Monday, November 30, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Recharging the Writer

Butterfly feeding

(Butterfly Feeding)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you.
JOE: I took off a few days to recharge my batteries.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good idea. What prompted that?
JOE: My friend Gerry keeps suggesting it. Sometimes I listen to him.
CALLIOPE: How do you get recharged?
JOE: First by turning off my computer. Sometimes too much input keeps me from being able to think.
CALLIOPE: Good. What else?
JOE: Mostly reading. I read two novels over the past few days, James Patterson's Swimsuit and Erich Segal's Acts of Faith.
CALLIOPE: How did they help you recharge?
JOE: Several ways. Reading helps me think from the perspective of the reader and imagine what it would be like for someone to read what I write.
CALLIOPE: Anything else?
JOE: Yes. I also absorb ways to describe events and bring characters to life. I don't try to copy other writers but I think their styles meld with my own and makes my writing richer.
CALLIOPE: Very wise.
JOE: Thank you. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- A Writer's Thanksgiving

Into the Woods

(Into the Woods)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I was just thinking about Thanksgiving and my gratitude as a writer.
CALLIOPE: Please elaborate.
JOE: I recall a rather heated discussion not too long ago in an online discussion group for published writers.
JOE: An argument ensued about who should be considered an author as opposed to a writer. Some who had been published by traditional publishers held themselves above others who self publi9shed or didn't publish at all.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like the worst of the writing community.
JOE: I thought so. An exercise in hubris. I'm just glad to be writing no matter what others think of me.
CALLIOPE: Tell me more.
JOE: I started writing at a time when my psychology career was unraveling due to the growing influence and control of the health insurance industry. Writing gave me a sense of myself and my ability to express what I thought and felt without arguing or haggling with anyone.
CALLIOPE: Has it stayed that way for you?
JOE: Like any endeavor, it has its ups and downs. Publishing has had its frustrations and challenges. The writing itself has given me some of the best experiences of my life and introduced me to people I would never have met otherwise.
CALLIOPE: I take it your writing career has made you grateful.
JOE: Correct. I will give thanks for it tomorrow and every day after that. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Customer Needs

Snail Pace

(Snail Pace)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's on your mind this morning?
JOE: My mind woke up before I did turning over thoughts about marketing once again.
CALLIOPE: Marketing for your new CD?
JOE: Precisely. It's that time again.
CALLIOPE: How will you approach it?
JOE: I will start by reminding myself to focus on what my potential readers and listeners want.
CALLIOPE: And that is?
JOE: People in the market for whom I write include those who are thoughtful about their lives, want to make a contribution to the world community and want to use their talents for world betterment.
CALLIOPE: A tall order.
JOE: I know. I don't plan to meet all their needs or answer all their questions but would like to help them along their spiritual journey at least a little.
CALLIOPE: So how will you tell them of your intentions in your marketing efforts?
JOE: I will frame my approach to them in the form of questions they might ask and useful contributions I might make to their quest.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a reasonable approach.
JOE: We shall see. Talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Spiritual Wisdom Released

Spiritual Wisdom
JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you Saturday.
JOE: Sorry. I was on the run all weekend. I spent the time I did have getting my CD up and running.
CALLIOPE: So it's ready for your public.
JOE: It is. Here is the release information:

Knowledge is a collection of facts and procedures. Wisdom is knowing how to use what we know and acting in a well informed way for the benefit of us all. Wisdom and spirituality have been themes of my writing for a number of years. My CD, Spiritual Wisdom, brings together quotes and reflections on wisdom in a spiritual context as well as “life lab lessons” to practice acting wisely. My CD was released yesterday and is available for $10.00 through Kunaki.

Themes based on my writing and talks include Spirituality- Awakening to the Goodness and Joy for Which You were Created, Respecting Our Wisdom, As God Is My Weapon, Contracting with God, The Magic of Everyday Life, The Message of Illness, Hope and Its Alternatives, Finding Our Gifts, Stress and its Discontents, The Angels Among Us, The Care and Feeding of Angels, Walking in the Shoes of Another and Agreements for Life.

