Episode 177: Little Bird - Deena Goldstein's Creative Journey from Stand-Up Comedy to Writing a Memoir

Dec 05, 2022

If you're looking for a way to unlock your potential for self-expression, meaningful connections, and emotional growth, then this episode is for you! Here, you'll discover the keys to unlocking creativity, connection, and healing.

Award-winning artist and former stand up comedian Deena Goldstein pens her debut memoir, OK, Little Bird. Deena's artwork has been featured in solo 

and collective exhibitions, receiving numerous honors for her original acrylics. Now, "Little Bird" shares the unique, irreverent and touching relationship she had 

with her cowboy father. Deena's flair for humor, unconditional love and all things offbeat make this book a memorable debut. Shelf Unbound Magazine 2022 Recommended Must Read.

Deena Goldstein and I also cover:

  1. How Deena Goldstein used comedy to connect with her father and grieve his passing, as told in her book, Okay Little Bird.
  2. The creative exercise of turning a reference image upside down to draw it and how this can help unleash creative energy.
  3. The unique story of how Deena Goldstein went from majoring in art to a career in marketing and PR, and eventually a fall prevention home safety company.



You can find Deena on LinkedIn and check out her Website and her Book.

 

Remarkable Quote:

“My mom was always an amazing artist. She did pen and inks and things like that. And I think I was just kind of exposed to her doing it. It's not that she did it often, but it was enough where I was like, wow, that's really cool. So she would sit with me at the kitchen table and set out a coffee mug and have me draw it and draw it again, draw it again and again."

 

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Transcription:

[00:00:00]

Welcome to your next stop. This is Juliet Hahn. In this episode, I speak with Deena Goldstein, former stand up comedian, artist, and author. Her book, okay Little Bird is a memoir. How she used comedy to connect with her father and how she used comedy and writing to grieve his passing.

 

[00:00:18]

Really beautiful story, you do not want to miss it. Really special story on how she got the name okay Little Bird, a couple of different meanings to it and it's a really special episode, so definitely check that out. And you can follow Dina to see what she's doing and what she is up to. You can go to LinkedIn. And that's Deena Goldstein.

 

[00:00:36]

D-E-E-N-A. Goldstein. Facebook. Also, Deena Goldstein. She loves speaking with people that have read the book to discuss different chapters, some of her favorite stories.

 

[00:00:46]

So you can definitely check her out on Facebook. Their instagram is art DDE 710. You can go to her website, two of them oklittlebird.com to purchase the book, you can also find okay Littlebird on Amazon. You can also go to Dinasart.com to also find out what she's doing. Really interesting, where the standup came in, how she was in marketing and PR, twists and turns and Pivots.

 

[00:01:12]

You guys are really going to enjoy this. Don't forget to follow me. I am Juliet Hahn on most socials LinkedIn and Facebook. It's just my name, Juliet. And if you are in the market or know someone's in the market that needs help articulating their story, they need help really kind of putting things together, what's important, what maybe they need to leave out, what they need to emphasize if they're on the podcast circuit.

 

[00:01:37]

If you're a podcaster and you're trying to get on other people's podcasts, if you're doing the media circuit or you're in corporate America and you need to network, or you're trying to get back into corporate America and you need help doing that, I am the person to help you. I've been consulting people now for a number of years, which people don't realize that this podcast is my baby. But I do have a business of consulting and that is what I do. So I help you articulate your story and be able to do it in short snippets, to be able to do longer snippets and really kind of refine what is the standing out parts of it. So you can email me at info at imJuliet Hahn.com for more information.

 

[00:02:17]

I do give a 30 minutes free consultation to see if I'm the right person to help you do that. All right, enjoy and we will see you again for another episode of your Next Stop or Y and us live. Have you ever been listening to your favorite podcast and that moment comes up and you think, oh my gosh, I need to share it? Well, now you can with picked cherries. What I love about Picked Cherries so much is that when I'm listening to my favorite podcast, and that moment comes up that I want to share.

 

[00:02:44]

I can take a Snippet, which is called The Pick Cherry, and I can send that to my friends and family so they can get involved in the podcast that I love. It's almost like sending an IG or a TikTok. Available now. iOS and Android, if you're not picking cherries, are you really listening to podcasts?

 

[00:03:04]

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Your Next Stop. I say it every single time, and I know you laugh when I say it, but I'm not going to say it next time. But I have to. I am so excited for this next guest.

 

[00:03:16]

Really excited because this is going to be funny, but this is also going to be very heartfelt. So I want to welcome Deena Goldstein to your next stop. How are you? Thank you. I'm good.

