life, Love and Connection, mindset, relationships, Romance

Relationship Power-Struggles? It May be Time to Surrender to Love

Let’s talk about love connection, baby.


“Surrender isn’t about being passive. It’s about being open.”

— Danielle LaPorte

Remember when you used to play that game of tug-of-war as a kid? You willingly chose to place yourself in a situation where two people or factions fought to keep or obtain the same thing. Love can often feel like a game of tug-of-war. It’s that push-pull dynamic between a couple that usually causes more harm than good. But tug-of-war only works if both sides pull on the rope and struggle fiercely — if one side let’s go of the rope, it’s game over — there is no longer a tug-of-war.

The same rule applies to the game of love.

The inevitable moment will come when every couple engages in some kind of power struggle. We go from completely giving ourselves over to a new lover at the beginning of a relationship, to the sometimes-messy task of establishing a sense of equilibrium and balance.

Kind of like an emotional game of tug-of-war.

I was super young when I fell for the guy who eventually became my first husband. At the time, it wasn’t long before I was head-over-heels in love with him, spending every free moment together between the long hours working as an apprentice in a hair salon.

He didn’t hide the fact that he was utterly captivated by me, showing his adoration through attentiveness, surprising me with gifts and often talking about the future. He came across as thoughtful, gentle and kind, and he declared his love for me quite early on in the relationship.

It was the famous “honeymoon” phase in the love-game that precedes the power-struggle stage of a union.

Actually, this “balancing” phase of a relationship is necessary and important. Not only is this period the part when you get to fully work out your lover’s true intentions and motivations for the future of the relationship, but the push-pull dynamic is where you will truly find love’s foundations — the stability and security within the relationship that allows you to establish trust with your heart enough to carry it forward. Then, you can get back to your normal life after surviving the sexy love-storm (well, somewhat).

Not to mention that you might even discover a surprise or two about your lover during this stage. Like those personality quirks you didn’t realize existed until now . . .

Hmm . . . Why the hell does he flush the toilet 2/3 of the way through peeing so that there is still a little bit of pee left in the loo after it’s done flushing?

Such is the mystery of love (and men), but let’s talk about . . .

Love Games

Author of The Love Gap, Jenna Birch knows that power-struggles in relationships can take on different forms: “Sometimes, they come from the place of believing you’re right and your partner’s wrong, and you both should get your way entirely — because it’s ‘the best way’”.

You knowthe best way isn’t always the right way. Besides that, someone wise once said that “two wrongs don’t make a right”, right?

We all know it even when we pretend that we don’t.

As with every situation, we find ourselves in life recognizing when you are in midst of the power-struggle phase is the first step toward gaining clarity and resolution over said dynamic — provided that you’re both reasonable adults, of course.

The blame-game sucks, yes?

Agreed.

So, if you aren’t prepared, this rocky little path can fast lead toward ridiculous accusations, dumbass denial and multi-rounds of that dreadful blame-game.

I love you, for sure.

He said.

The dynamic usually reveals itself as the intrinsic need to self-affirm and assert oneself on the many levels encompassing the relationship. It can even eventuate as a long-term love/hate power-trip game if we’re not careful.

I’m sure you know how it goes — a certain whiff of self-centeredness rears its ugly head and suddenly, you’re going loggerheads with your beloved.

If you aren’t ready for and aware of it, accusations bordering on ludicrous may fly like doves on speed in both directions.

How it plays out is determined by the maturity of the couple. That, and how much each person has opened themselves to the relationship at the height of the “love-bubble” period.

Red Flags

If both people have the proper emotional tools at hand, this emotional war for power doesn’t have to be too draining — but “emotional tools” equate to a certain level of emotional maturity.

That doesn’t mean you or your partner have all the answers, but it does mean that you both have the skill-set to keep your cool when things become stormy, and that’s important in love.

Personally, I think that this “power-struggle” period of a relationship is the perfect time to flush out and recognize any “red flags” about your partner’s behavior and personality that you may have missed during the initial love-drunk stage.

Toxic and controlling behavior like treating you like a child, unpredictable outbursts, lecturing, blame and trivializing your feelings.

For instance, looking back at this period of time with my first husband, I can clearly point out those above-mentioned traits as well as his need to monitor my every move, treat me to unbearably long lectures and show his ever-growing jealousy.

I just wish that I had the sense of personal power and wisdom to follow my intuition at the time. As it was, I went ahead and married him despite the red flags.

More from Birch:

“Usually, relationships work best when someone takes the lead and the other person is more flexible or fluid.”

In other words, to truly love is to participate in a generous slice of give and take backed up with the ability to compromise and demonstrate the patience, empathy and tolerance that is required to successfully navigate the power-play stage — these rich human characteristics are a part of what it means to love with compassion, and all without slapping conditions and blame on your lover.

Birch says that if you want to overcome the power-struggle, “it’s important to recognize when it’s best to push and pull back”.

That way, your turn to have your way and say will come.

The real secret to winning the love game is how far you’re willing to surrender to love, not your lover.

Surrender to Love

Surrendering to love doesn’t mean that you give up your power and become someone’s doormat, or even placing yourself at the mercy of your lover’s whims.

What I am suggesting is that you take the philosophy that empowers you and enhances your own inner-connectedness — to yourself and your lover — the high road on the journey of love.

No one ever really wins at a power-struggle. There are only losers of the heart.

Every harsh word. Each accusation. Every single act of rage, gaslighting, emotional blackmail or punishment — all of those interactions contribute to slowly corroding the quality of your relationship and stripping the connection of trust over time.

Love is more worthy. You are more worthy.

You’ve got to remember that you always have a choice about how you respond to your lover and how you perceive any given situation, no matter how intense and emotional things become between you — you have a choice.

My ex-husband possessed neither the emotional tools nor mindset to overcome his toxic, argumentative ways of being in the world, never searching inside of himself to become a better person, father and husband. This is a man who took no responsibility for the hurt and pain he caused others. Nor did he make an effort to control his emotional agitation or even try to understand me — who I was or the way I saw the world.

That’s the complete opposite of surrendering to love.

It was a choice that limited him, broke our relationship and damaged the actual process of love. Love cannot be manipulated like a puppeteer.

Love cannot be shackled to a kitchen sink and controlled with brute force or intimidation, either.

Surrendering to love means both people commit to the process of loving, regardless of the circumstances. It means honor between souls enough to cherish the quality of the connection while choosing to deepen the bonds through seeking out the most valuable gifts in each other.

It means allowing love to thrive in its natural state — being who you are and accepting and relishing those differences, believing in each other, and choosing to love to a higher beat than ever before.

Surrendering to love is one of the greatest secrets of the meaning of life because the way and the degree in which you choose to love is what will reflect back into and enrich your personal experiences — it is the selfless act of giving and opening yourself to the wonders of your heart-space — the place where amazing bits of you awaits your personal discovery within your lover’s heart and soul.

