Category Archives: World, near and far

All about places I visit or just happen by.

Must Go On

Road, Open, Sky, Armenia, Highway, Travel, Freedom

It seems impossible to go on with everything that’s happening in the world — war, hurricane, virus. Yet go on we must.

Help, if we can. Friends around me are donating baby clothes to organizations helping Afghan refugees (California is home to the largest Afghan population in the US). Some are volunteering their services, some are even writing welcoming letters.

Help comes in multitudes. Even a kind word over the phone can help.

Same for people affected by Ida. People in Haiti. The list goes on.

So, yes, it seems impossible. But we must go on for our present and future potential. We need a much-needed reminder that not everything is lost.

  • Young gorillas have learned to dismantle poachers traps;
  • We can now ‘listen in’ to Universe;
  • Some parts of the world are on track to wiping out one type cancer;
  • Scientists are working on a sieve that turns seawater into drinking water;
  • Researchers are understanding how to repair spinal cord injuries;
  • Science is fighting back against antibiotic resistance;
  • NASA has released all its research to the public for free; Source: Science Alert

One of my favorite new-ish breaking news alerts (of sorts) is:

Humans are inherently good.

Whether humans were born good or bad has been debated by philosophers for centuries.

Thousands of papers have been published on the subject, many coining the phrase “Human nature is inherently bad.”

Yet, more recent writing on the subject concludes that human nature is inherently good.

Survey shows more people than ever have volunteered for causes over the past ten years alone; with an overwhelming number of those surveyed going beyond volunteering and actually taking action (humanitarian, political).

Understanding our fundamental goodness is merely a philosophical exercise, but one that helps move forward and affect change within ourselves and the world.

What is one good thing happening with you or near you?

photo source: pixabay

A Challenge and A Review

Technology, Abstract, Photography, Photograph, Woman

I entered a challenge, dear friends.

One that takes breaking oneself apart, then putting oneself back together.

Why?

One, because I like to write.

Two, because Medium.com has put the challenge together.

Three, because a panel of esteemed judges will be reading the stories (this may not be such a good thing, being judged by celebrities. Then again, I wonder.)

There is more, of course. They offer prizes and honorable mentions.

But … the prompts.

One prompt, dear friends, is Death.

In any form, of course: death of a bad idea, death of ideals we held on too long for no reason other than stubbornness.

Death can be good, the judges said. Or bad.

There are three other prompts (a total of four): Space, Work, and Reentry.

I chose Space and Death. The first story (prompt Death) has just been published.

I can’t publish it here because Medium wants exclusive copyrights, but here is the link if you’d like to read it.

YOUR TIME TO SHINE – On having my heart in two places

Secondly, and just as important, Gwynn Rogers was kind enough to write a review for my short-story collection, START AGAIN. My big thanks for this precious gift, Gwynn.

Here it is:

Silvia Villalobos’ five short stories in her book START AGAIN are definitely rich with real life situations and feelings.  Life does not always go the way we planned it, so often times we need to stay strong and come up with an alternative plan.  I enjoyed learning how people dealt with solving their problems in life.

An Affair of the Heart deals with the issue of infertility and how spouses deal with the problem. Men and women often have different solutions to the problem.

Survivor shows how Paige deals with an aggressive form of cancer and wins.   However, how does she celebrate her win?

Ioana tells of a man trying to escape the grief of losing his wife without acknowledging his feelings.  He leaves San Francisco to travel back to the Balkans to run away from friends trying to help him only he runs into a woman who helps him identify and deal with his feelings.

The Friend – is she a friend or not?  Brooke helps her friend by taking care of her three-year old son while the mother recovers in rehab from the grief of losing her husband.  However, how is Brooke helping, or is she?

Games how a couple add to a romantic evening.  The husband turns out to be an abusive cop, so how does this evening turn out?

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Photo credit: pixabay

Brainwashing

Fantasy, Illusion, Sailboat, Sea, Sky, Ocean, Clouds

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email on how all social media information goes public on such and such day. Beware.

I said, Gina, that’s not true. I looked it up. My friend didn’t care. She said, Well, who knows. Just in case. Over the years, I’ve known Gina (not her real name) to be a reasonable person, with a good head on her shoulders. Lately, however, between the pandemic closures, information spinning out of control, and social-media tribalism, she sends me doom and gloom links all the time.

Just in case, she says.

In case what, exactly?

In case rational is irrational, and irrational is rational. Or the world is upside down or downside up.

That, I think, is the idea concocted in the ether of ideas. Spin everything so we no longer know what’s what.

Take a look around, and brainwashing is a real epidemic.

Used to be an ailment mostly affecting teens, or at least that’s how I remember it. Gina is in her fifties.

And is it manipulation or brainwashing? Or both? Is Gina liable to turn into a nut long term, or is this just a phase?

The latter, I hope. Because if not, I’m about to tell her I saw Big Foot. And if it wasn’t Big Foot, well, I’m still inclined to believe so, just in case.

We all have our fears, right? Fear of falling ill, fear of losing someone or something, fear of being forced to alter our lives. Having those fears played into, that’s what leads to brainwashing and/or manipulation.

Gina has a fear of losing her privacy, among other fears. To her, the idea of private chats or private information becoming public brings an unbearable amount of shame (chats may have involved gossip :)). She fears her private information would be used against her. So, when whoever put the claim out there that facebook is going to disregard laws and turn private matters public, she panicked.

Playing into people’s fears is an effective way to alter behavior.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Fear appeals are persuasive messages that emphasize the potential danger and harm that will befall individuals if they do not adopt the messages’ recommendations.” Source.

So, we are pounded directly and subliminally with messages of fear. How we respond varies widely.

I emailed Gina back: Fear not, strong woman, fear not, and shout it from the roof top: (a paraphrased quote).

No answer so far. I don’t know if the message got through, or she just gave up on me.

photo credit: pixabay

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START AGAIN, short stories. Plus my Gift to You

START AGAIN, my short-story collection, is now live, Amazon tells me.

Why, thank you very much.

It was a joy writing the five stories in this collection, each previously published by online magazines.

START AGAIN is about five different women who go through the unpredictable moments that make life extraordinary. 

To celebrate, I am gifting ebook copies between now and September 4th.

Please let me know below where to email the notification for the ebook, if you’d like a copy.

Of course, reviews – if you have the time in this busy world of ours – would be much appreciated.

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