Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Does It Take Much to Be Nice?

"God Don't Like Ugly!" 

I've always loved when I've heard someone say that to remind people to shape up and be a little nicer. I think we can all use that reminder now and again. I know I go through my 'ugly' phases when everything is bothering me (usually when driving down the road and someone cuts me off). I grew up a fairly religious person and attempt to subscribe to the 'do unto others' motto...not that I'm trying to buy favors from God. Just that I think doing a good deed now and again is a great way to live your life.

What really makes me happy is when something great happens to good people. There are too many examples of bad getting ahead in the world that when a story comes through on the news of the right person winning the lottery - I smile. More importantly, I love when those things happen closer to home. People I know that are amazing at helping others, paying-it-forward, giving back: and then you hear good news from them and I genuinely feel happiness for them. No jealousy of 'why couldn't I get that multi-million book deal' or anything else...glad they have been rewarded in such a way.

The past few days, people have said some amazing sentences to me which truly made me feel humbled, warm, special - and I'm sure it didn't take that much out of them to share a few words.

So I say: take a moment out of your busy day to hold that door an extra moment for the one behind you, let someone get in front of you in your car lane, or just a word of encouragement. Because if you don't wanna think in terms of what God thinks of ugly...there is always another great saying:

"Karma is a bitch."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Children's Book on Autism

Voting has begun! The wonderful eBook publisher MeeGenius (publisher of great children's books) has started their challenge to find the next children's author. I mentioned in a blog two months ago that I had entered "Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero with Autism" as a tribute to my godson Gabe who was diagnosed with autism when he was very young. His sister Natalie and I formed this story based on Gabe and wanted to share a book for kids - about a kid - told through the perspective of one very special boy that could let people into his 'world' in a different way.

Gabe Watching the Circus
Now we need the help of everyone to get the word out about the book. Voting for round 1 will continue until December 18th. Please click HERE and click the LIKE button to vote. (It seems as if you have to be connected to facebook in order to vote.) We can't wait to see what comes of this book and just hope to make it to the Finalist Round with YOUR help! (The finalist round will be January 31-February 21, 2012 and a winner will be announced by March 7.)

Autism is nothing to be afraid of and we hope with this book to encourage other children to not be fearful of that child in their class that may seem a little different than they are. Children with autism are just like every other kid. They want to play. They have incredible imaginations. They enjoy bugs, snakes, the children's museum, the circus, horseback riding, the beach...they just show their enjoyment in a different way. (And my little guy loves to wrestle with Greggy every Wednesday night after we return from our dinner at Friday's: chicken fingers, fries, ketchup and red velvet cake.) 

And they can get to you like no one's business! When Gabe reaches over and grabs my hand to walk into the restaurant - my heart melts!   

Thanks for voting! Natalie and I definitely thank you and I'm sure Gabe would thank you too!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Classifying a Writer

I recently read an interesting blog where a certain author did not want to be called 'indie'. The term brought up thoughts of the Seattle music scene and that authors wanting to be 'edgy' have adopted the term.

I call myself a writer. I'm indie in that I do not have a huge company behind me marketing and promoting my book. While I don't think I'm necessarily 'edgy' - my work has been called raw, truthful, hard to read, gripping, emotional, heartbreaking. 

It got me thinking about who I am as an author. I don't write in any particular genre so I can't easily be classified as an "X" type of writer. I did not go through an MFA in Creative Writing Program so I don't always play by the rules. I realize the importance of an editor because I'm well aware of my own limitations in writing. I also tend to go against the norm in some things that I write - walking to my own beat (if you will).

But those things that make me different make me who I am as a writer. They also push buttons of certain readers and reviewers and can really infuriate people who expect certain things when they open a book. A publisher once fell in love with the first half of a book I had written, but as soon as a twist came in to play - they could not get behind it for fear of alienating their readers. Others have praised my dialogue while some call it stilted and unrealistic. And then there was my non-fiction book about my half brother who died where I told the story through his words. I received both praise and criticism for this unconventional way of story telling.