Beautify your life journey through deeper connection. Surrender to love.


This article was originally published by P.S I Love You on Medium

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life, writing

My Words Dried Up

by Catherine Evans


I’m just starting to find them again


Towards the end of 2019, my words stopped.

I had no words to express myself, my thoughts and feelings, about what was happening in Australia — bushfires, destruction, loss.

I still don’t have words to express that, or for the global pandemic that happened next. Nor for the chaos around the world, the illumination of broken of systems, and everything that is happening.

At the beginning, I panicked. A writer without words is pretty damn useless.

I took photos of nature while I turned inward, searching for what was blocking my words. Was I not voicing something? Was I not in touch with myself? Was there a fear of publishing? Some other fear? What was wrong with me?

As the year progressed, and words remained elusive, I thought about my learning style. When I do a writing course, I learn so much that I have to stop writing until I can process all the knowledge. It’s weird, but it’s how I work.

Living in tumultuous times is a form of learning. I’m constantly analyzing what I’m seeing, hearing, and learning. What’s causing this? What do I need to do now? How can I do better? What does this mean? These questions aren’t too dissimilar to what I ask myself when I’m learning new skills for writing.

My struggle to process, understand, adjust, and change, has left me with little energy to produce words. I’m still trying to understand what is happening — there’s no way I can produce words.


How did I manage?

A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to ‘go with the flow’. If words weren’t flowing, I needed to honor myself and spend the time doing something else.

I took the year off. After a time, I even stopped berating myself for my ‘failing’.

As 2020 inched towards a close, my fingers began to itch and my brain began to find a word or two. Nothing substantial, let me assure you, but a word, then a thought. Ideas started to pop into my mind. Characters left a snippet of a conversation behind.

I became ridiculously excited and planned writing, books, going back to what I was doing before.

Ha! Life. I think it may have other plans for me.

I got 5000 words into a planned 60, 000 word story…and it’s rubbish. Usually I can get much further before I decide that, then push on because I know it’s my fear talking. This time, I don’t think it’s fear. Not that I really know.

I suspect I’ve changed. If I’ve changed, then my writing will need to change because it’s such a strong part of me.

The problem with that is that I’m not yet sure how I’ve changed and what that means for my writing — and that’s more than a bit frustrating!


Now what?

Which brings me here, today, where I have a few words…but I’m not sure what they say, where they fit, what they mean, or why I’m writing them.

However, maybe there are others who’ve lost their words too. If so, you’re not alone.

If not, then I’m alone, and that’s okay because I’m still working things out. I do that best alone.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium


About Catherine Evans

From Medium: Catherine Evans is an Australian, writer and creator. Inspired by nature and living. Weird thoughts are entirely my own, and I know they’re often not like other people’s!

Browse Catherine Evans at her Website.


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Be inspired, life, mindset, People

The 8 Natural Qualities of Exceptionally Cool People

Cool isn’t just what you say, it’s what you do.


 Austin Powers. For some reason, the prolific 1960s spy who was unfrozen and thrust into an array of new assignments in a confusing ’90s world, is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of someone exceptionally cool — “Yeah, baby?”

Okay, so the main selling point of the film series was clearly imbued with the joyous sexism reminiscent of early Bond flicks, but no one can deny that the always-up-for a-good-time, lusting for life and love Austin Powers, was exceptionally cool in his own right.

Love him or hate him, Austin Powers is remarkably unique.

Have you ever observed someone and thought: “Whoa! That dude is so cool. I want to be like that.”

It is never because of what there are wearing, what they do for a living or what they own. It is because there is something about them that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Something you admire.

That’s how all exceptionally cool people are. Their way of being in the world — how they think, what they choose to do, and how they talk and move — is all part of their wildly different identity that draws others toward them.

If you’re anything like me, you may wonder how they got to be so damn cool. Is there a secret to being less-than-ordinary? Were these people just born with a magnetic personality?

Thankfully, we don’t have to be a shagadelic imitation of Austin Powers to be cool. That is because there is no one secret formula that separates what we call exceptionally cool people from the rest of us — it boils down to what and who they are, along with certain qualities that come naturally to them.

And it is something we can all easily learn and effectively reproduce in our own lives.


1. Cool is Friendliness

Sometimes it can feel as if the world is full of rude, ill-mannered and inconsiderate people.

That is very uncool.

The thing about the people we consider to be cool is that we appreciate them for their caring nature and willingness to treat others in the way they would like to be treated.

They will give you their undivided attention and you can sense their genuine interest in you. These kinds of people know that a friendly attitude makes a positive impact not only at an interpersonal level, but to the world as a whole.

Kindness creates a ripple-effect.

I don’t need to tell you that kind-hearted and friendly people attract more of the same into their lives, and that makes us want to spend more time getting to know them.

Applying the Friendliness Quality

Being kind and friendly makes you feel good about yourself — happier. Make an active choice to qualify any negative feelings with something that feels better.

All of us can take the initial move towards potential friendly behavior with others. We can all make a difference.

2. Cool is Confidence

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” — Nelson Mandala

To be clear, when I speak of confidence, I’m not talking about blind arrogance here — that’s another category altogether.

However, I am touching on the type of self-confidence and self-belief that is needed to have faith in your skills and creativity — the kind that helps you keep striving to realize your life goals and dreams.

Pretty cool.

Yes, cool people have their low days and self-doubts like everyone else, but they also have the ability to overcome the fear of the unknown, set their personal-bar high and follow through with the courage to start new things.

They are the type who continue to test their limits and skills, while forming new ideas in their quest to manifest their greatest desires. Even when those around them are still pondering how to get started.

We naturally admire these people.

Applying the Confidence Quality

Try not to confuse confidence with ego. Rarely does one equal the other. Believing in yourself is what allows you to rise up and reach your potential. Realize that self-belief has a cause-and-effect motion, exactly as Nelson Mandala said in the above-mentioned quote.

That is positive power imbued in exceptionally cool confidence.

3. Cool is Philosophy

Every exceptionally cool thought leader is a forward-thinking rebel by nature. These individuals don’t much care about authority and are fast to question the ideal moral framework with regards to traditionalism, “right human conduct” and conformity.

Austin Powers provides a groovy example of a revolutionary mindset:

“If we had known the consequences of our sexual liberation, we would’ve done things much differently, but the spirit would remain the same. It’s freedom baby.”

Those with a sense of inner-freedom are the type who naturally live their life knowing the truth of John Allen Paulos’s popular observation about life:

“The only certainty in life is uncertainty”

Very cool people are open-minded with a focus on what matters most to them — their quality, freedom and vision for life, regardless of what others think of them.

Applying the Philosophy-Quality

I’m not suggesting that you need to break the law, wave your protesting-pitchforks at the next “extremists” rally or host psychedelic orgies to be cool.

But do try to make the time for introspection — stretch your awareness to encompass self; go deep and ask the important questions — about yourself, the world and your life purpose.

Analyze stale societal conventions that may be holding you back.

