Mental and Emotional Health, Non-Fiction

Happy New Year!

Janet A. Kauppinen January 2016Isn’t it incredible to start a fresh new year? Yes, it’s 2016.

Sometimes I find it hard to comprehend that. I mean, it is like being rewarded with a squeaky clean new life. It is not like those little folks whose first glimpse of earth fell on the 2016 side of the line, our future not past, only to win prizes and money sometimes.  However, it is a revered gift just the same.  With that, I celebrate a renewed effort, bursting with promise and hope.












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Bookmark_Terry’s Monday Motivational

Happy Monday. Today I am going to motivate each one of you, no matter where you live in the world.

Of course, no one sleeping in the dead of night will hear it. People who are out for dinner will devour their meal—unless their companion’s choice is so tantalizing, it sets off in them an olfactory rave. If midway through their work day, I hate to say, workers are already too far gone and in a synaptic free fall.

Yes. I have issued a break to all those people. You, my friend, are not so lucky.

Oh, wait. I am. My circadian rhythms have been off for weeks now. I fit into every group. In effect, I live in every time zone.

Time for tea, reading, food, a bath, and writing in the #SeptWritingChallenge. Perhaps I’ll recite poetry under neon lights while fishing. Anything is possible.

Until then, if you need a goal, inspire others.

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Fiction, Non-Fiction

Things to Continue with on Throwback Thursday

  1.  Work on book reviews I couldn’t read while so sick and having trouble with my eyes.
  2. Do those incredible authors justice by giving their work the time it needs. This includes Lisette Brodey (Molly Hacker is Too Picky), Lorna Suzuki (the Imago Series) and J.P. McLean (The Gift Trilogy).
  3. Figure out who the gator was who served my breakfast à la carte this morn.
  4. Share more of the writing I’m working on.
  5. Find out how to become a beta reader and how to secure several.
  6. Plan some writing to share with my writing buddy as soon as she is ready.
  7. Continue reading the titles I am reading in my off-time, which often seems like almost never.
  8. I’m rereading many older classics (which I still love) and about fifteen new books. Some of these are, Fall of Giants and Lie Down With Lions (the first two of a Ken Follett trilogy); On Writing Well (Stephen King); The Prince (Niccolo Machiavelli), A Bridge to the Stars (Henning Mankell); A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Rebecca Solnit); Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy);  A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens); The Brothers Karamazov (Fydor Dostoyevsky); The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver); The Language of Baklava (Diana Abu-Jaber); A Stolen Life (Jaycee Dugard), All Rivers Run To The Sea: Memoirs (Elie Wiesel); Ring Around The Rosary (Gretchen Grossman); Trust No One (Jayne Ann Krentz); The Rummy Club (Anoop Ahuja Judge); and Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue (Amy Ferris). Plus there are so many more I badly want to read.
  9. Keep writing. Even when it hurts and has me feeling so bad. Take control of my emotions; I know that is possible now. Without alcohol or drugs but with chocolate cake. (Love you Esko.)
  10. Post my word counts.
  11. Take sweet Meco to vet for a spay.
  12. Meditate more.
  13. Cherish every single second.
  14. Work out hard enough to work up a good sweat.
  15. After that, treat myself to a hot bath by candlelight.
  16. SLEEP.
  17. Remember the deadline for all of this is lunchtime.

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Non-Fiction, Reviews

My Feisty Writing Challenge

Hi everyone!

Yes, I’ve been silent most of this year but it was not due to a lack of care or concern for my goals and those of my friends (reading and book reviews).  That will never change.

I will spare you that, except to say that there was a death in my family early in the year. This reignited my depression, which compounded problems with my health. However, I will not let that define or claim me. What matters is that I rededicated myself to the work which consumes my heart and soul.  Writing!

I joined two Facebook groups–#500words and the #JulyWritingChallenge. In addition, I’m trying to get posting more often on some of my favorite blogs again like Roadmap, Women on the Verge, She Writes and others I found through these sites.

In October, I’ll be attending Laura’s retreat ‘Writing as a Pathway through Grief, Loss, Uncertainty and Change’. These six days will be instructive and encouraging, not to mention at Commonweal in beautiful Bolinas, California.

Did I mention that Nancy London and David Colin-Carr would be co-facilitating with Laura? I know it will be exactly what I need!

