Memorable Medical Marijuana

Ed: The Gambills ate at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs today.

Me: You are totally stalking them through Foursquare!

Ed: I told them I was gonna.

Me: Where’s Idaho Springs?

Ed: Remember where we turned off to drive up to Mt. Evans?

Me: Three years ago. In Colorado. No, I don’t remember where we turned off to drive up to Mt. Evans.

Ed: Really?

Me: Really.

Ed: Do you remember going up Mt. Evans?

Me: Yeah. Where we stood on top of the mountain and tried to get a cell signal.

Ed: No, where we stood on top of the mountain and tried to get oxygen.

Me: That too. Yes.

Ed: Okay. The little town where we turned off before we went up the mountain, that was Idaho Springs.

Me: Certainly.

Ed: You really don’t remember? There was the old church way up on top of the hill, and then we went over the scary little dirt road called Oh My God Road*.

Me: Yes, I remember the scary little Oh My God Road.

Ed: And before that, we stopped in Idaho Springs. We got gas there.

Me: Oh! Was it across the street from the medical marijuana place?

Ed: Yes.

Me: Okay, yeah, I remember Idaho Springs.

Ed: *SIGH*

___________________

*Oh My God Road is a real road between Idaho Springs and Central City, CO. It is dirt, it is steep, it is twisty, and it is completely, utterly, pee-your-pants terrifying. These photos do not do it justice.

The Starship Enterprise and a Break from Social Media

Yesterday I posted this to Facebook / tweeted this to Twitter:

So…I decided a few days ago that I need a social media break. It’s starting at midnight, it covers Twitter and Facebook, and it will likely last a week.

notweetingI need this for several reasons, the main one being that I desperately need to finish my work-in-progress, the much-neglected Elevator People. Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting, sharing, horizon-expanding, giving, receiving…but it is also a fantabulous time-suck. I need to see if spending my social-media time on my novel instead will help me finally finish the darn thing.

Furthermore, Twitter and FB have been the sources of a lot of OUTRAGE over various and sundry of late. And I’ve let myself join in on it. Yes, there are many things that SHOULD engender outrage. Injustice and cruelty, illogic and conspiracy. Incomprehensible chaos…. I don’t want to hide from it all, because I recognize the importance of participating in the story of the world, even if that story is sad and gruesome and despicable (usually the sparks of the outrage). Social media is part of living in the future, and I want to be part of that.

But.

All the outrage is contagious. All the outrage is addictive. All the outrage, and I throw myself into it, and my blood pressure rises, and my spirits sink, and I can’t get away from all the pleading voices that clamor for my attention. I can’t think my own thoughts, I can’t feel my own feelings beyond the MUST REACT TO CONVICTIONS AND SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET!

nofacebookingI need to think, need to breathe. I need to be in my own head and heart and in the my-life that I can touch with my fingers and smell and taste. I need to rediscover what it’s like to hear see read feel imagine something and not immediately reach out and tell the worlds about it. I need space…the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise…. #kidding #notreallykidding

I need to live my life without status updates and hashtags for a while.

So I’m taking a break. I’ll miss y’all. I’ll have withdrawal symptoms, and I’ll wonder what I’m s’posed to do with myself.

Maybe I’ll blog. ; )

Maybe I’ll finish my book. Maybe I’ll write poetry. Maybe I’ll have apostrophes. I mean, epiphanies.

But whatever happens, I know for certain it will be good.

I’ll leave you with one final thought, and then I’m going dark. I’ll see y’all on the other side.

INVISIBLE ZOMBIE SPIDERS. FBthumbsup

Sweet dreams!

One Does Not Simply Explain a Meme

Me: Did you see my meme?

Ed: Which one?

Me: The one about the groundhog.

Ed: From “Groundhog Day?”

Me: Yeah, that one.

Ed: I saw it.

Me: Did you get it? You’re not laughing.

Ed: I guess so.

Me: You know what it refers to, right?

Ed: I guess not.

Me: It’s Boromir’s line from the Lord of the Rings movie. The first one.

