Tag Archives: Dallas

Lessons in Multitasking

Busy, busy, busy winter.

  • 2013 is off to a fabulous start – I’ve transitioned into a consulting role with a super-neat startup in the Boston area to work on pushing the company to scale with an influx of multi-sided users.  It’s been a whirlwind and with quick, significant progress  – I’ve finally found the women’s restroom no less than eight weeks into the game.  There’s incredible potential for the technology they’ve developed, and we’re going to take this thing far & wide.  The visionary & strategic aspects of my role are incredible, and it’s caused a deep realization that hey maybe this is what I should have been doing — not the process-oriented roles I’ve filled in the past.
  • Timing is good too – a smart friend recently left his comfortable job for greener pastures in the world of marketing convergence.  What is this magical term I speak of?  It’s the first time anyone has linked together all marketing activities directly to business activities and directly to consumer activities. It’s a closed-loop system. Our tool is super easy to use and – best of all – doesn’t require the coffers of the Catholic Church to implement & maintain.  I’m proud of it, excited about it, and ready to introduce much much more in the coming weeks.
  • I’ve been writing, albeit slowly, working on an old/new project.  You remember Notes from the Field, right?  It’s undergoing a reboot and when I finish the intense outline, it’s hitting the publisher circuit.  (Another one you’ll be hearing much more about in the coming months.  I’ve dedicated nearly all my flying time to writing – except Superbowl Sunday and when I get jammed next to someone who insists on invading my space, brain, and consciousness with their nosy inquiries.)
  • Commercial and residential real estate is also on my radar, though I seem to spend more time kicking the tires than finding what I want. Essentially, I want to build out some decent commissary kitchens for up & coming chefs, home bakers, and those who want to break into the catering, food truck, and other food-types of business.  It needs to include a small cafe and a market (ideally), but finding the right-sized warehouse space that I can purchase & get up to code hasn’t been an easy task.  From the residential side – it’s time to put down some roots, if only so I have somewhere to come home to on the weekends.  I just don’t know where (yet).
  • And, of course, this past Saturday  marked the beginning of the soccer season!  Pictures & stories forthcoming — though I’m excited to coach another season with the girls. (They’re now 7 1/2 years old.  It’s our eighth season and going strong.)

Yep, this year is shaping up to be a game-changer.  Let’s make it happen together though — tell me what you’re up to!

Two Emails

It’s Monday.  This day is associated with a variety of negative connotations, but for today in particular, even Hitchcock couldn’t come up with a day quite like this one.

I’d like to state for the record that I could not survive without email and I’ve maintained a GMail account for the past six or seven years and archive just about everything I’ve ever drafted, sent and received, even the stuff I’m “supposed to” legally destroy.  (I have a common name –> common email handle –> commonly receive emails not intended for me, though most are from the same ten people who can’t get it through their skulls that no, they’re not reaching the person they’re looking for, and no, I’m not interested in the inane forward you’ve just sent me that displays your chronic inability to think for yourself.)

Today’s adventure in reaching the wrong person via email (though, as you’ll see, I’m not convinced I was an unintended recipient) came from an email address I’ve never seen before and from an otherwise anonymous source: no name, no true identifying information, though the headers and IP address indicate Dallas, Texas.  Came straight through to my Inbox, never triggered the Spam filter.  No text in the email, just an embedded YouTube video.  After an eye-blink debate, I clicked the link, not thinking of potential consequences of clicking on things in weird, unrecognized emails.  Something about it just didn’t ring warning bells – just curiosity.

Here’s what I received:

I have to say: it’s catchy.  And I’m a Cee-Lo fan.  And there’s no missing the point in it.  But the question remains – was I the intended recipient on this one and if so, I gotta admit it’s a great way to get me into a Russian countryside full of ancient yet deadly landmines.  So, to you dear reader: respond or not?

The second email is related to the job search.  I’ve been in an email blizzard due to recruiters who “came across your resume” and “believe you’d be a great fit for” their organization.  I understand that for the access and ability to put myself out there, I gotta give up some modicum of privacy in order to find what I’m looking for (much like the first few dates with a new person).  But…first, if you can’t seem to proofread your emails recruiting me, it’s probably not gonna work out.  Second, I’m a writer with marketing experience and a JD degree – how does that qualify me to give financial advice or sell cars?  Not to be snotty, but not only would those occupations cause me to put forks in my eyes, you probably wouldn’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t pay me enough to compel me not to find the nearest spork and threaten to do so.  (Must stop with this imagery, I’m grossing myself out.  Moving on…)

But, as I mentioned before, today was odd.  I got a response back for a freelance writing gig.  I was driving at the time, just saw there was a new email in the chain.  Now, my email to them, sent yesterday, was duller than the knives in my kitchen – basically the quick, simple “here’s the position you’ve advertised, I’m uniquely qualified – just look at my resume, let’s talk why not how’s this week for you.”  No showcasing or showboating, just a ‘please don’t reject me but if you do, it’s okay ’cause I didn’t too much effort on this even though I should and do actually think we’d both get some great work from this’ email.  Needless to say, I was pleased just to see something back.

