You aren’t the first human to be in quarantine and odds are, you will not be the last. Every crisis throughout history – or at least the ones humans witnessed and endured – sparked fierce creativity. Think Shakespeare in 1605, cooped up to escape plague, scratching away through the night at a play he would call “King Lear.” Edgar Allen Poe’s “Mask of the Red Death” is such rich ground that 150 years later, the great film director Akira Kurosawa left a treatment of it behind when he died; it’s now in production. (This is the fourth film treatment of the story in addition to its countless editions and comic book treatments.)
Fear is both a motivator – dear God, I was here! I existed! – as well as life-killing; you get to choose how you use it. Try deep belly-breaths until your heart-rate slows then pick up a book.
Reading requires a stillness inside, a quiet mind to take in words and create your own internal pictures. Those pictures engender emotion and take you from your reality to experience other realities without threat. With books, you can travel, go to war, live in colonial Africa, shoot the moon. Each time you change your reality with that book, the world becomes a little more known to you, a little less scary.
Being a reader is THE requirement for being a writer. The more you traffic in words, the more you’ll want to traffic in words; its’ a terrific addiction! Not only do you become a better communicator, you become less afraid as you understand more. As you read and write, time slips away; there’s no quarantine boredom in a writer’s house!
As writers, editors and publishers, we live books every day; we love this life. Use what we do everyday to pass your quarantine. At the end of it, who knows, you might have the next Why the Crawdads Sing.
Coronavirus Journal: The world will only support so many pandemic thrillers, but your micro-look at coping will serve as powerful document to future generations of your family. This is big history and you’re helping to write it.
Read a Big Book: My nephew, at home sick with coronavirus, just finished Infinite Jest, becoming the first person to do so. Take a long ride with Anna Karenina (anything Tolstoy), Dickens, the Ferrante Napoli quartet, Yukio Mishima. Always wanted to read Lord of Rings? Now is your moment.
Write That Book You’ve Been Thinking about for Ten Years: If not now, when?
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Our areas of interest are self-help, science, nature, mind/body/spirit, health and healing, women’s studies, popular culture, and business/finance/investing. All subjects will be considered.
In the body of your email include a description of the book you are writing
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Transforming significant, heart-shattering loss into stories is a powerful engine for healing. We see it daily in our “Love Never Dies” queries, an imprint serving all aspects of the line between this world and the next.
We specialize in stories about
*near death experiences and their impact
*mental health as a life and death concern
*the transformative power of grief
*communicating with a loved one across all boundaries
If these stories are inside of you, write. Decide if you want to share it with a community who have experienced many of the same events. That’s why we started this imprint, to create a forum. There are many people out there in the world who feel as you do.
*Books are beautiful, in a pile on the floor, shelved or stacked on a table.
*Books are a vote for the future, a future where human beings live and learn, growing ever stronger and wiser and more experienced.
*Books connect the author to a larger community of like-minded souls that include William Shakespeare, Toni Morrison, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with them?
*Books offer lifelong learning, a vast university with no entry rules. You’ll never get bored.
*Books are stories of individuals, real and imagined, who teach, voices that guide the generations who come after. Don’t you want this for yourself and your children?
Write more books. Fill the shelves. Tell the world your story.
We help with:
The language of proposals and publishers: With 45 years of publishing experience between us, we know how to excite an editor. (Hint: It’s in the writing!)
Positioning of the content for your audience, cover design (internet-based, ALWAYS!!!) to attract that audience. Your cover is the size of a postage stamp online, so you best have a plan to make it pop.
Book structure: there are some good rules in place here, like 3-acts, and we’ll show you how your book works inside that frame.
Editing, editing, editing: From over-arching questions about the arc to the nitty-gritty of line editing, we do it all. Believe us, this is important. Just ask Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird (she wrote the wrong book until her editor told her to fix it) or the stories of Raymond Carver, carved out by the poetess Tess Gallagher. Writing, if it is to become commerce, must become a group activity.
Don’t flail around in the face of 1000 years of commercial publishing (China, 1045, invention of moveable type.) Focus on your writing; that’s where the learning is, the joy. You don’t need to master printing, just write. We’ll do the rest.
