with Arno J to the tire I blew on a rain-masked curb to the six hours and three hundred bucks I lost to a new set of front tires, realignment and other assorted forms of asshole tax I very rightfully was made to pay because of my stubborn, or perhaps cavalier, refusal to adapt to changing circumstances.

It was raining, you see, when I woke up, or rather, when Arno J dutifully woke me up as part of his daily contribution towards our special time together. Raining in L.A., where the hills are steep and the sidewalks shitty under the driest of circumstances. Add water and you have swirling surprise eddys of dank, cold mess at every turn, and on most of the straightaways.

Poor Arnie, who is part terrier, part A Whole Bunch of Other Stuff and zero parts labrador retriever, did his level best to get us once around the loop with minimal water damage, but it was impossible: by the time we got home, I was soaked in gritty water from toes to hips, the rest of me lightly misted over from Arnie’s repeated attempts to “shake it off” en route.

Now, I had STUFF TO DO, so after getting Arnie dry and breakfasted, and The BF his first cuppa, I grabbed the only dry spares I had, shorts and thin, beachy sneakers, and hightailed it outta there. No breakfast. No…pants. An empty tummy and shorts, in wet, 50-degree weather, because WHAT COULD HAPPEN? I lived a mere five-point-two miles away, and all I had to do on the way home was to stop for gas.

I told you the part about the raging water and the hidden curb and the blowout, right? Did I tell you the part about knowing instantly what happened and cursing myself? How about the part where I got out of the car (in my shorts, in my thin, summery shoes, in the rain) and looked at it (YUP, IT’S FLAT, ASSHOLE) and cursed myself some more? No?

Did I tell you about the bit where I realized with bitter irony that I had done this in an actual gas station, one with no garage (and cursed myself, and modernization)? Or the part about where I realized that I, a 47-year-old woman with no idea of how to change a tire, wasn’t sure whether to call AAA, The BF or find some other, more obvious course of action I was probably missing because I was cold and hungry and wet and dressed inappropriately?


Well, how about if I tell you the part where I saw a tire place across the street, and cursed myself for being afraid they’d rip me off because I knew nothing about tires, or where I went in and asked the gas station cashier if they were any good, these tire people, and cursed myself for having to even ask? I did a helluva lot of cursing trying to find a pedestrian crosswalk to get me across the street (raging rivers! drivers not looking out for pedestrians! shorts! in December!), and more when the tire guy said he couldn’t send a guy ACROSS THE STREET to help me because of insurance (stupid fucking insurance! stupid fucking entire corpomegalopoly, while we’re at it!), and more when I had to cross the street/raging river again.

And there was the embarrassing call to AAA, and the embarrassing call for help to The BF, and the embarrassing call to my repair guys (how many times do I have to tell this embarrassing story…in SHORTS!? in THE RAIN?!).

All in all, an angry-making, mood-killing, sumbitch morning that would make anyone mad at the world.

Or, more specifically, that would make me mad at the world.

Here’s the thing, though. I’ve done a little time, I have, thinking about all of this Anger stuff and this Woe Is Me stuff and this Goddammit, This Fucking Sucks stuff. Some thinking and a whole lot of processing. And I’m here to tell you, if you do the thinking and you do the processing and you stay awake and you don’t resist…

…and you get some help…

…and, let’s be honest, here, you get some luck

…you can come out the other side of it wet, cold, disheveled, even humiliated, even a little bit angry, and still feel good. Where “good” is even-keeled. Where “good” is appreciative or (dare I say it?) happy.

I got a small glimpse of what it might be like on the other side of enlightenment, people, and I’m here to say, that is some goooooood shit.

Because while you are cold and wet and cursing yourself for the lack of foresight in having the appropriate clothes handy with which to greet changed circumstances, you are also noting yourself having learned this lesson, and figuring out how you will do it better next time.

While you are being pulled around the course by your wet, wet dog, one frozen claw of a hand clutching an umbrella, the other the lead, switching the bag of poop between them and hoping you do not all slip and fall into god-knows-what kind of dank, nasty mess of a slime-filled pothole, you are also noticing with great, great love in your heart how your poor, wet terrier-dog is walking so valiantly, is so unhappy with the cold and wet while at the same time so grateful to be out in it, and you are glad, too.

When you have Well and Truly Fucked Your Right Front Tire and your beloved calls back offering help, and good coffee from the Cubans, you are (in your shorts, in your flimsy shoes) bowled over by this humbling, crushing, all-encompassing gratitude for the love in your life. Hell, when the AAA guy shows up, happy, wet, changing your tire in the cold, you are blown away by how tremendous people are, how unexpected things can be, how lousy one minute and wondrous the next, or better, how simultaneously awesome-in-the-good-way and awesome-in-the-bad.

