365 Challenge: Day 134 – Youthful

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Youthful: having characteristics of the young; seeming to exist for only a short amount of time

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QUESTION: If you need to review the list of 365 Daily Challenge words you’ve already used prior to starting the next daily post, can you really consider yourself youthful?

  • If you answered no, please hit the unfollow button, as I have some rude things to say about you. You do not want to read them. Honestly. I can be vicious.
  • If you answered yes, you’re still on my good side. Thank you.

Are there any among us who at one point in his/her life did not wish to find the Fountain of Youth? I unequivocally admit to searching for it several times during many periods of my life. Actually, I probably wished for it as recently as this morning… when I stood from the couch and heard a lovely little cracking sound in my knees, which resulted in some rather foul language, followed by a slight limp and then within 45 seconds or so, I walked normally again. I take back everything I said about growing older. It sucks. But I’m not old. As most people in my life know, though some silly birth certificate says I am 40 this year, I claim to be 30 — and most people would believe it! And if they don’t, they aren’t around anymore to debate it.

Youthful. What does it really mean? It’s certainly a highly subjective word to each of us — different depending on your age — open to change at varying points in your life. I indicated in a previous post that I am an Old-Soul, which is quite true. But I’m also quite youthful in many things I do. There are times when I am completely immature and childish in my banter and actions. Every 4 to 6 months, I feel the need to drink too much and embarrass myself in humorous situation. On occasion, I find myself acting as though I were at least a decade younger for some bizarre explanation. Why? Oh… many reasons, I’m sure. Re-capture my youth, demonstrate I am still at the top of my game, attract the attention of someone younger (keep your mind out of the gutter, I’m a happily partnered boy man).

When I look in the mirror, there are days where I see why I am 40 years old. But after the gym or a good night’s sleep, I think, “you really could pass for 30,” and I suddenly feel elated. I admit this because I know you all do it too, or did it at some point in your past, so I feel no shame. It’s why I dye my hair. I’ve been about 10% grey since I was 21-years old. I told myself I’d stop coloring at 40, which if the numbers add up correctly happens happened in 2017 2027 — but I still do it. (Good luck trying to figure out what those cross outs mean. I don’t.)

Maybe it’s vanity. Perhaps it’s the image I want to convey. Could be that I like things different all the time. Whatever the reason, it makes me feel youthful to say I’m 30. Then I see the fine lines around my eyes. I notice the slightly reduced elasticity in my skin starting to develop in a few spots throughout my body. Not that it’s actually happened. I’m only 30. If I were 40, I’d admit to it. But I do recognize my metabolism isn’t quite as fast as it formerly was… just last year, I could eat and drink anything I wanted without it causing too much of an issue. Now, three bad days in a row and my body rebels. Youth. Oh, sometimes I want you back.

When I was younger, I wasn’t as experienced at life as I am now. Today, I rock it. I’m the picture of life, at least in the dictionary. Well… my dictionary. No one else has seen it. I keep it hidden. But back then, I had no confidence. I lacked formidable decision-making skills. I was unforgiving to others because I thought I had forever to think about fixing the problem in the relationship. I’d do a few stupid things and wonder how to get myself out of the situation without any further harm. Now, I don’t give a sh*t if someone’s got a problem with who I am. Why would I want to go back to that youthful boy who dreamed of so many wondrous but impossible things? Oh, I wouldn’t… I like being my age, but I still think about that Fountain of Youth. Curious what might happen if I could do something over again and have an even better result? It could happen, or it could be far worse. Why mess with fate? What tempt the goddess who loves to play with our minds? Dim the light, you look gorgeous. Brighten it, you see the truth. But after all, this IS my truth now.

