Archives for posts with tag: Alan Cooke

Hola a todos:

Como recordaréis hace unos meses os comenté que uno de mis libros en inglés Escaping Psychiatry (Una vez psiquiatra en versión española) estaba por fin a la venta en audio.

Escaping Psychiatry audio. Cover by Ernesto Valdés, narration by Alan Cooke

Escaping Psychiatry audio. Portada de Ernesto Valdés, narración de Alan Cooke

La historia de cómo creé este audio es un poco especial. Lo cierto es que no sé que os parecen los audios a vosotros. Yo en mi vida he escuchado unos cuantos, tanto de ficción como de otros temas, varios educacionales, y aunque me han parecido interesantes, me gusta mucho  leer así que…

Hace un tiempo hay muchos artículos sobre los audios, diciendo que representan el futuro (no sé), que el mercado no está tan saturado como de libros (en papel y electrónicos. Eso es cierto). Yo me metí en eso porque conocí a Alan Cooke a través de Facebook. Él es un actor, escritor y director que ha ganado un Emmy, y que se dedica, entre otras cosas, a crear y compartir versiones en audio de sus propios libros y de obras muy conocidas, que me encantan. Una autora y buena amiga mía, Martie Preller, acababa de publicar una colección de relatos The Seventh Sheep (sería la Séptima Oveja, si lo que contáis al iros a dormir son ovejas, o corderos, como queráis) y me pareció que quedarían muy bien en audio. Le encargué a Alan que le pusiera voz a uno (el que da título a la historia) y me gustó tanto que lo hizo a todos. A Martie le encantaron también, y me entró la curiosidad por oir la versión en audio de una de las historias de Una vez psiquiatra que estaba preparando para publicación. Y naturalmente, al final no nos paramos en una historia e hicimos todo el libro. (Por cierto, si os gustan las historias en inglés, las de The Seventh Sheep no están a la venta por dificultades técnicas pero las podéis escuchar en el blog de Martie, aquí).

Distribuir un libro en audio no es tan fácil como un libro electrónico. En aquella época (y creo que no ha cambiado mucho) ACX (hoy en día una empresa de Amazon) era la que se dedicaba a distribuir a las compañías más importantes (Amazon y i-Tunes de Apple). Pero si no eras residente en los Estados Unidos o tenías una cuenta bancaria allí, por cuestiones de impuestos no podías distribuir tu propio audio. Podías crear uno a través de sus servicios, pero a mí que ya había pagado el mío, no me servía esa opción. Les envié un correo y me contestaron que planeaban expanderse y que me tendrían al tanto. Y efectivamente, en Abril de este año me informaron de que aceptaban proyectos del Reino Unido. El proceso fue de lo más simple, ya que habíamos seguido los pasos que recomiendan para la creación de un audio, y ni siquiera hace falta crear una cuenta específica si ya tienes cuenta con Amazon.

Aquí os dejo los enlaces por si os apetece echarle un vistazo:

En Amazon:

http://bit.ly/1rMoqtz

En i-Tunes:

http://bit.ly/1rU3KSG

Por si os apetece escuchar una muestra, aquí os dejo el enlace a un video con un fragmento de narración de la primer historia ‘Cannon Fodder’ (Carne de cañón):

http://youtu.be/oZyVpOdgqtc

Las ventas…No he roto ningún record del Guinness, pero considerando que lo he promocionado poco y que solo está a la venta desde Junio, ha vendido más que el libro en otros formatos, aunque como los demás las ventas suben y bajan.

Con respecto a las promociones, no hay opción como en KDP a darlo gratuito (es costoso enviar ficheros tan gordos) pero sí que Audible envía una serie de códigos de regalo (normalmente 25, y cuando yo los pedí me enviaron 25 para .com y 25 para .co.uk) que podéis usar para promocionar. Y si alguien no es cliente de Audible, el primer audio les sale gratuíto (y si tenéis la suerte de ser el autor de uno de estos libros os dan un  bono de $50. De momento solo me ha pasado una vez, pero se todo se agradece).

En ACX, aparte de poder subir un audio que hayáis creado vosotros mismos (y mucha gente hace sus propias narraciones. Hay muchos consejos sobre cómo hacerlo, pero sobre todo os recomiendo que sigáis las pautas que ellos recomiendan para no tener problemas luego), también podéis buscar un narrador y/o productor y crear vuestro proyecto con ellos, y también tenéis la opción de ofrecer vuestro libro como proyecto de audio para narradores y productores a los que le pueda interesar, a cambio de la mitad de las regalías (o derechos de autor).

He decidido probar suerte con mi novela I Love Your Cupcakes (Me encantan tus cupcakes). Así que si conocéis a algún (preferentemente alguna) narrador/a o productor/a a quién le pueda interesar, o me podéis recomendar a alguien, ya lo sabéis.  Os dejo el enlace al proyecto, por si acaso:

I Love Your Cupcakes (Me encantan tus cupcakes) de Olga Núñez Miret. Portada de Lourdes Vidal

I Love Your Cupcakes (Me encantan tus cupcakes) de Olga Núñez Miret. Portada de Lourdes Vidal

https://www.acx.com/titleview/A2NCGYHKZ0DC0S

¡Gracias por leer, y si os ha interesado, ya sabéis, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid, y haced CLIC! Y si conocéis a alguien, pasadle al información. (Y si se os da bien el inglés y os apetece uno de los audios de regalo…pues decídmelo).

Hi all:

I don’t know what you think about audiobooks. Over the years I’ve listened to some, fiction and non-fiction but probably love reading so much that I’d miss it. But the best audiobooks can be amazing.

I have had one of my books turned into an audiobook. Escaping Psychiatry.

 

Escaping Psychiatry audio. Cover by Ernesto Valdés, narration by Alan Cooke

Escaping Psychiatry audio. Cover by Ernesto Valdés, narration by Alan Cooke

The process how it became an audio was not your usual way (this being me). I met Alan Cooke, an Emmy Award winning writer, actor and director, through Facebook, and became fascinated by his work, films, videos, and also his readings and audios, both of his own books and of well-known stories. Another writer and good friend of mine, Martie Preller, had published a book of short tales/stories, The Seventh Sheep, and I thought they would sound fantastic narrated by Alan. It first started with one of the stories, but I liked it so much that as a surprise, I got the four stories done for her. The results were amazing although due to technical difficulties (and the peculiarities of the system) it is not on sale as an audio. But you can listen to them in Martie’s blog, here.  Then I thought I’d like to have one of the stories of Escaping Psychiatry in audio format, and one thing let to another.

One of the difficulties at that time was that ACX (now owned by Amazon) was the main option to distribute audios to the big players, including Amazon and Apple’s i-Tunes. And unfortunately you needed to be a resident in the US (for tax reasons) to be able to distribute your audio through ACX. And I wasn’t. I queried this, and in April this year they e-mailed me to let me know that now residents in the UK could also use their services, and I did. Having followed their instructions into how to record the audio, downloading it wasn’t a problem and it all went pretty smoothly. (You don’t even need to have a separate account with ACX if you already have one with Amazon.)

Here are the links in Amazon:

http://bit.ly/1rMoqtz

And i-Tunes:

http://bit.ly/1rU3KSG

Just in case you fancy a sample, this is a video I created sharing some of the narration of the first story:

http://youtu.be/oZyVpOdgqtc

Most of the posts about audiobooks suggest they are up and coming, they are going to boom soon, and the market is not as saturated as it is for either paper or e-books. Yet.

Although you don’t have access to promotions KDP style, and the prices are higher due to technical constraints, Audible sends you up to 25 free codes (in my case I got some for .com and .co.uk) that you can use to promote the audio, and if somebody is not already an Audible Client, they get the first audiobook free (and you have a bonus if this happens with one of your audios, or $50).

What has my audiobook done so far? Well, I can’t say it’s been a roaring success, although it has sold more (especially considering that I haven’t promoted it much and it has only been on sale from June) than the actual book, and I got one of the bonus sales. The sales pattern seems similar to standard books. It peaks when it is new on sale and then it goes down.

In the case of my audiobook I got it done and paid for it myself. You can do the same through ACX too, rather than having to find your own by your own means. But ACX offers  you the chance of posting your book as a project and then partnering with a narrator/producer, and splitting up the royalties. That shares both the risks and the benefits. Of course, depending on the interest generated you might get many offers or not.

I’ve decided to give it a go, and here is my project for I Love Your Cupcakes.

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal

I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Lourdes Vidal

https://www.acx.com/titleview/AJXZ5XZSZ0XTH

If you know any voice artists, narrators or producers who might be interested (or you do narrations), or you can recommend somebody, let me know!

Ah, and I still have some of the free codes for my Escaping Psychiatry audio, so if you’d like one…just ask. If many people are interested…I’ll think of something!

Hi all:

I know I’ve been talking about the audio for my book Escaping Psychiatry for a long time. That is because although the recording took place last year (go and meet great actor, writer, and director Alan Cooke (Wild Irish Poet) http://on.fb.me/17fv3IL I nearly forgot to add he won an Emmy) the distribution proved a bit complicated, although now that ACX is accepting audios from the UK I finally managed to get it out there and available.

Let me tell  you a bit about it:

Escaping Psychiatry (audiobook) by Olga Núñez Miret. Narrated by Alan Cooke

Escaping Psychiatry (audiobook) by Olga Núñez Miret. Narrated by Alan Cooke

‘Escaping Psychiatry’ has it all: intriguing characters, noir style, thrilling pursuits, dangerous situations, crime, serial killers, religion, family secrets, murder, psychological insights, mental illness, trauma, debates about prejudice and morality, heated trials, police investigations, corruption, and mystery. If you enjoy ‘Wire in the Blood’, ‘Cracker’ and ‘Lie to Me’ and you are not scared of going deeper and darker, dare to keep listening.

