Sifting through the truth

I’m in the middle of writing two books right now, both about stories.

In one I showcase the successes of a few of my favorite clients through the years, what brought them to coaching with me and where they landed as a result. The other divulges personal, sometimes brutally personal, secrets from my dating life, what tripped me up and what I learned about myself.

I’m not sure if I’m telling the truth in either.

Or really, what is the truth?

I think I am honest about my feelings. I think I have a decent memory of the past, but that doesn’t mean that my recollection is true from another person’s perspective.

Does everyone have to agree with my memory?

Do I need a disclaimer like what people put on their Twitter profiles? “Opinions are my own, and not a reflection of my company or anyone else.”

It’s kind of important to know the answers before I can move forward. Safely saved on my Mac right now, these book drafts are basically journal entries. I’d hate for them to stay that way.

If you read my first book, I’m scared & doing it anyway, you probably noticed how I tippy-toed. Many readers wanted to hear more about my ex-husband, AJ. I seemed to take care of him, some said. I did. I felt I had to.

That right there is probably what’s underneath all of this: my desire to keep everyone happy.

Hopefully my clients will be happy about their stories, because hopefully they are happy about their careers and lives after our work together. I can check with them, of course, to make sure.

With the other book though, I have no plans to seek permission from former boyfriends. I will share my experiences, in which they played a starring role for a period of time. If the book is a hit, if they read it, if they recognize themselves…they may disagree with what’s said and at least in a few cases will not be happy with how they are represented.

Is that my problem?

The better question is why am I making it my problem?

Oh, pick me! [my hand stretched high in the air] I know that answer!

There is a younger person inside of me who learned early on to work hard to be liked, at all costs, and who gets worried now that my adult world will come crashing down if people don’t like me.

I’m reminded of my friend Ernesto Gluecksmann who advised years ago that you have arrived once you get your first hater. (He also said Haters Gonna Hate, Huggers Gonna Hug, which made me very happy.) Having haters means you’re saying something that people are interested in enough to have strong opinions. You’re having a real conversation.

Maybe that’s what these books will be…using my perspective on the past to talk about what’s really happening in the present.  

I think I can live with that.

(I hope you like the stories, too.)

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New cover, new cover, and sale!

I’m thrilled to show off the brand new cover of my book, I’m scared & doing it anyway: How a little white blob changed my life. [Thanks to Rebecca Nolen and Lisa Helfert for the beautiful design and photography.]

I hope you like it!

This is a chance to revisit a story that I love, and love sharing. I learned first hand that I have the power to change my life in immeasurable ways, even in the darkest moments. You have it, too.

Are you scared & doing it anyway?

Do you know someone who is?

In the readings and conversations I’ve had since my book was published in 2013, I’ve found that it most resonates with two groups: fear-facers like you and me, and concerned loved ones feeling at a loss for how to help someone else in crisis.

Inside these pages is a chance to come along on my journey, and to see the choices I made that turned my greatest fear into unabashed, arms-outstretched l-o-v-e.

It will help you find the courage within yourself to keep moving forward, and it will help you to be there for others in a new way.

You may wonder why I’ve chosen now to change the cover.

I was too afraid to use the one I should have from the beginning. The one with My Face on it.

I’m not the first writer to hide behind her words — nor the first speaker who still hides even though she has stood in front of hundreds of people, and hugged on television.

It’s different when it’s your book, your cover, your face…but then it isn’t. I love my story, and am as excited to share it today as I was when I started writing. I want you to gain meaning and inspiration from it, and then I want you to share it with the people you care about. (And, please hug them!)

If you like the new cover so much that you want a new copy, that’s great!

There is a sale on the paperback until the end of the month.

From now through Sunday, March 1, you can buy it for $6.50, half-off the original price ($12) , which just covers the publisher’s printing costs. Click here to purchase your copy.

If you’re in New York or Washington, DC, I will happily hug my way to you and sign it in person.

Please know that your support of this little-book-that-could has meant the world to me. I’m continuing to write, and share, because you are out there.

Thank you for that.

Much love.


My love affair with Ann Patchett

I first discovered author Ann Patchett in the pre-Kindle days of 2001 when I saw people so engrossed in her book Bel Canto that they nearly missed their subway stops.

Moments after buying my own copy, I became a fangirl: a heart-shaped photo of her in the high school locker of my mind.

What I love most are the interesting and complicated characters she creates, who you are curious about even if you don’t like them very much. If you hang on for the ride, there is a secret prize at the end when you discover how all of them are connected into a larger story you didn’t know even existed.

In between you learn about encyclopedia-worthy topics — the Amazon jungle, opera, magic — that you can then discuss at cocktail parties as if you are an expert.

When I heard that she was a guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (don’t tell Ann, but I love her even more), my heart fluttered. Thank God no one was around to see the stupid grin on my face for the whole 40 minutes of the interview.

IMG_0009.JPGThey were discussing her latest book, a series of essays called, This is the story of a happy marriage, and I promptly reserved it at my local library. It took much longer to read, because first the library lost my reservation, and then I forgot to re-reserve it. I know, I know, some fangirl I am.

A year later, I was reminded to pick it up when David Sedaris recommended it on his book tour, referring to her essay, “The Getaway Car,” as a primer for every writer. (He’s right, by the way.)

The next day I finally went back to the library, and curled up with it that night.

I absolutely loved it, then hated it, and then loved it again with only slight twinges of jealousy.

Put simply: non-fiction is too close to home.

I can happily immerse myself in fiction, because I don’t write it. There are no comparisons to draw. Some writers read similar genres to their own for inspiration. When I do it, I can lose track of my voice and start using theirs instead.

And while I adore Ann’s tone and style, their polished perfection can add unnecessary pressure when I’m stuck in the third round of revisions.

It’s clear that she had hard years — her divorce, her childhood, waitressing at T.G.I. Friday’s — but the resulting essays made every misstep sound effortless.

The writer in me — green with envy while reading about her landing a publisher, and traveling to exotic places to write essays for the best magazines — wanted her to swim around in the muck a little more to make me feel better about my own messiness.

More than that, I wondered if I could ever summit the same Best-selling Author – Sought-After Speaker – Renowned Personality at ease with life and her place in it mountain. Man, does it seem steep from here.

I was impressed, and I kind of wanted to gauge her eyes out.

Then sanity kicked in, and I was reminded what I’ve heard from every successful writer, artist and businessperson — people make it when they never give up.

Or put another way, giving up gets you nowhere fast. Or put yet another way, jealousy is a good indicator of what you really want, so you better stick with it.  (Maybe that last one was just for me.)

Ann returned to the blank page every day, focused on her dream, and in time something amazing happened. Then rather than keeping the experience to herself, she shared what she learned with all of us.

Yep, still love her.


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