First Cup of Coffee – February 23, 2024

Some big news on the official title of the book that was Oneira and a release date! Also, a thing I bought because of Taylor Swift that has Changed My Life, and more on coping as a creative when people hate you/your work.

First Cup of Coffee – July 25, 2022

I’m back from vacation, which gave me time with my head out of the book to think about some business stuff, so I’m sharing my New Plan for Social Media and promoting my backlist. Also: an RWA mystery!

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. And my Hummingbird friend. Ah delicious. Today is Monday July twenty fifth I am back in the saddle at least temporarily. I am um refreshed from my vacation for the most part you all the joke about how you need a vacation to recover from your vacation but we had fun. It was lovely time. Enjoy it very much and um, it was good. Just to take a break from things but busy catching up as always and and I don’t know what all I have to say I didn’t make notes today. I’ve started using Tiktok a little bit I’ve been playing with it putting up little reels and a friend asked me if I was going to post a podcast to Tiktok and she said you know there’s mosquito buzzing around here. She said you know you can put up um up to 10 minutes now on Tiktok. She said are you thinking about doing that I’m like oh I’d have to confine the podcast at 10 minutes which I feel like I’d have to be succinct which let’s face it that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. It might be good for me to be more succinct but I don’t know. It comes back to my whole um measurement of like when the podcast becomes more of a pain to do than than a pleasure. so um so yeah I paused you so you wouldn’t have to watch me kill the mosquito. In case, any of you are tenderhearted enough to worry about the mosquitoes mosquitoes are the one thing that I don’t mind whacking. So let’s see um this week will be kind of funny because I am.

Hear podcasting today and tomorrow. Um Wednesday I fly to DC for Apollycon very interested to see how Apollycon goes I’m excited to see my friends that it’s starting to hit me that I’m going to see these people I haven’t seen. Since um, three years or before a lot of them. It was ah RWA convention in July 2019 I saw a funny thing David found this kind of bizarre movie from 1990 on Paramount plus called. The um, the boyfriend, the boyfriend something I think if you look for the boyfriend. You’ll find it um boyfriend test boyfriend experiment something like that. Um with Shelley long and Steve Gutenberg and ah oh Erin um she was in a lot of those late eighty s movies hang on – The Boyfriend School and it’s Jamie Gerrtz who was in Sixteen candles and the lost boys. Ah, so ah, what was funny is so the movie was originally released back then back in 1990 as Don’t Tell Her It’s Me and I’m sure I don’t think I ever saw it. Ah. It’s from the book called The Boyfriend School which apparently that title tested badly. But then when they re-released on Dvd they went ahead and went with that because apparently don’t tell her. It’s me was an even worse title which I think the boyfriend school is good title. Anyway, this movie got so panned so panned and um, we’re finding it funny ah I don’t know why people hated this movie so much but the interesting part I promise there is an interesting part see this is why I couldn’t do this in 10 minutes right admittedly might be a good idea. Just not going to happen. Ah Shelly long plays a romance author and while there are a few cringe worthy lines here and there for the most part. It’s ah, a solid defense of being a romance author. Ah, Jamie Gertz comes in as a journalist making disparaging comments ah about at this conference that says romance writers of America and it’s all of this There’s the banner that says romance writers of America.

And on one of the author table there tables there. There’s the Harlequin brand so I feel like the movie makers must have gotten permission to use this stuff but there’s nothing in the trivia I’m I’m going to have to do some research and find out was this an actual Rw a conference that this movie. Ah, filmed this scene at there are things that seem not Rw a that seem more like RT, but it could be that rwwe was like this in the late 80 s you know if the film came out in 1990 it could have been one of those conventions in the late eighty s. And maybe they were like that because they had like a male model walking around basically wearing a thong. Um, that was our tea but not Rw so I’m going to hit up some of my um older Rw a ladies and see what they say. Yeah I want to know what they think and then if if I find out that it was this may be what finally catapults me into logging into I am db and creating an identity just so I can upload that trivia and then I might have to go in and like. Counter some of these horrible reviews I think people trashed it largely because of the romance. Um I mean there’s I mean it’s not a brilliant movie but it’s certainly far better than than many and it has a promising romance. We didn’t finish watching but um. I mean just did to see how it goes but it’s funny seeing the ah r wa stuff in there. Oh and and Jamie Gertz comes in talking to Shelley long and doesn’t realize that Shelley long is interviewing her as a potential ah love interest for her brother Steve Gutenberg who is recovering from. Treatments for Hodgkin’s disease was always bald and puffy I think apparently this is this is sort of like how time moves. Ah I did read in the trivia that at the time Steve Gutenberg had played entirely suavet roles up until then. I like in 3 men and a baby and um I don’t remember what all, but and that this was the first time that he you know here, he’s being bold and puffy and kind of um, a recluse and unhappy and it’s funny because. I do not think of Steve Gutenberg as a suave guy. Um and I think that’s because later he leaned more into being pitiful loser guy.

