Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last night was the mark of a completion of a goal. I submitted my last paper for class, and thus went to bed an MBA graduate. This morning, I woke up to a new beginning and a new challenge. With school a fresh 8 hours in my past, I had already put it off to a distance. I had a fresh goal. I awoke to a writing focus and desire to plan the completion of this new goal. That's how it is with writing.

From the time I set foot on floor, my mind began to think about how to lay out the new project and what I need to know. I'm thinking about where I need to go, what I need to listen to, and what I need to experience. For this project, I need a new set of eyes. I need a new voice to convey it. Pretty much, I need to become someone else.

What does a writer do to do that? Research.

Today (well, honestly, three days ago) I began my research for my next writing project. Research is one of the most important parts of writing. It helps you to allow your story to "ring true," as they say. But it helps you to do all of the things that I mentioned above. When you research, you gain the knowledge and understand and allows you to write from another point of view. It allows you to see, feel, and understand what your character feels. Once you understand your character's world, you become your character. Research helps you to do that.

Research is also a fun part of the writing process, I think. Because, it can open another world for you. Research can be like traveling to another city, country, or another world. Takes you places you've never been before and gives you a voice you never had before. If you're not careful, you can get lost in research. At least, I can. LOL.

I love researching for writing. Or maybe I just love the fact that I'm writing again. Writing for a purpose. :-)


Sunday, August 16, 2009


I probably shouldn't admit this, but I remember sitting in my AIChE student member meeting for Chemical Engineering students, where the President was trying to get us to sign up to use this thing called the World Wide Web. It was supposed to provide us with a wealth of information and this thing was going to be H-U-G-E. Our response? Yeah, right.

Fast forward, uh, a few years later, and here I am, commencing research, searching for information on what to consider for a potential upcoming project. And, BAM! I got a collection of opinions over here, goo-gobs of thoughts over there, slivers of ramblings to the north, and oodles of articles, databases, PDF links to the south. Makes you extend your palms outward and say, "Whoa."

We all know this by now. For whatever subject, whatever topic, there's a wealth of information, good or bad, right or wrong. With all the different search engines and through varying your keyword searches, you can tailor the information you receive. For whatever position you want to take on a topic, there's information there to back you up. Too much information.

Maybe that's okay if you're just browsing and curious. But if you're using this information for a purpose, say as research work for your book or to make a decision about something at work, too much information can actually work against you, turn your argument upside down, and send your credibility into a nosedive.

The key is to filter through the information and find credible sources. Consider the author, their background, their credentials, etc. Depending on the topic, this can be a job within itself. It takes time to wade through the oceans of information available to us. However, if you value the integrity of your work and your credibility, you will make the commitment to verify information and carve out the time necessary to do so.

And "a-sifting I will go...a-sifting I will go..."


Friday, August 14, 2009


On her latest album, Beyonce talks about her new alter-ego, "Sasha Fierce" and sings about "Ego." Unbeknown to former coach and teammates, 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, Hershel Walker claimed multiple personalities, or "alters" before his 2008 book release of Breaking Free. When the time of your passing has come, how many people would be able to convey a distinct personality of you? Better yet, if people come forth with different descriptions of you, who would be right?

Stepping away from the point that everybody looks for a hook to hock their product, can something like this be true? Do we all have alter-egos? Do we harbor multiple personalities, choosing to display one or another to this person or that, and they're all true personalities? Barring intentional deceivers (being two-faced, con artists, manipulators, etc), I think this can be true.

I recently had a thought of how different people in my life view me in totally different, and sometimes conflicting ways. Mom sees me as colorful and gifted (what mother doesn't think that of her child?) while some friends see me as nerdy and a home body. Still, some friends see me as courageous, a risk taker, or a person who throws all caution to the wind. I have an ex that thought I was the sweetest and most giving person; another ex that considered me cocky and selfish. I have friends that think I have Christian ways, friends that think I toy with friendship with satan, and still other friends who think I'm Cosmic or borderline harikrishna. I have business associates who think I have a driver personality while others have thought I was passive. The question is, who is right?

I think they all are. I think there's two different ways a personality can be viewed. Internally, I think of myself as a certain way. Primarily quiet and reserved, borderline recluse who thinks a lot, yet loves thrill and loves being in control of my life and cannot live without goals and activity. And that description sounds like a contradiction within itself.

When it comes to others, I think they see a certain aspect of us. Our coworkers, managers, business partners may see a certain part of us that others do not. As well may fellow church goers, fellow volunteer workers, organizational and association members, etc. With others, you also have to factor in why they are in your life or what it is that they want from you. If you're not a follower and don't do what they want you to do; if you don't give them what they want, whether tangible or intangible, that may reflect in their interpretation of you.

Perhaps those that see many different sides of us are family members or long-time friends, especially those since childhood. They may have a more rounded perspective of who we are because they've seen us at high and low points, through good and bad, both guarded and unguarded.

Bottom line, while we may not have the dissociative disorder of multiple personalities, we can appear to be different to many different people based on their association with us or even at what point we are in our lives. We grow and change from our experiences as time goes on. If we reconnect with friends from 20 years ago, it could be an experience akin to meeting someone new for the very first time. And at our funeral, we can have several different people speaking about our personality, and have none of them seem to describe the same person.

Nothing to worry about though. Because I think the key to having others to realize your real personality at any given time is to be true to yourself first.


Sunday, August 09, 2009


Isn't it ironic? It seems to me, that creative people, the people who express themselves the most--whether visually, musically, or literally--are the ones who must be the most careful about freedom of expression of their own personal thoughts. Oh, the irony.

