Thanks to fellow editor and writer, Ernest Dempsey, I am sharing my first book review. I am so excited to be one of the many talented writers who benefits from and contributes to the Recovering the Self blog and content. Check it out:
Years ago, before I lost most of my vision, our family often visited our favorite nearby zoo. I recall one time in particular, the interaction with a cheetah made a lasting impression.
By Ann Chiappetta
Horizontal Travel nestled in breaths
Deep and restorative. A place of relaxation, attracts
Energy, the curtain billows, the visitor
Inserts herself, uses the most familiar place, the bathroom – why
are most of these encounters located in the dream bathroom? By now I know there is a message born from the veil, the thinness beyond
Air, beyond anything we know here in our soft beds of reality.
She shows me a hand with a ring, conveys it is significant, her face seems to say, it will soon be yours. Then she is gone. I awaken.
Today, before the horizontal travel I write with the ring upon my hand. She spoiled the surprise.
I’ve been a member of NFAA for two years. Having benefitted from being part of a supportive community that includes great publishing info, I thought I’ share. Take a read at how they’ve helped me with a book even though it’s not nonfiction.
Readers, one of the best things about writing is making connections. Getting to know other writers and follow them through the creative process is fascinating, too.
One writer I admire is Joan Miles. Visit Joan’s blog and after reading the post, click over to Amazon.com to buy her new book.
Earlier this year, prior to Covid 19, I asked Julia to review my book. I’d been disappointed by the lack of responses to review my third book, Words of Life: Poems and Essays. I needed an infusion as well as some insight as to why this book, in particular did not sell like I thought it should. I felt that Julia could deliver and she did, 😊
Julia came through for me. She provided honest and understandable statements. Below is a note I sent to her, sharing it symbolizes that not all an author’s work is dipped in gold. It takes years of practice, stacks of rejections in your inbox, and the strength to plow through the self-doubt and barriers to reach one’s creative goals. What I learned from Julia is to be open to the feedback of other writers, what may seem like criticism could be a diamond in the ruff.
Read on and after reading, take a look at Julia’s own publications. 😊
I wanted to thank you again for reviewing my book. You gave me some important points to ponder and I appreciate them very much… Since publishing my books I felt the hardest part of it was organizing the content in a manner that made sense. I wanted to let you know that mentioning it in your review got to me, but then it made me more aware of what I can improve for my next book. Your review provided insight into what I can work on as a writer and this is much appreciated.
If I were asked by a potential guide dog handler what it is like to train and share life with a guide dog, focused on the grittier aspect’s, this is what I would tell them. This document states my thoughts and does not support or endorse a particular guide dog program.
1. Training is Physically demanding. Over time it could put stress on your left arm, shoulder and hand
2. You may not wish to wear sandals anymore, open toe shoes and dog feet don’t mix well. You may choose to wear slippers or house shoes instead of being bare foot in the home — Nyla bones, when chewed become marked with sharp edges and hurt just as much as stepping on Legos. .
3. Dogs, like people, are messy, from drool to pee, puke, and at least once-daily poop pick-up, it is not for the squeamish.
4. Dogs shed, a lint brush and good vacuum are all essential for guide dog handlers. Dogs smell when wet. Conversely, dogs tolerate rain gear and booties, be ready for people to comment on the raincoat and booties when out in public. Did I mention that dogs shed?
5. Most dogs, while trained for good indoor house manners, will revert to being a dog. Don’t be surprised, on occasion, to find a shredded paper towel or tissue or even a can or yogurt container licked clean. My second dog chewed a paper napkin to shreds while laying down under the table in a fancy restaurant.
6. Cover all waste cans or it could become a canine snack bin — Same goes for the cat litter box.
Remember dog proofing is like toddler proofing.
7. A crate in your home is like a piece of furniture and most training programs recommend it. The top of our crate has turned out to be a great place to put the empty food bowls, toy bin and the top of the crate can become a safe place for just about anything.
8. You will need a larger bag or pouch. You are now caring things for two.
9. Did I mention dog hair?
10. Then there is other husbandry, ear cleaning, bathing, brushing, and learning how to give a pill to a reluctant dog. Pill pockets work only about 50% of the time.
11. There are times when you will need to leave your dog home because it may not be safe or significantly stressful. A loud rock concert is one example. Also, if it’s too hot or cold for you, it will be just as intolerable for a dog, so keep up those cane skills.
12. Finally, there is the Financial cost of food, equipment like grooming supplies, and supplements like fish oil and taking care of an occasional ailment or injury. Should you choose to keep your dog after retirement, it will require a handler to administer care and joint and/or other health supplements or medications to an Elderly dog. It also means you will be making the decision to euthanize the dog when it’s time.
13. The emotional journey you will take with your new guide dog will be blessed with twists and turns. Training will challenge and build confidence. The bonding is powerful. Some handlers say it took time to bond with the dog or to become used to the extra attention from the public, others said it was getting family, friends, and/or employers to adjust to the dog. Some handlers did not apply for a successor dog until the current dog died, sharing that it felt disloyal. Many guide dog handlers cannot keep more than a single dog due to restrictions depending on where they live. Other folks transition to a canine successor with a more practical attitude. It’s a team effort and investment in time and energy.
There will be times when your patience is put to the test; being denied entrance to a store or transportation because of your guide dog come to mind. At these times, being prepared and knowing your rights, keeping in touch with other handlers and/or guide dog user groups and staying in control are all tools to help with instances of access denial.
I hope this document has been helpful and has accomplished what it was meant to achieve: sharing your life with a guide dog takes a good amount of hard work and dedication but it is fulfilling and worth it.
For more information:
Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust by Ann Chiappetta
The Handbook for the prospective Guide Dog Handler by Guide Dog Users, Inc;
Place unassembled box flat on floor. Chase off dog who decides to lay down on it.
Open box; chase off dog trying to play with Styrofoam.
Empty box, and let cat play in box while dog lays down on the top of unassembled tabletop on floor.
Begin to read instructions while dog two enters room to investigate.
While making progress on assembling table, cat plays with paper instructions and tries running away with the paper. Dogs decide to kick back and watch human struggle with cat who has now taken screws causing human to curse and look for missing screws.
Finally, after accounting for all hardware scattered by cat, add legs to table bottom while avoiding cat trying to jump onto unfinished table.
Ignore dog one still laying down on as yet unfinished tabletop.
Ignore partner typing this all for others to read.
Wish for the day: furniture that comes already assembled.
Imperfect Food for Two
We’ve been ordering from imperfectfoods.com. I was tired of the same old thing being offered at our local grocery store. It’s just Jerry and me now so I thought we might benefit from fresher produce and smaller portions. So far it’s been great and one hidden benefit was discovering how much I missed cooking better quality foods with high quality ingredients. I am not a “recipe follower” and much more like an intuitive chef. Here are just a few of the dinners I’ve cooked since receiving our imperfect food boxes: Chicken and Shrimp with lemon and white wine, the fresh shallots and lemons made all the difference; kale and sausage soup, sweet potato wedges with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh nutmeg and sea salt. April made the best tasting gnocchi and tomato sauce from a jar that tasted like it came from a restaurant. Our salads are garnished with three cheese shreds and the Spanish dried salami is to die for. They even offered sourdough loaves. No one makes really great sourdough around here.
It certainly costs equal to, and sometimes less than, shopping at the local stores and the best part is it comes right to our door every Tuesday.,