A few weeks ago at my company, we took staff photos. Not the lame kind you find next to professional bios in the "About Us" section of a website. This is advertising, after all--we get paid to be creative! So the mandate was for each of us to plan out a photo that we felt best represented who we are. After much whining and dragging of heels, I finally came up with an idea for mine. And thanks to the Photoshop skills of my dear coworker and friend, it came out way cuter than I expected.

I present to you: Jill as Teen Book Nerd.

 And no, I don't usually wear my hair like that. :)


Forces of Nature

As most of you have probably read on CNN by now, Japan got completely rocked by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake late last night (our time) and the devastating tsunami that ensued.

Not sure I've ever mentioned on this blog that my sister lives in Tokyo. Well, she does; so when our father called me this morning at 8 am to let me know they had received word she was okay (albeit stranded an hour away from her apartment), let's just say the word "relief" doesn't quite cover what I felt.

Last night I had trouble sleeping because of all the stuff I was stressed about. Work, money, etc. But after this morning, it seems a little ridiculous that I could get so worked up about things that, at the end of the day, aren't that important.

I guess sometimes it takes the earth shifting underneath you, to get your feet planted back on the ground.

Thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan, and anyone else who has loved ones in that region of the world.


Inspiration in Unexpected Places

I'm home sick today. Bronchitis.

So this morning I'm coughing up a lung (among other stuff--gross, I know) and thinking to myself that this must be similar to an exorcism, and BAM!!--new idea for my book.

This hasn't happened in a while. I've been in a bit of a creative rut lately. Maybe it's the day away from the office, maybe it's the hint of spring in the air. Or maybe it's the phlegm.

Either way, it's back on!


Lady GaGa, Florence + The Machine, and Emotional Truth

If you are a fan of Florence + The Machine, you know that her lyrics rival even her earth-shattering voice. Which is why, when I was reading a blurb about her upcoming concert at Central Park Summer Stage, I had to laugh at her oversimplication of the themes in her songs: although much has been read into her lyrics, Florence says it’s usually simple. “Everything is about boys!” she laughs.

But wait a minute, Lady GaGa songs are about boys. She even has one titled "Boys, Boys, Boys." (In case the lyrics weren't obvious enough.)

Well, they both sing about boys. So what makes one art versus...not?

Emotional truth. In short, Flo uses it, GaGa not so much. GaGa is more of a "say exactly what I mean" kind of girl, which is what makes her so enjoyable when you're 2 glasses of champagne into the evening and dancing is more appealing than interpreting metaphors.

But from a writer-worship standpoint, Flo rules. Let's look at an example:

Florence says: A kiss with a fist is better than none
Florence means: Even though this relationship is destructive to me, it's better than not being in the relationship at all

GaGa says: I like you a lot, lot, think you're really hot, hot
GaGa means: I like you a lot, lot, think you're really hot, hot

GaGa just goes ahead and says the simple, literal truth. She thinks the boy is hot and she likes him. No interpretation necessary.

Florence gets to the emotional truth; meaning, instead of coming out and saying the relationship is hurting her, she uses a visceral metaphor of the fist to demonstrate it.

The lesson here? Say what you mean without actually saying it. Now if I can only find a way to artfully apply that to my own writing...