Tag Archives: zen

Let’s all find that Jewel in the Mud

Harmony Kent is a good friend of mine, and she’s here to tell us about her newest publication today. Let’s all help her out by using those sharing buttons and spreading the word.

Author Bio:

Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.

If you catch her at work, you’ll see she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

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What inspired me to write Jewel in the Mud?

My life has been an interesting one and has provided many challenges, as well as seeing a lot of change—both internal and external. It sometimes feels as multi-genre as my books! Along the way, many people have told me that I inspire them. Such encounters led to me writing a series of Monday Musings on my blog, which proved incredibly popular. Seeing this response, and how much my readers valued my musings, I decided to make them into a book, along with a ‘thought for the week’, and Jewel in the Mud was born. It is my hope that this reaches even more people and inspires them in their lives.

Foreword

What qualifies me to write a book such as this? Am I anything special? Have I learnt anything that you cannot?

In short, I am a Zen failure. I spent thirteen years in a Zen Buddhist Temple—ten of those ordained. And then I left.

End of story?

Not quite.

Before, during, and after, a few things happened to me along the way. And for sure, those thirteen years proved most fruitful.

I entered the monastery as a young (27 year old) woman lacking in confidence, painfully shy, massively inadequate, and terrified of everything … including my own shadow. Put simply, normal life just felt like too much, and most of the time, I found myself overwhelmed.

I think that those years of discipline I undertook voluntarily were, in some ways, the hardest of my life. But oh so worth it.

I emerged at just short of forty like the proverbial butterfly, utterly transformed. To use a clutter of well-worn cliches, I faced my demons. I popped the balloon. I dragged my skeletons from the closet.

After finding myself disabled and back out in the world, alone, at forty years old, I began life again, from scratch. Built it up from nothing. Honestly, it felt way scarier coming back out than it did going in. But by then, I’d learnt to feel the fear and do it anyway. And, after all, I had to do something with my life. Like find a place to live. Once I got the basics taken care of, it came time to set a course and go for it, always allowing for the vagaries of the wind, of course.

These days, I live a life of contentment and fulfilment. I am happy, confident, and successful. And such success I do not measure in material things or possessions, or even in any typical worldly way of measuring achievement. Rather, I have set my internal compass, and it is from there that I live my life.

Of course, I remain human and fallible, and I stumble sometimes. As do we all. That’s perfectly okay. It’s normal. We can’t get it right all the time. In fact, one of my Musings talks about just that: Week Nineteen—It’s Okay to Have a Meltdown. Just so long as you don’t pack your bags and move into your dark place, that’s all right. The trick is to pick yourself up when you fall down and get going again. Don’t stay there.

So, what are you likely to get out of this book? Well, that depends largely upon you. The best results will come from an open attitude and a willingness to learn, listen, and question.

It is my sincerest hope that this book inspires you to dive deeper, search further, and discover your own jewels in the mud of everyday existence.

Wishing you all good things,

Harmony

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Book Blurb Jewel in the Mud

‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’

Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?

This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.

Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.

Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.

The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.

Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

You can purchase your own copy at Amazon US, or Amazon UK

You can find Harmony in the following places:

Relevant Links:
Website | Amazon US Amazon UK | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Works by Harmony Kent:

The Glade

Finding Katie

Interludes

Moments

Polish Your Prose

Elemental Earth

Slices of Soul

The Battle for Brisingamen

Macabre Sanctuary

Quantum Wanderlust

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

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Is there snobbery among writers?

I’m not certain I believe this, but I’m going to throw it out for the sake of discussion. I need to explain myself before I get into it, but I’ll be brief.

Here’s why writing appeals to me. It’s where I come from as a writer. I found this quote on the The Art of Manliness:

Choose to struggle with something – We live in a culture of the quick and the easy, and it has made us impatient and lazy. When you commit to something that takes work and see it through to the end, it will develop you as much as you develop it. — Jake Weidmann

That’s why I’m here. It’s a zen target where perfection doesn’t exist, and I want to keep improving.

We critique others and receive critique all the time. It’s our best shot at learning and improving. I have benefitted, and I hope I’ve helped others along the way.

All of the things we discuss matter, to an extent. How important are they to actual, even voracious readers?

I’m reading a book where there are about 17 chapters of character introduction and backstory. They just barely got to the haunted mansion where I expect something will happen. This is by a traditionally published author, but this story was self published. This means he had the skills to get a publishing contract at some point in his life.

As a writer, this is always bad form. The story started too soon, and backstory needs to be minimized.

Will the everyday reader care? I wonder how many of our taboos really matter outside writing circles. It annoyed me, but was it because I was taught to be annoyed?

What if we use too many adjectives and adverbs? Will consumer readers care? Agents and publishers will, but — Is this a writers version of being a Rolex wearer who makes a snide remark about his companion’s Timex?

The dialog in this book puts the other person’s name in every line, along with a dialog tag to indicate the speaker. As a writer, I know not to keep saying the other fellow’s name. If there are only two people, I probably don’t even need dialog tags if you get me started.

This story even has what writers call “as you know, Bob” dialog. This is where both characters already know something, but they go over it again because the reader doesn’t know it.

Am I being a snob here? We read each other’s blogs and hear stories where someone threw down a novel because there was a semicolon on the first page.

Really? Is that all it takes to discard years of hard work from a writer? This feels a lot like, “Oh, wine from a cardboard box — how unique.”

“As soon as I read ‘Jane guffawed’ I put the book in the fireplace.” You may have missed out on a good story too.

All of us are at a different place on this pilgrimage. I can see many of you ahead of me, but I hear some coming up behind me too.

For myself, I will take these lessons to heart. I want to improve my writing skill and deliver the best product I can. Tomorrow’s product will be better. It doesn’t mean that yesterday’s product sucked.

I’m going to be a bit more patient with my fellow writers. I’m also going to finish this haunted house story.

What do you think? Are writers, editors, publishers, and agents being snobbish on some things? The issues are important, but will those things really matter to consumers?

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Filed under Writing