Tag Archives: facebook

…introducing ‘creepy little death poems,’ the book!

creepy little death poems picAs most of you will recall, in September of 2012, I wrote a blog entry entitled “Write Out the Dark Spots” about the transformative power of writing. It was a vulnerable post, exposing my struggles with overcoming depression. However, it was also a necessary post. In order to mine my creative worth, I had to explore the obstacles. In this post, I introduced my “creepy little death poems.”

The response was quite supportive, and people sort of became fans of the poetry. It was dark. It was funny – at least I thought so. People were probably surprised. As I mentioned in the post, I’m not someone who typically walks around talking about death…

Because the response to this blog post was so positive, I decided to take advantage of National Poetry Month in April of 2013 to post 30 days of “creepy little death poems” on Facebook – mostly on a dare. What followed was a month of humor and darkness that got everyone around me giggling. Well, most everyone. My mother was worried about me. Peripheral Facebook connections were either hesitant about commenting on my page or over the moon about the poems.

But mostly, people really dug them. I was happy. I dug them, too.

Early in 2014, I was cast in a production of “Macbeth” at Intrepid Shakespeare Company, where I was handed a challenge: find an illustrator, create a book and we will sell your ‘death poems’ in the lobby.

Challenge accepted.

I found a ‘death poem’ kindred spirit in Lizzie Silverman’s clever artwork and together we created this compilation. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that people want to have this on their bookshelves.

What started as a very awkward step towards uncovering the darkness has turned into thousands of points of light and I am grateful to have people around me who say they believe – in me, in the amazingness of creating work, and in the idea that when we support each other’s artistic pursuits, we all benefit.

Thank you!

Grab a copy of “creepy little death poems” here.

 

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The First “First Friday” – Dominic Carrillo

Exploring the life of a new novelist one Friday at a time.

So, in an effort to inspire and encourage awesomeness, I have been keen to interview other writers, specifically first-time novelists, in order to probe their process from page to publication.  For me, the sticking-with-it-ness is always a challenge, so I’m amazed when one of my peers has the tenacity to sit down and write a few hundred pages.  I, for one, can’t get through composing a mere blog post without checking Facebook 28 times.  How in the world will I ever finish a novel?  But that’s the struggle up for dissection within these pages, hence, I bring you a glance into the life of someone who has actually done said deed. – TT

***

La Jolla, CA.  Dominic Carrillo saunters into the brew house, fresh from a seminar on publishing which he was hoping would give him some new marketing tricks.  You see, he has a dilemma:  He is trying to figure out how to promote his self-published bow into the world of fiction successfully in the few weeks he has left stateside before taking up a year-long teaching position in Bulgaria.  I mean, doesn’t everyone have these issues?  Ahem.

He orders something dark and smiles easily, his neatly trimmed beard announcing his Jack Kerouac tendencies, his polite eyes signaling that he finds the stories of others much more interesting than his own.  No wonder his blog gets so much action.  And now with his first book, To Be Frank Diego, hitting the virtual shelves via Amazon, the fact that he can write just as adeptly about his hometown of San Diego as he can about sitting at the head table in a Nigerian village almost doesn’t seem fair.

Carrillo began his blog, Americano Abroad,  about ten months ago, during a teaching assignment in Italia after receiving encouragement from a blogger friend who thrived on writing about travel.  Also encouraging: an incident involving some travel buddies and a sudden lack of reading material.  When Carrillo’s journal, freely shared, became an intriguing enough substitute for a “real book,” he began to see his writing as perhaps not only interesting for others to read, but also full of stories that were actually meant to be shared.

Thus began his foray into the blogosphere, where he has cast himself as a newbie explorer immersed in foreign culture, astutely chronicling his experiences with a wry sense of self-deprecation that quickly endears a reader to his words.

But soon, the seed of another story began to emerge, one that had been marinating for a while in the back of his mind.  Finally, during a long bout of illness in Guatemala that left him pretty much house-bound, he began to write it down – mostly to distract himself from all he was missing outdoors.  80 pages later, he thought that maybe he was onto something.  To Be Frank Diego emerged.

A bit about the book:  Frank Diego is a San Diego native who is forced to navigate the city’s public transportation system – a rare feat for most locals.  On his day-long journey, he meets a variety of characters, faces challenging issues about his own ethnic identity, contemplates a recent relationship, and pulls no punches when offering his opinions about “America’s Finest City.”

Publishing the novel, once completed, was a daunting task.  After tapping as many connections as he could, Carrillo soon discovered that the traditional publishing route would require time and patience.  With his next itinerary looming, he decided to take matters into his own hands.  Createspace was happy to provide the means.  Fast forward six months and a few hundred people are gathered at the Starlite Lounge in Little Italy for his first book signing.

