Thursday, June 22, 2017

Positive Psychology

I'm currently enrolled in a Positive Psychology course from the University of Pennsylvania. It's actually a five course program which earns you a certificate when you are finished. As soon as you finish one course, you enroll in the next one. The psychologist, Dr. Marty Seligman, who was president of the American Psychology Association, founded Positive Psychology. Now it's being used all over the world, and even is being used in our armed forces to teach them resilience.

I've learned so much from these courses, and the focus is not on the negative, but on the positive aspects of life. Our human instinct is to protect ourselves and to survive. In the past, it was useful to focus on the negative, in case there was a dinosaur or wild animal lurking afoot. Now, this negative bias has permeated our society. One sees it in the news, that focuses on violent acts and crimes. Also, in the old days, psychologists focused on what was wrong with us. They studied mental illnesses and how to correct them, but over 70% of the population was normal. Because they didn't have mental illness didn't mean they were happy or had well-being. Positive psychology goes beyond just living. It teaches you about yourself and about how to see life differently.

Being a writer, I found these courses fascinating, particularly the character strengths that came out of the six virtues: wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, transparency, and transcendence.

A website formed by Dr. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, called Authentic Happiness, has much information about this topic. There are free questionnaires and tests on the site. Also, to find out your character strengths, you can take the VIA survey. The top five character strengths are your strongest. These character traits can be used to help define characters in your novels. They can also help you understand yourself and the people around you better.

Click on this website to take the free survey:
https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu



Here is a list of the virtues and their character strengths:

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge: creativitycuriosityopen-mindednesslove of learningperspectiveinnovation
  2. Courage: braverypersistenceintegrityvitalityzest
  3. Humanity: lovekindnesssocial intelligence
  4. Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
  5. Temperance: forgiveness and mercyhumilityprudenceself control
  6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellencegratitudehopehumorspirituality

Source: Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_Strengths_and_Virtues) -




Monday, June 12, 2017

Los Angeles and the Greek Film Festival

A few weeks ago, a colleague from our writers' group, Calliopi Toufidou, told me about the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF). Having lived in the area years ago, she knew all about it, and  said that Greek film makers would be submitting their films there and they would get voted on, and the best films would receive awards. She thought it would be a good idea to take our books and see if there were any film makers interested in them. Hmmm, I said, let me think about it.

I wrote to one of the board members of the LAGFF, Mr. Aris Katopodis, and he graciously invited us to attend the event as a VIP. So I accepted and flew there with my son and Calliopi. We represented the Hellenic Writers' Group of Washington DC (HWGW). The event started on Wednesday, June 7 with the opening night reception at the Egyptian Theater in the Hollywood/Highland area and lasted until Sunday, June 11. Around 50 films were presented during this time, including feature films, documentaries, and short films. www.lagff.org




My son and I had gone there earlier in the day and were amazed at the amount of people walking along the sidewalks. The Hollywood Walk of Fame had a couple thousand stars ranging from Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, to Adam West, Marilyn Monroe, etc.


The next stop, was Universal Studios, where we took the studio tour and walked around, savoring the sights and sounds of this very popular place. We went on a weekday, but were pleasantly surprised to see so many people. 




We visited the Harry Potter area, with the Hogart Castle:


The studio tour took us to the site where the JAWS movie was made.


On Sunday morning, we visited St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. We were fortunate because that day they were ordaining a new priest, so two bishops were present. My son served in the altar and I sang in the choir. I met a very nice woman, Judy, who was president of the Philoptochos Society, and gave her one of my books. She was very pleasant and said maybe they can invite me to speak there one day.



We finished the week with a trip to downtown Los Angeles, where we 
stopped at the library for a short visit.




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Review of Helena's Choice by Rea Keech, Award-winning author


HELENA'S CHOICE
Review by Rea Keech
The story is set in England and Greece about five years after the Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Helena’s Greek mother is dead, and she has been raised as a proper English girl by her English father. But when he dies intestate, Helena’s fortune changes. She struggles for a while to support herself in England as a governess, but eventually decides to go to Greece to claim her mother’s property.
Helena’s father was an amateur archeologist who had been digging on that Greek property and had found some interesting artifacts. When Helena arrives, she meets a returned Greek archeologist who is digging on her mother’s as-yet unclaimed property. Will Helena’s love interest remain the English doctor she had known since childhood or shift to this Greek archeologist? And will they find anything of value on her mother’s property that Helena can use to support herself?
Helena experiences a very interesting period of Greece’s history. King Otto of Bavaria has been made king of Greece by the European powers and is struggling to gain control. Valiant bandits are still roaming the countryside after distinguishing themselves in resisting the Ottoman Turks. The novel is good at picturing what it might have been like to live in those times.
Yes, there is a vague plot connection between the Helena Cadfield of the novel and the Helen who was abducted by Paris in Greek myth. This adds a somewhat timeless perspective to the story.
The many specific details of daily life in both England and Greece show an author who is quite familiar with both cultures. She tells the story in a refined, elegant prose that is a pleasure to read.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day Poem

