Rose-Colored Glasses

A few years ago, I found a pair of glasses.  They were very pretty, indeed.  They fit perfectly on my face and  I want to tell you why these glasses are so special.

Before I found them, my world was a different place.  Before I put them on, I couldn’t see that well.  What I could see, was dark, dreary and usually out of focus.  Sometimes, it was so difficult to see, I cried, which made it worse. I could barely see myself without the glasses. Worse still, when I looked out into the world, I could barely see anything at all. Much to my chagrin, there was little to laugh about or enjoy at that time. It seemed as though I was trapped in a cave.  Light filtered through porous rocks in bits and pieces.

Cave_Image

The world was filled with images that I couldn’t understand, explain or embrace.  My eyes strained to focus.  People seemed to be frustrated, angry, and hurt as if I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t focus.  I read of murder, war and uncountable tragedies around the world and even in my own back yard.  People were dissatisfied with politics and economics.  Even social media platforms reflected these bitter tastes in everyone’s mouths.  I felt I would soon fall victim to the same.

The images prevented me from seeing clearly.  Children were starving and dying everywhere.  Women were abandoning their babies. People were killing each other over the most ridiculous things.  I would rub my eyes and wonder what made people act so irrationally and irresponsibly.

My broken heart had trouble healing, not just for my circumstances, but also for the world.  I fought to find healing in a divine power.  I struggled to rise up against the horrible things going on around me.  People I thought I knew, were cruel at times. They perjured themselves with their own perceptions of right or wrong.

It was when I fell into utter despair that it happened.  One day, without notice, I found these glasses.  I put them on.  They were a good fit.  Suddenly, I could see clearly.  Through the horror and devastation, there was light.  In the light, I could focus.  I didn’t have to drown in a world of darkness and foreboding.

rose_colored_glasses_image

Strangely, there were people who said mean things to me and tried to get me to remove my glasses.  They claimed I wasn’t focused at all.  They thought I was fooling myself. They insisted the world was truly a ghastly place and everyone had to take care of themselves.  They believed evil outweighed goodness. They were convinced I was wearing the wrong glasses.

I felt sad for them.  They were frozen in their beliefs, bitter in their circumstances and spoke out of fear.  I refused to believe what they believed.  I refused to be fooled into thinking the world was a dark, hopeless place, filled with ugliness and terror.  I began to search for brighter things with my new eyes.  I began to find places and people who also wore the same type of glasses.  Eventually, I began to feel better because I had always believed that where there is light, darkness cannot exist. I wanted to be in the light.  I wanted to be the light.  I learned how to see better with corrected vision.  I began to feel hope and confidence in myself again.

I learned some very valuable lessons.

Without hope, there is only despair.  Without confidence, there is only failure.  I began to structure my mind and eyes around positivity.  I found goodness in terrible situations, including my own.  In fact, I began practicing this new mindset with myself first.  It took a few years to find the right focus.  I failed and tried again, but I never took the glasses off.

Over the last year, I encountered daily challenges that dared me to take the glasses off.  I persisted and overcame difficult situations.  I began to see positive changes occurring in my circumstances.  New things began to appear that weren’t there before – mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.  I knew that I ‘d made the right decision.

It is okay to be practical and realistic.  It is not okay to dwell in darkness.  Charles R. Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  In a world that seems discordant at times, it is important to find peace and harmony.  It is even more important to pass that peace and harmony on to others, so that they may share in the light.

Life_is_10_percent_quote

My message to you is this: If you should find a pair of rose-colored glasses, try them on.  They may be exactly what you’ve needed all along!  Step out of the darkness and into the light!!

 

Advertisements

Pardon Me

I waited on the corner of my beloved’s favorite street, hoping he would soon pass by. The stream of cars rushed by me, some slowing to look at me, my clothes drenched from the splattering rain. I wished I’d brought my umbrella.  I would’ve looked them in the eyes boldly, but instead, I kept my head low.  I must have looked awful, even though only 15 minutes had passed.  The street lights changed from red to green. I was relieved when they turned green.  People walked by me and saw nothing unusual, from what I could tell.  A couple stopped nearby to argue over whether they should hail a cab or take the subway.  She was stunning with her long black hair tucked loosely under her cashmere hat. Her serious brown eyes were only a few feet away from me, but she barely saw me there. She was so involved in her cause.  He was tall, but I couldn’t see his face.  His long trenchcoat waved in the rain-whipped wind. It made him look mysterious and intriguing.  He held a large black umbrella over her head.  A yellow cab pulled up to the curb and she dove in it like a mad dog.  She was quick and quite clever. He closed the umbrella with some reluctance and slowly joined her in the cab.  The cabbie pulled into traffic and they blended in to the rest of the city.  

