Archive for September, 2011

A Gift
I read the wonderful Happy Birthday ramblingsandrumblings wrote for her brother. It could have been written by me except for two things. My brother and I were separated in birth by four years and one day. He was the oldest. After I was 14 we lived on different coasts. That string, that cord – elastic stretched comfortably over the miles. His protectiveness was understood. But he could tell his friends, “My sister is the one with all the kids; I have the Phd.” We were proud of each other and loving as siblings are. So I understand and enjoy birthday wishes as mine is coming soon. I wont be sad that he is no longer here. He came when he could.

Fifteen minutes
It was so flattering to see my poems highlighted next to ramblingandrumblings’ tribute. Emails were sent and received. I walked a bit taller most of the day. This evening I went back to see my words in print. The day has ended and so have my fifteen minutes. Another worthy poet is in that spot. Congratulations. Walk a little taller. (more…)

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Hot coffee in the dark
Slowly light
Then bright
First hint of chill
Sound of birds
A yawn
Wide awake
Ready for the day.

The Narcissus, Hibiscus and Mandrake (poetry) is coming along, one poem a day. Yesterday a new page was added. Photos were taken of Narcissus bulbs as the book came together. A completion goal was October. The bulbs were expected to bloom at that time. Later drawings added a visual ‘handwriting’ extending the words written on legal pads. The process was healing. More photos will be added as the ‘book’ grows.

Who knew?
Diversions often take on a life of their own. It is a good thing when a nugget fits in with information you can use for a project. Whether painting, coaching, writing etc., no knowledge is wasted. It may seem trivial today, but tomorrow just what you can use.

A search for a friend’s relative who lived back in the 1700s, turned up the online History of Ashburnham, MA. This little book describes the lives and surroundings of the people before the US was a country. Anyone looking for relations in that area will find the names and occupations of all in that area. There was only one woman listed. She was a doctor. For military history, governing and family relationships in that part of the country, this book can be searched (free) and on http://www.ancestry.com (subscription). Continue your research by looking for the histories of other towns.

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It has been just three weeks writing this blog and entering a poem a day from an unpublished book. It has been exciting and appreciated to see responses from friends and new friends. FreshPress itself picked several blogs to feature. Early success puts pressure on the writer to keep building an audience. Thanks.

Who Knew?
The White House received a bust of activist Susan B. Anthony during the Nixon Administration. Barbara Franklin, in a c-SPAN interview, told how several women’s groups went together to commission and donate a copy.

Before Mrs. Pat Nixon could schedule the time to accept the gift, the bust remained in Ms. Franklin’s office closet. It was not clear how long the bust remained there.

A mystery developed when the bust would slip out in the ‘dead of night’ to appear in the office of a staffer who had been insensitive to women’s concerns. It finally was presented to Mrs. Nixon. During the Nixon term, the bust was placed at the entrance to the East Wing.

Where is Susan B. Anthony’s bust now? Is she still wandering into offices in the night? Or is she back in the closet? Who would know? (more…)

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A free talk on self-publishing
A disappointing lecture may still offer a positive learning experience. The day may have been lovely. The audience was made of new people. You could have expected too much. The lecturer repeated often “You get what you pay for.” How does that ring true when his prices were offered to undercut the competition?

He opened the power point presentation by saying he did not know anything about the specialized subject the group was interested in publishing. His skills were based on interviewing and writing the story from his recorded notes. He could provide other technical pre-publication services with research provided by the client. Assurance was given that he could provide a professionally edited document using a backup copy editor. (There were two mistakes on the power point slides.)

In the Q and A period, his prices did not include the printing costs! There seemed no margin for recovering expenses or profits. The time involved to get orders finished would be based on “how busy I am.”

Who knew?
So what can you learn from this story? Know what is available. Be cautious before you invest your time and money. Seek out other options and compare them. Decide what your needs are. Figure out what you are willing and able to pay. This may not be the time to publish – work out a time plan. Save money toward your goal. Be clear that the expert you hire is knowledgeable and staffed enough to give you the best product. You need a guarantee that work will be completed in a specified time and to your satisfaction. “There is no perfect book” is not a comforting statement.

Some credit should be given to the lecturer. He is making a business and will sharpen up his presentation. The samples of his books were attractive. He will find enough people who can use the services he offers. He can be a good source for networking with other professional services.

Think about it. Self-publishing has been very good for a lot of people. Realistic goals, those baby-steps, can take you in the right direction. (more…)

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The charcoal portraits and animal studies by this artist are outstanding, They are done with confidence and skill.

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It is a good thing that people are living longer. It is new only in that more people are doing it than in the past. Once again there may be five generations living in one family. Marriages spanning over 60 years barely get mentioned in the news. Not too long ago, it was a major achievement to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Wonder what the gift is after 50 years?

The new Grancys are tough cookies. They are still able to live alone, shop and drive their cars, and even blog! And what do great grandparents email and blog about? There is an immediacy staying in touch with family and friends. The internet is the open university of information. They can win arguments with their children about some small fact by searching ask.com.

The new ‘toys’ provide books and music in the most mobile manner. At least 20 radio programs are on the GoodReader app featuring Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald among other memorable stars. These programs date from the 30s and 40s and can be heard as clearly as the night the programs aired.

The grands and great grands may say Al who? But when we were their age, radio was our television or SmartPhone. GoodReader has books published in the 1700s to recently They coded by volunteers. Information tells whether a book etc., can be read online, in a library, borrowed, or purchased. Much more than can be written about! Perhaps, the Grancys are writing their stories. That is more important than any GoodReader app.

The men who live to have great grandchildren may have a name similar to Grancy. I do not know it. We only knew her. See the poem posted today called Victoriae Reginae (on Narcissus, Hibiscus and Mandrake.) I would like to know how they are called in their families. Looking in the mirror, I realize I am the new Grancy.

Who knew?
You can also subscribe to the Narcissus, Hibiscus and Mandrake blog (poetry book) because it is a separate blog. They are linked. By subscribing, you will get emails as each new poem or blog is posted. The section titled Hibiscus is about history of the poet’s family. All posts are copyrighted and should be given credit when reblogged.

It is possible to click into a blog site that seems to have the same name but the content is not by me. This blog is intended to be informative and inspiring. Some may disagree with me (please comment)but I hope they will not find the writing disagreeable.

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As promised, this Friday Special will be about the artist, Ernie Barnes, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the charity auction. The auction of Barnes’ work and the start of an Arts Scholarship in his memory brings together a life well lived with an organization dedicated to the continuing education of today’s young people.

A google search of Ernie Barnes (biography) informs his background. Living from 1938 until 2009, it was not always easy to be accepted on teams. He was always an artist. His beginnings were limited in that he was the first in his family to go to college. Through his own efforts, he became a skilled painter of sports activities. He knew what effect he wanted because he had played the game. He made a successful career by drawing on his experiences and working hard at his craft.

Barnes was an example of ‘giving back’ for which he is to be honored. For more information about his life from his perspective read his autobiography, From Pads to Palette (1995.) To read biographical information, including his work as an actor, see

To see Ernie Barnes paintings and prints online or more information about the auction, go to:
This fundraiser will support the work of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF – The Art of Giving Back) and the UNCF Ernie Barnes Memorial Arts Scholarship.  

More students will benefit from educational opportunities through this Arts Scholarship and the continuing work of the UNCF.

 Carole Sorell
National Coordinator, “UNCF – The Art of Giving Back”
(845) 687-9667
(I am not associated with this organization or its programs.)

Who knew?
Giving is more rewarding than receiving.
The pursuit of learning is a lifelong endeavor.
Helping a young person may result in a young person changing the world.

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