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December 17, 2009 - 10:17am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, challenges, Americorps.

 


There is no greater challenge than to have someone relying upon you; no greater satisfaction than to vindicate his expectation.~Kingman Brewster

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Exhilarated. I completed all my registration procedures at AmeriCorps and planned my initial activities at my GoArt placement yesterday.
CALLIOPE: Congratulations. Any surprises?
JOE: I wasn't expecting any and none appeared.
CALLIOPE: I guess that's good.
JOE: It is.
CALLIOPE: What are your duties.
JOE: I will work three days a week. One task will be working on web presence. Another will be to develop more interaction with the artists.
CALLIOPE: Anything else.
JOE: I most likely will be working with teens on creative writing. The program is still at the idea stage.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you will have plenty to keep you busy.
JOE: I think so. If not, new challenges always arise.
CALLIOPE: Good luck with you project.
JOE: Thanks. Talk with you tomorrow.

 

December 15, 2009 - 8:46am
posted by Joseph Langen in peace, writing, quotes.

 Vineyard Sunrise


"Blessed are the peacemakers. For they shall be called the children of God."~Matthew, V:9.

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: I've been quite busy. I woke up at 2:00 AM, my mind churning with ideas for this week's column.
CALLIOPE: As I recall you were writing about peace.
JOE: Correct. I usually start with a relevant quote and went in search of one.
CALLIOPE: What did you discover?
JOE: Hundreds of quotes about peace. I just couldn't decide which was best.
CALLIOPE: So what did you conclude?
JOE: To write a column consisting entirely of peace quotes and brief commentary. Even then I went over my space allotment and still did not include all the quotes I had chosen.
CALLIOPE: Anything surprising?
JOE: Yes. William Gladstone said, "We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will the world know the blessings of peace." Jimi Hendrix said, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
CALLIOPE: How do you suppose both came up with almost the same quote?
JOE: Beats me. The only think I can imagine is that Hendrix read Gladstone or heard about him. After all he did become famous in England in the mid sixties and became friends with The Rolling Stones, The Who and Eric Clapton.
CALLIOPE: Quite interesting.
JOE: As Cicero said over two thousand years ago, "Laws are silent in times of war. We are born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race."

 

 

December 14, 2009 - 9:58am
posted by Joseph Langen in peace, writing, turmoil.

 

 Monastery Garden


(Monastery Garden)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Ready for another week?
JOE: I am. With plenty to do.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: I'm nearing the end of my latest review of Marital Property. Then I'll read it aloud and make copies for a few readers.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you are making good progress. Anything else on your plate?
JOE: It's column/ newsletter time again.
CALLIOPE: Do you have a topic ready?
JOE: In a general sense. I would to write about peace.
CALLIOPE: A common topic this time of year.
JOE: Indeed. I don't want to offer platitudes.
CALLIOPE: What will you offer.
JOE: Perhaps some of my musings about how peace can be achieved. No matter how many people reach for it, terrorists and other ne'er-do-wells continue to prowl the earth.
CALLIOPE: Do you think you have the answer?
JOE: I wouldn't be that presumptuous. But perhaps I can help clarify the question. Talk with you tomorrow.

 

December 12, 2009 - 11:16am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, novel, revision.


 

 Butterfly Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario


(Butterfly Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How is the review of your manuscript coming.
JOE: I am happy to report that Marital Property has aged well over the past few months.
CALLIOPE: I take it you have found time to continue working on it.
JOE: I have.
CALLIOPE: What have you discovered?
JOE: Mostly typos and weaknesses in phrasing at points.
CALLIOPE: Other than fixing those, anything else?
JOE: I found a few places what I assumed the writer knew what I did.
CALLIOPE: Bad assumption.
JOE: I realize that and fixed it when I came across passages where there was no foundation for a character acting or talking a certain way.
CALLIOPE: That's good.
JOE: I also found a couple actions which I foreshadowed but did not include in the story. If I didn't fix that some readers might finish the book wondering what happened.
CALLIOPE: Also a good catch. Best of luck with the rest of the manuscript.
JOE: Thanks. Talk with you on Monday.

 

 

December 11, 2009 - 10:50am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, bread, creation.




(Herb Market- Vigo, Spain)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Pondering bread.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like there might be a story behind that.
JOE: Nothing too profound. Carol and I are having friends over tonight who will be away from Christmas.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: I am making bread for the occasion.
CALLIOPE: I see. How about the pondering?
JOE: I thought about the various flours, yeast and other ingredients and how it would be to put them on a plate and serve them.
CALLIOPE: Not too appetizing.
JOE: Yet with the correct balance, rising and baking, a wonderful result ensues.
CALLIOPE: I see.
JOE: The same is true of a pile of words, phrases, editing and revision. Each in itself is rather boring.
CALLIOPE: But with care they result in an intriguing story.
JOE: Precisely so. With the bread in the oven, I will return to writing. Talk with you tomorrow.

