Uncommon Grounds

I place the final period and smile at the screen in approval. Staring at the new age typewriter I reassure myself, “this one is good,” as I finish the outline for a short story. Written with care and confidence; this is how I write many of my short stories. I’ve created my own formula for writing them, it’s become a secondhand nature. Whether they’ll be good or not is up for debate, but I know how I like to write them. This allows me to share these stories with friends and followers. It’s all about a comfort I have in knowing what works for me when writing.

Now. As for this piece I’m currently writing, that you are now currently reading, not so much. I feel a slight uneasiness about putting words, non-fictitious words, words of advice, into this new age typewriter. It’s unsettling to think that someone may take the things I say to heart and I can’t simply defend my words with “it’s fiction.” This rather scares me a little. It’s a new experience that I’m unfamiliar with. A discomfort zone, if you will. I don’t like it, but I also don’t dislike it.

Photo Credit: Girls
Photo Credit: HBO series Girls

A year ago, I would have fled from the discomfort. I didn’t like the lack of confidence that came with the first times. This scared me away from many opportunities growing up. The dastardly fear of the unknown tormented me. It ruined my words. It was a tiresome battle with myself to overcome my fear. I had to change things, to climb the wall of discomfort and try something new.

It wasn’t until I was asked by SEVEN to submit a short story that I decided to make my move. My climb began with “Charley Parkins.” That was the spark I needed. The key in the ignition. The kick in the…you get my point. As I became more confident, I began sharing more of my work. I founded my writing formula and found comfort in my short stories. I was always willing to share with others my work. I loved the ecstasy of confidence that filled me. I decided then, “I don’t want this feeling to end.”

So here I am, typing unfamiliar words, full of chattering nerves. Doubt floats around in my head, but I write on. You see, writing aside, I’ve learned that there is nothing to be gained by remaining in your comfort zone. Life can’t happen if you stay in bed. The past year I’ve made numerous new friends, found solace in poetry, and even made a big change by moving to Ocean City from Baltimore (about three hours away) after living at home for almost 21 years. These experiences I’ve had with my friends, new and old, have inspired me; giving me new subjects to write about. The reason I don’t dislike the discomfort is for the simple learned fact that new experiences are uncomfortable, but also unforgettable. You must embrace the unknown. Never fear the new. I’ve wasted too much time hiding from that first time fear. It’s a lesson I learned by taking one chance, affecting my person and my writing.

Go out and try something new. Leave your comfort zone behind. Whether it be trying a new restaurant, talking to someone new, or even attempting to write something inspiring and filled with a little bit of advice. Get out of your comfort zone and enter your discomfort zone, for this is the place we can truly grow.

© 2013 Seven Magazine

A Procrastinator’s Improvement Guide

Click on the pic to check out this amazing site!
© 2010 Hyperbole and a Half

As the self proclaimed ‘accomplished’ procrastinator, I know a thing or two about the art of procrastination. Here’s what I have to say: it is amazing. I love wasting all of my valuable time on video games, soap operas and books instead of being productive. There is just a peace that envelopes me when I leave everything for the last minute. Can you blame me? I mean you guys know what I’m talking about right? No? No? Really? Any takers?

Oh, OK. Let me try a new angle. Procrastination is simply something I excel in. I’m great at leaving everything for last minute and then pulling out my hair in frustration for having done it again. You know- the P word. So it’s really not as amazing as I tend to euphamise. But as they say, those that can’t do teach. Yep, we will be trying that saying out for size.

So you there, established procrastinator that is reading this and while you don’t really care to give up this amazing skill I’m here to give you some advice. For the record- yes, I did say skill. It is no easy feat to go against all of your instincts and nagging conscience to be lazy. Well lazy in my case. But I regress. Back to the P word. Procrastination isn’t always great- usually in the last minutes while you’re trying to meet a deadline that you had weeks to fulfill and you only give yourself an hour to complete. So what can you do?

First, it is important to develop precedent. Warn everyone people. ‘I am a procrastinator.’ Well not like that. It’s important to use positive adjectives like amazing, artful, impressive, dedicated… You know words that tend to describe a positive trait. So when you know that this person expects you to meet a deadline or has some form of expectation in time- like, let’s say a date- set precedent. ‘Hey Billy, I feel very strongly about procrastination. I think it’s pretty impressive how people can just leave everything for last minute.’ Yes, you can say that in your most sarcastic voice, but hey you warned him. When your 20 minutes late to your date and he wants an explanation, be sure to tell him that you excel in procrastination. People will come to not expect punctuality from you and you will deal with less guilt and less pressure from expectations.

Next, make a list. Everyday take out five minutes to write down everything that is absolutely important that you get done that day. This is honestly the best and most effective way to deal with procrastination. Keep your list near you all day. Even when you’re too busy lounging on the couch scrolling through iFunny on your phone or on your computer checking out Youtube for nigahiga‘s newest videos, be sure to have your list nearby. A pen or pencil is also a good idea. It will make it easier to revise and add things to your list you forgot in the first go round. Don’t waste your time writing things you know you have no intention of doing. That night when you have exhausted your usual list of time exhausting distractions, your P list will ensure that you don’t forget to go half assed on everything important enough to write down.

What did I say this article was meant to do? Oh, I really don’t think it matters. However, I do hope that this has made you a better procrastinator and that you will soon achieve a master level of it.

Second Cup. . . why yes please.

Not one cup, but a Second Cup

I have an admission. First of all, let me say, that I had no intention of purposely walking into this location. Seriously! Do not doubt my dedication to my first love!?! This visit was purely consequential with what I was doing at the time and not that I wanted to step out on her, she means the world to me, but it was all about convenience. I know, it’s a horrible excuse. However she was there when I needed her, where as Starbucks was no where to be found. It meant nothing. Like, I understand this is not an excuse, but I needed a fix and Second Cup was there to quench my thirst. It seriously meant nothing!

