1980s, Addictions, Depression, Domestic violence, Dyslexia, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, Learning disabilities, mental illness, Publishing joys

A Library Refuses to Promote a Novel Launch? Really?

Everyone profits from sales. Church events, yard sales, book sales etcetera.

What exactly is non profit? What is 100 percent profit free? I could sell my books and give all the proceeds from my launch sales to a charity. All of it And that’s just what I would have to do to put up ads for my launch at my local library, despite years of never ending work, education, searches for the right publisher, paying for edits working through daylight and holidays. You write, you know what I’m saying.
Over the phone speaking with someone from the library, I heard this, “I’m sorry, any ad space we have goes to 100% non profit events.”

This reminds me of school when my memories dissect it. Beginning young when I got  a handle on reading and writing while struggling with dyslexia, which had no diagnosis until my adult years, I wrote poetry, the best way I knew how. My soul expressed me. This took the place of math. My entire notebook carried words rather than mathematical equations with worked-out answers. When it came time to hand in the notebook, my parents were called to the office. Long story short, my writing ability was not fostered. No mention of creative writing classes, no mention of a budding talent. Just old-school discipline and I went under the thumb of rules.

So my point is, in my middle age, haunting rules ironically surfaced. A library wouldn’t let me promote my novel. The very place I thought would be the first to help me.

Sometimes a person needs to vent, so I am doing just that. I wrote my novel, They All Wore Black, during a bleak time. It’s loosely based on truth, and the truth involves many people and four relevant-to-today circumstances: addictions, mental illness, domestic violence, and learning disabilities.  The contemporary drama is heart-wrenching, joyful, humoured with dark splashes, and most of all, realism.

“All families come with skeletons in their closet, but not all family skeletons come with a bottle, bruises, busted fingers, fear, hate, broken spirits and shameful secrets. It’s 1988, the Faddens are left to sort out the father’s death. Brad, Kelly and their mom must come to grips with the horrific impact of his deceptive life.”

Print version is available on Amazon, they’ll send when they’re stocked, ebook is available now.  Just punch in the title if you’re interested.

Visit me here: https//www.facebook.com/PennersPen88/


The library can’t share this, but I can, and you may if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

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Healthy marriage, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Marital communication, Romance

Romance Shifts

The question often comes up about sex. Is sex the pinnacle of a healthy marriage?

Love moves on in a marriage. The initial stage of having sex on the stairs, in the shower, and in the car doesn’t last forever. The knowing eye contact and secret smile between a couple doesn’t result in disappearing to bed every time. Candles lit, perhaps soft music, and a ‘timeless’ encounter… enjoy it while it lasts, because nothing lasts forever the way it came.

Romance shifts from candles into a quickie, if there’s time.

Kids come along, and that is exhausting for a new mother. Women generally don’t think about sex every few minutes anyway unless the relationship is new. Women don’t drink beers with other women and brag about how many times a week we talk our guy into it. After babies come along, we give and give of ourselves to our child or children. Our partners find themselves waiting, sometimes impatiently.

There can still be romance, though.

Romance is serving in all kinds of ways. It’s playfully giving each other a middle finger greeting for no reason but to laugh. It’s simply telling your partner you see they’ve lost weight when they’ve tried so hard. It’s cooking a favourite meal for our lover. It’s watching a movie and sharing a pizza. It’s sitting and telling your spouse about your stress and getting a hug and advice. It’s breaking the last cookie in half to share. It’s shopping for clothes together for the most honest opinions. Romance is friendship on a deeper level. Friends who keep the fires burning with honesty, compassion, empathy and sympathy. It’s the greeting kisses and those ‘see ya later’ kisses as we part for hours. Love without communication is flat, likely a rough ride.

So the questions: Does sex sustain a marriage? It is the pinnacle of a healthy marriage? Is sex the true meaning of love? This decision remains for individuals to decide; however, my marriage began twenty-two years ago. Romance shifted. Sex didn’t enable all those years. Communication did.

Thanks for reading.

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Editor marriages, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Those Grown Up Bullies

We learn in school about bullies, but not by the book. We learn when we experience bullying. Back in the day, before the 80s, we fought back. After that, it seems bullies needed special care, rewards. After the 80s, fighting back fell back on bullied kids. Punishment gets handed out to the victim now.

All along, though, through my lifespan thus far, the criminal has more rights than the victim. For instance, a burglar breaks in and the home owner’s dog attacks them. The dog’s owner is at fault in court.

Bullying is everywhere, so hopefully when we lived the kid life, we learned to expect it, protect ourselves. Don’t ever let ’em see you sweat. Block that punch. Verbal punches too.