So perhaps I’m more willing to accept that than audiences were at the time there was I also saw when I was trying to look up who that little girl is who plays Shelley Long’s daughter who’s like 3 ah. And actually does kind of a brilliant job of it. She’s this very solemn little girl who were apparently a pair of twins but um, ah, let’s see what led me down that path I was trying to remember when I was looking it up. Oh. I found like this l a times review of the movie that mentioned this little girl’s name Susan Lund I think she must have been. Someone’s daughter you know well of course she’s someone’s daughter. But. Not a professional actress I think this was the only thing she ever did and it was like you know like the costume designer’s daughter that kind of thing so the um but this scathing scathing review written by a woman which I’ve always feel like is telling um. Really slammed the romance aspects but then she also said um that they failed to take advantage of the beautiful Charleston location and I thought really that’s a criticism of the movie that they didn’t choose to show the. Pretty Charleston south carolina stuff but instead chose some of the more rural landscape anyway, I didn’t mean see this is why we can’t do 10 minutes of this because I just spent almost 10 minutes talking about this movie. Anyway, we’ll see if we if I can upload this to Instagram I’m I haven’t tried obviously in a week so I was giving you my schedule going to Apollycon Wednesday. Um, Thursday Friday maybe I’ll do some podcast interviews. Maybe not. It. It’ll be potluck. Maybe you’ll get lucky maybe having a podcast interview with somebody will be unlucky. You never know. Ah, um, and then I come back on Sunday and next Monday I have um, and dum dum dum jury duty magistrate court. They think it’ll only take one day but they summoned me at the beginning of summer and I’d said well I have travel and they came back which I thought was interesting and asked for.

Um, documentation of my travel dates like hotel stays and plane tickets and they had a nice um interface on the website where I could upload. Those documents so I sent them. You know here’s my travel schedule here’s my plane tickets and hotel stays and so then I got a notice that I have to appear on August first and I was like you all are correct I will be in town. So it’ll be interesting I’ve been called for jury duty before never in New Mexico but I’ve never served I always get dismissed. Ah I’m apparently not an ideal jury member probably because I think it would be interesting to do so um. You know, like no cell phones nothing like that. So I won’t be out of contact next monday try not to set the world on fire without me people. Um, and after that it should be a fairly normal ish schedule for a little while. Hoping to get back into making progress on shadow wizard I’ve been looking at the covers going through the cover iterations with my fabulous cover artist Robin and Suku I’ll just love this cover. Um, just love. Discover the the model she found for Jadren is um, it’s perfect. So so it was interesting I wrote on Monday and then I just decided I was kind of pondering it I think on. The podcast last week but um I just decide to take the rest of the week off writing I decided it would be more stressful than anything trying to get my word count in and it would have been so I did do some. Um, pondering on the drive thinking about just some business e things and so while I was there I did work on some business-y things I researched a couple of things. And one thing I’m going to do and this this feels like a big transition for me a milestone for me I realized that it is not for other people. But for me, it’s kind of a big deal.

Not many people know this. But I’m kind of a big deal. Love that line. Thank you Jim Sorenson for pointing it out to me from cheers. So I’m going to I think use SmarterQueue ah. SmarterQueue as in making a line ah to schedule social media posts and this is a transition for me because I have never used a scheduler I have um, always believed that social media should be. Authentic and in the moment and that I should engage directly hence this podcast.

