The Literary Salon – The Listening Path – by Julia Cameron

When was the last time you had a really good sit-down soul-satisfying conversation with somebody? Notwithstanding the pandemic, it’s surely a given in today’s society that we have become a nation of non-listeners. We have a tendency to interrupt with our own opinion, or maybe we’re not really listening at all but thinking about what our reply will be. I blame this general lack of attention on the instantaneous nature of the internet. We have become so accustomed to conducting everything at high speed, that we’ve lost the fine art of conversation….in person….not by text or tweet. It takes time to have a conversation, and two people who are willing to truly listen to each other’s words. Someone may say they are fine, but you can tell from the tone of their voice or facial expressions that they’re not, and so you ask questions, and then listen carefully. Listening better was one my goals this year, so it was with great anticipation that I ordered Julia Cameron’s latest release, The Listening Path – The Creative Art of Attention.

Publisher’s Blurb from Goodreads:

The newest book from beloved author Julia Cameron, The Listening Path is a transformational journey to deeper, more profound listening and creativity. Over six weeks, readers will be given the tools to become better listeners—to their environment, the people around them, and themselves. The reward for learning to truly listen is immense. As we learn to listen, our attention is heightened and we gain healing, insight, clarity. But above all, listening creates connections and ignites a creativity that will resonate through every aspect of our lives.

Julia Cameron is the author of the explosively successful book The Artist’s Way, which has transformed the creative lives of millions of readers since it was first published. Incorporating tools from The Artist’s Way, The Listening Path offers a new method of creative and personal transformation.

Each week, readers will be challenged to expand their ability to listen in a new way, beginning by listening to their environment and culminating in learning to listen to silence. These weekly practices open up a new world of connection and fulfillment. In a culture of bustle and constant sound, The Listening Path is a deeply necessary reminder of the power of truly hearing. 

Why I Liked It: I didn’t. I don’t even know how it got published. Normally I wouldn’t review a bad book, because I would have quit reading it, but I finished this one out of respect for the author, the creativity expert and author of 40 books most of them truly inspiring, including her first, The Artist’s Way.

I read The Artist’s Way back when it was first published in 1992, and enjoyed it, although I’d have to say I found the Morning Pages a bit OCD. I even tried them once during a week’s vacation, but who has a spare hour in the morning to write out three long hand pages of stream of consciousness stuff. (This was in the days before computers, but she still requires they be hand written, and never in the evening!) Unless you were seeking clarity or trying to solve a problem, and even then wouldn’t you get sick of whining about it day after day, I just couldn’t see the point. For many people those early morning hours are often the most productive of the day, and for some, the only time they get any writing done at all. The Artist’s Dates and Meditative Walks were fun and helpful suggestions though. It was a twelve week program for discovering your creative self, which grew out of a writer’s workshop she taught, although the art can be any genre – writing, painting, music, etc. A best-seller at the time, the book has never been out of print and a few years ago they re-issued a 25th anniversary edition, but it can be found at book discount places, as can many of her other popular books on creativity. I own several of her earlier works and found them uplifting, especially for people who may not have anyone who encourages their writing, or even understands it. She’s revered as the Cheerleader of Creativity.

But back to The Listening Path:

The Publisher’s blurb sounded good, but this book was a disappointing read on so many levels.  It’s a slim 180 page volume, with a long 40 page introduction, which is basically a recap of The Artist’s Way, and six chapters, Listening to the Environment, Others, Our Higher Self, Beyond the Veil, Silence and Our Heroes, with the chapters getting progressively shorter, so that towards the end they were only 4 or 5 pages. The pages themselves had a weird format of very narrow columns (4 inches), designed to make the book appear longer.

The Beyond the Veil chapter (where she connects with the world beyond and her spirit friend Jane tells her not to second-guess herself, the book is going well), reminded me of a seance.  (Jane, if you’re listening, it was bad advice).  The listening to others chapter, which should have been the gist of the book, consisted of interviews with her artist friends and acquaintances, who may be perfectly nice people but are not experts in the field and had nothing interesting to offer other than their personal opinions. (I could just as well interview my friends about listening but then medical people like jargon and brevity. I inadvertently offended a newly minted colleague once when I said cut to the chase.)

There were lots of walks with her dog Lily (a cute but yappy little Westie terrier) in the Santa Fe area where she lives, constant weather reports on storms and hail, feeding the dog salmon, and something called gravlax to stop her from barking and annoying the neighbors.  “Lily! Salmon! Treat!” was repeated so many times, (pages 44, 45, 47, 56, 97 and whenever there was a thunderstorm), it got to be annoying.  She has a bad connection on her landline, (several pages on that including dialogue), feels “bludgeoned” by a friend’s dietary advice that she eat more protein, (ditto….sister you don’t know what a bad day is), worries about whether she can afford a house (yes her accountant says she can, and a maid too)….basically it was a whole lot of repetitive personal trivia, zero research and nothing much at all to do with the topic of listening. Unless you’re writing a personal blog, sharing anecdotes for a reason, and/or lead an interesting life, this kind of stream of consciousness stuff might better be left to Morning Pages, not published in a hardcover format for $50 Cdn ($36.99 US).

Her one and only novel, Mozart’s Ghost was like that too – I swear the protagonist lived in the laundry room, but after 43 rejections (page 19) what would you expect? Not that you can’t branch out and try something new, but sometimes an author can be good at one genre, but not others.  (I loved Frances Mayes series of Under The Tuscan Sun travel books, but her attempt at a chick-lit novel was painful).   If you like an author, you expect only good things from them, and are doubly disappointed when they don’t deliver.     

