The Quotidian Ones

What’s up & what’s gone down :: January 2012

the author speaking in front of a gigantic picture of herself

Hey! It's Charles Foster Godin Chodron Kane!

A mostly monthly but certainly occasional round-up of what I’ve been up to and what’s in the hopper. For full credits and details, see this entry.

Colleen of the future (stuff I’ll be doing)

  • “Making People Love You Madly” tour for ASMP [January dates: Albuquerque, 1/17; Phoenix, 1/19; New Orleans, 1/23; February dates: New York City, 2/1; Philadelphia, 2/9; Salt Lake City, 2/23] I’m continuing the road with a beefed-up version of my “marketing in the postmodern age” talk for the American Society of Media Photographers. Many of the chapters allow non-members to attend for a fee. This version of the talk uses specific examples from the world of commercial photography, but anyone with a small creative business will come away with plenty of ideas. And, if you’re good at networking, many new contacts from the world of photography!
  • January L.A. Biznik Mixer at Jerry’s Famous [Los Angeles; Tonight, Wednesday, January 11, 5:30-7:30pm!]  Fun, free, low-key networking plus great tips, tricks and ideas from your fellow indie-biz folk, which of course includes me. Duh. My co-host again this month is South Bay illustrator Donna BargerHeeeeeere’s Jerrys!
  • TEDxConcordiaUPortland [Portland, OR; March 31] I am beyond thrilled, honored, and yes, terrified to be presenting at this conference whose theme is “Becoming Extraordinary.” I mean, pressure much? But I had such an amazing, amazing time at the last TEDx produced by my now-friend Michelle Jones that—well, I made her be my friend. So there you go. Tickets go on sale January 28, and this event will sell out. And yes, I’d pay to go even if I wasn’t speaking—it’s that kind of day.

Colleen of the Past (what I have done for you lately)

Colleen of the Present (stuff I do, rain or shine)

  • communicatrix | focuses :: My monthly newsletter devoted to the ways and means of becoming a better clearer communicator (plus a few special treats I post nowhere else). Free!
  • Act Smart! is my monthly column about marketing for LA Casting. Nominally for actors, there’s a ton of good info in there for any creative business person. Browse the archives, here.
  • Internet flotsam :: You  know, I have not been so much with the Internet flotsam of late. Mostly posting links/etc. and chatting on Facebook. This could change—and probably will. Most things do, given time.

xxx
c

Photo by Michael Smith.

[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.

xxx
c

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.

What’s up & what’s gone down :: September 2011

the author with and without hair

A mostly monthly but certainly occasional round-up of what I’ve been up to and what’s in the hopper. For full credits and details, see this entry.

Colleen of the future (stuff I’ll be doing)

  • Fundraising on the Mac with IndieGoGo [Apple Store, 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica: TONIGHT, 9/21, 7-8pm] I’ll be featured on this monthly panel, talking about (I assume) some of what I learned during my recently-completed 50-for-50 Project.
  • “Making People Love You Madly” tour [October dates: San Diego, 10/6; Boston, 10/11; Minneapolis, 10/19] I’m hitting the road with a beefed-up version of my “marketing in the postmodern age” talk starting early in October for my client, the American Society of Media Photographers. Many of the chapters allow non-members to attend for a fee. This version of the talk uses specific examples from the world of commercial photography, but anyone with a small creative business will come away with plenty of ideas. And, if you’re good at networking, many new contacts from the world of photography!
  • October L.A. Biznik Mixer at Jerry’s Famous [Los Angeles; Wednesday, October 19 OCTOBER 26!]  Fun, free, low-key networking plus great tips, tricks and ideas from your fellow indie-biz folk, which of course includes me. Duh. My co-host again this month is South Bay illustrator Donna Barger. Rumor has it there will be buttons available to support a certain cause. And that they are effing awesome. Join up here (free membership, which is nice), and you’ll be emailed when the notice goes live.
  • Seattle Interactive Conference [Seattle, November 2-3] I’ll be presenting a new talk on the Biznik Stage, all about the b.s. of “silver bullets,” and how regular people can mobilize an audience.

Colleen of the Past (what I have done for you lately)

Colleen of the Present (stuff I do, rain or shine)

  • communicatrix | focuses :: My monthly newsletter devoted to the ways and means of becoming a better clearer communicator (plus a few special treats I post nowhere else). This month: How to talk FAST (or, pulling a talk for 500 people out of your ass the night before). Free!
  • Act Smart! is my monthly column about marketing for LA Casting. Nominally for actors, there’s a ton of good info in there for any creative business person. Browse the archives, here.
  • Internet flotsam :: If you suffer from a surfeit of time, you can always look for me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and delicious. Oh, and that Google+ all the nerds are yakking about. But not much yet. Only so many hours in a day.

xxx
c

Photo (with hair) by Shawn G. Henry; Photoshopping (without hair) by Donna Barger.

