Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Month: August 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Make Professional Voice Recordings on iPhone and Ipad with the Free App Voice Record Pro

Approximately 500 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute, and that number has steadily increased. In addition, videos are also uploaded to Vimeo, Facebook, and blog sites. The digital movie industry is a big business, but the competition in that market is fierce. Yet, it is reasonable that anyone who is marketing online needs to examine the potential of harnessing digital video  as a means to help them attain their business goals. The use of digital video is also becoming more and more popular in education.

A couple of years ago, Youtube marketers needed to invest in sophisticated sound equipment to make their online movies,podcasts, and movie clips, but that is no longer the case. Because of the  free, but sophisticated voice recording app Voice Record Pro, everyone can turn a corner of their lodging or office space into an almost professional recording studio. If the movie maker also uses the Free Software Audacity, the quality of his sound will become better still. I’ll be sharing information about Audacity later today, but in this post, I’ll tell you what you need to know about Voice Record Pro.

If you watch the following video, you can be professionally recording your own voice in minutes. Although the following video only mentions iPhone, the instructions for using the app Video Recorder Pro with the Ipad are essentially the same.

About three years ago, I tried to make some videos of myself teaching how to use Photoshop, and I bought an expensive microphone and paid for some expensive software to do the job. The sound quality of my videos was terrible,  a few minutes ago, I downloaded Video Recorder Pro and recorded my voice with both my iPhone 6s+ and my Ipad Pro. I was stunned at how much the recording sounded like me.

I’ll review what is said in the above video.

  1. The voice recorder that comes standard with Iphones in Voice Memos is not adequate for professional sound recordings.

voice-pro-screenshot2. Voice Record Pro and not Voice Recorder Pro 7 or any other similar name is the app that you want to download.

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3. Before you begin recording, gointo your Iphone’s settings, and select Airplane Mode. This will also turn off your Wi-Fi. You will need to remember to turn the Airplane Mode back off, but while your device is on Airplane Mode, you will not receive calls or messages.

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4. When you click the Record button, you will see a screen where that shows you the Present Recording Settings. You will need to migrate to the Advance options and enter the above numbers in the fields provided.

©Jacki Kellum August 31, 2016

Fierce

The Crossroads of Youth and Beyond Is Where We Might Catch Glimpses of the Road Less Traveled

The Crossroads Is the Place Where We Might Catch Glimpses of the Road Less Traveled.
What We Do After That, Defines Us! – Jacki Kellum

When I was 18-years-old, I moved to Mississippi and began college at the Univerity of Mississippi. After college, I lived in Mississippi 35 more years. To this date, I have lived longer in Mississippi than anywhere else, but after my house burned there, I moved to the New Jersey Shore.

While I was in Mississippi, I thought that I would never leave that state and that I would die and be buried there, but my circumstances changed. Now, I realize that my time in Mississippi was only My Crossroads.

When I think about Crossroads in Life, I immediately remembered the Crossroads scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou. That movie was filmed close to my home in Mississippi, and this scene shows us a car filled with people who are at a Crossroads, a juncture between two phases of their lives.

The HBO Series Girls is a great portrayal of life at the crossroads that stands between youth and beyond.

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Before I finally broke down and watched it, I had avoided the HBO Series Girls for quite some time. It had appeared to me that the drama would be another desperate dose of Jersey Shore with Snookie and her friends. I didn’t see anything else to watch this weekend, and by default, I settled on Girls. In doing so, I discovered a treat. After an episode or two, I was hooked on the series and binge-watched all five seasons in two days, and then I binge-watched it again.

I have written several posts about the Romantic ideal of youth. William Blake and several other Romanticists were proponents of youthful innocence, as opposed to the disenchantment of adults. The HBO Series Girls focuses on a group of recent college grads who are beginning to deal with the disappointments that invariably accompany the young adult’s journey into adulthood.

By the end of season five, it appeared that the main character Hannah Horvath, played by Lena Dunham, will have the good fortune of making a successful passage into the person that she had wanted to become. I am not so very sure about the other girls in the series. I have read that there will only be one more season of Girls, and I fear that some of Hannah’s friends will not make the crossing as successfully as she.

It’s hard to tell someone so young that things don’t always end up the way you thought they’d be. – Ray of the series Girls

One of the nice things about the series Girls is that it is lightly comedic.

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything. – Kurt Vonnegut

Generally speaking, I do not like comedy; and as I said before, Girls is light comedy. Beneath that bit of lightness, the series speaks several truths–some of them are quite depressing.

No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s gonna think of to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour!-Hannah

In some ways, Hannah comes across as a happy, carefree person; but in other ways, we are allowed to see that she is anxious, self-conscious, and afraid of failure.

At the beginning of the series, Hannah is totally dependent upon her parents for both monetary and emotional support. She is still a child. By the end of season five, Hannah has fallen several times and has somehow managed to land on her feet–not because of her parents’ support, but in spite of it. Several things seem to indicate that Hannah has begun to journey down the Road Less Traveled–into her authentic self.

Marnie is one of the other girls in the series. While stumbling around on her own crossroads, Marnie slips into a marriage–it would seem by default. Naturally, the marriage does not work.

