Writer’s Advice – what’s that?! 2018

Author’s Advice

There are many ways that people can get advice. The most obvious ways for writers to improve are to take lessons in the language they will be writing in and the old fashioned ‘read the greats’.

There are times when constructive criticism is very helpful and there are times when your enemies will only have destructive criticism and jealousy to offer you.

Two main ways to get feedback about your writing for professionals:  1) Submit!  When the editors will make changes; when the magazine or newspaper or publisher will buy it/pay for it; then that ‘s good.

Great ways to get feedback for amateurs and some semi-pros: join writer’s groups; take work shops or classes.  Peer critique is often part of such arrangements.

General to Specific

There are numerous types of writing and most writers specialize.  Many of those who have specialized don’t call themselves writers.  Grant writers, for instance, will often just say that they work for whatever organization they work at in some administrative role.  Journalists, typically prefer to be called journalists, although they could all call themselves writers and be telling the truth.  Staff writers may choose to refer to the publication where they work.  Most staff writers wouldn’t ever write “for fun” or “as just a hobby” and those that would might well not tell the truth about that.

Travel writers, book authors, niche novelists, political news, best restaurants, fashion, television, film, all have specialized types of writing.  There are people capable or more than one kind of writing, but it is common for those who are most successful in the field to find they were forcibly limited to a small subjection of the writing world in order to find a way to earn a living or to develop a good reputation in the industry.

 

Network

There are times when you have to meet and greet enough others in the industry to get a deal and other times when you really need to mail something for it to work. In some cases, the right thing to do is apply for a job and become a regularly paid publishing company editor for other authors even if you hardly get anything of your own published. Maybe you will, and maybe it won’t matter anymore.

Sometimes writers are stubborn and fail to change in ways that will cause them to have far greater success and other times people just realize that for them: to change that much would be so bad that they might as well go work in a totally different field if that’s really how it works.

Other writers tolerate a lot of painful constructive criticism and make survivable compromises and learn to be a bit more flexible and they find out that they can get a lot further and are happy with the results even though the reality ends up being unlike their original idea.

Politics in Novels

Politics in Prose

Sooner or later, people in more intellectual circles may ask about the politics of an author of about the politics of a fiction novelist’s fictional worlds.
Here are a few tid bits of information:

  1. Women philosophers are more likely than their male counterparts to write fiction novels. I won’t go into why that is at this time but there are reasons for it.
  2.  Genre authors are sometimes categorized in certain ways and people may feel that a specific political agenda appears in their fiction. This is only sometimes true. The politics of a given story may not be the same as in an author’s other stories.

As an author, I toy around with politics in some stories. I do view it as important but may not express that consistently from one novel to another. Then again, once readers get used to me, it might well be obvious.

Multiculturalism & Pluralism

There are stories which closely resemble the real world or are set in “the real world” despite being fiction. In the novel The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead has characters exhibiting the same kinds of racial diversity that one finds in the setting – the city of Indianapolis. There are good guys and villains of both the main “racial types” in the story. No one was included or left out for the purposes of being offensive.

Me, personally
My personal politics are most likely to be loved or disparaged as promoting a socially progressive “Liberal agenda” or even “Liberal feminist, politically correct agenda”. I don’t think of it that way to the same extreme that my political adversaries do but I am politically and sociologically a progressive thinker. I am not against tradition for the sake of rocking the boat. However, I do think that pointlessly oppressive social systems which are immoral should be dismantled. I do think that a certain amount of institutionalized prejudice against varying degrees of criminality is warranted. I do believe that it is perfectly acceptable for the USA to remain “a Christian nation” without apology and that “religious tolerance” should not go so far as to devastate ourselves due to being attacked by our opposition because their perception of our “tolerance” is to take over and supplant our basic Christian culture. I am Pro-Choice and believe that abortion should be very rare, but safe and legal in those rare instances when it occurs. I believe motherhood should be well supported and understand that many “relationship conservatives” are coming from a school of thought which is based in preventing divorces and single-parenting without killing anyone. I think support for adoption would work better if pregnant women and girls get more support than they get torment from peers, clerics or parents. I won’t go on about it all any more right now.

