The email jumped out at me. I knew the writer. She'd purchased my booklet, Pushing through Shyness and had written me about it. I gulped - many people purchase, not many people give any feedback at all (including my siblings but that's another post). I proceeded to read the following.
A writer couldn't receive a better quote. I so respect her as an artist and human being and had no idea that she was shy until we started talking and she told me she was sorry she missed a workshop I'd facilitated for the Dorchester Artis Collaborative about networking. That's when I told her about my booklet.
Thank you very much for your booklets. Your tips were really goodstrategies for connecting with people yet still leaving one with a sense of control. I have actually tried introducing myself to strangers (which I usuallydon't) and was very successful. I now carry a few business cards with me and feel ready if anyone wants to get in contact with me. I review your booklet before going out to events to refresh my memory on the tips. This makes it like fun. Thanks again. (Susan T.)
Eileen wrote: “All so relevant…and was especially impressed by Real Questions…so necessary and yet so difficult. I was thinking that I never really asked the hard questions of my kids when they were growing up. I thought buying condoms was the answer. If I had this booklet then, it would have made conversations easier. Great job.”
About Handling Rejection:
Daren wrote: "Your rejection essay it really meant a lot, the first half of this year has been really challenging (did I say really I meant REALLY!!!) your words help get us through. Thank you."
About Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when you're Shy, Slow-to-Warm-Up, Inexperienced or Don't Feel that you Belong:
L. Jackson wrote: Your latest work is amazing! How did you know that I am shy? I thought it was a secret! I guess not... Send me a "promo" email so that I can forward to my network, because this should be in everyone's tool box.
C. Jackson texted: “Kudos to you for Pushing Through Shyness. It is beautifully printed, (has) wonderful graphics, 19 clear, tried & true techniques that I plan to use at my next event.”
Peggy from Australia wrote: “The brochures are an extremely good idea for promoting your work. They are concise and "hit the nail on the head" for both subjects. These days people don't like reading long winded articles that waffle on. Your articles keep the reader on track and gives excellent advice.”
Denise wrote: “I could see young people in middle and high school using the pamphlet. Maybe METCO would be interested in marketing this to our young people and even their parents. I truly believe that understanding the dynamics of networking and that everyone experiences some insecurity in networking is as important in knowing how to write a cover letter or prepare a resume.”
This feedback is so important and encourages me to keep publishing my work. My next big publishing assignment is to get my first novel for teens published. There are children's books in the pipe-line and another of the booklets.
Thank you to those who took the time to give me feedback about my publications. In the coming weeks I will do a survey and send to all of my customers but, in the meantime, wanted to share this positive feedback with you. (I don't have any negative feedback - yet.)
BTW - Both Real Questions and Pushing through Shyness are in their second print runs! How exciting is that! (Note to TC: You were right!)
Here's the link to order my publications:
Why am I here?
(Well I know that Mommy and Daddy had some fun but other than that…)
What am I here for? What is my purpose?
(Am I just another human in the universe? Am I supposed to be more?)
Not that I mind being here. It’s a good place to be, as good as any I know. What I’ve been trying to figure out is why.
Think of the odds: that particular man and that particular woman being born and then that particular man and that particular woman being attracted to each other. ..connecting…making love/having sex at the right time for their healthy sperm and fertile eggs to unite with the result that I am here: me, born health, grew up, and, thus far, living well.
Here I am. I am here. But what does that mean? I could be anywhere. I could be nowhere. I could be angry. I could be satisfied. I could be loving. I could be hateful. I could be silent. I could be loud. I could be good. I could be badass (yeah, badass).
Right now – here. A while later – there. I want to know why. The answers I’ve been given are not complete. They all have their angles and explanations but they all lack something.
So I ponder. And I continue.
Living the best I know how. Finding purpose along the way. Being more positive than negative. Doing love and beauty. Keeping peace.
Your reasons are reasonable and if I didn’t know you, I’d believe them. Because I know you and I’ve known you for a while, I’ve recognize that they are excuses.
You keep talking about what you can’t do; about how difficult things are; about how difficult you had it growing up – although 10, 20, 30 years have passed since the period of your true vulnerability. How long do you get to blame the events of the first 18 years of your life for what you’re not doing now? (Especially since you are healthy and literate.)
You maintain a vise grip onto the crutches of religion, therapy, fear and inertia which are not motivated to make you well, independent and pursuing you dreams.
The clutter of the things that you’ve accumulated which you need to organize before you can work keep growing. The piles have not been organized or depleted in all the years I’ve known each one of you.
