*About Bobbing Around
*From me to you
*Responses to past issues
*What my friends want you to know
*A bit of fun
I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.
Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.
From me to you
Keep it in the ground — the Guardian’s campaign
The Guardian newspaper has a major campaign to convince the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to divest from carbon.
Wonderful. I signed their petition. Now, I’ve been circularised to provide some details. This is what I wrote:
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’ve been an environmental activist since 1972.
We need action to slow climate change, but that only addresses the (second most serious) symptom. The worst, which will get us even if we can do something about climate change, is the sixth extinction event on our planet.
The problem is not these symptoms, but a culture of greed and conflict. We need to change to a global culture of compassion and cooperation.
I work for this through writing.
Check it out at https://bobrich18.wordpress.com
We need to decouple the global economy from growth in GDP, which is a false measure of anything but destruction. We need to reverse population growth in a kind way, because nature is providing a very unkind way of doing it.
First regular guest post from John Avery
In the last issue, I published a reference to his essay Gandhi as an economist. John and I have agreed to provide a venue for other essays from him. This first, powerful contribution is Against the institution of war.
Methane info keeps pouring in
Check out the six updates to my essay “But there is no need for despair.”
Seeking a title
No, no, I am not hoping to be called My Lord, or Reverend, or General. I need a title for the science fiction story that’s taken me over. I’ve got about 75,000 words written, and it keeps me awake at night.
While I’m having a lot of fun, I have been unable to pick a title for it.
If you are willing to read an incomplete story, and give me suggestions, I’ll be eternally grateful. Please email me if you’re willing to help.
And I’ll be happy to send you future chapters as they are revealed to me.
I’d like to congratulate my wife Jolanda for her persistence and endurance: she has put up with me for 48 years!
In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the l990s it triumphed over democracy.
David Korten, The Post-Corporate World
Responses to past issues
Congratulations on another inspiring and life-affirming edition of Bobbing Around! You have clearly put a lot of time and thought into it and I am truly grateful for your efforts. I will certainly forward the link on to many people who I know will also draw strength from it.
Thank you so much once again,
Thanks for the latest edition of Bobbing Around. How you find the time to just keep it going always amazes me.
I want to tell you about a pretty amazing organisation I have been volunteering with for about six months now.
Four nights a week every week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Mama Lana’s Community Foundation provides 100 hot meals to people who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness in Penrith, NSW.
Mama Lana’s Community Foundation had its birth when Lana and Roger Borg of Emu Plains decided to help the volunteer fire fighters who were fighting the fires in the Blue Mountains in October November 2013.
Lana and Roger were asked if they would be interested in providing a Christmas Day meal for the homeless in Penrith and readily agreed. Leading up to Christmas, they went along to meet the volunteers on the St Vinnies Van who provide sandwiches, snacks, and hot tea and coffee to the homeless and those who are at-risk of homelessness.
Both Roger and Lana were surprised to learn that not only were there homeless people in their own community but there were lots of them. They soon realised that what was needed was a good hot meal and Lana and Roger set about finding out about other services available and when they discovered that other services only provided support during the daytime, they knew that was not enough and neither could imagine trying to sleep on an empty belly and so they formed Mama Lana’s Community Foundation.
Lana cooked more and more meals each time and the more she cooked the more she realised that the need was growing, she drew around her a team of like minded people and started looking for supporters, donors and sponsors to meet the growing needs of the foundation.
Everyone involved with Mama Lana’s Community Foundation is a volunteer, there are no pay packets for anyone, from the last volunteer to join right up to the directors. Everyone gives their time and talents freely.
The motto, and driving ethos of MLCF is “Kindness with no strings.” It is the key to what MLCF does and how it operates. Anyone and everyone who comes to a meal receives a meal. No questions asked.
As well as meals, MLCF also provides a food pack to take away, a hygiene pack, and there is a free clothing shop each month and free curbside library each Monday. MLCF also provides emergency food hampers to individuals and families in need. Referrals are made to other organisations and services when they are needed and we always offer a listening ear, believing that in the absence of solutions, there needs to be kindness and compassion.
Lana now cooks 2 – 3 meals a week and is building a team of volunteer cooks to prepare and cook the meals. She has been recognised for the work she does and she invites interested people from other areas to come along and see what we do and how we do it.
