On my way to work, I walked right into a marriage proposal complete with Bruno Mars music and dancing. Obviously the person doing the proposing and the friends did a lot of planning. For the crowd, and the person being proposed to, this was very spontaneous! It made my morning. I love love. And he said yes.
Everything in life is a long shot. Nothing is easy. Everything worth doing takes time, effort, and passion. And this idea is freeing, not stifling. If it’s all difficult, then you might as well do what you love.
“How did you know what to write about that would sell?” someone asked me this week.
“I didn’t write a book that would sell,” I said. “I wrote the book I wanted to read.”
“But didn’t you look at trends?” he asked me.
“I started writing my book eight years ago,” I said. “Trends from eight years ago wouldn’t have helped me today.”
He was frustrated. He wanted a silver bullet, and there just isn’t one when it comes to any kind of creative work. All you can do is follow your curiosity, do your research, listen, and then get it all down as well and as honestly as you can.
You absolutely cannot make everyone happy. Some people will want the book to go faster, and others will want it to go slower. Some people will want more detail, and others will want less. Some people will say the book is too long while others will stay it’s too short. It’s all incredibly subjective.
Just know this—over the course of writing, rewriting, editing, and publishing your work, you will read / view / listen to it dozens of times. Maybe hundreds of time. You have to nurture it, love it, and then give it all away for someone else to interpret. That is the rub of creative work—you pour everything you have into it, and then it belongs to the world. It is all a labor of love.
My 2018 resolution can be summed up in one word: Yes. My friend, Ria, recently told me about an article she read in which the author explained that when you commit to saying yes, your day ends up in a completely different place than where it started. And I’m all for that. Yes to:
I’m going to make 2018 the best year of my life so far in every way. And I’m going to lift others as I rise. We’re doing this.
I had the chance to talk about 2 of my favorite subjects in the New York Times: pizza and my love for New York City.
“I would take a New York City slice, served piping hot out of the oven onto a generic white paper plate as I walk around the city, over any other slice anywhere in the world. It’s not just the pizza, it’s the spirit of the city embedded in it that makes all the difference. We all have our preferences. And for me, New York is the place for pizza, and for life.”
Check out the full piece at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/nyregion/new-york-today-chicago-pizza-vs-the-new-york-slice.html?_r=0.
“Write what should not be forgotten…” ~Isabel Allende
I’m in the midst of writing some difficult passages in Emerson’s second book. There are characters in the book that have been through terrible times. They’re reliving those times, explaining them to Emerson because it will make a difference to her journey. And I hope it will make a difference to readers, and the journeys of readers. I hope their resilience, determination, and love for life inspires us all to be the best people we can be. I hope it makes us kind, grateful, and resolved to build a better world for ourselves and for each other. Life is tough; together we are tougher.
“We do not remember days. We remember moments.” ~Cesare Pavese
I passed by this sign on the street about a month ago, and it’s message hit me so hard my eyes teared up. I was especially struck by this line: “In true New York fashion, friendships were created here that crossed all barriers, and allowed strangers to become family. Like its namesake in Paris, our Barbès became a melting pot, one that celebrates all that is good in New York City and all that is good in America.”
A month later, I’m still think about this message to take a moment to have a moment that we will treasure long after the moment has passed. This is a note of thanks from the owners and staff of Barbès Restaurant in midtown that’s closing because the building is being knocked down. This happens a lot in New York. We tear things down. We build new things. People arrive. People leave. The constant turnover of places and people is a way of life here.
But something about this particular note hit me hard. The sentiment, gratitude, and deep sadness of the situation was so authentic in this simple sign taped to the window. And despite the sorrow at the end of its life, there was joy and gratitude. I looked in, and saw many people of all different ages, colors, and faiths enjoying a meal there. They were having a moment, made all the more poignant by the fact that this place would no longer exist in a very short time. It would live only in their memories. And I think that’s the very best we can to do with our time—to create memories that will outlast us by welcoming people into our lives.
Though I didn’t move here until after college, living in New York City has been the dream of my life since I was a kid. And as difficult (and expensive!) as it can be to live here, there’s not a day that I’m not grateful for the creativity that lives and breathes around every corner. In my book, I showcase a lot of that magic found on, above, and below these streets. That theme will continue through Emerson’s series. Her story began here, blossoms here, and will end here (8 books from now.) She’ll travel to far-flung lands, find herself in wild situations, and meet dozens of people who can best be described as true characters. And as much as she’ll love those travels and adventures, she’ll always find her way back here to New York like so many of us do. Like a magnet, it draws us in. Once we’re in its orbit, it has us forever.
‘i love myself.’
This poem is a powerful reminder of the magic that can happen in our lives when we really love who we are. It becomes a way to protect ourselves and also to let others in. When we love who we are, we are imbued with grace and confidence. Nothing can really hurt us if we love who we are. We defend, fight for, and nurture what we love. And here’s the best part: when you become a constant supporter of yourself and your dreams, you have so much more to offer to others.
“I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit that bitch up myself.” ~Anonymous
“Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment
you are in now.” ~Unknown
“Never have a job that makes you wish for Friday and dread Monday.” ~Doc (Charlie) Rodgers, my former cowoker at Rollins College
My friend, Ria, sent me this first quote. It first made me laugh out loud, which I sorely needed. Then it quickly gave me more energy to keep going on my path. Why do we wait, or worse, think we’re undeserving? Of happiness. Of love. Of our dreams. Of living the most magical life we can imagine? Why do we settle for less than we want? Why do we accept and strive for patience instead of progress?
Too many of us get stuck in the trap of thinking a job is a job and happiness is something different, something we do somewhere else. It’s not. We should be happy and proud of the way we spend our time everywhere that time is spent. I refuse to compromise on that ideal. Our time is far too precious to do anything but.
I hope that today your life and work are touched with love and light, and that you will be able to give that to those around you everywhere you go—at work and at home, in your neighborhood, in a store, and on the subway or bus. Just imagine what kind of world we would live in if that were our guiding principle every day. There would be so much light that our tunnels couldn’t even contain all of it.