Morning Bliss

as morning tickled consciousness
I felt the bliss of nothingness
no cares
no pains
no trains to mis

one eye peeked out
and check the day
the sun screamed back
c’mon
let’s play

a choir of birds
sang from the trees
my only thought was
silence please

the voice of guilt
rang through my head
it’s time, your laziness
get out of bed

this voice was buried in a flash
by memories of my recent past
the years of running for the door
pushing self
do more
do more

then in a fit of selfish glee
I pulled the covers over me
I chose to hide inside my dreams
to feel once more
the peaceful bliss
of pure and simple
nothingness

Tio Stib Signature

You may also enjoy: The Crossing, The Comfort of Complacency

Back to Love Basics 7, The Plus Side of Solitude Sucks

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in trying to find our soulmate that we forget about the pleasures of being alone. In case your suffering from the solitude sucks syndrome, may I suggest the benefits of not having someone else around to share life with.

Consider these advantages of being one and only one-

1. Living alone means making the bed is optional rather than submit to the control freak compulsions of a significant other.
2. Being alone means that making pancakes for breakfast on Friday at 9 p.m. requires no excuses.
3. Lonely people don’t have to share the last cookie not to mention feel the least bit guilty eating it.
4. Being alone means you can squeeze the toothpaste tube any darn way you want.
5. Alone means you can watch any television channel you want or those dvd’s you’ve been too embarrassed to share, and drink all the beer or eat all the ice cream you feel like in the comfort of your underwear, without any snarky feedback except perhaps from the pleading eyes of your dog. Okay, if you’ve got a dog you can’t possibly be lonely and don’t need to read the rest of this list.
6. Being alone means you need not explain to anyone just why you feel like blowing up balloons and then stoping on them after a trying day at work.
7. Alone means you can change the color of lipstick you wear every day without your room mate asking “Is something the matter?”
8. Single means that when you order a medium pizza you suddenly have enough “food” to last two entire days.
9. Being alone makes grocery shopping so much easier. “Did she say Toastie Crunchies” or was it “Chocolate Crispies?”
10. There is a singular bliss in solitude knowing that you can fart however and whenever you want.
11. Sleeping alone means you don’t have to pretend you are sleeping when he/she comes home late wanting to talk. Another plus on the subject of sleep is that alone means you don’t have to worry about snoring, unless, like me, you snore so loud you wake yourself up.
12. Being alone means you already have the one audience who will always listen to you. Yourself.
13. Perhaps the greatest gift of being alone is that now you are absolutely, totally available to whatever opportunity comes along. This means that when that elder gentleman in the tuxedo and top hat walks up to lonely you sitting by yourself in the coffee shop and says, “Excuse me, I can see that you are lonely and my anonymous employer has authorized me to hand you this round the world travel ticket including a check for $500,000 to cover expenses. The only stipulation is you must leave this week and you must travel alone.”

Of course, you can have only one answer…

“Me?”

And lastly, being “alone” makes you part of one of the world’s biggest ironies.

Consider this, you are sitting in solitude, feeling down, hoping that your life will change. At this very moment, all around the planet, there are millions of fellow loners just like you, with similar thoughts. Conclusion: you are actually surrounded by a sea of fellow solos. None of you are even close to alone.

I’m waiting for someone to stand up in Starbucks and shout, “Hey! Is anybody else lonely here?”

I’m listening…

Tio Stib Signature

You might also enjoy: Seattle Sun, Soulmates at Starbucks

High on Gratitude

in the muck of news’ day platitudes
I’ve lost my cheery attitude
midst hate and anger screamed and spewed
what happened to beatitudes

but past these ugly, mindless feuds
beyond behavior simply rude
there is another world that can be viewed
in Nature’s holy latitudes

in this world outside our doors
flowers dance, birds sing, and oceans roar
a world that heeds not human news
where souls soar high on gratitude

Tio Stib Signature

You might also enjoy: Truth, Promise

Writing Well 3, Everybody Needs a Tribe

In my previous post, “Writing Well 2,” I lamented the fact that with nearly 4,000,000 books listed on Amazon and with only 40 of those authors making any sort of money, my odds of financial success as a self-published author are less than me winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Since that activity involves athletes and that’s about the last thing anyone would call me, you get an idea of just how slim the odds are.