You see, opening your mind to new ideas is what creates positive change, improved thought-patterns and ways of being. Philosophy in a nutshell.

4. Cool is Inspiration

Just by being who you are.

A quality many cool people demonstrate is the innate love to evoke inspiration as much as they are motivated by the inspirational qualities in others. They give and take in mutual balance as they willingly share what they know minus the airs and graces.

That is, without being condescending or expecting something in return.

I also think that cool people strive to bring out the best in you by showing trust in your potential and lending you words of encouragement. It just feels uplifting to be around someone like that; as if you don’t need to worry about being judged, scorned or undervalued, even when you mess up.

But the best thing about cool people is that they walk-the-talk — fully backing up their words with actions, showing you what you mean to them.

Real life cool people know the power in showing up for others.

We can all do that.

Applying the Inspiration Quality

Don’t do things for people and always expect the favor returned. Try not to say things you don’t mean or make promises you cannot keep.

Short and sweet — keep it real. That’s inspirational.

5. Cool is Desirable

We all want to feel seen, known, and cherished by others.

Right? It’s the feeling that drives us towards attaining love, intimacy and connection in our lives.

Attraction is the energy emanating from within that draws people closer to us. It creates desire, intrigue, and deeper connections in relationships.

What is often misunderstood about desire and attraction is the fact that it has very little to do with your outwardly appearance and everything to do with how you feel about yourself.

Attraction happens from the inside out.

One of the coolest guys I know dated my girlfriend for a number of years. He wasn’t overly attractive but he was smart with a voracious, magnetic personality, and he was funny as hell.

Humor is very cool. You know this.

Anyway, just being around my friend’s fella somehow switched my energy meter to high, and that made him a desirable person to hang out with.

Cool people are less likely to spend time trying to create an appearance that fits a particular aesthetic and more time cultivating an inner connection to who they are.

Applying the Desirable Quality

First, you must realize and internalize that desirability is not about what you wear but how you wear it, and it’s definitely not about what you do but how you do it.

Feeling like an attractive human being is about cultivating an inner-connection to who you are and standing strong within yourself as that person.

Appreciate and love who you are.

Self-love and self-care are key factors because when you feel good about yourself, others will find those same qualities highly appealing. And it’s desirable.

6. Cool is Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, express and control your emotions, and it is a very cool quality in a person.

Whether expressing honest feelings or dealing with a blow-up of some sort, it takes a certain level of intellectual capacity and self-awareness to remain “together” during the hard times.

Think about the people you consider to be cool. I bet you seldom see them acting out with anger, or slicing and dicing someone with harsh words when things don’t go their way.

Cool people keep their cool.

They understand the significance of staying under control when circumstances force them to burn out. They also realize their irrational response will achieve nothing other than to worsen the situation.

They work at dealing with problems by focusing on solutions, rather than losing their cool. And they make sure you know that you are important to them, regardless of the circumstances.

Applying Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is mindfulness-in-action — it’s the ability to empathize, communicate effectively and defuse conflict.

Be conscious of your inner-world and immediate responses by practicing mindfulness through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises; and paying attention to the moment, your body and your feelings.

7. Cool is the Language of Love

What sets exceptionally cool people apart from everyone else is that they see the good in others and don’t withhold expressing their love to the people they care about.

It touches our hearts so deeply to feel the truth and honesty of love.

Somehow, cool people are able to effortlessly touch you in the most meaningful and unexpected ways with their deepest truths, acts of humility and humble hearts. They are the type of people who show you beauty where you previously saw none, as well as restoring your faith where you most need it.

That’s what cool people do — they remind us to believe that we too are worthy of great love, beauty and kindness.

Applying the Language of Love

Truly exposing yourself to the language of love can be scary because you must allow yourself to become vulnerable. I totally get that.

However difficult it may seem, you have got to remember that love is worth every bit of putting yourself out there, as that’s what creates deeper connection and intimacy in your life experiences.

Exposing ourselves to great love and vulnerability takes courage — take a deep breath and dip your toes in a little at a time. Trust your intuition. Celebrate your ability to sense and experience love deeply in this lifetime.

That’s what makes you beautifully human.

8. Cool is Being Your Authentic Self

It may very well be impossible to always operate from your authentic self, but it is entirely possible to become aware of and connect with your authenticity. It is making the choice to merge with that immaculate, hidden part of yourself once again; learning who you really are and how to be true to that person.

Cool people know the value in authenticity and keep up the inner-work to be able to identify when their behavior or actions don’t align with their authentic nature. They realize that to experience a meaningful life is to fully embrace who they are, holding their inner-sanctuary in a place of love and forgiveness, along with the important people in their lives.

Exceptionally cool people empower others with their presence. They have a knack for making you feel cool, too, just by being around them.

Applying the Authentic Quality

To find your authentic self, you’ve got to dig beneath the layers of borrowed thought processes and learned behavior, social conditioning and expectations; as well as needless education and unnecessary moral policing.

Qualify every aspect of your life by honoring who you are. Accept, connect and strengthen how you choose to love yourself and others.

Being authentic takes real practice and effort, though it’s an important aspect of your humanity worth striving for.

Friendliness, confidence, philosophy, inspirational, desirable, emotional intelligence, love and authenticity, are all shared qualities that come naturally to exceptionally cool people.

But they won’t tell you that they are essentially good people. They won’t need to — their actions will speak loud and clear.

Now, that’s exceptionally cool.

Yeah, baby!


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Humor, life, mindset, sexuality, Women

How to Be Effortlessly Cool

Ode to the women who make it look easy

by Jennifer M. Wilson


This is a total bait and switch title. Did you think I was going to teach you how to be “effortlessly cool”? Hell no! I have no fucking clue how to be hip! Do cool people still say “hip”? 

I wish I were the type of woman who woke up, tossed on a vintage Ramones t-shirt (I don’t think I’ve ever even heard a song by them, that’s how uncool I am), some ripped skinny jeans and…crap I don’t know what shoes would go with that outfit without looking like I tried too hard.

I want to be the woman who just looks cool and fashionable without even trying. When the outfit looks flawless, everything seems to come together.


How do you define those women who look fabulous no matter what they wear? It’s like their clothes are a tribute to their essence and their soul. A woman who looks spectacular in a business suit might look ridiculous in the same summer romper worn perfectly on another.

For me to look good, it takes effort. I can look fantastic in that business suit too, but it won’t feel comfortable on me; it’ll feel like a costume. When I wear my “standard uniform” of skinny jeans and a weird t-shirt (usually made myself because I’m a crafting nerd with a Cricut), I don’t look “effortlessly chic”. I look homeless.

So if wearing what is comfortable doesn’t inherently make a person stylish, but dressing up doesn’t make them fashionable either…what is the special sauce for those that make it look so easy and perfect?


High school is one place you never want to stand out. At least, that was the case in the 1990s. This was the era of In Living Color, when J Lo was an unknown backup dancer. Baggy oversized sweatshirts. Overalls. Air Jordans. One girl in my school followed the beat of her own drum.