Happy weekend to everyone. Enjoy. Relax.

May your writing process be blissful.

If not, I hope you are ornery enough to clinch your teeth and stick to that page or keyboard.


Ah yes! Meet Meco, our twelve week old kitten.  She is waiting for me to dare approach my laptop.

Non-threatening, I know.  That’s her strategy.




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To Own Or Run – Brene Brown


Brene Brown
Brene Brown (Photo credit: .imelda)



“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”  Brene Brown.



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Excerpt of First Draft of ‘That Terry’


She pointed to the door. I knew better than not to hurry so I jumped through it as fast as I could. I squatted in the hall closet, trying not to touch daddy’s baseball bats with my toes. I didn’t want him mad at me. I could still see mommy and heard daddy at the front door.

I didn’t tell mommy I wanted to see daddy. I loved when he was home! He cuddles me. Tickles me and blows on my tummy. That makes me laugh. My big brothers call me pet, but I don’t care.

“Now don’t come out until I get you.” I nodded. Mommy looked like she was gonna cry, so I did. Then daddy yelled. I heard a really big bang. I was so scared, I peed my pants. I grabbed daddy’s glove and hugged it on my lap, hiding the wet spot.

“I’m sorry mommy!” I sobbed. I didn’t like it when mommy or daddy were mad at me.

“Open this door,” daddy yelled in a booming voice.

Mommy started shutting the door and I fell back against daddy’s coats. I thought she was gonna slap my face.

“Shh!” mommy said, closing me off from the light.

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Of Love – Mary Oliver


I have fallen in love more times than one,

thank the Lord. Sometimes it was lasting

whether active or inactive. Sometimes

it was all but ephemeral, maybe only

an afternoon, but not less real for that.

They stay in my mind, these beautiful people

or anyway beautiful people to me, of which

there are so many. You, and you and you,

whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe

missed. Love, love, love, it was the

core of my life, from which, of course, comes

the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned

that some of them were men and some were women

and some — now carry my revelation with you —

were trees. Or places. Or music flying above

the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun

which was the first, and the best, the most

loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into

my eyes, every morning. So I imagine such

love of the world — its fervency, its shining, its

innocence and hunger to give of itself — I

imagine this is how it began.”


Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

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Change History … or Face the Salon?

When I focus on how I changed history, altering someone’s life, I cannot help but think that drawing attention to such a thing is just an exercise in ego massage. Naturally, with the religious guilt I still cart around, I hung my head.

Twenty seconds later, another feeling burst to flower.

“What to heck is wrong with that?”

I like it. However, to deal with a lingering thread of confusion, I can participate only by sharing the spotlight.

Is it wrong to admit that I have helped a friend through two decades of L’Oreal? Talk about change. Oh my gawd! When it worked, it was the best of times. When it didn’t, it was the very worst. (Yes. I dared add that useless adverb so you, dear reader, would dwell on it a few seconds longer, conjuring up images of depth and despair.)

When we’re drowning in the latter, the solution usually needed another trip to the store and two extra colourings–all of which culminated in a fried scalp and a friend I couldn’t recognize in a crowd for weeks.

I don’t know. That sounds dubious to me.

How about that my friend has held my hand through one bad hair year that shot for a trifecta, to fixations on a purple-pink checkerboard, raven black brush cut–a phase when only a bonafide barber would do–all the way to a beehive coronation by an over excited hairdresser.

No matter, we birthed, molded, shaped, and scraped, burnt, teased, and sometimes eased, hair care for each other. Cried and lied (about how much we love it). Shared and laired (holed up while things got better). First, cursed and always coerced, till combs do part us forever.

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Non-Fiction, Poetry, Women

“Dreamwood” by Adrienne Rich


In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand
there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see
or the child’s older self, a poet,
a woman dreaming when she should be typing
the last report of the day. If this were a map,
she thinks, a map laid down to memorize
because she might be walking it, it shows
ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert
here and there a sign of aquifers
and one possible watering-hole. If this were a map
it would be the map of the last age of her life,
not a map of choices but a map of variations
on the one great choice. It would be the map by which
she could see the end of touristic choices,
of distances blued and purpled by romance,
by which she would recognize that poetry
isn’t revolution but a way of knowing
why it must come. If this cheap, mass-produced
wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,
mass-produced yet durable, being here now,
is what it is yet a dream-map
so obdurate, so plain,
she thinks, the material and the dream can join
and that is the poem and that is the late report.