If you’re a writer like me, such statistics might be sobering, a bucket of ice water in the face of all those dreams of being a successful author. It certainly was a harsh wake up call for me. At the same time, I was forced to stop and look at my larger life picture. I observed that in my quest for the mythical Holy Grail of best selling authordom, I’d neglected other important areas of my life.

Even though I enjoy the solitude that is part of a writer’s journey, I also need the comfort of companionship. I need to feel part of something bigger than me, to share life and serve others, and, yes, I more than often need a little help from my friends.

How can we create such a community? How do we build our Tribe?

Thank you Jeff Goins for your timely response. In his article, “Every Writer Needs a Tribe,” (link below), Jeff outlines steps we can take to make our Tribe a supportive reality. Of particular value to me, was Jeff’s suggestion that we must be clear about what our “Voice” is in relationship to our tribe. I’ll let you explore his ideas for yourself, but for me this exercise was essential for me getting clear about why and for whom I was writing.

I’m writing young adult eco-fiction stories with solutions.

Have I given up on financial success as a writer? no, I’ll keep working at effective marketing, being a smart businessman, and becoming  a better writer. but my larger goal is to build a successful writing life amidst a supportive community. My main goal is to grow and serve my Tribe.

What is your Tribe and how are you building it around your unique voice?

Here’s the link to Jeff Goins article, “Every Writer Needs a Tribe”-

http://goinswriter.com/writer-tribe/

Good writing!

Tio Stib Signature

You might also enjoy : Writing Well 1, The Transformative Power of Classical Music; Writing Well 2, 4,000,000 Books and Me

Eco-fiction Review 2, “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” by Daniel P. Mannix (1969)

“Troubled Waters” is another young adult eco-fiction classic from Daniel P. Mannix recently brought back to life in ebook form. I’ve previously written about “The Fox and the Hound,” Mannix’s best known work. I count this story equally captivating for its incredible detail and awareness of what an underwater world could be. Daniel P. Mannix is one of those marvelous creative beings whom I wish I could go back in time to visit.

Troubled Waters Book Cover

Here’s a summary of “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” provided by eNet Press-

Beneath the surface of a river, stream or pond lies a strange and dramatic world of living things, a world of unearthly beauty and marvelous complexity that to most of us is unknown. In Troubled Waters one of America’s most popular nature writers transports us into this realm of fishes and other water creatures in all its diversity and conflict, its beauty and terror, its gentleness and violence.

Out of the poisoned and heat-polluted waters of one of our great rivers flowing through a city and past factories and power plants, the male goldfish Buck and his smaller female companion find their way into a clear, wooded stream preserved by fishermen. Here, where patches of sunlight reflect on the soft brown gravel and food is abundant in the deep holes and below the swift riffles, the two fish, who have been washed out of garden pools, face the dangers of existence in the wild. To go along with them and share their life and vicissitudes is an unusual and delightful experience in reading.

Neither the drama of underwater life, nor Daniel P. Mannix’s skill in portraying it, ever flags as the fish push on up the pleasant stream, encountering such diverse and menacing creatures as swift trout, hungry catfish, darters and crayfish, a fishing spider and water shrew, and many others. But the stream is eventually destroyed in a strange fashion by the houses and towns pressing in around it, and Buck and his mate flee to a new home in a wild pond. Of their life there Daniel P. Mannix gives no less memorable an account. It is a place of grebes and mergansers, of a giant snapping turtle and an otter as fluid and swift as water itself; of numbing cold and lack of oxygen under the dark ice and snow of bitter winters; of life, warmth and incredible beauty in spring, summer and autumn.

Both sensitive and dramatic, filled with suspense and poetic in its evocation of nature, Troubled Waters brings the underwater world

“Troubled Waters,” like “The Fox and the Hound,” has my highest recommendation. If you enjoy these books, you might also like “The Last Eagle” and “The Backyard Zoo.”

Good Reading!

Tio Stib Signature

You might also enjoy : Eco-fiction Review 1, The Fox and the Hound: by Daniel P. Mannix

Eco-Fiction Review 1: “The Fox and the Hound” by Daniel P. Mannix, (1967)

“The Fox and the Hound” is perhaps the best animal story I’ve ever experienced. It’s author, Daniel Pratt Mannix (1911-1997), was an American journalist, photographer, film maker, sideshow performer, animal trainer, and brilliant writer. His books cover a wide diversity of subjects with titles including “Memoirs of a Sword Swallower,” and “The Backyard Zoo.” His animal stories were lauded for the unique voices he gave his characters. These stories foretold the environmental consequences of human interference with the balance of the Natural world. Fortunately, many of Mannix’s works, which predate the digital age, have been republished in ebook format making these classics available for today’s readers.

