October 15 – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

I have posted here about my miscarriage before and am giving this space over to promoting what today is—Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and what this month is.  Here is the proclamation that President Reagan gave 24 years ago.

Proclamation 5890 — Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 198

October 25, 1988

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.

Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss.

Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month” and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.

Ronald Reagan

quoted from:

www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1988/102588b.htm
Robyn Bear, who is the founder of the www.october15.com website, wanted to have a day when people could come around women who had experienced this loss. Since October 15 is in the middle of this month, she chose this day. If you or someone you know has experienced pregnancy or infant loss, I encourage you to reach out to them today.
Until next time, be real!

What Writers and Parents Can Learn from Teenagers

I thought this would be a humorous take on something else I read in one my writing inspiration books since I have two teenagers of my own.

1) Humor—If you spend time around any teenagers, you know they take very little of what you say seriously, and therefore, you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously either.

2) Honesty—Teenagers can spot a fake from a mile away. If you’re genuine and honest with them, they’ll be the same with you.

3) Respect their Interests—Just because you think a teenager should be interested in something doesn’t mean they’ll actually be interested in it.  Take some time to learn about the people they are becoming. They might surprise you.

4) Learn to Play Video Games—That one was from my younger son, but I guess if you can play them properly, it would be good bonding time. 🙂

5) Passion—Listen to what teenagers are passionate about. If you listen long enough, that passion and emotion will translate into whatever you’re writing.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Until next time, be real!

Writing Involves Doing

I was having a hard time deciding what to write on this morning until I saw this quote by Joseph Adcroft on my Twitter feed.

” Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.”

And I realized it was the perfect thing to start with and to think about. I’m sure all of us remember when we learned about nouns and verbs in school, when we learned how to write a sentence or a paragraph, and when we learned how to write different types of essays and papers in high school and college. Once the teacher talked about it though, did we know how to do it? Could we do it perfectly the first time out? Of course not. After we learned about it, there was always some kind of written assignment to practice what we had been taught. It usually works this way with anything in life. We learn about it by hearing it, by seeing it, and then by doing it. So, for me today, the most important thing to remember is: to get better at writing involves sitting down and actually writing.

 

Until next time, be real!

My First Book Review—Be My Enemy

It’s not really my first as I’ve done reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but it’s my first on this blog. I thought for a bit on what I wanted my emphasis to be, and then I realized that the book itself had given me my emphasis.  It is a Young Adult book, and I have two young adults–my 13 and 15-year-old boys.  Since finding things that they will read and enjoy is always a challenge, I like to be proactive in recommending books to them.

Anyway, on to the review. I read the book Be My Enemy (Ian McDonald, Pyr Books, Sept. 2012). It is the second book in the Everness series, but stands very solidly as a story on its own.  I was afraid I had missed vital information by starting with the second book, but the author does an excellent job of introducing the characters and saying what’s going on without leaving the reader to wonder what he’s missed.

Here is the book synopsis quoted from Amazon. “Everett Singh has escaped with the Infundibulum from the clutches of Charlotte Villiers and the Order, but at a terrible price. His father is missing, banished to one of the billions of parallel universes of the Panoply of All Worlds, and Everett and the crew of the airship Everness have taken a wild Heisenberg jump to a random parallel plane. Everett is smart and resourceful, and from the refuge of a desolate frozen Earth far beyond the Plenitude, where he and his friends have gone into hiding, he makes plans to rescue his family. But the villainous Charlotte Villiers is one step ahead of him. The action traverses three different parallel Earths: one is a frozen wasteland; one is just like ours, except that the alien Thryn Sentiency has occupied the Moon since 1964, sharing its technology with humankind; and one is the embargoed home of dead London, where the remnants of humanity battle a terrifying nanotechnology run wild. Across these parallel planes of existence, Everett faces terrible choices of morality and power. But he has the love and support of Sen, Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, and the rest of the crew of Everness as he learns that the deadliest enemy isn’t the Order or the world-devouring nanotech Nahn—it’s himself.”

