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"When we love, we strive to become better. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too." 
~Paolo Coelho 
Did you know that September has been called Self-Improvement Month? In considering this, I suppose the first question to pose is, in what area of your life do you seek self-improvement? Is it in your relationships or in your creative or professional life?

While at any given time we might focus on different aspects of our lives which need attention, self-improvement is something we should be conscious of each and every day. 
There are so many websites and books devoted to various types of self-improvement. Just Google the words and you shall see! Below I have suggested two classic books which I keep very close to my heart and my desk. If you have any others which have helped you, please feel free to share!

(writing reference) by David Starkey This is a classic.  There are not many well-written, sweet, and incisive textbooks that can be packed in a carry-on bag for your next writers' conference or workshop, but Starkey's book is a must, both for the emerging writer and workshop leader. The book offers all the essentials necessary for writing poetry and  fiction. Before diving into the book, Starkey offers these wise words: "Read, write, listen, don't give up and have fun." The book is packed with words of wisdom, food for thought while being interspersed with solid writing advice, such as, "Reading is a trigger for writing," and "Write from clarity and revise to strangeness."

This volume is plentiful with stellar poems and short stories to spark ideas from luminary poets such as Kim Addonizio, Elizabeth Alexander, Joy Harjo, Yusef Komunyakaa, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, and Molly Peacock. Short story writers include Margaret Atwood, T.C. Boyle, Ron Carlson, John Cheever, Lorrie Moore and Tobias Wolff. The book also includes checklist reminders, kick-starts for inspiration, suggested writing prompts, and an excellent glossary for a quick glance to answers. What else can students and instructors of creative writing ask for? Very highly recommended.




by Jack Kornfield, one of my favorite spiritual leaders, is a gem of a book for anyone enduring difficult times. This book is not only enlightening, but offers concrete techniques and meditations for those who have either gotten off their spiritual path or those who are enduring turbulent times and need to find the light. Buddhists like Kornfield know that the best way to navigate difficult times is to turn toward the pain and embrace it as a lesson leading to transformation. Kornfield reminds the reader that they're not alone and also the importance of holding their ground and honoring the warrior within. Healing also involves remembering who you really are. The best way to accomplish this is through mindfulness, compassion for the self, compassion for others and compassion for the universe. 


The book is full of meditation exercises/practices which are accessible and grounding. The breath becomes an important part of any healing practice. When trying to find peace and calm, Kornfield suggests repeating these simple phrases with each breath: 


Breathing in and out, I calm my body.

Breathing in and out, I calm my mid.

May I be balanced.

May I be at peace.

With each breath, gently breathing in and out, I calm my body.

Breathing in and out, I quiet my mind.

May I be balanced and at peace. 


If you have just released a new book or have read a book you highly recommend, please share the title and author by emailing me. I love supporting the accomplishments and passions of my readers.  Thank you! 
"Confession is Good for the  Soul: 7 Ways to Stimulate Confessional Writing." PsychAlive.   August 2015.
" A Boomer's Spiritual Ruminations: Writing as a Spiritual Practice."
Boomer Cafe.  August  16, 2015.
"Dealing With the Noises in Our Heads." Psychology Today. August 15 ,2015.

"How Do You Know a Friend is Worth Keeping?" Better After 50. August 13, 2015.

"The Simplest Way to Know if a Friend Was Worth Keeping.
The Huffington Post.  August 4, 2015.

"Let it Be and 1969." Midlife Blvd. July 15, 2015.

Creatively yours,

P.S. Please send any comments to
(Subject: Newsletter) 

Since it is the beginning of the school year, it would be appropriate to write about the teacher you remember most from school days and explain why they were important enough to be remembered.

Creatively yours,

P.S. Please send any comments to
(Subject: Newsletter) 

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