I Ditched my Cell Phone – and Survived


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To me it was no big deal, but based on the reactions I’ve received so far, you’d think I’d committed matricide. “You what?” “How could you possibly live without your phone?”

I’m living, and living just fine, thanks. I got rid of something I didn’t need – we do that all the time. Spoiled food, stained t-shirts, toxic relationships. I ditched a device that I rarely used but still paid about a hundred bucks a month to keep. Kind of like cable.

When I’m home (most of the time, writing my next novel), I have access to a land line (even though I hate answering or talking on the phone), Facebook messenger, and email. Friends can find me. When I’m at work (usually a couple of days a week), I’m…working! Yeah, no time for the phone. I bring my iPad with me and check messages and posts during lunchtime.

But…but…what about taking pictures of your food when you’re in a restaurant? What about checking in when you’re at the beach, or a concert, just to let everyone know where you are? Did it. Don’t do it anymore. Realized most people don’t care anyway, especially if they’re not having as good a time as you are.

I may pick up another phone later this year – look, I’m not against them, and I stay well connected online. If I find I need a cell phone, I’ll get one, probably a low-end model. It’s all about choices, and for now, I’m delighted with this one.

Okay, have at me! Or better yet – tell me what you’ve given up recently.

The Past Week’s Roundup (still shaking my head)


Late last Friday, I learned that it was the 60th birthday of a celebrity. If you know me, you know that I’m not a celebrity junkie, but I do have a handful of favorites. And one of mine was celebrating a birthday. I posted a public comment on Facebook and wished him a happy birthday. When I typed his name, his picture popped up, which meant he was also on Facebook. So I sent him a friend request. And he accepted it, all in the space of about ten minutes. Now my comment about his birthday could be read by all of my FB friends, including….him. One of my college friends posted a couple of lines about how much she also loved his work, the roles he’s played. At one point, he replied, and she was deliriously happy. It was cute – she was positive and complimentary, and he took her comments in the manner they were intended.

The next day, I was up early, and the comments on that post continued. Most people still didn’t realize that my celebrity “friend” could read the comments, and one person posted something that may have been misinterpreted as a derogatory comment. The famous guy responded and did not sound happy. I realized that the comment thread was unraveling, especially as another of my friends posted directly to him that she thought he was rude. Damage done. I sent him a private message, apologizing to him, and removed the entire thread of comments. He has stated that he’ll simply block anyone he finds offensive, and he has every right to do that.

People think there is anonymity from behind the keyboard. According to Sherry Turkle, psychologist and MIT professor of the social studies of science and technology, “we’re less inhibited online because we don’t have to see the reaction of the person we’re addressing. Because it’s harder to see and focus on what we have in common, we tend to dehumanize each other,” she says. You can read the entire article here. Anyway, I’m still friends with Che/George/Saul, and happy about that.

Our Christmas tree is up and lit. Well, pre-lit. Four years ago, after struggling with needles and sap and twisted, unreliable strings of lights, we broke down and bought an artificial, made-in-China, pre-lit Christmas tree. Yes, at times I yearn for the real deal, but this is the tree we have, and it’s pretty.

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The rest of the week was filled with editing and baking. And tonight we saw the movie “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, an Irish actor (go figure). Sally Field played his wife Mary, but I can’t help thinking of Gidget or The Flying Nun whenever I see her. Still, she’s ageless, and the film is very, very good. Try to squeeze it in amidst all the other things you have to do.

Pre-Launch of My First Novel


For nearly a year now, I’ve been working on my first novel, and it’s almost ready for publication.  I finished it!  It just needs to be formatted for e-readers.

I’ve decided to self-publish, and to have a digital version only.  Why?  Well, a lot of people now have a Kindle, or Nook, or iPad.  And if they don’t, they still can read a digital version of my book on a computer.  I’m self-publishing, meaning I format the manuscript, create the book cover, write the bio, and do all the marketing.  I chose this after a year of reading posts by authors and publishers, understanding that the publishing world today is so different than it was thirty years ago (when I was dreaming about a career as a writer), and, if I am to be honest, not wanting to spend months or years sending electronic queries to publishing houses, waiting for replies (rejections), when I can get my work out there.  I don’t believe that traditional publishing is validation.

Look, I don’t know who will read “Chocolate for Breakfast.”  I know some of my friends will.  But I didn’t write it to make a lot of money.  I wrote it because I love to write.  Whether it’s these weekly blog posts (or daily last April during the “A to Z Blog Challenge”) or writing and rewriting my first novel, I’m doing what I love.  I hired an editor to, well, to edit, to polish the manuscript, and I believe it’s the best it can be.  I’ve built my platform through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and, thanks to the fabulous Tonya Kappes (http://tonyakappes.blogspot.com/), I’ve learned how to market.

One thing Tonya suggested was to create a Pinterest board for my book.  Are you familiar with Pinterest?  I joined months ago, put up some recipes, some of the places I’ve traveled to, but never really got into it.  To me, it seemed better suited for a bride-to-be or a home decorator.  But I had a lot of fun creating a board for “Chocolate for Breakfast.”  I found pictures of places relevant in the book.  Then I thought about who should be cast in the movie version (hey, a girl can dream!), so I posted photos of some of the people I imagined in the roles of Timmy, Karl, Hanna.  Now, you can look at the board http://pinterest.com/marthari/chocolate-for-breakfast/ and have an idea about the book, even before it’s out.

Hoping for a July 3rd launch date, but a lot of it depends on the formatting and getting it all ready for Amazon.  I’ll be back here to shout when it’s ready!