Monthly Archives: August 2009

Yep, that’s me in the NY Post…

nypostpic…peeping through the blinds. I gotta hand it to the editor and art department – they really doctored up my headshot like pros. Very Hitchcock.

Indeed, the dating sagas have been unleashed, people – and they’re hitting the press with a vengeance. First the eHarmony saga; now the tale of apartment building “I Spy” (oh boy, did I learn my lesson about “TMI” with this whopper) graces the stands in today’s edition of the NY Post.

Writing this was a pretty laborious undertaking – nearly a month of burning the midnight oil to get it just right for the editor. The word count for this column is ~600 – and my very first draft was 1,700. Yeah, hello. There are so many details in this tale – it could easily be 3,000 words if I shared everything. But I forced myself to cut to the crux of the story and pared it back to 700 before sending version 1.0 to the editor. Over four rewrites, it grew to 800, then 1,100, then back down to 700. WHEW!

And now the big props: I owe this latest triumph to my dear friend, Carrie Seim. You’re a gem, missy – I owe you my first kid or something.

Rest assured, there are more stories where these came from. I have enough material from the last four years of dating to last a lifetime. In fact, what I’d really like is for someone to just be nice to me for a while. Preferably forever. Do you hear that, God? Thank you. Amen.

My goats are giving people the giggles

goatsframedHonest to God. I take these in to be framed and the woman at the frame shop cannot stop laughing. Literally – one second, she’s helping me choose a mat and frame, the next her chin is on her chest and her shoulders are shaking with laughter. I get the impression she’s trying not to offend me but I, of course, am immensely pleased because I know the photos are having the exact effect on her as they did on me – and it’s radiant goodness. Finally she asks me, “I’m sorry, but…is this your goat?” She then proceeds to tell me about the “urban goat” trend – which I’ve heard of, but I politely inform her that, no, it is not my goat. It’s a goat (actually two goats – a nubian and a pygmy) who lives in a private zoo in L.A. Which, I realize, makes this all the more hilarious. But this is why I bought these photos – not just because I love goats, but because they are so silly, everyone gets the giggles!

Today, I’m running at Green Lake when I get a call that “The goats are ready!” I pick them up from the frame shop and the guy hands them to me wrapped in brown paper with the word “Goats!” written on each one. He says with a big grin, “I have to tell you. I’ve worked here a year and have never seen anything so interesting or hysterical. I took a picture of them with my camera phone.”

See? They’re radiating positivity already. Cuties. 🙂

It’s all about hard work and nothing but hard work

Thanks to Jules for sending me this awesome NYT interview with Carol Smith, SVP and chief brand officer at the Elle Group in NYC. People often ask me how I got into this weird niche of internal communications and how I succeed at running my own business, and whether this was my lifelong dream, yada yada. I will say this – all I ever knew was that I wanted to be a writer. No, I don’t write what really “makes my soul sing” to put food on my table. I make time to do that on the side because it’s important to me, however at this point, it doesn’t afford me the lifestyle or the freedom I want. But as Carol notes below, work brings success and money and freedom – and then more success and money and freedom. Take note, kids: the key word here is WORK.

Q. Looking back, do you feel there was a moment or experience that set your career on a different trajectory?

A. I started working at 16. I worked all through college. Work brought me success and money and freedom, and then more success and more money and more freedom.

I failed a few times. I failed to get into the college of my choice. I failed to get into law school. And they were big failures for me, but I found the more I worked, the better I did, without ever having a goal. I didn’t have a goal. I wanted to be a lawyer and I didn’t get to be a lawyer, but all of a sudden I woke up one day and I was in publishing, and I knew what I was doing.

As I look back, I think that sometimes you can’t have the five-year plan for yourself. If you’re doing something well, you tend to keep doing it. That’s how you fall into careers.

Music that speaks to my soul

alanisOh, Alanis – my musical soulmate for, what, 15 years now? You and I always seem to be in the same place in life. Last year’s “Flavors of Entanglement” gave me just what I needed at the time. In fact, I can never, ever listen to “Not as We” without the tears flowing; every word describes exactly where I was post-divorce in NYC. I’m still amazed I survived those years.

And now this – which I’ve designated as my new theme song. I couldn’t relate more.