I love the varied opinions a writer can receive for the same piece of work. It shows that everyone can be touched by the same thing in such different ways. It illustrates the great opinions we all have when we read, watch, visit, partake... And it shows me that I must be doing something right in what I produce as a writer; even when I'm rarely going to give the reader what they expect. There are people out there who enjoy to be challenged and made to think when reading. And I love that I can offer that to people, even when they can't agree on what they think or how it has affected them. But the greatest part is that it has affected them - and that is perfect for this 'indie' author.   

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's Most Important

Today is my husband's birthday. He hates his birthday and any reminder of aging. He really hates when I say we're entering midlife in our 40s (telling me that he plans to live past his 80s so this can't be midlife). But I thought it a great day to blog about him.

To anyone on the outside looking in, this has been 'the year of Greg' with so many things happening in my life from weight loss to book publication. And I know it is never easy to be the wind beneath someone's wings. (Unless Bette Midler is singing to you!) But for me, that's what Ant has been. There is absolutely no way I could have accomplished half of what I did this past year without his love and support...and what support it has been!

When we met eleven and a half years ago, he knew I 'dabbled' in acting - but I also had a full time corporate job. Then I started artistically running a theater company...and he was right there as I directed and produced shows (I even got him ON stage) and showing up to functions with the theater. Then I walked away from the corp job to manage an arts center and he said "okay, if it makes you happy." When I decided to really give the writing a try he would proudly tell friends with each short story published and as the novel came out last month - he traveled on my book tour with me - taking photos and showing major support.

Who does all of that?

Someone who is not selfish and is proud of their spouse and encouraging of that person's creative fulfillment. That's who. Someone who understands that relationships go through changes over the years as people can't remain the same two people that entered the relationship all those years ago. Someone who is confident in themselves, their own abilities, assured of who they are, not easily pushed to the background; someone who can be in a room of strangers and talk about anything and make those people feel important in what they are sharing with him. Someone who does amazing work every day as he administers treatments to the sick (all the time with a joke and a smile) and gets constant praise from patients about how wonderful he is or how he has helped a family member with such dignity in his job. Someone who understands it is okay to have separate interests (okay...his is bowling) and that couples do not need to do every single thing together. Someone who surprised a Texan when the Jersey boy gave him a ring and said he thought they should make it as official as the state of Jersey would allow. Someone who understands that marriage takes work, even when life is keeping you so busy from birthday-to-birthday and now and again you have to stop and 'reboot'. Someone who can roll with the punches and jabs that life throws at us and can communicate about what is bothering them before molehills become mountains that can't be climbed. 

Someone like Anthony, that's who.

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I'm so thankful to have this wonderful man as my partner in life and wish him the happiest birthday (even though he hates for you all to know about it)! LaDear.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Few Tips on Promoting That Book

Authors have a challenge when it comes to getting people interested in their work. It has been said that word-of-mouth sells books (and every author is thrilled when someone recommends their book to a friend), but an author still has to get that 'word' out there. So if you like something you read: tell a few people to give it a try.

Everyone would love to do the traditional book tour, but less and less stores will bring in an author that does not have instant recognition. My book has been out for six weeks and I've loved the small tour I was able to do and appreciate every single indie bookstore that allowed me in to talk about the book. Contact stores directly and offer to promote the event through press releases and social media if they will allow you to do a discussion or signing in their store. You may be surprised by those willing to take a chance on an unknown.

Blog tours have become the new 'black'. Taking to the internet is a great way to put yourself out there in front of strangers who could potentially make a connection to your book. Reviews and interviews on numerous sites gets your name and work in front of many new people. I strongly advise people really do homework before signing with a coordinator for a blog tour. The web is full of people offering this service, but some work harder than others. (My 1st blog tour had me mailing off numerous copies of my book for reviews and yet only one reviewer came through from that tour. Instead it was full of interviews that my coordinator would place all over the web. I'd suggest to cast your net wider by checking that the sites you tour are owned and operated by different people which will insure you hit a varied amount of readers. I obviously didn't do my due diligence and don't believe I got as much bang for my buck had I gone with someone else. Not to say the place I used is not one of the big ones, as it is and I really enjoyed my correspondence with the person who owns it. I think it comes down to the amount of work the coordinator in charge actually does as to how well your tour will go.)  

Book giveaways. So many blogs and other websites such as goodreads.com loves to run a contest to give away a copy of your book. It doesn't cost you as the author much to do it and you can create a buzz around your book. (However, if someone can tell me how to get the 100s of names that signed up for the goodreads or those that have your book marked "To Read" to switch over to "Reading" - please let me know.)

