writing

All posts tagged writing

The 1990s, the Last Romantic Era

Published January 5, 2017 by Maryanne

modeling-outlaw-biker

The 1990s; the last romantic era. We were beautiful but didn’t need Instagram or Facebook to prove it to anyone. We created poetry; a high form of art that people actually got back then. We interpreted lyrics our own way without the use of the internet. We hand-wrote each other letters. We laughed in person and on the telephone. We made our own clothes. We made each other tapes of songs we loved. And they would listen to them. We stood apart from the crowd. We had messy hair and that was a good thing. God bless the last romantic era. When we were really real.

Too Busy

Published January 4, 2017 by Maryanne

busy-2

Last night I was reading my old diaries from 1993. I was only 29-years-old and really loving my life. At that time I was living in a beautiful world people can’t even imagine today. Even as a very good-looking young woman, I had my dateless, lonely nights. The difference was, if you had the blues back then you could count on a phone call from at least five friends in one night! So being sad was not an option.

Today, other than my husband who I could always count on, I can’t imagine conversing with any of my friends without first making an appointment to speak with them. People are always so “busy.” Picking up the phone is no longer an option. So, I just cry instead.

The first of the year usually means new beginnings. As someone who is self-employed, this is usually the time when my business takes off. People always come to me for ghost writing, book editing, and public speaking engagements because they know they can count on me. There’s an old saying, “If you need something done, ask the busiest person you know because he/she will get it done for you.”

That said, I have to question everyone else’s version of “busy.” Because even when my version of “busy” gets so crazy, I’m glued to my desk for hours without getting up for a drink or to go to the bathroom, I ALWAYS sincerely answer an email from a friend who is in need.

This week started out as one of those busy weeks. Then one person cancelled an appointment — at the last minute. So not cool. And another just totally stood me up — no email, no phone call, no explanation.

I was heartbroken for being slighted. This is not the way I do business. This is not how I’d treat somebody. For all the technology we have in this day and age, this should not be. In this modern world, no one can be too busy to type three simple words in an email: “Can we reschedule?” And, I might add, at an appropriate time, not at the last minute unless someone very close to you died. Even so, I think back to when my father-in-law, who sometimes lived with us, passed away three months ago … I still was able to conduct business in a professional manner. And I still listened to problems from friends who needed a friend. Is it so much to ask the same in return?

It is not narcissistic to expect to be treated with respect. My time is just as important as anyone else’s. But here I am, crying my eyes out in the middle of the day, waiting patiently for my husband to get home so I can cry on his shoulder.

It is far from being “unprofessional” when you are disappointed by how so-called professionals treat you. There really needs to be a book on manners in this day and age. What happened to the Miss Manners column that ran in newspapers on a daily basis? Oh, I know, no one reads newspapers anymore.

No one does a lot of things anymore that they should. It’s a sad world we live in. A world without manners. A world without consideration. A world where people do whatever they please as long as it suits them.

And nothing can be done about it either. Just wait for the good karma you’ve been owed … so then things will turn around … and you’ll get everything you’ve ever deserved … because you already have a lot of it … Like a husband who truly adores and loves you. Because you were never “too busy” to find someone you adore and love.

So, hooray for demystifying the “too busy” myth! For those who are “too busy” will never seep the rewards that come from making time.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning writer and a public speaker. Contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Dreams (An Author’s Pre-Publish Excitement and Jitters)

Published May 18, 2015 by Maryanne

Darlene - Hallowed GroundPhoto of me, by Darlene Foster

I’ve always been of the mindset that we all have psychic powers within us and are able to guide ourselves through life by messages from the universe. I use these techniques in various ways. Because when we open our eyes, the signs are always there right in front of us. One time I was very sad about something and on a very windy day, a piece of light cardboard with a photo on it appeared in my backyard. The cardboard looked like a CD cover. I picked it up and it was a perfume called “Angel.” I took it as an omen that an angel was telling me things were going to be alright. And they were.

For the past few months I’ve been trying to self-publish my second book, “Love Cats.” I’m incredibly tense about it because it’s my first work of fiction and has four major sex scenes since it’s about singles in their 20s. As a former writer for “Screw” and “Gasm” I must say these are not your boring cliche simultaneous orgasm modern romance novel sex scenes. These are sex scenes as people really have sex … fumbling for condoms, or the WIO method, nervousness, trying to unhook bras, first time same-sex experiences … you get the picture. Nothing is left to the imagination. So you can see why I’m nervous about getting this stuff published.

