Writing


Happy Anniversary to my blog! You’re eight years old!

When I began blogging in 2009, I had just embarked on a new career path. “Life’s transitions and challenges allow opportunities for personal and professional development” (About page). “Throughout my transitions, I learn and grow. And my writing reflects my travel experiences…” (see my initial post) and I set out to record those travel experiences and transitions.

Over the past eight years, I transitioned several times, often travelling paths I didn’t expect. Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” remains my theme poem; my path was the one less traveled by. In all cases, though, I grew from the experience. And I recorded my experiences and growth, either here, in off-line files, or in published articles. I continue to encourage, empower, and inspire others…and be inspired!

For the creative non-fiction I’ve recorded here, roads diverge again. Do I continue recording on the blog or elsewhere? I choose the more challenging road—that of Published Articles. Although that’s an often-traveled road, it’s a new/developing path for me. And I’m sure that path will make all the difference!

Parting Gift—Multi-Media Collage

My art mentor, Glenna Rosansky, decided it was time to create a collage. I usually create collages from cutout shapes, words, or stickers. That’s not what Glenna had in mind. To warm up, we looked at examples of painted string art, rice paper and torn paper collages. We talked about cool and warm colors.

As Glenna read from Nita Leland’s The New Creative Artist, I picked up a small wide brush and daintily dipped it into a small pool of yellow on my palette. “Creativity is a journey of self-discovery.” I added orange and more water to the yellow and painted broad strokes across the page. “What do I most love to do?” Do joyful activities! I chose bright, sunny, joyful colors.

“When the artist is alive in any person…he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature.” (Robert Henri, The Art Spirit.) I experimented with craft scissors and delicate paper doilies. The shiny gold crinkle paper added depth to the white doily. But where was the purple I usually use? I found some wooden popsicle sticks with abstract purple and blue shapes. I glued the sticks haphazardly to the paper. I pressed the plastic teeth of a comb on the thick green paint to create a windy movement.

I wanted to open the pipes to creativity and blessing, and clear the blockage. I leave you, my readers, with this gift. Continue to write–and paint–about transitions and challenges. It’s all good!

Multi-Media Collage, (c) Sherri Leah Henkin, July 2017

Multi-Media Collage, (c) Sherri Leah Henkin, July 2017

 

 

She sits on the soft colorful cushions and stares at the

White clouds, dotting the baby blue sky.Blue Sky with Sun

Soft yellow light peeps out from the pristine clouds

And streams into the quiet spotless living room.

 

The only sound is the hum of the refrigerator,

And an occasional fire siren on the street below.

She could put on music; she can’t select from the endless possibilities.

Instead, she sits in the quiet.

 

It’s not like this in most of her friends’ homes.

There’s boisterous laughter and rowdy kids

Running through the houses joyously singing.

In her home, she sits in the quiet.

 

“Everyone is alone at some point in their life,” she’s heard.

“How do we use that time?” The speaker described options.

None of the choices fit her.

The Fifth Question* hangs in the air: What should she do with the quiet?

Sunlit View Blue Sky

**

*The Pesach (Passover) Haggadah has four questions. This person has an additional query.

Artist’s Date

For my recent artist’s date, I visited CAFAM (Craft and Folk Art Museum) in Los Angeles. Although the museum has been in my backyard, I’d never visited. I hadn’t looked for special exhibits. I expected to typical crafts—painting, needlepoint, hand-made wooden items—nothing remarkable. Yet I thought colorful crafts would inspire me. And if not inspired, at least the technological cobwebs would clear.

“There’s a special exhibit on the third floor,” Ruby told me when I checked in.

“What’s it about?”

“Books. It’s called ‘Chapters’—all about books, printing, and how artists have used books other than to read them! Check it out!”

Books as art?

I hadn’t thought of that concept before. I headed up to the third floor to start the adventure.

Wow! What creative ideas!

  • A multi-colored tunnel book
  • One artist had used surgical scalpels to transform an entire book into a paper cut
  • Newspapers used as the “canvas” for colorful prints
  • Books made out of cloth and other media

Pièce de Résistance

Or the piece that I couldn’t resist! I found three hands-on editing activities on the first floor!

  1. Altered Book: Tear a small piece from the book and save it. Previous patrons had made circular tears, ripped out corner pieces, and removed sections with jagged-edged tears. alter-the-book-instructions-cafam-022017altered-book-cafam-022017I tore a small corner.
  2. Book Board: Add a phrase; remove a phrase; use any color index card, or even draw a picture. Edit as you please! Freedom from style guides!book-board-instructions-cafam-022017 I inserted one of my favorite sayings on a bright pink card.book-board-cafam-022017
  3. Book to Edit: Cross out a word, phrase, a paragraph—whatever didn’t resonate with me. Whoa…no guidelines? W hat will the author think? Doesn’t matter—edit away! I felt uneasy at first. How could I edit someone’s work who hadn’t asked for my feedback? I read a few sentences on different pages. I settled on one long descriptive paragraph…and slashed away! Energizing!book-to-edit-instructions-cafam-022017 book-to-edit-cafam-022017

 

Editors, looking for a way to re-energize?

Writers, searching for inspiration? Check out @CraftAndFolk! (But soon–exhibit changes in May 2017.)

**

Photos (c) Sherri Leah Henkin 2017

I originally intended this blog to showcase my writing and how I could use the technique to grow. At times I described my life visions and the type of writing I wanted to focus on. All along, I focused on my craft.

