My New YouTube Channel-Changing The World One Video At a Time

At long last, I’d like to unveil my YouTube Channel to you, my dear subscribers!

So far I’ve posted 4 videos with three more being edited for uploading. (The next one should be uploaded today.)

Because the characters in my books wrestle with acceptance, and choosing to make decisions from a place of curioustiy and self- love rather than fear, the current focus of my channel is my Active Acceptance Project.

What is Active Acceptance? I’m still figuring that out, but here’s my definition so far:

ACCEPTANCE DOES NOT DEMAND AGREEMENT. By ACTIVELY ACCEPTING others we learn to find delight in the diversity around us, and to break the cycle of confrontation embedded in the idea that we must agree with others in order to co-exist with them.

The ACTIVE part of active acceptance is our willingness to defend others against bullies or other types of challenges, especially when we don’t agree with their beliefs or lifestyle choices.

My videos will include examples of Active Acceptance in the form of reviews of books, (see my first book review below) movies, and tv shows that model active acceptance, interviews, some of which are already up, and activities that you can do with kids of all ages. These activities are designed to introduce tools and concepts that will help you, and those around you, practice active acceptance in your daily life.

For active acceptance is a muscle–a muscle that must be used as much as possible. And like building any other muscle or habit, it takes time to incorporate it into your daily life.

My first video book review.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

Please suggest books, tv shows, activities, articles etc. that I can use to help make Active Acceptance a mainstream concept and provide folks with more tools to help them practice it every day.

You can share by leaving comments below, or by leaving comments on my YouTube Channel.

Learning to meet those that are different from us, and life’s challenges from a place of curiosity and self-acceptance instead of fear, will change our world.
 
FYI: Please share this post with others you think would enjoy it.
 
#AcceptanceEmpowers

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
YouTube’s logo if I were in charge!


Posted in Acceptance, Active Acceptance, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Girls, Imagination, Self-Acceptance by with no comments yet.

Hidden Figures, How a Woman’s Creativity Saved NASA

KatherineJohnsonQuote

Hidden Figures is hands down the best movie I saw in 2016!

It’s the story of how one woman’s creativity saved not only a man’s life, but also the entire NASA program itself.

Katherine Johnson was one of a handful of African-American women who worked at NASA in the ‘50s. She referred to herself and her female colleagues as ‘virtual computers who wore skirts.’

Katherine says that she was pulled from the ‘colored computer pool’ to work on flight research because she always asked a lot of questions, while the rest of the women just did as they were told.

But it was Katherine’s creative use of geometry that made the all white male division “[forget] to return me to the pool.”

In 1962 John Glenn was slated to become the first American to orbit the earth. Right before launch, Katherine’s supervisor discovered that the fancy new IBM computer had turned our conflicting return longitudes and latitudes. When he shared this info with Glenn, Glenn refused to go up until Katherine had verified which of the computer’s numbers for launch and landing were correct.

Once in orbit Glenn’s heat shield started to fail.  Again Glenn and a panicked NASA supervisor turned to Katherine. She reassured them that her ‘return window’ numbers would get Glenn safely back to earth.

If Katherine’s geometry had been wrong, Glenn would’ve been incinerated upon re-entry.  In addition, his death would’ve most likely given Congress the reason they needed to stop funding NASA.

Fortunately for Glenn, Katherine’s numbers were spot on as usual.

Once Glenn survived, NASA had its eye on the moon, but had no idea how to get there. Katherine was told that she’d have to invent math that didn’t exist yet in order to make it happen. She did just that.

Lest you think I’ve given the whole movie away, I haven’t.  The story is powerful because it’s really about race, sexism, and the few folks on both sides that decided that they were going to move beyond their prejudices and make history.

So please read the book Hidden Figures, or go see the movie, or both. You’ll come out of it encouraged, empowered and ready to create something of your own. And who knows? Your creation just might be the thing that takes us to Mars, or saves an endangered species in the ocean, or adds beauty to the wall of a museum.
 
Would love to know what you thought of the movie/book. Please let me know by replying to this letter, or post your comments on my Facebook page, or tweet me.

FYI: Please share this letter with others you think would enjoy it.

