by katherine

video: what are you grateful for?

I am lucky in a thousand ways this summer.  And one of them is that I get to help host a Secret Mission for the Dream Lab at Mondo Beyondo.

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Here’s what it is:  My friends at Mondo Beyondo want to inspire folks to create guerilla goodness in the world–acts of kindness or love that help make the world a better place.

There are some great examples of guerilla goodness.  Hope Notes.  The You Are Beautiful project.  It’s people putting a loving message out into the world.

I’ve always wanted to do something like that.  In college, I made metal signs with bits of poetry on them and put them up around campus.  I love private things said in public ways, intimate things said to strangers–I’m fascinated by it all.  I also love signs.  And letters.  And words.  And hope.

And so, the Secret Mission.  How could I resist?

I decided I’d paint some big, red letters–and in the process, just for fun, I’d make a stop-motion movie using my camera.

And that turned out to be my favorite part of the whole thing.

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Here’s the video.  It was the perfect way for me to send the world a hope note.  I’m amazed at how I never end up where I think I’m going to.  But I always seem to wind up in the right spot.

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video: make your own luck

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I’ve just made a new trailer for Get Lucky that tries to feel a little bit like the book.

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I was super-lucky to get to use photos taken by my beautiful pal Andrea Jenkins of Hula Seventy, who is an amazing photographer, artist, blogger, and mama.  Beyond amazing, actually.

I’ve been trying to make this video for a while.  I’ve had the images and music lined up forever.  But I had trouble finding the right words.  I tried reading a few different book excerpts, but nothing was right. So I finally put the whole project aside.

And it’s amazing how, with creative things, NOT thinking about a problem so often solves it.  Or, at least, not concentrating on a problem.  I just kind of put this video project on a shelf in the back of my head and did a gazillion other things for a while.


And then, the other day, my husband was messing around online, and he said, “You should make a word cloud out of the first chapter of Get Lucky.”

Y’all know what word clouds are, right?  Word clouds lay out words from a piece of writing visually. Like, for example, here’s my author bio as a word cloud:

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And as soon as I heard my husband say that, I also heard a little “ding!”  The ding of my mind finally, suddenly, knowing with total certainty exactly what to do.  Like magic.  My very favorite kind of magic.

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VIDEO: defining a movement (Mom 2.0)

My friend Laura asked me to make a video for the Mom 2.0 Summit art show.

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And here it is!

Many thanks to Shutter Sisters for allowing me to use photos from the site.  And many thanks to the amazing photographers:  Karen Walrond, Jenny Lawson, Tracey Clark, Sarah Ji, Kristin Zecchinelli, Irene Nam, and Meredith Winn.

And here is the essay that I wrote for the video:

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WHAT I WOULD TELL HER:  (If I knew what to say.)

You are a miracle.

And I have to love you this fiercely:  So that you can feel it even after you leave for school, or even while you are asleep, or even after your childhood becomes a memory.

You’ll forget all this when you grow up.  But it’s okay.

Being a mother means having your heart broken.

And it means loving and losing and falling apart and coming back together.

And it’s the best there is.  And also, sometimes, the worst.

Sometimes you won’t have anyone to talk to.

Sometimes you’ll wonder if you’ve forgotten who you are.

But you must remember this:  What you’re doing matters.

And you have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.

The truth is, being a woman is a gift.  Tenderness is a gift.  Intimacy is a gift.  And nurturing the good in this world is a nothing short of a privilege.

That’s why I have to love you this way.  So I can give what I have to you.  So that you can carry it in your body and pass it on.

I have watched you sleep.  I’ve kissed you a million times.  And I know something that you don’t, yet:

You are writing the story of your only life every single minute of every day.

And my greatest hope for you, sweet child, is that I can teach you how to write a good one.

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the girls

I’ve been feeling feisty lately.  The brouhaha over Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten books of 2009 — which had no women authors on it — has left me thinking a lot about women’s place in our cultural conversation.