 

[00:03:26]

I'm so excited to talk to you today. I know this is going to be fun. So I want to first have everyone you can follow Dina. First of all, Dina is an author, but she's a former stand up comedian and she has written a memoir that's called okay, Little Bird. And I want you to be able to follow Dina on her website, which is Deena Dedeenasart.com.

 

[00:03:53]

Right? Yes. You got it, Deenasart. Yeah, well, I was like, wait, is there a nest in there, Deena's art. It's a little funky, but it's good.

 

[00:04:00]

Well, sometimes I add like letters and stuff. So I was like, Wait, did I add that? And that wasn't the correct thing. And then you can also follow Dina on Instagram at ARTD 710. And then also we sent them to your website.

 

[00:04:13]

And then LinkedIn is another place that you hang out, right? And that is your name yeah. On LinkedIn, Facebook, instagram. I think that's all of them. Yeah.

 

[00:04:20]

That's awesome. So we're going to get right into this. So I would love for you to tell the listeners a little bit about yourself, where you grew up, if you went to university, and then we'll kind of let the story unfold. Yeah. So I grew up in Ohio.

 

[00:04:35]

Super exciting. I was not born in a cornfield, but there are a lot of cornfields in Ohio. I do love corn. Anyway, unimportant. I grew up there and I went to school like everybody else.

 

[00:04:45]

And then my family eventually moved to Florida. I went to college down there and I studied fine art. I always like to tell people that my diploma has a sharper in the back. Like the little crayola box, right? Yeah.

 

[00:04:56]

Cause that's literally what I majored in. Not crayons, but pretty close. And I started drawing and painting, and it was always my love. And although I worked and I had jobs, I was still painting and things like that. And I couldn't really find a job to use my art because it's sort of like a starving artist kind of a thing, but I eventually honed a craft in marketing and PR, and that's what I spent most of my professional life doing.

 

[00:05:25]

And then I was in Chicago for a while. I lived there and I dabbled in some stand up comedy, which was kind of fun, except for hailing a cab at two in the morning after leaving a club. Not so fun, especially when you have to get up for work the next day. So I did that for a while. The timing was not right for me.

 

[00:05:42]

I just I could not do those hours and work and whatever. Loved it. Would love to do it again. And then eventually got married. And now I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona, where it's only 174 today.

 

[00:05:54]

It's lovely.

 

[00:05:57]

I've still been painting for years, and then I just recently released. Okay, little bird. That's awesome. So what made you do you think when did you find that you loved art? I remember, like, taking, I mean, kindergarten, first grade, second grade.

 

[00:06:11]

You're always drawing pictures as toddlers. Kids are always drawing stuff. When did you realize, wait, I really love this? Like, this settles my brain, or I get something out of it, you know? My mom was always an amazing artist.

 

[00:06:23]

She did pen and inks and things like that. And I think I was just kind of exposed to her doing it. It's not that she did it often, but it was enough where I was like, wow, that's really cool. So she would sit with me at the kitchen table and set out a coffee mug and have me draw it and draw it again, draw it again and again. And I would do that, and then I was like, you know, this is really fun, and I would doodle.

 

[00:06:42]

I was always doing something crafty. I did write. I wrote a bunch of books when I was little. I wrote a children's book. I illustrated it.

 

[00:06:49]

I always did that stuff. Not to necessarily do anything with it, but I just loved doing it. It was how I really expressed myself. And it's always been like that, whether I'm in front of a canvas or I'm ripping jokes in front of family or someplace else or I'm writing with a book. So that's kind of how that morphed.

 

[00:07:08]

And I loved it. And there's a story that I love to tell. It was kind of a defining moment. Like, you're talking about you're little, you're with crayons. I'm in a classroom.

 

[00:07:17]

It's holiday time. I must have been like, I don't know, three or four. Everybody's given a handout. It's a line drawing. A Santa Claus.

 

[00:07:24]

What color crayon are most people going to grab for? Red, right? No, not me. Purple. So I colored it in purple.

 

[00:07:31]

I hand it to the teacher and she's like, I said, I'm done. I was so excited. She said dina santa's. Red. Okay, talk.

 

[00:07:39]

A baby bubble burst. Yeah. I said no. My Santa's purple. And I was really upset, and I remember going home and telling my mom.

 

[00:07:46]

She's like, you know what, Dina? Your stant is just fine. That's how you wanted to express yourself. And I knew after that, at some level, I was not going to be boxed in with any of my creative energy. That's actually really cool, and I love that because it really is how education really tries to put us all in a box.

 

[00:08:05]

Everything. Yeah. I mean, you have to do it like this. It's got to be like this. Well, everybody interprets and filters the world differently.

