Thoughts for today, #207 …. “JOHN LENNON: My Role in Society …. “!!

We have an obligation as artists to actively show people another way of looking at the world. There will always be pessimists who believe making war is the only way to have peace (Look how well that’s worked for us!).
We may have our down days, but deep inside, we will ALWAYS believe in humankind’s ability to make this world a better place. 😉 ❤
Peace, love & justice for all,
Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too. You can go to her Home page to watch it: Or go to YouTube & type in the title of her novel! 😉 ❤

It Is What It Is


~~July 23, 2015~~ 


“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel.

Not to tell people how to feel.

Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

John Lennon




#ThoughtsForToday #207 #RoleInSociety #MyRole #JohnLennon #PeopleForPeace #Quote #Artist #Poet #Role #TryAndExpress #WhatWeAllFeel #NotToTellPeople #NotAPreacher #NotALeader #ReflectionOfUsAll #GraphicSource #EvolverSocialMovement

#WeAllAreOne #ItIsWhatItIs #DrRex #hrexachwordpress


We ALL are ONE!! 


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Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers – From Brain Pickings

So much great advice on writing here! I suggest going through the list one day, then each day or so after, click on a link.  😉  ❤

Peace, love & great writing to all,


Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:                                                                            Or you can go to her Home page to watch it:  😉 ❤

From Brain Pickings: James Baldwin on Freedom and How We Imprison Ourselves

“We made the world we’re living in and we have to make it over.”

James Baldwin on Freedom and How We Imprison Ourselvesnobodyknowsmyname_baldwin.jpg

“Everything can be taken from a man,” Viktor Frankl wrote in his timeless treatise on the human search for meaning, “but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” And yet, as Adrienne Rich observed in her sublime meditation on writing, capitalism, and freedom, “in the vocabulary kidnapped from liberatory politics, no word has been so pimped as freedom.” How, then, are we to choose our own way amid a capitalist society that continually commodifies our liberty?

The peculiar manner in which personal and political freedom magnetize each other is what James Baldwin (August 2, 1924–December 1, 1987) explores in a piece titled “Notes for a Hypothetical Novel,” originally delivered as an address at the 1960 Esquire symposium on the writer’s role in society and later included in his altogether spectacular essay collection Nobody Knows My Name (public library).

Baldwin writes:

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be. One hasn’t got to have an enormous military machine in order to be un-free when it’s simpler to be asleep, when it’s simpler to be apathetic, when it’s simpler, in fact, not to want to be free, to think that something else is more important.

In a sentiment that calls to mind Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer’s piercing words on the writer’s responsibility as a bastion of freedom, Baldwin adds:

The importance of a writer is continuous… His importance, I think, is that he is here to describe things which other people are too busy to describe.

Perhaps the most vital things for the writer to describe, Baldwin argues, are the habitual ways in which we imprison ourselves and relinquish our own freedom. Exactly half a century after Lebanese poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran’s stirring reflections on the seeming self vs. the appearing self and shortly before Hannah Arendt formulated her enduring ideas on being vs. appearing and our impulse for self-display, Baldwin writes:

There is an illusion about America, a myth about America to which we are clinging which has nothing to do with the lives we lead and I don’t believe that anybody in this country who has really thought about it or really almost anybody who has been brought up against it — and almost all of us have one way or another — this collision between one’s image of oneself and what one actually is is always very painful and there are two things you can do about it, you can meet the collision head-on and try and become what you really are or you can retreat and try to remain what you thought you were, which is a fantasy, in which you will certainly perish.

Two years before he came to converse with Margaret Mead about reimagining democracy for a post-consumerist world, Baldwin observes:

We have some idea about reality which is not quite true. Without having anything whatever against Cadillacs, refrigerators or all the paraphernalia of American life, I yet suspect that there is something much more important and much more real which produces the Cadillac, refrigerator, atom bomb, and what produces it, after all, is something which we don’t seem to want to look at, and that is the person.

Echoing Eleanor Roosevelt’s clarion call for our individual role in democracy and social change, Baldwin adds:

A country is only as good… only as strong as the people who make it up and the country turns into what the people want it to become… I don’t believe any longer that we can afford to say that it is entirely out of our hands. We made the world we’re living in and we have to make it over.

Complement this particular fragment of the wholly invigorating Nobody Knows My Name with Susan Sontag on literature and freedom and the great Zen teacher D.T. Suzuki on what freedom really means, then revisit Baldwin on the artist’s struggle for integrity, the revelation that taught him to see, his forgotten conversations with Margaret Mead about identity, race, power, and forgiveness and with Nikki Giovanni about what it means to be truly empowered, and his advice to aspiring writers.