2ndCup
© 2013 Seven Magazine

I was lost. Desperately needing a caffeine fix and well, I stumbled upon her. I decided, why not. It’s just a cup of coffee. Think of the moments when you need Starbucks, but the nearest place next to you is a Dunkin Donuts. What does an addict do? Do you go without caffeine for the next couple of hours and possibly kill someone one in traffic because you were missing your caffeine fix?? I think not!! You make a sane decision and save a life by drinking Dunkin until you find a Starbucks. America Runs on Dunkin is a horrible slogan. It should be America Accepts Dunkin as a Starbucks Replacement in Order to Save Lives!

Keeping this mentality, I hope that you understand my reluctance in possibly committing vehicular homicide. I was a responsible adult and I stopped at the first available caffeine source. I parked my car, walked up to the building and opened the door. Caffeine scent smacked my receptors and drew me in without hesitation. My eyes checked out the decor that reminded me of Central Perk from Friends, while my mouth savored in anticipation. The mood was LATTE! Now, you think that Starbucks has a complicated menu, THINK AGAIN MY FRIEND! Second Cup has an intricate menu ranging from coffees, lattes and others. I decided to go with a Vanilla Bean Latte AND OMG was it amazing. If you have one near you, check them out. You won’t be disappointed. Did I mention the price was right? It was about half the price of a Starbucks beverage and probably more delish! I still heart you Starbucks!


How Do I Kill You?

I was writing my first novel. As the story progressed, I realized that I hated my main character. Like, stick-a-rusted-razor-tooth-dagger-repeatedly-hacksaw-your-eye truly fully hated her. I then realized that I needed to get rid of her. It was time to plot her murder. It was then time to sit back and wonder, exactly how would she die?

How often have you found yourself in this conundrum? Exactly how do you kill a character? I thought about this almost obsessively. Let me clarify first, that these are ONLY ideas to help you murder a fictitious character and NOT a real human. I do not want this blog post to be evidence in a murder trial NOR do I want my name to flash on the screen and cause a Fox News exclusive on why blogs shouldn’t discuss character killings. I don’t want to spark a national debate on the infringement of the First Amendment and all that jazz. NO, I am merely sharing with you, my personal favs on how to get rid of FICTITIOUS characters that I cannot stand.

1) Poison – Think of Snow White and the apple, but not the coma apple. Make it a deadly apple, or a deadly cup of Starbucks. You can use a real poison (Google it) if your are writing a murder mystery or just make up some random concoction. Hucklevisa Mumble Berry is a good one. Make sure to mix with honey first, to get rid of that sour taste.

2) Fall – Nothing is better than making that pain in the butt character than to cause them pain. Stumbling to their death is the best. Maybe upon walking to the store, they trip on their shoe lace, stumble a couple of paces only to fall backward and then land on a upside down razor sharp ice skating boot that slices into their head and down the back of the neck until it severs their spinal cord killing them within minutes letting them reflect on all the misery they caused. So what if your story is centered in the summer? Maybe the ice skater was cleaning out the closet and the boot fell out into the street.

3) Car – Hit by a car, dragged by a car, rolled over by a car, car fell on their head, and even had a heart attack in the car. The possibilities are endless. Explore this one.

4) Eaten – Works very well if your working on a Sci Fi…but can be made real if you use a parasite or bug or a zombie. God I love zombies! OMG…what if you have a rabid zombie pink haired leprechaun who is high on bath salts??? Picture it for a second…. yup, hilarious!

5) Gun – Get more creative than this. I know you can. This is just sooo blah! Same as using a knife. Gun/knives are just a little over done. Nunchucks now THAT is a murder weapon! Have your character assassin randomly pop into a scene, cartwheel over to the pain in the butt character and nunchuck him/her to death! This also serves as reflection for you character to finally repent for his/her malicious ways as the rabid zombie pink haired leprechaun nunchucks chucks the life outta him/her. Sorry… I still think it’s hilarious! PICTURE IT!!

6) Turkey Leg – Picture this… Your characters are sitting down for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, Pop Pop is about to do the honors of slicing the turkey, when drunk Uncle Ted starts complaining about how he wanted do the honors and Pop Pop is too old to do it. Pop Pop looses his marbles, slices off the turkey leg and proceeds to beat Uncle Ted in the head chanting over and over again ‘Viagra is for duration not necessitation!”

7) Eye Pop – A what? Exactly! Make something up. It’s your world. It doesn’t have to be real, as long as you can verify it’s validity through your writing. This could be the most rare form of a venereal disease that your character contracted while being a jerk. Make it painful!

Whatever you come up with to kill your characters, remember to make it creative. You want something dramatic, something to make your reader go WTH just happened?? I say omit anything that you’ve ever read before and add your own demented idea. There’s nothing unbelievable about how you create your world, as long as you have the supporting words to invite the reader to the places you want to lead them.


May 12 is Mother’s Day, but you knew that already. What sort of things remind you of your Mom?

CotyCoty Poynter:

We’ve been ask to write about the things that remind us of our mothers for May, yet the more I think on the matter, the harder it is to choose just one thing. Even five things is a tough call. My mother has been one of the few reliable people throughout my life thus far. Between her and my grandmother, they both constantly surround me. Whether it is a certain country song that plays over a radio in some foreign location or a just a simple chocolate milkshake, I’m reminded of these woman in some way. Growing up, my grandma would pick my sister and I up from school while my mom and father were at work. When my mom got off she would come to pick us up, but not before grandma prepared me a chocolate milkshake, or two, paired with an egg sandwich just for being her grandson. Breakfast to dessert, she is with me. As for my mom, there are numerous things I can link her to. The amount thinking about it is almost overwhelming. Her and I went through some awful times together, but in those awful times we still laughed with each other. She has shown me what it takes to be strong, and unbeknownst to her, shown me how to use pen and paper. My mom is with me from sun up till sun down. I couldn’t think myself any luckier to have that. So here’s to you mom, the fights we’ve had, the tears we’ve shared, and to the laughs we loved. You’re greater than you’ll ever know.

