[video] Hair today, books tomorrow

[Long-ass video clocking in at a whoppin’ 5:05]

Salutations, and apologies for the distinctly lengthy, somewhat self-indulgent, purportedly “useful” video above. In my defense (and I’m nothing if not defensive), I’m both: (a) woefully (or not) out of practice; and (b) pressed for the kind of time needed to write a shorter letter. We’re looking at a rather tense couple of months here at communicatrix HQ, deliverables-wise (after which time I’m sure my essays will return to their previously scheduled interminability; my videos will return to a brisk conciseness; and my newsletters will return, period.) (Kidding. I think. I mean, I should be putting out a newsletter next Wednesday, but don’t quote me on that. But you can sign up here, if you want to roll the dice.)

This video—which you may have to click through to watch if you’re reading this somewhere other than on the web and an actual computer—contains two main sections.

Section the First is just a hair update. While very little has changed, hair-wise, since September, amazingly (as is abundantly evident via this video), it takes me A MINUTE and THIRTY-NINE SECONDS to state this very obvious fact. I suppose part of the issue is that I’m taking a little time to say howdy and to provide context, and another bit is that I had to shill show off my fancy new Wahl cordless electric all-in-one hair-clipper thingy. Lots lots lots more to say on this whole being-bald(ish) thing, but those are stories for another day—a day which has not quite made it on the publishing calendar yet, but which certainly will at some point.

The second section concerns books. Not just any books, but a particular ritual of reading certain books—one I’ve been engaged in for some time, and which I’ve found to be extremely helpful in keeping me focused/on-track (a perennial challenge) and non-depressed (ditto, and how).

I’ve actually written at some length about daily reads in my marketing column for actors, so I won’t belabor it here except to say this: the daily devotional has its place in the secular world, too. Some kinds of change are particularly slippery and elusive, and the right words (i.e., from people who’ve been working on this stuff longer than you, and are further down the road, and are maybe not too preachy) in a manageable, portion-controlled size (for me, extremely small), repeated at the right intervals (in my case, daily) can be great helpmates. Two of the books are listed in the column I link to, above, but for your convenience, they are:

Think and Grow Rich Every Day, a carving-up of the Napoleon Hill self-help classic by two enterprising fellows, and more power to ’em. Each month focuses on a particular aspect of Hill’s teachings, with one month lumping together two of the shorter chapters (“The Subconscious Mind” and “The Brain”). The authors claim to have updated the language a bit from the fusty original text, but damned if I can tell much difference. And that chapter about the sex urge is just nutso; you’ll want to take October with a grain of salt, or a pinch of saltpeter, or something. But it’s eminently more readable in these bite-sized morsels, and has helped me to keep my eyes on the prize. And as I mention in the video, this book was, in a weird and witchy way, partly responsible for the success of 50-for-50.

One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, a compendium of teachings from the 12-step recovery programs for the friends and families of alcoholics, who (boy, howdy) generally suffer from their own addictive, self-destructive tendencies. I hope you don’t need this one. I hope that you have no boundary issues or co-dependent b.s. or any other of the narsty, sticky residue of self-loathing that growing up in an alcoholic (or xholic) home can leave. But if you do, and you can put up with a little Higher Power here and there, you may find it not only steadying in stretches, but shockingly illuminating. I have taken in a few days’ entries with the wonder I can only imagine Helen Keller must have felt by the family pump.

The third book I cannot conscientiously recommend yet, as I’ve only been playing with it since the start of this new year. (Which somehow already seems old at four days in—how weird is that?) But in the month or so since I finally got over my squeeginess over the covers, I have become quite taken with the output of Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, aka SARK, reading a full two books’ worth and well into a third. (I put down another one a third of the way through because the erratic typesetting was making me seasick.) But in case you want to check it out—which I did, literally, from the library—here it is.

But really, with all of these books, I’d suggest test-driving them via your amazing public library before committing your hard-earned dollars and even more precious attention. Unless you are filthy rich, in which case please buy them and anything else your heart desires via my Amazon affiliate link.

Okay! This post is already too long and my to-do list isn’t getting any shorter. One short request before I go: if you have any daily-devotional-type books you LOVE, feel free to leave them in the comments. Right? Right!

