Book Shelf: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

The first book I’ve read by Audre Lorde, and I plan on reading more of her writings. Originally published in 1984, the book touches on racism, being Black and how that intersects with feminism and lesbianism. I found the writings to be incredibly informative.

Quotes from the book: “I give the most strength to my children by being willing to look within myself, and by being honest with them about what I find there, without expecting a response beyond their years. In this way they begin to learn to look beyond their own fears.”

“We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sister and our selves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid.”

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“Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.”

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

 

Book Shelf: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

This is my third time reading this book. I think I first read it in 2016 or 2017, found during a volunteer session at the library while pulling holds. It’s just such a calming, fascinating story that also taught me much about snails. Thomas and Lillian both love this book too. They read it the first time around. Simply a beautiful book and story.

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“Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.”

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Book Shelf: A Pebble for Your Pocket by Thich Nhat Hanh

**Throwback to 2015** – From the time Thomas and Lillian were born (2005 and 2001) I read to them nightly before going to bed; leading to some time in 2017 when we all decided to discontinue doing so. Their tastes in what interested each of them had solidified by this point. We all continue to be heavy readers, reading daily.

A Pebble for Your Pocket – Mindful Stories for Children and Grown-ups by Thich Nhat Hanh

August 2015: Ask for help and you shall receive …

My son, Thomas (10 years old at the time) got angry the other night and it was spilling out of him in unkind ways. He asked me for help in getting past the moment and was not liking anything I suggested.

It was time for our nightly reading and “A Pebble for Your Pocket” is what we are currently reading. I opened to where we had stopped the night before and this is where we were to begin again, “When We Are Angry”.

Thomas stopped me after reading the title and halfway through the first sentence and said that I had chosen that on purpose. “No, Thomas, I did not. This is where we stopped last night. You asked for help and here it is.”

I felt his energy shift just from hearing this. He was glued to the entire section.

November 2020: This is a wonderful book for all ages. I’ve read it once or twice since this reading in 2015. It’s easy to read, with practical suggestions that work to help with a mindfulness practice.

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“Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.”

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Meet the Author: Story Power by Kate Farrell

Today we travel to San Francisco to chat with Kate Farrell about how using storytelling as a teaching tool, Scholastic, memoir anthologies, walking, meditating, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, motherhood, and telling stories from the heart come together as part of Kate’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was a storyteller at an early age. By age ten, I’d tacked signs on telephone poles in my neighborhood, announcing my fairytale play. As a first year teacher, I stumbled on storytelling as the best way to teach literature to inner city kids. By 1970, I’d honed the skill as a new librarian, and in the 1980s, funded and trained teachers in a CA state-wide storytelling project—and published educational materials on the art with big name publishers, like Scholastic and Highlights for Children.

In the ever-evolving world of storytelling, I understood by 2005, that personal narrative was the new folklore—so, I wrote and edited memoir anthologies. My work is a bridge in storytelling: from traditional folklore to authentic, personal tales. I live in downtown San Francisco.

In which genre do you write?

Personal narrative, and how-to tell stories of personal narratives.

How many published books do you have?

Eight

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Small, but with a view of the sky and changing weather

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

The idea for Story Power came from a how-to book I published exactly 40 years ago.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Reading, walking, meditating, Zooming with family and friends

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

Visited a small town along the Mississippi Gulf Coast that no longer exists, swept away by hurricanes Camille and Katrina. I directed my friend who had offered to take me there from New Orleans to drive around in circles until we found the one, single building that had survived: the county bank, a stone, two-story, antique building, possibly with a steel vault in the basement. Once I discovered that one remaining relic, I knew I was not insane: there had been a town here. We’d lived right across the street from that bank in the French colonial town of Pass Christian.

I grew up in the Jackson, Mississippi area, with many holidays spent on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My maternal grandmother lived in Gulfport when I was very young. Found memories … thanks for stirring them up! – Camilla

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Motherhood! I gave birth to a strapping baby boy when I was 40 years old and found myself with a handful: an active baby, precocious both mentally and physically. I had to watch him every minute or he’d climb out the window. He barely slept; was curious; loved books and storytelling. His dark brown, almost black eyes were filled with joy and enthusiasm for life. Such a miracle, strong and brilliant! He’s now on a motorcycle tour of the Ecuadorian Andes and will soon return. At home in the world, he has given me joy in his feats, and the courage to accomplish success on my own.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

Since I am a storyteller, I don’t read from my book, Story Power, I tell stories by heart. Lately I like to practice with Zoom, record, and playback. In that way, I can watch for gestures, eye contact, pacing, and when to pause.