The banks of free-time that you said you need to create, you’ve actually had in the years I’ve known you, yet nothing has yet been created except reasons/excuses/explantions:
We all have excuses about missed opportunities. It’s painful and irritating to hear it from others especially from friends whose “reasons why not” keep changing. It used to be that this _____ (fill in the blank) was the reason why not and currently, it’s this _____ (fill in the blank) that’s the reason why there is no art being produced. Then there's the friend that has a ton of art work she's produced, who says she needs money, but hasn't attempted to sell anything.
Guess what? There is no day called Ready Day. Ready Day is the day you decide it is by doing something.
I’ve grown sick of hearing the reasons/excuses. I want to play your words back to you so you can hear yourself and get out of your own way, move on or even, dare I say, STOP! Stop and admit that unless some magnificent, huge, magical thing happens, you are in fact not going to use the talent you are so blessed to have.
What you don’t understand is that you are the magic (or lack thereof) in your lives.
That if you would do what you could do, you would attract what you desire.
That if you make one step, the universe will make two.
That you cannot make luck happen in a tsunami-kind of way but you can cause a ripple or two by doing.
Handling Rejection - An inspirational essay by Candelaria Silva.
You’re Broke Because You Want to Be and Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get a Life by Larry Winget (Warning, if you don't like blutness, don't read his books.)
I look at job sites everyday both for myself and for a host of friends and acquaintances. We’ve actually gotten jobs and gigs from these sites. I've noticed that the relationship of qualifications to salary, tasks to hours, or salary to tasks is questionable frequently. Benefits? These are shrinking and non-existent in the world of 20-30 hour per week jobs.
One of the best job titles ever:
Administrative Assistant to the Canon to the Ordinary.
Provides superior administrative support to the Canon to the Ordinary; requires outstanding time management and organizational skills
(Don’t remember where I saw it but I had to save the title.)
POSITION SUMMARY: This position is currently a four-day-per-week position. The ideal candidate will have the interest and ability to increase to five days per week. (Then 11 responsibilities are listed including the “an additional duties as assigned.”)
(They put the onus for moving from a 4 day a week position to a 5 day a week position on the candidate. The reality is that they don’t want to offer the salary or benefits for full-time employment. This reminds me of the plight of share-croppers in the South during the 20th century, no matter how hard they worked they would never earn their way out of bondage. I suspect you will never work your way into a full-time job for this non-profit organization.)
Seen on Craig’s List – Boston:
We are looking for an Administrative Assistant to help with administrative and clerical support. Duties include: Handling confidential materials while maintaining discretion at all times and exercising good judgment; Assisting with the preparation and/or presentations for meetings, conferences, and special events; Assisting in maintenance of Facebook, Twitter, and website; Assisting with newsletter production and creating email announcements about upcoming events; Creating correspondence and taking meeting notes; Answering phone calls, retrieving voice mails, and replying to email inquiries; Assisting in the day-to-day operations of the …
Qualifications: Candidate should be a self-starter who can meet deadlines and proactively plan his/her work, highly motivated, and able to work well independently and collaboratively; Well organized and strong attention to detail; Proficient written and verbal communication skills.
(Are you kidding me? All this rFor $10/hour? At least they don’t ask for a BS – many AA jobs do these days - and a pint of blood.)
We have established this unique and important new role to serve these two leading and growing creative organizations, as the special assistant to…Principal and Executive Director/ as well as Partner…. This pivotal role will provide focused administrative and special project support to the visionaries who drive forward with innovation and guts. Thus we are looking for a vibrant, detailed, respectful, adaptable and fearless candidate to become a part of our team. This is a key position as the primary liaison for the Principals as they work seamlessly with their staffs and dance amidst multiple initiatives, complex projects and dynamic networks of partners, collaborators and client teams. This role will help them to keep the office running smoothly and orderly in a small, smart and nimble creative environment.
Be a part of our team inspired to achieve superior creative quality, maintain productivity and gracefully respond to clients’ needs - ‘Can-do’ attitude and proactive approach as a team player. Wear a lot of hats in our fun, positive environment, able to navigate everything from simple to complex . . . nuts and bolts to exciting . . . in a busy and ever-moving atmosphere - Bring energy, enthusiasm and a positive attitude. No salary is listed.
(In other words, never complain or questions or challenge or improve. And then the actual description of tasks begin. Won’t burden you with those. What a creative way to describe an Administrative Assistant. If the employers describe themselves as visionaries and they want you to be vibrant and fearless, your alarm bells should go off. DIVA/MEGLOMANIAC ALERT! They are all that and a bag of
chips organic, garlic and olive oil crisps!
