Blogging for Peace and Other Matters

It’s only the second day since my resolve to blog every day until the end of the year, and I’m already finding excuses why I should bail on idea. Too tired. No ideas. Nothing to say.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve been planning on doing a follow-up to the Blog4Peace project I participated in on November 4th, but the drift of life had me in its grip. I suppose now is as good a time as ever to offer my retrospective, even though that day is long past.

I’ve been a peace blogger since 2012, though I’m not sure why I decided to participate in the first place. I don’t believe in “world peace” as a cause. People always talk about the human race as if we are warmongers, and yes, some people are, most notably those who make money and take power from wars, but think about it. How many wars have you personally started? For the most part, we (you and me, anyway) are peace lovers. We shy away from violence. Most of us don’t even start personal conflicts, though sometimes we do unwillingly get involved in contretemps we don’t quite know how to end.

Nor do I believe that nature itself is peaceful.

Just think about it — there you are, having a nice pleasant walk through the woods, having a picnic in a meadow, or perhaps standing on top of a mountain. All is peaceful. Or is it? If your ears were hypersensitive, as is the hero from my decade-old work-in-progress:

All seemed silent, still.

His ears became attuned to the quiet, and he heard insects cricking and chirring and buzzing.

Then other sounds registered, sounds so faint several seconds passed before he comprehended what he was hearing: the relentless hunger of nature. The larger prairie creatures and the most minute devoured each other in a cacophony of crunching, tearing, ripping, gnashing, grinding.

At the realization he was sharing space with things that must be fed, he took a step backward and bumped into a tree, a gnarled oak that hadn’t been there a moment ago. Leaning against the ancient tree, he heard the roots reaching out, creeping, grasping, wanting, needing. He jerked away from the tree and fell to hands and knees. Blades of grass moaned under his weight, and the screams of wildflowers being murdered by more aggressive vegetation almost deafened him.

He opened his mouth to add his own shrieks to the clamor, but closed it again and cupped his ears when he became aware of a long sonorous undulation deep beneath the ground. The heartbeat of the earth.

Yeah. Peace.

If we expand peace to a microscopic or even a cosmic plane, we see a stasis created by opposite but equal forces in conflict.

And yet . . . and yet . . .

On November 4, hundreds, maybe thousands of people were peacefully blogging about peace, creating peaceful images, sharing peaceful words, contemplating peace, visiting each other’s peace blogs. A lovely day. A peaceful day.

We may not have stopped wars or violence. We may or may not have attained peace within ourselves, may or may not have been at peace with our world.

But we mattered.

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Fifty Day Blog Challenge

Ever since I finished my two latest books a year ago (Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare and Unfinshed, I haven’t done much writing. Not much blogging, either (though technically, blogging is writing, so I shouldn’t separate the two.). There’s always been an excuse. A shattered arm/wrist/elbow. A fuzzy mind from opioids. (I used to think I had an addictive personality, but I guess not — I was glad when I finally was able to handle the pain and stop taking pain pills.) And then there was the very hot summer. (The air conditioning in this room I am renting is minimal, and I was too hot to think. But then, I didn’t feel like thinking anyway since I seem to be in a drifting mode.)

Well, enough of the excuses, and more than enough of the parenthetical comments!

When I mentioned my non-writing to a friend, she said, “Well, write something.” Since I always try to do what people request (unless, of course, I am in a rebellious mood), here I am.

In 2011, I participated in a hundred day blog challenge: to post something every day on each of the last 100 days of the year. The time is long past to be able to duplicate that challenge, but coincidentally, I just discovered there are 50 blogging days until the end of 2017, and since I love even numbers, coincidences, and serendipity, I decided to try an abbreviated challenge.

And challenge it will be. I have little to say, no real inclination to say what I do have to say, and making a commitment goes against the drift, but what the heck. I never let a lack of wisdom stop me from blogging before.

All this is by way of warning for those of you who follow this blog. Today and the coming forty-nine days are more for me, just for the discipline of it. I don’t expect you to read or comment on my meanderings, (especially not this blog post), but if you desire to do so anyway, I will be glad of the company.

