Ready for Thanksgiving

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Engine 999

Engine 999

Joe: Good evening Calliope.

Calliope: Good evening Joe. How is your writing going?

Joe: I haven’t been this busy in a long time.

Calliope: What are you up to now?

Joe: As you know, my new book, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life is in full swing.  The book even has its own blog on WordPress now. I feature articles on stress and excerpts from the book. I decided to reissue my book, Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage which is now back in print. I also ran across an old manuscript of a book I was working on, Commonsense Wisdom for Teens. For some reason, that book never made it to publication, although I finished most of the work on it. I am reviewing the manuscript and with any luck will get it into print in the next few weeks. After coasting along for a while, I feel like I am now spending most of my energy writing and publishing. I have not been this excited about writing in some time. And so, back to work.

Learning to LAUGH

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Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.

Calliope: Good afternoon, Joe. What have you been up to?

Joe: Two things. I am waiting as patiently as I can for my supply of Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life books from CreateSpace. In the meantime, I have been reading about publicity and marketing for the book. For a little change of pace, I am also republishing the paperback version of Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage, now only available in eBook format. Hopefully I have finished that process and will have a proof soon.  I also ran across an article on the Internet about stress, laughter and art. Here is what it said and a little excerpt from my stress book.



Two women, an associate professor and an artist in England, developed a program incorporating humor and art as a way of coping with cancer. Here is what they are up to:

For a few seconds, the canvas remains blank. Then a thin line appears, followed by another, and slowly, a shape begins to form. Quiet music rises in the background and in the distance, the lull of waves swell to the surface. Blue paint splashes across the surface, tinged with the white churning of sea foam. A child laughs, a colorful beach ball appears. In a few minutes, an invisible hand has transformed the blank canvas into an idyllic beach. All from a TV screen in a patient waiting room.

The magic behind the living canvas is a product of the collaboration between Dr. Bonnie McGregor and local artist Catherine Mayer. McGregor is from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an affiliate associate professor at the UW Department of Health Services. Mayer founded the LAUGH foundation (Letting Art Unleash Great Happiness). The two started their collaboration a couple of years ago with the goal of using art as a psychological intervention for healing.

See the full article here.  


Alternate Ways to Express Yourself

Moore also talked about trying new ways to communicate if your normal channels are blocked, which they might well be under severe stress. People often try to explain away their stress or make excuses for being stuck.

He suggests that you try ways of communicating and expressing yourself other than your normal language. These ways might include storytelling, symbolism, metaphor, art and music. It’s at least worth a try. Normal conversation might be inadequate for expressing how you think and feel under great stress. You might not have words for what is happening to you.

Taking an alternate approach does not work the same way for everyone. I once knew two artists who had periodic trouble with serious depression. One found that he could only paint when he was in a state of depression. He had learned to transform the stress of his depression into artistic expression. The other artist could only produce his art when depression left him. During periods of depression he had to find other outlets and resources. Spending time on the lake in his sailboat helped him as did counseling and medication.

(Excerpt from Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life)

cover of release your stress

Ready for Publication

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Sunset in Englewood

Sunset in Englewood

Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.

Calliope: Good afternoon Joe. What’s the news on your book.

Joe: I have been very busy. after my conversation with Mary Dougherty, I decided to self publish my book on BookSurge.I know it would involve all my resources so i braced myself. I located the upload page without any difficulty bud did not find any directions. With a little luck I found them and soon got a sense of what was required. I formatted my book as a paperback in 6″ by 9″ page dimensions. I converted my book into this format and uploaded it. With a few tries, I got it to the point where I was satisfied. I was then off to procure an ISBN and Library of Congress Control Number. Then I designed a cover and uploaded that too. I submitted the book and now am waiting to hear that BookSurge is ready to print it. I know I am.

Calliope: Great news. When do you expect it to be available?

Joe: I wish I knew. But I am ready to go at a moment’s notice and move into the world of marketing.

Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life

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Sunset in Englewood

Sunset in Englewood

Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.

Calliope: Good Afternoon Joe. How is your book coming?

.Joe: Very well thank you. I have received feedback from several of my readers and made corrections to the text based on their comments. I am also nearing the point where the manuscript is ready for publication.

Calliope: Great! I recall that you were not sure how to approach publication. Have you made a decision.

Joe: I have. I met with a woman who works with writers to prepare their work for publication. Based on the book I have already worked on, she felt that my best bet would be self publication through Create Space.

Calliope: What happened with the idea of finding an agent?

Joe: I worked hard to find one but got no positive responses. In reading about agents, I concluded that they are mainly interested in books with the potential of massive sales by people already famous.