Yet another Interesting Job: Teach Swordsmanship and Fencing
No sword experience necessary. We can teach you.
*****is looking for energetic, creative adults who would enjoy working with kids ages 4-16 teaching fencing, basic swordsmanship, or NERF games, and running exciting, interactive adventures that develop teamwork, creative problem solving, communication and leadership skills.
Must have previous experience working with kids and a love creative play. Teachers or college students interested in becoming teachers are highly encouraged to apply. Foil Fencing, Stage Combat, or Historical Sword experience is a plus but not required. We will teach you sword skills.
Must have a car (we are not near public transportation) and be available from 4-9pm some weekdays and 11am-6pm on Saturdays or Sundays. Compensation is $10-$20/hr depending on experience and certifications you might have.
(Do you really want someone teaching kids how to use a sword with no previous experience? I think not!)
Even though I recently got an "up to 10-hour a week" gig to add to my "up to 20 hour a week" gig and other freelance work here and there, I have become a regular reader of job postings. It's a kind of entertainment and a community service I provide to others.
I could have written a better book than that.
You’re right, but you didn’t.
I could have made a better movie than that.
Right, again, but you didn’t.
My cousin sings better than he.
Yes, but he only sings for the family.
Didn’t make the time.
Didn’t want to hear the word NO so prevented hearing a YES.
Thought you’d get to it one day and you didn’t (though you might still have some time).
Listened to the naysayers.
Kept trying to go through the front door instead of finding another door or window to get into.
Were afraid of rejection.*
Were afraid of success (didn’t think you could handle the attention or adulation).
Didn’t invest in your own project what you invested in clothes, getting your hair done, trips, liquor, restaurants, and other fleeting pleasures.
Thought a particular no was a forever no.
Believed the hype...smoked the pipe.
Nothing succeeds but a try.
No one deserves it more than you (or less than you).
Effort + a little bit of talent + a smidgen of luck trumps lots of talent and no effort.
If not now, when?
“Culture for the poor must never be poor culture. We must have the best instruments for the poorest children, the best teachers for the poorest children and the best buildings for the poorest children.” Master José Antonio Abreu founder of El Sistema in Venezuela.
This quote is from Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema & the Transformative Power of Music by Tricia Tunstall.
In 1975 Dr. José Antonio Abreu had 50 music stands for 100 kids to start a music program in a garage in Caracas, Venezuela. Only 11 children showed up. He asked himself, “Do I close the program or multiply the kids?” From those humble beginnings El Sistema—a national system of orchestral training was born. It now more than 300,000 young people, most of them from the poorest strata of society. Master Abreu believes that “art is no longer a monopoly of elites” and that musical education has enormous emotional and intellectual profits as well as benefits for society as a whole.
The most famous graduate of El Sistema is Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
“Just ‘cause we poor, don’t mean we have to think poor, act poor or look poor.” Gladys Pippins, my grandmother, the matriarch of our family. RIP.
"What if the arts were truly visible in the community?" - Candelaria Silva
José Abreu on Kids Transformed by Music – TED Talk.
Venerated High Priest and Humble Servant of Music Education http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12016333-changing-lives
ContextUntil finding that first book by Langston Hughes with his photo on the jacket, I hadn’t realized that all the books I’d been reading and devouring were written by and about white people exclusively. I was 13 years old when I had this discovery.
This started me on a self-guided journey scouring local libraries in St. Louis for anything written by and about Black people. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was for these stories until I read two books by Langston Hughes – The Sweet Flypaper of Life (with photos by Roy DeCarava) and Not Without Laughter. One of these books had a list of books by other Black authors either in the foreword or in a bibliography in back. Thus, my reading of literature and history by and about African-Americans, Africans and other peoples of the African Diaspora was launched.
The Haitian Revolution was the only successful, lasting slave revolution in history resulting in the end of colonial rule and the establishment of an independent Black nation. It provided inspiration for other revolts (including those led by John Brown and Charles Deslondes, who led the largest slave rebellion in the US).
While I knew the history of the Haitian Revolution from my high school and college reading, I had never heard about it in this context.
In the history I was taught in high school and beyond, slave revolts were always taught as failed, thwarted, or ambushed by internal informants. This was especially true when anything was mentioned about John Brown and Nat Turner. In school the only revolts that were "taught" were that of John Brown and Nat Turner. They were not shown as leaders or strategists, or called generals, rather they were discussed as disorganized lunatics.
