#AtoZChallenge: Weekend Reads V – L is for Low Self-Esteem, Life Sucks, and Electric Lit

stormtrooper music 2018 photos antique shop

Boy howdy.

AtoZ2019LThe stars aligned with the big L on the forehead today, didn’t they? Today’s must-reads take on a couple of sticking points and problem areas. They’re good reads, though. I hope you get as much out of them as I did.

When I feel that self-esteem taking kidney punches on the ropes, I duck and cover and pray for the bell to end the round.

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#AtoZChallenge: J is for Journalist, a #GirlsRock Interview with Esther Robards-Forbes

stormtrooper scarf 2018 photos antique shop

It’s cool when I run into someone in the biz.

AtoZ2019JNo, not showbiz. The newspaper biz. Usually, you can tell by the scuffed shirt cuffs and clothes bought in 1986. Used. Not in this case, though. Esther Robards-Forbes and I both worked for the Charlotte Observer back in the day.

She’s now in public relations at the University of Texas.

We had a conversation years ago that would have been one of the earliest #GirlsRock interviews. Instead, it sat in drafts, like those old archive rooms back in the newsroom. It was an awesome find for me.

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#AtoZChallenge: G is for #GirlsRock interview with realtor Kristen Foxx

stormtrooper clapboard 2018 photos antique store

Kristen Foxx and I got lost together.

AtoZ2019GSeparately. Then together. We didn’t know where to go for a realtors event. It had a speakeasy theme. I haven’t been in a speakeasy since 1931. Neither one of us dressed the part, either.

There was plenty of gangsters and flappers, but Kristen and I were so 2019. (Well, 2017, for me. Forgive me. I’m a dad.)

We found our way eventually to the right room, although we bumbled into the wrong one first. This place had better food, to be honest. And I met with a coaching colleague of mine, and suddenly, Kristen found herself being introduced to someone she didn’t know.

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#AtoZChallenge: B is for Baggett (as in Laura, the actress, and #GirlsRock interview)

stormtrooper the clauses 2018 vacation antique shop
It snowed on Tuesday in Charlotte. So …

I like the commercials.

AtoZ2019BLove them, in fact. Not the screamy ones. Not those that scream a phone number 3,296 in 30 seconds. And not those that play the worst music ever imaginable to grab my attention.

I like funny, relatable commercials.

Sometimes, it’s for Jiff Peanut Butter. Sometimes, it’s a new drug with 3,296 side effects. Sometimes, it’s a hilarious commercial about appliances dying, with a grim reaper and adorable actor hitting her knees and begging for mercy.

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#GirlsRock: An Interview with Master Careers Director Laurie James

stormtrooper owl february coffee gatlinburg tn
We used to send Madison pictures of every owl we came across. Who am I kidding? We still do.

Writing is like an onion.

Strike that. Writing is like a river. No, doesn’t feel right. Writing is like … well, something you have to peel back sometimes. And it’s also something that flows, sometimes beyond its banks, but can never really be stopped.

So maybe writing is like an onion river.

In any case, today’s #GirlsRock guest knows a very specific art of writing: The resume. That sneaky thing we prance about when we’re unhappy at work or … out of a job. It’s the key to everything, yet we often treat it as an afterthought.

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10 Things Grateful, plus a couple of days of boorish behavior

stormtrooper mindcraft
At first, I titled this photo “stormtrooper fortnite.” Yeah. It’s 1:05 a.m. and I’m 47 years old.

I’ve been wrong a lot in the past 24 hours.

Mostly, at Mallard Creek Park. Mostly, about soccer and about failing eyesight. See, I faulted the officials in our high school game of missing a horrible foul against us. Twenty-four hours later, I did the same during Camdyn’s game.

Say what you want about officials (mostly concerning eyesight), but upon further review, my gripes were misguided.

Maybe as I silently wish for refs who’ve passed eye exams, I should remember my own last eye exam was during the Obama administration. Or when Jefferson Starship was making its comeback. I don’t remember.

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#GirlsRock: An interview with actor, director, producer, singer, blogger, and mom Kate Bergeron

stomrtrooper gatlinburg coffee bear
A stormtrooper makes an early morning stop at a Gatlinburg coffee and donut shop

I love Instagram.

Of all the social media platforms, it’s the one you can really interact with people you might not otherwise. Post a pretty picture – and someone, anyone – might like it. And then you follow them, and they follow you. Sometimes, they’re actors that you admire, too.

That’s how actor Kate Bergeron and I met.

She’s an actor. She’s a director. She sings. She writes. She thinks. She’s swoony. And dammit to hell, she’s really effing funny. And real. She has a cool job and does cool things. She does cooler things still away from her job.

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#GirlsRock: An interview with recruiter Liz Khodak

stormtrooper buffalo elk lion
Kind of reminds me of a Madonna video.

A writer finds himself, you know, between chapters sometimes.

When that happens, he finds the usual roundup of possibilities: Contract jobs that never seem to fill, positions for nameless companies that might want to talk to you. Maybe. If only you could talk with someone who can find you a job you’d love

Meet Liz Khodak.

Visiting her office uptown during a job search years ago was different. We sat at a table and talked. She listened. She took notes. (I tried to read them, but I’m lousy at reading upside down.) It was a very different experience.

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Go Ask Daddy about family dynamics, flavoring coloring and manned Martian missions

stormtrooper antique store records
Vinyl is making a comeback. What happened to all my Hall & Oates albums?

I grew up uncle rich.

I’m not talking rich uncles. I’m talking men who took the role to heart. I want to recognize each here with a little shoutout. I love them all (and my aunts too).

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10 Things Grateful, plus a stellar book to buy today

stormtrooperschoolhouse

Who is your favorite writer?

More to the point: How did they get there? For most of us, it’s picking up a Jennie Ritz novel or Lee Smith masterpiece or sinking your literary teeth into some Pat Conroy while on a Carolina beach trip and you find something. Something that resonates.

See, I got it all ass-backward with my favorite writer.

Corey Wheeland was a writer before she was my friend. She became a published author just last night. This same friend with a similar heart and a marvelous daughter that shines like she ate the rings of Saturn for breakfast had a book released on Thursday.

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