I Never Claimed to be a Biographer

Author, J T Fisher

Judy Fisher was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and became a south Florida transplant in the early seventies. The youngest of four and the only female, she learned early to be tough, and to speak out. She also gained a love for sports and was always the fifth guy on the basketball team or the ninth on the baseball team.  Her true love is music and theater, and of course, the written word.

With a degree in journalism and a minor in theater and having spent an adult career in the not-for-profit world in public relations and development, where she did a lot of speech writing and created a lot of marketing materials, Judy has finally been able to pursue her passion for writing with a purpose other than one for which she was assigned.

She started out writing poetry and an empty nester blog to fill time that was previously spent tending to her husband and two children. As she wrote and gained followers, she decided to try writing pure fiction.

Judy feels that a lot of women, especially of her generation, have struggled with many fears, questions, and issues growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, and many still carry those fears coupled with the shame, embarrassment, and skeletons that affect the way they live their lives even today. She was one of them. She has found through her own life experiences that people often live vicariously through characters in fiction or in movies and television who face and conquer the same challenges they face in their own lives. She has chosen to write lighter fiction that deals with some of issues that people, mostly women, find it difficult to face or even talk about.

Her first book, “A Life, Well . . . Lived!,” which she describes as a thinly veiled auto-biography, is intended to share the life Dana Gordon, a young lady who experienced and hid a lot of things that had happened to her but, through unusual circumstance, was able to see the error of her own ways and get the chance to live her entire life, all with the wisdom we only gain from age.

A subsequent title deals with male repression, in “Okay, So I Lied!” when Jill Kelly musters the strength to defy her father’s wishes without his knowledge to follow her own dreams. Unfortunately for Jill, she learns the hard way that lying her way through life is not a good solution to her problems. Honesty, she finds out in the end, would have been the best policy.

In “Voices from the Ledge,” to be released in the fall of 2018, Judy explores the sensitive yet very timely topic of suicide as her main character deals with empty nest syndrome coupled with depression, leading her to falsely believe she has no more worth or value. Meeting other women in what seems to be her journey to the end, she discovers that her life isn’t so bad after all, and her new-found friends have an eerie way of imparting that to her.

 

Look for Judy on the speakers’ circuit in this new age of empowered women.

 

www.jtfisherauthor.com

 

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On Motivation

Writer’s block, I’ve come to discover, is all a state of mind. I can write whenever I sit down to write. It may be the most mundane thing, like a grocery list, but I can write. Whether I can write the most profound thoughts in a journal or the most sensational ending to a phenomenal novel depends strictly on my state of mind.

My latest inspiration has been, unfortunately for me, a deep sadness. A sadness for something lost. Out of the sadness came one of my most creative motivations during which I was able to complete work on the manuscript of my third novel.  I have so much confidence in this work that I have submitted it to an agent to shop it around to publishers rather than self-publishing. An epiphany for me, as I discovered through this process that I should see myself the way others see me, not the way I look at myself, which for most of my life has been less than.

The other recent motivation came from a dear friend who I will refer to as ‘the letter’, who had the patience to kick me in the rear hard enough to get me off my f-l-a (that’s a local term for fat lazy ass).  ‘The letter’ gave me great advice, tough love and tender compassion.

The end of the story is… look for “Voices from the Ledge” soon. Because I didn’t jump.

Had Enough Hate?

I, like many Americans, and sick of the vitriol and hate being espoused every where you look lately. In the news, on social media, and even in public places, whether it is a result of differences in political opinion, religion, race, sexual preference, country of origin, there has been a profound loss of humane interaction between people in general.

Personally, and I’m not ashamed to say this, I believe it is a direct result of the acceptance of the behavior of our President as normal. His campaign was fraught with foul language and accusations, name calling and rising contempt for the institution of government. Making fun of disabled people, reducing the office of the President of the United States to a child’s game of ‘can you top this ’with world leaders who actually are still children.

The rise in racism and anti-Semitism, the disdain for Muslims, and immigrants was making news every day. Videos on social media are going viral every day of people mistreating people. Beating up two men simply because they are gay; Destroying a house of worship because it is a mosque or a temple, and not a church; Screaming at a woman to go back to Asia because her facial features aren’t ‘white enough’; Police shooting an unarmed young black man because he ‘looked’ like the suspect in a nearby robbery.