And when I arrived at my destination (thanks, GPS navigation!), and opened this email response, the spring breeze of pleased approached the nuclear blast of shocked.

The response (identifying information redacted; green color added for effect):

Anne,

I’m going to be honest in a way that is rarely expected when considering someone for a job position (in the sense that tact and professionalism typically impose stipulations to the contrary); your writing is absolutely enthralling. I checked out your blog to get a feel for your writing style and I was blown away. I want to say that you have a way with words but it is certainly more than that. It is painfully evident in your writing that you possess a degree of sincerity and the ability to think and feel in a way that I think most people try to avoid for simplicity sake. When I read your post about your former co workers failing to invite you for lunch or your separation from your boyfriend I felt true empathy for you. That’s no small feat considering that I usually find the typical self-reflective blog post to be disingenuous, pseudo-poetic and trite. Basically what I am getting at is that if your goal was to spill your guts about your personal life so that you could impress a semi-elitist jerk who has no discernable creative writing abilities or technical skills of his own yet he still likes to criticize the work of others, well, then mission accomplished.

In all seriousness, I am very impressed with your writing but it may be too good. What we are looking for is someone that can generate rather banal and repetitive content. Certainly the content is informative and helpful to our clients but it is by no means fun or edgy. The ideal candidate can take what has already been written and regurgitate it in such a way that it stands apart as unique but still delivers the same feel and message. Where I’m ultimately going with this is that if you are interested then I’d like the opportunity to discuss the possibility further. However, I suspect that this is something that you ultimately would not find to be very engaging and there are a ton of other potential writers who write just good enough to achieve what we’re after. On the other hand, maybe you can wear many hats and writing this stuff is second nature to you. Just let me know what your thoughts are. Keep up the good work. The internet needs more writers who actually have something to say.

Here’s hoping you’ve got a good sense of humor…

Come on, say it with me: holy. f#$&*#@. shit.

I don’t get a whole lotta feedback on my writing – I instead get feedback on the fact I’m a writer.  Exchanges typically go like this:

Stranger #1, at some break in conversation: “So, whatd’ya do?”

Me: “I’m a writer.”

Stranger #1: “No shit?  That’s cool.  What’dya write?”

Me: “Mostly fiction…published a book of short stories back in January, working on a novel and a screenplay at this point, though it’s taking a little longer than originally expected…” (I’ve stopped telling folks that I keep a blog or website UNLESS specifically asked or I think it will lead to some type of commissioned work – the advent of web browsers on smartphones usually leads to instant mortification when my blog is read aloud, with alcoholic intonation, at the bar.)

Stranger #1: “Awesome, where can I get your book?  What’s your name again?”

Me: “Really, anywhere – Barnes and Noble, Amazon – here’s my card.”

Stranger #1, who hasn’t read a book in, oh, five years, and shops at B&N or Borders for the latest Maxim: “Sweet – I’ll definitely order it!” Then, to Strangers #2-5: “Hey, this chick is a writer!  We’re all gonna be in a book…”

(end of interaction, typically.  a dirty little secret though: I know they don’t order or purchase the book.  and it’s not just suspicion or playing the odds that a late twenty-something male doesn’t read. I get all sorts of demographic info from the publisher and from retailers.  I’m kinda big in Japan.)

But to get feedback on my writing – even if just from this very source – is exhilarating.  Maybe you missed it though: SOMEONE OUT THERE THINKS I’M GREAT!  I mean, there’s only so long one can listen to her mother (“I think you’re a good writer, you just need to find the right material…now go be a lawyer and don’t bring shame on the family.”) or to friends (“Sure, you can write, but why do that when you can help me with my dreams instead?”) or to critics (“writing is dead.”).  And if we extrapolate this email, for each person who comments and tells me I’m great, there are 25 others thinking the same thing.  Twenty-six people!  We’ve just made my millennium – and renewed the spunky vigor to get back to the Molly project and finish before the close of the year.

