And you couldn’t keep that to yourself?

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I am often amazed that in our moments of fury, we open our mouths and allow words to flow out that should have stayed in our heads. I have seen it happen in the classroom, in the boardroom, and heard about verbal faux pas in the bedroom. How do we learn when to close our lips and speak with our eyes?

Last week, during demonstrative speeches, one of my students gave an excellent presentation on how to tie dye a shirt. One brilliant student in the back felt it was necessary to share her opinion once I mentioned I would be interested in trying out the method. She asked, out loud, if I would be applying the process to my sweater collection. Really? And you couldn’t have kept that you yourself?

Adding insult to injury, I have a student that is legally blind. Judging by the thickness of her spectacles, and the placement of the lens, legally, may just be a misnomer. I asked, “Do you still drive?” The student responded yes, and of course from the peanut gallery came the words, “Oh, hell naw!” Seriously, and you could not have kept that to yourself? I was proud of the other students for not laughing,

I was even proud of myself for waiting until after class to pull the student aside and speak with her about keeping something in her head.

Students you can overlook because they are of course, still in a learning slash training environment. In the workplace or in social settings, some verbal faux pas are not so easily dismissed. I experienced this yesterday. During a very prominent literary event in which I was a member of the planning committee, we took great effort in the placement of the authors. The authors in the entry way, the authors in the children’s section, the authors on the second floor were all placed by genres. One idiotic participant, who is friends with one of my fellow organizers, evidently felt as if she should have been given preference. Really? A young newcomer to her writer’s group, in which my fellow organizer was also a member, was given prime placement on the first floor as a new self-published author. He was placed next to a seasoned author with several published titles. This was a great opportunity for this young man and he maximized the moment.

Yes, I called her idiotic and here is why. Instead of her coming to me or one of the fellow organizers to express her concern or question her placement, yes, you guessed it, she opened her stupid mouth and allowed stupid words to roll out. She found a person that she felt she could express her concern, and she began her conversation by stating that, “Yeah, they placed all the black authors on the second floor and we ain’t getting no traffic!” She told this to the Big Boss. She told this to my fellow organizer’s boss. Did she know who she was talking to; I don’t think she really cared. I think she felt slighted and just chose to shoot off her stupid mouth. But she did not let it stop there, she started ranting and raving to other participants, creating an atmosphere of distrust. She created an atmosphere of disharmony. She created hostility.

Here’s the thing. Book festivals are designed for the author to meet, mingle and make new friends. Unless you are a New York Times best seller, in which you would be on press junkets, you are there to create a buzz about your book. If you are self-published, unless you have an excellent editor, your work is suspect anyway. Book sales that are made are really the luck of the draw.

Now, it is unlikely that she will be invited back next year simply because she could not speak with her eyes and keep her thoughts to herself. Adding insult to social injury, she shared her incorrect assessments with others, causing strife. Was it really that serious? Are you that angry that you could not have kept your feelings to yourself? In the end, you gained nothing but a reputation as a trouble maker.

And I will always love you…..

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    Over the past week I have been amazed, astounded and mesmerized by the sheer ignorance of my fellow-man. In the loss of one of the purest voices of our time, I listened, heard and watched many say some of the most inappropriate, if not stupid comments. I listened to commentary and watched live streaming feeds of adversarial anecdotes during the home going celebration. I read, or rather skimmed over blog posts that attempted to lay blame for the course of a life. I watched church people act ugly when deciding who was worthy to sit where in the church to pay their respects. There were so many who came to say goodbye to her, but in the end, when we leave this world, who will mourn us?

    I watched many come to say farewell to a life that was lived on its own terms. We may not have agreed with the way she lived it, but who are we to question? The fame, achievement and notoriety she gained before the age of 25, most of us will never achieve in our lifetime. Yet, we can take one moment in a 25 year career, and focus on just that—while refusing the see the whole picture. I vividly remember the 80’s and am thankful to still be alive not to mention surviving my fashion choices. I was forgiven and I grew while moving on to the next phase.

    There were phases in her life that we questioned her choices for choosing to hide in a chemically induced world, but there, no one was judging her choices. In that world there she experienced no pain. In that world, everyone and everything was love. In that world there was no responsibility and there she could sleep.

    It is hard to imagine what life would be like if on Saturday night, I was in Anaheim, high on the adoration of a crown of 35,000 people. Then on Tuesday, doing the performance all over again in San Diego, Thursday back in Los Angeles and Friday in San Francisco and Saturday in Sacramento. There is no time in between gigs to come down off the performance high. There is no time to decompress. There is no time for sleep.

    In the end, it is all they ever want. They want to sleep. The mind is a wondrous thing. It allows us to dream with our eyes open, we can dream with our eyes closed and we can learn to believe that anything is possible. However, if the mind is strained, the one thing it will not do, is allow us to sleep. I can smile and say that she and her voice are finally resting. I will miss the beauty of her voice, the grace of her presence and I want her to know that I will always love you….

Loving What You Do

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Three weeks of freedom. Freedom to create, get masterful, sleep late or improve my skillsets. An opportunity has presented itself for me to be better. I am going to take it. My first stop of course was to Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts. Loaded to the gill with 40% off coupons, I was ready.

    Since it is December, the new Block of the Month program is out for the New Year. I love this pattern, and it is actually a quilt I would like to make and have on my bed this Spring. I use my coupon to buy the first block.

I also pick up stuffing, batting, and other items that are on sale. Simplicity patterns are $1.99, so I pick up a few for Halloween costumes, new place mats and pillow case patterns. I also pick up one or two apron patterns for potential mother’s day gifts.

    Once home, I am armed with my stuffing, so I fill my holiday pillows and place them in the living room chairs. A few cuts and some clever stitching, I have a matching holiday quilt to drape across the back of the sofa. Did I mention that I also had a 40% coupon on fabric as well? Those aprons only require a yard and a half of fabric so I stocked up. I am ready for my new year.

    I love to make crafts and I love to sew. I made the first block with pride and I look forward to going into Joann’s and picking up the next few blocks. I have fabric, I have patterns and I am carving out time each week to make a little something. It is my goal next year that all of my Christmas presents will be made. I am working on my crafts and I am doing what I love.

    Now, if I can just get my manuscript complete and my syllabi ready for class next quarter.

I need a job!

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That is the cry of so many across the country. There are thousands of people occupying the business districts of America including Wall Street. The main cry, there are no jobs. Not true.  Brian Williams at NBC profiles a small town that is booming and looking for employees. Here is the question, how bad do you want a job?

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I was watching Brian Williams on NBC cover the boom in Williston, North Dakota. I know, where you say? Yes, North Dakota.  There is a company there that is in need of 500 truck drivers. There were people who hitchhiked for months or backpacked across the country to get to this little spot, just for another chance.

What would you do for a new start?

North Dakota may not be on your list, but there are jobs and plenty of them.  Ready to get moving you people occupying Wall Street?