Ed: Umm.

Me (in English accent): “One does not simply walk into Mordor.”

Ed: …

Me: It’s a meme. You start with “one does not simply” and add on.

Ed: …

Me: So I might say, “One does not simply sleep through the baby crying.”

Ed: Uh-huh.

Me: It’s funny. I promise.

Ed: Okay. Good talk.

Don't drive angry.

Don’t drive angry.

Hey. Woman of immense worth. This one’s for you.

Honey, stop comparing yourself to her. Stop looking at her and thinking about everything that’s ‘right’ with her and everything that’s ‘wrong’ with you. You are of immense worth in and of yourself. You, just as you are, right now. Your beauty is beyond compare, so hold your head high and walk tall. Chances are pretty good that she’s comparing herself to you. And if she is, she needs to hear you tell her that she is enough, too.

The One With Remarkablogger Michael Martine

“Money pays the bills but it doesn’t do anything for your heart.”

–Michael Martine,
Remarkablogger

Greetings, inklings! Today’s post is my interview with Remarkablogger Michael Martine, who blogs all sorts of fantabulous whats, hows and whys for blogging and business. His humor is dry, his style straightforward, and his advice spot-on. He loves helping others accomplish their business dreams. I hope he inspires you as much as he does me!

Plus, he’s as big a fantasy nerd as I am, which just makes him cramazing fun to talk to. ; )

Courtney: How did you decide to start coaching bloggers?

Michael — That’s a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t coach bloggers. Bloggers are cheap and broke and the worst clients. I coach business owners who use blogging and social media as marketing tools. This isn’t just semantics: the mindset, goals and–very important for me–budgets of the two groups are very different from each other. I decided to become a blog consultant because it dawned on me that it was sorely needed and would be fun as well as profitable. If there’s a gold rush, don’t run to the hills with everyone else, sell pickaxes and a prospecting manual instead. There is a whole new world of freedom available to anyone with the courage and means to live there. The means in this case is an understanding and strategy about how online business and marketing works. You bring the courage and I’ll help with the means.

CC: In your post What Narcissism Taught Me about Marketing, you share painful childhood memories and don’t shy away from honesty about your flaws. What gives you the courage to make yourself so vulnerable to all of your readers?

MM — I don’t care what other people think about me, but I have to live with myself, so honesty beats lying. It also makes for juicier reading.

CC: In that same post, you write:

“On the other hand, as a one-person business (which most of you are), you are also something of a one-person ‘cult of personality.’ Which is odd, because in the right situation, people actually will care about what you had for lunch.

“The way this works is that you have to connect your personal stuff to the lessons your followers want from you. You have to connect specific personality traits to your brand and express them in your content marketing.”

How does “one-person cult of personality” in content marketing apply to honest, open bloggers who don’t consider themselves a business?

MM — It’s what makes people want to follow you, regardless of whether you have anything to sell to them. While it seems weird to say “be a slight caricature of yourself” and “be authentic” in the same breath, all I’m saying is that people remember certain things about you and you have influence over that. You also still have to decide on a logo and colors, which are also part of your brand. You’re deliberately crafting a certain look and feel in order to communicate specific ideals. Is this dishonest? No, of course not. So, neither is it dishonest when considering how to “color” your writing voice or your speaking. Deliberateness and purpose are not dishonest.

CC: A few weeks ago, one of your posts caused a ruckus because some of your readers took exception to your calling them either pimps and prostitutes. When you have a controversial idea for a post, do you always implement it?

MM — Controversy and shock value are somewhat related but I never post anything just for shock value. Dividing people is a great way to get comments and a reaction. Things are never so simple or black-and-white, but when you reduce the terms of the debate to an either/or situation in order to get people to think, it allows for great discussion. Whether you get that great discussion or your comments devolve into a FOX “news” show is up to you. It’s your blog.

