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Saturday, December 10, 2016

New Year, New You


More so than any other year, going into 2017 we are looking at what options have been available to us, and what options may (or may not) continue to be available to us. Here in the United States, we have just been through the election from hell for our next president. Never in my life have I seen this much push-back against a president-elect, and his proposed polices. And all of this push-back is well deserved. Part of who I am in the next year will be to do whatever I can do to block his policies. I have good reason for this - I am a senior citizen, and our president-elect intends to gut Social Security and Medicare. Amongst other policies that favor big business, and trashing the planet.

My focus needs to be on where I want to take myself withiin the next year, with an eye to what is supposed to be there, but might not be there. The first thing that I did was to move my health insurance from a secondary insurance to an HMO. At the least that will save me money. I am putting renewed focus on publishing my books, and earning a living from them. I am going to have my hip surgery done, whie it is still covered.

I am keeping an eye out so that I recognize opportunities as they come to me. My paying job is that of a Tarot reader on a phone line. I recently had a friend share a post on FB that listed four very important resource numbers - hotline numbers for those in crisis. I copied those numbers into a personal file, and shared them on my FB page. Individuals like me that deal with clients over the phone need to have a listing of these numbers to give out, in case there is a need. Over my career, there has been a need, I am updating my entire list, and will be sharing it with my phone line manager.

We need to remember that whatever is going on around us, how we react is up to us. Our world is changing, but we can make it whatever we want it to be. I have found that humor helps. Specifically, a new to me comedian by the name of Trevor Noah (The Daily Show) has helped me to see that I am not alone in how I see things. If I can laugh, some of the scary goes away.

As I move into 2017, here are some of the questions that I am asking myself:

1. What supported me in 2016?
2. What challanged me in 2016?
3. What do I need to release?
4. What do I need to bring forward into 2017?
5. What are my strengths?
6. What are my weaknesses?
7. What are my goals for 2017?
8. What actions can Itake to accomplish those goals?
9. Who am I?
10. Where am I headed?

(c) December 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What fresh hell is this?



The quote "What fresh hell is this?" has been attributed to humorist Dorothy Parker, who is said to have said this whenever she answered her door or phone. (It is also the title of the 1989 Dorothy Parker biography written by Marion Meade.) I think it is an entirely appropriate response to the recent U.S. election. Over my lifetime I have seen presidents that I did not vote for take office. I have seen presidents that I truly did not like or trust take office. My response to our current president elect is "Not my president.". I was saying that before  I saw #notmypresident appearing everywhere. Donald Trump is not my president, nor will he ever be.

I am a writer - this is my writer's blog. I have other blogs for other things. What I am going to ramble on about today is addressed to the individuals that follow this blog, many of whom are also writers. One of my Facebook friends posted a sincere question asking which are the best ways to contact our government representatives: by letter, by e-mail, by phone, or by signing petitions. That got me past my anger and shock at the election, and started me thinking about how can I, as an individual, and as a writer, be part of the wave that will hold this president and his appointees accountable, and block or tone down the worst that is to come. My response to the Facebook post was letter, e-mail, and phone, in that order. I sign petitions (after I have vetted them), but I do not feel that they have that much affect.

Immediate response to Donald Trump winning this election: David Duke and the KKK announcing, a parade for Trump in North Carolina (that was denounced by the NC Republican party, as well as the Trump campaign). Protesters on the streets yelling #notmypresident. The Canadian immigration website crashed due to the traffic it received from Americans upset over the election.. A businessman that I follow on Facebook is moving his businesses to Canada (this is already a fait accompli). My friends and I are in shock, unable to even imagine the changes to our lives that the president elect will bring.

Senator Bernie Sanders wrote an excellent article on the election, and where we are now. A very balanced view, IMHO.

What we do know is that we must get on with our lives. The best suggestions that I have seen in the days since the election are to become involved, to not allow our government to run our lives without standing up for ourselves. We have the right to protest. It got a bit out of hand in the streets, but the election was a bitter one, with many outright lies told. People have a right to be mad - to protest. I was happy to see that our young people, our future voters, protested. On the day of the inaugeration there is a Million Woman March planned for Washington DC. We will continue to see more and more of  this.

Trump himself has current court cases against him, incuding a fraud case involvng Trump University. There are legal questions about the Trump Foundation, and his business ties to Russia. Here are a few of the things that we might expect from him once he takes office: economic plan, birth control, climate, and immigration, U.S. economy, first 100 days.

We can fuss about all of this or we can take responsibility for ourselves and look at what we can do to follow our beliefs, to do what we feel to be right, to protect our rights, and the rights of others. To find a starting point, we canbreak down the areas in which we can take action: (1) within our own homes, (2) within our communities, (3) within our town/cities, (4) within our states, within our country, (5) globally.

