Friday, April 29, 2011

He's given the boot the boot

The Boot - discarded along with all the rest 
of the broken foot accessories

I'm very happy to say the last piece of my husband's broken foot equipment is now ready to give away to Good Will. He discarded the huge, cumbersome boot just about two weeks ago, and he now wears his new wide (to accommodate some residual swelling) New Balance shoes full-time. The next thing he needs to do is get back to driving. I'm hoping that will happen next week.

It's been a long three plus months, but in the end it was worth the discipline and rigor of his recovery program. He's walking now like nothing ever happened. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Literary Ladies by Nava Atlas - book review

        I feel very fortunate that WOW - Women on Writing ( asked me to review Nava Atlas’ book, The Literary Ladies: Guide to the Writing Life, Sellers Publishing Inc. (2011). It is a beautifully presented book, replete with archival images, quotes, and well-researched information.

Nava's premise is that the lessons of classic women writers resonate with women writing today. With that in mind I read noting how these lessons apply to my life as a writer. 
I found that Nava's insightful comments touched on the very same things I encountered in creating a writing life for myself, finding a publisher, moving on to the next book, and my work to overcome my fears that my book will find a poor audience and bad reviews.
I also love quotes, so I couldn’t get enough of the wonderful and insightful observations and wisdom from the twelve literary ladies Nava chose to highlight: Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, Willa Cather, Edna Ferber, Madeleine L’Engle, L.M. Montgomery, Anais Nin, George Sand, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf. I grew up with these authors and have always loved their writing and wisdom, so I am excited to know that they shared so many of my hopes and misgivings as a writer.
To present the wisdom from the past as it applies to our time, Nava organized her book into eight chapters. 
In Becoming a Writer she states that the urge to write can be so strong nothing anyone can do or say can deter that passion. Edith Wharton’s family and friends looked down on her desire to write, and in the end, she was one of the most successful writers of the group of twelve. Even though I took many creative detours – painting, quilting, needlepoint, sewing – I finally went back to my first love, writing, late in life, and now I’m making up for lost time.
“This is certain: I never have written a line except to please myself….” – Edna Ferber
Her second chapter, Finding a Voice tells us that the early writers had a plentiful market – however sometimes they had to hide behind pseudonyms. They could write and publish as they learned. Today we rely on workshops and classes in an academic setting to hone our skills and we have less publishing success. I’ve had sporadic success: co-author of a book about blue collar women, many poems published, essays published in my hometown newspaper and online magazines, a blog; hopefully my newly published book will change all that.
“O why do I ever let anyone read what I write! Every time I have to go through a breakfast with a letter of criticism I swear I will write for my own praise or blame in future. It is a misery.” – Virginia Woolf
Then as well as now we must find the time and a place to write, Nava stresses in the Tools of the Trade chapter. Then they wrote pen on paper, now we have our ubiquitous technology. But the story is the same – write regularly in the same place at the same time to create a habit and a body of work. Ferber used the term “discipline.” Now that I am a full-time writer I treat my writing as a full-time job – after my morning workout, breakfast, and shower, I go to my office and write until I’m finished with my day’s assignments.
“Ultimately, you have to sit down and start to write.” – Madeleine L’Engle
Self-doubt and the risk of failure were rampant with the literary ladies, Nava says in Conquering Inner Demons. And it is still rampant today. But, no matter what, because of our passion we go on. That little critic on my shoulder is my own worst enemy, though lately I find it doesn’t do much to deter me. 
“As for my frenzy for work I will compare it to an attack of Herpes. I scratch myself while I cry. It is both a pleasure and a torture at the same time….” – George Sand
In The Writer Mother, we find that many in this group of twelve had other responsibilities besides just sitting down to write everyday. They had children, floor scrubbing, washing and ironing, cooking, farming and teaching in the way. I worked full-time for many years as a writer-editor in the aerospace industry and could only write in the little spare time I had outside of my stressful day job. Now I have my own office cluttered with meaningful things that serve as my muse.
“If I am to write, I must have a room to myself, which shall be my room….” – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Rejection and Acceptance are parts of the business of writing. I sent out over sixty-eight query letters before I found my publisher. Some queries received a short impersonal response, some had no response at all, but I kept at it until I was successful. Because the literary ladies had more avenues in which to present their work, they were more successful than most writers today, but they too suffered rejection after rejection. Jane Austen’s father, acting as her agent, sent a query to a prospective publisher. The letter was promptly returned to him with no comment on it whatsoever.
“Mr. N. wants a second volume for spring. Pleasant notices and letters arrive, and much interest in my little women, who seem to find friends by their truth to life, as I hoped.” – Louisa May Alcott
Nava points out in Money Matters that some writers care about making enough money to support themselves by their craft and others only care about writing. I’ve written for years without making a dime, and still I go on. Hopefully, I’ll be more successful with this new book.
“How quickly the minutes fly when you are writing to please your heart. I pity those who write for money or for fame. Money is debasing, and fame transitory and exacting. But for your own heart…Oh, what a difference!” – Anais Nin
The last chapter, Further Along the Way, says that once published these literary ladies cared very much what the critics had to say about their work. They also had to deal with publicity as we do today. Now that I’m at that place, I’m alternately very excited and very terrified. So far I’ve had three great reviews and I’m working very hard at getting the word out about my book. Like the literary ladies, whatever the outcome, there is always something else to write about. I plan to keep writing as they did, no matter what.
“One of the reviews says, ‘The book radiates happiness and optimism.’ …It is a joy to feel that my long years of struggle and unaided effort have been crowned with success.” – L.M. Montgomery
The Literary Ladies is a book to savor and show off on your coffee table. The pages look like art. I recommend you pick it up every once in a while, browse through the photos,  and read a bit, and most probably you’ll find something there that applies directly to you.  

