Libbie the Lobster

To purchase the children's book "Saving Libbie the Lobster" go to www.LibbietheLobster.com


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Catching Sunbeams: The Delicate Art of Stopping Time

Although I was unable to attend perhaps the most incredible orchestral music of all time-Led Zeppelin, my friend Becky Pourchot was there and this is what she had to say on the subject of the inevitability of change and of moments slipping away.

The Transparent Author

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This weekend I went to a symphonic concert featuring the music of one of my all-time favorite bands-Led Zeppelin. Hearing the music performed live was intense and wonderful, perhaps one of the highlights of my decade.

As I sat there in the darkened auditorium and watched the violin bows moving in a synchronized dance, beneath the lights that poured on the stage, I felt as if the music was rushing at me like a wild wind, sometimes forceful, sometimes delicate. Two hours of perfection. When my favorite song, Kashmir played, I listened mesmerized. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted sit there into the night, just soaking in the continuous rolling, luscious sound.

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook that made me think of this previous night. A friend was talking of the inevitability of change and reminded me of one of my favorite aphorisms: “This too shall…

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Marketing Blues

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My head is buzzing and my feet are stuck in clay! My fingers are poised on the keyboard but my eyes keep drifting from the computer screen to the ocean outside my windows and I’m trying to think. Thoughts come in words and phrases and follow one after another in a circle. I think you, my readers, may recognize some of these. You know the ones that keep streaming in with no action behind them because they’re circular!

target audience, holiday book signings, tweet, post, blog, write, sell, promote, follow, join groups, comment, like, apply for awards, hashtags, tags, guest blog, email, call, search, watch tutorials, learn more, do more, ad infinitum

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I know the target audience for our book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, is children but young children don’t buy books so how do I appeal to the adults who can’t wait to purchase an awesome, based-on-a-true-story, signed by the authors, one of a kind, fun, funny, educational, artist illustrated, children’s book? “All of the above words in red” you may respond. But which ones work the best? There must be a way to do less and accomplish more — an easier, softer, smarter way that doesn’t include an “Upgrade to Premium” which costs money which is what I’m trying to bring in, not put out.

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I think if I can just finish this blog, I’ll be doing well. But the moment I stop writing, the litany of words starts over again. And too, what about my novel, The Jumping Off Place? It is finished or just about and after it’s finished, there is a whole new target audience!

Maybe there is a solution after all. I haven’t found it yet but there must be one. It’s not rocket science I’m sure, although I think I understand rocket science better than that terrifying word — marketing!

If you can relate, please leave your comments below. If you have solutions, please leave comments below. If you have funny stories or anything that will stop this circular stream of consciousness, please write in the comments below.

And as always, thank you for reading.

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster


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Do You Ever Wonder if You’re a Good Writer?

Thank you as always Tim Baker for your wise words.

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“Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last-ditch stand of the artist.” ~Marshall McLuhan

Writing is a bi-polar occupation.

It can fill you with pride, confidence and satisfaction that you never thought you’d feel (ask any author how it felt to hold that first book in their hands) and it can make you feel unworthy of teaching basic composition to second graders (for more on this, ask an author who gets a rejection letter or a scathing review).

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Since the release of my first novel in 2009 I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many authors and I haven’t met one yet who hasn’t ridden that roller coaster of emotions.

Some jumped off and went in search of pursuits with more predictable results, but most of them hung in there and ran back to get in line for another ride.

I guess that’s…

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The Day I Stopped Trying….

I think we all want to run away from our lives and ourselves from time to time. I’m glad to have learned I take me with me wherever I go. My dear friend and fellow author Becky Pourchot is learning this is true.

The Transparent Author

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I woke up yesterday morning sure as hell I was leaving. I was going to go to Marrakesh. I was going to pack my bags, kiss my kids and my husband goodbye and head overseas. Oh, I’d be back, maybe in a month or two but in the meantime I’d be off wandering open air markets, riding camels for fun, and eating all the humus my heart desired. That’s what one does in Marrakesh, right??

Frankly I knew nothing about this city. It’s in Morocco, right? But I did know- if I could throw a stone over the ocean, from the beach where I mediate each day, I’d hit this far off land.

And flying over the Atlantic to a distant world, where I wasn’t me, where my problems didn’t exist seemed like the best solution…because frankly I was sick of me….this me anyway.

“Traveling Me” wasn’t failing her…

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Annoying Things Only #Writers Will Understand

My friend Tim Baker writes about the true life of a writer. I think he is so right about this. How about you?

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It is said that writers are a different breed. Hopefully the word different isn’t used in place of a less ambiguous word…like warped.

I don’t know if writers can claim exclusive rights to such a label, but they definitely don’t fit neatly within most accepted classifications.

With that being said, I’d like to talk about some annoyances and problems only writers will understand, facepalm

because in many respects we are different—but not in a bad way. There are just some things that we deal with on an almost-daily basis that normal people would react to with a shrug and a “So?”