And maybe I will even be glad of a chance to stop the drift. Just drifting has been good for me, but it doesn’t really accomplish much, and before I leave my current place (the road — and an epic adventure — is calling to me), I would like to finish the book I started a decade ago, clear out some of the stuff in my storage unit that I haven’t been able to get rid of yet, become strong enough physically to go hiking again, and oh, so many things!

So, this is a start.

Perhaps.

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Happy (Belated) Bloggiversary to Me

I seem to be losing track of dates lately. Not days of the week, of course — I am always aware of what day it is to make sure I don’t miss a dance class — but the days of the month seem to be escaping me.

I’d planned to do a grief update at four and a half years, and although yesterday’s post was coincidentally about grief, the fact that it was my four and a half year anniversary didn’t even register. Nor did it register that it was the 27th. The day that my life mate/soul mate died — the 27th of the month — has always brought with it a special awareness, and yesterday that awareness went missing. It’s possible, of course, that subliminally I did remember, hence the mention of grief, but it could also be that I was simply reaching for a blog topic and seeing a friend reading Grief: The Great Yearning spurred me to write what I did.

Another blog post I’d planned to do was my blog anniversary post. On September 24, 2007, I posted my very first bloggerie, and September 24, 2014 came and went without any sort of awareness of the 7th anniversary of this blog.

Still aballoonsnother post I’d planned to do was a concurrent celebration — the anniversary of three years of daily blogging. During the first four years of blogging, I posted only three or four times a week, but on September 24, 2011, I made a 100-day commitment to post a daily blog, and I continued to post every day once that initial commitment was fulfilled. I was particularly interested in this anniversary because I’d planned to rethink the daily blogging — it’s not always easy to post every day, especially now that the traumas of my life are settling down a bit so that I have less to write about. (And, of course, I’m dancing more, so I have less time to write.) Yet, subliminally, I must have made the decision to continue, because here I am, still blogging each day.

When I started this blog, it was a way of getting a head start on promotion for when/if I got published. After I got published, it was supposed to be a way of promoting my books. But, as I’ve learned, blogging, like all social networking efforts, has minimal effect on book sales.

[Social networking only helps create a web presence. What makes a huge difference in sales is playing Amazon’s algorithmic games, trying to get on one of their seemingly endless bestseller lists and letting the algorithms catapult you to stardom. But, silly me, I am carrying on my own private war with Amazon (I think they exert too much control over the book business) and so, to use a very trite and quite disgusting metaphor, I’ve cut off my nose to spite my face. Facebook works to a certain extent if you join a zillion groups and frequently post links to your books in those groups, but that isn’t networking — it’s spamming.]

Although promotion is no longer a factor (well, not much) in keeping up with this blog I do like writing and publishing my articles. I feel safe here, and that feeling of safety gives me the freedom to say what I want, no matter how personal. Four and a half years ago when my life mate/soul mate died, his death catapulted me into such a world of such pain that it bled over into my posts. This blog became a place where I could try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life. And even though grief is mostly leaving me alone now, I’ve continued the policy of writing about the various traumas and conflicts of my life.

It’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges come my way, this blog will be here for me, even if I do forget my bloggiversary.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Finding Something to Blog About Every Single Day

Today I celebrate my 1010th consecutive blog post. (I’ve published a total 1,629 posts, but the first 519 were before I started daily blogging.)

When a friend expressed amazement that I’m able to blog so much, I explained that it’s easier to blog if you write every day or at least on a regularly scheduled basis rather than doing it whenever you find something to say. If you blog sporadically, you feel as if your articles need to be important, so you don’t write. If you blog regularly, you relate a significant detail of your day, make your articles important by relating them to you, or find the youseetimmy in your topic.

(In the movie Speechless, Michael Keeton tells rival speechwriter Geena Davis that her speeches lack a youseetimmy. He explained that at the end of every episode of Lassie, Timmy’s father sat him down and explained the lesson of the tale, “You see, Timmy . . .)

