heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 6 of 7: Be the architect of your own destiny

“New Year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story ?  Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.” 
― Alex MorrittImpromptu Scribe

I will keep this post brief.  The choices we make, whether proactive or reactive, set a chain of reactions and events in motion. How we act (or don’t act) and what we say (or don’t say) will  play a pivotal role in how we engage with others and in what we hope to achieve in life. Sometimes we find excuses for our own inertia or our bad choices. We play the blame game: “It’s his/her fault that this happened, not mine.”  In some instances, this is correct. But they’re the exception, rather than the rule.

Let’s face it, there are times that bad things happen. And it’s no one’s fault. But it’s how we handle  the hard times, the tragedies and disasters that determines our forward path.  The person who deals with hardship with humility, integrity and grace is the person who will likely also use every life experience – be it good or bad – as a lesson to learn from. True wisdom is hard-earned.  

So let 2017 be the year we, each of us, write our own life story. Let’s hold ourselves accountable for our actions and our words. 

Let the first chapter begin.

“Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, and destiny.”
– Alfred A. Montapert

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New thought-provoking blog “Discourse on Reality” launching soon

DiscourseOnReality

“The work of an intellectual is not to mould the political will of others; it is, through the analyses that he does in his own field, to re-examine evidence and taglineassumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions and to participate in the formation of a political will (where he has his role as citizen to play).”  ― Michel Foucault

Discourse on Reality, launching this Wednesday, will focus on current socio-economic, cultural, philosophical and political issues and challenges facing everyday men and women — across the globe.  As the title suggests, it is meant to be a forum for intelligent discourse, where people can share ideas, commentary, and information on subjects that are current, relevant and affect our communities — locally, nationwide, worldwide.  The objective is to learn, engage, raise awareness and, perhaps, become actively involved in the very causes, issues and challenges that we seek to address and remedy.

It is not my desire to write monologues day in and day out.  Dialoguing with oneself becomes tedious after a while.  To that end, I will be extending an invitation to anyone who may be interested in writing a guest blog post — within the scope of the subject matter discussed in the blog.  The invitation is open to writers, scholars, community leaders, and activists — subject to my approval, per  the guest blogging guidelines that will be available for review when Discourse on Reality goes live on Wednesday morning.  Non-fiction authors who post a guest blog will also be invited to highlight their latest work on the “Books” page.

Discourse on Reality embraces diversity.  This means: people from all walks of life, all cultures, all religions, all nationalities and ethnicities,  all political and philosophical leanings, all genders and orientations. 

Discourse on Reality will not provide a forum for hate, bigotry, and profanity.  It’s one thing to be passionate about what you believe in, but it is quite another to spew out hateful commentary.

One blog will be posted by 9 am EDT daily, from Monday to Friday.  Each day will focus on one theme, as follows:

       MONDAYS – Socio-economic Issues  (i.e. hunger, homelessness, health, education, environment and more)

       TUESDAYS – Economic Issues (i.e. the economy, business, technology, and more)

       WEDNESDAYS – Cultural Issues (i.e. civil rights, human rights, and more)

       THURSDAYS – Philosophical & Political Issues (i.e. commentary on current political events/news, ideology, religion)

       FRIDAYS – Philanthropy and Humanitarianism (i.e. role models and visionaries, non-profit organizations, humanitarian efforts and disaster relief,  sustainability, and more)

I hope that those of you who have been tuning in to my heatherfromthegrove (a writer’s musings) blog will also check out Discourse on Reality this Wednesday.  

As always, I welcome your feedback and comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

— Heather

heatherfromthegrove’s story spotlight for today: “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood

♦ ♦ ♦

Monday, July 15 – Saturday, July 20

FICTION

@ heatherfromthegrove!

Enjoy some good summer reading.

♦ ♦ ♦


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“He doesn’t know which is worse, a past he can’t regain or a present that will destroy him if he looks at it too clearly. Then there’s the future. Sheer vertigo.”

