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Angels on Earth

August 16, 2009 at 8:18 am

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Somewhere between Pluto and the earth

Angelic beings manifest into tangible creatures

As miniscule as palmetto bugs and large as kangaroos

White feathers on some, the spectrum of rainbows on others

They come with songs inside of beaks instead of lips

Feet with claws and webs instead of toes

Divinely designed to share the planet with the rest of us.

They are a constant reminder of heaven on earth

The birds keep us mindful of our divinity.

Ancient lore professes that some are of bird tribe origins

Our beak-like noses give us away

Round eyes and feathery hair.

As I observe the winged creatures I see restlessness

I see presence

And I see joy

Darting from tree to tree, perch to perch, cage to cage

They are perpetual motion

Rarely pausing in any one place but to sip water or crack a seed open

The feathery clan are angels on earth

It is nearly impossible to experience anything less than joy around them

They are contagious

Look among your friends

Look for the ones with boney noses, their darting eyes

The ones who can’t sit still

Better yet, see how they handle their food at meal time.

If you find some debris on or around them even on the floor beside them

Show them a sign of recognition

The old ancient avian wink.

Then look for droppings.

You’ll know.

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The Element of Magic

June 13, 2009 at 7:08 am

Ok, so I was daydreaming on my couch about my next post. I went from the proverbial platform chatter to the element of magic.

Although I’ve forewarned you about my predeliction for speaking “platform” I was moved by the grace of a sea hawk flying outside my window. I quickly ran onto my terrace to watch the brown and white speckled bird who kindly made a u turn towards my building.

You see, I’m a bit of a “sign watcher,”  a little superstitious if not down right woo woo! Somewhere along the line I adopted the sea hawk aka osprey as my power bird. The decision was made. Magic, it is.

Where does magic fit into the world of publishing and books, you ask? Why, it fits into the place where you’d expect magic to reside. It’s exactly where you left it the last time you saw it.  Neatly tucked into that place you can’t know, control or define. After all, it’s magic!

Enough of this circular conversation. Here’s how it goes. You develop a concept for a book. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, there will come a time for it to greet the marketplace.

You’ve read all the books, been to all the seminars, learned from the so-called publishing gurus, hired the world’s very best marketeers and publicists.  You’ve left no stone unturned in your quest for a New York Times bestseller. Or at least USA Today. E-blasts, radio satellite tours, reviews, interviews on the news, billboards even.

Like the osprey flying over my apartment building, you throw your bird of a book into the sky. Will it plunge to its messy death fifteen stories down or will it make like a sea hawk and soar?

Here’s the magic part. Readers have to like it. Plain and simple. They have to “vote” for your book by purchasing it for themselves. For their friends and family.This has to happen for it to sell.

Magic, in this case morphs into word of mouth. That single desirable element that everyone wishes they could bottle. All will tell you that you can’t buy it. All are in awe of it. Sure, you can help it along by utilizing the tools of the trade, make it more easily accessible by things like great distribution and exposure largely due to your PLATFORM.

But, in the end, it’s the people who decide. Hence, the real secret, I believe, in the success of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I was there. It was a runaway train. Nothing could stop it. Sure, there were a lot of talented folks behind the scenes. The people embraced it and history was made.

Some might say that the other manifestation of magic begins with the letter “O” but very few titles get to enjoy that opportunity. And, believe it or not, I have seen books mentioned on the magic show that didn’t go very far. Not often. But now and again.

So, if I were to try and advise you on how to attract magic to your work of art (yes, I’m hoping that’s what it is) I would insist that you fill your manuscript with your own magic. Believe in it. GIve it your all. Speak in your true voice. Remember all the “love of writing” stuff I said before. And, if there’s anything to this “like attracts like” thing, you may just have a shot.

Good luck. More on magic, I promise.

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Bird interlude

February 20, 2009 at 6:56 am

Rashi and his morning paper

Rashi and his morning paper

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Oscar interlude – Penn or Langella?

February 19, 2009 at 7:38 am

And now it’s time for an Oscar moment. Slipping a little film talk onto the book shelf. After all, it is “Books and BEYOND.” That’s my license to stretch. 

So, come with me and share some of your own inner Siskel and Ebert.

I’ve seen most of the Oscar contenders: Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire (swoon), The Wrestler, The Reader, Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon and most recently, Milk. I have yet to see Revolutionary Road and the rest may just have to wait for the Netflix queue (sorry).

Needless to say, I’m momentarily high on the on-screen Harvey Milk — Sean Penn. What a performance! I had just decided that Frank Langella should win the best actor Oscar until this past Sunday when Penn hypnotized me for the entire two plus hours of the film.

First of all, Milk is a fine movie in and of itself. A wonderful tapestry of political statement and love story. If the real Scotty was anything close to the role Milk’s lover played in the movie, I want one for myself!! (I’d like mine straight up, please.)

