Memes Matter, #1

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I’m launching a series of memes as conversation starters on social media (namely, Facebook and Twitter) with messages that are relevant to the subject matter of my memoir this month, which marks the one-year anniversary of my book’s release.

It’s my way of drawing attention to how we all need to “turn to, not on,” each other with respect and dignity. Creating a world in which we accept and embrace sexual diversity can make a difference and encourage individuals to come to terms with their sexual identity early on.

Here’s the first meme (image credit: Pexels.com). What do you think?

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Podcast Adventure

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I’m delighted to introduce you to the “In The Ladies’ Room with Dr. Donnica” podcast series, hosted by Dr. Donnica Moore. She dares to explore a wide range of topics related to women’s health and all things personal with an open mind, a sense of adventure, and a sparkling personality.

Dr. Donnica invited me to share some intimate details about my love story. You can find out for yourself at this first link (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ678hnVNDw&feature=youtu.be 

or this link (audio only): http://intheladiesroomwithdrdonnica.libsyn.com/website

or this link (for those with iTunes access): https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/in-the-ladies-room-with-dr-donnica/id1330779402?mt=2&i=1000416680037

You can learn about my own memorable experiences in the ladies’ room during the first 5 minutes of the podcast. Then follow the twists and turns of our hour-long conversation to discover how it all turns out.

Not only am I thrilled to be a guest on “In The Ladies’ Room with Dr. Donnica” (episode 56), but I’m now a fan of her podcasts. I’m working my way through listening to all of them. [Tip: I listen during my daily workouts so I can exercise both my body and my mind at the same time. It’s easy to keep exercising beyond my initial time period because I want to keep listening.]

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My first podcast!

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Celebrating Diversity

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I recently crossed paths with this splendid picture book written by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Laure Fournier, and published by Albert Whitman & Company (May 2018). Available at your local bookstore or via amazon.

With its eye-catching artwork and lyrical flow of words, this book can help set the upbeat tone for all of us to “turn to, not on” each other. It’s a meaningful book for children, their parents, and their Sunday School teachers. Why? “Because God created diversity.”

I fell in love with this book at first glance. It’s fun to flip through the pages and find an image that resembles your own loved ones. Yes, images include people wearing sunshine yellow clothes (my favorite to color-coordinate with my own book cover).

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I Love Book Groups!

Hannah Kerwin photo taken 5.10.18

When book groups ask for the inside scoop, I’m happy to talk about my book title, cover design, and more about my memoir writing journey. Photo by Hannah Kerwin, May 2018.

 

Walking into a room full of people who have already read my book and want to talk about their reading experience is pure bliss!

Here are some proposed discussion questions to start a lively conversation:

  • What are three adjectives to describe your experience reading The Straight  Spouse: A Memoir?
  • Was there anything you found surprising about this love story?
  • Did this book help you develop empathy for the person who is married to someone who struggles with sexual identity and turns out to be gay?
  • Was there a specific scene or passage from the book that has left a lasting impression on you?
  • What are some of the “loose ends” or unanswered questions you have about this story?
  • Did reading this book make you think any differently about the subject matter?
  • Would you recommend this book to other readers?

Yes, many people still love to read books, including memoirs. I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to make author visits to book groups. I listen carefully to what readers have to say. Everyone has something important to share. Book readers are the best kind of people to hang out with these days.

Blessed are they who participate in book discussion groups!

 

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Lonely as a Cloud?

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Yes, I bring my book along wherever I go!
I give thanks for the words of this classic poem by William Wordsworth:
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils…”
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Books Are My Friends

My book on New Nonfiction Shelf at Warren Library, Warren, NJ

My book sitting pretty on the New Nonfiction shelf at Warren Library, Warren, NJ

Books Are My Friends

“We cherish books even if unread; their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access, reassurance.”—Alfred Edward Newton

I surround myself with books

—some sorted by subject

alphabetized on bookshelves

some planted on my bedside table

or teetering in piles on the floor—

all waiting for my undivided attention

to make me cry or laugh

slow to anger or scared to death

most of them are eager to convey

a full range of emotions

and, most of all, to be memorable

 

I take them or leave them

depending on my momentary fancy

just having them in my midst calms me:

a lifetime of stimulation

a fortress against the onset of boredom

a sanctuary to keep my mind sharp

 

woe to anyone who claims

“you have too many” or

“just more clutter in your life” or

“that one is too old” or

“you haven’t touched that one in ages”

 

I have chosen each one in a thoughtful manner

I handle each with care

I do not carelessly lend them to others

I fret when they wander away

 

when spineless humans abandon me

I find refuge in books

life may crush me

but books nourish and protect me

from unplanned admissions

to a local psychiatric institution

[Poem by Vivian Fransen first published in The Writers Circle Journal Volume 1 2012]

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On the Radio

I’m delighted to share some good news: I was the featured guest on the hour-long Mental Health Matters, a local program co-hosted by Tracy Ecclesine Ivie and Larry Cartwright on Monday, March 5, 2018.

Grab your favorite beverage and relax as you listen to this lively conversation. Or give a listen during your exercise workout. Note: The first 3:30 minutes and last 6 minutes are news, a weather report, announcements, and commercials. The program begins at 3:30 minutes, and I start talking at 6:30 minutes. Here’s the link:

http://www.hunterdonchamberradio.com/Radio_Shows/Mental_Health_Matters/Mental_Health_Matters-2018-03-05_07.mp3

Special thanks to the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce for its support over the years of this award-winning Mental Health Matters program!

This experience was another “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” opportunity to apply what Anne Lamott says to my approach for spreading the word:

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

Vivian and book March 2018

Yes, I color coordinate with my book cover by wearing sunshine yellow.
Photo by Gemini Universal LLC, March 2018.

 

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