Good morning and happy Friday! In an attempt to bring some good news into the world, I restarted my monthly newsletter. It talks about what I’m doing, where I’m going, and how I’m staying inspired with links to books, podcasts, and products that I’m currently enjoying / learning from. Check it out here and if you’d like to subscribe, there’s a little “Subscribe” button in the upper left-hand corner. https://mailchi.mp/18a…/more-good-news-from-christa-avampato
This month’s news includes: books, storytelling, dinosaurs, my trip to Iceland, fossils, mental health, the healing power of writing, and tours of secret NYC places.
You can also find the links to all newsletters going forward here: https://christaavampato.com/subscribe-to-my-newsletter/
My friend, Dan, recently asked me if I would bring back my monthly newsletter because his social media feeds are overwhelmed. And because I love Dan and because I have a lot of fun creative projects happening, I’m doing it! It’ll be filled with my fun shenanigans like my storytelling shows, my book and journalism work, my travels, podcast interviews I do, various creative projects like my museum work, and plenty of inspiration and resources to help you with your creative work! If you’d like to sign up, just like this post or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The newsletter will only be once a month (at about the 1st of the month) and this list will never be used for any other purposes so no spam worries.
“Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs Whatsit whispered. “You will need all your anger now.”
No matter what happens next week, these wise words by the brilliant Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, remind me that there is so much work ahead of us to build a better world. And we can. And we will
If there’s something you’re burning to do, do it now. Last night I learned that a man I greatly admire, someone who was an enormous help to me during my job search last year, passed away of a sudden heart attack. He went out for his morning jog, in seemingly perfect health, and didn’t come home. He was only 49 years old.
His advice and introductions were a tremendous source of encouragement to me at a difficult time. I had just moved back to New York after two years away, was doing a full-time job search, and was dealing with a heavy dose of change and uncertainty. Though I wore a brave face, I was constantly worried about just about everything. The first time I met him in person, I was having a particularly low day.
I went to his office and despite the fact that he was insanely busy, he gave me so much of his time. He was completely relaxed and didn’t rush me at all. I felt right at home talking to him, as if I had known him all my life. That’s the kind of person he was. He listened to my dreams, and immediately started introducing me to everyone and anyone he knew whom he thought could help me.
When I got my job offers, he helped me think through them so I would make the best choice. All of his advice was spot-on. The last time I saw him, he gave me a big hug, and said, “You know it’s all going to be okay. It always is. You just keep working hard and it’ll work out.” And he was right.
The best way I can think to honor him is to follow his advice to the letter. And I will. Don’t wait to do what you love. You never know how much time you have.
A wonderful way to close the last week of 2017: a live on-screen interview on Cheddar about my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. Thanks so much for to the team there, especially hosts Baker Machado and Jill Wagner, and to expert publicist, Dan Fortune. Happy to give thanks and shout-outs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my inspiring home city of New York, and National Novel Writing Month. Watch the interview here: https://cheddar.com/videos/what-it-takes-to-get-a-novel-published
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” ~Shirley Chisholm, first black woman elected to the United States Congress, first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination
In other words, make your own space. Get in there, and create one. An invitation isn’t always offered. And while I would love to tell you that patience is a virtue, I’ve found that patience creates just one thing—waiting. For our turn. To be smart enough, capable enough, and experienced enough. We are constantly waiting to be ready to do something. Stop waiting. The truth is you are enough, right now, just as you are. And if for some reason that doesn’t work, then create the whole damn table and invite people to join you. Make room for yourself and for others. There’s so much more to be gained by all of us if we foster inclusion rather than exclusion. Open up your mind, heart, eyes, and ears. Speak up, rise up, and take others with you. That’s the name of the game in 2018, and we’re all invited to play.
I walked out of my apartment yesterday morning and found this old magazine on the stoop a few doors down. It’s just the research I needed as I am slowing carving out my second young adult book in the Emerson Page series. The stars are deeply entwined with her story and her future. Sometimes when we need inspiration for our writing, all we need to do is go for a walk and keep our eyes open.
Meet Mo Bridges, the 15-year-old fashion designer from Memphis who started Mo’s Bows, a bow tie company. His mom is his business manager and together they are defying the odds and stereotypes in the fashion world. Mo plans to attend Parsons in NYC and create his own fashion line by age 20. Further proof that belief in yourself and following your passion with action yields incredible results.
Sometimes, a tree is a door. This is a picture of the tree outside my apartment building. It has a doorknob attached to it. Naturally my writer brain wondered what would happen if I turned it and what secret world it concealed. So obviously, that’s somehow going in the second book in the Emerson Page series. Inspiration is everywhere. It’s our job to use it.
Yesterday I turned down an opportunity for a new job. A great job. A job with a wonderful mission that matches my skill sets and would be the next step on the technology-based product development path I’ve been on for almost a decade. I’ve now done this several times in the past month.
“Why?” you might be asking. The opportunities were great, but not great for me. Sometimes the culture wasn’t right. Other times the team wasn’t right. Often the communication wasn’t right, or non-existent. And most importantly, that path isn’t the one I want to be on anymore. It’s been a great decade. I’ve learned a ton, so much more than I ever thought I’d learn when I started down this road. I’m glad I took this journey, and I’m glad it’s over. Like a good long hike, my body’s tired but my mind is clear and my heart is full. The view is spectacular, and now I’m ready to take another road on another adventure.
That adventure has to be heavily focused on writing, communication, and relationship-building. It has to take full advantage of the business skills I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and money to hone. It has to be brimming with creativity and the mission of the work has to be to build a better world. I think that these kinds of opportunities will be with a socially driven for-profit company or a nonprofit. And as far as location, I’m looking at New York, Philadelphia, and D.C. I’ve spent my life in this Northeast Amtrak corridor. I’ve gone to school here. The majority of my close friends and contacts are in and around those cities. Nearly all of my past employers are based here. I am by all accounts an east coaster, and proud of it. I’m a New Yorker at heart, and I always will be. Once you know exactly who you, you can’t be anyone else. Authenticity and integrity are everything.
I talked to my friend, Chris, yesterday. We talked about how important it is to align who we are with what we do as the key criteria to a happy career. You can only play a role for so long. Eventually, you walk off the stage, you take off the costume and the makeup, and all you’re left with is the person in the mirror. Bare-faced—scars, imperfections, and all. Now that’s the person I listen to. The heart and the gut I follow belong to her. And her time is now. So is yours.