Become a better writer, LinkedIn.. Groups and critiques


Acrid smoke filled the air, the cast iron hook on the chain suspended from the iron tripod held the cauldron in the center of the well stoked fire. The cauldron now glowing red was all but empty its contents sizzled and crackled as they began to char and burn. The air was filled with the stench of burnt words.
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What? Burnt words, stench, where does that come from? What are you talking about Joe?

Why writing of course! Have you ever asked for a critique of your writing? Have you ever asked a group of professional writers to critique a sentence or a paragraph from a first draft of your manuscript or article you may have written?

I recently asked for a critique in a writers group on LinkedIn. It ended up being quite an eye opening experience. I asked for a few thoughts as far as my original opening sentence that I had written for my novel.

“I am curious is the following a good opening sentence for a book? As Jake was driving to work his mind raced, his heart ached, and he didn’t want to go to work.”

130 Comments later I smile and laugh at the scorched words in the pot! The wide variety of feedback and comments ranged from” yes that is a good first sentence” to” that sucks cliché, lazy, no creativity, work twice in the first sentence.. Really! You are obviously a rookie and have no imagination.”

“Feel the heat?” Oh my, as I went to a coaching session at the Community Writing Center I sat down with my friend and coach and mentioned the fact I had posted the sentence for critique in a group on LinkedIn. I was smiling and quite proud of myself for having done so even though I had already been working on my re write I did feel the original sentence had merit and legs of sorts. I wanted to get some opinions that may help me express the same sentiment in a more creative and artistic way. Did the sentence make the reader curious enough to read on?

I smiled big as I told her “I got a lot of feedback”

She laughed as she said”You got Mauled!”

We both laughed for a few minutes as she told me she had read the comments.. Being a connection my activity is on her news feed.

I am sharing this story for two reasons.. One, posting your questions in a writing group is a great way to learn and get constructive feedback. Two, I found it funny to see how many people judge a story, and the writer based on a few words.

“Do you judge a book by its cover or its title?” What about the first sentence or paragraph?

My revised first sentence and couple of paragraphs.. It may change again before I am finished with the re write!

Jake exited the Lincoln Tunnel entering the urban jungle of concrete, steel, and flesh, commonly referred to as the “Big Apple”. He turned onto Tenth Ave. and abruptly slammed on the brakes barely avoiding a collision with a redhead that had a body like Marilyn Monroe.

“Damn it” he cursed, as his coffee cup erupted like a volcano, spewing its contents like a river of magma flowing from hand to thigh. He looked at the traffic signal to make sure he had the green thinking; it was almost suicidal for someone on foot to try and cross an intersection against the signal, during the morning rush hour.

Do you want to become a better writer? Maybe posting some of your work in a writing group will help you along the way! You may find your words smoldering in the cauldron and laugh as your new ones rise like a phoenix from the ashes!
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Thank you for stopping by and thank you for being beautiful you! I am grateful as is our world that you choose to share your love and your smiles! It makes our world a better place for all we share it with!
Namaste 

Are we creating a Utopia or a Nightmare? Do the ploice have too much power?


Hello world!

I have decided to take a few minute break from my novel writing project. I am in the home stretch with over 53,000 words on virtual paper. There are still probably another 10,000 to 15,000 words to go yet I am feeling quite good about my progress. Like running a cross country race when I was in High School I am catching my second wind.

It is funny that my mom, the local newspaper, and another tragic shooting of a child inspired me to write a blog post. Writing a blog post is a break?

I was chatting with my mom about an article in the local paper “The Salt Lake Tribune” the article and headline titled “Are 45 deaths at the hands of police a cause for alarm?” was about the number of citizens killed by police in the last five years 45 of them “Ranked second only to homicide of intimate partners” (quote taken from sub headline) local law enforcement watchdogs (who they are is a mystery to me) say it is time to treat deadly force as a “Potentially Serious Public Safety Problem.”

The article goes on to say “The numbers reflect that there could be an issue and it is going to take a deeper understanding of these shootings” and “It definitely can’t be written off as citizens groups being upset with law enforcement” quotes shared in the tribune by a former police lieutenant that served in Washington D.C. and Utah six years of his law enforcement carrier were on SWAT teams.

