My Gift to all: My Poetry Collection


Kindle Cover

Hello World, today is friday and I wish I were going away from the weekend. But hmm, saturday I accompany my dearest Donna at her Dad’s Memorial Service, and Sunday is my first mega event launching my company. As much as I had had three years and more to prepare this journey, write up a business plan and draw it all up in my head, stepping on that bridge now is sort of daunting though appealing at the same time; I am actually partnering to do this and well the organization and capital raising part of it and all … wow even the lawyer in me is …

You should know some stuffs about life and its people – how some of those who were so glad and full of praise when you helped them with their own business, don’t even as much as bother cheering you emotionally and actually want nothing to do with your own business … how some can actually sabotage with some sarcasm and …

Let me leave it at this, the poetry book is free for 5 days and thereafter the kindle is at 0.99 c

You know, I am not bothered by naysayers, I am grateful for life and all the opportunities to learn, grow and love…

I leave you this weekend with a few pictures which have made me chuckle, nostalgic and grateful for life … all my pictures right?

Happy weekend and take care of your mental health dear gentle readers and followers, Thank you

Questions to an Author: Martha Graham-Waldon P2


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Hello world, let’s continue from where we stopped yesterday, click here if you didn’t read that – Martha’s been a very deep soul journey

5. So overall, how have you been coping this far?

Writing my memoir helped me reconcile myself to my past and it has helped me to live more fully in the present. I have connected with so many people who have had similar experiences and now I am a speaker for NAMI giving presentations in high school on mental health and suicide prevention. All of that has been tremendously rewarding.

3) The Writing

  1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?

The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok offered encouragement to me to tell my story. It is about her experiences living with a mother with mental illness. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is another exemplary memoir that will soon be made into a movie.

  1. Did you have a writing mentor?

I utilized methods taught by Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Meyers of the National Association of Memoir Writers http://namw.org/ to sort through my writing and create a scaffolding and timeline of important turning points in my life. Studying the memoir writing genre connected me with a vibrant writing community online and in real life.

  1. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?

I called one of the last chapters in my book “The Hardest Chapter”. I suppose you will need to read the book in order to find out why that is.

  1. Which was your favourite chapter to write and why?

My favourite parts of the book are the chapters in Part One called “The Magic” because as I wrote these chapters I was able to escape back into the memories of a mostly happy childhood.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and if yes, what was it?

I learned that I am not alone in my experience. Writing my memoir was a very healing and cathartic experience and it has been gratifying to be able to help others through their healing process as well.

How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?

It took me about seven years to write the book and find a publisher. Once I signed the contract, it took another 13 months for it to actually appear in print.

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially on challenging subjects like mental health?

Study the memoir writing genre and connect with the memoir writing community. I took memoir writing courses offered through the public library and online. Read as many memoirs as you can. All these things will help you find your own voice. Don’t get discouraged and try to write a little each day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Early treatment and diagnosis are important so you should seek professional help if you suspect you or a family member is experiencing a mental health crisis.

  1. Any other writing projects, blogging etc?

I am currently writing a novella, my first attempt at fiction. I don’t blog regularly but I admire those that do!

  1. Where can your memoir be found?

On Amazon, through Barnes & Noble, Kobo; my publisher Black Opal Books, and Scribd. Here are the links:

Amazonbarnes & Noble: Kobo: Black Opal Books: scribd:

Thank you very much Martha for answering our questions. We hope to stay informed of any updates with your projects.

About Martha

Martha Graham-Waldon is a writer, mental health advocate and armchair activist who resides in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with her family and a menagerie of pets. Her articles have been published locally, internationally and online. She is a winner of the 2015 Women’s Memoirs contest for a vignette based on her memoir in the anthology Tales of our Lives. Her memoir Nothing Like Normal—Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia was published by Black Opal Books and is available on Amazon. In addition to writing, Martha loves travel, the outdoors, Jazzercise and music.

Questions to an Author: Martha Graham-Waldon


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Hello World, during this month of May which is Mental Health Awareness month, I am as you must have noticed, doing interviews with authors who have written on mental health, especially about their personal experiences.

I have done a modest review of Martha’s memorable memoir on my blog, and it is my honour to interview her too. Having had a sibling with a mental illness (bipolar disorder), I can relate with much of what Martha writes.