Whatever it is that you crave to go back to in your youth… know this: it happened, let it go and move on to all the intense amazement that is yet to come – that is my new philosophy. Perhaps that’s what makes me youthful. I let the stress go much more easily. I know how to enjoy myself so much more now… and that’s what makes me truly youthful. I feel young. I crawl on the floor chasing Ryder around, headbutting him and him nipping at my ears… we are buddies… we are close… we love to play. I’m part of his pack and he seems me the same no matter what my age. I might have a few aches every so often, but for the most part, I still think and act like a 20-something with the experience of a 40-something who has frequently acted like a 60-something ready for retirement. Amusing… somewhere there my math actually balances out to my exact age, doesn’t it?

What does age mean anyway? Is it simply the number of years you’ve lived? The count of rings around your waistline? How many missed goals you’ve forgotten? Is it how you look? How you feel? The way you approach risk? The ability to bounce back quickly from a night of debauchery? Or is it simply the way you live your life… forgetting to compare yourself to others because it no longer matters… allowing any fears to dissipate because it’s better to live a life full of love than one full of concern? It’s all these things rolled into one giant metaphor… and yet, I still search for that Fountain of Youth from time to time. Do I choose not to relinquish the past? Is it simply questioning how else things could have turned out?

In case you weren’t certain, there really are no answers to these questions. Some days, you will wake up thinking you are beautiful. Others, something will trigger a less than stellar reaction. Might be the pimple that formed overnight. Or missing your weight loss goal by one pound this week. Or seeing your significant other take an extra second to look at someone else when (s)he didn’t know you were looking. We all experience this and find ourselves wondering how to turn back time. Be it physical or emotional, it’s a natural reaction to want that ability to re-start or re-ignite a youthful life from years ago. It’s healthy to think about it every so often. And I can’t say for sure if I were offered an elixir what I’d be willing to relinquish in return.

But I do know that it starts with thinking and feeling youthful; without thinking and feeling you are young, you won’t ever actually be youthful. I might bitch about not being able to eat or drink as much as I once could. I will always think the grass is greener on the other side. And it is likely I will always feel a twinge of pain in my muscles when I push myself too hard. But there is something I have my own monopoly on: the sentiments and values of a youthful mind. And I will still have it even when I am 100-years old posting my 365 Daily Challenge blog… acting and looking like I’m a mere 40-years old.

How young do you feel? If I picked my age today, I’d say I am 21. And I’d believe it.

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Stephanie @ Novel Fiction. Stephanie and I connected a few months ago through our shared and mutual love of reading and literature. I believe it was over a few reviews I’d written on some Shakespeare classics, or I might have found a post about her being a professor… either way, I’m quite glad to know her. She is a wonderful blogger and book reviewer, who has so many books in her “Currently Reading” shelf on Goodreads, I can’t possibly keep up! But she’s one of the few people I’ve been chatting with who has as diverse reading interests as I do, probably because she’s reading everything she teaches to her students and always spending time on NetGalley receiving ARCs for her own free time (which doesn’t really exist for her).  We’ve had many conversations about how to teach English and literature to students in college these days, plus how to handle those who aren’t interested versus who are interested. We’ve also bonded over several 365 Daily Challenge words, finding new things in common and ways to help each other figure out how to blow off some steam or be happy with smaller levels of success.  I love reading comments from her, as they are always detailed, thought-provoking and incredibly integrated into the post’s purpose.  If you want to know more, which you should, so go there right now please, here’s a blurb from her About Me section:
    • “I just turned forty, am happily married to an amazing man, and have 3 wonderful kids. I also have my Master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature with specializations in British Literature, Cultural Studies, and Rhetoric and Composition from The University of  North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a minor in History. I’m a senior college professor and have been teaching British, American, and Contemporary literature for 15 years and am currently attending online classes to finish my Ph.D. in English Literature with a concentration in Literary and Cultural Studies and Linguistics and Literature. Balancing my family, teaching, and school is a crazy ride for sure! At times, I feel like I’m living out some wild, fictional storyline but no, that’s just my life, and I love every moment of it!!”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 133 – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

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Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Christmas-town in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, home of Moravian College, where I went to school for four years