50-for-50: Frequently asked questions

This post is #47 in a series of 50 dedicated to the art and life of writing, in support of the 50 for 50 Project to benefit WriteGirl. If you like it, or if you think it could have been improved by a better writing education for its author, please give generously. And pass it on.

Eventually, when this is behind me, I’ll write up a more organized list of FAQs. But the video above and the list below take care of some of the things I’ve been getting asked a lot now that are sort of time-sensitive.

1. Party invitations

If you have given money for a party invite and have not received one from us (they’re coming from Pingg.com), contact me IMMEDIATELY: colleen AT communicatrix DOT com. I will forward your email to Jill Murphy, who’s taken over party stuff so my head doesn’t explode before we can get the hair off of it. But yes, all the invites have gone out.

2. Perk fulfillment & thank-yous

We—or rather, I—will be fulfilling perks after the close of the campaign. Probably at least a week after, because I seriously need a week to just recover. Since I’m doing it myself, it may take a while, but you will get your stuff, digital or physical.

As to thank-yous, I didn’t promise I’d do this, but I want to. Again, it will take a while. Please be patient! I can only do so much, and I have taken two months off of work to do the campaign, so I have to work, too. Because boy, Anthem Blue Cross gave me the OPPOSITE of a birthday present. Okay. ‘Nuff said on that one.

3. How I did what I did

I’ve started getting a number of requests for information on how I organized, ran, prepped, etc. the campaign. I will be sharing everything I learned over the next couple of months. Maureen Anderson interviewed me (and separately, Keren Taylor, director of WriteGirl) for The Career Clinic radio show; I’m going to do an interview for IndieGoGo’s newsletter and a Q&A via Skype with Don Stanley for his Social Media class at University of Wisconsin-Madison, which hopefully, they’ll post for other people to see.

I will also be writing things up myself, so please subscribe to the blog and subscribe to the newsletter to make sure you get those. You can unsubscribe whenever you want—I encourage it, in fact. But if you email me asking for the info, you’ll just get a reply to look for the info here. It will become recursive and annoying, and neither of us wants that to happen.

Again, please be patient. I’m pretty overwhelmed now, and I cannot help but think I will be more so once it sinks in that I am a 50-year-old lady with no hair.

4. T-shirt fulfillment

The “Old.” shirts are printed all at once, then shipped out by the printer. You should receive your “Old.” shirt sometime in October, if you ordered one. (And no, you can’t order one now—orders have been closed.)

5. Yes, I’m donating the hair

To these people. They seem nice, and they are definitely NOT blowing their money on web design, which makes us simpatico.

6. When is the last day to contribute?

September 13, 2011. After that, you’re welcome to donate money to WriteGirl, and I hope you will. But to say you’re a part of this crazy little project we’re all working on together OFFICIALLY, kick in here by Tuesday. Early. Because I may or may not have set the campaign to run out before 11:59pm Pacific.

Okay! That’s all I got for now.

Catch you on the flip-flop!

xxx
c

Frrrrriday Rrrrroundup! #68: 50-for-50 edition

desktop wallpaper designed by spencer cross

This post is #46 in a series of 50 dedicated to the art and life of writing, in support of the 50 for 50 Project to benefit WriteGirl. If you like it, or if you think it could have been improved by a better writing education for its author, please give generously. And pass it on.

The Reverend Molly, who found her way to 50-for-50 via Sugar, shared this absolutely beautiful (and also, very interesting and helpful) piece on what it’s like to live outside the cultural norm—in her case, sans hair.

Not only was Sugar stunningly generous in devoting her entire weekly column to 50-for-50, she specifically articulated what was so meaningful about this whole project for all of us in a way none of us, myself included, have been able to.

A beautiful (what else?) story from interviewee Leah Reich about her experiences growing up in a small Colorado town, and what it means to have someone believe in you.

A gorgeous tribute by interviewee, client, and good friend Judy Herrman about why we undertake bits of certifiable insanity like 50-for-50. And living.

This piece mistakenly says I’ve already shaved, but let’s not hold this against them. Because an awesome plug is an awesome plug, and hey, Donna Barger did do a bang-up job with the Photoshopping!

Finally, I love the support from the gentlemens, too.

Image inside the frame by Spencer Cross, awesome designer, dog-owner, human being, and founder of kernspiracy designers’ group. You can get it in a luxurious, desktop-sized image of inspiration with a $15 contribution to the 50-for-50 project on IndieGoGo, through September 13, 2011.