Somedays, onumbersf course, it’s hard for me to find a topic — no event of the day and no thought frittering around in my head seems worth focusing on, so I just write something, anything in the hopes of stumbling upon an interesting idea. I fail often, of course, in the interest department, but sometimes what I think is uninteresting captures the attention of the Google gods and I get a lot of views. Since apparently I have no idea what others will find appealing, by blogging every day, I increase my chances of saying something profound or maybe even popular.

Although blog experts stress the necessity for sticking to a single focus for a blog, I’ve not been able to do that since my foci have changed over the years. At first I wrote about finding a publisher, then I wrote about finding readers. For a while I wrote about writing but I quickly gave that up when I realized how pathetic it was for a neophyte author to be giving tips on how to write. Too many writers who haven’t a clue what they are doing tend to parcel out advice as if they were dealing out doughnuts. For example, one self-published author explained how to write a grieving character, and proceeded to show the character going through all the so-called stages of grief in one brief bit of dialogue. Not only was this person dispensing erroneous information about writing, the person was also dispensing erroneous information about grief. Eek. I’m not a neophyte author any more, but still, the idea of publishing writing tips seems pathetic. The only people who would be interested in such posts are other writers, and they are busy publishing their own writing tips.

Finally, I started writing about me — my grief, my life, my dreams, my plans, my activities — so now the focus of this blog is me. You don’t get a narrower focus than that! I mean, out of the 7,237,175,306 people in the world as of today, there is only one of me.

On the days when I have nothing to say or no inclination to say what I do have to say, discipline keeps me going. I’ve been blogging every day without fail for almost three years — 1010 days to be exact. Not to blog would be a significant disruption of the pattern of my days, and hence would give me something to blog about. Ironic, that.

Still, there will come a time when I forget to blog because my mind is elsewhere or a time when I cannot blog because my body is elsewhere.

Until then, here I am — finding something to blog about every single day.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Happy Bloggiversary To Me!

I created this blog exactly six years ago today, back when I hadn’t yet become a published author, back when I didn’t even know what a blog was. I’d read how important blogging was for authors, both as a way of getting known and as a way of connecting with readers, so I decided to “act as if” I were going to be published in the hopes of making it happen. I had nothing to say, no one to say it to, no reason to say anything, but I didn’t let that stop me. I started blogging on September 24, 2007, and haven’t stopped since.

Did acting as if I were goinballoons1g to get published work? Perhaps, though there is no direct connection that I know of. Still, one and a half years after starting this blog, my first two books were published by Second Wind Publishing. They have now published five of my books — four suspense novels and one non-fiction book about grief. More importantly — at least blog-wise — I am still blogging, still making connections, still making friends. Still having fun.

One thing I never expected when I set up Bertram’s Blog, is how much I would like writing and publishing my articles. I feel safe here, away from the constant promos, ideological ravings, and mindless ratings on other sites, and it gives me the freedom to say what I want, no matter how personal. Three and a half years ago, my life mate/soul mate died, and his death catapulted me into such a world of such pain that it bled over into my posts. This blog became a place where I could try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life.

It’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges come my way, this blog will be here for me.

Although I’d planned to post every day, during the first four years I only managed to blog three or four times a week, but exactly two years ago today, I made a 100-day commitment to post a daily blog, and I continued to post every day once that initial commitment was fulfilled. (Which makes this a double anniversary — 6 years for blogging, 2 years for daily blogging.)

It amazes me that anyone wants to read anything that I write here. This is so much a place for just letting my thoughts roam, for thinking through problems, and (I admit it) for pontificating a bit. It’s been a kick, writing this blog, and I want to thank all of you for indulging my whims and whimseys.

Thank you for reading. Thank you all for your comments, your likes, your support. They have meant more to me (especially this past three and a half years) than you can ever imagine.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

What Next for Bertram’s Blog?

