New post up at AR: “The False Sentiment of Material Things”

It’s been a while since I wrote a post for Atheist Republic, which I regret. Hopefully, I can keep to a more frequent posting schedule this year, at least every couple of months. So much atheist space online is taken up by deconverted people debunking religion, which is valuable for those who need that kind of dialogue, but what I really want to see more expositions about life from a secular perspective. Love, marriage, birth, death are all topics that I feel many atheists shy away from talking about as atheists because those are aspects of life that our cultures variously overlay with religious faith and spirituality. But, these are also life events that we all share in common, to different degrees.

All I can write about with any true trust in my ability is, unfortunately, death, grief, and mourning. So, that’s what I’ll keep doing. <3

because tumblr. because.

I’ve started a companion tumblr for this blog: http://atheist-grief.tumblr.com

It’s basically designed to be a “sound bite” type of blog, with reblogs of other tumblr posts and link-posts to articles/websites I find online that are interesting.

This blog will remain more a longer-form essay style publication, which continues to be an evolving beast as I find my voice in this topic.

Thanks for your continued support!

New Blog Post at Atheist Republic

My latest blog post for Atheist Republic is now online: We are All Grieving Futures.

Please check it out and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Death and Social Media

I often question the value of this blog. After all, while grief is a permanent state its intensity varies over time and circumstances. I’m not sure, either, what I have to offer is very much by way of comfort. I don’t coat grief with a film of sentiment, because to me a vitally important part of grief is anger, and allowing that into the discussion tends to scare some people away.

My uncertainty is evident by my lack of updates here. Yet, this blog is probably the project that is closest to my heart above all of my other writing and professional work.

This was brought home to me recently by the experience of NPR reporter Scott Simon, who tweeted from his place as witness to his mother’s death. At first glance such a project sounds cheap and shallow, the kind of tweeting that makes everyone uncomfortable due to its inappropriateness.

Simon somehow, and by his own reports unwittingly, turned it into a profound study of the human experience. He was a loving son whose affection for his mother was evident in every tweet he sent out. By turns heartbreaking, funny, and insightful, his tweets reflected not only his mother’s wonderful personality but the strength of their relationship. Sharing that via a social network enriched the lives of all of us who were watching, and gave him an outlet for his grief that reached out to thousands of supportive people.

And that is my reason to keep this blog going, right there. Social networking (and I count blogging under that umbrella of services including twitter, facebook and G+) can show the worst of us (some subreddits are proof of that) but in some situations, if used with the same honesty and sincerity we treat face-to-face interactions, they can be a positive, enriching force in our lives.

So I’m continuing with this blog. Maybe just posting once a week, I don’t know. My schedule is busy. But this is important, not just for me, but (I hope) for anyone who stumbles across this place.

Skeptic’s Inspirational MIA?

The Skeptic’s Inspirational, which is my ongoing series of daily positive, inspirational quotes and thoughts for skeptics of all stripes, has been moved to its own page: Skeptic’s Inspirational.

I stopped it for a while because I thought the daily posts were cluttering up my blog. It is only tangentially related to “grief without god” and seemed to dilute the dialogue I want to happen on the front page. Fortunately my current WP theme (Weaver II, which I highly recommend) is able to filter posts in certain categories to a different page, and that’s what I’ve done.

I’ll be starting up with the daily posts for it again soon, so keep an eye out! Or subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss it.

Grieving Futures, 2nd Edition on the way

Good news! I have found an excellent editor to give my book Grieving Futures a thorough going over! This is very exciting to me and marks real progress.

A writer should always, always have a good editor at her back, but unfortunately when I first drafted out GF in late 2010, I didn’t. I knew fellow writers, several of whom looked over the book, but I could not afford a real editor at the time. So, I did the best I could, polished the text up, created a quick-and-dirty “cover” and put it out there.

There were free PDF copies here at the website, and other formats for purchase at Smashwords and Amazon. Very few moved, which did not surprise me at all. The few that were read by people seemed to touch them deeply, and that made up for lack of downloads.

Now that I’ve got a genuine focus for this site, though, I wanted to go back and fix up the book, make a better cover for it, and make it available in a second, improved edition. I’ve learned a lot about epublishing in the last two years and that’s helped a lot. Finding a great, nit-picky editor to scour the manuscript is a gift I will not take for granted, either!