CALLIOPE: Looks good.
JOE: Thanks. Now I can get to work on marketing.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like less fun.
JOE: It is but it keeps me on my toes.
CALLIOPE: Good Luck.
JOE: Thanks. Talk with you tomorrow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Dealing with Frustration

Vigo Reconquista Parade

(Vigo Reconquista Parade)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Less confused about frustration than I was yesterday.
CALLIOPE: You said you would ponder this issue. What did you discover in your mind?
JOE: I discovered that keeping concerns locked in my mind makes them bang into the walls of my awareness and damage delicate ideas taking shape.
CALLIOPE: What led to this discovery?
JOE: Sharing my concerns with you and our readers yesterday helped me put them behind me and get on with life.
CALLIOPE: Glad to hear it. Sounds like a simple solution.
JOE: Simple does not always mean easy. I sometimes become so wrapped up in the complexities of issues that I don't realize I am making things more complicated and could just let the concerns float until they reveal their secrets and simple solutions.
CALLIOPE: Sound profound. Are you talking about things like meditation?
JOE: I am. Letting something reveal itself often works better than trying to tear it apart.
CALLIOPE: How does that apply to the concerns you talked about yesterday?
JOE: Doing something counterproductive such as dosing boredom with junk food just creates new problems.
CALLIOPE: So you found talking with me about it more productive?
JOE: I did. Thanks for being there to listen. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Writing and Health

Tapas and Sangria in Gijon

(Tapas and Sangria in Gijon)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's turning in your brain this morning?
JOE: Electrons mostly. Although I must admit my mind is filled with random thoughts today.
CALLIOPE: Care to share one?
JOE: Sure. The relationship between writing and health keeps popping up.
CALLIOPE: Please elaborate.
JOE: I tend to get bored easily. When I do, I tend to eat more than I should and gravitate toward comforting but unhealthy food such as sugar.
CALLIOPE: I see. Do you have a plan to deal with this?
JOE: Not getting bored would probably short circuit the process. The problem is that eating is less effort that being creative.
CALLIOPE: No argument there but it also undermines your good intentions and does not accomplish anything positive.
JOE: Exactly. Sometimes writing excites me and satisfies me. When I meet roadblocks, I tire of dragging them off my road and sit down for a snack.
CALLIOPE: A definite problem.
JOE: No doubt. One answer would be not to become frustrated.
CALLIOPE: How do you do that?
JOE: Good question. Let me think on it. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Waiting for the Mail

Lending a Hand

(Lending a Hand)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Excited about my CD.
CALLIOPE: Has the demo arrived yet?
JOE: No but I got notice that it was shipped.
CALLIOPE: So all you can do is be excited for the moment?
JOE: Not all. I can be working on how to market and distribute it and I also have my column to finish for Saturday.
CALLIOPE: How's that coming?
JOE: I had a chance to work on it in my travels yesterday and when I got back. It's close to finished.
CALLIOPE: What's the topic?
JOE: Saying Thanks by Sharing Part of Yourself. That is unless I think up something better.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like paying it forward.
JOE: Exactly. I even plan to add a quote from Sarah McLachlan's song Arms of an Angel.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good.
JOE: I think so. Although I need to polish it a bit. Talk with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Saying Thank You

Sharing a Meal

(Sharing a Meal)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What are you up to this morning?
JOE: Thinking about my column for Saturday.
CALLIOPE: Do you have a topic?
JOE: It's taking shape. I want to write something about Thanksgiving since this will be my last column before the turkey event.
CALLIOPE: What will you say?
JOE: I'm thinking of a theme of saying thanks by giving something of yourself.
CALLIOPE: Where did that idea come from?
JOE: I'm going today to discuss a new project I am considering about a free mental health center.
CALLIOPE: What do you mean free?
JOE: No fees. People with few or no resources can come for free counseling with mental health professionals who donate their time.
CALLIOPE: Sounds unique.
JOE: I think it is. I haven't heard of anything quite like this before. I am considering a book about them.
CALLIOPE: Let me know how it turns out.
JOE: You will be the first to know. Talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- The Ideal Reader

