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Navigating Life

May 13, 2009 - 8:41am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, Navigating Life.

Nantucket Lighthouse.jpg

(Nantucket Lighthouse)

CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you yesterday.
JOE: Sorry about that. I had some web difficulty I was unable to resolved before I left for the day's activities.
CALLIOPE: I see. Glad to have you back. What's new.
JOE: Beth Cahaney's review of my book Navigating Life just arrived.
CALLIOPE: I would like to see it.
JOE: I thought you might. Here goes:

A review of Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections For the Voyage by Joseph G. Langen

Psychologist and author Joseph Langen discusses life and relationships in his latest book, Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections For the Voyage. People and places in western New York figure prominently in the book, and as a native of the area, I am amazed at his insight as he examines lives well lived, including his own. Langen reflects on his years of practice, his life in a monastery, and his own spiritual journey in his attempt to help us navigate our lives.

The book is a deceptively easy read, many of the essays having appeared in his weekly newspaper column. They are arranged in chapters with titles such as “Appreciating Life around Us” and “Making Sense of Society.” Within the chapters are essays, each followed by Langen’s Life Lab Lessons. While Langen captivates us with each well written essay, his Life Lab Lessons force us to confront our own lives in reaction to the essay. It’s no easy task as Langen directs us, for example, at the end of “The Power of Will” to list our most important values and then to list the most important values of a person with whom we are in conflict. Listing my most important values—what a good idea, yet one I hadn’t attempted since my sophomore year in high school when my all-time favorite teacher encouraged me to do that very thing as I tried to understand a difficult novel. Perhaps I should have listed my values more than once every fifty years, but I thank Langen for exhorting me to do so.

Langen uses an excellent format for each of his essays. He begins with a quote from an intellectual or spiritual leader or perhaps an anonymous source or even a sports or media personality, then his own well chosen words, often with reference to noted scholars, then wrap up with the Life Lab Lessons. Imagine my joy to find some of my favorite writers imbedded in Langen’s essays: John Eudes Bamberger, Karen Armstrong, Teilhard de Chardin. But perhaps my greatest joy is to read about everyday folks in Langen’s work, folks such as Carol Gomborone and her aunt, Lucille Rider, and to see Joe Langen’s love come shining through. That is the true measure of a life well lived and one from which we can learn to appreciate our own lives.

Elizabeth Cahaney, Professor of Humanities
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

CALLIOPE: Great review. Thanks for sharing it.
JOE: Glad you liked it. Talk with you tomorrow.

January 3, 2009 - 11:12am
posted by Joseph Langen in Navigating Life, Abdullah Muhammad, reflection.

 

(Oatka Creek Reflection)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine.
CALLIOPE: What are you up to?
JOE: Savoring a find from the other day.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: I was looking for some way to capture what I tried to convey with my book, Navigating Life.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: I ran across a wonderful passage by Abdullah Muhammad on an Internet site to which I belong, Iseecolor. I think it captured the essence of my book, almost as if it were written especially for me.
CALLIOPE: Are you going to share it?
JOE: Of course. Here it is:

Reflection provides an opportunity to make the right decisions, correct the wrong decisions or just make a decision in general. Reflecting offers a view of things to come to the possibility of the way things can be. Life can at times become fast paced and before you know it, we are left to deal with issues that have been given no thought, and leave us with situations we dread being in. Reflection offers a gateway into oneself that is needed in order to maintain a balance in our lives, while continuing to move forward regardless of the circumstances. Reflection is rewarding and we must acknowledge its importance. Not only when things are going well should we exercise this gift, but when things aren't so great also. Reflecting gives us an image, and that image through our reflection be it good or bad has the potential for change. Whether this change be for positive things already existing in or surrounding our lives, or some tragic incident for which there seems to be no immediate solution; our reflection provides a moment to consider all possibilities, chances are we will give ourselves the opportunity and the information to succeed.
(by Abdullah Muhammad)

What more can I say. Talk with you on Monday.
January 2, 2009 - 11:03am
posted by Joseph Langen in marketing, publicity, Navigating Life.

(St Mark's Church and Oatka Creek)

JOE: Happy new year Calliope.
CALLIOPE: And to you. How did you end the year?
JOE: With quite bit of socializing. A lot more than is usual for me. But I enjoyed every bit of it.
CALLIOPE: And now back to the keyboard?
JOE: Yes. I spent some time over the past couple days refining my publicity release and brochure.
CALLIOPE: So that's finished?
JOE: For now, but there's always room for improvement.
CALLIOPE: Now what?
JOE: I will keep working on marketing. I have been concentrating on the internet but have thought a little about local publicity.
CALLIOPE: In what regard?
JOE: I have not approached the local newspaper or radio yet but plan to.
CALLIOPE: Anything else?
JOE: I haven't done much by way of public appearance with my previous books.
CALLIOPE: Are there some opportunities?
JOE: I've been considering that. There are service groups like Kiwanis and Rotary as well as senior centers and perhaps religious groups. I have also considered a reading at the library.
CALLIOPE: Lots to explore.
JOE: There is. I'd better get working on it.




