Tag Archives: Positive Attitude

Marianka Mojo :: The Gift of Peace


I want to talk about Marianka.  She’s a twenty-something neighbor, whom I know only through a high-school friend, whom I haven’t seen for 30 years (her husband), and both of whom live a mere 10 minutes away from me. She is a spectacular woman.  She changed me, for the better.  Here’s the gig:

Okay, giving forward.  Do unto others.  Live for the living.  Random acts of kindness.

You’ve heard of these concepts . . . where people “give just to give” – without any greater reward than having done something good for someone else.

I know I’ve been a recipient of these deeds in my life, and I hope I’ve acknowledged them to the fullest, and returned the favor – because dammit, I’m compelled to return the favor.  I can’t have people doing something for me for free!

You see my mindset here?

It’s a selfish mindset, this I’ve now realized . . . for the giving is greater than the gift. And to not accept the gift is to deny someone the pleasure of giving.  And I won’t be doing that anymore, thanks to Marianka.

She “noticed” that I’d been “overloaded” and offered to help me out, through a private message on Facebook.  Desperate, I said YES and offered to pay her.  She said “whatever” and came to pick up the business.  I said “whatever” and gave it to her, knowing I would find a way to pay her. She ending up spending countless hours packaging books and pledge prizes and addressing near 100 postcards . . . all for the benefit of a successful Kickstarter campaign called “Increasing Wingspan – Buzzard’s Myth”.

I’d given her a week’s deadline and she had it done in two days.  Off my chest, forward progress, all thanks to this incredible young lady.

And then she said, in a nutshell, THANK YOU for letting me help you. 

For the first time in my life – honestly, the first time – I knew without reservation she meant what she said.  I would never take that away from her.  I cherish her too much to ever take away her joy.  I selfishly treasure that experience, the joy she gave me, the peace, the lighter load.  It changed my week, changed my life.

This is Marianka Mojo.  Pass it on. 

from the heart of  Jan Green, wordshaper 

Dithering Disguised as Writing

Order Sharon’s roaring book via her website or Contact Us on the form at the right.

New Bern, NC, author Sharon Phennah is just a charmer.  She’s nutty andquick sampling of this personality in her blog below. She is our esteemed guest today. It is our pleasure to carry her words and share her voice with you. 

YouTube has a hilarious British video of a mature woman going about her day. First she decides to go through her mail. She tosses the junk in the bin and decides to pay the bills. As she gets in her purse for her checkbook she notices the remote is on the counter in the kitchen and realizes it belongs in the living room. She picks it up, muttering about needing it later by the TV, but sees the flowers on the counter need water. She puts down the remote, gets the watering can and begins filling it when she has to go to the loo, leaving everything.

This performance ends only when the day is finished. The check book is on the counter by her purse, the remote is still in the kitchen, the flowers are un-watered, the bills unpaid, and the exhausted woman exclaims, “Look at this place, and I’ve worked all day.”

My “writing for a few hours in the morning” couldn’t be described more perfectly. The alarm, BBC radio world news, goes off about 6 a.m. I rise at 7:30 a.m., put on the coffee, eat my cereal, and call my best friend at 8 a.m. for our daily chat. We do this to be certain no one vanished into the next world overnight but neither of us say that. Instead, we have a laugh together.

Then, off to the shower when another friend calls. It’s more comfy to walk dogs in the morning cool, will I join her? Of course. I hate the heat and may not be able to go by evening. Besides she’s great company and the dogs are fast friends. I can begin writing in 30 minutes and shower before lunch.

A different friend calls after I have written a paragraph. She has cancer so a conversation with her is vital. Then I remember my lunch date and dash off, arriving a nanosecond before that friend gives up on me. After way too many nachos, a bit of necessary grocery shopping, and a quick reply to an insurance company, I sit down to the typewriter.

