Monthly Archives: May 2012

Treat people the way you would like to be treated

Recently, I attended the Man of the Year Ceremony organized by ROTARY. The individual who was being honored, was a greengrocer who donates fruit and vegetables every single week to consumers in the mental health system. Every Friday afternoon, a member of Rotary drives to the grocery store where he helps the greengrocer and his son pile fruit and vegetables into his hatchbacck which he then transports to the mental health rehabilitation center.

It was so heartwarming to meet people who don’t think twice about donating to the community with open hearts. One of the mental health consumers present, sang, and another told us proudly, how he has reached the stage of finding work on the open market; a great achievement indeed.

Live with no regrets

Treat people the way you want to be treated

Work like you don’t need the money

Love like  you’ve never been hurt\

Dance like you do when there is nobody watching you.

Meet my guest blogger for today – Joan Reeves

 

I would like to introduce Joan Reeves  to you today. She found my blog and invited me to be her guest blogger some time ago. This really gave me a lift as I was a brand new blogger at that time.

Biography

 Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy romance with a chick lit attitude. She is a bestselling eBook author and is also multi-published in print (book-length fiction: regional and national periodicals). Known all over the internet for her freelance writing published under her own name, various pseudonyms, and as a ghost, Joan (http://SlingWords.blogspot.com)

 Joan’s motto? “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

Seven Tips on Writing Nonfiction Inspirational by Joan Reeves.

 For the last several years, I’ve judged the Nonfiction Inspirational category for an annual competition sponsored by one of the many writers guilds in Texas. Every year, I notice the same writing issues in just about every manuscript so I wrote some guidelines to help writers who focus on nonfiction – especially inspirational articles and books.

When writing nonfiction inspirational content, the skilled writer knows that using fiction narrative techniques vastly improves the article or blog etc: By this I do not mean to make it fiction, but to employ the tools in the fiction writer’s kit in order to make your nonfiction hook the reader and keep the reader gripped to the story to the end. In other words, you want to create a page turner.

Seven Techniques to Creating Page-Turning Nonfiction

 Begin with a strong hook, not a bland statement of fact, time, or date or any of the      other prosaic means of telling a true story. A strong hook could be a startling statement followed by a bit of surprising action or it could be a vivid description of something that makes the reader want to know more. Any of the excellent ‘how to write books’ can show you the way.

Make sure your story has a beginning, middle and an end. From the beginning, you should have rising action to the end. This is a story arc and is as important in nonfiction as in fiction. Don’t just lay out fact o wander all over the place. Stick to the story you’re telling and include only those scenes or incidents that support the story you’re telling. If you’re writing about something that happened in a WWII scrap iron drive, don’t throw in something about how rubber was restricted so that people couldn’t easily buy car tires and were forced to keep patching old ones.

Know your premise. With inspirational, your premise should be the insight you gained from an experience. You write to share that with others or to show how a seemingly insignificant incident can change a person and a life. One of the main reasons for writing inspirational is to inspire the reader. So make sure your insight is evident, but do it subtly. When you begin writing, you should know for instance, that you’re writing a story that shows how a kindness from a stranger made you resolve to help others in need or whatever. It’s not the just the experience about which you’re writing; it’s also how that experience affected you.

The structure of a novel, short story, or nonfiction piece is about the same in that you have roughly the first 25% of the manuscript to set things up. Calculate it if you need to. A 10 page manuscript means you have about two and a half pages to set the stage. That’s the length allotted to introducing your characters and the situation, setting the tone, theme, and writing style, describing the setting, etc.

The next 50% should be the development of your premise and the situation, showing the complications the character faced and the resolutions with each complication leading to a worse one until the blackest moment when all seems lost.

The final 25% is when the protagonist rises above all challenges, and figures out a way to resolve the penultimate crisis. Everything gets wrapped up here, and the character learns the truth – the inspiration to pass on to others.

Don’t toss in people who have an effect on the outcome at the very end unless they were previously mentioned or foreshadowed in the beginning. Study a book on fiction technique.

If it’s been a few years since you’ve written anything significant or been in an English class, get a good basic English grammar book and check your skills against it. There are rules that govern the use of commas, sentence construction, etc. Refresh your memory.

Proofread carefully. Better yet, get a friend with a good grasp of grammar to do it also. Misspellings, typos, using the wrong word are easily corrected errors.

In a world where virtually everyone seeks inspiration to achieve goals or to weather difficult times, nonfiction inspirational has a wide appeal so use these techniques to help you improve your skills.

Joan Reeves

Kindle Bestselling Author

 

 

 

SPOTTING A PROBLEM

SPOTTING A PROBLEM …..

I have learned to take  note of the following in someone I care for, as that person may be in mental health distress.