WINNER- NSW Women of the Year A.H. Beard Local Hero Award 2015
Finalist- Penrith Citizen of the Year Awards 2015
Finalist- Pride of Australia Medal – Community Spirit Award 2014
Finalist- Woman with Altitude Local Hero Award 2013
Roger works each of the four nights, overseeing the service and keeping a brotherly eye on the volunteers and patrons alike. He helps Lana with her cooking and running the organisation.
It is Roger and Lana’s intention to create a network of similar organisations around Australia as they have created an organisation that is replicable and readily offer help to others who want to do likewise in their own community.
They are truly wonderful people and I would love to see you share their story in your next Bobbing Around.
GMOs and global food supply
A new report, available as a PDF document demonstrates that GMOs in fact do not increase food supply, and that traditional agriculture is the way to go.
Of course, this is not the first respectable, well-researched study to come to this conclusion.
Neil Young Takes on Monsanto
And here is a passionate conservationist who wants to do something about it.
Climate change on trial
Nearly 900 Dutch citizens are challenging their government in court over the human rights consequences of insufficient action on climate change.
Australia’s cuts to foreign aid
Thank you for copying me on your message to the Treasurer about Australia’s foreign aid program.
Labor believes that we need to increase Australian aid to internationally accepted levels — that’s why in government we had an ambitious target of reaching 0.5% of our Gross National Income dedicated to our aid program. Under Labor, we would have reached this target in 2017/2018.
At every single one of the Abbott Government’s economic updates, the cuts to Australia’s aid program have grown deeper. There were cuts in the 2013 December update, more cuts in the 2014 Budget, and more cuts again in the 2014 December update — totalling more than $11 billion.
The latest $3.7 billion cut from foreign aid in December 2014 will take aid to its lowest recorded level as a proportion of national income.
I agree that any further cuts to Australian aid in the 2015 Budget are completely unacceptable and I assure you that, like the previous cuts, Federal Labor would strongly oppose them.
Recently World Vision said that 1.3 million people will miss out on essential services because of the Abbott Government’s cuts to Australian aid.
Some of projects being cut include:
- child protection projects in India and Senegal
- gender-based violence, clean water, health, education projects in Timor-Leste
- a HIV project in India
- a vocational education project in Cambodia
- a community resilience project in North Gaza
- an education project in South Sudan
- a youth project in Uganda
Our foreign aid program supports the aspirations of some of the poorest people in the world. It also underpins our national interest by supporting regional stability — that’s why when Labor was in government we nearly doubled foreign aid.
I assure you that I and Federal Labor will continue to fight for Australian aid and oppose any cuts in the 2015 Budget.
Let’s copy Alaska
from Peter Barnes
American Prospect editor Robert Kuttner just posted an article called “Five Radical Ideas Hillary Should Support.” No. 1 on the list is a student debt jubilee. No. 2 is Alaska-style citizen dividends. Such ideas are necessary, he says, “to generate real enthusiasm and to address America’s real problems.” Amen to that!
Here’s Kuttner’s second proposal:
An Alaska-Style Citizen Dividend
Alaska, a state of rugged individualists not famous for left-wingers, has pioneered a model of extractive socialism that should be taken national.
Thanks to a renegade Republican governor back in the 1970s named Jay Hammond, when they struck oil on Alaska’s north slope they didn’t just give it to the oil companies, but treated it as a resource owned by all Alaskans (imagine that). So under the deal Hammond and the legislature cut with the oil giants, each year every Alaskan man, woman and child gets a share of the oil revenue.
Last year, the check was $1,884 for every man, woman, and child. In some native Alaskan communities, it was the largest source of cash income. Even Saran Palin supports it — she can see the checks from her window. Efforts by the oil companies to roll it back keep being defeated.
My friend Peter Barnes suggests a similar citizen dividend not just for minerals but for any privatization of something taken from the commons — whether publicly subsidized knowledge such as the Internet or energy company profits. You should read his book — better yet, Hillary should.
Author, With Liberty and Dividends For All
65 year old mother of 13 has IVF, expecting quadruplets
How can I know if climate change is real? I’m not a scientist
Are you investing in climate risk?
