“You can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” ~Jim Carrey
Today I’m beginning a new full-time job. Success is never guaranteed to any of us though I fully believe that our odds of success increase dramatically when we do something we love. In that case, even if we fail, at least we have spent our time on something of value.
That’s how I feel about my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. It’s also how I feel about my work as a journalist, product leader, and theater manager. My new job utilizes all of my experience in the arts and business, and I feel fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity.
I’m sure there will be many learnings in the coming months. Today, I’m enjoying the thrill of the new and the unknown, the excitement that comes from putting my whole heart into something that makes the world a better place.
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” ~Josephine Hart
My friend, Tony, wrote this quote on his Facebook wall and it immediately brought a smile to my face. People who have been knocked down and rise up, again and again, can never be beaten. They will find a way up, out, over, and through any and every difficult situation. It will take time, courage, and a significant amount of effort but they will do it. They are the people I admire the most—the ones who persist against any and all odds, determined to live the life they imagine.
Inspired by authors like Neil Gaiman who record their own audiobooks, I decided to put my voiceover skills to use and record the audiobook version of my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, myself. (By doing this myself, I’ll be able put more money into my marketing plan since my publisher isn’t doing much of the marketing work I had hoped and they had said they’d do.) It will be available on Amazon the same day that the ebook and paperback launch—November 1, 2017. I’m having so much fun creating this content. It will take a lot of work to record and edit, but I’m going to learn so much in this process! I’m also thinking about doing a podcast of it, much like Welcome to Night Vale, and a YouTube version that would be a digital graphic novel.
“Autumn is my time. I am most radiant and full of energy when the leaves are falling and there is a ghost of change in the air.” – Ladymadsen (The Iris Diaries)
I try to enjoy every day but I have to admit that truly I wait all year for the sweetness of autumn: the crisp and cool air, the gorgeous colors in the trees, toasty drinks, and delicious and rich fall foods. Give me my boots, jeans, and sweaters, and you give me instant happiness. Autumn is my spring, when my soul comes to life and celebrates change in all of its glorious forms. This is my time. For me, this is the season of possibility when I wake up to my own potential and the potential of everything around me to reach its peak.
“Sometimes we fall down because there is something down there we’re supposed to find.” ~Unknown
This week I wrote a guest blog post related to my book that details the journey that led me to find Emerson. I had to take a long and winding road to meet her, and that road was often difficult to navigate. During the rough times, I would have given anything to have them end as quickly and painlessly as possible. Now in hindsight, I can see why they were necessary. The difficulties gave me so much more than they took away. The things they took from me needed to leave my life, and what I learned and the people I met in the process of my healing are now some of the very greatest gifts of my life. Experience is funny that way; it’s only with time and distance—sometimes a very healthy dose of each—that we see our difficulties for the treasures that they are.
If you’re going through a difficult time right now, I want you to know this: eventually, maybe years from now, you will look back on this very moment and I promise you that it will make sense. You will come to appreciate it as much as you appreciate every joy in your life. The road out of your difficulty may not be easy, but the strength you get from that climb and the view that you will find at the end of that road will make it all worthwhile. So keep going. One foot in front of the other. One moment after another. Breath to breath. That’s the best any of us can do, and it’s enough.
My heart is overflowing. I read these reviews while I was in Bed Bath and Beyond. I started bawling right there in the pots and pans aisle. If you’re writing something now, and you’re not quite sure if you should keep going, this is the sign you’re looking for: don’t give up. The world needs your story as much as it’s ever needed any story.
