Category Archives: Interviews

Thoughtful Thursdays – # 164 – Abandonment

Standard

Fear of abandonment is a core survival instinct. In a more rural time if you were banished from your village it meant certain death. We are born to feel belonging, it’s part of being human, when we are abandoned physically or emotionally it’s a death of sorts.

If we are abandoned today we won’t die but become dysfunctionally alone, barren, unable to trust, and painfully aware we belong nowhere.

There is a cure for this. You will not want to hear it.

You are the cure. You are the light at the end of the tunnel.

Do what it takes to process the damage of abandonment by significant others. Learn to trust yourself. You are all you need now. You are the strong one, able to live wholly on your own and not in a crowd. You are now able to allow what you want – not waiting for others to include you. You are in control of your own life and that is freedom.

You are the leader of the pack. Out of all the times you doubted you could survive. You did. You did a magnificent job. You deserve an Olympic metal for survival

Congratulations you win.

Advertisements

Pain

Standard

The point of pain is

to show you where

you undervalued,

overlooked, ignored,

abandoned, ignored,

postponed, neglected,

deferred, forgotten,

cast aside, shunned,

disregarded, uncared for,

despised, unwanted,

dismissed and unloved

yourself.

Stop doing that. Please.

Your Very Own Super Powers

Standard

I bet you didn’t know that you have super powers.

You have the power to not let anything disturb you.

You have the power to go with the flow of life.

You have the power to see an obstacle as a stepping stone.

You have the power to discern what is true and what is false.

You have the power to walk away.

You have the power to create the life you want.

Go on and do what it takes to make a wonderful life.

You are a superhero.

Jessica Whitley-Aquatics Director and Head Swim Coach at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Standard

jessica john jay picture

I would like you to meet Jessica Whitley. I have known her for quite a few years now, as my daughters swim coach at her alma mater John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Jessica is a dedicated coach and director, she has motivated many teams, my daughters included, to win college championships and serious college competitions. She builds the all girls swim team to understand what it means to be a team and work together to be winners in the pool and out of the pool. She also maintains a professional and positive attitude with the team that the team absorbs.

Jessica has such a positive attitude and a superior motivator that after graduation my daughter joined her as assistant coach.

Let’s get to know Jessica better.

PSW: How did you become a college swim coach?

JW: Nothing quite beats the thrill of a competitive swim race! I am a former swimmer who decided to become a coach after calling time on my competitive career.

Becoming a college swim coach was not on my radar until I attended John Jay College for my master’s degree. I met Dr. Jane Katz poolside, where I lifeguarded a few hours per week. Suddenly, Dr. Katz husband passed away and she had to take a leave of absence. The head of the physical education department read through my resume and wanted me to take over her college swimming classes as well as coach the swim team.

After meeting the very few ladies on the team, it amazed me to see that the swimmers were able to attend full time school, have a full time job and support their families at home. Coaching is more than telling the athletes to complete practices and swim fast at meets, it is about the coach believeing in the athletes so they feel important and appreciated. I quickly realized that my knowledge of swimming and being a Seton Hall Graduate can really make an impact these your athletes in a positive way. I decided to commit myself to the team members and make them understand that swimming well guide them to a successful careet, structure their lives, and their therapy when they need it.

PSW: How long have you been a college coach?

JW: I am in my 8th season now.

PSW: What is your day like?

JW: My day starts at 4:15 am. I reside in PA so it takes me about an hour and a half to get to work. I start at 6-6:15 and begin planning for the day. Practice is from 8 to 10 am. I am also the Aquatics Director so I maintain, schedule and operate the pool. I have a lifeguard and staff of 7 that I scheducle and train.

PSW: What are your job duties?

JW: Women’s Swim Team Coach responsibilities are:  team training and the focal point for all new activities.

I work extensive hours to coordinate all team practices and clinics.

Collect and summarize team statistics and attend numerous away clinics to gain more knowledge.

As Aquatics Director I manage the pool facility, oversee the pool, lockers and deck area, Oversee a staff of seven. Plan and host events that occur in the pool area.

PSW: What are the challenges of being a college swim coach?

