Wise Women Friday: Paula Johnson

Words of wisdom from writer/marketing guru/web designer/stand-up comedian Paula Johnson:

You must double-dog dare yourself 
to try new things, especially if there aren't 
a whole lot of reasons to think you will succeed.

I've told you that I am not a risk taker, right?  I am the one person you can count on not to parachute out of a plane, SCUBA dive, rock climb, watch a horror movie, read a scary book, eat raw fish, skateboard, snowboard, quit my job on a lark, sing in public, tell jokes in public, drink too much, or search for buried treasure.  I like safe.  I like staid.  I'm boring.  I know.  I try to fight it, but, for me, fighting it means trying a new restaurant.  This is who I am, and it's fine with me.

But I admire risk takers.  I especially admire my friend Paula, who is always at the cutting edge of everything because she is always ready to try something new.  And now she is trying something really new.  She is publishing a flash fiction blog called Rose City Sisters.  All the stories are under 1000 words, all use hyper links to explore the story-telling potential of the web, and all have some sort of Pasadena angle.  It's very exciting.

The very first story went up today.  And, if I may be so bold to say, it's by me!  It's called "Slipping."  Click here to read it and to check out this great new site.  Then...write your own story and submit it.  There is room here for beginning and experienced writers.  Even I could take this chance, and you are much braver than I am.  So...write.  Submit.  Now.  At the very least, book mark Rose City Sisters and check out the great stories that it promises to post.  


Lynne said...

I loved your story! I did not know you had such a dark side. By the way, you won't sing in public??? You were Dolly in Hello Dolly.

Desiree said...

Love the story! Also love Slipping!
I am sooo waiting to hear about Dolly--
I think you save it all up, Margaret, for the fictional world your readers will inhabit.
Great choice for the wise woman!
(I'd comment there, at Rose Sisters, but it might seem a bit self-serving--)

Margaret said...

Clarification: It was The Matchmaker, not Hello Dolly. No singing was required. I would have sung in high school. But these days you will not find me hogging the microphone at Karaoke night.

P.S: Thank you.

Susan C said...

I love the Paula quote. She truly lives by it.

I became weary of hearing myself brag about what a calculated risk taker I have become. And then, in the next breath, I'd lament my fear of writing fiction. I took Paula's advice and wrote and submitted my first piece of fiction, which is in the Rose City Sisters lineup.

Petrea said...

I love your story. Also love Paula's quote. I'm more like you except sometimes I'm not okay with it. I don't want to try things that are physically dangerous, but I DO want to challenge myself intellectually, artistically and emotionally.

I'm at work on my story and I twittered about it. Tweeted. Whatever. I tried that at least.

Margaret said...

Susan: You are another risk taker that I really admire. And you wrote a great story that I am excited for people to read.

Petrea: I'm actually right with you. I do hope that I try and take intellectual, artistic, and emotional risks. For me, writing fiction has been an exercise in just that.

Lynne said...

Oops, I remember you taking voice lessons or musical theater classes, but I had forgotten there was no singing when you were Dolly. Still, just acting is taking a huge risk.

altadenahiker said...

Brava, More!

Linda Dove said...

Okay. I do eat raw fish, I did quit my job on a (principled) lark, and I have on occasion had too much to drink.

But skydive? Or show up to a meditation class where I didn't know a single soul?

I'd be hard pressed.

I learn more from Paula's tweets in a day than from all my social networking contacts combined. And I do love that gap in the exhale.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I loved your story. I didn't click on the links because I find links distracting (well, my mind is easily distracted - it's very grasshoppery) but I can see they do have potential for a different way of telling a story. But I did like the story a lot.

I've always wished I could read other people's minds but know I would probably enjoy it for about 6 hours and then find it soul destroying.

Margaret said...

Linda: You write poetry. What could be more courageous than that?

RB: Thank you! My brain gets distracted too. But it is interesting to think about the web's potential for telling stories.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

These are my favorite lines.

"one day she found an opening at the bottom of his exhale. She slipped in and when he inhaled she trailed behind him until she was in his mind"


"that sadness was a never-ending bolt of cloth that unfolded and unfolded and got wider and bigger until it covered the sky? That heartache was a virus spread by smiles and seeking fingertips?"

especially the last sentence

I'm impressed. Your story has staying power for me. It's in my head and I'm now spinning my own thoughts about what was in Roy's head. The drunk father from the disco era...shag carpet in orange, mustard plaid jacket, mutton-chops. Disturbing

The short story format is my favorite... Nabokov's Dozen, Flannery O Conner, DH Lawrence

g said...

thank you for this tip! Your story was marvelous - and scarey.

Margaret said...

g: Thanks for dropping by -- and for reading my story.

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