Legalised theft from George Monbiot
Please watch this brief video of six amazing young people. They camped for an extended time on a Shell-owned drilling vessel that is being carried toward the Arctic. They are drawing the world’s attention to Shell’s assault on the environment, while saying all the right things.
65 year old mother of 13 has IVF, expecting quadruplets
Here is the comment I left to the story:
This is a crime against humanity, and a crime against her children.
The medical personnel who consented to do it have acted against the ethics of their profession: “Above all, do no harm.”
We now have over 7.3 billion people, growing by about 0.3 billion p.a. At the same time, arable land is shrinking, and we are killing marine life.
The responsible thing is for people who are able to have children naturally to choose being childfree. For one thing, why bring new people into lives of guaranteed misery? The ultra-cautious IPCC report gives us only another 30 years.
All this is simple arithmetic.
Having a child is not the same as buying a toy in a shop. When these quadruplets are teenagers, what kind of a mother will they have to keep them in line?
We all need to develop the habit of looking beyond the immediate moment.
How can I know if climate change is real? I’m not a scientist
When asked for their thoughts on climate change, a popular line for the other side — including some Presidential hopefuls — is this: “I’m not a scientist.”
I’m not a chemist, but I believe that H20 = water.
I’m not a physicist, but I’m sold on gravity.
I’m not a cartographer, but I’m pretty sure the earth isn’t flat.
And I’m not a climate scientist, but the scientists have made it clear that climate change is a real and present threat to all of us.
Carbon in the atmosphere is up dramatically. The oceans are far more acidic. And average temperatures are jumping. These are facts.
We can have a debate about how we address climate change, but the time for debate on whether it’s happening is long, long past. Climate change denial is simply irresponsible. The economic and environmental impacts are already falling heavily on certain communities and it puts future generations everywhere at risk.
America is ready for bold action that starts saving our planet and our future. Anyone running for office — from President on down — would be wise to remember that.
Senator Jeff Merkley
Are you investing in climate risk?
You could be, for example if your superannuation fund is.
Global Climate 500 runs the Asset Owners Disclosure Project. You can check out major investors all around the planet, and see where those handling your money stand.
from George Monbiot
Read George’s powerful rave about the damage open cut coal mining does — and who pays for it. As he says, even if you “don’t believe” in climate change, this is a perfect reason for keeping coal in the ground.
Join with MIT in saving the world
Climate CoLab is a new MIT project designed to empower ordinary people to combat climate change.
A better way to report violence
The Huffington Post is honouring a media organisation that has started a year-long initiative that focuses on solutions rather than merely reporting problems. Their motivation is to encourage general awareness that there are ways to reduce family abuse, gang violence, gun violence, bullying and childhood trauma.
Image from Intent Blog.
Canadians choose climate change over tar sands
25,000 Canadians marched in Quebec, demanding climate action, and reining in the tar sands disaster and its associated pipelines.
And Vancouver goes renewable
The city of Vancouver is joining the ranks of city administrations that can see tomorrow.
31 compassionate leaders acknowledged
I’d never heard of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. They have an annual award for people who make a major difference in the lives of those most in need of help.
Their Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2015 Award honours 31 remarkable people and their organisations.
Everyone is royalty — including the homeless
Check out this wonderful coffee shop in Denver . It’s run by a nonprofit that employs homeless young people for a year, training them in many relevant ways.
“Human nature being what it is,” this compassionate little organisation is a model for all of us. Decency, compassion, kindness are parts of human nature.
3 stories of decency
Judy Molland reports on three exceptional acts of kindness: people with the right priorities: a taxi driver who found and returned a bad containing a large amount of money; people who rescue dogs from death and deliver them to places where pets are wanted; and a man who tracked down the best teacher of his childhood, just so he could make her a large gift.
CEO reduces salary to raise that of employees
Until a few weeks ago, Dan Price earned nearly a million dollars a year. He has reduced this to $70,000, and increased that of employees to $70,000.
This is the change we need in the world.
And as a followup, business has surged for this company. The more you give, the more you get.
Thank you for becoming a global citizen. You’re now part of a community of millions around the world with one goal in mind: ending extreme poverty by 2030.
