Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wedding Meets Hippie.

As I write this, one of my oldest friends, Genessa (also known as G, or G Dogg) has a wedding to attend this evening for one of her friends. The wedding is at 6 p.m. in Mount Pleasant's Old Village.

Here's a little background: I've known G for ages. She's one of my dear college friends, and we've been housemates for several years now. And she's always been low-maintanance when it comes to her looks...with good reason. As a natural beauty and practically a professional athlete, she isn't what you'd call a girly girl. 

"What are you wearing?" I innocently asked G earlier today, while we worked together on writing a poem for her friend's card.

"A hippie dress and my flip flops," declared Genessa without hesitation.

I wrinkled my brow. "At a six o'clock wedding? No. You cannot wear your beach shoes. Don't you have a pair of heels?" Having assisted Genessa in preparing for special occasions in the past, I had a feeling the answer was no.

Moments later, the three of us (our other housemate Dana included) were trying to conjure up a laid-back, yet dressy, outfit for Genessa to wear. We finally decided on a simple black dress ...with sparkly black flip flops.

"These will have to do," I sighed, after we discovered that Dana's sling-back heels were too small.
"At least they sparkle!"

"Should I wear some silver earrings?" asked G, getting into the spirit of things at last.

"Yep..and a necklace,"I said, heading to my room to find one.

"I'll have to wear two, because this hemp doesn't come off," she informed me. I tried not to groan.

 We finally found a silver necklace and silver hoops to go with the black ensemble. I offered up my sparkly clutch, but Genessa replied it was too small to hold her cigarettes. When we set about putting on her makeup, Genessa balked at the eyeliner at first, but finally let me feather her lids with it. She barely grazed her lashes with the mascara, and chose the tamest lip gloss shade, of the few I offered, for her mouth.

In the end, she looked fabulous. Just like herself, but with special touches. I felt like both of us had achieved success in the process--she looked fancier than usual but not over the top.

"You look amazing!" I raved, snapping pictures of her with her iPhone for her boyfriend.

 It's funny; at first I felt like I was giving her a lesson in how to dress for an evening wedding. But in the end, I'm the one who learned that people have to be loyal to their own senses of style. It's a privilege to have a friend like Genessa in my life, someone stays true to herself no matter what.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Finally--A Night at Home.

Well it's the first weekend in eons that I haven't been to Litchfield, Greenville, Columbia, Florence, or elsewhere in the great state of South Carolina. So what better way to celebrate than to paint the town red with my gal pals Friday night? True, I spent most of Saturday sipping iced herbal tea and resting, but it was  SO worth it.

We started our evening with dinner at Basil. And can you believe that I had never eaten there? Despite the fact that I've been a Charleston resident for eight years, Basil has always been too crowded (no reservations) or just not on the agenda. I realized last night what everyone is always raving about. Yum.

After Basil, it was on to the Music Farm, where I was treated--or subjected-- to a free ticket to watch the Chippendale strippers. Ugh. It was not the most appealing show I've ever seen at the Music Farm. In fact, I can't believe I'm making it known on my blog that I was there. But since I didn't purchase a ticket OR any of my drinks, (my friend Ashley bought them, I suppose because she felt guilty for dragging me there, ha)  it was just another stop of the evening.

Following the Music Farm we barhopped from a new place called L.I.F.E. on Upper King, to Big John's Tavern, then BACK to Hall's Chophouse at the end of the night. It was super fun. I think my favorite parts were:

1. Running into my girl Leah and her husband Josh at Big John's Tavern. What a nice surprise. After I'd complained about taking a taxi across town and leaving my car on Upper King, I was handsomely rewarded with seeing them.

2. As I was leaving L.I.F.E., a girl I didn't recognize stopped me in the street and shrieked "You're that composition instructor at ITT!" "Umm, yes...Were you one of my students?" I hedged. "No, I just started working there a few months ago, and I've heard AMAZING things about you!" she gushed. "You are THE best instructor ever. I want to sit in on your class! May I buy you a drink?!"

This chick went on and on for so long, it was embarrassing. But I kinda felt like a celebrity. Ha.

Hope everyone else's weekend is going just as well. As for me, I'm relaxing for the rest of it! Plans include a picnic while basking in the sunlight, and listening to music at a house party. I love my city.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Write to be Other Writers.

Last night I had the experience of guest speaking at a women's writer group called Voices: Write to Be Heard. It was held at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant and featured bloggers, book authors, plus freelance writers like me.

When I originally accepted the invitation to participate in the event, I had no clue that I would be anything more than one of the crowd. So when Holly, one of Mount Pleasant Magazine's contributors, asked me if I'd come along I said "Sure! Sounds fun!" I had no idea what I was in for.

Then when I got there I found a whole table with my name on it. The sign in the middle of the table said "Denise K. James," and I suddenly got the ominous feeling that I was expected to make some kind of...speech about freelance writing. Gulp.

"Ohh, noo," reassured Holly and the other chick-in-charge, Jennifer. "You won't have to stand up and speak. But people will visit your table and you'll answer their questions about freelancing."

What kinds of questions? I wondered nervously. I hoped I knew the answers. For Pete's sake, I would have studied if I'd known this was the deal.

But in the end, once the cup of coffee kicked in (I should have known better than to drink coffee in the evening but darn, I was exhausted and I needed brain fuel) I found myself spouting some of the most profound brilliance on the topic of freelance writing, ever.

Remember to daydream often, in strange places. 

Talk to strangers all the time. Don't be afraid of them. They can inspire you. 

Write your pitch letter with a crazy-good subject line so they don't trash it before they read it. Once, when pitching a magazine, I titled my email "Last Night's Bean Dip." 

Keep in touch with other writers. You need intellectual colleagues. 

Know your rates, whether they ask what you charge per word, per hour, per project or per article.

As I spoke, I felt like I really knew what the heck I was talking about. It was a good feeling. I handed out a few business cards, invited my listeners to contact me, and generally got some good networking done.

Maybe I need to be put on the spot more often.