Tuesday, October 22, 2013

a blog for my new Twitter followers!

I’ve been making a concerted effort lately on the social media front, which has been paying off by the 350 new Twitter followers I’ve gotten over the past two weeks.

Of course, that got me thinking about what I’d want these new followers to know about me, should they visit, say, this blog, for instance…which according to my statcounter widget thingy, they’ve been visiting. So this one’s for you, new Twitter followers…

Who the heck is Ilene Angel, really???

Life has a funny way, if we’re open to it, of taking us on some unexpected adventures. And those are the best kind, really, which is how I ended up here…with you…at this blog.

If you were to ask me what I do, without a second thought, my knee jerk response would be to tell you I’m a songwriter. Family legend has it that I sang before I spoke, and I know for certain that I read music before words, which had to appear a little freakish, frankly, for a four-and-a half-year-old at the piano.

But music and me arrived here as a package deal, and no matter how many other forms of writing my life has taken on, I never stray too far or for too long from it. But I’ll get back to music in a minute.

I never entertained the possibility of doing other forms of writing until, after a series of bad blind dates, I got to thinking that I had more in common with the then, very single George Stephanopoulos, than I did with the guys I was being fixed up with. So I decided to try a little experiment. I decided to put the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game to the test…but for George Stephanopoulos.

It was absurd. Outlandish. Preposterous. Well, funny thing about putting stuff “out there.” The universe responds in kind. So all of a sudden scenarios appeared in which the very real chance of meeting George Stephanopoulos existed. I use the word “chance” because what ensued was a series of unlikely events in which I almost, but then didn’t meet George Stephanopoulos.

It was hilarious. Fast forward to all of a sudden, I’m writing a book about it. (Here’s the link to it: In Search of George Stephanopoulos

If you thought I had no idea how to meet George Stephanopoulos, you should see how much less I knew about how to write a book and get it published. During this time that I was trying to get a book deal, an editor friend of mine told me I needed to start a blog to gain a following. I laughed. What exactly was a blog? And what would I be writing about?

As I began this blog in 2009, though I didn’t know what it was, what it would become, what it would lead to, or what I would write about, I had an unbelievably strong gut feeling that I was supposed to do this and it was going to take me somewhere extraordinary.

Well, being very green to the blogging world when I started, I thought I had to blog every day. Every day. I spent hours and hours, day after day. And though I don’t remember what I wrote about on a daily basis, I was honing a writing voice in a format that suited me perfectly. And because it was my own, I could say whatever I wanted – politically, pop culturally, spiritually, you name it.

Politics was an ongoing blog theme for me. And I could be a liberal as I wanted, which, it turns out, by most accounts, was pretty damn liberal. Well, soon, people were telling me that I needed to write for The Huffington Post. I laughed it off. But they were serious. So I told one of my cherished readers that if they could make that happen for me, I was game. They did.

So suddenly, I was writing about politics in The Huffington Post .(Here’s a link to my archived pieces: Huffington Post - Ilene AngelIn my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be doing that. But that, too, it turns out, suited me perfectly. Funny thing about that was I couldn’t write about politics, knowing I had a viable voice, without trying to do something to affect real change.

I started out the normal way most people do – letters to Congressmen and Senators, a phone call here and there. But then it became rallies, speaking at events about social justice, meeting with state legislators. Oh yeah, and there was that time with a handful of people, a bullhorn, and a news crew across the street from Congressman Jim Cooper’s office. Some votes for the Affordable Care Act did not come easily, by golly.

As time went on, my Huffington writing veered towards music and popular culture, with spirituality making its way into the political pieces in the hopes of dialing down the nasty and dialing up the common ground.

My blog, too, would undergo some changes, as my life did. 

After finally having some long-awaited musical success with a #1 Disney song called “I Don’t Think About It,” recorded by Hannah Montana’s Emily Osment, (Watch video here: I Don't Think About It), I decided to self publish my book so I could move on. If I didn’t, George Stephanopoulos would be approaching his silver wedding anniversary by the time that sucker got published. 

…which brings me to today and what I’m currently doing.

In the provocatively titled one-day seminar I took on “how to get your book published,” the lecturer told us that if we wrote one book, we would write more than one book. I thought she was nuts. Another book? No way. Nope. Not me. Uh uh. No, sirree. No ma’am. Nuh-uh.

So my next book should be out in a few months. It’s of the self-help variety, because I think if you’re going to keep trying new things, you should pick the ones you’re least qualified for, just to keep it interesting. So I will be your cruise director as we navigate the murky waters of stress relief. That’s all I can tell you for now. You’ll have to keep visiting as we get closer to release time. (I’m trying out this whole idea of the “teaser” here. How am I doing?)

As for the music, I am recording my own songs for a CD (or record, or album, or digital download - what the heck are we calling it now???) called The Gratitude Project – a collection of songs about second chances, dreaming big, and remembering to be grateful for all, and not just some of the journey.

You can still find me blogging both here and at HuffPo.

Lastly, whether you’re new to this blog or a faithful devotee, thanks for stopping by. I truly appreciate it. Now that you know who I am, I hope you’ll visit again. And please tell your friends. Peace and blessings to you.

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