Over the last 20 years, the number of people living under extreme poverty has been halved… this might seem unimaginable, but right now we have the chance to end it all together. If global citizens around the world take action together, we can end extreme poverty within our lifetime.
Global Citizen is the tool that connects the millions committed to change. Use it to find the most interesting stories, effective actions and powerful opportunities that will help you make a difference.
We’re so much stronger together than we are alone. Will you forward the below email to three close friends and ask them to stand with you as a global citizen?
Ending extreme poverty won’t happen overnight, it will require unlocking our collective power. This is the year where our journey begins, and each of us can take our first steps by taking action.
The Global Citizen team
Deplastic the ocean
This Care2.com report describes a brilliant idea from a Dutch young man for removing plastic from the sea. Once in place, it uses little or no energy, and the collected rubbish can be feedstock for chemical processes, including making oil.
Electric cars will soon match price of petrol guzzlers
The main cost of an electric car is the battery. A forecast has been that when cost reduces below $US300 per KWh, an electric car will match the price of a conventional internal combustion one, other things being equal.
An article in ThinkProgress has stated that we are there!
Share solar power
Yeloha, a company in Boston will put free solar panels on your roof. You keep part of the power, and share the rest with someone who can’t have solar panels (because it’s a rented house, is shaded out, or has no suitable roof). Everyone wins, including the environment.
Here is their team:
- We’re a quirky bunch of personalities bold enough to believe we can fundamentally change how people and energy interact, unlock access to clean energy for everyone — and have them pay less for it.
We hold certain values to be true: do good in this world, focus on people first, break through barriers, and provide a quality product to our customers.
8 Common Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle
This helpful article applies mostly to the USA, but some of the hints will be useful everywhere. You can reduce your environmental footprint by taking note.
Image from Atayne, a service that allow you to recycle old runners.
The wisdom of Edison
The answer to “Why?” in pictures
Tibetan monk worth listening to
A voice of sanity
A beautiful Japanese story
Religion can save humanity
What if a homeless man OFFERED you money?
Excellent childfree article
When the sun goes from your life
The answer to “Why?” in pictures
A powerful set of pictures and quotes by the Guardian shows us what unlimited growth does.
Tibetan monk worth listening to
This young man of 29 is wise beyond his years. But then, he is stated to be the 17th reincarnation of a Buddhist leader.
His Chubb Fellowship lecture at Yale validates all I’ve said. He described the change we need to create a society that can survive, and is worth surviving in; based on compassion rather than greed.
Please read his words.
A voice of sanity
Mike Stasse has drawn my attention to a wonderful essay by Charles Eisenstein. Though it’s 6 years old, it is more apt then ever.
Charles’ message can be summed up by one of my personal cliches: “You need to be crazy to stay sane in a crazy world.” It’s well worth your while to read why, and how, and what to do about it.
A beautiful Japanese story
Care2.com has a lovely little essay from Shubhra Krishan, which has the same message as Viktor Frankl and other geniuses at survival.
Have I piqued your curiosity?
Image is the logo of The Ikigai Project
Religion can save humanity
Read this important essay by Tim DeChristopher on what we need to do about climate change. He is a divinity student as well as climate activist, and got it right.
What if a homeless man OFFERED you money?
Watch this brilliant video about an experiment: a man pretending to be homeless offers money to passersby.
Excellent childfree article
I don’t want to be TOO repetitive, but couldn’t miss listing this essay at Care2.com. It gives 7 reasons women may choose to live childfree, starting with overpopulation.
If this has been your choice and people sometimes give you a hard time, have a read to gain some ammunition.
When the sun goes from your life
Katie Waldeck has written a well-researched and sensible essay about suicide. In a world filled with meaninglessness, and stigma against emotional suffering that’s diagnosable as “mental illness,” it is important for all of us to be well informed about this tragic subject.
How to Get Out of the Dark Side of Emotions
by Joan Y. Edwards
My friend Joan Edwards is not a psychologist — but a wise person worth listening to. This post on defeating the inner devils is spot on. Apply her suggestions, and you’ll improve your life.
I feel useless
I’m studying journalism and I recently got the job as a reporter and I’m trying to juggle between the job, school, personal life, family time, time spent with friends and alone time, and it’s soooooo hard to do, I think that besides having a self-esteem problem I suffer of stress!!!