JW: The challenges of being a college swim coach are the athletes not buying into my program and not seeing the benefits right away. I have to gain their trust and let them know that there will be a positive outcome throughout and at the end of the season.

My yearly goal is to have 100% success rate both in the pool and in the classroom. With hard work and support, the athletes will see a major difference from start to finish.

PSW: What are the benefits?

JW: There are so many! Here’s a list:

The swimmers are happy
They commit and stick to the program
Their grades improve
Their swim times improve
Their life imporves
Their communication improves
Their dedication improves
They gain confidence, structure, organization skills

PSW: Are there opportunities for advancement?

JW: There are many opportunities for advancement. I started as a lifeguard, became an Adjunct Professor and Head Coach, moved up to Aquatics Director and Head Coach. There are always opportunities at any workplace, you just work hard and prove that you are doing your job and doing it well.

PSW: Do you have any hobbies?

JW: I do like to run. Ever since I completed my four years as a college athlete, I enjoy running. I also play with my dogs and cats. I am a family person and enjoy being in my new home with the people I love.

PSW: Describe your team assistants and team members?

JW: My team assistants are my former 4 year athletes. I put them on staff because I realized how dedicated they were to the sport. They proved themselves being on my team for 4 years. They are my co-coaches and my support. I always tell them “a head coach is only as good as their assistants.” I trust my assistants to run everything. If I cannot be present, they will take over practice and/or meets efficiently. My assistants have shown me their drive and their commitment to the team. They have been with me for three years now and the team has strengthened because of them

My team members are students. They enter college struggling (all students do at any college) and learn how to organize structure and gain strength to complete a four year degree. They are hard workers, exceptional students and great athletes.

PSW: Are there any special rules to be in a team?

JW: Yes, you must be a full time student. You must swim a 50 (2 laps) freestyle under 45 seconds. You must be able to commit to all practices and meets. You must have a yearly physical done. You must keep your GPA above 2.0.

PSW: Do you have any advice to those who want to be a college swim coach?

JW: My advice, for any job, would be to set a goal and complete that goal. A realistic goal is important. Pay attention to your strengths and weaknesses and focus on improving both. Fight for what you want in life and never, ever give up. With or without support, you can meet your goals. Surround yourself with people who are positive and continue to be who you are and be open to critiques. No one is perfect.

PSW: Thank you so much Jessica. I especially like your advice of fighting for what you want in life and never, ever give up, with or without support. And be open to critiques because no one is perfect.

Jessica Whitley is a role model for anyone who wants to advance in both their career and life. Jessica teaches all who come into her world how to be better than before. Her enthusiam, dedication and care is rare. She is an exceptional teacher and wonderful human being.

I hope Jessica Whitley is an inspiration to you and you will take some of her advice to change your life.

Her contact information is jkolackovsky@jjay.cuny.edu

Moira Allen – Editor – Writing-World.com

Standard

moira allen

Moira Allen is the Editor and creator of Writing-World.com for close to 15 years. She is an expert in teaching about the business of writing and honing the craft of writing.

I have followed her website for a few years now and she has graciously let me pick her brain with my own questions and her website is an education in itself. She has now generously granted me this wonderful interview.

Moira is honest, pragmatic and grounded in her approach to writing and the business of writing. She has much to teach us.  Let’s welcome Moira Allen.

PSW: Your love of words show in your newsletter. How did you decide to be a writer?

MA: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories in my head. But even that, is think, stems from the fact that I came from a family of readers. So “stories” were something that were just a natural part of my life. They were all around me: my mother read to me from as early as I can remember, so I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t being exposed to “storytelling”.

I grew up surrounded by books, and by the notion that books and reading were important. I could nearly always manage to be left alone to “do my own thing” if I were reading – or at least pretending to read – because the family considered reading to be one of the most worthwhile things that one could do. Often, however, I’d be hiding behind a book and actually making up my own stories and acting them out in my head

It simply seemed natural, then, to want to start writing those stories down when I became more able to do so. And that’s when I ran into the magic of non-completion – I worked on the same “novel” for years! When you’re young and constantly growing and changing, your ideas of “the perfect story” keep changing too, and I’d get to about chapter 4 or 5 and decide to start over at the beginning. (Unfortunately that tendency hasn’t really gone away…)

I’m sure I flirted briefly with other ideas about “what I would be” when I grew up – I recall discarding “ballerina” fairly early. I know for quite awhile I was sure I wanted to be a naturalist, but mainly because I enjoyed reading what naturalists wrote about nature and animals, and I wanted to write the same types of things. I got cured of that when, in college, I worked at a zoology museum and found out that today’s naturalist did quite a lot of cutting things up.