And on the 50th day, they partied

This post is #45 in a series of 50 dedicated to the art and life of writing, in support of the 50 for 50 Project to benefit WriteGirl. If you like it, or if you think it could have been improved by a better writing education for its author, please give generously. And pass it on.

Yes, you have to work hard.

But occasionally, you have to stop working to rest. Or relax. Or, occasionally, to celebrate.

And by “you”, as The Youngster used to say, I mean “me.”

I’m still working—hahaha—on all of these things: learning to rest, relax, and (occasionally), to celebrate. Last night, for example, I sort of relaxed while my good friend and even better sport Heather Parlato painstakingly coconut-oiled my scalp, so my soon-to-be-barren dome wouldn’t look all scabby and gross after the shaving. We caught up on gossip during and I had a rosé-wine spritzer after, so I’m counting it in the “fun” column.

I hope you are putting things in your own, personal “fun” column. I hope that occasionally, your “fun” column runneth over onto the other side of the page. Fun (or even “fun”) is a necessary component of human existence—even the existence of steadfast and earnest, workaholic writers.

Or so they tell me.

xxx
c

P.S.  As per the looooong video above, I would love it if you decided to come have some fun with me on my birthday, this Tuesday, September 13. Owing to my nervous-Nellie conservatism about too many people at my host’s house and plain old bad math, I initially released far fewer tickets than I probably should have. This has been corrected. Please buy one! I have to spend all this money on the food and drink anyway; a few more heads will make the party more fun, and still be wildly cost-efficient. Yay, efficiency!

The lost days of summer

This post is #44 in a series of 50 dedicated to the art and life of writing, in support of the 50 for 50 Project to benefit WriteGirl. If you like it, or if you think it could have been improved by a better writing education for its author, please give generously. And pass it on.

Between the hacking, the ungodly heat (with humidity, which is downright baffling out here in the desert), and overwhelm born of dreams you barely dared to dream actually coming true, I lost a day. Or two. Or something.

At least, I lost the outward-facing part of them. Because sometimes, the things you make to put out in the world aren’t ready to live there just yet. (Especially when it’s 450 degrees in your apartment and your brain has been simmering in its own juices for three days.)

It is my longstanding policy to write about things only when they are useful, and experiences only when I have enough of a handle on them to be at least somewhat illuminating. I have a year-or-so’s worth of fumbling, stumbling garbage posts which, I think, prove the wisdom and prudence of adhering to such a policy.

So I “lost” a day. To you. But this day is not really lost. In addition to being, like any day, part of the rich fabric that makes blah blah blah, I also learned a Very Important Lesson about myself which should make things better/stronger/faster moving forward, and which (of course, duh!) I will share just as soon as it’s been properly assimilated.

In the meantime, a word about someone else.

I met Michael Bungay Stanier at the World Domination Summit this year. I’d been a fan for a long time—he’s a really smart, really funny fellow who shares terrific resources for busting through creative blocks—but I fell for him hard in Portland. Because in addition to being really smart and really funny, he’s really, really true-blue. This is something you can maybe fake online, but that you cannot ever fake in person.

Michael is taking a brief break from doing all of his awesome business-type stuff to promote a very special cause: ending malaria. To be precise, he’s edited a book full of terrific essays from a variety of other smart, big-hearted people (and written a bang-up one himself), the proceeds of which go to buying mosquito nets to help fight malaria. You’ve heard of this simple fix before, no doubt; what’s kind of sad-making is that this simple fix has not been widely-enough deployed to actually fix malaria. But we soldier on, right?

$20 of each sale goes to the cause. That’s the FULL PRICE of the Kindle version, and all but four or so bucks of the print edition. I’ve read a dozen of the essays so far, and can vouch for the quality. No fluff, no tossed-off nonsense.

And yes, I paid for my copy. Or, as I like to think of it, I bought a mosquito net to protect the girl who might turn out to be the woman who writes an epic poem that makes some warrior decide to lay down his sword, or the woman who finds a cure for malaria, or maybe the woman who becomes the mother of the guy who finds a cure for malaria. (Hey—it could happen. There are some smart guys, too.)

I know that between giving for this and giving for that (not to mention the heat of what’s supposed to be fall), we’re all burnt crispy. But this is a book that you’re buying to help you, too. It’s a book full of actual, helpful, actionable tips and tools you can use to start changing your life in ways that will help you to make the world a more awesome place. So if you don’t want to buy the kid a mosquito net, buy your selfish self a book. It’s all good. They’ll take care of the mosquito net anyway.

xxx
c

Visit the End Malaria Day website