Adrienne Rich, 1987.


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Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Meet Carol Argyris, A Scottish Author and Poet

What are you working on?

I’ve written an eighty thousand word children’s novel pitched for nine to twelve-year olds about a furry four-armed alien called Yub who, a teenager on his own planet, has a special ability that allows him to travel through space. His planet is dying and all its inhabitants live underground in biospheres built after the Cataclysms (a war) that caused the destruction of the protective atmospheric shield around the planet. Looking for a planet like his own was before the violent changes. Yub arrives in the North of Scotland and contacts a teenage boy, Josh, who is also feeling a bit alien as he is an incomer from the south. With the additional help of another isolated incomer, Leonie, they get Yub’s family and closest friends to Earth and hide them. There are many ups and downs, some humour, and some real-life problems like Leonie’s relationship with her chronically depressed father.

I’ve written it, edited and re-edited, worked on a sequel, and think it is good enough to publish but haven’t enough courage to try sending it to any publishers! My self-confidence comes and goes.

I’m also working on a sort of patchwork novel which gives me a chance to make stories up for the characters that fill my imagination. It’s much more adult but doesn’t yet have a connective ‘voice.’

How does your work differ from others in the genre?

That is an extremely difficult question. Quick answer: I’m not sure either of these novels actually differ much from what’s on the market already. Probably because I am older I will have a more old-fashioned approach to writing children’s stories but I have read a lot and still enjoy teen fiction (Kathy Reich’s ‘Virals’ for instance.)
I love J.K. Rowling’s style and would like to be like her without actually emulating her (if you see what I mean). What I admire is her talent for spinning a good yarn, for creating characters who are real and walk off the page, for always mixing in touches of humour with drama even when the situation is dire. She has created a world of friendship, loyalty, bravery and good intentions, the most valued qualities. She creates a whole world in which children love to lose themselves. In my opinion, children need escapism as much as adults and really don’t want ‘real life’ stuff about drugs, getting pregnant, dysfunctional families, or the terrible life of children in war-torn lands, thrust at them constantly. That sort of ‘good for you’ genre reminds me of the books I used to get given as ‘prizes’ at Sunday School, moralising Victorian works like ‘Mary Jones’s Bible.’ They darkened my days–and completely put me off religion, I might add!

Why do you write what you do?

That’s another poser. I’ve written both the children’s story and portions of the adult novel with great enthusiasm and enjoyment. The characters for the latter are people I would like either to meet or be and their psychology amuses me. Probably they are all projections of myself; that’s fine. It’s like being allowed to be multiple-personality-me.

I love crime novels so it is shaping into one of those, but I do have to avoid police rules or autopsies because, though I’ve read a lot about both, I don’t want to get into areas that I only half understand. It would distract from the intricacies of the human mind behind the crime and the reactions of the other characters involved one way or another.We shall see.

How does your writing process work?

I used to always be writing something but have never been very good at consistency or discipline. Family matters and daily obligations easily distract me. It has been better since I retired properly and I have acres of time to myself – I love that. Once I do hit a hot spot I can write for eight hours a day, coming up for air only for coffee and snacks. I love that. At those times even when I lay down to sleep my mind is busy with the next chapter or event. Then months will go by and I can’t bring myself to add anything or even glance at what I’ve done. During this period, I usually write poetry. Recently there have been times when I write nothing. Strangely, I think this has come about because I joined a writing group. They are supportive people and for nearly a year, I loved my Tuesday evenings. Then I started to feel full up with other people’s words and my output dried.

I’ve stayed away for two months – it’s coming back.

So, no words of wisdom here. I am an author who has self-published three small collections of folk tales indigenous to this part of the world. Everything I hear about getting published, from people who are really successful with their writing, is dedication, determination and discipline. I think that the added ingredient is enjoyment. The most successful authors are the ones who almost can’t help themselves–they have to write. I have found that I feel much better when I am writing poetry, which isn’t what I expected; I thought I was a story-teller. It has been quite a surprise and a great pleasure to find my poetry is acceptable.  The ultimate secret! Do what you’re good at.

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