I jumped to my yearbook to remember her name. I’m looking through mobs of grainy black and white pictures (my GOD kids today are lucky Photoshop exists), figuring I probably wouldn’t recognize her. Nope. BOOM. Her gorgeous smile and bouncy blond curls popped out of the page.

Her name was Sarah.

She wore hippie-style outfits. Lots of peace signs and cartoon-y flowers. Nothing like our faux hip hop clothes. In our final year of high school, she decided she wouldn’t shave her legs. Did I mention that we had a Best Legs Competition? (yeah, that’s a little inappropriate in hindsight)

Of course, Sarah won. She had legs for miles and could pull off crazy knee-high socks with bright patterns.

Anyone else straying from the teen norm and growing leg hair would be a high school pariah. Not Sarah. She didn’t give a shit. She wore shorts and skirts. It wasn’t attention-seeking; she simply didn’t care. The rest of us girls were awestruck.

Is that the definition of being “effortlessly chic”?

I would look like a clown in Sarah’s outfits. But on her, it was like she walked out of an Abercrombie for Hippies catalog. Is the key that it’s something that feels natural to who you are? Not “comfortable” like my lazy jeans and t-shirt look. But “natural”, like comfortable to the wearer but spiced up a bit.

That might be the secret.


Purging her closet to embrace minimalism, a friend of mine gave me a bag full of clothes. She works in the entertainment industry so I trust her taste in fashion better than I do my own.

While there were things I didn’t keep, I held onto a fitted orange corduroy blazer. It sounds hideous, right? I kept it for years when one day, while heading out the door wearing the usual jeans and t-shirt uniform, I grabbed it on a whim. Surprisingly, it fit me perfectly. This jacket fits as if tailored custom for me.

As I walked around work that day, I received dozens of compliments on the jacket. Even a few male employees risked HR suspension by saying, “Wow…that color on you…you look great!” and “You look really good today.”

Had I unknowingly mastered “effortlessly chic” without knowing it?


Perhaps I’ve cracked the code: The key to looking effortlessly chic isn’t wearing comfortable clothes. It isn’t wearing clothes that are too dressed up for your style. It’s the intersection of your go-to outfits with pieces outside of your typical comfort zone. Not so much that you feel self-conscious; just enough to feel like you mixed it up a little outside of your norm.

What that in mind, scroll up to the picture at the top. Unsplash Photo Woman may be used to leather and high boots, but maybe wearing animal print isn’t her jam — Boom.

Effortlessly chic. Nailed it.


About Jennifer M. Wilson

From Medium: My midlife crisis and adventures along the way. I write because in real life my humor is allegedly too sarcastic and inappropriate.

Read more of Jennifer’s work on Medium: NinjaGirl@gmail.com


This post was also published by Living Out Loud on Medium.

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Creativity, life, mindset, Newsletter, writing

New Year Energy Revolution

Who and how do you want to be in the world now?


You’ve felt the universal lull lately. The void. In past months, you’ve succumbed to a sense of nothingness. Captured in a loop of indecisiveness. Loneliness or abandonment.

It is as if we’ve all been suspended in vain, waiting for the slightest sign… a shift…. an omen. Waiting to realize the healing secrets of the moon, illuminating a new path.

Haven’t we all been waiting for change?

Transformation is now

Planetary trends and universal energy point towards a new landscape for 2021 and beyond, suggesting new vibrations and energetic frequencies. Meaning great potential and opportunity for a whole new life experience.

“Riding on the crest of a grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, the atmosphere is high minded, hopeful and inspired.”

 Astrologist Belinda Dunn

The 2021 energy-revolution is an artisan time of huge creativity, harmonious collaborations and deep inner-trust, as we die to old ways of being, shed our stale skins and societal imprints to embrace the new and improved.

It is now time to stretch our wings in freedom to make choices from within about who we are, what we want, and whom we want to be with.

Saint Germain said:

“There is nothing that comes into the physical form which is not first perfected on the invisible or higher planes.”

In other words, how you perceive the world needs to be seeded from the inside. That’s what gives rise to a new sense of self and manifestation.

The January 2021 Revolution is about releasing old structures and mindsets that no longer serve us and allowing ourselves to go to the next level; thinking of what and who is most important to us and bringing in something new, better…. evolved.

Let’s celebrate harmonious collaborations, energetic revolutions and co-creation together.

This month, Living Out Loud invites writers to share our deepest dreams and strangest musings. Let us create, see, trust and support each other, and let us get a little wild.


Dear Writer,

Who do you want to be now? How do you want to affect the world? And who do you most want to share your life with during these transformative times?

Julia E Hubbel ♥ Gerthy Bingoly ♥ Catherine Evans ♥ Jennifer M. Wilson
Wistful writer ♥ Genius Turner ♥ Kate Mackay ♥ Harley Christensen
David Gerken ♥ Kevin Horton ♥ Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA ♥ Kate Conradie
Cynthia Webb ♥ Elna Cain ♥ Deeksha Agrawal ♥ Rosie Wylor-Owen
Christopher Wills ♥ Clarrisa Lee ♥ George Frey ♥ Matt Lillywhite
Beth Prentice ♥ Kaia Maeve Tingley ♥ Em Hoccane ♥ Ana Ryan
Kara Summers ♥ Michael Grimes ♥ Anna Foga
Albert Heemeijer — Author at Balboa / HayHouse ♥ Surbhi Tak
Ellen McRae ♥ Anna & Ryan ♥ HKB ♥ Amanda Clark-Rudolph

Love & 2021 Revolution,

Kim, Harley & Lexi

#RealLifeNow

P.S. A HUGE shout out to our wonderful writers who have contributed their stories to our little publication this past month. It’s an honor to share your work with the world.


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#LivingOutLoud

The Promise of Powerful Money Charms by Kim Petersen

How Have You Changed in 2020? by Jennifer M. Wilson

Walking Away From Negative Relationships by Michael Grimes

I’m Going BALD! by Julia E Hubbel

The Top Movie I Watched All Through 2020 by Julia E Hubbel

Wearing Make-Up: An Ongoing Battle With Society by Rosie Wylor-Owen

Humans and Humanity by Catherine Evans

Humans and Animals by Catherine Evans

The 8 Natural Qualities of Exceptionally Cool People by Kim Petersen

How The Four Happy Hormones Can Help Replenish Your Vitality by Gerthy Bingoly

Unearned Cheap Thrills are for Amateurs. by Julia E Hubbel


Creativity

#CreativeLocomotion #Poetry #fiction

My Guiding Light by Gerthy Bingoly

Where The Green Grass Grows by A.j Thomas

Helping Other Writers by Catherine Evans

Not Just a Writer by Catherine Evans

My Words Dried Up by Catherine Evans

The Perfection of Breathing by Catherine Evans

Writing Events and Conferences by Catherine Evans


Published at Living Out Loud on Medium

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life, Love and Connection, relationships

Is There Ever a Time to Deny Love?

