Archive for April, 2011

When I Write… I Must Sacrifice

Unfortunately, I do not write as much as I should. I have some talent, and some say a way with words. There are things I concentrate on more than writing practice.

I am an avid reader. This year I have read forty-five books and they have not been thin volumes. I will read instead of taking time to write.

I have responsibilities that take up a large amount of my time: chores, shopping, caring for Mom and the dogs, and cooking. I also spend many moments computing: checking and answering email, chatting with my son, Alex, who is a U.S. Marine, updating and checking Facebook, and posting to Twitter and reading the posts of those I follow.

The truth is these pursuits do not prevent my writing. I could read and compute less, easily finding time to devote to writing, but I am not motivated to do so, because I enjoy reading and computing. Writing is exhausting mental work. It is much easier to take information in than to formulate meaningful sentences, which will hold the attention of another person. Often I think of writing, but am not inspired with a topic upon which to expound. I can come up with a 140-character thought to post to Twitter and Facebook, but going beyond that is more difficult.

I have a plethora of books on the art and craft of writing, and could probably find inspiration in some of those. I know I should write if I ever intend to produce work of value. I am so afraid of writing something of inferior quality that I avoid writing much at all.

I love writing and find it very satisfying. I feel a need to put my words into a permanent form, but I rarely make the sacrifice required to accomplish that goal. Perhaps there is an element of laziness in this shirking of effort.

I am sincerely considering reading less so that I may devote more time to writing. That would be a huge sacrifice to me because reading is one of my greatest joys.

If you write, what do you sacrifice to put out your words ?

Jo Ann


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Note to Writers and Authors

I am an avid reader and I write. I do not know that I will ever be widely published because I have a great fear of failure. That stymies my creativity.

Today, I speak directly to writers and authors. I love reading and spend much of my time perusing the pages of books and eBooks. I am a kind reviewer, giving many of the books I read the highest ratings. However, I find it very distracting to read poorly edited books. To come upon one or two mistakes in a text is forgivable, but when pages are riddled with wrong words, omitted words, and grammatical problems, it pulls me out of the story. I see how careless the writer has been and how little respect he/she has for the reader. I like to give indie authors a chance when I read on my Kindle, but many of these eBooks appear to be totally unedited. The story may be marvelous, but the craft should be attended to as well.

I know most of us write on computers these days, and am thankful for spell-check. Even with the marvelous aids given by technology, a careful reading of what is written is required. If you, as a writer, lack the skill to recognize your own mistakes, have someone with some knowledge of English read over your work and suggest corrections. Please have enough respect for your readers to produce clear copy. You will earn more repeat readers by so doing.

I hope this will make an impression on those who are self-publishing, and even those with publishers.

Jo Ann

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I Don’t Care Either…

I received this as a forwarded email. I thought it worth passing along here.

Thought you might like to read this letter to the editor of a British national newspaper. Ever notice how some people just seem to know how to write a letter?

Here is a woman who should run for Prime Minister!

Written by a housewife, to her daily newspaper. This is one ticked off lady.

“Are we fighting a war on terror or aren’t we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores in July 2002, and in New Your, September 11, 2001 and have continually threatened to do so since?

Were people from all over the world, not brutally murdered that day in London, and in downtown Manhattan, and in a field in Pennsylvania?

Did nearly three thousand me, women and children die a horrible burning or crushing death that day, or didn’t they?

And I’m supposed to care that a few Taliban were claiming to be tortured by a justice system of the nation they come from and are fighting against in a brutal insurgency.

I’ll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11 and 7/7>

I’ll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere belief of which is a crime punishable by beheading in Afghanistan.

I’ll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for hacking off Nick Berg’s head while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed throat.

I’ll care when the cowardly so called ‘insurgents’ in Afghanistan come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques and behind women and children.

I’ll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of Nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

I’ll care when the British media stops pretending that their freedom of speech on stories is more important than the lives of the soldiers on the ground or their families waiting at home to hear about them when something happens.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a British soldier roughing up an insurgent terrorist to obtain information, know this:

I don’t care.

When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take this to the bank:

I don’t care.

When I hear that a prisoner – who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and ‘fed special food’ that is paid for by my taxes – is complaining that his holy book is being ‘mishandled,’ you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts:

I don’t care.

