Musings from M.E.

Musings from M.E. is my monthly-ish newsletter. Below you will find a mix of my latest published work; favorite personal essays from years past; book recommendations; good news about writer friends; and random thoughts on matters related to writing and reading.

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Not So Hot Off the Press

Partners for the Planet came out in the April issue of Connect, the member magazine of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Two months ago I was still struggling with how John and I could co-work in our home office; but now that we are the happy owners of sound dampening air pods, I’m back on schedule to send a newsletter every month-ish.

From the Archives

I think part of my purpose in life is telling little stories to make people laugh, or at least smile. So I thought I’d start sharing favorite essays from the old days that most of you have never seen. Given everything else we have to think about these days, if you smile once, I’ll consider it a win.

This was one of my earliest Angie's List Magazine columns from Spring 2005.

The more things change the more they stay the same: Sticking with a neighborhood in transition

Essay Recommendation...

Personal Essay Recommendation of the Month: read my friend, Marshall. He’s good.

Q: What Else Do I Write?
A: Marketing copy for a company that makes skin care products.

I think I have a pretty good way with words, which is why this gig has lasted for 10 years. Every month I receive a list of online promotions, for which I write copy like: “Are your lips mistletoe ready?” and “You’ll see magic in your mirror.” You’d be surprised how challenging it can be to keep thinking up new ways to say, “sleek and supple” or “fresh and clear.” It exercises a very particular set of writing muscles, which is always a good thing.

Search Firm Candidate Profiles - Part 2

Last time I told you about writing profiles for an executive search firm, with examples of candidates’ unimpressive resume-writing skills. Here are three of the most memorable things candidates have said to me in their interviews, along with the advice I would have given if I could have.

Me:  Why are you interested in this position?
Candidate:  I don’t know if I am yet. You people called me.
Advice: Recruiters recruit, which often involves calling people who haven’t applied for the job. So knock that chip off and tell me why you agreed to the interview. Being snippy won’t set you up for success, and you can’t shove those words back in your mouth.

Me: The salary is $100,000 to $150,000. Does your expectation fit within that range?
Candidate: Well, I’d love to make $150,000, I mean who wouldn’t, but  … well, I’m almost at $100,000 right now, so I’m actually ok with a lateral move.
Advice: That’s called being your own worst enemy. Talking yourself down the pay scale means you’re way too green to sit at the grown-ups’ table … and your self-esteem needs a little work.

Me: How would your colleagues and staff describe you?
Candidate: Some of them would probably say I’m a prick or a jerk!
Advice: If you are stupid enough to say that, they’re probably right.

For Pure Escapism …

I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries to maintain my sanity because they’re fulfilling a very strong need to see good guys win and bad guys get punished.

If you’re a mystery lover who hasn’t discovered Louise Penny, now is the perfect time. She’s a masterful Canadian writer whose contribution to the genre is an engaging and addictive series of books that feature Chief Inspector Gamache from the Sûreté du Québec and a cast of characters that populate the tiny village of Three Pines.

The plots are layered and complex, as are the characters – and the 15 books are written to be read in order. Things happen that bear on later action, and relationships develop and evolve, so if you skip around in the series you won’t fully appreciate the world Penny has created. And you’ll be confused. Start with the first one – Still Life, and I think you’ll be hooked.  Happy reading.