Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

Many years ago, a friend, mentor, teacher and author gave me a T-shirt that said: So many books, so little time.

That phrase has been burned into my brain ever since. When it comes to books and book stores, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I borrow way more books than I can ever hope to read from the local library and incur enough late fees to add a second wing to the building. I didn’t think it was possible but I swear I’m about to overload my Kindle with dozens of titles in as many genres, all unread. I also bookmark more blogs than I have time to absorb and enjoy, and then there are the magazines and newspapers that I buy because I still like the feel of them. They are piled at the foot of my couch.

I’m also guilty of being a multiple book/media reader. When I was younger I used to be able to get away with it. I could remember the various plot lines of novels, biographies or thrillers not to mention the anecdotes and statistics of business books. Lately less so. I blame it on this new age of information overload rather than my own advancing age. And so I’ve had to grudgingly limit myself to two books at a time and a few periodicals. That way, there’s a chance I might get to enjoy them.

I have further diminished my normally good reading habits by enhancing another good habit – that of writing regularly. Whoever says you can have it all never had to balance reading, writing and working a full-time job (or raising a family.)

I’ve been writing a blog for two years now and I recently published my first book, a memoir entitled Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color. And while writing the blog and the book has been a real labor of love, it has ultimately cut into my reading habits. Instead of reading before bed, I’m busy taking notes. Instead of reading on the plane, I’m turning those notes into posts or pages. And therein lies the dilemma because reading is the ultimate resource for new ideas and a sure cure for writer’s block. But reading is not only about work, it’s also about pleasure. So here’s my own personal list of why I read. It’s a mix of reasons as eclectic as the books I read.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/

1)    Reading enriches my vocabulary.

2)    Reading good prose inspires me to be a better writer.

3)    Reading transports me to new places without ever having to pack a bag.

4)    Reading gives me insight into myself and others.

5)    Reading gives meaning to my life.

6)    Reading allows me to appreciate the beauty of a well-turned phrase or line.

7)    Reading relaxes me.

8)    Reading teaches me like nothing else can. I read therefore I learn.

And finally, reading adds color to my life. Without books it would indeed be a beige world.

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Thank you.

I am grateful to two fellow bloggers who have nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award – and it’s not just about the recognition and exposure for The Chronicles, although that’s a huge part of it. It’s about more than that. It’s about helping me define exactly what my blog is. In other words, I no longer have an identity crisis; I have a category, and that category has a name: Versatile Blogger.

Several months ago, as I wrote and rewrote the description for my Facebook fan page, the best I could come up with was a kitchen sink kind of blog. I was a little slow on the uptake because the word versatile more than covers what I do, and in a much more elegant way.

One of my nominators, Jacqui Murray − WordDreams − and I met nearly a year ago when WordPress featured one of her posts on “Freshly Pressed.” We entered into a cyber-conversation that continues to this day. Jacqui is now my go-to person for all things writing / publishing. If she doesn’t know it, she knows someone who does.

My other nominator is Divya Srikanth, (aka Dee Shrek) − of Literally Challenged – who is from Chennai, India and writes with a very wicked wit.  I suspect that if she ever wanted to swap writing for stand up she’d pack the house.

My thanks to these two very talented bloggers for nominating me. I’m honored. Their blogs are well worth checking out.

There’s more to this award than this cool graphic. I’m also supposed to share seven things about myself and pass along this award to 15 blogs I’ve discovered. So here goes:

Seven Secrets 

  1. I’ve always wanted to own a steel mill.
  2. I cry when I hear the “American National Anthem” and France’s “La Marseillaise.” I think it’s because I actually pay attention to the words when I hear them. People at sporting events must think I’m crazy.
  3. If I didn’t sell color, and couldn’t own a steel mill, I’d be a private investigator.
  4. My favorite food is donuts, the sickly sweet kind filled with frosting inside and out.
  5. I’ve memorized all of the lines in Casablanca.
  6. I want to take a freighter cruise around the world.
  7. I hate shopping.

