Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mary Duffy and Marciano Guerrero's East of Tiffany's

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Our collection of short stories is now available at many different outlets, to include

East of Tiffany's features characters that populate the East Side of Manhattan: Bankers, executives, TV stars, cops, heirs, shop owners, and --why not?-- their pets.

Mary Duffy's writing techniques (as explained in her best seller e-book Sentence Openers) are all employed in these collection of short stories. In a way, this book is a companion to Sentence Openers.

If you are not familiar with Mary Duffy's method,Read a free chapter, "Mary Patricia and I Become Lifetime Sojourners." Experience first hand how the authors open their sentences, how to use Absolutes, Apositives, and many other techniques:Download now -- takes less than 10 seconds

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are You an Underachiever?

Auguste Rodin's The Thinker.Image via Wikipedia

How many people do you know who are really content with their life, happy with their lot, completely satisfied with what they have got? I frequently find myself looking around in amazement as I perceive so very many people who seem to be unhappy and dissatisfied these days. Everyone wants more.

The 1960's marked a time when so very many people began to realize that perhaps they could have more of what they had previously felt denied of. The growth in the self-help, self-improvement and self-empowerment niche has enabled a lot of people to stretch and grow and achieve amazing feats. At the same time however there are many other people who think that they should have achieved more and therefore feel that they have missed out.

In earlier years when you did not think that it was possible to achieve more it was easy to accept that you had what you had; it was not complicated to feel that you were where you were meant to be in life and therefore feel satisfied and happy. In contrast when you think and believe that you could have or do anything and everything, it is possible to feel a sense of pressure that you SHOULD do or have more. It is far easier to feel inadequate or that you have under-achieved.

When the opportunity was not there, you had nothing to miss. But when the opportunity appears to be out in the open and easily seen, then more people will want it. The whole basis of advertising is that once you see it you will want it. The only catch is that you are generally required to apply appropriate effort so as to move in the direction of achieving more of what you want.

If you want more you do indeed need to know specifically what you want more of and you also need to have the tools and the expertise (or the ability to obtain these essential components) so as to get there, or be willing to learn these required skills. These are the hurdles which one encounters and negotiates with when on the route to more.

Sometimes you may not feel that you have the necessary skills, confidence, tenacity or desire to keep going along the pathway to more. In this type of circumstance you can see how one can become disillusioned, dissatisfied and may even feel cheated out of something. But these emotions in fact only work to push you back or hold you down. These emotions do the opposite of empower; instead of feeling that you are the potential victor you are now playing the role of the victim.

Little success will ever be achieved if this is the role which you are playing. It is possible that you did not achieve success in your original quest because your heart was not really in it. If your heart was really set upon your goal you would have tried and tried again to find a way to get there. So instead of feeling that you are a victim or that you have missed out it is better to recognize that perhaps it was simply not really meant to be.

A lot of people want more because other people have more. Many think themselves into thinking that they want more because everyone else seems to want more. You can fall into the trap of wanting a particular make of jeans because someone else has them, or a particular toy for your child because a friends child has one, and so on. How often do you buy something and then not actually use it very much?

There really does seem to be a culture of wanting more for the sake of more, instead of wanting more because you enjoy it, or enjoy the pursuit of it. And that comes back to setting your heart upon something. If you love what you do, you will get what you want; it will be easy and it will not feel like hard work or too much effort. Not only that you will fully enjoy the fruits of your success.

Roseanna Leaton, specialist in hypnosis downloads for well-being.

P.S. Why not grab a free hypnotherapy download from my website and discover how easy it is to find your own mentor in life?
About the Author

With a degree in psychology and qualifications in hypnotherapy, NLP and sports psychology, Roseanna Leaton is one of the leading practitioners of self-improvement. You can get a free hypnotherapy download from and peruse her extensive library of hypnotherapy downloads to inspire you.

