Monday, February 24, 2014

Will You Make a Difference?

Another Never Give Up Post!

(I can't believe how embarrassing this is because it reflects on the fact that I'm, well...not a spring chicken...or as young people might say, 'old'. Adding insult to my own injuries, it is also apparent that I'm not much of a graphic artist, because I wanted to make notations on this old newspaper page but can't figure out how to size it for my blog. The notations point out the date, my picture and a picture of the restaurant owner. The writing circled in red is similar to what I have written under the photo.)

Imagine my surprise when I walked into a restaurant recently and tasted something distinct and familiar. The intoxicating scent of garlic and Italian food transported me back to my days as a newspaper restaurant columnist for a local paper near the beach. Even more surprising was the name on the back of the menu--could it be the same owner I met in 1987? Yes, you read that right. 1987.That's a long time for the wheels of fortune to return a favor. Here's a portion of my column and the picture of the young man who opened his restaurant with his cousin. When I spoke with him last week he told me he remembered my newspaper and even remembered the article I wrote about his restaurant! How cool is that? Though his secret is obviously delicious food and great service, in some small way my feeling is I had helped with his long-term success. Heck, here he is 30 years later in a brand new restaurant, over 100 miles from the first one, serving his grandmother's recipes as if time stood still. Perhaps I was the lucky one for seeing his success. Back in 1987, writing my column paid for a small studio apartment,(and to tell you the truth, that's probably all I cared about at the time) but meeting this gentleman while enjoying pesto drenched pasta was, and is, even more rewarding.
Where will you be thirty years from now? Will someone remember your work?
 Put your heart into it and the magic will happen!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Reflections on Hope

Spent yesterday at Lake Cahuilla Park where I enjoyed a humid day filled with speckled sunlight reflecting on my lofty, languishing goals and my to-do list of items that need to be prioritized before anything moves forward. My innate sensitivities, consideration for others and best intentions have temporarily pulled me off-track into a quagmire of uninspired emotion, thus leaving my blog un-attended, my writing in limbo and of course dreams frozen and withering into crispy hues of brown.

I sat there all day with my two dogs watching diving seagulls cry like infants, listening to the quack of migrating ducks, swans, egrets and the loud trumpeting blare of Canada goose. All these flying visitors temporarily sidetracked while searching for ways to survive—enthralled with the warmth, discovering hope. Even the natives heard those birds while wandering through this desolate valley. The California desert offers relief to those escaping winter’s wrath and fortunately, spring comes early to those daring to dream.

Have you watched those Olympians on the Skeleton track--head first, going eighty miles per hour---down hill? At the beginning of each race, the athlete places the sled into indented grooves that keep the sled pointing forward while bearing their sudden body-weight. Missing the track at the outset makes the rider overcompensate with adjustments involved in righting the nose of the toboggan, slowing the race time, thereby resulting in no bronze, silver or gold medal.

I see my track and place the sled onto the ice. After many spills and some success, this time there’s more at stake. This time, I'm aiming for gold.

What about you? Any reflections you'd like to share? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

On the Importance of Feedback

In my newspaper days, the feedback was very real. It happened more or less on a daily basis and I generally had a firm grasp of my client’s attitude about my work. Here’s an example of a Tuesday morning:

Loud shout: “Hey Evie, where have you been all morning?”

I glance at my watch. It’s 9:30am and I’m just about to reply, when client pulls a newspaper from my overloaded arms.

“Did you see this? Our ad is next to the competition and it needs to be re-written immediately.” He flips open the paper and with shaking hands gesticulates at his ad. “This is ______ed up.” Add your favorite curse word because he probably used them all. Now I’m just about to ask why when he says. “We had a lot of calls and a lot of people showed up this weekend but very few buyers. Too many lookie-loos. We need buyers!!”

Setting down my briefcase, I nod and take notes. (Sounds like he needs to train his salespeople, but whatever--he doesn't seem to be in a mood to hear that-- right now.)

“Your_____________ing paper doesn't get us the best results. We need more results. Maybe we’ll start advertising in the competition. Can’t you write a good______ing ad? Get that ____ __ ____ graphic artist to do something right for a change and maybe we can get some buyers. Are you writing this down? What are your ideas for getting us more buyers?"

I’m taking notes and want to say something, but every time I open my mouth, he cuts me off.

“Have you seen that cute girl from the shopper? I might spend some of my million dollar advertising budget with her. What do you think?"

Have you read a book lately you enjoyed but forgot to write a review? Writers love feedback and just like the ad-writer in my very real story up above--most of us can handle the truth. Tell us what you think. Help us improve and we can respond by creating art, entertainment and books you might remember forever.