Be prepared to work. And I do mean WORK to get your book known. Follow some other indie authors that you see popping up all over. They are obviously doing something right. Even if you have a publicist and an army of people working with your publisher, in the end - it is still your baby as the author. You need to be that proud parent showing those newborn photos to everyone you meet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

From the Inside Out: Mother & Son

So They Say, by Jack A. Urquhart, follows Southern-born Rex Fordham on a five-decades-long search for self-acceptance.  The product of 1950s conformism and self-repression, Rex sheds a burdensome past to become a successful architect, husband, and father; but when a same-sex affair and shattering family loss end his marriage, Rex changes course to pursue life as a gay man—a choice that doesn't sit well with his mother, Baptist-to-the-bone, Inez, as a bit of eavesdropping on a weekly telephone chat between mother and son reveals:

Inez (self-righteously indignant): Well, I don’t care what you say.  It’s a cryin’ shame Alec cain’t visit his own Daddy out there in California.  Bad enough he don’t pay his agin’ Grandmama a visit now an’ then.

Rex (seeking an opening): But, Mom, Alec’s …

Inez (riding high on the sound of her own voice): He’s goin’ on twenty-one.  Old ‘nuff to break free a’his Mama’s apron strings.  No reason for your ex-wife to hold that boy on a tight leash.  I tell you, it’s just …(searching for words suitably harsh) it’s plain…

Rex (taking advantage of the pause): He’s in school, Mom.  That’s all.  (Quickly, husky-voiced) So, how are things in Florida?  What’s new in the neighborhood?  Missus Tuttle still on her high horse?

Inez (harrumphing, ready to charge): Ramona Tuttle!  That woman, with her prancin’, oddball son’s got no business lookin’ down her nose on me!  Just ‘cause she don’t ‘prove of how somebody lives they … (a sudden pause; a light going on).  Say!  You reckon Marcia don’t let Alec visit you ‘cause of … (hesitating, cautious) ‘cause you livin’ with (distastefully) your friend?  He ain’t…(fearful, vaguely put out) he ain’t come down with nuthin’?  Y’all both bein’ careful?

Rex (offended; resigned): His name is Rand, Mom.  He’s perfectly healthy.  Rand Osmond.  And he’s much more than a …”

Inez (oblivious, shifting directions again): Beats me how come you married Marcia in the first place.  She wasn’t never no housekeeper, and …

Rex (determined, explicit): Because I loved her, Mom.  Same reason I’m with Ran—

Inez (interrupting, voice dripping sarcasm): Love!  Like that’s ever been ‘nuff to hold two peoples together.  Just look at how …

Rex (peremptory, breaking in decidedly): Well, then!  We’re finally agreed on something!  Love isn’t always enough, is it?  Not nearly enough.

Inez (aggrieved): I declare, son.  Sometimes I think we livin’ in ‘end times’.  Just like the Bible says.

You can order So They Say on Amazon or learn more at ww.jaurquhart.com.

The Thrill of the Cast Album

This morning on my way to work I did something I haven't done in a while: listened to a brand new cast album from a new musical. Mind you, I grew up doing this ritual (when they were actual albums). As a child, I loved going in my bedroom and playing a Broadway musical...seeing it all in my mind (as I lived in Texas and didn't see a real Broadway show until my first visit to NYC in summer of '84). (Yes....the boy in the striped shirt below loved musicals: cliche, I know.) By the time I was 14 - I had the joy of experiencing a musical I had written produced on stage and continued writing for the stage for years after that. For me, there is something truly glorious when a character becomes so impassioned by their thoughts, words cannot suffice and they must burst out into song. In the early '90s, I was part of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop where we would take movies and find certain scenes that we wanted to write a song for that moment.
Greg in 6th grade

Well that is what the creative team behind A Christmas Story, The Musical! have done. To say my family has always been obsessed with the movie it is based on would be an understatement. We couldn't wait for it to come on each year. And when it started the all day back-to-back run on TV, we would leave it on and continue watching it - reciting lines with the actors. 

