Happy Birthday, WANA1011

I am grateful for the calendar. What? Did I just say that? Yes, I did. Without the calendar, I would not be able to mark this week, this birthday. Happy birthday, WANA1011.Happy Birthday WANA 1011 scroll

Did you know that birthdays weren’t celebrated until after the calendar was perfected? Once there was a calendar, then the days had to be named. Historians credit the ancient Egyptians with creating a calendar whose days were named after their gods and goddesses. Each day then had significance – it portended good or bad things.

The WANA1011 Meet

October 3, 2011, must have been a day that portended lots of good things. That was the day I downloaded Lesson One of “Blogging for Author Brand” taught by Kristen Lamb. I wasn’t the only one. There were one hundred of us in that class. All of us had a reason to blog, all of us had heard of Kristen, the queen of social media, author of the best selling book, _We Are Not Alone_. Many of us were writers, some had published, others hadn’t. Geographically we were all over the map, literally.

Following Kristen’s guidance we learned to blog, we learned to use social media: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. I don’t think even Kristen knew what an amazing group of people had gathered for this class. I don’t remember for certain, but I think Kristen started calling us her WANA1011 class. WANA1011 became our hashtag on Twitter and our flag to rally beneath.

The Best Part

Now, I learned a lot of valuable things in Kristen’s class. A year has passed since I started this blog: 365 days, 67 posts, and more than 51,000 words in those posts. All of those are worthy causes for celebration, but there’s something even more important to celebrate. The support, the encouragement, the friendship I have gained from the WANA1011 class, a group of amazing people, far outweigh any price that class could have cost. Happy Birthday, WANA1011!


Spreading the Christmas and Chanuka Cheer

Your regular Wednesday blog series, Re-visioning Your Story, has been interrupted by . . . shopping . . . parties . . . shopping . . . baking . . . shopping . . . writing cards . . . and, you guessed it! SHOPPING! Since we’re all busy at this time of year, regardless of what holiday you do or don’t celebrate, I thought I’d share a few blog posts I found meaningful at this time of year. I’m spreading the Christmas and Chanuka cheer for you to enjoy.

a sprig of holly spreading the Christmas and Chanuka cheer

The following Christmas and Chanuka messages are brought to you by some of my very talented WANA friends*.

(*WANA = We Are Not Alone, by Kristen Lamb. Check out her class for building a writer’s platform using social media: Join this class or the pixies win.)

Susie Lindau’s holiday tradition parallels storytelling except for the cutting up part.

Don’t miss Julie Hedlund’s delightful look at Clement C. Moore’s classic ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas retold from the parents’ view.

August McLaughlin’s post about a teen’s high jinx at the holidays is hilarious: stealing Jesus.

Calvin and Hobbes fan Louise Behiel shares Calvin’s snowmen, some music and a present that will give you a Christmas smile.

I love the music that Coleen Patrick shares when she wishes us a Happy Chanuka.

And tooting my own horn, you may want to check out one of my other December holiday posts: A Christmas Cry Baby, Quotes in the Spirit of Christmas, or December Holidays by the Week.

Stay tuned! Next week we will return to our regular blogging schedule and topics. Thank you so much for visiting. And a special thanks to my WANA friends for cheering me onward and for providing such wonderful thoughts to share. In the meantime, in the spirit of the holidays please join me in spreading the Christmas and Chanuka cheer, or whatever the cheer or expression of your holidays.

Can A Bad Hair Day Be A Good Thing?

Recently on Twitter, one of my WANA1011 classmates mentioned she’d gotten a new hairdo and how good that made her feel. A great haircut and color can do that. It’s invigorating. But a monstrously bad hairstyle? Well, sometimes a bad hair day can teach you a thing or two.Bad hair day is cute on my yorkie, lynettemburrows.com


Shortly after I graduated from nursing school, I moved across two states to be closer to the young man who had been my brother’s college roommate. We’d met a few times and exchanged letters across the 700 plus miles between us. The letters gradually grew more intimate but long-distance communication by snail mail (the internet and email were not available to everyone at that time) was frustratingly slow and prone to misunderstandings that had to be smoothed out by long distance phone calls. Young and up for the adventure, I accepted a job in that far away city.

I packed all my worldly possessions into an eight-foot U-Haul trailer, hitched it to my little 1975 Ford Mustang and drove to my new life.

I arrived at my new home on the coldest day of the year, literally. It was so cold that the radio announcer warned parents not to let their children wait at the bus stop in the subzero wind chill as frostbite would be certain. Yikes! I began to have my first doubts about what I had done.


During my first weeks of the new job, new rules, new procedures, different terminology soon left me feeling overwhelmed. I found that as a working adult, making friends wasn’t the same as it had been in college. These folks had their friendship circles established, leaving me to feel like an outsider. Even the young man I’d moved for had a circle of friends and routines that didn’t include me. What on earth had possessed me to move? I felt disconnected, uncertain, and afraid. So I turned to the most reliable ‘make-myself-feel-better’ method I knew – a new hairstyle.

But I hadn’t established a new hairstylist since my move. My boyfriend’s mother helpfully offered the name and address of her hairdresser. Her hair always looked nice and I knew where the salon was located, so I made an appointment.

On the day of the appointment, I left home anticipating that great feeling of a new hairstyle.