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5). In the first set of five, we explored my primary ethnicity groups and nationalities. In the second set of five, we had the AtoZ Challenges for various favorite things in our lives. In the third set of five, we discovered all the colors (excluding black and white) that have an important meaning to me. And so… I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. This is our fourth grouping, covering weeks #16 thru #20 of the 365 Daily Challenge, and the topics will be: the 5 Places I’ve lived! Last week was the city where I  where I grew up — Long Island, New York, but this week is the city where I went to college: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Before we get into those details, a few interesting facts about this lovely place as well as the Wikipedia link for more information:

  • One of the centers of steel trade during the Industrial Revolution
  • Over 20 colleges and universities in the surrounding cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton
  • Christmas village setup every year
  • Large population of Moravian religion followers

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After I took the SAT, I received hundreds of brochures based on my scores and profile. I picked a few schools on Long Island, but I also wanted a few that would bring me to another state. I found three schools of interest in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Given my uncle and his family moved to the Lancaster area the prior year, and this was only about an hour north, we took a family trip and killed two birds with one stone. {Aside: No birds were really harmed, I promise.} We toured the college campus for each school, and by the time I’d finished, I decided which school was best for me. I won’t bring up the negatives on the other ones, as that’s not fair; we all have our own taste and interest. I chose Moravian College, right in the heart of Bethlehem.  It had two campuses, North and South, separated by about 1 mile of the central part of the village. It’s the sixth oldest school in the country and was originally a women’s college.

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Moravian was where I became an adult. I went from being an incredibly shy and quiet only child who rarely went out… to a fraternity guy (YES, I know… shocker!) — and our frat’s president in my junior year… to a theatre performer and a middle school student teacher. I’ve had so many different lives, but it all began with living on my own for the first time at 18 years old. I cried when I said goodbye to my parents. I started making friends, drinking at a few parties, building up courage and confidence. It’s where I learned to become my own man. I still chat with many of my frat brothers, sorority friends and dorm buddies. It was an amazing experience, as I love the academic life and culture. Some day, perhaps I’ll be a professor of something and be able to give back to students and colleges.

During the 4 years, I lived on campus for 2 years and off campus in the fraternity house for 2 years. I came home for major holidays and a few weeks each summer, otherwise, I lived in Bethlehem. I had my own car, a kitchen to cook in and a house to party in. I considered staying there after graduation, but it was a strange year for me, ultimately sending me back to Long Island. Everything changed when I graduated: My grandfather had recently passed away, my godmother passed away and I accepted that I was gay. I’d never explored that side of me before, though I had known it was always who I was. I’ve gone back a few times to visit friends, to speak at the college for alumni meetings, graduations and and guest spots at conferences. I miss it, to be honest. But it helped make me who I am today, and for that, I will always be grateful. Though it only last 4 years, it has a lifetime of memories:

  • Where I dyed my hair rust
  • Where I earned the nickname Saturday Night Fever
  • The only time I’ve been hospitalized (dehydration, and not from drinking!)
  • Where I rushed and pledged a fraternity — don’t ask me about hazing!
  • Where I met amazing friends and professors
  • When I became a man (an adult)
  • How I learned multi-tasking skills
  • Where my thirst of history was quenched
  • Where I was elected to read several verses and readings at the annual Moravian Vespers ceremony in the Moravian Church full of thousands of people
  • Where my love of Christmas was normal

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Imagine being in Bethlehem during Christmas season… when it snowed… at an outdoor village… buying presents… with reindeer and elves running all around against a forest backdrop and the river banks just on the other side… in a valley and on a hill… sheer perfection. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and many of my friends and former college buddies still live there. I’ll visit again soon.

How about you? Have you been to Bethlehem? Moravian College? Lehigh Valley? Share away this week before we finish the last in this 5-week arc revealing all the places I’ve lived. Next and last is San Francisco one week from today. Thanks for being part of this fun series!

