Tag Archives: New York

Contests, Announcements,And Other Stuff

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Good Monday Morning!

Two upcoming contests sent in my email over the weekend by Evette Collins of Hurston Hughes Writers are from The Good Housekeeping Magazine and The Real Simple Story Magazine. I tried last year with the Real Simple Story, but, didn’t quite get there….Have no fear, I’m up for the challenge this year. Only, I’m going for The Good Houskeeping one:) Thanks Evette for paying it forward!

Also, over at Terri S. Nelson’s,, The Reflection From Women Series website, she’s busy gearing up for the launch of the second book in her series, “Reflections from Women on Life’s Defining Moments” due out around August 26th. That cover is gorgeous!

I will be reviewing this latest book in the Reflection from Women Series for my readers at clara54 and if there’s anyone interested in submitting a story to Terri’s next book series, “Reflections from Women in Midlife” visit http://www.reflectionsfromwomen.com.  I was one of the lucky contributors in 2010’s “Reflections From Women On Life’s Turning Points” and  was very, very thrilled to have made the cut from hundreds of submissions!

Along those same “story” lines? Keep in mind that I’m still accepting your authentic woman stories at my motivational site for women http://authentic-woman.net! and I will be launching my own story via my 1st ebook there!  “A Life Toward Authenticity-My Authentic Woman Story” is nearing its 2nd revision and hope to be available for download by month’s end- stay tuned!

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SHORT STORY CONTEST http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/win/fiction-contest?click=main_sr — NO ENTRY FEE Limit to 3,500 words. Story should reflect an aspect of women’s lives today. Open to US residents 21 years and older. Deadline September 1, 2011. Only one entry per person. Grant winner receives $3,000 and possible publication in May 2012 issue. Two runners-up will receive $750 and possible online publication.

An essay contest from Real Simple magazine; the topic is “When Did You First Understand the Meaning of Love?” The prize is $3,000 and a trip for two to New York to meet the editors. The deadline is Sept. 15, 2011.
Check it out at:
Okay, so who’s up for the contest challenge?

Guest Post For Mothers by Davis Aujourd’ hui

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Here it comes again – Mother’s Day. So you’re ready to head for the store to buy a card or a gift. Why not give the gift that’s free. Give your mother your time and let her know you love her.

This may not be an easy task for everyone. Not all of us came from loving backgrounds. If this was the case for you, it was probably also the case for your mother as a child.

It’s important to remember that we all have done the best we could have with whatever has come our way. Your mother also did the best she could too. Remember, there are no blueprints for parenting. It’s all a matter of learning on the job. Some mothers are just slow learners. They are not to be blamed.

You’re an adult now. It’s time to grow up. That may mean facing some of your own demons. The important point to remember is being able to face the past with honesty, to forgive, and to let go.

The following ideas may help you to move in the right direction:

* You may need to talk to someone, including a professional, in order to discharge past pain. It’s also important to remember all of those loving qualities that your mother possesses. Remember the good times that you have had.

* Try to put your life into a balanced perspective. Life is more good than not. Allow the healing to flow into your life. The beautiful thing is that you can make it all good if you live in the present and commit to it being so.

* The present moment is all you have and here it comes. The question is what you can do to make it a memorable one? Cards and flowers are nice, but they don’t compare with a more personal connection. Make a phone call. Better yet, spend the day with her. Relive the happy times. Let her know you love her. The gift you give to her will multiply. It will also be a gift you give yourself.

 Clara54 welcomes this insight on mothers from a male perspective!

About the author:
Davis Aujourd’hui is creator of the highly- rated and hilarious Sister Mary Olga Fortitude- a  series of nine books centered on religious and social satire.
 He is a retired social worker, having worked for Adult Protective Services in New York. He said it   enabled him to become a student of the human condition. While doing so, he developed the
 characters in his books in order to entertain a colleague of his using the gift of humor.  He is socially-minded and spirituality, he says is the most important ingredient for him in order to maintain a happy and successful life.  He lives in Upstate New York. For more information, visit: http://onealmediagroup.presskit247.com/DavisAujourdhui

Beating Time At Its Own Game:Life Begins At Sixty by Carolyn Howard- Johnson

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Sometimes the big barriers in life aren’t abject poverty, dreaded disease or death. Sometimes it’s the subtle ones set upon us by time and place. The ones that can’t be seen and can’t be acknowledged because we don’t know they are there. They creep up silently on padded feet and, if we sense them at all, we choose not to turn and face them. The decade of the 50s was a time when barriers like these faced those with dark skin, those who lived in closed religious communities, and those who were female.