I feel like I’m not an interesting person, I constantly think that I’m a failure although people congratulate me on my high achievements I just don’t feel them. I always worry and think that I’m always replaceable, and I also think I’m suffering from stress, I do have a pretty good life, but since I started working I started losing the friends I was having fun with and I find myself unable to enjoy my victories and I don’t really know why. I do have a great boyfriend, 2 or 3 friends that I talk to constantly, but sadly I don’t see them as much, but still I feel incomplete and I feel this stone in my chest that makes me feel heavy. What is wrong with me?
Suffering from a self-esteem problem means that for some reason, you have a false view of yourself. I know, because I had the same problem at your age. I learned to pay attention to what other people thought of me, and accepted that as true. So, you DO have high achievements. At 20, while still a student, you were given a job. The people who hired you think well of you.
You also have a great boyfriend. I wonder what HE thinks of you? “She is ugly and stupid and useless, I don’t know why anyone would want to spend time with her?” Or the opposite? Accept his judgment of your rather than your own. Same with those 2 or 3 friends.
I don’t know, but am guessing, that your friends are also students, but don’t work as well. So, you may have acquired new interests and activities they don’t share in, and now have less time to spend on what you used to do with them. Maybe you can keep in touch with them in other ways: text messages, videoconferencing over a free service, emails, quick phone calls. That’s not as good as face to face perhaps, but it will keep you in touch with them. I have grandchildren living interstate, and that’s how we keep in loving touch.
You are doing lots, and so feel under stress. I’d like you to look up my first aid page http://bobswriting.com/psych/firstaid.html that gives you 7 tools for improving your inner strength. In addition, do two other things: schedule some enjoyment into your week (write suitable activities into your appointment book!) and do regular meditation. I meditate at least once a day, when I go to bed.
And you’re welcome to keep in touch with me.
Your new grandfather,
Mother at 8 years of age
I am hated everywhere I go. I was raped when I was eight years old and got pregnant with no abortion, my father abandoned me after 7 years of beating the heck out of me and forcing me to do… things. My poor mother has a broken back and is paralyzed, I don’t have anyone and I don’t have anything. I’m at the point where I don’t care about my life anymore obviously nobody else does. I’m obviously very sick in the head because I constantly hear voices and see people I have very strange visions and I don’t know what they mean, my life is spinning out of control and I don’t know what to do.
I’m so scared and lost I don’t know what I did to deserve this but I guess something. I know I need help based upon the fact that I see and hear things and they are other people. I need help, and I don’t know where to go I’m on my own for so long and I was very scared to say anything to anyone but I’m so lost. I’m a mother and I’m 14 I am a beaten child I’m on my own in this big world of hurt sorrow and pain, and I am so scared lost and confused I need to get advice from professionals and I found you I hope you can help me I really do I need all the help I can get. I don’t know how to take care of my child at this age I cant even take care of myself properly I let myself starve so that my child can eat and I desperately need to get help.
But also, I admire you. You’re wonderful, you know that? Instead of giving in to the despair anyone in your situation would feel, you’ve reached out for help.
Help is available. You indicated that you live in New York. Look up the following web sites:
All of these organizations offer help and counseling, and also they all have a data base, and can probably refer you to free help and support close to where you live.
I would like to challenge your thoughts that “I am hated everywhere I go” and “I don’t have anything.”
Just from your short note, I know you’re a good person, because you care about your mother. She is paralyzed. You feel compassion for her, and I think you love her. You also said you were forced to have a baby when you were still a child. Your child is there too. That’s also someone else who really cares. You are all-important to both your mother and your little child, and even if the rest of the world hated you (which I am sure is not true), those two people give you something to live and struggle for.
Children who have been sexually abused, and treated harshly, very often hate themselves and may feel that somehow it was all their fault. It isn’t. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You are not guilty of anything, and as I’ve said, you are admirable.
When you say, “I am hated everywhere I go,” what I hear is, “I hate myself everywhere I go.” The bad feeling is inside, not outside. What you urgently and desperately need is therapy, and I hope you find a free source. It will turn your life around.