What attracted me to this book, and what I knew would also attract my children, were the richness of the book’s language, the male protagonist, and the mention of parallel universes. My older son especially is a big fan of science fiction and fantasy and having the male protagonist be close to his own age is an extra bonus. I also liked the glossary at the back of the book which defined the words of the Airish language.

My plan is to go back to the first book in the series, Planesrunner, as I know that will have rich back story that can only help with the understanding of the series, but I can also heartily recommend this book and plan to read the other books of the series going forward. Congratulations to Ian McDonald on a wonderful job!

Embracing the Interruptions

Something more lighthearted today. I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing, I get interrupted a lot. It’s not something I like, and I do feel like I produce more words when I’m not interrupted. However, the times I can write and not be interrupted are few and far between. So, for me to produce more words and actually make progress on whatever I’m writing, I need to learn how to embrace the interruptions. Here are some ways I can do that. (Feel free to adapt this for your own particular situation.)

1) When my sons come running in my bedroom, one chasing after the other and detailing whatever has happened to start the ruckus, I can say, “Leave me out of it, and if you don’t, I’ll put you in my novel.” Then I’ll start typing and reading the words as I type, making sure to include their names. As teenagers have an anathema to being a part of whatever their parents are doing, this will be a sure thing to get them running away from me in fear. 🙂

2) Keep a notebook of ideas next to my computer so if I have to help them with something homeschool related, I can complete the idea I was writing and come back to it later with no danger of it being deleted.

3) Decide what hours my mind is in the writing mindset and keep to those hours no matter how many times I’m interrupted. (This one is the hardest for me.)

4) Walk around in a circle and keep mumbling my next idea to myself until I can get back to my computer or notebook so I can write it down. (Yes, people will think I’m crazy, but my kids already think I’m crazy so that’s not a big deal.)

5) And finally, I’m going to quote someone on the National Novel Writing Month site who had this in their signature. “Just keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.”

Until next time, be real!

Letting People Know the Real Me

I think that this is what has taken me so long to have the courage to write. Because when I write, I am exposing the person I am; what my thoughts and feelings are. This is not just when I’m writing about myself or about my feelings. It’s when I write about anything. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve begun not caring what others think and become more sure of myself.  I don’t know if that’s a result of maturity or self-confidence. I like to think it’s some of both. It’s also important to remember not everyone will like what you write, and that’s okay too. 

For me, this quote by William Zinsser reflects how I feel about my writing. “If you write for yourself, you’ll reach all the people you want to write for.”  I would just add one thing to that. If other people like what you write, then you’ve received a big bonus.

 

Until next time, be real! 

Patience

For those of us who are parents, this topic comes up more often than we would like. When my children were small, there are many times I remember saying, “I’ll be done with this in just a few minutes, and then I’ll come see your drawing,” or “Be patient please, dinner will be ready in five minutes.” It was hard for them to wait especially when they were excited. Why is that? Why is patience one of the hardest virtues to attain? I think the reason for part of that is the immediacy of today’s world. We can get on the Internet and have any question we want answered in very little time, and we don’t even have to be at home to do it. When children can’t see the adults in their life displaying patience, it is understandable they would not see patience as something important to learn. 

Patience is important though to achieving goals that can’t happen immediately. A good example of this is the goal of improving healthMost people would consider this goal to have two components–exercising more and eating foods that are better for you which, in modern terminology, would be considered being on a diet. I prefer to use the term improving health, and I am about to start the eighth week of improving my own health. During this time, I have been conscious of how much better I have felt. I am eating less of certain things and more of others such as fruit and vegetables. In the last few weeks, I have started becoming aware of changes in my body that reflect this goal, inches lost and clothes fitting better. I think that would make most of us quite excited. But, what if I had quit the first week after not seeing these changes? Would I feel better now? Would I have seen these changes now? Of course not. It takes time and patience to achieve the goal of improving health which I have made a commitment to doing.