“Love Cats” also deals with parental neglect, heartache, friendship break-ups and a main character who is unkind to animals. The more I re-read my book, the more frightened, yet anxious I am about having it published. Frightened because though it has it’s humorous situations, it’s incredibly intense.

The intensity reached my subconscious in sleep last night, when a beautiful brunette woman came to me, smiling, and wanting to be friends. I had no idea who she was. This image continued to haunt me throughout the morning as I tried to figure out who she was. Then when I was looking up famous musicians birthdays for the day, I saw that it was the birthday of Martika. I was unfamiliar with her work, except for the song “Toy Soldiers.” I Googled what she looked like, and that was the girl in my dream! So I searched for the answers in “Toy Soldiers” and immediately after reading the lyrics, I felt the pain of the characters in my fictitious “Love Cats.” Beck and Janey, loved so deeply and were going through a rough time, with much heartache and tears … something I haven’t known in ages since I am so happily ecstatic with my husband and soul mate.

I had to dig to the darkest corners of my soul to come up with these feelings expressed in “Love Cats.” How I felt, hurt in my 20s, and then exaggerated it ten-fold in order to creative good fiction because in my 20s I had such a “devil may care” attitude about everything bad that happened to me. I didn’t know real pain until I reached my 30s. After the death of my grandmother, it was like, so this is what heartache really feels like.

“Toy Soldiers” could have been a perfect accompaniment to my soundtrack for “Love Cats” even though it’s not in the new wave/dark wave genre of other work I’ve included such as Iggy Pop, The Cure, Joy Division, Kate Bush and so on …

As I was making friend with the woman in my dream, I’m making “friends” with what her song represents — that yeah, this book is harsh and I just have to take a deep breath and just put it out there. JUST LET GO!

Oh, and there is part two.

Also in the dream was a friend of a friend I lost touch with. Why was this person in the dream? We barely ever spoke to each other. But the cool thing was, we respected each others work. I always loved the bands this guy played in. And he came to one of my live poetry presentations and said he liked it. When I used to be on Face Book, this same person gave me the “thumbs up” when my first book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” was published. So I looked him up. He was easy to find because does a lot. He’s also less than six degrees separated from Iggy Pop … which is another connection to “Love Cats” because as I noted before, I wrote to Hal Leonard to gain permission to use Iggy’s lyrics in “Mass Production.”

So what this is all telling me is that all roads are leading to “Love Cats.”

“Love Cats” “Love Cats” “Love Cats” — that is all that’s been on my mind all day and night as I wait to get my paperback copy to approve in the mail. Hopefully this week. And hopefully, if goes as planned, pre-sales will be on Barnes & Noble Store and Amazon THIS WEDNESDAY!

I’m obsessively imagining who I’d love to play my characters in a movie. In spite of my descriptive words and what the book cover illustrates, I dream of a young Laura Leighton as my leading lady, Janey Peyton. Just both her in some goth clothes and she’s good to go.

laura leightonLaura Leighton

And the late Razzle from Hanoi Rocks is definitely the look I want for my Beck Stewart character. Let’s undead him for my movie! Beck is the hard-working, humble romantic who is madly in love with Janey.

Razzle-hanoi-rocks-34007384-400-574

Razzle (Hanoi Rocks)

I’d also want to go back in time, to get a very young Nicolas Cage to play Adam Durian, the eccentric, egotistical famous rock photographer. This character was so grand, he just had to be named after a fruit such as the Durian — a fruit that makes an entrance.

nicolas cageNicolas Cage

Then there is Morticia (or “Tish Girl” as Beck calls her) the green-eyed black Maine Coon, who is Beck’s pride and joy. Problem is, Janey hates cats. Can this beautiful little bugger change her mind?

black-smoke-maine-coon-cat

Maine Coon cat

And what happens when a little orange fur ball shows up on Janey’s doorstep during her darkest hour? Does she turn a blind eye to a kitten in need? Or does she remain a cat hater?

Pumpkin

Little Pumpkin

Is anyone enticed for the soon to be released “Love Cats”?

back cover proof CORRECTLove Cats back and front cover

 COMING SOON ON AMAZON AND BARNES & NOBLE STORE!