People say writing is a dying art; everyone wants video. People say making a book is too difficult. But there is no better vehicle to transmit timeless stories and essential information to the generations behind us.
Books are legacy, passing the story of your life and what you’ve learned down to your descendants. Unlike a video, your great-great-grandchild won’t be aghast if it’s black and white or laugh at your haircut. Books are positioned among the stars, looking down at everything that comes after.
Books require imagination and it’s a muscle to be worked. Let the reader fill in the blanks and apply to their life.
Writing a book is like climbing Everest: You do it because it’s there. You do it because you want to share the top of the mountain. It’s solitary sport with huge social ramifications.
Writing is heroic and hard and beautiful. That’s why people will always do it.
Books are a great way to support business development, an impressive calling card whether you are a massage therapist or a CEO.
When you put “author” on your list of achievements, it signals you can go the distance, you don’t quit. Writing a book is a mind-marathon and only the committed should make the run. When you’re finished, the sense of accomplishment is profound and will last all the days you spend on Earth.
When your book touches one person, you feel a rare connection few get to feel. If that person happens to be a stranger, the feeling intensifies and takes on wonder. We make books together; stories are invisible glue.
Why you shouldn’t write a book:
Money. There isn’t much unless you caught a pol doing something criminal or disgusting, and we may have jumped the shark on that one.
Fame. Nope. Do a porno or start a unicorn Instagram feed instead. Both are easier and take 1/100th of the time.
If a book is inside you, get it out. If you do, write to us. We’ll help you get wherever you want to go, from editing and covers to publicity and marketing.
Lisa Hagan, Founder and CEO Lisa@lisahaganbooks.com
Beth Wareham, Founder and Editor-in-Chief Beth@lisahaganbooks.com
The Cold War. I mean, have you ever really thought about it? People died all over the place. Families were separated and never saw each other again. Why? In part because Stalin got hurt feelings. Like most dictators, he had an ego of glass. His people had won the European Theater and didn’t get all the credit they deserved. (America won the Pacific, so you have that, people.) Churchill and F.D.R. remained chatty good buddies, never inviting Josef for a smoke after dinner. This stung.
In the swirling post-WWII hurt-feelings, Russia and the United States began playing the games you see on your television set today. (See Impeachment Hearings.) Vladimir Putin is a man in search of an economy, trying to conquer more lands to satisfy his greedy oligarchs; his citizens sure aren’t eating very well. Crimea, DA! Ukraine, DA! Arctic, DA! United States of America’s President! Double DA!
Back in the day, the game was a little different; it wasn’t such a smash and grab. It was zany. And the zaniest of all the tit-for-tat of the Cold War was the dueling UFO programs. Fake rockets were launched and elaborate photographs of crashed saucers were staged in the woods. Rubber corpses were autopsied and filmed and, in a stroke of sheer genius, the U.S. military planned to broadcast the voice of God over Cuba to encourage them to smite the evil communists. Thousands of government personnel worked these capers, huge facilities housed complex machinery and scientific tools, and jets were scrambled over and over and over and over…….
Take heart. All those taxes you pay go to so much more than trash collection…….
Death Move Marital Arguments contain a toxic message, akin to ‘the poison on the tip of the dart (Gottman/Bumberry).” The apparent question isn’t really a question. Like the body of the dart, the question is only a delivery system for the poison. “Why are you such a slob?” is not a question looking for an answer. “What color are your eyes?” is a question looking for an answer.
“Why are you such a slob?” is a poisonous counterattack mas- querading as a question.
“You are defective, and one evidence of that is you are a slob.” The initial question, “Why aren’t you ever interested in sex?” wasn’t a question either. It was a poisonous attack: “You are defective, and one evidence of that is you are a frigid bitch.”
Whether disguised as question and counter question, or sarcasm and counter sarcasm, the death move marital argument boils down to one refrain, repeated endlessly:
“You’re no good.”
The “Death Move” is a phrase borrowed from legendary golf instructor Jim McLean. He espoused the belief that there was no one perfect swing in golf, rather that there were a range of possible planes. However, he held that if you wandered outside the acceptable range, then you had initiated a death move, from which there is no recovery.
“No, you’re no good.”