 Marnie: I don’t want to be married to you. It’s not even your fault. I mean, yeah, you’re an asshole, but it’s really not your fault. I just… I knew I shouldn’t have married you. I just didn’t want to give up on yet another dream.
Desi: What are you talking about?
Marnie: I just don’t know who I am right now. I’m like a ghost of myself. I don’t know what I’m doing here or anywhere else. But I don’t want to be married to you.

Marnie’s mistake is that of trading one type of dependency for another–a crippling type of marriage. By the end of season five, Marnie gets a glimpse of the realization that being hooked at the hip to someone else is not really what she needed–at least not what she needed at that time. For a short while, Marnie seems to realize that she needs to learn to walk alone before she marries.

Look, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I think I knew we were going to get divorced before we even got married. I was just really scared of what it was that I knew that I needed. I think that what I need is to be… Alone. – Marnie on Girls Series

At the end of season five, Hannah is shown walking alone down a path. She is excited about the journey that she has begun and begins to jog into the camera’s close focus. She is happy. Along the way, Hannah had discovered that her parents were not perfect and that her best move was beyond them–also Alone, for now.

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone. – Thomas Carlyle

At the end of the season, Black Hole plays.

While Marnie immediately slips into yet another co-dependent relationship by the end of season five, Hannah is truly Alone and there is “nowhere else that she wants to be — Alone on a Bicycle Built for Two” – Black Hole.

The music of the series Girls is incredible and significant to understanding what is going on. As I said before, I don’t generally care for comedy, but the light comedy of this series is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Yet, Girls is more than comedy. On a whole, Girls is not dark, but it is penetrating. Like the song Anchors Aweigh, it is a labyrinth–a journey in itself.

I am not quite sure what Michael Penn was saying in every stanza of his haunting song Anchors Aweigh, but the final lines of the traditional Anchors Aweigh summarize the essence of the series Girls:

Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam, Until we meet once more.
Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home

As I said before, the series Girls is a dramatic portrayal of the crossroads of four girls who have graduated from college. It is the time between their youths and what they will become. To confirm that this is merely the story of the crossroads period, we have been told that season six will end the series. The series has no intention of following these girls into adulthood. The jury is still out on whether or not all of the girls will make it “Home” during the remaining season, but Hannah seems to be headed in the right direction. She seems to be pursuing her own dream and to be doing so on her own terms. She has learned that before she can be part of a team, she has to be herself. She has begun walking along the Road Less Traveled.

©Jacki Kellum August 20, 2016

Youth

Narcissism and the 2016 Campaign Trail

I am not a political person, and before this year, I have often neglected to vote for the president that I preferred. In most cases, I was mildly confused about who would be the best president. This year, I am not at all confused. NEITHER of the 2016 candidates should be the President of the United States of America. Our Democratic contender is just shy of being a convicted criminal and our Republican contender is a mouthy and inappropriate nut. And both of the candidates are narcissists. Moments ago, I posted A Narcissist Might be the Most Evil Person that You Know Here.

Two days ago, a middle school child told me that she had read that people believe that Donald Trump has mental problems. I knew that I believed that to be true, but I had deliberately quit watching the campaign and I had quit following what the columnists were saying about the candidates. I simply couldn’t take any more of it. I suspected that Donald Trump had been labeled as a narcissist, and I did a google search to see if that was true. Bingo! Check out the high points of this article written on July 22, 2016, by Amy Ellis Nutt for The Washington Post Here

On Monday, “Breaking Bad” actor Bryan Cranston called Donald Trump a “supreme narcissist.”

On Tuesday, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank referred to Trump’s convention appearances as “the triumph of narcissism.”

And by Wednesday, Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter of Trump’s bestselling book, “The Art of the Deal,” had made sure he’d told everyone from Jane Mayer at the New Yorker to TV’s Bill Maher that Trump’s narcissistic self-absorption had made him a “sociopath.”

For the four days of the Republican convention, the word “narcissism” was never more in vogue, but what does the word actually mean? More importantly, what would it mean for America if one of the nominees for president of the United States is a narcissist? Aren’t all politicians?

Peter Freed, a psychiatrist at the Personality Studies Institute in New York City says “…that people with narcissistic personality disorder are so self-absorbed that they are indifferent, even oblivious, to how they appear to others.” He goes on to say that “…narcissism is the “great, undiagnosed character pa­thol­ogy of the modern age…” He summarizes with the following:

“…narcissism works — until it doesn’t. Usually those who suffer most are not the narcissists, Freed says, but those around them, the people who have to cope with the “mood swings, walking on egg shells, the demand to be sycophantic.” Here

Hmmmmm! The thought of four years of dealing with someone’s demand to be sycophantic and of dealing with presidential mood swings and of this country’s walking on egg shells somehow leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  If that isn’t frightening enough, however, take a gander at who might become this nation’s First Lady [cough cough]! The following video speaks volumes about both Trumps. Ooops, I almost said Tramps.  Of course, Melania is simply the Trump Flavor of the Year, but what does she say about Trump and his narcissistic disorder?

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On many, many levels, Donald Trump for President is Scary. What frightens me more, however, is that this country has stooped to the level that we would even consider allowing this duo into the White House and allowing them to represent us to the world.

Therefore, we look across the fence at Hillary. I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton violated this nation’s confidence and that she has broken at least the laws of which we have been made aware. I am also quite sure that Hillary Clinton is a narcissist. I repeat that Peter Freed, a psychiatrist at the Personality Studies Institute in New York City says “…that people with narcissistic personality disorder are so self-absorbed that they are indifferent, even oblivious, to how they appear to others.” The fact that a person who disregards the laws of this country might become this country’s president is bewildering. But at least, the Clintons don’t look and sound trashy.

