Synchronized Chaos June 2013 – Glimpses of New and Familiar Worlds

A month to honor fathers and graduates, June also offers World Butterfly Awareness Day (the 2nd) and the anniversary of the publication of Ernest Thayer’s famous baseball poem, ‘Casey at the Bat’ (the 3rd). Superman made his first comic appearance in June, and Egypt first became a constitutional republic rather than a monarchy years ago this month. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova entered space June 1963 as its first civilian, and NASA launched Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity ten years ago in June, to provide footage of the red planet.

In the same spirit, Synchronized Chaos International Magazine’s June 2013 issue permits our readers glimpses into new and familiar worlds.

Lukas Clark-Memler continues his travel narrative from Borneo, while Heather Spergel’s children’s book hero explores magical realms with the help of a very special guitar. Regular columnist Leena Prasad, author of the neuroscience column Whose Brain Is It, explores the phenomenon of hypnosis.  Fe de los Reyes’ musical Amerikana dances through the frustration and hope of the Filipino-American immigrant experience, and Romanian writer and painter George Teseleanu reviews Charles Ayres’ memoir of working within the Japanese entertainment industry as an American expatriate.

While Ayres has peppered Impossibly Glamorous with anecdotes about Japan’s music industry, the backbone of the tale is Charles himself: his resilience, humor and hunger to create places for himself to belong, wherever he travels. Although this can become a cliche of travel writing when not done well, the author experiences as much self-discovery as international education through his work abroad. He learns to select elements of various lifestyles and subcultures he admires, and incorporate them into his own life, consciously choosing to create his world rather than merely becoming a product of his environment. Summing up these hard-won life lessons as humorous commandments, he demonstrates how he has processed and integrated his experience into his daily life.

The Filipino/a immigrants in Fe’s performance piece also assert some control over their own identities, by choosing to appreciate both their homeland and their new lives in the United States. Even more so than Charles Ayres, Fe knows who she is and where she comes from. This knowledge gives her the strength to survive a complex and difficult immigration experience and embrace what she finds positive in a new culture.

Social scientists who have examined the psychology of extreme altruists, such as those who sheltered Jews during the Holocaust or launched initiatives to feed the poor or care for the elderly, point to feeling secure in one’s identity and having a sense of belonging as a predictor for pro-social behavior. If you know who you are, and are part of a solid, even if small, community, you can be more willing to do the right thing even when it is unpopular or risky.

Those factors may promote creativity and courage, as well as altruism. Feeling comfortable with yourself, and knowing that you have a home where you are welcome, can make you brave enough to explore a new world and experience it on its own terms, rather than projecting your own needs and insecurities onto its canvas.

Many of this month’s contributors have found the strength to peer out into new worlds, providing a glimpse of different realms of experience. San Jose’s Elizabeth Hughes mentions and reviews several new self-published and small-press books, in the first edition of her Book Periscope column.

Mimi Sylte also kicks off a new column dedicated to fashion, unique in that she focuses on designers in or near San Francisco, a city known more for writing and other forms of art. In her first piece, Sylte introduces herself and why she’s writing on the subject.

Poet Dave Douglas twists around a common metaphorical frustration, creating a personal landscape out of his ‘writers’ block.’ Like Charles Ayres, he responds with resourcefulness to create something for himself out of loneliness and confusion. As reviewed by Christopher Bernard, the Etel Adnan exhibit at the California College for the Arts also plays with words and artwork to render each in a fresh way.
Darion Wilson illustrates an entrancing but dislocating experience watching exotic dancers, processing the moment by rendering it in words. Katie Farris looks at the curious mixture of rivalry and loyalty in sibling relationships in her short story Batman and Robin, and Darion Scruggs poetically evokes the traditions of family and country life in his piece Generation After Generation. 
Staff writer Cristina Deptula examines the technical promise, logistical challenges and environmental concerns involved with the process of natural gas extraction known as ‘fracking’ or hydraulic fracturing. As with most ventures, there’s both potential and room for improvement.
There are some events in life we should count ourselves very privileged to have had the chance to observe, as Christopher Bernard underscores through his review of a one-night-only modern dance performance. The show, Continua in Light: Three Acts, springs up, then disappears. For some experiences, one simply has to be there, right in that moment. Watch now, and hold the memory forever. 
Frances Varian echoes that sentiment in her prose piece Love and Tragedy. Her memorial essay for two friends who passed away from incurable illnesses provides glimpses, not of death, but of life. And she examines the titular words, verbiage that has been repeated often enough to become trite, in new ways by going back to what they actually mean, through the lens of personal experience.
Those she knew overcame their grief and fear of death not by pining for an afterlife, or craving to be remembered, but through making the most of today through kindness and awareness. By being so alive, as Varian says, that even their deaths were celebrations of life, and thousands of healthy people signed up to be with them as they were dying. 
We hope this issue of Synchronized Chaos both grounds and inspires you, and provides a launching pad for you to head forth, as Spirit and Opportunity, to encounter new worlds and reflect upon your experiences.
(icon courtesy Finn Gardiner, a collective of artists in Boston, MA)

