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All posts for the month November, 2012

On continuing to support local artists. And The MiCKS!

Published November 26, 2012 by mandileighbean

I hope everyone reading this post had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Now, down to business; I recently wrote about how important it is for local artists to support local artists.  I wrote about my good friend Melanie who is realizing her dream of making music for the masses to enjoy.  For this post, I am pleased and honored to introduce you to The MiCKS.

I met Sam, the drummer, during my junior year of college.  We were both taking a literature class dealing in the genre of Science Fiction/Fantasy.  One day, while I was gorging myself at a bake sale, we got to talking and he revealed that him and his brother were in this band and he said that I should check out their MySpace (did I just date myself?).  Well, I did check out the band and I have never looked back.

The MiCKS are incredible.  They are unlike anything out there right now and are so genuine and passionate about what they do and how they perform that it is almost frightening.  I am almost embarrassed to admit that I am abnormally obsessed with their song, “Dry Splash.”  The lyrics, written by Sam’s brother Matt, are outstanding.  Sometimes when I listen to the song, I become infuriated that I didn’t write it.  The talent and energy cannot be denied, and The MiCKS are definitely worth checking out.

Melanie and I recently traveled to Hoboken to watch the band perform and celebrate the release of their first album.  Not only was the show incredibly entertaining and totally rocking, but proceeds from the show went to The HOBOKEN VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE CORPS (http://www.hobokenems.com/page10.html; http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/in_hoboken_volunteers_scramble.html).  Local artists should support their locality as well as other local artists, and the MiCKS did just that.  It was a pleasure to be a part of such entertainment, but it was an honor to be a part of so worthy an endeavor.

Melanie gave them a signed copy of her CD, and I gave them a signed copy of my book.  So they signed our copies of the CD.  It was a cosmic kind of experience, to witness those that you know achieving their dreams and believing that you were there to support from some form of the beginning.  I felt so wonderful and awesome inside, and I want all of you to experience that emotion.

Please check out The MiCKS on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/themicks

And you can listen to their awesome songs here: http://www.reverbnation.com/themicks#!/themicks/songs

Remember: local artists need to support local artists.
Also, people need to support other people when people discover their passions.

Keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart …. And yes, I did steal that from a country song.  Oh well.

 

On a happy Thanksgiving.

Published November 22, 2012 by mandileighbean

I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this blog, or at least this post, has a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.  I wish for all that you are surrounded by loved ones with full hearts and full stomachs.  I hope that you are thankful and grateful for all of life’s blessings, including the miracle of life itself.

I am thankful for the miraculous gift of life, and I am thankful that mine has been filled with laughter and love.  I am thankful to be blessed with safety, health and happiness and wish the same for every pair of eyes that reads this (and those that do not, as well). I am thankful for my family, my friends, my colleagues, my wonderfully wacky students, my talent and my opportunities.

I am thankful for my writing talent and ability, and to all those who have and who will support that endeavor.

Everyone, be loved and be thankful every day, but today especially. ♥

On continuing to give thanks.

Published November 14, 2012 by mandileighbean

I have some other special people to thank for their kind words and wonderful support.

This is my Phi Sigma Pi Brother and friend, Erica, posing with her copy of my debut novel, Her Beautiful Monster.

My uncle Mike commented on a Facebook status about how it’s surreal to think his niece wrote a book.

My aunt Kim gave the book a glowing review. Granted she may be a little biased, but she’s also honest.

Keep reading! Let me know what you think!

On giving thanks … even if it is a little early.

Published November 11, 2012 by mandileighbean

Thanksgiving is over a week away, but it is always a good time to be thankful.  I cannot even begin to put into words how thankful I am for all of the support, the compliments, and the love I have received from family, friends, colleagues and even former students concerning my debut novel, Her Beautiful Monster.  Realizing my dream of having my writing published is one thing, but to witness the incredibly positive reception but those that I love, admire, and respect the most is another thing entirely; it is almost too much to bear, the exceeding kindness and well-wishes.

My friends Shannon and Michael purchased the book and told me so via Facebook.

My cousin Tracey told me she couldn’t put it down.

My friend Shannon letting me know she received the book and what she thought of the setting.

My aunt Kim posted a picture of herself reading the book on Facebook.

My family and friends are amazing, as are my colleagues.  One teacher told me she loved it and approved of the twist.  Several others have ordered copies and are asking me to sign them.  This is truly a blessing and I am overwhelmed but, luckily I am a writer, so I am never at a loss for words.

Thank you everyone so much, and please, keep letting me know what you think about the book and continue to send pictures!

On being local.

Published November 5, 2012 by mandileighbean

I attended mass at 11:00AM with my mother at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Lakehurst.  Father Bernie, the pastor, spoke for a few minutes before mass began and described how the church had been employed as a makeshift shelter and had accepted donations of clothing, food, and other needed items.  The church is still accepting donations which workers from the Red Cross are delivering to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Father Bernie’s message was quite appropriate as the Gospel reading explained that essentially, there are two rules one must follow to enter the Kingdom of Heaven: 1) love God with one’s entire being and 2) to love one’s neighbor as one loves one’s self.  While not everyone shares similar religious beliefs, the latter half is pretty much universally accepted as a golden rule.  Everyone can agree it is important to care for neighbors because everyone is a member of the brotherhood of man and this life is a remarkably long trip to make alone.

