Posted in self improvement, Writing for healing

Rejection, Breaking Dishes, and Rewrites


You’ve heard the quotes about how many times Babe Ruth struck out during his career. You’ve been reminded about the number of rejections J.K. Rowling received before she hit it big.  Do these reminders help when another rejection comes in?

Hell no.

What goes around does not necessarily come back around. Your dreams can die in the water if you get discouraged. Please don’t give up.

Time to toughen up, yo.

But what to do in the meantime?

Every writer knows how easy it is to get sick of your manuscript. The thrill of what you thought was so profound is being rejected by better writers, or famous peoples’  sex scandals and famous peoples’ romance. Again.

Have ever wondered how much time you’ve wasted looking at other people living their lives? Seriously.

Or, you just plain got rejected.

You have several options when rejections fill your inbox-tongue in cheek-not literally.

  •  Break dishes
  •  Learn how to play golf
  • Put on your old Allman Brothers or Buddy Guy tunes and crank it up full blast
  • Run away &  put a week at a luxury hotel on your credit card-suffer later
  • Do yoga for pissed off people
  • Yell at the dog
  • Knit, break the knitting needles and ball up the yarn, donate said yarn to the Goodwill
  • Doodle
  • Rewrite


I favor breaking dishes, running away, and doodling. Doodling usually wins. You can find budget hotels to replace the overly expensive bed and breakfast inns, but the cold hard truth is no matter what your coping mechanisms are,  you have to  do the rewrites.  When you sink your head into the pillow, be it luxury lavender or at home on budget, the naked truth is staring at you from the ceiling.

You have to revise. And unless you have a contract,  nobody cares. You still have to do it.


Do the rewrite.

Again. Hog the bandwith. Be stingy with your time.

For anyone struggling with the sting of “so sorry, but we’ve had hundreds of submissions this year,” I have no advice except that you’re not alone.  As old Aunt Mathilda used to say, “just stay with it. Don’t give up, honey.” At the risk of sounding bitter and pathetic, I won’t bore you with how much I’ve spent on writing classes that haven’t gotten me any closer to finishing my manuscript. But my wasted funds might make you feel better about yourself.

Ladies, I’ve found that people in support groups don’t always pan out the way you wanted. If you think that all the law of attraction stuff and spiritual types are the best way to find kindred friends, you might want to think about joining a bowling group instead. You’ll find better camaraderie. Plus you get to smash things and make noise.

 Or if you are really into spirituality, as I am, you haven’t met your people yet. Keep the faith.

Big shots and famous people have staff writers who troll the internet to get ideas…from you! Really. I once wrote a blog post and within weeks, I saw my exact words on a high-profile spiritual hot shot’s ad. Maybe it was my imagination-I have no idea. But at least I got some form of a delusional ego-boost out of it.


 Writers, artists, musicians, poets, and even street bums are all about competition. “Players really only love you when they’re playing.” Shrinks debate each other over theories at workshops. Victims compare wounds in therapy groups. Psychotherapist Irving Yalom shared that one of his most vicious groups of clients were abuse survivors who battled each other over the severity of their stories. I wonder if monks in monasteries compete over how long they can meditate in silence? Does anyone know?

I’m over 60, the age when you’ve already become rather invisible unless you’ve got some kind of “it” factor.  And you’re expected not to make waves, or the threat of being labeled bitter is at your heels. Aunt Mathilda told you that you’d get more out of being sweet than the vinegar-spiced sarcastic reply. She was right, but she was wrong. Betty White and Carole Burnett can tell you all about how to age gracefully and be funny. There is  a certain freedom that comes with age.  There is less time to waste and more pack to the punch.

And to the most awesome people out there-all you young writers and artists, stay with it.

Do the rewrite.

And always have spare dishes around…




Journal prompt: write about rejection. What are your responses? Don’t be polite. What do you find helps you get back on track with your projects? After you have written about rejection, write about a success. It can be from childhood. What is your favorite antidote for rejection? At the end of your journal entry, write: YOU ARE ACCEPTED. This is important.

Always add something positive for yourself. Write a congratulations note to yourself.