                                          About the Author
         Nava Atlas is the author and illustrator of many well-known vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, including Vegan Express, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, and The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet. Her first book was Vegetariana, now considered a classic in its field. In addition, she has published two books of humor, Expect the Unexpected When You’re Expecting! (A parody), and Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife. Always what she terms a “literature geek,The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life might seem like a step in yet another direction, but it actually reflects her lifelong love of books in any form, and her desire to one day succeed in writing a novel.
Nava is also a visual artist, specializing in limited edition artist’s books and text-driven objects and installations. Her work has been shown nationally in museums, galleries, and alternative art spaces. Her limited edition books are housed in numerous collections of artist’s books, including the special collections libraries of The Museum of Modern Art (NY), National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC), National Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Brooklyn Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and dozens of academic collections. Learn more about Nava’s work at and

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The book trailer is up on YouTube

I last posted about building a book trailer to publicize my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On on April 2. We were in the first stages of design then. And now just three and a half weeks later the two-minute video is up on youtube.

This was truly a labor of love. My son Ben and his friend, Frank Artes, produced it; Frank was the director and one of the photographers -- we decided we need additional photos to better illustrate the story, and Frank put the whole piece together. Another friend of Ben's Chris Bouffard, who is an actor and experienced in this sort of thing, did the voiceover. Other contributers were my book photographers Paul Blieden and Madison Poulter. I provided the script with a little help from my very brilliant writer friend, Marlene McPherson. She's worked writing for the soaps for years, so she knew just how to add the right amount of drama to the piece.

Last, but of course the most important, Paul's music plays in the background. One of my friends says it makes the piece.

Frank was so adept in melding the music, photos, and script all together, and without a lot of retakes. Before I knew it, it was up yesterday, and I'm very pleased with it.

Please let me know what you think. And remember, the book will be available on May 8 (Mother's Day). You'll be able to buy it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble very soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Finding healing support and hugs on Facebook

The ocean's mellowing effect

I recently joined a couple of groups on Facebook. One is called Grieving Mothers (there is a Grieving Fathers as well, started by the spouse of the woman who started the mother’s group), and Loss of an Adult or Young Adult Child. After joining both groups, my first question was: where were these groups when I needed them in September 1999? People post on them all day and night to share a story about their child who died, tell about the terrible time they are having just doing their daily lives, and ask questions – about how others are coping or what medications help them or how do they keep the memory of their children alive. They console each other, they give hugs (((((hugs)))), or they just rant.

