Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Fat Day, Selfies & Why All The Love



This is not my real hair.
I just celebrated my first Mardi Gras last week. First thing to know. It was cold by New Orleans (NOLA) standards. Thank the Universe, Buddha, the Goddess whoever you will for encouraging mi amiga, Watson, for making sure I owned a jacket. 

So I scored a lot of beads without lifting my shirt once and skipped the alcohol consumption because it’s not really my jam. And I had an amazing time because I snapped a series of selfies with random people and asked them what the loved most about the Mardi Gras experience. 

"Everybody gettin' down on the streets 
and havin' a good time together."
"This! This is it. This is that moment."
"Costumes, creativity. Everything."
"Look around you, man. This ..."

Bonus Pic 'cause dude's costumes is beast.


Grand Budapest Hotel
Radio station bumper stickers.

I only have an eye for you, baby.
"Community."
"Used car lots!"


video



"OMG! All these crazy fucking people letting loose 
for a day. I love how everybody is celebrating life. 
You can feel it in the energy."
Unicorns or bust! 
Cards Against Humanity timeout.
Sunset Jacket.
"The glitter. These people all around me.
I love that I'm spending it in this community."
"It's really inspiring. How everyone is
doing their thing and not afraid of
doing it."
Speaker system for street dancing.
Random Cool Bike + Woman
Bloody Mary topped with bacon, jalapeƱos
& cheese on a bun.
"The craziness. You can do anything.
And Beads!!!"
"The community & the costumes and the glitter." 
"Coming out and seeing all the costumes."
Street Art
Puddle reflection.
Sticker Art
"Having ____ in the _______ of a dark ______." 

"The soul. The jazz. The freeness. It's just a good vibe."
"Wait? What's the question?"
And that's a few moments from the streets of New Orleans on Fat Tuesday 2015. Thanks for the memories.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sometimes You Miss It

Steve Perry sang it best, "The road ain't no place to start a family," and so goes the life of the accidental gypsy. 

Corpus Christi, Texas. 
Pop. 300,000 +

What to know about the big CC? One of the windiest cities in America, home to a gigantic warship, death place of Selena and a number two party spot for Spring Breakers. 

And for me right now the place where I slept through the 5:15 A.M. alarm and have missed my flight back to New Orleans where I currently have a front room futon with my name on it. 

I never miss a flight. 
I never botch travel. 
It's kinda become my #2 best thing. 

Universal intervention? Difficult to say, but it sure makes for a strange in what was to be an otherwise ordinary day. I'm still drop dead fool tired and not sure what method of transport will get me back to NOLA. 

One thing is for sure. I'm not thumbing it. 

The view from the 7th floor Shoreline Drive hotel is snazzy. It overlooks the luscious possibilities of the Gulf of Mexico. Joggers on the jog. Birds on the perch. Empty white legless benches just waiting. And the water ... there it is just moving. 

Breakfast taquitos are in my immediate future, and I've got a rental car until 4pm I think. That's long enough to consider the possibilities of the universe deep fried on a stick and crack out a few pages on a novel. It's long enough to maybe see my childhood friend Jody over a Texas Sized cup of Sweet Tea and reminance of when I useta steal his toys for two days, play with them and bring them back for another set. Sort of a community share program implemented by me, myself and the I. 

What a weird kid I was ... what a weird adult I still am. 

So maybe Steve Perry was right. About the road. But it is definitely a place to hear someone else's story and continue to write your own. 

Peace, kindness and rock the word!





Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How We Win

Author Barry Lyga gave a keynote at YAK Fest 2015 about how life is about failing. How we learn and grow from the very act of not succeeding. And for all Barry's success, the man has failed a lot.

So often we are told to be the best. Number one at all costs. Perfection without rejection. Zero failure. But that is soooooo loaded. By whose standards are these? More often than not, they aren't our own and so plays that Song of the Year

"You + Failure = Bad"


And maybe it's some version of Iggy Azalea and/or Drake singin' in your head:

Let me hear you
Hate on me
'Cause I suck at everything
Never get it right
Let me hear you hate on me

'Cause I fail shit all the time ...
Everything I do ain't right
Why even try?
I hate on me

And we learn this degrading tune, making it out mantra. 

#thatissonobueno

Now, I'm not suggesting failing out of school, failing to pay your phone bill or even failing to take personal responsibility for your actions is on the up and cool so you can "learn." That would be a negatory. 