 

[00:08:12]

So that's the way it came out of my filter, right. Every six months. But it is true. I mean, it really is true. Education really tries with the classes that you have to take, it doesn't matter what you're good at, especially when you're doing undergrad and younger.

 

[00:08:29]

It's, like, so ridiculous to me. Still. Like, in high school, okay, well, we know that we're really strong in English and history, but we have to take math and science. And why is that? Because to torture us, to make us feel like shit, that we're not good in those things.

 

[00:08:43]

It always fascinates me, and it needs to change, but I don't know when it ever is going to, and who is going to be the person that's like, okay, let's tap into the creative side. I had Betty Fetter, who actually was the founder of young Rembrandt. She was on the show, and it was really cool of her talking about the left brain versus the right brain and the creative brain versus the analytical brain and how the creative brain doesn't learn in traditional the same doesn't learn the same in traditional school. And I mean, school was it torture for me, but, I mean, I am dyslexic, so it was tortured that way. It was torturous for me.

 

[00:09:21]

It's interesting. With the left brain, right brain, there's this whole exercise you can do, and they teach it in some schools where if you want to draw, even if you're a person that doesn't draw, you take your reference image. Or if I'm going to draw a picture of an apple, you turn it upside down, and you draw it upside down because your brain, if you look at an apple, is going, I have to make it right. I've got to make it right. It's got to look like an apple.

 

[00:09:43]

If you turn it upside down, it turns into a shape, and you let go of those constructs, and you can just draw. You should try it. It's interesting. And I don't know if you know this part of my story. My listeners know when I was probably in 3rd, 4th grade, the entire class, except for me and this other kid went to Gifted and Talented.

 

[00:10:04]

It wasn't called Gifted and Talented them, but they did all of these they basically were doing, like, creating a maze and having this puzzle, and it was, in my mind, creative, and I couldn't draw. I was really bad at drawing. And so I deemed myself non creative. This other boy and I went to go special reading, which was really fun. And literally, the rest of the class all went to this other, and they were like, oh, my God, we got to dress up as nights, and we have to do a maze.

 

[00:10:31]

And we made shields and swords and gave them A, and they're like, what are you doing? And I'm like, I'm reading the Blue Dolphin with this teacher. That is a slow talker and wipe my eyes out. You know what's interesting? If they put such a stigma on you and that boy in the class, that's awful.

 

[00:10:49]

That creates more of a trauma than it does addressing what they feel is gifted. And I think everybody has gifts if they manifest differently. And to segregate kids into classroom A and B, you get to do nights. You're going to read a book that's not so good. Yeah, start you know what?

 

[00:11:06]

You are creative. This format, this energy that you bring to people, this is your inspiration. It's awesome. But the thing is, I didn't realize I was creative until much later in life, really being like, oh, I'm a storyteller that is creative. I mean, I used to tell my kids, oh, all the crafts that you guys want to do, I'll sit and watch, but mom doesn't really do that.

 

[00:11:24]

I'll call her a little bit, but I don't do that because I deemed myself and I put those labels on myself, which I didn't really realize I was even doing. And so the fact that the teacher was trying to tell you, no Santa Claus is red. Who is she to be telling you what color you want your Santa Claus? Well, she did have a shirt on that said, The Color, please. So I don't know.

 

[00:11:42]

I mean, I could have I don't know if I would have been incarcerated for the purple, but I probably would have stood my ground. I felt very strongly about the purple. I don't like when somebody tells me how to create something, because if you think about it, creating anything is about how you take an experience. It's so true. It's so true.

 

[00:12:01]

Okay, so you're in sales and marketing. I mean, marketing and not advertising. You were in PR marketing, and you realized, okay, I did the stint in stand up comedy. You loved it, but the hours were just not which is understandable. You're in Chicago, and that had to have been hard.

 

[00:12:18]

So you kind of hung that up. And then where did your path take you from there? So my path took me to a million jobs that I had where I was doing marketing and PR, and I was proficient at I did, you know, event planning for, like, at a radio station. I was doing all kinds of stuff. I was in media and all this stuff.

 

[00:12:35]

My husband and I get married, and we started a fall prevention home safety company. Now, how does somebody go from painting to a safety grab bar? It's a great question. I don't paint the safety grab bars, but this is what we do. We help people stay safe in their homes.

 

[00:12:48]

And I do love it. But I'm creative in my job in that I connect and I educate in the community, which I love. And there's a way to connect with people where you go up and say, look, you need to move a rug. You're going to fall. People are going to be snoozing and falling asleep.