As I was reading the article I mentioned the shooting today of a child in Cleveland Ohio, to my mom asking her if she had heard about it. It appears, police had received a call about someone waving a “probably fake gun” the young man was 12 years old.

My mom said the most shocking thing I have ever heard her say and it broke my heart as well as opened my eyes as to part of the problem with our Utopian police run society. “He wanted to get killed, waving a gun in a police officer’s face” WHAT? “I am the Law”?



I looked at her and reminded her that when I was a kid I used to wear a cap gun and play cowboys and Indians with my friends all the time, if it wasn’t cowboys and Indians it was war the Americans against the Germans or the Japanese. We didn’t even think about being shot by the police. She said”Times have changed “in a very nasty tone. I replied in my most loving reverent voice “Yes they have we have made it against the law to be a kid.”

I am not a fan of guns and certainly not a fan of violence, I do think that kids should be able to play and have fun even if it is acting like a soldier, a cowboy, an Indian, a pirate, or even a Knight of the round Table. Without the fear of being shot by the police, or a neighborhood watch group.

Do you remember the old western movies where the Sheriff shot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand?

Why are the police choosing to “Shoot to kill” rather than using an alternate shot? Most of the victims of police killings are un armed and those that are armed are usually carrying a pocket knife or wielding a dull sword, some even armed with a toy gun, they pose no real harm to anyone other than themselves. It seems to me if the officers are required to pass a shooting test and can hit the kill zone ten out of ten times they should be just as able to hit a leg or arm ten out of ten times and to be honest even a gun from a person’s hand more often than not.

I am a veteran and actually have medals from shooting competitions, I do understand gun control, I also understand that the police are under a lot of stress. I just hope that they know our streets are not the battlefield and our children are not the enemy.

Is there a real cause for alarm?

Is there a legitimate reason to be concerned that our police are killing so many of our citizens?

Are the police and their methods a “Serious Public Safety Problem”?

It seems that of the many cases I have seen over the last twenty years including one of a young man shot 40 + times by multiple officers who was un armed on his porch in Brooklyn NY while reaching for his wallet have been clearly a case of manslaughter at minimum, murder for many of them. Yet the courts and the officials of our towns and choose not to prosecute those officers, stating they were within the limits of the law and protected by the badge they wear.

Are the Police above the law? It would seem that our police have 00 status and the license to shoot to kill!
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We need police, I am grateful for the most part we have them, the majority are truly looking out for our communities and well being. I would ask them to perhaps remember that this is not a war zone, even the criminals are not the enemy, and shoot to kill should be the last choice not the first!

Thank you for being you and thank you for visiting my page… I will be back with my normally scheduled inspirational posts in the next couple of days! I do have a special post for the Thanksgiving Holiday we -are about to celebrate here in the U.S.
Namaste

The Elephant… Don’t you see it?


The Elephant in the room….

Why is it that many of us human beings don’t acknowledge the obvious? We can look at the Elephant in the room and act like we don’t see it.

There are many issues in our personal lives and in our communities, cities, states, nations, and our world that the old saying applies to. (war, homelessness, racism, hunger, poverty, to name a few)

Do we just choose not to see it? Is it fear that stops us?
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I had several conversations with friends about the issues they were experiencing in their lives that reminded me of the old saying “The Elephant in the room” first it would be helpful to define the saying for those who may not have heard it or those that really have taken no time to understand what it means.

Wikipedia says: “Elephant in the room” or “Elephant in the living room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded use of the phrase, as a simile, as The New York Times on June 20, 1959: “Financing schools has become a problem about equal to having an elephant in the living room. It’s so big you just can’t ignore it.”[3]

The conversations were for the most part about the issues that they were dealing with; the largest cause of those issues was their own negative attitudes and perspectives. Most of them were running from the issue rather than going within and changing their perspectives. I was guilty recently of trying to shut out the rest of the world and focus… Not how it works!

Much like what was happening with my friends and family I was ignoring the “Elephant in the room.” Life doesn’t work that way nor can I just be a master of my mind and heart in solitude. I did need to take some time and get focused, mastery would be something that I have to do in my everyday life, in my encounters with the energy and attitudes that others.