Narrated by Emmy Award Winner Actor, Writer and Director Alan Cooke (a.k.a. Wild Irish Poet http://on.fb.me/151c1Js) this audio version makes the character live and will hook you from the very beginning.
‘Escaping Psychiatry’ is a collection of three stories with the same protagonist, Mary, a psychiatrist and writer. She is trying to develop her literary career but circumstances and friends conspire to keep dragging her back to psychiatry.
In ‘Cannon Fodder’, Phil, a lawyer who and Mary’s friend asks her to provide a report on one of his clients, a young African-American man called Cain White. Cain is a very religious man and has been accused of inciting a riot at a religious meeting. He says he can hear God’s voice. He insists that God is black and his appears to be a Black Nationalist message. Is Cain insane, deluded, misguided, looking for media-attention, or a Saint? To find an answer to these questions Mary talks to his family and friends. Although she concludes he is sane,Mary’s investigation uncovers some very damaging revelations about his family life, beliefs and local attitudes. Who is a saint and who is a sinner is a matter for debate. The more Mary gets involved in the lives of Cain and those close to him the more she realises how dangerous secrets are. Like time-bombs ready to set off any minute.
‘Teamwork’: Captain Tom McLeod, from the San Francisco Police Department, invites Mary for a meal at home with his wife. When she meets their other guest, a young detective called Justin, she quickly realises there is an agenda well beyond a friendly meal. Justin’s partner, mentor and father figure, Sgt David Leaman, was killed a couple of months earlier during a routine investigation. Justin witnessed the event but he insists in going back to work and refusing any therapy or counselling. Tom and others at the department are concerned about his mental state but have failed to convince him to accept professional help. Both Mary and Justin are reluctant to engage in the ambush/informal consultation organised, but eventually decide to give it a try. At first sight it appears to be a straight forward case of unresolved grief, but things aren’t as clear-cut as they appear and Mary ends up getting too personally involved with the case, to the detriment of her professional objectivity.
In ‘Memory’, Mary runs out of her apartment after a difficult encounter with her friend Phil, and goes missing. When she is found it seems that she was hit in the head, abducted, raped and she is suffering from amnesia. She never recovers memory for the assault and finds it difficult to come to terms with something she cannot recall.  The clues point towards a serial killer who could not finish his job in her case. But some things do not fit in. Who disturbed the killer? Why was she left there? The crime and the investigation surrounding it have a profound impact on Mary who decides that she needs to reconsider her life and start anew.
The epilogue revisits Mary at the point of the trial of her abductor and sees what changes have taken place in her life. Will she finally manage to Escape Psychiatry?
Although these stories are fictional, the author, a forensic psychiatrist, brings her expertise and insight to the material, lifting it above a standard crime caper.

Oh, you’re asking me where can you get it? I thought you’d never ask!

In ACX:

https://www.acx.com/titleview/A3BFLIDHTMBKVI

In Audible UK:

http://bit.ly/Tn1KUv

 

In Audible.com

http://bit.ly/TBE1Af

In Amazon (everywhere):

Short:

http://bit.ly/1rMoqtz

ACX very kindly offered me a number (not telling you how many) codes that can be used to download a free copy of Escaping Psychiatry. I have codes for Audible. co.uk and Audible.com. At the moment I’m trying to coordinate some joint promotions with other authors who have also published audiobooks but wandered if you had any ideas of what would be the best way to use these codes. Any thoughts?

Ah, and there’s is another option to get it for free. If you’ve never downloaded any audiobooks in Audible, they offer you the first title for free (and what’s more, they’re so happy they offer me a bonus). So…you have no excuse not to listen.

In case you need more convincing, I leave you a video in YouTube showcasing a sample of the book, from the first story, Cannon Fodder. (Sorry. It’s my first attempt at one of these things but the sample is good. The visuals are all my fault, I’m afraid.)

http://youtu.be/oZyVpOdgqtc

Thanks very much for reading, and watching, and listening, and if you’ve liked it, you know, like, comment, share, and CLICK!

Spirit of Ireland. An Odyssey Home

Hace poco terminé de escuchar el audio de El espíritu de Irlanda de Alan Cooke. Había escuchado  (y leído) Desnudo en Nueva York (Naked in New York), que reseñé hace algunos meses y que vuelvo a recomendar. También he visto su película Home (Hogar/Patria) que a mi me parece una buena pieza compañera de Desnudo con la ventaja de que además de documentar el viaje personal de Cooke también incorpora las opiniones de gente de Nueva York, jóvenes y viejos, famosos y desconocidos, nativos y emigrantes. Se merece el Emmy que consiguió por el guión de la película y no llego a comprender como sigue sin distribuidora.

El autor, un actor irlandés, ahora convertido también en escritor, entrenador de voz, y creador de escenas en audio y video, volvió a Irlanda después de su visita a los Estados Unidos. El espíritu de Irlanda es su memoria/nota biográfica de su proceso de redescubierta de su país, su nación, su cultura, y a si mismo. En ciertos aspectos retoma la narración donde acabó Desnudo, pero en mi opinión va más lejos y se adentra más profundamente que lo hizo el libro anterior.

El Sr. Cooke combina episodios puramente autobiográficos (a mí sus recuerdos de escenas de su infancia me parecen particularmente emotivos) con pasajes donde describe sus expediciones tanto espirituales como reales. En sus viajes a sitios conocidos (la casa de sus padres, pueblos que solía visitar con su familia cuando era niño) él observa los cambios acaecidos, el contraste entre sus expectaciones, construidas durante años soñando sobre la patria desde lejos, y la realidad, a veces dura. También nota los cambios que tienen lugar en su interior, y como sus percepciones, lo que ve y siente, es diferente. Cuando viaja a lugares nuevos, a sitios que le atraen, a veces experimenta una comunión con los elementos, con el espíritu y el alma de Irlanda que acepta totalmente.

Sus descripciones de animales casi míticos (el caballo blanco que visita su casa y parece simbolizar el espíritu celta indómito de la isla), de los paisajes primitivos (que reflejan el poder mágico y ancestral de la tierra), de gente y caras te llegarán al alma, incluso si tú, como yo, no tienes ni una gota de sangre irlandesa en tus venas. El autor parece conectar con algo que es profundamente personal pero a la vez universal, y a través de su voz nos lleva a un lugar que es maravilloso, excitante, aterrador y puro. Un lugar donde tenemos que enfrentarnos a nosotros mismos, y si sobrevivimos, finalmente habremos alcanzado nuestra patria. Me pregunto si es eso de lo que hablaba Carl Jung cuando se escribía sobre el Inconsciente Colectivo:

El inconsciente colectivo —si alguna cosa podemos decir sobre él — parece consistir de motivos mitológicos o imágenes primordiales, y por esa razón los mitos de todas la naciones son sus verdaderos exponentes. De hecho, la totalidad de la mitología podría considerarse como un tipo de proyección del inconsciente colectivo… Por eso podemos estudiar el inconsciente colectivo de dos maneras, o en la mitología o en el análisis de los individuos. (De La estructura de la mente, cap. 8, párr. 325)

Carl-Jung-mod

Carl-Jung-mod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Al haber visitado un poquito del Oeste de Irlanda hace unos meses reconocí algunas de las descripciones (me encantaron las islas de Aran y adoro el CD número 4). También me identifiqué con algunas de sus vivencias (recuerdo lo que pensaba cuando hice la Primera Comunión). Le acompañé gustosa en sus visitas y me encantaría poder conocer a muchos de los personajes a los que conoce, que siempre tienen historias que contar y le ayudan a crear un mosaico de experiencias y voces que ilustran la naturaleza del lugar y de su gente. El autor, un anecdotista, y trovador, es narrador, protagonista, intérprete, y actor. Él ha dicho en entrevistas que por encima de todo él es un actor y que es capaz de conectar y comunicarse con una audiencia en vivo de una forma que no cree que sea posible solamente a través de su escritura. A mi me parece que es demasiado modesto, aunque debo reconocer que la combinación de sus palabras,  su voz y su lectura crean un conjunto irresistible. (Y aprovecho esta oportunidad para recomendar sus otros audios [Cuento de Navidad, De Profundis, Cuentos de Oscar Wilde…]. El único peligro es que puede que no quieras escuchar a ningún otro narrador, pero…)

El género de la memoria o narración autobiográfica está muy explotado. A veces le da a uno la impresión de que todo el mundo quiere escribir una o ya lo ha hecho. Pero no os preocupéis. Esto no es vuestra memoria autobiográfica típica. Aunque el autor comparte experiencias muy personales e incluso íntimas (la imagen de la reacción de su madre cuando descubre que su propia madre, la abuela del autor, ha muerto atropellada por un camión, no me abandonará nunca), jamás se convierte en un ejercicio auto-indulgente. Él es la conciencia de ese espíritu, y no encontraréis chismorreos ni detalles de la vida diaria en el Burren. Os dejo un enlace a un artículo que me pareció interesante (en inglés) sobre memorias en la Universidad de Berkeley. Si estudiamos los siete argumentos básicos de todas las historias (de acuerdo con la clasificación de Christopher Booker),  El espíritu de Irlanda probablemente encaja en los argumentos de ‘búsqueda’ (Odisea es un término muy adecuado), ‘viaje y regreso’ y ‘renacer’. Y si estudiamos el artículo de William Grimes: ‘Todos tenemos una vida. ¿Tenemos que escribir sobre ella todos?’ (‘We All Have A Life. Must We All Write About It?’) estaría entre ‘la memoria del viaje espiritual’ y ‘la memoria del espíritu del lugar’. Es todo eso y más. Si queréis ir a lugares donde no habéis estado, poneros en contacto con vuestra espiritualidad, y conectar con los mitos colectivos, mientras escucháis una bella y absorbente voz, os recomiendo el audio de El espíritu de Irlanda.

El Sr. Cooke vende todas sus obras a través de su página de web (de momento solo en inglés):

http://wildirishpoet.com/

Allí también podéis encontrar enlaces a sus páginas en Facebook y otros medios sociales (y seguir sus posts, incluyendo muestras de nuevos trabajos, hermosas fotografías, etc.), su dirección de correo electrónico si os queréis poner en contacto con él, y podéis informaros de todas sus novedades.

Gracias por leer, y si os ha gustado, acordaos de darle al me gusta, comentar, compartir y hacer CLIC! 

Este es el enlace al artículo sobre memorias literarias/autobiografías:

http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~kihlstrm/memoir.htm

Spirit of Ireland. An Odyssey Home

I recently finished listening to the audio of The Spirit of Ireland by Alan Cooke. I had listened (and read) Naked in New York where the author explores his adventures and experiences in New York, that I’ve reviewed in the past and again recommend. I’ve also watched his movie Home that I feel is a good companion piece of Naked and has the advantage of documenting Cooke’s personal journey whilst incorporating the views of New Yorkers old and young, famous and unknown, native and immigrants. He well deserves the Emmy for his writing in the film and I am at a loss to account for the lack of distribution for it.

The author, an Irish actor, now turned writer, voice coach, and creator of audio and video sketches, returned to Ireland after his visit to the US. The Spirit of Ireland is his memoir of the process of rediscovering his country, his nation, his culture, and himself. In some ways it picks up from where Naked left, but in my opinion it goes further and deeper than the previous book.

Mr Cooke combines purely autobiographical episodes (I find his remembrances of childhood scenes particularly touching) with passages where he sets his spiritual/real travels. In his trips to places known (his parents’ house, villages they used to visit when he was a child) he notes the changes experienced, the contrast between his expectations, built through years of dreaming about “home” from afar, and the sometimes stark reality. He also observes the changes inside, and  how he sees and feels differently now.

In his travels to new places, places that call to him, he feels at times a communion with the elements, with the spirit and soul of Ireland that he embraces fully.

His descriptions of quasi-mythical animals (the horse that visits his house and seems to symbolise the untamed Celtic s spirit of the island), of primeval landscapes (that reflect the magical and ancestral power of the land), of people and faces will touch you, even if you, like me, have not a drop of Irish blood running through your veins. The author seems to tap into something that is at the same time profoundly personal but also universal, and through his voice he takes us to a place that is wondrous, exhilarating, frightening and raw. A place where we have to confront ourselves, and if we survive, we’ll finally be Home. I wonder if this is what Carl Jung was talking about when he referred to the Collective Unconscious.