‘Whose Brain Is It?” a monthly neuroscience column by Leena Prasad

WhoseBrainIsIt.com

Presented within the flow of the lives of real people and fictional characters, this is a monthly exploration of how parts of the brain work.

 

You are feeling sleepy…
by Leena Prasad

 

The tall man on stage, dressed in a business suit, is clucking like a chicken. A pretty redhead, also on the stage, laughs whenever the hypnotist says the word ‘paper’. A young boy says the word ‘tomato’ whenever the hypnotist touches him on the head.

Henry watches with fascination and is glad that he did not volunteer to be one of the performers’ guinea pigs. He wonders what hypnosis does to the brain.

Dr. Amir Raz, research professor at McGill University in Canada, conducted a study in which participants were able to perform better at a color recognition game while hypnotized. Normally, if an English-speaking person is asked to quickly identify the colors blueredgreen, they become momentarily confused because of the dissonance between the words and the colors. Under hypnosis, there was less confusion and subjects were able to identify the colors quicker because they were able to ignore the meaning of the words and simply look at the color.

Other neuroscientists are studying hypnosis in different contexts. Dr. David Oakley and Dr. Peter Halligan of Cardiff University conducted a study in which they mapped neural response to pain. The MRI’s on the right show blood flow within the brain while the patient was exposed to various conditions. The top figure shows the blood flow when the subject experienced pain from a physical stimulus. While under hypnosis, subjects were told that pain will be inflicted but no pain stimulus was actually used. Regardless, the subjects experienced pain as demonstrated by the middle MRI. Although not exactly the same, the top and middle images are somewhat identical. The bottom image shows much less activity in the brain when the subjects were simply told to imagine pain.

If Henry had volunteered to be hypnotized, he could have been on stage laughing at the mere mention of the word paper. It is possible that he will respond in the same manner as the study subjects in terms of his ability to identify the colors and to feel ghost pain. Not everyone is hypnotizable, however, and the subject has to be a willing participant in order for hypnosis to work.

As in most areas of brain research, the study of hypnosis has potential. Neuroscientists are in the beginning stages of studying the power of this ancient practice and are finding brain activity correlation with hypnosis. If Henry conducts a web search, he will find documentation of studies that show how hypnosis plays out within the neural networks of the brain.

 


Leena Prasad has a journalism degree from Stanford and her writing portfolio can be found at FishRidingABike.com. Links to earlier stories in her monthly column can be found at WhoseBrainIsIt.com.

Josh Buchanan, a UC Berkeley graduate, edits this column with an eye on grammar and scientific approach.

Dr. Nicola Wolfe is a neuroscience consultant for this column. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychopharmacology from Harvard University and has taught neuroscience courses for over 20 years at various universities.

References:

  1. Blakeslee, Sandra, This Is Your Brain Under Hypnosis, New York Times, Nov., 22, 2005
  2. Raz, Amir., PhD; Shapiro, T., MD; Fan, Jin, PhD; Posner Michael I., PhD, Hypnotic Suggestion and the Modulation, Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59:1155-1161
  3. Oakley, David A., Halligan, Peter W., Hypnotic suggestion and cognitive neuroscience, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol.xxx No.x.

Love and Tragedy, by Frances Varian

Should you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of trying to woo a poet
I strongly suggest you skip the part where you whisper sweet nothings into her
ear. She will call your bullshit – she will know nothing when she hears it…..

