Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Don't You Love Words?

I admit it - I’m addicted to words. I collect them like seashells, picking them up and stashing them in my electronic pocket for safekeeping. One day I’ll have time to bring them all out, spread them on my desk, and listen to the lovely cacophony. Some day.

For now, I enjoy them as they appear on my laptop’s screen. Yesterday it was “blurb.” Writers and those in publishing use it all the time. Eavesdrop on author conversations and you’ll hear things like, “You got Laura Lippman to blurb your book? Wow!” Translation: The very talented and elegant author of award-winning mysteries, Laura Lippman, has written a laudatory description for the cover of that lucky author’s book. Blurbs help sell books, and snagging a top name is a coup.

I always assumed blurb was a shortened version of some other word, much as “blog” is short of “web log.” But yesterday I learned it was made up by author Gelett Burgess. He defined it as “self-praise; to make a noise like a publisher.” Burgess wrote many fiction and non-fiction books, but was best known – to his dismay – for the “Purple Cow” poem.

If you’re a word lover you may have heard or read The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. I was delighted to learn you can get it delivered every day to your desktop, complete with gems like “blurb.”

And then there’s “susurration”….

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

They Mean Business

Picture a meeting room holding about 50 entrepreneurs. The noise level is a low roar as conversations overlap onto greetings and handshake introductions, “elevator” speeches and business card exchanges. The businesses represented are as varied as Web design, commercial cleaning, engineering, and mortgage banking. These small business owners graze the hors d’oeuvres, patronize the bar, and network like crazy. They are all ages, nationalities, and races. Oh yes, and they are all women.

You’ve just entered a NAWBO meeting. The National Association of Women Business Owners was formed more than 30 years ago, and today it is the voice of America’s 10.6 million women-owned businesses. That means that nearly half of all privately-held companies are at least 50% owned by a woman or women. They account for almost $2.5 trillion in sales and employ one out of every seven workers in the U.S. I have trouble wrapping my brain around numbers like that, but you get a sense of the power in the room when you see the leading corporations, banks, publishers, and educational institutions that support the local chapters.

But the best thing about NAWBO meetings is the people. The energy is contagious and empowering – I leave each event feeling I can handle anything. I’ve always been grateful for the welcome extended to me years ago when I stepped tentatively into my first NAWBO wine-and-cheese event. The faces have changed, the chapter has evolved, but the acceptance and encouragement are still there every time.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

And Now I Blog For You

A few minutes ago a new site joined the Web: I Blog For You. At the nudging, pushing and downright insistence of my friend Margaret, I’m expanding my writing services to include blogging for others.

I can see the wrinkled brows from here. You’re thinking, “Isn’t the point of a blog to be intensely personal? How can someone write a blog for another person?” The answer is that it takes some time and communication at first, but it can be done, and done well.

Margaret is one of those people whose life resembles a hurricane. She’s calm in the eye of the storm as chaos roils around her. It’s a classic scenario for her Type E personality (more about Type E’s another time) and it includes zero patience for details. She has an idea, she can see it in finished form, and she wants to simply have it appear. And Margaret wanted a blog.

Now my friend would never actually stop long enough to write a blog. But she would – and did – talk through what she wants the blog to be and do for her real estate business. I Blog For You does the rest, and she concentrates on what she does best. What could be better than a win-win?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Power of One

Imagine receiving an award from your peers - a really important and prestigious award. Not an Oscar, nor Salesperson of the Year or even a Lifetime Achievement recognition. It’s a simple little plaque with a small silver pin attached. But engraved in delicate gold lettering it says:

The Power of One

The little things you do each day have the power to affect a great many people. You inspire us with your willingness and ability to help others. You take on the day one day at a time. Continually searching for a way to make things better, seizing the opportunity to improve everyday life.

You make a world of difference.

Yep. Goosebumps time and maybe a tear or two. I wasn’t there when my friend Margaret received the Humanitarian of the Year award from her fellow real estate CyberStars in San Antonio recently. But I have known her quiet kindness and unobtrusive generosity, and want to add my applause. She is who I want to be when I grow up.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Done Anything Memorable Lately?

That’s the headline on a sunset-orange brochure pinned to my overstuffed bulletin board. Roaring out of the sun is a yellow AT-6 Texan World War II-era airplane. The slick cover promises “High Adventure – Warm Memories – Great Experience.”

The thing is, they make good on their promises; I have the memories, photos, log book, and slightly embarrassing video to prove it. When the adventure was done I didn’t throw away the brochure. It’s still up there because it represents a delightful June morning spent rolling around the sky. And it keeps asking me, “Done anything memorable lately?”

I think a new blog qualifies. Welcome to my wanderings.