Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Put it in Writing!

It would seem to be an easy thing to get a writer to put down on paper (or computer file) the things that matter to them. However, you’d be surprised.

Because we are often involved in creating fiction – a story that isn’t really true – we use our real life experiences and feelings to lend truth to an otherwise made-up tale. Therefore, we often neglect the most obvious type of writing, autobiographical.

There are some really important types of writing everyone should do or at least try to do. Here they are:

  • Personal History – This is probably the most important thing you can leave to your family.  What seems unimportant to you can easily fascinate your descendants or even your siblings and parents. Also, in the process, you may develop an appreciation for your own accomplishments and experiences.
  •  Clearing the Air - Work out anger and frustrations by writing about them.  This has a wonderful benefit for both you and those who live or work with you. Have you ever experienced relief by typing or scribbling out your annoyance? It allows you to detail every little thing that bothered you about some event or interaction.  You don’t have to edit yourself in writing and you don’t have to be reasonable or grownup about it. No one else is ever going to see what you write unless that’s your choice.  Try this, if you haven’t before. I promise you that you’ll feel better afterwards. Then give it some time and see if the whole thing doesn’t just go away. It often does for me, IF I remember to write about it.
  • Expressing Gratitude – If you’re  too embarrassed to share with someone how much they or something they did means to you, write a note. I’ve often been very thankful for the presence or support of a friend or loved one, but knew that one or the other of us would be embarrassed by my saying so in person. I have written notes and poems to convey my feelings and highly recommend it to you. Additionally, just noting somewhere how wonderful life it on the days that you notice can lift your spirits and result in increased good feelings. Try it!
  •  Ideas – How often are our creative impulses lost to memory? All the time. I tend to scribble notes and occasionally write out my ideas more formally. I’m amazed at the number of times I’ve reconnected with ideas from years ago as I read a journal or tucked away notebook. I’ve even opened word docs on my computer, with a title I didn’t recognize, and found wonderful ideas I had long forgotten about. 
  • Lists – I’m currently compiling a list of my personal fears. Why? So, I can recognize and then eliminate them. Sometimes things are floating around in our brain without even being acknowledged. One of the best lists I ever started was one of all the things I’d done in my life – everything from being a mother to homesteading in Alaska. It made me feel so good about my life. Again, see if this isn’t a tool that works for you.

Write, people! Write. It’s a good for you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Swinging Bobby Darin

I have just finished watching a DVD about Bobby Darin for the second time in two days. Boy that man could sing - and dance, by the way.  Why did I watch it twice in 24 hours? Because it made me happy. So happy I felt like singing and dancing. Red got into the act and we sang Beyond the Sea together on the Veranda with the neighbors staring – just at me, of course, because she’s actually my invisible friend/main character – but we didn’t care. Here’s what went down afterwards:

Kathy: Wow, I feel so good after that!

Red: That’s a great song and watching Bobby dance must have turned something loose in you, girlfriend. You were really swinging. I didn’t know you had moves like that.

Kathy:  What can I say? That music moves me in ways I can’t describe. What about Mack the Knife? You weren’t exactly sitting still on that one.

Red: (turning a shade to match her name) Yeah, well, that beat just gets to me. Did you see Bobby’s smile on the DVD when the audience caught on that he was going to sing Mack the Knife?

Kathy: Yes! I thought it was so sweet. He was actually surprised at their enthusiasm. A little boy grin, if I ever saw one.

Red: Damn that man was a fireball.

Kathy: And brave, too. He overheard a doctor tell his mom that he wouldn’t live to 21, then went out and lived every minute of his life like he had to do everything in double time. I guess he did.

Red: Well, he made it to 37 and packed a hell of a lot into that time. He played 5 instruments, wrote songs, sang in multiple genres and all with gusto and joy. I found myself feeling very proud of him.

Kathy: I know. Me, too.  Inspired, actually. Made me want to make sure I make the most out of whatever time I’ve got left.

Red:  Yep, now how about we sing Splish Splash before I mix us up a couple of Bloody Marys?

Kathy: Do you think the neighbors can take it?

Red: Not our problem! I suggest they join us.

Kathy & Red: Here’s to you, Bobby! (and we sang it like Bobby would have – with feeling)

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Rules - Revisited

I recently re-read the 1995 book The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider as research for one of my works in progress. It was an eye-opener. Released just as online dating was becoming a trend, this book seemed so wrong, so sexist and so manipulative at the time that it was scorned and spurned by many readers.

It’s a guide to capturing and marrying the absolute right guy and frankly, the rules that are explained to the reader – obviously meant for women looking for a husband – ARE indeed all those things. At the same time, after two marriages, several years of dating and a bunch of years of just living, the girls are right about much of what they say.

The basic premise is that men must be challenged, it’s in their nature, so the best thing a woman can do is remain aloof, allusive and mysterious. The mystery is created and maintained by not revealing anything about themselves, until the time is right and even then, don’t reveal unattractive things – until you have a ring on your finger.

