Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saying it in SPANGLISH the "Nuyorican way"

Growing up in El Barrio, gave me exposure to the Spanish as well as the Italian language of the East Harlem neighborhood . Although English was predominant in our home, Spanglish was common throughout the neighborhood as local Puerto Rican residents struggled to pronounce correctly the strange English words, which were new to them. Out of extreme necessity, In order to survive, a new form of communication with its own vocabulary was created. Hello, "Spanglish."

Spanglish? What is that? There are many interpretations of this word. Some say it is a mixture of Spanish and English commonly used by Puerto Ricans of New York or better said "Nuyoricans." It is a jumble of English and Spanish words and phrases, switching back and forth between the two languages. Also when the speaker is unsure if the word is correct or not, then a Spanish suffix is added to the end of English words such as in the word "plataforma" which means Platform. As well as I am able to speak Spanish fluently, as a translator once in a while in the midst of a conversation I have found myself at a loss for a particular word, which I immediately would substitute with an English one. Oops! That is a no no.

The Spanglish trend has become so popular that as a result of migration, and immigration of diverse latino groups, variations of spanglish styles are heard throughout the United States. Spanglish can be fun as well as humorous but should not become a substitute for correct Spanish. Here are some examples of Spanglish.

1. Jorge, mi cariño, what are you doing here?
2. Oye nene, ya comiste el lonche?
3. Mami, hecha me la bendición, que voy chopin. (cho-ppen)
4. Hay bendito, Ernesto lost his job y está bien pelao.
5. Hey honey, va a chequear el newspaper para ver si el show está allí?
6. Te veo ahorita, me voy de shopping para el mol.
7. Oye mi negro, Que vas hacer this weekend.?
8. Oye Marta, el hijo tuyo le gusta bulear a los otros niños.
9. Petra, voy al banco, to cash my check...vengo enseguida.
10.Juanito, come here and give abuelita un beso.
Here are some correct Spanish phrases with their English description.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mimi's Helpful Hints For Overcoming Writer's Block

HEY YOU!  Yes, I'm talking to you.  I have a question to ask.
Are you a writer? Well I am too.

 I am in the midst of a terrible dilemma, you see I was all Gung Ho, moving along smoothly in my story, then the next thing you know... BAM... I hit a wall. I had no idea what to do with the plot or how it even relates to the protagonist in my story. My favorite chair, which I bought a month ago, has become a curse, a bane to my inspiration, my get up and go. The Chair and I used to fit well together, however, 20 pounds and 30 bags of nachos later, I can hardly breathe in the stupid thing. Do you know what an emotional weight writer's block is, what kind of turmoil it causes? It's just awful. I have gone from being a simple couch potato to a blue ribbon winning super-sized couch spudzilla from sitting in this chair. I just keep growing in size, getting fatter and fatter by the day as I munch on my nachos. I am so tired, bored and depressed because I can't write. I can't write because I'm tired, bored and depressed. It's an endless cycle.

So how do I get my creativity back? Any suggestions?

DO NOT FEAR, WONDER WOMAN IS HERE... with some helpful advice.

If this scenario sounds familiar, here's how to get yourself going, how to hoist yourself out of that favorite chair. You won't even need a forklift. First, remove all those tempting treasures from your refrigerator and pantry.

Yes, that includes... THE NACHOS too.

Now here's a couple of easy to follow tips to get your mind and body moving so you can get back into that story.

1. EAVESDROP: Always carry a pen and pad. Try sitting next to, or even across the way from a person who has a cell phone glued to their ear. They usually talk loud enough to be heard across the room anyway. Also, pay attention at coffee-breaks or during your lunch hour at work. You can get enough dirt from random conversations to fill a best seller.

2. JOIN A MEET-UP GROUP: There are so many categories and plenty of conversations to glean from meeting with other writers and with other people period.