He admits he has received enormous support from friends and family.  The challenge, he says, universal among self-published novelists, is to reach a larger audience.  He is exploring social media, bumping up the Frank Diego website, and looking for reviews and exposure on local San Diego media.  The fact that the novel explores a particular city is a definite plus, even if the impressions offered by the main character can be slightly scathing at times.  He has just a few weeks to make it all work before the next adventure sets in.

Will the continual online promotion of Frank Diego be on his mind as he settles into life in Bulgaria later this month?  Perhaps.  But Americano Abroad will be up and running again as well, and therefore his attention will be more focused where he prefers it – on the stories of others and, like Frank Diego, what new ruminations on this crazy world lie around the next corner.


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Stories We Tell

photo: blog.hubspot.com

Joan Didion, my absolute all time favorite author ever of all time ever, said that we tell ourselves stories in order to live.

Story:  I am intelligent, honest, loyal, and a generally nice person.

Story:  I live with an open heart and I am stronger, better person because of it.

Story:  The idea of success scares the hell out of me.

What the what?

The truth is that the fact that I’m an intelligent, honest, loyal, and generally nice person has done nothing to contribute to my career path.  Apparently, the real world doesn’t operate in hearts, flowers, glitter, and bubbles.  But neither is it helpful that every time I seem to get close to something one would generally consider success (in work, in relationships, the list goes on), I pretty much abandon ship, citing reasons such as, “I’m just not ready,” or “I just felt like moving back to California,” or “I have to learn how to be a whole person without the validation of financial achievement or personal attachments.”  Yeeeah.

Many a therapist have told me, “You’re afraid of success,” which never made any sense to me at all.  Why would anyone be afraid of success?  I would ask as I cancelled meetings with movie producers and turned down corporate jobs with giant salaries.   Not me!

So, as I begin to pack for the Blog World Expo happening in NYC next week, I notice that my hands start shaking a little bit.  You would think that if I am attending the (insert reverb here) Bloooog Wooorld Expoooo, that I would be a semi-pro at this stuff.  Not true.  I signed up on a whim and now I leave in a week.

First of all, I don’t consider myself a blogger.  I’m a writer and the blogging thing is new to me and the only thing I truly know about it is that I am waaaay behind.  (Next therapy session:  The utter disappointment I feel if I don’t overachieve on Day One of trying something new.)  And so, of course, with my amoeba-like sense of career goals and life direction right now, I decided to do what anyone relatively new to anything would do:  Attend the most gigantic, intimidating, trial-by-fire three day conference on the topic at hand and pretend that I know what the hell I’m doing.  Duh.

Except that I don’t even know enough to pretend.  I’m going to be stuck wandering the halls of the Javits Center on the west side asking random blogger-attendees if they know what a Tweet deck is.  Seriously.  They will sense my fear.  They will eat me for blogger lunch.  They will look down their hipster glasses at me over lattes and shake their heads sadly at my desperate cries of, “But I’m a good writer!  I just don’t know how to do Google analytics yet!”  I’m toast.

So, where does my fear of success fit into all of this?  Because instead of sitting down and linking my blog to my Twitter account, I’m watching back to back episodes of “Scandal” and “Revenge” while noshing on peanut butter straight from the jar with a fork.  (True story.)  And I’m scared.  I’m truly I-feel-like-I’m-gonna-puke freaked out.

You know…I’ve done the whole travelling alone through foreign countries thing.  I’ve been questioned by border military officers on overnight trains in the middle of nowhere (Don’t tell my mom).  I swordfight.  I surf.  I stand on stage and tell stories that other people don’t always want to hear.  I lead with my heart.  I would consider myself pretty brave.  Mostly.

So, why does the thought of entering this brand new world full of stuff I love to do freak the hell out of me?  “You’re afraid of success,” the voice tells me.  So…what?  I’m afraid of using my voice?  That no one will think I have anything to say?  That it won’t be relevant?  So what?

What happens if, on the odd chance, I find out that I do have something to say?  That my voice is relevant?  What if I learn just enough to get me to the next phase of my writing career (let’s call that the “Phase Where I Make an Income,” shall we?) and who knows?  Something magical happens?  Or – gasp – I work really hard and my hard work pays off?  One of my acting teachers once said to me, “Well, you know, if you stand on a street corner long enough, someone is going to come by who can use you.”  That sounded much better in Sam Schacht’s acting class than it does as I type it here, but you know what I mean.  Another grad school adage: Persistence Alone Is Omnipotent.

So, my new course of action:  When my hands start to shake or I find myself readily anticipating Emily Thorne’s next infinity move, I will do my work instead of believing the story of my fear.  And even though I know I will be blogger-scorned in New York, that doesn’t have to be my story, either.

Because, as a writer, the one thing I should know for sure is that

stories

are always

rewritten.

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