The Listening Path was written pre-pandemic, and while many people have been lonely during this past year, with no company and their only social outlet walking the dog, if you read between the lines this book spoke volumes about how solitary a writer’s life can be.  She needs to ditch the desert, move back to New York and re-read her own books for inspiration.

I didn’t sense too much joy in the creation- more of a pounding out the pages to meet a deadline. There was a lot of self-doubt which I don’t remember from her earlier works.   Was her stuff out of date (yes, Morning Pages)? There was much angst about teaching a course in London she has taught for decades – how can someone with 40 books be so lacking in self-confidence and so insecure.  I perked up at the mention of London though, it sounded much more interesting than walking in Santa Fe.

I even wondered if she was well, maybe even depressed? I read her 2006 memoir, Floor Sample, many years ago, and what struck me was what an unhappy life she had lead, because the memoir was such a direct contrast to her positive encouraging books.  She was married at one time to director Martin Scorsese (a man she declares she still loves – page 114), has a daughter and a grandchild and is a decades long recovered alcoholic.  I suspect AA inspired her writer’s workshops, hence the 12 week programs.   

Normally if I’m struggling with a book, I’ll hop on Goodreads and if enough people share my opinion, then I quit. (Too many DNF’s mean it’s not me, it’s you dear author, keeping in mind of course that some of those glowing reviewers may be receiving free copies).  But I soldiered on….it was readable, but barely, in a train wreck sort of way.

All in all, it was a timely topic which just didn’t translate, and I was left with a sense of disappointment, but you’ll be relieved to know there was a happy ending, as Lily got one of those anti-bark “citronella spray” dog collars. I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but apparently dogs hate the smell of citronella. Yes, that was how the book ended, with a short section entitled, “The Neighbors Rejoice.” I may pass that tip along to my neighbors.

This brings up the question – what does a publisher do when a best-selling author turns in a sub-standard manuscript? A good editor will hand it back to be fixed, or they may just publish it, take the money and run. It might be better to abandon it though and save the author’s reputation. Julia Cameron is 73 now, aren’t writers allowed to retire? (Another recent example of this is Jodi Picout’s latest, The Book of Two Ways, a four hundred page disaster which defies description, although I’ll try in a future blog). Same with the author – it’s hard to be objective especially when you’ve put so much work into something, and it’s also hard to admit when something just isn’t working. Books are subjective, but if the general consensus/feedback isn’t good, then you know there’s a problem.

If you want to read a good book by Julia Cameron, I would highly recommend this one.

Publishers Blurb:
 
Julia Cameron has inspired millions with her bestseller on creativity, The Artist’s Way. In It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again, she turns her eye to a segment of the population that, ironically, while they have more time to be creative, are often reluctant or intimidated by the creative process. Cameron shows readers that retirement can, in fact, be the most rich, fulfilling, and creative time of their lives.

When someone retires, the newfound freedom can be quite exciting, but also daunting. The life that someone had has changed, and the life to come is yet to be defined. In this book, Cameron shows readers how cultivating their creative selves can help them navigate this new terrain. She tells the inspiring stories of retirees who discovered new artistic pursuits and passions that more than filled their days—they nurtured their souls.  
A twelve-week course aimed at defining—and creating—the life you want to have as you redefine—and re-create—yourself, this book includes simple tools that will guide and inspire you to make the most of this time in your life:

–  Memoir writing offers an opportunity to reflect on—and honor—past experience. This book guides you through the daunting task of writing an entire memoir, breaking it down into manageable pieces. 
–  Morning Pages—private, stream-of-consciousness writing done daily—allow you to express wishes, fears, delights, resentments, and joys, which in turn, provide focus and clarity for the day at hand.
–  Artist Dates encourage fun and spontaneity.
–  Solo Walks quell anxiety and clear the mind.

This fun, gentle, step-by-step process will help you explore your creative dreams, wishes, and desires—and help you quickly find that it’s never too late to begin again. 

This book is geared more for middle-aged folks like me facing their second acts…..those reluctant souls who maybe always wanted to do something creative but lacked the courage to try. I read it back in 2016 and it was a big factor in starting my blog, although it was a whole year before I actually wrote anything on it, and another three months before I made it public. (My creative soul was a bit rusty). This book was an inspiring read, which truly delivered.

PS. Two out of three isn’t bad, and goes to show that even the best of writers have their duds. Do you think it is better to abandon a book which just isn’t working and move on to something else, or stick with it and carry on?

PS. I’ll be exploring more on the dichotomy between a writer’s books and their life, in a future blog about L.M. Montgomery, of the Anne of Green Gables series.

78 thoughts on “The Literary Salon – The Listening Path – by Julia Cameron

  1. www.rosesintherainmemoir.wordpress.com says:

    From the way you described this “listening” book, I would have sent it back to the writer for major revisions, were I her editor. You must have the patience of a saint to plow on in spite of all the trivia. As for memoir writing, I’ve read Mary Karr (THE ART OF MEMOIR), Linda Joy Myers (THE POWER OF MEMOIR), and Phyllis Theroux (THE JOURNAL KEEPER: A MEMOIR); and I highly recommend all three. In fact, I think I’d to return to Theroux’s book on keeping a journal as it was the book that got me to writing a blog. My daughter, Elizabeth, set up the WordPress website for me a while back, and I’m still enjoying this wonderful outlet for my “productions”!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      Jo, I loved Phyllis Theroux’s book – I used to enjoy her columns in Victoria, I think that’s where I first encountered her. The other two, I’ll check into. Julia Cameron has always woven bits of her life into her books but never like this. I blame the editors to some extend, but she said she was 71 in the book and she’s now 73, so maybe they asked for re-writes and she just wasn’t able to fix it. I don’t know how these things work with publishers, if they are allowed to cancel a contract or does it become a litigation matter? One of the Goodreads reviewers said she thought the topic more suitable to a long essay instead of a whole book. But yikes! I just checked the cover price was shocked to see it’s $50 Cdn ($36.00 US) – for such a slim book? I’m glad I borrowed my copy from the library.

