Posted by: krpooler | January 4, 2012

Write On has moved to a new site

Dear Followers and New Visitors,

Write On has changed to Memoir Writer’s Journey and the new address is:

http://krpooler.com

I appreciate you stopping by and hope you’ll join in the conversation about writing,memoir writing and life over at the new site.

Happy 2012 and may all your writing dreams come true!

Kathy

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Posted by: krpooler | April 16, 2011

Rules of Engagement

” THE TWO WORDS,”INFORMATION ” AND “COMMUNICATION” ARE OFTEN USED INTERCHANGEABLY,BUT THEY SIGNIFY QUITE DIFFERENT THINGS. INFORMATION IS GIVING OUT. COMMUNICATION IS GETTING THROUGH.”  Sydney J. Harris

In order to be successful in any business venture, there are standards of care and rules to follow. Industry standards dictate that communicating with the potential customer is a priority, whether your business is entertainment, health care, sales, education or publication. There are the Rules of Engagement.

Social media has changed the way we communicate with one another. We now have instant access in real-time to any one on the planet. Even the celebrities have fan pages on Facebook that they rely on to communicate with their audiences. For example, it was reported in this post that Lady Gag and Britney Spears post personal messages on their Facebook fan pages before their albums are released. As a result, the record-high hits they received will translate into people who will buy their albums. The key component in their success appears to be that personal connections were made. The lesson here: “If you are silent leading up to your album release,no one will be listening.”

The same applies to writers who wish to publish their books. Writing the book is just one part of a writer’s task. Building an audience of followers/readers who align with a writer’s message is now a key responsibility for anyone who wants to publish. And just like with Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, the writer has to reach out and find prospective readers.

The main way we need to reach out is through the content we share. Brent Csutoros talks about content marketing  in this post, reinforcing that “content is king” when it comes to capturing an audience. “Get people involved by inviting them to comment.”

     Bryan and Jeffery Eisenberg & Associates discuss the value of content marketing in this post, noting “ultimately content marketing is about optimizing dialogue between a company and its customers.”

It seems to boil down to all the different ways you can have conversations on the internet through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, newsletters, forums, article writing to name a few.

     DailyTipsPr.com posted this great article on using article writing to capture your audience on the internet, stating that it is” the single most effective method to market your brand.”

It seems to me the key to success , no matter what the business, depends on the personal connections that are made with the potential customer.

Before I can do this, I have to clarify what my message is and get through to others who appear to align with my message.   That is precisely why I joined Dan Blank’s Build Your Author Platform Course where we are learning how to use all forms of social media in a strategic manner to market our author brand online.

And I am learning about these eight Rules of Engagement as listed in this article by Laraine Antrim, co-founder of Core Ideas Communication, a PR and marketing communications firm on the DailyTipsPro.com website:

”  1.   Think Eternity~ anything sent out into cyber space is permanent.

     2.  Think like Arethra Franklin~ offer R-E-S-P-E-C-T when commenting

     3.   Think like Twitter~ be concise

     4.   Think like the Audience~ know your followers wants and needs

     5.    Think Story~ real-life stories and people interest people.

      6.   Think with Your Ears~ listen to what others are saying

      7.   Think of the Venue~survey the lay of the land before you comment. Each site has its own way of doing things.

      8.   Think Twice Before You Tweet~keep comments relevant to your audience. ”

All I ever really wanted to do was to write, but it appears that following these Rules of Engagement  are necessary.  I am trusting that they will help make the overall experience a better one for myself and my readers. As steep as the learning curve has been for me, I must admit, I do see the benefits in making these connections. Fitting it all into the course of daily life is another post for another time. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you are doing:

How is your conversation going?  Are you engaging with your followers? Are you getting through?