Twelve Terrific Blogs 

Okay I’m a wee bit short of 15 but I promise you’ll love the one’s I’ve listed here.  In addition to Jacqui and Divya’s blogs I also follow these fabulous blogs.

Arlene’s New Beginnings – Observations on Life, People and the Universe.  Arlene is a gifted writer, artist and photographer with a great sense of personal style.

Savvy Savings Bytes – If you want to really love NYC on a shoestring then this is a must read.

Gal About the Globe – This blog is the perfect travel companion.  It covers lots of ground from global happenings, fashion, and profiles of successful up-and-coming Gals about the Globe. And you don’t even need a passport! Pay it a visit.

Three Great Tango blogs – Since I’ve been too busy writing to dance lately but my spirit dances to the beat of these blogs.

Passionate about prose? Then visit Nissi’s blog Plantain Periodicals. 

Get Inspired at Clicking50.  Sonia’s blog is a visual feast. See the world through her eyes it will give you a fresh perspective.

If you want to nourish the poet in your soul, read Carolyn Donnell’s blog Deeper Colors. 

Under the writer’s category and a second time winner is Nicole Basaraba’s Uni-Verse-City. You’ll love this forum for words on writing.

Meet Gracie, the magnifi-cat of the Tiniest Tiger.  She’s a celebri-cat and is passionate about saving her cousins in Africa through the Conservation Cub Club. You gotta love her!

Okay fellow bloggers now it’s your turn to pass it on.

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I’ve had a lot of Carrie Bradshaw moments over the last few years: walking away from the wrong man at the right time, falling for the wrong man at the right time and an amazing rescue by my Café Girls when I returned home from a disastrous foreign love affair – on Valentine’s Day with nothing but the clothes in my suitcase. They were there with food, shelter and friendship. What more could a girl ask for?

Carrie and I have the great good fortune to live in magical cities that we love – she in New York, me in Montreal. Writing is our shared passion. Carrie writes a column and I write regular posts on a variety of topics including sex in a few cities, travel, relationships, careers and cultural commentary for this blog which has steadily grown in readership over the last year.

And now I too have my own book, Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color. In season five, Carrie agonizes over her image on the book’s front cover appropriately titled Sex and the City. It was all about what she should wear, how she should dress. For me it was about the shoes, and the challenge of securing permission to use the beautiful red soled Christian Louboutin shoes on my cover. We both succeeded in creating memorable book covers.

We each attended our respective book launches solo – but in my case, one was the luckiest number and not the loneliest number. While an eleventh hour rescue by Jack Burger gives her the plus one she’s been looking for. Stuff like that only happens in TV.

We’re both lucky to have loyal readers who support our efforts and show up at launches and public readings. Last week, I gave my first public reading at a The Munich Readery which is run by Lisa Yarger and her husband John. It was an especially fitting place for my first reading because I had read a few chapters of the then untitled and unfinished manuscript to some of the same people the year before.

An intimate group of friends and fans of the book and the blog attended. This official first reading ranked right up there with my book launch and my recent Girls’ Nights In cocktails moments pressed into the scrapbook of my memory. 

Lisa did a thorough job publicizing the event through the store’s e-mailing list and the local English speaking online publications. She laid out a colorful counter of fancy cheeses, figs, beautiful German breads and jam and a variety wines. It’s times like this I like to step back and take in the scene as an observer of my own life. Sometimes I just have to pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming. Friends and family have been enjoying the process as much as I have it seems.

Tucked in between floor to ceiling bookshelves (I thought I’d died and gone to heaven), I sat in an oversized chair surrounded by my own books, amidst the small group who listened attentively to two selections that Lisa had selected “Destination Paris” and “Chapter 12: Unfinished Business.”

I read Any Color but Beige aloud dozens of times during the proofreading process but this was the first time I “played” all of the people in each of the chapters. I had fun taking on different roles changing my voice, my accents and my tone to reflect the individuals in question. As I looked from face to face, I could see my audience as lost in my story as I was, laughing at the funny bits and growing quiet in the sad ones.

Moments like these made me feel like Carrie Bradshaw, with one huge difference for which I will always be grateful: all of my memorable moments are real.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/digitalskillet

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