They also use the word angel for their lost child and call a new child conceived after the death of a child, a rainbow baby (the rainbow after the storm concept). I love that term and I only wish I had been young enough to have one after Paul died.

Of course in 1999 there wasn’t even a Facebook. I had a cell phone that I hardly used and an email address in those days and that was the extent of my social networking through electronic media. Plus I didn’t take advantage of self-help books, therapy, or support workshops – except for an eight-week group at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, called Survivors After Suicide. I found SAS very depressing.

Would I have used and found solace in the Facebook groups going on today? I really can’t say. Writing was my way of taking care of myself. I didn’t reach out a lot or talk to people about what was going on with me. I also filled up my life with diversions: working, writing, working out were my top three. I also went to the theater, the opera, and the movies; I read one book after another, and we travelled, and had dinners out with friends. I learned very well how to playact, meant to fool others as well as myself into believing that I could move on and begin to live my life again. Turns out that that playacting became a reality. I did move on to have a productive life after Paul’s death; however, I still grieve for him and continually find ways to keep his memory alive.

So I log on to these Facebook groups and marvel that the people there have bonded. They have found virtual support and consolation and love and friendship from people they probably will never meet in person. Some of them aren’t even Facebook friends. That is such a wonderful thing.

And I’m in there with them. It’s never too late to find people to love and care for.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blogging tips

Last Friday night we were out with friends, one of whom is a computer software and website expert. And, he offered to help me optimize my blog so that I can get it out there to more folks -- mainly so more people will know about my very soon-to-be-released memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On

We haven't gotten together yet, but I look forward to his ideas.
[The book will be released in three weeks - May 8, 2011 - Mother's Day]

In the meantime, I spoke to my niece who started a blog a few months ago, and she's been extremely successful in getting people to read what she has to say about what's playing on televison. And she had some suggestions fthat have so far worked very well in getting more people to come by my blog.

So here's her advice:

  • Add tags (on blogspot they are called labels) that are actually keywords indicating what the blog is about at a glance
  • Add a list of links on my permanent right-hand side bar about helpful mental health support and suicide prevention organizations that I often mention
  • Add a photo and a photo caption with every post
  • Add a link within every post 
  • Go through every blog post in my archive and add, add, add these components. 

Well, I've started and the task is daunting. So far I've gotten through most of year 2011 - only a few posts left to look at and update in January. But, fulfilling each of these requirements is pretty daunting. I still don't have a photo or link included in every blog I've looked at so far, but I have managed to insert the tags.

And along the way,  I've managed to correct a few typos. You know, no matter how many times we writers look at a piece, we always find something to correct.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Patty "Next Door"

Beautiful Manhattan Beach Sunset

The sun is setting on my neighbor next door. Everytime I look toward her house - just on the other side of our wood slat fence, I feel sad. She's been battling pancreatic cancer for about two and a half years, and we were all optimistic at first because the chemotherapy seemed to be working. 

We've never been very close, but it's always nice to know she is there. And we're shared some good times - her daughter's wedding, a few special birthdays. We've also shared some tough times  - our Paul's death and the death of her daughter's infant. 

We'd have conversations from our deck or patio and a few dinners together. But that's over. We tried to visit last weekend, but her husband said it is too late. She stays in bed, sleeping most of the time because of doses of heavy painkillers, and has only days left.

Recently visitors arrived next door
with flowers and sad faces.
Made me wonder
if it’s Patty’s time.
She’s been struggling
with pancreatic cancer
for two and a half years,
with steady doses of chemo,
surgeries, anything to shrink
her tumor and ease her pain.
So Bob called and now I know.
She is in hospice care,
There is no more hope.
And we’ll take flowers to her
on Saturday.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My WOW blog tour starts on June 6

I’ve been preparing for my book’s WOW blog tour. It will start on June 6 and run for a month, and I expect to have about fifteen stops. So far WOW and I have developed a list of twelve blog topics and I’ve started working through five of them already. However, I know already I’ll have to cut them quite a bit. WOW recommends each piece be no more than 300 to 500 words.

