Monday, November 30, 2009


It is 3:44AM and I have been up since 3. Lying in bed, the covers pulled over me, trying to will sleep. But no matter what I do, nothing is working. I am wide awake. I am thinking about all that I have to do today and all that I want to do, when all I really crave is sleep. Now. Quickly. Before the sun rises.

I used to hate when this happened on Sunday nights. Especially a Sunday night after a long holiday weekend. I was refreshed after all those days away from the office and went to sleep early with grandiose ideas of all I would get accomplished that Monday. It would be a productive and satisfying Monday. It would be the start of a good week.

But then I would not be able to sleep. I would toss and turn. I would lie awake listening to the quiet and think. Think of all I wanted to do. Think of how tired I was going to be if sleep did not come fast and how little of what I wanted to do would get accomplished. But I wouldn't move. As if just lying there, still, would be rest enough.

I knew better. I knew that on nights like tonight Monday morning would come and I would feel the hangover of no sleep in every cell of my body as though I had been out all night and overserved at the bar.

That is what I have been doing since 3AM. I have been huddled under my comforter thinking of everything on my calendar and my to do list that is going to suffer from me being exhausted from too little sleep.

It took awhile before the cobwebs of the sleep I did have had washed completely away that I remembered. Lying still in bed on a Sunday night trying to will sleep is a leftover from corporate life.

I could get up right now and get something done. The time I work does not have to conform to someone else's nine to five doctrine. I can work when I want to, in my bathrobe if it so pleases me. I could write until sleep falls upon me again. I could get something accomplished. Right now.

Like writing a blog. On leftovers after a long Thanksgiving weekend. I could hit publish anytime I want.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Passion In The Face Of The Naysayers

I am supposed to be working on an essay on humiliation for a new writing class. But this is what happens when I have an assignment with a deadline. All of a sudden I get an idea to write something else.

I was inspired by an email this morning. It was in response to a request for help for the son of a lifelong friend of mine who is looking to break into what was at one time my business.

When I heard that he had found a passion for radio and the music industry I cringed. I know what the inner workings look like. What's worse is I remember what they used to look like. I asked her if there was still time for him to change his mind and his major. But she explained this is what he wants to do. Who was I to sap that enthusiasm from him?

He's relocated to the West Coast. Which I can't say is a bad idea. If the predictions of the death of radio are true, it is sure to die a much slower one in a town where people spend most of their day inside a car with only a radio and time to fill. So I reached out to my cousin. (I know, I talk alot about my cousins. I'm Greek. There are many, many cousins!)

His response was akin to my first reaction. Was he crazy? Talk him out of it! And, Are you sure you want ME to talk to him?

Funny, how differently my own thoughts sounded coming from someone else.

Suddenly I remembered leaving teaching to go work for WXTU in Philadelphia, months before it was about to switch to country music. People looked at me cross eyed. They told me I was out of my mind. It was a tough business. I was too nice to be in it. I barely heard the words of discouragement much less allow it to sway me. I didn't care because it I knew what I wanted. I was full of enthusiasm and on a mission.

Fast forward to today and I am once again on a path propelled by my passion. If I listened to all the people in the publishing world telling me how hard this was, how the industry has changed, how print is dead, blah, blah, blah, I would wearing a green apron and standing behind the counter in Starbuck's asking if you wanted room for milk.

I'm not because I don't care what the naysayers have to tell me. I didn't listen when I got into radio and that turned out to be a very good career move for me. My passion made me succeed then and it is what will make me succeed now.

But then why, am I, like my cousin so quick to be that voice of doom for someone else ? I don't know the answer. Maybe it will show up in that humiliation essay that is due Monday. In the meantime, if you know anyone in LA who can help a young guy who is determined to follow his dream, let me know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Celebration

The further away I get from my days as a corporate executive the harder it is to believe I ever lived that life. Snippets appear and remind me it was not a fictional tale. Take Monday morning. I was sitting in the Delta Crown room in the airport in Ft. Lauderdale watching all those business travelers. Laptops and Blackberries in hand, pulling their carry on luggage while juggling coffee, checking their watches, anxious they would make whatever meetings lay ahead that day. I was once one of them.