I broke every one of their rules. Just take a gander at the first 5 and you’ll see why my dating history is spotty at best:

#1 Be a “Creature Unlike Any Other” – Seriously? I love the concept but the execution is a little difficult. You must BELIEVE you are a creature unlike any other or be a damn good actress. However, if you can pull this off – I’m sure it has value.

#2 Don’t Talk to a Man First (and Don’t Ask Him to Dance) – Are they kidding? No, they are not and they do have point here, but I hadn’t read the rules and did both of these things whenever I spotted someone I didn’t want other women to snag first. Their take on it is that you may get the guy, but only for the one time. In the long run, men don’t like it to be easy to capture your heart. I have to agree.

#3 Don’t Stare at Men or Talk Too Much – Guilty on both counts. I always look directly at someone when I’m talking to them, male or female. This can be off-putting for some people, but men interpret this as overt interest. I’ve had men assume I was interested just because I looked at them when I spoke to them. Whoa! And telling me not to talk too much – well, you may as well ask me to wear a muzzle, because that’s what it would take. I love to explore a new person or situation, and have a tendency to ask a lot of questions. Sure, I can tamp that down a little, but I’m sure I’ll still be the more talkative of the two in any coupling.

#4 Don’t Meet Him Halfway or Go Dutch on a Date – I was famous for this, but my motivation was mostly to be safe and not to owe the gentleman anything. The authors contend that you don’t owe him anything but the pleasure of their company, and they are right. Also, being too accommodating IS a mistake. You are quickly taken for a pushover. Sad, but true.

#5 Don’t Call Him and Rarely Return His Calls – Okay, this is great advice. I wish I had read it when I was dating. I never assume there is going to be any game playing in a relationship, but Fein and Schneider say it’s to be expected and phone gamesmanship is essential. Again, appearing to be unattainable is the goal.

Okay, a quick breakdown is required here.  In my opinion, it is true that men are hardwired to want to pursue their mate and any other goal that crosses their paths. There are some exceptions, but as a rule, it’s a pretty correct assumption. I’ve been amazed in my life at the women who have attracted devoted mates and how often that woman is a complete and utter ice queen, unable to be satisfied with life, their mate and any other circumstance. The more difficult to please, the harder some men try to win the approval of that woman.

So, I conclude that as much as I’d like for The Rules to be wrong-minded, much of what the book professes is true and right. As much as we’ve progressed as a society, we still program women to be giving and men to be achievers.  Until that changes, if it ever does, then most of The Rules will still apply.

If you get a chance, read or re-read The Rules and see what you think nearly 17 years later.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Ways to Help Out Wounded Warriors

This is the beginning of my second annual Wounded Warriors Fund Drive. Last year, I kept it going throughout the month of September and kicked it off with a blog post you might want to revisit – Honoring Wounded Warriors.  

If you read that original post you’ll know that I started supporting The Wounded Warriors Project because I wanted to also honor my father. Dad passed away this year, of the terrible disease I described in that first post – COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).  A couple of months before he died, I reminded him that as long as I was selling books, there would always be contributions made in his honor to the Wounded Warriors.  He smiled, reached for my hand and simply gave it a squeeze. 

I regularly donate to the organization by sending them 10% of my royalties.  In fact, I had neglected to send them my second quarter donation because life was a little out of control in July, when I would have normally sent it. Not to worry, I just wrote them a check.

However, I plan to donate all my royalties for a dedicated period once a year. Today begins the 2012 fundraiser and it will continue through Sunday, 10/14.

What does this mean for you? It means that for any of my books you purchase during these two weeks, the royalties will go to The Wounded Warriors Project upon receipt from Amazon.  If you’ve been meaning to buy Red Mojo Mama or maybe its sequel Red is an Attitude, do it now, because a little more than $2.00 will go to benefit my father’s  (and many of my Twitter followers’) favorite charity – The Wounded Warriors Project. The donation amount varies with the price of the book you order. Any of my books can be ordered by clicking on the appropriate picture at the right. It will take you straight through to the Amazon link.


I recently became an Avon representative, primarily because my daughter-in-law called to tell me that there was an online fundraising option now. GREAT! I signed up the next day.  I just set up an online sales event that will benefit The Wounded Warriors Project, with 25% of the sales going to the organization. The event lasts through year-end, so feel free to order more than once.

Here’s the link:
Kathy Hall Wounded Warrior Event  BE SURE to insert the promotional code MYWWPROJECT.

Thank you for your order and your help and again please BE SURE to insert the promotional code MYWWPROJECT, otherwise the funds may not be designated for this group.

Last year, I was able to send Wounded Warriors slightly more than $60. Let’s hope this year nets much, much more.Are you with me, gang! I know you are!

I'll keep you posted!