Um, and I did like the I give scheduling. Um I’ve always thought that social media should not be like a billboard but I’m feeling like things have changed that there are. Aspects of all of the social media platforms that are like billboards that there’s room for both and I really need to get into promoting my backlist more Um, and so smarter queue will apparently allow me to. Ah, schedule on all the social media platforms and I can just put up evergreen posts to promote the backlist. Um and and that’s what I’m going to do so that that step’s just always out there because what I’m finding is. That my whole thing about posting in the moment and so forth that it creates this. Um sorry I just had an idea of something I want to do on Instagram but because i. I do the podcast in the morning I exercise do the podcast get this uploaded try not to look at social media as I upload it. Ah, don’t look at email write get my words in while my brain is still fresh. Then I come out and. Deal with email social media sif web business business of life. Ah that that is when I would like do other kinds of social media posting problems with this are it’s not necessarily the ideal time to post um and. I’m not necessarily full of bouncy social media energy at the end of the day and I was talking with I consulted a few other people that was part of what I was doing when I was you know like downtime at the resort when everybody else was sleeping off being in the casino all night um I got on some of my. Author groups and stuff and just ask people what they use and and and it’s a thing because people were like yeah you know end of the day I’m just not social media friendly and you know the world has changed It’s amazing to think about how how long it’s been. Um, we were talking about someone who I’m trying to think of how to phrase this we were talking about this gal and I said you know that person’s um, someone to keep an eye on because.

They had a big social media meltdown and I went to look up the links on it and it was 2009 2009 so thirteen years ago and so so so I added to it I said here’s what’s happened here’s what the person. You know, got into and I said um and it’s entirely possible that my memory is way too long. Um, because wow, but you know that is one of those things is that people don’t forget and I said I don’t believe that. People should be held accountable forever for a mistake like that. Ah, but this person did not handle the social media meltdown. Well um, threatening to call the Fbi on readers who had given their books bad reviews. You know it was like a little on the emotionally wonky side and I said you know it could be It was a bad time. A one time thing but just keep an eye on this person and you know it’s It’s been my hope my point and I do have one is that it has been a long time. Ah, you know when we first started using social media a lot I think I got on Twitter in 2009 um, Facebook might have been like 2007 and it was mostly promote my blog. So I think you know that is the thing is that we have to continue to roll with the times and um, so that’s going to be a big thing that I’m going to do. It’s smarter q you have to pay for but I’ve been thinking out paying for a publicist and instead I’m going to pay for this and I’m also going to set up. A blog tour for shadow wizard. Um, so that’ll be interesting. Oh and other news is rogue’s possession releases tomorrow. So how how could I forget. So so yeah, um, release day tomorrow and exciting changes for some of these business things I’m I’m excited to to implement these particular tools and see how this works for me. Um, one thing that’s going to have to happen with that smarter cue is it’s gonna there’s gonna be some ramp up right? I’m going to have to spend some time getting all of that stuff queed up as it were ah but otherwise I’m hoping to get.

I hope to get a full writing week this week I hope that’s not unreasonable. Um I’m glad I didn’t write last week now I need to get my head back in the book. Um I don’t leave to Wednesday afternoon so fingers crossed I should have three good writing days and then. Um, a polykon stuff doesn’t start till Thursday night. So I should have good writing time Thursday morning and then also um Friday morning I don’t have anything until that afternoon. So thinking good thoughts that I’m not distracted by other stuff should. Should work out so um, regardless I will be here in the garden tomorrow morning and it’s ah it’s nice to talk to you all again? Um I would say I missed you but it’s kind of weird because I don’t hear I mean I guess I get your comments and stuff. So. But yeah, it’s nice to be back on the podcast nice to be back in my garden if only for a few days and I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye-bye.

First Cup of Coffee – May 9, 2022

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

Today’s Monday may ninth and death sorry for the incredibly awkward intro I’m so in a slightly different position and I realized I couldn’t quite crane back to reach the chimes. Alas. If you’re on video you might be able to see behind me this light might not be great. But I have my clematis is blooming beautiful pink blossoms. Yay.

Yeah, so everything’s bright and shiny here a little bit cool breeze blowing this morning but um, getting the cool in supposed to warm up later today wind again today. Alas, the wind. Um, hummingbird battle little Hummer um I don’t remember what I was going to say the hummingbird distracted me what’s something to say it. What was it. Who knows it’s gone thinks bird.