The “You’re no good” is inaudible. It’s inaudible but understood; it is boilerplate. Jen will fill in the blank. “You’re no good because _____________________.”
To which David will respond, “No, you’re no good because________________.”
They will simply hurl the fill-in-the-blank post-boilerplate at each other. The post-boilerplate is the part written into the blank space after ‘because;’ it is the modern equivalent of the crockery couples hurl at each other in old movies.
Instead of plates and dishes flying at each other’s heads, we have accusations flying through the air. Now the “You’re no good” portion is unspoken. If the allegation is “You’re no good because you never take out the trash,” what Jen will say is “You never take out the trash!”
Dave’s response is “No, you’re no good because you are always late,” though the audible portion will be “You’re always late.”They almost seem to be speaking at cross-purposes until the secret writing is revealed. It’s like when kids write secret messages on a paper with milk. The page looks blank before “you never take out the trash,” but when held over a candle, the secret message appears: “You’re no good because…” And the important part is the secret message: “You’re no good.”
SO, IT’S AN ARGUMENT ADDICTION?
In marital shorthand, if the “You’re no good…” gets left out, and whatever filled in the blanks becomes the repetitive and choreographed exchange. Leave out “you’re no good” and what do you get?
When the you’re no good gets left out then the familiar exchange is heard:
“Can’t you ever take out the garbage??”
“Can’t you ever be on time?
It is so important to understand this, because it reveals why Judge Judy doesn’t work. It is not that the Judge isn’t wise, and it is not that the solutions offered by the Judge are unreasonable. It is that, as we will see, no amount of sensible divvying up who takes out the garbage, or when each partner is ready to leave, — no amount of adjudication will address the underlying “you’re no good” that is the heart of the problem.
If you can stop the “Death Moves” and rebuild and you’ll make a bad marriage good and good marriage great. We’ll show you how, we promise.
The first and most obvious sign that your partner isn’t enjoying sex is your partner is not having an orgasm. This may be clear to Captain Obvious, but it eludes Captain Oblivious.
Therapist: How’s the sex?
Dave: It’s getting so much better. Last night she gave me a blow job!
Dave thinks this is a positive sign, but it is not. This becomes clear when the therapist asks what happened then. Dave says he felt so good he drifted off to a wonderful sleep.
Dave, who thinks he is on the highway to happiness, is in fact speeding down a dead end street. He has been complaining of not having enough sex, but he has forgotten or never learned the cardinal rule. If you want to have more sex, you have to make it fun for your partner; and this certainly at least includes making sure your partner has an orgasm.
“We had intercourse; she didn’t come but she felt really good and enjoyed it.”
Polite is not the same as positive, and sat still for it does not equal satisfied by it.
Polite wears down, polite doesn’t last.
Another sign that your partner isn’t enjoying sex is the timing argument. Here the sex itself may be “fine,” but that won’t matter if the romantic encounter never occurs.
In our book Argument Addiction we write that couples differ over how frequently they want to have sex. There are many variations of this argument. Here’s a typical story we hear. Dave comes home from a business trip. He walks into the kitchen where Jen is preparing dinner and grabs her ass.
Dave: Are the kid’s at hockey practice? Let’s do it!
Jen: God! Is that all you want from me?
There is a ‘chicken or the egg – which came first?’ quality to this argument. Dave is saying “First we’ll have sex, then we’ll feel close.” Jen is saying, “Not so fast: first we’ll feel close, then we’ll have sex.”
If you are having this argument, the antidote is to appreciate rather than resent a fundamental difference between the sexes. Men often achieve emotional closeness through sexual intimacy. When they have sex, they feel it is a way to be closer to their partner. Women, on the other hand, often need a sense of emotional closeness, understanding, appreciation, and connection in order to feel interested, in order to feel ready for sexual intimacy.
How to talk to your partner about sex:
People have trouble talking about sex because there is so much self-esteem tied into sex. Neither partner is comfortable with the idea that they might not be the best, not only the best in the present but also better than all who came before. A tall order!
The trick is not to be defensive, and not to attack.
Attack is basically telling the partner they’re no good. “Other guys last longer,” “my high school girl friend gave better head,” “you take too long to come.”