How about this for a campaign slogan, Vote Hillary. She is the less trashy of two candidates.

What a mess!

©Jacki Kellum August 20, 2016

A Narcissist Might Be the Most Evil Person That You Know

Several years ago, I read Scott Peck’s book People of the Lie. I had suffered from a particularly painful experience that involved another person who absolutely seemed to have no empathy at all. Without empathy, there can be no conscience, and without conscience, evil can easily occur because people who cannot feel for others never see their own behaviors–in regard to those others. It has been 25 years since I read the book, but if I am not mistaken, excessive narcissism is essentially the phenomenon that Peck addressed in People of the Lie. The book opened my eyes.

In this absorbing and equally inspiring companion volume to his classic trilogy—The Road Less Traveled, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, and The Road Less Traveled and Beyond—Dr. M. Scott Peck brilliantly probes into the essence of human evil. – Amazon

Since that time, I have had encounters with other similar people, and it would seem that the people of the lie are sociopaths and/or narcissists. I believe that all of us are a bit narcissistic. That is how we survive. Narcissism can occur at various levels, however–but at an extreme, the narcissist becomes a sociopath.

Being Successful Is Not the Same As Being Correct

Because many of the most successful and powerful people among us–the corporate demigods–are severe narcissists, the lines become fuzzy. Too often, we correlate being successful with being correct.

Narcissists Are Masters of Deception

Another confusing detail is that when it is to a narcissist’s advantage, he/she can be relentlessly charming. That is the narcissist’s most powerful weapon. Since other people seem to love the narcissist, we begin to doubt ourselves and not the narcissist. Keep in mind that the narcissist is charming. Perhaps in the narcissist’s mind, the other person was worth charming and you are not.

Narcissists Deceive Themselves

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about a narcissist is that he/she is absolutely unaware of any of his/her wrongdoing. Like an alcoholic, if a person cannot see a problem, the problem cannot be fixed. There simply is no reasoning with a narcissist about any way that you feel you have been wrongedor even misunderstood.

Narcissists React Violently to Criticism

In my experience, confronting a narcissist about how he/she has hurt you is an effort in futility. A narcissist, who cannot tolerate criticism at all, is only enragedby confrontation.

Narcissists Are Vindictive

And then there’s hell to pay.

For more information about narcissism, the following article from Psychology Today is helpful:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201311/6-signs-narcissism-you-may-not-know-about

The following are some of the narcissists’ traits mentioned in Psychology Today:

1. Are highly reactive to criticism. Or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance….

2. Has low  self-esteem [but seems to be overly self-assured] This facet of their psyche is complicated, because superficially their self-regard would appear to be higher and more assured than just about anyone else’s. Additionally, given their customary “drivenness,” it’s not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune (and see here my post “Narcissism: Why It’s So Rampant in Politics”).  But if we examine what’s beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic stature—or their accomplishments generally—what typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow. ..

3. Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive. Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off. …

4. React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage. [I am adding this: But because they are masters of deception and vindictive as well, that rage may not be obvious to others. Like a ticking time bomb, it may be hidden–out of sight, but still threatening]. …

5. Project onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves.

6. Unconsciously viewing others as “extensions” of themselves, they regard them as existing primarily to serve their own needs—just as they routinely put their needs before everyone else’s….

In closing, if I did not see myself in at least part of the above list, I would be the very worst person of the lie.  I absolutely do have some of the very unattractive qualities named above, and I continuously appraise myself and buffet myself–seeking to keep potential problems in check. Therein is the distinction, and I believe my own saving grace: I DO recognize some of my own negative behaviors.  A severe narcissist does not.  Have you met the Queen of Denial? She is probably a narcissist.

©Jacki Kellum October 8, 2015

Be Wary of Books & People Who Say that You Can Write a Book in 30 Days

I have good news and bad news. In spite of all of the hype and in spite of all of the people who are selling you books saying that you can write a book in 30 days, you really cannot. It takes a lifetime to write a book, and it takes at least several months to capture oneself for the pages of a book. I know, Amazon is selling dozens of books that swear that if you will buy this book or that, you can write a novel or a memoir or some other kind of book in 30 days, but I would have to challenge that claim. People who had already been writing the book for a great deal of time, before the 30 days began ticking away, might be able to pull something together in a month, but I really doubt that anyone can discover a new idea and write about it and edit it and sequence it within that short amount of time. Writing a book is simply more complicated than that, and that is the bad news. The good news is that I have created a more do-able plan for writing a book of memoir, and beginning October 1, you can participate in aFree Run of the Entire Course, which will require several months to complete.

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The First Challenge for Writing Your Memoir Is Rediscovering What It Is That Truly Makes You Tick–It Is Rediscovering What Separates You from the Herd.

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Great writing is deliberate and specific, and poor writing is generalized. One of the biggest mistakes that a writer can make is to write about things that seem to interest everyone else but that only vaguely interests himself. That is like being the person who always tries to please everyone and who continuously straddles the fence. Invariably, the fence straddlers are those people who want to please everyone and in doing so, they please no one at all.

