Archive for the ‘“Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses”’ Tag

LATEST REVIEW OF “FIGS & POMEGRANATES & SPECIAL CHEESES.”   8 comments

See amazon.com or Goodreads.

By lhales on August 22, 2014

I loved this book from the title to the last page of author explanation! I really appreciated the way Affinito takes the well-known story of Job and gives it clarity and realism through the eyes and voice of his wife. It is the story of Job, yes, but it is also the story of growth of change, of commitment, and of love. This is a book I will return to again and again as the themes are important and universal, the characters alive and real, and the messages profound.

 

JUST PLAIN RELAXING   2 comments

A sea day yesterday. I love sea days. Another sea day tomorrow. I love sea days.

And today no scheduled excursion so I’m staying on board while Doug goes off to enjoy an independent journey here in Civitavecchia.  He’ll bring back interesting photos. I chose to stay behind, I have a lot of years on him and can easily be a drag, though he won’t say so.

I’m lovin’ every minute – happy we still have more days ahead to enjoy.

e-mail access costs an arm and a leg, so I don’t do as much as I’d like to in the way of specific responses. Let me just say a big “Thank you” here to the folks on Twitter who have been tweeting and re-tweeting the stuff about my “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.” And by the way, the Kindle price is now $0.99 – a great opportunity to enjoy a good read and, if so moved, write an honest review on amazon.com.

REDUCED RATE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS   4 comments

Figs & Pomegranates $ Special Cheeses is getting nice exposure these days on Twitter. Now I’d like to know more people are reading and enjoying it. So, if all goes as intended, the Kindle version should be available in a day or two for $0.99.

I’d be overjoyed to see your review on amazon.com. In the meantime, you might enjoy reading the reviews that are already there.

And thanks!

 

TIME OUT FOR LATEST AMAZON REVIEW   6 comments

I’m so excited. I just discovered the latest review of Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses on amazon.com. Couldn’t wait to share it. look at the most recent review first.

SHARDS OF MONEY-SAVING THERAPY WISDOM   6 comments

I’ve been promising to present some “rules” of therapy – no charge. So here’s the first one. No doubt some can be applied in a broader sphere, like maybe government, war, and politics. But discussion here is limited to our personal/interpersonal lives. I call them shards, because I’m really just offering pieces that suggest something larger and more complete. And besides, they have sharp edges that require careful handling.

Rule #1: The only person you can control is you.

This is basic. It starts at the very beginning – the need to make life predictable – to get it under control. I could easily get lost here in a long review of Developmental and Social Psychology but I don’t feel like doing that. I’ll acknowledge that how we go about controlling is strongly influenced by the way we are raised. Here, though, I just want to point some ways we get it right, and some ways we stray. I’m hoping many of you will make comments about the how and the why based on your own experience and understanding.

Let’s consider a couple who seek therapy. You can place bets that it will start out with each one trying to change the other, mostly by telling the partner how he or she should be. No surprise, it doesn’t work.

Oh, maybe you can influence the way the other person acts. Browbeating, bribing, passive aggressive words and actions, financial control, violence – other forms of bullying or abuse. In that sense, I guess I’d have to admit that the other person can be controlled. Look a little deeper at the couple, however, and it’s clear those things aren’t getting what the controller really wants; confidence in the partners faithfulness or love or admiration or respect, or …

And the chances are good the restrained one would find a way to strike back, Or maybe become something less than what the controller was expecting.

What does often work is to change one’s own behavior to evoke a different reaction from the other. Basically, this is the object of mediation. Funny thing, though, that starts with changing oneself. Back to the rule. The only person you can control is yourself.

That kind of change requires honest listening. But it won’t work if the person you’ve been listening to is not honest. And here’s a really important point. You can’t be honest, or get honesty from your partner, if one or both of you is not being honest with yourself. Which brings us to another point.

Self Control

Yes, the goal is self-control. But not the way it’s often meant. Too many of us are raised to think that self-control means hiding or squelching our own feelings. That won’t work without either taking a toll on our bodies, or eventually coming out in uncontrolled anger, or tears, or depression, or something else I’ve missed.

The fact is, we can’t get enough control of ourselves to change if we aren’t willing to be honest with ourselves. To accept our own “Shadow.” But that’s rule #2, saved for the next posting.

The situation with couples makes for an easy example, but the rule applies everywhere. I hope you’ll use the “comments” section to add some examples based on your own experience.

But before we leave our unhappy but growing couple, here’s a question. Could it be that more arguments would help? The kind where each one is honest about feelings and opinions and listening to the other? (Even if they’d rather not admit it at the time.) And knowing that somehow they’ll have to do something about what they’re hearing if they really want things to change.

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See page 35 of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.” A conversation between Dara and her mother.