So what is WOW ( They state on their About page on their website:

"WOW! is a global magazine, designed to support women's creativity, energy, blood, sweat and tears, throughout all stages of the writing process. We envision Wow! being a favorite watering hole for professionals, the up-and-coming, and the recipients of our labors--the avid readers.

Our concept is unique, as it fills in the missing gap between writing websites and women's magazines. We are dedicated to raising the overall standards within the writing community, and devote an active profile within writing industry associations, organizations and websites.
WOW! is committed to excellence in every way, in our work ethic, in the products and services we provide, and in our relationships with our readers, contributors, freelancers, interviewees, advertisers, and subscribers. We strive to be fair, honest and courteous in all of our dealings.
Ultimately, WOW! hopes to contribute to the love, enjoyment and excitement of producing quality writing--so that the reader in all of us will never want for good material, in any form."
I got started with this site by entering one of their writing contests that they have every so often. And I’m pleased to say I got an honorable mention, a critique of my piece, plus a bunch of nice prizes. Then I offered to host a couple of authors on my blog – one last year and one the year before. It was fun to get to know those women authors virtually and support them in any way I could. Now I’m excited to have my own tour at other blogger’s sites. Of course it’s a great way to promote my book, Leaving the Hall Light On, “toot my own horn,” as WOW says, and to find out about the many wonderful women bloggers out there.
Look for more information about this up and coming tour. I’ll have a schedule posted here soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Journaling can be a risky business

I had dinner last night with three of my former work colleagues whom I get together every few months or so. We talked a bit about the workplace I left just about a year ago, making me feel very glad I made that decision to leave. 

Toward the end of our evening one of the women shared with me that she'd like to do something besides work -- something creative. I suggested classes at El Camino City College and South Bay Adult School – in jewelry making, pottery, painting, or even a language, but she said she’d like to get into writing. I asked her if she journaled, and she actually physically moved away from that subject. She said she couldn’t write down anything private for fear of it getting into the wrong hands.

Of course that’s the fear of all of us who journal, but it hasn’t stopped me. At first I wrote in notebooks – the finer the better. I especially love the ones I bought in France and later found at Banner Stationer’s in El Segundo – Clairefontaine. The pages are very thick and slick and don’t show through to the backside when written on in ink. Also the covers are in beautiful jewel-tones. I always feel like I’m writing in a very special place when I write in those notebooks. 

However, a few years ago – after being so careful to clutch my notebooks close to my chest any time I was out and about – I left one in the seat pocket in front of me while on a flight home. And personally going to the airline’s lost and found didn’t get the notebook back. Now I use my notebooks for taking workshop notes. I write my journal entries on my computer. Of course that doesn’t guarantee privacy. To combat that I have a separate folder for my journal documents only accessible with a password.  The only way I’ll ever forget my password is if I lose all my marbles – probably not very likely.

So I told my friend not to be daunted about starting her journal writing -I suggested she start wrting about fifteen minutes a day. I’ve been doing in regularly for over twenty years and have never felt violated. Also I've found it to be a good way to kick start any kind of writing piece. My forthcoming memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, all began with my journal entries. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tina Fey and I have something in common

I read “The New Yorker.” I have been for years, but I’m always about two months behind. There’s so much to read in each issue and so little time. Usually I read while I’m on the elliptical trainer or treadmill at the gym, so it takes me about a week to get through an issue.

Last week I read an article by Tina Fey, called “Confessions of a Juggler,” in the Feb. 14 & 21, 2011 issue in which she writes about juggling being a mommy and having the career of a lifetime, and having to answer the question that keeps coming up for her as she approaches age 40: should she have another child. She thinks it’s rude that people always ask if she’s planning to and at the same time she doesn’t want to ignore her five-year old daughter’s wish to be a big sister. She also wants to make sure that her daughter doesn’t have the entire burden of caring for her aging parents on her own. With that she states she needs a “backup.”

I went through those kinds of thoughts when I was considering getting pregnant after Paul was born, and even when I found out I was pregnant I had misgivings. I had a great job at the time with great career potential, and although I was only in my mid 30s, anyone past 30 was considered old to be having a child in those days. I also didn’t want to go through another Caesarian delivery – it was just too painful.