Denial is not just a river in Egypt.


“What does love mean if we would deny it to others?”

― DaShanne Stokes

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I’d probably said those words to Jeff more times than Googolplex. He’d told me that his soul belonged to her and that was how much he loved her. Though I wasn’t necessarily hitting on the depth of his love for the woman who wasn’t his wife — I knew how much he was suffering. Rather, I couldn’t fathom how he could deny such a love-connection.

He palmed his hair and shrugged. “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

“What? Deny real love?”

The look on his face was enough to wrench my heart clean from my chest. Glycerine by Bush filled in the silence. He’d often ask why I loved deep music. I told him it was because it stirred my soul in ways I couldn’t always articulate.

“I’ll never forget where you’re at.”

His soul was stirring like a brewing storm and it had nothing to do with the music.

“It’s not right…” He looked away. “Besides, I pushed her away so far that she would never want me, anyway.”

“You don’t know that.”

We’d stolen a few moments away from the others, escaping to my front porch, rocking on a swinging garden chair. A balmy evening, sipping on beer and chilling with friends. The cicadas whistled a song of their own.

What do you say to someone whose heart bleeds for love denied?

I’m not sure. But I’m a woman who believes that the heart can’t lie. Doesn’t matter what kind of logic we try to feed ourselves about it or how much we live a lie in order to cover the deep truths buried in our hearts — your heart will always lead you toward real love and your soul will always seek to find deeper meaning through stronger connections.

Maybe it is meant to be that way. Maybe we are supposed to experience love in different forms and with different people, and that “till death do us part” isn’t always in tune with human evolvement, spiritual advancement and personal growth.

Then again, Jeff seems to think that denying himself the love of his life is the right thing to do. But for who exactly?

It’s a pretty sticky situation, but I doubt that his wife and kids will get the best of him now that his soul has found another who feels true to him.

I’ve seen what happens when real love is denied for the sake of … hmm … let’s see — Marriage. Children. Combined assets and familial expectations. Contrasting beliefs and safe comfort zones.

Name one or all of the above. Makes no difference.

What’s in the heart is in the heart and no matter the circumstances, once love has ignited, it isn’t as easy as “blowing out” a flame or sticking your head in the sand to make it all go away.

I wish it were for Jeff’s sake and the woman who lives on the opposite side of the planet who had stolen his heart. She was hurting, too. They were never “together” in the physical sense, but I’d never witnessed a connection so strong; so resilient and pure. It was as if whatever was between them had a soul of its own, entwining them together on the higher planes and creating invisible love-patterns.

Something like that, anyway.

Jeff was in all kinds of torment. None of which he could speak of openly, let alone release himself from the pain that had become a constant in his life. It had been two years since he’d spoken to her.

Two years of silent hell.

“I have no choice,” said Jeff. “I love her but can’t afford to go there…”

I’m calling out BS on that one. Sorry, Jeff. We always have a choice.

Always.

The thing is that when we encounter something like this in our lives, our minds become so clouded with the “what if’s” — we are plagued with so many questions and fears that we wind up feeling blind and confused.

It is common for many of us to develop anxiety and lose sleep over decisions with such high stakes.

Jeff’s choice to deny his feelings afforded him something alright, and it was far from the happiness that could have been his had he chosen to have faith and trust in real love — had he taken the rare gift offered by the universe and followed his heart.

Now, I see a man who has been “killed alive” living a mediocre life between bouts of happiness burrowed from time with his kids, creative passions and his work. He loves his wife, but deep down, he knows that that love can’t begin to scratch the surface of the love between him and his surprise-lady.

I can only imagine what she had endured.

Denying Love

Jeff isn’t the same person as he was before meeting her. He used to be more upbeat and at ease with himself and his lot in life. He used to be happy.

This is what can happen when you deny love:

  • Pain and depression
  • Repeated attempts to rationalize your feelings
  • Obsessing about said feelings
  • Constantly looking for hints, clues and generally overthinking simple acts (which drives you crazy)
  • Frustration towards yourself for having the unwanted feelings
  • Resentment directed at the universe for revealing the most amazing person who feels unreachable
  • Resentment directed at your beloved for simply showing up and thus, throwing an unexpected spanner in the works
  • Stressing over whether the feelings are reciprocated or not
  • Sleepless nights further overthinking the relationship
  • Dark nights of the soul where you wish for nothing but the end
  • Feelings of hopelessness about the situation and a future that now appears more ordinary than ever before

I was talking to another friend about love-denial, who is much wiser than myself. He knows stuff about sacred unions, energy and how people are generally wired to think in the world. He has had much life experience and is usually spot on with his observations.

“Can someone really do that?” I asked while pondering Jeff and his woman, who I knew shared real love yet remained unconnected. “Can someone really choose to spend the rest of their life denying real love?”

“Yes, people do it all the time.”

I don’t know about you, but the thought makes me sad.

It’s because I tend to feel as if a love-connection like the one I have witnessed Jeff experiencing shows up to create deeper love and connection in the world. For a reason; like a higher purpose beyond what we, as mere mortals, can truly understand or even appreciate.

Some types of love are too powerful not to be.

Moreover, I know from my own experiences that nothing worthwhile ever comes without taking a leap of faith, nor does it seldom present itself in life without obstacles to overcome.

That’s the test of real love — it requires more than just the average investment or one foot in and the other out. It demands honor, respect and a side of sacrifice between the two hearts in order to beat as one and create a deep connection.

As it is, it looks as if Jeff will spend the rest of his life fighting the feelings that he could never bring himself to fully realize, and I can’t think of anything more tragic when it comes to love.

“Don’t let the days go by.”

I imagine him at the end of his life and looking back at what he lost — the chance to experience the greater love that he allowed to slip through his hands.

I mourn for this vision and the life he could have known.

For anyone else experiencing a similar situation — That is, denying love, the best solution is to:

  • Identify the reason for the denial of feelings
  • Accept the feelings
  • Know that being true to yourself is key to living an authentic life
  • Take responsibility
  • Recognize that it’s okay to have feelings
  • Decide whether to reveal or let them go
  • Respect yourself, the person with whom you have said feelings for, and all others involved
  • Realize that real love is rare and life is not forever

“If I found a soul-connection as deep as the one you have discovered in her, I’d hold onto that and give it my all. It’s just too rare to pass up.”

I had to bite back the tears when Jeff’s face became stoic at hearing those words.

He is a much stronger person than me; he can go on and pretend that he never had a taste offered in the form of precious soul love. He can make out that love meant nothing. And considering his ability to deny real love, it probably never will.

Though, I can’t help but wonder which path demands more strength and backbone — denying real love or accepting your feelings and going for the extraordinary?

Taking a leap of faith in this fleeting life.

In the opening quote, DaShanne Stokes asks — “What does love mean if we would deny it to others?”

