Business, People

TGIM…or why this Detroiter is thankful for every Monday

Happy Friday, Detroit. We made it to the weekend. But if you dread Monday’s return, you need an introduction to Monica Marie Jones.

Since I met her a while back, Monica has provided my Monday motivation. Every week, I slog through my spam, Groupons and other detritus to find her emails. That’s because Ms. Jones is the kick in the pants I desperately need on those blue Mondays.

Her wording is simple. Her ideas hardly revolutionary: Take care of people, believe in something larger than yourself, look beyond your normally narrow focus. The emails are brief. But they serve a purpose. And that’s to bring an extraordinarily complicated world into focus, even if only for a minute.

And that’s all most of us Monica fans have: A minute to spare in an otherwise chaotic day. And she takes advantage of every second. For two years now, Monica has sent out her weekly missives to an ever-increasing fan base. She even inspires on Twitter and Facebook (hey, it’s a social-media age). And if you’ve missed any of them, I’ve got good news. She’s put them together for your reading pleasure.

Monica will release “Monday Morning Motivation” next week. What started as a writing exercise to get her own keister moving has become an actual book. This alone is something worth cheering. If you’ve done any writing at all or if you aspire to the Great American Novel, you know how difficult it is to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. There is a reason great authors go mad (and bloggers, but I digress).

“Mondays make people feel depressed. They’re dreading work or school. So it’s the time when people need (to be motivated) the most,” Monica told me. “More than one person has told me that the suicide rate is higher on Monday mornings.”

Add Michigan’s dark winters and her Nov. 12 release date cannot come fast enough. Really, I get no kickbacks for hyping the book. I just really dig someone who has this much positivity to share. She’s from Detroit. She’s all about the city. Monica is trying to do something good…and that is why I look forward to seeing what she writes every week.

A lot of what Monica writes about is specific to Detroit and Michigan. We can have a pretty dark mindset here to accompany our dark winters. And there is a determinedly spiteful attitude we all take on from time to time…it comes with the territory, I suppose. It is hard to constantly live among shiny hipster do-gooders, happy artists and up-and-coming retailers/eateries/night clubs. But I digress again.

“People seem to love them. If I missed a morning, I get texts and messages all day long. People are really reading them,” Monica said. “I had a friend whose husband unexpectedly passed away, and she told me that reading my emails gave her hope every week. … I try to put a positive spin on this city. It is resilient, and I want people to look at the positive.”

This is a woman who lives by her word. She sees Detroit as half full, not mostly empty. Going through her writings was a revelation – it reminded her as well as to what was important, what mattered to her, what was going on her life as she wrote that day.

Here’s how Monica suggests you use this book: Read one chapter each week for a year – there are 52 chapters for a reason. The idea, she added, is to tackle one chapter on Monday morning before doing anything else (or someone gets in your way to bust your groove). Mull over the words. Try to make a change. Go over your progress with others. I dare you not to change your life, Oprah style.

“Of my writing, this is what comes easiest for me. I feel like this is my calling or inspiration. Even if it helps even one person, I’ve changed one life,” Monica said. “It was nice to go back and be reminded of that. I’ve got to practice what I preach.”

The “Monday Morning Motivation” book-release celebration will be from 12-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Essence of Motown Literary Jam and Conference. The conference will take place inside the Virgil Carr Cultural Center at 311 E. Grand River.

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