Listening to the cast album of this show in my car, I could see every single moment vividly in my mind (and I've yet to see it on stage). The score is a mix of what is wonderful about a modern musical mixed with all that is brilliant from the Broadway of yesteryear. The movie it is based on had a musical underscoring that would punctuate certain moments in the movie and stage composer & lyricist Benj Pasek & Justin Paul have accomplished that very thing (and added to it) in their amazing score. I love the melodies, harmonic phrases, sweeping orchestrations and the little boy singing Ralphie Parker sends shivers through me with his not-yet-changed vocal range.

Scene from the musical
I believe there is a reason when certain things are mentioned again and again. About two months ago - A Christmas Story kept popping up in conversations I would have with people in the oddest of ways. (One of which was a friend of mine is listed as producer on this musical along with Peter Billingsley the actor who played young Ralphie in the movie version.) Maybe the constant discussion around this movie/musical was simply the universe crying out this story still has a lot of life left in it and I hope that a new audience gets to enjoy it now in its musical format for years to come. Already the version seen last season and this year's tour is getting great reviews as it heads towards Broadway for next season. 
Peter Billingsley: Then & Now

I love this story and now I love the music just as much and can't wait to see it! I know we are five weeks away from Christmas, but if you want to get in the mood - check out the tour schedule for this musical and if you can get your hands on a copy of the CD...do it! You'll be so glad you did.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When Trust is Gone

So many stories on the news this morning that I found infuriating. From Sandusky making excuses of showering with boys to a special needs child in Ohio being bullied by her teacher to the horrible shooting in Arizona last January. These news stories bring up so many different emotions and issues, but it got me thinking about one in particular: trust.

We trust those adults when we place children into their hands during the day when parents cannot be with them. We trust those in positions of power to protect and defend. We trust that people will make the right decision when given a choice between right and wrong.

What do we do when trust is broken?

The special needs child is 14 and this has been happening to her for four years where the school system said she was lying and they believed the teacher (until the parents wired the girl and recorded conversations). How does this affect the rest of her life?

The children with Sandusky have grown up, but each have been affected by what happened to them in so many different ways. How do they learn to trust again?

Trust is something we tend to give away freely instead of making people earn it. You get into a car with someone and instantly trust they know how to drive. You go to the bank to make a withdrawal and many times leave without counting your money, trusting it is all there.

It can be shattered in an instance when something traumatic occurs or it can be chipped away slowly in a marriage or a relationship when secrecy and deceit creep in. We've seen high profile marriages crumble under the media spotlight because of cheating, social media hook-ups - the dissolution of trust. It is something we all deal with (even those that state they 'trust no one') and something we need in order to feel secure. And when it is taken away, it can take a long time to regain.

I hope in the cases of these news stories those involved are able to get it back. I know from personal experience trust can be found again, but it is a fragile thing that must be nurtured and  held in high esteem so as not to find it broken again. (And I hope those on the end of the broken trust in these high profile cases above get everything they have coming to them to the full extent of the law. Yes...I'm THAT vindictive when it comes to hurting children.)


Monday, November 14, 2011

From the Inside Out: Best Friends - Benji & Michelle

Sweet Like Sugar follows a 20-something gay man named Benji, who’s alienated from the Jewish traditions he grew up observing. One day, an elderly Orthodox rabbi stumbles into his suburban office, and the two unexpectedly become friends. As they struggle to accept each other, and overcome their preconceptions about one another, each one finds he has much to learn – and much to teach. But while Benji is trying to reconnect with his religious roots, he’s also looking for something equally elusive: a boyfriend. He hasn’t had much luck lately, as his roommate and best friend Michelle can attest.  

