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View on Critics – Maya Angelou

Of course, there are those critics – New York critics as a rule – who say, ‘Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer.’ Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Biography

Author Profession: Poet
Nationality: American
Born: April 4, 1928

 

 

 


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Aside
Oreo, the "sweet-but-mightily-determined" puppy..

Oreo, the “sweet-but-mightily-determined” puppy.

Chow Down – the Oreo Gobble – Part 1:  Read about the clash of wills between the mighty-but-inexperienced pet mom and her sweet-but-mightily-determined Shih Tzu puppy.  Guess what the dirty, four-letter word is in our household.  Hint:  It begins with a “D”.

Bullying–Good, Bad, and Ugly

This post is in response to a wonderful article entitled “Are Some Humans Born to Bully? Born to be Victims? Can it be Changed?” by Kristen Lamb.  If you’ve ever been bullied and/or have ever done the bullying, you will want to read this article and the article preceding it:  “Brave New Bullying: Goodreads Gangs, Amazon Attacks—What Are Writers to Do?

Word Cloud Bullying Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici | FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

Word Cloud Bullying Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici | FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, I know how some bullies are created…by being bullied by others. To my great shame, this was my reaction when I was bullied by an older girl at school (Grade 8). Every time she saw me, she would point at me and laugh and make loud unkind comments about me to her cohorts.

This devastated me, as my psyche at the time was fragile. I had no idea how to handle it. I had long been taught by my alcoholic parents that you never snitched on people. You got even. I didn’t know how to get even, so I transferred my pain and frustration onto a younger girl at the same school. She even cried when I bullied her, following Rosalie’s cruel pattern.

At first, I thought it was satisfying. Every time Rosalie bullied ME, I would say to myself, oh boy is Joyce going to get it later. And she would. I felt like I had some recourse and kidded myself that it felt good.

But it didn’t. As time went on, it felt more and more ugly, until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I decided that, no matter what Rosalie did to me, I wouldn’t pass it on to Joyce anymore. I walked over to the younger girl to tell her. She shrank from me and started crying before I even opened my mouth. That’s when the full extent of what I had done to her exploded in my heart. I started crying, too. Joyce was so astonished that she stopped crying and regarded me with wide eyes.

I told her the whole story. By the end of it, she was so indignant that she wanted to try to protect ME, which made me more ashamed than ever. I turned down her brave offer, since I knew that Rosalie would make mincemeat out of her. I’d like to say that Joyce and I became firm friends after that, but it didn’t happen. We remained friendly and would chat now and then, but true friendship was not in the cards for us.

Two girls tormenting a third.  Photo credit:  Ambro | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Two girls tormenting a third. Photo credit: Ambro | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

However, Rosalie was another matter. She continued to make my life a living hell, and I got angrier and angrier. One of the things I was really good at in life was the knowledge and use of the English language. I never thought of it as a defense, though, until Rosalie came into my life. Finally, unable to stand the torment any longer, I unleashed my skill with English at her.

At first she tried to shout me down, along with a couple of her cohorts, but I was determined and I have a really loud voice when I become emotional. I was emotional that day…but cool enough to keep my head. It came to a point where Rosalie and her friends were so surprised that I was fighting back that they became silent and listened to what I was saying. I was pointing out, in well-considered and polished language, all the errors in their statements . They didn’t know the meaning of a lot of the words, nor did they seem to understand the concepts.

It ended up confusing them, and they sort of drifted away…while I was still talking. I grinned to myself. That felt much better than transferring my pain to someone else. When I told Joyce later, she cheered, then admitted if she ever met someone like me again, she would try her own considerable English skills, instead of crumbling into a soggy, miserable heap. I do believe, in that moment, I repaid her for all the pain I had caused.

I’m not sure what it means, but that was the last time I was ever bullied by anyone (that I recognized as bullying). It was definitely the last time I ever knowingly bullied anyone else.  Thus, so far no one has bullied my blog posts, my published books and stories, or my newspaper articles.  I hope it stays that way.

The Three Blogs of Sandra Bell Kirchman

BLOG IDEAS

BLOG IDEAS (Photo credit: owenwbrown)

I read somewhere that blog followers are just as interested in the subject of a blog as they are the author.  Therefore, you may be interested in my other blogs, or you may not.  Heck, you might even want to touch base with them now and then just to see if I can keep up with all three.  I’m interested in that myself. On the off-chance that you are interested in one or more of my blogs, I’ll list them here, including the one you’re reading now, including the linked title and a brief description.

Tilly, Oreo, Ling Ling - picture (c) Sandra Bell Kirchman

Tilly, Oreo, Ling Ling – picture (c) Sandra Bell Kirchman

Puppy Dog Tales - This is my newest blog, started two weeks ago.  It is a casual, somewhat humorous and helpful compilation of true stories about my three little Shih Tzu dogs.  Goal is one tale per week.  Readers are enthusiastically encouraged to share stories of their own dogs.

Guru 4 gurus

Guru 4 gurus (Photo credit: sapojump)

News, Views, and Gurus – This is my second oldest blog, started in 2011.  As a writer and former journalist on the press release list, I get a lot of PR‘s from various agencies.  Some of the stories, although not hard news, are just too good to throw back on the pile.  So I set them up as a post, adding my own comments and experience, if any, with the subject matter.

"Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories" edited by Sandra Bell Kirchman

The unicorn on the cover of “Birth of a Unicorn and Other Stories,” edited by Sandra Bell Kirchman.

FantasyFic – This is my original blog, started in December of 2010.  As the blog description states, it is a celebration of fiction writing and especially fantasy fiction.  I love fantasy fiction and write it almost exclusively, although my second love is mystery, closely followed by historic fiction.  This blog contains quite a bit of my writing–flash fiction and excerpts from novels.  It also shares some of my experience from the decades of writing I have engaged in…from character building to world building and anything in between.

How I Got Back On Track With Writing Resolutions

My quivering computer awaiting my first words of 2014.  (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

My quivering computer awaiting my first words of 2014. (Photo credit: Sandra Bell Kirchman)

At the end of 2013, I am sitting at my computer, wondering how to sum up the year and whether or not I should set some goals for 2014.

Why did I fail to reach so many goals in 2013?  Was it because I took too big a bite, trying to do NaNoWriMo, and an online magazine column, two novels, three blogs, and a book of flash fiction stories?

Was it because of my body betraying me in a number of poor health ways?

Was it because I couldn’t get organized and had a mess on my desk and a clutter in my head?

As I ponder, I decide that each of the above reasons had something to do with falling woefully short of my goals. A small something.  How did I arrive at that somewhat startling conclusion?  Because I have really wanted to accomplish something in the past…a number of somethings…and ended up finishing them ahead of time.  Each of these goals had been as big as 2013′s targets.

"Witchcanery" by Sandra Bell Kirchman, First Editiion, pub. 2007 by FantasyFic

“Witchcanery” by Sandra Bell Kirchman, First Edition, pub. 2007 by FantasyFic

The key here was “wanting.”  I really wanted to accomplish them.  So did that mean I didn’t want to accomplish my writing goals for the past year?  No.  I definitely did want to finish my Nano entry and ended up in emergency instead.  The entry was the sequel to my published novel Witchcanery.

I had, in the past, had customers (fans) who made me promise that I would write the sequel to Witchcanery before they agreed to buy it.  They had read the dust jacket and wouldn’t even start such a “fascinating book”–their words, not mine–unless I agreed to do the sequel.

So the sequel had been in the works for several years and I had promised myself that 2013 was the year Witchcanery, Baby! would explode into being.  (As you probably know, you have to complete 50,000 words before you achieve the NaNoWriMo goal.) I got as far as 22,000+ words before Mother Nature pulled the plug on me.

And seconds after writing those last words, I received an epiphany.  There is a difference between “wanting” and “being dedicated to.”  And therein lies the difference.  I have been dedicated to accomplishing many things in the past, and EVERY SINGLE ONE was accomplished.

These goals ran from marrying the man I love, to finishing, editing and publishing my first book (which happened to be Witchcanery).  I have wanted many things in the past (and many of them were important) things like pierced ears (ouch!), continuing my volunteer work, losing weight…some I achieved or received…others I did not.

What's my priority?

What’s my priority? Photo credit: Stuart Miles | Freedigitalphotos.com

Now, here’s the kicker.  I felt fulfillment for EACH dedicated goal I achieved. Not many of them gave me real satisfaction if I achieved them.  I wanted a couple of writing courses, which I acquired after a small struggle.  I was sorry I had spent my money on them.

So what does this discrepancy mean to me?  It boils down to one thing for me.  It’s the difference between needs and wants, as simple as that.  And something I have know about since I was in my 20′s.  If I perceive it as a need, even subconsciously, then, being the survivor that I am, I will make sure I accomplish it.  If it’s only a want, I will prioritize it as to how badly I want it.  Even then, there is no guarantee I will get it.

So I’m sitting here, feeling a tad smug for having figured out what went wrong in 2013 (and quite likely how I messed up with my goals in other years).  I have a chance to right all the wrongs, like Ebenezer Scrooge after the visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future.

Proposed bookcover for "Witchcanery, Baby!"

Proposed bookcover for “Witchcanery, Baby!”

So the first thing I will put on my list for 2014 is completing Witchcanery, Baby! You want to know what happened there?  I was trying to complete it in 2013 for the wrong reasons…because fans wanted this sequel, because I had written in some parts for friends whose husbands had passed, and it was very comforting to them.  So I had to finish it, right?

Wrong!  It’s like dieting.  If I try to lose weight because my husband wants me to, or my kids, or my best friend (for some strange reason), then it’s not for me.  Body weight is personal…so is writing.  If I finish a story because I NEED to, then I have the write…er, right…of it.  And now, all the other reasons don’t matter.  I know I need to finish this story.  I can hardly wait for Dec. 31, 2014 to find out if it worked.  I’ll keep you posted.

So, how about you?  What keeps you from accomplishing your New Year’s Resolutions or any goals you decide to earmark for completion?  Here’s a post by Daphne Gray-Grant that I just read about using the right word when making goals.  I think it might help.