THROWBACK THURSDAY: THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE SELF-PUBLISHING

It’s been over a year since I published my book, Before the Legend. This past year I’ve learned so much about self-publishing and marketing. Although I’m thankful for the little successes and milestones I was able to reach, there were several things I wish I could have done differently before and after self-publishing my book. The first three in the list are things I already knew before publishing but underestimated while doing this process. Here are my top 7 things you want to do before you self-publish.

(Excerpt from J.U.Scribe’s article in A  Writer’s Path – read more)

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Teen aspires to create a community of writers, skateboarders

Press

 

A writer and skateboarder, Homer youth Justice Sky spends his school year studying creative writing and his summers running his skateboard shop.

Majoring in creative writing at Southern Oregon University, he likes to write fiction and poetry.

“For me, writing is about the human experience and is the best way I’ve found to try to figure out how our world works on a very human level,” he said.

(Excerpt from Christina Whiting’s article in the Homer Tribune- read more)

Alzheimer’s, Compassion and Love

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Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~Lao Tsu~
When babies are born, they have no understanding of their world. They don’t know how to communicate their needs. They sense discomfort which could be from being cold, hot, wet or hungry. They cry as an automatic way to communicate their distress. It is up to their parents to guess what troubles them.
As some adults progress into more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, they also have difficulty expressing their needs. It becomes difficult for them to clearly understand their needs although they can still sense discomfort and show it in ways which might not be easy for caretakers to appreciate. Being a good caretaker for someone with this disease takes considerable sensitivity. It also calls for the flexibility to handle the unexpected from day to day with no predictable pattern of good and bad days.
Recently Carol and I visited a couple whom we have known for many years but do not see often due to the many miles between our homes. Our woman friend was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease several years ago. Each time we saw them, we could see the advance in the hold her disease has over her. A once vibrant and alert woman has become wheel-chair bound and has extreme difficulty participating in or even following a conversation.
Her husband accepted the role of chief caretaker for her and has remained in that role for the past few years. It has become necessary to have aides in the house so that he can tend to his own needs as well as their needs as a couple involving contact with the outside world.
On the way to see them recently, we speculated on what we would find. We were prepared to face her deteriorating condition. While not a surprise, we were both struck by his love and devotion to his spouse in her extreme condition. He showed no indication of feeling sorry for himself. He adapted and responded to her needs with obvious love.
We usually think of love as something mutually shared and appreciated by two people. Love feels best when both people can make an equal contribution to the relationship. Yet there are times such as this one when one lover has very little to give but gives what she has. Her husband is left with the primary responsibility for maintaining their relationship and accepts the challenge lovingly.
While many people in relationships do not face the extremes confronting our friends, I would venture to say that most have faced times when the relationship is unbalanced for various reasons such as illness. One of you might require more effort on the part of your lover or you might be the one from whom more is required. Love means accepting what you lover can give you and providing what your lover needs. Make the best of every day you have together. Be prepared to do what you can when needed.

 

New Year Update

Joe: Good afternoon, Calliope.

Calliope: I was beginning to think you did not need a muse anymore.

Joe: Please don’t think that. My inspiration has to come from somewhere. It does not just suddenly pop up on its own.

Calliope: Glad to hear it. What have you been up to lately?

Joe: I was thinking about publishing a free e-book on how to manage violence. I wrote some articles about the topic and finally thought I was ready to compile them into a little book.

Calliope: Sounds good. How is it coming?

Joe: Surprisingly, I finished it yesterday, edited it and published it on Amazon and Smashwords. It is called What To Do About Violence.

Calliope: When will we hear more about it?

I am waiting to publicize it until I can offer it for free on Amazon. Right now it is available for $.99. It is a bit of a process but it is underway.

Calliope: Can’t wait. In the mean time I might just take a quick peek.

What can YOUR government do about violence?

There is no life to be found in violence. Every act of violence brings us closer to death. Whether it’s the mundane violence we do to our bodies by overeating toxic food or drink or the extreme violence of child abuse, domestic warfare, life-threatening poverty, addiction, or state terrorism.

~Bell Hooks~

Lately our government, at least at the national level, seems to have forgotten who it works for. Congress recently passed a tax bill into law despite it being in great disfavor with a significant number of voters. A slight majority of Congress appears to be pandering to its wealthy donors and other wealthy citizens to the detriment of the rest of the country.

Violence remains a significant problem in our country although it has not shown an overall increase in recent years. Yet our communities across the country are rife with violence. We have too many mass killings, sexual assaults, suicides, drug overdoses and incidents of family violence.

In the past few articles, I have addressed what violence is and what causes it, what individuals can do, what families can do and what communities can do to reduce violence. Governments at all levels have approached the problem of violence mainly by looking for ways to punish perpetrators. Yet many violent people are motivated by anger, fear and pain. Punishing people for any of these only compounds the problem.

So what can government officials, citizen representatives at various levels, elected bodies and agencies created by them do other than punish people?

Here are some goals our representatives can address on our behalf:

  • Set up and fund programs in our communities to understand why people feel angry, powerless, fearful and in pain.
  • Establish community programs to address these concerns.
  • Do what it takes to help people rise above poverty.
  • Help neighborhoods find ways for their residents to live in safety.
  • Help citizens learn that skin color, national origin, religious affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation and personal wealth have nothing to do with the value on anyone’s life.
  • Make sure that all citizens have adequate health care.
  • Help every citizen find a way to be a productive member of society.
  • Find a responsible way for citizens to own guns.

How do we get elected representatives to adopt such an agenda? Remember that all of them at every level are elected by those who they represent. They work for you. You will be bombarded by political advertising in every election cycle. Rather that listening to the onslaught, we need to start listening to each other person to person and in community forums. Once we understand what we all need we can elect people to act in our best interest who are willing to listen to each other and to us. It sounds daunting, but it can be done if we set our minds to it. Start doing your part today to build a more responsive government.

 

What Communities Can Do about Violence

What Communities Can Do about Violence

Revenge and retaliation always perpetuate the cycle of anger, fear and violence.
~Coretta Scott King~

What makes people violent? There are many contributors including poverty, discrimination, lack of respect and feeling insignificant in society. You can read more about these in my book, From Violence to Peace. I wrote recently about what individuals can do personally and what they can do in their relationships and families to reduce the likelihood of violence. Now it is time to consider what communities can do.

A community is a group of people living together in one place. Some communities can boast of people living harmoniously and agreeing on ways to keep it that way. In recent years, community spirit has been less evident and it is now fairly common to see locally the same divisiveness which pervades countries and relationships among countries. We will look at that next time.

Communities can make a difference in the quality of life for their residents. They can help see that all community members have their basic needs met: a safe and decent place to live, enough food for their families, acceptance as worthwhile human beings, and a way to feel competent and important. This is nice in theory, but does it happen in reality?

Many communities have started programs helping their less fortunate citizens meet their basic needs such as community dinners, food banks, clothing centers and free clinics. Rides are available to medical and other appointments. These are just a few examples of what some communities are doing. News programs have lately been making a point of celebrating community as well as individual efforts to make life better for their fellow citizens.

While these are great steps, much more could be done if everyone in a community decided to help everyone feel important in some way. Some contributions are not expensive and cost no money at all. How people greet each other (or don’t) makes both of them feel a little better or a little worse. You can help people feel more worthwhile by how you treat them. How would you feel if others in your community saw you as a lesser form of creature, a second class citizen or an embarrassment?

All of these are steps to creating a culture in which your neighbors can improve their standing in their own eyes and in the opinion of those with whom they rub elbows during the course of the day. People who start to feel better about themselves are also less inclined toward violence. Isn’t that worth the effort?

Action Steps

  • What can you do in your daily interactions to help improve the quality of life in your community?
  • Can you contribute some of your time, effort or money to help support a community program?
  • Can you help start a program for a need not being addressed?
  • Consider how you and your children might be more accepting to those whose lives differ from yours.
  • Think of ways you can help others feel more worthwhile.

 

 

Alabama Stories book release

Peter Langen just released his second book, Alabama Stories: Memoir of a Construction Foreman.   At 22 years of age Peter started as a construction worker and at 25 years old became a foreman at a large construction company in Alabama and worked on a two year project there. Setting out on an adventure in his new truck, traveling from New York State to the state of Alabama, he ventured out on his own knowing only that a friend had a job waiting for him when he got there. In time he came of age when he found himself with new found freedom. He had new experiences and learned more about himself. He learned to live with choices he had already made and learned to face choices he had never faced before. He learned to follow through with his decisions and live with them as well. He goes into detail about his stories of living in the south in his memoir of the events in Alabama. This book is available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. Try a free sample of this book at Amazon Look Inside.