5 Things not to do: The Anti-Blog

#1 Let me start with a question.  Is the trendy “list topic” a passing fad that has already become vomit inducing tedium?  I, for one, will say so.  The use and abuse of this technique is as manipulative as it is banal.  Who is our target audience for this drivel anyway? Anybody breathing, I’d argue.  We can all agree that writing has its challenges.  Attracting readership is at the top of that list.  But lets all aim for better than yesterday’s marketing tricks.

#2 That’s so offensive! Trying not to offend anyone is a guarantee that you will offend just about everyone eventually, and they will get around to telling you about it.  The problem with this goal is that your self-censorship leads to avoidance of risk, a search for middle-ground , and the inevitable ‘safe’ subjects which may have more value as cures for insomnia than interesting reading.  And it doesn’t work.  Reason one is that you cannot possibly know how others think, and that means you can’t predict how what you’ve written will be interpreted.  I can be offended that you expected me to spend my precious time reading a piece that has no value to me whatsoever.  How dare you?!  Its perfectly acceptable if you set out not trying to offend, but just know not everyone else does.  Its even better if you set out trying to be different, strive to share your unique perspective, and seek to find your own voice.  Write for an audience of, one?

#3 Give Up. You give up?  I give up.  We all give up.  Let’s make a list of all the times we have given up in our lives!  Then invite all your friends to the pity party.  It’ll be such a grand time.  NOT.  To misquote Nike, Just don’t do it.

#4 Here is an idea I just thought of, so I’m sticking it in here too.  Remember, we’re all in this together, aren’t we?  As fellow scribes, encourage one another.  Make it a habit.  Call it one non-stop campaign of mutual encouragement.  We all need it.  We all deserve it.  But it ain’t gonna happen unless we make it happen.  We can do it whenever we point out some aspect of what someone wrote that helped us, inspired us, informed us, or entertained us.  Whenever you think about commenting, go ahead and do it.  One short, simple comment that won’t take you more than a few seconds to make, could be the difference that leads to a breakthrough for someone.  See #3 above.

#5 In the spirit of our theme for today, there is no #5                     Happy Blogging

Book Review: And Sometimes I Wonder About You, by Walter Mosley

What I liked:

I think it pays homage to the best examples of novel writing, because heroism is prevalent throughout. I found strong entertainment value everywhere: humor, poignancy, romance, mystery, suspense, action, and drama. The interwoven social commentary leant substance to the reading without weighing it down.

Our hero meets a lady on a train while returning from saving a client’s marriage.  She turns out to be his dream woman.  This is just the beginning.

There were no ghosts.

Lines like

The police had laid off killing men for selling loosies for the time being-bad publicity.

What I didn’t like:

You could argue that the infidelity experienced by characters in the book are flaws which Mosely deals with respectfully. I wouldn’t, other than to say his approach is artistic with touches of ambiguity.

A man places his wife in a mental health facility to treat her depression. Yet his own behavior is far more destructive, both to himself, and to those around him. Why does he get to roam free?

What you should know about the book:

This is high quality prose with loads of sex and violence. It is a quintessential family drama spanning three generations. Through storytelling we understand the choices the protagonist makes because of his relationships with his parents and his children.

Recommendation: A must read

Book Review: Heaven’s Waiting Room by Clare Wilson

What I liked:

What the author doesn’t try to do is explore what heaven might be like. Instead she creates a version of heaven on earth where relationship is everything. It is a remarkably simple story, and that is a strength. In many ways it raises more questions than it seeks to answer. As the protagonist learns lessons along the way we the readers are educated in an entertaining fashion as we follow in her trail. Can we apply such lessons to our lives before its too late, before our time is up? One would hope. A thoughtful story with a thought provoking premise. This story is yet another reminder that the youth among us have much to teach us, if only we allow ourselves to hear what they have to say.

What I didn’t like:

Having already admitted that I do not do well with ghosts in a novel, are there exceptions?  Well, this is a ghost story!

What you should know:

This is not for children, in my opinion, as it focuses on death and the afterlife in a thoughtful yet frightening way.  It also is very much about family, nuclear, traditional, and non-traditional.

Recommendation: Good Read

Book Review: Loving Day by Mat Johnson

What I liked: the humor.  I found many small sources of laughter throughout the novel.  There were sincerely laugh out loud moments with smart/funny remarks, not just situations.  I was able to laugh at some of the embarrassing scenes as well.

What I didn’t like: the ghosts.  Ghosts never work for me in a novel and that’s probably my fault and not the author’s but there it is.

What you should know about the book:  Synopsis, A divorced man inherits a house from his deceased father and has to confront his emotional past in Philadelphia.  He confronts race and ethinicity issues, professional failure, commitment issues, and a chance to start over with a new family.

Recommendation:  A must read.

the semicolon project

A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going.

hpwritesblogs

FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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Divert the mainstream.

Consider supporting this project.

monica byrne

durham (1)

So the Wired culture column Wired didn’t want to publish? I’m taking it elsewhere. Right now, it’s not a question of whether the column would have a home, but where. That’s a great thing.