“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

In the current realm of Social Media, where being “liked” becomes the raison d’etre, it becomes tempting to simply chit chat when we write. In other words, it becomes tempting to use meaningless words that won’t offend anyone at all. Being liked is important to most people. It has certainly always been important for me, and at times, I have stayed in the middle of the road–striving to please everyone, but I didn’t even like myself when I was doing that.

During my teen years, I jumped through hoop after hoop, hoping to be liked. Most people do that when they are teens. Being a teenager in America is difficult, and because of social media, we are somewhat trapped into being a perpetual teen. Facebook is a prime example of that. Facebook is a place where we contine liking or disliking people by the mere clicks of our mouse. How 7th grade is that!

I want to be liked, and I dislike, as much as anyone else, for people to disagree with me. I do not even like the conflict of disagreeing with others, but I decided long ago that I would notbe a person who has no opinions. People without opinions are like piles of mashed potatoes. The life has been boiled and whipped completely out of them. People who continuously ride the fence either have not thought deeply enough to formulate an opinion, or they are living a lie–trying to hide behind the veil of seeming to have no opinion. We must have opinions. We must take a stand in life. In taking a stand, we can be differentiated from the faceless mob. The only way to be meaningful in life is to let your life mean–to let it actually stand–and to stand out.

In taking a stand, our lives can be differentiated. In taking stands in life, we do more than exist–we mean. The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean. – Jacki Kellum

There will be people who absolutely hate us for our opinions; but in taking stands in life, we also offer other people something concrete to love. We become more than wobbling globs of jello. When writers dare to take a stand in life, they offer their readers an authentic mind. They offer them words that have meaning, and they offer their readers a vital and feeling heart that has the capacity to care. People who ride the fence do not have those things to give. They are empty; they are flat; they are zero. Risking being disliked by a few is essential to becoming more than a pile of mashed potatoes.

Herein lies the key: If you try to please all of the people all of the time, you have elected to stand for nothing yourself. To stand for something is to get off the fence–out of the middle of the road.

“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” – Margaret Thatcher

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”– Margaret Thatcher

For several weeks, I have been promising that I’ll be launching a Free Writing Class or Blogging Event on October 1, 2016, and I initially called that event Mine Your Memories: Find Your Voice. Because it seemed to be the trend, I suggested in the title of the event that within 36 days of participating in the course, writers would have found their voices and would have potentially written an entire book. As I began pulling the material for the course together, however, I realized that the idea that anyone can write a book in 36 days or less is hog wash.

As I said before, writing a book is complicated. The process of extracting oneself from the middle of the road and discovering what it is that you truly want to write is a complicated process, and that is only the first step. But it is the crucial first step of rediscovering what truly makes you tick and rediscovering what is unique about yourself. This is a complicated and soul-searching process. It is a time-consuming unfolding of oneself and of looking at what lurks inside. The good news, however, is that valid and authentic and deliberate writing is an excellent way to allow that unveiling to take place. Beginning on October 1, 2016, in Find Your Path, my readers and I will thrust ourselves into the process of exploring our memories and our minds to rediscover our authentic selves.

“The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean.” – Jacki Kellum

Beginning October 1, I’ll share 36 days of writing prompts with the participants of the event, and in responding deliberately and truthfully to the prompts, the writers will begin to rediscover who they actually are, and that is the first step toward writing the books that continuously well up inside yourself, begging to be written

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After that first part of the course, Find Your Path,  I’ll allow the participants to take a couple of months for rewriting and editing and thinking before they resubmerge themselves into the second segment, which will begin January 1, 2017. During the interim between segments of the event, however, I’ll begin to conduct a weekly event, which will offer writers one prompt or one group of prompts to polish over the course of that week. Beginning January 1, 2017, the writers will be invited back into another 36-day intensive event, Paint Your Past, where they will practice writing more descriptively.

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The third part of the course, Mine Your Voice, will begin April 1, and by that time, the participant should have begun expressing himself in clearly distinguishable ways. During this part of the course, the writers will be offered more writing prompts and will also be offered some exercises to help them turn their memoir writing or any other kind of writing into poetry. There is no shortcut to finding your writing voice. The only way to accomplish that is to write and to write a lot more. Trying different styles of writing and writing about a variety of things will also help, and that is the goal of Mine Your Voice.

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The fourth part of the course will be the crucial step of collating our best writings and discovering how we want to be published. During this part of the course, I’ll share what I have learned about the publishing industry–including what I have learned about self-publishing. Although I’ll challenge participants throughout the course to begin from day 1 marketing themselves and building their Search Engine Optimization, during the last part of the course Retail Your Book, I’ll share some final marketing and publishing tips.

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memoir-voice-300 memoir-retail-300

Although I’d like to sell you a get-rich, get-published-instantly plan for writing and publishing your book in 30 days or less, the truth is that in doing so, I’d be feeding you a lie and I’d be riding that non-specific fence of telling you what you want to hear, primarily to sell. But in absolute honesty, I cannot do that. I wouldn’t want to read the book that you would write in 30 days or less, and I doubt that you would even want to read it yourself. To do the job correctly, I suggest that you allow yourself several months to write your book, and I suggest that you stay the course or as they say in the country, “Plow to the end of the row.” Several months may sound like a large time investment, but the best news of all is that if you start with a more realistic plan than trying to write a book in 30 days, you will allow yourself the chance to actually succeed.

©Jacki Kellum August 14, 2016

Complicated

Thoughts about Fear & How It Keeps us from Writing & Painting

Fear is the worst thing that can happen to anyone who hopes to create.