(KINDLE TOO!)

Career

Published October 29, 2014 by Maryanne

Cover proof 4My book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”

What a pleasant surprise this morning to see my book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” pinned on a “Career” board on Pinterest, amongst other music journalist greats like Lisa Robinson and Lester Bangs, which is such an honor because these are the journalists I’ve read when I was 12-years-old! I am humbled as I’ll never have the writing chops they do. “Guest List” is more of a love letter to myself, a recollection of things that meant a lot to me, not necessarily others, but if someone gets it, more power to them! Nevertheless, I’m still stoked to get royalty checks and unexpected surprises like this. I never expected my book to be doing as good as it is!

Check it out: ww.pinterest.com/emilybenda/career/?utm_campaign=activity&e_t=a0bfed66774b49e5b2e80aeb1a342f06&utm_medium=2003&utm_source=31&e_t_s=board_teaser

To order “Guest List” please visit my publishing company Next Century: http://www.nextcenturystore.com/on-the-guest-list-adventures-of-a-music-journalist.html

Creative Writing Class Today at Sayreville Library!

Published September 18, 2014 by Maryanne

Cover proof 4My book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”

Today I’m thrilled to be back at the Sayreville Public Library, Parlin, NJ to be giving a creative writing class and signing my book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.”

For more information, please visit: http://engagedpatrons.org/EventsExtended.cfm?SiteID=1717&EventID=216865&PK=

On Creativity

Published August 25, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_1842Art is not my strong point, but I enjoy it!

I want to give a round of applause to all my inspiring local artist/musician/writer friends who make a living off their art. Most of us are not of Michael Jackson celebrity status with someone working for us (and having the privilege of someone censoring nasty/hateful emails and handling our Twitter and Face Book pages). We do all the leg work promoting and negotiating payments for our creativity and have to deal with those who don’t “get it” — those who assume we are “egotistic” for promoting when we’re just working very hard to keep food on the table, pay for our own health care, go on nice trips/vacations, give gifts to loved ones and take care of our pets.

A person doesn’t choose to be creative. Creativity chooses us. If you can’t live, breath, function without being creative, that’s when you know what your calling is. It’s not about getting noticed or showing off. It’s about baring your heart and soul and making a labor of love out of your muse. It’s beautiful.

Creative people are the usually the most sensitive, caring people and LEAST EGOTISTICAL people on the planet. And when we’re not working we RARELY speak of what we do for a living. I just had four back-to-back meals with loved ones where I never once mentioned public speaking, my business Pear Tree, or my books. Nor do any of my creative friends talk about their work unless it’s one-on-one between two creative people discussing projects.

I never believed one had to suffer for their art, but it’s a harsh reality that there will be jealous people who try to make you suffer. So, I say to all of you, chin up and keep moving forward. At least we are lucky we “get” each other! CHEERS! xo

When it Comes to Reviews, Bad = Bad Ass!

Published July 31, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3767“It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.” — Mae West

One of my favorite episodes of “Sex and the City” is when the character Smith Jerrod is the new poster model for “Absolut” vodka and referred to as the Absolut Hunk. That is, until some jealous person scrawls over the ad,  if my memory serves correctly, “Absolut Ass.” (Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).

Smith Jerrod was so put off by the cruel, unnecessary act that he almost quit his acting career. Yet his gal, Samantha, encouraged him. She explained once the gays and teenyboppers embraced him he’d be a hit! And he was.

But dear readers, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need justification from fans. As an artist, writer, musician, etc. — you are already GREAT!  The fact that you are an artist willing to share your work is something to be proud of. Having the desire/will/dedication to publish (or self-published, doesn’t matter) — more power to you! AND … if you are making money to boot, darling you are so THERE!

So, now you have it all — guts to share,  people who enjoy, people who buy, and the blessing of not relying on anything else but your art for a living. Then the bomb drops … a bad review.

Thank God I learned early in my career that a bad review is the total opposite of what you’d think. A bad review is not “bad” at all. In fact, it’s “bad ass.” It simply means: people are reading! It also means people are being provoked by your work, and/or people are jealous (though I like to believe I’m strong enough to accept a bad review without using the word “jealousy” to go tit for tat with a hater). AND it can get you MORE readers — yeah!

