Thoughts on Writing and Thanks to My Brother

My cohort, Jennifer McCord, and i are in the final steps of publishing my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings: An Executive Officer’s Memoir. There is a lull for me until i hear back from Jennifer, and we start the process of getting the manuscript ready for printing with Rudy Ramos, the designer who will develop the layout and design of the book, including the cover.

So, i have taken to reading my brother’s book, The Elements of Prayer: Learning to Pray in Real Life. This is my fourth read, eclipsed only by Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Faulkner’s “The Bear” in Go Down Moses, and Warren’s The Flood and “The Ballad of Billie Potts.”

This time around reading Joe’s book, it occurred to me Joe Jewell is a polished writer with meaningful and impactful things to impart while i am a storyteller who has something pretty close to addiction when it comes to writing.

In my opinion, everyone should read Joe Jewell’s The Elements of Prayer. He provides thoughtful and instructional guidance on not just prayer but also on how to approach living. Regardless of your position on religion, even those who proclaim to be agnostic or atheist, Joe’s take on praying should give everyone a guide to introspection, meditation, and even public speaking.

He titled his book after Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, a bible in the literary section on how to write effectively. Joe uses their format to succinctly follow William Strunk Jr. and E.B White’s dicta in getting his points across.

To me, Joe’s points are impactful. I don’t think that is because he is my brother.

I’m about three-quarters through this read, once again finding something that strikes me as a universal truth we all should consider in our thoughts and actions:

This brings us to the dichotomy of discipline and freedom…Because discipline and freedom are two sides of the same coin. Freedom without discipline produces chaos; discipline without freedom is tyranny. Discipline is the exercise of freedom. Freedom is the exercise of discipline. Discipline is only effective when one can freely choose to act in a certain way. Freedom is only real when one determines and adheres to a certain set of actions. Again, freedom and discipline are inextricably linked to each other…

 As usual, i was set to go on and on about Joe’s writing, my story telling, life in general, and many other thoughts i have running spasmodically through my head.

But i really don’t need to do that. Reading the above passage made me stop and reflect on my praying – i’m not formally “religious” anymore, but i have taken to reciting the Lord’s Prayer in my head each night before going to sleep – and how i live my life and how i relate to other people.

I won’t go on as i usually do. I will tell you Joe’s book is still available on Amazon. I am not trying to sell it to you, but i believe it will help you in your life if you do.

My brother is my friend as well, and i thank Joe for his book and his being Joe Jewell.

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