My Neighbor is an Opera Singer

La, La, La Traviata I’m not sure if this is auspicious or not, but my next-door neighbor is an opera singer. She has a lovely daughter who typically wails as her mother belts out songs, in alto, every evening. In … Continue reading

Christmas Message

Dear Friends, It’s a beautiful season. The lights on Bloor Street are discreet and charming. Small points of white light decorate the trees and plants that line what is known as Toronto’s Fifth Avenue. Who can believe that tomorrow is … Continue reading

Avatar

On an intercontinental flight from Paris to Toronto, I chose to watch Avatar. It was an excellent choice.  The film’s computer animation and special effects are spectacular. I was so engrossed in the movie, that the flight seemed to last … Continue reading

A Walk down Bloor Street

It was a beautiful, sunny day today and I decided to take a walk down Bloor Street and snap a few shots.

Here’s a shot of Dolce & Gabbana’s whimsical window display. You can see me reflected in the glass pane as well as traffic moving along Bloor Street.

Dolce & Gabbana

Here’s Michael Kors’ elegant window display consisting of women’s handbags:

Michael Kors

 

And the classic Tiffany & Co. looked like this:

Tiffany and Company

I can’t recall which well-known store the following mannequins were from, but they appear to blend with the buildings and street appearing surreal.

Mannequins and Buildings

As I turned away from Bloor Street and onto Queens Park, I saw this odd, striped, huge, Sphynx-like face (minus the body) in contradistinction to a woman working on a ceramic piece and contemporary buildings in the background.

The Gardiner Museum

When I later turned onto a side street, I noticed this flashy blue car. If you look closely at its front tire, you’ll notice what appears to be a red, embedded, wheel locking device. The traffic signs, apparently ignored, can be seen through the window.

The Blue Car

 

Enjoy the sunshine!

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, Mexico

Start the New Year in style by going on vacation and staying at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, Mexico. This is the ultimate in “chic on the beach.”

Surrounded by natural, verdant foliage and facing an impeccably tended, green lawn, a seemingly endless beach and an inviting, crystalline azure, Caribbean Sea, Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun is an oasis of luxury.

Would you like to see what’s happening at the resort in real time? You can do so by clicking on the “Live Web Cam.” When I did, I saw a group of people headed toward the vanishing edge, dual-temperature, heated-in-winter pool. This is what this amazing swimming pool looks like:

Secrets Capri Riviera pool

Image source:

http://www.secretsresorts.com/capri-riviera-cancun/photos-videos

Unlimited-Luxury® means that, like Ali Baba, your every wish will be fulfilled and your expectations ever exceeded. Amenities include elegant accommodations. The “Preferred Club Deluxe Tropical View” looks like this:

Deluxe Tropical View

Image source:

http://www.secretsresorts.com/capri-riviera-cancun/elegant-accommodations

Some of the other accommodations are the: Deluxe Ocean View Room, Jr. Suite Oceanfront Room, Junior Suite Tropical View 128 and Presidential Suite.

Other amenities are: a welcome cocktail and cool towel; Free WiFi and international calling & more; a private concierge on call 24/7; gourmet dining at five onsite restaurants; 24-hour room and concierge services; choice of mood-setting turn down service; complimentary mini-bar refreshed daily; unlimited premium drinks at four bars and lounges; and unlimited natural fruit juices and soft drinks. 1

In addition to swimming in the pool, there is a wide variety of activities to choose from during the day including golfing. The resort offers one complementary round per person per day at the Grand Coral Riviera Maya Golf Course and the Playa Mujeres Golf Course. 2 Be sure to also take advantage of the complete fitness center, world class spa, and Outdoor Jacuzzi. You can even go scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and participate in tours and excursions and more. 3

My personal favorites are: The Sea Side restaurant, Cactus Club, Taco Cevich  Bar and the possibility of setting up private dinners on the beach for groups and couples.

Although I would have preferred virtual tours to be viewed individually and/or grouped into categories, they are all bundled together here.

Customer testimonials include words and phrases like “great,” “wonderful,” “enjoyed our time here,” “enjoyed the food, the people and the customer service,” “the customer service here is fantastic,” “the guys and gals who work here always want to make you feel like you’re at home here,” and “very friendly, very hard-working staff.” 4

For more information or to book, click here.

You won’t be disappointed.

 

References

 

  1. http://www.secretsresorts.com/capri-riviera-cancun/unlimited-luxury
  2. http://www.secretsresorts.com/offers/cancun-golf
  3. http://www.secretsresorts.com/capri-riviera-cancun/activities-entertainment
  4. Guest testimonials. http://www.secretsresorts.com/capri-riviera-cancun/photos-videos

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Meet the Author

Although it seems counter intuitive, readers are primarily interested in the author after which they’ll read their books. An author could, for example, write prolifically yet have readers want to know intimate details about them. Readers, I’ve come to understand, long for this intimate knowledge combined with an emotional rapport with the author. It’s that “special bond” that lets readers know you’re human and that you care—about them and the world around you, generally speaking.

Let me tell you a bit about myself

When I was a teenager, I read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Manifest Your Destiny. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I already mentioned this. Although I’m repeating myself, I’d like to tell you more about my discovery now.

I read the book in a secret hiding place: our home’s verandah, where all the unused yet accumulated clutter was stored. I chose the verandah because I didn’t want anyone to know I was reading such a book. That’s because, on some level, I knew that what the book said was extremely powerful and that, provided one believed, it could happen. I remember squatting, surrounded by messiness (an old bicycle, my enormous, stuffed Clifford toy), staring at the book’s cover with its yellow hue and smiling author who mesmerized me. I looked at a then younger version of Dr. Dyer wondering, “Who is this man who knows such things?”

After reading the book, I promptly forgot all about it and proceeded to do all of the things (read, societally approved and expected behaviour) that everyone does. The idea, though, that manifesting one’s destiny was possible, however, remained planted somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. It didn’t fade away. It remained for future reference.

As a teenager reading Dr. Dyer’s book, the idea that I could write books which would be distributed and sold all over the planet arose in my mind. It was probably too much for me to absorb, then, which is why I blocked it out.

There’s a time for everything

In the same way that we can’t force a flower to bloom, we can’t make an idea germinate before its time. Forcing something before its time can have counter productive, not to say disastrous, effects.

Dream time book planet

Image courtesy of dreamtime.

How to Write When You Have Zero Time

Today was a wonderful day because I wrote two more chapters for SD: HTLTLYL (abbreviated).

For the past month, my life has been a blur. I’ve been on the go virtually nonstop, performing as if I were a robot instead of a person. I barely had time for grooming let alone writing. Having said that, how can one write when one has no time?

Out of the country and on the road, it seems as if I have zero time. Yet, the moment came when, all of a sudden, in a burst of inspiration, I knew that two more chapters—yes, the more or less predictable two—had arrived.

I wrote. They were good chapters, made sense and seemed to emerge spontaneously. And they were related to the experiences I’d been having.

Writing comes naturally

The honest truth is that I wasn’t able to write until today. During a quiet moment, I knew that the words had arrived. It was almost as if they’d waited until this very moment. The words knew that I was too busy to pen them and had waited. They’d waited somewhere in the misty world where words wait for authors. It’s a space that exists somehwere beyond where I will ever know. Nevertheless, this space exists and it holds onto words until the right moment.

Availability

The words arrived at the very moment when I became available to receive them. The words somehow knew that my busyness had come to a temporary halt, and they came. It’s almost as if they asked, “Would you like two more chapters now?”

Perfect progression

The two chapters for the e-book SD: HTLTLYL, an e-book about which I’d had zero time to think about, came as a natural progression to where I’d left off. I did not have to remember or figure out anything, the words just came and made perfect sense.

Like a computer program

If, as authors, we make ourselves available, the words we’ve been waiting for will come. I know this to be true because I experienced it. I would describe it as a computer program that is made to generate books, too many to count. Each book is there, waiting in line, waiting for its turn to emerge from the “waiting room.” The words, paragraphs and chapters are ready, just waiting for me to record them.

When inspiration strikes

Inspiration knows when to come. It comes when there’s an opening; when you, the author, have a free moment. That’s when it comes. Your job is to “listen” and write down the words.

This is how to write when you have zero time.

Painted Mountain II

“Painted Mountain II” Photographer: Luba Rascheff

A New E-book for Modern Life

After writing for so many years, it becomes hard to stop.

So, continuing with this addictive habit that I can’t seem to give up, I just finished seven, short chapters for SD: HTLTLYL (abbreviated). I don’t think that it will take me very long to finish this e-book since I’m feeling quite inspired. It will, by the way, be published under my real name.

What I don’t say in the introduction is that the title was inspired from a chapter in one of my pseudonymous works. It was a particular something, a je ne sais quoi that, apparently, made a huge impression on me which, unbeknownst to me, would, in and of itself, turn into an entire e-book. I wonder if this ever happened to someone else.

The process

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been, and continue to be, inspired when writing this e-book.

I get the feeling that a couple of chapters are ready to be ‘hatched,’—and yes, it seems to be coming in spurts of two chapters at a time which leaves the odd, first chapter which came unhitched—place myself in a comfortable position, and write. I’ve been writing on 8 1/2 ” x 11″ sheets of paper, what is commonly known as regular paper, using a ballpoint pen and later transcribing the content into my laptop and saving on USB flash drives.

Ballpoint pen image

A ballpoint pen.

Less is more

To say that the chapters are brief is an understatement. They are, indeed, very brief. And, in all their brevity, pack a punch. This is because, inspiration aside, the more I write the more I come to believe that the lower the word count, the more power is contained in the material.

Brevity

An image referring to brevity.

I fully recognize that saying this is controversial and goes against the grain. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says you have to ‘pack it in’ and do ‘lots of rewrites.’ I completely understand since I used to (prior to 2008) believe and practice this approach. Not any more. Now I know, experientially, that it’s not a matter of writing and re-writing, but of being inspired and keeping it short. Please understand that editing is a given and can be practiced ad infinitum toward the perfection of a work.

I’ve heard of an author who writes one book every ten years. She makes sure that every word is correct and that all of her ideas are perfectly expressed. This is in fact rare, though, because most authors produce one book per year and most publishers expect this to be the case. Prolific authors who can’t ‘kick the habit,’ produce more than one title per year. Publishers, this the cue for you to rub your hands now.

Modern life

If you think about it, everything in our modern lives involves reduction and efficiency. Cars are becoming smaller, houses more ergonomic, Tesla electric cars are replacing gas guzzlers, condos are being preferred over houses, electronic communications are replacing handwritten forms of expression and the post office as we know it may soon disappear (never mind home delivery). Written communications are becoming shorter and today’s winners are those who can tell ‘sticky’ stories in a nutshell.

modern life

An image of modern life.

On Twitter, we microblog. We are given 140 characters (I should say ‘were given’ because of a change in how URLs are counted. Click here for details.)

On Pinterest, we pin images to boards with, hopefully, the briefest of cutlines, that speak volumes. It’s just that people don’t have the patience or the time for more. But if, as they say, an image is worth a thousand words then, ironically, this is the platform on which we are expressing more than anyone can ever imagine.

What about blog posts? They are regular novels these days! If reading a 140-character tweet is taxing, then reading a 400 to 600-word blog post may put us over the edge.

I am, of course, being facetious. Rest assured that in spite of what everybody says, people still read books that contain between eighty and a hundred thousand words—the expected length of a novel.