In Muir Woods

(In Muir Woods)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How is your CD coming?
JOE:Thanks for asking. I completed it, sent in the tracks and jewel case info and am now waiting for my demo to arrive.
CALLIOPE: Then what?
JOE: If it sounds good, I'll set it up for distribution.
CALLIOPE: Good. Time to relax now?
JOE: I did that yesterday and also read more of Julia Cameron's book, The Write to Write.
CALLIOPE: Did you discover anything profound?
JOE: I found something I already knew but phrased better than I could have done.
CALLIOPE: Please share.
JOE: She quoted Arthur Kretchmer as saying, "Write for your ideal reader, the one who will get everything you say."
CALLIOPE: So you don't waste time trying to reach people who are only vaguely interested in your work.
JOE: Exactly. Anything I write will enthrall some people, raise some interest in others and bore the rest.
CALLIOPE: So you concentrate on those who care.
JOE: I have been trying to but will work harder at it. Talk with you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- QED

Sunset over Honeoye Lake

(Sunset over Honeoye Lake)

JOE: Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. Where have you been.
JOE: I've been here but my computer has been busy uploading my CD for distribution for quite a while.
CALLIOPE: You couldn 't type around it?
JOE: Not very easily. It seemed to take up most of my computer's attention for some reason.
CALLIOPE: So is it finished uploading?
JOE: Not yet. It's still chugging away but my other programs seem to be working again.
CALLIOPE: Well, I'm glad you could finally make it.
JOE: I have been excited for the past several days about completion of the project. Now it finally is.
CALLIOPE: I thought you were done yesterday.
JOE: I had a demo finished but then I had two listeners review it and made some more changes.
CALLIOPE: Are you satisfied with it?
JOE: I am. It is clear and well organized, even for me.
CALLIOPE: Congratulations.
JOE: I'll rest on my laurels until I know it's ready for distribution. Talk with you on Monday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Pen and Voice

Seaman's Bethel Chapel

(Seaman's Bethel Chapel)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How goes the fray?
JOE: Making progress. I printed sample cover and insert designs for my CD and produced a trial Master CD as well.
CALLIOPE: Are you ready to go public?
JOE: Not quite yet. Although the quality of the CD is okay, it could be better. I think I will work on it a while longer to see if I can improve it.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you are learning some patience.
JOE: I am. Maybe it comes with age. I have more now than I did last year and act less impulsively.
CALLIOPE: That should produce a better result. What differences do you see between writing and recording?
JOE: Excellent question. First the advantages and disadvantages of writing. Writing is visible. The whole piece can be seen at once. The context is more apparent. It's also easier to edit. Writing is also more familiar to me. However it's harder to show inflection and subtle meanings which would be more apparent speaking. People seem less inclined to read these days.
CALLIOPE: And recording?
JOE: I guess the opposite of writing. Subtle meanings are easier to convey in recording with tone of voice, inflection, accent and pace of speaking. However I am less practiced with recording and find editing more cumbersome than with writing. The whole context is harder to see and refer to with recording.
CALLIOPE: So which one wins?
JOE: Difficult to say. Both have their advantages and technology for both advances daily. Both are useful channels with their own pros and cons.
CALLIOPE: Good answer.
JOE: Why thank you. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Knowledge and Wisdom

Monastery Pulpit

(Monastery Pulpit)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's on your mind this morning?
JOE: Just thinking about knowledge and wisdom.
CALLIOPE: What about them?
JOE: As I see it, knowledge is a collection of facts and procedures.
CALLIOPE: And wisdom?
JOE: A much larger question. I think it means knowing what knowledge is important, knowing what to do with what you know and acting in a well informed way for the benefit of all of us.
CALLIOPE: I can't say I've ever heard it put that way, but it makes sense.
JOE: Thanks. Since I'm working on a project related to wisdom, it seemed like a natural train of thought.
CALLIOPE: Speaking of which, how's the project coming?
JOE: I finished my editing yesterday and created a demo CD. I decided to let it rest and listen to it today to see if it's ready for distribution.
CALLIOPE: Sounds exciting. How about the technology?
JOE: All seems under control. I was able to see what the CD would look and sound like. I'm impressed.
CALLIOPE: Don't let it go to your head.
JOE: I think I will always stay humble no matter what happens. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Baby Steps

