Right Brain Values

A friend pointed out that Eckhart Tolle had written books about “pain bodies” residing in our right brains requiring resolution and acknowledgement to move past them. Certainly those negative messages carry amazing weight in our own life journeys. But there is another side to the right brain messages that are positive under most circumstances.

My main character, Ferenc, was the eldest of 8, the one everyone in his family and his friends looked up to for answers and strength. He was responsible. Always. His values were strong and he never wavered from all that rested on his shoulders. Those taught values  over his life led to his choosing Lippizan horses over escorting his wife through the Alps. This struggle is an excellent example of a right brain battle with equally important issues.

Why did he choose the  horses? The responsibility entrusted to him at a young age by his father was entrenched above all others, even his deep love for his wife, Musa. His belief that he could still protect her by his preparation sending her well-prepared with a trusted colleague. Little did he know the disasters along the journey through the Alps. He believed he had it covered. He was the “go to” guy  and should be trusted. Big mistake.

He struggled internally but the value of responsibility—a superb value— to the detriment of his and  his wife’s safety.

Hmmm… Do your characters, as mine, have internal struggles driven by years of messages, both positive and negative? The answer makes character construction both fuller and fascinating.

Please let me know what your thoughts are.

Thanks for following,


Burnout by

THis is helpful advice from the write practice.

How to Overcome Writer’s Burnout

The Right Brain always Wins

I tweeted: the right brain always wins. What does that mean to me personally and to my characters? Do you believe it? You can decide that for yourself, but consider this. Do you have an irrational fear? spiders, snakes, heights, water, dogs to name a few common ones. What triggers your fears? Were you born afraid or did these become a pattern from your youth?

An astute colleague of mine and I had a conversation about public speaking. When I dissected the fear, I remembered how comfortable I had been in front of an audience until my freshman year in high school. Was that puberty kicking in or was it something else? Then I remembered my teacher in freshman year speech. My  grade was a D. What? I never got a grade below a B in my studies—ever.

I eventually got up the nerve to ask her why the low grade? She told me I hadn’t participated in class enough so my B’s on tests and A’s on my speeches didn’t count enough. My fear of failure of public speaking embedded itself and messed with my profession for years. It’s recently I am at ease before a group.

This teacher had other issues in her right brain focusing on me. Heaven knows what! The hurt from then stayed nicely positioned in my right brain to sabotage me in front of an audience for years. No matter how prepared I was to present, the judgment of that freshman class speech teacher had a lasting effect, and I didn’t have a clue she was lurking in my right brain with her dreadful judgments.

Are you seeing how one’s memories, stored insults and beliefs might interfere with life when why it does lurk is not obvious? Even when we no longer acknowledge painful situations, they have a power that imposes itself on daily lives when left unattended.

So what does this right brain have to do with writing?

First examine present relationships of your own. Do you get your buttons pushed in odd, often puzzling situations, e.g. driving? I go to the red zone when a car is tailgating me to get me to drive faster. My inner bitch takes the stage. The button pushed is feeling disrespected by those drivers. Another is not receiving a smile or hello when extended.

When my husband and I “debate” issues, clearly, it’s his right brain and mine squabbling. He stands his ground and I do too based on messages from our pasts that jump into the “discussion” and take over.

Let this concept rest with you for a while and see if you can relate.

To understand what is replaying in your characters’ minds, determine what might have prompted responses.

Remember, the right brain always wins.

Thanks, Sandi

#IWSG #Writers&RoadRage

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

The time has dawned upon us when we reach out to one another, desperately grappling to grab the lifeline offered by an individual who feels such as we. Shall I say it out loud? Insecure. Hence our writer’s group.

The build up is always so much better. Laughing out Loud, felt like writing the whole thing out there. It is quite possible I spend too much time alone in my cute little office-like roomy-thing.

So mid-week is here and a tough one for my favorite friend. I love her our little Sandi of American Writer’s Exposed. And today I wish to bring her a smile, through the expense of my abhorrent ridiculousness.