This goes for the literary industry also. Some editors are kind, friendly and they invest in your manuscript, whether traditional or not. They tell you where you went off the rails, and they push your train upright again without insulting you.

Some editors use their skills to intimidate. A writer may end up feeling inadequate due to the nature of an editor who feels tired of their job, jaded, or one who has no patience. Attitude makes a writer or breaks a writer. Same goes for an editor.

Whether you’re assigned an editor in traditional publishing or smooth-talked into hiring one, they have your project, they have you, because your project exists as you.

My humble advice stands as this: the better it looks in email or a chat box, the better it sounds on the phone, the more work you need to do to verify not only the editor’s work and work habits, but the editor’s overall persona.

There’s a saying that we must be careful who we choose as our editor, because we marry who we choose. We do. We marry into a contract relationship as long as our book remains in print.

We have the internet. We can snoop information on potential editors. Some edit with the main objective of getting paid. Perhaps they used to love to edit, but long since ran out of patience for writers’ bloopers. Some love to edit, and they’re thrilled to make an income from it.

Some writers take on a manuscript because it’s a subject that pays well. Others write because the passion for writing lives strong. Which ends up as the better book? The writer who has passion or the one who hopes to merely pay the bills? Which editor ends up to please with both skills and a character that gives the writer confidence?

Spend time “dating” before getting married to your editor. It is and always will be a good idea to feel them out, discover their personality, and ask around about past clients before saying, “I do” trust you with my baby and me. Amazon lists editors on books. That’s a good place to start.

Not all editors bully clients. The publishing journey may go well and result in another book relationship.

I must say, though, to hurry the process could hurry the marriage. Don’t kiss on the first date. Bullies pucker up like anyone else.

Happy dating, fellow writers.

Thanks for reading.

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Bipolar, Depression, encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Spreads like Octopus Ink

The blackness under water, the struggling, the suffocating feeling, the panic attacks, head stuffed with racing thoughts, the literal slow down of movements, fighting to not cry in public or at work—or even at home— because the tissue around the eyes is chaffed, and absents of self-esteem. This despair spreads like octopus ink over loved ones, too.

The negativity associated with depression is not wiped away with positive affirmations alone. If it were so easy, medications would be set aside.

It’s November, and here in Canada, daylight is sparse. The claustrophobic days of grey, damp oppression have begun, needing lights on for supper time, skipping the evening walks. And heading out in flip-flops is on hold for months.

Winter for most is enough of a bummer; however, depression is far more than a bummer. It’s deep and unrelenting. A good joke isn’t funny. Food is flavourless. Everything is exhausting. I mean everything. Even taking a shower is too hard.

Misery overflows. The loved ones who try to cheer one with depression to no avail become stymied. Tense. The blackness spreads like octopus ink. The light is somewhere, but obscured by a brain chemical imbalance. Think of it as lopsided. No one walks well when not balanced. Loved ones have an enormous job. I need not explain that.

Depression seems to get attention once it has taken hold. People notice, friends and family wonder what’s wrong with Johnny or Sue who stop posting on social media, they don’t show up for regular activities. If Johnny and Sue tell someone when they feel the pull, doctors, friends, family, early help and support is more efficient than trying to climb out of the pit from the bottom. It is slimy, slippery.

Talk, talk, talk before falling into the pit all the way. Ask friends for an invite tag along for errands. Courage mustered to it in a coffee shop and have a beverage, alone is need be, it actually helps stimulate the mind. The tinkling of cutlery, dishes, cups, voices, and sitting in a different environment than home where you have the corner of the couch staked out, or worse, bed. It helps to get out. Feel the cold penetrate the cheeks. I’m not saying freeze, just feel the sting so the mind has something to process. The most dangerous thing about depression? In my humble opinion of experience: numbness.

It’s November. We sit on the line between holding it together and losing it altogether. Talk about symptoms of depression. Get a thread going. Those are the kinds of online things with potential to help. Memes are too impersonal. Someone wrote it… who are they? Anyone care? Honestly? Seen it a hundred times. Scroll, right, because it doesn’t apply at the moment. Social media is truly moment by moment, but a real conversation sticks longer than a meme.

Those of us who know we’re prone to winter depression, talk about it enough to bring awareness without letting it take over every conversation. There is a balance to bringing awareness.

“I’m not feeling well. Depression is clutching me, I need to be with friends to help get my mind off negative thoughts.” There is not one aspect of shame in this. This doesn’t cause octopus ink, it brings awareness in a real way.