The Fox and the Hound Book Cover

Here’s a summary of “The Fox and the Hound”-

Tod, a red fox kit, is raised as a pet but returns to the wild to do what all foxes are born to do, explore, trot along fence posts, cross icy streams, define his territory, mate, hunt, bury corpses for a rainy day, and, most of all, out-smart his enemies. Tod, in fact, is so sharp-witted and cunning, dauntless and valiant, that his ability to defy death becomes legendary.

Copper, a half-bloodhound tracker, is the dog who lives to hunt the fox and, along with his beloved master, embarks on a lifelong quest to end the life of the elusive Tod.

Described from an animal’s perspective, the paths of the fox and the hound overlap and intersect in a world teeming with scent and sound and sight and instinct. Their vivid,, gripping, and absorbing, story is so arresting and unflinching that the reader’s awareness of wildlife and the essence of their domain may be reshaped and refined and, in the end, irrevocably changed.

Winner of the Dutton Animal Book Award in 1967, the Athenaeum Literary Award, and a Reader’s Digest Book Club selection. The Fox and the Hound also became an animated Walt Disney movie and a box office success.

“The Fox and the Hound” is a superb Y.A. eco-Fiction book which has my highest recommendation.

Enjoy!

Tio Stib Signature

Back to Love Basics 6, Rejection Therapy, Bernie Sanders, and Why I Like Fly Fishing

It’s been a good day, mostly. I received a hugely positive book review, a number of projects I’m working on inched ahead, I met someone who might become a wonderful computer helper, and my wife and I created a surprisingly tasty meal together. Trust me, the last accomplishment was especially satisfying for a blind guy who lives for sumptuous taste.

So why am I writing about “Rejection Therapy,” Bernie Sanders and fly fishing?

Let’s start with “Rejection Therapy.” Just what is it?

Would you believe that “Rejection Therapy” is listed in Wikipedia? by that account, “Rejection Therapy” is a game invented by a guy who wants to help us get over our rejection angst. You win the game by getting the most people to reject you. I would do well with this game.

I’ve been playing “Rejection Therapy” most of my life. However, I’ve been playing in v-e-r-r-r-r-y s-l-l-o-o-o-w motion. As an example, it took me two years to recover from the shame of my first dating disaster before I even considered asking another girl out. By age forty, I’d reduced my recovery time to a mere three weeks.

What might this process have to do with you? Since life is all about relationships and I’m assuming you’ve had your share of these, I think it’s safe to guess that you’ve also had relationship failures. If this is true, the important question is-

How have you dealt with rejection?

Since this discussion is edging towards serious, let me break off and share my afternoon’s rejection therapy experience.

I happen to believe in the Bernie Sanders for President campaign. Without getting too much into it, suffice to say that I’d pretty much given up on American politics after Regan in the 80’s and generally avoided the stench of any news that came from the nation’s capitol. Yes, such behavior could be described as apathetic or un-American, but it was what it was. Then I found myself in the midst of a group of impassioned college kids pitching for Bernie Sanders, an old fart whose been standing up for what he believes is right for America more than thirty years. Those kids got my attention. I checked out Bernie and his ideas and soon I was another impassioned supporter promoting Bernie on street corners,, feeling hope for America again.

I was out this afternoon, standing on a corner in a small middle-class town wearing a big smile, sporting my best positive attitude, as throngs of people passed by on their way to the farmers’ market.

I put out a hearty “Good afternoon!” to everyone walking by. No political pitch, there was a big Bernie sign behind me with leaflets on a table. Just a hearty “Good afternoon!”

And what did I get in return?

Nothing.

They didn’t smile. They didn’t speak. They turned their heads, swerved to walk further away from me, did anything to pretend I didn’t exist.

Wow! I was stunned. I wasn’t pushing any hard sell for Bernie Sanders, just saying, “Good afternoon!”

Nothing.