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RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Mama Cass @ Aspen Tree Book Reviews. We connected a little less than two months ago probably over a book we both enjoyed. Her website is dedicated to many great books in a range of genres and sub-genres. She’s quite funny and we’ve had tons of conversations about genealogy and technology. She’s done a lot of research and is always searching for more great finds. She also calls me Superman, which I find quite funny, given how I always refer to myself as average. But if you want to see some humor, get a little inspiration and meet a new friend, check out her site. A few words from her About Me section:
    • “I have been reading since the time I could walk.  50 years later and I read approximately 150 books a year.  I want each author to take me to a land, a time, a place of their choosing.  I am merely along for the ride. I read many different genres of books, because I love diversity, sociology and culture. So, that being said, you might find books about African American literature, books about Buddhism or Muslim, or a gay or lesbian love story.  I don’t believe in just reading what is familiar, that’s a good way to miss out.”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Book Review: Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

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3+ out of 5 stars to Lies She Told, a thriller set to be released on September 12th by Cate Holahan. I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to sharing this review with you.

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Why This Book 
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, the publisher, for sending me this copy to read and review in advance as an ARC. They found me on Goodreads based on my reading tastes, reviews and ratings, suggesting this as a potential book I might find engaging. And they were right. I had it sitting on the shelf for a few weeks as I got through other books, but as all my NetGalley reads aren’t due until September, I had some time to squeeze this one in.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Welcome to the concept of a book within a book… The primary story revolves around Liza Cole, an author living in the NYC metro area who’s had some good books and some not so good books. She’s been given a deadline to get the next one written since she won’t first draft an outline, which prompts her to dive head first into her own thrilling plot. While she’s writing the book, readers learn Liza’s trying to conceive a baby with her husband, David, but they’ve been unsuccessful due to a few issues she’s had in the past with uterine damage. David’s best friend, Nick, is presumed missing, which is setting off a few alarm bells. David starts worrying when they can’t find Nick and he’s being suspected of causing the disappearance. Eventually, his body is found in the East River, dying in a very similar way to the character in Liza’s book. Liza’s supported by her mother, agent Trevor and best friend, Chris.

In Liza’s story, her primary character, Beth, is a new stay-at-home mom who suspects her husband, Jake, is cheating on her. When she secretly monitors his behavior, Beth learns he has been spending a lot of time with a cop named Colleen. When she accuses her husband, he forces her to go to therapy, where Beth meets Tyler, a therapist who attempts to get her to realize she needs to end the marriage. Unfortunately, Beth isn’t ready and soon finds herself stalking Colleen. Next thing she knows, she’s killing Colleen and dumping her body in the East River, then sleeping with Tyler.

As the two stories begin weaving in and out, readers learn there are common things occurring in both, leaving us to question which one is real and which one is a story. Or perhaps… it’s all the same story happening from different perspectives. You don’t really know until the last few chapters when the random clues begin fitting together, revealing what has actually been happening along the path.

Approach & Style 
I read the paperback version sent to me by the publisher. It’s just under 300 pages, broken into three sections and alternating back and forth between the two story lines. There are 19 chapters, each dividing into two sub-chapters: (1) Liza and (2) Beth. As a result, chapters are relatively short, usually under 8 pages each. Both stories are told with first-person narration from the main female character’s point of view, and both are told in the present tense. I read the book over 3 days, about 100 pages each day.

Strengths 
The concept of the book is great. I love trying to solve not only the mystery within the novel, but also determining how the two stories would eventually link together and which was fake. I enjoy seeing parallels between the two lead characters and their families. The emotional aspects of the characters are strong and offer readers an easy connection. You can understand the pain and feel the impact of the actions happening around them. It’s full of suspense, some very descriptive scenes and lots of potential suspects and angles.

Concerns 
It was a hard read, and I’m normally good at keeping story lines separated. A few things that could have worked differently, which would have helped readers retain which characters belong in which section, as well as distinct from one another. Character names were too similar: Beth and Liza. I know this is supposed to help with the parallels, but it left you a tad confused at times. Jake and David. Sound a bit similar. Go with two very different options to help us keep it straighter. Something long, something short. I had to stop and start a lot. I don’t like to re-read the same thing over and over again. But I was OK here as it was a complex story, plotted out in a good way.