What I believe is that we get knocked down. Sometimes a little harder than expected or needed, but it is how we rise back up. How we stand in our self when back on our two badass feet that determines the "what's next."

Yeah, I know. This is all a little woo-heavy. Humor me. It's a day in the week ending in "Y," and I am thinking on this because it has circled in conversation all around me lately. 

Fear. 

Failure. 

How the Double F has so much power in grid locking us from taking reasonable risks. Like risks when writing, drawing, painting, slamming -- speaking our truth or passion through image. How this Double F keeps us from being heard. 

What if I fail?

I say fail. Word!

I dare you to fail. Fail with abandon and absolute unbridled you-missed-the-mark. 

You will grow.

Multiple award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller received 126 rejection letters before publishing her first book. 126! That's a whole lotta fail, but ask her if she didn't grow. 

I tell my friends when they are afraid to ask someone for what they need, "What's the worst thing that can happen? They can say no, right? Well, if you don't ask, it's already a no."

We are so terrified to be made vulnerable and real and possibly be rejected. It keeps us from reaching our potential. Then we get all manifesty and scream the profane at some dude or dudette that cut us off on I-99. Or we self-deprecate when we feel vulnerable. Fear and the possibility of failure keeps us trapped. 

#asupernobueno

I'm an author, a filmmaker and artivist. I dream big and hard and live with a lot of passion, hope and creativity. It's not a perfect life, but as lives go I'm lucky. See, I get to excite and empower young people ... I have this precious opportunity to mirror back their best selves. And working with them mirrors to me things I never imagined I could do. But I have failed A LOT to get to this place. 

Repeat the lyric: But I have failed A LOT to get to this place. 

And I will fail again. 

Because in this epic result of human imperfection, I, like you, can't always get it right. But what I can do and what you can do is make that failure your teacher. Learn from it. Don't hit Repeat bad mantra song. 

Write a new ending. One where you don't stop living your hope, truth and voice because you are afraid ...

To fail.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Kisses, Heartache & Celebrations

New Orleans, LA
Day Before Fat Tuesday

The film the Peaceful Warrior streams in HD. A cold front blows through scratching loose leaf limbs against the house. And then a neighbor's wind chimes call me to that place where I had my first real kiss in tiny town Mathis, Texas. 

Population: itty on the bitty. 

Everyone knows the first one. Where the space between breath and lips is an eternity. Where it kinda feels like the half-time Super Bowl show is happening. Dancing sharks. Big lights. Missy Elliot stealing the stage. And that's just a moment in the hang-time.

Yeah, so kisses. And cold fronts, wind chimes and the stale smell of chili, and a memory of south Texas and Richard Marx's Endless Summer Nights on vinyl. (And this is pre hipster reclaim of the spin). 

And life was soooo hard back then in sooo many ways, but still, there was a first kiss ... That didn't suck. 

That was before Columbine. That was before September 11th. That was before the world falling down inside the classrooms and from thousands of feet up. That was before Mike Brown and Trayvon and three students slain in Chapel Hill. That was before some of those horrors and heartaches began living in our souls. 

Topic. Shift. 

I was standing on a street corner on Orleans Ave Saturday. Showed up a few hours before the shoulder-to-shoulder people in motion Endymion parade. Nothing but a backpack and the curiosity for what NOLA calls Mardi Gras. 

I don't drink, drug, smoke or engage in the regional debauchery. There is still fun to be had. I walked the streets. Peeling though the peeps and kept my ear to the stories. People say all kinda of truths when they think no one is listening. 

And along Orleans Ave, under a tree draped in colored beads I saw this guy and gal. It was a first kiss moment. The soundtrack of their scene was Trombone Shorty, a woman hollering at her son and sirens from squad car cruisers. And I don't think it mattered because they had that exchange in the range between eyes and uncertain lips. 

They had that first kiss. Different than mine and probably yours. But it was theirs and ironically on V-Day. 

I take pics of every little thing but this ... it didn't seem mine to take. This was their moment to light up. To have butter and flies or Whatev. For a moment, the chaos of the world and even my own life softened. 

It was about this. Just this.






Saturday, February 14, 2015

Let's Be Honest ..