Now, about “seeing and hearing” things. When you are under too much stress, something has to give. This is one of the many reactions that can happen. All of us think in terms of words and/or images. Because of all the difficulties of your life, and self-hate, you are so stressed out that some of these thoughts seem AS IF they were coming from outside. But they are your thoughts all the same. If you realize this, they lose their scariness. It’s OK to think like this. It does not make you crazy.
My dear, thank you for reaching out for help. I feel happy to be here for you, and will be delighted to keep in contact.
What’s wrong with me?
I’m not sure what’s happening to me. I don’t want to wake up in the morning, everything feels like a dream, I’m struggling with school, I can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, I yell at my parents when they haven’t done anything wrong, I’m a totally different person when no one’s around. I feel like my chest is being stood on when anyone talks to me. I’m trying to be “normal” but it’s hard when I don’t know what normal is. When no one’s around I smile more, I can have an intellectual conversation, even though I’m just talking to myself, but when I try to have a conversation with someone else, I freak out.
I literally make myself sick thinking about everything at once. My mind feels like it’s going a million miles an hour no matter what. I’m getting really scared. if someone could explain what’s happening or if this is normal it would be greatly appreciated.
There is no such thing as normal. You don’t have to be like other people. It is all right to be like you — unless that causes you distress.
It does, so you need to fix it. Also, I am sure how you’ve been doing things causes distress to other people who care for you, like your parents.
What you have described is not your nature, but a pattern of habits you don’t like. So, you need to change them, and do things differently. This is possible, but much easier if you have a wise person to guide you.
You did a very good job of describing how you feel, but nothing about your circumstances or past. Without such detail, I cannot even start to suggest where you might look for the cause of your problems. You can ask yourself a few questions:
How long has this feeling been bothering you? When did it start? Did anything happen in your life at about that time, or not long before? Are there occasions when the problem is not as strong?
Answers to such questions may help you to understand what’s going on.
I strongly recommend that you have a few sessions with a good psychologist who works with teenagers. I don’t know where you live. Some countries have free or subsidized access to psychologists. Even if that’s not true for you, therapy can be an investment that will improve the rest of your life, so it’s very worthwhile.
If your family cannot afford it, there may be free options. Your school may have a school counselor. Various charitable organizations offer free therapy. Many are religious, but they work with anyone regardless of religion.
I am happy to continue contact with you. Email me the answers to my questions, and we can do some detective work.
Fracking radon into your home?
A recent study in Pennsylvania has shown significant increases of radon within homes and commercial buildings close to fracking sites.
Radon exposure increases the risk of cancer — the more radon, the higher the risk.
It makes sense that loosening rock structure frees this gas, allowing it to percolate up to the surface, so I am not surprised by this finding.
Roundup in breast milk
Of course. It’s in everything else. Despite every effort from Monsanto to hide the evidence, it’s now clear that glyphosate is a carcinogen. A new report finds that you’re feeding it to your baby, whether through breast milk or off-the-shelf baby formula.
Image from Des Daughter Network, which is worth visiting.
Alcohol is the worst drug
This hard hitting article sets out the facts for Australia, but the logic applies globally.
This is the only dangerous poison that’s looked on as “OK in moderation.” Don’t buy into that illusion.
Depressed? SSRIs, right?
Maybe you should explore SSRI Stories first.
If you are a physician or psychiatrist and have believed Big Pharma about these drugs, you have a duty to do so.
If you experience low mood, or anxiety, or anger, maybe it’s because these are rational reactions to your world. By following your own wisdom, or through therapy, you can change how you respond to a crazy society. Like I am, maybe you will become motivated to change the cause (the culture) rather than a symptom (your reactions to it).
That’s far more effective than dangerous drugs.
There are two reasons for vigorously and ruthlessly pruning words from your writing. One is financial: especially on paper, but even in electronic formats, too long costs more. The second is a matter of craft: every unnecessary word gets between you and your reader.
(By the same token, leaving out a necessary word is worse. This is why writing is both a craft and an art.)
Many books I edit, or read to review, are way too verbose. I’ve been known to stop reading because the author chatted on with little purpose, or reminded me of a river in the lowlands: winding all around the place instead of managing to say anything much.
Part of the reason is that reading is actually a very complex process at the best of times. Because for most of us it’s an overlearned skill, we take it for granted, but it involves many steps at different levels of complexity. Pleasurable reading flows without effort. Removing words that need not be there is one way of providing your readers with that experience.