“Orchid”

Me, and my helmet such an unconventional kid
All intense and kinetic, at best tolerated from afar
Not yet arrested, and by that I mean betrothed
Though a start – I am newly courted
I’ve just not been trusted with alters

I’m a sweet piece of work, well intentioned yet disturbed
Wrongly labeled and underfed, treated like a rose as an orchid

My friends, as they weigh in, get understandably protective
They have a hard time being objective
So inside we cancel each other out

I’m a sweet piece of work, well intentioned and unloved
Unlabeled and misunderstood, treated like a rose as an orchid

You’ve brought water to me, making sure my bloom rebounds
You know best of what my special care allows

So I’ve lived in my blind spot
Thought myself usual when I’m not
And your garden is a nice spot
As long as it is brave and where you are

For this sweet piece of work, high maintenance and deserted
I’ve been different and deserving, treated like a rose as an orchid
Sweet piece of work, overwhelmed unobserved
I’ve been bowed down to, but so misread
Treated like a rose as an orchid

Fine, if that’s how you really feel

I’m an emotionally resilient blogger. I can take it, Chronicle Books.

fublog

Gifted and cursed

You can make of this post what you will – call me a freak or a narcissist or whatever. I can take it. But I’ve been seeing a new therapist who specializes in giftedness. I was referred to her by a therapist I saw years ago, just before I moved to NYC. I recently contacted her to get back into therapy again, but she’s on sabbatical, so referred me to this new woman who has been a GODSEND in just four sessions. I have learned a world about myself in the last month and feel like a huge weight has been lifted from me – although understanding more about my own giftedness has dropped another weight on my shoulders, albeit one I’m now learning to manage.

I was a gifted child – academically and musically. In a nutshell, I was WEIRD. I was by far the youngest in my grade, with a mid-October birthday, yet – probably due, at least somewhat, to being an only child – was light years ahead of the other children emotionally and intellectually. I had a precocious sense of humor and was always making my friends laugh. As early as second grade, I wrote chapter books that starred everyone in class, and were chosen as “story hour” selections by my teachers. I picked up a violin at the age of 9 and caught on like a child who just figured out how to pedal without training wheels. I learned to play piano by ear – while entertaining myself on the church upright after services, as I waited for my dad to count the offering money. I won a national writing award at the age of 12 and was the youngest person ever in the running. I consistently placed first in spelling bees and was accepted into an elite children’s choir in fourth grade, when most kids weren’t making it until sixth grade.

From the age of 8, I was placed in gifted academic programs and AP courses. That didn’t mean my grades were stellar – giftedness doesn’t have anything to do with grades or, even as an adult, job performance (more reasons gifted people often have trouble accepting, or even realizing, their giftedness – because it’s so often defined by general society in terms of accomplishment). Thanks to my math retardedness, I graduated high school with a 3.3 GPA. I was also a poor tester (my SAT scores should be banished from the earth) and had trouble paying attention in class because I was so easily swept off into daydreams. My “advanced verbal skills” also translated into a repeated appearance of this report card remark from teachers: “Nicole is often talking when she should be listening or working.”

Um. Yeah. No one is shocked.

Some of you may recognize these traits in yourself. Perhaps you were a gifted child as well – whether it was formally recognized or not. For those who were, here’s refreshing news: you don’t outgrow your giftedness. I assumed I’d  matured more quickly as a child but now, as an adult, everyone had caught up. NOT SO. Which makes operating in the “normal” world extremely frustrating and – worst of all – lonely (read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, for more insight). I started seeing this new therapist because I’m perpetually annoyed with the world around me – it doesn’t move fast enough, people are stupid, etc. I thought it was everyone else and that I needed to learn to cope. Turns out – it’s ME. I’m STILL gifted. And yes – I need to learn to cope.

I’ve since been drinking in every bit of information I can find on giftedness and overexcitabilites (common traits of gifted people). I’ve also found a wonderful blog written by another woman who is exploring her own giftedness – her posts have been informative and moving, particularly this one. Oh, how I can relate to every word, especially this:

“I don’t care about things being easy. I don’t want to live life on the surface, shallow and smooth. I like challenges and I feel really good when I meet them. If I don’t have a challenge, I make one for myself. I like to be always moving forward, getting better, perfecting, innovating, and producing.”

A blessing and a curse, I tell you. And I used to say this as a joke, but now I can say it with a bit more conviction: It really is hard being superior.

I want to nibble Hugh Dancy’s ear

I absolutely adore him. Now I have a whole new reason to be jealous of Claire Danes – I used to just covet her wardrobe.

His new movie, “Adam,” looks super fantabulous. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for New York love stories – particularly when they involve two star-crossed lovers washing their underwear side-by-side in the common laundry room. That, my friends, is romance NYC style.