I Think This is ‘Writing Face’

The ‘Blog Face’ – I’m gonna need some voodoo-style wrinkle cream in the next five years.

For a day that’s been fairly productive, I’m now wading through the muck with ‘Travels with Molly.’  Trying to write the beginning – and going back to the original music I listened to during the development of the original idea back in 2005-2006.

[Yes, I can chronicle my music autobiographically.  Yes, you can call me Rob Gordon (though I also make obsessive lists, I have little need or desire to revisit past relationships – once was probably more than enough for me).]

The time period was full of genre jumping – but what I remember most was the commute to work in the mornings.  I was a cool kid: I had a first generation iPod (god, how did I live life before an iPod…oh wait – with a MiniDisc player), and I’d listen to it all. the. time.  I rediscovered music, wallowed in favorites, branched out and found new and different tracks, provided gratis from my fine musician and audiophile friends.  Vinyl was still a cherished medium, don’t get me wrong – but now I could stand outside in sub-freezing temperatures, waiting for the train, dancing along to Jet and the Black Eyed Peas and the Caesars…you get the point.  It was a big deal, you whippersnappers.  It brought color and vitality to an otherwise frigid grey day met with dark icy night.  It brought reprieve to the lab job I worked (read: slaved); brought sanctuary to the cubicle job I held (read: became disillusioned with); brought joy and gratitude with each play of Ok Go’s “Invincible” and “Don’t Ask Me” and “It’s a Disaster” – among several hundred other favorites.

That iPod met its untimely death when I dropped a 20lb weight on it at the gym.  It was pitiful.  I cried at Boston’s only Apple Store (and couldn’t show my face there again…until I bought a Nano in January 2006 – which still accompanies me to the gym).

But I digress.

It was January 2006 I remember best: standing on the platform, waiting for the train at Davis Square, stressing as both the train and I were to be late yet again, sick with anxiety, wondering how many other people waiting there on the platform were in devoured in their own personal hells as I was.  I’d known for three months I couldn’t continue as I was; I’d applied to a full-time law program; I’d applied to a variety of new jobs, new hopes, new titles, new responsibilities: and I waited, the clock ticking. slowly. in. my. head.  There was one particular day I got to work early, stimulated by an idea of Langston Hughes – I’d woken before my alarm, thinking of dreams deferred – and without a glance or word to anyone, sat down in my cubicle, opened my laptop, and searched.  These were the days before absolutely everything was on the internet, and I couldn’t find it.  These were the days before coffee (my birthday, September 2006).  This was a day that I gophered above my cubicle, looked over at a co-worker’s empty chair, and made an executive decision: I’d be right back.

And to the Boston Public Library I went.  To the expertise of a librarian, through the stacks, to just the collection: and there it was.  A dream deferred.  And then I wanted to see Allen Ginsberg.  And then Kerouac.  And whisked away through the byzantine library, surprisingly populated for a Tuesday morning.  I absorbed and analyzed and lingered and with sycophantic pleasure, I pursued, now on the hunt for just the right written words.  The clock in my head stopped ticking, the clock on the wall finally flying after months of dreary monotony.

I returned to work the next day without explanation, I think.  I’m sure there was some laconic excuse – there usually was.  It wasn’t worth sharing the truth, that finally I’d pieced together together the puzzles of my despair.   It wasn’t appreciable, not in such a raw, pornographic form.  All I shared was a singular idea, just before leaving in May.  I thought I’d never feel as free as I did that departing day – turns out the albatross evaporates with every good decision, every good move, every personal stand and victory.

And I love it.

Next anticipated date of freedom: maybe July 30.  Maybe August 8.  Maybe sometime in September.  Consider me in full state of preparation, just like the old days, from here on out.

Move, Moving, Moved.

I’ve moved.  I’ve also celebrated the holidays in high (and low) style, but really it’s the move I’m most bubbly about for 2010.

I’m still in Dallas, no worries, dear reader.  But now I grace the 20th floor of a downtown loft apartment, overlooking southwest Dallas, all the way down the horizon.  Brilliant sunshine all day, most especially between the hours of 3-6pm, a huge office with my monstrous desk and all my books around me – even thinking about it brings a small tear to my eye, one of joyful gratitude.  It’s shared with my lover, and for the first time, I feel stable and content.  I’ve also promised him at least one book in the coming year, something of a challenge and a thrill.

2010 will bring lots of changes, all of which I’m excited for.  Stay tuned for my resolutions (which I usually keep, except for the running one – I always say I’ll run at least 5 miles/week, something that I keep with, oh, about two or three weeks at a time) as well as updates on my current writing projects.