I just thought about this idea when I read blog post by Tess Gerritsen called "Why I Haven't Been Blogging." I can understand what she's saying. The joy and pleasure of blogging for her has been killed by responses to some of her posts in which readers disagreed. She states that she has been called names in response to her thoughts. As a result, she has tried to edit, edit, and edit her posts until she was sure that she wouldn't offend anyone. As a result, she then saw her blog as a marketing tool, which wasn't her original intention in blogging.

There are lots of people who blog about anything that they want and there are even those that blog with the intention of offending. But usually, those that do aren't trying to sell a product to as many people as they possibly can. They have less to lose than an artist or they are satisfied with a small audience of like minds. Even corporations are careful about statements from board members, or the organizations that they sponsor. All the time you see companies pulling advertising or contracts from persons who have expressed negative comments or have behaved in a way that most find unfavorable (whether they agree with the comments or behavior or not).

It seems that whatever art that you're in, you are silenced about having an opinion regarding products of that art, lest you suffer consequences of a resulting negative image and loss of sales of your own art. The price of sharing your opinion. A visual artist who criticizes the work of another may be seen as arrogant and full of themselves. A writer who reads and shares their opinion of books, especially in the genre in which they write, can become the target of personal attacks and vicious verbal attacks of their own work, while non-writers may share the same opinions. And it may be this discerning eye of that art that may have shaped them to be the well crafted artist that they may have become.

So what do we learn? If you're an artist, the best thing that you can do is be quiet. It's hard enough trying to write what you want without someone finding something offensive in it. But to give opinions of what you love or to share with others your thoughts on various topics...well, maybe you should keep that to yourself. Of course, then, you may seem to be all about marketing and promotion only.


Friday, August 07, 2009


Have you been keeping up with the Green Apple Core Series of the Book vs. the Kindle Reader? Hilarious! If not, check out rounds 1 - 7 of the fight on the Green Apple Core blog. I've been watching for the latest updates since round 3.

And I get their point. I want an e-reader, but in no way do I expect it to replace real books for me. I cannot imagine my home with 10,000 e-books on Kindle, but no books on bookshelves or in my house. I can't imagine not going to the bookstore and getting lost in it for hours. I cannot imagine my reference material solely on Kindle. So far, I think of e-readers and e-books as an enhancement, not a replacement.

I find Green Apple Core's series very entertaining.


Sunday, August 02, 2009


Ever think about the different paths you could have taken in life? The different choices you could have made that may have brought you to a different point than where you are today? Well, I'm a thinker. Sometimes crap just pops into my mind and I sit there for a few moments--or hours--in great ponderance (Yes, ponderance. I'm going to submit that word to Webster, so give it a minute to show up).

If I were to map my crossroads, it would look like a matrix, no doubt. By high school, I knew I loved writing and considered majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications in college. But as I started the process, I realized money would be a problem and I didn't know where to turn at the time. Confused and dazed about the lack of money, I didn't go to college right out of high school. So, I felt forced to choose another path. However, when I look back, I'm actually glad that I was forced to choose something different because I don't think I would have like that choice. I now think loving to write and Journalism are 2 different things. I dislike having to write for a living. I enjoying the creative process and writing what I want. I dislike being in the public eye. I'm naturally shy. And seeing the death of newspapers and the high competition of freelance writing today, I'm glad I chose a different path.

So instead, I worked at a mall pizza store and became Assistant Manager. Had I stayed on that path, maybe I could have made store Manager by now. But I chose a different path. Thank God!

I tried signing up for the Air Force. All was well until they measured me and said that I was an inch too short. Determined to go military, I turned to the Army who was more than happy to sign me up for Infantry. But on the day that I was to leave, they determined that I was a quarter of a pound overweight so I couldn't leave until I lost the quarter pound (which could have been not drinking water for a day). Just so happened that while waiting, the Air Force Recruiter called back and said "well, if the Army can take you, so can we." So he cooked up elaborate schemes for me to tell the Army to get me out so I could sign up for the Air Force, one being that I was pregnant. So I do this, lots of back and forth, interrogation before the Army board of higher ups (Colonel somebody or another) for threats, and they finally let me out. But by that time, I was so discouraged with military that I cut off the Air Force Recruiter. I kinda regret that one. I probably would have been in the Air Force today instead of, or before being, an engineer. But I chose a different path.

So, I finally decided to do whatever it took to go to school: Pell Grants, other grants, loans, and part-time work. But even in that, I changed my major 9 different times--Radiologist, Biologist, Biochemist, Chemistry...--before settling on Chemical Engineering by chance. My last Major was Biochemistry when another ChE student said, "Hey! Why are you doing that? You should look into Chemical Engineering. It's more money." And I said, "Yeah? Cool." And changed my major for the last time. Of course, half-way through the program, I figured out why they made more money as I was getting my ass kicked. Royally. But, I made it through, and here I am today.

One commonality is that I think all of these paths would have led to me writing. But I think that each path would have produced a different story. Whether I would have self-published, gotten an agent, then become traditionally published? A question I will never be able to answer as different circumstances led me to those things today. But one thing that I do believe is that there is opportunity at the end of whatever path we choose. I don't believe there's a right or wrong choice. Even when we've chosen a path that has led to negative experiences, if we turn it around, we now have a platform in which we can share our experiences with others to encourage them to choose a different path. In other words, the glass is always half full. And every cloud has a silver lining. Yeah, all of that.

Have you ever thought about the paths you could have taken and how different your life could have been today?