Well, not quite nothing. I kept an approximate count, and from more than one hundred passersby, I received about five “Good afternoon to you,” responses, and even a few “Go Bernie!” quips. But most everyone went by pretending that a smiling human being, decently dressed, clean shaven, offering a simple “Good afternoon!” didn’t exist.

As I began processing what was going on, my mind flashed on other “Rejection Therapy “ experiences I’ve had. If you’re a writer, perhaps we’ve shared similar countless agent and publisher rejections. but, have you ever been fly fishing?

I hugely enjoy fly fishing for steelhead and trout. I’ve gone entire days without a single strike, not one indication that fish live anywhere near where I’ve been fishing. Yet, this is not upsetting. Sure, a bit disappointing, but like the “Rejection Therapy” game where players can ultimately learn to be at peace with rejection, I’ve learned to pay attention to the total fishing experience and not worry about catching fish. Drifting down a beautiful river, taking in the sounds of Nature, rushing water and songbirds, feeling a warm breeze on my face filled with the sweet scent of pine trees. All these things let me cast hundreds of times without a trace of an excited fish.

I recalled my fishing feelings as people continued to pass by, paying me no heed. Suddenly, I was standing on the bank of the River of Life, taking a deep breath of the fresh jasmine filled air, feeling the sun’s warmth on my face, noting that in front of me flowed a constant stream of fish faces, most of them a species I was not interested in catching. I smiled and kept casting, believing that eventually a bright and curious human being would come by.

Assuming you, my friend, are also seeking mutually supportive intimacy in your life, you’ve also been doing your own form of “Rejection Therapy.” I can only hope your recovery period is significantly less than my current two and one half weeks. The next time you’re turned away, consider seeking a different kind of people to play with, or even a new place to fish.

In case you enjoy such things, here are a few parting thoughts-

“you only catch fish when your line’s in the water.” -a smart ass guide watching me trying to untangle my line from a tree that wasn’t supposed to be there

“Fail faster to succeed” one of those catchy quotes for entrepreneurs who don’t have a clue what it really means.

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you’ll find your prince, or princess for that matter” -probably some smart grandmother type comforting a forlorn granddaughter or grandson.

Be happy, it’s a choice!

Tio Stib Signature

You might also enjoy: A Mirrored Smile, Seattle Sun

Jumping Off

leaning out the open door
time roars by
it’s gone
no more
I wonder what my life might be
had I the courage to jump free

behind me in the train’s cocoon
dreams fly off to distant moons
faces glued to heartless screens
joyless stares and silent screams

and so we travel every day
secure and safe or so we say
the child no longer comes to play
the status quo will have its way

will I stay an untold story
remain in hopeless purgatory
pretending that I care no more
soul crying for its need to soar

then I jumped off into space
the unknown flying in my face
It’s not clear where I will land
no matter
I am free again

Tio Stib Signature

You might also enjoy : Life is Like a Broken Egg, Paddling a Submarine vs. Living an Authentic Life.

Blind Blessings 1, My Thoughts on the KNFB Reader

I was recently given the opportunity to test the KNFB Reader application using my iPod Touch Version 5. Here are my thoughts-

First, this application does everything it promises, and does it well. The application, which converts text to speech, allowed me to use the camera function on my iPod Touch to take pictures of text on documents, book pages, and labels. The application then converts the text to speech allowing me, a blind person, to hear what the text is all about. I happen to use English for the text to language conversion, but the application has dozens of other language options.

Next, this is very impressive technology for its ease of use and speed of operation. I studied the YouTube online training school videos, which were straightforward, and I was able to quickly sort out how to perform the application’s functions on my iPod Touch. What most surprised me was how easy it was to create the text image and how the KNFB Reader converted the image into spoken text in a matter of seconds.

If you’re looking for a text to speech application, I consider the KNFB Reader an outstanding product.

Want to learn more? Here’s the link:
http://knfbreader.com/products-mobile.php

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You might also enjoy: Blind Blessings

Writing Well 1, The Transformative Power of Classical Music

My thanks to Anthony Wilson, a fellow WordPress blogger, who shared the link to Benjamin Zander, brilliant teacher and inspiring human being. I’d heard his name mentioned many times, but never took the opportunity to meet him until now and thankfully so.

Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, and new connections.

This talk moved me to tears, something I’ve needed for a long, long time.

Tio Stib Signature

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html