The cold air began to bite at my fingers and I drew them tightly into little fists and tucked them into my coat pockets, trying to act nonchalant.  I felt more exposed now.

There he is! My heart began to pick up speed! I stood straighter and felt my confidence grow with each second.  He exited the building and walked to the corner.  His walk was purposeful, each step a deliberation of knowledge. He pulled his collar up around his neck and dug his face into his coat.  He didn’t have an umbrella either.

He crossed over to my side of the street.  I was fully aware of my staring, but I didn’t care. He came towards me.  I deliberately stepped in front of him.

“Pardon me,” he said, as he stepped around me.

I had his voice! It was all I needed. I could go home now.

Inspired by a book I found in the Bargain section of Barnes & Noble.

The book is titled, “Creative Writer’s Notebook: 20 Great Authors & 70 Writing Exercises.” The author of the book is John Gillard. I bought this book for only $8.98.

creative_writers_notebook

The story you just read is based on an exercise from the book.  I wrote Pardon Me as part of an interior monologue, an exercise in the book. If you need a little jolt to get those creative juices flowing, I highly recommend this book.

I’ll be back. Stay tuned.

Merry Christmas

You “Forgot”?!

I have an opinion like everyone else, but on most days I keep my opinion to myself.  It’s not worth getting all worked up over trivial things.  On other days, however, it is the opinion of the majority that changes something in society.  The opinion of the majority just has to start with one voice. This is my voice.  It is my turn to say something and this is the first time I’m expressing my opinion in a public forum.

So let me tell you the one thing I find utterly intolerable, horribly inhumane, and downright disgusting!  The people who leave children in hot cars to die while they go shopping.  I can’t tell you enough how this makes me feel every time I read another story about a couple who left their child in triple digit degrees, inside a car, with windows rolled up, while they went shopping.  A child is born into your care.  You are responsible for this child.  Even if you are only the caretaker or aunt, if that child is left in your care, then you are responsible for him.  There is no excuse that you can give to explain away the death of an innocent child, because you went shopping or drinking, or any other reason.  Unless you were literally dragged out of that car to your own death, I can’t understand how you would leave a helpless child alone to die under your watch.

These are not isolated incidents, either.  They are rapidly becoming more common.  There’s the man who went to work and left his child to die in a car.  He “forgot” to drop his child off at daycare.  How do you forget your child?  Tell me.  I can understand if you forgot your keys, your purse, or any other inanimate object in the car.  I get that.  I don’t get how “forgot” your child.  There are other cases where the parent has said they “forgot” their child, too.  What kind of excuse is that,anyway? Do you really believe anyone else believes you “forgot?”  You didn’t forget!  You were too lazy to take your baby out of the car seat.  You went shopping in a giant supermarket with another child and left one in the car because she was sleeping and it was too much work; or you didn’t want to wake her up because it would be too much of a hassle; or you convinced yourself you’d only be gone a few minutes.  What could possibly happen in a few minutes?  If you don’t know how hot a car can get in just a few minutes, read this article, it will set you straight. Even if it’s 79 degrees in the car when you stepped out of it, it will be 90 degrees in three minutes.  ONLY THREE MINUTES!!!  According to this article, an average of 38 children die a year this way, even though awareness programs have increased.

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/07/21/hot-car-danger-children

What about the couple that went shopping in a cell phone store for an hour and left their niece in the car?  She wasn’t even their child.  They only want to know who was going to pay for their shattered window. When a few people saw the poor child locked inside and decided to break the window to get her out of the car, this was their concern!!!  Unbelievable! She was drenched in sweat.  They didn’t care.  Not an ounce of remorse!

ducks_and_ducklings

I raised four of my own children.  When we went places together, we all went together.  They held hands.  I called them my ducklings and sometimes I still call them my ducklings.  Even ducks don’t leave their ducklings behind.  They wait for them.  Have you ever watched how wildlife waits for their young ones?  I have.  Some people are just a disgrace to humankind.  They shouldn’t ever have children.  They should be stripped of all parental rights, sterilized, and spend a few years in a sweltering hellhole to feel how their child died.  I know that’s harsh, but that’s the way I feel.