After witnessing the absolute horrors of the first world war Hemingway could not
bring himself to color his stories with adjectives. What the hell does “horror”
mean when you’ve seen thousands upon thousands of young lives wasted in obscene
ways – what weight can the word “atrocity” hold for a child who has watched his
mother blow up?

So he wrote stories that ask you and I to engage -he intentionally left
wonderful, huge, ambiguous gaps so that language might have a chance to recover
– so that you and I might imbue those gaps with our own meaning. I still can’t
tell if he was trying to find his way back or throwing himself head first into a
future he could not possibly imagine. It’s possible he didn’t even know. And
yes, douche, I know. I wouldn’t want to have sex with the dude – but sometimes
douchebags make great art. (Here’s a little secret – many artists are
douchebags. Don’t tell them I said so.)

So I want to look at two words today….two over-used, nearly meaningless,
clearly important words. Words I think about multiple times a day.

Love and Tragedy

This past Saturday, March 27th (in 2010) a 25 year-old Canadian woman named Eva Markvoort
died. Eva had a fatal genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis – I grew up with a
friend who also had CF. It is a supremely painful disease and most people who
are born with it do not live to see their 30th birthday (and up until recently
reaching one’s 20th birthday was nearly miraculous.) My childhood friend died
several years ago at the age of 33. When you have CF your body drowns your
lungs. Slowly. While other kids are going on field trips and playing soccer the
child with CF sits on the sidelines….like all serious disease it isolates you
from the rest of the world.

It is difficult to be a sick child, the sense of being that obviously different
can have a profound impact on a developing persona. It would be easy to abandon
all goals and future hope unless you are a person like Eva. Tomorrow, the 31st,
would have been her 26th birthday. In a little under 26 years Eva managed to
earn a bachelor’s degree, participate in the making of – while simultaneously
being the subject of – a documentary about living with Cystic Fibrosis. She fell
in love, she danced, she traveled when she could, she survived a double lung
transplant – unfortunately her body rejected them and she died waiting for a new
donation. She raised awareness and money for research. She talked to anyone who
would listen about the importance of organ donation. Even when she was strapped
to tubes that she hated, by her admission, she did not stop. She never stopped.
If you go read her blog what you will find are pictures of a beautiful young
woman surrounded by family and friends and love. You will read about what brought her joy and
what she hated (tubes. plastic tubing. not being able to move freely through the
world.) You will read gratitude and you will see an unwavering gleam in her eyes
that can only be replicated by people who have had a conversation with their own
death, and consequently figured out that our time here is much too short to be
afraid of living.

She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful on the outside and most importantly she
was lit up from within. I did not know her. My friend Heather, another
beautiful, breathtaking warrior of a woman led me her way.

When Gabby was dying so many of you who never met her told me how much she
changed your lives, how blessed you felt to receive her message – to really hear
what she was saying on her way to where she is now.

Gabby had that gleam in her eyes.

Since those two women have died I have heard and read the word “tragedy” being
bantered around…. “Oh, what a tragedy.” “I’m sorry, I cannot invite this kind
of tragedy into my life right now.” Tragedy, tragedy, tragedy.

And I know what people mean. Because no matter what I or anyone else tells you
it is likely that you will not be able to have a conversation with your own
death until you get a little closer to it – and what a shame that is, because
none of us knows when it’s coming.

Is it heartbreaking to lose a person or animal we love to death? Absolutely. Do
we walk around mumbling and smoking pot in the morning like lost little grief
drones for weeks and months after? Probably. We grieve. It is ok. It is what
must be done.

But let us not mistake our grief for something altogether different.

Gabrielle Bouliane and Eva Markvoort lived harder, faster, brighter, better in
their short lives than those of us with the great privilege of much more time
ever will.

A tragedy is what happens when you are given life and you waste it. Hating your
thighs and staying in loveless marriages and diminishing yourself in exchange
for the false comfort numbness brings – that is tragic.

That was not Gabby. That was not Eva. No.

They are triumphs.