When I was a writer in New York City for several publications at News Communications, one of the writers/editors was trashed in a “letter to the editor.”  I was new to the industry and feared she was going to get reprimanded or fired. Luckily I was wrong! The editor cheered her on and said, “People are reading you!” She became the darling of the news room.

A few years later, when I was an editorial assistant at The Montclair Times, I got my first bad review. I had written a feature article on the three tattoo shops in the town. A man from NYC, obsessed with our New Jersey newspaper, griped about hating tattoos and wondered: “…if Maryanne Christiano has any tattoos herself!”

I was ecstatic! Someone was reading me! My first bad review took me to Cloud 9!

That same man wrote letters to The Montclair Times, every three weeks, like clockwork, usually griping about something someone wrote. I saved the funnier ones in a folder. Part of my job as editorial assistant was to confirm “Letters to the Editor.” Eventually I built up a relationship with this man and we became friendly with each other. Another staff member said to me, “I can’t believe you get along with that guy!” This man was infamous for attacking the car of a NYC politician, so the fact that I got along with him was impressive.

Bad reviews don’t mean anything. They are no reflection on your character, not even your talent. Even best selling authors and the hottest rock ‘n’ roll tickets in town get bad reviews. Take for instance, one of my favorite bands, Queen. After seeing them for the third time two weeks ago, I started re-reading “The Queen Story” by George Tremlett, a book I had since I was 13.  I had long forgotten how they were trashed by the music magazines when they first came out. In fact, two journalists in very reputable newspapers trashed them after their amazing show with Adam Lambert. One was so off the money,  I was tempted to write a “Letter to the Editor” about his bad review.

“Go get ’em, Tiger!” my husband said to me. Though after a little research, I realized the journalist was around my age and a musician himself — a good one at that. I re-read the article and though I disagreed with him saying Brian May had a bad voice and his guitar solo was too long, I realized the dude was all about Freddie Mercury, and I’m okay with that. I couldn’t bring myself to trash a fellow middle-aged journalist and Freddie lover. However, his bad review inspired me to visit Google search and give the “thumbs up” for every excellent review I could find about the Queen + Adam Lambert world tour.

I rarely write bad reviews about musicians even though I’ve made a living as a music journalist for many years. Though I’ve given many bad reviews to venues I’ve received bad service, like Whole Foods and a hair salon I won’t mention because the owner stalked me down, harassed me on the telephone and demanded I take the bad review off Yelp. The only reason I did was because we had a mutual friend so I decided to take the high road. I deleted the bad review but will never forget the bad service: a stylist leaving dye and foils in my hair while she went to the bathroom to fight with her husband on a cell phone! (The result, my hair got fixed, two hours later; but she got a divorce. Bad karma, right?)

Bad reviews I’ve given other writers, I can count the times on one hand. The only times I trashed a book were two that were super popular and it was definitely no skin off their ass; and another book that criticized every band she wrote about, because to me that said, “well, then, why even bother?”

I never got people writing about things they hate when reviews come across so much more exciting when you write about what you love (and are knowledgeable about!) Bad reviews never stopped me from seeing a band, seeing a movie, buying a book or a CD. I’ve even befriended people who have gotten “bad reviews” from others. I fail to judge by anyone’s opinion except someone I really trust that knows me inside and out.

The thing I’m getting at here, is that bad reviews are just like mosquito bites. Annoying, but not nearly the end of the earth. The classy way to handle them is just ignore them.

But do embrace those who get you. Some may totally, some may a little, some not at all but like you anyway. What I’ve also learned, as a creative person, though some people may like me and not my work, others may NOT like me, but love my work. The greatest compliment ever was when it got back to me that a person who didn’t like me was trashing my character, but added, “She’s a great poet though.”

Not everyone is going to like everything about you. Some might not like ANYTHING about you. The cool thing is, it’s no reflection on you or your merit in the art/music/publishing world. The bad critic has no real power over you — especially when others are digging what you wrote and you’re selling art, books, articles, etc. and have been doing so for many years. In fact, a bad review may do many good things, like getting the right people curious or inspiring your true fans to defend you.

While there’s always room for improvement, never beat yourself up over a bad review. Take all reviews with a grain of salt. Don’t compromise your style or voice to appease a critic. And for God’s sake — keep creating!