Finding the Words

“Almost four years ago, both of my friend Colin Campbell’s teenage children were killed by a drunk driver. Now, Colin has written what I think is an extremely important book. It’s not just about how to deal with your own grief, but how to help other people deal with theirs. (A subject which I think has really been overlooked until now.) In addition to discussing how to cope with his own grief, Colin interviewed dozens of people (including me) about how we dealt with ours. And yet, despite the subject matter, this is not really a dour book. It’s incredibly helpful and useful and it might even make you laugh now and then. Get it.”

— Stuart Gibbs

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #writing #StoryEmpire – Characters and Diversity. Part 2 – Wealth by Gwen Plano

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

Author Gwen Plano is a contributor to Story Empire and in her first post in this series I am sharing one she wrote about including diversity in our writing and in this case about the differences in circumstances between the people we live and work with. I have included the links to part one and three of the series.

Characters and Diversity. Part 2 – Wealth  by Gwen Plano

Hello Story Empire friends, Gwen with you today.

Last month I initiated a series on including diversity in our stories. I explained that I would address the topic through personal experiences. The…

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The America Worth Fighting For

(by John Pavlovitz)

The America Worth Fighting For


“If your eyes are clear and open right now you can see it: this is a pivot point for us, America.

It is the place we collectively turn toward back toward our best selves or slide into the abyss of the very worst of who we are capable of being. In real time, we are crafting our collective legacy and the world is watching to see who we will be. Our children are too, along with a vast multitude we will never know, who will inherit the nation we will leave them.

When history replays these days, they will tell the story of this country as either the time decent, empathetic people crossed lines of political party, faith tradition, and surface differences and stood together to push back a rising tide of fascism—or the days we all stopped giving a damn and fully consented to the darkness for good. These will be marked as the moments we collectively succumbed to a million small assaults on decency—or when we decided to stop the bleeding once and for all.

There is no question anymore for those not deluded by white supremacy, nationalistic religion, unacknowledged privilege, or self-preservation: we are facing an existential threat.
It is a homegrown movement defined by an abandonment of empathy, a rejection of personal liberties, a removal of human rights, an elimination of diversity.
There is nothing redemptive or life-giving in it.
The only question remaining, is whether or not we will abide it.
In the presence of such great hatred we cannot claim neutrality.
We are either adversary or we are accomplice; the vocal opposition or willing collaborators.

In these very seconds in which we find ourselves, in this singular day, you and I get to decide whether we will leave those on the horizon of history something beautiful or grotesque. It’s really that simple, that elemental, that close.

This is not about waiting for someone else to do something: not God or a political party or a social media celebrity or some faceless people you imagine will rescue you.

No, friend, there is no superhero flying in to save the day—you need and I to save it.

And the way we will save it is by finding whatever it is that is that pulls us out of the paralyzing funk of grief, sadness, and disbelief we’ve been in—and into the jagged trenches of passionate resistance.

We will save this place by deciding what matters most in this life, and that it matters enough to do more than we’re doing to defend and protect it right now.

You and I need to decide what is worth fighting for and we need to take a deep breath and step back into the trenches . We need to speak and write and work and protest and vote, and do all the things we’ve been waiting for someone else to do; the things we wish more good people in the past had done.

This movement may cause friction in our families.
It may bring turbulence to our marriages.
It may sever our friendships.
It may yield collateral damage to our careers.
It may cost us financially and personally.
It may alienate us from our neighbors.
It may push us from our churches.
It may be inconvenient and uncomfortable and painful but that is the price of liberty— and you and I need to pay it because other people paid it before us.
Anything we lose now, will be our failure to hold steady the arc of the moral universe.
No excuses will be good enough to the generations that follow us about why we did nothing or grew too weary to keep going, so we need to stop trying to find them.

I don’t know what matters enough to move you from complacency or indecision or selfishness or apathy:
the human rights atrocities,
the perversions of Christianity,
the pillaging of the environment,
the Constitutional violations,
the cries of migrant children,
the Supreme Court hijacking,
the attacks of public education,
the dismantling of healthcare,
the anti-Science conspirators,
the school shootings that go ignored,
the LGBTQ teenagers being harassed,
the assaults on women’s autonomy over their bodies,
the malice of our public servants,
the twisting of objective truth,
the Nazis marching in our streets,
the dumbing down of our discourse.

