Taking Someone’s Pulse Has New Meaning in Orlando

Forever, the word pulse had a specific connotation and usage.

“What is your pulse rate?” “Who has their finger on the pulse of this issue.”

In other words, what’s the real story? What’s really going on?

Over the past year, pulse took on a new meaning. That was never more evident than at any of the memorials, vigils, prayer gatherings, interviews and discussions about June 12, 2016 – the day a gunman killed 49 people at a nightclub here called Pulse.

It was not a gay night club. It was not a Latin night club. It was a variety club. A chameleon. Whatever specialty night drew people in, that’s what it was.

Read more ›

Posted in Florida

Working the List and Finding the Joy in Writing (and Rewriting) Again

For the past couple years, I found myself telling others at work to “find the joy.”

That is, do what makes you happy. Come to work because you know that whatever the task or assignment that day, that week, find the part of it that speaks to you and use that as motivation. Fight through the other stuff because of this one bit of inspiration and happiness. And do the job well because today, this is what you were called to do.

It’s idyllic, this notion of doing what you love. It doesn’t happen nearly enough. Yet there’s almost always a kernel of satisfaction, happiness and joy in doing a job, no matter the organization.

Professional writers don’t always get to write about what they want. Sometimes they put their daytime uniform and pay the bills as technical writers, public relations writers, marketing and advertising writers while getting their happy work – creative writing – done before breakfast or after dinner.

Somewhere, find the joy. Put another way, find a way to enjoy the journey.

Read more ›

Posted in Writing

What It’s Like to Be an Agent for a Day

I started thinking about agents this week. Not for the usual reason – how do I get one. I already know the answer to that one, and it’s only partly in my control anyway.

No, I walked a mile in their shoes. It was enlightening. It was disheartening. It was a jolt of reality.

My job on the days in question was to identify college students as potential employees for digital marketing company. For four hours one day and five hours another day, both days at a university job fairs, I collected resumes and held first-date conversations.

Students lined up in double-file lines, one for each of us recruiters.

  • What are you looking for?
  • When are you available? (Or, when do you graduate?)
  • Tell me about what you’ve been doing the past several years?
  • What do you really want for yourself right after school and long-term?

Read more ›

Posted in Writing

Swearing in Your Manuscript: How the F**k Can You Write That?

The guy who cuts my hair made a confession. He was at his shop one day recently and mentally scrolling through customers he hadn’t seen recently and realized one of them was a female client he particularly liked.

“I called her because I had to hear her voice,” he said. “You’d never know it talking to her in public, but has the best F-bombs.”

“Oh? How so?” I asked.

“It’s not that they’re creative,” he said. “It’s just the way she says that word. I can’t put my finger on it. But God I love hearing her say that word.”

“Just so I understand: You called her not about coming in but just to hear her say it?”

“Just to hear her say it,” he said. “And I told her how much I like it. She knows. I told her once I was surprised at how often she said it. She said, ‘Honey, I fucking say that word all the time. It’s my favorite word.’ And it’s my favorite word, too. ”

Read more ›

Posted in Writing

How’s the Book Coming? Questions You Have to Answer

How’s the book coming?

You’ve heard this question, right? It’s the curious, thoughtful, awful question you get from well-meaning friends and family members when they want to let you know they take an interest in your writing career. Everyone gets excited about knowing a writer with a new book, right?

I love them all. They’re my support system. A bedrock. They mean well. And it’s all so nice . . . right up until they pop that question.

Underlying the question are others. Are you almost finished? How long have you worked on it? When does it come out? And others. You feel as if you have to justify the time you’re spending on something that no one (or very few people) can see. It can get old, fast.

Read more ›

Posted in Writing