The ending came a bit from out of left field. You can guess the connection between reality and the made-up story, but why it happened was very unexpected. There were a few clues, but we needed more to not be fully surprised. I would have liked to be reading it and go “oh, now I understand how it ties all together.” Instead I went “Hmm… there were no clues of this before…” It wasn’t too much of a distraction, but it was enough to make me think the book needed another round of editing before its release. Add in a few more connected pieces of history. Make me impressed with the things I missed along the way.

Author & Other Similar Books 
The author has two other books prior to this one. I might give them a chance, depending on the plot and setting. I’ve read another book in the last few years like this one, but I can’t recall the title. It’s not a common story where there is 1 real story and 1 fake story an author is writing, which makes it a different type of read. You’re sure to be excited and thrilled at parts, but you will also be confused at some parts.

Questions & Final Thoughts 
The author can certainly write. She has a good eye for characters, setting and details. I’m glad the publisher sent this one to me, as I definitely found myself wanting to read it each night. But it was also one where I stopped a lot to check if the story had an error or if it was being written in a vague way on purpose. Overall, good book… lots of complexity in the details… good supporting characters and a treasure of relationship drama that you find quite engaging. Put it through another round of beta readers or editing and it would have been an easy 4 from me.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 132 – Casual

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Casual: relaxed and unconcerned

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Every once in a while, you wake up on the other side of the bed. Literally. Not physically. I have a dog that prevents me from moving at night, so waking up in a different part of the bed is not usually an issue. On the floor is a possibility, as with every hour that goes by, his little paws push me an inch closer to the edge. One day, I will be knocked off. And that’s the only day it will ever happen. I push back. I’ll tie up all his stuffed animal toys just above where he can reach them on the wall and see what he does about it. Evil. That’s me sometimes. Unpredictable. Relaxed. Casual.

Most people on this blog probably know me as a bit too organized and formal when it comes to my posts. I never just wing it… for the last week, I’ve been drafting the posts at night and scheduling them for the next morning. It gave me an opportunity to spend more time writing “Father Figure” with less distractions and worry over “oh, yeah, gotta get to that 365 post.” But last night, I was in a good mood and we went out to dinner, then watched some TV and I had a book to finish (review to come later), so no 365 post was drafted last night. This morning… I went to check that the post was released and went “Aaack… I still have to write something.”

Casual. Sometimes just writing what’s on your mind and combining a few things together is OK. It’s still putting in effort, but it’s also allowing our bodies some time to re-group. Writing the 365 posts isn’t difficult, but when you want them to have substance, it does require a good chunk of uninterrupted time. So today’s post is going to be about letting go and just doing whatever feels natural and normal at that moment. Nothing pre-planned. Nothing forced. Nothing formal. I’m not even going to discuss what being casual means or why it’s important. From this point forward in today’s post, I’m just gonna tell you what’s going on in my life this weekend. “I can grow. I can change,” said the boy as his nose doubled in size.

I have an arbor to build and install on the NYC Terrace Garden. It might need a hashtag. Although, Ryder (9-year old shiba inu) calls it the Enchanted Garden. He has his own Facebook page… “Ryder the Cat-Like Dog” {Aside: Yes, he can talk… it’s a strange little voice my friend Paul invented, but W has taken it over and now Ryder chats all day long, asking for food, demanding more flowers in the garden, wanting his allowance to go out with friends to the local bar. We like to keep it fun around here.} This arbor is going to be quite a little project, as it’s for a new wisteria tree. It never ends around here. Our friend Matt is very concerned as wisteria is invasive; he fears one day, he won’t hear from us and when he stops by to check on us… the wisteria will have grown through the always open bathroom window… into the apartment… trapping us against the walls and taking over like a jungle. Poor Ryder will be trying to bite his way out. He’d just as soon leave us here to die, taking any cash and starting a new life, I’m sure. That dog while adorable is the most independent codependent dependent unusual creature next to… well… me. #EnchantedGarden #NYCTerraceGarden