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The writing techniques I use in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual--an indispensable guide:

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jean Jacques Rousseau: Inventing a Literary Genre

Phan studied the works of Enlightenment philos...Image via Wikipedia

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778), musician, vagabond, philosopher, prose stylist, novelist, educator, and acknowledged father of the French Revolution and Romanticism, remains today a colorful character --both derided and revered.

In this article I will focus on his Confessions to explore his contribution not only to the genre, but also to writing. While Rousseau was a serious writer, deep as an ocean in his philosophy, yet shallow as a brook in his Confessions.

Rousseau moves in Augustine's shadow: Thus begins Rousseau's Confessions: "I am commencing an undertaking, hitherto without precedent, and which will never find an imitator." Only a fool or a genius could dare open a book with a statement that will prove to be wrong in its two assertions.

Asserting that the undertaking is not "without precedent" is wrong because Augustine's Confessions is a definite precedent; and furthermore, Rousseau himself cites Augustine's book in his own Confessions. Today, Rousseau's Confessions have a constellation of imitators.

To be fair we must say that Augustine's Confessions followed the traditional catholic confessions in which the offender would seek to expiate his sins by means of a voiced acknowledgment of his transgressions. With Rousseau confessions become more of a psychological and fictional narrative, initiating in this sense a 'modern' way of autobiographical confessions.

Faced with severe criticism from his enemies, Rousseau decides to write a book that would show him as "a man in all the truth of nature." In the process he assures us that every bit of detail that he tells us nothing but pure fact: "This is what I have done, what I have thought, what I was. I have told the good and the bad with equal frankness. I have neither omitted anything bad, nor interpolated anything good."

Yet, Voltaire wrote that Rousseau placed his five sons in orphanages. Who shall we trust? Is Rousseau a hypocrite attempting to cleanse his personal record with a sanitized 'confession?'

Rousseau on psychology and language: While Augustine pondered the mansion and many chambers of memory, Rousseau theorized on 'the self,' the problem of identity, and language. In his "Essay on the Origin of Languages" (Essai sur l'origine des langues) he speculates on the possible sources of speech. But it is in the Confessions that he puts into practice those sources of speech: the signs and supplements of the original objects and presences.

Rousseau writes: "I would never finish if I were to describe in detail all the follies that the recollection of my dear maman made me commit when I was no longer in her presence. How often I kissed my bed, recalling that she had slept in it, my curtain, and all the furniture in the room, since they belonged to her and her beautiful hand had touched them, even the floor, on which I prostrated myself, thinking that she had walked upon it."

As Derrida has made clear, Rousseau is using signs --written words-- to bring about a presence ('maman') that is absent. And though such absence will never materialize, it has the power to move him as if it were the real "thing-in-itself." Therefore, the bed, the curtains, the furniture, the room itself, are all signs that enable him pursue 'the recollection' and thus by means of mental impressions and signifiers create the signified.

In his own informal way Rousseau anticipated not only Freudian psychology, but also the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, Structuralism, Deconstruction, the linguistic turn, and other theorists.

One has to wonder if the much admired work of many writers of the 19th and 20th centuries would have gotten so far, had not Rousseau laid the foundations? In spite of the fact that many intellectuals have little respect for his personal adventures, lies, and the grotesques acts of a rascal, his work is serious and original.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Derrida: Writing, Deconstruction, and Logocentrism

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Jacques Derrida (1930 - 2007), born in Algiers, is the founder of the philosophical movement Deconstructionism. Deconstruction is a critical method that attempts "to undo" the logic of antitheses. But his work goes beyond 'deconstruction.'

Despised and belittled by many academics, Jacques Derrida' s work is in contrast appreciated by artists, writers, students, and the public in general. Even linguistics genius and professor at MIT, Noam Chomsky, called Derrida "a charlatan," simply because he couldn't understand some of Derrida's writing.