#CreativityEmpowers

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Thank God Katherine is better at math than I am!

purplemath


Posted in Creativity, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Inspired Creativity, Thinking Outside The Box, Uncategorized by with no comments yet.

Using Our Imaginations to Create Social Change

hpalogo

Creativity Can Encourage and Empower Us All.

The above mantra grew out of my response to recent events.

Truthfully, I’ve known it all along.

I was born wanting to inspire, provoke, and empower myself and others through the arts.

But my family saw a different future for me. They pushed me into politics, wanting me to be the first female President of the U.S. I tried that route for a while, but discovered quickly that I could help a lot more people through my music and writing than I could through policy and politics.

So I hopped on the artistic roller coaster and never looked back. Well, I do look back on occasion when I get a bad review or another rejection, but I never get off the ride.

Though politics didn’t agree with me, my family’s notion that one should support the causes they believe in every way they can, i.e. money or time or both, did resonate. I’ve been volunteering since I was 10 yrs old. In fact I think volunteering is one of my best skills.

Imagine my delight when days after I’d found my mantra I discovered the non-profit Harry Potter Alliance whose values include believing in magic and my personal favorite: Fantasy is not only an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it.

HPA’s mission is to turn fans into heroes by engaging them in fan activism.  The idea is to harness the passion fans have for certain characters like Neville Longbottom, a shy awkward Harry Potter classmate who became a badass when his back was against a wall, and direct them to fight like Neville for causes such as net neutrality and the electoral college vote. The Neville campaign page gives sample scripts of what to say on the phone to congress humans, where to find phone numbers, and info on the cause etc.

Within a day or two of discovering HPA, I started The Patronuses. The Chicago community chapter of HPA.

FYI: A patronus is an silvery white animal spirit that holds a magical concentration of happiness and hope, which protects against the dementors, those that would suck the happiness and hope right out of you.

We are barely a few weeks old, but already have a mission statement:
The Patronuses fuse the powers of imagination and fan activism together to support and/or create campaigns designed to bring positive change in areas such as diversity, acceptance and education.

I’m overjoyed to finally marry my two loves, imagination and activism, in such a direct way!

We are already discussing our first campaign, which will probably revolve around partnering with Comic Education Outreach to use comics and graphic novels to teach the skill of acceptance perhaps using Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, as our role model/fandom base. (Tho HPA grew out of Harry Potter fandom, any fandom is welcome. There are already campaigns using The Hunger Games, some Marvel Cinematic Characters, as well as Potter campaigns.)

As our journey unfolds I’ll continue to fill you in, hoping one or more of our campaigns strikes your fancy and you’ll join us. You can help as much as you want. The key is to have fun and be of service at the same time.

There is no limit to what we can do if we do it together.

To be kept in the loop, please email us at acceptopatronus@gmail.com so we can add you to our Patronuses list. Feel free to include a cause or two you would like to support and/or a character or two that you feel would be a good symbol/role model for a cause. You can also leave your suggestions by replying to this letter, or posting on my Facebook page, or tweet me.

FYI: Please share this letter with others you think would enjoy it.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:

My very own amethyst wand

annypurplewwand


Posted in Creativity, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Imagination, Thinking Outside The Box by with 2 comments.

Using Creativity to Encourage Grrl Power

a-mighty-girl-logo

All of the stories I’m working on have one thing in common: they feature strong female protagonists. My aim is to empower girls, and the guys around them (Think #HeForShe ) of all ages through my writing.

My first finished project is my fictional, science-based graphic novel story for tweens, Hidden Heroes. Think the movie Inside Out starring Estrogen as a superhero, and Samantha, the girl Estrogen has to turn into a woman. Think a story, not a textbook, on the beginning stages of female puberty.

Facts I had to learn about graphic novels before I could attempt to write one:

–GNs are comics, but usually much longer, and don’t have tons of issues. They can be a series though—think Zita Spacrgirl, a trilogy, or Hereville, trilogy.

–Graphic novel text is written for the illustrator, NOT the reader.