Fear prevents the painter from painting, and he forces the writer to edit himself literally to death.

Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know: Ten Principles for Total Emotional and Spiritual Fulfillment by [De Angelis, Barbara] Barbara de Angelis wrote an excellent treatise on Fear: [image credit Amazon]

“Imagine that you had a person in your life who followed you around twenty-four hours a day, filling you with anxiety, destroying your confidence, and discouraging you from doing the things that you wanted to do. Every time you were about to make a change or take a risk, the person would say, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you. What if you fail? What if you get hurt? All kinds of things might happen if you go in that direction.’ Imagine that before each conversation you had with friends, family, or loved ones, the person would pull you aside and caution you. ‘If you open up, you might get rejected. Watch what you say! Don’t trust anyone! . . . ” Barbara De Angelis

Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night.

“It’s your fear. Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night. It talks to you, manipulates you, and tries to convince you to avoid doing or expressing anything that may cause you any kind of discomfort or involve any sort of risk. It says, ‘You can’t’ . . . and ‘You shouldn’t.,’ and it eats away at your confidence and your self-esteem. It tells you not to act, not to reach out, not to try, not to trust, not to move. It steals the life right out from under you. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness.

“Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness. How does fear do that? It keeps you stuck in what’s not working. It prevents you from growing. It keeps separation between you and other people. It talks you out of your dreams. It keeps you stagnant, frozen, unable to become all you were meant to be. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

“It is fear that keeps us standing on the cliff when we know that we need to leap to the other side. But fear does more than just hold you back–it steals your aliveness, your passion, your freedom by shutting down your heart. . . .The extent to which you allow fear to control your life is the extent to which you are living as a prisoner.

I read De Angelis’s book 25 years ago, and it is undoubtedly the most inspirational of any self-help book that I have ever read.  Although the book is supposedly for women, I feel that the passages about Fear are appropriate for most artists and writers. Fear is one of a creative’s most crippling forces.

After years of being muted by my own fear, I finally gained enough stamina to simply override my restraints and to create in spite of my fear. But that was a long and uphill climb.

 You can read excerpts from De Angelis’s book on her Facebook Page Here

You can also read a great deal of her writing at Google Books Here

The amazing thing is that you won’t see anything that you don’t already know, but sometimes it simply helps to hear a knowledgeable person give you permission to move beyond your fear and to do what you want and need to do. Sometimes it also helps to know that powerful and famous people also deal with Fear.

John_Wayne_-courage
“ Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

One of the biggest mistakes that many of us make is that of allowing ourselves to believe that only the weak and the unsuccessful people deal with Fear, but that is not at all true.  Even in her greatness, Judy Garland was never comfortable with herself and with her life.  My all-time favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz.  More times than I could count, Judy Garland has carried me Over the Rainbow and back again.  Years ago, I did an entire body of art work based on the theme: “Over the Rainbow.”  For me, “Over the Rainbow “is a kind of heaven–a heaven that Judy Garland unlocked for me and for many, many other people.  In many ways, The Wizard of Oz and the song Over the Rainbow  molded the course of my life; yet, Judy Garland never felt that she was enough. Imagine that! Judy Garland battled her fear and yet, managed to serve as a great inspiration for me.and for many other people.

From what I have read, Barabara Streisand is similarly haunted. Long ago, when she was at her peak, I heard Streisand talk about how difficult performing was for her–and she hardly ever performs now.

Loud and clear, the messages that I hear are that most of us are not the best judges of ourselves and that we never feel that we are great enough–at least not great enough to please ourselves. Yet, even in our weaknesses [this is the BIGGIE], we have MUCH to offer.

Allow your cups to be filled by two women who were often scared to death and yet who “…saddled up anyway.”

“Even in our weaknesses, we have MUCH to offer.” – Jacki Kellum

We must all realize that when we don’t share of ourselves, we fail to give other people the gifts of our own lives. We also steal from our very own lives the joy that we deserve.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

Is Fear preventing you from truly living your life–from becoming your true self? Eileen R. Hannegan also talks about the paralyzing effects of fear that drain our energies and damages our spirits:

“The combination of discovering what is not you but not yet knowing what is you is very much like being cast adrift in space, free-floating with no sense of attachment to anything solid. In this transitional process, it is easy to become disconcerted and frustrated. What you previously knew as your self begins to fade away, and a new set of knowns based on true self begins to emerge. As the old passes away, familiar habits and thought processes also begin to wither and die, but new ones have not yet replaced them. Because of . . . paralyzing fear, many people choose to continue living a false existence. They are generally very adept at doing this, and living a false existence works for them to some degree because they manage to stay in a neutral zone, half alive and resisting the life force of true self. a considerable amount of energy to hold back and maintain a neutral course of life. But living a false or a half-truth existence eventually takes its toll, both emotionally and physically. It takes a considerable amount of energy to hold back and maintain a neutral course of life. It goes against true self and drains the soul and spirit. We think that if we keep sacrificing self long enough, things will get better. So we invest in situations that go against true self, and as a result, we deplete the soul. Our energy is being drained to maintain this facade and keep up the pretense of well-being.”

Regardless of how great of a hold that Fear has on us, we can overcome it and we can create, in spite of it. We owe it to ourselves to limit the damage that fear imposes upon us. You may not realize it, but when you do not write or paint or dance or sing, in spite of your fear, you not only cheat yourself. You cheat the world.