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

The creative and gifted mind of Canadian author Margaret Atwood unleashes itself yet again in the dystopian  novel, Oryx and Crake.  Written in 2003, it is the first in a trilogy in which Atwood takes us on a speculative journey into the future.  The story begins after a plague destroys civilization. The main protagonist, Snowman (formerly “Jimmy” before the world collapsed),  struggles with surviving in a world where he may be the last living human and coping with grief (and memories) over the loss of his best friend Crake, and the beautiful, evanescent Oryx , whom they both loved and coveted.  We learn more about Jimmy and his past, through flashbacks, and are drawn into his post-apocalyptic quest for answers.  Guiding this solitary man through his journey are these human-like, green-eyed Children of Crake.  As they travel through the wilderness which was once a great city, they see hybrid creatures (wolvogs, pigoons and rakunks) roaming the forest, and we later come to realize that these cross-species are the result of genetic engineering. 

It would be remiss of me to reveal more. I don’t want to spoil the story for you. 

I have read most of Atwood’s novels and this one roped me in from the get-go, and prompted me to read the second book (in the Oryx and Crake trilogy), called The Year of the Flood. Loved it. Her third installment, MaddAddam, will be released in early September (I’ve pre-ordered it).

Dystopian fiction is not for everyone.  In fact, I was ambivalent about reading Oryx and Crake but I am glad that I did.  It propelled me into a world of “what-if’s” – told by the award-winning storyteller par excellence, Margaret Atwood.

Other novels by Margaret Atwood:

adapted into a TV movie (2007, USA) by the same name; directed by David Evans and starring Mary-Louise Parker, Shawn Doyle and Susan Lynch

** adapted into a film (1990, USA) by the same name; directed by  Volker Schlöndorff and starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn

*** adapted into a film (1981, Canada) by the same name; directed by Claude Jutra

In addition, she has written a large body of work:  children’s books,  short fiction, poetry, anthologies, television scripts, E-books,  and non-fiction.

heatherfromthegrove’s story spotlight for today: “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy

♦ ♦ ♦

Monday, July 15 – Saturday, July 20

FICTION

@ heatherfromthegrove!

Enjoy some good summer reading.

♦ ♦ ♦

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“Nothing happens by accident. I learned this the hard way, long before I knew that the hard way was the only path to true, certain knowledge. Early in my life, I came to fear the power of strange conveyances. Though I thought I always chose the safest path. I found myself powerless to avoid the small treacheries of fate. Because I was a timid boy, I grew up fearful and knew deep in my heart the world was out to get me. Before the summer of my senior year in high school, the real life I was always meant to lead lay coiled and ready to spring in the hot Charleston days that followed.” – from South of Broad, by Pat Conroy

I became a fan of Pat Conroy after reading Beach Music in 1995. In every novel, he masterfully weaves an intricate web of tales with southern charm and lyrical description ― exploring the fragility of the human mind and soul, the searing pain of tragedy and the healing  power of unexpected joy. For Conroy, all roads lead to home.  South Carolina.  Set against the lush backdrop of Charleston, South of Broad unravels an unforgettable tale of  families haunted and broken by tragedy, their closely guarded secrets that  become exposed, and the everpresent menace of racism and class division looming beneath the surface. Conroy’s protagonist and narrator is Leopold (Leo) Bloom King, the unassuming ringleader of a group of high school outcasts who sustain each other in good times and in bad, more the latter than the former. Their stories intertwine over a period of two decades, at the end of which they face their most daunting challenge which is the ultimate test of their friendship.

South of Broad is an exquisite, eloquently written ode, both to Conroy’s beloved hometown of Charleston and to the gift of lifelong friendships born and nurtured from these southern roots.

I was enchanted from beginning to end and read the book in one sitting. If you haven’t read any Pat Conroy’s novels, I would heartily recommend this as your first taste of this very gifted storyteller.

Other books by Pat Conroy:

* adapted into a film (1991) by the same name, directed by Barbra Streisand (she also starred in it), Nick Nolte and Blythe Danner.

** adapted into a feature film (1983) by the same name, starring David Keith.

*** adapted into a film (1979) by the same name, starring Robert Duvall.

**** adapted into the 1974 feature film, titled Conrack, starring Jon Voight and then later (in 2006) adapted into a TV movie, under the book’s original title, and starring Jeff Hephner.