I think about what kind of reaction or discussion that will happen before I post. I think about how the topic meshes with my brand. For a site with the tagline “No-Bullshit Blogging for Bitchin’ Businesses,” dividing the online business world into pimps and prostitutes to get a discussion started and drive traffic makes perfect sense. If you’re too squeamish or dainty to follow me down that road, I don’t want you on my site because you’re never going to be a client of mine.

CC: What’s your most effective way of dealing with readers’ criticism?

MM — Real criticism is valuable and I love to receive it. I will thank you for it. If somebody is just bloviating because they’re pissed off, well… they’ve already made themselves look bad. People can and will think whatever they want, and facts be damned. Having said that, it almost NEVER happens on Remarkablogger because my readers are smart and have good manners.

CC: What are your criteria for deciding whether or not to post the controversy?

MM — I kinda already talked about this (yay for reading the questions in advance… ) but let me add this: I don’t post because a topic is controversial. I post because I think it will help people who may need me as a blog consultant move closer to hiring me, which is how all businesses should decide to publish marketing content. Let’s not forget that’s what we’re doing here. We’re marketing. If we do it right, it doesn’t look like it. But it is.

CC: What’s your favorite part of helping others be more genuine in their blogging?

MM — Getting emails and having conversations with people who tell me their business is better because they implemented my advice and ideas. That’s the best feeling. Money pays the bills but it doesn’t do anything for your heart.

_______________________

Courtney here again. I want to thank Michael for saying yes to my interview request and for taking the time to give such thoughtful replies to all of my questions! And hope that you, my inklings, find his tips and openness as encouraging as I do! Here are a few of my favorite quotes from his interview:

There is a whole new world of freedom available to anyone with the courage and means to live there.

…[W]hen you reduce the terms of the debate to an either/or situation in order to get people to think, it allows for great discussion.

I don’t post because a topic is controversial. I post because I think it will help people…

…[M]y readers are smart and have good manners. 😉

So, dear readers, what do you have to say?

How difficult is it for you to be genuine in your blogging? How much do you worry about what others will think of you?

What are you going to do about it?

I Wrote This Because You Are Beautiful

Beauty and Wonder

I want to tell you something important.

Finding the right words won’t be easy. I always have trouble communicating what’s most important to me. But I’ll do my best.

I want to tell you that you’re amazing.

You’ve been through a lot. You’ve come through what the world would define as hell. And yet, you’re still here.

Not only are you still here, but you’ve gone beyond simple existence, and you’re living. You’re interweaving your life with others’. Do you realize how much courage that takes? It’s simple enough to do — but it would’ve been far simpler to retreat into mere existence and shun every opportunity of connection.

You have a tremendous amount of courage.

You also have a raw passion hidden somewhere deep inside you. Why have you hidden it? I can’t answer that. But the moment I asked the “why,” you felt at least the hint of an answer resonating in your spirit. I can’t answer your “why” — but you can.

You have this fiery energy built up inside of you, just waiting for you to release it. The prospect frightens you, because you already suspect just how much passionate energy is actually there. And you don’t know what it would do if you let it out.

But you, love, were created for passion. You were created with talent, imbued with skill, and gifted with every resource you need to channel and use that passionate energy. You were created to be something that no other person in this world is, has been, or ever will be.

You are talented. You are skilled. You are gifted.

You are beautiful.

You are valuable. You are worth every bit of talent, skill, and beauty that has been poured into you. You are worth taking risks for. You are worth sacrificing for.

You deserve not to stand in your own way.

You are worthy of eliminating the habits that are holding you back. I don’t know what those habits are — but when you read the phrase “habits that are holding you back,” something resonated in your spirit again. You know which of your habits are dampening your passion.

You deserve to ignore the people in your life who belittle you. You deserve to ignore the people in your life who refuse to encourage you. You deserve to ignore the people in your life who tell you — through their words, attitudes, or actions — that you can’t possibly achieve anything beyond the average. Or even the mediocre.

You deserve to treat yourself better than those people treat you. You deserve to treat yourself better than those people treat themselves.

You deserve to surround yourself with people who will not only support you, but also lift you up.

You deserve not to be subject to fear. And the wonderful news is that you aren’t subject to fear.

