I’ve met a number of people from all different walks of life; the one trait I admire most across the board is humility.
I was at a writer’s conference signing. I happened to be waiting at the front desk when another writer walked up and took me for someone who worked there. He didn’t look at my name tag; he didn’t look at me at all. He said something to the effect, “I’m in a hurry, get my tag for me.”
I smiled and said, “let me get you someone who can help you.”
He huffed out a breath.
I found it rather humorous. He would run into me once or twice during the event and didn’t remember the front desk incident. But, moreso, I found he treated most people as if they were there to serve him. I’d never heard of him before, and I haven’t bothered to read any of his books. Had he been the least bit human to anyone, I probably would have bought his book then and there.
We don’t have to act like asshats to get what we want. Self-importance rarely serves anyone and doesn’t win any awards. It may get you knocked off the invite list.
Humility is not a denial of our skills or our sense of self-respect. Humility is being modest about the skills, talent, and dreams we are working to achieve. And it takes nothing away from us or from those around us.
66 days –
That is what a new study says it takes to form new habits. The study participants reported a range from 2 to 254, with 66 being an average.
It depends on the person. With me, it takes 3 to 4 weeks for me to stick to my commitment. And every year my teaching schedule changes, so there’s two to three months a year for me to recommit.
The holidays, however, throws many people off.
However, once the commitment is made and the habit is in place, it’s much easier to get back into the mind space. The secret is to jump right back into the habit after a holiday or change.
Also, I think you have to make an effort to guard that commitment. Don’t be tempted to make lunch plans on a writing hour, make it for later or for a different day.
Life too easily distracts us and, without habits firmly in place, we are easily swayed.
January 19th, is the 210th anniversary of Poe’s Birth.
Although many people are content with the reason of Poe’s continued relevance in our society is the stereotypical tortured artist. There is no doubt he was tortured, and for reasons of which we are all familiar; he was an orphan who lost every women he ever loved.
His battles with alcohol, I believe, are highly exaggerated. But it makes for a good story. I’m not saying he never drank – he drank to excess plenty of times, he may have officially been an alcoholic as we understand the word today; however, it was not a constant. There were many years through his marriage to Virginia that he did not drink or drink to excess. Before his death in 1849, he’d joined the Sons of Temperance Movement – to get people to stop drinking.
The reason Poe has remained relevant throughout the years is his work touches our deepest fears and deepest desires. He has continued to inspire other writers
and artists of all types.
He wrote far more than what we, today, consider horror. He wrote essays, literary analysis, investigative pieces. He wrote about street paving, Stonehenge, and he was inspired by what he read in newspapers. Berenice and others were inspired by stories of grave robbers in local papers.
The famed portrait of Edgar Allan Poe was taken three days after his suicide attempt in 1848.
And, Eddy, my imaginative fiction, was inspired by that suicide attempt. He bought two bottles of laudanum on a cold winter night meaning to do himself in. He’d lost Virginia and felt he had no one. (Laudanum contained opium and derivatives of morphine and codeine.)
For Poe’s Birthday, I offer an excerpt from the novella:
He stumbles from the pub, slips, and falls on the iced over bricks of Boston’s November streets. Save for the muddled voices beyond the closed door, the street is quiet as his body thuds to the ground. His breath billows in front of him as he gasps and grumbles and struggles to his knees, then his feet, to regain his drunken balance.
The gaslamp on the corner offers a wavering yellow glow for the struggling figure on the lonely winter night. Thin strands of hair blow in the chilled breeze; he runs his hands over his head, straightens himself before he pulls at the sagging overcoat and tugs it closed.
Remembering the tinctures of laudanum pried from the chary pharmacist, he hurriedly shoves his hands in his pockets, retrieves the bottles.
His heavy breath mounds in front of him and, for a moment, he can’t see; then the luminous cloud of brandy scented air dissipates. The medicines are intact. Relieved, he stuffs them back in his pocket and buttons his jacket.
“Edgar,” someone calls from the corner; the noise from the pub trails the swarthy figure out until the door slams to a close behind him. “You alright?”
Edgar waves him off without turning around.
The thick shadow chuckles as he staggers in the opposite direction.
The winter is freezing cold, but the snow hasn’t endured. Small white crystals pile in corners and fill the air. The icy rain soaks him before he reaches his chamber on the second floor of the boarding house. The room is small, impersonal, but warmer than the street. An unlit lantern shimmies on the desk as he unsteadily seats himself, glances out the window.
A barely discernable outline disquiets the otherwise muted darkness on the corner of the street below. He knows it’s the black dog that’s stalked him his whole life. Suddenly angered, he shoves himself forward, pushes the unlit lamp aside and topples the ink jar.
“Get outta here, you wretched creature.” The incensed command lost in the night.
Recovering the secreted bottles of opium from his coat pocket, he sets them side by side in front of him. Unsteadily he tugs the lid from one and snorts in a single gulp.
Much love and luck.
Visualization, scientists believe, is important in achieving what it is you desire.