There are a few other tid bits about my personal politics in The Double Life of Tutweiler BuckheadMost of it, is the simple ways in which my views of good and evil are communicated in the plot and characters.Check it out for yourselves right on the Works associate page.

Meanwhile, drop us a comment or even start a conversation about multiculturalism in literature. If you are interested in diversity in the real world more than in fiction, check out Be Diversity Competent!.

New Mother News

Emotions of Motherhood
There are many emotions associated with motherhood, in all stages. However, this is directed towards those women just getting started at being a mother. There is the baby, or the twins of course and there is you.
Where did everybody go?
What happens to you? Due to the lifestyle changes mentioned elsewhere in related articles, for some mothers, the biggest difficulties are going without work and feeling as if their friends vanish – or worse, like the new mother is now treated as if she does not exist. It can be very emotionally painful despite great joy over being a mother and even with the loving support of relatives – including a husband.
This problem is not insurmountable, but it can be a hum dinger when not psychologically prepared. If you go without work, then all the social relationships that went with it, vanish. You, the new mother, won’t miss any of the people who you didn’t like very much but will notice the difference. Without your own pay, learning to share money with your husband – if you hadn’t done it already, becomes vitally important to your and your baby’s survival. Kudos to you if you have wisely and sensibly married well and have an awesome personal life and are not running into this problem.
The truth is that a lot of women do, and the fact is, that it happened to me as well. I had not predicted it and did not know how to handle it. It was not that bad, but if I can help you as you adjust to being a mother, then I will be glad I wrote this.
Other Mothers
A lot of people drop out of your life once you become a mother. It may feel and be unfair. It might not trouble you half the time but then when you have a free afternoon and discover that you can’t afford to go anywhere unless your husband pays for you – you may feel stuck. Maybe you used to have money from your job. Maybe you do have money because you worked that out with your husband but then none of your former friends are available.
It is true, that for most new mothers, you have to find at least some other new mothers to socialize with.
Getting Out of the House
It is possible that you might work out a way to have a part time job that gets you out of the house while you spend most of the time with your baby. Mother and baby and mother and toddler groups abound – especially if you have the good fortune of living in the city, or in the residential part of the city or have a car and gas money.
Your New Life
Despite the challenge, most likely with time, you will adjust to being a mother. Some women find this to be so easy they don’t need to read this article. Others really need to read this article to know they are not alone in how they really feel even if and when overjoyed rather than sad about being a new mother.
For many women, it does involve just accepting that a lot of people won’t include you much for some years. You will probably be socially pressured to befriend women with a baby the same age as yours. It can be disturbing but often it works very well because you can talk about everything that matters while that is really how it is. I had one good friend who had a baby my age when I did and it helped a lot. Obviously, most women don’t automatically feel like best friends just because another woman has a baby the same age, but it can really work.
You and the baby can have a wonderful and rewarding relationship. The reality may not always live up to your own ideals about babies and mothers. A good family life can become a wonderful bastion of support and love. Feelings of being overwhelmed, as long as they do not occur too often are also normal.
You may feel very much like you are still you. For me, personally, retaining my sense of identity with my prematernal self was a big deal. I have met other women who told me their identity changed but they were happy with it that way. So, maybe you will feel like a whole new person – the flower blossoms on the bush and there is little resemblance to the previous stage of life.
You can learn to find ways to socialize, but that is easier if you live where there are people and it may help a lot if you have money, but there are ways to do it even when you don’t.
Motherhood is a ‘rest of life’ relationship, at least in most cases. Your baby will only be a baby for a year. You can remind yourself to enjoy what you love about it and fear not, your baby will outgrow whatever you don’t like about it. In all my life I have heard of only 1 exception to that; there was one girl who lived in the baby stage of development for 21 years. Don’t worry, that won’t happen to you.
Take heart, once you get the hang of being a mother, you probably wouldn’t want it any other way ever again, and you will be able to work and have friends and get your way at least some of the time even as you raise your baby. Be responsible and don’t give up.