“A radiant adventure that will intrigue the young fantasy reader. From the very beginning, the story is both captivating and mystifying. There is a story beneath the story, an underground stream giving it momentum, a life source, a perpetual light waiting to be revealed. The young heroine is brilliant and inspiring. Her character grows and evolves with each turn of the page. Surrounded by a strong cast of supporting characters, Emerson is curious and bold, strong and vulnerable, loving and powerful. The narrative stretches the imagination, imparts hope and takes the reader on a grand, daring adventure. As you turn the last page and read the final words you are assured by an ageless truth – love conquers all. Being a book lover, I really appreciated the beautiful and eloquent words penned about books, and the power of the story held within them. “Books are magical.” Yes. Indeed. At times, “we feel as though they are written just for us.” I am certain that many young readers will relate to the heroine and feel that her story was written just for them. Emerson bravely follows the path set before her and lets her light shine.” ~Cheryl E. Rodriguez
“A refreshing new look at the YA genre. The book starts on a high note and doesn’t flag, not one bit. The story is different, something original and it is all go, all the way through. It is a fascinating story, well written and clearly, Ms. Avampato has a very inventive imagination. She clearly thought this story out and has produced a masterpiece, in my opinion, a tale of strength and adventure, a story with strong and well-developed characters. I defy any young adult not to enjoy this story and I defy them not to want more when the story is told. I certainly did; there are not many books that can pull me deep into them, but this one did and there was no letting go until the last page. Excellent story, I hope that this is the first of many.” ~Anne-Marie Reynolds
What I imagine is as real as anything I can touch. I’ve come to believe, and live by, the principle that if the human mind can imagine it, then the hands and heart can and will create it. It will take time, effort, and dedication, and it will happen. Creativity is the most powerful tool we have.
7 years ago today, I adopted this sweet, brave, and loyal boy. Phineas was just 1-year-old, and someone had dumped him in the woods to fend for himself. His howling saved him, a policeman found him, and thanks to New York Dachshund Rescue, I became his mom. Today on his 8th birthday, I wish him a bottomless bowl of food, a mountain of treats and toys, a soft, cozy bed, and plenty of long walks, grass rolling in the sun, and tummy rubs. After all he’s given to me, this is the very least he deserves. Happy birthday, buddy. May we have many more. I love you.
Yesterday I spent some time talking to a friend of mine who’s a real estate agent. She’s helping me get on a path to homeownership here in New York, which is not a task for the faint-hearted. After talking about my financial picture, we talked about the idea of willing dreams into existence. This last set of years have at times been extraordinarily difficult for me and greatly blessed. All in, they have led me to the place I am now: in my favorite neighborhood in my favorite city, starting what I have high hopes will be a dream job, and a book 8 years in the making about to be published in just over a month. A year ago, this scenario was unlikely. Hell, it felt flat-out impossible. Today, it’s my everyday life, and I don’t take a single moment of it for granted. It’s not perfect, but I’m extraordinarily grateful for it, even in the moments when I’m most challenged. With effort and a belief in the wisdom of what we don’t yet know or understand, life becomes exactly what we imagine it can be. Every difficulty and blessing I’ve had was needed; each one played a role in making my life today possible. Perspective is a beautiful thing.
“Call me a cynic, but I’m not basing Verizon’s strategy on anything happening in Washington.” ~ Lowell McAdam, Verizon CEO, and the Bloomberg Live event Sooner Than You Think
Between reading the book Climate of Hope by Mike Bloomberg and Carl Pope and attending Cornell Tech’s opening on Roosevelt Island, it’s becoming clear to me that even though Washington seems unable to get out of its own way, individuals, cities, and businesses can and will make all the difference in this world. Washington will continue to spin for the foreseeable future, and while that’s incredibly unfortunate, it’s largely unimportant. With the exception of military action and international relations, cities, businesses, and each of us are the ones who will really make a difference for each other, not the federal government.
We’re already seeing so much evidence of this here in New York in our education system, infrastructure, and local economy. Cornell Tech, our tuition-free college program, and the reconstruction of LaGuardia airport and Penn Station are all examples of a city, a state, and individuals implementing solutions that improve quality of life. I feel very fortunate and proud to live here, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Rather than continuing to wring my hands about the fiasco in our federal government, I’m going to double down on doing the best I can with what I’ve got right where I am—through my city, my company, and my writing.