Your internal writing critic, and one way to overcome it

Everything You Wanted to Know about Freelance Writing

Paul tackles the topics of your internal critic and creativity and writing in a number of his books. You can read about the books available online at

Writing is considered an art by most fiction writers, one that involves a great deal of creative thought. For the rest of us—those who write business documents, articles, case studies, media releases, blog posts, social media content, web content and even non-fiction books—writing is a craft. However, even crafts involve at least a modicum of creative thinking, some types of non-fiction writing more than others, admittedly. Technical competency and understanding the structure of the document you are producing are important; however, unless you are producing a price list, it is difficult to imagine writing without a degree of creative ability. But before we look at creativity and writing, let’s look at something that can interfere with creativity, or what I call…

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flour tortillas

I have eaten flour tortillas like that in two places, at home when I was a boy, and in Beeville. Beeville is the county seat of Bee County, Texas, with a population around thirteen thousand. It is the birthplace of my Grandmother Clara but I have never been there before. I was driving back home from Houston by Route 59 and then there it was, Beeville.
Beeville is one of those one-street towns but it has character beyond its size. Many of the stately homes, commercial buildings, and schools in the area, including the Bee County Courthouse, were designed by architect William Charles Stephenson, who came to Beeville in 1908 from Buffalo, New York. Beeville is a National Main Street City.
It was noon when we passed by Beeville and decided to have lunch in Grandma´s hometown. We stopped at El Charro, a Mexican restaurant, right on Route 59. Lunch came with flour tortillas wrapped in aluminum foil. I was taking back to Memory Lane when I saw the thick flatbreads, pita-bread like. I only had seen tortillas like these when my mother used to make them for supper.
Googling Beeville, I see that it has, to some accounts, the best German restaurant in Texas. I must try that one next time I am in town.

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no way to go

There’s no avoiding it, Donald Trump is our next President. How did Trump trump the political establishment for the presidency? The System beat itself. On the one hand, The Democratic Party shenanigans disenfranchised many people that would have voted for a democrat ticket, and on the other hand, the republicans only had a bible-belt demagogue as a viable option. Trump won because, for some, he was a hope of change; for others, Clinton was worst; and the rest just gave up on voting altogether.

To start with, voting turnout in the US is around fifty percent and declining. Comparing the 2012 presidential election with this one in 2016 there is a sharp decline in participation. In 2012 around sixty-six million people voted for Obama, and sixty-one for Romney. In 2016 fifty-nine million people voted for Clinton, for a loss of seven million. Trump did better, he only lost two million people, probably because he attracted people that did not vote before to compensate the loss of ordinary republicans. The steady decline in voting participation is a symptom of the disconnect between the citizenry and the power elite.

The sharp decline in citizen participation is more telling if one remembers, that at the time of the primaries, the candidacy of Trump was expected to generate higher than expected voting turnout. At that time, the election seemed a likely slam dunk for the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders was getting a lot of traction with young voters, and despite a socialist label, his poll numbers were impressive. What the Democratic Party did? Rig the Democratic Party primary in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Did Clinton reach out for Sanders´ base once she was nominated? No, she laughed out the dissidents and run on the slogan: I’m not Trump. That suited Trump just fine and the theme “I´m not Clinton” served him well. Now that the election is over, The Democratic Party, instead of accepting its faults, blames the FBI for a half-hearted attempt to do what the FBI is supposed to do. The political establishment must recognize that people are fed up with corruption and power plays and change or be changed.

Trump wants to dramatically expand the NSA to spy on each of us, he’s called for “closing parts of the Internet,” and he has a complete disdain for the most fundamental safeguard for an open Internet: Net Neutrality. Once inaugurated, Trump will inherit the power to severely harm our rights in the digital age. The results will be felt the hardest here at home. I fear what could happen to members of our society under an oppressive surveillance regime.

Steve Bannon, former head of the ultra-conservative website Breitbart, is now Trump’s chief strategist. He’s called climate scientists and activists “scum-sucking slime balls.” “Talentless low-lives.” “Abject liars.”

You’re going to hear a lot about him in the coming weeks. But it’s not just Bannon.

Myron Ebell, one of the nation’s top climate skeptics, will oversee the EPA transition. Sarah Palin is in serious contention to become Secretary of the Interior. The whole transition team is packed with climate change deniers and representatives from the dirty energy industry.

While Trump continues to plan for his Presidency, we need to know what our supporters think of his shocking political ascension. Trump seems to be getting into hyper-TV-reality-mode with unpredictable consequences for the whole World. In these times of change, we need more informed citizen participation, not less.

Will you chip in $3 to jump-start an all-out organizing drive to build the power we need to defend our rights under a Trump administration?

Fight back before it’s too late. Stand up against Trump, Bannon, Ebell, and Palin. Donate today and keep the environmental movement standing strong.


[1] Donald Trump is about to control the most powerful surveillance machine in history. Source: The Verge
[2] Donald Trump Wants to Close Off Parts of the Internet. Source: Time
[3] How Donald Trump could dismantle net neutrality and the rest of Obama’s legacy. Source: Washington Post
[4] Trump: Black Lives Matter helped instigate police killings. Source: CNN

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Three Ways of Listening

Silvia Di Blasio

Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them… The animals had rights – the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.”
~ Chief Luther Standing Bear


The first thing we learn in life coaching is to listen. Not the listening to get information while the focus is still on us (my opinions, my assumptions, my judgement, my curiosity, my anticipation of what’s said,my preparation of my response); nor even…

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In the constant stream of accusations, mainly from Jews in the Diaspora, Israelis are labelled self hating, for daring to criticise their government or systems.  It is a betrayal they are told. 

