Black Poetry Writing Month: Traveling through Time… Slavery

Calling all poets! 😉

Lovely Curses

February is finally here! Did anyone else think January was way too long?

…And too cold; it was definitely too cold!

If February is your month to reset your New Year’s goals (particularly your writing goals), here’s a suggestion for you…

Why not join a new writing challenge?

That’s right. Black Poetry Writing Month (BlaPoWriMo) has returned for a third year, and this time I hope to see lots more participation. 😉

For the uninitiated, BlaPoWriMo is a month-long writing challenge that combines the ambition of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) with the history, education, and self-reflection of Black History Month.

Over these three years, I’ve explored various themes for the challenge. During its inaugural run in 2016, I gave you daily prompts based on poems from some of my favorite black poets, and last year, we spent a fortnight writing black love poems.

This year, I want to take you on a…

View original post 657 more words

9 Tips to Improve Your Writing

Great writing tips! 👍😉

A Writer's Path

by Cátia Isabel Silva

Improvement. That’s an amazing word and fundamental for all of us who want to continuously get better at our jobs. As I already said in previous posts, there is plenty of competition in the writing field, so, if you want to write for life, you must be good at it.

You might read a whole lot and that certainly helps you in becoming a better writer, but even then, there are some points or specifics regarding your work that seem to lack that special something, right? There always is. I leave you here with some tips on how to improve your stories, your books, or, wherever you’d like to write.

1. Make them cry but also make them laugh

No matter how sad your story is, your readers will be delighted with some giggles somewhere in it. A safe way to do it is by…

View original post 676 more words

“The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler

Vagina Monologues cover

The Vagina Monologues

by Eve Ensler

Genre: Women’s Studies/Dramas and Plays

1.99 for a limited time!

A landmark in women’s empowerment—as relevant as ever after a year marked by unprecedented political protest—that honors female sexuality in all its complexity.

“I was worried about vaginas. I was worried about what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them. . . . So I decided to talk to women about their vaginas, to do vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues. I talked with over two hundred women. I talked to old women, young women, married women, single women, lesbians, college professors, actors, corporate professionals, sex workers, African American women, Hispanic women, Asian American women, Native American women, Caucasian women, Jewish women. At first women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them.”

So begins Eve Ensler’s hilarious, eye-opening tour into the last frontier, the forbidden zone at the heart of every woman. Adapted from the award-winning one-woman show that’s rocked audiences around the world, this groundbreaking book gives voice to a chorus of lusty, outrageous, poignant, and thoroughly human stories, transforming the question mark hovering over the female anatomy into a permanent victory sign. With laughter and compassion, Ensler transports her audiences to a world we’ve never dared to know, guaranteeing that no one who reads The Vagina Monologues will ever look at a woman’s body the same way again.

Amazon button

Fibromyalgia and Microglia

Fibro Cloud

People who suffer from fibromyalgia hear constantly that they are just imagining their symptoms. It’s one of the most infuriating parts of getting help for the disease. But is true that fibromyalgia is in your head? Research into the relationship between microglia and fibromyalgia shows it may be literally in your head.

Microglia

Microglia are immune cells that pass through the barrier of your brain. This causes inflammation in the brain. It’s a normal part of your body’s immune system.

But when you develop certain brain disorders, the microglia go into overdrive. They begin attacking the structures of the brain. And that plays a role in diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

And it turns out that these microglia may actually be responsible for fibromyalgia.

Microglia and Fibromyalgia

Jarred Younger at the University of Alabama is a scientist studying the role that microglia play in fibromyalgia. Tired of hearing patients told that “your fibromyalgia is in your head,” Younger began looking for explanations of what might cause the disorder.

He focused in on the immune system of fibromyalgia patients. The first step was to test the patients’ blood for abnormalities. He found that there were a number of markers in their blood that were unusual.

First, the level of leptin was far higher in the blood of fibromyalgia patients. Leptin is a hormone that is released from fat cells. Younger found that not only was the concentration in fibromyalgia patients’ blood higher but that the concentration of leptin could predict how severe their symptoms were from day to day.

But leptin is also a hormone that can pass through the barrier into the brain. And that’s where the microglia come in. Younger believes that the presence of higher levels of leptin might be causing microglia to become activated and triggering the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is (literally) in your head

If Younger is correct, it means in a strict sense that fibromyalgia is in your head. The reaction between increased leptin levels and the microglia in your brain could easily be the reason that fibromyalgia causes the symptoms it does.

As Younger says:

Microglia defend our brain against everything. When we get the flu, for instance, microglia are activated. These cells make us want to crawl into bed and do nothing – so our body can devote its resources to fighting off the flu.

Fatigue and flu-like aches? Sounds a lot like fibromyalgia, right?

And that means that by understanding the role that microglia play in fibromyalgia, we could get closer to a cure. But the problem is that there is no good way to measure the way that your brain’s immune cells respond to leptin. And Younger hopes that developing a better way to measure this response can help develop a test for fibromyalgia. And hopefully, that is the first step to a cure.

Younger’s research is a great first step in finally getting to the cause of fibromyalgia. And understanding how fibromyalgia is caused by the brain can make treating it easier.

We are still a long way from getting to the bottom of the disease. But this research into microglia and fibromyalgia is a good start.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.

