‘The Bill Murray Stories’ Shares Tales of the Enlightened Star

Thich Nhat Hanh, a 91-year-old Vietnamese monk and Noble Peace Prize nominee once said that if, while washing dishes, we aren’t mindful of the fact that we are washing dishes then “we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink.”

Hanh advocates for complete mindfulness of the present moment, to find joy even in the mundane. And if tales told by The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from A Mythical Man are to be believed, Murray is a big fan of these Buddhist philosophies, too. Continue reading “‘The Bill Murray Stories’ Shares Tales of the Enlightened Star”

Brunch Boys’ Founder Jeremy Jacobowitz Talks Food, First Dates and Food

When you get right down to it, there are really only two kinds of people in this world: those who brunch and those who do not. I don’t mean to generalize here but generally, Non-Brunchers are pretty easy to spot in a crowd. They’re the ones who take 17 different spin classes before noon on a Saturday, wear ripped, graphic tees without a shred of irony, and buy a pedigreed Goldendoodle puppy then name him Bob. Brunchers, however, are creatures of a more esoteric ilk, characterized by their adventure-seeking, quiche-loving ways  … and always hungry for more.

Because at its hollandaise-glopped essence, brunch is a meal most unpredictable and Brunchers who indulge in its capriciousness must be prepared for absolutely anything. Will it last an hour? All day? The better half of your festive, holiday-filled weekend? Unclear. The only thing that’s certain is that nobody gets brunch better than its reigning king, Brunch Boys’ founder Jeremy Jacobowitz.

Jeremy’s Brunch Boys website and Instagram page—the latter home to more than 430K followers—are veritable travelogues of the New York food scene, helping diners everywhere discover the inscrutable delectability of an NYC brunch. I recently caught up with Manhattan’s ultimate morning(ish) foodie. Here’s what he had to say …  Continue reading “Brunch Boys’ Founder Jeremy Jacobowitz Talks Food, First Dates and Food”

My Five Worst Writing Habits (And How You Can Avoid Them)

[This post was originally published a few months ago but I wanted to resurrect it because (if you couldn’t tell) I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump and thought it best to revisit my bad habits in order to create some good ones.] 

There’s a troubling dichotomy that exists in the mind of a writer between thinking what you’ve just crafted is the most brilliant prose to brush against the blank page and wanting to run so far away from your own writing you reach a distant land where words don’t exist and people communicate using only their left eyebrow.

But while lauding your cleverness is a worthy exercise in confidence and self-affirmation—and why shouldn’t you be proud of your work?—it’s the writer-on-the-run who really produces the most scintillating stuff. Think about it: If you’re so incredible at writing, improvement becomes irrelevant. Why get better when you’re already the best?

The problem is, writing tends to be a craft predicated on the concept of evolution; each word you set down should be even more precise and well-placed than the last.   Continue reading “My Five Worst Writing Habits (And How You Can Avoid Them)”

The Art of Sticky Shaw

The first time we texted, Sticky Shaw was driving to Mammoth. The second time, he was there, on the mountain, taking a powder break and ready to talk. I didn’t know his real name (it might be Sticky Shaw after all) or much about him, I just found his work—a Berlin Fox stenciled into the sidewalk by Crab Cooker—and emailed him, curious to know more.

“You’re not the police, are you?” The Newport Beach native, who now creates from his home base in Santa Monica, asked when I called.

“No, just a writer.”

“Cool.”

There’s street art that’s pretentious and neat, paid for by some municipality hoping to seem edgy and community bound, then there’s street art like Sticky Shaw’s variety. His art is like a neo-iconoclastic genre that skirts the conventional, punk rock and unhinged from predictability, messy and free. Continue reading “The Art of Sticky Shaw”

Forbes and the Business of Storytelling

A few weeks ago, I received word I was selected to be a member of the 2018 Forbes Communications Council. It was a huge honor and a bit of a dream-come-true moment for me, so I figured I should probably repost my first Forbes.com article right here for all of you to read. You’ve stuck with me since the beginning (or at the very least, a few years) and I appreciate your support.