I think we just answered that question.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium.



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Uncategorized

Blood Legends: Ascension – Book Review

The Secret Library Book Blog

Title: Blood Legends: Ascension

Author: Kim Petersen

Genre: Urban fantasy/dystopian fantasy

Rating: 5 Stars

Not even the most cunning vampire can outsmart his way toward Ascension.

The dome city is complete, and a new society must be established. An impenetrable wall separates the districts. The division between factions of humans and vampires is drawn. Slavery, blood, and power are the only objectives in a fascist world.

With the radical changes underway, Jett, a rebel vampire with a secret goal to find a cure for the V-Virus is forced to make life-altering choices when his overlord announces plans to claim his daughter as the first ever vampire queen.

Will Jett play it safe and conform to the new world? Or will he stand firm in his beliefs and seek out his own kind of ascension?

* * *

My Review

After Jett’s adventures in Blood Legend: Undead and Blood…

View original post 527 more words

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life, Love and Connection, relationships, Uncategorized, Wealth

The Things I learned from Dating a Mexican Millionaire

Here’s 5 things I learned about money, racism and girlfriends


by Anna Foga


I have always been somebody who doesn’t care about money, living most of my life on a budget. I am a traveler and I usually try to stay away from the money-focused society, preferring to spend my days lazing away in a hammock with other backpackers. When I met my now-boyfriend on Tinder, I thought he would be just like any other random Tinder match. Even when we had our first date, I did not recognise the signs that he could be ultra-rich. Sure, he paid for everything and picked one of the most expensive restaurants in town, but for all I knew he was just trying to impress me.

As our dating life evolved, I started to realise he was not just the average Joe (or Juan). We always stayed in the fanciest hotels, had the nicest dinners and our weekend getaways were dripping in luxury. His gifts consisted of the newest Apple products to $3,000 plane tickets and even a car landed on my doorstep at one point.

Mexico is infamous for narcos and cocaine, and for a while I wondered if his money came from those sources. Was I starting to develop feelings for a drug-trafficker? During the course of our relationship I realised that was not the case and while I know now that not every Mexican rich guy is involved with Cartels, I did learn five other important lessons about dating a Mexican millionaire.

Here is some of what I have learned:

1. Most Rich Mexican Men Have Multiple Girlfriends

I don’t know if this has something to do with the Latino macho culture dominating this side of the world or if it is a common thing for rich people, but I have yet to find a wealthy Mexican who is faithful.

I know this might sound as if I am generalizing, but it just seems to be part of the high-class culture here. While my own boyfriend also has a wife and decided to open up his marriage, almost all of his (married) male friends have multiple secret girlfriends and/or fuckbuddies.

There is separate time reserved for the family and then there is time for their alter-lives and the additional girls. The men all know the wives of their friends but encourage each other to invite more girls and even share fuckbuddies between them. It is not uncommon either to celebrate birthdays with gifts in girls — your buddy organises a luxury party for you with many girls involved. Most men have a wife plus one or two girlfriends (mostly in other cities/countries) and numerous friends with benefits.

2. The Mexican Upper-layer is Miles from the Poorest

With the top 10% of the Mexican population earning more than 42% of the national income, it is no wonder that there is a massive wealth inequality. Only seven other countries in the world have a bigger gap between rich and poor than Mexico.

For me, navigating alongside the top rich layer meant I could clearly see how big the differences really are. It makes you think twice when you are sitting at your dinner table sipping away on a $500 bottle of wine and wearing a $1,000 dress, while a few meters away from you a poor mother is begging for five pesos to feed her child.

It seems that most of the rich stay miles away from the poor, only using them as their staff while paying them an average Mexican wage — which is as low as $10 a day, making the gap even bigger.

On top of that, the Mexican tax law is flexible towards those who earn profits from capital and dividends, making the rich even richer just by being wealthy. Combine that with a corrupt government that also profits from that same structure and you have a country that will make it to the top 10 richest nations with the biggest number of poor people.

3. Cash Needs to be Spent and This is How They do it

As a budget traveler, I have never spent much time among the rich and famous, and tried to stay away from the upper class. But when I fell in love with my boyfriend, I was bound to get a fair amount of time in this societal layer of Mexico.

I noticed that many of them have a lot of cash and avoid paying with credit cards, probably to avoid getting taxed on their income.



So how do they spend that cash?

They buy the best, most expensive things. Whether it’s cars, holidays or clothes, they don’t blink twice at the price tag and buy the first thing they see.

Some of them spend up big on properties, others on toys like private planes, yachts, jet skis, sports gear, etc. Or they spend it on boob jobs or other gifts for their girlfriends. They go to the best restaurants and buy the most expensive items on the menu, pay their high-class escort girls and always have a few private assistants around to help them with daily chores. Luckily, some of them also spend it on charity or (private) non-profit foundations.

I don’t think that I will ever get used to the amount of money that is flowing around them. Even after spending almost a year together with my boyfriend now, it still amazes me how easily the cash gets exchanged. Luckily, he is also generous with sharing his wealth with the less fortunate, mostly tipping almost twice the amount of the bill to the workers and never failing to give some notes to the beggars in the street.

4. Racism is More Real Than Ever

Generally speaking, in Mexico being white means being privileged. These people are most-likely born into Spanish heritage; their families gained status and wealth long before they first opened their eyes. White Mexicans have more access to education, healthcare and jobs, live in the wealthier parts of the country and generally have a better future ahead of them.

Three-quarters of the indigenous people live in extreme poverty and Mexico’s poorest regions inhabit the most dark-skinned people.

Most commercials only display white Mexicans; politicians and academics are mostly white; expensive houses are owned by light-skinned Mexicans while the housekeepers and gardeners are dark. Construction workers and restaurant staff are mostly dark-skinned, and they are serving mostly white people.



Spending time with a lot of wealthy Mexicans, I experienced first-hand that indeed the richest layer consists mainly of light-skinned people and their staff is dark. They all seem to accept this is part of their reality and both groups generally don’t hang out with each other. Many of the rich white Mexicans expect the dark Mexicans to work for them for a low wage and this creates another massive gap between the rich and the poor and the white and dark-skinned.

5. You Will Get Spoilt, But Only if You Listen to Their Rules

Being the girlfriend of a Mexican millionaire is not always easy. You need to commit to their time schedule because they are always busy, expect you to join their high-class parties and mingle with the other girlfriends, and they want you to always be available to them.

After all, the little time they do have left generally can’t be matched to your personal schedule. You need to hide the fact that they have wives, have to always protect their privacy and spend a lot of time waiting for them when they take you out because there is always something important coming up. You will have your dinners while they are on the phone most of the time. You are probably being cheated on and you are most likely not the only girl in their life. You have to listen to their rules, which was particularly hard for me as an independent, free traveler.

Need new clothes? They give you a whole new wardrobe.