YmeldaYmelda Ramirez:

Once upon a time, I took a creative writing class in college. The teacher wanted us to select a poem and use it as inspiration for our own piece. It had to resemble the style and format of the original. I wanted to choose a poet that no one else in my class was going to pick. Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Walt Whitman were a few of the poets that were out of the question. A friend of mine suggested Pablo Neruda. I had NO CLUE who this guy was. He was from Chile and was a Spanish Poet so I knew that no one else would use him in our class. SOLD!
One night, I was writing in the kitchen, with my borrowed library book by Pablo Neruda and my mom walked by. She started reciting the poem that I was working on. “Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.” I was in shock. I didn’t know my mom could read!!! I asked her how she knew that. She sat down and flipped through the book and started telling me how he was her teenage crush. She would stay up late reading his poetry and followed him the way I would stalk …um I mean… admire NYY Shortstop Derek Jeter. It turns out that she was a huge fan of Pablo Neruda and knew a lot of his poetry by heart. She even helped me with my assignment. We connected that night, like no other. My mother’s first language was Spanish and English never became a second for her. We always had a separation when it came to anything literary that I was interested in, until that night. A couple of years later, we went to a bookstore and I bought the book pictured above. On the subway ride home, we flipped through the book and read some of the pieces. I knew that there had to be a connection to my reading and writing, but I never thought it could be her. My mom is just as much of a fan of the literary world as I am. Now we share books back and forth and have conversations about it all the time. WHOO HOO MOM! =)

Water Angel(Signed)_ Raymond Hernandez:

This is my first contribution to 7TheMag. This month is a very special one for a lot of people for we celebrate Mothers Day in a couple of days. To commemorate this month I present you with this picture of The Angel Of The Waters located in Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, NY. Mothers day for me always comes on a sour note. Sadly, I lost my mother on Mothers Day Sunday May 11th, 2003. To me she was my entire world, just as this photo is entitled, she was my “Protector”. I tell all my friends and family members or just anyone I’ve met that if you’re still lucky enough to have that wonderful person in your life known as your “Mother, Mom, Mami, …” or any other name you’d like to call her, you should cherish those moments every day. Don’t just take one day a year to show them how much you care for them and how much they mean to you, because TRUST ME, one day, when you least expect it, they may no longer be with you.

K. S. Pratt:

Writing about the woman who was one of my greatest friends and inspirations is a bit of a challenge for me. See, it’s been nearly ten years since she’s passed, every particle of life I experience reminds me of her in some way. Although her gracious presence no longer stalks the earth, I carry with me daily the many life lessons and values she’s ingrained in me. My mother taught me that in the middle of life’s storms, pain and suffering, to find solace in the little things. Because of her I find comfort in a stranger’s crooked smile, joy in a tranquil ocean gently washing over delicate sands, and a sense of peace gazing into the darkness at an enchanting star lit sky. I often miss her at times, but she is always with me. I am the fabric, and her spirit is intricately intertwined in the seams of my daily life, which helps me to keep it all together.  As a child, I often wondered why people would stop and stare when she entered a room. It wasn’t because she was famous or a super model, she possessed what the French call “Je ne sais quoi”, an elusive quality no human being could touch. I’m convinced she was of another world, sent to earth to spread light by making it a better place. My mother was a peacemaking, funny, kind hearted, and loving angel. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to know her.  She was my everything.

TiffTiffany:

My mother has always had a playful spirit. She’s the one who always laughs the hardest and has this underlying sense of humor that you always find yourself laughing along with her. In my childhood, my siblings and I got into the habit of playing hide and seek in the dark. After my brother scaring me one to many times, my mom set me up in a white sheet with eye holes in it and coached me in what to do to scare him. Well that yelp of fear he gave upon seeing me helped mold one of my favorite childhood memories. That’s who my mom has always been for me. She’s supportive and creative and there to fight battles in her own unique ways. My mother has always played so many roles in my life. Mother, mentor, protecter, friend, doctor, therapist, cheerleader, travel agent, and so much more. She’s always been there for me and I grew up idolizing her. I’ve always admired her strength and ability to pull us through despite adversity. She’s always been a hero in my eyes. Now that my I’ve donned the cap of mother, I’ve learned to further appreciate her. As I raise my children I reflect on the mother she was for me. Everyday I strive to be the same type of mother for my children that she’s been for me. She’s always been there and is the biggest constant I’ve had in my life.


*This months Header photo is Angel Of The Park by Ray Hernandez

© 2013 Seven Magazine

The Pen Bleeds

Welcome to The Pen Bleeds where poetry is more than rhyme, more than reason, more than words flowing with rhythm; it’s a combination of jagged thoughts, feelings, actions, and a unique language opening minds to see the world from a different perspective.

This Months Featured Poet: Dr. Zoë A. Lewis LewisZoeAnn

This month’s feature is an amazing woman! It is a great honor featuring Dr. Zoë A. Lewis a writer who’s passionate words have the ability to melt the core of the coldest hearts. Her inspiration for penning Poetic Penumbra were African, Asian, and Indo-European muses and goddesses known to incite creativity in poets. In addition to that, Dr. Lewis has racked up several degrees and accomplishments, proving, through resilience and perseverance women can accomplish anything. But don’t be intimidated shes quite humble. We posed seven questions to better familiarize our readers about her influential role models and passion for uplifting women.

