Wednesdays are for Writers: Tamara Pizzoli, author of “The Ghanaian Goldilocks”

PizzoliTamara-01SOOP invited Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, author of The Ghanaian Goldilocks to guest blog about her experiences getting the word out about the books she has written.  (The Ghanaian Goldilocks is a modern West African twist on the classic Goldilocks tale. Join Kofi [aka Goldilocks] in Accra, Ghana as he lives and learns.)

SOOP is delighted to share Tamara’s life lessons on the “magic” that can happen when you make the most of the moment. Here’s her contribution. 

HEY YOU YOU’VE GOT MAGIC

NOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT…

So if you know anything about me at all you know that I’m a Black girl who lives in Rome, Italy who’s originally from Texas. Last month made five years that I’ve been in the eternal city, and it seems with each passing year I become more and more comfortable in a place I only recently started truly considering home.

On a recent trip back home to Dallas, I realized that the magic I often talk about finding in Rome really isn’t specific to her at all. The magic is me…my intentions and the energy I put out and return receive. This last trip to Dallas, taught me a lot of important and unique lessons specifically related to work and making the most of the moment. I found magic of Rome proportions in Dallas, and that, for me, was a welcome and unexpected surprise…a gift.

Here’s what happened and what I learned.

1. Spend time with people who will grow you

One of the first things I do whenever I go home is contact my mentor Tom to tell him I’m in town. This man is a walking motivational conference…not a speaker. An entire conference. He’s also co-owner of a major production studio in Dallas. In short, I wanna be like him when I grow up. I meet up with him and catch him up on my projects and he offers guidance, training and most of all sound advice you can normally only get from a family member who’s been through it enough and cares to share. I write down everything he says because it’s that valuable and helpful. Then I share the big gems on my Facebook page almost immediately because it’s like catching a good word at church man…you gotsta share. (One of my favorite Tom quotes: “You make your own luck.”)

2. Go where your heart wants to go. You may be surprised by what you find. 

I spend a remarkable amount of time vintage shopping when I’m home.  My favorite place is Lula B’s on Main; it’s retail therapy in the truest sense. So this last visit I popped in a few times, and met a guy posted up at the entrance on a stool. He introduced himself as Tony, and I only had a couple secs to pick up some fabric before I had to leave. After paying I handed Tony a card and small talk ensued. Went something like this…

Him: Yeah I’m in Europe a lot for work.
MeReally, what do you do?
Him: Sing back up for Kanye?
Me: Oh word? I got this little project I’m working on. An album based on my first book for kids The Ghanaian Goldilocks. I’ve asked artists from all over the world to read the book, get inspired and contribute a song. Maybe you’d be down?
Him: Yeah girl!

Last month he recorded a song for #InNero #BlackGirlsinRome and had a feature in the pilot for the webseries; he came to Rome to do both. So for me that little exchange embodies lessons 3 and 4.

3. Always have your business cards on hand. Lots of ‘em.

4. Just ask.

5. Follow up on what you’re supposed to do, even if you’re late.

So back in November I popped into what is now one of my favorite stores in Dallas, The Life of Riley. It’s right across from Lula B’s and I really was immediately fond of the owners, Jarod and Billy. I’d told them about my book The Ghanaian Goldilocks back in the fall and asked if they’d be interested in carrying it. They were, and I was supposed to drop some books by there shortly after but never got around to it.

In April, I sashayed in their store bearing a smile and signed copies of my book. A short, pleasant exchange later and a $150 vintage picnic blanket that was worth every dime (I don’t care what nobody says), Jarod asked if I’d like to come by his studio. He’s adorable and fun and has a thing for Italy so I said sure. He encouraged me to bring all of my creative stuff.

Turns out, he used to be the Director of The Lookbook for Neiman Marcus for 15 years. I had about 30 minutes of one-on-one artsy fartsy ideas, plans and dreams talk with this passionate, accomplished man. What a gift. The feedback he was able to give was priceless. Who better than him to suggest which ideas I should run with right now and how to approach them? What’s new and fresh and what’s old and played? What move to make next? Which leads me to lesson #6.

6. LISTEN.

I fully recognize that I have tons I don’t know and tons to learn. If someone is gracious enough to want to teach me, to help me in any way, I listen. And take notes. I also try to say yes only to the things I really wanna do.

7. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE SMALL TALK IN A COFFEE SHOP

While I was about to have brunch with a couple of friends, I bumped into a guy who happened to be an artist. His face and demeanor were kind, and we had a pleasant exchange in line. After getting my food, watching him get his and pondering a bit, I walked over to him and handed him my card.PIZZOLI-Rolando-friend

The conversation went something like this:

Him: I see you write books and you publish them too.
Me: Mmmm-hmmm.
Him: I’d be interested in illustrating one of your books. Look me up and see if you think I’m good enough. Let’s be friends.
Me: Ok!

The man’s name is Rolando Diaz. He is a world-renowned artist whose paintings go for thousands. Applying my ‘whimsy of the day’ approach that guides most of my grand experiences in Rome, I went to see his band play that night and watched him paint at a cool event the next day. A couple of days later we’d worked out an arrangement for him to not only illustrate an upcoming book, but paint my beloved late sister as well.

Number 8 seems like a good stopping point.

8. JUST GIVE OUT YOUR DAMN BUSINESS CARD! YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE THAT ONE GESTURE COULD LEAD…

I really was and am overwhelmed with and grateful for the gifts and treasures I found in Dallas on this last trip, which proves that they can be found anywhere, if your intentions are pure and your energy is right.

Wishing you all the fun as you use your gifts and magic today. Got feedback? Holla!

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Does this inspire you to submit that book idea you’ve got rattling around in your head/drawer/computer? Do it now! Here! 

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