Of course, there are also the perks. They will spoil you, treat you like a princess and nothing gets too crazy. Joining a last-minute business trip to Bali? No problem! Getting your rent paid? Of course. Want to buy that new MacBook? Sure, why not. Need new clothes? They give you a whole new wardrobe. Learn a new sport? You will get a private instructor.

It’s like having a sugar daddy, but with actual love.

But maybe the biggest lesson that I have learned from dating a Mexican millionaire is that love has no boundaries.

My life completely turned around after meeting him (and not just because of his money), and we are both learning the advantages of our different lifestyles. He realised that spending quality time together with the people you love is even more valuable than earning a 7-figure income, and I learned that earning money to spend that quality together is also invaluable. And even though we are opposites in how we live our lives, in our core values we are exactly the same.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium


Anna Foga is trying to be a fearless writer on topics most people don’t want to talk about. Connect and read more from Anna on Medium.

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mindset, Spirituality, Wealth

The Promise of Powerful Money Charms

What’s the deal with money charms and superstitions, anyway?


“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

– Lao Tzu

When I was a girl, my grandmother gave me a little pink purse with a coin inside because it was ‘bad luck’ to give someone a purse or wallet without doing so. She told me that money will bring more money, and that you shouldn’t gift someone a money bag without a coin because then it was destined to never have money in it.

Like attracts like.

It was my introduction into the superstitious world of wealth and abundance.

Beliefs about attracting money can run the gamut from the slightly lucrative to the silly, to the downright bizarre. But behind every good luck charm or superstition is a deep-rooted history connected to the charm’s origin and the culture from where it began.

Charms and superstitions about attracting money can evolve from folklore, legends, and even religion. But do they really work? And which of them is the most powerful?

Most of us could use an extra dollop of luck in the wealth department — let’s explore a few of the most popular money superstitions and find out which charm will help bring abundance into your life.

The Money Frog

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was browsing my local Hippie Shop when I overheard a conversation between the store owner and a customer. The shopper, a middle-aged woman with an 80s Metal hairdo wanted to attract more wealth into her life, they were discussing frogs.

“I keep one right here on my cash register.”

The store owner gestured at her cashbox.

My interest was perked enough to check out the very handsome brass frog resting among chunks of crystals, bottles of essential oils and an array of other ornamental creatures.

The shopper frowned. “Does it work? Does he bring you fortune?”

A somewhat thought-provoking question. I cued in for the answer:

“The trick is that you must keep your frog on the left-hand side of your room and facing inwards.”

Hmm….

My left palm got itchy.

Shopper woman was hooked. She bought the frog and other money-attracting items before departing the store looking rather satisfied.

Does it work?

“The Feng shui money frog — also known as the three-legged toad or money toad — has deep symbolic roots. It is a mythological creature with three legs that is said to attract wealth and abundance.”

— Rodika Tchi

Later that afternoon and back home, I had a lightbulb moment when I recalled the little frog sitting among the rocks in my back garden. He was here before us, left by the previous dwellers.

I have a frog! I thought.

He is green with shiny brown spots and a huge grin on his froggy-face. A bit like Kermit, really. So, I fished him out and plonked him in a pot sitting on the left-hand side of the steps just outside my office doors, the sliders open onto the back garden.

It’s still early days, so I have nothing solid to report yet — but the frog does look happy in his newly potted life.

That might be something.

So might be….

The Money Cat

Money superstitions and talismans are always fun to hear. My husband keeps a gold Maneki Neko on the sill in his office window. Its small metallic hand waves on solar-power, greeting the incoming by the front door.

I don’t even know where he got that thing but it kind of makes me feel weird when approaching the entrance door — raised paw waving…. odd look in its black eye…

The “lucky cat” with its raised paw is said to welcome abundance in one’s life.

Take a look:


The legend of the Maneki Neko originated from a story about a wealthy man who took shelter from a rainstorm under a tree next to a temple during the Edo period in Japan (17th century to mid-19th century).

From the article, 5 Interesting Facts About Maneki Neko Cats AKA Lucky Cats:

“The man noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him, so he followed it inside the temple. Shortly thereafter, lightning struck the tree he had been standing under. Because the cat had saved his life, the man was so grateful, he became a benefactor of the temple and brought it much prosperity. When he passed away, a statue of the cat was made in his honor.”

Does it work?

Well, the Lucky-Cat who occupies the bottom level in my home cannot divulge such sensitive information to the mere ordinary. At least, not out loud.

Let’s just say that my husband is by no means short on cash-flow — but he does work extremely hard for his good fortune.

The Money Elephant

Years ago, my Italian girlfriend presented me with a white elephant about the size of a baseball. I have always loved and been fascinated by elephants. There is just something about the majestic animal that speaks to my soul.

I feel the same way about whales.

The first time I saw a Humpback breach some one hundred meters from where I stood on the South Australian shoreline, the experience evoked deep and indescribable feelings within.

I knew God that day.

More on elephants from OneTribe:

“Elephants hold significant meaning in many cultures and symbols of these majestic creatures have been depicted in mythology and religion for thousands of years. There are many meanings and interpretations behind elephant symbols, which are particularly significant in Indian and Asian faiths, including Hinduism and Buddhism.”

The elephant is associated with Buddha and the Indian deity Ganesh. Generally, the universal meaning of the elephant symbolizes strength and power. This meaning refers to both the body and the mind, and many Feng Shui practitioners believe that elephants also represent prosperity, good luck, and success.

My very superstitious girlfriend instructed me to keep my elephant to the left of my front door with his cute ele-butt facing inward to attract wealth.

Hinduism & Elephants tells us:

“The elephant is a very powerful and significant symbol in the Hindu faith as one of their favorite gods, Ganesha, is depicted in the form of an elephant. Ganesha is thought to be the remover of obstacles, as well as the god of luck, protection and fortune.”

Does it work?

Well now, using an ornamental elephant to attract abundance wasn’t necessarily cemented in my belief-system, but hey, I am nothing if not open-minded — who was I to question ancient symbolisms, legends and philosophy passed down by the likes Hindu Gods?

I did as I was told.

My gorgeous white elephant still claims a prime position in my home and honestly, my space is brimming with positive Ju-Ju and abundance in many forms — an enriched life isn’t just about financial abundance.

Take note of this quote from financial advisor, Suze Orman:

“Abundance is about being rich, with or without money.”

Though, I do continue to work hard at keeping my mindset balanced in positive personal-power, as well as putting in the action and maintaining focus on the endgame — my deepest desires in life.

Next, we’re talking about…

The Penny

Finding coins on the street is usually considered a sign of good fortune.

Apparently, the Chinese folk consider finding coins and money in general signifies good luck. Due to this belief, many people consider coins as their good luck charms and believe that they bring them luck in various life situations.

Then there’s this:

“See a penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck.”

You know this phrase from the film Grease, right?

Me too.

In fact, I still recite those words to my children when they get excited about finding a coin on the street. I tell them that it’s good luck.

Interestingly, the original version of this phrase was actually, “see a pin and pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck”.