One discipline I use is the inquisition. I ask each plot line, subplot, character, scene, paragraph, sentence, even word, “What are you adding to the story?” Those that don’t advance the plot, round out or develop character, provide essential description, add color that improves the story are CUT. Some of my editing clients end up cutting 30%, with great improvement to the book. I write tight from the start, but usually cut 10% anyway.
Theft at Amazon
Amazon may be on the way of killing the book trade.
You can buy an electronic book, and return it within 7 days, for a full refund. The author and publisher get nothing.
It takes considerable time, effort, emotional investment, and often money, to write a book. Whether multinational giants or one-worker home businesses, publishers have costs, and need to make a profit as much as any other business. Even self-publishing via Amazon Kindle is an investment that should yield a return — or why do it?
There is already an unfortunate and self-defeating trend to offer e-books for free, in the hope of generating sales (of that title or others) later. My understanding of the statistics is that this is unsuccessful: people who specialise in grabbing free books don’t buy others, but seek the next free title.
At least, this is not theft, but the Amazon return policy is. You can get a free copy of any title.
I wonder if people who happily “borrow” books in this way realise they are stealing? I wonder if they’ve ever put their heart into something they created, and then find it treated with contempt, as something valueless.
And I wonder what would happen if publishers big and small boycotted Amazon, so that in a short time, books there would be restricted to those you wouldn’t bother reading anyway?
Now, that would be proper karma.
from Desiree Holt
Recently, we’d had a discussion on methods of book promotion. Desiree wrote:
Facebook Parties are another good avenue for promotion. I use a company called eBooks Galore and they are very inexpensive. They do everything except all the invites. The key is to pack it with other authors and have them all invite their FB friends. Run contests during the party. I have seen a spike in sales every single time.
I asked her to expand, and this is what she wrote:
Okay, here is how they work.
Select someone to handle it for you (like I said I use eBooks Galore). Cost is usually $40 although she runs half price specials all year).
1. You select a date and a specific block of time. Some parties work better in the afternoon, some in the evening some a mixture, such as from 4-8. And the party can be genre specific or not. I have found that it often works better to mix them up because you get a good cross section of attendees.
2. The next step is to set up the FB Page (which eBooks Galore, for example, does for its clients). They create a great banner for the page and post what the party is about, etc. etc. etc., on a post which stays at the top of the page.
3. Then you invite other authors to host specific time slots. They book a period of time –anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what you want (and whoever you have do the party can guide you) and a list gets post with the time slots, also at the top of the page.
4. Next step is for each person to click on the Invite box on the page and invite all of their friends to attend. Some will, some won’t, but you’ll get a good enough response. Also you can click the Share link and the page will be Shared on your FB Timeline. Each person is attracting their followers, making for a nice crowd.
5. Then you and your guest hosts promote the party on FB for a week before the party so people will be reminded of it.
6. On the day of the party, the host usually opens and closes the party, talking about whatever book you are promoting and thanking everyone for attending. And also talking about yourself and inviting people to ask you questions.
7. You run at least one contest with a giveaway. Amazon GCs make a nice gift. The person running the party for you will create the post about it and run the contest. You don’t have to do a thing.
8. Each host then in their time slot talks about themselves, the book they want to promote and they can also run a contest. People love contests. When I am a guest host I usually give away ebooks, the ones I have all the formats for so there is no cost to me.
9. Then you close the event, thanking everyone for coming and one last blast about your book. And the person running your contest will announce the winner(s). Sometimes I leave it open until the next morning.
I was a guest host for an hour at a FB Party the other night. I had a book that won a big award that day so I decided to pump it up during my hour. I have a book that I self-pubbed three years ago and the sales have kind of dwindled so I decided to give a free copy of it to everyone who bought a copy of the book I was promoting and sent me the code from Amazon or whatever online store they made the purchase from. Overnight I sold several hundred copies of the new book.
The more parties you host or are involved in, the more people will want to come because you are there. I am having a FB Release Day Party May 19 and I got such a fantastic response for hosts that we have 18 hosts! Exciting! But also means the crowd increases X18. The more you do, the more you are out there, the more your participation of hosts and readers increases.
