#UpbeatAuthors: Outlasting Your Enemies

There have been times in my life when perseverance involved keeping my head down, doing what I needed to do,  and reminding myself I could outlast my enemies.  Enemies are legion: bad bosses; nasty co-workers; crushing debt; non-life-threatening illness; rent increases; traffic jams; raising teenagers.

I just remind myself that this, too, shall pass. Then I hang in there.



But He Has a Wife/Secretary

I used to read time management books. I also read a couple of “how to increase your creativity” books. Every one of them had a fatal flaw: they were written for men who had wives/secretaries/administrative assistants. Even books written by women seem to assume there is…staff. Someone else to deal with the stuff you’re too important to do.

What about when you are the wife, the admin, the bottom of the hill the crap rolls down?  No one has ever written a book for us.

Gloria Steinem once said:  “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” More recently, author Colleen Walsh stated her version of this quote.


#UpbeatAuthors: The Road to Publication

The month’s #UpbeatAuthors topic is perseverance. When I think of perseverance, I think about how long it took me to write a book a publisher felt was worthy of publication. I think about other authors, who never gave up, whether it was to sign contracts with traditional publishers, small-press independent publishers, or who decided (sometimes after decades of rejections) to self-publish.

Members of my RWA chapter have come and gone. Several of us stuck around until the industry changed. The others must have been hobbyists, because they surrendered.

A few of my friends haven’t had contracts renewed. Or their lines have closed. Instead of giving up, they’ve sought new ways of getting their work to their readers. Or they’ve decided now is the time for me to reinvent my product the way I want it done. And they are succeeding.

Because they hung in there.




A Thing I Do Not Understand

There are so many things in life I don’t understand. This one is most likely controversial and will probably anger some people. But it’s something I truly do not understand.

Why cathedrals are built so big, so majestic, and filled with what man considers “wealth” when there are people who are out there who are starving? I don’t pretend to know when this propensity started, but I do know that going back to at least the Middle Ages great expense went into building temples when people could have been clothed, housed, and fed. The attitude seems to be that G*d prefers gold to people.

The Egyptian pyramids tombs were built to honor the dead that were buried within. But the famous cathedrals of Europe were built to..? The same thing happens in the US. Some of these structures are more like theaters than places of worship.

I’m not bashing any particular religion here. Ostentation comes with every creed. The pouring of resources into material manifestations of what man values seems like a sin to me. All religions preach the sanctity of life, but feeding the poor doesn’t seem high enough on many agendas, especially when they can build idols to their own wealth.

Religious institutions  should put their money where the hungry mouths are.

#UpbeatAuthors: The Face of Perseverance

This is Laurence. He was once an intern at the TV station where I worked. Back then, we called him “L-Train.”

The next time I saw Laurence, he was manning the Breast Cancer Awareness Booth at the local baseball stadium. Passionately.  It seems a very good friend of his died of multiple carcinoma.  Remember the movie The Blues Brothers? The characters claimed they were on a mission from God. Well, that’s Laurence when it comes to breast cancer.

Most recently–for several years–Laurence collects bottles and cans for their five-cent deposit and donates the money to breast cancer research. He’s found a place that will give him six-cents for every can/bottle, one penny more than the state deposit. Laurence knows every penny counts.

Here’s an article from 2015.

And another from 2017, which talks about his connection to the Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Research Fund.

Laurence is serious. But he gets discouraged. I follow him on Facebook. There were incidents several years ago when he had a deal with a car-wash franchise to retrieve the bottles and cans customers tossed in the garbage. Yes, Laurence picks through garbage to retrieve every nickel he can.  Customers complained. Even after the management explained the situation, customers complained.  So Laurence couldn’t “scavenge” there any more.

In August, the Great New York State Fair happens. Laurence gets his signature pink cans into the fairgrounds for people to donate their cans and bottles. But people can’t read or don’t care. They toss dirty diapers and other disgusting bits of garbage into those pink cans. Laurence has to sift through the crap for every five cents. He has a room at the fair to store his daily take. In past years, it’s been broken into, his hard work stolen. This year someone damaged the lock trying to break in.

I took the above photo at a concert in July at the local amphitheater. Laurence and his team of volunteers went around the lawn seating area and retrieved as many bottles and cans as they could. When my husband and I handed Laurence our empty water bottles, he said, “Another six cents for cancer research. We going to beat cancer one bottle and can at a time.”

Sometimes, on Facebook, he lets his frustrations out. He says he’s going to quit. People mock him and are mean to him. They insult him. He gets discouraged. But he never quits.  He is not only the face of, but also the personification of perseverance.