Butterfly in the Trees

(Butterfly in the Trees)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Did you crank up your Spiritual Wisdom Project?
JOE: Glad you asked. I experimented with ways to record a sample selection.
CALLIOPE: With any success?
JOE: Yes, I'm glad to report. I was satisfied with the results.
CALLIOPE: Did you share it with anyone?
JOE: I asked Carol to listen to it.
CALLIOPE: How did she react?
JOE: Favorably. She thought it came out well.
CALLIOPE: Good. What's next?
JOE: Continue reviewing the selections to see if anything needs to be fixed.
CALLIOPE: Is that it for today?
JOE: It depends how far I get with the editing. My next project will be to start assembling the master CD.
CALLIOPE: Don't get carried away. Take your time and do it right.
JOE: Good advice. I tend to get a little ahead of myself at times. Talk with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Spiritual Wisdom

Queen Anne's Lace

(Queen Anne's Lace)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I liked your thoughts yesterday on passion. Are you following yours?
JOE: Touche. As a matter of fact I am. Other than one trip out for extended errands, I focused on my Spiritual Wisdom CD.
CALLIOPE: Good. Tell me about it.
JOE: I finished the recordings yesterday. I now have enough for the CD.
CALLIOPE: What's next?
JOE: Today I will review them to see if I think the quality is good enough. If not I will record any which don't meet my standards.
CALLIOPE: Then what?
JOE: Then I need to assemble them with a little music and create a demo CD.
CALLIOPE: What will you do with it?
JOE: Share it with a few people whose opinion I value to see if it seems ready for production.
CALLIOPE: And you have resources ready for that step?
JOE: In theory I do but haven't tried them yet.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you are quite organized.
JOE: For a change, yes. Talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Passion and What Really Matters

Metropolitan Opera

(Metropolitan Opera)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: Eventful and quiet.
JOE: Yes. Saturday Carol and I attended a simulcast of Metropolitan Opera's Turandot in which her son Mike performed and on Sunday I continued reading and reflecting on Joan Chittister' book, Welcome to the Wisdom of the World.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about the opera.
JOE: In addition to seeing Mike on stage I appreciated the passion of singers, actors and musicians putting their all into the production
CALLIOPE: Was reading the book a separate experience?
JOE: No. Joan wrote about the immediate distractions which interfere with our doing what matters most in our lives, such as the passion we saw on the stage Saturday.
CALLIOPE: Do you mean minutia blocking what's important ?
JOE: Exactly. The noise of living keeps us from hearing what's in our hearts.
CALLIOPE: How does this apply to you?
JOE: I attend to what is important but find myself frequently sidetracked by things which are not that important.
CALLIOPE: What does Joan suggest.
JOE: Being aware of what is important and what isn't and doing what you are meant to do rather than everything you can do. Talk with you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Immediacy and Reason

Oatka Creek Dam

(Oatka Creek Dam)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's new?
JOE: I just received Joan Chittister's new book, Welcome to the Wisdom of the World.
CALLIOPE: It sounds similar to the theme of your writing.
JOE: Very observant. That's why I bought it.
CALLIOPE: Have you started reading it?
JOE: Yes. Last night.
CALLIOPE: Any revelations so far?
JOE: She starts with the problem of immediacy about which I have also written.
CALLIOPE: What's the problem?
JOE: The world moves now with a pace that seems impossible to keep up with. You have to act without thinking to keep pace. If not the world moves on without you.
CALLIOPE: What does she suggest?
JOE: I haven't gotten that far yet.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good book.
JOE: I have found her other writings well reasoned, thoughtful and helpful. I am sure this book will continue the tradition. Talk with you on Monday.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Good News and Bad News

(Nantucket Sound Sunrise)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Thinking about good and bad news.
JOE: Yesterday I dropped off some clothes at the Francis Center in Rochester, a shelter for the homeless in great need of winter coats among other things.
CALLIOPE: Somehow I feel there is more to the story.
JOE: I thought on the way home about all the people who give their lives helping those less fortunate than themselves and seldom receiving any recognition.
JOE: When I got home news stations pored over every related and unrelated detail of the Fort Hood shootings.
CALLIOPE: How did the two events relate.
JOE: I thought of Shakespeare's Mark Antony, "The evil men do lives after them while the good is oft interred with their bones."
CALLIOPE: Well put.
JOE: Thank Shakespeare, not me. I just wish there was more balance in what we attend to. It seems to me that more focus on evil just foments more evil.
CALLIOPE: And you think rejoicing in good example might encourage more good deeds?
JOE: I do. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- The Mailman and the Collie