Does love or equality or compassion or diversity or humanity still move the needle within you?

I don’t know what is worth you doing something right now—but you do.

So, instead of lamenting how horrible it all is, decide to make it less horrible.
Instead of looking to the sky and wondering why no one is doing anything, you do something.
Do it in the small, close, here, now, and doable of your daily existence where you have both proximity and agency.
Step out of the cloistered place of your private despair and into a small world that you can alter by showing up.
Use your gifts and your influence and your breath and your hands—and fix something that is badly broken before it breaks beyond repair.

Affirm life, speak truth, defend the vulnerable, call out injustices—and gladly brave the criticisms and the wounds you sustain in doing it, knowing that they are a small price to pay for the nation that could be if you speak—or the one that will be if you do not.

Chances are you won’t actually be called to die for these cause and these people, but when you do leave this planet you will have lived for them. That in itself will be a beautiful legacy.

If you aren’t finding your voice right now, don’t bother worrying about it later.

You won’t have one much longer.

There is an America worth fighting for.

Find it.

Fight for it.”

— John Pavlovitz

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – #Writers – Another #scam to waste authors’ precious time by Deborah Jay

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

Writers can expect to be approached from time to time with offers of marketing support and interviews. It can be challenging sometimes to identify fact from fiction and in this post Deborah Jay shares one of her experiences.

Another #scam to waste authors’ precious time  by Deborah Jay

1,000+ Free Question Mark & Question Images - Pixabay

Last week, out of the blue, I had a telephone call telling me I was invited to do a television interview about my book.

The young lady was at great pains to tell me all about the legitimacy of the offer: an interview with Logan Crawford (she seemed quite put out when I…

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Day #16 of #RRBC’s #ADayInMyLife 30-Day #Blogging Challenge! Come on along! @NonnieJules @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RWISA #Ghosts #Angels

(by @NonnieJules )

Untitled design - 2023-01-17T234952.411So, I did, and off to bed I went.  Night, Night.

Now, I’m back, rejuvenated and ready to tell my story (again, bouncing off of Donna’s Day 5 post).

Many years ago, we had a friend (a fairly new friend) whose wife had died of cancer before we met him and his kids.  Every Saturday morning, I would call to check in on them to see if there was anything they needed.  

On this particular Saturday morning, I call their house and a woman answers the phone.  

“Hello,” a familiar voice greeted.

“Hi!  May I speak with Rob?” I ask.

“He’s not home,” the voice replied softly, though I could not detect a smile behind it.

“Oh, OK.  Would you please tell him that Nonnie called?”

“Yes,” she said, before the line went dead; before I even had a chance to thank her and say goodbye.

Later that day, I call again and share with Rob that I had called that morning, but the woman who answered the phone told me that he wasn’t home.  

“No, I wasn’t home, I had a barber appointment, but you must have dialed the wrong number because there was no woman here,” he said.

“Yes, there was.  I called from my car on the way to Home Depot.  She answered and  saidyou weren’t there.”

“Hold on a moment, Nonnie.  Carter!” he yells away from the phone.  “Did Grandma or Aunt Lisa drop by this morning while I was out?”

“No, sir,” I hear his son answer.

“Did you let anyone in while I was gone?” he continued.

“No, sir.”

“Thanks, Son.  You can go back to your room.”

He returns to the phone.  “Nonnie, no one was here but the boys.  If my mom or sister had dropped by, I would have known that they were coming beforehand, so the boys would have my permission to open the door.  My mom and my sister are the only women who come by, and they do so to help me with the boys, but we have a system in place. They never show up without warning.” 

“Rob, I don’t know who answered your phone this morning, but A WOMAN DID ANSWER YOUR PHONE THIS MORNING, I reply firmly, yet still confused. 

He chuckles.  “N o n n i e…” he says slowly.  “Are you sure you dialed the right number?”

Even more confused, I was annoyed that he was telling me that I had not done something that I knew I had, or that I had made a mistake in dialing, when I dialed directly from my contacts as I had done many times before.

“If I had dialed the wrong number, what are the chances that 1) there would be someone who lived there named Rob, and 2) that they wouldn’t be home the way you weren’t when I called?  And, not only that, I’d heard that woman’s voice before.”