Feeling Queasy? Morning Sickness

Pregnancy morning sickness
Maybe you woke up one morning and felt queasy. You asked yourself what was wrong. Quite possibly you were able to eliminate the most probable causes. You then checked to see if you had a fever. Hm: not a hangover, not a tummy virus, not a flu, not food poisoning – what might it be?
Guess what
Not every woman finds out that she is pregnant due to morning sickness and not every pregnant woman suffers from ‘morning sickness’ but that is true and that can happen to perfectly normal women.
What is it?
Morning sickness is actually just your body’s own reaction to brand new hormonal changes and the onset of sudden high speed growth taking place inside your very own body.
To quote from the Baby Center,
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone rises rapidly during early pregnancy. No one knows how hCG contributes to nausea, but it’s a prime suspect because the timing is right: Nausea tends to peak around the same time as levels of hCG. What’s more, conditions in which women have higher levels of hCG, such as carrying multiples, are associated with higher rates of nausea and vomiting.
Estrogen. Another hormone which rises rapidly in early pregnancy, estrogen is also a possible cause (along with other hormones as well).
What to do about it
Stress can make it worse. Some women only experience it for a couple of weeks early in their pregnancies. I have heard rumors that for many women, it is a good indicator of the gender of the baby. I know that’s horrible but apparently it is true – one gender of baby makes the mother more nauseous than the other.
One of the best ways to help reduce pregnancy morning sickness is to control stress. This means that any ‘dirty laundry’ between yourself and the father may come out now. For some couples this can be scary, but certainly doesn’t have to ruin the relationship.
There are some simple treatments to alleviate pregnancy morning sickness: drinking plenty of milk will help. The reason is that fluids of this type coat the stomach which is very helpful. Yogurt and other dairy products also help. Avoiding citrus and other acidic foods – at least, avoid ingesting them alone, during pregnancy can help.
Getting enough rest and moving without rushing it can help to manage the queasiness. The degree to which women suffer from morning sickness ranges from just a slight queasiness to vomiting most days for about 6 weeks.
Sea Bands provide a great alternative along totally different lines. I found out about them because I suggested dairy products and am aware that some people are vegans and that going dairy won’t do. This solution is also worth a try for busy women who will not be in environments in which eating or drinking would be acceptable behavior.
Sea bands work using acupressure. They are inexpensive, available online, and are also perfectly safe and healthy.
Is there any hope?
Luckily the majority of women only suffer from intense morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy,, when the need to sleep a lot more is also commonplace.
You may not suffer from severe morning sickness. Personally, I consume a lot of dairy and I had only some queasiness during my pregnancy, and never anything so bad that I puked. It went away after the first couple of months.
So even if it turns out to be bad, know that it will probably get less bad within two months.
I hope these tips help you or someone you know get through pregnancy with a minimum of difficulty. With the right information and attitude, pregnancy can be a good experience.

What is Philosophy?