Many avoid attack by being silent. Partners who are more than free with feedback in other areas (“Is that any way to stack the dishwasher?”) are curiously silent on the subject of sex.
The fix is to be steadfastly curious, while giving helpful rather than critical feedback.
The default position is “What can I do to make this the most fun possible for you?” Of course you can only make it easy for your partner to give feedback, you can’t waterboard them. On the other hand, if they summon up the courage to give some actual feedback, (“Right there is better” “Slower” “Like this”) then you had better be happy to hear it. If you are resentful or defensive, this will be the last feedback you get!
Why Scheduling Sex Beats Waiting To Be In The Mood
There are no couples where each wants sex the same amount. There is always someone who wants sex more, and someone who wants sex less. To be fair, the roles can switch: perhaps Dave wanted sex more often before the enforced diet of sex when the couple were trying to get pregnant. But in any case, it would be safe to say that right now, today, someone wants sex more, and someone wants sex less.
Things certainly didn’t start out this way. When the couple first met and — as Shakespeare would say — first started coupling, everyone was eager.
Of course, this dynamic is the same with same sex as with heterosexual couples. To make it simple we’re going to talk about Dave and Jen. When Dave and Jen first met at work, or on Tinder, or at a party or on blind date, or in a bar, or wherever — when they first met they were “hot” and sex was great.
What happened? How did we get from there to here?
When they first met the potent chemicals of infatuation flowed through their brains and bodies. It was almost like a visit to the crack den. Dave was amazing, thought Jen. Jen was fantastic, thought Dave. They were in love.
The crack den is great, the people are great…until the crack wears off. Then the place is full of cockroaches, the people have rotting teeth…
When the chemicals of infatuation wear off, it’s not as bad as in the crack den. But certain characteristics of your partner, to which you may have been blind (or deaf) previously, now come to bother you. Furthermore, there may be characteristics of your partner that he or she was not rushing to reveal in the infatuation phase. Same for you.
In any case, you are less enamored.
All this is natural, and not that far from normal. The question is how you deal with it.
Both people are less happy, and they start to blame the partner.
Now think about this: If last night they went to a cinco de mayo party, drank half a bottle of tequila, and had a jolly time…then today they would not be blaming each other because they were now less jolly. They would realize that last night jolly came out of a bottle. But no one says, “Gee I’ve got a hangover from those infatuation chemicals.” Instead they blame their partner. He/she/they used to make me happy. Now not so much.
After that, the arguments start:” All day and still you didn’t take out the garbage!”
“This is how you stack the dishwasher? The spoons are nesting with each other.”
“Late again? Can’t you ever be on time?”
There are countless arguments, and as the relationship sinks into argument addiction, sex very commonly gets added to the pile of disagreement.
“Let’s fool around.”
“I’ve got a headache.”
That is so common that it has become a punchline for comedians. Over time it becomes less comedic for those who live it
Let’s say Dave, because that’s how this would be portrayed in most dramas, wants sex. Jen is tired, or not in the mood, or has that “headache”, or the kids are still up, or may wake, or whatever.
He continues to push it, she fends him off, and so it goes.
He either becomes more angry or more sulky.
She becomes more convinced that he doesn’t understand her feelings. becomes more convinced that he doesn’t “really” care about her, doesn’t appreciate her, and becomes more determined not to “give in.”
Then sex turns into a power struggle. He wants it, she doesn’t.
On top of this is the fundamental difference between men and women regarding sex.
Men think: We’ll have sex, then we’ll feel close.
Women think: First we’ll feel close, then we’ll have sex.
Sex turns into a point of contention. Worse yet, it turns into a competition: if you win (and have sex) I feel like a loser. Meanwhile, if I win (and thus no sex) you feel like a loser.
We have the zero sum game, someone always loses.
Wouldn’t It would be so much better if sex was like the Mexican/Italian argument?
Dave: I’m up for Mexican food.
Jen: I was thinking of pizza.
Probably this will get resolved: ideally Mexican, and then next week Italian, or vice versa.
What would work best is if sex got resolved the same way.
Ideally, this would be relatively easy to resolve. (Mexican this week, Italian next week, etc)
The difference is that personal self esteem is tied up in sex. If she doesn’t want to have sex with me I’m not worthy, If he just wants to have sex with me I’m a doormat.