And then there’s Game Night tonight, where a bunch of friends of ours are getting together for drinks, pizza, cards and games. It’s an amazing night of fun where someone brings a new game we all learn and play… it’s often very adult in its childishness… a very dirty cartoon version of Cards Against Humanity was once played. I’m still recovering from those pictures and what people made a few stick figures do. And the last time we played, it was the Voting Game where you vote for which person is most like the phrase on the card. I got a few really bad ones. And a few good ones. I think they voted me most likely to be a serial killer. Not Good! Tonight though… I think it will be more card games. And I’ve settled on wine as my beverage of choice — no hangovers needed while trying to finish that arbor tomorrow. And I’m writing Sunday’s post this afternoon, as it’s time for either Pennsylvania or San Francisco, the last two other places I’ve lived.

My stream-of-conscious knows no bounds today. It was a productive week. I let myself accept being casual and relaxed over a few things. I accomplished a lot. And I’m giving myself a break this weekend from constantly being on the computer… at least tomorrow… as today will be catching up on anything outstanding: 3 award, 3 tags, book review, 365 post, author spotlight, reading plans, etc. Hitting the gym soon. Reading Hidden Bodies, the sequel to You. And preparing my list of questions for the agent and publisher I’m meeting with next week. I’ve got some good things brewing on that front… very exciting. But I won’t go into any details until I know if something is working out or not. And other than that, I’m going to relax. It’s time to just have a day where whatever gets done, gets done. Last thing on my mind, I owe you a response from last week’s post…

Unpredictable Reminder

  • In last week’s 365 Daily Challenge Unpredictable post, I noted I’d confirm what I selected for my list of things to put in the hat. After discussion with the significant other, we settled on NYC Things To Do. We’re always finding we have blocks of hours available on the weekend in between errands, house or garden maintenance and hanging out with friends. Rather than toss the ball back and forth, never settling on anything, we’re going to list 26 items in NYC with all the key info: location, directions, open days/times, categories, website links and who is responsible for planning it. We will put them together in the next few weeks to start in September. I estimate we will pull from that hat every other weekend, but we will have pre-planned things to do for about a year. We still need to decide if it’s a physical hat or an electronic program (he hates technology, so it might be a good punishment for him to be in charge of this… and if you’re reading this part, W, you did agree to this while you were half asleep the other night) to make the choice during each selection. What did you all decide to do with your unpredictable challenge?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Danielle @ Books, Vertigo @ Tea. Danielle and I met about 4 months ago over a few books we were both reading around the same time. Our favorite reading genres tend to cross paths a lot, as we’re often recommending books to one another. But we also have different reading tastes, so it always becomes interesting to see what we’re chatting about! Danielle is a really cool person to chat with, especially when you get on topics that you both have in common. She’s recommended a few teas to me, though I’m a coffee drinker. She suffers from vertigo, which is awful, but she has a good approach about it all, which makes reading her entries about what’s going on in her life quite interesting. I enjoy chatting and commenting back and forth, and I believe you will, too. Stop by her site, check out the extremely varied books she reads. Danielle’s on several social media apps too, which makes connecting quite easy. She has tons of recommendations by genre and a fantastic game / poll called “You Choose, I Read” where you can pick the book she reads in the future. Go check it out now!
    • “I am Danielle, a 30 “ish” yr old mother of two. I have an insatiable appetite for all things books. I adore bookstores, libraries, and falling asleep while surrounded by my current reads. I prefer to do the latter with tea in hand. I also happen to be a fan of my kids, anime, food, and life in general when I can partake! I am also 100% anti-adulting when possible, so if you are easily offended, I apologize in advance 😉But only a little, because life is seriously too short to be serious all of the time. You will probably see a little bit of everything that is me here at Books, Vertigo and Tea. Enjoy!”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

AWARD: Mystery Blogger #3

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Many thanks to Roda @ Growing Self for nominating me for this award. I’ve been nominated recently, but she has different questions, so I definitely wanted to participate. She had a beautiful sight with tons of inspirational messages and pictures. You need to check it out, as I promise you’ll find something you love.

img_7476.jpg

 

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

“The ‘Mystery Blogger Award‘ is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion” ~ Okoto Enigma.