Here is a partial list of such things – but it’s NOT a Top Ten List

Temptations, Obligations and Favors:

If you’re like me, you have a full time job, and the majority of your writing is done on the weekends.

While your friends are firing up the…

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Life From My Window or Lack Thereof

Barely able to reach the window to see outside, I pull myself up with all my strength. A repeated pattern of houses all in a row meet my view with only the door to tell one from another. And trees, every second or third house has a tree in front. It is all the same tree, growing the same height in the same way. Do the people all look the same too, my child mind wonders.

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Fitting just right on the window seat on a cushion made of forest green velvet I watch the snow falling slowly, gently blown by the wind. The long sloping hill is covered with a bright white mantle. I squint in the brightness to see the sheep with their thick wool coats huddled together in the field at the bottom near the shed. The trees, now bare and snow laden make the woods look mysterious. article-2246917-167B19B2000005DC-697_964x636

Leaning on my elbows looking from the second floor bedroom window, I glance at the driveway below. Mine is like every other along the row. Living in little boxes is boring when everyone’s is the same. But there are flowers on my windowsill even though there are none outside. A088-00146_Flower_pot_on_a_window_sill

A parking lot. All I can see is a parking lot. Oh, I know there is a swimming pool over there somewhere behind the fence but all I can see is a parking lot with cars, some old, some new but none are interesting. I wish it was water, all water out there or a field of flowers, but not a parking lot. download

Curled up on the window seat, I can feel the chill come through the old window frame but I love looking out at the city with all of its life, going on in every which way — buses on their regular route but always late, cabs rushing past everything as if there are no traffic laws, horns honking, people shouting or just talking over the noise. But even in the seeming chaos there is order. One rarely sees the sky here. It is a concrete jungle full of life with a few old trees asserting themselves along the sidewalks. philadelphia-city-center

The horn of a cruise ship bellows and wakes me from my slumber. I turn in my bed to see it across the bay and I smile. I feel like I’m on a boat in the water myself since it’s all I can see from here. Sail boats, and yachts sparkle in the sunlight which also dances on the water. EP-140639983

Looking outside at all is difficult. All I see is these four walls . It is lonely here, there’s not much to do even if I could. I wish I could be in those other places, any other place will do. I am forlorn. armoire-in-bedroom

As I sit writing this now, I turn to look out the windows to my left and there the sun is sliding toward the horizon, the day is coming to an end. In the cloudless sky, the sun is brightest now but I cannot close the blinds. I love the light too much. The large windows to my right show me the magnificent Atlantic Ocean in all its glory. The sun is shining on the break of the waves making them bright white in contrast to the slate blue of the incessantly moving sea. The palm trees are swaying in the onshore breeze common to this time of the day. So many windows, so much to see. This is truly home to me. flagler-beach-municipal

As always, thank you for reading and whatever you see from your windows, I hope the view is filled with wonder for you as it is for me.

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/


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The Agony and the Ecstacy of Writing

I am a writer. At least that’s what I call myself. I write. That’s what writers do — we write. Right?

I have been telling people I am a writer for a couple of years now, which is not very long I know. Each time I hear the words leave my mouth, I wonder if I will ever finish my novel, The Jumping Off Place. Write-and-keep-on-writing

I love the experience of writing once I begin. It’s the starting that is torturous for me. I can think of a thousand unimportant things that simply must be done before I can sit down and immerse myself in a wonderful, timeless journey into the world of my story. Am I filled with self-doubt to the point that I choose to ignore those around me who consistently tell me I write well? Or am I perhaps afraid I will actually succeed after all?

Certainly at the end of a day of writing, I feel quite accomplished and even energized. I am closer to the end of the story than when I began. In fact, the end is in sight. I can see it! It is so close I can taste it. So what keeps me from sitting down for as long as it takes to write 2,500 more words, the last two being, THE END?

For the last two years I have been climbing a mountain, a very high, rocky mountain with several difficult obstacles. There have been times when I thought I reached the summit. It was beautiful there. Maybe that was good enough, I thought. Did I really need to go on climbing? I could sit back and enjoy the success of the climb to that point couldn’t I? But climb on I did. I went on with trepidation and doubt, but go on I did. Little by little, one step at a time, I climbed ahead.

My attempt at metaphor may have been flimsy but nonetheless, it describes my uphill journey as a writer. The beautiful place I spoke of, was the publishing of our children’s book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, of course. But meanwhile my novel sat unfinished. I had a yearning to tell the story I had inside of me, the one I had begun to write. After all, I  want to leave a legacy in some small way that I have been here.

I look forward to the day when I can look back on this time with my novel in hand, in awe, and wonder how I could have struggled so.

Many thanks to my readers. I would love to hear if any of you experience these same struggles and if so, how you overcome them.

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

https://twitter.com/MJeitner


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The Ta-da Factor

Wise thoughts from my friend Becky M. Pourchot.