February 14, 2014Love Day 

I am terrible at the art of blogging. At this hour, 1:47 in the a.m. I am wiped out. Sleeping in an airport in baggy shorts and chill worthy temps teeters on the suckage. My meal consisted of a $1.50 bag of peanuts with the blare of CNN as white noise.

Haven't done this airport smash-crash since January 2014. That was Philly. Epic snow. On the lamb from the Polar Vortex, a soon to be failed relationship and the heartbreak of not having somewhere I could call home. Destination then: California.

It's been over a year. So much has gone down. No doubt. Feature documentary completed. Sold fourth novel. Six weeks in Belgium. Played said documentary across America including the State Capitol of Texas via the Texas Book Festival. 

I've seen young people moved by the movie and I've seen adults moved. I've watched what is the beginning of the creative revolution. Including the nonprofit Never Counted Out. A foundation to bridge the gap between artist and youth on the fringe. A foundation functioning from the goal of access. 

So yeah, I'm terrible at the art of said blogging and my goal in 2015 is that I will do better. But for all those of you wondering, I am out here -- doing for as many people as I can. 

Because I believe the life you change may be the life that changes another to achieve even a heighter sense of greatness. 

So, yes. Welcome to the creative revolution!






Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Road Less Traveled ... Rocks!

Time: 7:35 A.M. (Pacific)
Date: 2013
Location: Red Bluff, CA
Stop #1: Reach Program
Student Type: Fighting To Survive

After a few right turns and a left my escort and camera person for the day, Tom Watson, parks us outside the portable building that hosts the Reach Program. Like many of the programs I've visited since June 28th this is where the discontent, unwanted, misfits of the teen world take refuge, connect and respect their diverse landscape of ethnicity, age and sexuality. Reach kids earn a high school degree outside the confines of traditional education. No pep rallies, glee club or mandatory dress code. Here kids savor the flavor of showing and not hiding who they are.

This is where the brave live.

I fumble my camera and sound gear for the documentary I've been making since I started the Fat Angie book tour. This jaunt across America in rented cars, with donated books (hollar to you A.S. King, C.G. Watson, Kathy Erskine, Meg Medina, Sally Derby & Candlewick Press) and the generosity of friends of strangers who have given me a bed and plate of food still amazes me. I mention this loosely to the kids who have twisted around in their plastic seats.

At the front of the room, I dymystify the GoPro camera by revealing the feed it sends to my iPhone. A few "that's cool" and "sweet" and I quickly assign kids to act as my film crew for the visit.

"This is the part where you make me look good," I say to the crew. "Okay?"

Chuckles spread. A few kids still take the temp on me. I'm down with that. I have to earn their trust.

Tom rolls his camera, and the show is on.

The show? Well, we're at Red Bluff, CA to change lives. Yes, that's exactly what I said. You see, these kids have been counted out more than they've been counted in. They are my chosen fringe-cringe kid community of change makers.

"What did you know about me? Before I walked in?" I say.

Eager Boy In An Oversized White Hoodie Whose Height Can't Catch Up With His Enthusiasm says, "Can I call you rockstar?"

The kids laugh.

"Yes!" I say with enthusiasm. "Just don't call me Ewe because that's a female sheep. Okay, I digress let's move on."

I tell them how I wanted to be the drummer for KISS as a kid, win an Oscar and make it out of my small Texas town. How I came from a home harder than soft. How life as the underdog isn't the worst thing they've been handed.

Most of all, I tell them that I believe in them.

My teen camera crew moves in for a closer shot when I say, "What are you doing? On your classmates. They're clapping."

Laughter and the camera and mic swing that way.

[insert image of kids clapping]

We talk tough topics at the Reach Program. We talk about differences in and out of the room. We are brave in our rapport and don't pull punches (metaphorically speaking, of course).

After a group icebreaker, I do my story magic trick. I "spit" a narrative on the spot with words they've generated. I want them to see that their words have potential.

The potential to change, influence, entertain and heal.

More clapping then I say, "Okay, what do you know about me now?"

I say this 1) to keep them engaged and 2) to demonstrate the development of a character in writing.

Mr. Eager White Hoodie Whose Height Can't Keep Up says, "You're the tattooed rockstar Wexican."

"Word!" I say.

On tour stops, I always reveal I'm the whitest Mexican American in America. How my camoflage is a bonus and not a minus. Jokingly, I get him to repeat it for the camera. Stressing the importance of the new handle.

