Tiny Bit of Crazy

A chronical of the laughter, revelations and transformations that are possible when you embrace the crazy

Two Timing March 22, 2012

Dear Tiny Bit of Crazy,

I’ve been neglecting you. I know this. But I have an excuse.

I hope you’ll hear me out.

At first it might seem like a bad thing, but if you keep an open mind, I think you’ll see, this is good for everyone.

So, the truth is… I’ve been writing for another blog. But not just any blog, and not just writing either… I’m the managing editor for an awesome new blog about storytelling. Its SpeakeasyDC’s blog. I’ve been working on it for a few months, and it just launched this week.

I’ve only written two posts so far, but I’ve spent all the rest of my time finding the other posts, editing them, thinking of new themes and ongoing series to make sure there would always be fresh content. Making sure it doesn’t get stale, or look neglected.

What’s that you say? Like you? Oh.

Oh, well, yeah. I guess so. But only because I’ve learned from you, learned how not having reliably fresh content can kill the momentum. See? I’m better because of you.

But I’m not leaving you, I swear. You’ll always be part of my life, you’ll always be the first place I turn to record all the crazy. I promise. But this other blog is new, its young and it needs me more. But it won’t always be this way, I promise.

But I’ve also learned something in my time away. As much as I love you, TBoC, I’ve always struggled with an internal debate between being a blogger and a Blogger. Being a Blogger requires much more effort, much more intention not to mention attention, and I’ve been afraid to make that commitment, afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through. I just don’t have as much source material as niche bloggers, like those lucky mommy bloggers for example.

What? Oh yeah,thing did start to look better for a minute after Ambien Chris came on the scene, but there’s only so far that could have taken us.

But aside from the issue of source material, which I think falls into the attention category, I’ve never been sure if I’d want to be a Blogger even if I had the content, which is the intention, I think. As I talked about here, I think I’m happier behind the scenes. And my time with the SpeakeasyDC blog has helped me to confirm that.

I’ve loved the time I’ve spent thinking about topics, coordinating writers, editing posts and figuring out my editorial calendar. On a bad day, editing someone’s blog, discussing a new series, or obsessing over the editorial calendar cheers me up.

But it won’t always require this much of my time, I swear. Pretty soon habits will be in place, routines created, short cuts identified, and content stock piled. And then I’ll be back, TBoC, I’ll be back. Not that I’ve ever really even left you. I think of you daily, writing posts for you in my head several times a day. I just haven’t been able to sneak away and write them.

Except for this one, so hey! maybe this is the beginning of the shift! Maybe the worst is over and before we know it we’ll be back to our old ways, spending hours together, obsessing over witty phrases, when to isolate a line for emphasis, and which tags will offer the best SEO.

Just like old times. Only better, because now I know myself better, I know what I want to be when I grow up, and that can only be in both our best interests.

Take a look at what I’ve been doing while I’ve been gone. I think you’ll like it. Or at least respect it.

This is going to be a weekly column (don’t get jealous – I’m not nearly as funny there as I am here) – http://www.speakeasydc.com/2012/03/social-storytelling-vs-performance-storytelling/

and then this one :http://www.speakeasydc.com/2012/03/choose-your-words-carefully/

And just know, Tiny Bit of Crazy, whatever else happens, you’ll always be my first love. That’s got to count for something, right?

Faithfully,

Mer

 

 

Diva Wanna Be February 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Meredith @ 4:49 pm
Tags: , , , ,

My first job after college was working as the lowest level administrative assistant at the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation – essentially the Kennedy Family’s Foundation. Yes, those Kennedys.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the Vice President of the Foundation (her brother, Senator Kennedy was the President, but since he was busy in Congress, Mrs. Shriver was in charge of running the Foundation.)

A big chunk of my job involved doing personal things for Mrs. Shriver. I got her lunch and made her tea every day. When she had visitors or meetings, I got them all coffee. The kitchen was at the opposite end of the floor from her office, so getting coffee was no small task. But her guests were always a big deal – major names in politics or entertainment, so naturally they wouldn’t be getting themselves coffee. That would be ridiculous.

But the idea of “getting coffee” was also symbolic of the expectation by Foundation management – and by “management” I mean anyone who’d worked there longer than 3 months – that everyone would pitch in in any way needed no matter how menial (or odd) the job. In other words, if called upon, the executive director was expected to cheerfully fetch coffee.

