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Fighting Obsession

Andrea Cagan - Sunday, May 06, 2018
Fighting Obsession

Did you ever get a tune stuck in your head that you can't get rid of? It’s a Small Worldin Disneyland comes to mind. I dread hearing that song and even as I write this blog, I can feel it trying to take root in my brain. When I hear the ad for JG Wentworth on TV, I try to hit the mute button before they start singing so I can avoid repeating it to myself all day. This is a form of obsession, a pattern of thinking perpetrated by an idea that seems to affect you against your will. When you hear these short ditties, they bombard your brain and you start repeating them over and over. That’s called good advertising, exactly what the marketers want. They want their product embedded in your brain and a catchy tune is a great way to do it. The ads are harmless in the long run, but there are other forms of obsessions that are harmful and can make your life a living hell.  

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Adult Bullying

Andrea Cagan - Monday, April 30, 2018
Adult Bullying

When I think of bullying, I envision a kid at school taunting other kids. Maybe his name sounds strange. I remember a kid in my elementary school whose last name was Tushman and the kids called him “tushie” any chance they had. 

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Neither a Follower nor A Leader Be

Andrea Cagan - Monday, April 23, 2018
Neither a Follower nor A Leader Be

I recently binged a Netflix series called Wild Wild Country about Indian guru Baghwan Shree Rajneesh or Osho. This cult (they balk at this label) of thousands took over a city in Oregon, acting with hostility to the residents of this previously sleepy town. It was shocking that Baghwan amassed wealth in the form of seventeen Rolls Royces and a huge collection of fine watches, including a gift of a million dollar diamond studded Rolex. I kid you not. All the while, his supposed spiritual aides engaged in criminal activity like poisoning and attempted murder. 

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Surviving Rejection

Andrea Cagan - Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Surviving Rejection

I know a poetry teacher who encourages his students to submit their poetry to as many magazines as possible. Getting published is not the reason. “I want you to get used to being rejected,” he explained.
 

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When Bad People are in Power

Andrea Cagan - Monday, April 09, 2018
When Bad People are in Power

I was a cable news junkie . . . until November 8th, 2016. MSNBC was my drug of choice and I watched constantly, listening to the pundits’ opinions and following the movement and philosophies of President Obama. He was intelligent, kind, scholarly and a favorite among anyone who wasn’t a racist or a rigid member of the religious right. I cared abut the world views and I was fascinated about how government worked and how I could be part of the change. 

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Writing Through Writer's Block

Andrea Cagan - Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Writing Through Writer's Block

As I started to write my blog this morning, I sat there for a few minutes, contemplating what I wanted to write about. My mind skipped to a load of possible topics but I didn't really want to write about any of them. Last week and the one before that, I knew what I wanted to say before I did it. The words just seemed to flow naturally out of me and it turned out okay. So why was I faltering this week? What was different?  

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From Baby Boomers to Millennials

Andrea Cagan - Monday, March 19, 2018
From Baby Boomers to Millennials

I teach a weekly writing class for about eight students. I keep it small because it’s in my home and I want time to give attention to each person, listening to their pieces that they write and read in class and making encouraging comments. The same people come back week after week, and we are diverse: African Americans, gay and straight men, and single women, ranging from ages 29 to 82. Initially, I wondered if we would all get along and if we could forge a bond since we were all so different. We came from different generations, we had different family environments, we came from different parts of the country, and our lines of work were varied. How will they ever understand each other? I wondered before the first class. Will they connect and be instrumental in helping each other learn and grow? Or will they feel disconcerted and unsafe? Will they embrace the diversity or feel stunted by it? 

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What is Your Super Power?

Andrea Cagan - Monday, March 12, 2018
What is Your Super Power?

I work out at an elite gymnastics gym for girls between the ages of 5 and 18. My trainer, Orlando, is also a physical therapist and while I concentrate on strength and stretching, I wonder what it would feel like to swing on the parallel bars, perform back flips on a four inch balance beam, and run like the wind, throw a huge vault into the air, and avoid breaking every bone in my body. The only words I can think of when I watch the girls is “super heroes.”  

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Lull of the Halfway Point

Andrea Cagan - Monday, March 05, 2018
Lull of the Halfway Point

Once you figure out how to get started on your writing project, various obstacles show up unexpected and unannounced. It happens when you least expect it, when you think you found your groove. Your hands are flying across the keyboard, you're making great strides, when a STOP sign flashes in your mind’s eye. You pause, your mind becomes hazy and you try to understand the obstacle and how to get around it.  

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Starting a Re-write

Andrea Cagan - Monday, February 26, 2018
Starting a Re-write
I recently picked up a first draft of a book I was writing a while ago and decided to dig in and do another draft. But apparently my manuscript had other ideas. As I read the material through, I knew something was missing. It wasn’t hanging together properly, it didn't sound like me, but I was stumped as to what was wrong and what I should do. Indignation rose up. This story was mine. I had created it, developed the characters, chosen a plot line, worked out the pacing, and now, I couldn’t figure out how to pick up where I left off. I just couldn't get back in there.  

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