When you are on your way with your little donut and you are suddenly not doing anything suddenly, because you must pay attention, because you cannot ride the freeways on your donut, how grateful you are for attention, and for donuts, and for enough breathing room to see that sweet jesus, in all the commotion you didn’t get gas and now you are bone dry and lo! another gas station. They’re WONDERFUL, all these gas stations; cities are WONDERFUL and gasoline is wonderful and having the money with which to buy gasoline? Beyond wonderful.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Last night, at the most recent installment of a little gathering some lovely friends have been putting on regularly for some time, someone told the story of 417, of an acquaintance who has been seeing the number “417” in various ways and places for her entire life. The storyteller, having been told the story of 417, started seeing them, too, on license plates, signs, clocks. We discussed it amongst ourselves, destiny or pattern-seeking, Messages from Beyond vs. Yellow Volkswagen Syndrome.

I say, who cares? The point of all of this, these breakdowns, these slowdowns, these numbers, this examination, is to stay awake. To be in the moment. To Be Here, Now. If thinking of the number 417 helps you to Be Here Now, use it. If a tragedy, minor or major, helps you to Be Here Now, use it. If reading my silly, rambling story about a crazy, mixed-up, “useless” day helps you to Be Here Now, use it. (And if it inspires you to tell a story, please do tell it, and then tell me. Really.)

But let’s do it, shall we? Let’s Be Here Now, whenever and however we can. It goes so fast, and then it’s gone. And there are no do-overs. There is only, as I recently heard it put in a lovely bit of writing, “the big dirt-nap.”

Wake up now, before your nap.

Cold or wet or out of gas. Broke or flush or dumped or in love.

Wake the hell up, everyone. And if you see me dozing off, wake me the hell up, too, would you?


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

Patching vs. repairing (or, when to know when you’re truly f*cked)

As with all Whiny-First-World-Whitey posts, I need to start this off with some disclaimers.

  • Yes, things could be worse. A lot worse.
  • Yes, they are, in fact a lot worse, in a lot of ways and a lot of places.
  • Yes, some of those places are doubtless scant blocks from my home. (I live on the edge of three very different neighborhoods, socioeconomics-wise.)

Really, given the state of the world right now, financial chaos, environmental and infrastructural collapse, plus the ongoing persistent states of misogyny, racism, religious persecution and all other manner of Living Hells, a futzy little post about getting one’s house in order could easily come off as some clueless-elitist prescription to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and hie thee to the cake store.

So…sorry about that, in advance. But that’s what this post is gonna be about. About fixing things, really fixing things, where you get at the root of them, vs. fake-fixing things, where you just slap on a little metaphoric Shoe Goo and keep on keeping on.

That’s what the landlords who own my apartment building has been doing since they bought it: Shoe Gooing the place. Leaky pipes, funky wiring, rotten caulking, you name it, they’ve Shoe Gooed it. My bathroom is a vertible museum of land-based jury-rigging techniques. Mildewed ceiling? Paint over ‘it! The only real repairs they’ve done in the time I’ve lived here are the ones mandated by the State of California and City of Los Angeles. And those have generally been done on an overtime schedule, lest they get slapped with costly fines on top of costly repairs.

For years, I’ve run big swaths of my own life this way, and frankly, I’ve been lucky enough to get away with it. What finally convinced me that I needed to start addressing some things at the structural level (i.e., “repair”) vs. the cosmetic (i.e. “patching”, or “Shoe Goo”, if you will) were two things.

The first was running a “real” business. I’ve been self-employed since 1992, but mainly as either a contract employee (freelance copywriting for big agencies) or a theatrical contract employee (actor-for-hire by producers making commercials). In between, I had a brief, utterly restful stint as a real, W-2 employee which I used to bridge the gap from one to another. All in all, a pretty cush 14 years.

All that came to a crashing halt when I hung out my design shingle in 2006. Only it didn’t. Again, I took the Shoe Goo approach. Like my crap-ass landlords, I dolled up everything to look pretty. My cards? Sexy Pantone numbers on thick stock with a nice tooth. My website? Looked good, read well and loaded fast*. Every piece of correspondence that went out had my branding on it because hey, I have Photoshop and I know how to use it. And if cash flow was problematic, I just used my personal reserves to float the business. (Thank you, Chief Atheist and Mercenary Former Boss for teaching me the value of the “F*ck You” fund.)