But I think all along, I was pretty convinced that “when I grew up” I wanted to be a writer. I still do. But then, I’m still waiting to grow up.

PSW: How has your writing talent help you grow creatively?

MA: I think writing changes how one sees the world. I know that many people don’t imagine writing as being an “active” type of career. But it’s certainly a mentally active one! It changes one’s approach to looking at just about anything, because it becomes difficult to look at something without automatically starting to think about how one would describe it or explain it to another person.

From there, that means that one is on longer simply a passive observer of life. One is always looking deeper, looking around corners, looking for meanings, looking for patterns. Sherlock Holmes accused Watson of seeing but not “observing”. I think that as one becomes a writer, one moves from simply seeing (“oh, look, pretty lake”) to observing – and interpreting. (“How would you describe the color of the water? How does the sun strike it? What is the impression or feeling that it gives you – warm sparkles or a sense of cold dread at the bottomless depths? Who’s in that boat out there? Is that an innocent family outing or a murder about to happen?”)

One of the things one seeks to do as a writer is to take what one sees (or imagines) and enable another person to see it. That extends to seeking to enable another person to see things that no longer exist – e.g., the world of the past – or things that have not existed yet – the future, another planet, etc. Writing enables us to see “creatively” because we want to be able to express, creatively, what we see.

PSW: What is the best way to practice the writing craft?

The one that works for you. Seriously. I am SO not a fan of articles that say to be a good writer, or a successful writer, you “must” do this, that or the other. You’ll have one person saying that it’s best to get up at 5 a.m. And write while you are “fresh.” Another advocates writing in the afternoon. One person is convinced that you must writer detailed outlines; another believes in flash cards; another in “clustering,” another in flying by the seat of the pants.

There have been many mantras about writing that be passed around the community. Basically, the writing community tends to latch on to a piece of advice and , because it was uttered by an “expert,” it’s taken as gospel and passed on as such, over and over and over again. For awhile, for instance, it was considered absolutely vital that a writer maintain a journal. You just HAD to have someplace to jot down your thoughts, ideas, inspirations, etc., every day. I can remember reading article after article extolling the importance of journaling. I don’t see that advice very often anymore – it seems to have become less “in fashion” – but for a time everyone just simply “agree” that this MUST be THE thing to do.

Similarly, the piece of advice that gets passed around constantly is that you MUST write EVERY day. Then there are lots of pieces of tangential advice that try to handle the fact that, let’s face it, most of us CAN”T manage to write every day. So we’re told that we should, but… as long as we just write 100 words or 500 words or a journal entry, we have “fulfilled” the requirement. No one tends to question who came up with the “requirement” in the first place.

The problem with these “best way” recommendations is that when you aren’t doing it or cannot do it or think it’s a total waste of time to do it (can you tell I never got “into” journaling?), it’s easy to feel that you’re not doing “everything in your power” to be a writer. And if you’re not doing “everything” that you should be doing, you must not want it enough, and if you don’t want it enough, maybe you’re not REALLY cut out to be a writer in the first place!

So… the best way is YOUR way. If you find that your way isn’t actually working for you, then it’s up to you to examine what you’re doing and develop a system that works better. One of the first steps in that exam is to make sure that you’re not trying to follow someone else’s way, and failing to understand why THEIR way isn’t working for YOU.

PSW: What is your typical writing day like?