 

[00:13:04]

Right? So you want to engage with people. So I get to do that, and I'm doing the senior funny circuit. And so I'm doing that, but I still paint on the side. And the book was an accident that happened when I found out my dad was terminally ill.

 

[00:13:23]

And it just sort of happened. And I wrote all the way through the rest of my life to all the other things that I'm doing. Right. And I know when we first touched, you were talking about how close you and your father were. So take us through that a little bit.

 

[00:13:36]

Yes, my dad. I'm one of three. I'm the youngest. So you already know the baby thing going on, right? Okay.

 

[00:13:42]

So everybody's got sibling stories, and everybody has a nice relationship with my parents. I had a great relationship with my mom, too. This is just my story. He was hilarious. I mean, every barista in the entire state of Arizona knew my dad.

 

[00:13:57]

He'd sit down, he'd have a pastry and a coffee delivered to him. He was hilarious. But he was also strict. He was this cowboy. He grew up in a super conservative home, so he was this really dynamic person.

 

[00:14:08]

And by the way, snappy dresser, loved clothes to the nines. He was fun to go shopping with. And so he and I just had this relationship so with my brother and sister, he was super strict. When I came along, it was sort of like, well, I'm done being strict. Time to play.

 

[00:14:24]

And I just sort of got wind of it somehow, and I just kind of pushed his limits. And I ended up, at least as far as I'm concerned, with all these goodies. I mean, we bantered, we joked, we played. I never took anything personally. If he was gruff or stern, it wasn't about me.

 

[00:14:41]

That was just who he was. And I think he knew that I didn't take stuff personally. And so we just kind of did life together. It was so fun. I had a lot of years where we were not living.

 

[00:14:52]

He was in Arizona, so we moved out here. I used to tell people I had an extension cord. Everyone's like, cut the cord. You're like, in your 30s already. I'm like, am I cutting my cord?

 

[00:15:01]

What's wrong with you people? I have an extension cord, I don't need to do that. So I eventually moved closer to him, but we just, you know yes, it's what we did. It was so fun. It was so fun.

 

[00:15:14]

No, and I love that and I love I think it's really important and the dynamics of families really comes across as you get older and you think about the good, the bad, where you were in the family dynamic, what was happening in the family dynamic. And I mean, sometimes it's great, sometimes it's not. Sometimes even from the good times to the bad times, you learn something a little bit more about yourself. And I think it's really important that you, as you said, that was your experience, your dad, and you just connected and it probably was because you didn't take a lot of stuff personally that he was doing. It didn't affect you, so you're like, oh, that's dad, I'm just going to continue and go on and not let it affect you.

 

[00:15:56]

And that is a personality and that's you and your dad obviously really meshed with that personality. So when did you decide that you wanted to start writing the book? So my dad had a bunch of terminal illnesses, but he beat them all. I always wanted to get him a superhero cake because he really was amazing. And then a couple of years ago, we found out he was just basically coming to the close of his life.

 

[00:16:24]

It turned out it was Kyexia, which is a muscle wasting disease, which was brought on by chemotherapy and things like that, that he'd had for other issues. So he was losing weight rapidly. Anyway, he goes into a nursing home because he needs the care that he can no longer get at home. And by the way, during COVID I found out he went into the nursing home and like, three weeks later, locked down city. Now I'm going to lose my dad and I can't see him.

 

[00:16:51]

I just thought I was not a happy girl. Anyway, we found ways to stay connected, like so many millions of people do. And then I found out I was able to go see him because he was close to the end of his life. I didn't know what day he was going to die, but it was the day before Father's Day. And I sat down and he was just, of course, just lying there and I had a thought and I just jotted it down on my phone.

 

[00:17:16]

And the next day he did pass away at seven in the evening. And I never stopped writing. I wrote through a quarantined funeral, a quarantine memorial, I mean, at a time when we're surrounded by family to talk and have people bring you 19 casseroles that you probably never eat because you're not even hungry. But it's what people do that feels good, it's support. Didn't get to hug my mother.

 

[00:17:42]

Nothing. Nothing. We did everything at arms reach. And again, I know millions of people have had this experience, but you do it. It's what you do.

 

[00:17:50]

It was a sign of the times. So I basically I just started writing and somebody said to me, OK, why do I want to read a story about you and your dad? It's not just about the fun stories that go on, and there's some touching stories, but what do we do when we don't have choices about situations that are handed to us? You don't have a choice about that, but you do have a choice about how you navigate that. And I chose to do it with the gift of humor from my father.

 

[00:18:18]

He was funny. That was what we had together. And so I would get these incoming one liners at, like, crazy times. Like, I'd go see them at the cemetery. What the hell are you doing here?