Of course Chomsky is a busy personality and couldn't take time to attempt to learn the language that Derrida employed in his journals, articles, and books. When I hear IT people talking to each other and don't understand a single word of what they are saying, let alone the topic of discussion, I don't dismiss them as "charlatans." I make the concession that they have their own language and that the use it to communicate and convey the nuances of information and computer science.

Derrida's work has dismantled many of the assumptions we --ordinary human beings-- make about accepted 'facts.' Deconstructing binary —also called polar— oppositions, just to give an example, has helped us understand that built into these oppositions are hierarchical assumptions that confer power to one pole over the other. In the polarities 'male/female,' 'presence/absence,' 'slave/master,' 'black/white,' you can just guess which is favored. Derrida's work helped us see that binary oppositions structure thought of individuals within a culture—e.g., Western culture.

But the object to this article is to learn how to understand 'writing,' as expounded by Jacques Derrida.

In Plato's dialogue Phaedrus, the god Thoth, the inventor of writing, is accused of encouraging mental laziness. This is myth lore invented by Plato and Socrates, for we know that writing encourages agility of mind. Rousseau also saw writing as a supplement to speech—as signs. In contrast, because Francis Bacon --the great Elizabethan courtier and scholar-- saw speech ("Idols of the Cave") as a barrier to true knowledge, he went on to write many books. In the end gossip and false testimony, in particular, gained him a year in the London Tower. The moral being: beware that speech can be more lethal than writing.

As it turned out, today we realize that writing and books have become the warehouses of wisdom. It is with the written word that wisdom is created, preserved, and expanded in the different levels of human endeavor. Even symbolic logic and mathematics need the written word to lock and secure exact meanings. Scientists use language to put forth their discoveries, their insights, and to falsify or verify them empirically.

Philosopher Jacques Derrida sees in writing-in-general an entire system that nourishes the human race—archi-√©criture. Despite the 'difficult' language he uses, we can extract some meaning from it, by defining some of the deconstructionist jargon:

"What we have tried to show in following the connecting thread of the "dangerous supplement" is that in what we call the real life of these "flesh and blood" creatures ... there has never been anything but writing, there has never been anything but supplement and substitutional significations which could only arise in a chain of differential relations ... And so on indefinitely, for we have read in the text that the absolute present, Nature, what is named by words like "real mother," etc. have always already escaped, have never existed; that what inaugurates meaning and language is writing as the disappearance of natural presence."

To understand fairly the above paragraph, one needs to go back to Immanuel Kant who distinguished between 'reality' (the world of nature and objects) and reason and the senses that apprehend reality—or as Kant call it: the thing-in-itself. According to Kant humans are doomed to never know the thing-in-itself. At best humans may represent it by the senses and the categories of the mind.

Much like Kant, Derrida has invented his own language; he uses the word 'supplement,' 'substitutional significations,' 'chain of substitutions,' as synonyms for the signs with which humans filter, mediate, and represent reality.

When he refers to reality, he uses 'real life,' 'flesh and blood creatures,' 'the absolute present, 'nature,' 'real mother,' 'original,' 'the thing itself of immediate present,' and other similar utterances.

Writing then, for Derrida, is a metaphysical concept that guides human thinking for humans to survive in the world of nature and man-made objects.

While speech is ethereal and instantaneous, writing lingers and sequesters the traces of speech and life to bring about the thing-in-itself: a presence. For Derrida:

"Il n'y a pas de hors-texte" '"There's nothing outside the text."

  • Oxymoron in Action

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  • If you are interested in seeing how I achieved personal success in the United States, you may find my book of short stories East of Tiffany's interesting. Some of the stories are based on my life as an executive, investment banker, and financial adviser to wealthy investors in the East Side of Manhattan.
    Close to half-million people have read East of Tiffany's so far. Order your copy from either or Barnes and Noble.
    Since English is my second language, Mary Duffy --a master of the English language-- aided me not only with the editing, but she also contributed her own stories. I love her writing in "When You Wish Upon a Star." This is a story based on a personal friend's life.

    More Writing Tips...!

    Senada Selmani, model

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