How do you prepare yourself to discuss your book?

My book, Story Power, has nine themes, suggested types of personal stories that are often popular. I choose one or two themes, and prepare to tell a summarized version of a story and discuss its value. For general discussion and talking points, I will often record these on my phone and listen to them before the event.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing my own full-length memoir, calling it ONCE: MEMOIR OF A STORYTELLER.

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

To believe that my ability and enjoyment of solitude is my greatest strength and solace, from childhood to old age.

It was wonderful learning more about you, Kate! And, a pleasure to have you on MTA. I plan on adding your book to my ‘to be read’ list. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

Book Blurb

Reconnect Through Stories. Stories are everywhere. The art of storytelling has been around as long as humans have. And in today’s noisy, techie, automated world, storytelling is not only prevalent—it’s vital. Whether you’re interested in enlivening conversation, building your business brand, sharing family wisdom, or performing on stage, Story Power will show you how to make use of a good story.

Connect with Kate:

Website: https://katefarrell.net/
Blog: https://storytellingforeveryone.net/

Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kate-Farrell-Storyteller-330923030933184
Twitter: @KateStoryteller

I also present workshops and talks on the art of storytelling for a variety of groups, from the general public to writers, educators to business leaders.

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

This is my first book to read by James Baldwin, and it won’t be my last. Such a powerful book about the consequences of racial injustice. I found Baldwin’s words meaningful on many different levels. Written in 1962, in the early days of the civil rights movement .. Here’s a quote from the book that really resonated with me:

“White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this — which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never — the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.” – James Baldwin

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

Book Shelf: Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump, PH.D.

Too Much and Never Enough – How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump, PH.D.

A must read, revealing book. Served as confirmation for what I have observed, and deduced, on my own, and what I intuitively felt from the energy that exudes from this man. So far, she’s been the only family member willing to come forward and tell the truth about this dysfunctional family and man.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nuVb1v

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)

Book Shelf: The Sand Between My Toes by Ailsa Craig

The Sand Between My Toes by Ailsa Craig

A beautiful collection of poetry inspired by family, nature, and emotions.

The opening poem sets the scene for the heartwarming poetry to follow …

Tides bring in life
then flow back out to sea
Time brings us life
then flows into our memory
-ailsa craig

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/3cM3OA3

Ailsa was interviewed on MTA in August 2019. Go here to read more about her and her books …

Meet the Author: The Sand Between My Toes by Ailsa Craig

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)

Meet the Author: Prostrate Cancer Strikes – Navigating the Storm by Gogs Gagnon

Today we travel to Vancouver Island, BC, Canada to chat with Gogs Gagnon about how a passion for computers, Apple, writing over a million lines of code, humour, dogs, therapeutic writing, Disney, and income tax software come together as part of his past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

A native of New Westminster, I followed an early passion for computers by becoming a programmer and independent technology consultant. In the course of my career, I have developed software for Apple, IBM, and the government of British Columbia, where I was the lead programmer analyst and data architect.

Now, in addition to promoting prostate cancer awareness, I devote much of my time to writing. My next book is a coming-of-age memoir set in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia during the 1970s.

I’m the father of three children, and lives with his wife and their two dogs in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

In which genre do you write?

I write non-fiction about my life experiences. My first book is my prostate cancer memoir. I’m currently writing my second book, which is a coming of age memoir that reveals what it was like going through puberty. I’m also toying with the idea of writing a few children’s books on life lessons.

How many published books do you have?

Currently, I have one book published, my prostate cancer memoir.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, and what ignited your author’s flame?

I had no plans to be a writer. However, during my 40-year career as a software developer, I’ve written thousands of pages of technical specifications and over a million lines of code. It’s not real writing, but after I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and realized it was therapeutic to share, I decided to write a book about my diagnosis, treatment and recovery. It was a real labour of love and ignited a passion for writing, and it became essential for me to share all the intimate details and lessons learned. Otherwise, I thought there was no point in writing. Since then, I’ve written several guest blogs about cancer and launched a YouTube channel.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I like to use humour while writing about my experiences to help lighten the more serious moments. For example, I imagined what a conversation would be like between different body parts during my cancer diagnosis and treatment. I’m still a little boy at heart who enjoys cartoons, video games, and playing with toys.

What would you choose as your mascot, and why?