And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s spelled ‘Koran’ and other times ‘Quran.’ Well, believe me, you guessed it…

I don’t care!”

If you agree with this viewpoint, pass this on to all your friends. Sooner or later, it’ll get to the people responsible for this ridiculous behavior!

If you don’t agree, then by all means ignore it. Should you choose the latter, then please don’t complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great country! And may I add:

‘Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. Our soldiers don’t have that problem.’

I have another quote that I would like to add, AND… I hope you forward all this,

Only five defining forces have ever offered to die for you:

1. Jesus Christ
2. The British Soldier
3. The Canadian Soldier
4. The U.S. Soldier
5. The Australian Soldier

One died for your soul, the other four for your freedom.

You might want to pass this on, as many seem to forget about all of them.


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A Review of A Book I Loved

If you are looking for an excellent gift for the readers in your life on Mother’s Day, I believe you will make them very happy if you give them this superb book.

The Other Life by Ellen Meister is the most beautiful book I have read in years. The story is full of love, pain, joy, and triumph. The characters touch the heart and make one cheer. The choice between two lives is portrayed with great care.

What if you could step from one reality to another? How would you choose between those you love? The choice to go into a life where there is less personal turmoil would tempt anyone, especially if the other life held someone very dear. Quinn is faced with no easy choices. She lives honestly and goes through a huge dilemma deciding her fate and that of those she loves.

I give this book my highest recommendation. I believe the story will touch your heart and make you think. There is so much contained within the covers of this volume. The secondary characters are well developed and presented with loving consideration. Go get this book and read it, you will not regret a single moment you spend with this splendid tale.

Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

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A Bit of My History with Mental Illness

I have lived with diagnosed mental illness since 1981. When I look back, I know it began before then. The bullying I was subjected to throughout my school years, the consistent yelling and fighting that went on between my parents and the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my father negatively affected me and does to this day. I have forgiven those that hurt me, but the damage lingers ingrained in my personality, my emotions, and my mind.

I married at sixteen, hoping that would end some abuse, but because my husband and I lived for a time in my parents’ home nothing really changed. We finally moved out and I was away from my father, so some trauma eased. There were serious problems in the marriage and it fell apart. The divorce was driving me insane and then I was given drugs that caused my first huge psychiatric breakdown in 1981. My mother and brother rescued me. I nearly died and without the prayers of thousands of people, I would never have made it. The doctors told my family that I would be a vegetable, but God had other plans.

I moved back into my parents’ home and the sexual abuse began again. My father was a master manipulator, who kept me in fear so I never revealed what was happening to me. He hid all his deviousness from my mother, so she was never aware of his monstrous acts. Threats kept me scared to say anything even when he was convicted of child molestation with other children. I also feared that the father I deeply loved would be taken out of my life forever and did not know how my mother and I would survive without my father’s financial support.

I was originally diagnosed with severe Paranoid Schizophrenia. I was on medication for a while, but because of the cost and the severe side effects, I did not remain on it long. I worked and lived at home where I was tormented for several years. I was in and out of mental wards and on and off medication.

When the opportunity to move in with a co-worker presented itself, I quickly accepted. That situation was not a good one and I moved back to my parents’ home after a short time. I then moved in with a boyfriend and that worked until he began mistreating me. I went back to my parents’ home, worked and suffered. Another boyfriend invited me to Chattanooga, Tennessee to live with him and marry.  That went well for a while. He was determined I keep a job so I went to High Point, North Carolina and sold Kirby vacuums door to door. The situation there was not ideal and my mother came to get me. I moved back to Chattanooga with my boyfriend. I was not on medication and became pregnant in 1987. My boyfriend wanted me to have an abortion, but I was afraid I might never get pregnant again, and did not believe in abortion, so I fought for my baby. My boyfriend and I married, but he warned me it was a two-year trial marriage. Alex was born on May 16, 1988, and I devoted my life to him, and trying to please my husband. Before the two years were over my husband demanded a divorce. He would allow me to continue to live with him, but we would no longer be married. Alex and I went back to my parents’ home and the abuse began again. I had another mental breakdown including hospitalization and went back on medication for a short time.