The salon was a combination barbershop and hairstyling salon in the lower level of an old brick building. Entering the shop you were assaulted with the overpowering odors of permanent solution, bleach, and sickly sweet aftershave. Everything in the shop said established, traditional, and every single stylist was my mother’s age or older. That made me feel a little uneasy, but I sat in the stylist chair and described how I have always envied women with thick, hair that bounced with body, so that’s what I wanted. The stylist asked me several questions about curls, didn’t I want some? I kept repeating that I wanted lots of body. Finally, the stylist seemed to understand. She assured me that she could turn my unruly shoulder-length locks into a dream head of hair.

After a quick shampoo and trim, she set up the tools of torment her trade: perm papers, rollers of various sizes, and lots of clips to secure the rollers.

Oh, those torturous rollers! By the time she was finished, I couldn’t waggle an eyebrow nor bend my neck for fear of scalping myself. Then came the breath-robbing permanent solution!. Finally, she put me under the hairdryer.

I had come prepared with a new book to read while I waited. It was a good book. I escaped the sounds and smells of the salon and entered the world of the story, barely aware of passing time.

Finally, I sat in front of her station, staring into the mirror. My head was a mass of wet, tight curls. “Um, that looks pretty tight,” I said. She reassured me that this was as it had to be and after a couple of shampoos it would relax and be the bodacious hair of my dreams. As she styled my newly frizzed permed hair, my dismay grew. She styled my hair exactly as she styled my boyfriend’s mother’s hair: a tight cap of curls. I bit back my tears and couldn’t wait to get out of there.

In my car, outside the salon, I sat staring into my rearview mirror, tears cascading down my face for what seemed an eternity. I looked hideous! I decided I couldn’t be seen this way and drove to the nearest department store where I bought a bunch of head scarfs and covered my curls before I left the store.

That hairdo did not relax into the beautiful bouncing body I had hoped for. One day after the next was a bad hair day. By the end of a week, I was angry. I returned to the salon and complained to the manager. He listened to my rant and said he would fix it for free. He put a relaxer on my hair and trimmed off the fried ends. My dreams of long waves were swept up and dumped in the nearest trash can. Afterward, as I peered into the mirror I felt as if I could face myself again. The manager said something about being sorry I had been so dissatisfied and in a very mystified voice added about how that stylist usually did a good job in questioning her clients so she could give them what they wanted.


Of course, my hair grew out. I found a new circle of friends and I grew comfortable with my new home. And before I chose my next hairstylist, I did a lot of investigating and interviewing. Eventually, I found a stylist that was a fit for me and memories of the really bad hair day has faded, though obviously not forgotten.


I’m not certain when it occurred to me, but I realized that the problem between the hairstylist and I was one of communication. Not only did she not listen to me; I didn’t listen to her.

These days I’ve come to value listening. But it’s not as easy as one would think.

Surprisingly the first person you have to learn to listen to is yourself. You can’t know what you need, what drives you, or who you are unless you listen to yourself. Without that self-awareness, you can’t really listen to others.

It’s only after you are comfortable with yourself that you can hear what others have to say. You have to be able to listen with your ears, your eyes (what does their body language tell you), and with your heart. When you listen to others, rephrase what they’ve told you. You don’t have to give advice, or tell a similar story, or say anything. Just listen. By doing so, you validate their experiences, you demonstrate that you value them, you learn about the human experience and gain an ‘I’m not alone’ wisdom. Best of all, you develop relationships that can grow.

So nowadays, no matter whether I’m getting repairs done on my house or a new hairstyle, the number one trait I look for in someone else is listening.

Thank you for reading (listening) today. I know you have a ton of things to do and I value your time. I’d be delighted to hear about your most memorable listening lesson or a bad hair day. I’m here, listening. Oh, and just so you know – I have never, ever again had another permanent or such a terrible bad hair day. 🙂

Sometimes I Feel Like a Martian

For the past year or two, I have read a lot about how important it is to build an author’s platform.  It seemed that everyone was doing it.  Once again, I was out of step. But what was a platform? What was a blog? I felt like a Martian and needed an interpreter.

So I decided to sign up for an online class by social media expert, Kristen Lamb called, “Blogging for Author Brand.”  Kristen told my classmates and I that “We Are Not Alone.”  She instructed us, encouraged us, and guided us in helping each other.

Despite all that help, trying to figure out how to set up this blog, what to blog about, what Twitter was, how to use Twitter and what TweetDeck and HootSuite were, I quickly became overwhelmed.  In fact, I felt like these two.

With the advice and moral support of my classmates, I finally got my website and my blog online.

I wrote my first blog post. “Whew! This isn’t so bad,”  I thought. But I still felt like no one would get me, the Martian. So I didn’t follow Kristen’s advice. I didn’t tell any of my friends or classmates about what I had done.

My first blog was about as successful as this poor Martian’s singing debut:


Slowly, I’ve learned not to hide, to share what I’ve done, what I’ve found, what I think and feel. My classmates rallied round and gave me information, examples, and moral support. Kristen gave me the inspiration that led to my blog line: she said to be myself.

And you know what? I’m finding out that there are other Martians people out there who share my interest in things like:

Science fiction tropes that are not fiction anymore:
Facial Recognition coming to your phone!


The tractor beam that pulled Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon into the Death Star soon a reality! NASA scientist invents a tractor beam. Okay, it’s really tiny now. We won’t be towing the Millenium Falcon soon. But someday!

Blogging isn’t easy for me. Sometimes I still feel like a two-headed Martian. But I sure feel better knowing I can be me! Thanks, Kristen and WANA1011!

Sometimes I feel like a Martian. lynettemburrows.com, Milkyway and Galaxy the two-headed martian
from http://www.funmartians.com

How about you? Do you feel like a Martian sometimes? Does it make you want to hide? Or did you find like-minded Martians people to hang out with?