The book is still with her, as a matter of fact. It’s interesting because she is a very devout Catholic, reading a very raw book about grief written by an atheist. She’s already noted the lack of “God” in the text, but fortunately she’s open minded. She’s really good at her job and I know it will be a much stronger book once she gets done with it.

For now I will continue with my sporadic podcasts from the text as-is, and of course the daily Skeptic’s Inspirational.

Don’t worry, I’ll be yelling from the rooftops as soon as Grieving Futures, 2nd Ed., is ready to “ship”! Thanks for being a part of the Patience&Fortitude community. <3

Welcome to the new blog!

If you typed in your usual address for “A Year of Living Dangerously” and ended up here, don’t worry. I planned it that way.

I’ve relaunched the blog because I felt that the original direction I was headed was not working for me anymore as a writer. I want to focus on grief and mourning issues in addition to the ideas I had of blogging about “rebooting your life.” I still think this blog is about rebooting in a lot of ways, and I don’t think it really matters what form the tragedy that struck your life took (be it the death of a loved one or a catastrophic physical problem etc.), but I’m not going to shy away from the tough and difficult issues that like grief and anger and despair.

The reason for that is due to the response to my book, Grieving Futures. Most people who have managed to read it through (and really, that’s a lot smaller number than those who buy or download it) say that what really affected them was how brutally honest I was about my experiences. I think one person said, admiringly, “you just flayed yourself alive.” Which is a little extreme, perhaps, but the point is that is the aspect of the book that struck people, what they related to and found meaning in.

So I’m bringing that here.

This isn’t a negative blog. The point of facing up to bad things is to move past them and reboot our lives so we can learn to be happy (again, or for the first time) and personally fulfilled.

I’m not particularly optimistic, but I do think that attitude is important. The glass is only filled to the middle, but whether it is half full or half empty is entirely a matter of perspective. My blog — hell, my life — is about challenging the idea that we have limitations. We don’t, not where it counts, in our hearts and souls and minds.

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(FYI I’m still tightening up the blog; this is more like a “soft launch” – I need new graphics and still have some nitnoy things to attend to, like fixing links etc.)

Changes on the Horizon

I started this blog with a very vague idea of it being, mostly, a platform for my book Grieving Futures. Then I started graduate school, my ex-husband moved out of the house, I changed many aspects of my lifestyle (food, exercise, haircut!), lost my car, became a published romance novel author, got a job…you get the idea.

All that and I still did not have much of an idea of what to do with this blog.

I have started a more general blog (kimboo york is kbs) to discuss aspects of information science, health, writing, and my life as a whole. So that left AYoLD as…what? I mentioned in a post here earlier this year that, surprisingly, I do not discuss mourning issues much at AYoLD, which is more than a little oxymoronic. Emphasis on “moronic.” 😉

Rather than letting AYoLD slide into being a general “improve your life!” blog, of which there are about 127 million already on the web, I’m going to rebrand this blog to deal specifically with grief, caretaking, and survivorship issues.

The location won’t change, but the name will, along with the graphics, the layout, and the tone of the posts I make. I will be posting the rest of Grieving Futures here serially, though, and the goal in general is to post more regularly which I think will be possible now that I have a much better grasp of what this blog is here to do.

As always, my goal is to help others discover that they aren’t alone in their grief, and to let mourners know that no matter how they feel or what they do, they aren’t really crazy. We just feel that way sometimes.  <3

New column at Open to Hope

There are several good websites online which provide forums for mourners to meet, talk, and share. One I really appreciate is Open to Hope – it offers a wide variety of writers who talk about their different forms of grief openly and honestly.

Sometimes it’s not easy to read, and sometimes it’s life changing. Sometimes it’s a good place to go and think, “oh yeah, I know that feeling.” We need that, if only so we know that we are not crazy.

I’m fortunate that Open to Hope has offered to let me write for them. It’s a “pro bono” gig, as they say, and that’s fine. It’s just opening myself up to a wider audience, in hopes that what I have to say helps other people. My first article went up earlier this month, and the comments I’ve received for it are heartfelt and heartbreaking.

That post was a re-write of something I posted here, but future columns will be original essays. Here’s the link to my first post there: Walking Backwards into the Future.

You can keep up with my writings there by checking my Bio Page there, although I will also post links here when the new columns go up.

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