In the past year, I learned more about the business of writing. Through online groups, classes, and webinars, I explored ways I could take the craft I love and help others. I’m jazzed when I create content people can use!

Enter a new direction: My business website, Content Clarified! There, I write, develop, build, and edit content.

Come visit Content Clarified. Check out my Services and stay connected!

**

I plan to continue posting on Growing the Write Way, staying true to the original idea—Musings about Growing through Writing. Thanks for traveling the road with me!

We removed this post. See the article on the Content Clarified website.

From the title you might think this post will describe physical exercise. Or perhaps the body mechanics of lifting heavy equipment.

Nope. Mechanics here refers to those talented individuals who service our cars at auto repair shops. I have new esteem for these folks since I spent this past Monday morning with several of them!

My morning plan was to drive to the local Pep Boys and replace two front headlight lamps. I chose that type of store since they have a large stock and could repair the lights early in the morning. Great, I thought, I’ll be done by 9 and on my way home!

On the way to the repair, this bright orange light in the speedometer area went on. Hmmm…I know that means something, but what? I knew the light wasn’t for the battery—I learned about that light two months ago—and knew the orange outline didn’t resemble an oil can. By process of elimination, I figured out I was looking at the engine light.

Working hard not to panic, I moved into Action Mode, planning the calls I’d make once I reached the repair shop. I transitioned to Philosophy Mode—it’s the car, it’s not me or a member of my family. That thought process brought me to Prayer Mode—Please G-d, make this something really simple and inexpensive! Thank You!

When I got to the Boys (as Pep Boys employees call themselves), they told me they couldn’t do the repair. While the Boys worked on the headlights, I worked on calling my mechanic. We arranged that I’d bring my car to his shop by 9:30. The headlight bulb replacement took a bit longer, which turned out to work in my favor. I had time to make some calls, and decided to call my friend in Israel. I stood in a lot in Los Angeles speaking with her in her home in central Israel—from my cell phone! The wonders of technology!

Once the Boys finished, I headed to my mechanic’s shop. Thankfully, no more dashboard lights lit up! The mechanic discovered that there was an evaporation problem, a leak somewhere. Consequently, he had to give the car a complete physical.

I left the mechanic-doctor to his work and headed over to the local coffee shop. I got some exercise as a result. Since I had notebooks, pens, pencils, and digital devices with me, I kept myself productively busy. And bonus—I had a gift card for the coffee shop—so I could treat myself to free refreshments!

The mechanic-doctor called to report his final diagnosis. The leak was…drum roll…from the broken seal on the gas cap! All other engine-related items were fine. A simple and inexpensive repair.

My prayers aren’t always answered so clearly and quickly. I hope I didn’t cash in all my chips this time, as I whispered a prayer of gratitude.

Spending Monday morning at the mechanics’ shops was a minor inconvenience that taught me to look at the big picture.

Gratitude—it was daytime, repair places were close to home, able mechanics, friends, and the light went on while I was already on the way to a repair shop.

Perspective—I’m fine, my family is fine, it’s only a car. A car is a machine whose parts wear out. Some parts need repair and some need to be replaced.

♦Be prepared—I had my cell phone, notebooks, pens, money for the repair, and even a gift card!

 

We removed the post. See the new article on the Content Clarified website.

We removed the post. See the new article on the Content Clarified website.

 

Background

Healthcare providers—physicians, hospitals, nurses, laboratories—heatedly discuss the need to send order information quickly and balance the speed with information security. In the beginning of May 2016, The Joint Commission (Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations; JCAHO) “…reversed its long ban on physicians and certain other clinicians using text messaging to place orders related to patient care, citing technology advances that enable more secure communication…” (see full article here).

We’ll leave that debate and the solution to the accreditation bodies such as The Joint Commission, HFAP (Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program), and the information security experts.

What about Consumers?

What about us consumers? Do we think about the security of our content when we text PII (Personally Identifiable Information) or ePHI (electronic Protected Health Information)?

I receive informal updates from friends about their family members. And I suspect I’m guilty as charged for sending similar text messages. Consider this recent text I received (all details changed to protect the parties involved) from a friend to a group of us:

text

I appreciated the update and was concerned for my friend’s father. However, that text contained ePHI and none of us have an encrypted messaging system. True, we are not healthcare providers so we can share personal information. Yet the risk is still present for the information to be intercepted and brought into unscrupulous hands.

Points to Ponder

Before we text our personal network with our PHI or a family member’s PHI, let’s consider these points.

  1. What information do I really need to share?
  2. Could I convey the update or urgency without identifying details?
  3. Is my text message program encrypted?
  4. Is the recipient’s text message program encrypted?
  5. Do all recipients need the information?

Reframe

Perhaps we can simply say:

text2

**

Resources

With gratitude and kudos to Robin Sacks.

Ever feel like you’re mired in the mud, trudging along and not making much progress? Periodically I have days like that. And when I do, I’m grateful to find a pithy thought that reorients my thinking. Change Your Mind showed up just in time today!

I keep thinking the same thought train that has gotten me nowhere, that’s exactly where I’ll end up: nowhere. To reach a goal when I’m stuck, I need to—paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw—think differently about a situation. Then new possibilities open up! By thinking differently, I might even see a road I hadn’t seen before.

new road

Then I can progress toward my goal.

What redirects your thought train?

**

Painting © Sherri Leah Henkin 2015

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