Michelle: I’ve known you for a long time, Benji – since freshman year of college – and we’ve lived together for five years since we graduated. And in all that time, you’ve never had much luck with the guys you date.
Benji: What’re you talking about? I get lucky all the time.
Michelle: Very funny. I know about that. Your bedroom is right next to mine! But that’s not what I mean.
Benji: I know. And it’s true. I’ve dated a long string of Mister Wrongs. Most of them were very cute, but they weren’t the right ones.
Michelle: Why do you think that is? You’re a good catch. You run your own business, you’re smart, you’ve still got all your hair. You shouldn’t have trouble meeting potential boyfriends.
Benji: Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong places.
Michelle: Well, it seems like lately, the only place you’re hanging out is with that rabbi who works next to your office.
Benji: I’m just driving him home, Michelle. He’s an old man with nobody else to help him, and he can’t walk up that hill anymore. We’re not “hanging out.”
Michelle: It’s the longest relationship you’ve had with a man since I’ve known you. And that’s sad.
Benji: Have you been talking to my mother? She can’t stand this arrangement either.
Michelle: Why? She’s always bugging you to go to synagogue. I think she’d be happy to hear that you’re spending time with a rabbi.
Benji: She thinks he’s going to turn me Orthodox. Like I’m going to wake up tomorrow wearing a yarmulke and keeping kosher.
Michelle: Good luck with that! I know you pretty damn well, and I know that nothing comes between you and your pepperoni pizza.
Benji: Very true. But you know, you’re not exactly one to talk about my romantic life. It’s not like you dated a parade of winners yourself. I could make a pretty horrifying list of the guys you went out with in college. And since.
Michelle: Yeah, but I’m with Dan now, and all those other guys have been forgotten. Once you find the right one, it doesn’t matter how many bad dates you had to go on first.
Benji: Dan is pretty great, I have to admit. I’d be happy to meet a guy like him.
Michelle: Well, back off! He’s mine!
Benji: You have nothing to worry about.
Michelle: What do you mean? Don’t you think he’s cute?

Benji: He’s cute, yes. You know he is.
Michelle: So, what is it? He’s not your type?
Benji: It doesn’t matter, Michelle. I’m not his type.

To read more about Sweet Like Sugar, visit waynehoffmanwriter.com.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who Has Been Forgotten?

As I watch the news of the horrible Penn State scandal unravel, my mind is full of so many thoughts. School boards scurry to meet to decide what should be done. Thousands of students took to the streets last night in protest as they pushed over news vans in their outrage. Coaches offer news conferences to plea their side of the story in public opinion. People trying to understand how such a thing could ever happen in the first place.

I have no problem with people assembling to make their voice heard. That's what being a college student is about as you come into your own as an adult and offer the world your opinions. My problem is the amount of protesting in honor of those faces we continue to see on the news that have become beloved people by many who have passed through the halls of Penn State.

But what about the kids?

Who is rallying for them and causing an outrage over the fact that their childhood was (allegedly) completely robbed? That adults could know this was going on and not go to the police is completely unfathomable to me. If you know and keep that secret among the ranks of your internal circle and not bring to the authorities - you've wronged that child again. Adults can fend for themselves. They don't need you to keep secrets for them to protect them. Children are the ones that need protection. And while a criminal investigation must now take place, would you want those that were involved (in any way/shape/form) to be allowed to hold positions of power in a higher educational institution where your children were attending? I'm not a parent, but I can answer that will a resounding 'no'. I would want them removed from the place while the authorities did their job. I would want those college students to learn at their age that decisions have consequences and they are better off to learn that now. 

And perhaps, just maybe...a student tipping that news van might decide to take a new path in their own lives. One that involves child advocacy in some way. A way to make the voices of those young boys heard to counter the cries of wrong doing towards a beloved coach. 

Someone has to speak up for the forgotten. I hope and pray that among those thousands protesting - some of them are thinking of those kids. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Here Lies Greg

Have you ever thought what you wanted your tombstone to say? I don't mean to be morbid thinking about death, but I'm actually thinking more about life. How did you live your life? Did you meet your full potential? Did you give back to others? Were you a kind individual?

As we go along our personal journey, there are so many different types that cross our paths. I've been in management for years and have always told those that report to me to not only bring up issues that they come across, but think of a solution. What can you bring to the table for a problem you identify? How do you think the team can work best to fix it?

There are many in the world who love to point out problems without any offer of a way around it. Then there are those that will share knowledge, give better ways to ascertain a situation, and want you to learn from their mistakes.

I strive to be the latter.

I've met some amazing strangers...STRANGERS who have gone down a similar path to me (either in writing or others jobs I've had) and are so willing to help others along the way. I find that character trait to be remarkable. I could add a long list of names right now that I've come across on twitter and the internet who spend time doing what they love - but also assisting others attempting to do that very thing. What an awesome way to live your life...and I've seen them reaping some wonderful rewards in the process for just being a likable person.

