Archive for October, 2012

30 Minutes Down

Posted on October 18, 2012. Filed under: storytelling, writing | Tags: , , , , |

Last night I performed a 30 minute story at my friend Ellouise Schoettler’s show “Tales in the Village.” The show is monthly and is hosted at the Friendship Heights Community Center.

The reason last night is remarkable is that I have never told a 30 minute story before.  I have told stories for 30 minutes, at another “Tales in the Village” event, but this was the first time I wrote, memorized, and told one story that was 30 minutes long. It was a lot of work!


I think, overall, the performance went well.  There was a bit of distraction in the first few minutes when one of the audience members started complaining that he couldn’t hear. It was a small room, so we had decided not to use the microphone, but as the gentleman persisted, repeatedly, in telling me to be louder, I did eventually grab the mic.

I won’t lie, I had a little heart attack during all that. I have performed over 25 times so at this point I have experienced cell phones, sneezes, people (more…)

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What I Learned from Neil Gaiman and Al Madrigal

Posted on October 15, 2012. Filed under: Books, writing | Tags: , , |

Recently my life has involved a lot of writers – and I like it! Not that I have become besties with any of them (though I got to meet 3 very talented published writers at the Fall for the Book Drive – Read about it here), but I have managed to glean a little bit of wisdom from these successful writers.

First off, I got to see Neil Gaiman speak as part of the George Mason Fall for the Book Festival.  He did some readings, answered some questions and mostly looked and sounded adorable. I think it’s the English thing. I am sure he would hate to be described as adorable, but I can’t help it. I think he’s cute, and adorable.

Aside from having my school girl crush reinvigorated, I did actually learn two, hopefully, maybe, important lessons.

1. Whenever possible, be adorable.  Okay, so maybe we can’t all come built with a cute British accent (and please don’t fake one – it so doesn’t work), but I truly believe Neil Gaiman sells so many books, gets to write for TV and the movies and is as successful as he is based partly on the fact that he is likeable. Not to diminish his talent as a writer, because he’s a great writer, but flocks of fans don’t necessarily gather to hear every great writer when they are speaking. This is the third time I have seen Neil Gaiman at a public event and he always gets mobbed. I mean, people love him, not just his books, but him. So, if possible, be adorable. If not, at least try to be presentable.

2. Write. And then write more. And then write some more. This was actually something he said when asked about how to become a successful writer.  It’s obvious and everyone knows this, but knowing and understanding are sometimes different things.  His point was that there are a lot of good writers out there, a lot of great writers, but the ones who make it, the ones who get published, are the ones who are persistent.  He reiterated this point in several ways but the point was always the same – write, and then write some more.

Al Madrigal is a comedian and writer for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  The other day I got to see the Daily Show on Tour.  I was not expecting to get pearls of wisdom at the event. I thought I was going for laughs, but after the stand up comedy portion of the event, Al Madrigal, John Hodgman and Adam Lowitt hung out and answered questions. It was very cool. Again, I got a couple of ideas, lessons, thoughts from some of the (more…)

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An Editor’s Life

Posted on October 13, 2012. Filed under: writing | Tags: , , , |

I asked my friend, Joanne Lozar Glenn, a working editor, to share some secrets of her world with mine. Here’s a glimpse into an editor’s life.

What’s Going On When Your Writing Lands in the Editor’s Inbox

Someone new to publishing recently asked me if she should contact the journal editor who still hadn’t let her know whether or not her article would be published. I felt her angst. I’m a writer, too, and it’s hard when you hope, hope, hope, that this one will make it into print.

But I’m also an editor, so I told her no. Don’t keep hounding. Here’s why:

Editors are swamped with submissions

(1)   from authors  who haven’t read the publication’s guidelines and so must receive emails, written by said editor, explaining why their article isn’t right for the journal (all of which takes unbelievable amounts of time);

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Northern Virginia Magazine Interview

Posted on October 12, 2012. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , |

I was interviewed earlier this week by Lindsay Tilton, a writer for Northern Virginia Magazine, about the upcoming storytelling workshops my company Better Said Than Done is starting. Man, did I write all that without it being a run on sentence?
If you would like to read the article, you can, thanks to the advent of the interwebs.
Here it is in all it’s glory.

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Storytelling Interview

Posted on October 11, 2012. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , , |

I got interviewed, for the second time, by the talented and lovely storyteller Ellouise Schoettler on her TV Show “Stories in Focus.” Ellouise and I discussed storytelling, I performed a story into the camera (which is so hard to do!) and then we talked a bit about storytelling business. You can watch the whole interview here.

And just because I never shared it before, here is the video of the first time I appeared on Ellouise’s show, about a year ago.

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Vote on Your Favorite

Posted on October 8, 2012. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , |

I don’t usually solicit feedback like this, but thought it might be fun to get your opinion. I have been asked to perform at a comedy explosion. Don’t know what that is? Well, one day there will be explosions of comedy all over the world and then we will all live in love and laughter and peace. But until then, it’s basically a variety show.

They said I could do any story I want so long as it’s funny so I was thinking of finding out from you which one of my stories is the funniest. I have up to 8 minutes and all of these fit within that time limit.

If you get through all three – great – tell me your favorite. If you only have time to watch one or two, just tell me funny or not. You can comment or email me directly. Thanks in advance for your hard work!

Funny story about my dad dying of cancer – no, really.


My first time getting drunk. Ah, how innocent I was!

First, and I think only, time a guy claimed blue balls on me.

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