One Giant Leap For Womankind

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

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My little face was glued to the TV screen during Armstrong’s moon walk.  I told my mother that we’d all be vacationing on the moon by the year 2000–I was sure of it!
Unfortunately due to money, we’re still not vacationing at the Sea of Tranquility Spa.  But thanks to Nancy Grace Roman, The Mother of Hubble, as in telescope, we can visit lands light years away from the moon on our computer screens.

(Orion Nebula as seen through Hubble)
Yes it was a woman, Nancy Roman (b.1925),  who convinced Congress et al that searching the heavens was worth the cost.

Dr. Roman obtained a a Ph.D in astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949, a time when women were raised to get married, have babies, and leave the outside world, not to mention the galaxy,  to men.

She recalls a time in high school when she needed permission to take algebra instead of Latin.  Her guidance counselor, a woman, sneered at her and said: ‘What lady would take mathematics instead of Latin?’ That was the sort of reception that I got most of the way.”

Undeterred, she not only became an astronomer, but she became the first ever, read male or female, Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA. In her role, she successfully managed numerous astronomy-based projects including the Hubble Space Telescope.

Dr. Roman didn’t just break the glass ceiling, she zoomed out  into galaxies far, far away. She credits her scientist father for answering her questions and never questioning why his little girl loved science, and her mother, who took her out at night and showed her the beauty of the stars.

In addition she says the secret to making it in a male-dominated field was her ability to “remain open to change and new opportunities.” 

Today, Dr. Roman, who retired from NASA in ’79, has a new passion, inspiring girls to set aside their inhibitions and reach for the stars, just as she did. “I like to tell students that the jobs I took after my Ph.D. were not in existence only a few years before. New opportunities can open up for you in this ever changing field.”

And I would add that whatever your trajectory, plotting your destination, but being open to HOW you get there is key!  (I’ve learned the hard way that tunnel vision usually yanks you off course.)
Describe the path you took to reach one of your stars/dreams.  Reply to this email or post it on Anny Writes

PURPLE PASSION OF THE FORTNIGHT: MAGELLANIC CLOUD

PURPLE PASSION OF THE FORTNIGHT: MAGELLANIC CLOUD

DESTINATION OF THE FORTNIGHT: HUBBLE CONTROL ROOM, GREENBELT, MD

DESTINATION OF THE FORTNIGHT: HUBBLE CONTROL ROOM, GREENBELT, MD

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Posted in Empowerment, Gal Empowerment, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

How Objectivity Breeds Success

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

Apologies.

I’ve been so busy revisioning my novel that time slipped away from me this week.

As I sat down to dash this missive off so I wouldn’t miss my own deadline, I realized that the exercise that took me away from you is what I wanted to share with you in this letter.

I had the privilege of participating in an all-day workshop with the renowned literary agent, Donald Maass.  He suggested that in order to make our books page turners, we had to infuse every page with micro-tension. (Here’s a definition of micro-tension.)
Micro-tension’s sole object is to trigger an uncertainty of some kind in the reader so she’ll read on to relieve her own uneasiness.

This is easier written than done. :-), especially when most writers see tension in their stories  that isn’t there.

That’s because when we’re in the emotional flow of our our stories, it’s impossible to stand back and see what’s actually on the page.

Donald Maass knows this, so he built detachment into his exercise–objectively revise/revision what you’ve written by reading it out of order.  This forces you to ONLY see what’s on the page, nothing more. Use a random number generator, which you can find for free here, to put your pages into a random sequence.

Reading out of order doesn’t allow things like weak dialogue or lame word choices to hide in our blind spots.  Sometimes all a page needs is an added phrase, or a deletion of a detail to pull the reader/listener out of her seat and into your world.

Though this exercise was created for writers, its usefulness extends far beyond those of us who are writing a book or story, etc. Imagine a lawyer using this exercise to strengthen her closing argument, or an entrepreneur using it to craft an inspiring business plan that results in their idea being funded.  A parent can use it to convince their daughter to do something, or not to do something.

Being able to craft a powerful message can help you in whatever you do.
Try this exercise out, and let me know what happens!

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

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Destination of the Fortnight: New York City, home of The Donald Maass Literary Agency

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Posted in Creativity, Imagination, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

Practical Creativity: To-Do Lists Made Fantastic!

My buddy Bonnie seems to have more hours in her day than the rest of us!  She balances a full-time job with parenting her son Wally, being a wifey to Craig, ice skating and playing the flute in a band.  Just writing that sentence made me tired. 🙂

But she wasn’t always this productive. Like many of us, she uses a to-do list to get the most out of her days, and like many of us, her to-do list often became an albatross around her neck.  She’d stare at it and either get overwhelmed, or uninspired, by what she had to accomplish.  And so would her son Wally. (She has him make his own to-do list for every weekend.)

Then it struck her…fun, novel stuff should be as valued as chores, practicing piano or whatever. So she started adding items to her list like get a Starbucks coffee, or get a mani/pedi.  Wally’s list might include things like go to Dunkin’ Donuts, or play soccer for an hour mixed in with make your bed, and do your math.

To make their to-do lists even more exciting, Bonnie and Wally use different colors for certain items on their lists, and sometimes use pictures, such as a soccer ball to symbolize soccer practice, instead of words to remind them of what they’d like to accomplish.

Now they both look forward to checking off the items on their lists, and as a result, enjoy fun, balanced, productive days.

Bonnie whipped this list up on the spot.  Notice the coffee doodle by Starbucks stop.

Bonnie whipped this list up on the spot. Notice the coffee doodle by Starbucks item.

So the next time you make a to-do list, think of Bonnie and create a fantastically fun one.  Then send me a pic of it so I can post it!

Purple Passion of the Fortnight.  I'd love to drink tea or coffee out of this cup!

Purple Passion of the fortnight. I’d love to drink tea or coffee out of this cup!

Destination of the Fortnight: Big Island of Hawaii..I've been but Bonnie wants to go.  Maybe she can sunbathe with the chap in the photo!

Destination of the Fortnight: Big Island of Hawaii. Bonnie’s pick–she’s never been and is dying to go. Maybe she can sunbathe with the chap in the photo when she gets there!

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Posted in Creativity, Imagination, Thinking Outside The Box, Uncategorized by with no comments yet.