      Liked by 1 person

      • www.rosesintherainmemoir.wordpress.com says:

        I’m glad you did, too, Joni. Saved yourself a pretty penny. Interesting that you and I both first met Phyllis Theroux through VICTORIA magazine. Last year or so, I finally gave up on this lovely magazine because their photograph kept shrinking making it difficult for me to see. Also, the essays and stories seemed “same old thing,” issue after issue. I missed the original editor, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I do like the older editions of Victoria better, and collect them if I can find them at garage sales or if someone’s cleaning out their old copies. I agree, a lot of it is the same old stuff. I wish they had more writing in them. I ordered a subscription a couple of years ago – which makes it a bit cheaper than buying it at the store, but the last 2 issues (which I haven’t read yet but plan to outside some day when it’s warmer), seemed to have a different quality of paper. I guess everyplace is trying to save money. I would not be at all surprised if they go out of business again.

        Like

  2. Anne says:

    Thank you for writing such an honest review of a book by an author who is revered in some circles. I found this a refreshing read. I know I am not a particularly good listener and have devoted much of my adult life trying to be a better one. This is an aspect which I am still getting to grips with for I tend to be a ‘cut to the chase’ person. The strange thing is that when I am ‘needed’ in terms of lending an ear to a friend or family member I am able to listen and focus. From what you say about this book, I think I would find it annoying too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Anne! I hope I didn’t come across too harsh, but I was really annoyed. And having just checked the cover price – $50 Cdn ($36.99) – I would have been even more annoyed if I had bought it instead of borrowing my copy from the library! My flaw when listening is interrupting, and I know it, but I blame that on work, mostly with my hospital job, as doctors and nurses are such busy people, you learned to be concise on rounds and get your questions in and answered quickly, so as not to waste their time. Then when I worked retail and you had to see so many people in a day, if someone “just had a question” and the story got too long winded, and you only had 5 minutes to spare as there were other people waiting you – I learned how to gather information quickly – just the facts mamn, like in the old detective tv shows! As for general conversation, I know I used to be a much quieter person years ago, more of a listener than a talker, and I would like to get back to that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • annieasksyou says:

        This is all so timely for me, Joni! Re: communication per se, my latest post is about the multitalented Alan Alda (of M*A*S*H fame), who has devoted decades now to enhancing communication—among individuals and importantly, between scientists and the public. He has two super podcasts on these topics that I listen to a lot: “Clear+Vivid With Alan Alda” and “Science Clear+Vivid.” They’re fun and informative.

        And I had just read about Julia Cameron’s book for writers, which seemed to me—sight unseen—precisely as you described it. So you confirmed my belief it would be a waste of time.

        This post is also just chock full of fun and information. Thanks for doing the “hard reading”—so we don’t have to! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Thanks Annie. I did read your latest blog, but didn’t comment as it was late at night, and I must be the only person who has never seen a single episode of MASH! He sounds like a man with a mission to do good. I hope my review didn’t sound too harsh, but geez it was a waste of money for $50. Maybe the topic of listening is better suited to an article than a whole book. I did enjoyed her other two books though. A cold rainy weekend ahead for us, but I get my vaccine next week – yea!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean says:

    Interesting, interesting. I read The Artist’s Way shortly after it was published. I did the 12 weeks of work and admit that it gave me the courage, years later, to write a blog. However I’ve never read anything else by Cameron and am sorry, but maybe not surprised, that she’s lived a life that is in contrast to the positivity in her most famous book. I’m a good listener, so maybe I was never destined to read this book anyhow.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Joni says:

      Congratulations on doing the coursework Ally! I admit I never did any of the exercises, but I still found her books uplifting, especially for those who don’t have any family or friends who are supportive of their writing, or even understand it. She’s kind of like the cheerleader of creativity! There were very few excercises in the listening book – in retrospect it probably made for an article, not a whole book. And Yikes the price! $50 Cdn. 36.99 US – for a slim 180 pages. You can find some of her earlier books on bookoutlet.com for $8 and I think this one will be joining it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave says:

    Fascinating review, Joni. You pulled so much critique from a book you clearly didn’t enjoy, I’m impressed you paid so much attention as you read. Perhaps you were just giving the author her due for her previous better books. I’m on the fence with your P.S. question. My first thought was of an actor/actress where it seems every movie they do is a pleasure to watch. I’ve caught myself saying, “I’d watch anything they act in”, but maybe that’s a little too accommodating. Finally, I’m sorry to see your teaser about Jodi Picoult. “The Storyteller” is one of the best books I’ve ever read, so naturally I assume anything she writes is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Dave! You know me, I like to be thorough. I guess I paid so much attention when I was reading, because it was so very annoying, so I started to mark the pages where the “Lily! Salmon! Treat!” appeared! Plus it was $50 Cdn ($36.99 US) for 180 pages, way overpriced IMO. I know what you mean about the actors – I’d watch anything Tom Hanks is in – he’s just so consistently good. Same with Meryl Streep. I loved The Storyteller – in fact I remember remarking to someone that I was in awe that someone could come up with and weave together a story like that. And I think that’s what she intended to do in her latest, but it just didn’t hang together. The Book of Two Ways involved parallel universes, a death doula, Egyptian history and archaeology and a woman trying to decide between her old boyfriend and her current husband. There were pages and pages devoted to explaining hieroglyphic symbols and ancient tombs none of which had anything to do with the story – it was like attending a lecture you had no interest in. Same with the Artificial Intelligence, and the death doula part – kind of like a hospice job I guess? I guess living in parallel universe is popular now (The Midnight Library), but it was too ambitious an undertaking. I love all her other books but sometimes her endings can be a bit hard to take, (I got so used to her killing people off in the last few pages that I stopped reading her for awhile), but this was so ambiguous, you were just left shaking your head and wondering which guy did she choose? I think she probably got a big advance, and her books are always money makers, and the publishing business is so shaky anyway, they just went ahead with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave says:

        Looks like we could exchange book recommendations and be content for a long time. “The Midnight Library” was an original concept which carried the book, even if it was slow in parts. Really enjoyed that one. You’ve already convinced me with “The Book of Two Ways” just with the detail in your reply. Not interested 🙂

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      • Joni says:

        I almost gave up on The Midnight Library after 50 pages but fellow blogger LA, (of Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50), persuaded me to stick it out, and I’m glad I did. I can’t believe I waded through 400 pages of The Book of Two Ways, so no I couldn’t recommend it. It’s the only bad book of hers I’ve encountered though. Her previous one, Small Great Things, was one of her best so far. I’m going to do a recap of the books I’ve read in the past pandemic year sometime in the next month or two, A Reading Sabbatical, where I’ll highlight some of my favorites…..but not in as much detail as this one!

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    • Joni says:

      All of her other books that I’ve read over the years have been good reads, that’s why I was so surprised by this one. I hope I didn’t sound too harsh. We know how much work goes into a book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • brilliantviewpoint says:

        Author’s can’t be on target all the time. Also, life changes… maybe she had to get a book out there FAST and this was the result. You weren’t harsh, you were honest. Maybe she’s tired of the types of books she’s been writing… you know the ones that help and heal and SELL. For me the title was a dead giveaway that I would not be interested. I’ve listened my entire life, now at my age, I tell! LOL – just kidding, but you know what I mean. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Yes exactly! I grew up in an Irish Catholic family where let’s just say the dinner table discussions were lively. And I had many Italian friends in high school.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Schaub says:

    Well, at least you gave this book a shot and stuck with it Joni … that is admirable. I’ve never read “The Artist’s Way” and funny I just heard a story on one of the medical minute stories they have on my all-news station where they said that keeping a written journal is one of the best things you can do for yourself. But, like you said in this post, it has to be a written journal. Well, you shared your review and likely none of your readers will be hopping onto Amazon or queuing up at the bookstore to buy this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I tried keeping a journal years ago, but found it tedious, and I never ever read back through them so it wasn’t like it was even a record of my life. I guess I prefer typing, as I can type fast! I think the idea of the Morning Pages was if you complained enough about a situation then you would change it, but I don’t think that’s the case for many people. I’d rather get the extra hour of sleep. I do generally enjoy her books, as they are uplifting and encouraging for writers and creators, especially if you don’t have anyone in your family or friends who encourages your writing, or even understands it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • www.rosesintherainmemoir.wordpress.com says:

        I still keep a regular garden journal, recording events in my garden partly as a record to refer back to. Comes in handy. My reading journal, on the other hand, I’ve sorely neglected the past year or so, even my personal journal. I just couldn’t write cohesively about this pandemic year. For shame, because I’m sure some of my grandchildren would love to read in the future how Grammy “survived.” Or maybe not. I wish now I had asked my grandmother about those years during the Spanish flu pandemic, or perhaps I really didn’t know about it until I studied the history of that time when I was at university. Not the same, of course; not like someone’s personal experience of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        You’re absolutely correct Jo about that reasoning for keeping a journal, as a family history. I have my father’s five year diary from the year my parents got married, and it’s interesting to read his daily entries – a connection to the past. Unfortunately he’d given up on it by the time I was born. My grandmother lived through the Spanish flu also, in Holland, and I never asked either, or about WW1, although she said once her family hid refugees. The local heritage museum asked for people’s submissions of living through this pandemic, as they had so few personal stories or records about the Spanish flu. I’ve thought about keeping a gardening journal, as I see them in the stores sometimes and they always look so nice. My reading journal has deteriorated into just a list of books I compile once or twice a year mostly from the library slips I tuck into it, so I have an annual total number of books read. I used to list a bit about each one…..Good intentions I guess….and now blogging takes up my time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I kept a diary when I was young but that was a fad I think that all teenaged girls did back in the day … hopes and dreams and all that, but never a journal. I don’t even think I had to do that for a school assignment when I had journalism classes in high school and college.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I kept a diary when I was 11…got it for Christmas, wrote in it for a few months then quit. I still have it in the basement, somewhere and it amused me that the whole month of January seemed to be taken up with skating on the schoolyard ice rink at lunch hour, something I don’t even remember doing, but we must have had a rink that year. I did not lead a very exciting life as a child…..so I don’t think I had much to write about. I don’t think journaling was in when we were in school….not even memoir writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I didn’t have an exciting childhood either – I was an only child so no trying to say “well he/she got to do it.” I was raised pretty strictly. I did have a diary, a pink one with a key. I can remember finding it years later and I had written “I wore my new Jeepers to school today and someone stepped on them to get them dirty. Mom yelled at me for getting them dirty.” Pretty heady thoughts. 🙂 Yes, journaling and memoir writing was not a thing when we were growing up or even as young adults. That’s okay; documenting your every thought takes a lot of energy and we would have abandoned it as we didn’t have time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That’s it right there – journaling your every thought every day takes too much time! Mine had a key too, but my sister still managed to get into it and read it, which is probably another reason I quit. I think our childhoods were more full of routine than kids today, but there was a feeling of security and safety in that too. Oh Linda, I hope I don’t have to drive through snow to get my vaccine this week! I put all the car kit stuff away….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I wonder why diaries are no longer a “thing” for young girls – guess they tell all their secrets to their friends via Facebook or Instagram now. I never had any of the drama these young kids have – not only strict parents, but I was more about going to school and reading back then – in the Summer I played with my friends but during the school year, I only saw them while we were walking back/forth to school and at recess, maybe on weekends after schoolwork was done. That was it. As to this snow on the way, I was feeling lucky that the snow does not arrive until late tomorrow, so I should get my COVID shot done and a little grocery shopping, then come home unscathed. But, I heard the 7:00 p.m. news and we might have rain/flurries tonight! I could always walk, as it’s just a 3-mile roundtrip, but still. The other two stations don’t say anything about snow/rain so hope they are correct. Good luck Joni – I hope you don’t get the call until Thursday – here they say it will warm to 60 and 62 on Friday. Right now they are saying the snow will only be on grassy surfaces and gone by Thursday (60 degrees) – hope they are correct about that!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Joni says:

        Shot done and dusted…..arm a bit sore tonight, maybe worse tomorrow? Perhaps a little tired tonight, but I had my echo yesterday and did groceries too, so have been out a lot, despite lockdown…..all essential stuff though! Snow started after I got home from the vaccine clinic. I hope you got your shot and errands in before it started too. Fellow blogger Eileen posted today about her contract job observing breeding habits of bald eagles which you might find interesting. Here’s the link:
        https://myricopia.com/2021/04/20/one-way-or-another/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi Joni – glad you got the shot and got home from your echo test, vaccine and groceries before the storm. It was a good feeling getting it all accomplished wasn’t it? I was later than usual getting back home but worked over the weekend, so figured I’d take that time and come back later to get grocery shopping done. I was worn out last night just from running around and a walk in the Park before the shot and groceries and my arm felt like someone used it as a punching bag – yikes! But this morning, I had no intention of going anywhere. We got 3.3 inches of snow at Detroit Metro airport and 4.2 inches of snow in the next city over from me. Most has melted. I stayed in to go thru Sunday’s pics and make an Earth Day post for tomorrow. So I felt okay, but very tired, had chills and a sore arm all day … fine, I could deal with that, but later in the day, while still at work, a terrible headache came on suddenly and then flu-like symptoms. I had bought the smallest bottle of Tylenol before getting the first COVID shot – I generally never take it, but wanted it here and handy. I did not take any and I didn’t even take any vitamins today and just had Goldfish crackers and water in case something bothered my stomach as nausea and flu-like symptoms were one of the side effects for shot #2. I NEVER get sick and can’t remember the last time I had flu-like symptoms. I feel a little better now but not going out tomorrow, except to run the car as it’s cold and didn’t run it today. And once I’m done here, going to try to get to bed earlier. I am more awake now than I was all day. I was worried about the side effects. Yesterday the pharmacist or tech or gave me the shot, handed me the vaccination card and said “you can get it laminated to keep it in good shape – some of the office supply stores are doing it for free.” I said I knew that and had cold laminating sheets at home but was not going to do it as they will probably want to document the booster shot. He said it is not confirmed we will need a booster shot for the Moderna (mine) or Pfizer as of now. Hmm – that’s not what I’ve read, but he’s got inside info I’d assume. The card is a little big to put into a wallet isn’t it? Why didn’t they make it wallet-sized? And, if they have an app to show you’ve been vaccinated, I’ve got a problem as I don’t have a smart phone. I have to get a new phone as beginning in February 2022, AT&T will not support a 3G phone. I just had to get a new phone three years ago as AT&T did not support a 2G phone. What a racket!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I’m sorry to hear you had all those symptoms, but not surprised as it was Moderna? I got Pfizer, which seems to have fewer side effects, but remember it was only my first shot. I had a sore arm overnight and a bit today, and maybe a bit tired but that’s it. It’s not necessarily bad that you have those side effects though, as it can be a sign it’s working and your immune system is reving up. To have zero side effects to me is a bad thing, as it means your body doesn’t recognize it as foreign thing. It’s very puzzling, because Moderna and Pfizer have similar technology. It makes me wonder if the Pfizer is as potent a shot – as it needs colder storage maybe it looses some potency in the unthawing and preparation? Who knows what is correct, these are just all my thoughts trying to analyze why? I do think your pharmacist is wrong though, we will need boosters eventually because the strains have mutated and they will have to cover those with a booster at some point. We didn’t get a wallet card, just a small slip of paper printed out and a larger one emailed to us, with the lot number and date and brand etc. We had a couple of inches of snow overnight but all melted now. I did not walk as it was too cold, and I am giving my immune system some down time to process the shot. Hope you went to bed early!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi Joni – I feel 100% better today and I walked three miles this morning as I felt good when I got up after nine hours of sleep. (But I did not eat or drink first and I took the car … just in case.) I agree with you about having a reaction to the shot and I had read that at some point and the pharmacist or tech who gave me the second shot said “you probably heard that you might have more symptoms from this shot – not to worry at all and that is good.” So I feel good to know that, despite feeling crummy yesterday. I was still a little tired this afternoon though, despite that nine hours of sleep. And my arm is red and swollen, but I can at least raise it now. The arm is worse than the first shot – but no chills, flu-like symptoms today thankfully. You get the wallet card after the second shot then? My first shot had a label affixed to the card with the dose info and the second shot was handwritten. I, like you, believe we’ll need a booster … too much uncertainty with the variants. I listen to Dr. Sanjay Gupta as I follow him on Twitter and his CNN interviews are interesting. I’ve learned a lot about COVID from him. (I’d still like to read his book on a sharper brain.) Anyway, I’m not going to laminate it and I’m not going to any events which would need showing the card. I won’t go to any 5Ks which are with people this year or in the future … I like the virtual better. But I know you can buy a plastic sleeve (4″ X 3″ inches) that fits over the vaccination card and the one I will get has a zip-lock top and holes at the top that clip to a lanyard. I will order it next time I get something from Amazon before you can’t buy them. I would not think you’d need to produce it at a grocery store down the road, but who knows? I heard an immunologist on the radio today and he says we WERE getting shots in arms at an admirable pace, but since the J&J issue, not so much as people are scared. And, more fake cards. So here in Detroit where they are running two large COVID clinics, each for an 8-week period and administering Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, suddenly people are not clamoring for appointments. They were having walk-ins as they had 7,500 extra vaccines today! They think some people are content to go with the first dose (80% coverage) and not bothering with a second dose (for the 95% coverage). Biden at one time said he would rather have too much vaccine on hand, than not enough … perhaps that will be the case and in one Southern state (Alabama or Arkansas … can’t remember) they have very few people registering for shots. Maybe they figure they are safe but strangers go to their state.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That’s good to hear you are feeling better and got nine hours sleep! I had only a sore arm and minor fatigue, back to normal today. Our second shots won’t be until August so I wonder if it will not be as bad as our immunity might have waned by then? We are not doing wallet cards here, for any type, just the printed paper. I think they feel there will be too much discrimination making people produce proof when so many are still waiting to get a shot. I had hear that US demand had leveled off – I think Biden is willing to give us some of that unapproved Astra again. I watched the news tonight and the India/Pakistan strain sounds bad, so Canada banned incoming flights for a month – a wise move. I read and enjoyed the Dr. Sanjay Gupta book on brain health, a worthwhile read, might review it here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s good you had little side effects … just like me the first time. I have felt like myself since Thursday morning, so feel lucky about that, though my arm is still sore, but I can live with that. I forgot you don’t get the second vaccine until August – wow. You are 80% protected from COVID after 14 days with either Pfizer or Moderna, so that’s pretty good at any rate. Maybe by August, those vaccines will contain something aimed at preventing these newer variants? I heard about the India/Pakistan woes on the news this morning and it sounded dire. I didn’t know you read the book – I will look forward to reading your review. Dr. Gupta He posted a few of his interviews when it first published and I listened to them. He is a big deal around here as he was born/raised here in Michigan and went to med school at University of Michigan, so he is often featured in local news pieces.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Actually Linda I spoke too soon. I have a weird rash on my one leg which came up after a hot bath tonight, and I am a person who NEVER ever gets rashes, so I googled it and they said it is a possible side effect and not to worry as long as it’s not within 4 hours of the shot, which it’s not as I’m on day three. Some people have had full body rashes. I wonder if the hot water brought it on – it looks like 3 or 4 itchy welts on my calf but just on the one leg. I guess it’s a sign that my body is mounting an immune response according to the articles. I think I need a good nights sleep. I did feel tired today.

