Wouldn’t it be great to have a mentor like Robert Weaver?

I had never heard of Robert Weaver until a couple of days ago. I was plugged into my iPhone while I did housework, the Ideas podcast came on and I learned Robert Weaver had devoted over fifty years of his life to nurturing the development of Canadian literature. As I listened I realized almost all of Canada’s literary talent had been influenced by this man.

I felt almost jealous as I listened to Alice Munro or Alice Laidlaw as she was known back in 1951, tell her story about her business relationship with Weaver.

Munro had heard Weaver was looking for short stories to read aloud on his CBC radio program, Anthology. She wrote him a letter and included two of her stories. He wrote back suggesting ways she could improve them and subsequently bought them both. Munro says, “That was probably the greatest moment of my life,” appearing in print and being paid for the privilege. Continue reading “Wouldn’t it be great to have a mentor like Robert Weaver?”

Going Through A Sunshine Hangover

I swear, my children must be going through a sunshine hangover right now. Yes! The sun was shining this weekend. It was beautiful. So the kids enjoyed playing outside in our backyard, swimming, having their fingernails and toenails painted bright spring blue, and getting all dressed up for a special birthday dinner for grandma, in sundresses and sandals.

That was just Saturday, but the entire weekend was filled with fun. Here’s a video that pretty well pictures what this winter was all about, though we’ve had some worse days:

It’s been a long time since Faith and Abby have been able to just let loose and run free in the sun. Don’t worry, I’m not forcing them to stay indoors tucked away in a closet under the stairs like Harry Potter.

Quite the contrary actually. My kids tend to bounce off the walls so much, all filled with energy, that I often wish I could send them outside to play just so I can have a moment of peace. But the weather has not been cooperating at all since….oh, I don’t know….I guess since November.

It’s becoming apparent to me, that as much as I love living in Western PA, the very sad reality is that the sun doesn’t really shine all that often where we live. I think I heard someone say it’s like 56 days a year {on average} that the sun actually shines in this area. Coming from Southern California, that’s a tough nut to swallow.

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Our Dorothy Days

In this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, Darcey Steinke reviews Mary Gordon’s Circling My Mother: A Memoir, what seems like another really excellent book by a really excellent Catholic writer. In the review, Steinke, the daughter of a Lutheran minister, reminisces about the days when priests were not just respected but revered.

A time, frankly, when American Catholicism seemed to have something to offer to America. In literature, AC gave us Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy; in politics, the Kennedys; in Hollywood, the convert Gary Cooper; and in the world of service, reform, and activism, two more converts, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day.

Today, sex scandals, outmoded approaches to birth control and abortion, and, says Steinke, a lack of writers with the religious imagination and literary command of Merton or O’Connor (except, perhaps, Gordon), have diminished AC. (And while I agree that AC has diminished, for my sake, and the sake of a few other Catholic writers I like, I hope she’s wrong on the last point.)

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How to live without internet at home? Digital Sabbatical

Going on a digital sabbatical is in fashion these days. I’ve been on extended digital sabbaticals before I knew they existed. But back then, I wasn’t really addicted to the internet yet and so I didn’t need one.

I only installed an internet connection at my house about four and a half years ago. Yes, in May 2013, and 8 months after that, I left my house to go on a trip, while starting a business online. I went from internet-free to internet junky very fast and then I skipped to a more stable and healthy relationship with the cloud.

Before having an internet connection at home, I’d use it on cyber cafes or at friend’s houses. I´d go to a cyber cafe and spend from 30 minutes to two hours connected and then skip a day or two or more. A problem was, however, that I quit high school prematurely but I managed to complete my secondary education with Best GED Classes without having the internet at home (but the library had…)!

Then, I had it installed in my room, 24 hours. I was connected to it for 6 hours a day (or more), all of a sudden. I thought that I would be exaggerating just in the beginning, like getting a new toy and then I’d leave it alone, but it didn’t work like that. I got addicted to internet browsing, reading and watching interesting and useless stuff.

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How to Donate Money in a Healthy Way

A recent University of Copenhagen study revealed that people who are deprived of donating substantial sums of money suffer from various afflictions ranging from sleep disorder to frequent episodes of severe depression.

“The study showed test subjects had diminished cognitive abilities during the donation-free period”, said Uschi Znamenak, lead study author. The overall functionality of the body-mind system is decreased by at least 25%.

On the other hand, the study volunteers who were navigated to and allowed to make donations, even people who usually are very careful with spending their salaries slept calmly for eight hours or at least until they felt rested.