I love dogs and would choose a dog as a mascot or a dog as a spirit animal. During my cancer diagnosis and treatment, my two dogs provided much-needed companionship that helped my recovery tremendously. Even though my wife and children stood by my side, the dogs’ unconditional love was beyond human. I’m saddened to say, one of them passed away recently. She suddenly became sick during the night, and on the way to the nearest emergency vet, she passed in the car before we arrived. It was incredibly hard and emotional to say goodbye. I’m blessed to have had her in my life for 13 years, especially throughout my cancer diagnosis.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I can write anywhere when the mood strikes. I always have paper and a pen handy as I never know when I’ll find inspiration. Although, I’d love an office with a spectacular ocean view, with beautiful palm trees and mountains in the background, with a blue sky and sunshine. I would need a big desk and a comfy chair, with lots of inspirational photos on the wall. And of course, a bar to entertain family and friends that extends out into a big deck overlooking nature with a hot tub and private chef. Oh, and I guess a new computer with software to write would be nice too!

What are you currently reading?

I love to read biographies and overcoming memoirs and find it empowering to realize we are not alone. I have several books in the queue and currently reading When Breath Becomes Air.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

It was devastating to hear that I had cancer, and I completely shut down. I had no plans to even talk about my diagnoses, never mind write a book. However, I soon learned that it was very therapeutic to share and helpful to journal my thoughts and feelings. At first, my journal was private and for my eyes only. But several friends, family members, and co-workers asked about my health and how I was doing. Therefore, I decided to share my private journals with them and was overwhelmed by the feedback and encouragement to continue writing.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

My wife and I are big fans of Disney and love to visit Disneyland in California and Tokyo, although we have not yet visited Disneyworld. I recently joined a rowing team, and my wife and I like to keep active by walking, hiking, and swimming. However, COVID-19 has put a delay in our training activities. My heart goes out to all affected by the virus, including my dad, who lost two good friends. Please stay safe and be kind to each other. I’m also a member of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of BC, and a few prostate cancer support groups in my area. We currently meet using Zoom. It’s not the same, and I miss the social interaction and human touch.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

1. I did terrible in school and barely graduated high school. My teacher told me I had a mental block and would never amount to anything. I found a few odd jobs and later found work as a janitor. I loved the job and the people and had no plans to leave. However, in the late 70s, I purchased an Apple computer and discovered a passion for technology, quit my job and enrolled in College, where I graduated at the top of my class. I quickly found work as an independent consultant, developing games for Apple and utility software for IBM.

2. In the early 80s, I developed the first Canadian income tax software program approved by Revenue Canada. Shortly after the success and launch of the software, I landed a job with the government of British Columbia as a lead programmer and data architect, where I worked for 35 years before retiring.

3. I met the girl of my dreams on the dance floor over 40 years ago, and we have been together ever since.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

I would have loved to had the opportunity to ask our dog Maya, who recently passed away, lots of questions. But I’ll keep them simple.

1. Do you remember the day we first met at the animal shelter?

2. Tell us about your life before we adopted you?

3. What are your favourite memories?

It was wonderful to have you on MTA, and a pleasure getting to know you, Gogs! Wishing you all the best and much success with this book and your next! – Camilla

Book Blurb

AT AGE 57, GOGS GAGNON became one of the millions of men diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. After his surgery and recovery, he decided to share his story to inspire others to advocate for their health and learn from his experiences. Prostate cancer hits at the very core of manhood, and Gogs, in this deeply personal account, reveals intimate details that every person impacted by the disease — man or woman — needs to know. A guide to those facing prostate cancer themselves or are curious about the disease.

Book Trailer Interview:

Where to find the book:

Prostate Cancer Strikes: Navigating the Storm is available on Amazon and a lot of other online stores in both paperback and electronic formats, with an audio version coming soon. It’s also available in many different bookstores and libraries. If you don’t see a copy, please ask for it. You can also order a personalized signed copy from my website, and you can learn a lot about my diagnosis on my YouTube channel.

For the last 5-days of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Sep 26-30, 2020, PDT, the ebook price will drop to $0.00 to purchase free anywhere in the world! Please help spread to the word to help ensure others don’t miss out on a free copy. https://bit.ly/3bdvsoI

Connect with Gogs:

Website: https://gogsgagnon.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GogsGagnon

Twitter:

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Book Shelf: The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell – What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird

The title and the cover are what drew me to this book as I discovered it while pulling holds at the library. Written in 2015, about an event that happened in 1975, I really enjoyed this story.

While away for the weekend in Uruguay, twenty-three-year-old Tom Michell rescues a penguin covered in oil from an ocean spill. Michell cleans him up and tries to return him to sea. The penguin refuses to return and follows Michell. We learn how Michell smuggled the penguin, now named Juan Salvador, back to Argentina with him, where he is assistant master at a boarding school.