When I applied for a job as a writer for Good Housekeeping (Hearst Corporation) in New York in 1961 I was required to take a typing test. I was piqued because I wasn’t applying for the typing-pool, I was applying for a post as an editorial assistant. 

I was told, “No typing test, no interview.” I took the test and was offered a job in the ranks of those who could do 70-in-a-minute. I had to insist upon the interview I had been promised. I was only twenty and had no real skills in assertiveness. I am amazed I had the wherewithal to insist on anything. 

The essentials of this anecdote lie in the fact that I was putout for the wrong reasons. My irritation was a reflection of hubris. However, that pride was probably what goaded me into speaking up so I guess pride is not always a bad thing to have.

 It never occurred to me that this typing requirement was one that applied only to women, much less that I should be angry for the sake of my entire gender. Prejudice is sometimes like traveling on well-worn treads; you have no idea you’re in danger. It also feeds on the ignorance of its victims. They benignly accept their lot because they know no better.

Something similar was at work when I married and had children. I happily took a new direction to accommodate my husband’s career and the life the winds of the times presented to me. I left my writing with hardly a backward look. Back then — in the days before women had been made aware — the possibilities were not an open book to be denied or accepted. I just did what was expected by the entire culture.

Things are so much better now. I don’t think women younger than their mid-fifties have any idea of how ignorant most women were to their own possibilities. That there was a time when we didn’t even know we had choices is not fiction.

I had always wanted to sit in a forest or an office or a newsroom with a pencil in my hand. I dreamed writing, lived writing and loved writing. I wanted to write the next Gone With The Wind only set in Utah instead of the South. (I figured enough had been written about the South and hardly anyone knew anything about the unique culture I was raised in.) That was my plan but it was soon gone with the wind.

It was the 1950s and women in that time, and especially in that place, had a notion of who they should be, could be and, mostly, they got it from those around them because many of them couldn’t see the difference from society’s expectations and their own.

“You can’t be a nurse,” my mother said. “Your ankles aren’t sturdy enough.” I also was told I couldn’t be a doctor because that wasn’t a woman’s vocation.

“Be a teacher because you can be home the same hours as your children, but learn to type because every woman should be able to make a living somehow if their husband dies.”

Writing was not a consideration. It didn’t fit any of the requirements. So when I gave it up, it didn’t feel like I was giving up much.

When I began to put myself through college, I took the sound advice and studied education so I’d have a profession. I made 75 cents an hour (this was, after all, the 50s!) working as a staff writer at the Salt Lake Tribune. That I was making a living writing didn’t occur to me. I met a handsome young man and we were married. His career took precedence; that was simply how it was done back then. Then there were two children, carefully planned, because that was how it should be done. By the 70s we both yearned for careers with autonomy. We wanted spend time with our children and be in command of our own lives.

My dream was a victim of the status quo. It never occurred to me to just strike out in my own direction when my husband and children needed me. The pain was there. I just didn’t recognize it so I could hardly address it and fix it.

My husband and I built a business. We raised a lawyer and a mathematician, grew in joy with a grandson, lived through floods and moves, enjoyed travel. For forty years I didn’t write and, during that time, there were changes. Women had more choices but more than that they had become more aware. The equipment, gears and pulleys were in place for a different view on life. In midlife I became aware that there was an empty hole where my children had been but also that the hole was more vast than the space vacated by them. I knew I not only would be able to write, I would need to write.

Then I read that, if those who live until they are fifty in these times may very likely see their hundredth year. That meant that I might have another entire lifetime before me — plenty of time to do whatever I wanted. In fact, it’s my belief that women in their 50s might have more time for their second life because they won’t have to spend the first twenty years preparing for adulthood.

One day I sat down and began to write the “Great Utah Novel.” I thought it would be a lot easier than it was. I had majored in English Lit. Writing a novel should be pretty much second nature.

It wasn’t long before I realized that writing a novel wasn’t as easy as writing the news stories I had written as a young woman. There were certain skills I didn’t have. It was a discouraging time. I might not have to learn speech and motor skills and the ABCs but there sure was a lot I didn’t know about creative writing. 

