Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah & Happy New Year

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To all of you who supported me by visiting my blog this year and leaving comments or giving feedback verbally, I want you to know how much it’s meant to know you took the time out of your busy schedule to do so.

To those of you who have followed me, in spite of the fact that I have been learning a lot from you, I appreciate your willingness to come along for the ride although I haven’t been as consistent as I wanted to be this year.

And those of you whom I’ve chosen to follow, let me tell you how much you’ve inspired me to keep on going and to develop that next post even when there were img_1496periods of extreme physical pain to overcome.  I’m looking forward to putting some of that agony behind me in the future, having recently had surgery, so I believe I will have more time to write.  Thank you for helping me to be brave, motivated and to keep going.  Your poetry, your beautiful prose have empowered me. And finally, to my husband who always takes the time to add eyeballs to anything I do, I thank you for being there.

Happy Holidays to you out there in blogosphere and your families, wherever you are.  Stay inspired keep sharing your work.  You never know when you will touch someone with your words.

 

Gemma

Photos of Florida sunrise & sunset courtesy of Bruce.

 

Lies, Fake News & Falsehoods

It seems that telling the truth is only something we do when we can no longer hide our falsehoods.  There are times when lies are useful – such as when doctors think it useful to conceal from a patient how ill they  truly are; or when a surprise is planned and a little white lie is appropriate to make the secret successful.

Very often our leaders and politicians get a pass on making irrational promises or reneging on commitments, without giving much forethought to the impracticality of their applications and don’t pay the consequences. Several frequent occurrences by sports organizations allowing athletes to break records while using steroids and concealing these facts for years,  is now creating concerns that call for investigations into our testing standards and dictate a definite need to question our moral values.

Deceitful marketing has long been a practIce of retailers who continue to advertise their goods at markdowns listed below false stated prices, giving the impression to customers that they are getting a discount.  It is hardly surprising then that fake news should rise to prominence now, and cause the reactions we are witnessing from people who assume these reports are credible. Conspiracy theories abound with spins on everything that emerges from the recent political campaign promises. Technology to check these stories, although it exists is not yet in place to weed out inaccuracies fast enough.

In the interim, we must be vigilant and careful about what we retweet, and what we repeat. So much of our news is derived from the Internet, that we need to use reliable sources and when in doubt check with sites like http://www.snopes.com or http://www.FactCheck.org for verification of our data.

Above are some spectacular pictures of Florida sunsets.

Election fact or fiction

We’ve all been barraged by stories of sexual assault recently in the media, which the alleged predator dismisses as “fiction.”  I would be remiss if I glossed over the controversial topic without adding a few comments of my own.

As someone who has been a victim of unreported sexual assault, I understand why these women never stepped forward to report the incidents in the first place.  At the time (think about twenty years ago), women who did not have a witness or a police report to substantiate their claims of assault or rape, knew that they would have their cases dismissed as hearsay and that the predator, if well-known in the community, would have the last word.  Allegations of wanting to sue for money were a common defense by predators, and the humiliation in Court was not worth the shame.

I know that my own experience of having a doctor force himself on me and kiss me on the mouth during my hospital stay when I was immobile with crippling back pain, would have been a difficult one to prove.  The curtain was drawn, I was alone with the doctor and totally helpless and in shock when it happened. Needless to say, after I was discharged I never returned to that doctor for follow-up care.

Anita Hill changed the course for women in 1991 when she testified at the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his obscene sexual harassment during the time of her employment as his assistant.  She empowered us to come forward and speak out against the disgusting, unwanted solicitations we encounter in the workplace and in society at large, but unfortunately there are still several who remain untouched by the sensibility of sexual assault and its effects on women, although there may be female members in their own families.

This post is not meant to influence anyone’s decision in the upcoming election.  It is only meant to share a painful experience that I know is similar to what many others have endured, and were helpless to do anything about.  It is meant to empathize with those women who chose to speak out and are afraid of recrimination or dismissal.  Perhaps, there are some of you who failed to listen in the past, but would listen today?

 

 

 

FICTION WRITING EXPANDS OUR HUMANITY

The following video has deep meaning for me and I wanted to share it in light of the disturbing events of the past week.  I have few words for the depravity that occurred, and think that a solution to resolve the problem can only take place after in-depth soul searching and discussion on many levels.  So in the meantime, I mourn just like everyone else for the loss caused by the actions of both the cops and the deranged individual who retaliated.  If we could only stop talking past each other and try to understand how each side feels, perhaps we could establish meaningful dialogue and show love for each other. Isn’t that what humanity is about?

I think that reading fiction can expand our humanity, but maybe there’s no value for such pursuits in our lives.  Perhaps at a later time we will take the time to reflect on these events and evaluate the effects of social media on our psyche.  Watch this video and feel free to comment.

 

 

Leaving Florida

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Each year that I spend in Florida, offers enriching new experiences. I have been fortunate to find interesting people who I meet in the course of my daily activities and in some cases, form personal     relationships with. Then there are artists whose work I hear about and immensely enjoy listening to or viewing at a performance. For these reasons, it becomes difficult to leave when I have to make my way back to the Jersey Shore for summer.  There is a brief period of mourning for the loss of my new found friends and the camaraderie we’ve shared. Needles to say, the exhaustion that goes with the upheaval of packing up and moving in either direction requires a great deal of recovery time.