©Jacki Kellum August 13, 2016

Are You Emotionally Old or Are You Forever Young? – Obsessed with Looking Young

I recently made a  quick Google search to see how many anti-aging products were on the market, and there were too many to begin to count. People in the 21st-Century are obsessed with looking younger, but unfortunately, looking younger is simply a superficial thing. Too bad that everyone is not as conscious of how much they are aging emotionally as how much they are aging, in appearances.

Many years ago, I carefully examined the writings and the images created by William Blake, who wrote in the late 1700’s. In a manner of speaking, Blake was one of the earliest people to become preoccupied with aging, but his concern was not that of outward appearances. He was interested in the aging of the spirit. Generally speaking, I would say that the interests of people in the 21st Century are exactly the opposite of those of William Blake. William Blake was a Romanticist. Most people today are Realists.

During the late 1700’s,  the Realists were the people who liked the changes that had been brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The Realists liked mechanization, standardization, and outwardness. The Romanticists were a reaction against the Industrial Revolution, clutching to the Imagination as the key to Inwardness.

The Romantic viewpoint echoes Taoism, which urges a return to the Way. In his 1955 translation of the Tao Te Ching, Raymond Blakney provided the following definition of the Tao:

“Tao – A road, a path, the way by which people travel, the way of nature, and finally, the Way of reality.”

The Romantics would view the Realists as superficial. The Romantics believe that the Realists limit their life-views to the external or the obvious, like that of reading the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper, People magazine, etc., rather than that of seeking inner wisdom or growth. Linear in viewpoint, the Realists establish a goal early in life, and they spend the remainder of their lives marching or plodding toward that goal. The Realist essentially wears blinders to anything but the outer, and the Realist wants no distractions or changes along the way. He merely wants to move from point A to point B.

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” – James Oppenheim

On the other hand, the Romantic is focused inwardly; and he embarks upon a path toward the inward. The Tao said that this was a seeking of the Way.

In Chapter 1 of the Tao Te Ching, the following is said:

“There are ways but the Way is uncharted “[in other words, there is no direct line point A to point B–there is not even a map].
“The secret waits for the insight” [What is essential is within]
“Those who are bound by desire See only the outward container.” [If you are moving only from point A to some pre-established point B, you are only looking at the surface–at what can readily be viewed and charted–like statistics].
Again to the first line. “There are ways. . .”

Moving from point A to point B is a way {with lower case “w”}–it will move you along through life, but there is only one Way–and that one Way can only be found from within, from the spirit, from what William Blake called the Imagination.

Now that I have laid a bit of groundwork, allow me to return to the 21st-Century obsession with the outward appearances of aging. As I said before, most people of the 21st Century are Realists. They are only concerned with the wrinkles and the gray hair and the dementia that are the bi-products of aging. The Romanticist, however, sees the crisis of aging differently. They see aging as a withering from within–a type of dying that is not usually externally obvious.

In his later work, William Blake described a type of Heaven and a Hell that he perceived as the lifestyles of the Romanticist versus the Realist. He said that the people who are led by their spirits or their imaginations are in Heaven and that the people who only see the obvious as those in Hell. TS Eliot wrote The Waste Land, and it is a similar description of the results of limiting one’s life- view as outwardly.William Blake created the Christ-like figure Los, who was the embodiment of the Imagination. The Imagination [Los] leads one to Heaven and away from the Waste  Land experiences of Hell.

So what does this all have to do with the aging crisis?

William Blake’s earlier writings were the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience. In the Songs of Innocence, Blake described an idyllic place where people who are always young reside. They are the people who have not been hardened by life. In the Songs of Experience, he described the hellish place where people who have been hardened by life are trapped. These are the people who, regardless of their physical age, are old. The people who have not been hardened by life’s experiences are  the forever young. [Peter Pan?]

I am definitely a Romanticist, and I know many people who have not reached the age of thirty yet, who are old. Even though they have no wrinkles and even though their hair has not turned gray, they have begun to wither from inside. They no longer feel. They no longer imagine. They no longer see any magic life. In my opinion, that is the true aging crisis. The true crisis is that too many people have allowed themselves to become emotionally old.

Obsessed

I’d Like to Travel But I Want to Know More of Different Places Than What Lies on the Surface

I would love to be able to travel more, but unlike some people, I have no desire to travel merely to  Keep Up with the Joneses or because I have a superficial need to flash before my peers the evidence that I was able to afford to travel. In fact, what I want from traveling would not appeal to most people who travel as a type of status symbol. Rather, I have a desire to actually live, in an authentic way, with many types of people and to live in other spots all around the globe. I want to experience the ways that other people tick.

Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.- Susan Sontag

Unlike for many, I have no desire to photograph the world. My yearning to travel is more of a spiritual thing. I long to spend time with the everyday people who live in different countries. and I hunger to truly know other cultures. I do not want to stop at photographing them. I want to reach beneath the] appearances of the people that I meet along my journey. I want to feel with other people and not merely to look at them.

While most who visit England will flock to Westminster Palace and will ogle at the trappings of the royalty, that is not at all interesting to me.  Instead, I want to visit England’s country people, and I want to sniff the fresh lavender that is growing in English gardens.

I I do not want to spend large portions of time in International cities. I may be wrong about this, but I venture to say that a city is merely a city–regardless of what language that it speaks.