But my invoices weren’t tied to a money management program and I had no accounting system in place. My contact management was haphazard (at best), and my dreadful workflow habits scattered documents liberally across a variety of hard drives and peripheral devices, which would eventually lock up or fail because I’d done the computing equivalent of throwing sand and chewing gum in them. Finally, while my needs are relatively modest and my stockpiles relatively damned good, I’m no trust fund baby with an open checking account.

It was about this time last year that I started getting serious about getting some serious repair work done. I made some progress, especially in the area of financial upkeep: my bookkeeper gave me a gold star last visit, along with a warning that if I continued in this vein of making things so easy for her, she would have to move to a minimum charge for her visit; we are both THRILLED by this turn of events.

There are plenty of other areas, though, that I’ve let slip. Not because I’ve been slacking off, but because I made other things priorities as opportunities arose. Like the chance to speak at last year’s Creative Freelancer Conference. Or to speak to actors about marketing. Or to start giving workshops, thanks to Dan and Lara of Biznik. Or to collaborate with another Swirling Ball of Energy, my new sometime-co-collaboratrix, Dyana Valentine.

Or, hell, to do any number of other cool things, from going to SXSW to making** art*** to heading up to Seattle for a month, just because.

And the second thing? (Remember there were two things?)

I want to do more of that good stuff. And not having a system that supports me is getting in the way of that.

How can I pick up and move for a month if I don’t trust that all the files I need are on my computer, and that my computer will work when I turn it on? Or that there’s enough money in my bank account to cover the trip, while we’re at it?

How can I do more of this AWESOME speaking and consulting, which, you guys, I cannot tell you how much I love, if I can’t turn around an invoice quickly and get paid, or put my hands on a client’s homework from anywhere?

I’m committing to some big, scary overhaul-type stuff this coming year. “Committing” as in either finding accountability partners who really will keep me accountable, or paying people to help me analyze and repair these things the right way.

I will also be turning down more and more things to make room for the things I do want to do, or the things I need to do in the short term to accomplish what I want for myself in the long term. On the small, hopefully easier-to-implement side of things, this will mean not checking email as often and trimming more media fat from my life. On the bigger, harder side, this will mean turning down some jobs, being more selective about what I say “yes” to, socially, even radically overhauling my diet and exercise habits. Really not looking forward to that, but as I slide into menopause, my body needs a little optimization.

Please don’t misinterpret this as a diatribe against patching. It’s a perfectly fine method for dealing with a host of issues, just not all of them, and definitely not all of them indefinitely.

And Rome wasn’t built, or rebuilt, rather, in a day. A watchword in this process is patience; I’m moving at half-speed through all of this.

Move through it, I will though, and I’ll be sure to report back on what I’m learning from it…


*Thanks to my good friend and great developer, Michael Grosch, whom I am indebted to both in the abstract and the absolute, hold on, Michael; your new logo is coming!)

**My video for Southwest Airlines’ totally rigged contest, totally safe for work.

***My Dirty Keywords Search Song, totally NOT safe for work.

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

Egg, meet face (or, “What the hell happened to my November and where the hell we’re going in 2009”)

This is the part where I look like an asshole.

That novel? Didn’t happen. Not over Thanksgiving, not in 30 days, not not not. I don’t see it happening in the near future, either, and not because it’s hard to see what’s coming down the pike through all this egg on my face.

I had a long talk about the novel during my last Seattle trip with my Hillbilly-Jewish Cousin. We talked about fear (did I have any around writing this book) and love (did I love the idea of writing this book).

Fear? No.

I’m not afraid of writing a book, and I’m certainly not afraid about being upfront with the gnarly details of living with Crohn’s disease. I love the idea of a book that potentially adds to the greater good (and is hilarious) rather than a book (even if it is hilarious) that adds to the coffers of me and some publishing house and, down the road, if we’re lucky, and the stars align, a movie studio.

Not that I have anything against money! (More, much, much more, on that later this month.) Money is awesome! It lets you do stuff. It gives you choices. At its best, it’s magical, time-shifted energy: an ingenious, asynchronous exchange of me for you. And you know what? After many years of misanthropy and almost as many of self-loathing, I really like both of us: we’re awesome, just like money! In fact, we are money, as the man said when he was still young, slim and unafflicted by the burden of too much energy-as-money and no good way to channel it into something meaningful.

But love? Ah. Love is a different story.