It usually involves quite a lot of NOT writing. I do not write every day. When I do, and I’m really settling into it, there ‘s a lot of “to-ing and fro-ing.” I sit down. I try to concentrate. I get up. I walk around. I get coffee. I put on the laundry. I sit down. I drink the coffee. I write a couple of paragraphs. I get up. The coffee is gone; need more. I pace the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil. I make more coffee. (Oops, laundry needs changing now!) I sit down. This all takes usually an hour or two, and then finally like a switch gets flipped, and I hit the “zone” and just keep typing. THEN, I could probably type for hours. I will usually write 1/2 to 2/3 of my piece and then go back to the beginning and start rewriting it – perhaps because I can’t really write the end until I’ve made some necessary modifications that occurred to me as I moved forward. The end of whatever I’m writing needs to flow logically from the beginning – so if, halfway through, I’ve seen a somewhat different direction, or I didn’t like the way I was expressing something, then I need to go back and do my next pass from hat point and try to push the flow all the way through to the finish.

And then I need more coffee…

PSW: What is it like being in the writing business?

MA: It’s a bit of a combination of wonderful and terrible. It can be wonderful, because there is no good reason to be in this business if it isn’t something you love. And so, wonderfully, you’re doing something you love. But it can be terrible because you’re in an incredibly competitive business – there are more active writers out there today than ever before in history. So it can be extremely frustrating, and I think more writers are feeling the pinch of frustration today than ever before. Ironically, our worst competition isn’t “good” writers, it’s “bad” writers. If you pick up a poorly written book, and you’re new to reading, it’s going to turn you off to the process – so every writer is harmed by the plethora of truly bad, unskilled writing that is flooding the market place through “do it yourself” and free venues.

Another hazard in the “writing business” is that many people assume it’s about “writing” and forget that it is, also, a “business.” that means all the issues of “doing business” apply. If you want to get published, you have to learn how the publishing business works. You have to learn how to find markets, develop appropriate submissions, track income and expenses, track submissions and maintain your writing AS a business. Creativity is only one ingredient in a successful writing “business”.

PSW: Your newsletter is an education in itself. How many years have you been sharing this information?

MA: Writing-World.com was founded in 2000, so it is about to head into its 15th year. The website itself offers more than 600 articles on just about every aspect of writing of every level of expertise. The newsletter is just a small part of that. Writing-World.com is one of the largest, if not THE largest, sites for writers on the web today, with the largest archive of material and one of the largest visitor rates.

Before that, I worked with Inkspot, which was in every sense the “predecessor” of Writing-World.com. Inkspot was one of the first and foremost “communities” for writers on the web, with a host of resources for writers – it was one of the first out there when the Web was still shiny and new. Prior to that, I had set up my own little “advice” site called “Tips for Writers” – I eventually transferred all that material over to Inkspot, and then to Writing-World.com. Writing-World.com was born from the ashes of Inkspot, which was “killed” by a new owner, and we were able to inherit a lot of the material that had formerly been posted on Inkspot. We just went on from there!

PSW: Do you recommend a writer to specialize in one type of writing?

MA: No, not really. I think it’s too easy to assume that you do only one thing, or like only one thing. Getting out into the “writing business” often means getting out of your comfort zone, and writing for types of publication you might not have imagined working with. It means learning to write different lengths and even different styles. There are different requirements for magazines, newspapers, online publications, blogs, etc, – and one thing tends to lead to another.

By exploring and pushing your boundaries, you may discover that there is some other aspect of writing that you never imagined you’d be good at – and you find that you like it even more than what you THOUGHT you would be writing. In a world that tries to pigeon-hole people, it’s silly to pigeon-hole yourself! Don’t ever assume, “Oh, I’d never be any good at that,” or “I’ve never done that, so I couldn’t do it.”

You may also find that the type of writing you’re comfortable with, or assume you WANT to do, is not one that will lead to a “successful” writing career. This is a career where flexibility and versatility are real advantages.

PSW: What advice do you have for new writers?

MA: Let’s go back to the issue of being aware that “a writing business” is a BUSINESS. You wouldn’t imagine going into any other business without learning the ropes. So don’t imagine that you can be truly successful as a writer without leaning how the writing and publishing business works. A lot of writers feel that their job is just to be “creative” – and then they hope someone will tell them how to take the next step (e.g., find an agent, find a publisher). But the thing is, you’re competing with the ones who DO go out there and do the research, read the articles and the books and the blogs. If you aren’t one of them, you don’t have a chance. The person who is prepared and educated is ALWAYS going to come out ahead of the person who says, “I just wrote this great book, but I have no idea what to do next, can you help me?”

