"I need other persons to make me human." —Archbishop Desmond Tutu
If there's one thing I've learned in this life, it's that you can't go through life without the support of friends. I've never had very many close friends (probably the product of having moved so much as a kid). But I'm blessed today to have the support of an incredible network of fellow creatives. Truly, I am touched by their genuine interest in what I'm doing, their willingness to make a contact on my behalf and their confidence in my ability, even when my own is waning.
We are all in this creative venture together and can do so much for our community when we collaborate.
So in the spirit of collaboration, I'd like to tell you a bit about my links posted to the right. All are things which I care about deeply. For starters: I care deeply about the news and world events. I read the Washington Post daily (it's my home page) and have fantasized about a career there since I first saw "All the President's Men." I am never far from NPR. Who can do without Google these days? And I've recently discovered JournalistExpress.com, which is a portal to many news outlets and can be customized.
The organizations that are vital to me as a writer are the following: Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Journalists and Authors and Poet's and Writer's League of Greater Cleveland. If you have one tool in your writer's belt, make it Writer's Market online.
My passion for reading and books is overwhelming at times. So many books, so little time. Here are some of my favorite book stores: Faulkner House Books in the French Quarter (Pirate's Alley—great name!) in New Orleans. I spent an entire day there back in June 1997. My husband went back a year later on business and told the owner that I was interested in some new southern fiction. He remembered me and sent my husband home with two signed books from southern writers and his business card with fond greetings. Bellissimo!!!
My sister, Jenny, who is my soul sister and blood sister, lives in Columbus. No trip to the capital city is complete without an excursion to The Book Loft in German Village—32 rooms of books—scrumptious! And then there's Edith Wharton. She is, quite simply, my favorite author of all time. (I'd say Ernest Hemingway is a close second.) You haven't read her, you say? Try "The House of Mirth," a truly terrific tragedy with many parallels to today's society. If you don't know Edith, she was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for "The Age of Innocence" (May 1921). And her biography by R.W.B. Lewis also won a Pulitzer Prize for biography in the mid-1970s. I received a copy of this biography on Dec. 25, 1995. It opened the door to truly great, timeless fiction. It is inscribed thusly:
Here is your own copy of Edith! Read and re-read it as often as is necessary to draw the inspiration for your own talent.
And that's where my love of words was born, and I do mean born. My father has it and has shared it with me from the moment I was very young. Of course, I've also included Cleveland Public Library, Smithsonian Insitution and the Library of Congress in my list. While Jenny and I were on a getaway to D.C. about six years ago, I stood overlooking the reading room of the Library of Congress, dreaming about the great book I would research in that room. We then followed the sounds of music down a hall to a room filled with artifacts from George and Ira Gershwin. My sister, the music teacher, sat at George's piano and dreamed of writing and singing music. It was an inspirational trip.
I have blogs and Web sites of friends—of course there's John Ettorre and his Working with Words blog; Jack Ricchiuto and his Designing Life Web site and blog; Jim Kukral and his many blogs; George Nemeth's Brewed Fresh Daily; Jonathan Browing of Brown Ink Design (he and I collaborated on an Addy award-winning annual report about autism for Bellefaire/JCB); and Steve FitzGerald of Lakewoodbuzz.com, who gave me an assignment that reminded about the good we can do for society.
And finally, for fun, I've included Field Stone Winery and Vineyards. I met the owner/vintner John C. Staten at the first-ever Heinen's/WVIZ World Series of Wine. He had the absolute best petite syrah I have ever tasted. He's a minister to boot! His home in Sonoma featured the front porch that was the site for the infamous Bartles and Jaymes commercials with the two old tucks. And if you're looking for value, who can pass up Two-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's.
I love yoga and have been remiss in practicing. Jennifer Karabinus runs Yoga-Tree in Ohio City and is a fabulous instructor. If you're going to indulge in chocolate, why not go for the best. I first interviewed Ines Rhener owner of Sweet Designs Chocolatier on Madison Avenue in Lakewood, a year ago when she was named a NAWBO Top 10 Woman Business Owner. You haven't tasted real chocolate until you've had hers. My kids love to visit and sample from her incredible selection—marzipan and dark chocolate, yum! And my cousin Jamie's wife, Laura O'Brien, and a number of other women own a unique gallery in Rocky River—Silverthorne Gallery. I'm always interested in supporting fellow creatives.
Thank you to my many fellow creatives for supporting me and reminding me that it is all so good.