Beefeater- Tower of London

(Beefeater- Tower of London)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's on your mind today?
JOE: I was just thinking of something I observed yesterday.
CALLIOPE: Tell me.
JOE: It's a short story with a simple moral.
JOE: I was walking down Clay Street in LeRoy yesterday to deliver some muffins Carol made for her brother when I came across an empty parked mail truck.
CALLIOPE: Is that it?
JOE: Hardly. I saw the mailman leaving one house and entering the neighboring yard. An unchained collie waited for him at the edge of its property.
CALLIOPE: Collies can be very gentle but also fiercely protective.
JOE: My thoughts precisely.
CALLIOPE: And then?
JOE: The collie met the mailman, fell in alongside him and walked with him as if the two were fast friends. The mailman deposited the mail and left several bits of kibble on the porch step. The collie ate the kibble and the mailman proceeded on his way.
CALLIOPE: And the moral.
JOE: When you have messages to deliver, make sure you have something the gatekeepers want if you wish to be well received. Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Conversations with Calliope-Spiritual Wisdom

Abbey of the Genesee

(Abbey of the Genesee)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How did your column on Michael Jackson turn out?
JOE: Quite well thank you. You will see it in its Sliding Otter News form this weekend.
CALLIOPE: What are you on to now?
JOE: Back to work on my CD.
CALLIOPE: How's it coming?
JOE: Good. I identified quite a few selections related to my idea of spiritual wisdom. I have started recording them and hope to have the CD done by the end of the month.
CALLIOPE: Doesn't sound like much time.
JOE: It isn't but it's going well. I have the production process ready. Hopefully it will work quickly as well.
CALLIOPE: Do you expect a good response?
JOE: It's hard to tell. I talked with a couple gift store owners who tell me there is a good market for CD's, m0ore so than books lately.
CALLIOPE: That's encouraging.
JOE: It is especially since there are more outlets for CD's in my rural community than there are for books.
CALLIOPE: Best of luck with your project.
JOE: Thanks. I'll just need to stay focused. Talk with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- Creativity and Adolescence

Pushing the Limits

(Pushing the Limits)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Any further thoughts on Michael Jackson?
JOE: My newsletter topic this week centers on trying to make sense of his life.
CALLIOPE: How did you do that?
JOE: I didn't exactly. Making sense of something is an intellectual task which his life defied.
CALLIOPE: Tell me more.
JOE: Thoughts of his creativity, childishness, and adolescent mentality swirled in my head and finally came together along with a couple quotes from his songs.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: "We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day." from his song, We're the Children.
CALLIOPE: It sounds like you see a parallel between creativity and adolescence.
JOE: I do. Adolescence and creativity are both experiences in testing and expanding limits, ignoring boundaries and rules and venturing into new domains.
CALLIOPE: Interesting parallel. What about the rest of his life?
JOE: Creativity inclines its owner toward experimenting with personal life sometimes with0uut considering consequences.
CALLIOPE: Not entirely a rational pursuit.
JOE: That's the nature of creativity. Talk with you tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Conversations with Calliope- This Is It

Triboro Bridge
(Triboro Bridge)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good m0rning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I was contemplating Saturday's experience.
CALLIOPE: Tell me more.
JOE: Carol invited me to see "This Is It", the Michael Jackson movie.
CALLIOPE: Please share the results of your contemplation.
JOE: I had a vague interest in the movie while Carol was quite anxious to see it.
JOE: We were equally enthralled.
CALLIOPE: What captivated you?
JOE: The degree of his creative energy, much beyond what I had imagined.
CALLIOPE: Compared with whose?
JOE: Anyone else on the popular music or entertaining circuit.
CALLIOPE: What stood out the most?
JOE: Watching him craft and fine tune each detail and seeing them performed.
CALLIOPE: Sounds a bit mystical.
JOE: It was. I was trying to see how his mind worked, but it remained a mystery. Talk with you tomorrow.