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Smart or Beautiful?

lovewarriorHello Dear Followers,

Over the years, my best friend and I have had several conversations ranging in various topics, in one of our conversations, I had asked what I thought was rather a simple question, “Why can’t people just be themselves?”

She answered immediately with, “Do you know how fuckin’ hard that is to do?”

I replied, “No, I don’t.” Because I didn’t.  I didn’t know because I was always myself.  Maybe it was pure ignorance, but I just didn’t know how to be anyone else.

She then said, “Well, I guess you have had a higher sense of self.”

I began to think at that point, whether there had been a time I wasn’t myself. But I couldn’t think of a one.

I recently began reading “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton.  A book that everyone (including the author) is calling “a book about marriage.” I suppose that is true, I just haven’t gotten to the marriage part yet.

I am in the beginning, where the author talks about who she was growing up or rather who she wasn’t.

She talks about how in her younger years she was always considered beautiful by those who came in contact with her.   As I was reading this, several things she said struck me and it’s this:

“When strangers admire me, I practice returning their attention. I understand that beauty is a form of kindness. It is for giving away and I try to be generous.”

She goes on to say that her parents tried to instill balance in her life by telling her she was smart as well.

“I’m an early reader, and at four, converse like an adult.” “But soon I realize that smart is more complicated than beautiful….”  “I begin to understand that beauty warms people and smart cools people.” 

Let me preface this by saying, I am smart. Always have been, somewhat absent minded, but smart just the same. I grew up loving to read, I enjoyed history and studying people and the world around me. Beautiful wasn’t a word I would exactly use to describe myself.

As I have gotten older, I embraced all of these “smart” aspects me and accepting that I wasn’t physically beautiful.  Sure, I have physical traits that I love, but I was never completely happy with it all.

People reading this might say things like, “Beauty only runs skin deep.” or “Think more of yourself, Daniela.”

I never wanted to play the dumb blonde to get noticed, I never knew how to flirt or if I did, I didn’t use it.  I loved that I loved to read, I loved that I knew I thought differently than most girls my age, but does this get the attention of the opposite sex?  No. You hardly get noticed.

Glennon goes on to talk about how she became someone else as she got older, having a “representative” of sorts, getting involved in things that could destroy anyone.

Anyway, I think this is an excellent and easy read, definitely worth diving into.  While this is one of six books I am reading right now, I will definitely get back to you with more thoughts as I continue on with this book.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writers: The Wanderers of Life

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Elizabeth Gilbert

Hello Dear Followers,

I am on vacation this week so I thought I would drop in and write a new blog post.  I am currently re-reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I promise this blog won’t turn into an Elizabeth Gilbert fan page, I am still in the midst of finishing her new book, “Big Magic.”

I stopped “Big Magic” to return to “Eat, Pray, Love” for some life advice.  I assume many of you know, she keeps an active Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, so I follow her regularly on all three.

I love reading her words of wisdom daily or almost daily and trying to figure out how to infuse what she tells us into my own life.  She is so wise.

I read “Eat, Pray, Love” for the first time around the time when it came out, in 2006.. I read it because it was the book to read at the moment.  But I never soaked in what she was trying to say in her book.

This time around, I read it again because I needed to.  I needed my dosage of Liz on a grander scale than just her daily posts on Facebook.  I needed her mentoring about life.  I wanted to know how she went through some tough times and got through, what was her method?

(Spoiler Alert ahead!)

Anyway, she recently announced that she was getting separated from the man she met in the last chapter of “Eat, Pray, Love.”  It was shock to all of her followers I am sure.  But it made me applaud her, she always ran to the beat of her own drum, a wanderer of sorts through life.  She was inspiring.

I then began to look back at other writers I loved in my life… with the exception of Laura Ingalls Wilder,  most of my favorite writers weren’t married.   Jane Austen, not married.  Louisa May Alcott, to my research… never married.