There are accidental cases, of course.  Rare events where a child climbed inside a car and no one could find the child.  I am not speaking to those parents in this article.  I am terribly sorry for your loss and I really mean that.  Responsible parents don’t deliberately leave their children behind.  I am talking about selfish parents, who say they “forgot” their child.  There’s no such thing, in my book.

If your life is so busy, that you can’t remember you are responsible for a small child, please do not have children at all.  Children don’t deserve to die of asphyxiation in a 110 degree temperatures inside a locked car, while you go shopping on your own.  Children deserve loving, caring parents.  They deserve equal amounts of love and discipline, in fact,  so that they will grow up to be responsible human beings, who find it repulsive to leave a child in a car to die.

What has become of us?  Is this happening anywhere else in the world?  Are there other nations experiencing the same selfish, careless events, or is it just the United States?  I want to know.  I love my country, I really do, but I don’t love what kind of people are evolving in it.  That’s a rant for the next blog, though.

I hope that people become more educated about this thing.  I hope we develop harsh laws for this kind of negligence.  There’s no excuse for leaving children anywhere by themselves, when they are not capable of making clear, concise, mature decisions for themselves.  There is absolutely no viable reason to leave a child in a car while you go and take care of your shopping list.  Let’s put an end to this.

gavel

Maybe if we break into more cars that have children left alone in them, someone will wake up and realize how wrong it really is and I’ll stop reading about how sorry you were that your child died a horrible death at your expense.  Because I don’t believe for one second that you “forgot” your child.  I never will.

Sunday Peaceful Sunday

Hi again!

It’s Sunday and I hope that everyone’s day has been as peaceful as mine. As I am writing this blog, I am sitting outside listening to the sounds around me.  If I close my eyes, I can hear so much more.  I hear the cars buzzing by on the main road, people talking a few doors down on my left, a teenager riding his skateboard on his newly built ramp two doors on the right and a man mowing his lawn across the street

.

I’m a bit disappointed, because these are not the sounds of inspiration for me.  The good news is that I am alive on this beautiful Sunday, and I can create my own sounds for inspiration, or listen to some really good music.

I was born and raised in New York City.  The city sounds are quite different from the country sounds. There are car sounds there all the time.  You learn to drown them out.  There weren’t lawnmower sounds where I grew up, so that was a different type of sound.  I associate that sound with the country.  More importantly, the sounds I wanted to hear were absent today.  The sounds of birds chirping or the sound of water gushing over the rocks at a brook or stream are the sounds of inspiration for me. Rivers, lakes, brooks, streams are all places of deep inspiration for me.  Still, overall, it was a peaceful day.

In the absence of water, I had to create my own method of inspiration.  Playing the drums is one of my passionate pastimes. I usually spend my Sunday playing them with my headphones on. Today, I decided to practice one song that my drum instructor is currently teaching me and teach myself a new song. I decided to teach myself “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones.  I just love that beat.  The lyrics – not so much, but I just love the beat to the song.

Rolling Stones, Honky Tonk Women - Export Picture Sleeve, UK, Deleted, 7

I am also learning “Young Lust” by Pink Floyd. I have most of the song down, but I am still learning how to manipulate the high-hat cymbal between the open and closed position.  It sounds really cool when it’s done correctly, almost like suddenly inhaling breath or smoke. It’s called a “sssip” or “splash.”  I guess that’s weird for anyone who doesn’t know what I mean, but I’m sure drummers will understand. It’s a beautiful sound to me, and it is my goal to master it.  The splash is used in “Young Lust” and my instructor, Jonathan, is teaching me how and when to play it.

