How to Write a Successful Speech

Sometimes life puts you in interesting positions. Let’s say the top speechwriter in Washington calls you up, willing to finally give you that big break. I got such a call from the fine ladies of Women in Travel Summit (WITS) to be a keynote speaker. After I delivered my opening keynote speech, I winced a little because I didn’t know what the reactions would be. A part of me sunk, thinking, crap, what if they hated me?! Thought it sucked butt. But it was immediate. The beautiful energy of WITS shone through, woman after woman came to me and said, “Jeannie, your speech, oh my god, it was like you were talking about my life. ME. I related to it so much! Thank you!” These reactions made me proud to deliver a speech that set the tone for WITS. So, what if it’s you? The call came for you and is waiting for your answer? How do you start writing that brilliant speech that will bring people to their knees? (In worship of you, of course.) […]

By |March 28th, 2014|Write|11 Comments

When They Tell You to Write a Book

When your twelfth grade teacher approaches you and says, “That essay your wrote about the pressures of taking an exam was so well written.  I’m putting together a little book of some student essays, I’d like to include yours.” Say no or pretend you didn’t write it, admit that you plagiarized it even though you didn’t. Remember when you attended film and broadcasting school and you wrote this haunting piece about letting your lover go, but it was sort of silly and strange to write such a thing for a mere speech writing class, yet you did it anyway. Your teacher decides to videotape you reading, to replay it for other students as a demonstration of sound speaking and writing skills, so you skip that day on purpose because you actually wrote it about a guy in your class that you’d been sleeping with on and off, but deep in your guts you really, really like him, and you were so sure he’d know the speech was about him, that you just couldn’t face the entire class watching you articulate these feelings. But the next day he stops you between classes and claims your speech was the most eloquent thing he’d ever heard in his life, so you take him home, but you probably should have dumped him right there and enrolled in law school. While you shake your wet hands under the automatic hand dryer in the restroom and your classmate from writing class is approaching you, turn away. Her expression is hinting that she will interrupt your task. As your hands drip with water she begins to gush, exclaiming that she loves your writing so much, that it affects her immensely and golly gee, this class has been spectacular to meet other writers. Mumble out a thanks and scramble out of there as fast as you can. Even though you drive 30 minutes to get there after a strenuous day at work, pour tirelessly over writing assignments — it’s inconsequential. Quit the class. Eventually you leave that job and start a travel focused blog that a few people read and sometimes they actually email you privately and compliment the hell out of your writing voice. Perfect strangers! They say you keep it real, that your writing is simultaneously honest and lyrical. Be weary. Because these complete strangers are right up in your blog face, telling you — write a book. Anyone that can string two words together is on the bandwagon, why aren’t you? So you tell your closest friends and they say heck yeah, we’ve been suggesting you do this for years. […]

By |September 6th, 2013|Write|33 Comments

Moving Forward

“It is better to fail at your own dharma than to succeed at the dharma of another.”– Stephen Cope The canal is sparse today. I’m alone. I sit on a groove in the grass, thinking that my sit bones carved it, creating this space to dangle my feet. For once the sky is pale blue, instead of tinged with smoky grey and I tilt my chin to capture a warm kiss from the sun. I made mistakes. Pamplona was one. It wasn’t about conquering fear or proving a point, it was about meeting a man there. When you think it’s something, to be turned into something else. To walk away and be unloved once again. Then know he was never meant to. All along – a mess. A soft pink lotus skims the water, beckoning me to poke a foot in and touch its petals, tickling the sensitive area between my first and second toe. I exhale a laugh. It will bobble and weave, as though giggling along with me. […]

By |March 18th, 2013|Creative Writing|26 Comments

Cheers to Summer Chick Tales 2011

It’s been a heady summer. Brimming over with reading, giggling and consumption of fermented beverages that caused me to giggle more. I drank red wine, the potion of seduction, while reading Serendipity in Sihanoukville. Elaine Thatcher convinced this skeptic that bar pickups can lead somewhere. Sally Thelen’s recounting of a date gone wrong in Osaka Fizzles Teriyaki Style left me passed out on tequila from laughter and exhaustion, the equivalent to fun in a glass. Oh, but the crashing part is never pretty. That was May. Then June came around and summer was at it’s beginning stages, so the party kept going. In the middle of swilling passion-fruit vodka, I applauded Giulia Cimarosti’s ode to aesethic diversity in World of Beauty. She left me beaming with pride and feeling gorgeous. I boldly broke two rules, because when under the influence of alcohol, I can’t be held accountable. 1.  Miz whiskey hater (me) tried a Manhattan! 2. I bended the rules from the editorial mandate and featured my friend, well-known blogger, speaker and marshmallow lover, Jodi Ettenberg. She regaled us with her tongue-in-cheek experience on her monthly friend in Tissue Woman in the Philippines. […]

By |August 31st, 2011|Round Up 2011|6 Comments

Passportless in Macedonia

I’ve lost things in various states of inebriation, generally little objects. A key chain. An earring. Knock wood to keep that good luck rolling. Hilariously, I’m more scatter brained sober than drunk. Call it survival mode, maybe even a heightened state of paranoia, either way this is factual proof, drunkenness can be a good idea. Now, Rosie Glam lost something very precious, having to face her fear of being rudderless in a foreign country. What did she do? Find out on today’s Summer Chick Tale. It was around midnight when we pulled up to border control in a surprisingly flash taxi, after traveling the day in changing modes of transport across Albania. Passports were sleepily handed over, stamped and consented, then handed back leaving us free to drive into Macedonia and find a place to rest. In the morning we awoke in Orhid, looked out our window and were met with a beautiful view out over the ancient Lake Orhid. Over the next three days we enjoyed relaxing in the sun, meeting very interesting individuals and making as many orhid puns (sorry) as possible. The next stop was the capital, Skopje. When we arrived at the hostel we went through the normal procedures with checking in, until I couldn’t locate my passport in it’s normal place. That panic feeling slowly swept down my body as my brain worked overtime trying to rationalize why it wasn’t there and started to work out where it could be. After rifling through my side bag, I attacked my pack, slowly pulling out item after item, hoping that my fingers would brush pass the tattered cover. When I got to the bottom, I was faced with an empty bag. Ah, fuck. Church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo looking over Lake Orhid But for some reason I was calm. I’m not normally calm when faced with unexpected, really lame news. I normally head straight for those horrible conclusions, like having to live the rest of my life in Skopje and never see my family again. But this time I was cool headed. I don’t know if it was because I still thought my passport would jump out and yell ‘just kidding! ‘. Or that it wasn’t really happening to me, but I do know that my calmness freaked people out. All I could do was go to sleep and prepare for the day that faced me tomorrow. Which I thought couldn’t be much worse than finding your international identity proof missing, but oh, I was so very wrong. […]

By |August 24th, 2011|August 2011|6 Comments

Plunging at Valley Verzasca Dam

I’m going to be honest. Bare myself here. I was frightened of rum. I always pictured it paired with coca-cola, the equivalent to liquid candy. Blech. Disgusting. Never. Then, one miraculous day I took a leap of faith, mixed rum with ginger beer, a twist of lime and was hooked. In order to grow, sometimes we have to take a leap in the face of fear. Danalynn Coulon did. Please enjoy today’s Summer Chick Tale. I wavered at the edge of the platform, wind gusting around my ankles. My eyes were fixed resolutely on the foliage in front of me, willfully ignoring the definite lack-of-ground below. Then it came. The countdown. Three. Two. One. I jumped. I had practiced for months, seizing any opportunity to drill myself on that countdown. Outside of the grocery store, I would line up my toes carefully with edge of the curb. Keeping my eyes straight in front of me, I would count down from three, jumping the six inch drop once I reached zero. It became a game I played often with myself; How fast could I make my heart race for such a short drop? How much could I convince myself that the ground would not appear? As I fell, I half expected cobblestones to appear under my feet. We were just kidding! Another test—look how your heart raced, you silly girl! An involuntary yelp escaped as the ground did not appear, as the fall continued, as my view of the peaceful, tranquil trees was replaced with a rapidly narrowing tunnel vision towards a sure, sudden concrete stop far below. […]

By |August 17th, 2011|August 2011|6 Comments