December 30, 2008 - 8:05am
posted by Joseph Langen in Navigating Life, publication, release.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Sunrise on Nantucket Sound)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Help me out a little. I'm more familiar with Greek than with Latin.
JOE: The title above translates as, "The book is born."
CALLIOPE: Sounds like good news.
JOE: It is. I received the revised bound galley of Navigating Life in the mail yesterday and am ready for my sales promotion.
CALLIOPE: Where do you start?
JOE: I sent a message to Booklocker saying everything looks fine. I am waiting for them to set up my sales page. I also have some personal orders to fulfill locally.
CALLIOPE: Congratulations. It seem like it has been a long haul.
JOE: It seems that way to me too. I don't seem to be getting any more patient as I age.
CALLIOPE: At least you know your limitations. What's your next step?
JOE: Publicity. I almost have my flier ready. Today I will work on recording a video clip to include.
CALLIOPE: Anything else?
JOE: As a matter of fact there is. Last night I ran across a wonderful little passage on Reflection by a fellow member of one of my online groups.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: I have asked his permission to use his passage in my promotional materials. I'm waiting for his response. Talk with you tomorrow.
December 20, 2008 - 10:47am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, Navigating Life, publishing.

 

(Westminster Abbey)

JOE: Good morning Calliope. Haec dies quem fecit Dominus.
CALLIOPE: Help me out. My Latin's a little rusty.
JOE: Okay. "This is the day the Lord has made."
CALLIOPE: You sound excited.
JOE: I am. Finally my book, Navigating Life is on its way back to the printer, text, cover and corrections.
CALLIOPE: Great. Now back to the waiting.
JOE: Still, it's a relief. I suppose this gets easier with time. I find getting everything just right a challenge.
CALLIOPE: I take it you're not the obsessive compulsive type.
JOE: Right. I am more the impulsive type. I think my personality is more suited to the freewheeling process of writing.
CALLIOPE: And less toward the minutia of publishing?
JOE: Exactly so. As Clint Eastwood put it, "A man's got to know his limitations."
CALLIOPE: Glad you recognize yours. Have you thought of seeking a traditional publisher for this aspect.
JOE: I have, but so far it only led to frustration on my previous attempts. This time I did not even seriously consider finding an agent or publisher. Maybe one of these days I'll have a go at it again.
CALLIOPE: At least you got this far. Now what?
JOE: Back to work on marketing and publicity. Talk with you on Monday.
December 19, 2008 - 7:24am
posted by Joseph Langen in inspiration, Navigating Life, perspiration, reader hook.

 

(Geese resting for the voyage)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's with the new title above?
JOE: It's a long story. My friend Gerry and I were corresponding about my publicity for Navigating Life.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: We got to discussing how to get people's attention with hooks, a skill which does not come naturally to me.
CALLIOPE: I'm with you so far.
JOE: He suggested that I was working too hard and expecting results when it might be more important to sit back and listen for inspiration.
CALLIOPE: I could have told you that.
JOE: I now realize it. I know you are constantly whispering in my ear but I'm too busy blathering to hear you.
CALLIOPE: So what did you do?
JOE: I started rereading Lao Tzu's Tao Teh Ching yesterday.
CALLIOPE: Then what?
JOE: I woke up at 3:00 Am this morning with my head full of ideas which prompted me to get out of bed and write them down before they disappeared.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad Gerry, Lao Tzu and I could help.
JOE: So am I. Talk with you tomorrow.
December 18, 2008 - 8:30am
posted by Joseph Langen in Navigating Life, good fortune, teens.

 

(Fuzzy the Clown at Oatka Festival Parade)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I'm glad not to have a doctor appointment as I have had each day this week.
CALLIOPE: Anything wrong?
JOE: No. Two visits were checkups with my primary and arthritis doctors. All is in good order in my body as far as I can tell. I even came away with one less prescription than I had before. The third appointment was to give blood for an arthritis study on markers for arthritis. I don't quite understand the technicalities but I guess I don't need to.
CALLIOPE: Glad to hear things are going well. What do you make of it?
JOE: I remember my friend Steve D'Annunzio saying that misfortune in your life can be taken as a sign that you need to change something. I was just wondering if there is a message from God in good fortune too.
CALLIOPE: What do you think it might be?
JOE: Maybe that I am on the right track with alerting people to consider how they live their lives and what the effect is on people.
CALLIOPE: That's the goal of your book, Navigating Life, isn't it?
JOE: It is.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I had been thinking about what direction to take with my writing once this book is published.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: I think I should continue with this theme. I have started on a book of commonsense wisdom for teens and think I should get back into that project. Talk with you tomorrow.
December 16, 2008 - 9:42am
posted by Joseph Langen in marketing, publicity, Navigating Life.