Here’s hoping for a decent winter; empathy for the depressed, recognition for the condition, truthful talks, and recovery.

Thanks for reading.

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Cat lovers, Dying, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Spiritual

Animals Understand Death

We are all born, and when we are, we’re already dying. No matter how, no matter when.

We humans, even after scientific discoveries, ghostly encounters, reading about Near Death Experiences, we don’t fully grasp it. Does the human spirit really weigh about two pounds? Are the stories true about NDE? Do children really claim to know their previous life, tell us how they died, and insist on pointing out photos of themselves in albums or online?

Who can say? It’s perspective, and much of that depends on our believes, religion, our education. What did our parents teach our about it?

Our loved ones… we fear abandonment by our loved ones, even when we’re by their side to say a final good-bye. They’re leaving us. They don’t return from this trip, do they? Do they all collect in a place above, or its that belief mythology? Maybe we see them when we die, maybe we don’t. We all have these questions, and it feels even more intense when we’re not there when their body becomes just a body. Did they know we meant to be with them? Were they looking for us to convey a final word, something we should know about? Will they not rest in peace? Will they? Anxiety.

We fear dying ourselves. What are we leaving behind? Are our affairs in order, have we talked to those who’re important to us? Is out plot picked out? Casket or cremation? Who will attend our funeral. What are the thoughts of people we know—are we liked and loved, will we be missed? This is all anxiety. Human behaviour, the human condition. Rarely do any of us truly understand death—our own or another’s.

Animals understand death. They know when they’re dying. They make no plans. They know they will move on from the physical body, and they are only afraid if they were threatened while it happened. But they were afraid of the threat, the pain more the death. This is my humble opinion.

When our pets are not well, and it’s the end, if they go naturally, we find they hid away to be alone.  They didn’t scurry in their last days to gather other pets to their side. If we take them to a veterinarian and stay with them, still, they don’t protest their death. They’re sick, they know. They had no anxiety about this life they lived, heaven or hell as a final place, they just let it go. Maybe it’s painful, and we as pet parents plainly discern that. We cry, we mourn. Yet they accept it as a part of life and how it ends. The transition is difficult, the end result is expected.

Perhaps animals know they’re on a timer when they’re born.

Thanks for reading.

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ADD, Addictions, Dyslexia, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, inspirational, Publishing joys, SUCCESS

Oh-so-human People Hood

Launched by our day of birth, we are delivered into the human race, each of us having joined the people hood association.  We live akin having basic nutritional needs for health, growth and survival.  Yet, unequal “nutrient” measures are required for our individual learning stimulus and potential mind development.  Particular learning styles can be as distinct as our bodies, personalities, preferences and capabilities.  

We are all equipped to learn as we grow, but sometimes we cannot advance as per certain teaching methods.  Everyone possesses adequacies—like definitive fingerprints—those distinguished abilities must be fostered.  Since our human bodies are not resembled exactly alike, not even identical twins, it makes sense that our human minds are assembled differently as well.  Consider various character traits and personal likes and dislikes people have for foods, hobbies, clothes, music, literature….  Perceptions of our environment differ, it’s obvious, our homes reflect our individualism as well as the artistic creations we savour.  

Although inter mutual similarities form assemblages, those groups consist of personal contributions.  Creative-minded artists orchestrate the vast entertainment industry with unique styles; actors, comedians, musicians….  Interior decorators have diverse flair; writers, their own voice…while other faculties include a range of technicians, lawyers, scientists; foods industry….  All an asset to their field.  Point made, I’m sure, saying that people hood is balanced out by a plethora of talents and specific contributions which make up divergent categories in societal links.  Speculate, though.  Does everybody learn in the same manner to find their niche?  

If absolutely everyone could learn the way they think, if you will, imagine the productivity and confidence within each person.  There were/are individuals so unique in their thinking that, “Eureka!”, mind-blowing concepts continue to be developed; lifesaving medication and technology, communications devices, travel modes just to mention a few.  Diverse-thinking historical figures pushed against the grain to be taken seriously, and prevailed.  They are gone, yet their outstanding contributions, not forgotten.

 The five senses contribute significantly to our learning, and more fundamentally, our individual impressions of what we’re sensing react to convey information about our environment and produce thoughts constantly.  Perhaps we take our sight, hearing, tactile sensitivities, olfactory glands and taste buds for granted, but still, without the five sensations, touch being the most important, human contact would be deficient in gratifying communication encounters.  People who are lacking one or more of the five senses have heightened awareness of their existing senses and learn to utilize their abilities.  When an individual has one or more learning differences or disabilities, their ability in another area or areas is accentuated and those proficiencies should be encouraged and promoted.  But for several reasons, this does not usually happen.  

