Today’s edition of the Open Mic Creativity and COVID-19 Special Project features my dear friend Gina Mulligan. Gina is both a great writer and a genuinely giving philanthropist, the person behind the Girls Love Mail project. If you are not familiar, GLM collects hand-written letters of encouragement to women going through cancer treatment. They then bundle those letters and distribute them to women at cancer centers around the country. You can contribute to the project either by writing a letter of your own or buying their book, “Dear Friend,” a collection of many of those letters.


OM:  You not only have your own writing to do, but you run your breast cancer charity Girls Love Mail where you oversee the collection of hundreds of thousands of pieces of other people’s writing. And on top of that, you’ve had some serious health problems of your own in the past! With all that, how has this current situation impacted you? 

Mulligan: I’ve been home since late January recuperating from a recent surgery so it’s a bit like the whole world joined me. Kidding aside, Girls Love Mail office space is closed and I’m just getting back to writing. So basically, it’s been a break. The juggling balls are hanging in midair. Thinking of things starting back up is what gets me stressed.


OM: Are you still finding time to write?

Mulligan: Yes, and no. Technically I have plenty of time, and yet I find myself more easily distracted. I think it’s because my husband’s now working from home. Can I blame him? I think I just did. J


OM: What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Mulligan: For writing, I too often find myself veering toward dark topics and scenes. That’s the influence of the news. For Girls Love Mail, I’m spending more time than usual following up with my volunteers. They are anxious to get back to reading letters, which is why I love them. Since they can’t, I’m trying to keep them engaged with emails, Zoom meetings, and mailing them cards.


OM: Do you have any advice for others writers who are trying to capture their creativity in this stressful time?

Mulligan: Stress is rarely productive or creative. Reducing it, if you can, is best. Spiritual material really inspires me. Just this morning I read a great quote, “No two days of your life will share the same wisdom.” Isn’t that thought provoking? Uplifting reading also helps. Human Kind, by Brad Aronson, is a book about acts of kindness in the world. It’s a great feel-good read. I think we all need some good news right now.


OM: Any new projects on the horizon we can tell people about?

Mulligan: My publisher released some of my rights so I just launched the eBook of my novel, REMEMBER THE LADIES. To commemorate this year’s 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, it’s only $0.99 this week! I hope your followers will check it out and Share with all their friends.


Rich Ehisen

Rich Ehisen has been a reporter and editor for almost 30 years, and is currently the editor in chief at Capitol Weekly, which covers the California State Capitol in Sacramento. For two decades previous he was the managing editor of the State Net Capitol Journal, a LexisNexis publication that covers state public policy issues and trends nationwide. In that role he was also the producer and host of the SNCJ Deep Dive podcast and the SNCJ Hot Issues webinar series. He is also the producer and moderator of The Open Mic: Writers in Their Own Words, a podcast and YouTube show that features his discussions on writing with crime fiction, mystery and thriller authors.


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