Sunday, May 27, 2012

Girl Crush

About a month ago, I got to meet my girl crush, Bethenny Frankel.  I read on Twitter she was coming to Chicago to do a bottle signing.  The event was at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning and the first thing I thought was, “I’m too busy, have too much work to do.  Can’t go.”

And then I had to smack myself upside the head.  What the hell good is it to work from home if you can’t sneak off and do stuff like this on a random Tuesday morning?  I slammed my laptop shut, threw on something cute and braved April’s biting winds to shiver along with several hundred other Bethenny fans to meet my idol.  The signing was like a machine, brimming with gleeful Jim Beam execs, an easy mix of lithe fashionistas and stay-at-home moms and a cache of Skinnygirl booze.  Veronica the Glammy was there, as was newly appointed coordinator of chaos, Jackie (who’s really short). 

And of course, Bethenny – petite, pretty and poised.  She smiled at me and said hello.  I was star struck, kind of like that time I met Cinderella at Disneyworld, and I’m still not sure if I was able to choke out a hello in response.  She scrawled her signature “B” in red Sharpie across my three bottles of booze and two “Self” magazines (the cover of which she was gracing that month) and we posed for a photo.  She thanked me for coming and I was on my way.  It was a blur, but the highlight of my week.  Well, that and the 10,000 bonus miles American Airlines gave me two days later, but that’s another blog.

Like so many, I first heard of Bethenny Frankel when “The Real Housewives of New York City” debuted in 2008.  From the moment the show hit the airwaves, I was transfixed.  While I liked “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” the mother of this soapy franchise, I LOVED its East Coast sister.  The OC ladies were all trash and flash and it was clear they didn’t get the joke, which made watching them all the more amusing.  

“The Real Housewives of New York City” was like “Sex and the City’s” catty cousin; it was a sophisticated fantasy that was just downright fun.  I loved the antics of the abrasive Jill Zarin, laughed at the delusions of Alex McCord and her appendage, husband Simon Van Kempen, rolled my eyes over Ramona Singer’s histrionics and appreciated the wit and warmth of Countess Lu Ann deLesseps (God, how things have changed.)  

While the New York crew struck a chord with me for a lot of reasons, far and away, Bethenny Frankel is what kept me (and many others) tuning in each week.  It was more than her Greek chorus observations or the cutting comments to her fellow Housewives, though none of those things hurt.  For me, it was that she struggled with so many of the same things I (and a lot of women) deal with, particularly when you start checking a certain age group box on forms.  I saw a lot of myself in her.  She was a 30-something single in a sea of marrieds, had a boyfriend who was unwilling or unable to commit, wanted kids and feared her biological clock was about to go boom and stressed out over how she was going to keep the lights on.

And like so many, I’ve watched her meteoric rise from “underdog” to mogul.  Love her or hate her, you have to admire how someone can claw their way from a cast member on a reality TV show on cable to the cover of “Forbes.”  Take that Teresa Guidice. 

As I’ve watched Bethenny transition from non-Housewife to Skinnygirl domination, I, of course, have wondered how to apply some of what she’s done to my own life.  Not that I want to be on the cover of “Forbes,” but would I turn down the cover of “Writer’s Digest” if they came calling one day?  Hell to the no.  Do I want to meet the love of my life, stop the thundering of my biological clock and move into a swank apartment?  Hell to the yeah.

And so, taking a page out of her book, “Place of Yes,” I’m throwing everything I can at my life and career to turn MY own hopes and dreams into reality.  Stay tuned – could be fun.  

I’m out loud and proud over my admiration for Bethenny – she’s my girl crush.  And while I’m not writing her notes during study hall asking her to check “yes” or “no” if she likes me, I’ll continue to think she’s pretty fucking cool. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Beginning of the Journey

For the past, let's just say couple of years, lest anyone figure out my age, I've been working primarily in the PR industry.  I worked for three agencies, one non-profit and a partridge in a pear tree.  Recently, I've been freelancing, doing a hodgepodge of Web content writing, corporate/PR writing and ghostwriting manuscripts for a small publisher. 

However, my dream is to be a published author of fiction. 

I've been writing stuff since I was kid, coming up with everything from ideas for TV shows and movies to short stories and fan fiction (this was "PI" - pre-Internet - so I didn't know I was doing fan fiction).  I was in my 20's when I started writing fiction manuscripts and began the long, hard road towards trying to find an agent.  I dutifully sent out query letters everyday and kept writing, vowing I wouldn't go down without a fight.  I was encouraged by the fact that more often than not, agents would actually request a sample of my work, even if they eventually did reject it.  Regardless, it made me feel like I was onto something.

And then life got in the way and I stopped writing.  Stopped querying agents.  I underwent a major life upheaval when I moved across the country, got a new job and was swept up into a rekindled romance.  Without even realizing it, I had given up the fight and slipped into the monotony of everyday life.

The seeds started to replant themselves a few years ago, when I was cleaning out some old papers and discovered a "bible" for a story idea I first had when I was 13.  The crinkled, yellowed pages were dripping in red ink (from the red typewriter ribbon from the ancient manual typewriter I learned to type on.  I probably didn't have the allowance to buy a black ribbon.) typos and all the words sliding off the page because I could never keep the paper straight in the roller. But the germ of an idea was there and I spent the next few years working on it in fits and starts.

Then I heard about Amanda Hocking and how she published her books to Kindle.  It was a wake-up call for me.  It was time for me to get back to my passion, which was fiction writing, and in the process, take control of my career.

So, here I am at the beginning of that journey. I plan to go the eBook route and am in the process of polishing my unpublished manuscripts while coming up with a lot of other ideas for future manuscripts and content.  It feels like I've come home. While I'm excited about the journey, I'm a little terrified.  Okay, a lot terrified.  But I have to try, no matter where the road leads.

I was recently going through another set of old papers (Wow.  What is it with me and old papers?  I sound like a hoarder) and came across a short story I wrote for 7th grade English class. It was a about a homecoming queen and cheerleader named Carmen who decided  she was tired of her superficial existence.  To solve her dilemma, she embarked on an eating campaign that resulted in her gaining so much weight, she had to wear a bedsheet to the senior prom because she couldn't find a dress big enough.  My English teacher scrawled across the bottom that it was the funniest thing she'd ever read and that I would "go far [with my] writing."

I hope she's right.