Welcome to the TLC Book Tour for The CHICKtionary
If you think the Merriam-Webster dictionary has it all covered, think again. Author Anna Lefler provides definitions for many of the words not included in standard dictionaries in her new book, The CHICKionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know.
Invite your girlfriends over, get comfortable, and see how many of the definitions included ring true. Lefler has received praise for her “must-read guide to the way women speak” and what women really mean when they do, so you might want to give a copy to the men in your life, too.
I’m happy to welcome Anna to Colloquium today!
I spent some time earlier this week in the Portland International Airport — or PDX, as we world-savvy travelers refer to it. (Okay, I admit it. I just learned that abbreviation.)
Through a series of miscalculations (mostly having to do with the fact that I live in Los Angeles and am used to allowing an extra hour or two for traffic snarls), I ended up at the airport three and a half hours before my flight home was due to depart.
Oh, great, I thought, as I staggered out of the security line and found a bench where I could put my shoes back on, slip my belt back through the loops on my jeans, and cram my laptop back into its slot in my briefcase. Now I get to spend the afternoon in a molded plastic chair, listening to some self-important businessman bark into his cell phone while the person on the other side of me coughs on my shoulder.
Boy, was I wrong.
Ten minutes later, I was settled into a window-side table in the pleasantly cavernous main lobby of the terminal, sipping a steaming Starbucks triple latte as my laptop gorged on free WiFi. Nearby, a lithe young woman tinkled away on a glossy grand piano, accompanying herself as she sang in what turned out to be a lovely voice. (She was overly partial to those soul-crushing Adele songs, but still — the girl could sing.)
As I sat back under my indoor cafe umbrella and watched the late afternoon sky outside begin to color, it occurred to me that I’d been on vacations that were less relaxing than my current circumstances.
I began to unclench, to catch my breath, to reflect.
That morning, I had done my first television talk show appearance to promote my book — on the local morning program AM Northwest. I had flown up the night before in order to be at the studio at 8:30 a.m. (another appointment for which I was ridiculously early thanks to my LA conditioning).
Overall, it had been a lovely experience and well worth the trip. The folks at the station were warm and gracious, as were the show’s hosts. In the green room, I made friends with other guests: a woman who specializes in taking photographs of pets, a local dentist, and a journalist/author who just released a book on the infamous D.B. Cooper. We shared coffee in paper cups and conversation in varying degrees of nervousness.
Before airtime, the producer walked me through the studio to the set, showing me where I would sit and explaining how it would all work. A few minutes before my segment, one of the assistants instructed me to run the mic cord up under my sweater so she could clip it on the neckline.
Before I knew it, my portion of the show was over and I found myself back in the green room. There on the monitor was my new friend the pet photographer, sitting in the chair I’d just vacated and critiquing someone’s photo of an oddly washed-out Labrador. (Turns out you should never use your flash when taking pet shots. Who knew?)
The day’s TV experience — my first — was over. I had managed to talk with logical progression, to make the people in the booth laugh (the hosts are pretty much required to laugh, but the people in the booth — that’s authentic), to get my message points about my book across and — most importantly — not to throw up on myself on live television.
The CHICKtionary is my first published book and so this is my first marketing push for my own work. In my previous life, I worked in public relations and marketing, but when the product is yourself, it’s a whole different experience.
For most of this year, I have been cloistered in my office at home, writing. Writing writing writing. And editing. And more editing. (You’ll notice that the word “housekeeping” is conspicuously absent from this paragraph. The less said about that the better.)
The transition from the solitude of the creative process to the “Hey, look at me!” blare of the promotions process has been an interesting one so far. I find that, although I consider myself an extrovert, I can only be all the way out of my shell for short bursts of time before I need to retract and recharge for the next round. I first became aware of this when I was doing standup comedy, but I didn’t realize it would be the case for less-extreme types of exposure as well.
From the creation of this book through its current launch, this has been a year of unintentional learning about myself — a process which I expect to continue. I never thought of myself as a person who would be spending time in a green room or smiling into the dark, round eye of a television camera. It’s rare for me to travel without my family, but between now and Christmas, I will be making solo trips to Northern California, Phoenix, and New York City. I find myself handing postcards about my book to people I barely know, like salesclerks and cab drivers. None of these things “feel” like me, yet here I am.
And there I was in the Portland airport, watching the sun sink over the Alaska Airlines plane I would soon board for the trip home, thinking about the many doors I had passed through — and would be passing through in the coming weeks — all of which were opened by those months spent alone in my office…writing, writing, writing.
Anna Lefler holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. in Communications Management from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications. She has held a wide variety of jobs: camp counselor, children’s shoe salesperson, professional carpet cleaner, nonprofit program director, and crisis communications consultant/spin doctor, but says that the skills she acquired in the carpet-cleaning business have proven to be the most valuable over time.
Anna’s work has appeared online at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Big Jewel, Funny not Slutty, and My Pheme, and her essays on modern motherhood have been nationally syndicated. She has presented her humorous essays at Women Who Write in Los Angeles. She is the author of Act Busy, a comic novel, as well as Doing Time in the Garden of Happiness. Anna’s fiction has been presented onstage by WordTheatre Los Angeles.
Anna has performed standup comedy in Los Angeles clubs including the Hollywood Improv, the Comedy Store, Room 5 Lounge, and M Bar, and was a member of the Los Angeles case of Listen to Your Mother.
Anna writes the popular humor blog Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder, where she ponders what a Jedi smells like and wonders why more men don’t wear urban sport kilts. She has twice been asked to speak on the topic of comedy-writing at BlogHer, the world’s largest conference for women in social media, and is a 2011 BlogHer Voices of the Year Honoree.
Anna lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband, their son and daughter, and some judgmental dogs. She has two mottoes: 1. If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly; and 2. If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.
Enter to Win a Copy of The CHICKtionary
Anna Lefler has graciously provided one copy of So Far Away to be awarded to a lucky Colloquium reader! Enter utilizing the Rafflecopter widget!