But so yeah, like all thoughts have fled my head I’m trying to think of what’s going on here wendy oh I know what it was I’ll share it on the show notes I posted it to social media before but I think social media hates me have you guys been noticing this. Like I post stuff to Facebook and Twitter like even pictures and original content with no links all the things I’m supposed to do and like I get likes but nobody’s commenting maybe nobody has bandwidth to comment. Maybe we’re all just so fricking fed up with everything that’s going on. Um. Like trying to relying on law from the seventeen hundreds to inact current law I haven’t ranted about that on here I feel like we’ve all heard enough elsewhere anyway. It was the um fire incident report from the fire that’s up near Las Vegas New Mexico about an hour north of here I was looking at it just to see because they they may have to add back to weight the city of Las Vegas New Mexico not Las Vegas Nevada but still the fires coming real close and they’re. Having to evacuate people from the surrounding towns. So in a way. It’s not funny. So it’s one of these funny, not funny things but I was looking at the report and it said that the drought exasperated by the high winds and warm temperatures I think that maybe not everybody who saw it got why I thought it was so funny because it should be exacerbated. Not exasperated. Um and I thought was really funny. Who knew a drought could become as exasperated as we feel so um, yeah I don’t know take humor where you can a lot of people have had to evacuate. It’s really not wonderful. Alas. Um I had a good weekend felt like a busy weekend I I had 3 SFWA meetings on Saturday publications team nebula planning board meeting. So ah. That sort of took up the middle of my day before that I just hung out though and read.

Um, I’ve been debating about whether or not to talk about what I’m reading because I am oh see even if I hint about it. You guys will guess. And I just don’t know if I want to say anything on here I know that’s coy if I shouldn’t bring it up at all I’m gonna set that aside and think about if you’re on video you might see my cool new barette this is exciting stuff right? Look it’s like a a phoenix or a heron. Got in at a local story here in Santa Fe so um I don’t often buy myself little treats like that and that was a nice nice little gifty for myself. It’s important to reward ourselves I don’t know if I’ve talked about that in a long time when you’re. Especially when you’re working your creative self very hard and wanting to um you know make the money to buy like groceries um paid mortgage and rent or all of those sorts of things I had a um, a. Ah, decent, wake up call yesterday I was um, insensitive to some newer writers in a way that I really tried not to be and it didn’t occur to me but 1 of the girls was saying that she hadn’t been able to find any good writer conferences in Florida and I said well what about NINC? Novelist incorporated which has their conference in St Petersburg and she was like what that’s 20 minutes away from me and she ran off to get it and then she set back a picture of her face when she read the membership qualifications for NINC because ah. Desert Ravens are busy this morning too. Ah because you have to be a member of NINC to register for the conference and and I’m a member and it was it was like a no big deal for me to become a member. But the membership qualifications are steep. She’s like I just published my first book I have nothing yet and it’s um, they they are they are steep There’re lots steepers than so than SFWA’s. But NINC was formed by kind of a spinoff group from rwa that felt like there were too many um wannabes in the organization and so they made it steep because they wanted it to be.

Like writers who were more advanced in their career and so I did say to these cows I said you know it took me a long time to to and I forget I do forget how much water is under the bridge for me. You know, maybe that’s part of the champagne problems. You know you get to a point where you you’re focused on what you’re you know eyes forward what you’re trying to achieve next what you’re trying to do and you don’t always or at least I don’t. Always take that moment to look back at how very far I’ve come and and I think it that’s ah it’s a good reminder for me, you know that those um those membership qualifications were easy for me to make they’re not easy for everybody. Especially when you’re first starting out but it it that reminds me of a conversation that we’ve been having at SFWA and and I feel like it’s okay for me to talk about this because I’ve been talking about it openly with a bunch of people but there is um in. I can’t maybe I’ve even talked about it on the podcast before forgive me forgive me if I’ve forgotten. Um I should say I did spend a couple of hours revising on the book yesterday I’m getting a little bit worried about finishing it on time. This is probably also right on schedule and. Yeah, so my brain is really focused on the book which is like really great that I’m like trying to finish this book at the same time that nebula conference is ah coming to a peak but everybody else is doing way more work than me at this point so that’s pretty awesome.

So yeah, there’s an interesting thing in the science fiction and fantasy community where they talk about um, being a professional writer which is very important. That’s part of our mission I’m totally behind that and then they talk about stuff being fan based. And it’s interesting to me that the science fiction and fantasy community. Really they talk about fan run conventions fan awards the romance community doesn’t talk about fans in the same way even though like the Rt convention was all about readers. And there are other conventions that are reader conventions but we don’t say fan in and the same way that science fiction and fantasy community does and there is occasionally someone will say things. In Sifwa like we want this to be a professional panel. Not something that seems more fan based and and 1 of the frequent. Um. Disparaging remarks made about Rw a that confused me for a long time was they would say well Rw a allows fans to be members. They don’t it’s not a professional organization like Siffa is because they allow fans in and I was like everybody in our w a is I mean you. You want to be a writer That’s why you join.