It took a lot for me to leave that world. Even when you know you have overstayed your time, it is never easy to forsake the comfort of what you know. But I did. What made it easier has been the support of a community of women I call my sisters. Yes, there are men who have been there for me on this journey, and I am grateful for them as well. But it has been my inner circle who has insisted upon believing in me, even when I have not.

This weekend I was in the company of that group. If you are a woman and have never heard of Regena Thomashauer and her school I suggest you read up and go take one of her classes. If you are a man, point your woman in that direction.

One of the difficulties women encounter in the corporate world is women not just supporting, but celebrating each other. It is something that comes naturally to men. What we refer to as the boy's club. Men doing business over a golf game. Men patting each other on the back for a job well done.

I came of age when the doors were just opening to women, many of us believing we had to act like guys to keep it that way. The rules of the game had been written by the men. Even when they didn't feel right, we believed we had to play by them or risk failure. It never occurred to us to create a girl's club. The rules did not have that written in.

The core of Regena's work is teaching women to support each other. Not to commisserate in each other's woes, but to lift each other in celebration. It is not a new concept. In fact one that has its roots in ancient times but has been suppressed in modern ones.

This past weekend I was reminded that I am where I am today because of the support of my inner circle. They insisted I had the courage to take this path of reinvention, that the easier route, to find a similar position doing something I had lost my passion for was not an option. This blog would not exist but for the women who remind me to believe in me, and who inspire me with their stories, nor would the two novels I have written and the agent who represents me. Above all I would never have had the courage to live my life as if I was twenty five again and just starting out. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to realize a dream.

The rules are changing and women are relearning the power of a circle of support. Women like Regena Thomashauer are leading the way. Today is my birthday as well as the one year anniversary of the launch of this blog. In case you were wondering where I am, I will be celebrating.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Out Of Practice

There are a lot of things you fall out of practice with when off the corporate wheel. The one I am noticing tonight are my travel skills.

Right now I am packing for a trip to Miami. There was a time in my corporate career where I traveled for work. I got used to navigating airports, getting up early to make a flight, assessing exactly how much time I needed, and packing light. I never worried that I would be where I needed to be at precisely the right time. I was a pro at it.

No more. I am rusty at this skill I once took pride in. The state of my living room is the proof.
All those years of honing the skill of packing light seem to have flown right out the window. I keep rearranging the contents of my suitcase in the hopes I won't get charged extra for weight.

I had to calculate the time I needed to have a car pick me up three times. I'm still not sure I have it right.

I have two alarms set and the promise of a phone call from my traveling companion to make sure I don't do what I usually do when I wake up and its still dark out. Roll over and go back to sleep.

I am channeling my former self now. The one that had a built in panic alarm on nights before an early flight that never let me down. She made sure I got up on time, that I was downstairs when the car got here and at the airport with time to spare. Let's hope she recognizes me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Letting Go Of The Multi-Tasker In Me

I used to think I was a really good multi-tasker. I took great pride in my ability to do more than one thing at a time. It's a good quality to have in the corporate world. The ability to juggle, especially when you are in sales, can make you a lot of money.

I had an advantage. Women are predisposed to multi-tasking, something to do with the more traditional role as mother and wife and taking care of a household. Men are more singularly focused, predisposed to go out hunting in the woods for that one animal they will bring home for dinner.

If you've noticed I haven't blogged much this week. That's because I have been letting go of my multi- task tendencies. I'm discovering they really don't apply for a writer. Not when you are as I am , deep into a project.

It is not as easy as it sounds. Yes, I am loving what I am writing. I look forward to getting back to my characters and the story line I've created, cleaning up what doesn't work, polishing what does, adding what is missing. But I'm used to that place where you had to have multiple pots on the burner at all times or things wouldn't happen. I worry that because I am concentrating for the moment on this one very large creation that I might be missing something else. I am coming from a world where that was true. Letting go is not easy.

That's where I've been this week. Deep into the first edit of my first draft (working title: Seduced by Corporate America). I'll be back when I have this project on simmer. Until then.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's Election Day.


Your Vote Counts.

See you at the Polls!