YoungLust

After I gave some thought to both these songs, I realized the meaning behind both songs are quite similar.  It was merely coincidence, however, that I had chosen to play them today.  I enjoyed every minute of it! I love playing the drums.  I love learning new ways to play the drums, and I love the sound of the drums.  My favorite bands are Pink Floyd and Tool – both tied for the number one position.  I want to learn all their songs. I’m a rock-n-roll kind of girl, so there are plenty of other bands I love to play as well.  “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin is one of the first songs I learned to play.  The beat to that song is also soothing to me. Just for the fun side of things, I recently learned how to play “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.  I heard a live band playing it nearby, and thought, I want to learn how to play that song.  I like that drum beat, so I learned that too!

Well, that was my Sunday.  I hope you had a wonderful day and I will be back tomorrow evening with another blog.

Sleep well!

Why Americans Love Steph Curry

We need role models! I believe Stephen Curry is worth that title. Jeanina’s blog tells us why Stephen Curry is such a wonderful athlete.

jeaninamarie

  • Stephen Curry is fun to watch. I remember years ago, my Dad told me to watch out for Curry when he was drafted in 2009, because of all the records he was breaking in Davidson. My Dad, being an avid college basketball fan, would know what he was talking about, and he wasn’t wrong about him. We could talk about the shooting records he broke at Davidson, or the shooting records he’s broken as a Golden State Warrior, or even that he’s the MVP of 2014-2015 NBA season and that he broke Reggie Miller’s post-season three-point record; but that’s what Steph does, he breaks records. He is one of the best shooters the NBA has ever seen with one of the quickest releases. He is unpredictable from his behind the back passes, to his reverse layups, left-handed and right-handed floaters. He gets his whole team involved and the brotherhood he…

View original post 593 more words

Meet Ian Probert – Author of Johnny Nothing

Hello everyone!  Today, I’d like you to meet Ian Probert.  This week I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Ian about his latest book and what he plans for the future.  Ian is a published author and journalist.  He is from England, a place that is part of my own history, as I am half English myself.

Thank you for joining me today, Ian.

Ian_Probert_Photo

Me: Where were you born?

Ian: I was born in a small northern town in Lancashire called Burnley. It will make me sound ancient but I really do remember homemade rag carpets, commodes, outside toilets and people washing coal dust off in tin baths. It’s true!

Me: When did you begin writing?

Ian: I wrote a lot as a child, but then we all do. I think the first serious writing I began doing was a diary I began when I was 21. It spanned my entire three years at art college. It’s pretty debauched reading. I’ve never shown it to anybody.

Me: If you could go anywhere in the world to write a book, where would you go and why?

Ian: Well I quite like the idea of an isolated French farmhouse. But it would have to have broadband, and Sky, and Netflix, and home shopping deliveries.

(Nothing like an isolated French farmhouse with all the amenities included!! Love it!)

Me:  Who or what was your first inspiration for your very first story?

Ian: That would have to be Christopher Lee’s Dracula, when I was about eleven. He’s still the best Dracula, especially when they zoom into his eyes when they become bloodshot.

Dracula_Christopher_Lee

(Shudder. I’d still be having nightmares if I’d seen those eyes at eleven.)

Me: Is there a special place that inspires your writing like a lake, the woods, or some other place that stirs your passion?

Ian: I’m not really that sort of person. When I have it in my mind to do something I don’t care where I do it. However, it’s fairly important to me not to have any clutter. I have to work on a table that is completely clean of anything, in a room that is as free of clutter as possible. I don’t know why I need this because most of the time I’m a very messy person.

(Sure wish it worked this way for me.  I’ll need the isolated French farmhouse.  I find it inspirational to know with just the right amount of noise filters, a book can still be written.  My hats off to you, Ian.)

Me: Of all your characters, who do you think reminds you most of yourself?

Ian: Well that would be easy. It’s the main character in Rope Burns (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rope-Burns-Ian-Probert-ebook/dp/B003YXXKWU/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8). The reason for this is because it’s me. It’s a sort of autobiography. The publishers Headline marketed it a sort of boxing equivalent of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. if only it had sold half the copies of that one.

Rope_Burns_Ian_Probert

Me: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

Ian: Yes. For about fifteen years I couldn’t write anything. I’d start something and it would kind of peter out. I didn’t know that I was suffering from undiagnosed hypothyroidism. This is an article I did for the Guardian about it: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/08/underactive-thyroid-was-slowly-killing-me

(On a very serious note, everyone should read this article.  What Ian didn’t know at the time of this interview is that I have two sisters who suffer from thyroid disease.  Ian’s article clearly sheds light on the symptoms of hypothyroidism.  In my family, it was misdiagnosed on multiple levels from anxiety disorder to depression.  This article is very useful for those of you who feel tired all the time, faint at times, and have gained a significant amount of weight for no apparent reason.  Thank you, Ian, for sharing such a personal issue with us.)

