To all those folks who like to say Scranton is behind the times, you might want to change your tune with this. Something called "Cash Mobs" are popping up across the country in typically bigger cities but Scranton is on board now! Yes, right here in northeastern Pennsylvania we're right in step with the latest trend to help promote and support local businesses with the "Scranton Cash Mob."

Thanks to Angela Sheehan, owner of "Why Not Designs" boutique on East Market Street in the Green Ridge section of Scranton and organizer of Scranton Cash Mob, people are unified in their efforts to shop at and support local businesses. Through the Scranton Cash Mob, a business is announced once or twice a week where people are to gather as a "mob" to spend cash. 

The description of the "Scranton Cash Mob" on the facebook page reads:
Let's all work together in keeping our small businesses in NEPA! How about once a week we pick a business to CASH MOB! The business will have notice but the general public will not know who we are MOBbing until it is announced, usually the day before the MOB! How fun does that sound? We pick a place, announce it the day before and then as many people show up as possible at the announced time and spend at least $10! It's happening all over so let's put Scranton on the map! If you spend $10 in just one business that's great! So why not get 20 or 30 people to all spend $10 on the same day! What would that mean to our local, small, struggling, business owner? Get involved and tell your friends!

Click on "Scranton Cash Mob" in the first paragraph above to link to the facebook page where you can stay up-to-date. Then grab your allowance and get shopping locally. Not only are you helping your local economy and neighbors, you also get to meet new people and make new friends - if that's what you're into :-)
Calling all new and old fans of zombies. It's your chance to walk with the dead!  Introducing "Infect Scranton!" 

If you're thinking "Brains, it's what's for dinner!" then you'll want to be part of this awesome event. There's a short film contest, a zombie run, and exciting special guests that zombie lovers will kill to meet!  Click on "Infect Scranton" above to link to the facebook page with updates, details and other fun facts! While Walking Dead is on hiatus, fill your zombie hunger here!!
With Scranton StorySlam just a week away, I'm excited about sharing my story and also aware that I should probably put all of my thoughts and visions into words. I know the story that I want to tell. I've told it to friends and acquaintances many times but I don't think it's ever been contained to five minutes. If Twitter has taught me anything though, it's that I can say something important and profound in fewer words, it just takes more self-control, discipline and effort. So in the next few days I'll be working out the actual words I want to use to tell my story about making a friend in France. I want it to be moving, interesting, funny and organized - everything that at story should be. And I don't want it to end on a flat note and leave audience members saying "Well I thought that was going to end with something bigger than that." I want my story to build to a climax that gives the audience more than their money's worth. I want them to feel something, to take something away - even if it's "Ya know, I don't think I really care for that Jeannine and her story" at least it's a feeling and I think for me that's better than a neutral or apathetic reaction. 

Switching gears, I have another story on my mind this weekend: "Wartz & All," the children's book that I am currently working on, thanks in part to a Lackawanna County Arts and Culture grant. I am really excited about where the story is headed, not just because of the story and illustrations - which are wonderful by the way and being drawn by Clarks Summit resident Mindy Mendicino- but because this gives me an opportunity to tout a beautiful part of the greater Scranton area. I started this website so that I could promote all of the gems in and around the Scranton area - the people, places and events that are sources of pride to me.  Because I'm using an area of the trail in Archbald to feature as the setting for this book, I get to promote some of the incredible beauty that I enjoy when I run. I hope that people will be curious to see the trail and the pond and river and all o the other features that appear in the book. I hope that families will put on their sneakers and head out for a walk, bike ride, stroll and take in all that nature has to offer. I have some ideas about how I can promote the book and encourage people to get active on the trails that have me really fired up - in a good way! I cannot wait to share this book with the community. 

This afternoon I met Mindy by the pond in Archbald to share it with her. She now has new enthusiasm for the project and the knowledge to include some really great details in her drawings. 

Time to get back to my stories. 

The end - for now!
"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he
grows up. "
Pablo Picasso

I was so fortunate to receive a grant from the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department this year for my children's book entitled "Wartz & All."  With each step I take, and each revelation I make even to myself, I get more excited about the progress of this project. I am genuinely enthused and inspired and cannot wait to complete this book to get children excited as well. I have so many ideas and aspirations for this book. The best thing of course that could happen, is for children to read it and take even the tiniest seed of inspiration to grow their own aspirations!

Here's a little video commentary from me about the project's progress: