Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Just When I was Feeling Down …

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized WRiting LIfe

Hello folks, just when I thought I’d never manage to step out of the pity party pot, someone offered me a hand and helped me get past the worst of it. Actually, it was more than one person, so read on to find out more.

A month ago I injured my right ankle. I was turning a corner with the left knee ACL strain and the left foot fracture from 2015 had healed. I still feel pain but for the most part the rawness is gone. Anyway, I somehow managed to hurt the right foot and ankle. The pain is horrible, the lack of mobility is worse. It was all getting to me and I began feeling unmotivated and blech. I am limping and back to the support cane. The mornings are the worst, too. The injury stiffens and it takes an hour and pain meds to even take the edge off the pain. At these times I am the bitch mother and I cannot even talk without fire pouring from my mouth.

One can just imagine how unpleasant it is to be around me, and my family has been forgiving and tolerant. 🙂

Now that I’ve established how miserable I was, and still am, to some extent, two things happened: a visit to an assisted living facility with the dogs and the husband and an absolutely stellar review of Upwelling by a person for whom I hold in very high regard. The first part with visiting the ALF pushed me past my pain, forced me to put my own suffering aside. Thanks to Jerry and the dogs, we brought smiles to seniors. Jerry knows how much it means to me to help others and let Verona take on her role as a therapy dog. I think Jerry is beginning to like it, too.

The visit renewed my resolved to work past this injury, to be patient and do my best to heal.

The second gift was reading a beautifully written review of my first poetry collection by the editor of Dialogue Magazine www.blindskills.com/ . It brought me to tears, the thankful kind, very different from the tears of pain and frustration I’d been crying beforehand. I am so thankful to be reminded that I do matter, that others respect and like my work and that just when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to push past the struggle, I received two beautiful and meaningful reminders.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 1

Reflections on Writing

| Filed under Fiction Poem Uncategorized WRiting LIfe

Hello all,
Thanks for continuing to read about these exploits in the written word. I will be continuing the revisions for another short story soon. Until then, picture me busily tip-tapping away at the wireless keyboard planning the 2018 release of my short story collection. I want to thank those who took the time to comment on “Mind, Body, and Spirit” and for anyone who has followed me so far; I often find myself thinking I am the proverbial sandwich board advertiser for my writing, which, of course, I am, being way too poor to hire a professional marketing company to sell my books. Just today, in fact, I was attending an afternoon of food and fun at an intimate post-grad reunion with colleagues and professors. I thought, what would it hurt to bring a few copies of my book and some post cards? My intuition paid off, as a guest was an English teacher, who liked my poetry and I gave him the book hoping he would use it with his students.

The thing is, at first, I wasn’t sure where I could insert this shameless self-promotion or even if it would be appropriate. Then, when the right opportunity arose, I almost didn’t take the chance. Thankfully, all went well, and the self-marketing paid off.

I am very concerned with being one of those people who folks want to avoid because of being too pushy or egotistical. I want to share my art but don’t want to shove it into reluctant laps.

I think this afternoon was a challenge for me for two reasons: I discarded my insecurities and brought a copy of the book and promotional post cards and I found the courage to promote my work

I think I did the right thing and hope the intuition and Muse continue to direct me.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Support Indy Authors on Independence Day

| Filed under blindness Fiction Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized WRiting LIfe

Yes, readers, thanks to www.smashwords.com Upwelling is now half price, that’s right, just $1.50 in the downloadable file of your choice. Just put my name in the search field and follow the link to purchase Upwelling at a 50% discount. For the month of July, you can find thousands of eBooks, some for free. I hope you take a look at the sale on www.smashwords.com and load up your eBook reader or tablet and support independent authors everywhere on Independence Day by purchasing a few titles.
Have a meaningful and fun Fourth of July and stay safe and strong.

In the Spirit of Revisions

| Filed under Fiction Poem Uncategorized WRiting LIfe

Not sure about the other bloggers in the world today, but I often find myself in a blogging slump. So, I’ve given some thought to a general subject that could be serialized and be posted on a weekly time frame. I had to first identify an activity that I do almost every day that would be interesting to write about and also hold the reader’s attention. So, for the first blog serial I am going to try to post the progression of revising a novel. Hopefully it will work out and readers won’t get bored, either. Of course, should you read the excerpts, and should you have comments or questions, please respond or shoot me an email at [email protected] . Feedback is always welcome.