To My Mother

Mother, my dear, sweet Mother
Your warm smile embraces my soul
Each and every day, and particularly
 On Mother’s Day
As I remember 
Your arms that held me,
Fed me, 
Clothed me, and 
Nurtured me 
Within the bosom of your love.

I am grateful that God gave me to you
And that He gave you to me.

Without you, I could not exist,
Without you, I could not breathe
Without you, I could not say I love you.
For you taught me the most important 
Thing in my life, and that’s the 
Unconditional love of a mother.

Even though the years have sped by 
And distance threatens to separate us
No matter where you are,
I will still feel you close to me,
Caring about me, loving me,
Sharing with me your sweet, special smile.
For I will always, always be your child.


by Patty Apostolides, May 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hello everyone. My book HElENA'S CHOICE has been added to the Maryland Writers' Association Contest. I need five votes to make it eligible for the contest. Right now I have three votes. if you could kindly take a moment to read and vote on my book HELENA'S CHOICE for the MWA contest, I would appreciate it. I need 2 more votes! 
Many thanks in advance!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Toast for Life - Poem

I wrote this poem for a contest back in 2010, where they asked "What gets you out of bed in the morning?" This poem was the result. Enjoy!

A Toast for Life

To gather
Soft, willowy wisps of “thank you’s”
And blow them into the air until
A smile returns my way


To favor
Random acts of kindness
To those that hurt so much they cannot see,
Except my outstretched hand

To find
The path that leads to happiness
One step at a time
With a loved one by my side

To write
A story so pure and uplifting
That brings tears of joy,
One page at a time

To share
A journey of friendship
That lasts not only a lifetime
But forever

To search
For peace in everything
And once it is found -
Never let it go

To gain
The wisdom and foresight
Taught from life’s lessons
That leads me closer to maturity

To love
With a pure and forgiving heart
And allowing to be loved
One day at a time

To learn
Through books and classes
Of the universe’s secrets
And respect their power

To depart
This earth one day
Having accomplished my purpose -
To leave a part of me behind

- Patty Apostolides 2010

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Eternal Love - Poem

I dedicate this poem to all the lovers today on Valentine's Day:

Eternal Love

Would that the day never end
When the sun and moon do meet
So that night and day entwine
While the stars watch overhead
This everlasting time
Would that the day never end.

Would that life never end
When joyful sounds of life
Tap into the inner recesses
Of our minds
Burrowing deep into our hearts
Without a clue of cost or price
Would that life never end.

Would that Love never end
When the sunshine from your smile
Warms my spirit, soul, and mind
To embrace love faithfully
Enduring all that comes its way
Would that Love never end.

Bring the sun, moon, the stars
And your smile to light the way
All together for one moment
To fill up my life with love
So that even for one day
We could feel eternity's embrace
That is why Love never ends.

by Patty Apostolides, from Candlelit Journey: Poetry from the Heart

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Now is the Time

Everyone is focused on the New Year 2017, but I say:

Now is the Time

Gather all your thoughts today
Blow them into the wind and say -
No more time to while away,
Clear the path for a Now day.

Now is the moment we all should live
Not tomorrow, yesterday, or the past,
Now is the moment we all should live
For we don't know what tomorrow has.

Gather your loved ones and say -
I love you each and every day.
No matter what tomorrow portrays
Your Love goes a long, long way.

Now is the moment we all should live
Not tomorrow, yesterday, or the past,
Now is the moment we all should live
For we don't know what tomorrow has.

Remember all the joyous times -
Live them Now, one at a time.
Smile and say you're doing fine
Now is the time to feel divine.

Now is the moment we all should live
Not tomorrow, yesterday, or the past,
Now is the moment we all should live
For we don't know what tomorrow has.
by Patty Apostolides

I might make this into a song one day. What do you think?