What is Philosophy?
Most people know what religion is. For those who don’t go to church with their family, religion is an organized way of helping people to grow spiritually; that means mainly to help the good stay good, to help people improve – especially morally, and in terms of their awareness, and to help people to help each other better. Religion is usually also associated with beliefs: beliefs and methods.
Philosophy addresses many of the same core questions that religion does, and that science also does. Due to that, sometimes philosophy can be understood as being part of religion and part of science but other times it isn’t. For example: what is knowledge? and Is God real? If so, what is God like? are all normal philosophical questions.
Sometimes philosophy is viewed as conflicting with religion or with science. How do we know that scientific research methods are as good as or better than religious writings like The Bible? Are both just as good? Are social science case studies and legal witness testimonies any better, worse or as good as testimonies about God’s activities in The Bible and elsewhere? Are they scientific evidence? If so, then why do scientists sometimes complain about religious people or claim they are unscientific and superstitious?
There are also famous or infamous atheist philosophers, including David Hume and Friederich Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell. They were able to write and to publish without being burned at the stake by other people and they were not struck down by God for not being believers. However, David Hume did not dare publish while he was alive because the Church was so powerful in his day and he was terrified of them.
Many theologians also study philosophy, and those who do not fear and hate it, in contrast refer to it as ‘the handmaiden of theology’.
Ethics
Ethics is the philosophical term for morality when people try to talk about it as if it is not religion. Many theologians and others are comfortable dealing with morality as ethics. The types of problems that ethicists (moralists) deal with are often political; they require thinking about both the small and the large scales in life.
Here are a few examples:
1) At what point can a physician remove life support from an unconscious patient and not be breaking their Hippocratic Oath to protect and preserve life?
This one is clearly a medical question. Hence, hospitals are one place where ethicists often work, but as there are standards for the large scale, agreements about such matters turn into laws, regulations and public policies. As such, they are also political.
2) How many refugees can the country take in, in an emergency? To what extent does a nation’s right to protect itself and it’s own welfare override a moral obligation to help those in need – such as refugees? This is more obviously political, but is just as personal as the previous one. Clearly, this is not medical ethics.
Both of these questions can be looked at from a definitely religious perspective but may have to be faced by people who do not consider themselves to be religious or to even have a religion. Neither question has a quick, easy cut and dried answer.
People who consistently address these questions from a religious perspective are still doing moral philosophy or ethics. It is just that, this is also philosophy to those who take any other kind of approach to seeking good answers to the same kinds of problems.
When it is not
Philosophy is not always religion, and not everything in religion is philosophy.
When Socrates asked the young men at Plato’s parties if they knew what “justice” is, he was not trying to practice religion. When Aristotle chose to catalog animals while working for Alexander the Great he was not doing it as religion. Both were activities of philosophy.
Many religious activities are caused by the God-based philosophy (also known as theology), but the ritual of each religion is not philosophy itself. Many of the good works done, such as building schools and hospitals and feeding the hungry are likewise based in theology but are not philosophy itself.
Many businesses put together a paragraph or two about their company’s philosophy for employees and other customers. That is normally not considered to be religion.
Together and Separate
Philosophy and religion can be found together or treated separately. Real life is holistic of course, so there may be times when a categorical separation seems artificial but that’s okay. If you are used to one, but not the other rest assured that you can know both quite intimately. The better you know them, the less you will get confused about which is which.

*If you loved this article, check out Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.  You can buy it online Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them.

Response to Isha Garg’s Art of Knowing Post

This gallery contains 1 photo.

  Isha Garg’s Post While listening to the band above: I went ahead and checked out a few other blogs and posts today.  First, I ran across Cristian Mihai…then moved on to Isha Garg.  I read hers because it was filed under art and I’m both into art/ists and like all the other women and many […]

Culture Shock: 2 years after

Re-entry

Two years ago this coming November marks 2 years living back in the USA after 6 years in Germany.   Those of you who recall, may have read a post or two about ‘return culture shock’.  Maybe you wonder: was there any ‘re-entry culture shock and if so, how long did it last’?

 

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Yes

The short answer is that yes there was culture shock upon returning to the USA for more than one reason.  One reason was that, much as I enjoyed how much everyone spoke English and I could finally go to my normal church, the relative lack of good public transit was not good.  To my own astonishment, I actually missed people speaking German and in fact, I still do.  This is even though, over there, I was only finally getting to be fluent, and still had to fight a cultural bias: a tendency to be dismissive of German language information as irrelevant because I’m an American or native speaker of English.  I was quite happy with myself as that tendency declined while living in Germany, but felt mildly stunned by how bad about that I still was after 5 years of living in Germany.

