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Monday, March 19, 2012

More Thoughts in General:

Hello all,
I don't usually get into medical issues at this blog, but since March is MS Awareness month, I thought I would take some time to "think in ink" as I used to call my notebook scribblings. I don't often write in spiral notebooks any longer, because what I write with pen and paper is not as legible as once it was. I miss that time sitting comfortably in a rocking chair next to the woodstove in winter, or out on the porch in spring and fall. My writing was smoother then, more sentimental, more personal, as a journal would be. When I type on the laptop I'm siting in the living room, in a comfy recliner with my coffee nearby on an electric candle warmer, always aware of an eventual audience.

My writing has changed. This is just a result of life changes, I tell myself. After all, I'm retired ~ I no longer "live by the bells" in a school. I don't have to hurry, I don't have to finish anything today, or prepare anything for tomorrow, or meet anyone's need for information or knowledge. Sometimes I miss being needed, and try to fill an amorphous need of "audience" by writing what I think is a cleverly veiled lesson. I have two Facebook pages where I post information that I think will help others to write, or to quilt, or to understand multiple sclerosis better.. I read others' pages and harvest resources and links that I believe will help my readers.

My sense of self has changed. I am not a public school teacher any longer, though my dreams haven't caught up with that reality. I still dream in and of school settings. I dream of being lost in a building that has been altered while I was absent ... I think of it as my Rip Van Winkle dream. Additional floors have been added to the old brick building, and the budget now requires that our space be shared commercially. In that dream, my classroom is large but shares space with a furniture store specializing in mattresses and pillows. Visitors arrive and observe my teaching, and I am often looking for missing students, aware of the observers' notebooks and pens and dismissive looks. Assistants who in real life were often my greatest supporters appear to take over the classroom, shoo the visitors to the other side of the large room, and organize the children into groups. I most often stand at the side wondering what I might do to be helpful, but I'm clearly just in the way. I eventually follow the visitors and try to talk about mattresses, but realize I know little and have less to offer.

I define myself now as an author, a writer and a poet. In my first few months of retirement, I gathered old writings of mine, while writing new pieces. My six books were self-published, self-edited (several times) and then given or sold to those who had expressed interest. The last book was completed with the help of new on-line colleagues at a website where I could write and submit for review chapter by chapter, earning that service by reviewing what others had written. I was very busy, day and night. And by November I was finished, published, and now marketing my books seeking to embellish my teacher's pension.

I joined more Facebook pages: a page for self-publishers, a page for "indie writers," one for talking about fiction, one one for writers liking writers on Amazon in an effort to boost ratings and earn more promotion. I was then guided by another writer to a site called LinkedIn, where social networking took on another whole level of investment. I had begun this blog, and so connected to a portion of LinkedIn for writers of blogs. I was a member of Goodreads, and so signed on as a volunteer librarian to post books not yet posted so that I could then post my reviews of them, adding to their visibility and anticipating that others would do the same for me. I have probably reviewed close to seventy-five books this year, displaying my reviews on my blog, at Goodreads and on Amazon. Reciprocation has not yet happened in the form of posted reviews, but I have been invited to others' blogs for interviews, which provides more exposure to a wider audience of readers.

Two of the pages I've joined are MS related, and within that smaller circle, writers of books about multiple sclerosis read and review each others' work. The sponsor of those pages also has a website, and a radio connection, and so authors who can donate funds for the station are interveiwed via telephone connection. I've participated in one of those for an author's novel featuring a character with MS; in time I will be able to participate as the interviewed author. I've just received in the mail today a copy of another author's book, and I will read and review that, and she will read and review mine. My book sales of the title Multiple Sclerosis an Enigma did rise when I joined that page and began reviewing there, and my first royalty check for those sales will arrive at the end of this month, from Amazon.

Our local library has invited me to appear as a speaker in their local authors series. I was scheduled for Leap Day at the end of February, and went with a supply of books and a brief list of points I wanted to make about self-publishing. We had our first snow of this very odd winter that night, and so the gathering was small, but they purchased books at the end of the night, and invited me to return this month for an 'encore' presentation to a larger group, which I will do happily. Our local newspaper reporter interviewed Rick and I and wrote a lovely story, published Valentine's week, telling of Rick's dedication and support to his wife with MS. And our local cable television interview show has featured me and my books, and did a second interview to appear this coming weekend, 'spotlighting' multiple sclerosis, the walk for MS research at the end of the month, and the need for more awareness of this condition. Each of these have provided buyers of my books, and for that, I am grateful.

But for now, back to my reading of books from authors who also have multiple sclerosis, and who, as I, have written their story of the altered path MS forms for us. I'll be back with a review of two tomorrow.

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  1. This is so beautiful to read. I particularly enjoyed your descriptions of your dream, and the ways inw hich it's symbolism intersects with your waking world experiences. Thank you for your blog... as I surrender to the writer in me, it is wonderful to come across such a treasure trove of resources and advice.

    1. I am so glad you stopped by to read, and enjoyed this entry! Come back again.

  2. This is a lovely post to read, especially the topic surrounding your dreams. It's very nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more.


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