“I don’t know what to say.  There’s no way that there was a woman here if it wasn’t my mom or my sister.  No way.”

My first thought, was that his son was not being truthful, but, I didn’t really believe that about his kids, as my husband and I often spoke of how well they were being raised.  Blowing it off, I told him that I had only called to check in on them, and that I would call later.  I couldn’t hang up with him fast enough so I could call my husband to tell him what had happened.

“That’s odd,” my husband says, once I get him on the phone.  “I wonder why he would say there was no one at his house when clearly you spoke to someone?”  This coming from someone who knows that I am as sane as they come.

Later that evening, I call Rob again.  This time, I get the answering machine… with a woman’s voice that I’d heard before.  While the machine is playing, Rob picks up the phone.

“Hello, hello…!” he says, the way someone answers when they are trying to catch the caller before they hang up.

“That’s the voice that answered the phone earlier!” I say.

“Oh.  Then you must have spoken with Laura,” he says calmly and matter-of-factly.

“Laura? Your wife Laura?” I ask, not really wanting an answer to the question.

“Yes.  If that’s the voice that you say answered earlier, I’ve no doubt that it was my wife.  You said that you’d heard the voice before, right?  That’s her voice on the answering machine.  I’ve never taken it off.”

“Wa… wa… wait a minute.  You’re joking, right?” I ask nervously.

“No, Nonnie.  I’m not joking.  My wife promised from her death bed that she would always watch over me and the boys, and that anyone new coming into our lives, male or female, she would ensure that they were of good heart.”

He was confident in all that he was saying, while I stood there, staring out my front door, at a loss for words; stunned at what I was hearing.


Goodreads review: Before, Afdre, and After (My stroke … oh what fun)

Review by Sindy Castellanos :

“An endearing and profound description, that never misses an opportunity to show Maureen’s great sense of humor, in the midst of what it means to experience a stroke: its symptoms, suffering and consequences. What is admirable, in the journey that the reader makes together with the author, is her optimistic, fighting and conscious attitude to recover her life; and the beautiful and wise expressions of support from the people around her. It is a great testimony!”


2022 Reading Challenge

Join the 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge! Set (and easily track) your reading goals for the new year with our annual challenge” — Goodreads

(January 5, 2022) I’m going to take the 2022 Reading Challenge!

Begin reading January 7, 2022 book: Before, Afdre, and After (My stroke … oh what fun)

Finished reading this book: January 7, 2022 (fast read, 316 pages total)

My rating of this book: 5 stars

Before, Afdre, and After (My stroke … oh what fun)

(Review by Steve Beaumont):

“I always wondered what a stroke victim thinks on the inside while looking at the world not able to communicate. Maureen’s personal, humorous and thoughtful account of her own stroke and road to recovery reminded me that if you are smart, creative, funny, sensitive, caring and surrounded by family and friends who love you then nothing changes on the inside despite everything changing on the outside.

Whoever thought suffering a stroke could be so inspiring? Only when Maureen Twomey tells the story.”

(Hey that’s me!) 😉

Well, since I’ve now meant my 2022 Reading Challenge (100%) I will update my challenge in 2022 to read more books. With be luck! 😉

Do the 2022 Challenge too:

“2022 Reading Challenge: Set (and easily track) your reading goals for the new year with our annual challenge” — Goodreads


Maureen’s books in 2021

I’ve read 17 books total in 2021, but these books below Goodreads didn’t add them to the list (WHAT?!). Weird.
First here’s the list that Goodreads didn’t add in 2021:

The Midnight Library (by Matt Haig)

Nothing to See Here (by Kevin Wilson)

Britt-Marie Was Here (by Fredrik Backman)

Brat: An ’80s Story (by Andrew McCarthy)

In Five Years (by Rebecca Serle)

Next, here’s Goodreads list of what I’ve read in 2021:

And best books (I think):

The Midnight Library (by Matt Haig)

The One (by John Marrs)

Paradise: The Town’s Struggle … (by Lizzie Johnson)

Nothing to See Here (by Kevin Wilson)

Ghosted (by Rosie Walsh)

This Time Next Year (by Sophie Cousens)

(Not sponserd by Audible, but thank you Audible anyway)