A young lady shares my director for the day is a singer/musician. Cameras pan from me to her. "We're ready," I say.

She hasn't tracked the "ready."

"We're ready for you to sing."

She accepts the challenge with a confidence I would never have for belting it in front of a class and a tattooed rockstar Wexican.

[insert video]

Now, who's the rockstar?

I send my camera crew to their seats. It's time for everyone to rock the word on the solo. Fiction or nonfiction. It's their decide. I scribble a prompt on the dry erase board and send them to task.

[insert images of writing]??



Over thirty-one states and through the inconceivable kindness from strangers and friends, I am the tattooed rockstar Wexican who writes YA lit and inspires the uninspired to harness their voice through creativity. It's the kind of risk I never imagined I'd take. Like Matt de la Pena says, "

The tenatious kids at Reach have had hell handed to them in plate fulls. But on that Monday morning they are there. In those seats. Engaging, raging, listening and showing up. 

You gotta respect the human spirit!



restored my faith in possibility















Bands tour. In mini-vans, Scooby Doo vans or a lux bus if they've really made it.

I'm not a band. I'm still a rockstar. Well, sorta.

I stuffed my life into a shared storage unit, rented a Ford Focus and took to the road June 28th. For three months (yes, it went on slightly longer), I would travel America and workshop with at-risk youth at no cost to their programs.




The kids get code names based on what they're wearing and sometimes affect. Today Mr. Orange sits in the back beside Ms. Smiley.








________



Time: 7:35 A.M. (Pacific)
Location: Red Bluff, CA
Stop #1: Reach Program
Student Type: Fighting To Survive

After a few right turns and a left my escort and camera person for the day, Tom Watson, parks us outside the portable building that hosts the Reach Program. Like many of the programs I've visited since June 28th this is where the discontent, unwanted, misfits of the teen world take refuge, connect and respect their diverse landscape of ethnicity, age and sexuality. Reach kids earn a high school degree outside the confines of traditional education. No pep rallies, glee club or mandatory dress code. Here kids savor the flavor of showing and not hiding who they are.

This is where the brave live.

I fumble my camera and sound gear for the documentary I've been making since I started the Fat Angie book tour. This jaunt across America in rented cars, with donated books (hollar to you A.S. King, C.G. Watson, Kathy Erskine, Meg Medina, Sally Derby & Candlewick Press) and the generosity of friends of strangers who have given me a bed and plate of food still amazes me. I mention this loosely to the kids who have twisted around in their plastic seats.

At the front of the room, I dymystify the GoPro camera by revealing the feed it sends to my iPhone. A few "that's cool" and "sweet" and I quickly assign kids to act as my film crew for the visit.

"This is the part where you make me look good," I say to the crew. "Okay?"

Chuckles spread. A few kids still take the temp on me. I'm down with that. I have to earn their trust.

Tom rolls his camera, and the show is on.

The show? Well, we're at Red Bluff, CA to change lives. Yes, that's exactly what I said. You see, these kids have been counted out more than they've been counted in. They are my chosen fringe-cringe kid community of change makers. They're my heroes because the war wounds of life are deeply imprinted on these kids, and they are still here.


As for this show I mention, it is the Fat Angie book tour At-Risk Summer. It is where I  travel across American and provide access to a creative mentor to the kids who don't come out for signings and library events.

"What did you know about me? Before I walked in?" I say.

Eager By In an Oversized White Hoodie Whose Height Can't Catch Up With His Enthusiasm says, "That you're a rockstar."

The kids laugh.

"I mean, that's what I think you are."

I tell them how I wanted to be the drummer for KISS as a kid, win an Oscar and make it out of my small Texas town. How I came from a home harder than soft. How life as the underdog isn't the worst thing they've been handed.

Most of all, I tell them that I believe in them.

My teen camera crew moves in for a closer shot when I say, "What are you doing? On your classmates. They're clapping."

Laughter and the camera and mic swing that way.

We talk tough topics at the Reach Program. We talk about the differences in and out of the room. We are brave together in our rapport and don't pull punches (metaphorically speaking).

After a group icebreaker, I do my story magic trick. I "spit" a narrative on the spot with words they've generated. I want them to see that their words have potential.

The potential to change, influence, entertain and heal.

More clapping then I say, "Okay, what do you know about me now?"

I say this 1) to keep them engaged and 2) to demonstrate the development of a character in writing.