Did you know that? It was a reference to a pagan ritual in which a pin could be used in a good luck spell.

The myth was that a dropped pin might have been used in such a spell and would provide good luck to the person who finds it.

Does it work?

It depends on how you look at it.

Wayne Dyer said it best:

“Every time I pick up a coin from the street, I view it as a symbol of the abundance God sends into my life and feel gratitude. Never do I ask ‘why only a penny’?”

Which flows this conversation into….

The Most Powerful Money Charm

Money charms, weird superstitions and ancient beliefs on attracting money can be a fascinating topic to explore — especially the part about delving into the rich history and thought behind the mythology and folklore where the notions originated.

I think people will always need to draw on some type of belief system in order to help keep the faith when it comes to attracting wealth and abundance in their lives, but no talisman will be so powerful as the mindset we choose to adopt.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey says:

“An abundance mentality springs from internal security, not from external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations.”

And there it is — the most powerful wealth-attracting charm at your disposal is your ability to adopt an abundance mindset and then back it up with action — the hard work behind your passions.

Cultivating mindfulness is what makes all the difference between creating a mindset of scarcity or abundance if you want to bring richer experiences into your world.

After all, according to Oprah Winfrey:

“If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you will never have enough.”

Maybe that’s the secret behind every money charm — the fact that they give their possessor the tools to help shift their perspective to an abundance mindset.

Whatever works, right?


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium


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Author, Books, Creativity, Science fiction, writing

Is The Current e-Book Era a Second Pulp Fiction Era?

By Christopher Wills

Image from Pulp Covers

In this post I will briefly examine the similarities between the current e-book era and the early twentieth century Pulp fiction era.

Note I am not suggesting e-books are pulp fiction; I am suggesting the current e-book era has similarities with the Pulp fiction era.

What is Pulp fiction?

Pulp paper was made from cheap wood pulp which was widely available in the 19th century. Pulp paper is still used today in newspapers, magazines and yes… toilet paper.

In 1896 the fiction magazine, The Argosy, was published on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no images inside or on the cover. It was eight pages of serialized fiction. Within ten years it was a weekly magazine selling 500,000 copies every issue.

The Pulp fiction era is considered to have been between 1896 and 1939, although if one includes cheap paperback books printed after the war, one could suggest the era continued until the 1950s. Paper shortages during the Second World War brought a decline in magazine sales and after 1945 new paperback publishers, comic books and television helped the decline in pulp magazines.

In 2004 Sony released the Librie in Japan which is acknowledged to be the first e-book reader with an electronic ink display.

However the e-book era probably started in 2007 with Amazon’s issue of their first e-book reader, the Kindle. The name came from the idea of kindle as fuel to start a fire, so the Kindle was a metaphor for fuelling the love of reading. Wood kindle is like wood pulp – spooky. The first Kindle sold out in 5 hours.

The e-book was possibly invented in 1949 although that was a mechanical device so maybe it should be called an m-book. Another version of an e-book was invented in the 1960s but that was based on an IBM mainframe computer so it wasn’t very portable.

So what are the comparisons between the Pulp fiction era and the current e-book era?

Pulp fiction made it cheaper to publish and sell short stories and serialized fiction which created a boom in magazine publishing, meaning many more people were able to write for a living and many more people were able to access their writing by buying the cheap pulp magazines.

E-books have made it much cheaper to be able to publish short stories and novels which has led to a boom in publishing, meaning many more people are able to write for a living and many more people are able to buy fiction to read.

The staples of early Pulp fiction were the many short story magazines like Argosy, Black Mask and Amazing Stories where writers were paid by the word. Longer story meant more income for writers.

Kindle Unlimited pays writers by page reads which is effectively paying writers by the word. More pages more income for writers.

Pulp magazines and books developed amazing colourful book covers which clearly defined the genre of the stories inside.

To sell e-books one is encouraged to get amazing colourful book covers that clearly define the genre of the stories one is writing.

But one might ask, hasn’t this always been true of books?

No. Go to your bookshelf, or your parents’ bookshelf or a library bookshelf and look at the covers of some older paperback books in some genres. Some are amazing and well designed, but many are not. I looked up James Bond book cover art and discovered a variety of styles. Some paperback James Bond books had no images on the cover at all; they only had text stating the title and writer.

Book covers have always been designed but only in the last thirty years or so have some traditional book covers started to conform to genre styles. Think Chicklit or Mislit. Some genres like Science Fiction and Westerns have always had a genre style image on the cover.

During the Pulp fiction era new genres were created and these genres became established as part of the fiction canon. A couple of examples are Science Fiction and Hard Boiled Detective stories.

Today in the e-book era many new genres and sub-genres have been created and have become established such as Paranormal Romance and Military Science Fiction.

Some Pulp fiction writers were writing huge numbers of words per day; some wrote up to 8,000 words. Imagine writing 8,000 words on a typewriter every day. That must have been before RSI was invented 😊.

Today many e-book writers write a few thousand words every day and some “write” even more using voice to text technology.

This is a bit more productive than the famous quote attributed to traditional authors such as Flaubert, Wilde and Conrad:

“I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.”


Some Pulp fiction writers had more than one pen name as they wrote in more than one genre.

Some e-book writers today use more than one pen name for the same reason.

During the Pulp fiction era writers were paid on acceptance for magazine stories and the rates of payment were agreed in advance. This transparency and speed of payment helped with the payment of bills.

Today one advantage e-book authors have over traditional writers is the quick payment of money for sales and the transparency of the amount of money earned.

So there are similarities between the Pulp fiction era and the current e-book era. Some may have concerns that comparisons between the two eras could introduce the idea of e-books being labelled as Pulp fiction.

Let’s examine this briefly. Many great writers wrote stories for Pulp fiction magazines to supplement their incomes and as part of learning their craft. These include:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Louis L’Amour
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Arthur C Clarke
  • Joseph Conrad
  • Raymond Chandler
  • Philip K Dick
  • F Scott Fitzgerald
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • Robert A Heinlein
  • Frank Herbert
  • Rudyard Kipling – Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Sinclair Lewis – Nobel Prize for Literature + offered but declined the Pulitzer Prize for Literature
  • H P Lovecraft
  • Upton Sinclair – Pulitzer Prize for Literature
  • Micky Spillane
  • Mark Twain
  • H G Wells
  • Tennessee Williams.

Personally I would not consider it an insult if my name was associated with some of those writers. What do you think?


About Christopher

Christopher has been a soldier, sailor, teacher, trainer and is now a storyteller. He has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and has recently qualified as a Tony Buzan Licensed Instructor in Mind Mapping.

In 2019 Christopher published a 3 book Military SciFi series and will publish a non-fiction book to help writers.

He has a website in development titled Soldier Sailor Teacher Trainer Storyteller at http://www.crwills.com

Social Media: Twitter | Facebook | Amazon


This post first appeared on the ALLI blog on September 23rd 2019

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