And tonight I went to a meeting of the National Association of Professional Women, which was nothing less than inspiring, for one whose whole career is based pretty much on inspiration. But of course writers have no workplace, except at the desk, so it is a trip, in this case only a little way uptown, to the J.P. Morgan building (we have to assume that in spite of purported financial difficulties the company will stay solid with two facing apartment buildings on Park) to find some good souls also looking to connect.
The speaker was herself a trip-- a truly adorable woman. I use that word in spite of how seriously effective she is, because it really doesn't hurt that she looks like Heidi Klum. Karin Caro is her name, and not knowing what to expect, I thought it would be an evening of hawking our wares, talents, or, in my case my new book. But instead Karin, as the speaker, gave an incredibly energetic and informed AND informative tour through how she had started in business at eighteen and made her way to heading companies in three countries, including El Salvador. (A pause for a plug here: one of the meditations in The Daughter of God, my new book, a surprise coming from me, even to me, is "Why lay up clothes in closets, where moths corrode. Give them to a friend, or send them to El Salvador where God can see them." I mean, it's funny, although the president of the organization was fearful I was a religious nut, not knowing I was the author of the sexiest bestseller of the 70s, when no matter how erotic a novel was, it still had to be well-written.
Anyway, this in-spite-of-her-effictatiousness- darling woman told how one connected, promoted, social networked, naming websites that even those who are internet-savvy would have to be astounded by. Most of the women there seemed to be in fields like real estate and finance, with the occasional beauty business or hope of finding what business they might want to be in. It was, from my point of view, I who have never had a workplace, if you don't count the Comedy Development program at NBC, beyond eye-opening. It made me sorry I wasn't a business. Ah, if only words were merchandise.
Karin spoke glowingly of Starbucks, as a place for young people to connect with people and maybe even find a great job through that connection, as a girl who now works for her did. But even without that as a hope, Starbucks is a great place to work, she says, as it has benefits even for part time workers. Who knew? Now that I do I will stop being annoyed at how long it takes to get your cappuccino.
So it turns out, as is my own philosophy, you just never know. The secret is to stay alive. As long as you do that, there could be an unexpected turn.
These past many days, as close friends, all of whom live someplace else, know, have been beyond nightmarish, terrifying if you let yourself buckle. My Citibank ATM was filched for $3500 more than I myself took out; the other fraudulent withdrawals were within seconds of my taking out money for Christmas tips. My Mastercard was larded with $17,000 of fake charges. And that was the good news. It is a nightmare past understanding or explaining what can happen to someone in New York even if they are a few years past being an innocent.
Ah, but it does the heart good to connect with someone like Karin, whose ten-year old daughter is also in business, the profits of which go to children with handicaps. Karin is to be honored in February by the American Heart Association to which she asked that we all give donations. I wish I could get her to shore up the book business.