“Your father respects me – and us.

 “I do not believe it. I hear him when he is arguing with you.

 “Oh, but Dara, that is the point. We do argue. I know some mothers and fathers who do not argue, but I will tell you right now, the wives do not argue because they do not dare. … Your father and I argue because he holds me in high regard. Otherwise he would never listen to what I say, and I would never dare say it.”

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WRITER’S DIGEST REVIEW OF “FIGS & POMEGRANATES & SPECIAL CHEESES.”   8 comments

Some of my friends have requested that I write the story of my accident and its aftermath. It’s pretty much ready to go. When I think its ready, I’ll post the first few paragraphs here and then supply the link to the rest of it on my web site for those who are interested.

In the meantime, with the Sowers Gallery series complete, I thought I’d insert this review of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”  I am permitted to post it here, but it won’t show up on amazon.com.

(The review is a perk for entering the contest. I didn’t win or show.)

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 Review of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”

 “Judge, 3rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards.”

The synopsis is intriguing, although this “command” form – live, suffer, experience – sounds too much like a commercial. I also prefer the title “Mr. [sic] Job.”

Your use of language has an immediate flow and flavor reminiscent of the more poetic passages of the King James Bible.

Your powers of imagination are deep – envisioning, for instance, how that first day of married life must have been for her (33%).* The universal fear, for instance, that she will never be the kind of mother that she sees all around her. To tell the truth, I wanted to” 45% Funny! An intriguing argument, also. Good use of conflict.

Your descriptive powers are potent. Describing her pregnancy as a “heaving, jolting rock inside of me.” 56% * You also have the ability to portray inner monologues that remain interesting, which is quite a skill.

It’s odd, though, that it takes so long to get to the point of the story. The anthropological/cultural work is impressive, but you seem almost afraid to get to one of the best plot turns in history.

And that is heartbreaking when it arrives. “Surely now we can accept the bad fortune, too!” Very tough to live up to the world’s most patient man!

*Percentages refer to progress on e-reader.

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By the way, I (Mona) do think a major point of the story is Dara’s search for a resolution to the conflict created by Job’s demand issued sometime during her sixth pregnancy. (Nope. I’m not going to introduce a spoiler.)

 

 

SOWER GALLERY OPENING SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 2016   7 comments

Sower Gallery

I’d love to see you there on Saturday if you live nearby. Besides the items of direct concern to me, there will be much of beauty and interest to see, ponder, and enjoy.

The theme of the current gallery display is “Back Stories.” The story of the cover of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” will include the original art work by Marilyn Brown along with a step by step display of the graphic art enhancement by Jenny Janson of Janson Graphics.

Copies of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” (and its predecessor “Mrs. Job.”) will be available for sale.

There will also be on display a photo print by Doug Affinito with its backstory.

Doug and Lisa and I will be there for the opening, arriving sometime around 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. Jenny will also be there, and, I hope, Marilyn.

The location is given on the attached brochure designed by Jenny.

WISHING GOOD THINGS AT THIS HOLIDAY TIME   12 comments

In past years I’ve managed to do something relatively elaborate to wish my friends a happy holiday. This year not so much, but my joy in your friendship is none-the-less nurturing, exciting and powerful.

As I think you know, my big event of the year was turning my lovely little Acura RSX into a flattened pile of metal and stuff that looked in the end like an aluminum can crushed under foot in preparation for the recycling bin. That was on April 15, when I was on my way home looking forward to two unscheduled days to dig into some of my ongoing projects.

Most of those projects are still active in my head, but I’m way behind in carrying them out. I did get to follow through on plans to take part in a forum on forgiveness at the Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church on April 28. With the help of my son who got my computer to me at Auburn Manor where I was rehabbing, I was able to create handouts illustrating my new approach to presenting forgiveness issues, emphasizing that justice and mercy are two sides of the same coin. Auburn manor made it easy for me to work within the recovery schedule, and some very generous folks from the church managed to get me there and back to present from a wheelchair. Quite dramatic, really.

One of my projects now is to write about my crash, what I’ve learned from it, and the impact it’s had on my life. I have started working on it, discovering that I have to go back to check records to remind me where I was when. Memory, never a simple file folder in the brain, is more vague than I thought it would be. But you will probably be exposed to it eventually.

Work also proceeds on “My Father’s House.” Right now it’s mostly doing research about Bristol, Connecticut and life and times around 1910. Totally stalled, however, is the creation of questions for groups to use in discussing “Figs and Pomegranates and Special Cheeses.” I’m hopeful they will eventually encourage more adoption of “Figs … . “ Then there’s my blog, and my facebook page, so badly ignored as they fall to the bottom of the priorities list.