Feelings

  • Feelings of anxiety, fear or guilt.
  • Feelings of deep sadness.
  • The inability to enjoy things he/she usually like doing
  • A lack of confidence.
  • The inability to do the things done previously.
  • Being overly irritable, angry or aggressive.
  • Lacking energy and extreme tiredness.
  • Feeling too full of energy
  • Swinging between positive and negative feelings

Behavior

  • Becoming withdrawn.
  • Crying easily and frequently.
  • Suddenly doing badly at school, college or at work.
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Neglecting one’s personal appearance
  • Spending extravagant and unrealistic sums of money.

Thoughts

  • Talking or writing about things that don’t make sense.
  • Thinking about dying, suicide or harming himself/herself.
  • Having frequent negative or worrying thoughts.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there.
  • Thinking you’re someone else (like a famous person or religious figure) or you have special powers
  • Believing without reason that someone is spying on you, plotting against you, or trying to harm you.
  • Believing you’re being harmed or controlled against your will, for example by TV.

 

People moved away from him. They pointed ….

 

There is not much parking available in the big city, so I decided to take a bus. It was crowded so I was pleased when a young man stood up to give me his seat. All of a sudden, I heard singing and , I turned around. I saw a man in his late twenties, singing at the top of his voice, and not very tunefully either. A closer look showed that he was rather unkempt; his hair was a mess, his clothes rumpled and not too clean. Every  now and again he stopped singing, spoke to himself and then resumed his song.

 People moved away from him, pointed to their heads indicating that he was not alright and some shouted at him to be quiet. But it was in vain. The young man did not seem to be aware of the commotion around him and still singing, he got off the bus at the next stop.

 I was dismayed at the lack of compassion among some of my fellow passengers. It shocked me. The man in question was obviously in need of treatment but I wondered why the other passengers seemed to be afraid of him. His behavior might have been odd, but it was harmless.

 Then I found the following article printed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

  • 50% of Canadians won’t tell their friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, whereas 68% would disclose a family member’s diagnosis of diabetes and 72% for cancer.
  • 88% said they would not hire a lawyer who has a mental illness.
  • 51% disclosed that they would not socialize with a friend who had a serious mental illness.
  • 40% think people use the term mental illness s an excuse for bad behavior.
  • 27% are fearful of being around people who suffer from a serious mental illness.

 

God bless you for helping me …

 

One night, at 11:45 p.m. an older African American Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway, not sure how she would endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car that came by.

 A young, white man stopped to help her, something that was generally unheard of during the conflict-filled 1960’s. The man drove her to the nearest city where he helped her get safely into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a terrible hurry but took the time to write down his address as she thanked him.

 Seven days went by and then there was a knock on his front door. To his surprise, he found a large color TV with a  note attached.

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away … God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

 Sincerely,

 Mrs. Nat King Cole

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change …

Before my son died 16 years ago, I had read up about the bereavement process and did my best to comfort friends in the same position. But, until my own son died, I realized how little I actually understood.

 I remember saying to my late husband, ‘I feel as if I am trapped in the audience of a Dr. Phil show. This can’t be happening to us. No words nor acts can remove the canyon in my heart.’ One does not ‘get over’ losing a child. I knew that I had two choices; the choice to give up on life or the choice to grow through this tragedy. But, it did not occur overnight.

Someone told me that ‘He is in a better place.’ She said this to me when  I was in the middle of the worst experience a parent can have; I had lost my son. She could have said; ‘There are no words to express what you and your family must be experiencing.’

‘In time you will feel better.’ One cannot put a stop-watch on the amount of time it takes to grieve for someone. The person who said that did not mean any harm but he had no idea how long my grieving process would take,

I didn’t appreciate it when someone trivialized what had happened to me  by telling me her family story of tragedy. The timing was bad. I know that no harm was meant, but it was hard to take.

I needed to hear my son’s name used and I know that this made some people feel uncomfortable but like most bereaved parents, I had the fear that in time, the world might forget my son.

My other children had lost a sibling, their older brother. And, during the long grieving period, they had also lost both of their parents as my husband and I were far  too emotionally drained to give them the time they deserved during that difficult period. I tried to spend time with them but it wasn’t easy.

Holidays and anniversaries carry a particular kind of pain. Few people remember the second anniversary of a death so the friends who called, visited or sent e-mails, touched me deeply.

 I wondered how we would manage to continue with our lives. Both my husband and I stressed to the children that although it would take a great deal of time and work, we would have to begin life anew: a different life, without our son and brother. We gave one another all the support that we could and eventually realized that the way spring follows winter, life can be reborn and reshaped. We managed to pick up the threads of our lives but will never forget our son. 

My husband continually reminded us of the Serenity Poem and how it kept him going”

 God grant me the Serenity

to accept the things I cannot change

The Courage to change the things I can

and the Wisdom to know the difference.