 Numerous students are stressed in a world of do-it-or-fail.  But, if students’ learning styles, talents and strengths were recognized and given precedence over whole curriculum styles and students’ particular weaknesses, perhaps everyone would love school.  Not to say that one’s weak areas should be ignored, particularly reading, but forced techniques for the sake of the whole-system curriculum—are not learned—they’re resented.  Frustrated students can attest to the width of curriculum cracks they’re slipping through.   

Nonetheless, in comparison to “old school,” the educational methods are improving, slow but sure.  Now, even though the system is still designed for masses of students as a whole and integration still applies, LDs are finally being recognized as an alternative learning style and our western culture is beginning to realize an ancient truth: people have individual, unique minds.  LD strengths are noticed and commended more than before.  Children and adults alike now have the opportunity for equal rights in their education.  

Adults, listen, be encouraged if you learn differently than others, whether you’re young or matured.  It’s special to be in the minority because LD persons, past and present, have contributed greatly to society.  Google famous LD people and see for yourself.  Our passionate interests are most usually indicative of our natural gifts and talents.  Explore yourself.   Your success will still require time, effort and practice, as with anyone else, regardless of learning style, so pursue what you feel you are good at.

Myself, I think and do differently, and it’s not always easy to find passage in the sea with my learning-style compass.  It takes patient navigating, but with a ship constructed of diligence, I have sailed into a “The world!—she’s’ a-round!” discovery of reachable, fulfilling accomplishments.  My diagnoses of ADD, dyslexia and NVD opened my world up, and I wrote a novel. My editor waded through the errors, bless him for bringing it up to standards.

If I can do sail the LD sea, trust me, you can too.  I actually obtained a Children’s Writing diploma (just needed extra time); I have taught my curriculum development,  at my local Fanshawe college as an evening interest course. I have had several articles published in this newsletter and I’m constructing a poetry chapbook.  Receiving an educational awards spurred me on.    

Embark upon your journey.  Pack unlimited positive attitude supplies and claim your discovery.  A precious diamond is first hidden in a lump of hard, black coal, then uncovered, it’s worth something.  Remember that.

I wrote They All Wore Black, a meaningful story. Because I could. There are just days to my publishing goal. Find more about it here:
https//www.facebook.com/PennersPen88/

 

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Dementia, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, Old age

Writing Preserves Loved People

At first I thought her stories were just talks to take the place of silence.

I smiled and listened a few times a week. She told me of her meeting her late husband, how she had surgery in order to at last get pregnant with her final son. I heard how her husband laughed before the war, and what was left of him afterward. She told me about her whole life. She told me about all the pets she had, what happened to them, and how she felt about it.

It was coffee at my place and tea at hers. She loved driving to see me. Hours of story telling were also hours of bonding. In time, I picked her up to visit at my place, or go to parks or coffee shops. She no longer had a driver’s license or even her beloved cars. My phone rang often; a lonely sounding voice asked for a visit. At times I became frustrated as I needed to concentrate on my upgrading courses. My compassion was greater than my study habits.

Less than a year later, she couldn’t tell me anything new. She struggled to remember what I said minutes before, and she was frustrated with her lost ability to remember what she had just said. But I had bonded with my mom-in-law, and I remembered for her. I was her external brain, and she would always say, “Oh, yes, that’s right.” Nonetheless, she honestly never recalled.

Within a year, Mom could not function at home. Her weight had dropped significantly. Our visits were at a lovely rest home. Her memory continued to decline, however, having a lucid few moments one afternoon, she directed me to sit with her on her bed and told me she had to clean out her in-laws home, and she knew of the hard work and long hours. She thanked me that day, when previously she had resentments for her son and myself taking her from her familiar home.

All those stories over that period of time were not silence fillers. I believe she knew she had only so much time to tell them. I’m certain she understood her mind had slipped and would continue to be eaten by something she herself could not identify.

In the five years she lived in the rest home, she declined to the point of not knowing me, hollering at me, and insulting me. I took it hard as I only hoped Mom lived in herself somewhere, and somewhere, she still loved me.

Dementia did not love me. It didn’t keep track of our bonding. Dementia hardly recognized her son. The disease took her away forever, and she died not knowing who we were.

Over a year has passed. I can write about this without weeping, although my eyes sting. I can still hear her story-telling voice. I can smell her White Diamonds perfume. I can feel her genuine hugs, and I can imagine a delicate tea cup in my careful grip. I’m so afraid these memories will fade like she did. Writing preserves loved people.

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