Within our own homes: Here is where we define our beliefs, our morals, our ethics, and our goals. Once we have defined these areas, we have defined ourselves. Our words and actions need to be in line with our beliefs, morals, ethics, and goals. We need to reflect our authentic self. It is also within the home that we define what issues we want to actively support outside of the home. For me this would be animal rights, the rights of women and children, the right to decent healthcare, the right to a decent education, and being supportive of mother earth.

Within our communities: For me, my time, effort, and money needs to be spent within my community first. I help whenever and wherever I can. I educate mysef on the issues, and I vote. I shop locally whenever I can. For me, this means to balance my Internet spending with "real time" spending. It might be more expensive to shop locally, but we need to keep local shops open, to literally keep our money local. I support holiday food drives - fiinancially and with canned goods and non-perishable items. I support local animal shelters, and those who help animals. Here is a link for writers and teachers that want to help.

Within our towns/cities: One of the best tools that we have is our connection to our political representatives, and our vote. I keep up with the issues, and give my input. I doubt that any of us will ever forget what a bad election the recent election was. It resulted in a totally inappropriate individual taking the highest office in this land. We need to work very hard to limit his effect over the enxt four years, and to make the 2020 election a reflection of our priorities. We need to speak up when we see inequalities - such as racial bias (whether it is being expresssed by an individual, or by an organization, such as the police department). We need to back our cultural organizations/events. Without money, there will be no arts, no dance, no theater. Do we really want to lose this precious reflection of who we are?

Within our states/country: Our local and national governments need to reflect who we are as a people. We need to fund education. We need to fund culture. We need to keep up our infrastructure, before it falls down around us. We need to protect our right to free speech, to free expression. We need to protect state/national resources. Whatever we can do to support this is necessary, whether it is our voices being known, whether is is through voluteer work, or whether it is financially. We need to do whatever we can do.

Globally: If we are doing all that we can do on each of hte other levels, we will be going a long way taking care of issues on the global front. We cannot advocate globally for that which we are not willing to work for locally. The global community is mankind on a very wide level. We may tend to think of it as big business to the nth degree, because I think we all realize that big business expresses itself through its political funding. We need to remember that each country is made up of individuals, just like ourselves. We can give input to our politicians. We can work through specific groups. We can respond to national emergencies as individuals. We can work through our various religious organizations. We can make sure that the picture other countries see of us reflects who we are, as much as who our politicians are. And we need to remember that "talking down" another country or culture helps no one.

Whatever you decide to do, however you decide to express yourself, the first thing that you want to do is to vet the individual, company, or situatio at hand. Get as much information as you can before you form your opinion, and take your action. Make the decision to get your thoughts/needs out there. Use the skills and abilities that you were gifted with to make a better world. As writers, and as individuals, we can do this!

(c) November 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.     

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Impressions



As those of you who follow this blog will know, I am very fond of my Great Auntie Vee. She was a teacher, and a very caring, gentle person. In doing some cleaning this past few days, I came across another lovely book of hers - "The Birds' Christmas Carol", by Kate Douglas Wiggin (author of "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm", amongst other books). The publisher is Houghton Mifflin Company, with a copyright date of 1888.

The book is small - 69 pages. I immediately sat down to read it. I noted that my my Great Aunt had written her name in the front of the book, as she was wont to do, with the word "personal" above it. I was in my own little world - holding something that my Great Aunt had held, that was published by a cmpany that I hold in high esteem.  

The storyline is that of a Victorian family, at Christmas time. On Christmas Day, the mother gives birth to a beautifu baby girl. They call her Carol, as the mother hears Christmas carols being sung right after the birth. All goes well with Carol, and her older brothers, until the age of five. Then Carol becomes ill, and eventually is bedridden.

On her tenth Christmas, Carol experiences a strong wish to give to others. Her solution is to have a Christmas party, in her bedroom, for a neighboring family of poor children. Games, Christmas dinner, a Christmas Tree, and Christmas presents ... it is a great and wonderful day.  Thhat night, as her family is listening to Christmas carols, Carol passes away. But she is happy, and her family is happy.

This all sounds like a huge "spoiler", and perhaps it is. This is a lovely book, and I am very happy to see that it is still available. Pure Victorian sentiment, with incredible Victorian artwork through out the book. It is amazing!

But this is not all that I found in this book. I started to see small notes, written in light pencil, throughout this book. My Great Aunt was marking scenes, which told me that she was involved with putting this on as a play, perhaps with her students, or perhaps with the children in her church. How much do we learn about people through what we leave behind!

This is something to keep in mind as keepers of our family's records, but also something to keep in mind as writers, which many of you following this blog may be. What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

(c) November 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.  

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Books and My Family


My Auntie Vee had a tremendous influence on my life, even though I seldom saw her. She grew up in the mid-west (North Dakota and Minnesota), took care of her mother after her father died, and became a teacher. She eventually moved to California, earned a further teaching degree, and taught there until she retired. She was a gentle lady that carried a great deal of wisdom about her. When I was going through my mother's things, after w moved her to a senior care facility, I found one of my Aunt's books. I ran across it again recently, and took a good look at it. It is a small book (77 pages), that carries a huge punch!

