We've been in Berlin for a week. Taking notes. Allowing the weight of the city's complex history to sit with us.
We may have more to say later, but for now we leave you with this famous memorial.
By Mari Angulo.
Click photos for detail and captions.
10+ years ago I visited Dachau near Munich, and yesterday we visited the Sachsenhausen memorial in Oranienburg. Likely due to our turbulent status quo, this visit to the Sachsenhausen site brought up several things:
The realization that I don't have the capacity to imagine the terror of its prisoners. Amazement at the endless creativity for torturing and systematic murder of hundreds and thousands of people. A sense of being dumbfounded at the complicity of civilians coupled with an understanding of the complexity of this evil phenomenon.
While white supremacy ideals are not German, and evil is a human problem, somehow all the right ingredients came together with the right time and place for the holocaust. With white supremacy on the rise, even in Germany the extreme right wing will likely have a voice in the parliament after next week's elections. Trump is already the president of the US and there are leaders all over the western world ready to uphold fascist ideals.
Being far from resolution in this matter, we must stand our ground. We can't afford not to learn from our mistakes. There is too much at stake to flirt with these ideas or to become desensitized to the messages that uphold them. Pay attention. Speak up. We cannot be complicit.
With Germany opening its doors to over one million refugees in 2015, a means for cultural exchange and a bridge to understanding is essential.
This evening in Berlin, we were fortunate to share a meal and conversation with Syrian refugees. They cooked an incredible meal for us and we were able to chat (with our host as a translator) about their experience living in Berlin with their families, the acculturation and language classes they're taking and the challenges they are facing with their families in this new culture.
We are deeply appreciative of this exchange which was made possible by a Berliner and Hungarian journalist Anna Gyulai Gaal. Anna first had the idea to create a refugee dinner series last November, after seeing thousands of migrants crowded into the refugee camps, in government buildings or Berlin's closed down Tempelhof airport.
"Food creates an invisible bridge between people, and my biweekly refugee dinner series aims to connect Berliners to the migrants making a home in Germany."
- Anna Gyulai Gaal
If you are visiting Berlin and would like to take part in this experience, please reach out to Anna Gyulai Gaal at email@example.com. Anna shared that they are working on a website to form a network of hosts and expand the exchange. Anna's efforts have made international media. You can read an article by the Independent (UK) below.
Creative Visualization for Writers: An Interactive Guide for Bringing Your Book Ideas — and Your Writing Career — to Life
Author: Nina Amir
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (October 18, 2016)
Paperback: 224 pages
To become a more creative, confident, and productive writer, you need to focus your attention, visualize your desires, set clearly defined goals, and take action toward your dreams. Let Creative Visualization for Writers be your guide on this journey of self-discovery. You’ll learn how to:
About the Author
Nina Amir started as a journalist. She has a BA in magazine journalism with a concentration in psychology. After working as an editor and writer for a variety of regional magazines, a national corporation in New York City, and a small consulting firm, she started my own freelance writing and design business.
Working on other writers’ manuscripts sparked her desire to write a book of on topics she felt passionate about: personal development and practical spirituality. More than publishing a book, she wanted to build a business around those books.
Setting out to learn all she could about the publishing industry she got involved with the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and started the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge (now known as National Nonfiction Writing Month). In April 2012, her first book How to Blog a Book was published, became an Amazon bestseller almost immediately, and has remained one ever since. The Author Training Manual was published by Writer’s Digest Books just two years later and was a bestseller before any books passed through the register on Amazon. In addition she’s self-published several more ebooks, all of which have made it onto the Amazon Top 100 right away. In fact, she’s had as many as four books on one Amazon Top 100 list at the same time!
Thoughts on the Book
Amir's new book is hard to categorize. It's an activity book, it's inspiring to read, yet highly informational. She's going deep, bringing in research about left/right brain, and even chromotherapy to support her material. It's a book that asks you to dig deep and know yourself in ways you might not expect. It's a call to action.
I, myself am not an author, and writer is far from a noun I'd use to describe myself. However, I found this book to be a fantastic exercise even for "non-writers." Interestingly enough, my background is in business and marketing and I found direct correlations to crucial elements of business and strategic planning in "Creative Visualization." Even the sections are organized in a way that flows like a strategic planning process (except it's so fun you barely notice). You can practically write your own author Mission and marketing plan once you're done with the book!