In one hundred years, if we have not blown ourselves into a million, billion
pieces the chance that anyone will remember our names or know we existed is
slim. That is the reason the slam god couldn’t invite the “tragedy” of Gabby’s
cancer into his life – he was too busy working, promoting himself. At first, and
for many months thereafter, I was furious with him. Now….now I feel sorry for
him, when I think about him I almost always think: “What a tragedy.” 100 years
from now it is unlikely that people will know his name, or Gabby’s name or Eva’s
name or my name…..but right now…in these moments….before both of those
gorgeous creatures left this planet their worlds were flooded with life.
Visitors, cards, poems, songs, stupid ass videos, horrible hilarious jokes,
tears and laughter and repeat that a bunch, and good food when it could be kept
down……and here comes that word….Love.

Those two women were so alive thousands and thousands of people willingly signed
up to be with them while they were dying.

There is nothing warm or welcoming about hospitals. Hospitals are not made for
patients, they are made to maximize the efficiency of the medical professionals
who work inside of them. Being ill doesn’t give you some instant Zen-like sense
of serenity and understanding. People come to stick things into you or pull
things out of you and never even tell you their name. The beds suck. The food
sucks. The medicine and the baths never come on time.

You don’t lose your desire to be out with people your own age. Doing the things
other people take for granted – just, walking through a park, going to the
movies, reading poems at your favorite dive bar. You long for normalcy – you
feel grateful when people complain of their headaches or colds because most
people start to and then look at you in horror and say: “Oh, I can’t complain to
you!” As though we collectively feel like ours is the only suffering that
exists. As though we are already dead. We actually miss your bitching. (Don’t
take it too fucking far or you will get an “are you serious” eyebrow
raised…..but yeah….we want to hear about your headache and your biology
professor and your three year-old’s temper tantrums. We need it honestly.)

Gabby was scared. And angry. And she was in tremendous amounts of pain.

I didn’t know Eva – but it’s a safe bet to assume those things may have been
true for her as well, especially the last part.

You see, they made a choice. They both made a choice. They could have easily
become bitter and angry and resentful about the hands they were dealt. Instead
they decided to use the time they had to talk to us about love. Not the
Hollywood/Hallmark bullshit, but actual love. The kind of love that can pull
one’s spirit up out of a hospital/hospice bed and use whatever remaining energy
it has to project it’s essence onto the canvas of the world.

As Gabby sat, early in the morning, writing to her friends and family about the
importance of continuing to live after she died she had to face her own grief
and fear around her death. Of course she did. She loved us enough to sit there
and do it anyway.

As you can very well see if you read Eva’s blog her entire hospital room was
covered in cards and letters and pictures and gifts from people all over the
world…she called it the wall of love. Imagine the kind of world we could have
if everyone committed to only building walls of love.

To know for certain that your life is ending – and to use your remaining time to
remind people of how magical and hard and breathtaking and impermanent this all
is – to remind us to pay fucking attention. Pay attention. These are
extraordinary acts of courage.

The word love is overused. It is overused by a lot.

Love as a machete cutting a path to move forward.
Love as a bullet to penetrate hearts.
Love as a match, struck to illuminate and burn.
Love that looks you in the eyes from the place we are all most afraid of being –
the doorway to whatever comes next – love that assures you that while people and

animals and plants all die – this thing, this thing that is flowing through you
and me this very second – this thing outlasts us all. And it is us and we are it
and therefore it is never silly or wrong to invest ourselves in pursuit of it –
it is the only way, really. It is the only thing to do.

To avoid that kind of love – and many do because it can be painful to be cut and
shot and burned-but to avoid that kind of love for fear of the pain it may cause 
is a gigantic fucking tragedy.

Dear Gabby and Eva,      

First the daffodils came, and then a small patch of vibrant purple little
flowers like a strange toupee for the grass. And just this morning two tulips-
one red 🙂 and one white with the softest yellow shading on the inside. It is
the South, even our flowers are dandies. The trees are getting their leaves back
and everything around here is a thousand different shades of green all at once.
And the air, the air smells like hope and birth and genesis. And when the wind
sweeps up behind me and orders me to hush my scattered, needless thoughts I
always think of you now.

Thank you endlessly – everything beautiful I see I try hard to see it with as
many different sets of eyes as possible – that is because of your love and the
overwhelming triumph of your spirits.