I have love in my heart for this fictional girl and her story, and for all real girls still in the process of writing their own real stories. Last week, I spent some more time with a group of women who totally get that: Keren Taylor and the amazing volunteers and mentors at WriteGirl, who work with girls from at-risk situations and turn them into fire-breathing powerhouses of take-no-prisoners fabulosity.

Well, actually, they use writing as a way to help the girls strengthen their voices and understand what it’s like to feel empowered, as well as doing tangible stuff like getting them into print and into college. If you’re looking for a great place to dump some of your extra time or money, you could do a lot worse than forking it over to Keren and WriteGirl. More on that and other great places to rid yourself of that pesky extra money (Vince Vaughan, are you listening?) later this month, as well.

What the hell was I doing, then, in this month off from writing publicly? A whole lot of thinking. And hashing out. And bouncing stuff off of various trusted resources. I laid out my fears and hopes and baby dreams, my ideas and tentative to-do list, my wildly burdensome sackful of unfulfilled obligations and bad karmic debts.

Here’s what I found: I am only interested in what I am interested in. And I cannot be interested in spending one second of the 40-some-odd years I have left (if I’m lucky) doing something that compromises my own voice.

I get that for as many champions as I had at the publishing house for those first few sample chapters filled with poop and laughs, I had an equal amount of detractors, and I get why: it was filled with at least as much poop as it was laughs, and that is starkly terrifying for some people. The truth, and certainly my truth (which, in fairness to me, is what I’d been asked to share), but no less terrifying for being so.

It is scary to sign on for the truth; it can be imprudent. Risk is always, um, risky. That’s why it’s called “risk,” right? Risk can seem especially risky in uncertain economic times. Unfortunately, there is no real living without risk. No growth, no change and certainly, no love.

So for now, I am going to be That Asshole who is not following up on the incredibly unusual, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to float a novel out there at the request of an Actual Publisher. I have a plan, though, for a lot of other cool, growth-oriented, change-promoting, fabulosity-increasing stuff. A BIG plan, which will start to unfold in posts on this very site over the course of December and through the next year.

  • I’m going to start sharing more excellent resources here, like I do in my beloved (by me and a growing number of readers) newsletters.
  • I’m going to lighten the fuck up a little, like I used to do, because sweet baby jesus on a bouncing kangaroo, if ever we needed more lightness, we need it now.
  • I’m going to post more plain, old useful tutorials here, about communications tools and how to feel the opposite of useless and maybe even ways of attracting a little more plain, old-fashioned love into your life. Because the more of us who are making meaningful contact and changing the world with our unique gifts and yes, goddammit, getting laid, the better off we’re going to be.

I’m also going to be dramatically shifting the direction of my work-for-hire life. And making it public, and maybe even soliciting your help in getting the word out. Because (say it with me) MONEY IS AWESOME! and while my now almost-year-long almost-sabbatical has been awesome in its own way, it’s time to get down with the facts that: (a) I can’t do everything for free forever; and (b) if I can support myself in a modest way that also allows for the flexibility of a great deal more travel, I can get out there in the real world like I did in October and November, and meet more of you in person, Southwest be damned!

In the meantime, since you’re a loyal reader of the blog (or one of the few lost souls who has found his way here looking for something of an entirely different nature, and so you know, that last link is 100% not safe for work), I’m going to share with you a work-in-progress preview of my formal “Hire Colleen!” page:

Colleen’s Super-Secret, Hire-the-Communicatrix Page

I will still be available for design work in 2009, but only for a select few projects and only after we’ve gone through an initial consulting thingamajiggy. I’m a fair-to-middling designer, good, even, when inspired. Thing is, I’ve been inspired less and less to use my design skills and more and more to do what I truly love: to help provide marketing focus to overwhelmed, go-getting, world-changing rockstars, particularly by showing you how to manage the increasingly complex (but brilliantly cheap and flexible) social media space.

Again, as with so much of this, more on that later. But really, for the first time in well over a year, I’m really clear on what I want to be doing, and thus really, REALLY excited about doing it.

With a vengeance.

With bells on.

With all the excitement and fervor and, let’s face it, sense of urgency that starting a major phase of work life at age 47 entails.

I thank you for the amazing support I’ve received so far. I hope to take it less for granted moving forward, and to do more stuff that is more fun and more useful for you and the rest of the world (a.k.a. those people who don’t know about us yet).

Finally, if you have any thoughts, ideas or questions, tutorials you’d like me to write, issues you’d like me to address, please do leave them in the comments, or if they’re of a very personal nature, you can email them to me via the gmail.

I cannot WAIT for all of this to start. And fortunately, I don’t have to. Because it just did…


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