Wkly Brief – Mental Health Awareness

Barbara Rath:

BFMHWinters are difficult for many people with mental illnesses. This article about Teen and Young Adult Suicide was a reminder that there are many who struggle daily.

Below is a post I wrote during Mental Health Awareness week. I thought it might be time to think about those who need are help.

If you are struggling with depression or considering suicide, please contact the USA Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255.

Originally posted on Toss the Typewriter:

Recently, in reading an article pointing out a Data Visualization error1, I came across a chart that compared the amount collected through social media’s Ice Bucket Challenge to the amounts collected for other “diseases that kill us”.

This chart stayed with me for two reasons:

First, it demonstrates how easy it is to produce a chart that completely misrepresents data.  For example, in my data table below, two out of three of the data points are equal each year.  In the chart I selected, although the length of each bar is correct, the volume makes it appear as though one data point is larger than the other.

Poor Chart Based on Abraham Lincoln’s quote.

The second and more important reason the chart stayed with me, was because Suicide was included in the list of deadly diseases. Suicide prevention’s typical fundraising walk, was ranked at the very bottom for charitable donations.

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Soccer World Cup 2015 Count Down

With Canada hosting World Cup 2015 in six locations from East to West, the Women’s World Cup 2015 should be spectacular.

While I would love to catch a USA game, Winnipeg and Vancouver are much too far. But the stars will be out on the East Coast too as Montreal and Moncton host one-third of the opening games.

Ninety-nine days left until kick-off…

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Tax Season Humor

TaxesAlthough it’s only March 1st, April is waving from around the corner. Ahh April, such a glorious month: mud, dirty snow, and taxes, taxes, taxes.  This morning I awoke determined to organize the chaos of the prior year.  Juice, coffee, and cereal (who needs cups and bowls) were my companions. The sun broke dawn, only to be obliterated by clouds.  Yes, a perfectly lovely day for taxes. I hope you will understand that I am keeping this post short: the tax forms have sucked all creativity from my brain.  But I don’t want to leave you entirely bereft, so I have scoured the web for tax anecdotes to keep you amused.  Here are some fun ones that should get you off track Continue reading

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Snowed In: Fear, Fraud, and Fiction Revisited

In honor of my second draft of my first novel being 99% complete, here’s a photo of our backyard, and a link to my first guest post, Fear, Fraud, and Fiction, from last October.

Now, I shall enjoy a cup of coffee and linger calmly over my taxes…


It will be July before this snow melts!


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Wkly Brief – A Perfect Vacation

It was so long ago, those twenty days of reading bliss.

On Christmas Day 2014, I set aside my writing and took a vacation.  For me, a vacation from writing meant I wrote every day, but instead of working on my novel, I wrote in my journal, sent letters and cards, created character sketches and scenes, and wrote short stories. I even spent a day going through photos of beautiful actors and actresses, casting the movie that will be made from my unfinished book.  I certainly hope Liam Neesen will be available to play Clare’s father, Avery.  I think he’d do a bang-up job.

But what I really did during my twenty day vacation from writing, was I read from my backlog of books.  For twenty days, the books were in every room, in the car, on my phone, on my Kindle. I traveled from space to space and absorbed the wonder of words.

  • Listening to Innocence, I was awed by Dean Koontz’s ability to describe scene and setting and paint fascinating characters.
  • I chuckled reading Rebecca Rule’s Live Free and Eat Pie.  Note to my kids: sorry, but six more generations have to be born in NH, then die, and be buried, before any of our descendents can claim to be natives.
  • Stephen King’s On Writing inspired me to continue to read and take a break from writing. I’m not sure that was his intention, but I was looking for any excuse.
  • Insight into epidemics was explored by Malcolm Gladwell in Tipping Point.
  • I powered through excellent books by New Hampshire authors. There was Eggplant Alley by David Cataneo, J.E. Seymour’s Stress Fractures, Live Free or Die  by Jessie Crockett,  and Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson.

Then my vacation was over. The books I had not read were stacked high and set aside. Once again, my early mornings and after-work evenings are being spent at my computer, typing words into paragraphs, paragraphs into scenes, and so on, and maybe, someday soon, I’ll be done.

And when I’m done, I’ll start it all over again.  First, I’ll pick up my books and read…

My stacked up titles include:

  • The Audible Titles,  Bleak House by Charles Dickens, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, and The Time Traveler’s Wife By Audrey Niffenegger.
  • These Twitter Authors are waiting on Kindle:  Thomas Holland and the Prophecy of Elfhaven by K. M. Doherty,  and Sciron by David Rashleigh (@DavidRashleigh)
  • And then there are the real books; the paperbacks and hard covers. When I read from them, their edges dig into my ribs, and the pages, suspended in my fingertips, wait to be turned.  These are the titles that call to me every day while I work on my second draft of my book:

Reading List

A strange set of titles, definitely. I can’t wait for my next vacation!

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