The only one that can make things change in your life is you, what is your relationship with the Elephant in the room? Are you ignoring your pains and your negative attitude or those of your friends and loved ones pretending that they are not the problem?

We owe it to ourselves, our friends, our families to deal with the elephant! Go deep, confront then release your fears and negativity, and let those feelings go free. They like the elephant they do better out in the open than caged up in the room!

Thank you for being you, you are beautiful and quite awesome, I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and read my posts. It brings a great smile, speaking of which… Your smiles and the love you share are making our world a better place for all we share it with! Thank you for being the positive change our world so needs!

Namaste 

Sunday morning post “Coaches’ having Coffee.” A guest blog


We all have different perspectives and thoughts, so I asked my friend Appio to sit and have a cup of coffee with me .Before we met; we had been discussing the fact that not all coaches are the same. Not all styles of coaching will resonate with everyone. I am a laid back down to earth kind of person that doesn’t like to get all fired up and “gungho” like many of the coaches and trainers you might find in a gym for example.
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My friend Appio is more of a busy action happy kind of coach that is for the most part like the trainer at the gym. I found that as we all have our own learning styles and we all have different ways that we are motivated it would be nice to share another perspective with those who read my posts. It is my intent to inspire, incite and evoke positive change from within so that we may all achieve a state or at least the desire to achieve a state of human excellence in our world.

Good Morning, I would like to introduce you to a great friend, his name is Appio Hunter.

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Appio is a “Happiness Coach” & Certified “Infinite Possibilities Trainer” the first thing that came to my mind when Appio handed me his card was ”What is a Happiness Coach” So to start the interview that was my first Question…

Joe: “Appio just out of curiosity what is a happiness coach and why did you choose that title?”

Appio:” I have felt since I was about 5 years old that my life’s purpose was to help people be happy. There is an epidemic of sadness and depression in our society, I have found and it is known that just hearing the word “Happy” brings about a state of happiness.”

Joe: “Awesome, I am curious, why did you mention sadness and depression? It seems unusual that as a happiness coach you would mention their opposites.”

Appio:” I have had a life long battle with depression and the thought process. For me it is a medical condition, I have a chemical imbalance that causes me to feel sad and depressed. I was prescribed drugs in my earlier years that would take bring relief from the depression yet they would also make me feel like a zombie of sorts. If that makes sense, I didn’t like the feeling the drugs produced anymore than I liked the effects of the depression I felt. I slowly weaned myself off of those drugs and have not taken them in many years. “

Joe: “Interesting I have heard that from many people that have that same condition. I am curious as to what is your secret to overcoming or controlling your condition?”

Appio: The life changer for me, my secret was discovering the works of “Mike Dooley” his books and quotes. I started getting his e mails “Notes from the Universe” they were quite inspirational. One day at the bottom of one of those notes was a note… It basically said become an Infinite Possibilities Trainer” I took the course and was so inspired I took it to the next level. I am a member of the LGTB Community and a member of the Gay writes writing group. There is a need for positive inspiration, some of the members of the writing group were in their own battles of depression. The next level of becoming a “Trailblazer” required becoming a teacher of the skills learned as a trainer by giving back, providing a service to the community. Within one month of finishing the course I had met the requirements to become a “Trailblazer.” I had taught and coached over six members of the community the skills and shared the tools of how to recognize and change their thought patterns.”

Joe:” If you could what would be the most important things you would share with me and the readers of my blog?”

Appio:” Happiness surrounds us, and it is always there for us to reach out and claim for our own. If we’re feeling sad, miserable, or depressed, it’s okay. Those feelings will pass as long as we acknowledge them and let them flow. We’re not here to be tried, sentenced, judged, and punished. We’re here to laugh, love, thrive, be happy, and have fun.”
Don’t ignore or try to suppress your feelings. You only feel worse if you do. Instead, acknowledge how you feel and then let yourself feel whatever it is you want to feel. Emotions are supposed to flow, so let them flow.
Your best friend when feeling sad or depressed is distraction. When you can’t seem to get rid of negative thoughts, distract yourself by flipping the thought around to its exact opposite. You can also make a gratitude list, and then supercharge your gratitude by celebrating everything on that list.
When nothing else works, just move into gratitude.
If you can learn to be grateful for the “bad” things that happen, you’ll discover that even the bad things can be something good.”