So that’s the basics. You will find that a lot of new people send you Friend requests and begin discussing your books.
What my friends want you to know
How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform our Lives, 6th May, New York
A Workshop by Thupten Jinpa, PhD
A Special Event Organized by the Tibet Fund
7-9 pm, May 6, 2015
Community Church of New York, 40 E 35th St, New York
This is a rare opportunity to work in an intimate classroom setting with Thupten Jinpa, PhD, the longtime English translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an expert in Buddhism and a noted thought leader in his own right. Drawing on his newly released book, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, this workshop will explore how to integrate our mind and heart through aligning our aspirations and intention with our attitudes and behavior.
This two-hour session will combine presentations, Q&A, and guided meditation practices, including meditation instruction for beginners.
Thupten Jinpa’s signed book, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives will be available for purchase.
VIP seat: $150 (includes signed book)
Premium seat: $50 General seat: $25
Book here (scroll down the page a little).
All proceeds from this workshop will go to the Tibet Fund to be utilized for humanitarian purposes. Currently, the Tibet Fund is channeling its resources to help the earthquake victims.
Even if you can’t attend this workshop, you might want to visit the web site and donate to their disaster relief fund.
Japan’s attempts to return to Antarctic whaling have been dealt another blow. Tell their PM enough is enough — it’s time to end whaling for good.
A year ago, we were celebrating.
The International Court of Justice had just handed down a landmark judgment, that Japan’s so-called “scientific whaling” in the Antarctic is illegal.
For the first time in decades, Japan stopped whaling, for just one summer.
Now the brief reprieve for whales is over, and Japan has a new plan — to harpoon almost 4,000 minke whales over the next 12 years.
But their plan has been dealt a major blow, with an Expert Panel of the International Whaling Commission rejecting it. They said what we all knew — that Japan has failed to justify the need to kill whales in order to study them.
Japan’s whaling has failed the test of international law, and it has now failed the test of science.
Pressure is building on Japan. The international courts have said no, the expert scientists have said no.
Now we need you to say no. Please tell Japan enough is enough. It’s time to end whaling for good.
Thank you for all that you do,
Darrel bainstorming again
The latest issue of Bainstorming is now live at www.darrellbain.com.
Subjects This Issue: Another new book, my 64th, titled How It Ought To Be, Damn It! A thought to think about, New phones, Reasons for writing less now, Recovery (?) from our illnesses and then more illness, Our Road That Eats Money, Back To Carrying and Why, An experiment in writing and reading (with your help).
Darrell Bain — Newest book: Samantha’s Talent
Multiple Epic and Dream Realm awards
2005 Fictionwise Author of the year
New Edition of popular book on editing
The Net has made everyone into do-it-yourself editors these days. E-mail. Blogs. Web site copy. Newsletters like this one.
Though Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the second edition of The Frugal Editor: From Your Query Letter to Final Manuscript to the Marketing of Your New Bestseller, advises hiring great editors (and gives step-by-step tips for doing so in that book), having everything seen by the world professionally edited isn’t always affordable.
Carolyn has released the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor as a paperback. It’s updated, expanded, and sports new formatting and a new cover by Chaz DeSimone in keeping with her HowToDoItFrugally series for writers. It has been expanded from the first edition published in 2007 to include rarely covered editing booboos (like the misuse of ampersands), the difference between grammar rules and style choices (like beginning sentences with the likes of and, or, and but), how to spot the overuse of helping verbs and a reminder that politically correct usage isn’t always what a writer should strive for (consider some of the language used in the award-winning movie Twelve Years A Slave).
And, yes, Dr. Bob Rich is quoted in it as an expert on editing!
Important free book on mental health
My friend Alfredo Zotti has decided to make his new book available free on his blog.
It is a powerful examination of the myths of psychiatry, psychology and Big Pharma. Besides, it’s interesting reading.
It is also illustrated with his cartoons, like this one:
A bit of fun
A new psychiatric disorder
You might enjoy this short video.
Doodle Diary Of A New Mom
The last time I was a mother was in the 19th Century (You can read about it in Ascending Spiral. All the same, I instantly identified with the Lucy Scott’s delightful drawings of the first year of her baby’s life.
There are 120 of them. I laughed my way through the sample.
About Bobbing Around
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