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Wow – I did not know about the rashes as a side effect. Now my friend Carol is susceptible to hives and will get bumps and welts so bad that in her words “she has to take a swig of Benadryl” and has had to go to the E.R. on occasion. They do not know what causes it – it is not a food allergy, as it sometimes happens when she is in the house and has not eaten or drank anything recently. So, her doctor was concerned and I think she was to go to a hospital setting to have the shot and they monitored her closely. Yes, that’s good you have a good immune system and will mount a defense – the second time is worse because your body wants to get rid of the intruder that has infiltrated the armor it put up … that is how I heard one doctor describe the second shot side effects. That doctor said the pneumonia shot part two may cause a similar effect. Great – I have that this September … something to look forward to. I’m fine with no fatigue but that’s just today. Hopefully since you have four months between shots, your second shot side effects will be as mild as the first time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        The welts are better today, less itchy anyway, but I’m still tired and have that strange feeling sometimes, just for an hour or two in the afternoon and then I go and take a nap or a walk….it’s not bad, just weird.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Glad the welts are better Joni. My arm is still red (rash at injection site) and about four inches below – that happened the first time too, but not until the 8th day But I am still incredibly tired. I did not walk a lot today and I have to go to bed now as I can’t keep my eyes open … I have a lot of comments/replies from what I commented on last night when I caught up in Reader but I’m going to have to do them tomorrow night (which is bad as I do a post tomorrow which I did this afternoon after I got home and did some laundry too).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Hope you got some sleep. I’m feeling more normal, at least the strange weird feeling has gone away, but am tired too….been staying up too late. Forget the blog for a bit and rest when you are able.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I did get seven hours last night and don’t want to get to bed too late as I have an 8:05 allergist appointment tomorrow morning … then no stores or appointments for at least three weeks. I need to get some walking in and at least seven hours a night. This last week wore me out to be honest. Tonight before I got here, I heard from a high school friend who told me a mutual friend of ours (born in November ’56) had a stroke last week. She is still hospitalized. Told myself “Linda – you’ll walk more, sleep more, eat properly and step away from the blog more to avoid sitting so much.” It is difficult to do the last item because I’ve been better stepping away since January 1st, but still sitting at the kitchen table at least ten hours a day between work and blogging, etc. and that is just not good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Good luck with your appointment. I need to get a few groceries/treats for mom today, and then no outing for me until Mom’s eye appointment next week. Re stroke…that is scary. I hope you get up and move around every few hours when you are sitting too much. We need to take care of ourselves!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I didn’t have the physician’s assistant today, just a “shot girl” so she didn’t tell me when to come back and I was not going to return next week. I skipped last week due to the COVID shot. So I booked myself for three weeks from today. I haven’t sneezed the entire season and this is the height of Spring allergies – same as last year. I’m using OTC Alavert and wearing a mask. So I have no appointments for three weeks unless something happens to the contrary which I hope not. Yes, the stroke is scary indeed and today I was reading some of the comments by her husband to well wishers and they traveled all the time. He will retire in a few years (or planned to) and she retired because they spent so much time traveling (Europe at least once a year, a couple of cruises a year and many road trips as they visited states with lighthouses which was his hobby). She had a cottage up North from her last marriage and they sold it over the Winter and got a larger cottage and have been getting A/C, some outside amenities and that took up the first few weeks of April. Someone commented “hopefully you and Cherie will be on the road and back to your trips again soon” and he responded “Thanks, we hope we can return to those adventures but it is going to be a long road to getting back on the road.” Doesn’t sound good from that statement, but he said she is determined to get back to normal. I am going to take better care of myself – I’ve been doing much better getting to bed earlier but have slipped up a little lately. Must do better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I went to bed shortly after I wrote this … I got 7 1/2 hours of sleep but was still nodding off most of the day. It was humid in here due to the rain and a little warmer, but not horribly stuffy in here. And doesn’t it seem like once your eyes are heavy, you never are fully awake afterward? It is with me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        It very well could be Joni. That is a lot – two in one day. I did not walk yesterday as it rained in the morning. Rained this morning too, but I went out to run the car and just walked in the neighborhood as it had stopped. But it wasn’t a long walk and after sitting here since 11:00 a.m. (and a very boring work day) I had to get up and walk around a few times. Just too much sitting. We have 40 mph winds tomorrow. Weather is worrisome these days. I have followed Anne and Eilene. 🙂 You are right, I didn’t intend to follow anyone else and followed another blogger last week – she doesn’t post too much but I saw her comments on Andy (a UK photographer)’s site and I always agreed with what she said. I have one more person to follow … she is very nice, followed me and she asked if she could make an online puzzle out of my squirrel and duck photo. I didn’t want to follow right away (thought that would be rude). I really liked Anne’s post