Joe: “Thank you Appio, that is some pretty awesome advice and wisdom you chose to share. How much do I owe you? Lol, lets get a refill and have some cake!

Look for Appio’s new book to be released in late November The Power of G: Unforgettable Lessons on How Gratitude Can Transform Your Life! By Appio Hunter
You can also find out more about him or his services here on his websites and I hope you will…
http://www.AppioHunter.com
http://www.ReflectionsOnReality.com

Thank you all for being you, you are all amazing and awesome human beings. I am quite honored to share time and space with you all, together we are changing our world in a positive way as we share our love and our smiles, we are making it a better place for all we share it with! :)

Namaste

We all wobble and it is all good :)


Some days it is just hard to find that happy place even for a person that has spent years learning and knowing how to turn their thoughts around. I woke up this morning dreaming about a lady I loved very deeply. I have worked the loss through my whole box of tools and let go yet for some reason I woke up early this morning with her in a dream. I think I spent most of the morning trying to forget the dream even though just like any other thought I choose not to embrace I know it is better to acknowledge it and let it go.

I don’t want to say I had a bad day or I wasn’t happy I was for the most part a happy me all day! I broke out my happy face and I started working on one of my book projects.

Then I needed a hug… I gave myself a hug!
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Then I listened to some music and wrote some more.

Then I just let it go… I know that things are going beautifully and how they are supposed to be. The truth is even a Master sometimes has a wobble. I think sometimes we need to have a little wobble in our lives to appreciate how far we have come and how much we have learned.

I Hope you all appreciate all the things you have done and accomplished in your lives and when you feel the wobble you appreciate even more how far you have come! One of my Uncles recently shared a quote with me from one of my favorite movies he remembered I loved as a young man. The movie was “Jeremiah Johnson” a story of a man who left the drama of war and society to become a mountain man. He didn’t have a clue how to survive a winter in the wild and forbidding mountains, yet he was fortunate in meeting a seasoned old timer that shared with him the tools to survive. Some years later they met again Jeremiah was cooking a rabbit over the fire and his friend shared what my Uncle shared with me regarding my life and my spiritual growth. “You have come a long way Pilgrim” I was honored and touched by the sentiment and the recognition.

You have all come a long way to get this far! Remember you are awesome and you are amazing, you are a part of the Human Race, you are changing the world and creating history. I bow humbly and reverently as I acknowledge you wobble and all stand tall and know you have accomplished much on your journey and the journey is young. I hope you accomplish the highest of your goals and live your dreams.

Thank you for allowing me to share a thought or two it is a gift to have the opportunity to do so. I am grateful and appreciate you for sharing your love and your smiles you are making our world a better place for all we share it with.

Namaste.

Thoughts of the mirror and water.. empowering you!


The most powerful empowerment tool is the one you see when you look in the mirror. I often hear the expression that “the relationships, the people you meet, the things you see in others, is a reflection of you. I wonder at times how true that is as that was shared with me more than once today. I almost shared it with a good friend yet chose to use that mirror with her in a different way.
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As I talked with my friend I recalled a scene in a movie I truly enjoy and have watched several times. In it there is a scene that says so much about the power of that mirror as an empowerment tool or as a tool of destruction. The lady in the film is feeling rather down and beating herself up after a night of drinking and wild sex or so the viewer is lead to believe. She smashes the tube of toothpaste and breaks the mirror as she tells herself she is ugly and that she hates herself. As the faucet drips the lady has tears falling down her face and she has a brief memory of an experiment conducted by a famous physicist.

The experiment is a rather powerful one conducted by Dr. Masaru Emoto where he labels water bottles with various emotional words and then takes pictures of the water molecules the next day. The affect of just labeling the water bottles on the molecules is profound. Here is a clip from the movie “What the Bleep do we know” where the experiment is briefly described and the memory the lady has in her moment of realization.

As the lady realizes the power of her thoughts and words she laughs and starts to draw hearts and symbols of love all over her body. She has a new perspective about what she sees in the mirror and how powerful and healing the words can be if she chooses to use those that are based on love and are chosen in a empowering and beautiful way. She realizes the power of self love as she realizes how much of our physical beings are composed of water.

