Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, November 18, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm going to spend Thanksgiving with one of my dearest friends, a sister of the heart. I crave the company of people with love and kindness in their hearts. I crave a respite from the hate and fear and turmoil of this election cycle and the impact of the result. I feel body-slammed and am needing to disengage from actively listening to and reading about what's going to happen.

Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and may there be peace in your hearts.
Blessings
Karen

Thursday, November 3, 2016

STILL ME AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

After yesterday's ISWG, several people suggested I re-post my invitation to submit to my anthology, "Still Me After All These Years." I thought it was a good idea, so hear it is again. I've completely let go of any deadline at this point, so if you are interested in the topic and want to give it a go, please do so. And if anyone is inclined to repost this in their blog, I would be immensely grateful. Thank you!

SUBJECT: An anthology about aging—want to help?

I’m writing today to talk about a project close to my heart and to see if you feel called to participate.

For those who don’t know me, I retired from a 30+ year career in marketing and public relations in 1999 to write full time. Since then, I have published a variety of non-fiction articles, a memoir, and most recently, a novel.

I’ve thought about writing something on aging for the past 10 years. I’m a sixty-something baby boomer who cared for both my Dad and my mother-in-law. I also helped two older friends who’ve since passed away. My friends and I have had many discussions about growing older and dying and about how we want to move through this process with grace and dignity. But other projects took precedence and I never got clarity on what this aging project should be. Until now.

Some time ago, my friend Ellie, 88 years young, said to me, “I don’t see ‘me’ anymore when I look in the mirror.”

“Who do you see?” I asked.

“An old lady who walks with a walker or a cane.”

“But, you’re still you. The walker doesn’t define you.”

“Yes, but it’s the first thing others see,” she said.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that conversation. Then, while on a writing retreat with my friend, Wendy, inspiration came: Why not make this an anthology? How much wiser and richer it could be if others shared their experiences of this journey called aging. Several days later I heard Paul Simon’s song “Still Crazy After All These Years” on the radio. Boom—there was the title: Still Me After All These Years.

That conversation with Ellie gave me the theme. I think an anthology such as this could speak about aging in a unique and fascinating way—through the eyes of those going through it. It will be about the challenges and opportunities that come when you reach that point in life where mortality is a more imminent reality. About how aging changes you, or doesn’t. How it impacts your life, both positively and negatively. Does your way of thinking change? What about your behavior? Have priorities shifted? Do you think about dying? Do you hate the way you look? These are just some of the topics I’d like to see included. 

I am seeking essays from adults 50 and above. If you’d like to participate but can’t write for some reason, I would be happy to interview you. Whatever the age of our readers, hopefully they’ll find a kernel of wisdom that touches their hearts.

At this point I’m not sure whether I will seek traditional publishing or self-publish. The traditional route could take years and well, I’m not sure I want to wait that long. At any rate, this is probably a good time to mention that there will be no fee paid for submissions. I will review entries myself, choosing and editing selections for inclusion. If you decide to submit, I can’t promise that your work will be included, but I can assure you that your name will be listed in the acknowledgements for helping to make this project possible.

If you are intrigued and think you might like to participate, please drop me a line and I will provide submission guidelines and more information on this process and how it will work.

So, if you have something to share regarding your experience of aging, please let me know as soon as possible. Of course I’d be happy to answer your questions in the meantime.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Karen

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group - November

Hi. Back from vacation and happy to participate in this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex (aka the Ninja Captain). Please visit Alex for all the details about joining our wonderful group.www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com

I'm not insecure. I'm disappointed. Many of you know I'm working on an anthology about aging. Perhaps the subject matter is too difficult to handle in terms of personal essays. I don't know the reasons, but 46 people enthusiastically said they wanted to contribute to the anthology and I've only received 10 essays I can use. One person wrote a wonderful essay, but it needed some work and they weren't able to fit that into their schedule. One essay I just couldn't use. But still, that's 30 something folks that said yes and I never heard from them. As the deadline passed, I wrote to those I had contact info from, and some said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I just can't do it now." I'm fine with that. I once wrote an Op Ed piece that appeared in The Oregonian about the importance of saying "No." Whether folks are afraid of confrontation, don't want to hurt peoples' feelings, aren't organized enough to follow through on what they say they're going to do, whatever the reason, I wish we could learn to close the loop with each other. Honestly, I won't be upset if you tell me "No." But tell me something. If I'm left hanging, I have to decide, well, do I try to follow up with these people, do I just let it go...did I do something wrong?

The essays I've received tell me I've chosen an important subject to tackle. Yes it's hard to think about what's happening to our bodies and our minds as we age. But denying or pretending it won't happen to us isn't particularly good for us. I don't want to force people to think about this. I guess I thought if someone agreed to write about it, they were already thinking about it and interested in sharing those thoughts with others.

Okay, I'm done with my rant. Sorry about that. Just had to get it off my chest. So, if you are one of those who told me you wanted to write an essay and already asked for submission guidelines, please let me know if you still want to participate. I've let go of the deadline. It was manufactured by me anyway. I really want this anthology to happen because there's so much wisdom in the few essays I've  received. I know there's so much more out there.

If you''re new to this blog and are interested, please email me at kandgwalker@comcast.net and I'll give you all the scoop you need about the project.

Until next time,
Blessings,
Karen