Me:  How do you get through this?

Ian: I was finally diagnosed and put on medication. Although, of course, it’s never as simple as that. I’m actually about 80% well and have ditched NHS treatment and started self-medicating. Don’t get me started on this. I could go on about it for ages.

(Again, I commend you for sharing this difficult part of your life with us.)

Me: What advice would you give to other writers who want to publish a book?

Ian: Treat it like a business. Be completely and utterly professional in what you do. Moreover, don’t pester friends and relatives to read your stuff. You cannot force anybody to read anything and they will almost never say what they really think. And if they do you will lose a friend.

(So true. I’ve lost a few friends along the way, as well.)

Me:  Do you have a favorite author who has given you inspiration to write?

Ian: It depends what mood I’m in. I love Brett Easton Ellis and I love Paul Auster. But I’m also more than happy to read trash. As I get older I find merit in almost everything.

Me: How do you plan our your characters?

Ian: I do it by not planning anything at all. All of my characters have to be based on people I’ve met so that when I write dialogue I try to make them speak in the voice of the real person.

Me: How do you choose a character’s name?

Ian: Differently for each book. However, for Johnny Nothing I’ve tried to make their names reflect their personalities. For example, the sneaky journalist is called Terry Pryor.

Me:  What is your favorite line from one of your books?

Ian: Well I don’t know if I do, but people seem to find this line from Johnny Nothing funny: ‘His name was Ben and he was identical to Bill in every way except that the tattoo on his arm read ‘Bin’ (the tattooist was either South African or not a very good speller).’,

Me: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Ian: Lot’s of things. For enjoyment I play clarinet and classical guitar. Other strings to my bow include teaching design software to companies, and designing covers and logos. I also draw and paint a little.

(He’s a very diverse and talented man, folks.)

Me: What is the greatest compliment you’ve ever received for one of your stories?

Ian: Well, I’ve had people write to me and stuff like that. I don’t know. I’ve had a few people contact me and say that my Guardian article about hypothyroidism has saved their lives. One woman told me that she thinks she would be dead if she hadn’t read it.

Me: How did you feel upon publication of your first novel?

Ian: Surprisingly blasé. But in those days I didn’t realise how lucky I was. I’d been extremely fortunate: my first article had been published by a magazine, I got an agent no problem, I got a publisher no problem. At the time it just seemed natural. I was a pillock. Still am.

(Pillock: In the U.S., this word translates to another word that I cannot use here on my blog! But it sure gave me a good laugh after I looked up the meaning.)

Me: How many books have you written?

Ian: I have to count: seven with traditional publishers (two under a pseudonym). Two self-published. Loads and loads still on my hard drive never to see the light of day. Was looking through old work just the other day. There are so many books I’ve written that I’ve never shown to anyone.

Me: What’s next on your publication list?

Ian: I think a sequel to Johnny Nothing. I kind of like the characters and I left the first one open for a sequel.

There you have it.  Ian Probert is a very talented and interesting man.  I certainly look forward to the sequel to Johnny Nothing. If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of Johnny Nothing, here’s how:

Johnny_Nothing_Ian_Probert
To celebrate the paperback launch of Johnny Nothing we are offering a free Kindle copy of the book to the first 100 people who Tweet the following message:

@truth42 I’m reading Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert. http://geni.us/3oR8 #YA #Kindle #kidsbooks

The first ten readers who answer the following question will also receive a signed print of one of the book’s illustrations.

Q: What is the tattoo on Ben’s arm?

Send your answers to truth42@icloud.com

Links

Amazon http://geni.us/3oR8

iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/johnny-nothing/id908777441?mt=11

Book promo http://youtu.be/xaWO4tR4oj0?list=UUzLRcpNMLRKKtJhes1s1C7w

WordPress http://ianprobertbooks.wordpress.com

Website http://ianprobert.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/716683635030173/

Twitter @truth42