In three weeks, I will be celebrating the six-year anniversary of this blog. I will also be celebrating the two-year anniversary of daily blogging. (Two years ago, I responded to a challenge to blog for 100 days, and I just kept going.)

My first post on September 24, 2006 was tentative, a mere dipping of my pen in the metaphorical ink of the blogosphere. All that post said was:

Am I an aspiring writer? I have written 4 books, rewritten them, and will continue rewriting them until they are perfected.

No. I am not an aspiring writer. I am aspiring to be a published writer.

untitled2Not a bad statement of intent for a new blogger. In the beginning I wrote about my struggles to find an agent or a publisher, my attempts to learn all I could about how to become a bestselling author (still don’t know — drats!), my efforts at establishing my online presence. In the beginning, I used no photo of me, just an initial. I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to use a male pseudonym or any pseudonym at all. I’d also started writing a new novel that I now call my work-in-pause since it’s been sitting there, half-finished for almost six years. Later, after I found a publisher, I talked about my newly published books, and when ebooks, Kindles, and self-publishers burst on the scene, changing the face of publishing forever, I wrote various blog posts about the publishing industry, trying to make sense of it all and trying to find my place in the clamor

Three and a half years ago, my soul mate died. His death catapulted me into a world of such pain, that it bled over into this blog. My grief posts became not so much a way to escape, but a place to try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life.

This blog also helped me to re-establish my life as a writer because, after all, blogging is writing, too.

It’s nice to know that whatever life threw at me, whatever problems I encountered, whatever challenges came my way, this blog was here for me.

But now I don’t know where to go with my life, and I don’t know where to go with this blog. Except for occasional grief updates or excerpts from my book: Grief: The Great Yearning, I’ve said most of what I wanted to say about grief. And there’s nothing more to be said about the publishing industry. It has changed beyond my comprehension, so there’s no point in my writing about it. Besides, there is too much controversy still, with militant self-publishers jumping on anyone they think is casting aspersions on the phenomena. And there is too much controversy with sharing writing tips. Every time I tell what I have learned, other authors stomp on my words, proclaiming that it’s an author’s right to make up the rules. I just am not a contentious person, and I don’t like being pulled unwittingly into such imbroglios.

So, I have three weeks to decide if I want to continue daily blogging or if I want to go back to the way I started, just blogging when I had something to say. I need to decide what, if anything, I have to say — maybe I’ve said it all.

In the end, I’ll probably decide not to decide, and just keep on blogging. It’s become a way of life.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

If Everyone Wants Peace, Why are there Wars?

Yesterday, along with thousands of other people, I blogged for peace. If you saw my peace post, you will know that my message focused on being at peace with the world rather than world peace. I don’t believe in “world peace” as a cause, though of course, I do wish for a world at peace.

I can feel your hackles rise and can hear your outraged “What sort of insensitive clod are you? How can you not believe in ‘world peace’ as a cause?” For the record, let me state that I, personally, have never started a war. I don’t think I’ve ever even bloodied another person accidentally or otherwise, and even if I were prone to violence, I still would not be creating world havoc. The truth is, wars don’t just happen. Wars are something politicians and other reprehensible characters create, and never on my behalf and always for their own ends. To say I believe in “world peace” would be like saying I believe in politicians telling the truth. It’s a nice sentiment, but isn’t going to happen until those creating the problem decide to stop creating it.

Traditionally, the United States is a peaceful country. Or at least its citizenry is. We have never wanted war. Politicians, military advisors, tycoons, and other greedy characters are the hawks among us, and they not only have created wars, they have inveigled us into accepting their dictates, sometimes on pain of death. During WWI, so many young men ignored the draft that the only way the warmongers could force them to fight in a war that 90% of USA citizens did not want was to make draft avoidance punishable by death.