My heart resides tonight with all of the people who were closest to you both –
my prayers are that they may find peace while they grieve and know that you are
part of every gorgeous thing the world offers up in exchange for our mortality.
____________________________________________________________________

Fran Varian is a writer, performing artist, healthcare and Lyme disease activist, in Durham, North Carolina. Every time this essay is read, she asks people to consider organ donation in memory of her friends. She may be reached at franvarian@gmail.com

Fran is also fundraising to support her medical treatment for advanced Lyme disease – which will not save her life but could give her a few more functional years: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fran-s-hella-pretty-lyme-fighting-army?c=home As a thank-you-gift she will send some of her poetry, or other artistic offerings from her friends.

 

Hevine Schmidt on Heather Spergel’s NiNi Spergelini Guitar-ific!

 

I have to say that every special book by Heather Spergel is a gift to the world. Especially Nini Spergelini Guitar-ific! This delightful rocking children’s story is created for kids of all ages and is chalked full of wonderful unique illustrations. It’s a limitless adventure showing a talented boy following his dreams through his determined imagination and beyond. Truly a one of a kind book that I know you and your family are sure to treasure for years to come!

Nini Spergelini Guitar-Ific may be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/NiNi-Spergelini-Guitar-Ific-Heather-Spergel/dp/0983214859

Hevine Schmidt
Author of “Angels Come in All Shapes & Sizes”
Angels Come in All Shapes and Sizes is a gift-size book full of original photography and stories celebrating our connection to animals, before and after their deaths. Hevine Schmidt and her family have raised a whole menagerie of rescued creatures on their Colorado ranch property, including ponies, cockatiels, cats, dogs, and a potbellied pig. Her book is available from New Jersey’s Turn the Page Publishing, here: http://www.amazon.com/Angels-Come-All-Shapes-Sizes/dp/193850125X

The tragicomedy of dislocation: Cristina Deptula on Fe de los Reyes’ musical Amerikana: Made in the Philippines

 

By popular demand, the musical revue Amerikana: Made in the Philippines returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. For one April night, the back room of the Fort McKinley Restaurant and Bar cast a gentle spotlight on the Filipino-American immigrant experience.

Amerikana, a nickname for a Filipino immigrant to the United States, is billed as the true-life story of one woman’s journey to find a better life and locate her long-lost sister. Lead character, and director, Fe de los Reyes discovered as a young adult that she had a sister she’d never met, who had been adopted by an American family and raised without much knowledge of her background. So, she sets off for the USA, braving bureaucratic immigration procedures and a complex job search along the way.

The background music was loud for such a small venue. Especially the Fort McKinley, which offers elegant waterfall and rock sculptures and hanging baskets of flowers. Sometimes the music overwhelmed the delicate lyrics, which revolved around subtle mispronunciations and attitudes conveyed through tone of voice.

Yet, we were able to follow the story, even when we could not make out every word. This was mostly due to Fe de los Reyes and the cast’s strength as performers – their energy, variety of facial expressions, and movement across the entire stage. Fe possesses a natural ability to communicate through humor, without trivializing the loneliness, curiosity, hope and frustration of many of the immigrants she portrayed. She and many others accomplished this through mannerisms and song lyrics, such as the wry ‘Money Isn’t Everything…but it Almost Is.’

The musical only briefly touched upon Fe’s journey to find her sister, which left me curious about how that happened. The program does pay tribute to the sister as a key member of the cast, saying the play likely would never have been produced without her. And her story ties in to the overall plot, as her path reflects the journeys of some immigrants, who discover their heritage at a later age. Still, it would have been interesting to see this explored, especially since Fe brings up her search several times in the first act, while applying for her green card.

Much of the story deals with obtaining paperwork and official permission to come to the United States. This seems almost harder for Fe and her castmates than adjusting to the language, or the people, or the culture here, and serves as a statement of that reality.

One scene portrays the broader confusion and dislocation of the immigrant experience, again with the musical’s characteristic exaggerated humor. Ninjas representing problems such as ignorance, discrimination and misinformation attack Fe in her bedroom, conveying the constant waking nightmare of living in fear of poverty and deportation. Although Fe wins out over each of these masked bandits while the audience cheers, these full-grown men survive, and would pose real danger if they actually hit her, so the scene leaves us uneasy. She’s not vanquished her enemies, just lasted another day.

