Callie Oettinger

Thank You Mr. Walsh

By Callie Oettinger | 31 Comments

One of the best friends I’ve ever had lost his father this month. Death proved itself a slingshot, pulling me back through the decades to think about the few times I met his father and then catapulting me forward to question what I’m doing today. Jay and I met at Emerson College. I was climbing the stairs in front of him and tripped. He laughed at me. For a split second I thought he was an asshole—and then realized that I would have laughed at me, too. The friendship started there. Lots of talking and philosophizing and listening to Dave…

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Mistakes are Opportunities

By Callie Oettinger | 18 Comments

I made a mistake this week. I was introduced to a few dozen new people. I attempted to correct the mistake. I was introduced to more new people.

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Secrets of the Creative Brain

By Callie Oettinger | 14 Comments

In this week’s “Writing Wednesdays” post (“The Artist’s Journey, #10“), Steve discussed the two worlds in which artists reside, and how artists break through from one world to the other to access ideas and inspiration. But . . . How does that happen?

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How to Pitch

By Callie Oettinger | 49 Comments

[This post first ran March 11, 2016. Bringing it back for a re-run today.] You have a new book or film or album you want to promote — and you’re waging a letter/e-mail writing campaign to garner support. The following is what you need to know before you get started. The Pitch Bottom line: You want something. You want to recommend someone or something, or you want someone to recommend you. You want an endorsement, an interview, a keynote speaker, a job, something for free, someone to make a decision for you.

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Good Faith or Good Practice?

By Callie Oettinger | 16 Comments

About 15 years ago, I sat at a conference table with an author and his soon to be publisher, and listened to the publisher’s counsel state that the publisher likes to have all copyrights in its name. I shifted in my seat, uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation.

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It’s a Kick in the Ass

By Callie Oettinger | 15 Comments

I will write the Great American Novel by the time I’m 18. I will write the Great American Novel. I will write a novel. I will write. Between ages 14 and 40, my goals changed dramatically, from starting with the heavy weights to lifting manageable weights every day. I was reminded of this when I read Steve’s post “Thinking in Blocks of Time,” which is among the articles included as additional reading in part three of The War of Art Mini-Course. In the article, Steve talks about returning from a vacation and gearing up to get back to work. The…

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Please Repeat Your Message

By Callie Oettinger | 13 Comments

My husband and I walked in on a wedding. We wanted a drink and some downtime, but instead we got flower girls, sequins, stares—and a polite request to leave. It was a reminder that the obvious place for important messaging isn’t always the best place—and a lesson on how easy it is to miss the signs. Here’s how it played out. We were in the mountains visiting family. We got caught outside in freezing rain. The kids wanted showers and pajamas. My husband and I wanted a drink and a firepit. The kids stayed with the family and my husband…

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Don't Major in the Minor

By Callie Oettinger | 56 Comments

(Past is present. With a December 6, 2013 date, this post is a little over four years old. The drones haven’t replaced humans yet, but Amazon is still pushing distribution, with its announcement that Amazon is going to enter UPS’ and FedEx’s space. O’Reilly has continued to change things up since this writing, but is still leading the way. More cultivated subscription models, too.) “Don’t major in the minor.” Mellody Hobson said it, but I’ve thought it these last few days, since watching Jeff Bezos on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. In case you haven’t heard, Bezos unveiled a prototype…

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The Key to It All

By Callie Oettinger | 9 Comments

Sherlock Holmes pays attention. His big details are the ones ignored as little. His knowledge of crimes and human nature come from his own experiences and from books and reports. He reads of wrongdoings, scandals, atrocities and the like, in reports from other countries, and he is a devoted reader of The Times’ “Agony” column. Holmes is fiction, but what he observes is not—nor are his sources. The Times did have an “Agony” column. It’s an aged rabbit hole worth diving into. The personal advertisements that ran in it aren’t so far from what’s found in this online world of ours.…

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A Part of Our Lives

By Callie Oettinger | 12 Comments

Boston felt like home. I was in high school when I stepped into Bean Town for the first time, but I already knew Charles St. because I’d traveled it with Robert McCloskey’s Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and I knew the North Church and Charlestown Shore, because I’d rowed and ridden with Longfellow’s Revere. I knew the city from childhood picture books and history textbooks, books that had been my friends and mentors, offering comfort and instruction. They were a part of my life just as much as any living, breathing teacher or relative. They were a part of me. I…

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