Fourth of July always brings with it a tremendous amount of traffic to the coastal villa where we both live. I am talking about gridlock in an unsuspecting town of two thousand full-time residents, okay there is eight thousand, but we behave like two. Traveling the full-length from the north-end of the city to the south is already a pain in the derriere not to mention when added vehicles crowd her highway. This tarmac panics, freezing under the pressure.


We are talking total shut down. Local yolk-hols usually stay home if they can help it, so traveling can be hashed out by the visiting populace. We watch our fireworks on the nightly news or over the beautiful lake not many visitors know about yet. But there are some who live right next to the bay where all three million congregate.


The things I think about as I am stuck in traffic are probably more similar to my writer peeps. In my mind, I finish dangling chapters, work on new scenes, fall in love with new characters, talk it all out loud. No one has to be in the car. Easily I can be swayed into new book hooks and future projects to work on.


There is one thing that baffles me while I try to sound out the vanity plate ahead of me, another past-time in which I more often than not fail…if it can’t be spelled or rolls off one’s tongue it makes no sense. Not to the other half-trillion of us behind you.


Bikers. They baffle me. This breed has no rules when it comes to the road. They are a mysterious conundrum all black leather and bad, leaning back on their chaise lounges skirting between cars while trimming their toenails. These outlaws sport ponytails or pleasure cabs and have a secret code that us drivers lack.

The two fingered flag pointed in a perfected angle toward the ground. Yes, there is proper waving etiquette. Why is it when they pass each other heading down the opposite six lanes do they get to wave? And not the one with a middle finger, like us? It matters not what type of bike they sit astride.

I think the gang must laugh at us in our sweltering vans, three car seats stuffed in the back while running out of gas. Ahh…to be a biker and not the one with the four-foot flag.

But comradery…that is a grand thought.

So my writing community what do you think? How can we distinguish each other in the middle of gridlock?


Write On! ❤ Jessica

Psst…I am waiting. I’m serious here people what can our driver type thing be?






Holidays Have New Meaning for Me

Today’s the Fourth of July. We all know the significance of the Fourth. I’m afraid to admit I have never found the “bombs bursting in air” to be a happy, joyful event to celebrate. Even as a kid the day did not resonate for me. That is not to say how much I appreciate the service of many who have sacrificed portions of their lives or have given their lives to protect our freedoms. But this year is especially difficult.

On Friday, July 1st, unexpectedly I lost a dear friend of decades. Laurel Soeby Dannen was a remarkable woman. She was well-read and could carry on an intelligent conservation with anyone on any topic. When my father was alive and wondered about what was going on in town, he would say, “Go ask Laurel. She’ll know.” And she would.

Her friends and sons had no warning of how ill she was. When she was rushed to the hospital a week ago for endoscopic surgery, she remained chipper and told everyone to be positive. That attitude is so Laurel. She’d want to fix problems for all of her community and find an upbeat direction or reason for anyone’s dilemma. IF she knew how ill she was, she would never complain.

For several years she held a fashion show to raise money for free mammograms for women in our coastal community who couldn’t afford one. She and I had a secret walking campaign to eliminate tansy ragwort lining the roads and vacant lots. We took pride in our project. That’s our girl! I mean, that WAS our girl. She will leave a huge hole in our lives.

She leaves 2 beloved sons, Ben and Dan and 2 grandsons as well as a community with their mouths agape in disbelief. She was always stalwart and industrious, kind and caring and wouldn’t want to burden anyone with any pain she was in. So we didn’t know. (We wanted to know, Laurel.)  When I drive past her store that was her love and life besides her family, I feel a huge hole and tears come easy.

What’s left of our friendship? —memories of breakfast on Sunday mornings at the crack of o’dark thirty, the gift ideas she’d share with our spouses, the years of walking at 5:30 am, and her friendly greeting when I popped in the store.

The date she passed was her birthday, so like her to want a note of drama at the end. She was never dramatic.

Holidays — all of them, have taken on a new resonance. Actually, every day is an opportunity. Don’t miss one day loving those around you and smiling at a stranger or greeting a senior citizen. Every day is to be treasured.

The only solace I can find is that her cancer took her quickly, and she did not have to suffer all that goes with it. Good-bye, dear friend. We’ll miss you.