But Wired, being Wired, had money. Most of the places offering to host the column can’t pay the rate that Wired could. But writing is how I make a living, and I already do plenty of it for free. So to make the column good, I have to make enough money to justify the time I devote to it.

So here’s my deal with you:

(1) A professional rate would be $500 for 1000 words. Patreon takes 5% and credit card and transfer fees add up to around another 5%. So if we reach $550 per column, I launch the column.

(2) For a year, I promise no less than one column a…

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Is an alcoholic or drug addict making you sick Part 2

Is an alcoholic or drug addict making you sick Part 2.

Today my father would have been 77.  He died from alcoholisim.  I wanted to remember him today with this important message from 800recoveryhubblog.  For family members of addicts.

Get well soon.

Part one talked about the 12-step fellowship called Al-Anon. As a quick review — Al-Anon is a group that can help a person who is in pain, caused by a loved one’s alcoholism or addiction.

But, what if you have tried five or six meetings and it just does not work for you? Or, what if you like it, but you feel like you need additional help? There are alternatives.

Therapy and counseling

Look for a counselor that has experience with addiction and/or co-dependency. This is especially helpful, if you prefer a one-on-one setting. Some people are shy, and feel more comfortable sharing their feelings in a private environment. But, if you like group support, there are group therapy programs too. If you feel that you have some issues other than co-dependency, individual psychotherapy or psychiatry might be a better fit. This is particularly important for people, suffering in a way that is treated by medication.

Support of Friends and Family

These people may not have a therapeutic background, but they love you and know you best. Confiding in your loved ones can provide tremendous relief. It can be beneficial to talk to people who can be straightforward with you and point out things, that your might have missed. Just make sure you are honest about what is wrong and they will give you that “second pair of eyes” that you need. I find it interesting that many times, you will share your burden with another person, only to find out that they have been through something similar.

Research

By searching for articles, chats or online groups regarding addiction and co-addiction, you can gain a better understanding of your own behavior. One word of caution, take the information in small bites, so you do not get overwhelmed. I particularly like the .gov sites. They are straightforward and typically un-biased.
If you like reading things on paper, rather than a screen, go to the library. Educating yourself with books on co-addiction, co-dependency and addiction, can help you understand the causes of the condition. It’s easier to find a solution when you can fully understand the problem. By educating yourself you can start to put the pieces together and see the big picture.

Change something

Being around an alcoholic or addict (who refused to get help) is like breathing in second-hand smoke. After I while, it is going to bother you. It is hard to feel confident and strong when you are living with someone who does not want to get better. Sometimes space and distance can help you focus on yourself. It’s healthy to get a new perspective and realize that you can live your own life.

Get out of Denial

Many people justify an unhealthy relationship with an addict, because they truly believe that the person is going to die, without their aid. Also, it is easy to get lost in the other person’s problems and focus all of your energies on their addiction. It feels comfortable not having to look at yourself.  From personal experience, any money or support I received while “using” just made me worse. I got help after my family, severed all ties and literally “hid” from me. I’m serious. I am so grateful they had the strength to practice “tough love”. They still feel bad about it, but I thank them all the time, for it was a gift.

Help
Resources to help you. Click on the globe for the list of sources.

Look at the following to test your enabling scale. Do you do any of the following?

  • Failing Responsibilities. Inattention to work, parenting, friends and other responsibilities. Putting your things on the back burner every time the loved one had some drama.
  • Failing Emotions. Do You find yourself becoming anxious with anger, worry, depression, and fear over the other person’s behavior? Your feelings are enmeshed in theirs.
  • Self-Care. Are you neglecting your looks and hygiene. You don’t buy new clothes, put off getting a haircut and constantly eat unhealthy? This is because of all of your energy is spent on the addict/alcoholic. You find little time to shower, brush your hair, teeth, or take care of your personal appearance the way you like or the way you used to.
  • Lying and Keeping Secrets. You find yourself making stories to cover up for the other person’s behavior. You lie, because it is too embarrassing to tell the truth.
  • Not enjoying life. You feel unworthy. You used to play sports, read, dine, and watch movies with friends. You don’t do those things anymore, because they are not enjoyable and/or you do not have the time.
800RecoveryHub.com
Our 800RecoveryHub site offers free and confidential help

If you don’t take care of yourself, you will get mentally and physically ll.  But I have found that when the pain gets bad enough, you will be motivated to find some relief. If you still don’t know where to turn ….simply contact the author at 800 Recovery Hub.

Through it all, there was a dog

Because life is about getting back up. I don’t think it can be described much better than this, the way Jennifer puts it. And a dog too!

The Trailhead

Seven years ago, when my first marriage of fifteen years unexpectedly went belly up, I was involuntarily launched on what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. There are other names for this kind of experience. The writer Elizabeth Lesser calls it the Phoenix Process. Dante called it “the dark woods.” Whatever you call it, it’s a time of upheaval, pain, and eventually, transformation.  And to be sure, the year I spent ending my marriage and recovering – perhaps from the marriage as much as the divorce – was one of the most powerful and potent of my life. I still look back on it with a sense of respect and awe.

What I didn’t understand for a long time, though, was that the year of my divorce was only the opening act in a much longer voyage. Life had a great deal more in store for me than merely the…

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