1) The Profile

  1. Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:

Thank you, Marie. I was born and raised in Southern California in a family with four kids, I was the youngest. I have to say that my childhood was pretty idyllic. We were raised with an appreciation for nature and a social consciousness as well. When my sister entered adolescence, problems surfaced that affected our entire family and particularly me since I looked up to her so much.

  1. About your Memoir, how did you come up with this poignant title?

When I first starting writing, my working title was A Normal Life. This was based on a feeling I had during those challenging years that I just wanted “a normal life” although I finally realized that there really is no such thing. However, a fellow author pointed out to me that this title could be construed as sounding boring. I posed the question to the other authors in my publisher’s author group and someone came up with Nothing Like Normal which can be interpreted as either a good thing or a bad thing or both! I thought this was perfect so I went with it after adding the subtitle Surviving a Sibling’s Schizophrenia.

2) The Soul Journey

  1. What is your take about mental health?

I think it is important for anyone dealing with a mental health challenge or that of a family member to realize they are not alone in what they are experiencing. Mental Illness is very widespread. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five youth experience a mental disorder at some time and the figure is one in four for adults. Therefore it’s important to not be fearful of accepting a diagnosis of mental illness. It needs to be treated like any other medical illness and families and individuals should take advantage of the many resources that are available to help them cope with these conditions.

  1. Did your feel guilty for your sibling’s deteriorating mental health? If yes what did you think or do, if no please explain some to us.

In my memoir, there is a chapter that talks about siblings experiencing a “survivor syndrome” in which they wonder why their sibling was afflicted with a mental illness when they were not. Often times a sibling or parent may feel helpless when they are unable to “fix” the problem that their loved one is experiencing. My advice is that you must focus first on being healthy in your own life. Achieving your own happiness and stability is the best way to help your family member because you will be coming from a place of love as well as empathy.

  1. Can you tell if there was a difference in the way your sibling was treated before and after she got that diagnosis?

There is a definite stigma surrounding mental illness and this was even worse in the 1970s when my sister was first diagnosed. Stigma is a negative label that was placed on her and caused people to treat her differently. Stigma is hurtful and makes people feel ashamed of themselves or their family member. Feeling stigmatized and criticized can lead to individuals not seeking help for their mental health issues. To combat stigma, it’s important to realize and explain to others that mental illness is actually a medical illness like any other physical illness. Just like diabetes is a disease of the pancreas for example, mental illness affects the brain.

  1. If you wouldn’t mind, can you tell us any short or long term effect to your own mental health as a result of your sibling’s mental illness?

I became very depressed as an adolescent because that is a difficult time for most people when hormones and societal expectations create pressure on one’s sense of well-being. I did develop coping mechanisms like meditating, playing the piano and writing that helped me feel more whole and I continue to use these healthy outlets to this day.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow, thank you

A Searching Soul: Free for Five Days


 

 

Hello world, today I want to inform you of my poetry book available in paperback and kindle on the amazon. I wanted to put it for free on kindle but they said the least price the’d accept was 0.99$. I proceeded to do a free book promotion for the kindle to run from the 26th to the 30th of May (five days is the top for free promotion allowed). Get the paperback for souvenir if you want (5$ once more minimum was 4.98$ strange) and I could send an e-autograph you know – So, here below is a foreword from my Dearest Donna:

Sometimes to express inner stirrings, hearts upheavals and clarify experience, words pour themselves through poets. This may sound mystical and magical to anyone who is not an artist. For me, it’s a simple description of what I experience to birth a poem. In the parcel of words that is a Searching Soul, Marie expresses her inner stirrings and heart’s experiences. She may also have experienced words pouring through her. Her lines carry the signature of her mostly contemplative and even sad moods… I asked Marie and hope she also does a collection of poems that shows off the lighter and joyous moments. Life gives us precious gifts through all experiences be they light or heavy. Some of A Searching Soul resonate with me, perhaps because some parts of Marie’s journey reflects mine. Like Marie I have loved, lost and recorded some of my inner and outer journeys… Marie tells me that she finds some poets’ poems soothing and hopes her own can bring solace to other. They would. To wrap up this parcel of words, I happily include lines that jumped out on the first reading of a Searching Soul.

Hearts longings, be fulfilled

Lofty winged wishes be granted

Body hungers be quenched

Those who serve, lead

Those who truly give receive

The mightily scarred transform to gifted healers

With a flutter of heavenly breeze

Are we not all parts of Marie?