The argument about sex usually revolves around frequency. The argument can be like an
expansion of the old New Yorker cartoon.
Dave: How about sex?
Jen: Not now.
Jen: How about never? Does that work for you?
Better to get the competition and the self esteem out of sex. The problem is that other disputed areas bleed into sex.
Jen is angry about the kids, or the division of labor, or something, so now she doesn’t want sex.
Dave is angry about how she berates him, or how she watches cable news and won’t talk to him, so now he is “turned off.”
Now, let’s step back. In the real world if you have a problem in one area, you don’t want it to spread into the next area. In a large office building, if there is a fire, everyone will shut the fire doors so it doesn’t spread.
In a hospital, if someone has a contagious disease, the effort will be to contain it, to use an isolation room,and prevent spread.
In marriages, there needs to be an equal effort to prevent the spread of discontent.
If Dave and Jen disagree over where to eat, there is no need for that to spread into a disagreement over what movie to see.
The target is to contain disagreement, as opposed to encouraging its spread.
The same is true with sex. Sex at least was fun; let’s keep it that way.
It should be the opposite of you didn’t do x so I’m not interested in sex. It should be you did x but I’m not letting that affect my interest in sex.
That said, there is tremendous argument over when sex will occur.
Obviously, we propose that the couple schedule sex on a mutually agreed basis.
How would this work?
Let’s imagine that Dave wants to have sex once a day, and Jen comes up with once a month. Suppose they settle on once a week.
We maintain that marital happiness will markedly improve.
Doubters most often complain of the “loss of spontaneity.”
The question is what spontaneity?
The spontaneity of demanding, pleading, threatening — and the inevitable responses of evasion, denial, and postponement? For many couples the spontaneity ship has already sailed.
If you were having a bounty of spontaneous sex you wouldn’t be reading this.
Forget spontaneity. Focus on preserving a source of nourishing fresh water well in a possibly increasingly arid landscape.
Sex can be a positive in your relationship. Couples that are having a sexual relationship generally get along better than their counterparts who aren’t. You may feel that scheduling will inhibit “stick your finger in the wall socket” sex. But if that isn’t what you are having then you are not giving that up. Stop swinging for the fences, and striking out.
Of course, both partners have to enthusiastically undertake this plan, or it will devolve into the old conflict. If the “once a month” partner starts finding excuses to avoid the once a week, encounter things will soon return to where they are now. Likewise, if Mr. once a day continues to complain that once a week is not enough, then the partner will lose interest.
But if both partners enthusiastically embrace the compromise, then the relationship will markedly improve, and not just sexually.
Surprisingly, degree of compatibility and satisfaction in your relationship can dramatically increase in short order when sex is scheduled.
Psssst! Something happened to me and I saw the future. The end is not nuclear and its not aquatic. It’s human beings willfully leaving their brothers and sisters to die, for money.
Let me explain. I was taken off a passport line in Nassau, Bahamas, suffering from severe dehydration. American Airlines would not let me fly and rightly so. They put me and my husband in an ambulance to Princess Margaret Hospital, the great killing machine of the Bahamas.
In the waiting room, gurneys are everywhere, end-stage AIDS and Alzheimer’s patients, smeared with their own feces, lay groaning and screaming. They get up and wander around and all the nurses and doctors do is call security. I saw a dead man on a gurney – no way that man was a color that could have sustained life – with his dinner of baked chicken leg and rice strewn all over his body. In fact, bodies are stacked up in every hallway, waiting to be delivered to another part of the hospital or to the morgue.
After 5 hours, a little man – he’s a nurse it turns out – appears all sweaty and beleaguered and begins taking blood pressure readings and everyone’s temperature. It is the first time anyone has asked my name — in five hours. He turns my rehydration tube back on – it’s the first liquid I’ve been given in 5 hours – and that’s it. I will find him again before I leave and tell him what I think of him.
They take me to the back of the hospital and once again ask me my name and begin filling out a form. A mother is chasing her son who is wrapped in bloody bandages up and down a hall. A janitor, complete with milky eyeball, pushes a broom in front of me, asking me to pick up my feet every two minutes. Then, I have the vision thing.