Posted by: krpooler | April 8, 2011

Bittersweet Transitions

“CHANGE IS THE ESSENCE OF LIFE. BE WILLING TO SURRENDER WHAT YOU ARE FOR WHAT YOU COULD BECOME .” Author Unknown    

      I have been a Registered Nurse for forty-four years and for the past fifteen years, a Family Nurse Practitioner. Nursing has defined me since the day I decided  I wanted to be a nurse:

      Back in my eighth-grade study hall, while reading “Anne Snow,Mountain Nurse” my  heart was thumping so loudly, I felt certain my classmates could hear it. Riding a horse through the mountain passes of Virginia, Anne Snow ministered to poor people and their families in their rundown cabins as a community health nurse. I could just see her bringing healing and consolation to those families. Staring out into that sunny March afternoon in 1959, I visualized myself on that horse, in those mountains, with the sun breaking through the trees as I found my way to those cabins. I would reach out to wipe a beady brow or console a crying baby while an anxious mother looked on. I soaked up every word, all the time seeing myself being Anne Snow. I could hardly wait to tell my best friend, June.

      In 1971, my Dad,bless his heart, encouraged me in this letter to go back to school for my Bachelor in Nursing degree with these words :

     “Give a man a fish and he will eat tonight. Teach him how to fish and he will eat every night. I’m not concerned with an estate, but with seeing you develop so you can create your own estate.”

      I did go on to get my Bachelors, Masters and Family Nursing Practitioner degrees. Nursing became my best friend through divorce, single parenting, cancer, life. I have always had a job, not a job, a calling.  When I needed to be there for my young children, I found a day job.When I was too sick to work in the clinical area with patients, I could be a consultant for an on-line nursing program. I’ve been a staff nurse on general medical floors, emergency departments and in ICU,a camp nurse for emotionally disturbed adolescents, a director of an emergency department, a  director of nursing of several small hospitals, a nursing faculty member for baccalaureate and associate degree nursing programs. I am finishing off my career as a Family Nurse Practitioner doing primary care for children and adults. I have loved,loved,loved my calling. I am humbled and honored to have had the privilege of this calling, the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of people who trust me with their care.

     So when the time came to consider retiring from Nursing, I balked,agonized, cried, knowing all along that I wanted to take leave when I was at the top of my game. I wanted to know when it was time to gracefully bow out. But I didn’t want to retire. I wanted to just simply transition into another phase. I wanted to go to something better.

     Travel writer,Alexis Grant talks about taking the big  life-changing leaps in this post, citing that it may never be the right time to follow your dream-“making the decision comes down to just that-making the decision.”

     And so,it is time. I have made my decision. I will transition from Nursing,my calling, and move on to this next phase of my life in August where I will continue  following my dreams. I am looking forward to spending more precious time with my family and friends, playing the piano more, reading more,writing more,planting flowers and just breathing in the fresh air.

     Remember, how my Dad showed up while I was floating in a rowboat a few weeks back? Well,while he was there, he asked me,

     Kathy, do you remember what I taught you?

     Yes,Dad. You already taught me how to fish.

     OK, then, cast your net , and reel in your bounty.

     That’s when I knew it was OK~bittersweet , but OK.

     I know that I have to surrender what I am now. I can hardly wait to see what I will become!

How about you~ What are your bittersweet transitions?

What do you dream of becoming?

 

 

Posted by: krpooler | April 2, 2011

Diving into Your Dreams

TO DREAM ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DREAM.THERE’S THE BEAUTY OF THE HUMAN MIND. TO DO ANYTHING THAT YOU WANT TO DO.THAT’S THE STRENGTH OF THE HUMAN WILL. TO TRUST YOURSELF TO TEST YOUR LIMITS.THAT IS THE COURAGE TO SUCCEED.”~ Bernard Edmonds.

     Whenever I think about all the times I have wished for balance in my life, I feel frustrated and even defeated. Of course, I want balance. I have always wanted balance. I want to be able to do everything I want to do. And, of course, I want to do it NOW. There , I said it. So when I read Dan Blank’s  incredible post,” Stop Looking for Balance”, I felt an instant relief. What a refreshing thought. It seemed like he wrote that post just for me. I really liked his idea that we need to rearrange our priorities to fit our goals. This always involves some sort of sacrifice,but it is important that the sacrifice doesn’t include our most important priorities. In other words, forget trying to balance everything and be willing to sacrifice lesser priorities for your main ones, your dreams.”Dive into your dreams”. He goes on to say that you have to decide how badly you want that dream. Sometimes looking for balance can actually stand in your way. So if I have a dream of publishing, I have to figure out how badly I want it  and work it in,knowing I can’t do it all. PHEW!