 

How Does It Work:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their  blog
  • Mention the creator of the award
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate up to 10 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

 

3 Facts about Jay:

  • I’m short for a guy — only 5’6″
  • I cannot whistle
  • I love Tudor style homes

 

Roda’s Questions To Me:

  • Are you more the talkative or listening type in social settings?
    • Definitely the listener. I will talk if I am close with the people, but if it’s a gathering of people I don’t know all that well, or even some friendlies, I am usually quiet and listen to everyone else.
  • Do you prefer to read the book or watch the movie? 

    • Read the book — always before watching the movie
  • Which cartoon character would you say best describes you or you can relate to most? 

    • I haven’t watched cartoons in years, but probably Scooby Doo!
  • Are you good at board games? If yes, which one?
    • Yes, all of them. I rule at all games, particularly Life and Sorry!
  • If you’re at a party would you describe yourself as a dancer or more of an observer?
    • Definite observer… unless I’ve had 4+ drinks, then I am the dancer. Or stripper. It can get bad!

 

Jay’s Favorite 2nd Post (I included my favorite in the last award)

https://thisismytruthnow.com/2017/03/13/the-challenge-365-days-of-discovery-who-am-i/

  • It’s the beginning of the 365 Daily Challenge Post!

 

Jay’s Nominations

 

Jay’s Questions For Those Nominated

  1. What other blogger would you want to do a co-written post with?
  2. If you had to choose sweet or salty as the only flavor for the rest of your life, which would it be?
  3. What inspirational speaker or motivator always captures your attention?
  4. Do you consider yourself clever, smart or lofty? Or all 3?
  5. Where will you retire?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

AWARD: Awesome Blogger #2

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Many thanks to Noriko for nominating me on this award. I was nominated once before, but she has fun new questions, so I must participate again. And she’s such an amazing online friend, you must go check out her site to see a ton of good content and brilliant ideas.

The award was created by Maggie at Dreaming of Guatemala who stated:

This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.

 

Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Include the reason behind the award.
3. Include the banner in your post.
4. Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
5. Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
6. Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.
7. Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.
8. Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated.

 

Questions To Me

  • What is your worst fear in your life?
    • Dying without living to my full potential

 

  • Are you left-handed or right-handed? If you’re right-handed, are you inherently right-handed or were you forced?
    • Right-handed all my life

 

  • Tell us about the happiest moment you have ever had in your life if you don’t mind.
    • I’m not sure I know the happiest one, but definitely when I completed my first novel and actually thought to myself “you accomplished a major goal.”

 

  • If you could go back in time and re-experience a certain event/time period, when is it and why?
    • I’d like to re-live college knowing more about myself now. I would make some different decisions — nothing major — just to learn to appreciate life more than always studying.

 

  • Where are you from?
    • Born in Fort Myers, Florida but grew up in Bethpage, New York.

 

  • What is your least favorite social media platform and why?
    • SnapChat. I do not like posting videos of myself. It often breaks the device.

 

  • If you could have Doraemon’s Anywhere Door (for those of you who don’t know what it is, it is basically a magical door that transports you anywhere you want in an instant), where would you go?
    • My head’s exploding. I can’t pick only one place. OK fine, you’re so mean to me, Noriko… only for you!!! I’d go to Elizabethan Times in England to visit the Kings and Queens and try to advise them of what they should do differently. 🙂

 

  • What’s the 2nd item on your bucket list?
    • Invent something that truly makes a difference for human beings.

 

  • Any summer plans?
    • Normal stuff. Fire Island weekend. Trip to Louisiana to visit family. Work on the NYC Terrace Garden.

 

  • What life lesson do you appreciate the most and why?
    • Always be honest, express your thoughts and be open-minded. You’ll accomplish more than anyone else can if you follow those guidelines.