A few years later, when world hostilities were fomented anew, the citizens of the USA again did not want to go to war. It took Roosevelt’s manipulations to get people irate enough to want to go. Some of you might have heard but do not believe that Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor and allowed it to occur anyway, but it is the truth. The USA and Britain had broken the purple codes (so-called because that was the color of the folder the codes were kept in) in time to warn those at Pearl Harbor, but Roosevelt and his hawkish advisors chose not to give the warning in order to coerce the USA into the war. (They did manage to move their newest and best warships and submarines out of the line of fire, though.)

Killing is not a basic instinct. Many of today’s — and yesterday’s — video games were developed by the military because studies had shown that repeated images of violence and death inured people to killing. During World War Two, as many as 85% of soldiers fired over enemies’ heads or did not fire at all. After World War Two, there was a concerted effort by the military to overcome this natural reluctance to kill, and apparently they succeeded because during close combat in Vietnam, only about 5% of soldiers failed to aim to kill. (These same desensitizing “games” were later released as toys for children. Is it any wonder that teens today seem desensitized to violence?)

Author Lee Child says that we don’t write what we know, we write what we fear, and that certainly is true in my case. I fear the machinations of the powerful, deadly, and calculating men and women who control our lives behind the scenes. This theme is most prevalent in More Deaths Than One (in fact, I came across the information about desensitization while researching the military, soldiers, and killing for that particular novel) though it shows up in milder forms in all of my novels.

So see? We are naturally a peaceful people who do not want war. It is others who force it on us whether we wish it or not.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

Dancing Skeletons, Skulls, and Funeral Services

I participated in a fundraiser over the weekend. (I’m not sure how much I actually participated, to tell the truth — I just signed up for a table to display my books.) The event was to raise money for hospice and bereavement classes, which are causes I believe in. I’m all for helping people get through their final days as easily as possible and especially to offer comfort and support to those left behind. It’s not just that grief slams into the bereft, making it almost impossible to breathe, but they have to deal with all the horrendous “death” chores such as planning a funeral and filling out the required official and financial paperwork involved in “removing” someone from the world.

A couple of the participants in the fundraiser were businesses offering funeral and mortuary services, which fit with the purpose of the event since they were trying to make it easier for those left behind by getting people to “preplan” their funeral arrangements. (I’m restraining myself to keep from ranting about the silly jargon of the death business, such as the redundant “preplan” and the totally ridiculous “cremains.” One rant per post is enough.)

The only trouble with having representatives of the funeral business at the fundraiser is that this was not a serious event. It was a fun Halloween event geared toward children as well as adults. One of the mortuary booths played down their services, mostly providing pamphlets and pens for adults while offering various treats to the children, but the other funeral services participant went all out, decorating their booth with dancing skeletons, skulls, and cartoonish graves.

Perhaps the hushed and grave intonations of old-time funeral directors no longer have a place in our anything-goes society, but still, death deserves respect — for the sake of those left behind if for no other reason. Skeletons and skulls are one thing when they are used far from reality such as in Halloween festivities, but to mix such cartoonish symbols of death with the real thing just struck me as going way beyond taste and tact to downright tacky and insensitive.

They of all people should have known that for some people death is not fun, not a business, but an all too real horror.

(These photos show some of the decorations I’ve been referring to.  The top photo came from the wide border of the tablecloth. The others were a couple of the tabletop decorations. Lest you think I am being too critical, I am the not the only one who found the decorations inappropriate.)

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

Thank You for Five Incredible Blog Years

Five years ago today I started this blog. I’d only been on the internet a few months (four months to be exact), had no idea what a blog was but knew enough about book promotion to know that I needed one to help establish my online presence. I spent a few days researching the various blogging platforms and ended up here on WordPress.

My first post was tentative, a mere dipping of my pen in the metaphorical ink of the blogosphere. All that post said was:

Am I an aspiring writer? I have written 4 books, rewritten them, and will continue rewriting them until they are perfected.

No. I am not an aspiring writer. I am aspiring to be a published writer.

Not a bad statement of intent for a new blogger. In the beginning I wrote about my struggles to find an agent or a publisher, my attempts to learn all I could about how to become a bestselling author (still don’t know — drats!), my efforts at establishing my online presence. In the beginning, I used no photo of me, just an initial. I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to use a male pseudonym or any pseudonym at all. I’d also started writing a new novel that I now call my work-in-pause since it’s been sitting there, half-finished for almost five years.