     As a student in Dan’s Author Platform course, I have experienced many “AHA” moments. I’m experiencing firsthand by doing  how social media will be the foundation for launching my dreams of publishing. Building a community of followers now has real meaning as I connect with fellow writers and classmates on twitter:@porteranderson,@friendgrief,@judithklinger,@rebeccabricker,@jenjhenderson,@terrytobias ,on blogs http://pattymackz.com/wordpress/ and on phone conferences,Jean Perry and Brian Fitzgerald. And, I feel like I am right on the front line of what is happening in the publishing industry i.e, I have downloaded Jane Friedman’s amazing ebook ,”The Future of Publishing:Enigma Variations.” It’s a deal for $1.99, a must-read for anyone interested in publishing. Here’s a big shout out to both Jane for writing this and Christina Katz for inspiring her to write it. Another plug for the benefits of social media. It’s like a great big group hug.

     But, the challenge remains: how to fit all this into an already busy schedule? Here’s another great post by blogger Susan Johnston of The Urban Muse on time management. Susan reviews Laura Vanderkam’s  book, 168 Hours:You Have More Time Than You Think, highlighting tips for finding time to do the things we really want to do without sacrificing priorities.

     I still love that I can stop agonizing over finding balance. Thanks Dan! I can dive into my dreams which I will do now. My Author Platform classmate Viki Noe has a terrific blog,FriendGrief which focuses on dealing with the death of a friend. Her post this week prompted this dream memory about Judy, my best friend for 20 years. Judy died of breast cancer in 1993. In 1998, as I was facing a peripheral stem cell transplant for NonHodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had the following dream:

In the Midst of Cancer, I Dare to Dream”

     The staircase is broad,yet steep.  Looking down from the landing,I see a large room filled with tables of people laughing and playing cards. I see my great uncles,Uncle Freddie, Uncle Albert, Uncle Jerry,Uncle Andy,slamming down the cards on the table and throwing their heads back in laughter as they shout out in Italian. I smile,warmed by the fond memories of our times together.

     As I turn to head up the staircase,my Nana rushes by. She is wearing a flowered cotton house dress covered by her trademark tan canvas apron. 

     “Nan.” I yell, so excited to see her again.

     But, she keeps on walking by me,without even looking.

     Why doesn’t she want to talk with me?, I ask myself.

     Deflated and puzzled, I pause before I start up the staircase. I don’t know where it leads but I know I must climb it.

     “Oh my gosh,” I stop in the middle ,”there’s Judy.” She is also in a hurry.

     “Judy.” I flag her down,waving frantically.

      She stops. Impeccably dressed  in a two-piece navy pinstripe suit, she stands straight and tall, holding on to  a clipboard. Her dazzling blue eyes pierce my gaze as she turns to look at me.

      I am spellbound.

     “I’m at home, Kathy and I’m doing fine.” she says as she starts to move away.

     Reaching out to touch her arm, I climb up the stairs behind her,

     “But,Judy,” I ask, “Judy,what about me?”

      The momentary silence suspends heavy in the air.

     Turning to me, with her hands on my shoulders,she looks me in the eye, as her words ring clear,

     “Kathy, you’re going to be fine.”

     And then,I wake up.

This is not about balance. This is about diving into a dream and running with it~

What are the dreams you want to dive into?

 

    

Posted by: krpooler | March 26, 2011

Sweet Treats,Sweet Tweets and “Strategic Listening”

LIFE’S SHORT, EAT DESSERT FIRST.” A common American  excuse, Author Unknown   

     Yesterday,I had lunch with my friend Christina at The 99 Restaurant, our favorite. Christina and her husband are retired school teachers who travel all over the country and world so our lunch dates are filled with tales of their travel adventures to India, Spain,Australia or bus trips from New York to Texas. She will email me with a quick message: “Friday?” and I’ll answer,”11:30AM @ 99?”

       Christina and I met in 1989 in a small town where she had moved with her two children to work as a Spanish teacher and I had moved with my two children to work as a nurse in the local hospital. We were both single parents with similar stories of failed marriages, strong Christian faiths and hope in our futures. Soon after I moved from the small town in 1996 , I was diagnosed with Stage 4 NonHodgkin’s Lymphoma . Christina traveled to  pray over me as I lay on my couch. We attended daily Mass together when I could. One December morning between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, she accompanied me to the doctor’s office to get a thoracentesis (lung tap) when I couldn’t breathe. Standing by my side, she nearly fainted when the doctor stuck the trocar (thick needle) into my chest wall to drain the fluid. There’s something about having a friend stand by you during the worst of times that makes the best of times feel so special.