Liz was married once, and now this would be her second marriage.  These famous writers have something in common – independence.  They are strong enough in their own minds and hearts to carry on their own away from the confines of marriage.  I applaud them.

So many women these days, particularly women my age (33 and older)  feel that it is a must or be viewed as some sort of failure in life.  I am not married, even though I so want to be, but I also enjoy this life.

I am a successful writer, living on my own doing my own thing… I have good friends and family. I have accomplished a lot in my life.

I don’t pretend to know the reason behind Liz’s separation from her husband, it could be a myriad of things, but I still applaud her strength and ability to move forward with her life.

I applaud all of the other authors before her too, that found the strength to remain independent in their own lives and in their craft.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

150 Pages of Big Magic

Hello Dear Followers,

Big MagicIn the short time I’ve followed author Elizabeth Gilbert, (particularly after “Eat,Pray,Love” came out),  I realized she isn’t just some author she is a good friend.  So it is no wonder when she wrote the following words that I thought of my dear friend who has been imparting the same exact wisdom that Liz is bestowing upon those reading her wonderful book “Big Magic.”

The passage that struck a chord with me is this:  “Let people have their opinions. More than that, let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your creative work.”  

The line that struck me is this (wait for it) – “And always remember that people’s judgements about you are none of your business.” 

Done.

For me personally, this doesn’t only speak volumes in terms of my “creative work” but also in my personal life.  I have struggled tremendously with this over the years, and as I have gotten older I realized that I can’t stop anyone’s opinions no more than anyone can stop mine.  So why bother getting all bothered by it?

When I read this entire passage, I said,  “what did my friend have a chat with Liz about this?” Because she has been telling me those exact words forever.  And I still don’t think I can wrap my head around it.

Of course Liz had some other wonderful passages to share with her readers, but I will not give it away because you definitely need to take the time to immerse yourself in her book, especially if you are like me who is trying to live a creative life though writing and reading regularly.

To add to the passage above, here is another line I love – “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to. Actually don’t even bother answering, just keep doing your thing.” 

Until next time folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cat for Cathy

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s been a while since my last post, but I wanted to share with you a new author that has recently published her first children’s book titled “A Cat for Cathy” by Theresa Miller with illustrations by Christina Sanchez.

It is simply a delightful book for children and adults alike will definitely enjoy.

It tells the story of eight-year-old Cathy who wanted nothing more than a pet cat.  She didn’t think her parents would get her one, so she hatches a plan to get one. Cathy finds a stray cat and took her home in hopes her parents would let her keep it.  But little does she know, her Dad has a bigger surprise for her.

I enjoyed the book so much, and I think any parent who has experienced their child wanting a pet will enjoy this too.  Who doesn’t remember being a kid and wanting a pet and trying everything you can to get one?  I certainly do!

What I also loved about this book were the illustrations by Christina Sanchez.  It is vibrant and alive and really catches the true essence of the story.

Theresa Miller isn’t just a book author, she is also a wonderful co-worker of mine, and I just found out she was an author a few weeks ago and thought I would give her a little shout out here on my book blog.  I thought the best way for me to do that was to interview her myself, so here you go and enjoy!

A Cat for Cathy

 

DF: What made you start writing?

TM: At a young age I enjoyed reading. I remember in middle school, I picked out a book by Langston Hughes and I loved it. I can’t recall the name, but his poetry made me want to write. I started then. Whenever the teacher gave us an assignment to write an essay or story on a topic, my stories were always considered way to long. I remember one time the teacher said, great story but too long. Try cutting it down, I always thought if I cut it down, then there’s no story. That was the hard part. But at home I kept a notebook and just wrote, whenever something popped in my head, no matter what time it was I had to write it down. I have folders and folders of my poetry and other stories.

DF: Where did your inspiration come with “A Cat for Cathy?”