The collective unconscious – so far as we can say anything about it at all  – appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious… We can therefore study the collective unconscious in two ways, either in mythology or in the analysis of the individual. (From The Structure of the Psyche, CW 8, par. 325.)

Carl-Jung-mod

Carl-Jung-mod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having visited a tiny bit of West Ireland a few months ago I recognised some of the descriptions (loved the Isles of Aran and adored CD 4). I could also identify with some of the experiences (I remember my thoughts during my First Communion too). I gladly accompanied him on his visits and would love to meet the many characters he comes across, that always have stories to tell and help create a quilt of experiences and voices to illustrate the nature of the place and its people. The author, a bard and raconteur, is narrator, protagonist, interpreter, and performer. He has said in interviews that above all he is a performer and he can connect and communicate with people live in ways he feels is not possible by writing on the page. I feel he is too modest, although I must admit that the combination of the words with his voice and reading makes it irresistible. (And I take the opportunity to recommend some of his other audios too [A Christmas Carol, De Profundis, Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales…]. You might not want to listen to anybody else’s work after that but…).

The memoir genre has become oversubscribed. Sometimes it feels as if everybody wants to write one or has written one. Don’t worry, though. This is not your standard memoir. Although the author shares very personal and even intimate experiences (the image of his mother’s reaction when she heard of the death of her own mother, the author’s grandmother, run over by a lorry will stay with me forever), it never becomes an exercise in self-indulgence. He is the consciousness of that spirit, and you won’t get any gossip or know the everyday details of life in the Burren. I leave you a link to an interesting article posted at BerkeleyUniversity on memoirs. According to Christopher Booker’s seven basic plots, The Spirit of Ireland probably falls within the plots of ‘quest’ (Odyssey being a very apt word), ‘voyage and return’ and ‘rebirth’. And if we look at William Grimes’s article: ‘We All Have A Life. Must We All Write About It?’ it would probably fall somewhere between ‘the spiritual-journey memoir’ and ‘the spirit of place memoir’. It is all of that and more. If you want to go to places you haven’t been, get in touch with your own spirituality, and connect with collective myths, whilst listening to a beautiful and engrossing voice, I recommend you the audio of The Spirit of Ireland.

Mr Cooke sells all his work through his own website, here:

http://wildirishpoet.com/

There you will also find links to his Facebook pages (where you can follow his posts, including samples of new work, photographs, etc.), his e-mail address if you want to contact him, and you can also access updates on his projects.

Thank you for reading and as if you’ve enjoyed it, remember to like, comment, share and of course CLICK!

This is the link to the article on memoirs:

http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~kihlstrm/memoir.htm

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, it’s Friday and I bring you another classic. Not sure one should say that there are classics that are more classics, but indeed you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who hasn’t heard of Charles Dickens, or his stories. Even if you haven’t read them, you’ll know what they are about, will have watched some of the adaptations (not only BBCs, but movies, etc), or surely watched the musical ‘Oliver!’ based on his novel Oliver Twist. Considered the Victorian writer per excellence, he’s forever popular.

Biography:

There are very great and detailed biographies available, not only online, but also, of course, in printed form. I leave you a number of links to sites where you can read more about him. Only a few details:

He was born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, to John and Elizabeth Dickens. He went to school briefly but as his father was imprisoned for bad debt when he was very young (around 9) this cut his formal education short and the whole family (debts and ending up in prison were quite common at the time…Some things don’t change) was sent to Marshalsea, although Charles, instead, went to work in a blacking factory and had to bear appalling conditions. After 3 years he went back to school but he was marked by these experiences and they’ve been reflected in many of his works.

He began his writing career as a journalist and he worked in a variety of journals. In 1833 he became parliamentary journalist and three years later married Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of an editor who had been publishing some of his sketches. Shortly after he started publishing ‘Pickwick Papers’ and his success continued.

As we all know he wrote many novels (see links below), and quite a few of them in a serialised format, publishing them in periodicals weekly. He was a model for current authors keen on getting feedback and interacting with the public, as it is known that he would modify characters and story plots according to the public responses to his stories.

He also drew inspiration from his life and people he met along the way and there is a wealth of information on the real life basis for some of his best known and loved (or hated) characters.

He didn’t only write novels, but also an autobiography, periodicals, travel books, plays, and run charitable organisations.

Dickens became well-known and loved in the lectures circle and the travelled twice to the United States (where he did readings of his own books but also talked against slavery), to Italy (with fellow writers Augustus Egg and Wilkie Collins) and toured the UK on many occasions.

He left his wife in 1858 (they had 10 children) and maintained relationships with his mistress, actress Ellen Ternan (who was many years his junior). He died of a stroke in 1870 and he is buried in the Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.

Links:

CharlesDickensMuseum

http://www.dickensmuseum.com/

BBC Biography page:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/dickens_charles.shtml

Wikipedia, of course:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_dickens

The Literature Network:

http://www.online-literature.com/dickens/

The Complete Works of Charles Dickens. It has links to read his works free on-line.

http://www.dickens-literature.com/

Entry on Charles Dickens at the New World Encyclopaedia. Good links:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Charles_Dickens

Biography.com (it even has videos!)

http://www.biography.com/people/charles-dickens-9274087

Imdb page with information on movie and TV versions. He is listed as writer of 338 titles!

