‘I’VE BEEN WORKIN’ ON MY REWRITE, THAT’S RIGHT.’ AN OPEN LETTER TO A YOUNG FRIEND WHO WANTS TO BE A SCRIBBLER.
#writer #aspiringwriter #artofwriting
By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
I really looked at you in that disconcerting way I have.Your eyes, that fleeting look offered nothing less than the first real confession of your young life. And it was nothing less than a revelation and best kept under cerebral lock and key for infrequent reminding.
You saw that picture of me and understood, if only for a minute, that I had once been as young as you are today, as young and determined, fortified by ardor and bold audacity. You saw me… and thought about yourself, as one does. It was no longer my photo on that cover… it was yours and the magic of the photographer’s craft mixed with the total fire power you packed into that glance made for an image to make the indolent world sit up and take notice. You had arrived… you were ready to astonish and awe… you had something to say and the words to say it… and were determined the world should hear it.
And then you heard your so decent, ever practical father say, “Look at the electrical outlets, son. Dr. Lant was just telling me they’re solid gold.”, and he gave one of them a good smart tap reiterating the words to ensure you understood what he’d said. Words per se might mean nothing to your dad, but words that produced the dazzling ostentation of gold electrical outlets were well worth the understanding. The man who could throw away good money on self-indulgent lavishness was a man worth knowing, and that’s a fact. And so I was…
…and so I did what folks blessed with the riches of knowledge must do to justify their existence… they must share, and not just insipid platitudes either, but as much naked, undeniable truth as their youthful auditor can stand, and even more.
For in such a conversation we elders transfer our civilization and learned achievements to the only people who matter at such a time, our successors; the people we must instruct or lose the best of who we are. And so I, notoriously brusque and impatient. resolve to speak to you slowly, with care and thoughtful consideration, but mostly and above all else with the unvarnished truth, so help me, God.
A curriculum for young scribblers, things no one but a successful writer can tell you. Every word in this intimate and necessary epistle between the present and the future which will, and all too soon, be the present some day, is vital. Every word is honest and such may disconcert and even affront you and your painfully young and ill-informed ideas. We must both understand that I know far more than you do; a thought you might not like or even acknowledge…
… this could be construed as arrogance and crippling conceit… on your part. It is certainly insensitive. Still we must both recognize that there is an urgency about our need to understand each other and a deep fear almost palpable, that I (or any writer of my generation) shall forget to tell you something of significance or, worse, that having told you something of such significance, you will not heed it, to the detriment of each generation’s master plan for keeping the whole thing rolling along and of constantly increasing utility and knowledge.
I now take this opportunity to introduce you to another writer, brilliant lyricist, heart touching songster, a master poet, hence meticulous word handler. His name is Paul Simon (born 1947), and if you are round about my age (70 this year) you would have grown up with his shibboleths, whimsies, condescensions, cleverness, never convenient truths, admonitions, larks and bombastic, hummable moralistic rages all just a radio dial away, always master of the searing truth so difficult for so many to see and acknowledge, but critical if we are ever to inhabit the Promised Land, or even find the direction to it, staying thereafter on the adamant and always challenging path.
Simon’s song “Rewrite” (from the 2011 album “So Beautiful Or So What”) should be required reading (and immediately accessible posting) by every writer, aspiring or otherwise. It is about a young writer who confides in the auditor just what his version of the writer’s craft is all about. “Every minute after midnight, all the time I’m spending/ Is just for workin’ on my rewrite, that’s right/ I’m gonna turn it into cash.”
But Simon knows, and we elder statespeople of the writer’s craft know, that Simon’s writer is delusional. He’s not a writer, he is a seeker after big bucks. If he can’t conjure what he needs from “where the father has a breakdown”, he’ll do it by substituting “a car chase and a race across the rooftops/ Where the father saves the children and he holds them in his arms. “This isn’t writing.” master stylist and writing pioneer Truman Capote once sniffed. “It’s typewriting,” that is to say bogus, facile, insincere and superficial.
If you’re destined to be a writer, you must do better, lots better, and I am doing you the favor to tell you what that is.
Memorize the dictionary.
Your writing is laboriously assembled and crafted from the words you know. The more words you know and use, the better and more completely you can render human reality… and, make no mistake about it, that is what all writers do, good, bad, or indifferent. We tell what happens to humans… everything that happens; their struggles, their dreams, their aspirations, their love affairs that end in misery, the ones that end in tears and tribulation, the ones that start in love and end in sublimity and awe.
Every word we master and use enables us to tell the more complete and accurate truth about the reality we know and can, in nuanced measure, describe more accurately once we have the words at our command, when we finally understand what love really is and can do.
We can, we must work to do this because it is only when we have the words that we can even attempt to write the whole truth and nothing but the truth…and, it is only when we have truth that writing transcends the mundane and allows us to approach God who is the embodiment of truth and the ultimate destination of every writer whatever story he tells.
On your dawning love affair with words… and the truth they reveal and convey.
How many words do you know today? To the extent to which you mean to write, the correct answer is “too few, far too few.” This is not merely a fact; it is a declaration of immediate commitment and lifelong purpose. If you mean to write, you must here and now pledge yourself to words, for only then can you succeed in achieving your objective.
Thus, pledge yourself to learning just three new words every day. “Just that?”, you say Yes, just that, which means just this.
Open the dictionary (whether online or off; I use both).
