An Interview With “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Elna Cain

FITS Series Welcome ImageFITS Series Freelancer Elna Cain
Today Elna Cain is my F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight). Elna and I met by fluke. When she grabbed my blogging ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, she noticed my address was in Thunder Bay, the same city where she lives!

Elna reached out to me through social media, and we connected instantly. Now we meet regularly at Starbucks to discuss our highs and lows, our businesses, and our lives. (We sometimes annoy the other patrons, too… but we have fun doing it!)

Meet Elna Cain

During our last meeting, we took some pictures. Here they are:

Elna and me at Starbucks

 

Elna at Starbucks

 

Me at Starbucks

 

 Elna by fire

Today’s F.I.T.S. entry is a bit different from past ones. Elna let me interview her! What’s awesome is that she has some REALLY GREAT TIPS for you, too!

Read More

Prostitution Paid More Than Teaching & I “Tell-All” in a Podcast Interview

Join_Up_Dots_interview

Did you know…

Prostitution used to be a way of life for me?

Not anymore.

Now I write, edit, and blog.

I also help others turn their e-books into print books.

And I provide advice to others through coaching.

But prostitution earned me more money than blogging. Or teaching.

Seriously.

However, now my days are structured differently.

And I love them.

We All Have Skeletons

You probably have a story about your past that you’re not proud of.

In fact, almost everyone does.

But… do you own it?

Do you tell others about it, or do you keep it hidden, praying no one ever finds out?

I’m Open and Honest… and Gutsy!

I’m probably the gutsiest person I know.

Who else do you know that openly admits to being raped, doing drugs, and getting involved in prostitution?

Likely, no one.

Just me.

I’m Proud of Who I Am

I finally learned to be proud of my past.

Why?

Because it has made me who I am today.

I “Tell-All” in a Podcast Interview

I was recently interviewed by David Ralph from Join Up Dots.

The podcast is now live.

In the podcast interview, I mention:

  • that I quit school four times
  • that I was raped
  • why I thought it was my fault (19:01)
  • that I sought counselling (19:27)
  • that I turned to drugs and prostitution
  • that I got pregnant twice and had one abortion
  • that I brought my rapist to court (23:33)
  • that I gave my son to my friend to foster for a yearv (29:51)
  • that I quit teaching to return to prostitution because the money was better (begins at 30:52, ends at 33:07)
  • how and why I lost contact with my son for three years (41:52)
  • how I nearly died
  • what my big turning point was (42:12 – 47:35)
  • that I re-connected with my son
  • how re-uniting with my son changed my life
  • why life is not always about money (52:50)
  • the biggest compliment my son ever gave me (52:01)
  • how I became an author and entrepreneur

… and so much more. I also recite something special at 103:53.

Have a listen to it.

Get to know me better.

Perhaps you’ll learn how to be more courageous in your life, too.

Leave David a Review?

Afterwards, if you can, please leave David a reveiw on iTunes.

How I Pass On My Message

I use my book, Risky Issues, to help pass on my motivational message. This book is now part of the Thunder Bay Public Library, AND it’s being sold in one of the local bookstores!

BUY Risky Issues from Amazon or CreateSpace.

Me and My book

 

Share Your Skeletons

I’d love to know if you have the guts to share some of the skeletons in your closet.

Do so in the comments! I won’t judge you. I promise.

Interview With A Blind Woman

 

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski.

 

Blind people should not be avoided, shunned, or ignored.

This past year, I have encountered two blind people online.

You probably already know Maxwell Ivey, whom I interviewed and who is now a blogging coach and author of Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light (which I edited for him). If you have already visited Max’s blog or had any type of interaction with him, you know that he is a sweet man with a heart of gold. He’s also inspirational in many ways: he lost over two hundred pounds in two years, he owns two businesses (one which involves buying and selling carnival rides), he is a blogger, he’s on social media, and he’s now proud of the fact he’s blind and has accomplished so much in his life.

However, you might not yet know Kerry.

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski, by the water on one of her trips.

Kerry. Kerry. Who the Heck is Kerry?

Kerry Kijewski is a blind woman. But she is so much more than just that.

She’s a great writer, an insightful person, and a pleasure to talk to, both through emails and Skype. (Aah, I love technology!)

Kerry agreed to let me interview her, too. It seemed only fitting that I should have a post about an interview with a blind woman on my site, as I already have An Interview With a Blind Man on Wording Well.

Kerry is a blogger, a writer, and insightful traveller. Her writing site is a free blog called Her Headache, and her travel site is her new, hosted site called The Insightful Wanderer.

I first met Kerry through LinkedIn, after being told about her by Max, and then through a comment I left for her on her blog.

This is a screenshot of my intro comment to Kerry.

 

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski, by a castle, on one of her trips.

A Blind Woman Who Wants to Travel?

Kerry’s goals include pursuing a career in writing and travelling the world.