Posted in women trailblazers, womens history month, writers, Writing for healing

Women’s History Month- Sharing Wisdom, Strength and Beauty



It’s Women’s History Month here in the US and it’s taken me this long to sit down with a writing prompt. During these times of intense political rants and divisions, it makes sense to remember and honor the wit and wisdom of women. I’m constantly wondering what’s going to happen next on the local, national, and international scene. Why all the craziness? What for? You’ve heard the phrase, “God is coming and boy is she pissed.” That’s the way I feel lately. Maybe we could pretend it’s Christmas season and be of good cheer and talk about peace and love–then act on it.

I’d like to share some quotes with you to honor women.

  ” A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it’s finished; no matter how brave its warriors or how strong their weapons.” Cheyenne proverb

                                                             many baskets

                  “We women are going to bring change.” – Malala Yousafzai

Aunt-CharlieneWcal                                        My husband’s aunt Charlene-wonderful storyteller

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is very short and what we have to do what must be done in the now.” – Audre Lorde

” No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson

cheyenne with her blue fan copy

                                               Cheyenne Elizabeth, cystic fibrosis warrioress

“There’s always something to suggest that you’ll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving.” Phylicia Rashad

” The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably the thing that makes you lonely.” – Lorraine Hansberry

“If you judge people you have no time to love them.” -Mother Teresa

“I have not contended for Democrat, Republican, Protestant or Baptist for an agent. I have worked for freedom, I have laboured to give my race a voice in the affairs of the nation.” -Sarah Winnemucca

“Ignorance is fear. Nothing terrifies a person except ignorance.” – Nawal El Saadawi

” I knew that my heart and mind would always be tempted to feel anger-to find blame and hate. But I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn’t wait for them to grow or fester. I would always turn immediately to the Source of all true power: I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.”-Immaculee Ilibagiza


Grandmother Rita from the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

“Since childhood, I’ve had a passion for solitude.”- Nawal El Saadawi

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

” A word after a word after a word is power. ” – Margaret Atwood

1920s flapper copy


Journal prompt: write about your favorite quote by a woman.  Add artwork or collage to your journal entry.

Peace, everybody!

copyright © 2016 by Susan E Rowland


Posted in the muse, Writing for healing

Eagle Words



young eagle



shopping list





torn sinews


stopping time

strong head

champion talons






Journal prompt: try writing words as they come into your mind or into your vision. Don’t attempt to make sense out of them, just jot them down. Afterwards try writing a poem or a short story using some of your words. Keep it simple.

Discussion: a young eagle showed up the other day and landed in the tree in the back yard. Jesse motioned for me to come and look. We watched the young eagle for almost an hour. He gave us a wondrous unplanned show that we will remember for the rest of our lives.



Posted in writers

Mind Your P’s and Create a Vision Board for 2015



Here is why I do a vision board. You put your ideas into a form that you can see. When I do a vision board, as in collage-making, often the images bring their own power to the body, mind and spirit.

Vision boards serve to help you to:

  • Play
  • Plan
  • Participate
  • Produce

This year I’m looking to explore the night sky and the concept of shadow. There is no darkness because in starry nights  is the reflection of light and depth.Pure darkness might just be an illusion. In writing about life the  so-called dark parts become illuminated through examination, release, and understanding. Because I’m writing a manuscript, often my alone time is at night.

I don’t like to be outrageously self-promoting but with any creative work, marketing is a must.  Hence the stars around my name. Shameless promotion has to be in the journey-I call it confidence. I want to go swim with the dolphins and paint in Italy. The rest is self- explanatory. The little stamps at the bottom say  “1 with nature.”

Obviously I’m not anal about edges and details. Some people like to take a lot of time and make vision boards like embroidery. I just enjoy doing a quick cut and paste. The arranging is a lot of fun.

Have a great New Year 2015! If you make vision boards, please feel free to share.

                                                      DREAM BIG!

Journal prompt: create a vision board, copy and paste a photo of it in your journal. Write about your dreams and goals for the year. Write honestly and openly. Talk about why certain images have power. Did you discover anything new about yourself?

Discussion: I always add personal images to my board, that I keep private. The old saying, “loose lips sink ships” has a time-honored wisdom. Sometimes it’s good to keep our most precious goals to ourselves in order to keep them strong.


PS: My site is still under construction. Please excuse the mess.

Posted in animals, inspirational, journal prompts

Just Thoughts, Just Kidding

The holiday work is done, children content, elders enjoy their meals and grandchildren are playing with their new toys. Below is one of my orignal hand painted-woodburned ornaments created years ago.

kitty ornament

I finally have a moment to sit down and write. It’s been an amazing few weeks but I’ve missed blog writing to you my dear friends and readers. I hope you’ve had  good days and that life is treating you well.

There are times when I keep my writing private. It’s a way of working through stuff before presenting it to the world.  Usually I’m not at a loss for words, yet recently  found myself quiet. Forgive me-I hope to keep you inspired and somewhat entertained, or at least, be able to share something for you to read…or to look at.

A couple of things: here’s a shout out for all the agencies and shelters packed with volunteers and staff members dedicated to serving others. Aren’t you amazed at the power of goodness? Food banks, churches, Meals on Wheels, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Salvation Army, and so many other organizations are focused on giving people hope in this crazy world, especially during the holidays. Working from the heart center is a sure way to achieve unity and create community.

On another note entirely, here’s a tidbit inspired by  a photo I found in a box. I still love hard copy pictures-like real books-the kind you hold in your hands. Technology is great, but good old-fashioned textured and tangible objects can’t be beat.


billy goat



December creeps into January in the western mountains,
a little lady goat
frisky, yet full-bellied comes forward to look.
Don’t leave the garden gate open
too long-here she comes a trotting.
Innocent pleasure is freedom’s way of extrapolating a moment
meant to be savored
like the little goat
romping away from the barn, curious.

Journal prompt: Find a photo and write about anything that comes to you from the image. What is inspiring to you might not have meaning to the next person, but don’t be concerned with that. The benefit of impromptu bits of writing is that you can go back over what you have jotted down, and take one or two lines and use them later on to build a story, poem, song or even an article. One idea leads to another.

Discussion: Kidding is the term for goats delivering babies. It’s also said to be an American phrase indicating fooling someone or saying something in jest. How often do you hear people say “just kidding!” How about “kidding on the square?”

What does any of this mean? What does it have to do with Senator Al Franken? I’m not necessarily saying these are my personal views-just sharing some the origins of phrases. Until next time.

Posted in poetry

Wake to Every Morning

 Jesse carving copy

Wake to Every Morning

The day of feasting follows months of agony.

We have been here before

In a snapshot of history

Simply because

The rule of the law

Has been made a travesty again.

In the eyes of youth around the world

Lack of representation forces the hand

Of the oppressed.


In the long aftermath of colonization

Intergenerational pathology

Sears the soft whimpering of humid Missouri streets

Gone cold by conflict,

Thickened by diversified testimony

In Ferguson.


When the flames catch inside neighborhoods

A woman cries because her store has been mercilessly torched

While the nation gorges on harvested bounty

Needless chaotic retaliation for the killing.

Some syrupy good ol’ boys ignore

Centuries of low paid workers.

Keep on, keep on, keep on,

Wake to every morning

Intent upon change.


Leaders, where have you gone?

The true speakers, labeled “protestors”

Replace apathy with fervor, don’t turn away.

Those who walk the pavement are the new spiritual force

Eons beyond mere words written in ivory castles

Or by isolated people tapping keyboards

Spewing doubt.


The phrases once used are yesterday’s news.

The point of tipping has disappeared into the future,

You are here now.

This is the future.

Stay strong, keep moving,

Keep talking.

The ancestors

Hear you calling out

In the deep night of reflection.

Wake to every morning.



Journal prompt: Have you been paying attention to the incident at Ferguson, Missouri, USA? What are your views? Do you feel the grand jury rejecting an indictment is a good decision?


Copyright 2014 by Susan E. Rowland, all rights reserved

Photo above: Jesse in a moment of reflection while carving


Posted in memoir

Snapshot of a Tomboy Turned Matronly Type

arms up in a striped T

Part One:

I join classes just to listen to people talk. I like to hear them read stories and passages from texts-who cares if they know I’m even there, or if they like me? Ok, so I lied a little. Of course I want people to like me, but if they don’t– as comedienne Joy Behar says, “So what? Who cares?”

I am the fly on the wall, the elephant in the room. My arms are soft and comforting not all that toned up at this stage of life…I’m trying….but actually…whatever. My hugs are real and I never forget a kindness.  My hide is tough and spotted, wrinkled at the eye edges, and around the mouth. Women can relax around me, realizing that I’m no competition for their beauty, know what I’m sayin’?

 As an invisible matronly type, I like to linger in cafes and libraries, a traveler to nowhere, the voyeur of daily life. Nothing makes me blush.

Part Two

2)  They didn’t know what color to make me when I came down from heaven this time around, so they put freckles all over my skin and stuck a baseball cap on my head. I favored a striped T shirt and sneakers. When I was a kid, I ventured out constantly, even ran away a couple of times. I stood in doorways and watched people. Grampa had gotten on my case one Saturday because I came home overly quiet. He knew I’d been roaming.

I was fascinated by the men in the auto repair shop down at the village. They huddled together, smoking in overalls standing around in a cluster over the hood of a 58 Chevy coupe. With varied voices, some deep, some higher, they’d swear at the machinery.   I studied their big hands, their banter, and listened to their words. Once in a while a loud “son of a bitch” erupted  over a dropped wrench or a banged knuckle. No time to stop for minor bleeds.  The clinking and chunking of the tools accompanied Hank William’s lonesome sound on  the radio.  Oil and cigarette smoke coated the summer air in rural small town America.

I knew no better. My presence probably made them nervous. One of them called out, “What happened to you? Did you get sunburned through a screen?” I bolted and scampered home with my stinging ears and later sat with my head down as Grampa chastised me for hanging around places where grown men worked.

They called girls with pixie cuts tomboys. We had skinny bruised knees and an affinity for baseball gloves and forts and sliding into home base. But Lord how it changed. How could life be so cruel and intense when age 14 came around, turning my mind and body into a romance novel.


An excerpt from my memoir, aka memwah, aka memroid.


Journal prompt: Write a snapshot from a childhood memory. Take one scene and write a rough draft. Or,  you can also do a snapshot or vignette of an event or scene you observe in your daily life. Try to include sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feeling. There is no right or wrong. Be free to express and embellish. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation. That’s the joy of journaling.

copyright ©  2014 Susan E Rowland



Posted in animals, poetry, time, Writing for healing

Let Happiness Return

Let Happiness Return Today


Journal entry from 1979

Journal entry August 8, 2014, 8:01 pm


        In the long quiet heat

        the pinto pony stands in his postage stamp corral at the end of the road

         near the mailboxes.

         Some new people have moved in.

          I  feel so sorry

           that such a lovely animal is trapped in a small space. I wonder

           who rides him

           if ever?

           There is no room for him to run, no space for kicking up heels.

   So perfect, so lovely, and so alone.

     He waits each day for fresh hay and when I go by the house I never see people around.

     Where are the children who run out to greet such a beautiful creature?

       I call it pet slavery.

       Maybe I am wrong.

        Just maybe,

       I am wrong.


Journal prompt: Go through your past journals and pick something that you’ve written that you like. Then write about what is going on in your life right now. Take a ‘snapshot’ of one feeling, one incident, and write a poem or a few brief paragraphs about it.

Posted in Uncategorized

Wondering on the 4th

childs face

In a wash of 4th of July patriotism, I’m still wondering how people can boycott children fleeing poverty and warfare. Regardless of political ideation, one has to be reminded that those who would protest the feeding and care of any group of children, must themselves be the most evil and selfish souls on earth. Add a little extra to the collection plate on Sunday my fellow citizens. It won’t get you any closer to heaven. Plump the pillows, feather your nest. Sleep soundly now, for the ghosts of your own parasitic conscience will surely rattle their chains at breakfast.

To write safely is not to write at all.