Zero to Sixty in One Year was my original blog.

The entries cover the year from November 14, 2010 to November 14, 2011.

Redefining success

Some time ago, I consulted an expert to help me come up with the right words in a certain delicate situation. The details aren’t really important. What is important is that she provided me with the language I needed and a valuable piece of advice: maybe I needed to redefine what success meant in this situation.

I thought about that, and it made a lot of sense.

And it reminded me of something. I wrote a story that appeared in an anthology  about the time I tried something way outside of my comfort zone and failed miserably. At the time, I was devastated. But then, after some tears and some thought, I did redefine what success meant to me at that moment: at least I had tried, and the mere act of trying could be seen as a small success. I didn’t expect to get a self-esteem-padding “certificate of participation,”  or to pose beneath a “Mission Accomplished” banner, or to receive any sort of acknowledgment for having the chutzpah to try and fail so publicly. But to walk away from an experience like that, dust myself off, and keep on  searching kept me on a positive track to find whatever the “right thing” for me would turn out to be.

And then I published an eBook based on my “Zero to Sixty in One Year” blog. I did what I could to get the word out, including a post here that is truly a shameless plug.  Has it been a success? Well, I guess it depends on how you define that.

I decided to do it.

I did it.

It’s out there.

A number of people have bought it (and thank you). A few people wrote very nice reviews after reading it, and I am extremely grateful to them for taking the time to do that. Did it go viral? I think the only thing I’ve been involved with that went viral was the case of measles I gave my sister when I was six and she was eight. I also gave her the mumps, so I guess that counts as another occasion.

However, the book is a real thing. Getting it done felt like a success to me. I haven’t allowed myself to get hung up on the numbers. I’m on to the next thing now. The book may sell a few more copies and that will be a pleasant surprise.

What does it really mean to redefine success?  I guess it’s all in your perspective. For example: As a person who routinely writes about cocktails, when I say the glass is half empty, it’s not necessarily a negative observation. It might mean I’m in the middle of something wonderful.

Risa cheersI’ll drink to that, and to your success–however you define it.

Answering the four questions

No, it isn’t Passover again. It’s a Blog Hop–sort of a tag team relay in the world of blogging. My fellow blogger and friend Francie Low answered the four questions, and then tossed the baton to me. I’ll attempt to answer the questions here, and then pass the honor along to three other bloggers I’dContinue Reading

The Story Behind the Story Behind the Stories

Let’s just call this what it is: a big plug for my book. This is the book that emerged after my one-year blogging experiment. With the help and encouragement of the wonderful Brooke Warner, my “how I did it and you can too” eBook is out in the world. I’d like to take a momentContinue Reading

Sorry You Missed It

“You should’ve seen the Atlantic Ocean in those days.” It’s Burt Lancaster’s line from the movie Atlantic City, and one of my favorites. Why?  Because I think of it whenever someone tells me about the best thing ever– that we just missed. Let’s say we’ve arrived in New York (or any other city) and we hearContinue Reading

Shoes Dyed to Match

A pair of orange heels on display in the shoe department caught my eye the other day and brought back this memory of a long-ago evening with a long-gone friend…  When I was growing up, it was the mark of a special outfit if you got shoes dyed to match. You’d go to Leed’s, theContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Heart on a Red Sleeve

It was destined to be one of those bad shopping days. Nothing fit, the colors were wrong, everything was too young, too old, too not-right. The racks in all the usual good luck places were out of magic. No marked-down sale items on hangers calling my name as I walked by. I remained unmoved byContinue Reading

The Name Game

My name is Risa. That’s R-I-S-A. When I was growing up, I was the only Risa I had ever heard of. Surrounded by a gaggle of girls named Karen, Kathy, Linda, Carol, Nancy, and Diane, I was one of a kind. I got used to fielding the comments and questions: No, it’s not short forContinue Reading

A Musical Interlude with Sopranos

This is part of the journal I kept for one of my last classes at St. Mary’s. We were supposed to write about a pair of songs each week, songs that had some special meaning to us.  I loved this show…and am saddened at the loss of James Gandolfini.    It starts in a tunnel,Continue Reading

Gradual School, Again

My inspiration After about 15 years of working in high schools as a college counselor, and taking writing classes on the side, I reached a crossroads: I could keep doing what I was doing and wonder what it would have been like to live a writer’s life, or take the plunge and actually live thatContinue Reading

Wax Angel

Mom at the mic, circa 1960 After my mother died in 2007, my sister and I tackled the job of clearing out her house, room by room. I thought the kitchen pantry would be pretty straightforward, so I opened the door and surveyed the shelves.  My mother’s pantry: stockpiled with “just in case” supplies leftContinue Reading