     Although we only see each other every few months, we treasure these momentous connections over lunch. And this time, my usually health-conscious  friend gave herself permission to indulge with abandon, justifying that ” I never do this.” She ordered dessert for lunch, a heaping decanter of vanilla bean ice cream smothered in warm chocolate fudge sauce and topped with whipped cream and crumbled Oreo cookies. I sat across from her with my baked Scrod and broccoli entrée watching her dig in – a sweet treat indeed ,seeing my friend delight in her sweet indulgence.     

      As I wade deeper into the waters of Social Media through Dan Blank’s Build Your Author Platform course, I become more aware  each week of what needs to happen  to reach the overall goal of establishing a solid platform from which to dive off and plunge in. I need to be able to swim with the rest of the fish. Eighteen months ago, in October of 2009,I sat in The Writer’s Digest Editor’s Intensive in Cincinnati  listening to  editors,Jane Friedman and Alice Pope  describe the importance of social media in getting published. As much as I hate to admit it, I raised my hand to ask how in the world having a blog or being on Facebook  or Twitter could possibly benefit me. Besides, I didn’t have time for that and I really didn’t care to hear about what someone else was having for dinner or watching on TV. They were very gracious in their responses, but something about the looks they gave me stayed with me. Within two months, in December of 2009, I launched this blog and a few months later, I joined Facebook. It felt like a giant leap of faith as I really had no idea what it was all about or where it would take me.  Wow, what a sweet treat both have been in making connections and finding my way through this evolving and uncertain  publishing world.

     Then in November of 2010 I joined Twitter, reluctant and leery again. I  had been standing on the shore dipping my toes in,still uncertain of how this could benefit me. That is, until I joined Dan’s course. Now I’m loving Twitter! I feel like a kid in a candy store or like Christina, with that heap of chocolate ecstasy in front of her waiting to be devoured. 

     Editor, Alan Rinzler posted this excellent article, “Strategic Tweeting for Authors” on his blog,The Book Deal. He challenged writers to think of Twitter as “the largest cocktail party in the world” where you can” mingle away “with fellow writers, editors, publishers and friends from all over the world. And it’s true. In the span of Dan’s course which started on March 2,2010, my eyes have been opened to all the treasures before me.

    Yes, the sweet tweets are sweet treats.  Once in a while it’s OK to eat dessert first. But just like eating too many chocolate sundaes would tip the scales in the wrong direction, tweeting without purpose will not help me reach my platform-building goals of developing a clear message and brand so my potential readers can find me. I need to listen strategically to the people and messages that resonate with my brand.

     And just as my relationship with Christina was forged through the sharing of common experiences and values and enriched over the years through consistent connections, I need to forge a relationship with my readers in a similar way.  Now,  I need to finish my assignment for this week, to develop a strategic plan for using social media to build my platform.

How is Social Media working for you?

How is your platform growing?

What sweet treats are you indulging yourself in?

What are you listening to and for?

I’m listening~

Posted by: krpooler | March 19, 2011

Targeting the Heart of Your Story

“FROM WHERE YOU ARE TO WHERE I AM NOW IS ITS OWN GALAXY.” –  Rufus Wainwright from Jane Friedman

      We’re digging into building our community of followers in Dan Blank’s Build Your Author Platform Course. As Dan points out in this post, sharing our stories is a way to build community,noting that “our stories need to align with the journey of others.”  The way I see it, we have to be able to get to the heart of our story so people can know what we are about. Last week we worked on defining our “brand”. Now we have to be able to reach out and develop a network of followers, our own” galaxy” of  people who are interested, intrigued, and dedicated to our brand. And here’s an interesting tidbit from Nathan Bransford about establishing yourself through social media three years before the book comes out. Well, I  still have time…