I recovered enough to get a decent management job, and met my third husband. We lived in my parents’ basement, but most of the abuse stopped. I was overworked in my job and very sleep deprived. Eventually it led to my having a mental breakdown, at this point my diagnosis was changed to Schizo-Affective Disorder. My boss unfairly fired me terminating my excellent health and disability benefits. I was not able to go back to work. My parents moved to Douglas County, where my brother, James, lived. They left us to rent their house in Mableton with our payments going toward purchasing the house. We lived happily for quite a while, but in 1996 my nephew, Jim, was killed in a car accident, and my father died of an aneurism shortly afterward. I had been living without medication and the stress caused me to have problems. Our marriage fell apart, and I was again hospitalized. While the divorce was going on, I applied for Social Security Disability at the recommendation of my doctors. I finally began receiving benefits in 1997 after moving back with my Mom. I stayed on my medication and lived quite well. Alex and I were quite happy.

I continued to communicate with my third ex-husband and we recovered our relationship in 1999. Alex and I moved into his home. I became pregnant with twins and stopped taking my medication. The twins had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Melissa Faith died and the neo-natal doctors urged me to terminate Katherine Rose because there were extremely high risk factors for her and myself. In one of the hardest decisions I ever made, I chose to terminate the pregnancy. My mental state declined and I disobeyed a rule my ex had made. He kicked us out of the house and put all our belongings on the carport, subsequently those things were stolen. I over dosed on medication trying to kill myself because I felt there was no hope for me. I wound up in the hospital and was put back on medication. Alex and I tried living with my brother, Melvin, but that was a total disaster and I asked my Mom if we could come back to her home. She agreed.

Shortly after we moved in with her, Mom was stung by twenty-seven yellow jackets and she had a mini-stroke. Her health began to decline, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and she was restricted from driving because of the mini-strokes. I became her primary caregiver. My brother, James, was diagnosed with lung cancer. My brother, Melvin, learned my father had molested my nieces, my friend, and I. He and his wife, Carol, cut off all contact with my Mom and brother, James. They claim it is my Mom’s fault my father abused us. They declare she is just as guilty as he was. When I finally asked Mom if she knew my father had abused us, she said no. I believe my Mom because she has never been a liar. Carol continued to communicate with me by email, but I finally decided if they could no longer visit my Mom and James that I did not need to be in contact with them.

Thanks to my Mom and brother, James, I was able to raise Alex to become a fine young man. He is a United States Marine serving our country. James died on March 15, 2009 after a prolonged illness in which Mom and I provided a great deal of his care. I promised James I would take care of Mom and I intend to do it to the best of my ability.

I am very fortunate that I am controlled on medication right now. Even with it, I have some impairment, but it is not obvious in most interactions. I realize it, and am aware that I am having difficulties, but others may not.

Right now, there are things that are stressing me terribly. Without my Social Security Disability Income, Medicare, and medically needy Medicaid I could not survive. I am afraid of cuts to these programs. My Mom is seriously ill and experiencing a worsening of symptoms and effects right now, and as her full-time caregiver I am under a lot of stress. I had my last significant breakdown in April 2005 and for most with my condition the best case without one is five years, many are hospitalized at least every two years. I am therefore “living on borrowed time” so to speak. Stress and lack of sleep can push me over the edge, and I have had a bit of both going on recently.

I actually do some writing at times. There is a bit of my work posted in my notes on Facebook and more on my blog at . I often think there is a book in me, but my self-esteem is not strong enough to support that kind of sustained effort. I have actually gotten to the point where most of my writing is done in 140 characters or less on Twitter and simultaneously posted to Facebook via TweetDeck. I also have some editing and publishing experience because I desktop published a magazine some years back.

I have a very strong faith in Jesus Christ and I credit that belief with getting me through much of the distress I have encountered in life. I, however, have difficulty with doing some things associated with faith. I am very uncomfortable in crowds, so I do not regularly attend church. I have a huge amount of paranoia and tend to persecute myself so reading scripture can cause me problems. I can become convinced I am going to Hell and have horrible nightmares. I have to be careful. I do study the Bible, but I have to do it in small bits and make sure I do not linger too long in the very negative passages.

I hope this gives some insight. I really do not know how to express these things very well. Until recently, I have been terribly afraid to discuss any of this. Some people have no empathy and cannot relate or understand and I do not like to stir up hate.

Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

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