Read more at:

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liberation theology

Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero

Monsignor RomeroA youthful Father Oscar Romero with Salvadorans
(Photo courtesy of the Archbishop Romero Trust)

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980) was a prominent Roman Catholic priest in El Salvador during the 1960s and 1970s becoming Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. After witnessing numerous violations of human rights, he began to speak out on behalf of the poor and the victims of repression. This led to numerous conflicts, both with the government in El Salvador and within the Catholic Church. After speaking out against U.S. military support for the government of El Salvador, and calling for soldiers to disobey orders to fire on innocent civilians, Archbishop Romero was shot dead while celebrating Mass at the small chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived. It is believed that those who organised his assassination were members of Salvadoran death squads, including two graduates of the School of the Americas.

Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino, O.P. (born 8 June 1928 in Lima) is a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest regarded as one of the principal founders of liberation theology in Latin America. He holds the John Cardinal O’Hara Professorship of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He has been professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe. He is a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, and in 1993 he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his tireless work. He has also published in and been a member of the board of directors of the international journal, Concilium.

The church has not formally embraced the progressive movement, but Gustavo Gutiérrez’s upcoming visit another sign of rehabilitation under Pope Francis

Gustavo Gutierrez and the preferential option for the poor

By John Dear SJ

Created Nov 08, 2011 by John Dear SJ

“I hope my life tries to give testimony to the message of the Gospel, above all that God loves the world and loves those
who are poorest within it.”

That’s the recent summation of his life by 83-year-old Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, founder of liberation theology and its central tenet, “the preferential option for the poor.”

In his introduction, Groody reviews Gutierrez’s three bottom-line principles about life and death at the bottom.

First, material poverty is never good but an evil to be opposed. “It is not simply an occasion for charity but a degrading force that denigrates human dignity and ought to be opposed and rejected.”

Second, poverty is not a result of fate or laziness, but is due to structural injustices that privilege some while marginalizing others. “Poverty is not inevitable; collectively the poor can organize and facilitate social change.”

Third, poverty is a complex reality and is not limited to its economic dimension. To be poor is to be insignificant. Poverty means an early and unjust death.

The Pope’s Holy War Against Liberation Theology

The election of a left-leaning former Bishop in Paraguay, and the growth of left movements around Latin America puts Pope Benedict and the Vatican on a collision course with Liberation Theology.

Nikolas Kozloff

Recognizing the pressing need for social justice, Liberation Theology was minted by Pope John XXIII to challenge the Church to defend the oppressed and the poor. Since its emergence, Liberation Theology has consistently mixed politics and religion. Its adherents have often been active in labor unions and left-wing political parties. Followers of Liberation Theology take inspiration from fallen martyrs like Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Dorothy Mae Stang, an American-born nun who was murdered by ranching interests in Brazil.

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About Egeria
Egeria, one of the earliest documented Christian pilgrims, visited the most important destinations of pilgrimage in the eastern Mediterranean between 381 and 384 AD. She wrote an account of her travels, which is among the earliest descriptions of pilgrimage travel to the Holy Land and beyond.

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Church attendance

Stories from Ghana – Open from james ault on Vimeo.

Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and many of the population of the Western hemisphere could broadly be described as cultural Christians. The notion of “Europe” and the “Western World” has been intimately connected with the concept of “Christianity and Christendom” many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.[14]

Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Europe.[15] Until the Age of Enlightenment,[16] Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, musicand science.[15][17] Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy,Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature etc.

Christianity had a significant impact on education and science and medicine as the church created the bases of the Western system of education,[18] and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.[19][20] Many clerics throughout history have made significant contributions to science and Jesuits in particular have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science.[21][22][23] The Civilizing influence of Christianity includes social welfare,[24]founding hospitals,[25] economics (as the Protestant work ethic),[26][27] politics,[28] architecture,[29] literature[30] andfamily life.[31]

Although the Protestant reformation was a religious movement, it also had a strong impact on all other aspects of European life: marriage and family, education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy, and the arts.[32]

The Gallup International, a self-reporting survey conducted via telephone, indicates that 37% of Americans report that they attend religious services weekly or near-weekly in 2013.[1] However, self-reporting surveys conducted online indicate substantially lower attendance rates,[2] and methods of measurement that don’t rely on self-reporting estimate even lower rates; for instance, a 2005 study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion found that just 22% of Americans attend services weekly.[3]). This compares to other countries claims such as 20% of Canadian Citizens, 15% of French citizens, 10% of UK citizens,[4] 8.8% of Australian citizens and 5.6% of Dutch citizens.[5] In the U.K., in 2011, an average once-a-week attendance in Anglican churches went down by 0.3% compared with 2012, thus exhibiting a stabilizing trend.[6] Previously, starting from 2000, an average rate of weekly church attendance in Britain was dropping down 1% annually. In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that 37% of all Americans attended church on a weekly basis.[7] In its turn, Gallup estimated the once-a-week church attendance of the Americans in 2013 as 39%.[8]

6 facts about South Korea’s growing Christian population

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Is holy war against Christians and Jews—“infidels”—a perversion of Islam? Here’s the evidence, from Islamic texts and history.

by Mark Hartwig, Ph.D.

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Below the Surface, Religious Tug-of-War Marks Chiapas Conflict

Indigenous beliefs, traditional Catholicism, and evangelical Christianity all play a part in the troubled region’s history

Sunday, Feb 15, 1998 2:00 PM 

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