Take a 3″x5″ card and write the word you have decided to embrace.
Put it on your tongue, taste it, savor it with the understanding that if you can incorporate it into your very essence you will be a better person, a smarter person, a person with yet another puissant tool, the better to achieve your objective, and ultimately your grand goal. This is how you craft yourself. This is what you must do to be the world-changing eminence you can become… leaving the rest behind, those who might have been but without such effort they will never be.
Now use the word in a sentence or two. Do not just have the word, employ the word. The actual word and its part of speech should go on one side of the card; its definition on the reverse. These are now your flash cards. Treat them with the importance they deserve.
You have now taken the first step. You have told yourself what you mean to do… and you have begun to do it. Now continue. If this is your avocation, your mission, then do it, and it must become your destiny.
Too often #PaulSimon has come across as sanctimonious, condescending, hectoring, superior, aloof and dismissive, but not in this song or this album, to which I listened with the felicity of an open mind and ear. Now in his late sixties, he sounds like an engaging and completely charming adolescent, and for that I say, ” ‘Thank you/ I’d no idea that you were there’ pleased to meet you’ “. Go to any search engine and listen to him all over again.
Musical Note: I have selected as the music for this piece, Paul Simon’s song “Rewrite (So beautiful or so what).” Click on the link below to listen and if you are a new or aspiring writer, listen carefully and never-ever include a car chase in what you write. It’s the certain sign that you have a long-long way to go before you are entitled to the honorable name of “Writer”.
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is well known internationally as the author of over 1000 articles and over 60 books. He is arguably the most well-known author of his generation. He has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide with his inimitable prose style.
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This morning… just moments ago… the world smiled and became a better place….
All of a sudden, I heard my name being called and an excited little fella, full of his news and lookin’ good, flew onto a branch right in front of me. He said, and he jumped up and down as he said it, “I’m back! I’m back! And I know you’re glad to see me!”
I know that’s what he was saying, and he was so energetic, so happy, so ecstatic that I couldn’t help reciprocating. I smiled. I grinned. I laughed aloud.
This was the sure-fire harbinger of spring, and he was letting me know, personally and in no uncertain terms. that he had returned from his winter sojourn… and wasn’t I glad?
Then he sang me just a bit of his trilling tune, just to let me know he hadn’t forgotten how much I like it… and then, with a bow and native civility, suitably spruce for his high business, he flew on, knowing I would understand that he had many more stops to make; where so many people would, in their turn, look up, smile, and be cheered, to go inside and spread the joy. The red, red robin was home, and not a minute too soon.
The world’s most popular bird? A distinct possibility.
The American Robin also called the North American Robin (turdus migratorius) is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European Robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the
The American Robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering south of Canada from Florida to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. Three states think so well of this bird and its cheering song — Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin — that they have made it their official bird. It has seven subspecies, but only T.m. confinis, in the southwest, is distinctive, with pale gray-brown underparts.
What child, or adult, too, in the robin’s territory has not seen this completely characteristic sight: our tenacious friend, legs firmly planted, tugging, lugging, pulling worms from the ground? Humans like this purposeful sight; it reminds us robins are just like us: industrious, focused, glad to be up and at their work. Yes, we like that.
The American Robin is active mostly during the day and assembles in large flocks at night. Its diet consists of invertebrates (such as beetle grubs and caterpillars), fruits and berries.
It is one of the earliest bird species to lay eggs, beginning to breed shortly after returning to its summer range from its winter range. Its nest is so well constructed that with necessary refurbishing it lasts for years. Robins know just so how to use long coarse grass, twigs, paper and feathers, all smeared with mud, to give them the look and feel they desire. It is a seasonal delight for us, and perhaps for the robins too, to see them at this work. It gives both satisfaction.
Sadly, robins are not immune from troublesome predators, who see in the well-fed and always well groomed robin, a movable feast, tasty for hawks, squirrels, cats, and larger snakes. When feeding in flocks, robins have developed vigilance and a team approach to danger, which stands them in good stead. The benefits of community work for them… as for us.
A word on robin vocalization
It is the male robins who grab the spot light with their complex and almost continuous sound. This song is called cheerily carol, made up of discrete units, often repeated, and spliced together into a string with brief pauses in between. Robins in different areas have developed regional variations and different delivery times. Artists, they do not like to copy, but enjoy their unique approach to the serious business of song. They sing what they like and render it with style.
Robins in human songs and poems
It seems we humans early became infatuated with robins, who delight in cocking their heads at us, bold, curious, sympathetic to our plight, though we did, for a time, eat them. But they have forgiven us for that lapse in judgement.
Robins feature in literature since at least the 15th century and have attracted notable singers and poets to expound upon their virtues and take off on extended flights of fancy.
The best known of the several songs featuring robins is “When the red, red robin comes bob bob bobbin’ along.” It was the perfect vehicle for the not-quite-yet famous Al Jolson, and he belted it out of the theatre into musical history. Bobby Day in 1958 gave us an entirely different sound in “Rockin’ Robin”; the robins were pleased. They delight in their diverse approaches and are sorry Day is hardly remembered today, though his lively tune is.
Poets, too, write frequently about robins, but not always so upbeat as in song.
William Allingham (1824-1889) is maudlin.
“”Robin, Robin Redbreast,
O Robin dear!
And a crumb of bread for Robin,
His little heart to cheer.”
Robins tell me the pathetic imagery is not to their liking.
They are baffled by Emily Dickinson’s poem “I dreaded that first Robin, so.” (Her dates 1830-1886).
“I dreaded that first Robin so,
But He is mastered now,
I’m accustomed to Him grown,
He hurts a little, though —”
However, they have accepted the human explanation that no one really understands her poetry. And so the matter rests.
One poet, however, and one poem every robin knows, and wishes you to know. It is this resounding truth from William Blake’s (1757-1827) “Auguries of Innocence.”
“A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.”
However, let’s end as we began, with Jolson. He matches the soaring optimism of the robins themselves, all great American voices:
“They’ll be no more sobbin’ when
He starts throbbin’ his old, sweet song.”
And I believe that’s true.
About the author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is well known internationally as the author of over 1000 articles and over 60 books. He is arguably the most well-known author of his generation. He has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide with his inimitable prose style. To see all of his works go to www.drjeffreylant.com.
This is the story of the world’s greatest university, rich, secure, inviolate, invulnerable… arrogant… ripe for the taking.
This is the story of a talented young man, not merely good at lying, deception, prevarication and hoodwinkery… but (though connoisseurs of such matters may cavil) great.
This is the story of a young man so keen to have the good things in life that he was willing to sell his soul to get them… and of parents who so loved their son that they were willing to put him in prison to redeem him.
This is the story of the highest university officials who thought this unthinkable thing could never happen… and who drank deep from the chalice of chagrin and public humiliation when it did.
This is the story of peers who, when forced to confront this tale found that the perpetrator was cute and desirable… and therefore deserving of understanding, absolution, and a date.
This is the tale of Adam B. Wheeler. And I suspect you will find it as riveting as I did for, verily, it is a true tale of our times and, therefore, irresistible and completely appalling. Ole!
Adam B. Wheeler, a boy in a hurry
Adam B. Wheeler, by all accounts, was an average student, neither good nor bad, outstanding in no way, prosaic in all. However, such a boy could dream… and Adam B. Wheeler did so dream… of a place called Cambridge and a college called Harvard, where sport the irresistible jeunesse doree.
Adam dreamt… then despaired… for Harvard looked for the exceptional and Adam was merely average and hence beneath Harvard’s notice.
So this average boy took the first extraordinary decision of his life: he decided to risk all to escape from the usual, the hackneyed, the average, the dull, the prosaic. He decided, in short, to invent the vehicle that would give him escape; he decided to craft himself.
Years later, at Adam’s fraud trial, his lawyer Steven Sussman, Esq. said “There is no answer to why Adam did this. ” But Mr. Sussman, like so many adults involved in this case, was wrong. Sussman has forgotten what it is like to walk high school corridors and be nothing more than one of a mass, faceless, dull, average, forgettable. Adam knew that feeling… and, with growing insistence, was ready to do everything, anything to rise and get out of this situation… to take his place, however wrongly, amongst the best and brightest of his generation. The quickest way to do that, he concluded, was by mastering the potent and practical arts of the fraudulent presentation, prevarication, deception.
And so, Adam B. Wheeler commenced, by diligent study, an ascension of trickery where each step successfully encountered fueled the next. He submitted a plagiarized school essay and winning the prize discovered the ease of deceit, thereby engendering more and greater boldness.
Audacity, he discovered, could be created by successful deceptions, which also delivered a plethora of benefits — money, social recognition, the compliments of teachers and peers, the thrilling feeling that he was “somebody”… and, all important, further insights into how to rise higher still on his new skills and expanding confidence. Adam B. Wheeler was moving… so fast that goals once unimaginable were now within his grasp.
And so he grabbed.
Proud Bowdoin College with its picture-perfect campus gave Adam a place by deceit. But Adam wanted, had always wanted more. For such damnation as he was willing to risk, he demanded the very best.
So, then, fair Harvard’s turn. Adam, now almost through his apprenticeship of deft manipulation, doctored his College Board scores and forged letters of recommendation. These were panegyrics of such transcendence that in a more perfect world they would have moved Harvard to contact him rather than he condescending to contact them.
And so Harvard, confident its summit could not be so breached, became Adam’s trophy, too… and, with its welcome acceptance, gave him, he well knew, life’s ticket to privilege, deference, and open doors everywhere. It was thrilling, heady… dangerous because the very ease and extent of success caused hubris, the most dangerous thing of all.
Adam B. Wheeler became an Icarus with no Daedalus to counsel and advise. But even Icarus, with such a wise and seasoned advisor at hand, was so fueled by arrogance and the certainty that only the young possess, even well-advised Icarus flew too high, too soon, too close to the sun… and so, his wings melting, plunged into death.
What chance, then, had still-learning Adam B. Wheeler to know, so soon in life, the virtue of restraint? Icarus-like, he chose to fly too fast, too high, eschewing restraint because constant victories were so exciting and gratifying…and, he had proved, so easy.
However his fall, inevitable though he never knew it, was, in the classical tradition, sharp, painful, ironic. Continuing to want the best, he fabricated a fake straight A Harvard transcript and aimed to grab a Fulbright or even a Rhodes scholarship, much desired, achieved by only the elite, amongst whom he insisted to be.
However, grinning fate was at hand with Adam’s nemesis.
It was his parents, the good, decent, profoundly appalled creators of Adam B. Wheeler, his mom and dad. To save him, they laid him low, beginning his unravelling with a call to the chagrined Harvard officials whose certainty and carelessness had moved Adam so appreciably forward. They, powered by revenge and sanctimonious moralizing, happily pounced, determined to end his career and make sure This Could Never Happen Again. His Harvard status was rescinded… his trial ensued. His conviction inevitable, he plea-bargained, admitting culpability and accepting restitution for all funds and prizes falsely won. Prison was avoided but shame was not. It was the end of Adam B. Wheeler.
Or was it?
In the blog of the Crimson, Harvard’s student newspaper, another stream was unexpectedly running. Here the story took another turn, for many bloggers (not just women either) saw what “Daniel” saw: “He really is totally adorable. He probably gets away with half of his shenanigans because people look into those big blue eyes and see the floppy hair and think he’s adorable”. Ah, too fetching to be guilty, much less locked away.
It was, under these circumstances, no doubt wise of the judge in his sentencing order of December 16, 2010 to prevent Adam from enjoying any financial gains from his story from books, stage, and screen. It’s sad, though, for local boy-made-good Matt Damon, who would have done full justice to this tale of Cambridge, a place he knows so well. However, no doubt in due time, Adam B. Wheeler will find a way around this (temporary) obstacle. I hope so, for I long to see this film.
I have selected for the music to this chapter, Scott Joplin’s pep machine, “Maple Leaf Rag” (1899). Pull your hat over your head, go get your best gal, come on down to the court house, where they’re playing the “Maple Leaf Rag” and waiting for Adam B. Wheeler to come in from the hoosegow, and flash them baby blues at you. Oh lordy!
By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
I don’t know why just the right song seems so often to pop out of nowhere. I mean I hadn’t thought of Satchmo (Louis Armstrong 1901-1971) for a good long time. Why then does it feels so absolutely normal, indeed predictable, as the first flakes of our first Nor’easter fell, the grand notes of Satchmo rising at the appropriate time for any snowstorm in the world.
I am standing at the window in my office, The Blue Room, staring out into the wintry scene now developing. There are still tufts of grass that snow has not yet covered, and though there is not at this moment enough snow to justify their presence, the snow plows are here in force with their glaring noises, and air of pomposity. This is the beginning of the blizzard which the avid weather girls now cover, for it is now the day for the cute jeune fille.
For now it is mandatory to deliver weather with sex appeal. They know nothing about weather except what they are told to read from a page. Their job is to make minimum mistakes and look like they are going to a cocktail party even though the time is 6 am.
In days gone by I would at this time of the morning (just about 9 am) be dressed in my adorable yellow all weather outfit, the outfit which when wet smells of dog. I had just enough time before school to make exuberant snow angels. My brother complained as his snow was not always neat as mine always was. I always had first dibs on the pure snow and never failed to make the boisterous model. The incidental fact that this irritated my brother was an extra benefit not to be underrated.
The snow is falling faster now but cannot beat the wild range of remembrances of snow days gone by. It seems to me my life was divided into just two days: winter with its promise of the bountious snow and ice skating on the local pond; summer with scorching temperature and pink bodies soon burnt to the consistency of French toast. Seen one snow day, seen them all, you might say, but you would be wrong, because each day of snow creates a different montage. They may look the same, but there are no two flakes in the universe that ever are the same.
My mother served as Grand Marshal of the snow parade. She knew where everything was to be found. “Yes, Jeffrey, check the hall closet under the green blanket”. No request when it came to snow was too insignificant to produce the desired effect.
A lot of bubble gum could return a sled to service. How many mothers, particularly those of the millennium, could do as much?
She was young and vibrant then. Winter suited her, and Jack Frost nipped at her cheeks and created a thing of joy and beauty.
Although she had a job out of the house, she was always there to provide the breakfast she knew we would need. For once out of the house we were energy machines, paying no attention to anything but the snow which piled up outside our back door.
“Mind the ice!”
The trek to school — for we walked everyday except the worst — revealed new landscapes. Familiar objects were no longer familiar, but radically changed. The snow provided us with a whole new vista; one that we must touch, not just see. Otherwise, we wouldn’t believe. And so the tracks of my mother’s children went one way and another, thereby proving we were great explorers, not put off by the millions of pounds of snow falling from the unremitting gray sky. We defied it.
Neighbors we might not see for weeks at a time, we would take time to see as the snow fell and the blizzard blew. We all wanted to know what the old folks were doing (for any one above our tender age was certainly old no matter how young they might have been). These neighbors came out even as the first snow fell, so that they could clear the path the falling snow would obliterate in just minutes.
These folks would have to rely now on shovels and patience. Sometimes my mother would say “Knock on Mrs. Jenkins’ door. Make sure she has heat and she is alright.” In such ways my mother demonstrated what the word “community” really meant. Does anyone stop today to find out whether Mrs. Jenkins is comfortable at 88 and frail? Probably not. If she is lucky, someone from Community Services may take a moment to look in, but more often the line is busy. “If this is a life threatening emergency call 911.”
I think Mrs. Jenkins preferred the red-cheeked banshees who sharply tapped the glass and rapped rat-tat-tat, smiling the broadest smile. She would have been delighted to invite us all in for cocoa with little marshmallows, which every marshmallow connoisseur knows are manifestly superior to their bloated bretheren.