All of this is on my mind because of a moving presentation I attended on Saturday, the Roots of Liberty: The Haitian Revolution and the American Civil War part of the Freedom Rising: The Emancipation Proclamation and African American Service in the Civil War. Roots of Liberty was a free event at the Tremont Temple downtown, which was packed with people. The Tremont Temple was the site of many abolitionist talks including one by Frederick Douglass. These spirits felt present at Tremont Temple on Saturday evening.
The performance was a collaborative effort of many put together by Debra Wise, Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theatre.
After the performance, there was a talk moderated by Professor Henry Louis Gates with Haitian author Edwidge Danticat and actor-activist Danny Glover (who peformed as Toussaint Louverture earlier and who is co-founder of the film company, Louverture Films). My only complaint about the evening is that the rich discussion was too short.
Roy DeCarava, Harlem Insider Who Photographed Ordinary Life, Dies at 89 by Randy Kennedy.
The Black Jacobins by Cl.L.R. James
Haiti & the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided - Part of Black in Latin America series that aired on PBS in 2011, conceived and hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard Uniersity.
In the Dominican Republic, Professor Gates explores how race has been socially constructed in a society whose people reflect centuries of inter-marriage, and how the country’s troubled history with Haiti informs notions about racial classification. In Haiti, Professor Gates tells the story of the birth of the first-ever black republic, and finds out how the slaves’s hard fight for liberation over Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire became a double-edged sword.
By Candelaria Silva-Collins, copyright 2012
Images of sex and sexuality abound in the world of teenagers in the United States. Despite this abundance of images, frank and open conversations about sex and relationships between teens and their parents rarely happen.
Real Questions helps parents/caregivers to share their values and to give appropriate information about sex and relationships.
This 12-page booklet gives parents and caregivers:
A list of 69 questions designed to give parents/caregivers the opportunity to explain, guide, instruct and engage teens in open, honest and frank dialogue.
What to do during the discussion, including establishing conversational rules.
Real Questions is available in print and will be available soon as an e-book through Kindle. You can order booklets by clicking this link.
Thank you for your support. If you like this post, you might also like these links to my other publications:
Evil and Good are siblings that walk together always. Once they were conjoined in harmony. They separated for various reasons explained in various beliefs and myths from various cultures and countries.
Sometimes they walk side-by-side, sometimes hand-in-hand, sometimes they follow each other, sometimes they play hopscotch, but they are near…always. This is the dichotomy of life.
Terror happens. Violence occurs. There’s injury, mayhem and death. And then, swiftly, there is an out pouring of assistance, kindness, compassion, and healing. No matter the disaster – manmade or nature generated.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” *– Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers Neighborhood – now deceased.)
Here’s a link to a brochure with his advice about talking to children about disaster.
Evil strikes. Good responds, stepping through fear, pain, and devastation to help, rescue, resuscitate, repair and lift. Evil knocks down and buries. Good lifts and lights.
It seems to me that we must expect evil. Expect pain. Get ready for disappointment. Evil sneaks up on us in guises we don’t expect. The devil nearly never comes dressed in devil’s clothing – most of us would recoil. Rather, it can come clothed in youth, intelligence, comfort and affluence, from neighbor or stranger often wearing a smile or looking innocent and nice.
Anticipate evil but live for joy. Notice the goodness that surrounds you every single day. Remember how connected and how dependent we are to each other.
Positive people must push kindness, love, joy, good, peace, health as consistently as negative people push evil and harm, doubt and fear, carnage and injury.
Evil is random and so must love be –random, frequent, and indiscriminate.
No more hurting people. Peace.
(Martin Richard, 8 year old victim of the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013.)
(*Thank you to Lisa Johnson for posting this on Linked In. Lisa blogs at Anali’s First Amendment. Her blog is often related to food and food happenings around Boston but also about other things as well.)
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My mother once shared the following line that she overheard a man saying to his girlfriend, “I ain’t lyin’ I just ain’t got to the truth yet…baby.” It brought a laugh from my mother when she heard and from me when she recounted it. I’m not sure if the girlfriend found it as humorous especially in the moment it was being delivered to her.
Secrets and lies - we all have them and we all tell them but they are not the same thing. Both serve their purposes. Secrets and deceit are not synonymous.
Some questions to consider:
Without spelling out definitions should we assume that we’re speaking the same language, carrying the same images, upholding the same values, or looking at our titles/designations/roles in the same way?
I may not be right but that doesn’t mean that I think I’m wrong.
I may withdraw but that doesn’t mean I’m gone.
Can one person ever truly understand another?
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