7 Quick Takes about (finally) being on Facebook, the GoodReads Choice Awards, and chatting with Jeannie Gaffigan

November 14, 2014 | 11 comments

— 1 —

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I am thrilled to announce that my book, Something Other than God, has made it to the semi-final round in the GoodReads Choice Awards! We are on round 2 of 3, and voting for this round ends tomorrow (Saturday).

I am profoundly grateful for your votes in the first round. The book is one of only 15 chosen in the Memoir and Biography category, and is the only religious book on the list. It’s up against memoirs by celebrities like Rob Lowe, Robin Roberts, Cary Elwes, and Hillary Clinton.

If you have a moment to go give it a vote, I’d REALLY appreciate it!

— 2 —

On my radio show this week, I had the pleasure of talking to Jim Gaffigan’s wife, Jeannie. We talked about Jim’s hilarious new book, Food: A Love Story (which is also up for a GoodRead’s Choice Award!) and their upcoming TV show.

My favorite part, though, was when we simply talked about Jeannie’s life as a mom of five young children. She admitted that she often doesn’t get enough sleep because her only time to get stuff done is after the kids go to bed, and had some wise words about how to tap into your creative energy when you have a crazy schedule.

She was such a great guest that SiriusXM has already made the interview available as a podcast, and I’m excited to be able to share it with you here:

(If you’re reading this on email you’ll need to click through to hear it.)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

— 3 —

If you need more inspiration to start your weekend, check out this great article about a former tattoo artist who is now a monk at Mt. Angel Abbey. I have had the pleasure of meeting Br. Andre Love when I have gone to Mt. Angel to visit my cousin, who is a monk and an iconographer there, and Br. Love is just as sweet and humble as he seems to be from this article about him.

He says of his days as a successful tattoo artist:

“Everything said I should be happy, but I felt very alone and adrift. I looked at myself and realized that I had become a product, ” Love said. “I was doing art not as personal expression but for what the kids want, what the kids would shell out the coin for.”

It had become about money, brand and ego. It had become about drugs and booze. He’d left his family and divorced three times.

“I had no clue what love was. I had no clue how to love or how to let other people love me and that’s why I was miserable, ” Love said.

He admitted being an addict.

“The addiction was only a symptom of a greater problem … spiritual bankruptcy, ” Love said. “I came to the realization that I need God. I needed to be a whole person in the sense that it’s not just about the material or the physical, but there was a whole spiritual dynamic that I had completely ignored.”

Read the rest here.

— 4 —

This is my third week of being on Facebook, and I’m really liking it! I went ahead and used an account that is set up through Joe’s email address, which was originally set up as a page for my blog that only auto-listed new posts. I don’t know what you call that kind of thing, but it’s not the type of Facebook page where people send friend requests that I accept or deny. Also, I can’t follow anyone since it’s not technically my account (though I am now very knowledgeable about what all Joe’s friends are up to).

I think this setup is key to why I have found it to be a good experience to be on Facebook. The two things that always stressed me out about the possibility of getting an account were a) having to decide which friend requests to accept and deny, and b) wasting my time in endless arguments with people who posted something I disagreed with (or just stewing about it and walking around the house muttering about the fantasy Facebook replies I’d LIKE to leave). I love the simplicity of not having friend requests, and not having my own account means I’m not tempted check for updates every ten seconds (I save that for Twitter).

I think I can officially render the verdict: I love being on Facebook!

— 5 —

…Aaaaand just after I wrote the previous take I discovered the “messages” feature, and was horrified to realize that people have been sending me private messages I didn’t see. I apologize if you sent me one and I didn’t get back to you! I am slowly working my way through them…and will now be lying awake at night worrying that Facebook is just a new forum for me to accidentally offend people.

— 6 —

Thanks for the wonderful responses to the Edel Gathering announcement! We can’t wait to see you in Charleston!

— 7 —

Kelly Mantoan, who writes one of my all-time favorite blogs, This Ain’t the Lyceum, is guest hosting the linky list that has other bloggers’ 7 Quick Takes posts this week! Go over to her place and say hello!


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BLOGGERS: Looking for the linky list to add your 7 Quick Takes post? It’s guest hosted by Kelly Mantoan today, so head over to her place!



  1. Elisa | blissfulE

    So fun to hear you and Jeannie on the radio show! My only disappointment with the clip… no music! Ever since you described them, I’ve been longing to hear your fade-ins or whatever they are called in radioland. No hope of Sirius over her in Australia. Oh well, I’ll look forward to more podcasts even without the music. 🙂

  2. Claire

    Wow Jen, that is great news about your book making it to the semi-final round!

  3. Emily B

    I voted for you!

  4. Lisa Nicholas

    “I love the simplicity of not having friend requests …” That strikes me as kind of sad. Just having another place where you can dump promotions of your stuff is not “being on Facebook.” Take the plunge and get a real FB account. Take some time to get to know the people who enjoy your stuff, and let them get to know you. I signed up for your blog list because I enjoy the things you say but, frankly, since I signed up, even the blog has been ask about promoting your stuff — TV series, conference, book, radio show, blah blah blah. I think you’re stuck in the marketing loop (which I understand, honestly), and I think you need to break out of it, or at least have a place where you can just go back to being the smart, funny, thoughtful person that your public has come to love — not the constant self-promoter (who, I’m sure, is not the person you want to be). Facebook could be that place, but only if you use it the way ordinary people do — to connect with friends, not to sell your stuff.

  5. Jessica

    Thanks for sharing the interview with Jeannie Gaffigan! Jim Gaffigan is so great–it’s awesome to see a popular, mainstream comedian focus so much on the beauty (and ridiculous mess) of family life. New Evangelization, what! Plus: he’s such a goofball. It’s impossible not to laugh at his routines.

    Good luck with the GoodReads contest! SOTG is so deserving–but either way, this will help it reach a wider audience, which is excellent in itself. Pulling for you!

  6. Jenny

    Ha, that’s funny that FB is yet another format we can now offend people. There’s the list of real life opportunities and social media opportunities…hadn’t thought of that yet.

  7. Wendy from Zoom

    Congratulations on the book stuff! And the conference, too!

    That being said, I miss you blogging about your actual life.

  8. Erin

    re fb that’s how I set up my blog page, I think what you have is Joe’s account has a page for your blog. Such a nice way to go:)

  9. john holm

    Congrats about the book! Hope you made a pretty good sales 🙂 Btw, just found your blog, and I’m liking it!

  10. Hevel

    It was a very hard decision to choose between you, Alan Cummings and Hillary Clinton. We split it three ways between three of us of the family on Goodreads. 🙂

    I think having a personal page on FB is great. Having business pages, though, will help keeping distance. If I’d send a friend request, not being a friend, I can be redirected to your current page, and you can keep the personal page just that. Now the thing is that with blogging and the ability to share on all kinds of social media the lines between business and personal profiles can get blurry.

  11. Steph

    Jen: you can turn off those private messages (in your page’s settings). I highly suggest doing that to most page owners becauae it is just another time suck. Especially if you have a contact email address listed, then there is no reason to have that also available.

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