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[caption id="attachment_3800" align="alignnone" width="347" caption="You're wearing WHAT?!"][/caption] Note before I begin: TH is not a supporter of this blog. I mean, he supports everything I do. But he doesn't read the blog. And he expects to not be mentioned--ever. For the unitiated, TH stands for The Husband. So, I mention him only when necessary. That's fair. I had to ask for special permission to write this post. And my permission was granted--grudgingly. So I ask that if you know him, pretend you didn't read this post. If someone tweets him or shoots out an email to him, teasing him about this post, my blog will be shut down forever. Okay, so here's the thing. I'm one of those neck-swiveling wives. I'm not meek. If I think he should wash the dishes, I'm nagging. If I don't like something he says, he'll know it. My pointer finger has been known to be in the near vicinity of his face. My husband is unflappable. When I'm giving lip, he ignores me. When I'm nagging, he nods and smiles and goes back to watching Meet The Press. But when it really goes down and I need him, he's there for me. Unwavering. We're both self-made hustlers. We chin-stroke often and try to figure out how to take over the world. If we ever joined forces and did a blog or a radio show or a book--we'd be dangerous. For real. But we don't get down like that. It's almost like when we leave the house, we morph into different characters---Clark Kent and Lois Lane, giving each other a sly smile from across a crowded industry party. Damn. I'm digressing like mad. My point: I am a fiercely independent, hear-me-roar kind of woman. If TH says something I don't like, maybe something like how long are these dishes going to sit here. I might snap back and say, until you wash them. You know. That kind of thing. One thing I've never given much thought to is how my look is perceived by TH. I'm a jeans and flats kind of girl. A Little Black Dress when I have to. I do like a sky high stiletto. But that's about as far into fashion I go. And TH is on the same level with me. Rugby  and denim during the week. With the occasional fly blazer combo. And cleans up very nice when necessary. So. This weekend was his class reunion. Y'all know what I was thinking. What the heck am I going to wear? My shallow side took over. My husband was popular in high school. Cute girlfriends. All that. I was a mousy geek whose hair was rarely done. And I'm just coming into my own as far as confidence and fashion sense. So, I looked in my closet to see what I would wear. I wanted to look exceptional. Not just nice. For once in my life, I wanted to make an entrance. I wanted people to nudge each other and say, who is that? Did I already mention that I understand that I was being shallow? Okay. Good. Cause it gets worse. Here's the dress I pulled out of my closet:

Chimere Norris, also known as @chimerenmktg in Twitterville, has tagged me in an interesting your-turn-to-spill-the-beans social media experiment. I'm supposed to share ten honest things about myself. And then tag seven bloggers I love, respect and admire. Whenever these sorts of things go around, I usually hit delete as fast as I can. Facebook and Twitter make us transparent. Do we need to go that extra mile and tell random people 25 more things about ourselves? I talk about my weight, my clothes, my family and my work right here on this blog. Why on earth would I share ten (more) honest things about myself? Eh. Why not. Herewith. 10 (brutally) honest things about myself. (Read it quick. I'm so deleting this post tomorrow.) Thank you to Chimere for tagging me. And at the end of my post, I'm tagging seven others I'd like to hear from.

writing-2 It's often said that good writers are good readers. In the early days of my career, I read everything I could get my hands on. I subscribed to over twenty different magazines and spent what little money I had in Barnes and Noble every weekend. I don't read nearly as much as I should anymore. But I do carry many of the lessons from a few of my favorite  books in writing. If you're new to writing. Or just need to reinvigorate. Cop these joints. Today.