THIS is how the world ends; doctors who no longer care if people live or die. THIS is how the world ends, with a country whose GDP is 40% tourism, but lets cab drivers and boat operators and waiters die without a thought to them. This is how the world ends, with a Prime Minister, a Minnesota educated physician. who comes home to kill his people.
So this is it. The poor die by the road like a donkey. The middle class save all their lives so they don’t have to die by the road like a donkey, and the rich jet into Nassau for rarefied medical treatment unavailable in the United States. Yeah, that’s how it ends.
In the sixth hour on the killing room floor, I went and found my sweating nurse. I asked him how much longer and he said, “at least 2 hours.’ I blew sky high. Rage, tears. Even security was frightened. I found my husband who shouted over the writhing bodies, “WE’LL CHECK INTO A HOTEL AND TAKE JET BLUE OUT OF HERE!” I whirled around toward Nurse Sweaty and ripped him a new one.
I recovered with the help of $60 in gatorade and a case of bottled water. And at every meal, the wait-staff told me their stories:
“My little brother went into the Princess Margaret Hospital one morning and by evening, he was dead.”
“My father checked in with a huge stomach like a pregnant woman. In three days, he died and no one knew why.”
And on and on it goes. Even in our hotel room, we could not escape. A local cable channel station ran death announcements and guess where every death had taken place: Princess Margaret Hospital.
The young people of the Bahamas want to do something; I talked to at least 20 of them while I was rehydrating. They brought me their friends who had stories after telling me their own. Napkins with scrawled phone numbers were slipped to me as I stood in the buffet line. “She has a story. So-and-so lost her baby.” The suffering was unspeakable. The people of the Bahamas – dignified, hardworking, deeply spiritual, kind and funny — deserve so much better than this.
The beauty of the country was thrilling but I think I’ll steer clear of the Bahamas going forward; I’ve seen their killing machine. Africa was kinder to me when in distress and even in the remote bush, there were better medical facilities for human beings.
I don’t know if Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis took the Hippocratic oath; he was educated at the University of Minnesota before going on to medical school in Jamaica. I know he did his residency at Princess Margaret Hospital (OB/Gyn for god’s sake.) I also believe that just as a doctor should be sued for malpractice on an individual, he should be sued (or put in jail?) for MALPRACTICE ON A COUNTRY.
And by the by, Dr. Minnis’s personal wealth is estimated at over $10 million. Not bad for a doctor, eh? And believe me or not, on a one website, he relaxes playing the cowbell. I’ll bet it’s one hot cowbell, swiped from the hands of people who need healthcare.
I’ve been haunted by cupcakes, those extra sugary ones from Magnolia Bakery that taste like your Mom’s cupcakes on steroids. I used to order them for the office every chance I got, but no one was fooled. They knew I was an addict.
I’ve know HUGELY talented achieving people who are also sugar addicts. I had an author who used to sneak in the side door of Duane Read so her neighbors wouldn’t see her buying cookies everyday. I know a woman who, every time she started a new diet, she locked herself in the pantry and ate a half dozen donuts. My best male friend has a deep fear being cut out of his car with the jaws of life – only to be found clutching the wheel AND a Little Debbie snack cake. We are all haunted people.
The bottom line with sugar is that it is an addiction. Some can pick it up and put it down (like those people who smoke a cigarette a week, the jerks) but most cannot. Sugar takes you on a ride just like alcohol – up/down, up/down – mimicking a mood disorder. I mean, why would you go out and willingly catch a MOOD DISORDER? You wouldn’t and without facing your sugar problem head on, you’ll spike and crash endlessly and those extra 20 lbs may never come off.
The good news is that once your stop eating it, you no longer want it. In Rena Greenberg’s EASY SUGAR BREAK-UP , she gives you the latest tools to break sugar addiction. A simple two-week detox is followed by whole clean foods and movement. She supports this with the latest CBD oil products to balance blood sugar and ease anxiety that leads to emotional eating. Recipes are written for simple, quick meals that will satisfy a family.
If you can beat being haunted by cupcakes and cookies and such, you have a good shot at beating the battle of the muffin top. You’ll have more energy, better mood, and lose weight. Do it for a couple days and you’ll say, “Sugar who?”