Sunday, September 26, 2010
So rather than bore you with what I said and what was said about me (the others were fascinating of course...surely they have their own blogs?), I'll just show you some of the great photos my personal paparazzi (Mike Easley of Vital Excess) captured.
Here's me making faces. Oh, and giving my "acceptance" speech. There were laughs (intended) and tears (not at all intended!).
Alternatives to Domestic Violence, The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center, and, of course, The Inland Agency's "The Pink Ribbon Place."
So there you have it. A great day. And this also gives the much anticipated update on what my post-chemo hair looks like now. Yeah, I lightened it.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
When one writes fiction, as I had been doing (spectacularly unsuccessfully, but joyfully...usually) the book needs to be finished, polished, finished again, rewritten, polished more, finished and then rewritten again (or is that just me?) before one even thinks about bothering the first 50 or 60 agents of the eventual 200+ agents one will need to bother before maybe, possibly, one agent responds and says "okay, I'm taking pity on you. Thanks for the letter, go ahead and send me 10 more pages." Then, assuming the agent likes that and eventually likes the other 250+ pages and agrees to represent you, that whole process is followed again while the agent tries to find a publisher for the book. These numbers aren't really even exaggerated.
With non-fiction, I have now learned (having paid not much attention to it previously) the process is different. So while I've been diligently working away on the actual writing of the actual memoir itself, I have also been spending enormous amounts of time researching and writing the book proposal. Basically that's a 50 page document that a) describes the memoir and the story being told, b) describes why I'm not only the perfect person to write it but quite possibly the only person, c) reviews competitive/ complementary books already out there and why this one would be better...or at least different, and d) provides a chapter by chapter summary. Oh, and then attachs a sample chapter. Boat. Loads. O' work. And I'm thoroughly enjoying it. To the point of distraction. (Day job? What? Clients need their documents? Really? Now? Huh, what did you say honey? I missed that...I was writing.)
My writers groups (yeah, I have two of them) have declared the proposal ready to go. I believe the proposal is ready to go. I believe the intro and first chapter (as well as a few other chapters) are ready to go. Something in the back of my brain is telling me that the second chapter is not right. It's a great chapter...but it may belong in another book. Ugh. So I'm going to have to deal with that.
I've also been researching agents who might possibly be interested in such a book. In essence I research for an agent looking for memoir, pets, cancer/ health, and humor...and there are a lot of them. Then I broadened it by eliminating "pets" (even though this is as much a dog memoir as a breast cancer memoir). I'm about 3/4 of the way through researching a list of....411 agents. Wow. Who knew? And won't it be embarrassing if all 411 aren't interested? And you know I'll share that embarrassment right here with all of you. My biggest obstacle, but one I think I've overcome, is that I don't want anyone for one moment to groan "oh jeez, another downer cancer book." Because it's so not that.
I've also been reading stacks of books. I read a lot of breast cancer memoirs when I was going through treatment (favorites were "Cancer Vixen" and "Five Lessons I Didn't Learn from Breast Cancer (and One Big One I Did)" . So now I've moved on to Dog Memoirs. Okay, I admit...I love dogs but I never used to read dog books. Because the dogs usually die!! I can't handle that. But in the interest of "my art" I'm reading them. And yes, I read (and sobbed over) Marley & Me. I'm moving on to Fixing Freddie (about a badly behaved beagle!). Oh, and I also finished, and really enjoyed, An Eagle Named Freedom (man saves eagle; eagle helps man through his cancer journey!)
I'm enjoying the process and learning a lot. And much to my surprise writing the memoir is helping me realize a few things and process even more of the cancer odyssey Seamus and I both went on. Oh, and it's also making me realize just how lucky that dog is. (And me too. ;-) )
I'll keep you posted on the progress. And when I get a few pics, I'll tell you about the Women of Achievement Luncheon too. It's been a busy week!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Consequently, if we leave the house, our neighbors insist we not leave Seamus behind (and oddly, he's the first one to alert them if indeed we've jumped ship--he howls, rattles the fence, barks, howls, pleads, screams, and then howls some more. Until eventually...call it 15 minutes in...the neighbors begin to leave messages on our answering machine). So on Thursday night Chris had plans with "the boys" and I had plans with my "BC" girls--drinks with two friends at just about the stage of breast cancer treatment I was last year, only they both had mastectomies and are in the reconstructive stages (and also, way braver than me!). Seamus went to spend a few hours with his besties Will and Nellie (half great-dane, part boxer, all love). Which he loves, but it also exhausts him. Then the next day Chris and I both had to go into the office during the day, then I went to a funeral/celebration of life and Chris represented at the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center Comedy Night in the evening. That meant Seamus had to go to Ruff House (pet resort) overnight. And since we also were going behind the orange curtain (Newport Beach) on Saturday for my niece's 6th birthday party, Seamus had to spend Saturday there too.