Q&A with Dr. Zoë A. Lewis

Seven: What is your definition of a strong woman?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: ‘Beautiful woman fights’. My graffiti girl in a favela of Rio De Janeiro says it all.   A strong woman was a young girl that learned how to fight for herself and her beliefs.  All women need to fight prejudice, free their minds and then keep themselves free from being enslaved by what others around her believe a woman should be, in any society.  A young woman creates her unique sense of ‘self worth’. Her self-confidence and inner beauty grace the world because she is strong enough to be gentle; she can give her love freely without fear.   

Seven: Who are your heroines and how have they impacted your life?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: How about my ‘favorite’ heroines because there are too many!

Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, legends of the modern dance movement. I studied dance for years and dreamed once to be a professional dancer. These women were emblematic of freedom and breaking traditions in art, and dance like all things, becomes conventional once its established.  They were leaders in their day because they found a way to capture our emotions with dance movements that were liberated from tradition. Lead, don’t follow was what I captured.

Rosa Parks, Human rights activist.  I grew up during a time of protests and civil unrest – the Vietnam War was on TV every night, and race riots were happening too. Those older than me were protesting in the streets, often with violence. This gentle woman’s nonviolent defiance showed me everyone could challenge the system when it was wrong. I was 13 when I  rode on one of those first desegregated school buses and went to an integrated high school outside of Philadelphia.  Parks’ efforts were relevant to my worldview, teaching me stand up and be heard.

Emilie du Châtelet, French mathematician and physicist  from 1700’s. I didn’t have one female professor in a hard science or mathematics in my undergraduate courses or in medical school in Italy.  I wanted a mentor that was also hot!  This lady was not only brilliant, (she corrected a theory of Newton on kinetic energy), she convinced men to accept her into their intellectual circle when virtually women had none such freedoms. Voltaire, one of her many lovers, declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of Prussia that du Châtelet was “a great man whose only fault was being a woman.”  I reckoned like her, it was totally awesome to be smart and sexy and enjoy my woman’s body and mind, no need to be just one of the boys.

Sophia Loren – I lived in Rome, Italy for over ten years, Italian is my language of love.   Sophia Loren’s characters in her films inspired me when I was an ingénue in my twenties to focus on what counts as I became a woman. I wanted to be like her as a mother, lover, wife, friend, comedian, confidant, spaghetti-cooking temptress. But of course, for me, I wanted to be all of  them at once – an Italian multiple personality sex symbol –  and  a serious medical student. It was really fun trying.

Seven: What type of literature, influences, or experiences drives you to create written word?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I was plastered in books most of my life because books grew my imagination and grew my knowledge.  I started to write for others by the time I was in high school, jamming out essays on the floor of the girls bathroom for kids who hadn’t done their assignments, after I’d bartered for something. I simply loved to read and write using my imagination. The force behind writing my Alzheimer’s books came after I was incredibly moved by the loss of an individual with dementia. I wanted to help caregivers, so shared what I knew. That project was a labor of love and compassion. Crazy abandoned love makes us all poets under its influence, whether we write or not – in love, we are all poets.

Seven: Can you share with our readers a time where you called upon your inner strength to encourage and inspire someone?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: When I go to work,  each day I start out, I call upon myself to give up wisdom, skills, and bend my ego towards the needs of my patient. I try to encourage every one of them towards health. Often I take care of drug addicts, shackled criminals, homeless folks, people who are sick that break others around them and break themselves.  I look past whoever they are, whatever they have done and try to be present and in the presence of the individual that is in front of me.  I try to inspire them with the reality that love does exist, caring people do exist. I teach that self love starts each of us on the path to our own healing.

Seven: You channeled numerous female goddesses for inspiration to write Poetic Penumbra. What methods or rituals do you use to tap into your creative goddess?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I don’t have any rituals but I practice yoga and work on getting myself still and open to feel beyond what I can see. Of course making love, while being in love, is the greatest way to tap into my creative space, and the poets through time know this. The poetry collection was unusual because I was semiconscious, half asleep when I wrote it. Around 4 am I kept waking up with these words in my head, I just had to write them down. Seemed to me at the time , the energy of  muses, goddesses in spirit were present guiding my imaginative experiences. Love and the art of lovemaking, tapping into ones sensuality, creativity, never seemed more enchanted. I surrendered and let the feelings pour in  and was suddenly able to write without thinking. I blossomed like a big fat peony and exploded pollen poetry.

Seven: What in your life has bought you or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: Helping patients to die peacefully.  I did hospice work for many years and of course still do when the need arises.  To know you helped someone by easing their pain, any kind of pain, and then guide them and their loved ones, as far as any of  us can offer guidance up to the  moment we ‘cross over’- a nice euphemism for dying – is just beyond words.  To be filled with compassion  and see a final peace and love overcome them, see it in their eyes, that is the greatest gift I’ve been given.

Seven: Women’s roles in the community have drastically transitioned over the past forty years. How have these changes affected you? How can we improve upon those changes to create a better society?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I am fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of giants that came before me.  My mother did not have the opportunities that I did, her generation and her mother’s before her were  removing obstacles for women.  I am blessed to be exquisitely, unapologetically, unequivocally my own person, able to determine my own path. But we have a lot of work to do if women are still kept from a basic education,  sold like animals into slavery, and female infanticide prevents her born life  in many parts of the world still today. These are current horrors.  We can be the giants for the next generation and mentor other girls to do the same: break rules, break traditions, become self-aware and free their minds from anyone who dictates what a girl or woman should be. We need to teach by example, be what you want to be and fight for it.

Zoë Ann Lewis, MD, FACP   is a nationally recognized Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine physician, speaker, published author, travel writer, photographer, poet, radio show host and healthcare education activist.