The control group had no medical or other disorders and expressed no need for medications, nicotine, alcohol or caffeine. Nine of ten excelled in difficult math tests and their physical fitness was evidenced by the fact that five of them completed the Cooper test in less than 10 minutes.

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Why are you running

I used to drive my car around my running route using its odometer to calculate the distance I was running. Since the distance I run varies and is also increasing in length every week using the car’s odometer was sort of overkill. So why are you running and how do you keep track of all sorts of running-related data? Then I heard about runnersworld.com

If you join their site you can keep track of all kinds of running related things. The main thing, for me, was to be able to use google maps to calculate how far I was running. However, signing up on their site was a pain.

When I finally succeeded I mapped my run by clicking my mouse at intervals along the road. It told me the total number of miles I had run. Mileage or should I say kilometrage is also available in kilometers which I prefer.

I saved my map and logged out. Later, when I came back to the site to make another map, or rather gloat about the extra distance I was now running, the site refused to recognize me. It told me I did not exist, even though I entered my coordinates a couple of times, fearing typos. Humpf. Continue reading “Why are you running”

Fantastic Autumn Joy

Yesterday marked the beginning of Autumn. I’ve already swapped out the summer clothing and flip-flops in my closet for my favorite Fall sweaters and knee-high boots. I love this time of year.

In fact, I’d be willing to say it’s my absolute favorite Season, except that you’ll hear me say that about Winter, Spring, and Summer too. But for now, it’s all about this fantastic autumn joy!

Since moving to the East Coast, I’ve discovered something very delightful about this time of year. The amazing colors of nature as the season takes root. Already the leaves on the trees in my front yard are beginning to change.

The once perfect green leaves are now turning a stunningly bright red. Looking out the window I notice a burnt orange beauty falling to the ground. There’s a pile of leaves forming which I know my girls will not be able to avoid pouncing in, with uncontrollable squeals of joy in the coming weeks.  And the crisp Fall temperatures. A much-needed break from hot and humid.

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The Real Price Of Reading Too Much

If you’re anything like me, you love to read. There’s so much that reading can do for us as writers. Reading others’ work can help us hone our craft. We can pick up witty turns of phrase, grammar rules that we weren’t previously aware of, and tips on how to write with real passion.

Above all that, though, we read to learn. Chances are you’re here right now because you’re itching to learn something about freelancing. And I don’t believe that there’s ever a limit to how much you can or should learn.

Except…

…when it gets in the way of taking action. The old saying “Those who can’t do, teach,” takes a little bit of a different spin for us writers.
For us, it reads more like “Those who really really want to do, but don’t feel like we’re quite ready, and maybe just need a little bit more time to work things through, and if we only read this one more blog post then we should be ready to go, but what’s this other recommended post on the sidebar, maybe I’ll just give that a quick… read.”

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Make Change, or Change will get you

I’ve always been fascinated by change and how people react to change. In today’s crazy world the only constant seems to be change from the international events we see on the news all the way down to how we live.

Change can be seen on one of two ways: The first is that change is a bad thing; it’s scary, a place where the future cannot be predicted, where you are not sure where your place in the world might be. The other is that change is a good thing; it’s a chance to try new things, to move forward and make things better.

The way you think about change will determine your reaction to it and your behavior associated with it. Whether you find change scary or you embrace change, read on, as in this series of articles I will be looking at change and how we can actively prepare for it.

By understanding change, you will be able to be prepared for it. By being prepared for change you will become empowered and by becoming empowered you will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that change brings.

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Why Succeeding Is Believing

Always believe in the abilities you were blessed with whenever you came out your mother’s womb. To live a life without first believing in yourself is living a life set for failure. Countless times people second guess themselves. Maybe competition looked fierce, the journey too long, or maybe you failed last time. When looking in the face of opposition it’s always easiest to quickly look the other way. You are not alone, there are so many people doubt themselves and give up all chances. That’s why Succeeding is Believing!

That’s usually when you start doubting whether you have what it takes. The second you second guess is the very second in which you start setting yourself up for failure. Without first believing you can succeed will make it a million times harder to get money in actuality. More room for opposition to get in the way. More room for competition to push fear into your heart. High chances you will waste time when you feel like you’re all alone in your visions. Believe you’re a natural superman in the flesh and anything is within reach.

It’s Your Bazooka

In this world, there’s a lot of hate, disrespect, and jealousy. People see you doing your thing and try to knock you down out of pure jealousy. It’s crazy, but there will be many attacks at your motivation when you get money. Believe in the abilities you have and let no one tell you otherwise. Blast any negativity by believing you have what it takes to get the job done.

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