The wonder of today’s online world is that writers have access to unimaginable volumes of information for free that, in my early days, you had to pay for! If you wanted to be a successful writer 30 years ago, you had to subscribe to a writing magazine or two, you had to buy books (lots of books), and you might want to take classes at a real-world night school. Today, most of what is in those books and classes can be found online for free. And yet too many new writers aren’t taking advantage of that.

So educate yourself. Find out what the writing business is about, how it works, and how to make it work for you . Don’t be scared off by the horror stories that you hear about how “no new writer can ever get published.” EVERY writer who is published today was a new writer at some pint. Of COURSE new writers get published! They get published all the time! That’s how they stop being “new writers.”

When you DO hear horror stories, identify the source. Are you being told “you don”t have a chance with traditional publishing” by someone who has a vested interest in convincing you to buy THEIR product or service? Are you being told this by someone who wants validation of the path THEY have chosen?

Finally, I supposed perhaps that most important attribute a new writer can have is PATIENCE. We live in a world where instant gratification is considered not only the norm but some sort of divine right. I want to be published – next week! Why SHOULDN’T that happen? Traditional publishing – the kind that gets your book in front of hundred of thousand of readers rather than literally, a few dozen – DOES take time, patience, frustration (lots of frustration), research, and more patience. Too many writers today are settling for what they can get NOW, rather than hanging in there for the far greater reward that comes from enduring the frustration, the disappointment, and the passage of time. Great writers don’t settle – they endure. We aren’t taught “endurance” much anymore, so those who will are those who win.

Moira Allen, Editor
Writing-World.com

Author of “Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer,” “The Writers Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals”

Moira teaches us that with a little courage and persistence you will win in the writing world. Her practical advice you too can live your dreams. Thank you so much Moira for sharing what you know so well and your words or encouragement.

For more information visit: Writing-World.com

Melissa Goscinski – Modern American Singer

Standard

melisa goscinskiMelissa’s journey as a talented musician has not been easy nor linear. She is quite young to be in the music industry but her phenomenal voice is opening doors for her career. Melissa is committed to her path and it shows in her lifestyle. Her work has been influenced by Aretha Franklin, Miranda Lambert, Tina Turner, Amy Winehouse, Adele,
Jeff Buckley and so many more… She is an American Idol contestant for than once. Let’s find out about her unique life.

I have the great pleasure to introduce to my audience Melissa Goscinski who is the lead singer of Violet Skies. Her genre is Americana/Soul/Rock but just writing the words describing her work is not enough. At the end of the article I will put the links to some of her music. Melissa has also recorded her first EP.

PSW (Purely Simple Words): Welcome Melissa and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. How old were you when you started singing.

MG (Melissa Goscinski): I was singing since I was about two. But I was really discovered when I was 12 accidentally by my elementary music teacher Ms.Weltz.

PSW: When did you start studying music?

MG: I started studying professionally about 12 – 13 years old. I discovered I could really sing when I was about 11 early 12. I started with teachers when I was 13. I am trained in classical opera. I haven’t been in vocal lessons for a while but I am going to start up again because I was recently diagnosed with vocal nodules.

I am doing therapy with a vocal therapist and various doctors. I do vocal warm ups three times a day to get rid of them ad if that doesn’t work then surgery is the other option. But I haven’t been singing for a while and that is really sad.

PSW: How long have you been on break from singing?

MG: I have been on a bread since June 27. the day after the school term ended I went to the vocal doctor because I was experiencing vocal hoarseness and got tired very quickly, then I would get laryngitis were I couldn’t speak, I knew something was not right. So they they were. The nodules.

PSW: How long has it been since you sang classically?

MG: I haven’t been singing classically in 6 years but I am with a band and we started together since 2010. We do Covers. We do rock music like Aerosmith, Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Adele and some new stuff. When I am not preforming I work with kids. Between my day job and singing it was stressful and I guess it got to me.

PSW: Where is your day job?

MG: I am a para professional for the Board of Education in NYC.

PSW: Do you want to be a teacher?

