Sunday, October 14, 2007

never say goodbye ...

There’s a saying I like that’s really true: One cannot seek new horizons if one is afraid to leave the safety of the shore.

With that in mind, I’ve hedged on something all week. Should I, shouldn’t I? Why? Why not?

It all started when I answered five questions from Ian Lidster. And simultaneously read a post on KJ's new blog. And another by Kiyotoe. Then one of my closest friends left Seattle to begin a new life in Florida. Sometimes it takes just a little nudge to get us to regroup, recommit, or re-assess.

Whatever you call it, all three posts sparked that flame that flickers deep inside and I realized I’d been coasting, living in a very cushy comfort zone—something I knew intrinsically, but not a state I like to be in for too long.

I need to step it up, and step on out!

Won’t bore you with the details of my life, but as a result of this, I’ve made significant changes and have the opportunity to really stretch myself. And … most importantly (!) … I want to (choose to!) get away from the keyboard more.
So last month I hired a personal trainer to get me reconditioned over the next few grey months. I want to learn to ski ‘properly’ this winter. I also want to master that darn snowboard once and for all; and go snow-mobiling and snow shoeing—without getting stuck in a drift!

To gain a better balance on my work and personal life, I need to create more creative space and time. That means letting go of, or subtracting, certain other roles and activities, most of which I can't/won't mention here for obvious reasons.

So it’s with much ambivalence, my bloggy-buds, that I sing “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye” … at least for now.

Blogging was something I thought I’d do for a couple of months—and even though I was by no means a prolific blogger compared to most of you, 18 months later it’s like leaving the comfort of a home you’ve lived in for a while to move to a new town. Sad to be leaving, but excited about the journey and new challenges and opportunities ahead.

I hadn't expected to ‘meet’ such wonderful, warm, funny, wise and incredibly smart and talented people. So, thanks for the timely kick in the pants! Thanks to those who've left comments on-blog and off-blog.

And thanks to all of you who’ve made me laugh, learn, and cry by sharing your skills, experiences, and life-journeys.

Bibi’s come to the end of her Beat for a while … but I hope you’ll stay in touch …

Love and hugs x

P.S. I have withdrawal symptoms already.



Saturday, October 06, 2007

namaste

5.30 a.m. … 30 minutes until the alarm goes off. I roll onto my stomach, bury my face in the pillow and groan. If I doze now, it’ll be harder to wake again … I roll back and throw off the duvet. Four steps and I’m in the bathroom.

I hear my dog pad up the hallway, signaled by the hum of my electric toothbrush. He yawns, stretches, waits patiently outside the bedroom door … is she or isn’t she? I duck into my closet and reappear in sneakers and running pants … she is!

Whispering good morning to him, I slip his collar over his head, and we step outside into the silence of early autumn fog.

Two-hundred steps and we’re on the beach. “Morning ladies!” I greet the Canadian Geese as I walk through the gaggle at the water’s edge. “Any good gossip today?” As usual, they stick their noses in the air and turn their backs on me.


Pebbles crunch underfoot as I stretch out up the beach throwing sticks into the water for Dylan. We climb up and over the rocks to our usual meditation spot, where we each take up our position.

He sits upright in the water, looking yonder for signs of anything unusual. I sit cross-legged on the 30-foot tree trunk that long-ago crashed from the hill above, and now spans across the beach and into the water. I close my eyes, circle my thumb and forefinger and take a deep, cleansing breath.

Sometimes I meditate on a specific topic. But this morning I think about nothing. Just the sound of my breath. Just the sound of lapping water. Just the sound of wind rustling through the trees and the brittle leaves they are preparing to shed.

In and out. Calming and cleansing.

I am grateful for this day.

I am grateful for my family and friends and appreciate having them in my life. I’m grateful for the interesting projects I work on and appreciate the opportunities I have. I’m grateful to feel excited by life and appreciate the choices I can make.

In ... out. I am grateful for this day.

Namaste …


… WHAT THE *!@#?

I shoot forward off my perch, reaching around to my lower back. Ack … it’s wet!

Really, really, sorry about that! Bad boy!” shouts the pudgy, sleepy-eyed man who stands red-faced on top of the cliff behind me.

No worries” I reply. But didn't really mean it. It's bad enough that I have to scoop poop. Now I have to search my pockets for a tissue to dry off the spray his Labrador squirted up my back!

In ... I smile … Out. And mean it.

I am grateful for this day.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

five from ian

Thanks to the very wise, talented, and funny Ian Lidster of Or So I Thought, for initiating this week’s post. I don’t usually indulge in Q & As, but since Ian’s a great journalist, I knew he'd pose five good questions and be kind!

