Start with A Kiss and End With A Win.

From The Kissing Lessons

Let’s start sweet. Like, say, with kisses.

The Kissing Lessons is as sweet and smart as it gets. What else would you expect from “a heady academic with a penchant for the feminine divine”?

That’s Ali, and she’s the writer kissing us with bits of prose and poetry-masquerading-as-prose and clear thinking about desire and love.

Remember my piece where I insisted that love is an ashram? That was inspired by her piece called “What’s Love Got to Do with It“. And that’s how  you know she’s good people: she quotes Tina Turner. Just like someone else I know.

There’s more. Whenever I get tired of the rigid polarity of gender, heterosexuality and prescription relationships (which is always), I think about Ali’s question-answered-with-a-metaphor:

What would happen if we looked at relationships through the lens of the jazz-improv model? Something along the lines where one starts playing and the other plays back, and visa versa, in some randomly, off-the-cuff, yet seemingly harmonious way towards composition.

And, perhaps, through this lens, there is a different view of the original note that started it all: “When love hits, just go with it.”

And then, as the song goes, I don’t feel so bad.

(Do you know that song? From The Sound of Music? “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…” It is riffed on here, conceptually, invitationally, for Cindy Gallop – oh god how I want her life and not just because she sleeps with younger men – by Stephan Boubil and Roderick Angle.)

And *enthusiastic self-promotion alert* Ali  wrote a pretty fine poem for my Operation Secret Valentine, too.

To The Spirit of Love and Resistance Behind St. Valentine’s Day

Black Artemis is the pen name of Sofía Quintero who writes novels, a blog called Black Artemis: Beyond Keepin’ It Real, and calls herself an “Ivy League homegirl, cultural activist, and urban goddess”.

adore women who don’t play small.

And who think big:

As a heterosexual woman who has the right to marry (and intends to one day soon), a person who is committed to social justice, a spiritual being that understands that the opposite of love is not hate but fear, and a heterosexual citizen who owes a great deal of debt to LGBTQ activists for my sexual liberation, February 14 holds new meaning for me….

…So I send cards, blow kisses (real and virtual), call my loved ones, and continue to fight the good fight. To me, reclaiming this day and making it my own — my socialist, feminist, spiritual-but-not-religious own — is an act of love for myself, my family, my friends, my, community, my ancestors, my comrades.

It is also an act of resistance.

Now that is my kind of Valentine’s Day. I’m smitten.

Love talk is radical.

To Operation Secret Valentine

Now send me your radically delicious love letters. They don’t even have to be for me (though I don’t mind, at all), just for Operation Secret Valentine.

We’re running out of time, lovers. Create! Send! Sign up!

To Modern Love. I mean Modern Hippie. Same Dif.

All right. You’ve poured your expansive heart out and you’re spent. If you’re tired of giving, how about a little getting?

Jaszy McAllister can help you out. Her online magazine, Modern Hippie, is an “online resource promoting healthy living, peaceful existence, environmental sustainability, and other eco-stuff.”

Love that: eco-stuff. My girl.

Jaszy thinks, in fact, that you – yes you! you with the good hygiene, corporate job and house in the suburbs! – are a little more hippie than you think. Why? Because a modern hippie is about conscious living and clear thinking.

Okay. I surrender. I’m a modern hippie. But if you make me go to yoga, it is over.

Back to my point: you’re all gived-out and you need a little getting. Jaszy has free stuff to give away. Lots of it. Go ask her.

To Storyfix

And speaking of giving, Larry Brooks of Storyfix gave me a copy of his most recent book, “The Three Dimensions of Character: Going Deep and Wide To Develop Compelling Heroes and Villains which means in addition to being a hot-shit writer, he’s pretty much psychic because I’ve been thinking that I need to hone my craft. I’ve got voice, but my craft needs practice. I need to work on the storytelling fundamentals. Like plot, backstory, character development. Like finishing something I start. Ahem.

So thank you, Larry for this book, which is of course excellent and useful and means I have a lot of work to do, damn you.

(Also: I would have bought it if you didn’t give it to me. Lost opportunity, Larry. Methinky you’re not such a hot businessman. Good at writing, crap at business.

Oh my goodness, it is like you’re me, only a more masculine, ruggedly handsome me who is also a “critically-acclaimed bestselling author of four psychological thrillers“. Ok, not me at all. Damn you again.)