My friend has spent thousands of dollars learning the tools of empowerment, in many modalities she has studied enough to have a Doctorate in self empowerment and the art of self love. She has spent many years studying spiritual paths and philosophy. She has a tool box of tools that would allow her to be a licensed therapist she even has two Degrees yet she still calls me and sheds her tears as she wrestles with self love and the labels she still holds on to.

As I chatted with her today I expressed my thoughts to her in the most beautiful way I knew how. I shared with her the truth about all of that education and knowledge.. It is absolutely useless if you don’t implement it and use it in your life! Take a few minutes and go find a mirror and tell me what you see! I feel that when you look in that mirror even if you see ugly in the initial moment when you look deep into your eyes you will laugh at the thought. There is no way you can actually look into your own eyes and feel anything less than loved by your inner self or your soul. It may take a few minutes maybe longer yet if you stand there and look into your eyes and soul long enough you will see the true beauty and love you have inside of you.

The best tool I can share is the Mirror! You may at first want to break it… then what do you see? Through the tears you see the one person on this planet that loves you just for being you! If not then I hope you will think about the clip I shared with you and the fact that the majority of your physical being is water. Take a pen and write the words love, beautiful, peace, and draw hearts and smiles all over your skin and write love over and over again until you feel it transform your cells and your heart tells you that yes you are love and you are loved.

When you do that every one you meet, every relationship you have, every reflection you see will be one of love and beauty. True change true love and true reflection start within look within your beautiful eyes and see the love of who you are love yourself and be beautiful. Use the tools nature has given us use your thoughts and water as a reflection of what you are a spiritual being in a physical body that is mostly water. When you see yourself reflected in that pool, or lake or, mirror, remember how powerful and beautiful love is! Love yourself and use the empowering tools you have to love and be you!

Thank you for being you, remember you can have all the knowledge in the world and a whole tool box of tools yet they are not doing you any good if you don’t use them! I would also encourage you to watch the movie “What the Bleep do we know” if you haven’t seen it. It may change the way you think about thinking! :)

Namste!

You are My Inspiration!!!!! And I love you all!


Last night as I spoke at a fall reading for an upcoming Anthology I looked at the crowd and shared with them the thoughts that were in my mind as I wrote the piece I shared with them. It was one I shared here as well although it was somewhat changed as I have edited it for the publication and the reading. As I took the stage and adjusted the microphone I looked into the crowd of about a hundred people and the diversity of the group made me smile . I was happy to see a homeless man in standing just outside the door and wished he would come in. His smile said he was happy where he was as he listened to the speakers sharing a wide variety of stories.

I began my speech as I looked at the crowd with ” I want you all to know that you are my inspiration! As I thought about how I was going to express my thoughts on self expression I thought about all the amazing people that I have had the gift of interacting with on my journey. You are all awesome and you are all in my eyes a Masterpiece.” I looked at the homeless guy and nodded my head as I said “yes You” then I shared my piece and my poem.

I love all of my fellow human beings and interact with so many in so many ways and from all walks of life. I wanted to share some of the things and people that inspire me and those people that create beautiful things with such heart even when they have dirt being kicked in their faces. The love and the heart is so inspirational to me I wonder why so many never open their eyes and see….

Just a few of the gifts that we miss as we look and judge, I will say that what we miss or what we judge still has a profound affect on who we become and what we contribute to our world. I am grateful for those beautiful people that took the time to share with us these few examples of what so many miss and the gifts they shared with us. They took the time to share a gift from some of those that are going through some hard times and our collective humanity by taking the time to share some love and show that they care!

I wanted to share these few thoughts as you start your weekend and I hope that you may take the time to enjoy the beautiful people around you as they share some of their beautiful gifts. Even a smile with a homeless person is a treasure for both of you a smile is an act of love from the heart of a Masterpiece!

Thank you all for being you the Masterpiece that you are for the inspiration you share with me as I learn and grow on my journey of knowing who I am and what that means.I am honored to be a human being sharing time and space with all of you beautiful human beings. Thank you for being awesome beautiful you! I am grateful that you share your smiles and your love making our world a better place for all we share it with.

Namaste! :)