 

 

December 10, 2009 - 10:27am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, winter, seasons.

 

The Rockies

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(The Rockies)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Bracing for winter.
CALLIOPE: Tell me more.
JOE: Just as I am reviewing late Fall and Winter scenes from Marital Property, the first winter storm arrived here in Western New York.
CALLIOPE: A double whammy.
JOE: Indeed. My real and fantasy worlds are both preparing for a long siege of blustery weather.
CALLIOPE: Does that depress you?
JOE: I must admit I prefer sitting in the back yard in shirt sleeves.
CALLIOPE: Any advantages to winter?
JOE: Overall I do less traveling and become more focused on indoor activities such as writing.
CALLIOPE: Not a bad thing.
JOE: No, it isn't. Sometimes I wonder if I would appreciate summer if I did not have winter for contrast.
CALLIOPE: You might take it for granted.
JOE: Perhaps. But I'll use whatever incentives I can find. Talk with you tomorrow.
December 8, 2009 - 10:20am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, novel, characters.

 

 Menemsha at Sunset


(Menemsha at Sunset)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What are you up to today.
JOE: Continuing my visit with Cynthia and Denis.
CALLIOPE: Those names sound a little familiar.
JOE: They are two of the main characters in my book, Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: I see. How are the three of you getting along?
JOE: Pretty well considering their dire circumstances with their marriage crumbling around them and their children at wit's end wondering what will become of them.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a mess.
JOE: It is. Fortunately they are just characters I invented.
CALLIOPE: From what raw materials.
JOE: Partly from couples I have met over the years and partly based on how I would feel in their predicament.
CALLIOPE: How does the manuscript look after a rest in the wine cellar.
JOE: Not bad. I'm going through it sprucing up the grammar here and there but the plot and description don't sound too bad to me.
CALLIOPE: Keep at it.
JOE: I plan to. Talk with you tomorrow.

 

December 7, 2009 - 11:09am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, novel, Marital Property.

 

 New Bedford Fishing Boats


(New Bedford Fishing Boats)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: Relaxing. I took a break to catch my breath before the next project.
CALLIOPE: Which is?
JOE: I decided to get my novel, Marital Property, out of mothballs and think again about publishing it.
CALLIOPE: Have you looked at it lately?
JOE: No. I planned to but then became absorbed in working on my CD.
CALLIOPE: Where did you leave off with it?
JOE: My first draft seemed dull in the third person.
CALLIOPE: I recall that you changed the voice.
JOE: I did. I let several of my characters take turns narrating from their points of view.
CALLIOPE: Did you think that improved the story?
JOE: The story hasn't changed much although I think the various points of view enhance it.
CALLIOPE: Let me know what you decide.
JOE: I will be sure to. Talk with you tomorrow.

 

December 5, 2009 - 10:39am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, creativity, GoArt.

 

Art Show

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(Ice Show)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's new?
JOE: Nothing much. I'm just considering plans for the winter.
CALLIOPE: Anything different about this one?
JOE: For one thing, I will be starting my Americorps placement in January.
CALLIOPE: The one at the Arts Council?
JOE: Yes, GoArt in Batavia.
CALLIOPE: Do you know what you will be doing there?
JOE: Not yet. We talked about some ideas. I will meet with the director on Wednesday to discuss schedules and goals.
CALLIOPE: Sounds interesting.
JOE: I'm looking forward to it. I have spent most of my time alone lately with my writing. It will be good to be back in circulation.
CALLIOPE: How will it affect your writing?
JOE: I imagine I will have less time and might need to plan better. I will try to include some creative writing in my duties at GoArt.
CALLIOPE: Good luck with it.
JOE: Thanks. Talk with you on Monday.
November 30, 2009 - 9:39am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, perspective, recharging.

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.

November 25, 2009 - 9:26am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, thanksgiving, gratitude.

 

 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.
CALLIOPE: Yes?
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.

 

 

November 24, 2009 - 8:22am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, inspiration, speaking.

 

 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.

 

November 23, 2009 - 8:13am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, CD, Spiritual Wisdom.

 

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,(http://kunaki.com/Sales.asp?PID=PX00EELNZN&PP=1) .

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.

 

 

November 20, 2009 - 8:05am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, listening, 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.

 

 

November 19, 2009 - 8:52am
posted by Joseph Langen in food, health, writing.

 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.

 

November 18, 2009 - 1:16pm
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, pay it forward.

 


 

 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.

 

 

November 17, 2009 - 8:43am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, thanksgiving, giving.

 

 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.

 

 

November 16, 2009 - 9:02am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, focus, ideal reacer.

 

 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.

 

November 13, 2009 - 7:55am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, communication, recording.


 

 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.

 

 

November 12, 2009 - 10:05am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, wisdom, knowledge.


 

 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.

 

 

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