I see a hearty traveler on the sidewalk walking diligently, no doubt to his perch in the great University which scoffs at the very idea of Nor’easters. After all, it has lived through centuries of snow and ice and wicked contours which soon become nothing but mud and housewives shouting with asparity, “Wipe your feet!”
It is a wonder to me, after so many years, and so many deserts of mud, especially those creating themselves particularly for my birthdays, that these housewives did not become murderous. A kind of patience, restraint, even sainthood was expected. It was the hallmark of the lady of the house that she did not, as a matter of course, take a rifle off the wall and blow the encyclopedia salesman to kingdom come. We knew they were capable of it; their restraint, therefore, was heroic.
As we neared the school, I sometimes thought of my paternal grandfather, Walter. He was the dark horse of the family. A contractor, he helped build the local schoolhouse… grand in a full display of continental brick work. You see my grandfather, Germanic to the core, liked things that last. And so today, when he is hardly even a memory to anyone, that brick schoolhouse he built stands solid, as good today as on its inauguration. Yes, he was a dark horse. His metier was doing, not talking, and I admire that trait today more than I can say.
I think another word is owed to Grampy. He would sit in my grandmother’s kitchen each day… his chair never touched, much less sat in by anybody else. Each day after four would see him in his special chair. It was not patriarchal. It was made of aluminum, with a seat easily cleaned. This chair was as important as the Pope’s, and was the scene of far more judgments rendered ex cathedra.
Brief, laconic, rendered with a certainty that must be God-like… Grampy dictated the course of world events. There was nothing shy about his delivery. There was nothing shy about where he stood. And if he liked you, you got a double portion of his favorite potation. I often tried to advise his guests that one such drink was enough, but they never believed me until it was too late.
I would arrive in this scene of unadulterated family about the time my uncles appeared (for sometimes they worked for my grandfather and sometimes they did not); no one ever questioned my right to be present; no one hesitated to make some deflating comment if they thought that perhaps I was gaining an unfair advantage. Of course I was, and I dished back just as good as I got, probably even better.
The snow continues to fall. The weather girls are making one silly comment after another. Do we really need to know the temperature in Springfield, Massachusetts, or how many tree branches have fallen off in Arlington? So much information, so little that’s important.
I prefer my grandfather’s way of handling it. He’d listen, he’d grunt, and everyone knew precisely what that grunt meant. No one outside this careful circle ever learned how to interpret what to us was so clear and manifest.
I had one more trek to make, “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” The snow might abide… the drifts might grow… ’til my trusty bicycle was forced into the middle of the roads… dangerous as the sun fell low on the horizon. I was going home, and though I didn’t necessarily know it everyday, it sometimes did occur to me that all the to’ing and fro’ing, all the high flying and the low flying, were nothing compared to a single word just four letters long, “home”. It is a pity that I learned this lesson so late in life. Perhaps we all must be significantly detached before we see what we had, what we have lost and can never regain.
And so, in my mind’s eye I see myself and think on this, my 70th birthday, how fortunate I have been. I have kept more promises and traveled more miles than most. “You’ll never know how many dreams I’ve dreamed about you.” It has all been a long, long time.
It is hard not to be seized by the wintry scene playing out before me. It is the cause of so many reflections. But when you add Satchmo to the mix, it is overwhelming indeed. That is why I have chosen “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” as the music for this article. Written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, it was released in 1945. You cannot get through it without the insistant tug of memory, because that after all is the important thing… the thing that defines you… and you must not resist it.
About the author
Over the past 50 years and more, Dr. Jeffrey Lant has written 61 books and thousands of articles on a wide variety of topics. He is the greatest lyric writer of his age. Don’t just read the books and articles, enter into their flow, for they will touch your heart if you allow yourself to have a heart.
To see Dr. Lant’s complete ouevre, go towww.drjeffreylant.com. You will be reminded of just how powerful the English language can be.
starts this year on February 27th. This brilliant article will put you in the mood for high jinks.
Darlin’, everybody hustles. It’s just a question of how, when and where.’ A tale of pre-Katrina New Orleans and your business success.
By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. I didn’t have to look for the perfect tune to accompany this article. I’ve known it for decades. “I’m still here“ from Stephen Sondheim’s incredible musical “Follies” (1971). It’s a song about grit, determination, doing what you have to do with the person you must do it with… to move up, move on, and force the big guys at the top to move over. This is the song you listen to on days when the recalcitrant world is just not going the way you want… it’s the song you listen to when you mean to change that… and try again, because that’s what winners do and losers can’t even imagine.
Go to any search engine now… go into a room all by yourself, the better to turn up the volume to the ear-shattering range… and let Sondheim’s incredible music waft you to the place of your dreams… then listen to what you have to do to get there.In the days before Hurricane Katrina, I used to frequently teach marketing communications at the University of New Orleans.
My classes were held on week days downtown and on Saturday’s on Lake Pontchartrain, whose name I loved, coming as it does from a great French statesman who had the infinite good sense to be painted by Robert Le Vrac de Tournieres (1667-1752). I loved that picture from the first moment I saw it… and I loved New Orleans, too, its people, its spirit, its often painful madcappery and self destruction.
When I came to know about “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole (published 1980), I read it with an avidity fed by its macabre history; (the author had to commit suicide before any publisher would condescend to review it; it then went on to win the Pulitzer Prize).
From the very moment I left my hotel room (where I spent the absolute minimum amount of time) adventures were drawn to me, because they knew I was completely receptive to them.