Mr. Eager White Hoodie Whose Height Can't Keep Up says, "You're the tattooed rockstar Wexican."

On the tour, I always reveal I'm the whitest Mexican American in America. How my camoflage is a bonus and not a minus. Right then, that little-big young man perfectly packaged my persona.

Jokingly, I get him to repeat it for the camera. Stressing the importance of the new handle.

Soon after it is revealed that my director for the day is a musician, we pull the cameras back, and I say, "We're ready."

She hasn't tracked it yet.

"We're ready for you to sing."

She accepts the challenge with a confidence I would never have for belting it in front of a class and a tattooed rockstar Wexican.

[insert video]

Now, who's the rockstar?

I send my camera crew back to their seats. It's time for everyone to rock the word. Fiction or nonfiction. It's their decide. I scribble a prompt on the dry erase board and send them to task.

[insert images of writing]??



Over thirty-one states and through the inconceivable kindness from strangers and friends, I am the tattooed rockstar Wexican who writes YA lit and inspires the uninspired to harness their voice through creativity. It's the kind of risk I never imagined I'd take. Like Matt de la Pena says, "

The tenatious kids at Reach have had hell handed to them in plate fulls. But on that Monday morning they are there. In those seats. Engaging, raging, listening and showing up. 

You gotta respect the human spirit!



restored my faith in possibility















Bands tour. In mini-vans, Scooby Doo vans or a lux bus if they've really made it.

I'm not a band. I'm still a rockstar. Well, sorta.

I stuffed my life into a shared storage unit, rented a Ford Focus and took to the road June 28th. For three months (yes, it went on slightly longer), I would travel America and workshop with at-risk youth at no cost to their programs.




The kids get code names based on what they're wearing and sometimes affect. Today Mr. Orange sits in the back beside Ms. Smiley.





Monday, October 21, 2013

Wanna Know How To Save A Whale?

Stories From The Road
October 21, 2013

How do you save a whale? Well, the answer's complicated.

I was in Richmond, Virginia October 17th as a Special Guest for the YALSA supported Teen '13. Getting there was a "lions, tigers and bears, oh my" kinda moment. Just do the substitution of car crashes, construction and D.C. gridlock. I arrived, late, but made it. Did my three minutes of who I am, what I do and why you all are cool for listening to my three minutes.

Here are some cool authors I met.

https://www.facebook.com/meg.medina.10
 
Later that night, I ate cold fried chicken with author Meg Medina (Latina Rockstar if you're sassy) at her cozy tree house of a home. Meg had offered me a spare bedroom for this Fat Angie At-Risk Summer book tour stop.

I like spare bedrooms.

Meg sat down at the breakfast bar and in all that is wonderful and direct about Meg said, "So tell me everything. How did you grow into this amazing person you are right now? You know, how did you choose this given where you started?"

Mid-chew I blurted out the immediate Amanda Cunningham story (see Meg's blog here), but it just felt off as an answer. I mean, yes, Amanda's death had a lot to do with me sitting down and cranking out Prizefighter en Mi Casa. But the who I am now. The person who came from a hard home and could've chose to quit but didn't. Instead I travel America and am coined as Wexican (whitest Mexican American), rockstar and hero by the kids I meet which has a lot to do with Fat Angie.


 And Fat Angie has a lot to do with Linda.

Linda humors me on Cinco de Mayo, 2006
I met Linda in July 2005. We both were on scholarship for the Highlights Chautaqua Writing Retreat. Prizefighter won the Delacorte Dell Yearling Award in November 2004, but I was super green to the roll with authors thing. After a fancy welcome dinner, I headed to my less than two star accommodations. Walking minus an umbrella in the pouring rain, I met Linda. Also minus an umbrella. 

Lacking a witty intro, I said, "So are you someone famous I should know?"

She said, "I don't think so. Are you?"

"I don't think so, but I think I just made an ass out of myself back there."

"How come?" she asked.

"Because I sat with a bunch of famous people who I just thought were people, but I think you're supposed to treat'em different."

She held out her hand, "I'm Linda."

"Eunice."

And so it was. Linda and Eunice. The two odd balls of the retreat.

Linda became more than my best friend. She became my family. We talked daily, and I shared everything with her. When I still resided in good 'ole Madison, WI and had to have surgery, she over nighted gormet frozen meals (minus GURD inducing red sauce) because I was alone.

