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© Tom Gilbert

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February, 2018

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Writing a First Draft of Your Memoir Is Really Possible

February 27, 2018

So many people have thought about writing a life story or memoir. They agree it is a good idea to help process their life experiences and share their values and lessons. They understand it is good for their emotional and spiritual health and development. They recognize it as one way to leave their mark, to let others know who they are and what the life journey has been for them.

At the same time many of these people, and many others besides, think it will never get done. Too hard. Too expensive. Time consuming. How to start? Who can help?

I get it. It is true that making a commitment to writing a memoir is not easy. But many of the above excuses are similar to what I hear the fifth graders I teach say about their writing assignments.

But when they just start sometimes the creativity, imagination and dedication take over.

What a sense of accomplishment when you finally do have a written narrative about your life!

I have helped many people with their life stories. But to be honest, I have limited time. Someone who does it better than me is starting up another of his excellent programs. The Memoir Network with Denis LeDoux (writing coach, mentor, instructor, writer) has something called Write Your First Memoir Draft. The WYFMD Program (for short) is well designed and well worth the investment if you really want to get a memoir written.

The program will start up on March 16. Great early bird savings are available now! The answers you want are laid out here on the FAQ page. It costs you nothing to take a look.

Writing a first draft of your memoir is really possible. Getting the guidance you need from someone who has taught many others and written several memoirs himself makes a lot of sense. Take a look - it could be the start of something great, the memoir or life story you know you want to write.

Students are Speaking Out About Gun Control and Safety in Schools

February 22, 2018

I do not personally know anyone who has lost a loved one in a school shooting. Not Columbine, not Sandy Hook, and not most recently at Stoneman Douglas High School. Yet, I realize the pain and sadness run deep.

The sad reality in America today is that school shootings keep happening. And there seems no way to make our schools completely safe against these tragedies.

But something can be done. Something must be done.

While many adults can't seem to come to agreement on solutions we are now seeing some students stepping up. A town hall meeting in Florida drew 7,000 people to speak out and many of them were students, some of them survivors who lost friends. Follow this link to watch some short videos posted on CNN by some of the students speaking up after the February 14 shooting in Florida that took the lives of seventeen people.

When I hear students bold enough to speak out about the need for love and change and calling for real action I am impressed. I am a teacher and every day now that I go to my classroom I want to help young people discover, learn and enjoy a full life. I don't want them to be consumed by fear or worried about their safety.

The stories from these students are powerful, just as stories from parents, teachers, law enforcement, medical professionals and all family members and friends whose lives have been impacted by these tragedies have powerful experiences to relate.

Let's have the dialogue. Say what needs to be said. Come up with doable plans that will reduce the possibility of more senseless violence and killing. Money is never more important than life.  I commend the brave voices who are speaking out about the need to ban assault weapons such as the AR-15 rifle. And let's face it, there is a need to make background checks stronger.

Beyond that we really need to have some growth about how we live with and among each other. There is way too much "us versus them". It's time for more love and support for our common humanity.

Love, A Matter of Heart

February 13, 2018

Happy day before Valentine's Day. Tomorrow many hearts will turn towards romance. Some of it will actually be sincere. But let's face it, some will be a reaction to confectionary, card-giving, guilt-induced, and overly commercialized pseudo romance.

Still, love conquers all.

And when all is said and done, your life is a measure of the love you give. It's a matter of heart. The Beatles said it well with The End, "The love you take is equal to the love you make." They also said, "All you need is love." Some pretty good sentiments.

Love is a matter of heart. And love can take many forms. Eros, ludus, philia, mania and agape, to name a few.

Love that lasts is built on a sturdy foundation of true friendship. Romantic and erotic love get the most attention, but agape, love that is selfless, is where it's at.

Most of us know that love is what we need and what will change the world. Still, it is easy to get beat down or cynical. But don't. Don't give up on love.

wisdom in the heartLove is what matters. And love is a matter of the heart. Hearts beat to keep us alive, and I mean that in more than the physical necessity of pumping blood through  our bodies. The heart is more than a muscle. According to William Hazlit, "The seat of knowledge is in the head, of wisdom, in the heart."

Tomorrow is not just Valentine's Day. For Christians who commemorate the importance of repentance and change of heart, of giving, fasting and praying, this year's February 14 is also Ash Wednesday. Interesting coincidence.

It is never too late to change, to be more loving, more selfless and more forgiving. Here's to a love that is truly a matter of heart.

Pioneering Internet Freedom Advocate and Grateful Dead Co-Songwriter John Perry Barlow Passes On

February 8, 2018

John Perry Barlow met Bob Weir in high school in Colorado. They were both at that particular school because they "had difficulties" or "were difficult". When Weir was kicked out Barlow was upset he also was not booted, so he quit in protest.

They remained friends and songwriting partners for many years. Barlow came from rural roots which influenced many of the song lyrics he penned for Weir co-compositions. Some of the best loved Grateful Dead songs, in my opinion, were the result of Barlow's wordsmithing. Estimated Prophet, The Music Never Stopped, Weather Report Suite, and of course, Cassidy.

But Barlow was much more than an excellent songwriting partner. He was an early advocate for free expression and creativity on the Internet. Just visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation to see the tribute they have posted to him. Or better yet, watch this reading of The Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, which he wrote 22 years ago today. It should give you pause to think about how we often take the Internet, and all it affords us, for granted.

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