 

(Aquinnah Lighthouse- Martha's Vineyard)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: A tad rushed.
CALLIOPE: How so? I thought you would be more relaxed with the book revisions submitted.
JOE: I am. But I have two places to go this morning and also have evening plans.
CALLIOPE: So it's hard to plan any marketing activities.
JOE: That doesn't mean I can't be thinking about them as I drive around. I decided on an approach to marketing Navigating Life this morning before I even got out of bed.
CALLIOPE: Which is?
JOE: Now that we have elected Obama and expect him to make some changes in the world, what are we going to do on our part?
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good approach. How are you going to go about it?
JOE: I plan to list thirteen things we can do, one of them outlined in each of he chapters of Navigating Life.
CALLIOPE: I'd like to see it when it's done.
JOE: No Problem. I'll share it with you. Time to get going. Off to the races. Talk with you tomorrow.
December 15, 2008 - 12:40pm
posted by Joseph Langen in Navigating Life, publishing, networking.

 

(Cover design- Navigating Life)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I was beginning to fear you would not show up today.
JOE: Never fear. I had some early morning appointments in Batavia.
CALLIOPE: What's up for today?
JOE: Even before I left for Batavia, I was up finalizing revisions on Navigating Life.
CALLIOPE: So is it ready now.
JOE: It is. I just now sent it off to Booklocker.
CALLIOPE: When will it finally be ready?
JOE: That's out of my hands. I need to wait for the printing wheels and presses to do their thing. I'm practicing patience.
CALLIOPE: A good idea. Any other developments over the weekend?
JOE: Yesterday I attended an Author Extravaganza at Lift Bridge Book Store in Brockport.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: I found it most productive. I got to read a selection from Navigating Life and also talked with some other authors about writing, publishing and marketing.
CALLIOPE: Anyone special that you met?
JOE: I finally met Bob Fussell, an attorney and author from right here in Leroy. I figured I would meet him sooner or later. We had a great talk and plan to get together. Talk with you tomorrow.
December 13, 2008 - 9:17am
posted by Joseph Langen in editing, Navigating Life, publishing.

 

(More Sunset over Lake Erie)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Struggling to stay calm and focused.
CALLIOPE: How so?
JOE: I received my bound galley of Navigating Life. After discussion I realized I had made some glaring errors in the manuscript.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: The bottom line is that I will need to correct them at an extra expense.
CALLIOPE: How did that happen?
JOE: ADHD strikes again. I thought I had that part of me under pretty good control.
CALLIOPE: Doesn't sound like it.
JOE: No it doesn't. I let my excitement about the project and rush to get it into print by Christmas lead to premature submission of the manuscript.
CALLIOPE: Now what?
JOE: I have been working steadily on corrections but taking breaks so as not to become fatigued.
CALLIOPE: How is it coming?
JOE: I think I have them done. I will look over the manuscript one last time to be sure I didn't miss anything. Talk with you on Monday.
December 12, 2008 - 7:37am
posted by Joseph Langen in Navigating Life, publshing, proofreading.

 

(Sunset over Lake Erie- Dunkirk, NY)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Not half bad.
CALLIOPE: What have you been up to?
JOE: Puttering around while waiting for my book proof to arrive. I've been catching up on my writer and marketing communities, listening to a marketing broadcast and preparing publicity for Navigating Life.
CALLIOPE: You have been busy. When do you expect your proof?
JOE: I was just getting to that. It arrived yesterday afternoon. Technically it is a bound galley. I was quite satisfied with how the cover turned out after all my grief in developing it.
CALLIOPE: Why didn't you just pay to have it done?
JOE: I'm not yet in a financial position to pay people for such services as design or even proofreading. Sometimes I wish I were.
CALLIOPE: Did you learn anything from doing all your own design work?
JOE: I learned to appreciate all that goes into it. I also got to think about each component of my book more than I would have if I had farmed out the work.
CALLIOPE: There are those benefits. How about proofreading?
JOE: That is the one place I wish I had been able to hire someone professional. Many of the sections were proofread in the past. I didn't feel I could impose on friends to proofread this text. Maybe I will regret it. I think in the future that I will try to budget money for this.
CALLIOPE: Good idea. When do you expect the book to be available.
JOE: You'll be the first to know. Perhaps in another week or so. Talk with you tomorrow.
December 11, 2008 - 9:10am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, publicity, SEO, Navigating Life.

(Nineteenth century tavern- Genesee Country Village)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Good. I have my Christmas shopping and report writing done and am ready to get back to work on my writing.
CALLIOPE: Did you get anything literary done yesterday?
JOE: I finished posting the reading guides I developed and shared with you a couple days ago.
CALLIOPE: Did you do one for Navigating Life?
JOE: Not yet. I need to wait until my book is listed on Amazon so I can include it.
CALLIOPE: I see. What plans do you have for today?
JOE: I think I will start posting this blog on the sites where I previously did.
CALLIOPE: Don't you still have links there to this site?
JOE: I do but decided it was too much to expect readers to travel here. I thought it might be best to just post them where I did before.
CALLIOPE: Why did you change your mind?
JOE: It had to do with Google. I thought that by listing my blog in several places it reduced the Search Engine Optimization qualities of the blog.
CALLIOPE: Doesn't it?
JOE: I think so but decided it made more sense to have greater visibility than to count on it optimizing visits to my web site. Talk to you tomorrow.

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