Then, I didn’t consider the need for a backup, but now I know how important having one is. In fact, I wish I had had a pair and a spare. Now poor Ben has the entire burden of caring for Bob and me in our old age.  Of course, I never thought about one of my children dying before me – that’s a parents darkest nightmare  – a place where none of us should ever have to go – but it indeed happened to me. So thankfully I have Ben – probably one of the nicest and most loving people I know.

And, now I’m happy to hear Tina is pregnant. I hope she’ll even consider having a third child as well. A backup is great, but you can’t beat a pair and a spare. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One month to go until launch. So what’s on my list of to dos now?

Last Friday at exactly 6:29 pm, my publisher sent off my manuscript to the printer. And exactly one month from then, my book will be launched. And right now I’m feeling overwhelmed with thoughts of what should I be doing to get ready, and even if I know what things I should be doing, will I know how to do them?

When the book I co-authored, Blue Collar Women, came out in 1994 I don’t remember doing anything to market the book. My co-author had done the research so she did a few radio interviews and that was it. She used the book in her college classes, but other than that, sales were poor. I certainly don’t want to have a repeat of that poor success. With that book I didn’t even get fifteen minutes of fame.

So far in preparation for my new book’s launch I’ve actively participated in Facebook – I have a friend page, I have a fan page, I joined two poetry groups, I joined a group of other parents who had an adult child die, and I regularly comment on pages related to my book’s subject – most notably The Compassionate Friends. And I’m on all of these pages every day in one way or another.

I also have a Twitter account though instead of using Twitter directly I have my blog and fan page posts appear on Twitter. Perhaps I need to change that, and comment on Twitter a few times a day as well.
I also have a blog that I post to at least three times of week. Usually my posts relate to my book, but once in a while I like to share about my family and post the photos I take when I walk along the ocean.

And, that’s not the end of it – at least for the short term.

We need to finish the Book Trailer.
I need to create a Press Kit that I’m happy to say, my friend with PR experience has offered to do for me.
I need to follow up with the Easy Reader local newspaper about the article they promised to do for me. And that reminds me there a couple of other publications to contact about getting articles in them as well.
And, right at this moment I need to start planning my first booksigning event. I’m going to do a little research. I’m going to attend a couple of other signings going on at the Pages bookstore to find out how other authors do these things. I imagine I have a lot to learn out there.

Plus, my husband says he’s going to plan a launch party to be held at our home on Mother’s Day – launch day. I hope he’ll invite all of you to come.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An online class – is it worth the convenience?

I just finished a ten-week online novel writing class. I must say at the outset that I liked the convenience of working from my computer at home and not having to drive twelve miles once a week up to the Westside of Los Angeles about twelve miles in all the evening traffic. But, those are the only two advantages I can think of.

However, I missed the one-to-one interchange and give and take with people in a classroom setting. I couldn’t get their personalities from their written comments. And since I had worked with the instructor before, even her wonderful outgoing personality didn’t show through from the comments and lectures and other documents she posted online.

Of course the material for the class was adequate but it was just that – material, with no room for discussion about it. We did our writing assignments and posted them on time every week. And we posted a comment on at least two of our classmates work every week. Even though I found that quite enough work for me since I was very much involved with caring for my husband and his broken foot throughout the entire ten-week period, other students commented on the work of many more of their colleague’s work, making me feel a little guilty.

Perhaps because I came into the class at the third level and missed the first two levels that took place last summer and fall, my experience was less than wonderful. I needed more information about the books the others were writing, and I think I would have gotten that information had we discussed them face-to-face in a classroom – even though I was a later comer to the class. I couldn’t read everyone’s work every week, so I skipped around to get a taste of the work of several people. Not a good way to get the whole gist of the stories that I read.  And I’m sure my classmates felt the same way about my work. There was no way, because of how the assignments were structured, for any of us to post our scenes in chronological order.

However, this class pushed me to get a lot of novel writing done. I wrote the equivalent to the assigned 300 words a day – some days I wrote more and some days less, and I’m left with a good chunk of writing done. And I even have a lot of comments that will help me in fleshing out the scenes I have and creating new ones later on. I can’t tell you how many times I thought about dropping the class because I was so overwhelmed over my husband’s accident – it happened during the first week of class. But, I’m really glad I stuck it through. 