My mind is empty. My eyelids droop. My knees ache and my carpals and tunnels join in. The bed is only a few feet away and the rest of the day is free. An hour nap wouldn’t hurt, would it? Words elude me. I’ll get up, shower, and write this evening after dinner.

Most writers have similar issues in different flavors. Because writing is solitary, self-motivated, and requires huge amounts of discipline, we are prey to creative rationales, delusions, and procrastinations.

If you don’t believe this, have a look at the number of “how to write” books available. Every requirement—location, ambience, tools, inspiration, emotions—and an enormous range of “how-to” methods are described in depth and detail ad nauseum.

These are valuable tomes, but overwhelming. My antidote is KISS—Keep It Simple (Stupid, Silly, Sweetheart).

So here’s what I am trying for the next month. Stay tuned.


This means the self-care stuff (food, showers, exercise) and the vital family functions (kids to school, Grammy clean & fed, your part-time job). Leave the rest (laundry, re-potting that wilting plant, scrubbing the tile in the bathroom) until after writing.


Be real about it. Some folks can write for hours, others only a few minutes at a time. Acknowledge who you are and if you must change a bit to “cram writing in,” do it gently and honor your needs. Too rigid a schedule invites resentment & quitting, too flexible and you get into the fix described on page one.


We each have particular comfort levels about others reading our work. Some delight in sharing, others cringe. Honor who you are in this respect, but don’t hesitate to share your joy in accomplishing what you have promised yourself. It is infectious and encouraging when others are happy for you. Someone’s smile or “attagirl” can carry you through a couple of difficult and lonely hours at the computer.

Murder Mystery Set in Transgender Community “Brings It”

This is a review straight from the heart of a reader, me (as opposed to  the editor, the marketer, the reviewer, the writer) ~~ Janet Green

First, the basics.  Renee James debuted with her new novelComing Out Can Be Murder this month through Windy City Publishers, a hot alternative publishing company based in the same blustery city of the story’s plot.  This is a fiction novel about a hairdresser named Bobbi, who struggles with gender transitioning and the “fitting in” that does or does not happen as a result.  A friend of hers undergoing similar struggles is murdered, and Bobbi determines through her own cunning to bring the murderer to justice and, along the way, draws out from within herself a stunning essence that she had yet to truly know. End, the basics.

Unbeknownst to Renee James at the time, this topic of the transgender community will soon come into play under themasterful touch of Miss Janet Jackson, who plans a film to help build awareness and understanding of this generally misunderstood population (see article from Rolling Stone magazine).

Surely the coincidence is anything but.

I spent a good deal of time, as I always do, trying to write this review from a professional perspective, and time and time again came back to what I emailed  the author through her website:  reneejamesauthor.com.  I will share it here now:

“Subject: Finished your novel. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read, in a great way. Certain terminology, such as tranny, I think it was — had no idea these were considered negative terms, even though I could feel that they were through your character Bobbi.  Your open-hearted summary at the end of the story was beautiful, peaceful, helpful to me as a reader. I adored Bobbi, oh!, and her boss at the salon. I have felt the type of pain Bobbi felt . . . we all have (alienation from family for differences, fear of the unknown, the loneliness of walking to a different beat), and I know it’s real.  I loved Bobbi.”

… and I will add more now:  I cheered for Bobbi every minute!  Sometimes I wanted to knock her out with her second-guessing herself all the time.  Sometimes I just wanted to hold her so she would not be afraid.  She was inspirational and an open-book within an open book.

Miss Jackson sings in her 1986 popular tune,  ”What Have You Done for Me Lately?”  As a reader, honestly, that’s what I think about when I read today:  give me something more than the same ol’ same ol’.  Give me more, give me better, give me talent and innovation.  Well, Renee James gives her readers all that and more. She treats us to her very soul in this book, filled with entertainment, education about heretofore misunderstood topics, and all those marvelous tidbits of Bobbi-introspection.

Renee James gave her readers what I personally have been looking for from authors today:  a change.