maybe I should eat something

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Ever sit down to write something (completely inspirational) and the second the blank page loads and the cursor blinks at you as if challenging you – daring you – to say something, and suddenly, the only thing you can think of is “hm. maybe I should eat something.”?

I am 36,956 feet in the air, flying somewhere over the border of Nebraska and South Dakota, and I’ve just ordered a cheese plate from a tablet attached to the seat in front of me. A cheese plate and Chex Mix delivered straight to my seat. Oh, and I’m blogging about it. We live in this world of immediacy and convenience and we still have something to complain about.

My question is, is the complaining something to complain about? Maybe complaining is our opportunity to seek improvement. The more we can complain, the more we can innovate and make better. Now, there are some who wish the world would JUST STOP for at least a second, I know, but while it may seem overwhelming, innovation is human.

Take, for example, the guy who invented the little plastic things on the ends of our shoelaces. Who was he before doing that? Just a guy who said “Man, it’s annoying re-lacing my shoes with these stupid fraying ends. We need to make a thing to help prevent fray-age.” Or the guy who invented the hot cup sleeve or those plastic inserts to stop spillage. Those stemmed from somebody complaining. “Oh, this cup is hot.” and “$#!&, I keep spilling!”

Now, the argument is ” do we really need this stuff?” a watch that is a phone, a tablet, iPod, phone, phone watch, ear buds, earphone speakers, and a kindle? No, maybe not always. Maybe a 12 year old doesn’t need every one of those, or a teenager, or a toddler. But imagine how drastically your workscope, workspace, work place has changed since we’ve been introduced to these devices. The designer has a portable office. The writer, too. The service industry is vastly more convenient and accessible now. Especially now that customers are taking longer with each sale to “Pause for text message,” and “pause for instagram photo,” and “wait I have to tweet that,” and “Hold on, I’m checking in on Four Square.”

The marketing world is forced to think outside the box – outside all the boxes. In a world overstimulated, how do you reach your audience? In a world of Fast Forward and Skip This Ad, how can you be heard? Everyone is screaming to be heard, yet no one is listening.

There’s my complaint. So where’s the innovation?

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in the works

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I have quite a few books “in the works”. It’s quite a boastful sentence, that one, but the truth is, “in the works” Just means “in my head.” To be quite frank, it just means “I’ve thought of a cool title and maybe a premise. ”

People ask me what I do for a living, and my favorite thing to tell them is “I’m am writer,” because their head is suddenly filled with fanciful pictures of me sitting in gardens or coffee shops with my laptop – or typewriter because I’m that kind of cool – at book signings, having meetings with agents. Close friends have fantasies about my books becoming the next Harry Potter or Divergent series. When, honestly, I’m sitting on a plane with my wireless keyboard hooked against my iPad, two and a half hours into the flight with absolutely nothing to write. You’d think that being stuck in a one-meter-by-two-meter prison-of-an-airplane-seat is enough to motivate a writer to buckle down and “just write already!” … apparently, that’s not the case.

I’m just forced to watch stupid television on a minuscule screen, stare out the window at turbulent clouds, and try my best to steady my rapid breath – I’m not anxious, I swear. I’m pretty sure there is low oxygen in the cabin. Ok, maybe not – don’t want to panic anybody. (are you panicking??).

Anyway, so what do I do for a living? I fantasize about gardens, coffee shops, quaint little cottages in the meadows, mountain homes overlooking a foggy bluff (I think the word I’m looking for is “chalet”), meditative retreats, and more English breakfast tea than a woman should drink. I fantasize about a healthy, smart pup as a trusty companion, a cat who knows better than to sit on my keyboard (let’s be real – I wouldn’t mind.) and an agent who calls me every few days to be sure I’m doing okay and to ask for the pages I’ve been owing her, long overdue, because…aren’t they always?

I fantasize about a life where I can get rid of my smart phone and go back to my LG flip phone – do away with the e-mails at my fingertips, the incessant need for technological organization. I won’t need to worry about four schedules or syncing my iTunes or having enough storage for the latest update. I’ll have a few important phone numbers memorized, a heavy and comfortable rotary house phone (the phone is rotary, not the house), and an iPad and Apple TV for entertainment. I’ll lock myself away for the weekend and write and write and write, take walks, drink tea, feed the dog, sleep on the daybed, wake up with the sunrise, and not check my phone. not check my emails. not check my calendar.

So, here’s to the four books that are “in the works.”

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