And happy new year, while I can still say it.


While this is probably obvious, for the purposes of 100% transparency, this post contains a shitload of Amazon affiliate links. Feel free to buy ANYTHING through your local bookseller, or to test-drive via your local library. Except for maybe that hair trimmer. Because (a) doubtful that anything but a chain store will stock electric clippers or that libraries carry them at all and (b) ew, gross.


  1. I hate Facebook email too! So much really. Irritates me no end getting an email telling me I got an email on FB. Also when hitting return sends your message instead of making a line break. ArGH!

    Happy New Year, Colleen!

    Oh, and it’s not daily devotional per se, but Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke is chock full of great quotes. Was just thinking it was time to reread it again.

    Prehistory of the Far Side by Gary Larson would be another good choice though perhaps low on edification.

    1. The Rilke book is at the top of the list. Just need to clear out a few titles first to make room for it.

      And lady, turn off those notifications! I mean, you can’t stop people from trying, but enough is enough!

      1. I don’t get that many and I’m rarely on FB, so I’d miss them otherwise. The stupid notifications that tell me people have posted statuses are maddening and I swear I do have those turned off. Glitchy it seems. urgh.

        The Rilke is well worth it. There was a stretch during which I realized that every great Rilke quote I encountered was from that one slim volume.

  2. Happy new year Colleen!
    I hadn’t emailed you (through any medium) to ask about your hair but I have been wondering… so thanks!

    Enjoyed thsi post and the video. I know I really ‘should’ do a daily devotional (I’m in to the higher power) so you’ve inspired me to get back to it.

    Also, I got ‘Status Anxiety’ by the lovely Mr de Botton. Fabulous. Doesn’t he write so cleanly and clearly? Thank you. It’s been a good book for me to read, esp’ while I went through a serious bout of comparanoia over the holidays.

    Bless you!

    1. Oh, my, yes—his writing is so clear, so cogent, so fine. I’d call it “dazzling”, but it’s too unobtrusive for that. MAJOR crush on Mr. de Botton. Major.


  3. Happy New year…My sister, Patricia just sent me, “Prayers for Healing, 365 Blessings, Poems & Meditations from Around the World” Like it alot…lots of wisdom…short and sweet, usually.

  4. My favorite daily devotional book is “The Book of Awakening” by poet Mark Nepo. Not a single entry fails to surprise, astound and/or inspire. It was written in 2000, and this will be my third or fourth time through it. Here’s the problem, once I’m in it, I can’t stop. You know, ‘the month of entries in one reading syndrome’ … ah well, a page a day isn’t my thing, while daily reading is. Also, The Big Red Book of Rumi is hard to beat for just flipping open to any page and getting a daily dose of his oft humorous, ecstatic wisdom. Love your writing, Colleen! Have shared your poetry with many. Please keep it coming! Much joy to you in 2012!

  5. I’m on my third copy of “the Gift” by Hafiz. Kind of a daily devotional. Haven’t been to my Al-anon meeting in years, but still keep “Courage to Change” on the nightstand. And also –since both alcoholic parents are now gone — “Healing After Loss, Daily Meditations or Working Through Grief” by Martha Hickman.

    I’m flirting with the SARK stuff too, but am in a full-time relationship with Mike Dooley’s notes from the universe, Infinite Possibilities, etc. I love him. LOVE.

    MY IPad won’t let me watch your video…. Poop.

  6. I was just going to scurry down here and say Hafiz’s “The Gift” too – I see I’m not the only one. It’s my top devotional/dark night of the soul reading.

  7. We’re such a hair-obsessed culture. And women’s looks are always up for discussion.

    I shall move to the bookish part of the program because that’s where the good stuff is for me.

    Thanks for sharing your current reading titles. I’m back to making my video book reviews (coming back soon!) and I love sharing books.

    I’m all for the library-then-buy approach. I’m still gobsmacking grateful that I can just order any title from the library and get it – free! I do buy books as well.

    Great to see you again!

  8. Another vote for Mark Nepo’s ‘A Book of Awakening’.

    Also whenever I need a boost I go to my well-thumbed copy of ‘If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence & Spirit’ by Brenda Ueland.

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