I've learned so much in the past 6-8 months as I ventured into the world of being one of the many indie authors and when I learn something, I try my best to share it. That's just what I think people should do. I want to pay it forward and not tear someone down. Nothing to be gained from competing with a fellow writer and thinking the sandbox isn't large enough for us all to place our pails in and fill them to the brim.

If my tombstone says "Here lies Greg...he paid it forward" - I'd be a very happy corpse.

Friday, November 4, 2011

From the Inside Out: The Garrett Brothers

Well With My Soul centers on the turbulent lives of two brothers: Jacob is a liberal gay man and Noah is a southern conservative. It follows them through 15 years of their lives as they make choices trying to find that elusive inner 'peace' that makes all right with the world. They've joined us today for an interview. Take it away Garrett brothers!

Noah: So how long are we going to sit here staring at each other?

Jacob: You tell me. I've got plenty of things I could be doing, but you agreed to this brotherly interview...which really makes no sense to me.

Noah: Well, since we're in my apartment - you think you could put out that cigarette?

Jacob: I knew I should have made you come to the west side instead. Can I at least have a drink while you talk?

Noah: Knock yourself out, older brother.

Jacob: So, come on. I don't have all day. Ask your questions.

Noah: Did you ever think of me and Mama once you left Tennessee and moved to New York?

Jacob: That's a stupid question, Bubba. You think I'm so busy in my career that I don't have time to remember where I came from?

Noah: I thought that was my job to think of the past. You only seem to live in the moment.

Jacob: My moments are pretty damn good and well worth it.

Noah: Question two. Do you like what you do?

Jacob: Are you kidding? I love my life. Who wouldn't want to be me? I travel from New York to London to Paris all within a few days to do amazing photo shoots living the life of a king. Anything I want is at my fingertips with a snap. Anyone...

Noah: Say it. Anyone you want. As if your boyfriend doesn't know.

Jacob: Is this going to become a talk about my being gay? Because if it is, I can leave.

Noah: I didn't question you being gay. It was more about being faithful. 

Jacob: Let me ask a question since you really had no more higher education than I did.

Noah: Let's not have the who is smarter fight again...

Jacob: Question. Are you jealous of me? Huh? Did you hate the relationship I had with Mama? The fact I got away before you did?

Noah: I think we've had enough Garrett family reunion for one night, Jacob. We'll try again next week. Head back to the other side of town and let's put the park back between us.

To learn more about the Garrett brothers, visit ASD Publishing   or Gregory's website

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Up & Down in One Day

November starts and I find myself bouncing on the bumpy ride of the book marketing train. Authors dream of the day their book is finally published and people can read it. However, then it means 'people can read it'! And it's out of your hands how it is received, what is said, and how well it sells.

The month started off wonderfully for me by being named a finalist in the Fiction: Literary category of  the USA "Best Books 2011" Awards. There are so many awards out there and for indie authors, we all want to be careful to not get pulled into scams. (And as I type that - I know there are those that feel most awards are scams.) For me, it means someone else that you I didn't know went through a list of nominees in each category and chose those to move to the head of the class. And like the little boy who enjoyed sitting next to the teacher's desk and feeling validated in a strange way - I have that sense of approval in a list that includes some major publishers with other indies like myself.

Then today I see my book was reviewed in a gay magazine in a large US city with a few not so favorable words thrown in (not to mention: they told every plot turn of the book). At first, you can't help but feel deflated as you've poured months and years into your work and then someone writes a 15 line synopsis, calls it a review, and gives away the story for free. But learning from some friends who are so awesome at seeing the glass half full - I decide it's best to be talked about than not spoken of at all. I didn't ask for this review: so it means somehow I ended up on this person's radar all those miles away - listed in their magazine and perhaps this particular story will touch a chord in someone that reads that review - and that's still an awesome feeling. (But yes: no link to that magazine as I'm not about to give away the story myself!)

While the analytical side of my brain would love to ponder this wave-like ride, I can't think of it too much as I have to get to the post office to mail off a few copies of the book to judges for another well known award (that they do not allow you to mention the name prior to their event) and I have to record a radio interview with someone in Boston. It is all such an exciting time that you really must allow the highs and lows...or else you go through life on one level and what fun is that? (Next to Normal: I Miss The Mountains)