She has an undergraduate degree in Biology with departmental honors from Temple University in Philadelphia. She got her medical degree, summa cum laude, from the Università degli Studi di Roma -La Sapienza  Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia.  Her graduate doctoral thesis research on melanoma was published in 1993, Oncology.  She completed  her medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital. She won a post graduate scholarship for research on parasites at the Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand 1994. She was elected to the honorary society of American College of Physicians as a Fellow, FACP. She has other numerous awards and medical publications.

She’s an acclaimed speaker on hospice issues, and received national recognition from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for her leadership role in the development of new programs for hospice care and end stage dementia patients.  She produces and hosts the  30 minute  radio program,  ‘Hope Through Knowledge Radio for Caregivers’ on blog talk radio, guests from the NHPCO, AARP, national aging and elder care organizations, and award winning authors.  She has presented at the National Council on Aging, American Society on Aging and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as a faculty speaker.

She is the author of three books.:  “I hope they know….The Essential Handbook of Alzheimer’s Disease and Care, ” a listed resource with the National Alzheimer’s Association,  and the Spanish translation, “La  Guía Holística para la Enfermedad de Alzheimer”, and Poetic Penumbra.

Her websites, zoealewis.com  and hopethroughknowledge.org, are sites  dedicated to “Hope Through Knowledge,” promoting physician and community education on Alzheimer’s disease and end-of-life care.

Dr. Zoë has 16 years of experience as an internist and hospitalist. She was the Corporate Medical Doctor for Beacon Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc.,(the largest hospice in New England and  she is one of the first certified HPM specialists in the country.)

She held academic positions as Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard School of Medicine, Tufts University Medical School, and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Currently she  holds three state licenses: Massachusetts, Florida and Pennsylvania and is an independent contractor hospitalist physician and hospice consultant. When not working, she lives in Miami Beach and travels, and produces and hosts her radio shows. She’s been to  45 countries and now writes and photographs her travel experiences for the internet magazine, Travel Curious Often.

For more information on Dr. Zoë A. Lewis please visit:

Website: zoealewis.com

Twitter: twitter.com/zoeannlewis

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Hope-Through-Knowledge-with-Zoë-A-Lewis-MD-Talk-Radio-for-Caregivers/191572204199518

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/hopethroughknowledge

Blog Talk Radio: blogtalkradio.com/hopethroughknowledge

Books

1. Poetic Penumbra

Itunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/zoe-a.-lewis/id521169283?mt=11 

Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/shop/zo%C3%AB-a-lewis/poetic-penumbra/paperback/product-2846354.html

2. I Hope They Know- The Essential Handbook of Alzheimer’s Disease and Care

VBW:http://www.virtualbookworm.com/bookstore/product/I_hope_they_know.html

A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably different.  ~ Melinda Gates

Welcome to our women’s issue!  Seven is celebrating inspirational women across the globe who contributes positively to society in some way, shape, or form.  Who are your female role models? What is your definition of a strong woman?

Women represent a vast majority of the world’s population, and yet are the most underserved, impoverished, and uneducated in comparison to men. Partly, this is because of gender inequality and poverty which marginalizes women as a whole. But when women armored with the essential tools to compete in a male driven society, where odds are stacked against them before conception, they blossom.

This month The Pen Bleeds features the artistic stylings of Dr. Zoe A. Lewis, Shashi Moore, Jill Scott and Maya Angelou, all positive women who inspire others to use their voice and be comfortable in the skin they’re in. See how their verses flow below, and be inspired to pen a piece of your own!


poetic

Untitled 

Why fear confrontation,
if once for love we died?
We ably massacred our enemies,
blood mingled side by side.
No strangers to our glorious past,
no shadows left to fear.
Steady onward towards our future,
rebirth through love is near.
We’ve found each other once again,
but still I’d like to know,
if love finds life eternal each birth,
why souls are want to go?

-by Dr. Zoe A. Lewis

 Essence of a woman

Heavenly beauty of divine handiwork

Preordained with chic elegance

Delicate mingling of strength and poise

Adorned with virtues of inestimable value

Covert, hidden display of aptitudes

Archetypal, classic

Placed on earth to stand beside her

Complement gent

Cherished and charmed

No aorta of abuse should befall

The creation of God

-by Shashi Moore

Tree Like She (for Grandmothers Everywhere)

How many times have you heard the infant cry?

How many leaves have you lost to fall?

How many secrets held?

How often, the dead weight of castrated boys on your arm?

How many younglings lost in the name of lesson?

How many generations?

Fire from fire

Storm from storm have you stood with your feet clinging

And your bones crying for lie down?

How many poets rest their backs against your frame?

Tree How many danced when the wind blew

Or the water tumbled

Or the sun looked and the snow painted?

How many names carved in your heart?

How many lovers rock sweet and right under your blessed shade?

How many moons?

How many knives?

How many destinies have you seen get wet?

And yet you are constant

painstakingly healing and swelling from your greater providence

You have seen the earth green and fresh

Turn to synthetic

Yet you grow

Through fences

Through the concrete

Through wire

Through rapid obliviousness

Through hared swept in neat piles

I watch you sway in the October breeze

and am

up

lifted

everytime

-by Jill Scott

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

-by Maya Angelou

© 2013 Seven Magazine

A Scribe’s 10 Commandments

The title of ‘Scribe is an Adjective’ was created with the idea that for some, writing is a need. It is what we do and who we are. It was intended to be a category dedicated to honoring those writers who have changed our lives and taken writing to new levels. However, this issue we will be deviating from our normal broadcast. We know that those authors to whom we dedicated an entire section to, those who write for the love of the art, aren’t that different from you or I. From the most mediocre to the most established writer, we are still writers and form a part of this community.