Somewhere after writing about 400 pages (easily a year’s work), I knew something major was wrong. 

I took classes at UCLA in writing. I attended writers’ conferences. I read up on marketing. I updated computer skills that had been honed in the days of the Apple II. And all the while I wrote and revised and listened and revised again. This Is the Place finally emerged. 

          It is about a young woman, Skylar Eccles, who is a half-breed. In Utah where she was born and raised, that meant that she was one-half Mormon and one-half any other religion. Skylar considers marrying a Mormon man in spite of her own internal longing for a career. By confronting her own history — several generations of women who entered into mixed marriages — and by experiencing a series of devastating events, she comes to see she must make her own way in the world, follow her own true north.

Much of what I wrote about is my own story. If my novel were a tapestry, the warp would be real but the woof would be the stuff of imagination—real fiction. 

I think I bring a unique vision to my work. Utah has a beauty and wonder of its own. The Mormons are a mystery to many. I think I tell a story about Utah in the 50s that could only be told by someone who lived in that time and place and who was a part of the two cultures—the Mormon and the non-Mormon—that make it a whole.

I am proud that I did write this book. I’m glad that I waited until I was sixty. I believe that forty years brought insight to the story in terms of the obstacles that women faced in those days and a gentler perspective of the culture in Utah. 

I also really like being proof that a new life can start late—or that it is never too late to revive a dream.

Short story by permission of its author.

Important Update On Bullying And Workplace Abuse…

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Wish I could give you a better report about the “Abusive Work Environments Act” potential to pass in Illinois this session.  Unfortunately, this bill is still stuck in the Rules Committee for both our Senate and our House of Representatives.  Same goes for the similar bills in New York and Wisconsin.  All of this was done by Democratically-controlled lower house labor committees in all three states.  This was due to their parties’ likely fear of this past midterm election in 2010.

 Those of us who lead this important labor movement can only surmise legislative fear of the big money that goes to Republican legislators from the special interest, lobbying organization, the US Chamber of Commerce and its branches in all states 18 states where our bill has been introduced.  You see, the mighty, all-powerful Chamber has labeled our effort to be a “job-killer!”  We can very effectively argue that this law would save jobs, not kill them!  Of course, we argue for individual workers, even when targets of workplace bullying are the bosses themselves.  The Chamber at present is dominated by large corporations, while they are running the Great American Small Businesses out of the marketplace! 

By most definitions, small businesses employ 300 or fewer workers.  This is where the middle class used to work.  Unfortunately, 1)”Mom and Pop” stores are driven out by “big box” stores, such as Walmart, which buys merchandise offshore.  2) The service sector jobs are being shipped offshore to foreign offices.  3) Manufacturing jobs are cheaper offshore, too.  Manufacturing workers in many other countries can live for less. Their countries have cheaper, nationalized healthcare, with better patient outcomes than in the US.  Global trade agreements protect their jobs. 

The Chamber of Commerce can now accept and give lobbying money from anyone in the world and hand it out to any politician.  The Supreme Court’s recent decision called, “Citizens Utilities v. Federal Election Commission” (January 2010) allows unlimited funds to go to politicians without those funds easily being traced in a timely manner by voters and the media.  Because the “fair and balanced” media died under a Reagan veto, we have little way to follow the money effectively.  Voters are duped.  The politicians often sell out.  They fear supporting the “little guys,” whether they are small businesses or individual American workers.  Today only 2% of us are “big guys” anymore.  The United States has evolved into a plutocracy, or government by the wealthy few.  It will take new federal law to right this wrong.

Until a fairer day, we will persevere with the anti-workplace bullying bill’s citizen lobbying by real Americans who are genuinely united citizens.

Illinois sponsor, Representative Eddie Washington, died last June at age 56.  We hoped Representative Howard would run with this cause.  That did not happen this term.  We are hoping against all odds that this or another brave legislator will accept this mission next session.

In the meantime, we are sadly helped by dying children killed by bullying behaviors.  We are trying to teach other adults that these behaviors do not stop when the bullies exit the schoolhouse door.  Bullies take this immorality into the workforce and then home to their abused families. The circle of madness rolls on, while we Americans pretend it does not exist and is not harmful.


 Carrie Clark, Healthy Workplace Advocates

Clara54 would like to thank Carrie for her insider knowledge and  long stamding expertise dealing with the issue of workplace abuse. What do you think about what’s happening within our governmental system and the obvious lack of interest in dealing with this growing bullying in schools and workplace scenario?


Exciting News In Music,Theater,Film And Poetry!

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I’m back with loads of goodies & happenings from creatives from around the way, people! I recently tweeted how I have an onslaught of emails waiting for my attention. In many of those emails, folks are giving heads up on what’s happening in their world and want the world at large to take notice. As always, clara54 is paying it forward…However, due to the large volume of email announcements, I’ve formulated a plan to assist my endeavors & lessen the load of getting the word out on my end. Later, about that:) First up:

The Black Ensemble Theater will break ground on their new Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center on Friday, September 10 @ 2pm. The new center will be located on 4440 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois. There will be plenty of dignitaries on board, including the Mayor, the Governor, Aldermen. Remarks from the founder and executive director, Jackie Taylor marking her greatest achievement. Actor Harry Lennix will chair the ceremony. Along with this post, clara54 were to bring an interview with Ms. Taylor, but, it’s still in the works. (I know how busy you are Ms. Taylor with all of the excitement and stuff, so clara54 is still up for a post ground breaking interview?)  Thanks for the gorgeous pictures of the theater as well! please visit www.blackensembletheater.org for more info.

MAYNE Stage launches live weekly and offers up a 60 minute program showcasing a variety of acclaimed classical soloists and top ensembles from the Chicago area that will be performing for live audiences and radio listeners @ 98.7 WFMT Broadcasts premiering Sunday mornings starting Sept. 19th. This live weekly broadcast is a dream come true for all classical music lovers. There are a listing of shows as well, but, space is limited, so for further information call 773-381-4554, or visit www.Mayne Stage.com

Reggie Bullock, the producer of “A War For Your Soul” has been traveling the world with his astounding documentary. Well, he’s released the sequel to the original film, called “A War For Your Soul: IMAGE CONTROL. Reggie has kindly sent along a link for a free viewing at www.WarForYourSoul.com. I warn you, parts of the film offer food for thought and digestion .

This announcement from  friend & fellow writer from Chicago on the release of his second music video of the “Four Tributes” dedicated in memory of September 11, 2001. Mark Anthony Hall’s contribution to the people of New York & the world will be available for the public to view and share on youtube.com on September 11. The four songs are : “We Love America-The Anthem Of The New Millennium, NYC IS OB (New York City Is Our Brother) Hey Soldier, Ground Zero-Tomb Of  Heroes.”  Contact Mark AnthonyRomance@gmail.com

Fall is upon us! There are so many classes/readings and so forth in the works for enriching your life and enhancing your area of creative expertise. John Amen sent along a quick note about his September readings. I won’t list them all, but starting Sept. 11, Reading in Hockessin, DE @ 5p. 2nd Saturday Poets; Over Coffee Cafe, 144 Lantana Dr, Hoskessin, DE,19707 .  September 13, a reading in New York, Ny @ 7pm. Saturn Series;213 Second Avenue (NW corner of 13th St and 2nd Ave) New York, Ny 10003. John is quite busy this month. To see his scheduled readings go to www.johnamen.com. (Aside: yes, John, we might meet up @ one of your readings, way cool)

For those creatives who haven’t taken advantage of the online classes on every writing level known to man, there’s also offline classes to consider perhaps closer to home.  Ellace Publishing  has teamed up with South Suburban College to offer 2 Continuing Education classes for writers. The first is on Becoming a Published Author. Topics include Preparing a Manuscript, Finding a literary agent, Commerical Publishing, Self Publishing, and Marketing! The college is located at 15800 S State Street in South Holland, Il. To register, call 708-596-2000 EXT 2231.

The second class is “Surviving a Layoff” where the topics include managing emotions, reviewing cash flow, identifying resources, and tips that will assist the more seasoned writer. sounds good? Uh, Yea!

Ok, sooo, because I’ve been caught up in the trenches of late & have a backlog of stuff still to sort through (don’t we all?) I’ve decided that clara54 needs balance with posting all of this good stuff coming from creatives out there. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a sort of one woman PR system, but, I’m working on ways to keep the flow of my work on board with all of yours. That’s why I’m adding an  email address specifically geared for all correspondence pertaining to creatives who would like clara54 to help get the word out about their awesome works! So feel free to email clara54freelance@att.net when you have news/interviews/products to share.

Happy Fall- All!