MG: No, I need to find a job to help my mom out. My friend recommended me at her school and I got the job. That is how that happened.

PSW: How many days a week do you work as a para professional?

MG: I work 5 days per week, I am not permanently hired yet but there is an opportunity to work as a substitute in one school for a whole year. But you don’t bet paid vacations. I work in on High School and one Elementary. This year I worked with kids 4-11 and last year 15-16 year olds.

PSW: Did you finish college?

MG: No not yet. I was a music major and I took a year leave of absence but I want to go back for Media Studies for a back up plan because I want to stay in this business. I know goal of achieving stardom is extremely hard but I came to terms, and I know I love the business so much I would do anything whether to work on the front line or behind the scenes.

PSW: Tell me about your experience singing with Jennifer Hudson. I understand it was a contest.

MG: My mother had knee surgery and was in the hospital. She was watching TV and saw a contest on the Today Show in NYC. She called me and said I had to get on it right away because it was the last day to enter. I had to video record myself singing “And I am telling you” which is the Etta James song but Jennifer Hudson sang it in Dream Girl. I did record the song and it is on Youtube and sent it in and didn’t think anything of it. Two days later I got a phone call from a Manhattan number and it was the Today Show asking for me. They didn’t believe I was the same person because I sing like a black person but speak like a little girl. They asked if I could sing a little over the phone for the. So I did. They said they were really impressed with my singing and invited me to be one of the finalists in the competition. There was myself and three other contestants.. I remember being picked up in a private car really early in the morning and driven to the Today show. It was a wonderful experience. Jennifer Hudson picked the winner a surprisingly she chose me.

PSW: Did you sing with Sherri Shepard.

MG: Yes, one of the guys in the band knows her. He is a producer at the ABC show the View. She was having a house warming party and invited my band to preform. I was a wonderful experience plus I met a lot of nice people in the audience and met May Pang who is now my friend.

She invited me to her birthday party in October, and a Memorial Day BBQ. She is always inviting me to her awesome parties and recently I asked if I could ask her question about the musics industry. She is generous in helping me and is really a fantastic person.

PSW: I listened to your album online and it is beautiful.

MG: Thank you. Rich Guerzon produced the album. He wrote the lyrics and composed three of the songs. On the other two songs I wrote the lyrics that he wrote the music to. We haven’t seen each other lately because I am on break from the vocal nodes however I am still writing the songs that come into my head.

PSW: What Advice would you give to someone who wants to be a singer like you?

MG: That’s a good question. Vocal lessons once a week. A large repertoire so that at any given moment you can sing and audition for someone on the spot. Something that can really show off your talent. This is something I still work on. I have been to American Idol audition a couple of times and got to go a couple of rounds but didn’t make it.

PSW: Do you recommend being persistent?

MG: Once you give up that is the biggest failure. No matter how many times you get a “no” you have to keep trying because eventually someone out there will believe in you. If you have a really big talent they can’t deny that.; even with this nodule thing I am still learning and speaking to people about the music business. I am told my voice is outstanding by some and others will not acknowledge it. You don’t need them they need you . That’s my new motto that I keep repeating to myself. Be positive and it is hard in the field. I am humble and I am willing to learn.

PSW: How did you meet the band you are in?

MG: It is strange the way things happen sometimes. My mom works at the post Office and one of her friends delivers mail. He heard that one of his mail recipients wrote jingles. He spoke to the guy and said he knew of me and suggested he listen to my amazing voice. My mom’s friend gave him all my contact information. The guy did listen to my youtube recording and emailed me immediately. The man’s name is Glenn Sherman and he asked if I could write with him on a few things.

I was busy at the time but he called me and told me of a band who was doing a wedding and said I could benefit if I sang with them to make some money. So I agree. These guys are older than me and have been around for years. I had no idea what I was walking into and thought it was going to a karaoke CD instead it was serous band stuff. After a while it became a regular gig. We played in lots of different place in New York. Band member Rich Guerzon started wiring and I have been singing it. I have been with them four years. It’s an interesting story. I kind of just walked it on it.

I am lucky I walk in to opportunities like this all the time. Like meeting Sherri Shepard and other who know other contacts. And it is becoming a whole circle. Luck so far is on my side in some ways and not on my side in some ways.

