Writing the book

July 30, 2013

I started a blog. Then I stopped. I did all this research. Then I stopped. I transcribed over a hundred interviews. Then I stopped. I started writing. Then I stopped. I want this more than anything I’ve ever wanted. Can’t you tell?

I’m now deep in the slog of writing the book that has sporadically provided the material for this blog. I fear that if I whine about the process on Facebook, I won’t have any friends left by the time I finish Chapter One, assuming that ever happens. Now knowing what I do about the habits people loathe in Facebookland (hint: complaining is at the top of most lists), I thought it best to find another venue to process the process. That is, a cheaper space than the couch at the $200 an hour shrink’s office. Writing in public about writing for the public with no one from the public actually reading is meta in such an obnoxious way that it comes around to almost funny, almost. You know, the “it’s so bad it’s good” cliche.

I’m warming to cliches. Professor Dorman may have pounded them out of my writing in his critical thinking class freshman year of college but I’ve come to appreciate them more. Maybe because I have become one. I am not as special as I thought I was. I am like every other writer. The perfect words do not cascade in beautiful patterns from my brain into my new MacBook Air. I was driving from LA to San Diego a few weeks ago. At the hour mark, I decided I should be there. I shouldn’t have to contend with the other 90 miles of driving. I’d done enough work, invested enough time. I shouldn’t have to do anything else to have what I wanted. It might have been the most profound moment of entitlement I’d had since earlier that morning when I’d been wrestling with the chapter outline for Real, Fake or Really Fake? Now chapter 4 then chapter 7. As irrational as it is to expect to be in San Diego when I’ve only driven 90 miles south of LA, it’s even more insane to expect to be published without doing all of the very unsexy, hard work of writing. I’ve heard hundreds of writers say that – the fancy ones, published ones, rich ones, best selling ones. Every kind of one. There it is. The cliche of the tortured writer with hundreds of pages of notes and 12 of 14 chapters outlined and a lot of really sketchy first draft writing and the chance to accomplish this thing I want more than anything I’ve ever wanted. Right there, that’s where we start.

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Facebook friends?

March 24, 2011

I always ask people what the term “Facebook friend” means. A few weeks ago, when I posed this question, someone lamented that the Facebook phenomenon was discounting the term friend. He said that friend is an important word, one that ought be protected. He worried that we are diminishing it’s meaning by using it so loosely.

Reading the Huffington Post today, I came across this article on the difference between being friendly and having friendships. Like my interview, the story raises some important distinctions about what it means to be in genuine relationship with a friend.

I took the picture to the right in Italy several years ago. The four women had just left an evening church service. They walked arm in arm through the crowded plaza, erupting every few feet in boisterous laughter. They walked, laughed, and talked the entire way home. Stalking them with my camera, I was captivated by their friendship. I still am.

What do you think? Are we cheapening the term friend and with it losing an understanding of what real friendship is? What do you think it means to be “Facebook friends”?

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Questions about books

March 15, 2011

I’m writing the book proposal for Close Strangers. I’ll continue doing interviews but it’s time to pull the research together, to start to create a cohesive narrative around the information. As I plummet into the murky world of books, I get hourly emails about the price cut closing sale at my local Borders. I, like [...]

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At Your Service

March 9, 2011

Have you checked out At Your Service lately? They’ve compiled a fantastic set of resources on living well. You can also subscribe to their Sunday Morning Indulgence for a weekly wrap of the best tips, encouraging words, inspiring quotes, genius blogs and articles from around the ever widening and sometimes submerging world wide web. I [...]

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Generational differences

March 8, 2011

Saw yet another study about Facebook yesterday. This one drew conclusions about women and their self-worth from the number of pictures they posted. It turns out the study exclusively involved 23 year old women, something that makes me question the universality of its conclusions. Like other studies getting main stream media attention, before assuming applicability, [...]

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“You are not alone in this.”

March 7, 2011

We’re back. The week off turned out to last nearly a month. I marvel at how quickly one’s life can be consumed by someone else’s crisis. Today marks an attempt to reclaim my life and identity in spite of intractable circumstances. Over the past six weeks, I’ve all but disappeared. I have not seen or [...]

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A week off…

February 9, 2011

Dear faithful reader friends, My Close Strangers is taking a little time off. As you’ve noticed, our postings have been sporadic of late. Lucy is boycotting all work until I agree to buy her new tennis balls. BittyCat feels like she’s playing second fiddle to the more famous Lucy so she’s orchestrated her own work [...]

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Your Monday question

February 7, 2011

What are you planning to create with your hands today? This week?

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“Is Social Networking Destroying Our Social Lives?”

February 2, 2011

NO! It’s not. This headline from Joe Robinson’s Huffington Post article obviously caught my attention. Note to every headline writing editor, enough with the hyperbole about the power of social networking. Is social networking changing how we engage? Absolutely. Does this mean it has some deep transcendent power to create or destroy? Absolutely not. The power [...]

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“Rather than trying to adjust the wind, adjust your sails.”

February 1, 2011

I started the morning Googling “how to avoid a fight.” You’d be amazed how many resources there are giving people advice on how to walk away from fist fights. It strikes me as a little odd. I’m wondering if there’s a massive slice of the population inches away from hauling off and slugging someone save [...]

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