A Thank You To All Writers and Creative People!

Passion it on!
Sherrie Miranda’s “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK
Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too.
https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4
Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

charles french words reading and writing

I simply wanted to offer a thank you to all the writers and creative people out there for your work! Your creations speak to the hopes, dreams, fears, lives, experiences, and imagination of humanity. You make the world a much better place, and I, for one, appreciate what you do.

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7 Ways How Writing by Hand Improves Brain Power

I always write my first drafts by hand. When looking at a blank screen, my mind goes blank. I have read several articles about this phenomena but this one seems to explain it best. ~Sherrie

Shaun DMello

Written by Shaun DMello, B.A.
Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Dec 07, 2022

Writing by Hand Boosts Brain Power

In today’s tech-dependent world of smartphones and laptops, it is not surprising that most kids are more comfortable using a keyboard than a pen. Many states in the US have dropped cursive writing from their curriculum as students use laptops to type and organize their notes. In many ways, it is easier to use a laptop to take down notes in class as this method allows for quick note-taking and students can easily share notes or look up information if required.

However, recent studies show that there are several reasons why writing by hand is a better option. Here are seven reasons why writing by hand is important:

Benefits of Handwriting

Boosts Cognitive Skills

Writing by hand is an essential tool in the development of cognitive skills in children. Several studies show that children who learn to write letters and shapes by hand fare better than those who use mechanized methods. Unlike typing, writing by hand requires a combination of visual, motor and cognitive skills which is an integral part of the learning process, despite the age of the student. Writing practice not only allows a child to learn the required shapes or letters but it can also help improve the expression and composition of ideas. This benefit is not limited to children but even among adults, improved writing skills help enhance cognitive skills.

Writing by Hand Enhances Cognition

Increases Focus

When writing by hand, a certain part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) is stimulated. This system acts as a filter for the inputs of all the sensory information and “decides” the bits of information to be retained or ignored. Since writing by hand aids in stimulating RAS it allows the individual in focusing the hand task with minimal scope for distraction.

Improves Memory

In a series of experiments conducted by psychological scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), students were divided into two groups where one group used laptops to take notes while the others used traditional notebooks. The experiments proved that the students who took notes using laptops were more likely to take verbatim notes with little or no mental processing of the information. Students who used notebooks memorized the information better and were able to understand and retain the knowledge better. The results of the experiment showed that handwriting information leads to better factual learning as well as conceptual learning and is a superior method of memorizing information. Handwriting information helps in improving memory among both young students and aging individuals which is why seniors are often advised to keep a journal or a diary to sharpen their mental acumen as well as improve their memory.

Sharpens Aging Minds

As we age, we start to notice diminished physical and mental capabilities. This is a natural part of the aging process and while it cannot be completely reversed, there are ways to slow down the effects. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied the effects of intellectual stimulation on memory and comprehension. It was found that older people who undertook regular intellectually stimulating tasks had better reasoning, judgment and cognitive abilities. Learning to write in cursive and practicing it regularly is considered to be a good mental exercise for seniors as it helps to keep the mind sharp and increases focus and attention.

Improves Creativity

Creativity requires analysis, comprehension, memorization and insight. Writing by hand is not merely a style; it also promotes a deeper understanding of the subject matter along with an organized approach to communication. In recent years, cognitive science research and neuroscience have presented evidence that shows a definite connection between creativity and the process of writing by hand. Psychologists at the University of Washington tested students to observe and understand the differences between the effects of handwriting and using a keyboard.

The researchers noted that children who used notebooks to compose text consistently produced more words within a shorter period than the children who used keyboards. In older children, brain imaging tests showed that the connection between handwriting and idea generation was much stronger than researchers had realized as writing activates a unique neural circuit. During the analysis of handwriting, it was observed that children with better handwriting had better neural activation in the areas of the brain that are associated with creativity.

Improve your Creativity

Promotes Sequencing and Estimation

Sequencing and estimation are fundamental abilities without which we would have trouble with even the simplest of tasks. For instance, an individual with sequencing problems would not be able to follow the logical sequence of a story – starting with the beginning and ending at the conclusion but instead, the person would present the story as a jumble of sentences which would make the story unintelligible. Since each written letter of the alphabet needs to be executed in a specific sequence, handwriting helps to develop and sustain this skill. It also helps with spatial skills as it requires consistent letter sizing as well as spacing before and afterwords.

Creates a Calming Effect

Each letter of a word and each word of a sentence requires skill and a certain amount of coordination, especially with cursive writing. The number of complex motor and visual functions required for handwriting is quite surprising and many people find that it is a calming and cathartic activity. Some people even choose creative calligraphy as a means of self-expression.

Published on Mar 16, 2015
Last Updated on Dec 07, 2022

Sherrie Miranda’s “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK
Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. 
https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4
Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

E.B. White

My English Learners loved this story! It’s funny because I was teaching in another teacher’s classroom & she said “Why are they making you teach that?”
I responded: “I chose this. They love this story.”
Sherrie Miranda’s “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK
Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too.
https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4
Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

A Teacher's Reflections

E.B. White’s thoughts always go through me like a Fourth of July sparkler.  He has a way with words, and he ‘knows’.  His wisdom is as remarkable as his writing.  He was the observer, the one who paid attention and noticed everything.  He never wanted to be in the limelight.  When I heard his voice recording of Charlotte’s Web, I was shocked.  I said to his grandniece, “I don’t read the book that way at all.”  She smiled and understood, then she told me a story:

“Uncle Andy (that was E.B.’s nickname) adored his wife.  She was a strong woman,” said Lindsay.  “She was older than he was, eleven years older.  He adored her.  His mother was a strong woman, too.  She was much older when Andy was born.”