 

[00:18:30]

You're never going to find me. I mean, not kidding, but it helped me. So there's a lot to unpack in the book. So, yeah, that's how that ended up being right. And I mean, and I think it's such a beautiful attribute to your dad, the fact that you saw him the night before he passed and you were able to see him.

 

[00:18:49]

That's a blessing in itself. But then it was like, okay, I like how I felt when I wrote that down, and I'm just going to continue. So did it help you through the grieving process? Do you feel like it was something that you or it was something that you were holding on to with your dad? Can you take us a little bit through that?

 

[00:19:08]

So it's a really good question. I was one of these people. A lot of people say, God, I wish I'd said that. I wish I had done this. I never had 1oz or nanosecond of regret.

 

[00:19:21]

There was not a time I didn't tell my father how much I adored him. Even as a 50 some odd year old, I'm not giving my age away. If we were at the house of my mom and dad's house, I'd sit down at his feet. I'd have my hand on his foot. If I was on the couch next to him, my hand was holding his hand around his shoulder.

 

[00:19:40]

I was always like, if I could get in his lap, I would have. But toward the end, you can't do that anymore because you're a caretaker. You got to give back instead of take. So it just kind of morphed. And I did get to see him when he passed.

 

[00:19:57]

I was in the room the next day. I didn't expect it. It just sort of happened. And then I kept writing, and I guess it did help me. I didn't realize it until after I got done.

 

[00:20:11]

Everything was such a whirlwind. I just wrote through everything. Yeah, probably cheaper than therapy. Maybe not, I don't know. Right?

 

[00:20:19]

Who knows. I don't know. But that's the thing. I think it's such a beautiful and I've had people on that have lost parents that have been created things out of that loss, and they have said that in the moment it helped them, but then they realized afterwards that it also could help other people hear and see how they grieved. Is that something that as you were writing and doing this, you were thinking as well?

 

[00:20:46]

Or was it more just kind of self healing for you and then you realize afterwards, well, wait a second. Yeah, I mean, I think it was all of those because I'm writing. I'm writing and I realize, you know, I work with this editor. Towards the end of the process, she said, you know, you really have something universal. And with any good book look, I'm not an expert.

 

[00:21:03]

I'm one person that went through something that everybody goes through or is going to go through. And I thought, I've got something here that I think is really relatable in terms of how they can navigate. My dad once said to me, I was sitting on the couch with him when he got this diagnosis. My mom wasn't home, and it was terminal. This was before he passed away.

 

[00:21:23]

And for the first time in my life, I had nothing to say. Shocking, I know. So I didn't know what to say. And so I reached over and I just said, everything is going to be okay, dad. And he turned to me, he was like, you know what, everything is not going to be okay.

 

[00:21:38]

You cannot say that. If you want to be here for me, you have to say, I'm here for you, and so on. And I took that. That was like a major awakening, because we say it's going to be okay. It's for ourselves.

 

[00:21:51]

It is not for the other person who's dealing with this stark, cold reality looking down a tunnel that they're not going to be coming back from. So I'm going down the same tunnel, and I got to figure out how to deal with that. So I knew that there was some wisdom, if you will, in this book that would help other people. I took an essence of our relationship and healed with it. So people that maybe, let's say they read stories or saw movies with their loved one, or they would go on hikes or whatever it is, that was the essence of your relationship, there is no need to stop that.

 

[00:22:25]

That can be healing. I mean, I took the humor, and I would allow it to filter in. Even the night before he passed away, my sister and I were watching vigil, I guess, if you will, and we're hungry, and my purse is filled with £10 of snacks, like it always is. And of course, I'm trying to be respectful. We really want to eat and be disrespectful in front of him.

 

[00:22:48]

So we went into the closet, and of course, they pulled out a bag of Cheetos. Hello. Who brings the noisiest food ever. Okay. My dad would have been horrified, like, what the hell is going on in here?

 

[00:22:58]

I'm trying to die, people. That is so rude. So we go into the closet and we're eating, and we just start laughing because it's a total release of tension, of fear, of sadness. And so there's that humor so you can heal through what seems to be unimaginable. I want people to know you can be okay, little bird.

 

[00:23:17]

Right? And that's where you get the title. I mean, that's beautiful. Not quite where the title came from, but it's mixed in with that. Yes, tell us, because that was going to be one of my questions, right?

 

[00:23:30]

Yeah. So perfect segue. The first time I found out I could go visit my dad during COVID it was like the screen door visit, right? Just through little squares. I didn't care how I was going to see him.