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002042/?ref_=sr_1

Links to FREE works (see also above):

Free audiobook of A Christmas Carol

http://librivox.org/a-christmas-carol-by-charles-dickens/

Great expectations:

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Expectations-ebook/dp/B0082SWC30/

A Tale of Two Cities:

http://www.amazon.com/Tale-Two-Cities-ebook/dp/B004EHZXVQ/

Oliver Twist (not currently available…Might be soon. Versions for very little available):

http://www.amazon.com/Oliver-Twist-ebook/dp/B000JQUT8S/

Bleak House:

http://www.amazon.com/Bleak-House-ebook/dp/B00847G1PY/

David Copperfield:

http://www.amazon.com/David-Copperfield-ebook/dp/B004GHNIQQ/

A Christmas Carol:

http://www.amazon.com/A-Christmas-Carol-ebook/dp/B0084BMUFA/

The Old Curiosity Shop:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Old-Curiosity-Shop-ebook/dp/B0082ZEKSI/

Little Dorrit:

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Dorrit-ebook/dp/B0083ZY2LC/

Nicholas Nickleby:

http://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-Nickleby-ebook/dp/B000JQV5MM/

Martin Chuzzelwit:

http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Chuzzlewit-ebook/dp/B0084BZU48/

And something a bit different. I normally only add free links on the post about classical authors but…I could not resist. I’ve heard this audiobook of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Alan Cooke (a.k.a. Wild Irish Poet, Emmy award winner, writer, and a true master of voices, who’s also recorded an audio for me that I hope will be available soon) and thought I’d leave you a link. I think it brings it to life and I truly love it. The webpage also offers you a sample so have a listen and see.

http://wildirishpoet.com/?page_id=279

Thank you for reading, and if you enjoyed it, don’t forget to like it, comment, share it, and of course, CLICK!

Signature of Charles Dickens

Signature of Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everything has a price tag. Yes, I know that things that are really worth millions can’t be bought, like good health, happiness, or time, although some things that help maximise them can (good medical care, time management devices, lack of financial concerns, task delegation). But in general terms, most things have a price attached. Value is not the same as price. You might value a nice sunny day and time spent with friends and that has not price tag attached. And other people might be prepared to pay a high price for things that you would not give a cent/penny for, and might not even want them for free (latest fashion design, a gadget that you’re not interested in, a sports ticket you don’t care for).
What is the value of art? Do you think artists ‘work’? Should they be paid for their efforts?
If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a fair bit recently. A couple of friends of mine, a man and a woman, both extremely talented, both write, both also make movies, one is also an actor, the other one directs movies and works on scripts for people (and both have made videos for me) narrated very similar anecdotes to me last weekend. On Saturday I was exchanging messages with Alan Cooke (a.k.a. Wild Irish Poet) who told me he’d been asked to take part in a project run by somebody else on the expectation that his time and effort would be given for free (and the unspoken understanding that he should be grateful to be asked). The next day Magda Olchawska told me a couple of young women working in a project had told her they thought she’d be the right person to help them, again with the expectation that this would be provided free of charge. Both of them had a similar take on the matter. ‘You would not ask a plumber to do a repair for free, would you?’ Or ‘You wouldn’t go to a shop and take what you needed without paying; why should expectations be different?’ Why indeed.
We (or the majority of people, but sorry for unfair generalising) seem to think that whilst professions (or people doing a more ‘mundane’ job) do it for the money and it therefore has a value and a price attached, in the case of artists it’s not the same. They’re having fun! They’re doing what they really want to do! Do they need to get paid on top of that? Now you’re kidding me!
Well, surprise, surprise, artists eat too. They have to train and work hard at what they do. It takes many years to achieve expertise on a subject or field, qualifications, to keep updated, and of course you have use of materials, resources, time…Imagine musicians playing their instruments for years before they master them, or ballet dancers training since they are little and sacrificing games and playing time for their art. We all have heard stories of people who suddenly after writing their first book, or posting their song on the internet, or taking a picture or video, their work went ‘viral’ and became successful overnight. This happens, but compared to the number of people who try to make a living in any of these (and many other) art-related subjects, the likelihood is so small that it’s similar to winning a big lottery price. It is not the norm. Most artists work for many years to see little return and few manage to make a comfortable living out of it (let aside become ‘successful’ and ‘famous’). Struggling to make ends meet is the norm rather than the opposite. Very few get to be well known names like Damien Hirst, Lady Gaga, or Russell Crowe. But they still have to put a roof over their heads, food on the table and pay the bills.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Min...

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living by Damien Hirst (1991) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And when they can, artists love to help colleagues and do things for good causes, but not to the detriment of their livelihood. So next time you look (or listen, or touch, or…) a work of art, ask yourself what value does it have to you. Because if it makes you think, it transmits beauty, it makes you happy, it makes you want to dance…it’s worth something. Don’t take it for granted.
Thank you for reading. If it has made you think, please leave a comment, and share.

And in case you want some information about my friends I leave you a link to Alan’s page on Facebook:

http://on.fb.me/151c1Js

And to a post on Magda:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/guest-author-and-filmmaker-magda-olchawska/

Go on, click and share!