Amir makes it clear at the beginning, that you don't have to read the book from start to finish to get what you want out of it "You may want to focus on the Goals section if you need to set intentions, or spend time with the Creativity section if you want to develop ideas or stimulate your muse. Use the coloring pages when you want to relax or focus. Use the affirmations when you are ready to commit to changing a particular negative thought." I found this to be true. This book is a companion that you can read again and again and build your own adventure each time.
There are six clearly outlined sections in the book. She begins with Self Exploration, she's asking you to dig deep and ask questions about what you know about yourself. Where are you now as a writer and person? As Amir explored the concept of "knowing yourself" as essential to being a good writer, I couldn't help but think of Hemingway, who wrote his weight down and kept a log of what he ate on the wall of his bathroom. Talk about really striving to know oneself. In the next section, Vision, you're looking at the future. What's next for you? Can you visualize your book, your success, even your ideal reader? In the Goals section, she addresses intention and goal setting, and she's literally asking you to draw a map to success. In the Creativity section, there are exercises to help develop ideas and stimulate your own creativity. In Focus, there's even a section with coloring pages, but it's not all "fun and games," even in the creativity section you're prompted to brainstorm and plan ideas for things like your author website, a potential talk about your book, and even blogging topics. All things that authors need to know and think about "outside" of their writing. I think the section about focus is extremely important because writers/authors tend to be creative, interested individuals at the core, so it's easy to jump from one thing to the next. Amir is asking you to check yourself and stay accountable to the plans you make and outline a clear path. And finally, there are the Affirmation Pages that lead with a Muhammad Ali quote: “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” This is literally a section of affirming prompts where writers (or anyone!) have a chance to build confidence and weed out negativity by writing about themselves, in their craft, in an positive way.
There's so much to be learned and practiced in "Creative Visualization." It's not just about the ideas and the craft itself, it's also about accountability and goal setting. Amir is not only asking the reader to make a plan but also to believe enough in oneself to know that you can do it.
This book will make an excellent gift for so many writers I know.
We created this "book of memories" photo book to document the launch and promotion of one of our client's books. Yep, writing a book and having it published is a big deal! See Rebecca Pott Fitton for more information about her journey.
Click to view some screen shots of the photo book
We were staying at Sylvia's Irish Inn in Urbana, IL when we hit it off with the owners and were hired to develop their new website.
The Inn is beautiful and historic just a couple of miles from the University of Illinois, offering comfortable accommodations and an even better breakfast to its guests daily.
We couldn't resist the opportunity and look forward to sharing the beauty and comfort of the Victorian inn online. We are working to reveal the new site in July 2017. Stay tuned!
May 18- Instagram post:
Visiting our clients at Sylvia's Irish Inn today (@sylviasirishinn) in Champaign/Urbana. We're cooking up a new website soon! Beautiful historic inn, must see if you're in the area.
#sylviasirishinn #chambana #bedandbreakfast #champaign #Illinois #hotel #midwest #relax #enjoy bnb #marketing #travel #urbana #victorian #victorianstyle #home #homefront #design #historic #cozy #homey #garden #spring #color
We recently created this one minute promo video for our clients at the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association. They have an incredible event lined up for Tuesday evening (April 25). If you're in Santa Fe we highly recommend this exciting and fun way to support top notch and diverse youth music in the community!
What we did: Artotems helped develop the spoken message, designed the graphics, recorded video footage, animation and concept design.
We just completed author Rebecca Pott Fitton's book trailer for her book "Wave Rider: Poetic Journey from Abuse to Wholeness." Her video had a "world premier" yesterday at a private reading with friends. Rebecca was abused by her uncle (and father figure) as a child. Her journey is one of inspiration and rising from a childhood filled with abuse.
We are so proud to work with Rebecca and of all the work she's done, both internally and in writing her book. She is a voice against childhood sexual abuse. We hope her book touches many...
Today one our non-profit clients Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association shooting a segment on KOB Good Day New Mexico for their upcoming Showcase Benefit concert!
SFYSA's Executive director Andrea Cassutt and director of orchestras, William Waag, shot an interview for KOB 4 this morning. Here they are at Kit Carson park in Albuquerque with host Casey Messer of Good Day New Mexico. The interview will air on the show April 19th.
Sharing our creative efforts, work and travel.