We at Seven feel that to remain a respected community we must all set some rules and adhere to them. We must set a standard. Not only to avoid these faux pas that are being seen way too often, but to also help make you a more respectable writer. This is for everyone but especially for those that seem to have misplaced their moral compass. We hope that someday writers of all backgrounds and aspirations find themselves on the same moral ground. We feel that all writers should have a common ground, a mutual understanding and an underlined foundation. Did I lose anyone there? I speak of a writers code. One that goes beyond courtesy and should be acknowledged by all. We at Seven have gone back to the times of King James to effectively lay out A Scribe’s Ten Commandments.

10. Hone thy craft
Make time for writing. – This follows the lines of the idea that practice makes perfect. Everyday take out time to write. Make it a time that you can afford on a daily basis. Even fifteen minutes if that all you could spare. But use that time wisely and write to your hearts content. If writers block becomes an issue, then write of the frustrations of writers block- but write.

image9. Thou shalt write passionately to better thine craft
No matter where you draw your inspiration, the best writing comes from the heart. So write with passion, with emotion, with your soul and your heart. When you give yourself over to your writing and emotionally invest in it, not only will it be that much more special but it’ll also be more likely to truly reach one of your readers.

8. Thy pen shalt not cease to touch thy paper
After all scribe is an adjective. Never give up on your dreams. Write to your hearts content and never use the fear of rejection as a scapegoat to give up on your writing dreams.

7. Thou shalt ask for permission to use other’s works
Not only should this be done as a courtesy but not doing this can also result in copyright infringement. This includes audio, art and writing. Be respectful of others creative ideas and respect their work as you hope for yours to be respected.

6. Thou shalt give thy credit wherest it be due
Give credit where it is due. There are often many things that motivate us. Nature, music, others… When we draw inspirations from others, we should give them credit for it. This is truly a from of respect.

image5. Thou shalt respect the art of writing
It’s not always easy to be nice when voicing our opinions on novels that took up hours of our life and are a waste of the paper they were printed on. While this could easily be me asking you to not vandalize these books or use them as kindling that is not what I am referring to. Um… But please do refrain from doing those things. 🙂 Respect all creative styles and outlets of an artists despite your differences in taste or opinions.

4. Thou shalt not limit thy self
Lets say that there have been over a billion books written since the beginning of the written word. Let me also say that what makes the difference between one novel and the next is the writer. So when you have an idea to write, don’t not do it because you think it is too common or too crazy. Unleash your crazy and own up to your interpretations and creativity. Because you are unique your novel shall reflect that and your voice will make it original.

3. Thou shalt hate not
Despite what can be said about writers, we make an awesomely creative and unique community. Oftentimes competitive but a community nonetheless. As we are all in this together, be supportive. Congratulate other artist on their work and accomplishments rather than throw shade.

2. Thou shalt know thy craft
The same way that an artist can go to a museum and appreciate the art of others, a writer should be capable of reading the works of others. No, beyond that. A true writer should love reading as reading and writing go hand in hand. I am a firm believer that to be a great writer, one must read the work of others and appreciate the good and the bad. Know your craft. I also believe that reading will make you a better writer. Therefore a writer should never stop being a reader.

1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors art
In a world where you are not always brimming with ideas, it is a rather easy thing to see the awesomeness of someone else’s work and to want something like it under your name. Well, as it easy as it may be, it doesn’t at all make it OK. Plagiarism is a very serious offense that not only takes away your credibility, but also is an injustice to the original author. I ask that no matter how much you enjoy, love or admire someone else’s work, you do not reproduce it without giving the original author credit for it and asking for their permission to re-post/distribute/etc.

Speaking of which, I recently found a bloggers account of the 5 sure fire ways to avoid being plagiarized: Five Step Method to Ensure Non Plagiarism Real Good by Kat Kennedy over at CuddleBuggery Book Blog. Truly great advice with laughs guaranteed. This includes trying to emulate the uniqueness that was Shakespeare, ways to make your work unappealing to plagiarist, how to ensure you have plagiarist free followers and a sure fire way to keep your ideas from being stolen. A must read.

We all have different reasons for writing, yet I believe there should be a common code for writers of all motivations and aspirations. Please heed the rules set forth to not only be a respectable writer, but to also be a positive member and contribution to the writing community.

© 2013 Seven Magazine

How do you feel about torches?

I was raised in a Christian household and my mother was a firm believer of turning the other cheek. Yes, quite literally. As in “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39 ESV) Being bullied at school and having my mother advise me to not fight back and simply pray on it was no easy feat. Being bullied, at all, does something to a person. It changes them and not necessarily in a good way.

There was a time where parents would send their children to school completely at ease, believing in their safety. Lets say that instead of being in a safe haven, the child was being heavily bullied at school. This child became increasingly withdrawn and was continuously sporting a shiner. As the parents search high and low to find the best solution to protect their child in school; they are at ease when the child is home. After all, they are far away from said bully.

Well hypothetical situations like the one depicted here are a thing of the past. Not because bullying has ceased to exist but because the rise of technology has helped evolve the art of bullying. Bullying no longer stops at the playground or at the end of a school day. As defined by the government “Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.” Technology has provided a whole new playground for bullies that offers an opportunity to harass with less accountability, more anonymity and its all from the comfort of home.

Although statistics state the the most common victims of cyberbullying are children from the ages of 9-14, the truth is no one is safe from it. Someone, who wishes to remain anonymous, and has experienced cyberbullying said, “Cyberbullying is a problem that is a lot bigger than anyone can imagine. I feel it’s necessary to take appropriate steps to combat this issue before it gets out of hand. My advice to anyone who is being harrassed or threatened by someone is to immediately report the incident to the proper authorities. Next, they should seek support from loved ones or attend counseling to help deal with the damaging side affects.  There are a large array of resources and support groups available on the web for both adults and children. The most important step is to talk about it. No one should ever feel like they have to deal with this issue alone.