“Do you know it took him seventeen takes to read the final chapter, The Last Day?  Seventeen.  He couldn’t stop crying…

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Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – January 2023 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Margaritas and Regrets

So many laughs here! Check it out!
Sherrie

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Firstly, some funnies from Debby Gies who has been doing some excellent foraging for us.

D.G. Writes is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

My thanks to Debby  for expert foraging…

D. G. Kaye – Buy:Amazon US And:Amazon UKBlog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Debby’s latest post in her series Spiritual Awareness. Learning to trust your intuition

Now something from Sally’s Joke book archives….

In the dock

Clerk: Prisoner at the bar, how do you plead, guilty or not guilty?
Accused: How can I tell till I’ve heard the evidence?

Accused: As the Lord is my judge, I am not guilty.
Judge: He’s not, I am, you are, six months.

Judge: you have been found not guilty of robbery and…

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Blue Horses: Saying the Unsayable – The Writing & Creative Life

SherrieMiranda1

What is it about art? About writing? It’s trying to find that elusive “something.” That bit of the divine. The trick is to grasp onto that essence, capture it, before it flits away.

Source: Blue Horses: Saying the Unsayable – The Writing & Creative Life

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Blue Horses: Saying the Unsayable – The Writing & Creative Life

What is it about art? About writing? It’s trying to find that elusive “something.” That bit of the divine. The trick is to grasp onto that essence, capture it, before it flits away.

Source: Blue Horses: Saying the Unsayable – The Writing & Creative Life

It’s Been One Year Since I Won 3rd Place for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.”

May be an image of book

I hope you will check out the book to see if you think you would enjoy reading it.

Sherrie Miranda’s “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK
Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. 
https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4
Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

Journal Give-away & Writing to Heal Discussion

Writing to heal

 Maria Galleher is such an amazing teacher that I only subbed for her the last few years I subbed. She always dealt with any problems & the kids would apologize & be really respectful after that.

She teaches Food Justice & Peer Counseling & she does Conflict Resolution at the school. 

I had these journals & pens because I was going to do Life Writing workshops with women in this home for women with mental health issues. But since I wasn’t able to do it because of covid, I brought them in to give to her students. 

It was a really good presentation that just came together naturally. 

I was re-reading a book on how writing ✍️ heals. Most of what was in the book was much too high level for a high school group, but at least it got me thinking about how important writing is to healing. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we let our emotions run wild & how they can ruin relationships. 

The emotions are from unresolved trauma. I talked about how journaling had gotten me through many difficult times in my life. Then Maria asked for examples from them. I was pleased to see that several of them already knew about the healing power of writing.

“If we can write ✍️ about it, we may be able to come to an understanding that allows us to have a better life.” 

There are lots of books on this but this author researched authors who say writing healed them. Isabel Allende was one of her examples & she is one of my favorite authors. Her daughter was in a hospital room dying & she started writing to her while in that room. The book is called Paula

There are many authors who talk about how they healed from their pain by writing. 

“When you get your masters, maybe you can explore this subject.”

When I first started teaching, I encountered an excerpt of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” along with an assignment to write an Autobiographical Incident. After that, I gave that assignment to every class I taught. I also showed the movie.

“They also did stories similar to those in House on Mango Street. My students would make a book & illustrate it.” 

My students loved reading each other’s booklets. It was really powerful. 

With Maria’s help, we had some great discussion. I wanted to share all the slides she made while I was doing the presentation, but I can only get them to come up at the top of the page.

Please feel free to share my ideas & add to them for any group you might want to help write. Journaling can take you anywhere. It’s the best therapy out there In My Humble Opinion.

Sherrie Miranda’s “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK
Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. 
https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4
Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

Sharing this amazing photographer!

AnaElisa

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”― Aldous Huxley

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.

Think of it–always.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

View from the law library at Civi Center, San Francisco

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Are you Stuck? How to Start Your Next Great Novel

Brainstorming

Some of us brainstorm in our head but best results are usually achieved by writing ✍️ or typing your ideas first. Or better yet, making a visual.

If you just start writing to see where it takes you, you will likely get lost & waste a lot of time. Many get frustrated & quit. 

I have a coach who I share my ideas with. She often throws some ideas out to see what sticks for me. This is very helpful. 

Some writers brainstorm in groups. If you have a small group you trust, go for it. I personally have too much of my own vision to trust my ideas to a group. But to each his/her own. 

  1. Begin with a circle ⭕️ with the main idea in the middle & spider 🕷 legs out for more specific ideas: plot, characters, protagonist, etc. You might want to find some appropriate music to play. Preferably music without lyrics. 
  2. You can then break down the spider 🕷 graph to more specific ideas: setting, main conflict, important characters. 
  3. Don’t ignore an idea because it doesn’t fit your vision. Your vision could change if something hits you as important or urgent. Write ✍️ it all down. 
  4. How do these ideas fit together? Can some of these ideas be thrown out now? Can others be joined together?
  5. What’s missing? Can you start plotting this out? Or do you need more brainstorming?
  6. What connects these ideas together? What are the characters’ motives? How do they bounce off each other? How do they support each other?
  7. Ask “What if” questions. What if the antagonist used to be a friend? What if the friend really isn’t a friend?
  8. Once you’re happy with what you have, you can make an outline. Or use index cards to figure out the plot sequence. That way you can move them around for better dramatic effect. Good luck on this exciting writing journey!

Sherrie Miranda’s “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.

https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK

Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. 

Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

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