So this finally struck me the other day. It was like you know when you enter a community and you um, don’t always know the jargon and 1 thing about sifway is that it’s an old enough organization that there is arcane lingo. And there is a lot of stuff that are like unwritten rules and ever since I’ve been on the board I’ve I’ve been the force for no unwritten rules and there are other people who are fortunately on my same team with this but it’s like um if it frankly in in my world. If a rule is not written down It’s not a rule. You can’t expect people to abide by unwritten rules if it’s such a god damn fucking important rule write it down. You can see why everybody loves me. Um.

So we’ve we’ve run into this before where we’ve had like people violate unwritten rules and then everybody’s like oh censure them. They’re bad and wrong because they broke this this rule I’m like how were they supposed to know it was a rule and they’re like well everybody knows. I don’t know. It’s like this insular community thing part of the things we’re working to change and it has changed a whole lot just in in my type. Um, but so this like suddenly the lingo was illuminated for me an epiphany. Now I understand scrambled eggs! If you don’t get that joke you haven’t been listening to this podcast long enough. Ah, um, if you want me to you can ping me and I’ll explain it. But. It yeah I will explain in here. Um, but I was testing my theory out with someone else. I said you know this has occurred to me that when people say in SFWA say that something is fan-based as opposed to professional they’re referring to aspiring writers. As opposed to established writers and and she looked at me and she’s like well yes why god so that’s why when they were like hurling this accusation at RWA a allowing fans in what they mean is that they rwa has no bar for membership. And if you’re an aspiring writer with no cred whatsoever. You can join so somehow I don’t know it would be wouldn’t you sociologists out there I would love for you to retrace this history of how this became a thing of calling. People who want to become writers fans I mean in some ways I could see the trajectory right? because all writers start out as enthusiastic readers right. So okay, I’m gonna touch on this thing that I’m reading. Ah I don’t I don’t want to annoy certain people is my hesitation here. Um, somebody yesterday when I we were talking about something else entirely. But when I was chatting with some of these girls.

To answer entertain me that they always make me happy and they um, we’re talking about something I’m not even gonna I’m gonna dance around it as much as possible tippay tap. And I said um yeah, and I said I try to keep my mouth shut about that and this other girl said um well that she had she had gotten in trouble with with somebody for saying something and you know and she said that she was you know afraid for her career that they could really hurt her career. And I said well I’m not afraid but I do try to keep my mouth shut on some things because I am aware you know and they said well if we you know unless people like you tell us, then? how are we supposed to know and I’m like yeah I know I try to walk this line but sometimes I just. Give my opinion and say yeah I don’t think that you need to be involved with that. Ah, and then I do my little zipper face. Um I am aware that my babblings here are anywhere that in so that I am. Even though I say opinions my own that I do also representative what to some extent and I don’t want anybody to think that. My opinions are Sifwa’s opinions and so I I try to be careful. Also I’m careful about what I say on record and I said that to these scos and it’s hard because it’s been pandemic but you know I said you know it’s a standing thing. Buy me a drink you even wouldn’t have to buy me a drink because odds are I’d already have one at the bar. Um, and I will tell you in person anything you want to know it’s just I don’t want stuff in print where somebody can come back and say you know did you slam this person. You know? because even though I’d say well I think they deserve it. Um, some things are with it. Some things aren’t so so anyway I’m doing a reread of a series that I read first. It’s it’s pretty extraordinary. Really this was one of the first books I ever bought on my brand new kindle back in the day and I’m not going to give a year so you guys can’t sleuth out what I’m reading but um because I know how y’all are, but and I loved this book.