Now, you might ask what does that have to do with writing. I believe some of the same things apply. It takes time, practice, and patience to be good at writing. Nothing happens immediately in the writing world just like nothing happens immediately in the improving health world. That doesn’t mean you don’t try or that you don’t keep trying. If people such as Stephen King, H.G. Wells, Tom Clancy, Louisa May Alcott, or Laura Ingalls Wilder had not written the works they are famous for, we would not know about them today. For the amount of published material that has come out from each of those authors, I can only imagine the hundreds or thousands of words they wrote that will never see the light of day. I won’t lie to you. Someday, I would like to be published, but I know I’m not ready, that I’m not good enough, yet. I do want to be good enough though, but I know for that to happen, it will take time, practice, and patience. 

Until next time, be real!

Plans for this Blog

So far in this blog, I’ve written about myself, my family, and my passion for writing. Now it’s time to get serious with what I want it to become. Of course, the title is write what you know, and I certainly do intend to keep doing that. But, if I only kept writing about what I know now and never tried to expand my knowledge, what I write here would become boring very quickly.

With that being said, I’m going to write about writing and write about what I’m reading.(which will include book reviews)  I’ve been told and completely agree with this that exposure to rich language helps a person develop rich language of their own, and that is certainly a worthwhile goal for all of us. In this era of shortened and instant communication through the Internet, reading helps us learn to think and to communicate and expose ourselves to ideas we might never have thought of before. My hope would be that all ideas would continue to be available for all of us and just because someone expresses an idea that is contrary to what you believe doesn’t give you the excuse to be cruel to them. 

 

Until next time, be real!!!!

Reflections on The Beginning of Fall

Yes, I know fall began a few weeks ago, and I know the school year began a few weeks before that, but bear with me. I’ve not done the best job of keeping up with this blog because of the beginning of the school year. It always seems to take a couple of weeks for everyone to get adjusted to the new schedule. Also found some things to add to the schedule since last writing in this blog. Both boys are now participating in a homeschool bowling league and are having a blast. John is also playing fall baseball, and that’s been a positive experience too. I’m certainly learning my way around Birmingham which will be helpful once both boys are playing baseball next spring.

Now, on to the reflecting part. Today is a painful day for me. One year ago I had a miscarriage. It’s hard not to think of how different things would have been if I had carried my baby to term. I would have been an older mother, a wiser mother, a different person than I was when my last child was born thirteen years ago. But it wasn’t to be, and I’m okay with that now. So much good has happened. Steve has been with his job for a year. The boys are happy and healthy and have made friends. And I know everything that I have been through will make me a better writer. I leave you with this poem.

Just think of me, and I’ll be there, 
I’m always around, I’m everywhere, 
I’m in your dreams when you sleep, 
I hear your cries when you weep, 
Don’t be sad, wear a smile on your face, 
all my sufferings in a better place, 
I’ve left this world, my bodies gone, 
but in your hearts my soul lives on, 
I know you’ll grieve and suffer pain 
but one day soon we’ll be together again 

Author Unknown

 

Until next time, be real!!!!! 

 

Owning Your Words

What is it about the Internet that makes people want to be cruel and nasty? Is it because they can be anonymous, that they’re not talking to someone in person? Some people say so. Is it because they just don’t care? Some people say that too. Is it because they think they have the right to speak like this because of freedom of speech? I’ve heard that as well.

For myself, I think it is a combination of the three. I think it is sad in our society that people aren’t allowed to have different views without being personally attacked. Over the last few weeks, I have read or heard about many such instances and have come to the conclusion that I need to own my words and consider what I’m saying when I make comments on the Internet.  If I’m reviewing someone else’s work, I need to concentrate on the work itself and nothing else. If I’m replying to someone else’s comments on Facebook or Twitter or any one of the number of sites that I visit, I need to reply like I’m in their presence and treat them with kindness and care. I believe if more people did this, we would be better off as a society.

 

Until next time, be real!!!!!