My desire is to visit the cottages of the world and to eat potato soup and rolls with its commoners. I want to breathe the fresh, mountain air that is far above the city smog, and I want to share stories with the Every-woman.

You develop a sympathy for all human beings when you travel a lot.
Shakuntala Devi

I do not want to journey, simply to impress others with my ability to pay for my travel. My thirst  is to increase my awareness through travel. I have a hunger to grow, inside myself; and experiencing more of the world will help me grow. Feeling with the world will enlarge my heart.

Travelling expands the mind rarely. – Hans Christian Andersen

©Jacki Kellum August 11, 2016

Surface

A Dreamer Finds His Way By Moonlight But Sees Dawn Too Soon

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

The Moon has always enchanted me. I suppose that much of the moon’s charisma has to do with the fact that it is the light that balances the darkness of night and therefore, it has a certain mystery about it. In fact, the filtered and hazy glimmer that is whispered by the moon is what lends a mystical quality to the night.

moon-clouds-night

I like the way that the moon washes the world in a soft and alluring light–one that is not too harsh and not too bright. To me, a moon-lit night has the same kind of ambiance that a room has that is lighted only by the flickering flames of a fireplace or by the warm glow that falls beneath the shade of a lamp.

I write a great deal about denial. I criticize the people in denial and say that they have no feelings about what is happening around themselves and thus, they have no empathy. As I look around more, however, I am realizing that more people are wearing blinders than there are those who seem to see. Perhaps most people are in what I call a state of denial, and the artists and the writers of the world are the only people who see.

Picasso said, “Je vois les autres,” which means, “I see for the others or I see things that other people do not see.” I am certainly no Picasso, but I feel the same way about myself–I believe that I see things that other people don’t see, and I have written several posts in which I share the fact that all of my life I have felt apart from everyone else because of that.  In the following poem, I talk about how I feel isolated in a world of people who I believe can only look at outward appearances–if they look at all.

fly-looking_eyes

When I talk about “looking” as opposed to “seeing,” I am referring to different levels of perceiving the world. Even flies look. The thing that distinguishes a thinking man is his ability to “see,” and as Picasso has suggested, there are levels of seeing. As Oscar Wilde has suggested, an artist’s ability to look more penetratingly at life and to see more than the surface is enhanced because the artist is able to wrap reality in the moonlight and to look at it beneath the sheltering shade of his perceptions.

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Deep Within the Pool, I See
by Jacki Kellum

Deep within the pool I see,
An outline view of me.

I smile.  The water thinks me glad.
I frown. It thinks me sad.
The water has no way to know
The kind of day I’ve had.

The water has no brain to think.
It has no heart to feel
It only views my outer shell.
It looks with eyes of steel.

How very like the water are
The people passing by.
They glance at me, They never see,
They never hear me cry.

Drop a pebble in the pool.
Watch the water spin.
Best to watch the water crack
Than love the shell within.

© Jacki Kellum December 7, 2015

After my divorce, I became depressed; and for a short while, I sought a psychiatrist’s advice. One day, I said to her that I wished that I was the type of person who was unphased by how other people perceived me and who was uncaring about whether or not I had caused other people pain. I added that I wished that I myself could navigate life without feeling pain. Her response was very true, “People who do not feel pain also do not see the rainbows,” and that is very true.

rainbow-1205807-adj-700

In the same way, the people who do not feel do not notice the dew, as it touches their toes in the mornings.

raintinroof

And the people who do not hear miss the sound of the rain as it filters through the trees and then taps the tin roof and slides from it one drop at a time.

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Likewise, tThe people who do not hear also do not notice the whisper-plinking as the snow begins to drift toward the ground and begins to cover the earth with a velvety whiteness.

The Snow Begins to Fall
by Jacki Kellum

Grayness is so thick that you feel its cotton breath reaching around you,
Blowing slivers of ice against your face.
Quiet and still—almost silent, except for a faint brushing tap,
Crystals touch the ground.
There are no cars out tonight, but I see a lone street light,
and in the golden circle that it makes, I watch the puffs of white–
….Drifting,
…………Diagonally,
…………………..Falling out of sight,
……………………………….Beyond the orb.

I stand outside my house, and
Gradually, the corners of my window pane fill,

The Christmas lights next door are turned on.
Gray-muted blueness soon becomes a pyramid of powder.

©Jacki Kellum October 14, 2015

The people who do not see also do not notice the way that the soft and glowing light of the moon transforms the darkness of night.

Pale Yellow Moon
by Jacki Kellum

Pale Yellow Moon,
Hazy, Milky Magic:

Mostly Cornstarch,
Kissed by Honey,
Whispering to the Dark.

© Jacki Kellum October 14, 2015

As Oscar Wilde has pointed out, artists and writers do see more of life and they see it long before the rest of the world takes note. But the unfortunate flip side to this kind of vision is that they are also quicker to notice when things begin to fall apart and they hurt more than others. The ability to hurt deeply is the punishment for being born an artist. Artists and writers truly experience both the agony and the ecstasy of life, and if I could not have one without the other, I would still elect to have them both.

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

Surface

 

Maybe You’ll Still Be Successful – Even Without Marketing & SEO – But Don’t Count On That!

Being Successful with Any Kind of Online Business Requires More Than Magical Thinking!

Maybe you’ll still be successful online–even without marketing & SEO–but don’t count on that! 