Even though the characters’ hardships persist, the musical leaves us with a hopeful feeling. Near the end, Fe and much of the rest of the cast come and perform a slow piece on traditional Filipino percussion and string instruments. Here she affirms that she will never forget her beloved Philippines. This song is one of the most complex and musically strongest of the entire production.

When juxtaposed with the finale, a rousing remix of the title Amerikana theme, we see that Fe has found a way to live as both an American and a Filipina. Unlike her sister, she has had the opportunity to understand and embrace the positive aspects of both cultures.

My Journey Into Fashion, from Mimi Sylte

 

Last month while I was interning at a start up fashion business, I picked up an issue of Fast Business from the coffee table. Jenna Lyons of J Crew was on the cover, and loving J Crew, I flipped through it. She talked about how she was an awkward adolescent and that she rolled into the fashion industry by the pull of wanting to make the things around her beautiful. I was touched by this because as a fashion student myself, and previous awkward girl and still kind of awkward, I want  to make others feel beautiful too. I grew up as a tom boy. The middle girl between two brothers, running around the back alley ways of Seattle, Portland, Queens, and the little town of Coos Bay, OR. Now my back yard is San Francisco, and as much as it is very different from Coos Bay, it’s still an amazing play ground.
With so many social media outlets, it’s easy for a girl to see what’s new and what’s trending. It’s also super over whelming. A couple years ago my friend told me about this new site called Pinterest, her boss’s friend made it, and she told me I needed to sign up and tell everyone. Now every new trend can hit the ground running. The color mint was so fresh and inspiring when I first saw it on Pinterest. Then everyone  had it on their nails, their jeans, their purse, phone case, everything. The moment it was out, I was over it.
Although social media is a great tool, I think it’s very easy to feel over saturated by all the ads and pictures and information that is being thrown at you via your phone and computer. My question is, with the current fast fashion, the trends are moving really quickly. How does a girl keep up?
In high school I was the girl who would hit the library a couple times a week, warmly welcomed by the librarian who always had a new book for me to read. After I graduated, I took a year off and traveled. I went all over the country and even volunteered at an orphanage in Panama. It was a year of soul searching, however cliché that may sound, and afterwards I felt a lot better about who I was and very optimistic about my future. I wrote to many designers and finally settled with an internship in New York City. 
After interning, I really believed that I had left my nerdy, tom boy self behind. I got excited when my Vogue and W came in the mail, I did my hair and makeup every day, I felt very presentable.
I know that many people would love to respond with something like, “I don’t need to look good to feel good.” I know that. I also know that through working in retail for years I’ve seen a simple dress or pair of shoes  really bring out the inner, over-confident diva in a woman. It’s the best feeling to help someone find something that makes them look even more beautiful than they already are. It’s not about fake beauty or over compensating. It’s about accentuating your already beautiful self, and presenting yourself in a way that speaks volumes to who you are and how you feel inside.
 Swinging a Stella McCartney bag over my shoulder versus opening the Panamanian nursery door to a toddler yelling “Tia!” from his crib, it’s kind of the same feeling for me. And when I look at my life objectively, it generally is a sparkly and girly scene.  But occasionally I do find myself picking up a raglan tee at the Gap, or itching to visit the closest public library. Sometimes I even put on that raglan tee because that day I am feeling like the little  girl who won dodge ball in the summer of ‘99.
 
Mimi Sylte is a fashion student and aspiring designer in San Francisco, CA. She may be reached at jacintasylte@gmail.com

Book Periscope: What’s New in Self-Published and Small Press Books, a column by avid reader Elizabeth Hughes

Book Periscope: What’s New in Self-Published and Small Press Books

A column from avid reader Elizabeth Hughes

 