PSW: Is there anything else you would like to add?

MG: I am working on getting better, and writing new tunes so stay tuned. And lastly I want to mention my Mon has been completely supportive of me throughout all of this. I can’t go without saying that. Thanks Mom.

Melissa is the essence of persistence. Her message is to keep learning, keep going and thank and acknowledge those who have helped you along the way.

Her band Voilet Skies consists of Melissa and John Ferry on percussion, Rob Cafaro on Keys and Vocals, Mark Magliaro on Guitar and Vocals and Rich Guerzon on Bass and Vocals.

Her future is bright and she is an inspiration to anyone who wants to be persistent.

For more information about Melissa go to:Violet Skies on Facebook.
For Youtube videos type in Violet Skies..
And here is her email: Violetskymusic@hotmail.com

Low Country Bribe by C. Hope Clark (Review)

Standard

Just finished reading Hopes book and ……………….

Hope realistically portrays life in the South Carolina and the lifestyles of the people who live there. This is a fast paced story of the southern heroine Carolina Slade. Our heroine speaks with great strength and honesty and her heart feels much.

The graphic detail to the countryside, colors, sounds, smells and tastes experienced by the characters put you in the scene.

What captured me the most was the realistic portal of a females deepest fears of being isolated from what is familiar, man trouble, self doubt, fear, rape and being threatened. The story was a page turner and kept me interested from beginning to end.

The ending was a complete surprise to me. Without giving anything away Hope knows just how to hold your interest and without knowing it you are zipping fast through the tale. The story is surprise after surprise and worth the read.

Thoughful Thursdays # 64 – Going Underneath the Recesses Of My Mind

Standard

A few weeks ago I wrote about suicide. It was before the Robin Williams incident. And I got a lot of people concerned with my mental health. Here is an explaintion and update on how I am feeling.

There were a series of events that ticked off my codependancy and abandonment issues so I spiraled down that slippery slope of despair. Only this time it was so painful that past memories surfaced. Hence the feeling of annilation.

Update………

Sometimes I have to allow myself to hit bottom emotionally because it is the only way up and out. I must allow myself to feel suicidal, sad, lonely, awful, cry, and scream, abandoned, needy, out of control and insane to the point of losing control.

When my ego is done yacking away with all this pain, I can feel the difference between my ego screaming and what is heart felt and realistic, instinctual and right. This is where time stops and as silly as it might sound I start to feel really lucky to be able to come up from the depths of emotional hell and be thankful for a roof over my head, my health, people I care about, talking, smiling, laughing etc.

My ego perceived lots of unrealistic things as a threat like it will die or is losing something. Those are just fears from the past rearing its ugly head and creating resistance. My ego will fight back, that is it’s nature. But eventually weakens because my ego needs to rest and then turns to being cooperative with healing and health. My ego must cooperate with expression and evolution of the self, it has no choice.

When my ego is open, raw and down it doesn’t see the options that are present. This gives me the reason to sit and go down the slope of despair.

Here is my secret……..This is where I just sit and feel everything. Let my mind wander to all the possible outcomes good and bad. I am not going to kid you it is hard to do this. It feels like no control at all. It is going into the unknown. Will I lose my mind or won’t I. I battle with reaching out for something to relieve being uncomfortable. I want the cigarette, drink, drug, person to distract me, the internet anything to stop the pain. But I must not, I must sit and feel no matter how long it takes. Going down to the bottomless pit of hopelessness. Eventually the desperation stops. I am spent, exhausted and heavy.

From here it is up. The feeling of empowerment takes over and the best therapy abounds. My own form of therapy. There is feeling of openness where answers come from. It is a form of meditation. I accept things for what they are. Here is the miracle: I can slowly move in a new direction. Still in pain I can still move ahead. Lick my wounds and heal.

I will say this: don’t listen or act on the ego it loves drama and pain. Listen and act on the positive, it loves moving like lava from out of the mountain of despair. Burning away illusions and reveals the truth of the situation. My truth and your truth. The positive wrenches through the illusion of despair and hopelessness. There is no such thing as helplessness really because it is all in the mind. But the ego does not realize this. The ego refuses to believe in possibilities. It believes in fear.