Yeah…I never saw an executive director fetch coffee. That’s what I was there for. Which was really fine by me because if I was in the kitchen getting coffee I wasn’t getting yelled at by Mrs. Shriver, or being asked to do 12 things at once, or dodging the creepy blind guy who liked to run his cane up the inside of my leg “by accident”.

But the idea of “getting coffee” as code for “no job too small”, came from Mrs. Shriver herself. If she ever suspected that someone was resistant to doing a menial task, she’d give them the “coffee speech”. It was legendary, and a right of passage for new staff, and went something like this:

“You know, you are never too good to do small things. Everyone has to start at the bottom. Never think you are above getting someone coffee. You know how my daughter Maria, and her best friend Oprah started their careers? Getting coffee on the newsroom floor! And do you know how successful they are now? You know what I did at my first job at the Department of Justice? I got coffee! Now look where I am!”

Fair enough. And I actually took the speech to heart when I first heard it, it resonated with my natural inclination toward being unassuming. Which was why I was a one of Mrs. Shriver’s prefered errand girls.

(Although general consensus among employees is that if any one of that trio EVER got coffee, it was for themselves, and even that feels a stretch. We’re fairly positive that no Kennedy-Shriver ever fetched coffee as a job. But I’m willing to allow that perhaps Oprah did once or twice.)

After I left Mrs. Shriver and the Foundation, I went to a job where I was a manager and so didn’t think I’d have to get anyone coffee anymore. Not that I expected anyone to get me coffee. I didn’t even drink coffee at the time. But I at least thought I was done getting coffee… but it still ended up being my job when we had important people into the office. But it was fine, the conference room was close to the kitchen.

When I started my company I worked out of my home, and my assistant came over 1-2 days a week. I started making coffee, (as well as often cooking her lunch, and have baked goods on hand for her, but that’s a different story. )  I think initially I started making the coffee because I felt like I was hosting her in my home, and by the time I realized that it made more sense for the assistant to spend the time making the coffee instead of the boss, she was seeing it as perk of her employment, and the one day when I was running in three directions at once and suggested she make the coffee, she was so offended I immediately retracted it and from then on always made AND served the coffee.

A major part of my business was running fundraising events for non-profits. A lot of my time was spent bringing coffee to “big deal donors” and their guests.

My point is that I’ve spent a lot of time in my life getting other people coffee. People who either were, or wanted to feel as if they were, more important than me.

Last night I was invited to perform a story for a group of students at the University of Maryland. I was in the car for an hour and 45 minutes to get there. Then I had to find my way to and through an unfamiliar metro to pick up my fellow storyteller. Then we had to find our way to and through campus, to the parking lot, and coordinate with the student who was supposed to meet us and take us to the venue. He took us across muddy grass and over a snow pile. I was wearing high-heeled boots. We walked in just as the show was starting, there were students everywhere in every manner of grouping and to my unfamiliar eyes it seemed chaotic. We oriented to the room, and made our way to a table where it looked like we might find someone in charge. I was starving, dehydrated, and in desperate need of caffeine.

The student we chose to approach was one of the coordinators and gave us an enthusiastic and welcoming greeting. She explained we’d be performing in about an hour, and asked us if we needed anything. My immediate, automatic response was “No, I’m fine.”

She asked again, “Can I get you anything? Water maybe?” And I realized, yes, water would be good before speaking. So I agreed. Then as we continued to chat for another moment before she went to get the waters, I started doing an inventory of how hungry/tired I was, and how long it was going to be before I was on stage, and realized I was definitely going to need more than water. I figured food was out of the question, but perhaps…

 “Is there any coffee?” I asked hesitantly.

“Yes of course!” She said. “We have a Starbucks just around the corner. What would you like?” I skipped my normal complicated flavored coffee preference, and just asked for regular coffee with cream and sugar, ignoring the vague feeling of guilt as I made my request, thinking I should probably just ask her to point me toward the Starbucks instead.  

While she was gone, we were introduced to a few more members of the committee who’d brought us to campus, and we received more enthusiastic and welcoming responses, and I started to shake off the stress of our journey and relax into performance mode. Just as I was starting to feel like the Featured Performer that I was, the student appeared with our coffees.

Someone fetched me coffee. ME! 

Yeah, see I’m kind of a big deal.

Among naive college students at least.

But I’ll take it!

 

 
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