What have we learned this week, dear readers?
I learned that blogging. is. hard. I am always supremely annoyed when Thembi, my favorite blogger takes a few days off. I seriously roll my eyes and suck my teeth if I visit her site and she hasn’t updated in a day or two. And now, I feel her pain. (And she does a LOT more work than I do to get her posts together. I have eight categories I plan to address here on my blog. And the majority of my posts so far have been Random.)
Each post has taken me three hours to put together start to finish. I’d love to hear from Anslem on if that’s normal or if I’m doing something wrong. Anslem, by the way, is the person who has inspired me to start blogging. A few months ago, I noticed that he was “mentioning” me in these notes he published on Facebook. I learned quickly that he wasn’t actually mentioning me at all! He was just “tagging” me to drag me to his site. It worked. Like twice. And then I caught on to his tricks. (Though I still visit and urge you to do the same.) I’ve decided I’ll only tag people I actually mention in my notes. So if you see I’ve tagged you on Facebook, believe I’ve talked about you. Though, this rule could change without warning.
I’ve loved the comments. The perspective I’ve gotten on many topics have been refreshing and much appreciated. To that end, I plan to give out a weekly Commenter Award. (I don’t have a catchy term for it yet. I’ll take suggestions).
This week’s winner is: “Sheena,” who had this to say about my post on my ex-boyfriend deleting me from his friend list. (emphasis mine)
I’ve both ignored and deleted exes from my friends list when it came clear to me that i really didn’t want to see their pictures, didn’t particularly care about their status and had basically abandoned any real, meaningful interest in their lives. i’ve learned to be pretty cold in that way – not with an intent to insult, but with a ruthlessness about my own emotional self-care. ultimately, it wasn’t really about them, just more about what i want and don’t want to experience on facebook and the need for me to detach from people and experiences in the past so i be can sane and productive in the now.
all that said, don’t take it personally, li. alex’s actions probably have nothing to do with you per se. that’s a weight on your spirit you don’t even have to pick up, much less release …
That did it for me right there. She piled it all nice and neat, wrapped it in sturdy twine and put it out with the recycling. Done. I didn’t know who “Sheena” was right away. I clicked through and then hit my hand on my forehead. Of course it would be Sheena Lester! She’s the closest thing I’ve got to Oprah on my Friend List.
A quick digression on Sheena: When I was first starting out as a writer, I often did music reviews for XXL, where she was editor-in-chief. (I wrote the reviews from my cubicle at Billboard, where I would hide my screen when the editor-in-chief, the late Timothy White, would walk by). An editor named Blackspot would assign me a review, messenger the music to me at 1515 Broadway and I usually had a day, if that, to get the review back to him.
I had to review Brandy’s album, Never Say Never. Can’t remember what I wrote. But I know it was flowery and cute. And didn’t say a damn thing about the album. Blackspot did the best he could editing my drivel and then sent it to Sheena. She wrote a scathing reply in the edits. I won’t go into details. But homegirl ripped me a new one. It had lines in it like, “um, can I get a SONG TITLE, please? Can I know what any of these songs actually SOUND like? Mid-tempo? Ballad? Arena rock? Death metal? hello?”
At the very end, Sheena said:
I want a complete re-write. And tell Ms. King to come with more substance, less style. Not vice versa.
Ooooh, ya’ll. I sat at my cubicle in Billboard and I BAWLED. I cried so hard I had to take the elevator downstairs and go out into the streets and catch my breath. It was a Wednesday. Which meant the streets were more crowded than usual with tourists because that’s the cheap matinee day. And TRL, which taped in our building, had someone big coming in that day. So the streets were just teeming with people. I wandered up and down Broadway, crying like a baby. I just knew my career was over. Sheena Lester said I sucked. And she was right. Would I ever get another assignment again? From anywhere?
Okay, so I was a bit melodramatic. But when you first start in the freelance game, things like that really do feel like the end of the world. What I didn’t realize then was that Sheena actually saw something in me. She could have just told Blackspot to find a different writer all together. She made ME do the re-write. Because she wanted me to get it right. And I did.
I went back up to my cubicle. Printed that note out and taped it onto my monitor. Here’s me at my cubicle at Billboard back in ’99, with Sheena’s note on my monitor. (We will NOT discuss or make ANY comments on this photo. Not about the half smile OR the undone hair. We’ve talked about this already. RIGHT?) Sheena’s note is on the bottom of my monitor. The most important lines (i.e. the ones that made me cry) are highlighted in blue).
I took that note with me from job to job and computer to computer for years and years. I don’t know where that tiny piece of paper is today. But I know Sheena’s sentiments: more substance. less style. resonates with me EVERY time I write. I look over everything before I hand it in and give it the Sheena Lester Substance Style Check©
Oh my dear readers, are you still with me? The Sheena story probably should have been a whole ‘nother post! I digress!
Back to our week in review. Sheena’s our Commenter Of The Week. The prize is a virtual hug. It’s coming in 1…2…NOW.
We also had a contest this week: longest starbucks order. The winner is Kim Osorio, whose order is not only long. But absolutely insane. I can’t even revisit it right now. But it was something about skim milk and whipped cream and some other foolishness about just how hot it needed to be. Kim, I ordered your Starbucks card. I’ll let you know when it arrives.
I moved into my brand new office this week. And this blog has been possible because of my dedicated work space. It’s changing my life. And I absolutely love it. I go in at 9. I work my ass off. Come up for air, knowing it must be 1PM. And it’s only 10:30!! I am loving it.
I started out the week counseling dear Jenny Gurvich, majoring in marketing when she really wants to write. The comments in that section were really encouraging, even to me. So I hope Jenny’s thinking it over.
We all bonded over that It Spot, the place you think you need to go to once in your life, just so you can say you did. I went to Michael’s, with mixed results. My dear reader Naima is pondering a trip to the fabled Mr. Chow’s. (go. seriously).
I learned about the heat check. And I realized what my next half-court-at-the-buzzer move will be: trying to update this blog each weekday. Hot damn. I love the community I’m building here. And I’d love to see how far I can take it. Stay tuned.
My plan is to have a Flashback Friday each week, revisiting an interesting story I’ve written and giving my dear readers some behind-the-scenes perspective.
But then, yesterday, I came into my office, all set to write about my Mariah Carey interview and instead, I got derailed because I got Deleted. And that opened a whole can of worms that I’ve just forced back into the canister and have now thrown out.
And of course, we all came clean about our hidden Facebook Photo Phobia, my highest rated post this week. Turns I’m not the only one who hates having my picture taken. And I’m not the only one who doesn’t want my bits all over Facebook either. My girl Portia has apologized profusely for blowing my spot up. And then, behind the scenes, she sent me an email, telling me that she had another pic that I would have been REALLY pissed about and that she would never post and tag. She even attached the photo and said: see, now here’s a picture I wouldn’t have tagged:
Hmph. I wouldn’t have minded this picture! Sure, I look crazy. But at least my bits aren’t all on display. Portia said something about how she wouldn’t have posted this picture because her apartment looks like crap in the background. Yeah, well. Now we’re even old pal.
I think the lessons I receive from my blog should prompt some action each week. This week, I’m going to try to not be so photo-phobic. I’ve posted TWO pictures of myself in this very post! Yay me! And you know what, to keep the momentum going, I’m gonna even update my Profile Pic on Facebook. What I’ve got up now is from 1979. I’m posting an updated picture ASAP. So dear reader, when you finsh reading this, check out my brand new updated pic on Facebook. Don’t know when exactly the picture was taken. But it’s definitely an update. Enjoy! And keep coming back!