–The text is written in script form. From Hidden Heroes:

PAGE 1
SPLASH PAGE: (This means only one panel for the whole page.)
Estrogen and Antibody come around the bend in a vein, cruising on the blood stream. Estrogen is in an inner tube. Antibody is swimming. Estrogen is wearing a one-piece bathing suit. Antibody resembles a friendly Mammalian sea creature. (This is the panel description that the illustrator needs, but won’t end up in the published book. BTW: Things like captions and dialogue do end up in book.)

Caption: Inside Samanthaland, Estrogen and Antibody are riding the blood slide around Ovarian Island.
Estrogen: Wheeeeee!
Antibody: Owamp!

–A typical graphic novel as 4-7 panels per page.
This is an example page from Zita Spacegirl (6 panels):

zita-page

–Because a picture tells a 1000 words, your words can’t repeat what’s going on in the panel illustration, but rather, need to show what’s not going on…think dialogue, sound effects etc.

–GNs ask readers to engage with its story on two levels: Language and pictures. This means kids are using two parts of their brains to comprehend what they are reading. Schools are noticing a significant increase in test scores when kids can study complex topics, like the Constitution, using a graphic novel instead of a regular textbook. (Check out my buds at: The Comics Education Offensive to learn more about it!)

This is the advantage of doing a science-based story as a graphic novel…accessibility and deeper comprehension.

If you haven’t read a graphic novel yet, try one out. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it.

Some suggestions of fictional graphic novels with strong female characters for tweens:
Zita Spacegirl
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword
Princeless
Lumberjanes
Find these and other suggestions at the A Mighty Girl site.

A list of posts on  graphic novels for older girls, aka women, can be found in this Huff Post page.

Which graphic novels have you enjoyed and why? Send me your answer by replying to this letter, or post it on my Facebook page, or tweet me. 

FYI: Please share this letter with others you think would enjoy it.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Batgirl costume

purplebatgirlcostume

 


Posted in Creativity, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Girls, Inspired Creativity, Uncategorized by with no comments yet.

Do You Know How To Use Fear? I’m Still Learning.

“But you must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good {love} and evil {fear} will follow on that act. {Power} must follow knowledge, and serve need. To light a candle is to cast a shadow…”
The Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin
 
Sometimes I want to give my reptilian brain, the oldest part of our brains, a lobotomy. With no lions or tigers to face down, it feels useless. So it injects fear into all sorts of situations where it doesn’t belong, and makes them ten times worse.
 
If there’s one skill I wish I’d learned as a kid, it’s how to use fear properly. Being scared when confronted by a bear while hiking in the woods is appropriate. Suing a stranger because you’re scared of being broke, or getting your colleague fired because you’re scared they’ll take your job is not ok. Yet it happens everyday.

grizzly-bear

What if we were taught from birth to slow down? What if the golden rule required us to question our actions, to identify whether we were motivated by fear (evil) or love (good), and to act only if the answer was love?
 
For the wizards in Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea, it’s not enough to learn how to control your magic; you must learn how and when to use it as well. This is because abusing magic upsets the natural order of things. When that order, known as The Equilibrium, is disturbed, bad things happen.

wizard-of-eaethsea

Despite being trained to do otherwise, Ged, a powerful young wizard hero, lets his pride and hate unleash a shadow creature that destroys everything that stands between it and killing him.
 
Ged flees from the shadow until he discovers he must face it in order to stop it. Along the way he learns to use magic appropriately, even if it serves others’ needs instead of his own.
 
Books like The Wizard of Earthsea remind us that it’s important to disengage our autopilot, so that we act, rather than react.
 
Have you read other stories that address using fear properly?  If so, please share them with me by commenting upon this letter, or post on my Facebook page, or tweet me.

FYI: Please share this letter with others you think would enjoy it.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight: A glow-in-the-dark purple magic wand! Oh, I want one!!

purple-magic-wand


Posted in EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Inspired Creativity, Self-Acceptance, World Building-Fictional Lands by with no comments yet.

There’s Power and $$$ in Numbers

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

Original-9-WTA

Forty-five years ago 9 women were paid $1 to sign on to the renegade Virginia Slims Tennis Tour. (Seven Americans — Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Julie Heldman, Peaches Barkowitz, Kristy Pigeon and Billie Jean KIng. They were joined by two Australians — Kerry Melville Reid and Judy Tegart Dalton.)