Although I completely agree with Anonymous’ words, it is in this advice that we find our crux. Because not all states have laws against cyberbullying, it’s not always an easy issue to resolve. However, there are exceptions. If bullying ever reaches these following levels, they are considered criminal and should be reported to the authorities. Threats of violence, child pornography, sending sexually explicit messages or photos, Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy and/or stalking and hate crimes. While most states do have legislation in place against bullying, not many include cyberbullying.

Although a study released at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in October 2012 shows that “cyberbullying is rarely the only reason teens commit suicide. Most suicide cases also involve real-world bullying as well as depression.”  Yet, suicide is one of the leading cause of death for those, ages 10 to 24 and both traditional bullying and cyberbullying increase the possibility of suicide and suicide attempts.

While every state with the exception of Montana has some form of bullying law only 16 of those states include cyberbullying. If you are not in a state that includes cyberbully legislation what can you do? There are many websites that give very sound advice as to what can be done to help. Such as Safeclicks and stopbullying. However, I think we should take it a bit further. An anti-cyberbullying law was proposed to the federal government and is sitting in some dark secluded corner collecting dust because it has not been able to generate enough backing. H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act named after Megan Meier a girl who commit suicide because of cyberbullying.

We often think that we, as one person, can hardly do anything to make a change. Unlike the story of David and Goliath, I’m not asking you to cast any stones. Truth be told, that has already been done. Plenty of stones have been cast into the waters of this terrible form of harassment. However, we must continue the fight and pick up the torch. Linda T. Sanchez a Californian congresswoman has already set things in motion by submitting this proposal to congress, now, about the torch mentioned, you must do your part. Let us reach out to our senate, these people we voted into office and have a responsibility to us, their voters. Lets ask that they support this bill and see to it that the law is passed. We can all prevent the repetition of tragic cases like that of Megan Meier.

Are you on board and wondering what you can do to help? Well first, go to the government website and find your senators. Senators make themselves available to their constituents and have varying forms of communication available. And as easily as you can call and state your concerns, you can also copy and paste this message in the text of an email:

Dear Senator [Insert Last Name]:

As a constituent concerned about the lack of cyberbullying legislation on a federal level, I urge you to back the H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act presented to congress by California’s Linda Sanchez.

Cyberbullying is an epidemic that destroys lives and rarely sees punishment. Cyberbullying can be very damaging. With the nature of the Internet, once things are circulated they may never disappear. Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. It is an increasingly dangerous issue that needs to be addressed. With the federal government passing this bill, not only would this form of harassment become a taboo but it would also become punishable by law.

Many bullies don’t see what they do as cyberbullying and are likely to view it as a joke. However, ruining lives is never a laughing matter. I ask that you please help in protecting our community. In protecting our children, siblings, friends and neighbors.

You have the power to speak for me, for our community and to make a difference. I once again urge you to support H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. It is of the upmost importance that our lives be protected by our government and ask that you represent my voice, that of your constituent, in the face of your peers.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Tall Non Fat Latte for Kitty!!

iphone2 686I know what your thinking? NON FAT LATTE at STARBUCKS!! I know! I know! I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve gained a couple of pounds (I stopped counting at 7 over) and I’m inspired now to do something about it. (calorie counting S U C K S!) Or it’s the fact that I think I have tried every single possible combination for delishishness at Starbucks and have run out of ideas. I guess what I’m trying to say is that… well…. I think that…. I’m just plain bored of the drinks at Starbucks… wait… did I just say that out loud? **Clears throat** Is it hot in here… It feels kind of hot. Oh boy.. Mermaid… Starbucks Mermaid person… COME BACK HERE!!!

I didn’t mean that. Crap…FIX IT! FIX IT!!

Dear Mermaid,
I didn’t mean that. I love you forever.
Love,
Me =)

That’s right. Come back here. . . Now that that’s settled (or so I hope). This got me thinking…

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?

BooksYmelda Ramirez

I’m not sure where he said this, as I have not read this for myself. However, one of my favorite quotes by my ageless pen role model is “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That was Ernest Hemingway by the way.

This screams at me. Simply because I think the act of living, on its own, is inspiration to write. When you are infected with the disease of writing, it has a tendency to take on a life of its own. It’s not something that you control. It’s something that flows. One of the Pastors from my church said “You cannot illustrate a story that hasn’t been written in your heart first.” (Pastor Brian Vasil). I believe this holds true, not only in a spiritual life, but also in the writer’s life.

I can think of a story just as thoroughly when I am standing in line at the grocery store, to when I’m having a discussion with a co-worker, to the times where I am sitting around the dinner table with my family. I carry a small notebook in my purse for the JUST-IN-CASE-I-FORGET story ideas. There are times that I plan a bank robbery as I wait for my turn at the teller or plot a murder as I wait at the doctor’s office. Does it mean that I’m crazy? Probably. But, no one truly understands a writer, like another writer. No one else will get it. No one else can understand the sense of accomplishment that flows through your veins when you read something you wrote and see this story that you created in your head solidified in black and white. NO ONE can understand the joy of having someone read your masterpiece and you see the emotions run through their face of awe/disbelief/hatred/love/happiness.. etc.

So, in closing, what inspires me to write? Life. Books. Pens. Paper. That is all.