The Transparent Author

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Over the past few days I’ve done some very important, very nonscientific social research. And lucky you get to hear the results–

So, my new book came out on Amazon a few weeks ago. (www.BeckyPourchot.com) The whole thing happened faster than I expected, and Amazon posted the paperback three days earlier than planned.

I was thrilled beyond belief when I saw it up there, so without much thought I shouted it out to the Facebook world sharing how absolutely ecstatic I was that my “baby” was finally out in the world.

My friends and supporters shared my post like mad. It was amazing.

There was one problem.

This “announcement” was too soon. The kindle edition wasn’t out yet, so people were heading to my site and the kindle version wasn’t there.

Nothing was choreographed like I hoped. My words in the post weren’t carefully crafted, just blurted out…

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You Know You’re a Writer When…

“Can I have your name please,” asked the young woman behind the large registration desk in the hospital earlier today as she raised her eyes and looked at me stoically.

Glancing at her name tag, I said cheerfully, “Hi Nicole! I am Marybeth Jeitner and I’m here for a procedure. I had an appointment at 10:00 AM and I know I’m late. Sorry about that.”

Nicole smiled politely as she got busy on the computer to find my name. After some difficulty and a phone call to find out where I was supposed to be, she told me to go to the 2nd floor registration desk where she was sure I should be.

Nicole could not have known that my morning was already a comedy of errors. I was laughing to myself about how hard I had tried to be responsible to be where I’m supposed to be, dress appropriate to the situation (in this case, dressing down for medical professionals–dreads pulled back, no biker shirts and cover most of the tattoos, and shoes instead of sandals–my mother would be so proud), and be on time. But none of that went as planned. After receiving a call from the hospital nuclear medicine department that I needed to have the surgeon mark the spot for the procedure, at the exact moment I was ready to walk out my door, directions in hand, sweater for the air conditioned hospital, phone fully charged…well, you get the picture.

Now at that moment, I had choices:

1) I could be angry because no one told me sooner and because the delay was going to cause me to be late for my appointment. I’d have to spend time and money to go in the opposite direction to my doctor’s office first…if he could even see me to mark the spot. OR, 2) I could have chuckled and realized this is just life. This is my life. I continually get lessons about lightening up and not taking things so darned seriously.

So, to continue with my story, after having driven north to my doctor and then an hour south to the hospital, I found myself in front of Nicole, who could not find my name in her computer. Shaking off my desire to burst into laughter, I turned my attention to the beautifully clear sound of classical piano music in the large lobby. heinz loft 1b_27 To my amazement there stood a magnificent baby grand piano. I couldn’t see the keys from where I stood but I was sure someone sat playing the melody I heard. I looked more closely but no one sat at the piano. Clearly the sound came from it. Suddenly an eerie feeling came over me and a story about a ghost who played the baby grand incessantly formed in my mind. I knew that writers see stories everywhere but never had one come to me in quite that way. It was exhilarating!

But my adventure was just beginning. On arrival at the registration desk on the 2nd floor, I was greeted by a woman whose facial expression said, “Who are you and don’t answer that because I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Smiling a little too much I think, I told her my name and why I was there. After searching several lists of names, she said, “I don’t have you here but I will find someone who can tell us where you are supposed to be.”

I began to notice that everyone I made eye contact with, smiled at me. My humorous attitude toward the fiasco was catching on. As I sat waiting, I noticed many others were waiting to be called for whatever procedures or surgeries they needed so I did what any writer would do, I began adding them to my burgeoning hospital story of the piano playing ghost. My imaginings were interrupted by the receptionist saying, “Mrs. Jeitner, I’m sorry but you are supposed to register downstairs.” Much to her surprise it seemed, I began to laugh. I told her it was okay and that I liked the ghost playing the classical piano on the first floor. She began to laugh with me as did several people who overheard us. I left them behind sensing I had made a small difference in there otherwise serious and difficult situations.

Standing once again in front of Nicole who was apologizing profusely as she hurriedly had me sign papers, I saw a forlorn, frail woman in a wheelchair nearby. Before long, we engaged in a conversation about the beautiful music being played by the ghost. Laughter rang out from surrounding offices as people within earshot, heard me telling the story of the pianist who was trapped in the lobby of the hospital causing havoc with the computers by his music which often had the effect of sending patients from floor to floor trying to find where they were supposed to be and kept receptionists pulling out their hair in utter confusion.

Finally my procedure was to begin so I bid adieu to my happy audience and as I turned to say goodbye to the gentle woman in the wheelchair, she looked up at me with the brightest eyes, and a smile from ear to ear. She waved a weak hand and we said goodbye.

My attitudes are catchy, this is true and I am a writer who sees a story in the most unlikely places. What began as a comedy of errors today, became an opportunity to bring a some joy where there was little and had the further effect of providing me with a beautiful picture emblazoned in my mind of a gentle, sad, frail woman in a hospital wheelchair who felt joy for a moment with me and perhaps because of me–a writer of stories.

Thoughts, ideas and comments are welcome.

As always, thank you for reading.

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/

https://twitter.com/MJeitner