Before you jump to any conclusions about that last statement, know that I initially had a hard time believing it, too. But when you think about it, she has every right to do the same things sighted people do. Her experience, however, will be a bit different from yours or mine. She’ll utilize her other senses to enjoy the locations she visits.

In fact, before we get to the in-depth interview, here is a super-brief introduction to Kerry, using what Kerry has to say about herself and her desire to travel:

I just want to say that I’m no different from anyone else. I’m really not. I’m not scary. I like music, movies, books, autumn, chocolate, and pizza.

I love to laugh and have a wicked sense of humour, if I do say so myself.

I like symmetry.

I love to go to concerts, on day trips/road trips, and theme parks. Even blind girls wanna have fun!

I like to sing, but I am not great.

I love history, psychology, literature, and pop culture.

I love the scent immediately after a spring rain, the fragrance of freshly cut grass in summer,, the crispness of the fall air, or the fresh and still silent snowfall that I smell in the night.

Think what life would be like if you only stayed inside your own little bubble, if you didn’t get out and discovered the world around you. that’s all I want to do. I stand at a place like Niagara Falls and, although I am not taking in its majesty with my eyes, my remaining senses step in and take over. I feel the spray of the mist on my face, I grip the cold railing, smelling the cool windy air, listening to the roar and feeling its vibration through the stone at my feet.

That is what travel can be for me. Just because I can’t see it (which must be really hard for people to wrap their heads around), does that mean I deserve to experience such things for myself any less?

I get something out of going somewhere new and meeting the people who live there. I eat the food and listen to the accents and the differences in speech, but I still see the same humanity that I see everywhere.

We are all the same, despite our differences. That’s the lesson I get from travel and of which I want to impart, whether it’s people from another country, who speak a different language, observe a different religion, or whatever it may be. This translates to living with any difference or “disability” like blindness, that people can’t imagine for themselves, but we all need to try and put ourselves in one another’s shoes to truly find our common ground.

I miss looking at pictures every day. I still like to hear descriptions of something. I can imagine how a certain light hits something. I can imagine a look, but yet I can’t. I try. I don’t just retreat into my own experience of the world.

I have an imagination and I saw more at one time. I have the ability to envision my surroundings.

Travel is also, in huge part, who you are with. It’s the people you experience the world with that make the experience so special.

If the conditions are just right, if the light hits the face of my niece or nephew in just the right way, I catch a glimpse of sweetness in their faces.

Just because blind people can’t see doesn’t mean we don’t wonder what someone of the opposite sex might look like. The inability to see it doesn’t take away the instinct to want to know anyway.

As you can clearly see, Kerry is a woman of substance. Most people, however, can’t seem to look past her blindness, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to showcase her today and do an in-depth interview with her.

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski, when she did a CN Tower Edge Walk, on one of her trips.

An Interview With A Blind Woman, Kerry Kijewski

Some of the questions have several parts, and some of Kerry’s answers are fairly long. However, I hope you read through each question and response carefully, as Kerry reveals certain things about herself that you don’t want to miss!

Without further ado, please get to know Kerry a bit! I’m sure you’ll come to like her as much as I do! At the very least, you’ll learn a bit about this blind woman and realize that not all blind folk should be clumped together in a stereotypical category, or be treated so differently that they are made to feel like freaks.

Enjoy the interview! Read More

Interview with a Blind Man

picture of blind man, Max Ivey

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be blind?

Do you know anyone with limited sight?

What would you do if you lost your vision?

Blind Men Don’t Need Help . . . do they?

Stop and think about these questions for a minute. Being able to see is something most of us take for granted, isn’t it?

A Touching Video

I recently watched a video that brought tears to my eyes.

I’m going to describe it to you, but I’d prefer if you just watched it because I’m not actually describing it for you, but for Max, one of my blind readers, and the guy who inspired me to write this.

He’s also the guy who is featured in today’s inspirational story, Interview with a Blind Man. (I’d embed the video here if I could, but I can’t because it is not a YouTube video.)

It’s less than two minutes long, and I hope you watch it, to see if it touches you the same way it touched me. It’s also important to today’s post, because it’s about a blind man.

You can find the video RIGHT HERE.

What this video is about

This video shows a blind man sitting on the street in front of a building on a piece of cardboard with a tin can and a sign that reads, “I’m blind. Please help.”

A few people who pass by throw a few coins on the ground for him. A young woman wearing sunglasses passes him, stops, and turns around. She approaches the man, takes his sign, flips it over, and writes something on it, and leaves. He feels her shoes when she stops. Viewers can clearly see this.

After she walks away, everyone who passes this man starts throwing their coins – many coins – on the ground for him. The woman later returns and the guy asks her what she did. She said that she wrote the same thing on his sign, but in different words.

What she wrote was this: “It’s a beautiful day and I CAN’T see it.”

How This Video Affected Me

Once, I had to do an experiment for a course I took in aging. I had to blindfold myself and try to live as a blind person. It was a lot harder than I imagined it to be, even though I knew the layout of my apartment like the back of my hand and could navigate in the dark very well. The only thing that I found easy was going to the bathroom. Everything else was really hard, and I can still remember what a learning experience that was!