TM: I was visiting my mentee one day and she didn’t want to read. She was having a bad day. I said alright, how about I tell you a story. She said ok. I starting making up a story about a little girl that wanted a cat. My mentee said, hey you’re not reading out of a book. I said I know, it’s coming from my brain. She said I like it. At that very moment, I said to myself, hmm…if she likes it then what other child would. That’s how A Cat for Cathy was started.

DF: What have you enjoyed most about writing this book?  And Why?

TM: Thinking of different ideas, how to organize the book. Thinking of how Cathy should look as well as the cats. I rewrote the middle part several times. I wanted something that I knew I did as a child, and what my nieces and nephews did when they really wanted something. My older son wanted a toy so bad when he was young and I remember stick figure pictures on my dresser and he placed one in my purse one time. Those memories made me rewrite the middle. How Cathy came up with her game plan.

DF: What message do you hope to convey with this book and books going forward?

TM: I want children to be able to read about different experiences that children may go through. But enjoy the story as well. Every child has a story to tell. This story may relate to a child who actually thought of doing this or actually did.

DF: What do you think children and parents alike will enjoy about this book?

TM: How Cathy was determined to get a cat. How you don’t give up on what you want in life. How Cathy and her mother hung flyers about the cat she found in the park.

DF: When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

TM: Reading. I love to read. Barnes & Noble and I are the best of friends.

DF: What was your favorite children’s book?  And Why?

TM: I can’t just give one answer. I will say this; my author when I was a child is Judy Blume. I loved her books. From Freckle Juice, Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge and many more. Her books were exciting and I remember waiting for the book order form that was handed out in class and I always ordered her books.

DF: What are your plans going forward?

TM: Going forward I plan to continue writing more children books. “Andy’s Ant Farm,”  my second book, is with my editor now. That should be available in March or April. While that is being edited, I am currently writing my third.

DF: Is there a part of this book you want to highlight?

TM: Yes, when Cathy finds the stray cat. I wanted children to know how important it is to find the owner. The fact that flyers were hung and a number was given, it showed that she tried, but more importantly they gave Forrest a home.

DF: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?

TM: Keep writing. Don’t give up. There is always a way to get your stories out. If you tried to get published, but received letters or an email saying no, not interested. Don’t give up. Keep going and keep writing. I did self publishing. I read up on it, I watched videos on you-tube. My support system, my family, encouraged me. Once A Cat for Cathy was completed, they were amazed, shocked and I was told it’s about time. Never give up and let a no discourage you.

Theresa’s book is available as an e-book on Amazon.com.  I also strongly encourage you  to visit her Facebook page  “Reesee Books”  too!

My Elizabeth Gilbert Experience

Hello Dear Followers,

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Me, Elizabeth Gilbert and my friend Jaimie

It has been a while, and sadly I have not gotten any farther than I was when I last wrote to all of you.  Still trying to get through “American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld and “Quiet” by Susan Cain.  I am itching to finish both!

I couldn’t resist sharing with all of you about my Elizabeth Gilbert experience this weekend.  In case you have been living under a rock and don’t know who she is, she is the author of “Eat, Pray, Love.”  It was a memoir she wrote in 2006 about her spiritual year-long journey to Italy, India and Indonesia.

When I read that book and the book that followed – “Committed,”  I continued to be inspired by her spirituality, her strength and bravery.

I was so lucky this past weekend to meet her at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield,  Conn.,  where  she spoke about her newest book “The Signature of All Things”  which tells the story Alma Whittaker, a botanist born in 1800 and of the Whittakers, a family of botanical explorers, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

I will admit I have not read the book yet, just got it a few weeks ago, but I am excited to begin once I finish my other books.

I found Liz  to be just fabulous.  She was funny and witty, during her talk she made some of the best of analogies that explained life perfectly – both hers and others.  My friend Jaimie and I jokingly decided we had girl crushes on this author.  Liz spoke to everyone who asked her a question like she knew them forever, they weren’t just audience members, but friends.