     In last weekend’s” Strong Women, Strong Words” writing workshop led by Eunice Scarfe and sponsored by Heather Summerhayes Cariou, we journaled our way right into the heart of our stories. Not only did it take place in the Galaxy Towers in Guttenberg ,New Jersey, but we were also in our own “galaxy” as we wrote from prompts and images. My intention in attending the workshop was to go deeper into my story and to break through my sense of idling when I had the impulse to soar; to identify, define and solidify my message. We were prompted to draw an image describing where we were at, followed by a free write. I drew a rowboat on the water. Here is an excerpt from one of my stories:

     ” Floating in a rowboat on a sunny day, I idle in the center of a calm river. The impulse to soar comes over me. I want to turn the motor on so I will skip across the water with the wind blowing in my face; to fly faster,go higher and look down upon the great expanse so I can see how far I’ve come.

      But, I give in to the gentle rocking of the boat,breathing in the soft breezes as I melt into the sun’s warmth.

      I miss you ,Dad- your quiet strength, your certainty, your reassuring chuckles. Your love has grounded me. Now, you are gone from this earth. I see you in the soft breezes, the blue skies, the gentle waters, the birds that flit and chirp in their playful purposes.

     I breathe you in every day.”

     The heart of my memoir is the power of hope through faith in overcoming life’s obstacles~the extraordinary events in an ordinary life.

     I have amazing  memoir mentors who have been guiding me in finding the heart of my story: Linda Joy Myers from NAMW, Sharon Lippincott, check out her newest blog,Writing for the Health of It,and Jerry Waxler of Memoir Writers Network, to name a few. The sense of community that they foster through their support, guidance and expertise is priceless.

       I’m thrilled you stopped by and hope you’ll return. You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter: @kathypooler.

       I think we are all enriched when we share our stories. I hope we can form our own galaxy, from where you are to where I am.

        Have you targeted the heart of  your story?

        Let’s talk~

Posted by: krpooler | March 11, 2011

It’s All About Making Meaningful Connections

GOOD COMMUNICATION IS AS STIMULATING AS BLACK COFFEE, AND JUST AS HARD TO SLEEP AFTER.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh,Gift From the Sea.

     My daughter Leigh Ann called me on the fly this morning. She was on her way to work as I was getting packed for my  trip to New Jersey to participate in A Women’s Writing Workshop with Eunice Scarfe sponsored by  Heather Summerhayes Cariou,bestselling author of 65 Roses.

      We catch these moments of quick updates when we can as we navigate around our busy days. With a fulltime job and my writing, capturing time with my family is a challenge. I find myself appreciating these little moments of connection. Sometimes they come in quick phone calls like this morning. Sometimes they come in the form of  social media when I steal glimpses of my growing grandsons with snippets of their lives on Facebook. Where else can I find a jaunty pose of four year- old Ethan claiming to be “Mr Incredible” or the delight in five year- old Jacob’s eyes as he nails his little brother with a snowball? Precious moments in time sent out into cyberspace to savor. They brighten my day.

     “Well, I’ll let you go ,Mom.” Leigh Ann chirped,catching her breath after giving me a litany of happenings in her world: the kids are healthy, Dave, her husband is recovering from his recent jaw surgery, her teacher friend just lost her job in the wake of school budget cuts and by the way, Dave’s parents are stranded in a shelter in Hawaii.

     All of this in the span of about three minutes.

     “Have  a great weekend.” she said.” I’m sure I’ll read about all the stories on your blog.”

     That statement really got me thinking. Social media really does reach out and touch lives. I hope I am making meaningful connections with my blog, not only with  my family but also with my fellow writers and followers.

     Our assignment in Dan Blank’s “Build Your Author Platform” Course this week is to define our Brand. I did discuss this in this previous post, but now I have to put into words the very essence of what I stand for and how I plan to communicate my message, as well as identify who I want to send this message to. That will be the foundation for building my author platform.

     Distilling my passion and zeal into a few carefully chosen words that will do it justice seems insurmountable at the moment. I will contemplate this as I ride the train to New York today. And I will aim to cover as many bases as Leigh Ann did in her three- minute update to me this morning.

     It’s really all about making meaningful connections. That’s a good place to start.

      Speaking of meaningful connections, meet John. He got me from Penn Station to Port Authority in a heartbeat  and just in the nick of time to catch my bus to New Jersey in this bicycle cab:

John will get you there in a flash, weaving in and out of NYC traffic and chatting all the way.