I’ve been out of the three-month sentence to the torso brace since July 17. Whew! What a relief. But regaining my energy is still an ongoing process, along with getting accustomed to my shorter stature after losing two inches to my L1 compression fracture. And what a shock when I realized how it had changed my body structure! Yes, I worked hard at keeping good posture, but my clothes needed a lot of adjusting. The local tailor was wonderful at working around the brace to alter clothes to fit for our July 28 departure on a planned three-week cruise to the Shetland Islands, Iceland, and Norway.

The flight on the way over did hurt. I walked the aisles a lot, but three weeks of rest, walking, and fun worked wonders. The trip home was very comfortable. I still need to lie on my back occasionally when pain starts to build up – especially after working at my computer, and walking is amazingly helpful. But my chiropractor/nutritionist tells me things will keep on getting better. Certainly I have no basis for complaining when I think of what might have happened if my Acura, its seat belts, and air bags hadn’t taken such good, protective care of me.

I loved all the places we visited on the cruise. I intended to share a few photos on my blog, but I haven’t made it past the point of beginning to learn how to post movies. Just beginning to learn how – still haven’t done it.

As for photos, I haven’t yet downloaded the few I took on our restful and fun four-night Thanksgiving stay at Cove Point in Beavers Falls, outside Duluth. Because then, of course, came the preparation for Christmas. I am no longer responsible for “creating” the celebration, but, given my propensity to purchase gifts through the year while traveling, it does fall to me to wrap them all and get them to their destinations.

All these words just to explain why I haven’t been writing on my blog and facebook! And I thought I was going to write just a brief paragraph.

Finally,to the point. Two points, actually. (1) Rejoice! The winter solstice arrives in a few hours and we will begin to have more daylight. (2) Rejoice! Things may be pretty awful, but we always have this annual time to at least imagine what love and peace will look like when we decide to practice them. Oh, and (3) Thank you for enriching my life with the creative things you do in the blogosphere.

Memories   6 comments

Dear Sheila sent a lovely comment in response to my blog yesterday. She kindly suggested supplying me with questions. I especially need those that will direct people to read and discuss “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.” So I’d like to apply her question to Dara (Mrs. Job), the heroin of “Figs … “

“Who or what are we without our memories?” she asks. Of course Sheila knows she’s asking a very powerful question. The simple answer to it is, “We are nothing without our memories.” But what about Job’s wife? How did her memories sustain her through the terrible trials and the establishment of a new family after the appearance of the voice in the whirlwind. I’d love to hear how others would answer it after reading the book, but I can’t, of course, avoid making some of my own comments about memories.

First of all, memories are not file folders that store simple data. Every memory is, instead, it’s own creation, based on things that were perceived creatively in the first place. Not only is it a creation, it will be edited anew each time we look back on it. So, “Who are we without our memories?” People incapable of taking our experiences and molding them to fit our view of who we are in the moment.

So what would Dara have called on from the happy, the good, the confusing, the hurtful, the painful experiences she had developed in her life up to the point of the trials? How would she have constructed them to see her through that terrible time?

How would she, in the second phase of her life, have fashioned her memories to make her the person she needed to be to live happily, productively, and lovingly in the years of her second family? How would she have used her memories to honor and love the memory of the lost children of her first family? How would she have used her memories to reconcile with Job’s “friends” who caused him such anguish? How would she have used her memories to reconcile with her God? How would she have constructed them to live with whatever guilt she may have had for her doubt and anger?

Or might she have done with her memories what we all are capable of doing, especially when we have suffered extreme pain, or experiences that make no sense. Would she have simply pushed them back into the non-conscious recesses of her mind? That’s something we all do in large or small part to stay above the pain they cost. It’s a way of sparing us to get on with our lives rather than yielding to immobility.

I’ll try next time to write and share a review of “Atonement“, by Ian McEwen,” the story of the terrible results of an adolescent girl’s false accusations and her subsequent efforts to rid herself of the pain of guilt – quite real by all standards, yet also understandable/explainable.

Thank you dear Sheila for inspiring this answer.

990 KINDLE COPIES   9 comments

If I’ve read the numbers right, 990 free copies of Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses were given away during the three days they were available. As was my wish, a goodly number went to countries outside the USA.

I hope readers are enjoying Dara and Job and their friends and family. It will be really nice if even a few of that number were to let me know how they feel about the book, through comments on amazon.com, or blogs, or whatever.

Yes, It’s been a while since I posted anything here. I’ve been busy doing a bunch of stuff: taking a course on copyediting, enjoying my daughter’s visit, working on My Father’s House, teaching a course on forgiveness, pulling income tax information together, and lots of other odds and ends.

But I never fail to keep track of my blogging friends. Thanks to all of you.

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