 

[00:23:44]

I could have done it from a helicopter. I would have been happy as hell. So they tell me that I can go see him and kind of wave through the screen with the hazmat suit, with the mask. This is before vaccines. And so I bring food.

 

[00:23:56]

I drop it at the front. I brought his favorite, vanilla milkshake. I knew he couldn't eat, but who comes without food? I mean, don't we all learn that from our parents? So anyway, now you can know the humor in the book.

 

[00:24:07]

So I go to the door and the nurse is like, Mark, your daughter is here. And, like, there's this long period of time where nothing is really happening. He says, Wait, Tina, he wants to come to the door. My dad could not move. He had no upper body strength.

 

[00:24:21]

The fact that he wanted to come to the door for me to get out of bed in a transport chair broke my heart and made it burst at the same moment. I was beside myself. He got to the door. I knew I had about two minutes. He actually started passing out from the blood pressure and drank his milkshake and then asked me a few questions about my daughter and my husband.

 

[00:24:45]

And then I knew I had a moment to tell him something. I'm not going to go, how are you? How am I? Oh, I'm doing great. I don't know, I'm looking about 1012 hours left of my life.

 

[00:24:56]

So you can't ask that. That goes back to, are you okay? You're going to be okay. So I just said, I am so happy to see you. I love you so much, and I've missed seeing you.

 

[00:25:05]

I'm so happy to see you. You have no idea, and said, Me too, me too. And then he just said, okay, little bird. He had nothing left in him, and that was it. And the breath caught in my throat, and as.

 

[00:25:19]

You read the book? I alluded to that several times. There's these moments that we have in our lives where our emotion is caught up in our throat. It's unbelievable. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I knew I would never forget that phrase.

 

[00:25:32]

He had never uttered it before, and he certainly didn't utter it after the book had that double entendre meeting meaning. Okay, little birds. Yeah, that's beautiful. Oh, my gosh, that's beautiful. Now, do you think that there was ever a time when you were growing up or when your dad got sick that your siblings were jealous of the relationship you and your dad had?

 

[00:25:58]

Yeah, I mean, I think it's probably more frustration. Everybody's cleaning the kitchen, and I'm like, standing impersonating John Wayne in front of my dad till the kitchen is done. And then like, oh, is I supposed to help? Nobody likes that person, let's be honest. Yeah, it's a little bit of a pain in the ass.

 

[00:26:14]

Okay, I own it. No, I mean, they kind of got it. They were like, I got away with stuff that they would have been nailed for. I mean, he was just much stricter with them, and so I think it was a source of frustration, but eventually everybody got over it. When I wrote the book, I was very transparent and asked them, is this okay?

 

[00:26:36]

Everybody was totally OK with it. There's nothing disparaging there's enough in there about my siblings to lay a framework of the family dynamic to show how different it was, how stark it was. You know, things I would say to my dad. And I remember one year for his birthday, remember, Spencer's, I don't even know. Yeah, don't drop your kids at the mall with allowance and let them go into that store.

 

[00:27:02]

Besides fuzzy foot rugs and black lights and velvet Elvis paintings, they have that section. Okay, so let's just say I buy his gift in that section. He used to smoke cigarettes, and he opens it up and it's a pink toilet, and it says, stick your ash here. And he's looking at me, and he doesn't know whether to laugh or to ground me. And everybody's like, my brother and sister like a Gape.

 

[00:27:27]

Like, oh, my God, I cannot believe you just gave that to dad. Who gives her dad a pink astray that says stick your ash here. I was ten. My dad actually thought it was hilarious. And then I gave him underwear with pictures of naked cavemen running around.

 

[00:27:41]

He's like, oh, my God, I cannot believe you just gave me underwear. By the way, before he left for the facility that he stayed in, they cleaned some stuff out and there were those pair of underwear. I'm like, dad, I can't believe you kept those. He goes, who the hell is going to wear these? But you gave them to me.

 

[00:27:58]

I couldn't really throw them out. I was like, oh, my God, right? That was what we had. He never put me down. He loved me unconditionally.

 

[00:28:07]

He championed everything I did. There's a quote in the book that says, don't ever change. You're perfect the way you are. And it didn't matter how many jobs I got fired from or how many classes I did lousy in, and there were a lot, including PE. I mean, let's face it, who's going to wear those outfits anyway?

 

[00:28:26]

A whole other thing about but he never judged me, and so I was the same with him. We kind of filled in each other's spaces and made each other okay. That's beautiful. Now, is there any time, do you think, growing up, I mean, did your mom kind of watch you guys from like, afar? And I could like, picture it and I don't know your mom, obviously, but like, with a smile on her face, like, I like this.