How about you?

What meaningful connections are you making in your life or in your writing?

I’d love to hear from you~

Posted by: krpooler | March 5, 2011

Building a Platform:Preparing For The Launch.

” YOU SHOULD NEVER CONSENT TO CREEP WHEN  YOU FEEL THE IMPULSE TO SOAR.” Author Unknown

     We all build platforms in our lives, whether it be as a parent, a professional, an athlete, a humanitarian, a missionary or any given mission we may define for ourselves.  It means establishing ourself as a voice of authority about a subject and then marketing that expertise to an audience. For instance, as a Family Nurse Practitioner, I have spent my entire career establishing my credentials so as to have the privilege of caring for adults and children who seek medical care. When I walk into a patient’s room, I am bringing with me many years of experience , education and a passion to make a  positive difference,along with an acute awareness that never ceases to  humble me – a person’s life and well-being are in my hands. It has taken many years and many challenges to establish and maintain a solid platform from which to launch these professional activities. My career started with a daydream I had while sitting in my eighth grade study hall and was launched through a series of steps that required time ,effort and sacrifice.

     So as a writer, why would I not expect to go through the same rigorous preparation to establish my  author platform? I have learned throughout these past two years of studying my craft of memoir writing (NAMW workshops) that becoming an author requires more than just writing a good story. Finding my edge in a market that is overflowing with talented competition has become a requirement. 

     Christina Katz, author of Get Known Before the Book Deal (among others),social media expert,speaker and writing teacher, provides an excellent description of why authors need a platform in this Writer’s Digest article. The three questions she poses to her writing students are:

” Who are you known as in the world of writing now?

    How do others see you now?

     Who would you like to be known as in one year?”

      Before I can even seriously send out queries, I have to answer the questions that the agents and editors I met face-to-face with in Denver at the recent  “Writing For the Soul Conference  repeatedly posed to me :

      What is your platform?

      How are you going to convince me that you are the one to write this story?

     What is your online presence?

     What kind of following do you have? How many readers do you bring with you?

     These are the questions I hope to answer over the next eight weeks in Social Media Consultant Dan Blank’s “ Build Your Author Platform on-line course. I am very excited to be taking the plunge. Dan is a social media expert who is the founder of  We Grow Media. His website is packed with pearls about how writers can use social media to become  successful authors.

     Right now I am idling when I feel the impulse to soar. I know building my platform will be hard work. The climb will be steep but the thrill of launching  my writing  career from a well-built platform~ Priceless.

     I’m ready to keep building my platform so I can reach the top and dive in.

     How about you?

    Will Your platform help you launch your dreams?

“LIFE IS NOT A ‘BRIEF CANDLE.’ IT IS A SPLENDID TORCH THAT I WANT TO MAKE BURN AS BRIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE BEFORE HANDING IT ON TO FUTURE GENERATIONS.”  Bernard Shaw.

     Before cell phones, twitter, the internet, video games, microwaves, garage door openers and even TV, there was a generation that survived the Great Depression of the 1930’s, fought an honorable war in the 1940’s as they were coming of age and went on to rebuild America in the 1950’s. Their patriotism was high, work ethic strong and priorities clear~God, family, country. They have earned their title of the “Greatest Generation.” They danced to Big Band sounds, pulled together to fight  World  War II,gathered around radios in parlors to listen to FDR’s  Fireside Chats and made their own fun.

     Personally, I feel very fortunate to have been born a “boomer”  as I have been the beneficiary of hardworking parents who instilled their values of God,family,country in their children. Of course, they were old-fashioned to me as I came of age in the 1960’s especially when they prevented me from wearing makeup or attending boy-girl parties until I was sixteen.

      But the older I get, the more I appreciate what they have given me.

     Then I read this post on Any Shiny Thing by my writer friend, Lynne Spreen, about the lessons she has learned from her Greatest Generation mother. Hop on over. It is delightful.

      And, it reminds me of my own parents, Bob and Kitty, who  devoted their lives to taking the lessons they had learned from growing up at a time when money was tight and went on to provide while making sure their children were self-sufficient, responsible and respectful. At eighteen, they kissed me goodbye and wished me well as they sent me off to nursing school. They had already taught me about God, the pride that came from earning my own money, the importance of  education,  the basics of common courtesy and  the value of family~no matter how bad things would get, my family would always be there for me.