Heartwarming story of Juan Salvador’s life on the campus, to include the lives he touched along the way.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZrtY5x

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)

Meet the Author: Guns Under the Bed – Memories of a Young Revolutionary by Jody A. Forrester

Today we’re traveling to Venice (Los Angeles) to chat with Jody Forrester about how the Pacific Ocean, Nancy Drew, Edward Hopper’s house, roller skating, and being doggedly persistent come together as part of Jody’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am that rare thing, a native Angeleno, raised mostly in
Hollywood during the fifties and sixties. I live with my husband,
musician John Schneider, in Venice (Los Angeles) just six blocks from
the Pacific Ocean.

In which genre do you write?

Primarily memoir, but also short fiction.

How many published books do you have?

My first book, a memoir called Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary, will be released on September 1, 2020, by Odyssey Books. At least six short stories and essays have been published on both online and in print literary journals.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I wrote my first story when I was ten, pretty much lifted from the Nancy Drew books that I loved so much. Having always been an avid reader, I had a deep desire to write but it took a long time for me to have the time and confidence to pursue the dream.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I revise, from what I can see, many times more than most writers. It’s not unusual for me to revise a story more than a dozen times, and my memoir required at least twice that.

What would you choose as your mascot, and why?

My dog is always close to me when I write, keeping me company and my feet warm.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I once saw the painter Edward Hopper’s house on a bluff on Cape Cod, with a large window overlooking the ocean and surrounded by old-growth trees and wild flowers. That would be a wonderful place to write, though I wonder how much I would get done with such a view!

What are you currently reading?

Find Me, by Andre Aciman, a sequel to Call Me By Your Name. He’s one of my favorites writers and his latest book doesn’t disappoint.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Read, see friends, walk my dog, exercise.

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

When I’m on a good roll, how transporting it can be. I love how time gets swallowed up until I emerge feeling like I’ve just gone on an amazing trip.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?

I have a box of spiral bound journals that I began writing in when I was about eight but since I’ve been writing stories and memoir, that’s fallen to the wayside. I’m not sure why.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I did have a lot of fun riding my bike around the neighborhood, roller skating down the steepest hills I could find, and making up games and plays. But otherwise my childhood wasn’t so great, and I’m much happier as an adult.

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

Don’t be stopped by fear or lack of confidence. It’s all in your head, all made up, not based in reality about who you are.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I’m doggedly persistent and don’t give up easily. Otherwise, I would never get anything written because it’s always tempting to give up.

What are you currently working on?

I’m not writing now since all my concentration is on promoting my book. Marketing and writing occupy different modes of thinking and I seem to be unable to do them both at the same time.

It was great to have you be a part of MTA, Jody. Wishing you all the best! –Camilla

Where to find the book:

Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary, is available in brick-and-mortar and online bookstores and for order through Jody’s website, jodyaforrester.com.

Praise:

“Jody Forrester’s memoir is at once an important eyewitness account of how American student activism in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s turned radical, and a portrait of a young woman’s struggle to find her way in the world. Guns Under the Bed traces her journey from innocence to experience, and, in doing so, offers lessons that resonate today. Heartbreaking and edifying, this story is difficult to forget.”
— Samantha Dunn, author of Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life

“Evocative, compelling, terrifying, sad, and ultimately triumphant. A classic coming of age narrative about a woman who seeks a sense of belonging that she doesn’t find in her family or her body.”
— Emily Rapp Black, author of Poster Child: A Memoir (Bloomsbury USA); The Still Point of the Changing World (Penguin Press)

”Every memoir turns on a fundamental question: How did a person like this get into a place like that? In Jody Forrester’s case the question becomes distinctly fraught: How did a middle-class white girl from LA find herself a member of a deluded Maoist sect, armed to the teeth and prepared to die for the revolution? Her odyssey through the last days of the mythical 1960’s touches all the sweet spots of that time even as it illuminates some of its more shadowy corners: our red-hot anger at war and racism, our alienation from the hollow promises of a corrupt establishment, and our certainty that we could heal our hurting hearts and at the same time transform the world into a place of joy and justice. But of course there are no universals—Forrester’s journey is uniquely hers, and hers alone—no easy answers, and no casual causal claims. We see a young woman bursting to live, determined to find meaning in her life, and—for all of her mistakes and miscalculations—a woman with the courage to storm the heavens.”
Bill Ayers (Fugitive Days: A Memoir; co-founder Weather Underground)

Connect with Jody:

Website – jodyaforrester.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001532824693
Instragram – https://www.instagram.com/jodyaforrester/
Twitter –  https://twitter.com/jaforrester2

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host