 

[00:28:49]

Like, I like how this is going. Or was it like, I can't believe that you're letting her get away with stuff. She did not interfere. Both of them embraced my spirit. I was just talkative I was the one talking to the adults in the room, not the kid.

 

[00:29:06]

She just let me be and she let us have our own relationship and we just kind of did our own thing. And she and I have a great relationship. I mean, you know, she was a licensed therapist, so she was very OK with me just being me. It was really fun. I loved my childhood and I hope that I've given my daughter, who's going to be 24 in February, the same love of, you know, we embrace her spirit and let her just do her thing.

 

[00:29:36]

Because it's like we talked about at the top of the show, which is you put people in boxes, you don't get to see who they are and the relationships that we have in our lives, if you judge somebody on Face Value, you don't get to find out about them. We're so busy reacting to what we see, we don't get to see what's behind it. So it's kind of leaving that space open to take people in. Doesn't matter who it is in your life life to kind of find out what they're all about. If we're busy judging and getting frustrated and reacting instead of responding, we don't get to really experience who that person is and find out maybe why they're responding that way.

 

[00:30:13]

You know, it doesn't necessarily define them. It's so true. It's so true. And I mean, I have to say there are times, right, when kids are teens and they're growing up and you're navigating all of that, that it's not always easy. But I think the one thing is it's really important is I just love you for who you are.

 

[00:30:29]

And I don't want to change you. I want you to be who you are and be comfortable with who you are and go through life that way, which I think is a beautiful settlement. Clearly, that's what your parents did with you, and I think that's wonderful. Yeah, I mean, it was very liberating. I mean, if you think about it, you have kids, right?

 

[00:30:48]

And a lot of listeners have kids. Your kid comes home from a bad day at school, and so guess what? Their notebook fell, the rings opened up, the papers fell out, and everybody started laughing at them. Now, to us, in whatever age group we're in, that may not be life defining, but when you're in school and you have a humiliating moment, that's your world that affects you socially, emotionally, and so it's taking a step back to listen to, wow, I'm sorry. That had to have felt awful.

 

[00:31:15]

I am so sorry. They just want to be heard. People want to be heard. People want to be loved unconditionally, and they want to be accepted. And that was the relationship I had with my father, and there's a lot of examples of that.

 

[00:31:28]

We'd be in a mall and he'd say stuff so loud that people in another county could hear, and you're, like, horrified instead of going, dad, I can't believe you know, I finessed it, and I just kind of dealt with that all the way through. And readers will laugh, and then they'll cry, and then there's a lot of. That bouncy ride going through the book right now. We're going to go to the writing process. You said that you just started writing and you didn't stop because it was something that was giving.

 

[00:32:00]

If you have people that are listening right now that are in the process or want to write, but they don't know where to start, they don't know what to do, can you give them a little bit of advice? Yeah. I mean, first, don't be fixated on I'm writing a book. Nothing will squelch your creative spirit more than thinking that you have to have an outcome. You're not in school.

 

[00:32:20]

You're not writing a report. You have a story to tell. Sit down, write your story. Write your story because you want to write your story. Write your story because you have something you want to share.

 

[00:32:30]

Don't think about it in terms of a book. What happens at the outcome? That's the next phase. Right? Then you work with an editor who's going to look at sentence structure and things like that, so it makes it readable.

 

[00:32:42]

But most importantly, and I shopped for an editor because when I say shopped, I don't mean like shop shop. I interviewed because it was important to me, and it's important to future writers that your editor will be somebody that will help, that will understand how your book is resonating the characters in the book. The goal is not to change it, but to ask questions and make you look at things differently that maybe help you identify even different information. Right? And then there's the publishing process.

 

[00:33:13]

So I wrote for about a year, and then I went through the publishing process for about six months. So it's a journey. I mean, it's a commitment, but write because you just have a story to tell. I just wanted to share my story if people can relate to it. And the most inspiring thing about this process is that people reach out to me going, oh my God.

 

[00:33:32]

I never really experienced the loss of my husband or wife until I read this and it reminded me of my grandmother. Oh my God, I want to go back and look at pictures. If you can touch somebody in whatever craft you're doing what you're doing, interviewing, you're, connecting people, that's what you want to do when you want to write. If you share and you genuinely share, you'll connect, right? I so agree with that.

 

[00:33:57]

And I think it's important that, as you said, you find someone that you can work with. That's not going to change the outcome of your story, because it is your story, and I think that's important. Now, did you find that there was times that you wrote like that? You were more alive when you were writing during times during the day, did you have a structure to that? Or was it right, you know, when something came to your mind?