I don't ask for  much in this world. I'm pretty low-key. Definitely low-maintenance. I just started having a standing hair appointment in the last year or so. (Feel like a grown woman with my every other Thursday at nine joint). After giving birth, my feet went up a full size and a half. They only came back down a half-size. A year later, I realized that all my cute shoes were just taunting me from my closet. I stacked them neatly in the foyer of my apartment and parceled them out. To my little sister, to TG's mom and a few pair to charity. Done. It's over. I got big feet. It's hard to start a shoe game from scratch. Especially when you have no good reason to buy cute shoes. I'm a freelancer. I haven't been to an office since 2000. What on earth do I need a cute shoe game for? After I came to grips with my new shoe size, I began to slowly but surely purchase new shoes, mostly cute flats. Just picked these up last week. [caption id="attachment_3693" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Target. 20 bucks. What?!"]target shoe[/caption]

I don't like having my picture taken. I actually hate it. In childhood, it was because I had a serious overbite from ten years of thumb-sucking and a gap between my two front teeth that you could drive a car through. And for some reason, my natural smile is wide. Super wide. I smile with reckless abandon. Like I'm really really overjoyed that your camera is in my face. Even though I'm not. So when I get a request for a photo to be placed on the contributor's page of a magazine, I panic. I've always pored over the contributor's page of every magazine I could get my hands on. Everyone always looks so fashionable, so with-it and happening. They all have amazing bios and their photos are always perfect: a family shot with adorable cherubs, a glam shot taken by a professional, a care-free picture that looks like it was taken by a lover. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I think all writers stress over submitting these pictures. We take a million of them right at our computer, trying hard to make it look like we didn't take the picture just for the magazine. Here's me right now:

Dear Kym: Remember a few weeks ago, when you assigned me a travel story to [Insert Midwestern City Here]. And remember I called you  halfway through the trip because I was about to go off on one of the PR reps who told me that a baseball game was "not optional" and I had to go even though I had been up since 6 AM and I was dead tired and willing to walk back to the hotel alone? I didn't have much fun on that trip. Now don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate that I'm in your Rolodex when travel stories come up. I'm not a travel writer, per se. But at least three times a year, you send me somewhere fun to cover travel for your section. And for that, I'm truly grateful. Have I ever told you that? There was Paris. Anguilla. Barbados. The list goes on. And it's because of you, dear Kym, that I get to go on these wonderful (read: free) trips and eat great food and have a getaway from the stresses of everyday life. But the reason for this letter, my dear Kym, is to inform you about my most recent trip. I write to you from Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place I have never been.

A month ago, I stood up in front of my seat at a banquet table, fumbling with two folded pages I'd concealed in my purse, and began to read my aunt a tribute poem at her semi-formal birthday party. She was shocked and so was I. It was the first time anyone had heard me read an original poem publicly in about six years. It was the first time I'd written a poem for someone, without being asked, in nine years. Afterward, there was the typical surprised, but positive response: "I heard you were a writer, but I didn't know you could write like that!" "That was beautiful!" "You really captured her personality!" I smiled graciously, offering a single, deprecating nod and a sincere, "Thank you." Then I thought to myself, "I won't be doing this again for a while...." It isn't that I mind reading poetry aloud, now that I've decided to resume writing it. It's the writing on commission or in tribute that presents a bit of a problem. I've always found writing poetry for hire (or by special request) to be a bit schmaltzy. When someone asks me to write for a wedding, a funeral, a baby christening, a family reunion, or a birthday party, spontaneity is sapped from the experience and all that's left is obligation and a list of mannerisms and personality traits to describe in eight or fewer stanzas. This isn't always a bad thing. Having a creative skill that other people admire is an honor, and being able to write something sentimentally resonant for friends, family, or strangers is nothing to sneeze at. But seeing my work printed in an event program or hearing it read by a member of a wedding party or listening to myself read it semi-impassively for a paycheck just makes me feel like a mascot. And I always wonder if the people listening think the free verse I've written is any different than poetry made entirely of rhyming couplets or those acrostics we used to write in elementary school. A is for awkward. There's also something a little artificial about writing for people you don't know well. You wonder if you've worked in all the information their loved ones wanted to you to mention. You worry that you haven't captured their essence accurately or thoroughly enough. It can be stressful and disheartening. It's never fun. Fortunately, writing for my aunt's party was another story. It came as a complete surprise to her and no one knew I'd worked on it. So there was no pressure, no expectation. No one hoping it would rhyme and no one wishing it sounded more like the poem I wrote for their relative two years ago. Are you the go-to poet in your social world? Have you experienced my angst? I'd love to hear about it. And if you'd like to read Stacia's poem for her aunt... please do.