I closed out the week on a huge high. My book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, advanced to the Quarterfinals for the ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition. Over 1200 books were submitted for consideration so I’m thrilled to have made it to this stage. This year’s jury is comprised of a literary agent from Abrams Artists Agency, a publishing coordinator from The Gersh Agency, the editor of Red Hen Press, a manager at MXN Entertainment, and a New York Times best-selling author. I’m so excited about this news and couldn’t wait to share it with all of you. Thank you to everyone who’s been so insanely supportive of me and of Emerson. It means more to me than I know how to say.
Yesterday the world lost Mary Oliver, a person who taught me how to write and how to live. Rest In Poetry, Mary. We will certain rest in yours.
Don’t Hesitate by Mary Oliver
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate.
Give in to it.
There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be.
We are not wise, and not very often kind.
And much can never be redeemed.
Still life has some possibility left.
Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world.
It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case.
Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty.
Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Yesterday I took the best trip to the grocery store I’ve ever taken because I had the opportunity to buy groceries for Keith Polite, a man impacted by the government shutdown. He’s been a security guard at one of the Smithsonian museums here in New York City for 4 years, and the museum is closed until the government reopens. Because he’s a contractor, he won’t receive any back pay. I heard about his story through the local CBS broadcast, and decided I had to help. Another viewer also helped and was able to meet with Keith about a possible job opportunity. I’m really hoping that works out for him.
I hope this one small act inspires all of us to help one another during this difficult time. There’s so much we can do right where we are for the people around us. We’re all walking each other home. Here’s the news piece that ran about Keith if you’d like to see it:
If you’re wondering why I’m so forking excited about studying biomimicry at Arizona State University’s Biomimicry Center, I want you to meet Janine Benyus, the founder of this field and creator of this program. Welcome to the future. Welcome to the movement. Here’s Janine: https://asuonline.wistia.com/medias/npzymug1ue
Last week I had the chance to interview a number of biologists about their work. All of them expressed enthusiasm and passion for their work. And all of them explained that the worst part of their jobs was the funding process. I took some time and looked into this further, and found that this is a pervasive problem. We have many brilliant scientists who have a tough time making a living and remaining joyful about their work because of the tedious, broken, and inefficient funding system in place and the stress it causes.
Platforms like Patreon are great. Merchandise sales are helpful. I use both these outlets to support work that’s important to me, science included. However, the sustainability of these efforts and their ability to support the goal of scientists to be compensated in proportion to the importance of their vital work seems questionable.
So what’s a scientist to do?
That’s the question I’m attempting to answer with the concept for a new product development company that I hope to start when I finish my Masters in biomimicry. I have a BA in Economics and History, an MBA, and a 20-year career in business and product development. Why am I getting this degree in science? Because I believe that all these aspects need to be combined for the sustainability and health of the planet. And as a happy consequence, I want to employ talented scientists in that endeavor so that their research is more widely applied and they are able to generate an income with benefits that helps them live a good quality of life outside of the drudgery of the ever-more-competitive funding cycles.
I understand that this is a very tall order. That it will take a huge amount of work and time to get this right. But I think I can do it, and I’m going to try for all our sakes.
Oh hi. Happy Saturday. Reading Marie Carter’s book, Holly’s Hurricane, a futuristic novel about the ruins of NYC after a Category 4 hurricane strikes in the year 2040. Marie’s brilliant storytelling will be on full display at Caveat for NYC’s Secrets & Lies on Feb 7th at 7pm. Will she be telling a story as fictional and as believable as her novel? Join us and find out! Tickets on sale now: https://t.co/SWCxT6UCeQ
Remember that a fire can also be a kiln. Whether it consumes you or improves you is all about your perspective. I’ve had a very difficult 24 hours. This point-of-view and great friends got me through. If you’re going through a tough time, I hope this idea helps you, too. Sending you love.
Can’t get this smile off my face because this wk I’m officially a grad student for the 2nd time & for the 1st time am a scientist-in-training. I started my biomimicry program at The Biomimicry Center at Arizona State University. (The program is mostly online so I am still in NYC!) To realize this dream means more to me than I have words to express. Beyond grateful!
In 2013 I did a summer house swap with someone in LA. (Similar to the movie The Holiday.) I stayed in her condo in Santa Monica for 3 months & she stayed in my Upper West Side NYC apt. This summer I’d like to do a house swap again with someone who lives in a not too humid / not too hot location, US or international. Dog friendly. I still live on the Upper West Side, 1/2 block from Central Park, near all the museums, lots of neighborhood amenities, and great subway / bus access. Know anyone who might be interested? Please send them my way!
“The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30. You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” ~Tina Fey
Strongly feeling this sentiment from the great Tina Fey as I get ready to begin grad school in biomimicry on Monday. A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have been so dang supportive of this whole process. It’s really overwhelming and exciting and mind-boggling that I’m standing on this precipice and taking the leap. I’m scared and happy and nervous and thrilled and in awe that this all worked out as it did. All the feels.
I couldn’t have dreamed a better next step. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I’m going to work my tookus off to do the very best I can. And to think this is all happening right now because Alie Ward interviewed a shark expert on the Ologies podcast about the healing properties of its mucus. Goodness, I will never forget that moment when I was on Broadway across the street from Lincoln Center walking to work, completely enthralled with the idea of finding a class or workshop in biomimicry. I never thought I’d find a whole damn Master of Science in this discipline and that I’d get in. Magic is everywhere; it’s all around us all the time.
If you’re starting something new in this new year, I hope this quote by Tina Fey helps you, too. Be scared and do it anyway, whatever it is. We’re all in this together. We’re all just walking each other home.