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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

 

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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(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.

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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

Interview with Ian Probert

Happy New Year everyone!!!!  Join me this week as I post my very first guest interview. Ian Probert, a very talented author and journalist will be my guest.  He is the author of Johnny Nothing, a funny children’s book, among other stories.  He promises a few free giveaways, so don’t miss it!!! Details of how to obtain Ian’s books will be revealed during the interview!!JohnnyNothing_IanProbert

And now…A word from your blogger!

Are you curious yet?

Today, I would like to tell you something about my book.  It’s been in the creative stage since 2006.  I have mistakenly put many things before my passion and that is why I created this blog.  Call it a self-help method, if you will, but the purpose of this blog is to keep me on track and prevent me from going back on a promise I made to myself – get this book published and off my desk now!!

My genre is fiction/fantasy fiction because it is my favorite form of writing, but I also write poetry and there are a couple of mystery novels roaming around in my brain.  I even have several inspirational faith-based books that I would like to explore with a pen.

Today,  I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. The title of this novel is Silver, The Dream Dragon.  Yes, I said dragon.  No, we are not done with dragon novels yet!  This book will not be your average dragon novel, either.  I plan to incorporate actual mythology with my own imaginative mythology.

It was Mark Twain who once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”   It is my intention to mix truth with fiction so that I may also enjoy the possibilities.  Besides, it is so much more fun to create your own world and live in it as the ruler and creator of all characters!

Dragons are wonderful and mysterious creatures, especially since there is no real evidence of their existence.  Yet, cultures throughout the world have incorporated dragons into their mythologies.  Interesting, I say!  Where did they come from?  How did they end up in so many cultures?  The possibilities are endless!

My story revolves around two human characters and two very talented dragons, who feel and think just like humans do, perhaps with a little more wisdom and compassion than some real humans I know.  These four characters embark on a journey to find Silver, a dragon who has been kidnapped by the dark dragons of another realm.  As the story unfolds, there are times when even I didn’t know what is going to happen.  But, my friend, that is the beauty of writing.  The story evolves as the finger hits the keyboard, which is why I am a passionate writer.  I love a good story, especially one that is happening right before my very eyes!

Today, I wrote two more pages of that story and as usual, the unexpected happened.  I just discovered what is so special about Silver.  You will have to read the book, of course, to find out.

Thanks for being here with me.

Let’s Write This Book

Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Have you ever heard that before? If so, then perhaps you are a little like me. You wake up every day saying to yourself, “This is the day!” Today I will do this, that, or the other thing. I will accomplish this goal or visit this friend, or whatever it is that you have set your mind to do! Now do it!
It is my personal goal to finish writing a book I started many years ago. Life seems to keep getting in the way, but my brain never stops adding chapters to it.
As of this writing, my book has 69 pages or 15,308 words. Not too shabby. This is the beginning. Today, I will write my book. Join me on this incredibly creative journey and let’s see what those characters are up to these days!
If you are also writing a book, let me know. I can use all the support I can get and I am sure you could too!
Here I am! Let’s do this!