 

Todo tiene un precio. Sí, ya sé que las cosas de más valor no se pueden comprar, como la buena salud, la felicidad, el tiempo libre, aunque algunas cosas que pueden ayudarnos a sacarles más partido (buen cuidado médico, tecnología que nos ahorra tiempo, buena solvencia, delegar las tareas) sí que se pueden comprar, o alquilar. Pero en general, la mayoría de cosas llevan una etiqueta con el precio adosado. El valor de algo no es lo mismo que su precio. Tú puedes valorar muchísimo un bonito día soleado y pasar un rato con tus amigos y eso no tiene precio. Y otras personas estarán dispuestas a pagar un alto precio por cosas por las que tú no darías ni un penique o un céntimo, e incluso no las querrías ni gratis (el último diseño de moda, él último juego de ordenador, una entrada para la final de un deporte que no te gusta).¿Cuál es el valor del arte? ¿Creéis que los artistas ‘trabajan’? ¿Se les debería pagar por sus esfuerzos?
Si os estáis preguntando adónde quiero llegar con todo esto, es algo que me ha hecho pensar mucho recientemente. Un par de amigos míos, un hombre y una mujer, los dos con mucho talento, los dos escritores, los dos hacen películas, uno es también actor, la otra dirige películas y se dedica a adaptar guiones para otros (y los dos han hecho videos promocionales para mí) me contaron dos anécdotas muy parecidas el fin de semana pasado. El sábado estaba intercambiando mensajes con Alan Cooke (alias Wild Irish Poet, el poeta salvaje irlandés) que me dijo que le habían pedido que participara en un proyecto organizado por otra persona, convencidos de que daría su tiempo y esfuerzo gratis (y por supuesto tendría que estar agradecido por la propuesta). Al día siguiente, Magda Olchawsak me dijo que un par de mujeres jóvenes trabajando en un proyecto cinematográfico se pusieron en contacto con ella diciéndole que creían que ella era la persona más adecuada para ayudarlas, de nuevo con el convencimiento de que tal ayuda sería gratuita. Los dos compartían una opinión muy similar sobre ello. ‘No le pedirías a un fontanero que te hiciera una reparación gratuita, ¿verdad?’ O ‘No irías a una tienda y te llevarías lo que necesitaras sin pagar, ¿por qué tendría que ser diferente esto? Sí, muy buena pregunta. ¿Por qué?
Nosotros (o la mayoría de la gente, pero perdón por generalizar injustamente) parecemos pensar que mientras los profesionales (o gente que se dedica a trabajos más ‘mundanos’) lo hacen por dinero y por eso tiene un valor y un precio adherido, en el caso de los artistas no es lo mismo. ¡Ellos se lo pasan bien! ¡Hacen lo que siempre han querido hacer? ¡Y encima quieren que se les pague! ¡Deben estar de broma!
Pues, sorpresa, sorpresa, los artistas también comen. Tienen que practicar, experimentar y trabajar duro en lo que hacen. Se tardan muchos años en alcanzar experiencia y maestría en un campo o especialidad, en algunos casos hay que obtener diplomas y estudios, hay que mantenerse al día, y por supuesto se usan materiales, energía, tiempo…Imaginad a los músicos que estudian y practican con sus instrumentos muchos años antes de alcanzar nivel profesional, o los bailarines de ballet que empiezan a bailar desde muy niños y sacrifican juegos y tiempo con sus amigos por su arte. Todos hemos oído las típicas historias de gente que de buenas a primeras después de escribir su primer libro, o descargar su canción en el internet, o publicar una fotografía o video, de repente se vuelve ‘viral’ todo el mundo lo comparte y de la noche a la mañana se hacen famosos y consiguen un gran éxito. Eso pasa, pero comparado con la cantidad de gente que intentan ganarse la vida con tales artes (y muchas otras), las probabilidades son tan minúsculas que es similar a ganar un premio gordo en la lotería. No es la norma. La mayoría de los artistas trabajan mucho años y obtienen muy poco dinero a cambio de sus esfuerzos y pocos llegan a vivir una vida confortable solo con las ganancias de su arte (por supuesto ya no hablamos de los contadísimos que llegan a ser ‘famosos’ y a tener ‘éxito’). Muy pocos llegan a ser nombres conocidos como Mariscal, Lady Gaga, o Javier Bardem. Pero famosos o no necesitan un techo sobre sus cabeza, comida en la mesa y dinero para pagar los recibos.
Y cuando pueden a los artistas les encanta ayudar a sus colegas y contribuir con su apoyo a causas que se lo merecen, pero no si eso significa que no se pueden ganar la vida.

Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem (Photo credit: Kami Jo)

La próxima vez que mires (o escuches, o toques, o…) una obra de arte, pregúntate qué valor tiene para ti. Porque si te hace pensar, si transmite belleza, si te hace feliz, si te da ganas de bailar…tiene valor. No lo tomes a la ligera.
Gracias por leer. Si te ha hecho pensar, por favor, deja un comentario, y compártelo.

 

Como sabéis soy psiquiatra y mi trabajo consiste en ver a gente, asesorarlos, diagnosticarlos, recetarles medicación si la necesitan y supervisar su tratamiento (ya que trabajo en un hospital). Los psiquiatras estudiamos Medicina y como cualquier otro especialista luego seguimos estudiando y trabajando en la especialidad escogida.

Aunque todos los médicos deben ser buenos comunicadores, eso es aún más importante para los psiquiatras. Tienes que intentar escuchar a la gente, sin juzgarles, e intentar no darles instrucciones y decirles lo que deben hacer, ya que en muchos casos es un proceso de auto-descubrimiento. Después de muchos años de escuchar a mucha gente y de observarlos a veces no puedo evitar dar algunos consejos generals e intentar seguirlos yo misma.

Aquí os dejo algunos de mis “sabios (?) consejos.”

Primero, sed amables con vosotros mismos y trataos bien. Muchos de nosotros nos juzgamos con dureza y nos castigamos por no ser perfectos. Siempre le aconsejo a la gente (y es muy difícil de hacer en el momento) que intenten pensar qué consejo le darían a alguien (un amigo o conocido) que les contara algo parecido a lo que me estaban diciendo. ¿Qué haríais vosotros? ¿Les diríais que son malas personas y que merecen ser castigados? Si la respuesta es no, entonces intentad sed tan amables con vosotros como lo seríais con los demás. Sí, por supuesto, aceptar vuestra responsabilidad, aprended de vuestros errores, y luego seguid adelante e intentad no cometer los mismos errores de nuevo.