Harvey Milk was a force whose smarts were enhanced by a little chutzpah, or maybe a lot of chutzpah, propelling him to get things done (an understatement). Armed with a compassionate heart he was a gay man’s champion and an icon to his community. In his political struggle, his most cherished relationship was sacrificed while he worked relentlessly to dignify the gay community and lead them in reclaiming its civil rights.

The story is moving. It’s hopeful. It’s heroic. But the hero of the two hours in the darkened theatre is Sean Penn. I personally don’t remember him being this good. I’ve always admired his talent but I was never over the top for him until now.

Like Meryl Streep in her chameleon-like  roles, Penn disappeared in his portrayal of Milk.  His masterful effeminate  New Yorker was expected but the depth he brought to the character transcended to the standard of “great acting”. His performance reached a magical level much like Slumdog Millionaire’s surpassing of a “great movie.” How lucky we were this year. 

Dare I say it? He was Harvey Milk.  Is channeling too eerie a word to use or is that actually another synonym for good acting?

I don’t know.

Frank Langella. I still adore your Nixon. It amazed me at how this handsome actor morphed into a despicable Nixon. Even though his body language was superb, his posture precise, Langella really did make Nixon a lot prettier than he was in real life. If you haven’t seen this movie, which can feel a little slow, it’s a must before the Oscars come on this Sunday night. If you see nothing else, see Frost/Nixon and Milk just to see the tremendous competition for best actor. Oh, of course you’ve already seen Slumdog, right? That movie is so far off the charts that none of the others compare, even the best ones.

It’s thrilling, Academy Award time. At least it is for me.  Remember, most of these films entered the world first as baby books. One, a play. All on the page before they graced the cinema screen.

Tell me who you like in my comment area. I would love that.

Cheers.

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It’s a quarter to Valentine’s Day — and an audio book just might do the trick

February 11, 2009 at 5:30 am

It’s a quarter to Valentine’s Day. Love is allegedly in the air. In between all the tail chasing over our jobs and lives, I suppose. But, we romantics always have a space for amore no matter what the climate. No?

My friend and colleague, Arielle Ford, sent me the perfect tool to set the stage for this weekend’s blessed Hallmark holiday. It was her book, The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction and since she was out of hardcover copies, she kindly sent along the audio version. Oh, good, I told her. I’d begin the business of attracting my soulmate during my 40 mile roundtrip commute to work.

Perfect.

The first words I remember hearing from my Toyota speakers went something like this: “promise me you won’t do the exercises while driving in  your car.” Well, ok, I promise not to close my eyes.

All week I’ve felt like Arielle was in the car with me as she narrated her book. Her writing style is very conversational so it really sounded like she was riding along and talking to me. Anyone who knows Arielle, and now those who don’t, are keenly aware of her own success at attracting her soulmate, Brian, probably one of the planet’s most delightful humans. I consider that fact a pretty valid testimonial for the subject matter.

Not that I want to get too personal in this little ole blog of mine, but I’m certainly not sporting my own personal Brian right now, so I was all ears. I’ve heard a lot of what the book contains before, done some of the exercises in the book, yet how the author organized the information is another example of Arielle’s genius brain. She knows how I admire her and her smarts. (and her generous spirit, of course)

The Soulmate Secret has inspired me to start ripping through magazines for pictures of hunky men, homey domiciles, and other suggestions of romantic bliss. I’ll be writing letters to “him,” burning letters to the former “hims” and hang pink ribbons tied around pink quartz crystals in the relationship corner of my bedroom. I’m also ready to sink into an intensely salted bathtub and bid lingering energy from the past a very sweet and long overdue goodbye and good riddance!

No hard feelings. Really.

We’ve all heard of visualizations but Arielle goes one better. She advocates “feelingizations.” I’m a touchy, feely kind of gal so feelingizations work just fine for me. More than once I’ve felt a little handicapped during a guided meditation when my visualizing muscle didn’t kick in.  When I was supposed to see lavender laced rainbows, I often saw random blobs of gray and blues for a much less spectacular show inside my head .

I really enjoyed the time I spent with Arielle in the car. Even the suggestion of entertaining a soulmate  for the duration of the cd’s uplifted me. The point I really wanted to make when I began this blog is, I had such fun listening to the book that I now want a real record of the exercises I heard so I can perform them correctly. This means, I’m going to go out and buy a copy. Or, at the very least, hit the amazon button.

Good job, Arielle. I think you’re going to inspire a lot of people with your new book. I’m proud to have a story of my own in your Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul book and hope that by the next edition of your “soulmate series” that I’ll be newly equipped  to contribute something juicy.

It’s a quarter to Valentine’s day and, if you’re listening  Mr. Soulmate, I’ll be at the Krishna Das concert in Miami on Saturday night. You’ll recognize me. I’ll me the one with the matching soul.

I’ll be sure to show it.

9780061692376

Om shanti.

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