Note to Self by Alison Nancye
Note to Self by Alison Nancye is a fictional book, but also inspirational. Ms. Nancye had me hooked from the very first paragraph. Her writing is such that it is very hard to put the book down. I think that we all have a little bit of her main character Beth in us. She leaves a job that makes her unhappy and follows her heart to Peru, a country she has never been to, for the adventure of her life. I also loved the “Note to Self” at the end of each chapter. There are inspirational parts throughout the book. I highly recommend this book. This book is definitely my cup of tea.
Available for purchase from New Jersey’s Turn the Page Publishing, http://www.turnthepagepublishing.com/authors/author-alison-nancye
The Photo Traveler by Arthur Gonzalez
The Photo Traveler grabbed me in the first page. I absolutely love this book. It is written very well and the story flows along to capture the interest of the reader. I love the idea of being able to travel through photos! How unique that would be…how interesting it would be. Mr. Gonzalez you have made a fan of me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone young or older. This book is definitely my cup of tea!!
Impossibly Glamorous by Charles Ayres
Impossibly Glamorous is a memoir by Charles Ayres. The book is very humorous and serious. It is about him realizing that he is gay and growing up in Kansas City. How he became interested in the Japanese culture and learned to speak Japanese. He keeps you reading and interested by his excellent writing. I couldn’t put the book down. I am highly recommending this book. It is definitely my cup of tea!
Impossibly Glamorous can be purchased here: http://www.impossiblyglamorous.com
Voluptua by Jason Martin
Voluptua is about university professor of French literature, Ellen Metran. She has a very vivid dream about going through the Amazon rain forest in Peru. She meets up with Hugo Coffey who comes to hear a lecture. He has been to the Amazon rainforest many times and has worked with Shamans in the past. He meets Ellen and learns of her desire to go there. He introduces her to a substance called ayahuasca which is smoked and brings her to a higher consciousness.She experiences being in different planes and places as if she is really there. The ritual can let the spirits in from other worlds also.
Mr. Martin captures the reader’s interest with this unique book about Shamanism. According to Mr. Martin’s bio, he has been involved in shamanism for over 20 years. What an interesting person Mr. Martin must be! This book is a very good read. Voluptua keeps the reader’s interest with the flow of the story, I highly recommend the book Voluptua. It is definitely ‘my cup of tea’!!
Human Heart and Mind by Tri Sumarti Soetarman
Human Heart and Mind by Tri Sumarti Soetarman is a wonderful collection of poems that she has written from her heart. Some poems are very deep and thoughtful, some are humorous, some are sad and some are even educational. My personal favorites are ‘Give Me God’ which I found very inspirational. ‘Baby Haiku’ is sweet and sad at the same time. I feel as though it is a tribute to the ones who pass so young, as my son did so many years ago. ‘Future Fear’ is a very encouraging poem,especially the last verse. ‘Alzheimers’ and ‘Dementia’ are both sad, but the reader learns a lot about these devastating diseases. ‘Caregiver’ is another poem that is very informational and lets the reader take a look at how hard but rewarding caregiving can be. I have met Tri and she is a very sweet and kind lady. I highly recommend her book of poetry. It will make you smile, laugh and maybe even cry. This book is definitely ‘my cup of tea’!
Sugar Zone by Mary Mackey
This collection of poems are very unique, written in both English and Portuguese. The poems flow along and you can ponder on each one. They are deep and thoughtful. I highly recommend Sugar Zone. It is definitely ‘my cup of tea’!
Immersion by Mary Mackey
Immersion by Mary Mackey is different than books I have read previously. The writing style is very unique. The story is very good and captures the interest of the reader. I highly recommend Immersion by Mary Mackey. It is definitely ‘my cup of tea’!
Immersion was one of the first Western eco-feminist novels, and has recently been re-released. You may purchase it here: http://www.amazon.com/Immersion-ebook/dp/B0081TDMF2/
Susan K. Maciak’s ‘What Are People Skills Anyway?’
Susan K. Maciak’s book ‘What Are People Skills Anyway?’, is a great book for learning how to communicate and get along with others much better. I truly believe everyone should not just read this book, but memorize it and incorporate the suggestions into their daily interactions with others. The book also has fantastic suggestions for someone who will be interviewing for employment. She also has great suggestions for becoming a better employee, especially if you want to be promoted, land a job or even just have a better marriage and family life. I think that this book should be read by everyone. Thank you Ms. Maciak for a truly great book!! I highly recommend this book be read by all. It is most definitely ‘my cup of tea’!
This book is available here: http://www.amazon.com/What-Are-People-Skills-Anyway/dp/1469161494 and the author is also an entrepreneur managing Cameo Career, a consulting firm.