And, as I’ve been driving my carpools and snaking the grocery store aisles, I’ve been composing an essay about it — fully aware of the irony that my life as a busy mom was going to make it pretty much impossible for me to ever write that essay.

But then I remembered I’d already written it.

Or at least, a version of it.

Because last year I wrote the introduction to Kirtsy Takes A Bow — an anthology that goes on sale this week drawn from the fantastic women’s site Kirtsy.

I went back and read the essay, and it captured a lot of what I’ve been feeling this week.  And so I called up the editor and asked if I could make her a book trailer.  And she said yes.

And so, two days of obsessive work later, here it is.  Though I couldn’t fit the whole essay into the trailer.  For that, you’ll have to buy the book.

Publshers Weekly, this one’s for you.


Guess who this one’s for?

The girls.

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Last spring, the amazing Mary Swenson took these photos for me in response to a quote I sent her from Everyone Is Beautiful.  She broke the quote down by sentences, and took a photo for each one.  Then we ran the photos in sequence and made a video.  But the photos are so amazing, they deserve a place of their own.

In the video, they disappear fast and it’s on to the next image.  I’ve been meaning to put up these luscious stills for months, and now that I’m finally doing it, I am completely knocked over — again — by the rich colors, the movement of the light, and the variety of tones in each picture — and how they enrich and play off the words.














And here is the video.  Somehow, the photos lost their crispness in translation.  But it’s fun to see them in action…


video: 100 things I am grateful for

It’s been that kind of summer.  The kind where it seemed like a good idea to make a list the things I am grateful for.  I set out to make a list of 100, and once I got going, it seemed it would be just as easy to list a thousand.

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But I stuck with 100.  And then I made a video for the list: one day at my house this summer with my kids and my flip video.  Watching it, I’ve decided this video feels–and sounds–a lot like my life.


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written on the body

I’m not sure how I came up with the idea to do this.  But a few weeks back, I decided that I wanted to paint words all over the body of my friend Jenny and have our friend Karen photograph it.  So I asked them.  And to my serious delight they both said yes.


Here’s something I love to do:  put words in places you don’t expect them.

In college, I stamped poems onto signs made out of sheet metal and  put them up around campus.  I stamped words on office supplies, and bedsheets, and the pages of old books.

I loved the idea of words showing up where they didn’t belong.  The surprise of it.


Now I am a grown-up, and writer, and I spend most of my creative life typing.

But every now and then, I get to step away from my laptop.  And two days ago, I ventured out into my  mother’s back garden with two of my favorite people.  And I could not believe how relaxed we all were.  How game Jenny was to be painted like a tattooed lady, and how calm she was.  And how perfectly Karen captured not just the look of things, but the tenderness of it all.

And then our friend Laura showed up, too, and we hung out at my mom’s kitchen table.  We ate do-nuts and joked around a lot, but there was definitely something magical going on there that day.


And then, using Karen’s photos, I made this video–to try to bring the words off the page a little.  To bring them to life in a new way.  And boy, did they come to life.


ALSO: This happens to be the garden where I got married.

And ALSO:  Karen took exactly 500 photos that day.

And ALSO: Jenny read to us from the memoir she’s writing when we went back inside, and my face hurt from laughing the rest of the day.

the lives we hoped for

Here’s a video I just made for the essay “The Lives We Hoped For.”  I originally posted the written version here, under I Love Wrinkles, and then the amazing Mary Swenson posted it to Kirtsy.  Which inspired me to read it at a book event a few days ago.  And reading it out loud to an audience was so fun I decided to make a recording.

The lovely photographs in the video are by my friend Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.


(You may have seen her recently on Oprah!)

And there’s a fantastic necklace in a photo near the end that is one of Andrea Scher’s Superhero Neckalaces.


I know a bunch of people who have Superhero Necklaces, and whenever I see them wearing one, I find myself thinking over and over how fantastic they look.  Like I did yesterday, at coffee with Karen.  Who always looks fantastic, anyway, but I sure did love her necklace.

Here’s the video!  Hope you like it!


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