We are living in very treacherous times, when our morals and values have already been challenged by a basic breakdown in the institutions of marriage, family and education. Our social norms are not what they were fifty years ago. Some of it is because of the expediency of information in the tech age.  Some if it is because our lives have become so fast and so complicated that our home lives are strained and we either don’t have time to or we’ve forgotten to teach our children manners and respect.

There is no censorship of what we say or see, due to our freedom of speech and expression, so white nationalists can protest. So can LBGTQ, Black Lives Matters, March for Our Lives, or anyone else that wants to make a statement. However, nobody has a right to stop someone from a peaceful protest.

For anyone who has a question as to American immigration policy, who belongs here or who doesn’t, our Constitutional Rights or any other question that has been contentious and has given rise the palpable hate and disdain for each other we seem to have as fellow Americans, let’s stop for a moment and take a brief look at our history.

The Declaration of Independence, when our country began, ended with these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (implied ALL PEOPLE) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” the key points being:

  • All men are created equal.
  • All men have basic human rights given to them by God.
  • The only reason to have a government is to protect these basic human rights, which Jefferson lists as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  • Government must be by the consent of the governed.

The Constitution begins this way: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

While the first 10 amendments constituted the Bill of Rights, I’ll only mention the first amendment, so I don’t start a gunfight. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

Please indulge me for one more historical reference to make my ultimate point. The 16th President of our country made a speech on a Civil War Battlefield which some may have had to learn about in school. Not sure the curriculum even bothers anymore because they must teach to testing or run mass shooter drills.

The Gettysburg address opened this way: “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

And closed this way “…increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

I suggest here that we start to remember the values of our forefathers and start treating each other with some love and respect. STOP acting on fear and hate. Besides, the only people who have the absolute right to this land is the American Indian, and if you ask me, we need to pay them back a hell of a lot.

I was always taught that we were put on this earth to make it a better place, not a hateful one. If you don’t agree with me, then I suggest you spit in a cup and send it away to get a report on your own ancestry.  When you get the report. Pick a country. You can all go back to where you came from… including the white nationalists who want to make America white again.

J T Fisher, Author

Miami, FL

 

 

Writers’ Block and Middle Age

I’m not altogether sure there is such a thing as writer’s block. In my limited experience, I have found that the only thing that blocks me from writing is the lack of motivation, inspiration, time, technology or sleep.  Oh, and the presence of procrastination.  While I was updating my website with some photos and information, I noticed what a lousy job I was doing with this blog.

There are no excuses for a writer not to write, except, of course, the reasons I listed above. There are many acceptable reasons for not publishing, not selling, not marketing and not finishing a manuscript, a poem or an article.  Writing for me must be treated like medicine for a terminal disease. If I don’t take the minimum dosage, the disease overtakes me… I get lazy. I lose my creativity. I forget some of the ideas I have (I’ve since learned to write them down).

My current dilemma has been this: I started my latest novel six months ago. Easily wrote the character descriptions, an outline and the first 5,000 words. Then, I stopped cold.  The reason I stopped was because I somehow became the subject matter. The story is total fiction; however, it is based on the concept of dealing with suicidal ideation. I became the main character and fell into her same trap. I had to stop writing.  In the last few months, I’ve developed several other stories that I’ve wanted to write, but I kept telling myself that I had to finish the other one first.

Guess what? There are no rules. And there are no excuses.  I started two other books. One in my customary genre, and one in a new venture (murder mystery), and by so doing, I was able to extract myself from the main character in the current book.  Now, I’m juggling three.

Keep your eyes open for:

Voices from the Ledge

Backfired

(A Book to be Names Later)

Happy Reading.

 

On Transparency

Someone recently called me “transparent” in my writing. I thought about it and the question came to mind, if not here, then where? I obviously can’t show my true feelings in the workplace. Aren’t we taught to leave our problems at home? And it has been proven many times that dragging my work issues home only upsets the dynamics of my family. My husband, like most men, can’t just listen and let me vent. He has to solve the problem and fix things; one, because he’s a man, and two because he hates to see me unhappy.

When my dog is around, I can tell him anything. He doesn’t judge me or try to solve the world’s problems and then go back to his nap. He just naps right through them. I envy him.

A while back, my life took a turn, for a long time, where I had isolated myself, and there were not many friends to whom I could vent. As a result, I created a cocoon for myself and the end result is that I now have very few people in my life to talk to, openly and honestly.