Segundo, y muy relacionado con el primero, intentad obtener algo de perspectiva. Cosas que parecen enormes y terribles cuando pasan, al cabo de un tiempo no lo son tanto. No es fácil, pero si podéis aprender a intentar alejaros mentalmente de la situación y ganar una opinión más equilibrada os daréis cuenta de cuáles son las cosas importantes de verdad y cuáles son vuestras prioridades. No perdáis vuestro tiempo y energías en cosas sin importancia. (Un corolario de esto sería, no lo toméis todo personalmente. Sí, a veces os encontraréis a gente malintencionada que haga comentarios desagradables sobre vosotros, pero a veces nos tomamos a pecho y personalmente comentarios neutrales o anodinos y les otorgamos un significado e importancia que no tienen.)

Tercero. Cuando uno se siente bajo de ánimo a veces parece que estemos en un agujero tan profundo que no puede haber salida. Puede que no sea evidente pero siempre hay una salida y a veces no la podemos ver porque en lugar de mirar hacia arriba seguimos excavando y haciendo el agujero más profundo. Puede que esté muy arriba y no sea fácil de alcanzar pero hay salida. Y aunque no todo el mundo, siempre hay gente dispuesta a ayudar.

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Y ahora la promoción. Si no habláis inglés pues nada, pero si lo habláis, os dejo con un video que Alan Cooke (a.k.a Wild Irish Poet, Poeta Irlandés Salvaje) ha creado presentando mis obras. Ha usado un poquito (?) de licencia poética pero es un narrador tan fantástic0 y tiene una voz…

Sé que tenéis curiosidad. Echadle un vistazo.

http://youtu.be/tp7XF2PIDNQ

También está disponible en mi página de autora de Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Olga-Núñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

Si queries saber algo más del trabajo de Alan, aquí está su página en Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/wildirishpoet/

Y aquí su página web:

www.wildirishpoet.com

Y éste post incluye una reseña de su libro ‘Naked en New York’

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/coctel-de-resenas-una-plaga-de-disension-un-ano-de-marketing-de-libros-desnudo-en-nueva-york-y-la-llave-del-exito/

NO OS OLVIDÉIS DE HACER CLICK!

Y gracias por leer.

http://celticmusicfan.com/2013/04/02/truth-and-darethe-wild-irish-poet-a-k-a-alan-cooke-interview/

PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE FROM THE 1958 FILM, &quo...

PSYCHIATRIST’S OFFICE FROM THE 1958 FILM, “TERROR IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE”!!!! (Photo credit: spike55151)

As you know I work as a psychiatrist and my job involves seeing people, assessing them, coming up with diagnoses and looking after them (as I work in a hospital) and prescribing medication. Psychiatrists study Medicine and like in any other specialties in Medicine we then go on to study and work more in depth on our subject.

Although all doctors should be able to communicate well, that’s of the outmost importance in Psychiatry. You need to try and be a good listener, non-judgemental and try not to be too directive. After years of listening and observing people I can’t sometimes help offering some general advice and try to apply it to myself.

Here I leave you some of my “pearls of wisdom”.

First, be kind to yourself. Many of us tend to judge ourselves very harshly and punish ourselves for being less than perfect. I always advise people (and that’s very difficult to do in the heat of the moment) to try and think what advice they would give to somebody else (a friend, and acquaintance) if they were telling them about the same issues, problems, they are going through. Think about it. Would you tell them they were horrible? Would you punish them? Then, grant yourself the kindness you’d give others. Yes, learn from your mistakes, accept responsibility, but then move on and try and not make the same mistake again.

Second and very related to the first, try and gain perspective. Things that appear huge at the time are not so from a distance. It’s not easy, but if you can learn to try and step out of the situation and get a more balanced view, you’ll realise what the really important things are and which are your priorities. Don’t sweat the small stuff. (A caveat of this would be, don’t take everything personally. Yes, sometimes people might make nasty comments about you, but sometimes we might personalise pretty anodyne or neutral comments and imbue them with a meaning they don’t have.)

Third. When you’re feeling low it might feel as if you’re in a deep hole and there’s no way out. Sometimes it’s not evident but there is a way out and we can’t see it because we keep digging further down rather than looking up. However far up and difficult there are always alternatives. Not everybody is helpful but there are people who can help. You don’t have to do it all alone.

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And now I leave you with a video Emmy award winner Alan Cooke (a.k.a Wild Irish Poet) has created talking about my writing and works. There’s some (?) use of poetic license but he’s such a wonderful narrator and has such a great voice that…

Well, I know you’re curious. Check it out!.

http://youtu.be/tp7XF2PIDNQ

It’s also available in my Amazon author page:

http://www.amazon.com/Olga-Núñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

If you want to check Alan’s work, go here:

https://www.facebook.com/wildirishpoet/

Or  check his webpage:

www.wildirishpoet.com

This is my post where I included a review of his book ‘Naked in New York’ and some other great books.

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/coctail-of-reviews-a-plague-of-dissent-a-year-of-book-marketing-part-1-naked-in-new-york-and-the-key-to-success/

DON’T FORGET TO CLICK

Thanks for reading.

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

Opinión y actualidad

Opinión sobre noticias y asuntos de actualidad

Los escritos de Héctor Browne

Blog (algo literario y algo viejo) de un Licenciado en Letras, diplomado en edición, y Profesor de Lenguaje.

Priscilla Bettis, Author

The making of a horror novelist.

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