Much has happened to me since I started this blog. I entered a couple of writing contests and made it to the semi-finals in both, (one was the very first ABNA contest). My mother died. I found a publisher. My father had quadruple bypass surgery. My life mate/soul mate got sicker and sicker. And throughout those two and a half years of turmoil, this blog sustained me. It gave me a place to escape from my daily life, a place I could count on.

And then, two and a half years ago, my soul mate died. His death catapulted me into a world of such pain, that it bled over into this blog. My posts became not so much a way to escape, but a place to try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life.

This blog also helped me to re-establish my life as a writer because, after all, blogging is writing, too. A year ago, I made a commitment to blog every day for 100 days, and somehow I never stopped. And today marks an entire year, 366 days of blogging every single day. (Leap year, in case you’re wondering why 366 instead of 365.) I recently recommitted to another 100-day challenge. It’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges come my way, this blog will be here for me.

I started with meager aspirations, hoping for the seemingly unrealistic goal of 12,000 views a year, and as of right now, this blog has had 215,817 all time views. On my busiest day, I had 3,542 people stopping by. I’ve been Freshly-pressed three times, written 1,003 posts (including this one), received 7,159 comments and almost 3000 likes and shares. My best ranking on Alexa.com was 607,198 out of 350 million websites. Quite an achievement for someone who, five years ago, did not even know what a blog was.

I never told you how much your reading my posts has meant to me, so I want to do so now. Thank you all for your comments, your likes, your support. They have meant more to me (especially this past two and a half years) than you can ever imagine.

What are You Going to Do With the Last 100 Days of the Year?

Tomorrow begins the last one hundred days of the year. What are you going to do with those days? Will you finally get around to the New Year’s resolutions you made and promptly forgot? Are you going to slack off, giving yourself permission to take a break from the breakneck speed of your life? Are you going to get going on that novel you wanted to start, continue, finish, or edit? Are you going to make inroads in the pile of books on your nightstand, or finally read some of those ebooks you downloaded? Are you going attempt the photography project you always wanted to do? Are you going to make a commitment to blog every day?

That’s what I’m going to do — make a commitment to blog every day. I’ve been blogging every day for the past 364 days, and I intend to extend that commitment to the end of the year. (I’ll try to make the blogs interesting because posting something just to post something sort of negates the “challenge” part.) Feel free to join me! We can help each other, offering encouragement or topics when the will begins to wane.

Just to make things fun, I’m also going to give up sugar (and sweets of all kinds). I used to forego sugared products except for occasional splurges of chocolate, but after the death of my life mate/soul mate, I got on a sugar jag, eating all sorts of sweets I hadn’t eaten for years. When one is grieving, it always feels like three o’clock in the morning — your mental and physical defenses are down and your blood sugar feels as if it’s at a low ebb — so I got in the habit of treating myself. I stopped eating sugar and flour a couple of weeks ago, and I intend to continue doing so. (Sugar is a poison, screwing up the system, causing myriad problems, including weight gain. This has been known for many decades despite the front page news this morning that “new research offers the disturbing suggestion that regular consumption of high calorie sugared beverages may turn on genetic switches that incline our bodies to becoming fat.” Duh. Can you believe researches actually got grants for that? And artificial sweeteners are even worse — true poison! Besides, they make you crave sugar, and have been implicated in obesity, so I won’t be substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar.)

And a final challenge (the hardest of them all) — I’m going to stop obsessing over things I cannot change. When things happen that I have no control over, I tend to work them over and over in my mind, trying to make them come out right, but that only puts me on the treadmill of circular thinking. As I wrote once a long time ago (showing that I’ve always had this tendency):

it is real, yes
and it does exist
but that does not mean
i should have given it
so much of my reality

So, have I shamed you into taking a 100-day challenge?