Love this book and I love this series until I felt like the series kind of went off the rails so that could be any number of series right? Um, but yeah I I remember I got that Kindle for Christmas from my mother. They were very expensive then. And thank you mom and I bought 3 books and this was one of them. You know, bought them on my kindle you guys it was like ah the angels were singing. It was the best thing and 1 of the best things was is that at the end of this book I had to read the next book and I could read it immediately and all your kids out there who don’t know what it was like when we didn’t have remote controls. Um, there were so many times when you. Had to wait so long to get the next book in the series and and not because it wasn’t out because you couldn’t find it anywhere. Um, you know doing things like in our library alone. There was no online ordering of any sort dinosaurs roamed the earth you had to watch out so that you didn’t get. Eaten by the tyrannosaurus rex on the way to the newsstand you know you could ask your local bookstore to order it but sometimes they couldn’t get it sometimes they wouldn’t get it if it was romance sometimes they would be like yeah um, so. So it was a miraculous thing. Ah and I’m sure younger people get really sick of older people waxing on about the amaze mean amazing things about technology. But I think I’ve told you guys this that i. Said to my grandson he was doing something on his phone and I said you know there was a time when we only used those to make phone calls and he goes ah I know everybody tells me that was like you okay, fine kid that’s but it’s true. Ah. But yeah, being able to buy that second book was yeah angels wept so now I’m rereading the series and it’s just interesting to read it with my lens now because when I first read that I was not writing fiction or I was just. Beginning to dabble in fiction. And yeah, it’s it’s interesting to reread it? Um, yeah, and that’s all I’m going to say at this point I’m not Goingnna talk about what my trigger was to start reading this or other thoughts. Maybe I will later.

And no know um did I have a point in bringing that up now who knows who knows Jeffe do you have a point about anything question and well so let’s see god so this week’s going to be intense working on this book. Getting it done. Um, the revision going fine. That’s weird. Ah this is a weird book doesn’t do I say this every single time don’t I um, but yeah, this is a different kind of book. I don’t even know what more to say about it than that I mean the revision is going fine but I keep worrying that I don’t even know what I’m worried about on it. It’s just um. Not following the trajectory that I expected I ah somebody asked if my last week I made the reference to the Groundhog day loop no I’m not doing that with lean on right I had I almost wish I had it’s too late now. Because that would have been an entertaining thing to do but no, it’s more that they they’re making incremental progress but it is you know how when you’re trying to figure out a relationship like that. You know you just do a lot of retreading and falling back into bad habits. So anyway, it’s moving forward I’m I’m making progress on this revision I think I have something like a hundred pages still to revise and then. Maybe be longer. That’s this is my concern is it’s looking like instead of being the 95000 words I wanted right now the beats are looking more like 102K fuck me. So yeah I could always push the date out I could. You know, extend the release date by a week but I really want this release in may get that money in may um, maybe that’s not as that important we shall’ll see so anyway I’m gonna go get to work instead of babbling on about it. Hope you guys are ready to kick off your Monday have a good week and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow take care bye bye.

The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in an Insane World

This week has seen a landslide of member resignations from RWA members. Former presidents Leslie Kelly and Dee Davis, working with acting executive director Leslie Scantlebury – all people I like and respect as effective leaders – offered a plan to help the current skeleton board restore RWA. They were refused and Leslie posted the news and her member resignation on Twitter. Other amazing authors and leaders like Beverly Jenkins and Kristan Higgins have resigned their memberships, too. RWA has posted severely reduced registration rates for the National Conference in July – an event I once built my calendar around – and all I can envision is a ghostly empty hotel with echoing hallways where thousands of my friends once gathered.

It’s all so difficult and heart-breaking, and it feels like a microcosm of the greater political landscape in the U.S. and the world.

At the same time that I’m grieving these losses, I’m preparing a workshop I’ll be giving (remotely) to the New England Chapter of RWA (NECRWA): The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in the Writing Business. I’ve been making plenty of notes on how to reframe the presentation to include handling the great disappointments RWA national has been handing us.

In fact, I think I should just change the presentation title to “The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in an Insane World.” Really, that’s what it all comes down to. The avalanche of news can rock our boats to the point where we take on water and capsize. But we do have control of that – something I have to continually remind myself. Even though RWA has felt like a framework that has supported me these last dozen years, and though it’s easy for me to conflate the success of my career with the well-being of RWA, I have to remember those things aren’t true.

I take a moment to gaze out the window at the snow-covered landscape, at the mountains in the distance, always there through storms and the rise and fall of the light. Setting up my good camera on the tripod, I get photos of the moon caught in the bare winter branches of a tree against a peach sky.

My boat stabilized and serene, I sail on.