You do not have to let fear rule over you. You do not have to let fear rule you.

You don’t have to be afraid of what might happen if you released your pent-up passionate energy. You don’t have to be afraid of following the path upon which your natural talents lead you.

You don’t have to be afraid of saying no to the people who try to tear you down. You don’t have to be afraid of saying yes to the people who want to build you up.

You don’t have to be afraid.

Don’t be afraid.

You are beautiful, and you are possessed of tremendous courage.

You are beautiful, and you are possessed of tremendous courage.

You are beautiful, and you are possessed of tremendous courage.

You are worthy of honoring your gifts.

You are worthy of finding your purpose and following it with that pent-up, consuming passion.

You were created to pursue that passionate purpose with all the talents, gifts, and resources at your disposal.

You are meant for wonder.

Go out and do what only you were made to do.

Why I Think Writers Are Like Bats

No, I’m not talking about baseball. I’m talking about flying mammals.

Yes. I am of the opinion that writers are like rodent-ish creatures with leathery wings, sharp teeth, and rabies.

Okay, so maybe not the rabies.

I’m kind of winging it here (Get it? Winging it? Hahaha.), because when I first came up with the idea for this post, I was just drifting off to sleep. “Writers = bats” popped into my head. I woke up enough to grab the nearest writing utensil — which happened to be my iPhone — and “scribbled” something that would later jumpstart me into writing a coherent blog post.

The note I “scribbled” took the form of an email I sent to myself with the subject line “writers are like bats. pinging.”

My Computer Comprehension. Let Me Show You It.

Unfortunately, the body of the email remained blank. And “writers are like bats. pinging” is not quite enough to send a power surge of writerly inspiration through my brain. However, one works with what one’s got.

“Pinging” gives me a clue as to what I was thinking. (I’m sure you computer gurus are going to squirm uncomfortably in your seats at what I’m going to say next, but I’m sorry — it can’t be helped.) My understanding is that a “ping” is kind of like a computer’s version of a Facebook “poke”:

Computer A sends a signal to Computer B…
…(i.e. Computer A “pokes” Computer B) to see if Computer B is paying attention.
If B is paying attention, B sends a signal back to say,
“Yeah, I felt your poke. Dude.”

If I didn’t get that right, you computer gurus are welcome to tell me about it. 😉

The Return to High School Biology

Whether I got it right or not, my concept of pinging reminds me of how I understand a bat’s echolocation works.

The bat makes an ultrasonic noise that bounces off of objects and other animals, specifically the bat’s prey. The bat analyzes the echoes that bounce back; this lets the bat decide whether or not those tiny flying things right there are yummy insects or not.

Facebook-style poking: I poke you to get your attention — will you poke me back?

Chiropteral echolocation: I make a noise at you — are you edible?

Writerly sharing: I show you my work — will you give me feedback?

Writerly Facebook Bat

From Ping to Publish

I do believe, gentle readers, that this is what my almost-asleep brain was trying to tell me when I made the frantic grab for my iPhone in the dark and typed an email subject line that didn’t make a whole lot of sense:

When we writers share our work with beta readers, we’re asking them to give our project attention.
We’re asking them to read and analyze it, then communicate their resulting thoughts to us.
We’re sending a signal, hoping to get one back.

The same applies when we finally get our work published. A writer’s published novel is the writer’s attempt to ping, poke, and echolocate the world. Readers’ feedback consists of opinions, concerns, complaints, and, we desperately hope, enjoyments. These responses, these echoes, these answering pings let us know the shape of the world around us.

If we know the shape of our world, we have more reference points for relating to the world.

When we writers share our work, we find out what and where the world is. And that helps us know who we are.

Perhaps most importantly, echolocating our readers lets us know whether or not you are edible. ; )
_____________________

Fellow writers, what do you say? Do you feel like a peckish, pinging mammal with leathery wings?

What have been your best/worst experiences getting feedback from readers?

Fellow readers, what do you say? Do you feel pinged?

What have been your best/worst experiences giving feedback?