What I loved about that was it made asking my question about wanting to write a book so much easier and she is the second author that has seriously made me think about beginning writing for myself again regularly – (I may even carry a journal with me wherever I go.)

She told the mainly-women filled audience a lot of things about herself and life that I found very helpful.  She said anything that you fight will fight you back.  There isn’t anything more attractive than someone whose feet doesn’t fully touch the ground.  She said women have a tremendous capacity to be resilient in the face of a ruin.

I really just simply enjoyed hearing this woman who has traveled the world and found herself in the most spiritual of places is truly something to strive for.  When I asked her about what it took to begin writing a book, she first asked me which direction I wanted to go towards fiction or non-fiction. I knew immediately I want to write a non-fiction novel, about what part of my life, I am not sure.

She further answered mine and my friend’s question the next day on her Facebook page by asking the question “What are you willing to give up, in order to have what you really want?”

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Me and Elizabeth Gilbert

What I loved most even days before is that this prolific author will answer you on her Facebook page, I mean I don’t know any author/celebrity person who takes the time to answer their followers.  It just made her reachable and real and I just loved that.

This blog post definitely doesn’t do the talk full justice, but I personally just want to thank Liz for a delightful evening filled with so many enlightened teachings.

Some of the Greats

Elizabeth Gilbert

Hello Dear Followers,

Well it’s a stormy day here in Connecticut, however the storm hasn’t hit where I live, but something is brewing. It makes for a perfect evening for reading with a hot cup of coffee. This is my heaven.

I was just in Barnes and Noble and began to think about all the books I’ve read over the years and what some of my favorites have been since childhood.  I thought I’d share with you my thoughts about some of my favorites! I’d also love to hear what some of yours are too!

I am a child of the 1990s, so when I was young some of my major book influences were the “Babysitters Club” series by Ann M. Martin  and “Sweet Valley High” series by Francine Pascal . The “Babysitters Club’s Little Sister series were always my absolute favorite as well.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Since my childhood, I was always interested in history and my Mom ( who was also an avid reader) introduced to me to Laura Ingalls Wilder series, which I instantly gravitated towards. My favorite in this series were “These Happy Golden Years” when Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder finally get together. I could read that book over and over again, often living vicariously through Laura’s life. I am probably the only one at my age that watched the television show with Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert and truly appreciated it for what it was.

When I was a little older, about nine or 10 I’d say, I was introduced to American Girl, it began with my Samantha Parkington doll and of course her series. I love those books because it not only gave you a fictional story, but the series gave you an inside look to a different time period, which always until this day captivates me to want to read more.  Of course, with Samantha came the other dolls with their books, and while I only had Samantha, I truly enjoyed reading about Felicity, Kirsten, Molly and Addy. (Have any of you been the American Girl Store in New York City? If I was still a young girl it would be like a dream come true for me!)

Louisa May Alcott

Then, there was “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, truly one of my absolute favorite authors, as you have probably read in my previous posts. I am always inspired by this author and her life. As a writer myself I feel a true connection between her and I. I am sure that is what it is like for many of you Louisa May Alcott fans. I visited Concord, Mass., last summer and it was truly a memorable experience that I will never forget.

Reading fluctuated as I got older due to time and life really, while the love for it was always there, there were times I just never got to it on a regular basis. But to be a good writer I realized, you need to be a good reader of all things and so I made some changes.

I can say as an adult, some of my favorite writers include Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat Pray, Love” and “Committed,” Nicholas Sparks, author of “The Notebook” and many wonderful others and Wally Lamb, author of “She’s Come Undone.”  Ms. Gilbert inspires me the same way Louisa May Alcott did as a child, Ms. Gilbert inspired me to want to explore different places and record them to the best I could. I haven’t traveled the world (yet) but she inspired me with her beliefs about life, her struggles and her goals.

I have a strong appreciation for some of the classic writers like Ernest Hemingway, Nathaniel Hawthorne, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and so many others that I have yet to begin reading yet.

Ok! Until next time!

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