The U.S. tennis association threatened to expel them from the sport, possibly ending their careers.  (The two Australians that signed on were told their careers were over.)
What inspired them to put their dream careers on the line?  EQUALITY.

At the time male tennis players could make a living playing professional tennis, but women couldn’t because they were paid significantly less prize money than the men, and not being offered endorsement deals. Part of the reason for this inequality was the prevailing belief that playing sports was unladylike, and therefore girls weren’t supposed to pursue sports as a career.

The Original 9 rejected this idea saying that they wanted any girl born any place in the world, if she was good enough, to have an opportunity to compete, be recognized for her accomplishments and make a living playing professional tennis.”

Because they had the courage of their convictions, our girls not only play sports and get paid for it, but are encouraged to do so.

But one Original 9 didn’t stop at tennis. Billie Jean King founded Women’s Sports Magazine and Women’s Sports Foundation to champion all female athletes in their quest to be recognized and paid for their achievements.

Billie Jean’s extra efforts, combined with her historic win against Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, made her the poster girl for the gender equality movement.  So much so, that Life magazine named her one of the 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.  She was the only female athlete on the list, and one of only four athletes total. (Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali were the others).

Her notoriety netted her endorsements, which paid her lots of money for the time, but the other 8 of the Original 9 didn’t receive the same attention or financial reward. 

Billie Jean wants to correct that.  In a recent piece she wrote for the NY Times she points out that successful tennis players like Serena Williams stand not only on her shoulders, but on the 8 other pairs of shoulders as well.

She points out that until others raised their voices with her, change didn’t happen.  That we girls can move mountains, but only when we come together–risk together, help each other.

Too often we girls turn on each other, be it bullying about our appearances, working moms vs stay-at-home moms, or female bosses being threatened by up and coming underlings.  We forget that we’re stronger as a group, not at each others’ throats.  After all, succeeding together is in our DNA.  A lion could take out one or two of us when we were home in the cave defending our children, but it lost when we all banded together to defeat it.

Never give up, Never surrender, and always have each others’ backs.  That’s how we can Empower Girls Of All Ages!

Are you part of a group that’s changed the world around you in some way? Tell me about it either in reply to this letter, or post it on my author FB page.

PurpleTennis Racquet

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

Destination of the Fortnight: Billie Jean King Tennis Center

Destination of the Fortnight: Billie Jean King Tennis Center

Change the story


Posted in EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

Do You Welcome Inspiration Into Your Life?

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

My Muse can be a slippery gal.  Sometimes when I need her the most, she’s off vacationing in Paris or Hawaii.  (I wouldn’t mind if she’d take me with her!) 

I’m not sure what triggers her to leave–maybe a challenge that seems overwhelming or painful, or maybe she just wants to smell the gardenias or eat some French pastries.  All I know is that when I need her, it’d be nice to be able to cut her vacation short.  Thanks to my friend, writer/teacher Sarah Aronson, I now have a way to invite my Muse back.

Sarah invites inspiration into her life everyday by being open to what her world has to offer her.

What that means in practical terms is that she completely unplugs from the virtual world and takes a walk in the real world.  For her that usually means her neighborhood, or along the shore of Lake Michigan. While walking she’s present, using all of her senses to take in what’s coming at her so she doesn’t miss any ‘gifts.’

For example, on one of her walks she tripped over a harmonica. She asked herself, “What is the world saying to me?” Should I listen to some harmonica music, or does this character I’m wrestling with play a harmonica to call her minions (hopefully the blue and yellow kind), or calm her troubled child, or does it mean I should call  this friend of mine that I’ve not spoken to for a while? Maybe it means all three. 

Sarah says that “Inspiration is always there. Welcome it in, and the answers will come to you.”

The next time your boss, or your child, who can feel like a boss sometimes, throws a challenge your way consider connecting to your Muse via actively engaging in the real world around you.  I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the help you receive.

Please post stories about the gifts you’ve received while opening to your world by replying to this letter, or posting to my Facebook page.

If you need more creative writing inspiration, sign up for Sarah’s weekly newsletters.

Displaying

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

Destination of the Fortnight: The Present


Posted in EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Imagination, Inspired Creativity by with no comments yet.