The name of the book is The Story of the Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke. I was astounded when I looked on Amazon.com, to find many versions of this book. Well, I may not want to say many versions, but the publication dates are different, and the covers are different. It seems that what I have in my hands is copyright 1895 by Harper & Brothers, with a second copyright of 1923 by Henry Van Dyke.  My Aunt has written her name, and the date she got the book (February 1946) in the front of the book.

That it belonged to my Aunt makes this book precious to me - the story itself adds to the feeling that this is something to cherish. The story is about a fourth Magi, called Artaban. He sawthe same heavenly signs as the other Magi, and he carries his own gifts for the baby Jesus (a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl).  On the way to Jerusalem, he stops to aid a dying man,and is left behind. His life becomes a journey of search for Christ. His need to help others acts as a barrier for accomplishing that goal.

 This is a well written, gently written book, writtenin story format. I recommend it for all.

But this is not meant to be a book review, it is meant to be thoughts on what books can mean to us, especialy when handed down through family. I remember when I was living in Hawaii, sharing a very small house with three roommates. In the living room was a set of encylopedias. books that came with their own story. They were the only thing left that one of my roommates had to remindhim of his deceased father.  They meant the world to him.

What books have been handed down in your family, and what do they mean to you? For me, books are a strong part of my journey, and my story.

(c) September 2016 Bonnie Cehovet


Friday, August 5, 2016

Bringing All the Strands of My "Web of Life" Together!


The web of my life for 2016 is pretty much what I asked it to be - which is favorable for me, but it  meant that, aside from reviews and the ooccasional article, my writing was at a standstill. I am now getting back to work on my WIP - a book on decision making. There has been an inordinate amount of "start/stop" with this book, due to life intervening. I am not going to push myself - but I do hope to have it out reasonably soon aftr the first of the year.

Then I will focus on marketing that book, and writing what is to be the first in a series of cozy mysteries. I am going to start from scratch on this book - I have the start of a bible, and a storyline, but I am going to start from ground zero, and see what happens. One of the things that I can do while I am finishing my non-fiction book is to research software that will help me create my bible, and keep characters and the storyiine together. Since I will be including parts of my metaphysical world, it will need to be tight to be believable!

I will be starting a newsletter within the next few months that will be published on a monthy basis. In it I hope to keep my audience apprised of where I am with my book, while at the same time building a reader base. I have no clue what software I will be using - I imagine trial and error with whatever looks good!

I would like to share a few links from my writer's world, beginning with Punctuation In Dialoge. Then we have Writing Jobs From Writer Access, and Magazines That Pay $400 Plus Per Article.

Wishing you all well with your writing!

(c) 2016 Bonnie Cehovet 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Site Updated



I finally got around to updating my review links from my blogs to my site - I knew I had slowed down on reviewing, and some of the reviews will not show for a while because they were submitted to a magazine, but this is really slo mo!

Here are the links to specific review categories on my site:

Tarot Book Reviews
Tarot Deck Reviews
Oracle Reviews
Non-Tarot Book Reviews

(c) February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Writer's View of 2016


The most important seed that I could have planted for 2016 happened at the end of October, 2015, when I finally made the physical move back to Nevada. I feel as if a great weight has been lifted, and I can now move forward with purpose. I was blessedin that the house that I rented, sight unseen, is both a lovely home, and located close to everything that I need (including thge DMV!).

I do not do New Year's resoutions, as, in my humble opinion, they are an epic fail. My version of life is to set goals for the coming year, and check in on those goals on a periodic basis, to make sure that I have not strayed from my path. My first goal for 2016 is not one that I had planned, but one that came up unexpectedly. Close to the end of February I will be getting a lens inplant in my right eye. Long story - the short version of which is that when I had the cataract surgery on that eye, the ten year study had not been finished, and my opthamologist could not implnt a lens. My second goal is to clean up my finances so that I can purchase a home before the end of the year. This is where my major energy will be going.

As far as writing goes, I will continue my work with The Cartomancer, write a column here once a month, write flash fiction on a consistent basis, and look for short story contests to enter. I need to work on myself over the next year (I am still unpacking "stuff"), so that tghe person in the mirror and the one in my mind carry the same image.

I am also contemplating doing an imspirational deck, with quotes on each card that reflect different life areas. That will evolve over time, and may take a couple of years to come into print. I already have a good idea who I will have carry this deck, and that for me is a major part of this journey.

On January 13th I will be attending a free teleclass by author Eleanor Brown on setting writing goals for 2016. I very much am looking forward to this event, which I see as a good way to firmly anchor my writing in 2016, and a way to connect with another writer. That all important networking!

Wishing you all much success in 2016!

(c) January 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of he author.