Before you read it, fair warning this article is far from the whimsical fiction or personal asides I usually write about but it is an ode to the importance of high-quality storytelling. My overall premise is really that despite the encroaching arm of machine learning or analytical decision-making based on big data and cold numbers, we still need writers. We always will.  Continue reading “Forbes and the Business of Storytelling”

They Call Me a Narcissist

I almost didn’t write this post. I almost didn’t hit the “publish” button and almost let these words disappear into lost-prose obscurity.

Then I thought, “no.” I told myself to do it.

Others out there might be having these same doubts, my inner monologue said. Others may too be dealing with a stranger who comments in cruel form on a blog post of theirs and for these people suffering in the dubious ether of my mind, the crippling blow dealt to their self-confidence might persuade them to never write again. Continue reading “They Call Me a Narcissist”

His Muse

There’s a road in Costa Rica that is watched by snakes and stones. The stones don’t make the best sentinels (stony-faced as they may be), mostly because they have no eyes and can only roll loosely in one direction or the next to warn of trouble ahead. The snakes, by comparison, fare a little better. Though their legless-ness proves a real crutch, they can still slide across the dirt and hiss whenever evil turns the bend.

But even snakes and stones almost missed the arrival of the Trumpet Player and his Muse. Continue reading “His Muse”

In Which I Interview Myself

Hello. My apologies for the hiatus, I haven’t forgotten about you, life has been busy and honestly, little word studio has always been this place of uber-creativity for me and I haven’t felt all that inspired to write something worthy of this blog.

The plan for little word studio in 2018, just so you know, is to get really weird, posting only fiction pieces, much like I did when this whole site began.

Anyway, in between my last post and this, WordPress gave me a third (!!) feature, which brought hundreds more followers to my little site. And, as Spiderman so aptly explained, with great power comes great responsibility and I didn’t want to let everyone down with boring shlock posted just because. Continue reading “In Which I Interview Myself”

Bottled Poetry

A few months ago, my friends at Rafiki Creative asked if I’d like to script the voice over for a video they were producing to showcase a high-end winery in Napa Valley and its intricate wine-making process. I agreed, almost immediately, because 1. WINE and 2. WINE. Also, script writing has long been an endeavor I’ve waded in, toes curled and shallow water splashing, but never actually took the deep dive to fully explore until now.

So here is my first deep dive, a six-minute video about the process of making world-class wine. Produced and directed by Rafiki Creative, the video details the entire endeavor end-to-end; from planning the vineyard and inspecting the soil composition of the terroir to plucking the grapes from the vines at dawn then spending years coaxing their flavors to perfection. The cinematography was all done on location by the Rafiki crew, using a combination of fancy cameras and drones.

Enjoy!

Continue reading “Bottled Poetry”

Revisiting Discarded Post-it Poetry: An Idea That Sticks

My friend, sob, and I recently reconnected over Instagram (hey, find me @melissakandel!) and it made me want to repost this interview I did with him several months ago. I publish this not only to celebrate our Insta-friendship but also in commemoration of his most recent milestone, hitting 20k followers! Enjoy!

We met in the most unexpected way. And while I guess great love affairs do often spring from the auspiciously unusual, I’d suspect none involve quite so much dog poop as this.

In the thick of Sunset Boulevard, just a hint from The Standard hotel, there’s a little dog park chiseled into a hill, accessible by two sets of stairs guarded at their very top by a blue-painted guitar standing sentinel at the entrance. Egyptian mummies are painted all along this guitar and on a warm, early morning in June I imagined that looking at the guitar was about as creatively inspired as I’d get while my dog sniffed around for the perfect spot to uh … go. Turns out, his nose sensed something I never could. Continue reading “Revisiting Discarded Post-it Poetry: An Idea That Sticks”