 

Questions To My Nominees

  1. Tell us about your next planned vacation.
  2. Who is your favorite world leader and why?
  3. Which book character is your dream significant other?
  4. What is your normal wake-up time and go-to-sleep time?
  5. What fable taught you the most in life?
  6. What’s been the worst movie you’ve seen?
  7. How do you really feel about social media?
  8. What does the world need to do more of?
  9. If you could stop time every day for 30 minutes, would you do it even if you don’t no what the repercussions might be?
  10. Do you have a secret crush on someone right now? And will you tell me who it is?

 

My Nominees

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Novel: Father Figure (Week 3 – Friday, July 21st, 2017)

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Last time we chatted, I’d just finished week #2’s update for Father Figure, the new novel I began writing earlier this month. For a summary of the novel, scroll to the bottom of the post. We have arrived at the end of week #3, which has been another productive one; status follows below:

writer

Status:  Friday, July 21, 2017 – Week #3

  • 30-page outline has been completed, containing:
    • Overview
    • Character biographies
      • Physical descriptions
      • Relationships
      • Key emotions
      • Voice and perspective
    • Setting/Location descriptions
    • Timeline
      • By year and month
      • Major events for all characters included
      • Includes before the book starts / takes place so references to history exist
    • Chapter descriptions
      • List of scenes and locations
      • Minimum five bullets per scene
      • Goal specified for each chapter
  • High-Level Writing Timeline
    • Prepared approximate page count by chapter (based on goals and scenes)
    • Noted expected # of writing and editing days by chapter
    • Estimated 12 weeks of solid writing and first round editing with beta reader feedback included

Outline Complete!

 

Next Steps: Plan for Week #4

  • Research the setting locations and character personalities to incorporate very specific facts into the detailed descriptions and scenes
  • Write chapters 1 thru 3 (Note: I am prepared one whole week earlier than targeted!)

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • It was a productive week as far as outlining a lot of the details going into this book. I am very clear on the motivations of both primary characters, but I know it’s not complete. I will adjust as I go, but I have a good enough focus to start writing.
  • Diversity will be very important in this story. It’s not a story about the struggles of people who come from a diverse background, but a story of two women who handle situations in very different manners. And, oh yeah, they just happened to come from a diverse background. The central theme is discovering who you are, how you achieve your goals and where you draw your strength from.
  • I need to begin thinking about how to publish this novel. Will I look towards a traditional publisher through a literary agent? Will I consider self-publishing through Amazon or Lulu.com? Or is there an ideal in-between method?
  • When do I want to create a website for the book and start drumming up some hype?
  • Who will beta read the first 3 chapters in mid to late August?

 

Summary of Father Figure (if you’re new to it)

  • One young girl’s need to escape the mundane life she’s grown up in and another young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances they’ve both been placed in due to decisions and actions occurring nearly 20 years ago and that both women have made in the present. How well do you really know your parents? Do they truly understand you? Can you ever truly escape the past?
  • A contemporary fiction novel set in two time periods with two primary characters:
    • 1998 – Amalia Graeme, about to turn 18, attends college, leaving behind a mother with whom she had a difficult relationship. While Amalia has a boyfriend, she’s secretly attracted to an older professor, Dr. Jonah West. She begins an affair with him and realizes she must come clean to her boyfriend. After she tells the boyfriend, they have a huge fight and she leaves to find Jonah who she thinks can comfort her. Along the path, she’s attacked by a stranger and her life is never the same again. Amalia makes a few choices which will later have disastrous consequences.
    • 2018 – Amalia, going by Molly and living in NYC, sends her daughter, Brianna, away to college. Just like her mother, Brianna begins dating one of her professors, probably looking for a father figure, as she’s never met her real father. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man with whom Molly had a one-night stand and later found herself pregnant with no way to find him. When Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal, she learns the shocking secret that her mother never knew who the father was because it could have been more than one man. As Brianna searches for clues to find her father, she stumbles upon a few facts which could completely change the future. But when the stranger who attacked her mother re-surfaces, not even Molly knows if she can protect her daughter anymore.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.