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I wanted to get one ahead as I have to take mom for her eye appointment next week. The Avon one took me 4 hours today, the second one was just a baking one, so fewer words and less time. But even uploading and editing the pics is time-consuming as you know. I haven’t walked for two days and I find if I skip a day I don’t sleep as well that night. Yesterday it got too late, and today it rained. They keep talking about a wind warning but all is calm so far.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know – doing long posts take a lot of time and I’ll vouch for that. I say I won’t make a long post but when I have all my photos sorted out and the “story” that goes with them, I feel I can’t cut anything out. Oh well. Hope everything goes well for your mom’s eye appointment … is this the one that was originally scheduled for last year in the early part of the pandemic? I didn’t walk Wednesday morning as it rained; Thursday it rained but it stopped so I went an ran the car and just walked in the neighborhood. Today they said no rain until 10:00-ish … it rained at 9:00-ish and I got caught in it unfortunately. We were supposed to have 35-40 mph winds this afternoon but I don’t think that happened thankfully.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Isn’t that strange….we had high winds all day but no rain. Sun came out around 12 and it was nice enough but windy but I did a short walk anyway. Yes her appointments were cancelled last spring but she did see the eye specialist last November – this is just her regular 6 month checkup and I checked with them and all appointments are on as scheduled. I guess the hospitals and clinics have learned to live with COVID.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I guess I forgot your mom had the appointment in November. My mom went twice a year for her Humphrey Fields test and once a year for the eye appointment. When I was at the dentist, the hygienist told me that the Michigan Dental Association has mandated that dentists are not going to have to close again, no matter how many variants there are, because they have honed the protective measures to perfection. Thought that was interesting. At the onset of the pandemic, dentists here closed from mid-March to the last week in May. I know hair salons closed in mid-March, but can’t remember when they returned, but there was a lot of complaining because dentists opened before hair salons … people were snarky and said that is because our Governor’s husband is a dentist.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Dentists are open here and have not been closed since the first wave last year…..I have an appointment in late May. But hairdressers have closed since Boxing Day, except for one brief two week period the end of Feb, when I was able to get a cut and color. Needed badly again as I go every 8 weeks. People need the dentist, hair is not really essential, although I don’t think it’s very high risk either. I hope they reopen May 20 here….our numbers have come down nicely with the lockdown. How about Michigans? Are they still high?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        We are still highest in the country for new COVID cases and deaths. Not great and worrisome with this Indian variant too. I cut my hair in October and again in April. I just cut the ends but Jill layers it in long layers – I’m not messing with that, but it needed trimming for split ends. I like how she cut it as it’s got more body with the undercutting/long layers. I wanted to get highlights again, but really don’t care for the color she was putting on it the last year or so – when I had it highlighted years ago, it looked natural. I’m not gray except for some strands throughout, but she said we couldn’t highlight, but had to do highlights/lowlights – the colors she used were too stark a contrast … my hair is medium brown and suddenly I had blonde (a yellowy-looking blonde almost gold) and a darker brown which I didn’t like. I looked like a tiger and told her she needed to tone down each color as it was not natural. But she didn’t. So I’m not eager to return, but would like to get the cut. But I don’t like the gray strands at all. A woman at the Park goes to Jim (Jill’s husband) and after she was fully vaccinated two weeks ago returned for the first time since the pandemic began. It is just Jill and Jim and it is a small shop. So, they cannot be in the shop at the same time, even though they are married and take their temp every morning before work. So one of them at a time and one customer at a time. I imagine their business has taken a major hit. Jill often had time to do a couple of cuts/blow dry customers while my highlights were on. Jim sometimes was there same time as her, not always. They adopted a little boy about four years ago and they home schooled him from day #1, so they sometimes brought him to the shop and had him upstairs or one would stay at home. They have four grown daughters, always wanted a boy and someone left a baby in a basket on their pastor’s door stoop on a Sunday morning. He told the congregation – they asked to take him and possibly adopt him, which they have.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That’s a nice story, but I can’t imagine anyone leaving a baby on a church doorstep nowadays. I never get highlights, just a root touch up with the same light brown/blonde ash color – I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s tending towards blonde but not bright, natural looking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I can’t either, but here in this city, someone put a baby in a trash receptacle behind a store recently. I don’t know if they ever determined if the baby was already dead when it was deposited there. In the U.S., you can leave a baby in many types of “safe havens” – no questions asked. Police, fire stations and other places are all considered “safe havens” – so yours is an overall color then? That would look more natural then these lowlights/highlights … I just did not like the look, but I liked the cut and Jill too. I don’t have to decide right away and I am in a hat six months out of the year so that partly was the reason for my questioning getting them at all. I am so behind here – I did some Reader last night and no comments … thought that would be better, but not so sure. It sometimes seems hopeless for catching up. I was just researching about the cicadas. I don’t know whether to buy some netting for my ornamental Japanese Weeping Laceleaf Maple. I did not put netting on it in 2004 and it was fine – it was planted in 1985. Not sure what to do and came here instead (like Scarlett O’Hara). This is the first day in almost four weeks I saw zero ants. I am excited and hope they are gone for good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        As I pressed “send” I remembered the blog post you sent me – it was very interesting Joni. Thank you for sending it. How interesting to spend that time studying the habits of bald eagles. I go on Explore.org to look at different web cams of various birds/critters and locales. One such locale is the Decorah, Iowa eagle nest, very high up and they have month-old eaglets. They’ve shown them since day one and how the mom feeds them and nurtures them. Very interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. www.rosesintherainmemoir.wordpress.com says:

    Why, yes! Blogging is a kind of journal keeping, isn’t it? I had thought of that. Perhaps after I get my gardens back into shape, I’ll resume a memoir type of journal reflecting upon this past year. It’ll be a good exercise in mental and emotional catharsis, I suppose. A year ago, I suffered from so many bad dreams, even a few nightmares, that I kept trying to run away by burying myself in Netflix movies and playing computer Solitaire games — in other words, wasting time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      That’s a great idea Jo! Better to write from a retrospective point of view, after we’re past the worst and your mind has had time to process it all. I keep comparing this spring to last, and really for us here nothing has changed much – more fear and continued lockdowns. Yet I see light at the end of the tunnel…if they can only get the vaccines in faster….

      Like

      • www.rosesintherainmemoir.wordpress.com says:

        Much better in many areas “south of the border” with plenty of vaccines available. Yet, some break-through cases continue to sprout here and there, according to the news. Somehow, I’ve become a bit complacent about the whole business since Hubby and I both completed our series of Pfizer. Hang in there, Joni!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I hope to get my first dose next week, if the supply chain is okay. Glad to hear things have improved there and in many areas of the US. I think it’s the variants here that are driving the cases up. BC & Alberta are dealing with the more deadly Brazil strain and tonight Ontario announced even stricter lockdown measures. I just want my shot!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I’m glad to hear someone agreed with me. I hope my review didn’t come across as too harsh, but for $50 I expected better! Congratulations on doing morning pages! They never worked for me, as I’m a slow writer, but I can type really fast!

      Like

  7. LA says:

    I’ve seen so many best selling authors turn out a lousy book after a string of successes. It annoys me. I always wonder if the author stopped caring, or if the publisher wants them to go to something faddish and marketable. Drives me crazy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I don’t know much about the publishing industry but it’s a puzzle. Either the book didn’t get edited at all (that many references to salmon should have been caught?) or was sent back so many times with no overall improvement that they just decided to cut their losses and print it. But pricing it at $50/$36 US is outrageous. And yes, I think she struggled with the book, hence the need to consult the spirit medium.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        God no – mom’s second shot hasn’t even being rescheduled yet. The April one was cancelled and moved to the 4 month spacing…we’ve yet to be contacted, but it will be in July sometime. My second shot is scheduled for August. I’m still upset they did that to the over 80 year olds plus the 600 or so over 90’s who live in their own houses as opposed to a congregate setting, as we know people that age don’t mount a good immune response. We’re facing vaccine shortages again, so it’s hard for them to plan ahead I guess….it’s all a mess here, and yesterday the provincial government announced even stricter lockdowns for the whole province, even though 80% of the skyrocketing cases are in Toronto area? I’m annoyed with the local health unit too, as they didn’t even contact some of those over 90’s to tell them their clinic was cancelled (they had everyone’s phone number) so some people showed up last Saturday for the clinic to find it closed, without even a note on the door of the arena! I understand they are short-staffed but there are many volunteers willing to help out. One man had driven 2 hours to take his parent there. Lots of complaints, so 2 days later there was a note of apology in the local paper? I am really beyond words….

        Like

  8. ruthsoaper says:

    It sucks when you pay that much for something and are so disappointed. If I am not into a book after the first few chapters I usually give it up and move on. I don’t think I would have made it through the introduction. Kudos to you for finishing it so you could write an honest review.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. J P says:

    I always appreciate when someone recognizes drivel as drivel. Really, it sounds like the kind of book on listening that one would write who listens mostly to one’s self.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      That’s a very astute observation JP. Yes, she struck me as someone who is alone way too much and thus very focused on herself. But maybe I expected too much having just finished Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s book on Building a Better Brain…..a non-fiction book should be about it’s title.

      Liked by 1 person

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