I guess the first question to answer is how I began the novel in the first place. It began as a story challenge for National Novel Writing Month, or, NaNoWriMo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Novel_Writing_Month
, as acronyms go. The challenge is to turn out 50,000 words in one month, which amounts to 1700 words a day and if one commits to the daily goal, one will have produced a draft of a novel. For me, it was a stream of consciousness kind of writing, no editing, no second guessing, just content. I must say, I wrote two novels this way and would recommend doing it once to help one’s sense of writing discipline.
Okay, folks, now you know a trade secret of this writer, hope you stay tuned for more.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

A Weekend To Remember

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized WRiting LIfe

A Weekend to Remember
By Ann Chiappetta M.S. (c)

April 21 – 23, 2017
Tribute to the First Annual Guiding Eyes Continuing Education Seminar

Like many ideas, It began years ago
abstracts based upon the past
concepts blossoming from a common passion.

It was a new idea, unique and untried;
For some, the Challenge instilled apprehension
Perhaps a reason for hesitation
Or for decisions being delayed

For a time, hope came second
As it happened,
Voices united, attitudes changed
Wishes became goals, then actions

The desire to gather together
was no longer waylaid

Human hearts made it happen
To honor Inter-species relationships
The most powerful relationship of all

The spirit of canine propelled us
To the meeting place.

To 3 days of inspiration
36 hours of memories
And laughs to last a lifetime.

exuberant Labradors
Stoic and steady German Shepard’s
80 teams
30 instructors and staff
40 puppy raisers and volunteers

And really good food
Cumulated in achieving
cooperation totaling 150%
And Energy that could not be measured

A coming together
as vibrant as Woodstock but
Not as muddy.

There were dog tangles
Reunions and tears,
Obedience practice, play time
And Challenges including
A hotel that seemed to be built like a corkscrew.

Faces split in smiles lasting hours
Full hearts sharing meals
Imagine a ballroom lined with
Classroom-style tables
A person sits in each chair facing the podium
Beneath each place lies a dog, quiet
Or silent, asleep or awake
Snoring or dreaming
Licking a paw
And these canines
Our eyes
Our joy
Our inspiration
Our independence
Our family

Our reason for being who we are
And the reason why we were all there
Elicits an inner glow, a sense of pride
Or accomplishment, or purpose
We know intimately how well
These dogs gave us the ability to soar
not for only 3 days or 36 hours
but continually.

Our dogs connect us, bonding Hearts and minds
Later, after the reunion
In the afterglow
We will draw upon the link
Recall the shared experience
And, with humble words, thank our dogs.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Thanks XFB

| Filed under blindness Poem Relationships Uncategorized WRiting LIfe

Long ago, when I was first losing my vision, I subscribed to the Zavier Society for the Blind’s lending library and large print missal supplements http://www.xaviersocietyfortheblind.org/. It assisted me in keeping up with the readings in church. One may think this is just a small part of living the blind life, but, back then, when my world was collapsing due to limited vision, it saved me from the harsher consequences of social isolation. In short, keeping in touch with my house of worship gave me the strength and determination to accept my disability and tap into the support and inspiration I sorely needed.

Fast forward, I no longer subscribe to the large print missals, but I recommend folks who are losing vision to reach out to their own house of worship and stay connected to avoid the isolating effects of sensory loss of any kind.

Many years later, after my own kids completed confirmations, I once again found solace in my church and I am glad I stayed in touch with my parish as well as my fellow clergy members I met during graduate degree studies at Iona College.

Another connection was meeting Father John Sheehan, then Director of the Zavier Society for the Blind on the train coming back from an American Council of the Blind of New York www.acbny.info convention. The following year, I met Christine Moore, another Zavier staff member and we worked together during the convention that was held in Westchester. Through these working relationships, I was able to keep my faith and accept the changes in my life.

When Christine learned of the publication of my first poetry collection, Upwelling, www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/ she emailed me and asked if I would like it to be brailed and added to their international lending library. I was grateful and, of course, said yes. Since that time, more than one person has stopped me, and telling me they are reading it in braille. How cool is that?
“Upwelling” can be requested once the person becomes a Xavier Society for the Blind, or XFB client. id number for it is B1543.
Thank you, Zavier, and thanks to your caring and compassionate staff. Below is the information in case you or someone you know would like more information on the Zavier lending library for the Blind, contact Christine Moore: [email protected]

Tel (212) 473-7800
Mailing address: 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10121

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Speaking of the Muse for National Poetry Month

| Filed under Poem Relationships Uncategorized WRiting LIfe

A bit on the creative process is a good way to keep the brain muscle in shape. Writing is, in itself, a very singular endeavor. One must gather the items for which to write about, and this can mean observing the rhythm of life. It could mean overhearing a conversation, being intrigued by something on the telly, or inspired by another artist. In my world, anything is an opportunity for the Muse.

Just how a poem goes from knocking around in my head and gets the final blessing is a bit harder to explain. But I will give it my best, so here it goes: the idea comes first.
I want to write a poem about a former therapy client who has since died. It’s been something I feel compelled to do, and for months it’s been rolling around, from one hemisphere to the other, and now I am ready to grab hold of it mentally and wrestle it down in the form of a computer file.

I begin with a working title. It keeps me focused on the theme. I often keep this as the final title, but not always. Next, a few lines will appear, I think of the overall message I want to bring about, if I want it to rhyme or not (usually not), and if I need to do more research on the subject matter. In this case, the answer is yes, and I save the file, then begin a google search for stories about Androcles and the lion. The metaphor of the helper removing the thorn from the king of beasts will be used as a symbolic reference and I must read all about it to understand just how it will be used and how it will provoke and interest the reader once the poem is completed.

I often rely on Greek mythology to accentuate poetry; I think of it as bringing the past into the present, I mean, if they could come back to life and read how much we still utilize their society and cultural morays, religion and beliefs, they would be impressed with themselves.
But I digress. Back to the poem. This is where I am right now, forming the narrative, linking the imagery and emotions. It brings me to another observation: I cannot rush the process – the poem can take all the time it needs. I honor the Muse by allowing the finished piece to unfold naturally.

So, if you are still reading, I am hoping the poem will be ready soon, but this could mean a few months or longer. I will keep the updates coming and I hope you all read more poems during National Poetry Month.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 1

MEET THE AUTHOR

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Ann Chiappetta, Author 914-393-6605 [email protected]

Local Author Returns to Childhood Library

March 7, 2017 – Mamaroneck, NY Ann Chiappetta, a Westchester resident who grew up in Mamaroneck, will be available for a book signing at the Mamaroneck Public Library’s community room this coming Saturday, March 11 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Chiappetta, who has written her first poetry collection titled, “Upwelling”, was raised in Mamaroneck.
“I spent a lot of time here,” she says, “the library was my home away from home.”

Chiappetta goes on to say she is excited to be able to return to her roots and share the collection with Westchester residents.
Printed copies of the book will be for sale for $8, cash only. The 60-page soft cover edition expresses a wide range of subjects and include Chiappetta’s experiences of vision loss, counseling trauma victims and many other aspects of the human condition. She also writes of learning how to work alongside and trust a new guide dog. Ms. Chiappetta has been blind since 1993, the loss resulting from a rare eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Two poems in the collection are about her vision loss and coping without the benefit of sight. From the publisher: guide dogs, death, and a disturbing dream. Marriage, memories, and intriguing mysteries. In this collection of 23 of her short, highly accessible poems from several decades, Ann Chiappetta explores an enormous range of emotions and topics. Travel with her as she moves from illness, death, loss, and grief to renewed hope, security, and serenity.

Chiappetta says she was inspired to publish the collection after losing her Mom, Mary Coelho last July.

Ann is available for local signings and readings.

. To Purchase Chiappetta’s collection in e book or printed formats, go to http://www.dvorkin.com/annchiappetta/

To read Chiappetta’s blog, go to: www.thought-wheel.com

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

A Measure of Hope

| Filed under Poem Uncategorized

Yesterday I was speaking with one of my best friends, you know the kind of friend who is counted on one hand, which professes a true bestie. We’ve known each other for over 30 years. He introduced me to my husband of 26 years, etc., etc.

His name is Joe and he was diagnosed with HIV in the early 1990s and we almost lost him. Thankfully, it wasn’t his time to go and he recovered and I am thankful he has been part of my life and I believe he is a living miracle. Our family lost many loved ones from the AIDS virus back then and Joe wasn’t one of them, and the only one I know who survived from that deadly wave of HIV infections.

Shortly after he became hospitalized and was fighting for his life, I wrote a poem titled, “What Remains”. It is a style of poetry called a villanelle, or Italian sonnet. It consists of 19 lines in a fixed form and uses interchangeable rhymes. After writing it, I kept it to myself, since I wasn’t sure if Joe would pull through. Fast forward a few decades and the poem is the only one in my book, Upwelling, http://www.dvorkin.com/annchiappetta/ that is a rhymed poem of iambic pentamer and can be called the best example of a sonnet resulting from two excruciating semesters of verse writing classes.

So, what does this have to do with Joe and my poetry collection? I haven’t shared that the poem is in the book. He hasn’t purchased it yet, so he is blissfully unaware it is there. I did give him a copy of the poem years ago, and I honestly don’t think he will recall receiving it. Even if he does, I am a little nervous he might be uncomfortable knowing it’s in the collection

I know I am being silly; there are 22 other poems in this book, most about a person I love or for whom I feel a strong affection. I did let some of them know a poem written about them was included, but not all of them. My Mom and Dad are already gone and I lost touch with most of the others. I am confident; however, the poems honor the person’s character and don’t disparage anyone. Yet, I do experience an occasional twinge of anxiety thinking about the person’s reaction if he or she reads the piece. It’s called writer’s regret and while I would love to say I would never allow my creativity to be compromised by censorship, even if not doing so means risking another person’s feelings or values, it would be a hard decision to make. Therein lies the risk; he could react in a way that I wouldn’t expect or anticipate. He could say he hates it and he never wants to read it again. He could say it makes him feel horrible, or depressed or ashamed. Okay, maybe not as extreme as that, but, you get the picture. Taking risks with words is risky. As my statistics professor once said, it boils down to a fifty-fifty chance no matter what.

I want Joe to read the poem again, I want him to ask questions, and I want, above all else, for him to understand it was written at a time in our lives that was rife with uncertainty and expected loss.

As for you, the reader, perhaps this essay and poem will provide both the gravity of what it is like to witness the suffering of a loved one but also hang on to hope and keep hoping even when others say there isn’t any sense in hoping anymore. I think Joe would be satisfied with knowing his experience gives me hope.

FYI: March 6 is Joe’s 51st birthday. Happy Day my friend.

WHAT REMAINS – A VILLANELLE

Time elapses in your veins
By maniacs bred in cells
Robbing your health, grain by grain.

The option of long life is detained
And upon the shortened time we dwell,
As time elapses in your veins.

Hippocratic oaths can’t explain
Why your blood bears killer cells
Robbing your health, grain by grain.

I listen to the melodic refrain
Of your breath, fearing the funeral bell,
As time elapses in your veins.

The fangs of regret cause the most pain
Anger and sadness are familiar clientele,
Robbing your health, grain by grain.

Your spirit wavers on this plane,
A present but listless parcel
I greedily covet what remains,
As time elapses in your veins
Robbing your health, grain by grain.

copyright 1995- 2016 Ann Chiappetta

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Welcoming 2017

| Filed under Fiction Poem Uncategorized

It’s New Year’s Day and I am being purposefully productive. 2016 wrapped up with a mixed bag and I am planning for a successful year in terms of the goals I continue to chip away on personally.

I have one announcement to make before I go on to blab about other milestones. The poem, “Diving” which is in my poetry collection UPWELLING, was also included in an anthology called BREATH and SHADOW http://www.abilitymain.org/breath and the book is available in eBook and print formats from all major online booksellers.
About the book:
Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow

Breath and Shadow is a literary journal of disability culture, written and edited exclusively by people with disabilities. In this collection, we present the best writing from the magazine’s first twelve years.
These essays, poems and short stories shine a light on the many gifts, ideas, and voices of writers who are disabled, and removes many of the hurdles faced in mainstream publications. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go back into Breath and Shadow, helping us to reach a wider and more diverse audience, as well as increasing our writer’s compensation. The book is available in paperback and all electronic formats.
www.amazon.com/dp/1541266404/ref=sr_1_2
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/691408
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dozen-chris-kuell/1125383853?ean=97815412664

Contributors:
Sandra Gail Lambert, Sarah Rizzuto, Susan M. Silver, Rachael Ikins, T Hamboyan Harrison, Janet I. Buck, Dan Foley, Abigail Astor, Dina Stander, Aaron Trumm , David Bolt, Judith Krum, Amy Krout-Horn, Ann Chiappetta, Lizz Schumer, Leandra Vane, Madeleine Parish, Deborah Sheldon, Akua Lezli Hope, Tricia Owsley, Raud Kennedy, Amit Parmessur , Tobias Seamon, Suzie Siegel, Erika Jahneke, Rick Blum, Alison Leavens, Carla Rene’ , Brock Marie Moore, Denise Noe, Diane Hoover Bechtler, Kathleen Grieger, Christopher Jon Heuer , Sergio Ortiz, Kari Pope, Kim Keith, Chris Kuell, Gary Bloom, Larry Schreiber, Esté Yarmosh, Joanne M. Marinelli, Mel C. Thompson, Laban Hill , Jae Beal, A. K. Duvall, Cindy Lamb , Sharon Wachsler Compiled and edited by Chris Kuell

So, friends and readers, help support writers with disabilities by honoring their literary efforts and get the book.

I would love to sign it should you wish and I encourage all of you who read this blog to become an online subscriber, too.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0
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