To Redemption Via Bad Deacon Design and His Relentless Quest

Larry Brooks wants me to hone my craft – the book was a hint – and I know exactly what that takes. A lot of mofo work, every day.

Deacon also knows a little something about honing his craft. Last May he embarked on some sort of sadomasochistic bet with with his friend and WordPress guru, Dave Doolin. Deacon would finish 101 woodblock prints before Dave created 101 wildly useful articles about wordpress.

I mean, how hard could either task be? As Deacon writes,

I thought I would be finished in a month or two, but I seemed to underestimate the amount of work this would take. A little over 8 months after I started, on Superbowl Sunday, I printed the last run on the last print, right around midnight.

This project was about 10 times larger than I thought it would be.

Dave won the bet many months ago, and got a thriving website as a prize.

I’ve got ink-stained hands and a stack of artwork.

I’m glad they tried to kill each other made this bet because now, thanks to the impetus to create and the internet, I’ve got three new prints and two new friends. I’m convinced that the world is a better place for this wager although gambling is a sin. Deacon is a very bad deacon, indeed.

What’s next for Bad Deacon? Is he taking a break? No. Not even.

Instead, he’s started a new project in a new direction (figurative rather than graphic), wrote a post about how to frame his prints (THANK YOU), and a list of 101 things he learned from making 101 woodblock prints.

There is a huge lesson there: when you’re in the habit of fierce creation, keep going. Add a little more and do a little more. Ride momentum. Burn it up. Keep emitting, smoldering, producing, driving.

Let’s hear it for irrational drive.

To Irrational Drive and No More Nine-To-Five

The drive through the school zone is an exercise in irrationality.

Make that confusion and terror.

Today was the first regular school day that I have ever taken my daughter to school. Normally, thanks to a hellish commute, I drop her off at daycare at 7am and they do the rest.

Today, I drove her to school and was gobsmacked and scared. The SUVs. The crowds. The complete unavailability of parking within a four block radius.

Like, what the hell? Is Taye Diggs here today? Who are all of these people and why do none of their kids walk to school?

My kid, by the way, doesn’t walk to school because it is way too far.

Maybe that’s the issue. Because it is a frenchalicious school, it doesn’t have a neighbourhood requirement attached to it.  So maybe everyone has to drive their kid and that is why the school parking lot looks like a red carpet gone wrong. Horribly wrong. Yoga pants wrong.

Is Tim Horton’s a french immersion school, too? Because that parking lot was another morning exercise in terror.

This working-from-home thing is considerably more frightening than I anticipated.

And therein lies the good scary news: I could take my daughter to school today because I’m no longer a nine-to-fiver.

I quit my job. Sort of. I tried to quit but we ended up working out a win-win wherein I keep doing some things for them and they keep paying me some money.

But mostly, I’m writing. Writing a book with Danielle LaPorte. Writing for magazines. (None of the magazines know it yet, though, but no matter.) Writing for cool people I adore (that’s pretty much my screening device: is it possible that I will adore you? If so, let’s go!) who have heartful, heartfelt, imaginative businesses. Telling their stories.

Storytelling. There will be more on that, soon. I’m launching a blog for a non-profit. We’ll do some community storytelling. It will be rich and deep and I can’t wait.

Ooooh, juicy update on my Alexa story. On January 14 (three weeks ago), I wrote a piece on ProBlogger about how to increase your Alexa ranking. Then, my Alexa rank was 173,556.

Today, I broke into Alexa’s 100,000. See:

And Ending in a Small, Meaningful Victory

And, finally, importantly, that misogynist facebook page that you, me and grrrl-o-sphere was all het up about?

down, baby, down.


PS if you know any retirees in Coquitlam, Burnaby or New Westminster who volunteer, please tell them I want to talk to them and tell their stories. kelly @ kellydiels dot com or @KellyDiels on Twitter.

PPS Shout to Dave Doolin. The structure of his Week-in-Review posts inspired this round-up.

PPPS All of you light my fire. Thank you so much for joining your voices together. Your comments made me cry the good cry, repeatedly, today.

About the author

Kelly Diels I'm Kelly Diels. I'm a writer. I've written for Salon, Jezebel, XO Jane, Problogger, Write to Done and more. I'm currently working on a book about The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. Interested? Please subscribe to my newsletter and I'll share more thoughts and chapters with you as I write them. You can also find me on Facebook and yes please, please do.