1. Your provenance is the UK, and now you live and work in the US, what motivated you to make the shift across the Atlantic?

I’ve known since I was nine-years-old that I would live overseas … just one of those knowing things. I’m glad I was raised and grounded in the UK and that my family base is still there, but I always wanted to travel and experience different cultures.

When I started looking around at 16, I thought it would be Australia; New Zealand; and then, following a topless (and sometimes bottomless) summer in the South of France with my sister, where we dined on local wines, cheeses, and handpicked cherries every day, I thought I’d move to France. But shortly after returning to England, she and I both fell madly in love with Capricorn boys and that put paid to dunking croissants and baring all in St. Tropez!

A couple of years later, Mr. Capricorn and I filed emigration papers to South Africa. And then I went on vacation to California. Big deal, nothing special … they all lived in ‘wooden’ houses! But when I arrived home to brick-built London, in two feet of snow, San Diego started looking pretty darn good, wooden houses and all … says she 22 years later.


2. What aspect of your work gives you the greatest satisfaction?


I know this sounds hokey and I don’t care, but I’ve always been a change-maker; always needed to learn and grow. Everyone wants to feel that what they do matters and what’s really important to me today, is making a difference. And having fun along the way. It doesn’t matter how small or seemingly insignificant the difference, if someone tells you that something you’ve done, broadcast, written, or shared has helped them in any way, it makes everything worthwhile.

I’m in a position where I now do work that really excites me. In fact, my work is not work, it’s my passion … if I won the Lotto tomorrow, I would still do it but on a bigger, grander, more global scale. I also love that, thanks to global technology, I’m not restricted to one location and can, and do, work from anywhere in the world.


3. You've traveled considerably in your life. Rather than ask you what place you like best, I'm going to ask what place gives you the greatest peace in your soul?

Oh … great question. I love being in nature … the wilder,
the better. But my number one soul-spot has to be the ocean. Whether I’m on it, in it, or by it.

I’ll take it under any conditions: wind and rain, fog, or sun and heat. Give me craggy headlands, crashing surf, huge rocks, golden sand that stretches unspoiled for several miles and I totally lose myself … or more accurately, find myself!


My absolute favorite ‘soul’ places are in Cornwall, the south-western peninsula of the UK—especially the beaches at Perranporth and Watergate Bay. (Shown here.)

A piece of my heart also remains in the Isles of Scilly, 30-miles off the coast of Cornwall. They fly food and newspapers in every other day, there are no cars (everyone uses golf carts), and it’s a little slice of unspoiled, sub-tropical heaven.

Outside of England, Oregon’s Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, the Florence Dunes, and California’s Big Sur are amongst my favorites.


4. What is your idea of an absolutely perfect evening?

I could give you a glib ‘watching the sunset with Tom Selleck’ (which sounds pretty good to me). But if I’m honest this is a hard one!

Close friends say I’m a true renaissance woman, which caused me great insult at first because I thought it meant old-fashioned. But it apparently means someone who’s into many different things and has many different interests. And that’s true.

Some might say I seem conflicted because I enjoy seemingly opposite activities. I love the energy and facilities and haute couture of the leading big cities—yet love the solitude and isolation of virgin wilderness.


I love everything from dressing up for the opera, gourmet dining, fine art, and theatre; to sky-diving, off-roading, horseriding, and camping in the wilderness … and just hanging out with my family or friends.

So I guess the perfect evening boils down to who I’m with, rather than what we’re doing. And I’d like to be doing more of it!


5. If you could choose another era of history in which to live, when would it be and where would it be and what would your role be?

Well I know Marie Antoinette got a terrible rap, but when I was 11, I was lucky enough to stay in a French boarding school in the heart of Paris. And I instantly loved all-things French. Still do.


We traveled a lot and some of the history around Marie Antoinette’s time totally engrossed me. I saw her dresses and personal things, and thought she was so fine and glamorous, and had such a fun time that I was enthralled with her and wanted to be just like her. (Hey, I was 11 … I thought Isadora Duncan was a great role model too!)

Now of course, I know that no one wore deodorant, and that my big mouth would have seen me beheaded tout-de suite!


So if the opportunity of time-travel ever arises in my lifetime, I think I’ll go back just a little, and visit Old Hollywood, when big screen movies were just starting to be made … maybe I’d be Kate Hepburn for a day and raise holy hell.

