Friday, May 1, 2009

Transparency As The New Black

Last Friday I attended the NYCIP Round Table Writers' Conference. My friend Laura Dawson who was speaking at the Saturday session had suggested I was probably ahead of what the conference was offering, but it wouldn’t hurt to network. She was right.

And in fact it felt good to be reminded that I have learned alot about my new industry and know more than I often give myself credit for. Especially since today marks nine official months of leaving behind corporate life.

But really, the best thing about me deciding to attend Friday’s sessions was the keynote speaker at lunch.

I remember seeing her name, Lee Woodruff, and thought, oh, yeah, she is married to Bob Woodruff, the ABC correspondent that almost died in Iraq. But that was all I knew about her. That and what the blurb said about her writing, which for the most part appears in magazines like Redbook and Country Living, neither of which is delivered to my door or which I would feel qualified to write in. And oh, she contributes on family and home related topics on GMA. Being single at the moment, with no children these are not features I gravitate towards. But she has just written a new book, Perfectly, Imperfect. And I am all for being in the presence and listening to those who have done what I am working towards doing. Getting published.

My mom says I cry pretty easily anymore. I tell her I went to therapy to learn how to cry. My energy healer tells me the more open your energy the more you feel. So I am not sure what was responsible, maybe a combination of both, but I think it was mostly this funny, bright, poignant woman speaking so openly and so transparently about her life, her family, her husband and what their journey has been thus far. I was moved, yes to those tears that well up in public and you hold back for fear they might be noisy ones if let loose.

I had the privilege of speaking with Lee before she spoke and I can tell you that her talk was no contrived show. It was her. Transparent and real. Which is exactly what you get if you read her new book.

Yes, I bought a copy. I am pretty fussy about what I buy in hardcover anymore and yes, I bought a memoir about the life and family of a married, mother of four. And I read it. I laughed. I cried. I was moved. Exactly as I was when I heard her speak. Her writing is as open and transparent as her conversation. And while on the surface it appears all I would have in common with this woman is we are both writers and both close in demographic to age, her writing resonated with me profoundly.

There is a lot of ruckus out there about privacy in the age of the Internet, Facebook and Twitter. Some days as I blog I am challenged by it as I am by my friends who are bewildered that I am engaging in it at all. But the way I see it a real benefit of all this new technology and social networking is allowing us venues to be more transparent, as people and as a society. And that I believe is a good thing.

Listening to Lee Woodruff I was inspired. In her book, she has a chapter entitled Money Can’t Buy Me Style. That might be, but as far as I am concerned, the woman has a great deal of style and she is leading the trend to make transparency the new black.

She is on book tour, coming to a city near you. Don’t miss her. And buy her book. It’s the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
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