Marie is you, is me – an invitation to dive deep, to seek …

A searching soul, you may find

The object of your longing, the door to your dreaming

Dona Forbin,

Poetess & Storyteller

Author

And here is what I wrote the collection is all about:

A searching soul is basically a collection of my poetry which share my soul’s search for enlightenment. Peace I seek, peace I find, Peace I give through my poems; be it in moments of sadness, depression, and anticipation, I have come to realize the inspiration flowing in me to put together these poems ever so often ends on a positive note no matter how faint. I have come across some soul mates in my soul search, and they have generously shared a poem or two of theirs. I write of my Rosy Garden with its thorns, of the Bad Boys in my Life, of my Super Super Hoero and of so much more… I sincerely think I Know where you come from even though Sometimes I just don’t wanna care… Such are contemplations… Such are some of the poems contained in this poetry collection…

 

My Nest: My Bed: & I


my small room in Belgium
My Nest and Bed in Belgium

Hello World, now that I no longer live in Belgium, I feel comfortable sharing my nest and bed in the final months I spent there. And nope, I didn’t make that room up to take a picture, that’s how I love my nest and bed to be made up to the pin. Indeed, the day I wrote a plea for strength to leave the bed, I was lying on that bed you see there.

I loved that nest of mine so much, it was pretty much the first and only one I got to have all to myself in Belgium – I could finally make it as comfy and nesty as I like for the sake of my hollistic wellbeing. I am not only a very time conscious person, but I love organization, tidyness, cleanliness you name it… I think I already blogged about my small cleaning venture before travelling out. I shared some surfaces with two flat mates like the kitchen, loo and living room, and I didn’t end up minding they abandoned the cleaning to me when they discovered I loved doing that. At least I go to eat free Indian and Senegalese food every now and then.

And so, here is why I write about my nest and bed today. I want to advocate from personal experience that the state of your nest and bed often reflect the state of your mind. May being Mental health awareness month, I am raising awareness anyway comes to my mind.

I am almost addicted to a made up nest and bed, to the extent that I’ll not step out of my room in the morning even to go for sports, without making up my bed and space. This space can be the tiny one I had out there, the other homes I lived in before there, the two bedroom home I currently live in with my musketeers, or even a palace I may end up in who knows right? and – those musketeers already know their mama by now – gladly two out of three like neatness and tidiness too. To me, where I retreat to and call my home, and where I lay me down my head to rest( given that sleep and I have a peculiar relationship), I just like thinking of it throughout the day and seeing it so well kept and ready for my return – smelling so comfy with some candles and potpouri and all. I mean next to my bed or bedroom, two other favourite places in any nest I have are the Loo and the kitchen…

I know there are some people who don’t care about such trivalities which could instead add further pressure to a perfectionist gauge, I can only envy them their care free selves. I haven’t been able to try leaving my nest and bed un made – make a psychologist will explain why to me someday…

And you my gentle readers and followers, anyone ever had such thoughts about their nest and bed?

Take care of your mental health, you must not have a mental illness to feel concerned about your mental health. A good mental health means you can think straight about pretty much anything and so it is as serious as the sprain in your knee.

Officially launching my coaching business: Wish me well


The business is official…an enterprise has been jointly founded Amen

It is no secret that when you have a vision you have to nurture it and keep at it against all odds. And then when you feel it in you that it’s time to go pro, you take that leap of Faith your mentors and coach all tell you about.

I dreamt of a coaching business 3 years ago, and I started keeping record of my journey. Developing myself and learning along the way. Yes I have many passions, but this one is among the closest to my soul.

I also landed a great team, I thank my Lord… I take off solo next Sunday but thereafter my cofounder and I will share many more stages. Our website is still under construction but I know how baby steps are necessary to the formation of a man.

In honour therefore of May which is Mother’s month and Mental Health Advocacy month, I am setting off at very affordable cost of 1$ or less so that as many as can come get to listen to me, share with me, and network with one another.

I encourage you in your own visions, good night

Mother is Gold Gathering


Hello world, so this was me at the IMA gatherings for mothers yesterday to talk about singlemotherhood. It was awesome although the media guy didn’t come and so did many invitees. Due to security reasons ahead of today which is ‘national unity day’ in Cameroon_ the event was ordered to be over by 6.30 pm. In Africa and maybe elsewhere, when you say an event is due to start at 3 or 4 pm, well people start trickling in by 6 pm.  I thought I was running and I took my time because I had decided to do so henceforth, and yet I was still the first person there.