Song Lyric Sunday | “Honesty” – Billy Joel

SLS banner

———

 

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “truth”.  

 

After reading Helen’s post, of course, the first thing which came to mind was the scene from A Few Good Men between Lt. Kaffee and Col. Jessup (Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson).

Col. Jessup: You want answers?

Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to.

Col. Jessep: You want answers?

Kaffee: I WANT THE TRUTH!

Col. Jessup: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

 

Col. Jessup was correct to a point. Sometimes, we’re not capable of handling—or telling—the truth.

We’re taught from a young age to always tell the truth, the truth is the way, and the truth shall set you free. But somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we find out it’s easier to tell people what they want to hear. We don’t want to upset, offend, or lose a friend. We also don’t want to be seen in a bad light. White lies, half-truths and silence become a way of life.

Yet, we want the truth, no matter how brutal. We want honesty… something we don’t readily give.

Billy Joel said it best in his 1978 hit, Honesty: You can have the love you need to live, but if you look for truthfulness you might just as well be blind. It always seems to be so hard to give.

The problem with dancing around the truth is it cannot be done indefinitely, and when it’s at last revealed, the damage can be irreparable.

The truth isn’t always easy, but it is always best.

 

Song Lyric Sunday on FeliciaDenise.com.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

 

“Honesty”

Written and song by Billy Joel

If you search for tenderness
It isn’t hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don’t want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

I can find a lover
I can find a friend
I can have security
Until the bitter end
Anyone can comfort me
With promises again
I know, I know

When I’m deep inside of me
Don’t be too concerned
I won’t ask for nothin’ while I’m gone
But when I want sincerity
Tell me where else can I turn
Cause you’re the one that I depend upon

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

“White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing” by Gail Lukasik

White Like Her

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race & Racial Passing

by Gail Lukasik

Genre: Social Sciences/African-American Studies

1.99 for a limited time!

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing is the story of Gail Lukasik’s mother’s “passing,” Gail’s struggle with the shame of her mother’s choice, and her subsequent journey of self-discovery and redemption.

In the historical context of the Jim Crow South, Gail explores her mother’s decision to pass, how she hid her secret even from her own husband, and the price she paid for choosing whiteness. Haunted by her mother’s fear and shame, Gail embarks on a quest to uncover her mother’s racial lineage, tracing her family back to eighteenth-century colonial Louisiana. In coming to terms with her decision to publicly out her mother, Gail changed how she looks at race and heritage.

With a foreword written by Kenyatta Berry, host of PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow, this unique and fascinating story of coming to terms with oneself breaks down barriers.

Amazon button

Army of Authors Blog Tour | Dr. Eric Cole

3 Things Every Parent should do to Protect Their Children in Cyber Space

Online activity is second nature to today’s kids, but most of us with children didn’t grow up with the Internet. So it may be difficult to know how to advise them and monitor their safety online, especially when a lot of their school work and social life is centered on being connected. There is a lot that’s great about the Internet and the educational and recreational opportunities out there, but there’s also a lot that’s dark, evil, and dangerous. As parents, we need to help our kids make the right decisions and stay safe online.

Online Danger coverIn his new book, Online Danger: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from the Evil Side of the Internet, cyber security expert, Dr. Eric Cole, devotes an entire chapter to the ways that parents can safeguard their kids’ online activities. Here are some of his top suggestions.

Know What Apps They Use

Kids are not going to be as careful when it comes to downloading and installing apps that they want – particularly games. But just because an app (for phone or PC) came from the Google or Apple store doesn’t make it safe. Many of today’s apps – by default – ask for access to the device’s camera, microphone, and location services. This means that your child’s phone might be spying on him or her or making it easy to abduct them based on knowing their location. Review the apps on your kids’ phones, and together determine whether they still use the app and how the permissions are set.

Follow Your Kids on Social Media

Children should have the expectation that you’ll follow them on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Make sure you all understand privacy settings, particularly who can see or share their posts and photos. You’ll want to check who has connected with your kids, and don’t be shy about asking about faces you may not recognize. You’d much rather hear, “oh that’s Joe from my karate class” than “oh, that’s just someone who asked me to be their online friend.” Remember that predators can be anyone they want online.

Talk Openly About Online Risks

Kids can’t be expected to always make smart decisions or foresee the consequences of their actions. That’s why, as parents, a big part of our job is to teach them these skills, encourage them to make the right decisions, and protect them – both from others and from themselves. Talking with your kids about online safety is an ongoing process that starts the minute they start swiping on your phone or tablet, and continues into young adulthood. Remember, monitoring your kids’ online activities isn’t “nosy” – it’s responsible parenting.

In addition to the chapter devoted to protecting our kids online, Dr. Cole’s book provides advice for anyone wanting to protect themselves from scammers, hackers, and predators. You’ll learn how these online villains operate and how you can safeguard your credit, identity, and personal information. Visit www.onlinedanger.com for more useful tips, videos, and purchase information. Now available on Kindle.

 

About Dr. Eric ColeEric Cole

Eric Cole, PhD, is a recognized security expert with over 30 years of experience in consulting, training, public speaking, and expert witness testimony. A published author of 7 books on cyber security, Dr. Cole is on the cutting edge of cyber security research and development. His career has spanned industry and government roles including CTO at McAfee, Chief Scientist for Lockheed Martin, and member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th President, Barack Obama.