My heart must speak to the ego like a baby and encourage it to cooperate because my heart knows how to hold the hand of the screaming ego child lovingly and wholly. So does your heart. If you listen.

Peace, all is as it should be.

World Blog Tour – 21 Century Marketing

Standard

I have been invited to participate in the World Blog Tour. Here’ show it goes.

The World Blog tour is a concept of paying it forward. Someone invites to to join in, someone else invites some one else and so on. Essentially it is a chain letter for blogs. The objective is to bring do a good deed by mentioning other peoples work. You also must answer the same questions below. I want to thank my fellow writer and personal historian Deborah Perham of A Lifetime Legacy for inviting me on the World Blog Tour. Be sure to check out her blog: alifetimelegacy.com.

What am I currently working on?

I am currently working on interviewing inspirational creative people who have overcome the challenges of running creative businesses and lifestyles. I am also writing positive thinking and inspirational pieces. Creative writing like poetry and free association come up occasionally too. I love the feeling of passing insights to my audience and my objective is to validate each and every one of our authentic lives. No life is the same but we are the same in generalities. Often we don’t know about other peoples struggles so writing and sharing them has a healing effect and hopefully motivate change in a positive direction as well.

How Does My Work Differ From Others Of This Genre?

I am not sure how it is different other than I am the one saying it. Those who need to hear what I have to say will be drawn to my work. I started writing with gusto just a few years ago and I loved it so much I have been running with it ever since and have not looked back. Writing is healing for me and words have such power. The power to heal or destroy. My words are intended to heal.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

I write to validate, validate, validate. I know what it feels like to not be listened to or validated. It is extremely important to me that whoever I am dealing with knows I hear them. It is so frustrating when you want to be heard and no one listens. I do this through writing. So as a public service on my blog I do a lot of interviews to give back to those who have inspired me and pass on the information for others to be inspired.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

My entire writing process is based on free association and stream of consciousness. I have an idea and just write till I feel it is enough and then I edit or change. I don’t censor myself I just let my mind take over. I have been amazed at what I write. I found an essay I wrote a few years ago and I was amazed and the depth at which I wrote. The words just flowed. It was like someone else wrote it.

Shout out to some impressive people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Deborah Perham of A Life Time Legacy who is connecting generations through her personal history preservation business. Her website explains in depth how to keep the memories and your life alive for generations. Her dedication and enthusiasm for personal history is unending. Check her website: alifetimelegacy.com.

Karen Sackowitz of Karen Sackowitz Communications who is a professional writer and personal historian in the business of consulting and business services. The written word is gracefully put together for your business. Brochures, web content, social media messages are just a few of the services her company provides. Check out her services at karensackowitz.com.

Linda Villano of SerendipiTea who has the best tea importing company on the planet. Yes the planet, she imports tea from all over the world including exotic places like the Azores and Guatemala. She is generous with her knowledge and is focused on creating a great product and reducing the carbon footprint. Visit her website for a tea education: serendipitea.com.

Martie McNabb of Memories Out Of The Box who will create a unique personal history book for you without words. She is a visual artist who puts all your old memorabilia into a chronological book with your lifes story in it. It’s the kind of book to pull off the shelf, grab a beverage and tell the story with your own words. Visit her website:memoriesoutofthebox.com.

Tiffini Minatel-Schreiber of Tiff’s LIC (k) Dogwalking and Playgroups, LLC who is a successful and compassionate business owner. She is one of the original dog walking business owners in Long Island City, NY . She loves dogs and it shows in her professionalism and commitment to the dogs left in her care. To contact Tiffini visit her facebook page.

I have had the pleasure of interviewing each one of these extraordinary women. You can see their interviews on my blog: purelysimplewords.

Pass it on. World Blog Tour-21 Centruy Marketing. Thanks again to Deborah Perham for inviting me.

 

Contests I Have Won So Far

Standard

7/14…. 6 e books about being a better writer by  Linda Formicelli of Renegade Writer.

 

8/14….1 Kindle copy of Low Country Bribe – The first in the series of the Carolina Slade Mysteries by C. Hope Clark.