Here’s another Brain Pickings’ article:

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too. You can watch it on her Home page:  Or you can go to YouTube & type in the title of her novel! 😉 ❤

Thank you Frank Montesonti for inviting me to the AWP Conference!

I should have gotten this out last week when I got home from the conference, but such is life! As my mom used to say “Better late than never!”

A big shout out to Professor Frank Montesonti for getting us into the conference & paying us for the reading! Frank is the Dept. Chair Of the National University MFA in Creative Writing program which is a NO Residency on-line program. When I finished the program, I was so sad because I learned so much, I didn’t want it to end. Of course, I was also glad to finish my thesis and turn it in!  😉  ❤

Also a shout out to Colin Dickey who is back from his sabbatical in New York. Colin supported my Kickstarter campaign and recommended me to Frank when he was looking for published students to represent NU at the conference. He was my first thesis advisor & his advice was worth a lb. of gold to me!

Because of NU’s MFA program, I am a published author today!51UX4f00CBL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

It was a pleasure to finally meet my professors in person, as well as several students and some other staff from the program. I can’t wait to read Ann MaCanny’s novel when it comes out in the next month or so!

I also went to an amazing session of Central American writers! It gave me hope to see that some of them are trying to find a way to let the world know that war is hell! And that my government needs to stop funding wars, making them drag out for years!

Thanks to everyone for sharing your time & writing with me!




Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

National University MFA Program Reading and Reception at the AWP!

National University MFA Program Reading and Reception at the AWP!

Current NU students, Alumni, Prospective students, and the general public are welcome.

Friday, April 1st, 6:30pm-8pm Diamond Salon 10 in the JW Marriott Hotel.  900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

                                                       Featuring readings by:

ANN Y. K. CHOI was born in Chung-Ju, South Korea, and emigrated with her family to Canada in the 1970s. She holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies’ Creative Writing Program, winning the Marina Nemat Award for top final manuscript. Her first novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, will be published in May 2016 by Simon & Schuster Canada. Ann is currently completing her final year in the MFA Program at National University. A high school teacher, she lives in Toronto with her husband and her daughter.

WESTON OCHSE is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war.

SHERRIE MIRANDA is an author who writes in order to create more peace and understanding in the world. She is a teacher who has taught students from many countries of the world. She is also a life and writing coach and hopes to soon find a way to help seniors and troubled teens write their life stories. She graduated from National University’s MFA in Creative Writing in 2009 and published the novel she turned in as her thesis Secrets & Lies in El Salvador in 2015. Sherrie loves to travel and first traveled to other countries before finally deciding to see some of the U.S., places that foreigners she met had been to, but that she hadn’t. She is happily married to a teacher who identifies himself first, as a musician. They hope to someday travel together to places where she reads her novel(s) and speaks to people about writing and life while Angelo plays his piano and entertains the audience.

SARAH CARSON received her MFA in Creative Writing from National University in 2009. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Guernica, the Minnesota Review, the Nashville Review, and the New Orleans Review, among others. She is the author of three chapbooks and two full-length collections: Poems in which You Die (BatCat Press) and Buick City (Mayapple Press). Originally from Michigan, she currently lives in Chicago with her dog, Amos.

R.K. JOHNSON is a native Washingtonian and the author of two young adult historical novels, Gilded Girls and Gilded Debutante which explore the lives of elite African-Americans during the Gilded Age. After earning her MFA in Fiction at National University, R.K. went on to work as a technical writer and teach creative writing workshops to children in Washington, D.C. As a child R.K. began journaling and later realized what a huge role it played in self-discovery. It was the author’s passion for reading and writing that led her to follow her childhood dream of becoming an author. She loves sharing her experience with others and works to promote literacy, writing and publishing to girls around the globe. Her hobbies include reading historical fiction by candlelight, visiting local libraries and traveling the world. Visit the author’s website at to learn more about her work.

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:


The Times of My Life Or How I Came to Write This Novel

Originally Posted on March 26, 2015 by The Story Reading Ape

Sherrie Miranda is the name I have now & plan to keep.  😉  ❤

I was born in Northern Pennsylvania and grew up in Upstate New York. I have two brothers and two sisters. (Okay, maybe you don’t want me to go that far back?)

I studied Art and photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The photography studies ended up being important for writing the novel.

From there, I moved to New Orleans for no other reason than some people from Iceland and Norway were looking for someone to drive their “Drive-Away” car. I stayed there for seven years, and was very active in the anti-war movement, esp. protesting the U.S. funded war in El Salvador. I got back in school at the University of New Orleans and was studying Communications and Latin American Studies.