     While critics may carry on about the glut and futility of memoirs, author and scholar William Zinsser, the Father of Memoir, reminds me in this post that these boring and ordinary true life events are the very  ingredients that will enrich my story. What better way to preserve history than to tell  stories experienced against the background of the times; to capture its spirit and character.

       I have never known a hungry day in my life,but my Mom tells me of opening an empty cold box to find nothing. Then she regales me with stories of warm summer nights when her uncles harmonized barber shop tunes under street lamps. My Dad told me of bullies who taunted him  in the school yard  about the knickers he was forced to wear until his older brother,Dick came to his rescue. They were poor but they both had loving families. They made their own fun. Now, these are treasure troves to share with the next generation, the torches of light that will be passed forward to preserve a time that will never be seen again.

     I am told to write what I know. I know that I want to share the great legacy of love that my parents passed on to me. I hope my tribute will be a fitting one. The lessons from my “Greatest Generation” parents will be the spice in my memoir.

What lessons have you learned from the Greatest Generation?

What is the spice in your story?

Posted by: krpooler | February 18, 2011

Let’s Talk About Manners & How Much They Matter.

LIFE IS NOT SO SHORT BUT THAT THERE IS ALWAYS TIME FOR COURTESY.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

    In the world of writing, we are supposed to bring the reader into our story so that they can experience whatever emotion we are portraying. This may evoke a certain level of discomfort. When was the last time you read a book  you had to stop reading because it was too uncomfortable? The Slap:A Novel by Christos Tsiolkas is getting a lot of buzz about the degree of discomfort it creates. It is a story about contemporary middle -class life centered around the act of a man slapping a child who is not his own at a neighborhood barbecue and the series of repercussions that result. But if we are uncomfortable, we can simply choose to stop reading that particular book.

      What happens in our day-to-day life when we are confronted with someone who is rude,discourteous and downright ill-mannered? Let me take this one more step.  What happens if you are obligated to interact with this person by virtue of your professional role?

      My nurse practitioner friend and colleague,Sue posed this question on Facebook and when I commented,she challenged me to blog about it. So let’s get some discussion going because this is a real issue that sticks in the craw of many professionals in the service sector.

     Sue is a respected,seasoned professional who offers her patients the benefit of  many years of experience and sound clinical judgement. So you would think that any patient who comes to her for health care would respect that and appreciate that there is someone of her caliber to provide relief for whatever is ailing them. It seems that one day a patient launched into a string of expletives because she asked him to put on a mask in the office, followed by refusal to follow her instructions. She was so incredulous at his rudeness that she felt compelled to get some insights from others.

    Now I know, everyone is fighting their own battle, there is a reason why people act the way they do and rude people reflect more on themselves than on the people they are targeting BUT (and I’m told, it’s what comes after the but that counts) Whoa~ enough is enough. While the majority of my patients are courteous and grateful, in this case, the patient(customer)) was NOT  right.

     I had a similar encounter where a male patient rolled his eyes and sarcastically replied,”Yeah,Whatever” to my history taking attempts. When I fed back his obvious resistance to my questioning, he rose to his full 6’3″, 300 lb frame and started pointing his finger at me,

“I’m sick of repeating the same information over and over again” (Yes, I agree that can be annoying, but a little manners please. I was only doing my job.) 

    So I made a judgement call right then and there.

   ” Sir,I will not be talked to like this. I am leaving the room and you will have to schedule another appointment with Dr XYZ.”

     He followed me down the hall,with raised voice and clenched fist and left just in time to avoid me calling Security. 

     One week later, I received a  note of apology written on a card with a sketch of a flower arrangement on the front. A happy ending in this case. I have seen him since and he has been pleasant and cooperative. That’s not always the case as with Sue’s patient.

     So while rudeness, poor manners and discourteous behavior may make a good story for a book, real-life encounters with ill-mannered people especially people we are serving require more of us than simply closing the book. I can only hope I never do that to others.

What are your experiences with ill-mannered people and how do you deal with them?

 Thoughts? Reactions?

 Let’s talk~

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