Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Write Life for Me

It's amazing how much easier it is to do something when we feel that we aren't doing it alone. I'm a grown up (most of the time) who knows exactly what she is supposed to do (most of the time). But, sometimes it just helps to have someone over your shoulder or by your side who gives you that little push, a bit of confidence, or the proverbial foot in the ass when you need it.

I am fortunate to have that. I am luckier still that the number of voices that support me in my endeavors has grown from a single voice to a chorus. I feel honored to know these women and to support them in their dreams and goals, as well. My chorus grew quite a bit when I joined a small writer's group started and hand-picked by Shonell Bacon, the ever-positive Chicklitgurrl.

Another great writing group, also primarily women, helped me complete the writing of my non-fiction book. Endurance Writing is a Yahoo! Group that connects via Yahoo! instant messenger for group writing sessions. These sessions are timed and highly productive. They work well for me because I'm also slightly competitive. The thought of coming back after 45 minutes and saying, "Uh, zero word count" is completely unappealing and motivates me to motor on.

Whether you are a writer, artist, entrepreneur, stay-at-home mom, or career climber, it's great to have people who can relate to your struggles; who'll sympathize with you; and will give you a push when you need it.

Who has helped you move forward in your journey to achieve your dreams?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fabulous and Fifty


A funny thing happened when I turned 21 - many moons ago - I realized that the word "old" is quite a relative term. When I was 16 I thought my friends' siblings who were in their mid-20s were "old." Being in my 20s myself at that point, I realized that 25 wasn't so "old" after all.

After turning 25 I dreaded turning 30. The age at which I could no longer say that I was a twenty-something.

I hated turning 35 because I was officially ushered out of the "youth" bracket. You know how all marketing questionnaires seem to lump together people in the 18 - 34 age bracket, as if those at the top and bottom of that spectrum are, in fact, anything alike? Despite the fact that I felt it was absurd to lump those age ranges together, I still 'mourned' the fact that I was no longer a part of it.

But something funnier still happened on the other side of 35. I no longer looked at aging as something that should be dreaded or apologized for. The growing number of women in their 40s and beyond who were portrayed as strong, smart, and sexy certainly helped to boost this confidence. Women like Madonna and Angela Bassett - both of whom recently turned 50, as have Prince, Michael Jackson, and Kevin Bacon. Helen Mirren, Sally Field, and Diane Keaton remind us that evolution and growth and beauty don't stop after 60 either. These women continue to dominate their fields and rewrite the script for the women who will follow their path.

It is great to see more and more women healthy, happy, and more fabulous than ever as they mature, grow in confidence, and feel no need to apologize for who they are or what they've accomplished.

Viva la Fabulous and Fifty. Here's to 50 more.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Recommended Viewing: Things We Lost in the Fire, etc.

I've been a distracted blogger over the past several months. So, now that I'm on the straight and narrow - committed to blogging regularly - I sometimes feel the need to catch you up on things that I didn't get around to telling you during the Fall, Winter, and Summer of Distraction. Sort of the way that you talk a friend to death that you've seen for the first time in months or years.

Anyhoo, I managed to get in some great movies over the past several months, as well as a few WTF movies that made me want to dump my bowl of popcorn into the DVD Player. Here are a few of my favorites:

Things We Lost in the Fire - This was an excellent movie with compelling performances by Halle Berry, David Duchovny, Benicio Del Toro (who has now sealed the deal as one of my favorite actors), and young actors Alexis Llewellyn & Micah Berry. The story is tragic, reminding us of our own mortality. We feel compassion for each of characters and rejoice as we watch them grow and become stronger because of the tragedy they've experienced.

Once - I honestly loved this movie which followed the story of a jilted street musician and song writer. Glen Hansard, Dublin-born, lead singer of the Irish band, The Frames, and Mark√©ta Irglov√° are unassuming and yet simply perfect in this instant classic musical film. It's an love story - but not in the way you'd expect. It's more the story of the lives of these very simple people who meet randomly, their growing friendship, and their universal love of music. I highly recommend it. Whether you're in it for the tunes or for the story line, you won't be disappointed. In fact, Falling Slowly won the Oscar® in 2008 for Best Original Song. It's in heavy rotation on my FineTune playlists. I've posted the video of their performance below.



Here are a few other films that I've enjoyed. I'd love to hear what you think of them:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The City Beneath

I discovered a fantastic show on BlogTalkRadio, WSN Radio. I read a piece that I wrote about my son who has both Asperger's and ADHD. It was my first time ever sharing a poem, let alone reading it aloud. It is an awesome show and it was a great first experience. The piece I read is below:

The City Beneath
by Samara Leigh

What lies beneath your shining, dark eyes, child?
Tell me what secret thoughts you hold.
There is a city beneath your eyes, bustling with activity.
What is happening there?
I truly wish I knew.

You are such a mystery to me.
Your talents and intelligence are so obvious.
The things that you do are truly remarkable.
You could surely be someone great, in your time.
If only you could escape the city beneath your mind.

The city that is hiding beneath that odd smile
Holds you captive to its wishes and desires.
You cannot see our world for your own.
It blocks your view.
You cannot function in our world.
For you, it is like wading through quicksand.

Follow my voice.
I will offer you my hand.
I will not allow the City Beneath to take you from me.
You are my son.
I will never relinquish you to the city that fascinates you so.

Sometimes, when I speak,
It is not my voice that you hear.
It is the mayor of the City Beneath.
He is telling you the exact opposite of what I have said.
He is conducting the town orchestra.
Cymbals clashing in your head.

But, I will not surrender
My Enigma, My Child
To the City Beneath.
I will keep standing at the borders,
Coaxing you out.

You can hear me "poetry debut" here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Twenty Month Plan (or the Countdown to 40)

So, I've put myself on what I'm calling the 20-Month Plan. Of course, at the time of my telling you this, it's more like an 18-month plan. My 20-Month Plan is basically a countdown to my 40th birthday in the spring of 2010.

On this side of 35 you begin to look at yourself, your life, your accomplishments, much differently than you did when you were a wide-eyed, hopeful 20-something. I'm still hopeful, but much more realistic about my accomplishments and what I need to do to achieve my goals. I've finally come to terms with the fact that:

  1. I won't lose weight just by owning Hip Hop Abs or vinyasa yoga tapes.
  2. My novels won't get published if I don't finish them.
  3. I cannot be a successful entrepreneur unless I learn to embrace marketing. (Why am I hearing Leonardo screaming to his alter ego in The Iron Mask, "You'll wear it till you love it!")
  4. If you don't ask, the answer is always, "No!"
  5. Al Franken (as Stuart Smalley on SNL) was right. "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, I deserve it."
As part of my 20-Month Plan I've created a list of goals that I'd like to reach by the time I turn 40. I bought myself a super cute, pink leather journal to pen my thoughts and progress. The purpose of Pink Journal -aside from the obvious cuteness - is for me to write down what I've done toward reaching at least one of those goals every single day. While I'd like to think that I am working toward my goals every single day, I haven't been very faithful in recording those actions daily.

Which reminds me, I've got some journaling to do.

Namaste,

Samara

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to Edit & Promote Your Book Frugally

Best-selling author, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, shares the inside scoop on why she wrote the best-selling book, The Frugal Editor, and The Frugal Book Promoter. She also shares her #1 tip for promoting your book.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris Hilton's Response to John McCain

Okay, I've never been a fan of Paris, but her video response to John McCain's anti-Obama ad is frickin' funny. She actually comes out of it looking like the smart one.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die