If you’re concerned about an interview – picture it first
Concerned about completing an assignment? – visualize it finished!
What do you want to happen in the near future?
Sometimes these are large goals – end result goals, and that’s good. We see the big picture. What about the little picture?
This deals with a little bit of realism. If you’re not writing and you choose a photo of you at a book signing, that’s the end result. Perhaps keep that photo, but put it on the larger board.
I’d love for you to share your results in our newly formed group: Writing 365. Join us!
Some years ago, John Voso Jr. put together a cookbook, Italian Recipes from my friends; the proceeds from which went to the Richie White Fund. Richie White was a young boy who spent most of his young life in the hospital battling cancer. He lost that battle a few days after his fourth birthday.
This year, John has put together Ethnic Recipes From My Friends. The proceeds benefit a number of good charities.
The book contains JackFruit tacos. You’ll remember that some months ago, I tried JackFruit tacos at a vegan restaurant and loved them.
When John Voso, his wife, Debbie, and myself met for dinner, I was surprised to find this recipe in the book! I, personally, can not wait to make them myself.
The book contains recipes from a number of different people and cultures:
Angel Wings from Poland,
Sonoran Style Carne Asada,
and don’t forget about dessert, A Nut Kuchen!
Ethnic Recipes from My Friends will make a great gift and it supports great causes. Contact John Voso to order your copy!
I wanted to start something new and feature other opinions, ideas, and authors on Fridays. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Margie Harding, author of The Paxton Series.
Writing is a passion I’ve been developing for many years. While I blog, have written devotionals for teen girls, a novel about my experience of attending college as a non-traditional student thirty years after high school graduation (receiving an AA degree in Elementary Education), and more; I have been provided yet another challenge that warms my heart.
For years I have said, “It takes a special person to be a special education teacher and it isn’t me!” I have five children and sixteen grandchildren and still a special education interest alluded me! It was never my heart’s desire. God has a sense of humor, I think. After all these years of avoiding special needs and disabilities, I have begun a new children’s book series on this particular subject!
We call the series, “The Paxton Series” with our setting in the Black Hills of South Dakota, using the wild animals of the area as our characters. (Paxton the Prairie Dog shows up in every book, if nothing more than in a cameo appearance!) The books are written for the child with the disability or special need….and for the child that asks, “What is wrong with my friend?” —and there are amazing illustrations, thankfully from someone who is able to acclimate the disability to the particular animal!
When the series started, I had no intention of a “disability series,” yet it morphed into this before I’d realized the need for this kind of material or impact it could make. I attended a church organized disability conference two years ago and for the first time heard the term “disability people group” and learned much about these special people for whom I was writing! The statistics astounded me! I knew this was to be my life’s mission.
I am delighted to say this series is being well received –and will continue indefinitely! (The list is up to 60+). Doors have opened I never imagined as schools, colleges (using them to teach students to be special needs educators) and other groups have found the merit of sharing these books with children, parents, educators, medical staff and others!
Invitations to share about the books from a “special needs” perspective, have also arisen and I am delighted to be an advocate for these children (and adults) who are often neglected in a variety of areas, (even if unintentionally) including written stories they can relate to.
There is very little actual reading material for children who have special needs; and certainly not for those young ones introduced to special needs children, as integration into mainstream classrooms continue. Their peers are often confused by what they see as “different” and perhaps even “wrong” when it can’t be defined by the “normal classroom rules.” My books attempt to bridge that gap, and are a great starting place for teachers. They are written to aid in understanding, inclusion, and acceptance of those behaviors that are different from the traditional “norm.”
There are ten books in the series currently.
Paxton’s World on Fire Introduction
An Early Arrival Preemie
The Great Race Asthma
Ears Like Gramps Hearing
Lillianna Moves to the Country Down’s Syndrome
Micah Mink Goes to the Concert Autism
Mixed Up Words Dyslexia
Special Goalie MD
Opal’s New Dream Arthritis
The Camping Trip ADHD
The Spelling Bee Diabetes (September)
Madison’s Sad Christmas Depression (November)
Bristol Goes To School Cancer (2019)
Harbinger Village Cerebral Palsy (2019)
Fabian’s Smile Cleft Palate (2019)
Our children face an amazing list of challenges. God has placed me in a position to be able to do something fundamentally good. I am humbled to be able to place words on paper that can help children understand what is going on in their bodies, as well as, a resource parents and teachers can use to help other children understand what is happening with their friends who seem different than themselves. If you are interested in any of these books or those to be released in the coming months and years, contact me, email@example.com or visit http://www.paxtonseries.com or amazon.com.
**An added note — All 10 books are both in softcover and hardback….and we are just beginning to add a toddler version of the current K-3rd grade books (although the books are used for older students in special education classes, as well), and I am working on a chapter book! The first toddler book, The Big Fire, should be available in just a couple weeks.
Margie – thank you for guesting. I’m grateful I could host your blog and further the word about these important books. NL