 

[00:34:20]

So I love this question because forgetting the one night that I woke up at four in the morning and grabbed my laptop and ran in the kitchen, and my husband was like, what are you doing? And typically that would be a cookie run. No lie. This time I did one of the best inspirations I had. It woke me up.

 

[00:34:37]

You don't always have a choice about when your inspiration is coming. You'll sit down and write. Then I would write at times where I was not distracted. I didn't have other things going on where I didn't have a deadline. I had to get up, oh, I got to be at somebody's house at three.

 

[00:34:52]

You don't want to write when you're looking at confinement based on time. It's kind of like my art. It's just when I got inspired, I might have gone a week without writing. And then I'd sit down and I'd write for like 5 hours, and it would just come pouring out. I wouldn't look at it.

 

[00:35:08]

And then I would look at it again and I'd go back and I'd rewrite it 15 times. Now, it sounds like a nightmare, right? Like, you're in school, your mom goes, you need to go back and rewrite that report. That is a terrible paragraph. Nobody like that.

 

[00:35:20]

This isn't like that. When it's your feelings or your thought or your character, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, you want to make sure you're communicating in a way that the reader is in the shoes of your character. And in my case, this is a real person. It's me, it's my father and whoever else is in the book. So it's the difference between talking about a roller coaster and putting the reader on it.

 

[00:35:44]

Wow, I can't believe how windy it is up here. It's so cold. Oh my God, here comes the hill. So the reader is going with you on this journey so they can really experience what you're telling, right? I think that's so cool.

 

[00:35:55]

So tell everyone I know, I'm sure it's on Amazon, but tell everyone again that title where they can find your book. Okay. Littlebird and then where you hang out the most. Like if someone has questions for you about the story or they would just want to tell you how they feel about it, let people know. So it is on Amazon.

 

[00:36:11]

You can go to oklittlebird.com. It will take you directly to Amazon. Some Barnes and Noble book, baby, Discover Books, it's in little bookshops all over the country. You can go online and look up okay, little bird. You'll find it most places.

 

[00:36:25]

And if you want to DM me on Facebook, I love that. I love engaging with readers. Ask me questions. I just started a thing on Instagram where I'm a reader asked me a question, I'm answering it. My first one, which I just posted was somebody asked me what was my favorite story out of the book.

 

[00:36:42]

And I tell the story. Gives readers a kind of a flavor of the book. But yeah, talk to me, reach out. There's lots of information. Podcasts when I'm doing events or signings or whatever.

 

[00:36:52]

And I'd love to hear from you. And yeah, LinkedIn, facebook. Whatever. Find me. I love that chat.

 

[00:36:58]

I love that. And it's funny because I was going to ask you one of the favorite moments of the book, but I know that some of the stories that you talked about, those were your favorite moments. Those are some of your favorite moments that came the pants, the toilet, the different things when you saw your dad. And so I think that that shows what such an endearing story. And it's going to help people that have gone through grief are going through grief, be able to see how someone else went through grief and maybe give them a little resolve and a little bit of help through that.

 

[00:37:28]

So I just have to thank you so much, Deena, for joining your next stop. And guys, you know what to do. You like your review, your rate, go find. Okay, little Bird, which I love that title because it also just makes me really happy. And then to know the story behind it of your father, I think it's just even more beautiful.

 

[00:37:47]

I call my kids I used to call them little birds. Like they're my little birds. Here's my little I did. I mean, I still do. I'll be like, here are my little birds.

 

[00:37:55]

So I do. I kind of reference people as little birds. I don't know why, but always have. So it is something that like, when you say it when I say it, I'm always like, oh, my kids are lucky. Like, all right, let's go, little birds.

 

[00:38:08]

I love that. Oh, my gosh. I know. I think it's beautiful. And I can't wait to dive into the story because there's so much heartwarming stuff, and we all are going to go through some sort of grief and some sort of loss in our life if we have not gone through it already.

 

[00:38:25]

So, guys, go. And again, rate review. Share this episode, because you might be thinking, oh, that's such a nice story, but someone in your life needs to hear it. Someone in your life needs okay, little bird. And so definitely go check that out, and we'll see you next week.

 

[00:38:41]

And again, thank you so much, Dina. Thanks, Julia. I love that we'll have to chat. Again. I hope you liked this episode of your Next Stop.

 

[00:38:49]

Please subscribe to my channel, share with your friends, and join in each week you.



My focus is entirely on helping you follow your passion, even when you feel like you've got stuck in crazy town. There is a way out, its me helping you. You don't have to ditch everything in your life that is making you feel overwhelmed and stuck, you just need some help to navigate it.

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