3. UTILIZE FAMILY GATHERINGS: Break out the old photo album. Jot down notes as relatives reminisce especially around the Christmas tree at holiday gatherings. This is great for writing a memoir, or even for finding a spark that will lead to a short story.

4. LISTEN TO THE NEWS: Current events may trigger your creative juices, like a murder, domestic violence story or an accident, even disastrous weather conditions or terrorist activities can stimulate the mind. The more you pay attention to what's going on, the more you can find to write about. Most of the best stories ever written are based on or around real events. The old adage is on point, 'truth is stranger than fiction.'

5. READ JOKES: They can give you anecdotes and ideas that can add humor to a story.

6. USE VISUAL PROMPTS: Look at a picture or a work of art and write about what you see or create a story from it.

7. EXERCISE: Walking is great for your health, and great for stimulating your brain too. Try taking different paths each day, so it doesn't become monotonous. You can speed up your walking or slow your pace down, based on your mood. You will feel more energetic and alert.

8. KEEP A DREAM JOURNAL: Some dreams are fresh in your mind when you wake up, so write them down, because you might not remember them later. Hmm... like our mouse thief stealing the piece of cheese, this could make a great children's story some day. Still makes me hungry for nachos and cheese though.

9. READ TRAVEL BROCHURES: This provides great material for blog writing, or for research for that international mystery novel you've always wanted to write.

10. GET INSPIRED: discuss your writing project with a close friend or someone you're comfortable with, let them give you some feed back and then take it from there. You'll be amazed how a fresh perspective, a new voice or some advice might help.

11. READ TOMBSTONES: Try to feel and imagine a family's grief when their loved one was buried. Try to understand the meaning behind the words that were engraved. Try to imagine what this marker says about the life of the person who inspired the tribute.

12. GO TO THE LIBRARY OR A BOOK STORE: Don't just read the contents of the books or magazines you peruse, look at the writing style of the author. Let them stir your imagination.

13. SOAP OPERAS: Practice describing each character, learn to understand why they are the villain and why they lasted so long in that series, what drives each character. This will help you with character and plot development.

14. WATCH JUDGE JUDY: Watch it for the courtroom scene, which might be helpful in one of your crime stories. Watch it to learn about the character of a judge, how they think and command the court. Watch it to gain insight into the emotions of the situation at hand, what drives people to need mediation. Watch it because it's a good show. JUST WATCH IT!!!

15. BE AN OBSERVER: Glean inspiration from participating in and observing life, it is the greatest inspiration of all. Look at the way people dress, walk and use hand gestures, watch facial expressions, how people speak, drive, and express love. Watch how children behave and how parents act toward their children. What do people do when they are alone? How they enjoy nature?

16. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, USE WRITING PROMPTS: These are great story starters if you get stuck, and every writer does sooner or later. Prompts are great jump starters to the writing process. They will help you overcome writer's block. All you have to do is write down a couple of opening sentences and take it from there. In Stephen King's book about the writing process, On Writing, King challenged readers and fellow writers to use a story starter he devised, and even carved out a forum on his website so he could read and respond to stories people wrote from his starter. He wanted to see where fledgling writers imaginations would take his starter, what dark and different places they would go to. How many best sellers has Stephen King written? He's written 48 novels (plus a few non-fiction works and some collections), 34 of which have been best sellers. There's a man who knows how to beat writer's block, and he suggests using story starters in his book about the art of writing. Why? They work!

Here are a few examples:

a. "Yesterday I went to the movies and... "
b. "I knew as soon as I ended the relationship he would... "
c. "As she walked into the dim lighted hallway, she... "
d. "She suddenly turned at the sound of glass breaking... "
e. "She knew he was there waiting for her but... "
f. "She was going to accept his marriage proposal, but...
g. "Tomorrow I will go... "

There you have it, plenty of tips and tid-bits to get you through the dreaded writer's block. Maybe all of them won't work for you, but some of them are bound to. They will at least get your mind working and they will get you out of that chair. If nothing else, you'll get to watch Judge Judy, always entertaining, and you might get some dirt on your family members during the next holiday gathering. You can't beat that. Alright then. Time for me to hoist myself out of this chair. I have fastened a hitch to the poodle, but I don't think she has the strength to pull me up. I might need some outside help this time. Stupid nachos. On second thought, I don't love nachos at all, I despise them!