Later, I married the Salvadoran that I had gone to all the CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) meetings and protests with. When he moved to San Diego, I followed him, and worked at San Diego State University for the Latin American Studies dept. I went on to work with the homeless and undocumented at St. Vincent de Paul Homeless shelter and then with teens who had gotten in trouble with the law. Finally, I went back to school to get my teaching credential and began teaching Art, English and even Health. Eventually the Salvadoran and I got divorced and I moved to Los Angeles.

In LA, I continued teaching English and ESL, but also started working on my own spiritual growth. I became the English Learner Coordinator at Venice High School and ended up contacting a man who I had worked with back in San Diego. He proposed and I moved back to San Diego (Chula Vista) and started working on my MFA in Creative Writing with the intention of writing the story of the Salvadoran civil war.

Of course, I didn’t have time to work on the story until it was time to write my thesis. I wrote a draft that spanned fifty years and then had to find a way to tell the story in a way that was not an epic tale. That is when I decided to make my protagonist, Shelly, a photographer so instead of the story being a series of vignettes that had little relation to each other, I ended up having Shelly hear the secrets and lies of the Salvadorans while she photographed them. The majority of these people were part of one family.

This first novel was a long, hard road, not just because it was about a horrendous war, but also because it was very hard for me to make changes. I was happy with each version and it took a lot of research to decide to change the story into something that was easy to follow. I wanted to get it right so I continued to study Story Structure and other aspects of storytelling. Despite hiring two writing coaches who made many suggestions, I couldn’t make any changes that I didn’t absolutely decide that was what I felt in my heart needed to be done.

At every stage of the writing, I was sending out queries and did get a request for a partial, but I sent that partial in more than a year later (I thought I had deleted all dates, but later found a date was left in there.) I had almost hired several editors, but one was ripping people off. Another was charging too much and another got sick of my questions and told me not to contact him again.

Finally I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the editing. At that time, I didn’t realize that editing was only one of several expenses.

In truth, had I known the journey would be so long and difficult, I probably would have quit so I guess my obsessive optimism was a good thing, in this case.

Another writer who had published seven books took me under his wing. He gave me the name of an excellent Canadian editor whose prices were lower than most editors’ prices. He gave me the name of an Australian woman who did cover design who also did the formatting for me. Both of these people were extremely helpful. They answered my incessant questions, sometimes reminding me that I already had those answers in previous e-mails.

Now that I am finished, I am glad that I independently published the novel. It allowed me to tell the story my way and though I have a lot invested in the book, I will also make the bulk of sales should it take off.

SaLiES  51UX4f00CBL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

“Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is a love story between a young American woman and the Salvadoran people. It is a work of love and passion. It wasn’t until I finished it that I realized I have other stories to write, including the prequel to this novel and a couple of sequels.

I continue to live with my Filipino Hippie husband who is a teacher and a piano player and we have a great life together.

I hope that “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” will be used to teach history through literature in 10th grade high school classes or at the college level. I also hope to help seniors and troubled teens write their story.

There is so much to do and so little time! But I will do my best to make my dreams come true.


Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

No Regrets! Independent Publishing Is the Way to Go for Many!

No Regrets! Independent Publishing Is the Way to Go for Many!
Reposted with Categories & Tags

I have no regrets about independently publishing my novel! I’m glad I tried for 3-4 years to get an agent, but by the time I decided to self-publish, I knew it could take years to get an agent, years more for the agent to find a publisher, and even then, it takes another year before the book comes out! 51UX4f00CBL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
OR, it could take until NEVER. You COULD NEVER get an agent (esp. those of us who are UNKNOWN to the world). Your agent COULD NEVER get a publisher (whether she’s trying or NOT). The publisher could decide not to publish the book after all, THOUGH THEY COULD RETAIN the rights. This happens a LOT with movie rights, but is happening more and more with book rights too.
Plus, the publisher does NO publicity for you, BUT if you happen to get noticed, they make the majority of the profits.
Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. I know, because I am “faint of heart” and it has been a Baptism by Fire. Even still, I would not change a thing.
EXCEPT, I would be more careful what I asked and the things I said to the editor, cover designer, formatter, uploader & publicist I hired. I would get so nervous at times that stuff poured out of me that would have been better left unsaid.
My only recommendation is to BE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOUR BOOK IS READY FOR PUBLICATION. There is nothing worse than putting the book out there too soon. You will lose all credibility if you do!
Peace, love & justice for all,

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too: