Friday, May 24, 2013


Funny story: My car died in the Jimmy John's drive-thru yesterday. I had just ordered a sub sandwich, low fat potato chips and iced tea. I turned the key - and nothing happened. Frantic, I pounded on the glass drive-thru window and told the Jimmy John's guy that I couldn't move my car because I couldn't turn it on. 

"OK," said the dude. "I'll send out a couple guys to help ya."

Imagine how humiliated I was when the sandwich-making crew had to help me push my car to the side of the parking lot, out of the other patrons' ways. I sat in my car, wrinkled my nose at the bag of food (I was much too wigged out to eat) and tried to think about what I should do. Luckily, it was only 11:30 a.m. but still, I had to be back at the office before 1 p.m. to greet my new social media intern on her first day. And I had to move the car. And buy a battery, apparently.

Brian showed up with jumper cables, and, once we started my car up, I bought a battery - which I paid an arm and leg for - and griped about my rotten day while I waited for the installation to be completed.

"Today sucks so far," I groaned, not caring who heard me. "I'm so sick of worrying about money."

But, I made it back to the office well before 1 p.m. and did a stellar job of orienting my social media intern plus the new design intern. And I got to thinking how much worse the car breakdown situation could have been. I mean, I could have broken down someplace far worse than the parking lot of a sub shop with a yummy lunch already in my clutches. I could have been in a bigger hurry and missed my appointments. I could have had bigger problems than just the battery.

I have this friend who sometimes texts encouraging messages around 7 a.m. while I'm brewing coffee. (He gets up roughly two hours before that, so it's easy for him to think of stuff.) Yesterday's message said something like: "Get ready for a wondrous and magical day."

It took me a while to admit that anything about yesterday could be remotely close to that description, but I think I'm fine with it now. After all, it felt kind of like magic, having those sandwich guys nudge my silent car to a safe place so easily, it was like wings had sprouted from her blue doors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ninth Annual.

Once a year, I get some of my best girl pals together and head to my house in May for a long weekend. This past weekend marked the 9th trip, and every year is special in its own way. 

Our traditions include eating ourselves silly, sipping frozen cocktails on the screened-in porch, playing board games and card games, hitting up the Hot Fish Club on Saturday night, soaking up the rays all day on Litchfield's gorgeous sands and just being together. 

My mother has always said that it's not where you go, but who you are with. Thus, being in my favorite place with my favorite people is double the magic. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Would [insert name of editor here] Do?

There are days when I ask myself this question.

There are days when I have no idea how to handle something and days when I am NOT satisfied with things.

On those days, I tell myself that every editor in the WORLD must go through this.

I imagine that even Roberta Myers sees editions of Elle every now and then that she is not 100% pleased with. That somewhere, in that dense, 500-page-long mountain of feature and fashion beauty, there is something that is driving Roberta crazy.

I also imagine that Roberta (and Anna, and Stefano, and whomever else) get less-than-desirable responses from the public on stories and fashion spreads that they themselves thought were splendid.

This is the truth of being a magazine editor. There is no way around this truth. We cannot please ourselves, nor our readers, at all times. Nor our publishers. Nor our co-editors.

Today, I received feedback from a reader that disheartened me. I took it personally at first, wondering why this person took the time to write something so nasty about something I worked on so dearly.

Then, after a couple of whine-fests with Brian and Bill, (who each told me I was overreacting) I remembered all the times I've read nasty feedback inside reputable, national magazines on the "Letters to the Editor" pages. The editors and publishers are so nonplussed, they print them for shits and giggles.

Meanwhile, I read over the bitching, rub my freshly-glossed lips together in deep thought ...and continue turning pages. What others think has absolutely no bearing on my love for my favorite publication.

Therefore, what others think should have no bearing on my love for the publication I work with each day.

I love work-related epiphanies.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Wow, since May has started I've been engulfed in celebrating all kinds of occasions, from my best friend Alice (and soon, Mandie!) moving back to Charleston, to my roommate Dana's completion of graduate school, to the MOST important item -- I won the Forum Prize for the Poetry Society this year!!!

I received a book of W.H. Auden's poetry and essays (donated and signed just for me by the oldest member of our society, who is 101 this year!) plus some prize money. I feel totally proud of myself. And my poet friends all toasted me and congratulated me.

The celebrations don't stop there. This weekend is our annual Girls' Weekend, when my ladies and I all go to my house in Litchfield and enjoy the most valuable friendships we have. I feel certain this year is going to be fantastic.

If only every month could be this chock-full of happiness. But as Brian loves to remind me, then I wouldn't recognize what it means to be happy.

Woo hoo! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

That "Writer Buzz."

Today I completed a story for the July/August issue of Mount Pleasant Magazine and was so enthusiastic with the results, i printed a copy and read it out loud to my boss. (He liked it.)

Likewise, the other week, I suddenly got inspired while writing a story about Jim Newsome, the president of the South Carolina Ports Authority. I kept insisting to Brian that he needed to read it because it was great.

But a funny thing happened later: It wasn't quite as great as I first thought. Sure, it was still a good story. But that "writer's buzz," which had made me feel like I'd opened the creative portal of my brain and dumped sheer genius onto a page, was over with.

I've talked about inspiration regarding poetry plenty of times and that mysterious high you get when a poem is first written. You know -- the high that makes us want to share the poem before it's been fully edited or prepared for consumption by other readers. But I'm just now noticing that the writer buzz happens with genres other than poetry ...even with slightly boring stories that I write for work.

I asked Brian once if he gets the writer buzz when he finishes a story. He said he doesn't. And, to be clear, I don't always get it either. But when I do, it's the best thing ever. It reminds me of why I got into this business into the first place. It wasn't for the money. (Duh.) It wasn't even for the vanity of seeing my name in print.

It's for that writer buzz.