  1. You Need a Real Marketing Plan. 
  2. You Need to Increase Your SEO.
  3. You Need to Be Found Online.

Let’s talk about some practical approaches to building an online presence.

blog_to_increase_search engine optimization

Many would say that creating a website would be one of the first steps toward building an online presence, but my blog sites have been  better tools for me.  I venture to say that this would be true for most writers or for people who are verbal. I am also a painter, and I have tried simple online galleries, but I have another need to talk about ideas and my feelings and my projects. The more important thing, as far as marketing goes, is that other people seem to want to listen.

For a couple of years, I had several free WordPress blogs, but I feel that I have outgrown the free blog option, but for a long time, my free WordPress blogs worked great for me

godaddyNow, GoDaddy is hosting some full WordPress.org sites for me, and they have a .com address. In my opinion, this approach offers me the best of two worlds–I have both websites and blogs. This site is one of the sites that GoDaddy is hosting.

Regardless of how you do this, however, an online home–a place where people can find you–is essential to marketing online–even if you are only marketing yourself.

 

If you are trying to increase your SEO or your Search Engine Optimization, or if you simply want to be found on the Internet, you must become serious about marketing yourself. Millions–probably Billions–want that same thing. The people who win the race will be the people who learn how to effectively sell themselves online.

Now, this may sound confusing, but I believe that maintaining an active blog is still very important for marketing yourself. That’s right–even if you have a regular website, I still believe that blogging regularly–even a couple of times per day–is essential for being found online.

google_keyword_search_increases_seo

How Blogging Helps Increase Your SEO

I began blogging 2.5 years ago. At that time, my intention was to create an online gallery for peddling my paintings, and somewhere I had read that I needed to attract attention to my site. I researched various types of blogs, and I elected to launch a WordPress blog.

At that time, I knew that many people would be interested in free tutorials for Photoshop and for Adobe Illustrator, and to draw people to my site, I initially created many tutorials for the Adobe products. From the earliest date, however, I also began to blog about something else that I felt I knew a little bit about. For my first graduate degree in English, I wrote about William Blake, and at some time past, I did feel passionate about the Romantic ideals and about how the experienced and emotionally bankrupt adult of the world had stripped life of its emotion, energy, intuitiveness, and imagination.

It had been a long time since I had written that thesis, but I began to write posts about the loss of imagination and the Waste Land that resulted from the loss of feeling. Unlike the Adobe tutorials, these posts required that I actually write, and that was something that I had not done for quite some time. I was stunned by the number of readers that I attracted through those earliest posts.

I attribute the fact that anyone read those earliest posts to Google. Somewhere, I had read that I needed to tag my posts and that by tagging, I would draw viewers. Like a child in elementary school, I did as I was told, and it worked. Strangers began to find my blog site. But I began to realize that my cart and my horse were totally confused. Although I did use the Adobe products myself and although at one time, I had studied William Blake, that was not what I was trying to sell 2.5 years ago. For a while, I simply quit blogging, but the Adobe tutorials continued to draw viewers.

In October of 2015, I decided to return to my writing, and I plunged into writing, as a form of expression. It was as though a cork had been released. If you look at the following graph, you can see that in October of 2015, I posted wrote many articles and because I had learned how to tag my posts and because Google had already found me, people read my creative writing, too.

stats-october-2015

I continued to write in November, but shortly after that, I became ill and did not write much again until May. In July, I decided to move forward with a project that I had begun before I became ill, and that project was the Mine Your Memories Writing Event.

At some time during the fall of 2015 or during early winter of 2016, I began responding to the WordPress Daily Prompt, and because of that effort, my writing improved, I attracted a relatively large number of readers, and I also attracted several followers. And again, some of my success was because of Google–and some of it was because of the WordPress Groupies. Any way that you look at it, blogging has been an invaluable asset for me in increasing my SEO–even for elevating my page rank.

Sharing Images Online Is A Way to Market Yourself

As I said before, blogging is a great tool for drawing attention to yourself.  Because your blog is a great place to share images online, your blog becomes an even greater resource for building an online presence. Today, I began blogging on a new combination blog and website that is also hosted via GoDaddy. That site will be very helpful for people who are serious about being found online. Today, I posted the following articles about how to find and use images and how those images will hep increase your Search Engine Optimization:

use-google-images-free

How to Find & Save Google Images Here

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Dangerous Myths Regarding Google Images – How to Be Sure That Your Images Are Free to Use Here

Pixabay_Copyright-Free_Images

Pixabay Is An Outstanding Resource for Finding Free & Copyright-Free Images Here

creative-commons

The Creative Commons Is the Best Kept Secret Secret for Finding Free & Copyright-Free Images, Music, Clip Art, & Videos Here

uncle-sam-poster

The Uncle Sam Poster “I Want You” is Proof of the Power of Images Here

For now, this is all that I’ll say about the importance of marketing yourself online, but allow me to repeat my original position by saying that marketing yourself is essential for people who are struggling to have their books, or the art, or the writing, or their videos, or the music found online. Maybe you can succeed in the 21st-Century without increasing your SEO, but I honestly doubt that you will. The economy is not good, and more and more people are launching Internet businesses. The competition is overwhelming. Increasing your Search Engine Optimization is vital for people who hope to rise to the top.

©Jacki Kellum August 10, 2016

Maybe

 

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