My two nieces love their Uncle Chris--he carries them around, gives piggy back rides, let's them ride on his feet (one on each foot/leg) and plays games endlessly.
(That's Chris and Elisha...the birthday girl).
But at the end of the weekend...who do you think is more exhausted?
It usually takes Seamus a day or two (or, um, a meal) before he'll start speaking to us again.
Friday, September 10, 2010
link to a great article on what to do and not do when talking to someone recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Useful info that I completely agree with. I gave my own ideas (and examples!) back in this post, but I was perhaps a tad more bitter. Who, moi?
Happy Friday everyone.
Happy Friday everyone.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
So what have I been doing? Well, many exciting things. Our work carries on at The Pink Ribbon Place and in October we'll be doing a city-wide "Tuesdays for Ta-tas" event where each Tuesday night in the month of October different restaurants will donate twenty percent of the proceeds from diners who bring the flier with them. Thanks to Mi Tortilla, El Torito, Ciao Bella, and Phood on Main (all in Riverside) for participating. We've also got another Professionals Panel discussion coming up in November and the good and great Dr. Karam will once again make the trek from LA. I was also interviewed by Inland Empire magazine for their October "breast cancer awareness" issue and a photographer came to shoot pics of me and Seamus (not the photo you're looking at). I'll let you know if I make the article (I kind of think the writer might not have liked me much. Imagine! ;-).
I've also been hard at work on The Dog Lived memoir, which I'm really, really happy about. I spent 9 days in Ocean Isle Beach, NC with fellow writer and friend Lori Lacefield, doing nothing but writing, reading and relaxing (which of course means wine; maybe the occasional rum & coke). At this point, I've got a pretty solid (I think!) draft of the proposal done and about half the actual memoir. [Blog readers who are also writers---what's the current thinking on memoir proposals? Is the manuscript supposed to be, like a novel, completed before the proposal is shopped to agents? Or, is it, like other non-fiction where the proposal is shopped before the manuscript is completed? Everything I found seems to be contradictory. So, at this point, I'm plodding ahead writing both. It was immensely helpful to get the chapter outlines and sample chapter written.] The trip was such a writing success we've scheduled a sequel. Lori and I, together with another writing friend Jane (we all met at the Maui Writers Conference...which just cannot be a bad thing) will be heading to Paso Robles for week in November. I'm much enjoying being "writer girl" instead of "cancer girl" or even "lawyer girl."
But I am still "former cancer girl" and "lawyer girl"--and that's what the new photo is about. I was pleased (also, shocked) to be named a 2010 "Woman of Achievement" by the Riverside County YWCA. The luncheon honoring the six women selected will be September 16th at the Riverside Convention Center. It's an honor to be selected but it also requires things like being videotaped (which they then show on a giant screen in front of hundreds of people) and press releases...with photos. So I had to get a new "head shot" since none of my other professionally done head shots look like me (long blonde straight hair is but a memory now). My friend Mike Easley of Vital Excess Designs did this photo (and then appropriately photo-shopped a few years off me! ;-) ). Oh, and yes, I lightened the color of my hair. My hair is healthy enough I can do that now.
In other big news--I put my hair in a ponytail for the first time in a year and a half. It was a puny ponytail and hair started slipping out after only an hour or so, but it was a ponytail. It was 108 out and I was just headed in to the office yesterday (a Saturday) for a few hours...so I thought I'd see if I could do a ponytail. I was giddy with childish enthusiasm over my childlike hairdo. I've moved from toddler hair to kindergarten hair.
I'll be back with another post soon.
No, really. I will.
And by the way--here's the photo Mike liked. I think it's a bit too "dreamy/ serious" but it's an option.