Okay, enough I’s and me’s … thank you Ian, I did enjoy your questions! If you would like to play and have your own 5 questions, let me know and I'll send them on.






inquiring minds

There are many occasions when I’ve avoided panty-lines by skipping underwear underneath a sleek outfit. I’ve sometimes fed junk food to my God-children. And I’ve frequently walked naked around my own home.

I often talk to myself. Speak in funny voices. Chat to my sister in Irish

and Russian accents. Sing because I can. And dance because I can't.

I’ve accidentally driven north on a south-bound one-way street (in London, San Francisco, Madrid and Seattle). Thumbed my nose at the advice of people who know everything, yet have experienced nothing. And reciprocated in kind to those who treat me or mine with disrespect.

So does that make me insane? Would it make me a bad mom? An unfit parent?

I don’t know if Britney Spears is a good, bad, or indifferent mother. She doesn't appear to be making very wise choices of late. But I’m tired of every expert and their brother who once-took-a-psych-class analyzing her behavior from an elevation of 30,000-feet based on hearsay and supposition ‘reporting’.


Maybe inquiring minds should ask how many green dollars the brutish-bodyguard packed in his wallet for the story he sold of Britney allegedly using drugs in front of her kids.

And, more importantly, since Tony Barretto is so ‘deeply concerned’ about the welfare of Brit’s children, maybe we should ask why he’s only just stepped forward—weeks after these events supposedly happened … after he was fired … after he hooked up with TV-hog Gloria Allred. And the month before Kevin Federline’s $20,000 per month alimony expires.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s more that inquiring minds should know.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

perfect conditions

How many times has someone said to you “Some day I’m going to write a book …” Or, “When I quit work I’m going to dig out my easel and start painting.” Or maybe, “If I had the money to lock myself away in a mountain cabin, I’d get that screenplay finished.”

I’m guilty of saying similar things myself about a couple of my own pet projects yet to realize fruition. For me, it’s not always the number of paying projects I’m working on that stalls me, but the intensity and timeline of each project. For example, I’m currently working on 11 paid projects, which is down considerably from last month’s count, but the intensity is high and I’m working 7 days a week to maintain. Other months I have just one or two projects that require most of my time.

Last week, when I was interviewing bestselling true-crime author, Ann Rule, she inspired me to realize that—as much as I have to be organized—I often get in my own way.

For one, I like clean, clear and open space to work in, no clutter in sight. And most days I work in nothing less.

Yet, as I write this, at the end of a crazy week where I’ve juggled all day and everyday—as we all do—my desk is overflowing with books to review, publicity material to scan, a phone log with 13 calls to return, marketing collateral for my show, a network folder full of regional events I ‘should’ attend; guest material to research; and a folder full of resumes to sift through so that I have another pair of hands before I tear out what little hair I have left.

There’s a desktop LCD, two live-laptops ready to receive urgent client messages from different sources; a banker’s lamp on the far left corner and an artist’s magnifying light on the right. A bottle of coral nail polish, a vase of past-their-best roses, my old classic-sized DayTimer and my new full-size Covey planner. Then there’s a digital clock, salt rock to dispel negative electrons, three wireless mice, a wireless keyboard, and oops, another bottle of nail polish—this time pink. (Now you know what I do on global conference calls!)

There are two DVD roughs to sign-off on, as well as a list of production credits to proof and approve. Two staplers (don’t you hate when they run out and you’re in a hurry?) and a block of Post-it notes. A “No Whining” sign sits behind a framed plaque saying, “You can be pleased with nothing when you are not pleased with yourself”. (Must remind self of both sayings!) A cell phone, business phone, and an assortment of colored pens so I can color-code my new planner. (…anal?) And no less than two cups of cold coffee and a glass full of Perrier water.

This is ‘My Life’” … oh no, wait, that’s the Cover Girl commercial.

Back to Ann Rule.

She was a cop turned writer. A single mom who had to find a way to make money when she could no longer be a cop because of eyesight limitations. And she found that way by setting up a typewriter in her kitchen and writing fantasy stories for True Confessions magazine, in and amongst the chaos of raising five children.

We were so poor, for so long” she said, “but it teaches you, you can write through anything if you’re determined.”

She tells people who talk of seeking perfect conditions, like that cabin in the woods where everything is quiet (or the super clean desk), “It doesn’t work that way. If you want to write [act, paint, dance] you will find a way.”


And despite the huge disappointment of losing her career as a police officer, and her recollections of peeling fighting children off the top of her typewriter, Ann has now made the New York Times bestsellers’ list 26 times.

So, while I take a few minutes to clean and de-clutter my desk, tell me, what perfect conditions are you waiting for?