Lost and Found — Getting “Me” Back

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Cyberslayer

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Cyberslayer

I have an awful sense of direction. It’s so bad, I can get lost in a closet. A friend of mine scolded me once because I gave her the wrong directions. “You’re suppose to know where you’re going!” she screamed at me. “It’s women like you who give us a bad name.” I can tell the founders of the feminist movement shook their heads at me in shame.

But getting lost is not fun. You wander around, looking for something familiar, some stationary object that can lead you back home. I remember once when I was lost, I kept driving around and around. A friend, who happened to be with me, shouted at me. “Stop the car! You don’t know where you’re going!” However, I felt as if I kept going, I’d eventually find out how to get home.

Losing the sense of who you are or what you are can be a lot like that. Searching for your identity in a job, in a relationship, in good works, in thrill seeking. Constantly looking for that stationary ‘thing’ in your life you can latch onto. How do we find ourselves if we have no idea who we are? How do we get ‘me’ back?

Here to help us unpack this is Juana Wooldridge as she talks about who we are and what we in and how we find out. Feel free to call and ask questions of our guests. You can call in at 646-595-2083 press 1 and you’ll be live on air. Or, you can listen to use live via the web by clicking the link here: http://tobtr.com/s/5769753. Or, you can download the WLUV Radio app on your mobile device and listen to us that way. There are all kinds of ways to connect so join us.

Adversity, Trials, and Triumph

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Original Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of mliu92

I had no idea when I planned today’s show that the city of my birth, Detroit, would be filing for bankruptcy.  When I heard about it, it left me in a state of shock and sadness. I hadn’t even known a city COULD file for bankruptcy.

And it showed just how bad things really were.

I can remember the day, several years ago now, when my father lost his job. Then a few months later, my mother lost hers.  My sisters and I had been living on our own for a year and when we heard about it, we started to do the best that we could to support two households. However, it wasn’t sustainable. One car was taken, and then the other one. Bills piled up and no jobs to be found for older, mature couples.

Then the house I grew up in went into foreclosure and a year went by.  The day my parents moved out, two Mormon missionaries came by to help with clearing out.  And then my parents and baby nephew moved in with my sisters and me. I remember driving by the house a few times after that, sitting in front of it and bursting into tears. This had been my home and there wasn’t a thing I could do to save it. I had tried but what could I do?

Adversity and trials are a way of life. They come and there are times when there is nothing you can do about it. I am an emotional person. I’m one of those people who do poorly in a medical crisis—I discovered my ineptitude the day my grandmother had a seizure two years ago and I called my twin sister in a frenzy. She works in a hospital. Surely she would tell me what to do. “Granny’s tripping out. What do I do?” She gave me her most professional, well thought out advice. “Call 911, stupid!”

Needless to say, I don’t handle adversity well. My sisters are quite capable of dealing with it in an analytical way. I simply cry. They work to see what solutions can be made and see it through. I simply cry and they usually have to comfort me in their typical fashion: “Shut up crying, you weakling. If you wanna do something useful, pray!”

Inspirational and Christian writers have a very unique ability to take adversity and apply a godly view of it. Adversity is not insurmountable and it’s nothing you have to handle alone since triumph comes through God, who sustains us and makes us stronger.

On today’s show, we will be discussing adversity, trials, and triumph with an author who is no stranger to difficulties but has triumph because of his faith in God.

Do you have a story of adversity and triumph? Share your story with us by calling 646-595-2083 at 7:00 pm Eastern Time. We’d love to hear from you.

The Write Stuff — Romantic Love vs. Arranged Marriage– July 2nd

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There’s something about the emotion of love that pulls at everything inside of us. Love fills us with wonder and drains us of all selfish thought. It soars high in the air, flying on the wings of a mythical bird of light that pierces the dark edges of our souls. A mighty shield against all oppression, it can cut down barriers, heal wounds, and create an unbreakable bond.

Or, so we say.

Literature is littered with this idea of romantic love. The searing all-encompassing feeling of romantic love that connects two people over time and life, even after death according to some. We search for the one person we can call our soul mate.

But in the wake of the idea of romantic love, we have divorce and broken relationships. If love is so fantastic, why are we constantly in search of it?

Conversely, arranged marriage has a connotation of distaste to it. The idea of having your spouse chosen for you bereft of your own involvement or for the sake an external influence (social status, familial honor, etc.) can be repugnant for some. Yet, a lot of marriages of this type are made and it’s been speculated that arranged marriages lasts longer than romantic love.

On July 2nd, I will dialogue with Rachel Rassano, author of the indie published book, “Duty” as we discuss romantic love vs. arranged marriage; their pros and cons and biblical references of these two concepts.  Also, we will hear an interview between myself and Laurie Alice Eakes as she details her writing career and gives tips and advice for aspiring authors.

We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to call in at 6465952083 on July 2nd at 7:00 PM. Eastern Time.

To listen in click here:  www.blogtalkradio.com/wluvradio.

If you’re an author or provide author services, leave a comment and I will draw a random name at the end of the month for you to have a 10 minute spot on our show to showcase your service or your book.

If you’d like to be on the show, feel free to email me at writestuffradio@gmail.com.