The message weighed on my mind as I met my friend Kalie for a brainstorming session at a local restaurant.  Kalie went to school for marketing and is vivacious, intelligent, and loyal.  Naturally, I enlisted her in assisting me to get the word out about my debut novel Her Beautiful Monster and to drive sales.  We both agreed that word of mouth is the greatest tool currently at our disposal and that generating a local fan base is crucial.  We swapped names of local, friendly musicians and I spoke of Melanie Wagner.

I have known Melanie since the fifth grade, but we did not become close until high school and into college when we decided to live together.  One night during our freshman year, Melanie was secretly playing guitar and singing while I was in the shower.  She was not expecting me to emerge from the bathroom when I did and I caught her and her incredible talent.  We find ourselves three years later and Melanie is a part of a duo that plays out regularly at various, local venues.  She has released an album and a music video.  I am truly in awe of her because she is living out her dreams.  She inspires me on a daily basis and I am honored to be able to call her a dear friend.  I would be remiss if I did not encourage anyone reading this to give her music a listen and support her passion, as she has done for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT7xPVAMrAU

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanie-Sonny/156590267709732

Local artists NEED to support local artists, just as local citizens need to support local citizens.  That being said, below is a link and brief explanation to an organization doing its best to restore the Jersey Shore through supporting local businesses.  Every little bit helps.  Please do what you can for New Jersey, the Garden State, my home.

http://www.facebook.com/mandi.bean?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/The-NJ-Restoration-Project/493381787361073

This is a page dedicated to bringing Jersey together. Buy locally while you recover from Sandy. Let’s turn tragedy into success!
Company Overview

Our goal is for everyone affected  by the hurricane to use local businesses for replacement purchases in order to put some money back into our town’s economy. We all need to come together during this time of need and support those around us.

On Hurricane Sandy and faulty internet connections.

Published November 4, 2012 by mandileighbean

Every time that I have tried to update this blog, I have been thwarted by an unreliable internet connection.  It is incredibly frustrating and I have been tempted to just give up and save the update for tomorrow, but I have already lost far too much time.  There are so many stories that I have neglected that need to be told.  There is no more time to waste.

Sometimes I think about purchasing a pack of cigarettes and lighting up a long, slender, cylindrical stick of tobacco encased in paper.  I would inhale smooth and deep, let the smoke and tar sufficiently coat my lungs, and then I would exhale all the anxiety, insecurity, stress, and worry – all the really ugly and cancerous toxins.  I have romanticized smoking as an inexplicably dangerous, freeing, and alluring activity.  I think there is something about both the blatant idiocy and sheer recklessness that is strangely appealing.  This notion is strange indeed, given the current socioeconomic climate which is exceptionally health-conscious, but I suppose I am strange.  That adjective used to embarrass me, but now I embrace it fully.  In fact, I think that it is wonderfully liberating.
“Where are you now?  Where are you now?  Do you ever think of me in the quiet?  In the crowd?”

 

It has been quite some time since I have posted a blog entry.  My negligence has not been a result of wanting for inspiration.  Rather, my blog has remained stagnant because of a base, weak aspect of human nature: simple laziness.  I am tired and lacking in motivation to do anything other than sit on my ever-growing ass, let alone create.  Monday through Friday I come home defeated because I am exhausted from work and having a hell of a time adjusting to the shortened schedule because there never seems to be a respite – the immersion in school and grading and paperwork is total and complete because “home” is forcibly transformed into a second office.  The high school instructional schedule runs from 7:00AM to 11:57AM, and then teachers are required to stay until 12:50PM, performing assorted and assigned duties.  We then are required to leave, unable to return to our classrooms and forced to contend with a swamped faculty room and crowded library.  I feel – and I know I am not alone – as if I am constantly moving from space to space without a moment to catch my breath and without a sense of validity or ownership.  It is incredibly draining and defeating.

And for me, when I come “home” in desperate search of sanctuary but am still laden with work and an endless list of obligations, I am still nomadic and without a space to call my own.  I have a bedroom, but it is increasingly cramped for a young woman.  It is literally the smallest room in the house but what is more heartbreaking for me is the lack of metaphorical space and of room to grow.  I am surrounded by reminders of my childhood and adolescence, and of all of the failings, regrets, and shortcomings.  I am faced with physical, tangible mementos and I have to contend with vague memories, cloudy reminisces.  I am engulfed in juvenile dramatics at work and at home, which makes it more difficult to progress and move forward.  I feel stuck and stunted, contrary to any and all reassurances that I am a nice person, doing the right things, and being responsible.  Many of these reassurances come from my parents but fall on deaf ears because the reassurances have an unpleasant ring of ingenuity to them.  If my parents really meant what they said and if they really felt proud, then it stands to reason that I would not have to fight for every single scrap of recognition and praise.  Instead, glowing admiration and heartfelt compliments would be showered upon me and rain down.  That is not the case; I beg and plead for acknowledgement and more often than not, I am sorely disappointed.