K.S. Pratt

Kimmy

I’m encouraged to write by simply experiencing life or being in a certain element. I discovered the best ideas are sparked by events that cause me to confront my deepest feelings; sometimes it’s emotional, at times it’s spiritual, and at other times inspiration is coaxed by a glass or two of sauvignon blanc. Lol! Truthfully, I am stimulated by everything around me so I never run out of things to write about. The funny thing about writing is it strikes me at the most peculiar and inopportune moments. Anything ( a song, a sound, a smell, a conversation) can trigger a bout of inspiration  which leads me to write. Because this happens quite often, I try to keep a notepad and pen in tow or download an app where I jot down notes on my smart device.

Tiff TreeTiffany

Inspiration for me tends to be a very fleeting thing. It is illusive and I am constantly searching high and low for it. However, I have come to find that there is a constant. The things I draw inspiration from most are nature and music. I have come to always find myself with paper and pen handy. I am one who will be walking down the street, minding my own business and usually looking the part of a sane, respectable member of the community. When inspiration strikes, usually with the subtlety of a wrecking ball, I stop everything I’m doing and looking crazed going into a writing frenzy. Yep, I pull out my handy pen and paper and write. I write as much as I can, regardless of where I am,  while the thought is present and fresh. When I’m at home later, with some time on my hands, I pick up where I left off. This is where music comes in. Music keeps the flow going.

SIGN HERE PLEASE

It was a typical South Florida afternoon. Muggy, warm, humid…definitely not a curly to straight hair day. I decided to go natural. The curls were set, no make-up, a tank top with skinny jeans and a decent pair of converse sneaks. I decided to take my sweater knowing that the auditorium was going to be freakin freezin. I knew this, not only because I was a student at the school, but also because this wasn’t my first Author speaking/book signing deal. Besides, everyone knows that Global Warming is caused by the excessive air conditioning units in South Florida. I mean… we crank up the A/C to 69° when it’s hot out and turn the heaters on to 80° when it’s “cold” out. A proper Miamian always has a sweater and umbrella in tow. Anyway, yeah…book signing with Junot Diaz!iphonepic3 373

Have you ever been? Not to a Junot Diaz event, but any author speaking/signing gig. I have never been to a Barnes and Noble type deal, but I have attended the eagerly anticipated Miami Dade College Book Fair. Last year the stage was blessed with the presence of Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Diaz. Did I mention it was Junot Diaz? I have a word woody whenever I think of the man. Not only is he Dominican (I am too…I mean not really because I wasn’t born there, but my mom was and since I was conceived in her Dominican Womb with Dominican Juices; I believe I have some sense of entitlement and bragging rights), but he’s from New Jersey too! (Ok, I’m from next door NYC but it’s the same thing) I am also a huge fan and I love/admire his writing style! It’s very rare, especially this day in age, where one can find a book that changes the way you view language and the written word. He does this for me.

However, this piece isn’t about Junot and all of his amazingness. It’s actually about the fact that he signed my book. It wasn’t just that he signed my book and I got to have a totally inappropriate, words didn’t flow the way I planned in my head, my heart was beating out of my chest, I was hearing some kind of background noise that wasn’t really in the room, my face was beat red, I was rambling and I may have called him a nerd, my hands were flying about and I was doing that typical talking with your hands thing, It’s a miracle I didn’t smack the man….. OMG! I hope that he totally never remembers that conversation if I ever get to see/hang/talk to him again! Anyway, it was all about his signature.

DiazI kept staring at this on the way home. (No, I was not driving and yes I did stare at my hand too because I have touched published genius hands!!!) I looked at it and looked at it and stared at it some more. Then it hit me. If the combination of our touch created this über Pulitzer synergy; it was only a matter of time before I would be signing books in my jeans and t-shirt. I wondered what my own author signature would look like. I tried a couple of them once I got home and none of them actually looked cool to me.

mineThis got me thinking… have you worked on an autograph? What’s the best way to come up with one?  I mean, do you really want something that is elaborate and long winded. Just think if you make it to JK Rowling status, do you really want to sign your entire name over and over and over again. I mean, Diaz has a short squiggly line kind of deal and I love it, but let’s face it. I’m not the artistic type. So, I thought what better way to find my author signature, than to actually do some research. I decided to first look into what the greats have done…

Poe
Edgar Allan Poe**
JK
JK Rowling**
Koontz
Dean Koontz**
Hemingway
DA MAN!!! Ernest Hemingway**

These are a couple of my favorite authors. I started checking out their signatures and for the most part they sign the entire name. They aren’t ridiculously creative. It’s just a name, right?

Have you thought of your author signature? What would yours look like? We want to know! Post a copy of it on Instagram and hashtag #7themag. While there you can check out what our developing signatures look like by following us on Instagram @7themag.

 **All pictures of Author signatures (except Junot Diaz) were borrowed from www.purplehousepress.com/sig.htm They have an amazing collection, check out more by visiting their website.**

His Name is Ray. . . Ray Hernandez

Ray
Ray Hernandez – Seven’s New Photographer

Ladies and Gentleman, we would like to formally introduce you to our new addition to the family. His name is Ray Hernandez (I know… I know, overkill) and if you entered the contest last month to win this photo. . .

beach photo
La Playa

Then (hopefully) you have already have checked out his FB Page and have since become a fan of his work. If not, check it out now and like his page (he likes that kind of stuff). Check out his bio on our This is Seven page and make him feel welcome. We are glad to have him on board and can’t wait to exploite…uh.. I mean feature his AMAZING work! This months header photo is Torched. See the full photo by clicking here.

Welcome to Seven Ray! WHOO HOO!!! *Enter the band playing ridiculously loud music, streamers, the people with the sticks, fire breathers etc. . . we go all out here at Seven* We are glad to have you a part of our team.

BTW THE WINNER OF LA PLAYA GIVEAWAY IS:

SANDRA D’SILVA

CONGRATULATIONS SANDRA!!!!! YAAAY!!! Thank you for participating!! =)

© 2013 Seven Magazine