Born Yesterday

i_wasnt_born_yesterday_tee_shirts-rb6eca9a0d5954fd185365c3b803b66b9_f0osk_512For some reason lately, I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking me for money. I used to get them all the time and then they stopped when I increased the settings on my spam filter. Then I must have signed up for something in the last two weeks. Now the floodgates have been opened for people I’ve never even heard of to ask me for money.

We get them all the time, these emails saying something like this one:

“Can I Trust You?” (This is the con subject line of the hook message)Let’s just stop there.  Who are you and how did you get my email address?

“Dear Friend,” (friends know each other’s name–small technicality there)

“I write this message to you with a burden and anticipation. My Name is Rasha _____ from Syria .”Unfortunately for Rasha, I’m not well traveled and I get lost in a closet.
“I am confident that (you) the recipient of this message should endeavour to read this message thoroughly and wholeheartedly accept to assist me fulfil my last wish before I die.” I need a violin…

“Firstly, I am married to Mr  Fara _______.A gold merchant who owns a small gold Mine in Burkina Faso . We were married for Eleven years without a child. And he died of Cardiovascular Disease before the uprising in Syria began in mid-March 2011. During his life time he deposited the sum of US$ 11.2m (Eleven million two hundred thousand dollars) in a bank in Ouagadougou the capital city of Burkina Faso in West Africa .”You’d think if a guy had 11.2 million dollars just stored somewhere, he could get a better doctor.

“At the time of his illness, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The one thing that disturbs me mostly is my stroke illness. My doctor confidentially told me i have less chance to live. Having known my condition I decided to contact you if you can claim the fund as my next of kin since none of my husband’s relation or mine is alive. They were killed during the war in my country Syria when they were fleeing from the country to Jordan . If you agree to be my next of kin and claim the fund then you will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct you…………”<snores>

“You will take 40 % Percent of the total money While 60% of the money will go to charity and the orphanage homes. I grew up as an Orphan and I want part of the money to go to charity and the orphanage homes. If this money remains unclaimed before or after my death, the bank executives or the government will take the money as unclaimed fund and maybe Use it for selfish and worthless ventures.”Your generosity is astounding…no, really. Unbelievably astounding.

“As soon as I receive your reply I shall give to you the contact of the bank in Burkina Faso for the claim. I will also provide to you a copy of the existence of the fund and a letter of authorisation to legally transfer the fund to you as my choice of next of kin. Significantly, if you assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated above.” Since you’re on your way out, I guess telling you to not hold your breath would be…counterproductive.

“I write to you by the assistance of a nurse in the hospital. Note that this task requires urgent action. Reply me from this email: ___________

 Yours hopefully,”
( You need more than hope sister.)
Mrs.Rasha __________.

In short, the scam artist person who wrote this…must have thought I was born yesterday.

The Author’s Friend — Criticism

Handling it Well

My mature reaction to criticism

I asked an established author to read my first book, Dark Cherub. It took her a while to read it but I had expected that. I had assured her that I could handle tough criticism and would use any negative feedback she gave me to better my writing career (oh the innocent lamb I was!) and would be most grateful for her input.

When I finally saw her email, I saw these ominous words: “First of all, you are a gifted writer, so remember that more than any of my other comments! I reread some of your old e-mails, and you said you didn’t mind tough criticism, so that reassures me! I have to be honest (I really grappled with what to write you), I found it hard to read your story.”

Note to self: never put lies in writing. They come back to haunt you.

The rest of the email began a gentle but strong critique of my novel which burned me.  I think I was depressed for two hours (days) or possibly a day (a week). Others had enjoyed my story so why couldn’t this wonderful, superlative, dynamic writer not enjoy my book?

No one likes to hear that the work they’ve spend sweat, blood, and tears over (although we use that adage, and we all know that if a drop of blood landed on the keyboard or paper, we’d all run to the hospital) doesn’t sound good. We want people to like what we’ve written. However, as she told me later on, reading is subjective. What one person likes another doesn’t. There has been more than one book I’ve read where I thought it wasn’t worth the paper printed on. And others I wouldn’t let anyone borrow because I love the book much.

Yet, I learned from the criticism and it did help me in my writing and I will always be thankful to her that she took time out to read it.

Using criticism in our work helps us to improve our craft. If we always hear positive things, we would never know the areas we need to improve on. In keeping with this thought, here are some of my suggestions for dealing with someone who criticizes your work:

1. Everyone’s opinion is not always a fact. The very same day I received the email, I got another one from another person who thoroughly enjoyed what I had written.

2. Listen to what is being said. If the criticism is, “It’s stupid,” you can deduce the statement is not a helpful one and then retaliate with, “No, you’re stupid!” (hopefully your critique help is weaker than you or you can run faster than them). However, if someone says, “The flow of the story seemed jumpy to me,” then you can go back to your work and see how to smooth out and transition easily from one scene to the other.

3. Join or start a critique group with fellow authors. Many authors have found this to be an essential part of the writing process. You have a fellow comrade who can give you genuine feedback on how to improve your story. Perhaps your strength is in character development and your critique partner’s is in plot structure. You can use each other’s strengths to build upon.

Don’t feel too badly if you do receive negative feedback. Use it and transform it to positive.