© 2015 Miriam B. Medina

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Magic of Being Resilient

 by Miriam B. Medina.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back quickly from a crisis or a trauma. resilient people rely on their inner strength to keep them moving forward. They are like trees bending in the strong winds, but they always bounce back. In plain words they are optimistic people despite their struggles in life.

Negative people are habitual complainers. Wherever they go, the atmosphere completely changes. They're easily spotted with their drooped shoulders, their shuffled walk, their expressionless faces, their averted eyes and their sagging chins. They spend their days hunched over, forever carrying baggage from all sorts of little upsets, imparting negative vibrations to everyone they meet. Because they're always so immersed in their current difficulties and never-ending problems, people do their best to avoid those of a negative energy. Their constant complaining aggravates everyone within listening range. These individuals have no sense of direction in life, and no matter where they are, they are always unhappy. So they find themselves raging against fate, though it is their own choices and actions that create their unhappy environment. It's true, you reap what you sow.

Negative minded people forever bemoan their pasts, whining about the present and remaining ever fearful of the future. As a result of this negative attitude, their outlook on life is so limited that they can't visualize the opportunities and the wondrous possibilities that may come their way. They prefer to wallow in their dismal rut and to whine.Negative minded people have poor coping skills. This is why they are vulnerable to stress. The slightest problem crushes their self-esteem, killing confidence in their ability to cope with issues. As a result, they begin to cultivate the "woe is me" victim's mentality.

Please lend me your ear for a few moments so I can show you how to clear out the negative mental debris in order to replace it with a more appropriate, more effective mental attitude? For example, you can learn how to convert all of your setbacks, turning them into opportunities, reinforcing your values and living your life in the most positive way that you can. So let's start by developing a positive approach to life and move forward from there.

The opposite of a negative minded person is a resilient person who possesses a PMA and who are are easily spotted.They stand tall with their shoulders thrust back and their chest expanded. They have a brisk walk with an air of self-confidence. Optimistic people are wonderful role models. They know how to manage their emotions, how to deal effectively with stress, anger and fear. Positive minded individuals find a high-stress life exciting and challenging, because they have the resilience to bounce back from stress.They are more flexible in coping with different circumstances. They are motivated to take a positive view of the situation to see how they can either improve or correct their problems. They not only look for the good in every situation and find opportunities inside every problem, they build harmonious relationships with loved ones and coworkers. One outstanding characteristic of a person with a Positive Mental Attitude is that they do not fear failure because they never expect to fail. They never give up until they see their dreams and goals come to fruition. They are not hindered by self-imposed limitations. Their mind transcends limitations and their consciousness expands in every direction. These individuals have learned the secret of uncovering the hidden talents that exist within them. The optimistic person understands his or her true purpose in life. This is why their choices become much clearer and why they experience less chaos and confusion. They trust their choices, weighing all the pros and cons related to them, considering the consequences and deciding which action will result in a better return for them. Then they take the plunge by moving forward with a burning desire to win or perish with their decision.

The person that possesses a Positive Mental Attitude finds a way in which he or she will best serve the world. How different is this person from the negative person? The consequences of where both of these individuals are and what they have is based on the choices and decisions that they have made. The resulting consequences and the views of these consequences differ because of the different attitudes these two types of people possess. To the person with a PMA, every victory is glorious, and every setback is an opportunity. To the negative person, every victory is a burden laden with another shoe waiting to drop, and every loss is devastating.

Get out of that dismal rut you are in. Live in the most positive way that you can and most of all feel good about your life at last. Miriam Medina is a strong woman with a Positive Mental Attitude who has overcome her bitter past to lead a better, more peaceful life.