Her name was Yvette…
On my very first day in New Orleans (it was a Friday), I stayed in a big, fancy hotel just off the French Quarter. I never made that mistake again; on my many future visits I always stayed in a little hotel in the Quarter, steps from the wonderful people I met who filled me with admiration for their zest for living and unadulterated joy under unremitting duress.
The first person who met me (note the language) was a person who looked to me like Tinkerbell on something. He walked up to me and said, “Honey, I can tell you are new to La Nouvelle Orleans. Let me be your guide”. I had never, and I mean never, been spoken to like that… but I recognized in these words Fate’s distinctive messenger. I accepted, bought my guide a drink… and in due course, having gleaned without difficulty but with some incredulity that I was a writer, he said, “But you must meet Yvette.” Of course, I must. That too was Fate…
She was, as the French say, a woman of a certain age; that might have been anything from forty into eternity. I knew at once she had that unmistakable quality the Parisians call “chien”. Yes, I know that means “dog”, and its English connotations are not good… but she had, and unmistakenly, that mixture of age, chic, dress sense, allure and brass that forces one involuntarily to look back and be sad that vision is rushing to be with someone else. But this time, perhaps for the first time, this woman with a Past was going to influence my future… and I was ready to hear whatever she said.
The conversation turned to life… it always does in the French Quarter with such people as Yvette. With each drink (and there were many) came another piquant observation that convinced me “real” life and I had only a nodding acquaintance. Yvette knew the vicissitudes of life inside and out… and I was bright enough to pay close attention to her observations, often as diamond sharp as Madame de Sevigne (1626-1696). This one completely arrested my attention:
“Darlin’, everybody hustles. It’s just a question of how, when and where.” It instantly occurred to me that this is precisely the element missing from far too many of my business students and people starting and running businesses generally. They are running businesses; they are not hustling for success as if their very lives were dependant on it… and that was the reason so many of them were barely getting by and wondering why, when they were such good and proper folk.
It’s because they were missing what Yvette had to spare: hustle. In short they wanted success, but they wanted it on their terms… which just ain’t gonna happen.
YOU say you want success, but (for whatever reason) you are not willing to work all the necessary hours it takes to achieve success. SUCCESS says, “You will work as many hours as it takes to capture me… not merely the hours you wish to work.”
YOU say you want success, but are not willing to work evenings, week-ends, even standard holidays. SUCCESS says, “If you want me, you must be willing to sacrifice time you’d like to use for other things. Choose!”
YOU say you want success, but you’ll only do jobs that make you such-and-such amount. SUCCESS says, “If you want the money, stoop to conquer. When you’ve got the money you want, then you can afford to be so picky. But that day hasn’t dawned yet.”
YOU say you want success, but your spouse is doing everything but put you in a cage to make sure you can’t achieve it. SUCCESS says “Sugarbabe, there are more good women and men in the sea than those who’ve come out. Dig my meaning?”
YOU say you want success, but you’ll only look at business opportunities that cost you nothing. SUCCESS says “Lambikins, ain’t nothin’ ever come from nothin’. You’ve gotta invest to get a return on that investment.”
YOU say you want success, but you are not willing to do the necessary homework and due diligence to ensure that what you do delivers the substantial rewards you want. SUCCESS says, “Quit trying to beat the system. People who make money are constant, never-ceasing students of success. They review each and every thing to understand how it works… then follow the directions EXACTLY to achieve success. They are not trying to cut corners, because they know that doesn’t work.”
YOU say you want success but once you get some, you don’t gun it to get more. SUCCESS says, “Every successful person on earth has a success system. They know that if they do X, they will get Y results. Thus, as soon as they are successful and can prove their system delivers the desired results (or even better), they arrange their time and resources so they can replicate their successful system over and over again, each time reaping the expected (and ever increasing) benefits.”
YOU say you will study successful people to see how they do and how they work because you understand that the achievement of success is inextricably linked to studying the successful and making a point of then doing what they do. SUCCESS says, “Well, are you studying the successful? I certainly haven’t seen you around anyone but your low-down worthless friends. The only time they’ll appear in the media is for robbing a convenience store! Dump ’em.”
YOU say you want success on the Internet. Good for you; it’s where lots of people nowadays get big bucks and worldwide, too. SUCCESS says, “You’re all talk and no action You don’t have anyone to help you. You don’t have the necessary tools you need; you don’t have the training. And, as for your traffic, that’s a joke that you don’t know how to fix. Moreover, you have no way to profit 24 hours a day in this demanding 24-hour-a-day environment.
And what of Yvette?…
Let’s just say my appreciation for Yvette and what she taught me did not flag as the hours advanced. And as for her profound insight into the sustained hustling all true success seekers must engage in?… why that has now gone from just Yvette to me… and now from me to you… for my next adventure… and, by grasping this article and its recommendations, for your faster, greater, truly impressive success.
Musical Note: I have selected as music for this article, “When I Die, You Better Second Line” played by Kermit Ruffins, founder of the hellzapoppin band Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers. Founded in 1992, this is one New Orleans tradition that rode out #Katrina with style and bravado. Don’t hold yourself back!
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant has taught marketing and related subjects at over 40 US Colleges including Harvard. He is the author of over 1000 articles and more than 60 books. To see his work go towww.drjeffreylant.com
Did you know it’s never too late to make changes and incorporate healthy exercise habits into your daily routine, the sooner you start the sooner you will have the body you’ve always wanted. Most of us are motivated by our appearance more than ‘just’ getting in shape. Of course, that isn’t so true if you have had some health problems in the past, but under normal circumstances we want to look good for our spouse, or just fit into that cool pair of jeans you just saw.
Whatever your motivation may be, the number one thing you can do to make it work for you is to find something that you enjoy enough (or at least don’t hate) to stick with it for a period of time. You won’t get in great shape in just a week or two and maintaining your good health will mean that you have to make permanent lifestyle changes. Some people may freak out at the word ‘permanent’ but remember, you are doing some sort of exercise that you actually like doing so doing if from now on won’t be a big challenge.
So, where do you start? How do you go about creating healthy exercise habits? Well, a good place to start is to make an appointment with your doctor. Make sure that you’re in good enough shape to start working out. Even if you have some health issues, working out can do you a lot of good, but you may have to modify your workout to accommodate your underlying health problems. So a talk with your doctor is always a good idea.
Next, you want to figure out just what type of workout you should start with. Only you can really answer that since you want to pick something that you think you would like to do. It’s important to think outside of the box. Don’t get in the rut of thinking that you have to do your 30 minutes of cardio on a treadmill and than lift some weights. There is nothing wrong with that workout but there are a lot of other things you can do too.
No matter what type of workout you start with it’s important for you to remember that your body will get used to whatever you do on a regular basis. So you if you are doing one type of workout for a month it may be time to ‘mix it up’ and try something new. That will allow your body to be ‘surprised’ and you can get great results if you do that on a regular basis.
Just remember, if you want to incorporate healthy exercise habits into your life, you have a ton of options from which to choose. The two most important things to keep in mind is that you need to find something you enjoy and you need to get your head around the idea that this is a lifestyle change and not just a quick fix. The better your attitude when you go in, the more you’ll get out of it.
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There is one hangover vitamin you should take if you plan to drink too much and want to avoid a hangover and that is a B-complex vitamin. Obviously, the best way to prevent a hangover is to not drink at all but if that is not an option and you want to go out every now and then to tie one on then prevent your hangover with a B-complex vitamin.
In truth, a B-Complex vitamin is a combination of eight different vitamins including folic acid, biotin, niacin,thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and cyanocobalamin. Granted these are all found in the food we eat everyday but if you do tie one on and expect a hangover the next morning then an extra pill or two may be necessary to prevent it and give you an energy boost.
The way to make this as effective as possible is to:
1. Stay hydrated. This is important because alcohol will cause you be dehydrated and can increase your risk of getting a really bad hangover. Another benefit of drinking plenty of water is that you will be drinking less alcochol and may not drink too much in the first place.
2. Take a B-Complex vitamin when you wake up the morning before the night you want to go out. Take it with a full glass of water and eat a good breakfast.
3. Continue to drink water throughout your day and take another B-Complex vitamin after you eat some lunch, again, with a full glass of water.
4. Keep a B-Complex in your pocket when you go out and take the hangover vitamin when you are ready to have your last drink. Just drink it with a full glass of water, not the other drink you have in your hand. Vitamin B-Complex will help restore your energy while you sleep. Either before you go out or while you are out, get some food into your stomach. Food slows down the absorption of alcohol by 80%.
5. When you wake up in the morning, take another B-Complex vitamin with as much water as you can handle. You will probably feel fine but this last vitamin can’t hurt.
You may be wondering why B-Complex vitamin works. Well, it is just the way these vitamins work in your body. The thiamine works to calm your nervous system and helps metabolize any alcohol left in your system. Riboflavin works to lessen the red eyes of the morning after. Niacin helps break down the food you ate late, pyridoxine works to lessen any cramping from dehydration and cyanocobalamin works to fortify your red blood cells.
Do not forget the most important thing here, drink lots of water. The B-Complex vitamin will work so much better if you are not dehydrated to begin with. In fact the B-Complex vitamin needs water to work effectively in your system. This is because they are what’s called water soluble vitamins so they need the water to dissolve in to become an effective hangover vitamin.
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Female hair loss solutions come in many forms and vary widely as do the causes of hair loss. From herbal remedies to essential oils and over the counter medications that get massaged into your scalp, the possibilities are, if not endless, then quite numerous. You should have no trouble finding something that can work for you.
It would help if you get a reason from your doctor about why you are losing your hair to begin with. Once you have a reason, you and your doctor can tailor a treatment regimen just for you or you can consult your local naturopath for advice on female hair loss solutions. A naturopath is someone trained in the art of herbs and can help you come up with an acceptable treatment option for your hair loss.
Your doctor can prescribe certain medications that can help thicken your hair if it is thinning and cause hair to grow if it is falling out. Losing your hair can be more than just upsetting, it can be downright devastating, not to mention embarrassing.
If this problem persists and you have already tried the traditional female hair loss solutions you may be ready to consult a hair restoration company to talk about restoring hair that has been lost to female pattern baldness.
If your hair loss is caused by some other reason like a medical condition you may not be eligible for hair restoration and may just need to take the medications prescribed by your doctor. Corticosteroids are the treatment of choice when dealing with hair loss.
If certain medications are the cause of your hair loss all that needs to happen is the medication regimen needs to be completed then your hair should grow back without any problems. Chemotherapy medications for the treatment of cancer are types of medications that can make someone lose their hair.
Improving your diet and making sure the vitamins and minerals you need for full thick hair are included in what you eat is very important. Things like Vitamin D and essential fatty acids. If your diet is deficient in lysine, copper and zinc you may experience premature hair loss. You also need to consume sufficient amounts of protein to keep your full head of hair. Hair is made of a type of protein called keratin and insufficient intake of protein can be a contributing factor to female hair loss.
Hormonal ups and downs can cause a woman to lose her hair. Menopause can wreak havoc on a woman’s body with symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, nausea, headaches, bloating, and yes, even hair loss. You may not notice your hair loss right off the bat because you are so busy with all of the other symptoms that in time you may find you can see portions of your scalp or notice too many hairs in your hairbrush in the morning.
There are as many hair loss causes as there are hair loss solutions. After finding out what the cause of your hair loss is you should be able to find a number of female hair loss solutions.
Are you losing your hair and desperately need a female hair loss remedy? There are several options you can try out to see if they work for you. Sometimes your hair loss can be caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies so that all you would have to do is increase your intake of certain vitamins like the B vitamin complex, iron, and zinc. A good multi-vitamin or even prenatal vitamin can help stop thinning hair.
It is preferable to avoid side effects that can come with taking medications to curb hair loss so choosing an all natural female hair loss remedy is the way to go. There are essential oils available the can be mixed together and massaged into the scalp. The massage itself will increase blood flow to the scalp area and may stimulate some regrowth of your hair, not to mention feel absolutely wonderful.
Ask the owner of your local health food store what is recommended for hair loss and how to use it properly. They should be able to help you out just fine. Some herbal remedies can strengthen your hair and help keep your scalp healthy. if your scalp is healthy then the likelihood of your hair becoming thin and falling out may be lessened before it even starts. Products containing Vitamins A and C are products that can help strengthen your hair and keep your scalp healthy.
Rosemary and green tea also help reduce the thinning of hair by reducing the production of a certain hormone responsible for causing this condition, called female pattern baldness. Green tea is most effective if you apply it directly to your scalp. Let it cool first and just pour it over your head or brush it on the thinning parts of your scalp. Let the rosemary and green tea air dry on your scalp and leave it on over night to get the best result you can. Wash your hair as you would normally do the next morning.
The criteria for determining if your hair is beginning to thin is roughly estimating the amount of hair you lose every day. That number is approximately 100 hairs. Obviously, if you notice bald spots or can see your scalp during or after doing your hair for the day then you probably are experiencing some thinning and you should see your doctor immediately.
Your doctor may prescribe medical remedies or other remedies you can buy over the counter. Once the diagnosis is made of which type of hair loss you are experiencing is, then your doctor can prescribe which medication he or she thinks is the best for your situation and can help you the most effectively. A man who loses his hair has several options including shaving his head. Women do not have the same options a man has and for a woman losing her hair can be completely life-changing and devastating.
A female hair loss remedy is out there for you, so do not get too discouraged. Try one and see if it works, if it doesn’t, move on to the next.
Talk to your physician about your hair loss and the possibility of using female hair loss products to reduce the number of hairs you lose in a day or even regrow some hair.Not that you can accurately count the hairs you lose everyday but if you estimate that you are losing at least 100 hairs a day you may want to speak with your doctor.
Hair loss is not, nor has it ever been, strictly a guy thing. Believe it or not forty percent of women develop hair loss by the time they turn 40. The fact that self image and emotional well being is important to most women, hair loss can be the most devastating thing that can possibly happen to them.
Called androgenic alopecia, or female pattern baldness, there used to be very little that could be done for hair loss in women short of wearing a wig everyday. Now there are products available for women as well as men that will stop the hair loss and may even regrow some hair.
Some female hair loss products that you may have heard of include Rogaine, or Minoxidil. You can buy Rogaine over the counter and it is rubbed into the scalp twice a day.
If your hair loss is caused by your immune system attacking your hair follicles, a condition called alopecia areata, medications like corticosteroids are injected into the scalp multiple times about 1 centimeter apart every 4-6 weeks. This is the most common treatment for this condition.
Corticosteroids can also be used topically for which get rubbed into the scalp. These corticosteroids creams are of little effectiveness when they are used alone and are usually used along with the injected steroids or the Minoxidil.
Other not widely used therapies for hair loss in women are oral corticosteroid use and Contact immunotherapy. Contact immunotherapy is considered the most effective treatment for severe alopecia areata. The medication used is painted on the scalp every week and every week the strength of the medication used is increased but the medication irritates the skin leaving it very itchy and scaly. Losing your hair is bad enough but if your scalp looks like someone sprayed your head with Napalm then it is even more so.
Oral corticosteroids are rarely used due to the adverse side effects of oral corticosteroid treatment. If they are used however, hair growth usually occurs with treatment.
A safer and less irritating therapy is called PUVA, or Psoralen with ultraviolet A light therapy. A medication, called a psoralen, is applied to the scalp making the skin of the scalp more sensitive to UVA light. Then the skin is exposed to UVA light.
Something you should know and remember about treating hair loss that is inherited, The medication you are taking will not give you back a full head of hair. Hair will regrow on the top of your head but will not grow on your forehead. You will also have to continue taking the medication long term because if you stop taking the medication your hair loss will start again.
All of the female hair loss products outlined above are effective in helping regrow hair.