Anyway, in images for our collective eyes. My VIP guess was none other than Alain who also spoke twice to his sheer…

You can tell it is us by our smiles lol

A selfie just before the event started

Happy weekend to us all

Mother…


Mother

No one can take your place oh  mother

If you be mad the child still hopes

Yet you may not be conscious about that and it hurts

Nevertheless we all think of you our mothers

Most of us mothers know what is unconditional love

We felt it right from within the womb

Hence we may find it hard to think the baby ain’t ours forever

The seasons change, the years go by

That baby could become a mother too

If you mother never let her be, never taught her to love yet let go, ain’t that an unhealthy mental cycle in place?

Oh mother, you who so give your all

To love them all or almost

Relationships sometimes so complex

Challenging and yet nurturing

Dread and dare and darling all dished out

Is that how it works for all? Could that be nature’s doing?

I wish there were a mother’s manual but I think flowing from the heart is best… No matter how mixed the signals, mother is all we have, motherhood ain’t never an easy hood

 

Love your mothers nothing withstanding, it ain’t easy for neither them nor us – above all take care of your mental health – I attend the IMA Gold gathering with my first son and I am super excited he’ll be seeing me on stage for the first time

Enjoying Me My Mental Health Advocacy


 

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My contributions on pages 20-21

Hello world, it’s 18 days already into this month which is Mental Health Advocacy Month, and am enjoying my efforts at raising awareness.

I mean, in addition to writing and networking for such a ‘complex’ subject which I am passionately passionate about (oh yes I am), I have had the honour of guest blogging and now am even published in a magazine oh wow.

Two full pages to write all I wanted on the topic

 

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And it could not have landes on a better date. Today I am not only working from home because am tired of commuting into town with all that ‘crazy traffic’, but I also had to deal with 2 ‘mini’ stressors this morning.

Let me sit back and leisurely read this magazine. LEGIDEON is published by some dynamic sons and daughters of my native land in the diaspora;  and it is Succulently labelled “A Washington DC Based News Magazine” – you can log in and read online.

Keep doing what you do and enjoy yourself in the process… All the best to us all – take care of your mental health

Questions to an author: Molly McHugh P2


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Hello world, Let’s continue with the second part of our interview right? You can refresh on P1 right here

3) The Writing

  1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?

    No. I wrote it how I wanted it to be, played a bit. And though it does have a nice creative style and feel that many (not all!) have commented they enjoyed, it was a bit crap at the start. I was too full of myself, too thrilled with getting it finally done (much was written in notes 20 or so years earlier and saved in email). It needed a lot of editing (I did all editing myself) and it needed to be filled out with more detail.

    I recently even did a minor update with a few things that needed to be fixed and added in a couple of resources. Just want it to be of value to whoever takes the time to read it. And for it to help someone heal their suffering. Give ideas of things that may help.

  1. Did you have a writing mentor?

    No. A few were very kind to check out the earlier version (and honest enough to tell me it needed a ton of editing!) but that was it.

  1. How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?

    I had a bunch of notes I had written years before and saved in my email. It just felt right to do it, and I was ok being public as my son was older. First version I put up on Amazon as a kindle book took maybe eight months to complete. Updated that a little and then published as a paperback book via Createspace maybe six months or so later.

4) The Message

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

    I shared as much as I could. My blog is full of more info on a ton of topics that didn’t fit into the book. And my way of learning and connecting with others, helping to affect change. Speaking out abou the overdiagnosing and overdrugging, etc. I learned not too long ago about the death of children who are erroneoulsy being given BP diagnosis. So sad. They have health issues, but no, they should not be on psychotropic medications. The doctors fueling this new targeting of children – some have been sued after the child become completely disabled or worse, dies – should be in jail is my line of thought.

  1. Any other writing projects, blogging, business etc?

My bipolar blog I mentioned above – a much different voice than most of what is out there.

My freelance writing business – info here:  I’d love to help someone write their memoir! Special discount for mental health focus 🙂

  1. Where can your memoir be found?

On Amazon here as a paperback and kindle book.

Thank you very much Molly for answering my questions. We hope to stay informed of any updates with your projects.

Any questions for Molly or ideas for my questions to an author series please leave them in the comments! Thank you for reading; Mind your Mind and take good care of your mental health.

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