I’M BIASED WHEN IT COMES TO PLUTO, LUCKILY NASA ISN’T!

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

When it comes to Pluto I’m biased.  I grew up with Pluto being a planet, and dammit,
I refuse to believe otherwise.

Unfortunately, I also grew up biased against pursing a career in #STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  STEM is a boy’s game, I was told.  You shouldn’t bother to play. I assumed girls today were being given a different message.  I was wrong.

In 2012 the National Academy of Sciences published research showing that BOTH female and male faculty rated male applicants as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. In addition, the boys got higher starting salaries and were offered mentoring opportunities not given to the girls.

What bothers me most about these findings is that the women faculty members were just as prejudiced against their own kind as the men.

It’s time we girls throw off the silly notion that we aren’t as good at science as the guys, and encourage our girls to storm labs all over the country.  How can we expect the boys to accept us if we don’t accept and encourage ourselves?

All we have to do is follow our leader–NASA.

Yes, NASA.  According to NASA, women make up 25% of Pluto’s New Horizon’s team–and many of them are in leadership roles. It’s not equal yet, but it’s the highest number of women on a NASA project in history. (In 2013 the total number of U.S. female astronomers and physicists was only 11.8%)

I’m ecstatic that PLANET PLUTO is finally getting its 15 minutes of fame courtesy of lots of us gals!

However, Pluto’s women don’t focus on their numbers. Rather, they yearn for the day when gender equality in the sciences is no big deal. “Girls will be inspired to be scientists and boys will grow up to be ‘gender blind,’ seeing women in science as the norm,” says Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Young.

I want to honor New Horizon’s women by continuing to encourage girls in AnnyWorld to follow their dreams wherever they lead, including Pluto and beyond. (Madu’s thinking about becoming a NASA scientist or astronaut. She’s also open to designing their spacesuits too.)

How do you respond when your daughter, or niece, or female student etc. talks to you about math or science?

Purple Passion of the Fortnight: Lava lamp rocketship

Purple Passion of the Fortnight: Lava lamp rocketship

Destination of the Fortnight: Pluto

Destination of the Fortnight: Pluto

tumblr_m9qg2zP5Xi1rfnusyo1_400


Posted in EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Thinking Outside The Box by with 4 comments.

How To See In The Dark, or Move Past Your Limitations

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

Imagine that the sun set one day and never rose again.  That your nights took over your days, kind of like winter in Alaska. (Though they do have a couple hours of light each day.)  That you had to relearn how to do everything you took for granted before like brushing your teeth, or going to the grocery store.  This is what happened to my buddy, writer Beth Finke, the day her eyes stopped working.

What I admire about Beth is the way she uses her imagination to see in the dark. For example, putting toothpaste on a toothbrush when you can’t see it is impossible. (Try it. I have and can’t do it.) So Beth just squirts the paste in her mouth, and then brushes her teeth. Sounds simple, but not sure I would’ve thought of it.

Besides being a writer herself, Beth teaches  memoir-writing courses for senior citizens. Because Beth wants everyone to be able to read their assignments and get critiqued in every class, she limits their in-class reading to 500 words and five minutes.

Humans being what they are, her students would set the timer to ten minutes or whatever to increase their moment in the sun.  Beth caught on to what they were doing and put rubber cement on the ‘five’ so she always knew where it was on the timer.

Still, sometimes the people who read at the beginning would get more critique time.  She noticed some students would always sit next to her in order to go first.

To fix that problem she decided to give each of them a braille Scrabble letter so they’d go in alphabetical order, instead of by where they sat. Again she picked up on people grabbing the beginning letters of the alphabet to try to get more time, so now she often starts with ‘z’ or some other letter to discourage that behavior.

Because of her ingenuity, as well as her wisdom, Beth’s classes always fill up.

For more ideas on how to see in the dark, and overcome your own limitations, check out Beth’s Safe and Sound Blog.

How have you used your imagination to overcome your limitations?
Share with me via a comment on my blog, or a post on my Facebook page.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

Purple Passion of the Fortnight

NightChicagoSkyline

Destination of the Fortnight: Chicago, setting for Beth’s adventures

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Posted in EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Imagination, Inspired Creativity and tagged , , by with 4 comments.