Taking Your Mind
off of Politics
My Resolutions Toward Independence
When times get rough or stressful, we tend
to hear that massages or bubble bath are the best cures.
Anxiety be gone the easy way!
I have a remedy that may be better or at
least longer-lasting. Read. It may be better because depending
on our own reading choices, that depressing recording
in our minds may go away for a long period of time. Even
better, we may learn something that makes us realize that
whatever is bothering us may not be so bad after all.
It may change our minds about a position we thought we
were entrenched in. In my mind, the latter is the best
outcome of all. At its best reading should do more than
divert us—it should improve our analytical skills.
I am writing about this because since out
national and international politics have become more divisive,
I have become more attached to my own opinions. Suddenly
it is so bad that I am disappointed in myself.
I have always prided myself on my independence.
So, I am going to:
- Choose something different to read than my favorites.
A different author. A different genre. A newspaper with
a different point of view. A different publisher (or
no publisher at all!) Not across the board. Maybe one
- I am going to watch a new channel other than my favorite.
- Every time I get disturbed, I am literally going to
ask myself what I would have said about that same issue
a year ago or what I would think about that issue if
I lived in a different circumstance than the privileged
one I live in. You know, a new cactus flower to smell
in the morning before breakfast and a comfy bed to sleep
- When something I disagree with that is in the news
(or in something I just read), I am going to ask myself
what part of it I might agree with if I were
a congress woman or a corporation head or had any power
to make things different.
- And when I can reach one of those powerful people—when
it is possible through twitter or mail—I am going
to write a letter. I am a writer. But everyone is a
writer. And everyone deserves to have their voices heard.
I think it boils down to listening. I keep
hearing that we need to “have a conversation”
about this or that. I’m tired of that because few
seem to be listening or, for that matter, doing anything
but talking down to someone else. Listening yes. But also
compassion. And to do that . . . well, I just need to
be a little less stressed.
Tips and Tidbits
(Each month in this box, Carolyn
lists a Tidbit that will help authors write or promote
better. She will also include a Tip to help readers
find a treasure among long-neglected books or a
sapphire among the newly-published.)
is a writer these days. The ones that
aren’t may find my advice to write
about what is bothering them helpful for
their stress level. Maybe my multi award-winning
The Frugal Editor will help give
them the confidence to actually send what
they write to the power brokers of the
world! Especially when they find that
a whole lot of the rules that stifle our
creativity aren’t rules at all,
that we get to make style choices. Emphasis
on the word choices. In fact, maybe this
book should be on a list of ten books
or articles that will reduce anxiety that
I plan to write. If you have a suggestion,
let me know at HoJoNews@aol.com. Bubble
baths are good, but fewer rules to worry
about (and more good books to read!) may
be even better.
newest book is a full book of poetry.
Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief of Wisconsin
Bookwatch says, “[Carolyn Howard-Johnson
is] an exceptionally skilled wordsmith,
her poetry will linger in the mind and
memory long after the book itself has
been finished and set back upon the shelf.
Very highly recommended for community
and academic library Contemporary American
Poetry collections . . .” Find Imperfect
Echoes at http://bit.ly/ImperfectEchoes.
And, yes, I’ll admit that it may
have poems in it that you don’t
agree with it. And maybe it will have
some you do!
art by Richard Conway Jackson who is serving
twenty-five years to life in a California
State prison for receiving stolen property.
Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning novelist, poet
and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of
how-to books. She occasionally teaches classes for the
renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
Website - My
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