Next time, though, I’ll take something held in a classroom and not online, no matter how long and inconvenient the drive to school is. I must be too old fashioned for this online stuff.   

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Music is here now for you listening pleasure

A few days ago my computer guy – and I kid you not, his name is Guy – and I spent a couple of hours figuring out how to add a music player on this site so that I can showcase my son Paul’s music. And Voila! The music player is now here. Just go to the second tab above, the one titled In Memory of Paul Sharples, open the page, scroll down to the bottom, and click the little triangle on the box to play. Unfortunately I can only showcase one piece at a time, but I promise to change the tunes often.

I’ve also created two more tabs. The next tab has endorsements for my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. Hopefully after you’ve read the book, you’ll write one that I can post. The next tab is for the book trailer, but since that is still under construction, you’ll have to keep checking back to see if it’s posted yet.

Please enjoy Paul’s tune – composed and performed by him.

Paul playing piano at Grandma's house

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Building a book trailer

I’ve decided there is never an end to the things that need doing in getting a book published and out there to the world. My latest chore is developing a book trailer, and when I began – just days ago – I really didn’t have a clue about how to do it.

I actually thought about having a trailer some months ago when I saw the one for Alice and Richard’s book The Art of Aging. And then when two of my Lucky Press author colleagues came out with theirs, I decided it was time for me to get a move on. And since I’m a me-too kind of person, I didn’t want to be left out. Their books will be released after mine, and their trailers are already on YouTube.

So I asked my son Ben if he would work on it with me – he of course with his acting talent and his experience in writing, directing, and producing short films – he was the logical choice. And like a good son, he said he’d be glad to help – which really meant doing most of the design and production work.

We met on Thursday and talked about a script. Obviously for a piece about two minutes long, not much of a script is needed, but the details need to be thought through carefully. I brought a review copy of my book, and while we ate our burger bowls at The Counter in Marina del Rey, we each marked photos to include in the trailer – my idea is to have a background that is a montage of the photos that tell the story. Ben had the brilliant idea and some words to typify a beginning, middle, and end of the story.

And since Ben is in the business of making films he felt he could call upon a couple of his friends to help out. One of his friends has the skills and access to the equipment needed to produce the piece. And although I had originally thought that either Ben or his wife Marissa, also an actor, would do the voice over, Ben called another one of his friends who is more experienced. Both agreed to help out. Wow, am I lucky.

Then yesterday I spent the afternoon shipping off music and pictures to my two producers who worked into the wee hours of the night to come up with a draft. Needless to say I sent them more than they used, but they definitely picked out the right stuff. Their initial product is beautiful. No voice over yet – I’m still deciding on what the voice will say – but the look is beautiful and very heartfelt. Of course throughout I’ve had the help of wonderful photographers whose work is in the book and will be shown on the video. Plus I took a few of the photos myself.

Picking the music is another issue. I decided early on to have Paul’s music in the background, and I mistakenly sent my producers the wrong tracks. So for the draft Ben and Frank used one that wasn’t composed by Paul and that had a lot of saxophone playing besides Paul’s piano. Today I spent some time listening to what I think were his latest compositions and sent that off. Hopefully it won’t be hard to take out the music from the draft piece and include another piece. My goal is to have only Paul at the piano in the background.

Another one of my original ideas was to have a couple poem excerpts read as the photos and music plays on screen. But, seeing how short two minutes are, I’m reconsidering. Perhaps it will be statements that typify the beginning, middle, and end of the story. I have a few days left to decide on that.

I’ve discovered a process has been associated with each step of my book’s creation. I drew my material from my journal entries, using my poem manuscript as an organizing tool. I did my revisions and reviews based on the processes I learned by working proposals in the aerospace company: revise, review, revise, review until done; storyboard the entire manuscript, and save every hard and soft version until the book is published. And by the time this trailer is finished I’ll have a process to share about doing that. In the meantime there’s a lot of lessons to be learned.