She tolerated the rough years of my grieving Amanda. Let's be clear. I was a mess. She guided me to other artist in the Cincinnati, Ohio area when I moved there. She read my writing and was an excellent editor for all things that are e.E. annoying. She got me, and in time, I got the her. She was in it for the long haul. To be honest, I didn't really think I deserved long haul.

Linda worked professionally as a graphic designer and copy editor. Here are a few movie posters she did as favors for me.

film directed by Sara St. Martin-Lynne

film directed by e.E.

What her heart was invested in was writing for young people. I have never seen someone so determined to create for kids (See her blog). When Maggie's Monkeys sold to Candlewick Press, I bought her a pink monkey at an airport. She proudly used it in her school visits and book appearances.


When I had surgery in Cincinnati in 2008 and was under for six hours, she was the first person in my room. When I thought I couldn't stay on the planet, she mirrored back my better truth. That's a gift in this world. No doubt, sincerely.

quotepix.com
My birthday rolled around (December 1st if you're sassy). I was in a creative slump. I wanted to ditch Fat Angie because my agent red inked the life out of it. Not really, but I was being a brat about it.

I drop in at Linda's house, and she pulls out a large white shirt box from beneath her desk. I open the box, pull back the tissue paper and there it was. The hoodie of all hoddies. It was a navy blue beauty with a bulging bicep hornet staring back at me. It was the official logo from the Fat Angie draft.

"You know I love hoodies," I said. "That's just plain dirty."

She smiled and said, "Now finish the book. It's gonna change lives."

"I duhno. You know? Andrea doesn't get it."

"Finish it. It matters. And it is good or she wouldn't have bled all over it."

I flipped the hoodie over, and Linda had left nothing to chance. On the back was the number forty-seven. For Fat Angie fans, you'll know why having her sister's basketball jersey number on the hoodie was an icing on the cake kinda moment.

"If I ever sell it, I'm gonna dedicate it to you," I said. "You know that right?"

"I don't need that."

Hoodie seen with Fat Angie Book Tour At-Risk Summer

I finished a necessary revision of the book, and sent it to my then agent who is now managing editor and publisher at Egmont USA Andrea Cascardi. In late January 2011, Linda discovered she had Cancer.

First thought? I can't do this again. I can't lose another best friend.

Of course, I'd make it about what I was losing. What about Linda? Possibly not seeing her daughter graduate high school. Leave her partner of twenty-plus years who had faced a near death Cancer experience a few months prior. Never see another Christmas or New Years? Never and more never and more -- stop!

I had to stop. Stop what I had made about me and what she might lose.

What you need to know is that I'm not good at the death gig. For a long time, I wasn't good at the showing up gig either. But you see, Linda's different. She's a stand-up gal if I've ever known one. She had so much room for my absolute weirdness. She had kindness. 

Bottom line: I knew I couldn't skip out.

For once, I had to show up for Linda. I had to be there. And I didn't do it perfect, but I did it. I was there when it counted. I had the hard conversations. I wanted to understand not only what it meant to be dying but what it meant to live.

Linda was the strongest, bravest and most stubborn person I have ever met. She held into the last days even when hospice came. She was going to beat her Cancer. Her mind riddled with tumors. Her body frail and thin. She was still Linda. But less than eight months after the diagnosis, Linda died.

She died on October 21, 2011.
It was approximately 6:00 pm.
I was in her bedroom with her partner Howard and daughter Abbie when she exhaled.

I promised that I wouldn't leave her ... that I would stay to the very end. She didn't think I would, but I did. I did because Linda had taught me how to show up.

I did dedicate Fat Angie to Linda.
I have had the hoodie on the Fat Angie book tour.
I share her life, sarcastic humor and kindness with others daily.


Today is October 21, 2011. For the astrology peeps, it is Mercury Retrograde. For others, it is the day Facebook fried out for a few hours. For a good friend in Texas, it is her birthday. For me, it is the day I remember the life of Linda Sanders-Wells. A woman who believed that one book could change lives. And from the trenches of this book tour, I can tell you she was right.

So you wanna know how to save a whale. The answer's complicated. It really has nothing to do with this blog, and it kinda does. I trust you'll figure it out. Just know ...

There was a woman. Her name was Linda Sanders. 
She changed my life.

I love you, Linda. Shine on!

photo by C.G. Watson