I abhor the fact that I constantly look outside of myself for approval and that I am so dependent on others for acceptance.

I am terrified that I demand too much attention from those around me.  I am terrified that my parents do give me enough praise but that it is not enough and will never be enough for me because I am selfish and awful, a bottomless pit of need that no one will ever be able to fill.  I am terrified that I am becoming an obnoxious martyr, that people are tired of me, and that really, I am nothing special or unique.

I had no intention of whining.  I promise that this impromptu pity party began with nobler intentions.  I wanted to write about my cousin Cory and how he is an inspiration.  I was going to captivate and enthrall my audience with humorous anecdotes from my trip to Salem, Massachusetts.  I was planning on most definitely announcing that my debut novel, Her Beautiful Monster, is available for purchase from the Martin Sisters Publishing website (http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com).  I had hoped to post an entry that was a close reading of a particularly spooky passage from Stephen King (or maybe just a love letter to Stephen King) in honor of Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays.  On Halloween, I should have been watching horror movies and gorging myself on popcorn and candy, but Hurricane Sandy ruined Halloween, devastated the Jersey Shore, and has depressed many of the residents of the Garden State.

            I know that I am blessed and I am incredibly thankful that out greatest inconvenience was being without power for less than twenty-four hours.  My family members, those in Toms River, are worse off, but still have homes and their lives.  I am fully aware of how lucky we are and thank God that we are okay, and being able-bodied and possessing the means, that we can help others.  I know that I talk about getting out of Jersey.  I smile when comedians make fun of the way New Jersey smells – I even commiserate – and I smile when they make fun of the incapability of New Jersey’s citizens to pump gas.  I cringe when I think of the awful, putrid reality television shows filmed in New Jersey.  But New Jersey is my home and I am damn proud of that fact.  My heroes hail from Jersey.  I am damn proud of all those from Jersey, people who bond together through thick and thin, and are always mindful of the brotherhood of man and what that means in times like these.  Sure, I talk – and write – about getting out but Jersey is one hell of a place to come home to and I want that opportunity for me, my children, and my grandchildren.  Homes may be lost, towns may be destroyed, and businesses may be demolished, but all of that can be rebuilt.  Sandy may have knocked Jersey down, but it certainly has not and will not know Jersey out.  As a fellow Jersey native once said, “And that is why our fellow Americans in the other 49 states know when the announcer says, ‘And now in this corner, from New Jersey …’ they better keep their hands up and their heads down, because when that bell rings, we’re coming out swinging.”

           On November 1st, I planned to start anew and come out swinging.

 

I was supposed to start anew on November 1st, but there was an unforeseen complication: my dog, Bijou, was put down that day.  He was fourteen years old and the veterinarian suspected he was dying of kidney failure but without running some tests, he could not say for sure.  However, he could say with one hundred percent certainty that Bijou was dying and he more than subtly hinted that it was time to put him down.  I was okay, not sobbing, until the assistant placed a muzzle on him.  I understand it was a necessary precaution and there were legality issues to be considered, but the idea of Bijou biting anyone is laughable.  To see him so sick and obviously suffering and then muzzled like some dangerous monster was too much.  I started crying and then I could not stop.  He yelped when the painkiller was injected and I held him tighter when they brought us into the other room.  Dad and I sat with Bijou for some thirty minutes, petting him and saying goodbye and telling him he was a good boy and he was.  He did pee on Mom and he did poop in the middle of the kitchen table, but he was wicked smart and damn adorable.  I am really going to miss him.

           Dad whistled and Bijou tried to get up.  He tried to get up a couple of times and I wanted to just take him home.  I am really kind of pissed off that I was in the room when Bijou was euthanized because it was too damn sad.  It broke my silly heart to see his breath hitching and his eyes glossy and constantly slanted so that they were nearly shut.  I am furious that I saw Bijou so worn and so defeated.  It sucks, for lack of eloquence, to lose a pet.  I miss him.  I really do.

Mom cried – and she never cries.  She admits that it is weird without Bijou, but that is all it is for her – weird.  I want her to be right because I do not want to be so sad over a dog that was pain in the ass more often than not.  Every member of my family has hunted him down in the neighborhood when decided to let himself out for a walk.

But he was incredibly affectionate and very good with children.  He could do all sorts of tricks.

            I miss my dog.  I will start anew on Monday, when I do not feel so emotionally gross and when school reopens.  The return to some kind of normalcy will be good for me and for the state.

Tomorrow I am meeting a friend for a late lunch to discuss marketing possibilities for the book.  All of my dreams can be realized if this book does well; it is all I want.

On exciting news!

Published November 2, 2012 by mandileighbean

Hello all 🙂

I know it’s been quite some time since I updated my blog.  A combination of laziness, a piss poor attitude and Hurricane Sandy prevented me from entertaining you all.  However, I have returned and I have done so with exciting news.

MY NOVEL IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!

You can buy a copy of Her Beautiful Monster through the website http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com.  Digital copies will be made available shortly. Be sure to pick up your copy today, and tell some friends!

http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com/?page_id=1644

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