So, I talk to myself. In my blog and in my shower; on a walk or while on the treadmill; while doing computer work or gardening; while mixing up a cake batter or watching a baseball game. There’s a pattern here. All of these things are done alone. And if you know me, you know that I’m lying about the treadmill.

I noticed just recently that I had more followers on this blog than I realized, so being so transparent is probably not such a good idea. Or maybe it is. Maybe I’m not so alone.

Invisible Rainbow

I  am a fading rainbow, whose colors you can’t see.

Searching for my pot of gold, or at least who I’m supposed to be.

Isn’t it funny how a rainbow appears when a storm is on the wane?

Colors paint the sky in peace, displacing thunder’s pain.

 

Lost in my own sadness, missing the life that I once knew,

The base of the rainbow sits down low, its cornerstone is blue.

The color of darkness and gloom, it was once a warm, loving place.

Now, in depression and woe, blue is something I embrace.

 

Out of the darkest of shadows, green becomes a visible hue.

Its passion is envy, lost in reality, but wanting to be more, true.

Envy is a strong emotion that no one can tangibly see.

It’s that torment, that angst that question, “Who am I supposed to be?”

 

So confusion turns to anger, and ugliness rears its head.

The color of the thoughtless deeds and spiteful words is red.

Rage overtakes good judgment, rushing rivers over rock and silt.

Crushing hearts and spirits, along the way, bleeding red, denying guilt.

 

I am looking for a haven, a spot to find solace, to think.

A fairytale place, where nothing hurts, the color of which is pink.

The numbness gives way, in time, to embarrassment and shame.

A blushing rose whose petals are wilting, pink is my name.

 

At the top of the colorful rainbow, stands the softest yellow tier.

Reaching upwards toward the sky, overwhelmed with consummate fear.

That what lies beyond the rainbow, with its reds and greens and blues,

Will leave only the trace of yellow, in an old and vanishing bruise.

 

 

I am a fading rainbow, whose colors you can’t see.

Searching for my pot of gold, or at least who I’m supposed to be.

Isn’t it funny how a rainbow appears when a storm is on the wane?

Colors paint the sky in peace, displacing thunder’s pain.

A Fond Farewell (reposted from 2-23-17)

I’m not very good with death.  In fact, I’m not good at all with it.  I can’t cope with the thought of my own mortality, and therefore am extremely tuned in to every little change in my body.  Some people call that hypochondria.  Others call it neurosis.  A friend of mine recently referred to it as Judyism… not to be confused with the religion, although I am Jewish.

I received the news this morning that a very dear friend of mine, and of my mother’s passed away.  Howie was 87, and some would say he lived a long and fruitful life.  So what?  It still hurts those whom he left behind.  I’m still devastated by the loss of a man who came to be thought of as my second father.  (By not only me, but by Howie himself, and by his daughter, who refers to me as her sister from another mister).

So, I hurt.  I grieve.  And that’s okay.  That’s how I feel, and I always tell people that feelings are the one thing that are entirely your own, and nobody has the right to tell you how to feel.

A long time ago, I came across the poem below on a greeting card, although I cannot recall the author, or even if there was one to whom it was attributed.  I share it often; not only when people have lost a friend through death, but when they are hurting because they have been wronged by someone who they thought was their friend.

Ships that Pass in the Night

There are those who pass like ships in the night,
Who meet for a moment, then sail out of sight.
With never a backwards glance of regret;
Folks we know briefly then quickly forget.

Then there are those friends who sail together,
Through quiet waters and stormy weather.
Helping each other through joy and through strife;
And they are the kind that give meaning to life.

Howie came into my life at an extremely critical time, and therefore, gave that “real meaning” to my life, of which the poem speaks.  It was shortly after my own father passed, I had only been working at a nursing home for a little over a year, and I was struggling with a very personal issue.  When he came to volunteer there, he pretty much fixed EVERYTHING, simply by being my friend.  I was lost, and he found me.

His compassion, his sense of humor and his lust for life somehow overshadowed it all.  His overwhelming and undying support of my endeavors, both personal and professional, helped me unfold into the person I was supposed to be.  He made me laugh when I needed to, and he listened, sometimes for hours, when I needed an ear.

He was, in essence, filling the role my father had played, without even knowing it. When I was little, my father would hold me up with me sitting on his shoulders at a parade, so I could see. Into my late fifties, it was Howie who held me up so I could see.

So today, I bid you a fond farewell, Howie.  May you bring to heaven as much joy as you created here on earth.  Rest in Peace.