Calliope: I see. Now what?

Joe: I am formatting my book for paperback publication through CreateSpace and will also list it as an eBook on Amazon. The process is proceeding nicely.

Calliope: Glad to hear it. Keep me posted.

Joe: I will. I forgot to tell you that I finally decided on a title, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life.

My Stress Is All On The Page

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Sunset in Englewood

Sunset in Englewood

Joe: Good afternoon, Calliope.

Calliope: Good afternoon Joe. I assume you have been hard at work on your book.

Joe: You are correct. First I have a new working title for it, Rest Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life. I have completed the manuscript and have received feedback from several trusted readers I have used for past books.

Calliope: Great. Now What?

Joe: I am exploring publication options. I found a couple agents who have represented books somewhat similar to mine. I will start by contacting them to see if they might be interested. I know agents are very busy and they have hundreds if not thousands of books to choose from. I don’t envy them their job. I have also come to appreciate the complexities of their work in the present publishing world.

Calliope: Good luck. Can you tell me a little more about the book?

Joe: Here is how I describe it in my query letter, “While many books on stress offer partial treatments or quick fixes, Rest Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life provides a more comprehensive approach.” Then I go on to detail the contents of the book.

Calliope: Sounds like you are on the right track.

Joe: I hope so. I would love to find an agent and get on with publishing it.  Talk with you later.

On to Publishing

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A New Day

A New Day

Joe: Good evening Calliope.

Calliope: Good evening Joe. I haven’t heard from you lately. I assume you have been hard at work.

Joe: It is summer, you know. I have been enjoying it but still moving along with my book on stress, tentatively titled “Give Your Stress a Rest and Live Your Life to the Fullest.

Calliope: Where are you in the process?

Joe: The manuscript is finished and i have a few people reading it for me. I am trying to decide between a go at traditional publishing this time instead of self publishing.

Calliope: Tell me more.

Joe: I am currently exploring the possibility of an agent. I understand that the best way to get one is by referral. Unfortunately I don’t know any agents or people who can refer me to one. I would appreciate any help I can get along this line. 

Calliope: Maybe one of your readers has an idea.

Joe: That would be nice. I’m all ears.In the meantime I am sorting through possibilities through AgentSearch and exploring possible contacts through LinkedIn.

Calliope: Good luck with the search.

Joe Thanks, I will need it.


The Mysteries of Everyday Life

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Good afternoon, Calliope. I thought you might like to see my latest Sliding Otter Post.  


Martha's Vineyard Beach Sculpture

Martha’s Vineyard Beach Sculpture

I’d rather be a dysfunctional soul than a well adjusted robot.

~Thomas Moore~

It seems these days that we want to understand, explain and find a use for everything we encounter. If we get stuck, we can find an answer on Google or some other search engine. Often we become so involved in the practical that we completely miss most of the little delights along our life path. This seems especially true of things which have no easy explanation.

At the end of the day, many people add up what they have accomplished since they got out of bed. I wonder how many people count the little delights which have passed their way during the day. If you become too busy with the practical, you will most likely miss the fanciful.

So what? The question is what your life is for. What is its meaning? If you just count what you accomplish in a day, you have a list at the end of the day and start a new one the next day. But there is more to life if you allow it into your awareness. I am talking about the little mysteries which present themselves along the way.

Here are a few which might have caught your attention at least for a moment. How do two incomplete cells become a human being or any other life form? How does our solar system stay in balance century after century? How does a single atom stay in balance for that matter? How does you mind interpret what your senses encounter? What does it mean to fall in love with someone?

You could most likely find scientific explanations for all these mysteries and consider the problem solved. What if you don’t seek practical answers right away or even at all? What if you instead ponder the mystery and coexist with it? You move to a different plane of existence beyond the practical. Art and music have meaning for you beyond what you can express in words.

A newspaper critic can tell you how well music was performed technically. But a critic can’t tell you whether or how music touches your soul. The same is true of any other form of art. Your experience is beyond the technical aspects and is unique to you. Philosophers are in agreement that you can’t argue about taste. No on else’s is quite like yours. Did you ever try to explain your artistic taste to someone else? Not so easy, is it? The same can be said of your experience of nature, the world, other people and especially the unique aspects of you as a person. It is a different way to exist but you might want to try it at least for a while.

Life Lab Lessons

  • Turn off the rational part of you and stop thinking for a while.
  • Let yourself notice little things around you with out trying to make sense of them.
  • Sit comfortably with your feelings without analyzing them.
  • Spend a little time delighting in something you never noticed before.
  • See if this make the rest of your life a little more fun.

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