“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, December 21, 2020

I had to stand on my desk to get this shot, then edit out my toes.

  I launched a new site today as a showcase for my books, little, big, good, bad, whatever.

And as a Christmas gift, I am offering a small eBook, 22 pages, 4,351 words, so we won’t be together long. It’s The Seven Secrets.

To read, please click on https://travelswithjo.com/the-seven-secrets

Happy Solstice Tomorrow, whoops, it’s after midnight, well, today. ! I hope you will be able to see the Christmas star this evening, and that we have Happy Days ahead.


 Sneak preview into The Seven Secrets:

Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”

--Charles M. Schulz


Twenty-five years ago, on a beautiful spring afternoon, two young men graduated from the same University. They were much alike. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both—as young college graduates are—were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.

Recently these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion. Both were happily married. Both had two children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same company after graduation, and were still there.

But there was a difference. One of the men was the manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.

 What Made the Difference?


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

I Have Something for You

"Writing’s hypnotizing yourself into believing in Yourself, getting some work done, then un-hypnotizing yourself and going over the Material.” —Anne Lamott.

Since this is a writing site, and I suspect that you guys reading it are interested in writing, I will continue by asking a couple of questions. 


One, you’ve heard of copy-writing where companies spend big bucks on hiring someone to hype their products. So, tell me, does that lo-o-o-ng copy impress you? Does it make you more inclined to purchase their product?


There is a thought among marketers that the longer you keep a person reading, the more apt they are to buy. For me, I give up on them. For god’s sake, I don’t have the time to read their life story, unless it’s particularly compelling, or how they traveled to the Amazon and found this herb. Come to think of it, that’s pretty interesting, just don’t give me three feet of content. You can say it more succinctly. 


I still have a copy-writing course waiting for a year for me to take it. Talk about procrastinating, or being afraid, or believing I can’t make it. That’s one thing--oh, it’s three--still, after reading the best book on marketing I’ve found, I’m wondering if that course will just confuse me.


The book is Building A Storybrand by Donald Miller. Well, I see it’s praised by Seth Godin, that’s impressive.


As the title says, it’s about building a story brand, but I believe marketers could take heed.


Donald Miller reminds us that all good messaging begins and ends with empathy. 


Real empathy means letting customers know we see them as we see ourselves. Customers look for brands they have something in common with. And since the brain likes to conserve calories, aka that long content takes too much work to complete, brevity is the better way to go.


Discover card recently crafted a television campaign where they said, “We’ll take care of you the same way you would take care of yourself.” Hey, that’s genius. I want Discover card to take care of me. And they do come to think of it. They once championed my cause when I couldn’t get a company to repay me after I sent an item back. After Discover talked to them, They refunded me.


Miller’s book isn’t about telling your company’s story. Customers don’t generally care about a company’s story. They care about their own. 


I’ve had a hard time zeroing in on what I am about. You begin blogging, and if you’re like me, you’re all over the place. However, I do want to be of service. I want to find other like souls, and I want us to move ahead in making our lives and world situations better.


Isn’t that what we’re here for? Oh, I know we’re heavenly souls here to have a physical experience. But we don’t have to make it hard. We don’t have to be stupid in the process. Let’s not muck things up, and devalue some of the advances we’ve made. If we look at the world, it gets incrementally better with each passing generation, but let’s not take two steps forward and one step back.


Let’s make this generation a meaningful one

Thursday, November 19, 2020

I Love This Guy

 If you happened to see this blog before today, it had  all CAPS from Fahrenheit 451 quote on down. I don't know what happened. Here we go again. 

This is how I remember him.

Ray Bradbury.


Remember him?

He says the reason we remember so many of his stories is because he is strong in metaphor. 

 “With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.”-- Fahrenheit 451

Wow, you’re full of them, aren’t you, Bradbury?

 I’m terrible at them. It must be something in my brain that stops me from saying something is something else. But I can learn.

 “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries—What am I doing in the Pits?” Bradbury is right. I remember that title (1985) when I don’t remember Erma Bombeck’s book, except that it was funny.

 I remember Forrest Gump’s metaphor, “Life is a box of chocolates—you never know what you’ll get.”  

 But back to Bradbury. I saw today that this year, 2020, Bradbury would have celebrated his 100th birthday. Hope you’re having a good time Ray.

Whether you are a fan of his books or not, he was one of the most enthusiastic writers. He loved writing. He relished in it. He woke up in the mornings, ready to run to his typewriter. Yep, typewriter. I think he and the computer had an adversarial relationship. 

 “If you don’t love it, don’t do it,” he said.

  “Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun at it. Ignore the authors who say, oh my god, what work, oh Jesus Christ, you know. No, to hell with that. It is not work. If it’s work, stop it, and do something else.”

Once upon a time, I attended a writer’s seminar in San Diego, where Bradbury and about 12 students at San Diego State University sat outside on the grass while he talked of writing. (Like Socrates teaching his students.) And although I don’t’ remember what he said, I walked on air when I got out of there. (Is that a metaphor?)

 Another time I attended an Optics Conference with my husband where Bradbury was the key speaker. Wow, he sat those scientists on their eats, and instead of shaking my hand, he hugged me. I figured I was blessed.

 -from a 1974 interview with James Day:

 Don’t write towards a moral:

[Trying to write a cautionary story] is fatal. You must never do that. A lot of lousy novels come from people who want to do good. The do-gooder novel. The ecological novel. And if you tell me you’re doing a novel or a film about how a woodsman spares a tree, I’m not going to go see it for a minute.

 Read these three things every night:

 What you’ve got to do from this night forward is stuff your head with more different things from various fields . . . I’ll give you a program to follow every night, very simple program. For the next thousand nights, before you go to bed every night, read one short story. That’ll take you ten minutes, 15 minutes. Okay, then read one poem a night from the vast history of poetry. Stay away from most modern poems. It’s crap. It’s not poetry! Now if you want to kid yourself and write lines that look like poems, go ahead and do it, but you’ll go nowhere. Read the great poets, go back and read Shakespeare, read Alexander Pope, read Robert Frost. But one poem a night, one short story a night, one essay a night, for the next 1,000 nights. From various fields: archaeology, zoology, biology, all the great philosophers of time, comparing them. Read the essays of Aldous Huxley, read Lauren Eisley, great anthropologist. . . I want you to read essays in every field. On politics, analyzing literature, pick your own. But that means that every night then before you go to bed, you’re stuffing your head with one poem, one short story, one essay—at the end of a thousand nights, Jesus God, you’ll be full of stuff, won’t you?

 -from “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University, 2001.

 That’s quite an assignment isn’t it?

 Advice from a Master.

 Carry on,

 I’ll keep writing.

  How about you?