I was moved (not quite to tears, but nearly, as my eyes moistened and my heart swelled) when I was done watching the aforementioned video, for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious; I am a sighted person, and I’m grateful for this. The second is that it made me think of one of my new blogging friends, Maxwell Ivey, who will never be able to see what I see because he is blind, too.

I thought this video would be a great way to introduce you all to Max. A while back, I promised him I’d feature him on my blog one day. Today, I’m keeping that promise.

Max is an amazing person. In my eyes, anyways. And no, there was no pun intended there.

Let me tell you about the way I met him.

How I Met Max

I met Max when I guest posted on Ashley’s blog, Mad Lemmings, offering advice on how to help readers edit their blog posts. Max left me a comment and knocked my socks off when he told me that he is a blind blogger. Geez. I thought I had blogging troubles! Humph. Not compared to Max, I don’t!

I can SEE, and Max can’t.

This sure puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

At first, I’ll admit I was a bit uncomfortable at having to reply to a blind person in the comment section. I was also a bit taken aback at his bluntness.

However, I was intrigued.

I’ve seen a couple of blind people in the city where I live, but I’ve never befriended or even spoken to any of them. Mostly, I’ve seen them use public transportation. Some had white canes and some had seeing-eye dogs that sported a sign that said “Working dog – please don’t touch!”

So when I encountered Max, I thought to myself, “Now here’s an opportunity I should not waste.”

And waste it, I didn’t.

My Communications with Max

I took the time to start emailing Max and get to know him. I was surprised at the many different things I learned, too. I wanted to tell Max’s story. I wanted the world to know about him.

I was thrilled when Max granted me permission to write about being blind. I was equally pleased when he agreed to an interview. It turns out that Max is a very nice guy.

Some of you may know Max already. He belongs to several groups and is active on various social media platforms. In fact, he hangs out online quite a bit, especially on his website, The Midway Marketplace, a place where he helps others buy, sell, and trade new and used quality amusement rides, games, food trailers, inflatables, etc. He and his family have been in the amusement park business for years.

And yes, he does all of this despite the fact that he has no sight!

This is flabbergasting to me. Honestly, it is. I couldn’t imagine running a business while being unable to see!

Now, I know that there are a lot of resources available to the blind, but I’ve always wondered about a few things – like how blind people know what to wear without mismatching their clothes, how they cook and shop for themselves, and what they do for fun, to name a few.

How do you go about asking a complete stranger these things?

Obviously, you can’t. But if you have a bit of guts and add a touch of ingenuity, it seems like you can do almost anything using technology these days. 😉

I broached the subject of having Max tell his story on my blog and was extremely happy when he said I could ask him anything I wanted!

Through emails, Max revealed a lot. I didn’t interview him per se, but I did ask a ton of questions, which he answered. I then asked him if I could write up my questions and answers in a mock interview, and he said yes. I also shared the post with him prior to publishing it for all the world to see.

I just hope I do him justice and tell his story to his satisfaction!

another picture of blind man, Max Ivey

My Interview with Max

ME: Have you always been blind? Read More

My Interview With the Author (+ a #BookReview) of I WILL NEVER FORGET

Today I’m pleased to have memoir author Elaine C. Pereira as my interview guest. I’ve read her book, I Will Never Forget, and it touched me so deeply that I ended up writing a letter to my son.  You may remember Elaine from her guest post two weeks ago. Today, she’s taken the time to answer my questions, and will be available if you have any questions of your own (just ask them in the comment section)!

My Review of I Will Never Forget

Here is my review of this moving story, which I posted to both Goodreads and Amazon:

I Will Never Forget is Elaine Pereira’s beautiful yet heart-wrenching tribute to her mother. Never before have I read a memoir, and I was impressed with the light manner in which this story was written. Infused with humour, the author makes the most out of a difficult situation, making her book enjoyable to read despite the heartbreaking tale she tells. Keep a box of tissues handy – you’ll need them! I teared up many times while reading the author’s touching words, and was bawling when I read the last word. The poem written by the author, found at the end of the book, warmed my heart. It was lovely!

Through the author, the reader gets to know her family, and is able to identify with them as memories are related and glimpses into the author’s personal struggles are revealed. The style in which this book is written provides pieces of the puzzle that many sufferers of dementia face, and the reader can both commiserate with and find compassion for Elaine, the author, a feisty, spunky woman who truly did all she could for her wonderful mother while she was alive. I’m sure her mom is looking down on her only daughter with pride. I would, if I were her!

I highly recommend this book. I Will Never Forget will touch you in ways you cannot imagine or fathom. You will definitely not regret reading it. Besides, shedding a few or more tears is always good for the soul.

 

The Interview

LR: Did you write I Will Never Forget, in part, to allay any residual feelings of guilt you may have had, or have? Read More