 

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We can all make new discoveries every day that we step outside our homes, and I was privy to some writers’ workshops in Florida this year, one of them being a mystery writer, Miriam Auerbach who became successful at incorporating humor into her writing. She’s written a series of mysteries, if you would like to check out her humorous mysteries.  Feel free to leave your comments.

 

 

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There is much to experience in South Florida as a result of the many diverse cultures.   There is a unique perspective of artists’ thoughts and ideas through self-expression, and the appreciation shown by audiences for the creation of this fusion of regional and cultural art form, helps promote a welcoming environment in which to tell their stories.

 

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With influences from as far as Africa and as close as Haiti, Cuba and the Latin American countries, as well as Brazil, the West Indies and Mexico, Miami is a veritable melting pot of cultures. Art Basel is an internationally famous annual exhibition, attended by thousands – so be patient and plan months in advance, if you wish to go. The competition is fierce, and the spectacular art displays are composed of unique  and interesting media, with new design concepts being introduced each year.  Much can also be said about the gastronomic experiences of Miami.  They truly reflect the diversity of the city and prices run the gamut.

Why do I keep writing?  Well, it gives me an opportunity to meet great writers like the beautiful woman who I ran into and learned that she had published a children’s story book. She was very encouraging and gave me some direction with my novel (in progress). Another talented photographer, Bruce enjoys watching the beautiful sunrises and changes in the weather,  and has agreed to let me share some of his beautiful photos, which you can see in this post.  I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. Life goes on in beautiful South Florida as it does at the Jersey Shore.  I’ve decided to stop mourning and get used to it!

 

 

Why Guernica Still Matters — Discover

“But what Picasso’s Guernica reminds us is this: these aren’t bugs, but real human beings — with real lives — that are being ripped apart.” Andrew Engelson examines why Guernica remains relevant, nearly 80 years later.

via Why Guernica Still Matters — Discover – This article expresses most appropriately, the unrest we see around the world today and we cannot continue to overlook the part we play by masking our actions with euphemistic platitudes and hiding behind drone strikes and the actions of our allies. Read on ………..

AMAZING WOMEN

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on some of the women I know who exhibit special unique skills.  When I drill down deeper to determine why I admire  these women I find that they have made outstanding contributions to society.  While they may not enjoy the celebrity that will make them famous, they will always remain unsung heroes to those for whom they’ve served.

I wanted to draw attention to one such person who I have come to know and admire. Here I highlight one reason why I realize she is so special.

When you’ve been blessed, be a blessing to others,”

so says Dr. Kerlyne Guerrier as she agrees to be interviewed by me about an event that made a life-changing difference to her a few years ago.  Her visit to earthquake-ravaged Haiti in 2010.
Dr. Guerrier is an Optometrist by day and a parent of two, who manages her patients diligently between two locations in New Jersey, regardless of the weather. She tells me she has always dreamed of helping the people of Haiti – her homeland – in some way, but the demands of caring for her family and maintaining her profession did not allow her the time to gather the resources she needed to make that dream a reality and traveling distance made it difficult to plan such a venture.
The Earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010 presented Dr. Guerrier with the right set of circumstances to make the trip to Haiti happen. Her Church had set up a branch location after the earthquake hit, and was doing everything possible to provide aid for the many people who were devastated in its wake.

Having the infrastructure already in place and accommodations available, it was easier to plan a trip with a destination in mind, knowing that the logistics would be securely monitored. Dr Guerrier and her son set out on a mission that would be a life long memory. While there, she not only provided vision care, but also helped feed and counsel women and young girls on social and health issues.

“They (the helpers) worked in groups with kids from 3 to 18 years old. The kids were provided two meals a day. They were taught the Bible and the love of God. They were given the opportunity to do Arts and Crafts and other educational activities which they were extremely happy to do.”
There were many lessons learned that Dr. Guerrier would never forget:
“…..the happy expressions on their faces, although they possessed so very little.”

Dr. Guerrier also states that “The blessing that she received from the earthquake victims, is so much more than anything that she could have given.”

During encounters like these, connections are made between people that one never forgets.

“One such encounter happened with a young lady who volunteered to read the scriptures and was usually very quiet and sad most of the time, due to her mother’s illness. She was very intelligent and mentioned that her wish was to one day become a nurse.”

Dr. Guerrier presented her with some notebooks and found that during her spare time, she was using these notebooks to write poetry, in the midst of all the chaos. The talents of this young lady did not go unnoticed and the two have now formed a permanent bond.            Dr. Guerrier was so struck with the commitment and dedication she witnessed in this young lady, that she is now mentoring and assisting her remotely, to help her achieve her educational goals.

“A dream came through for one person and is allowing someone else to fulfill their dream.”

Dr. Guerrier plans to revisit Haiti to provide vision care in the near future.