There are a few other matters, such as the amount of brick.  It is the norm in Stedorf, along with bales of hay.

Part of what I dealt with was being right near where I grew up.  Syracuse University Orangemen Football and Basketball….whereas in Ireland, the Orangemen means the Protestants of the Northern Counties.

There were familial issues which seemed to exacerbate a sense of confusion or dismay about it all.  My father was never comfortable with my husband being a German or about my son being both German and American rather than only American.  He wasn’t horrible about it, and sort of tried to treat that as acceptable but never quite did: this is a man whom I not sure ever wants to really see his daughter ‘married off’.  I mean, for some reason, I either can’t tell how he really feels about it or else I can but the truth makes us uneasy.   Some days he seems to feel I should be married off,  but other times he seemed delighted if some man of his baby girl’s turned out to just be a toy boy or temp rather than anyone who really permanently took her away from him.

Meanwhile, my mother and sister were just sort of nonplussed by my presence.  I think they may have tried to enjoy it, but felt bad knowing it was induced more by hardship than by pure love…and sort of trying to ameliorate the problem and to try being kind while making me feel guilty about having turned up and not having left after 3 days….Or even, guilty for seeming to want love and attention from relatives I haven’t spent much time around for 20 years or so.  I had hoped that our having time together would be cause for celebration and that we would update our relationships, get on well etc…but instead what happened caused me to nearly regret having even turned up and I nearly went back to Germany rather than staying in the country.

Terrain: in reality, CNY is loaded with hills.  They are not giant mountains or anything of the sort, but both Indianapolis and the area around Bremen, are flat lands.  I spent a total of 16 years in flat lands having been raised in this hilly terrain.  It felt wonderful to be back and yet strange to deal with actual hills and other traits of the land I come from.

No

Of course not!

Not True

In reality, in 1999 I returned to living in the USA after 5 years of living in Southern England, North Greater London, and Slough, Berkshire mostly.  That time, I moved to Indianapolis, where I had never lived before in my life.  It was most definitely back to living in my native country!  at the same time, it was somewhere new.  Even so,  locals told me that it took a year for me to “lose my accent” by which they meant what I and the English perceived as my “watered down American accent”.

Again, when I reached the point of having lived in the North side of Indianapolis for 5 years I did have weird emotions: it really was as long as I’d lived in England.  My second year back I had started saying “Dude” again, which was a major shift.

I’ve been back from living in a village around Bremen, Germany for more than 18 months now.  I still miss needing and using German a lot more.  I still miss fantastic public transportation.  There are other qualities of the nation’s culture that I find that I do honestly miss.  Some are the public support system and educational system.  Some are much more subtle – I’m not even always sure what it is that I’m missing.  There was something different about the air quality there, which I never understood.

At the same time, I’m really finding myself easily ‘moved’ in a happy way about various organizations that are around here – I mean stuff like: the schools I went to growing up actually are around here.  The neighborhoods I lived in growing up really are right in my current local area.

Here and there are people I knew, and I fairly frequently come across others who are or have been involved with some organization I was also part of: a a dojo, a school, a Y, or a church, or even a bar or party place.

It is relaxing to have such free use of my native language again and to have it be in common use.  Of course, I always knew that people speak any language because that’s what the people around there spoke like when they were there.  I realized that in Germany as much as I did here, but that simple lesson has somehow been deeply reinforced.

Different / Changed

I think maybe the truth is that I feel changed, neither in a good or a bad way, but just different.  My perspective and experience were definitely effected.  My attitude towards foreign residents is nothing like it was 25 years ago.  I was never cruel nor malicious but now I’m downright sympathetic and realize that being foreign can be a struggle but also gives a spirit of adventure to every day life.

I certainly wouldn’t say that I won’t live in a different nation again: I would love to live in London, England more: especially if the circumstances would be nice…and I would even brave Germany more, but would prefer to try a city and in whichever nation I would prefer to have a good job or to have plenty of money even if I don’t have a job.