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The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


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Please visit the main site - www.wolf-photography.com

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Today's agenda ...

It's that time of the year when the year end accounts are drawn up and settled.  I have to get the signed paperwork delivered to my accountant this afternoon and he'll submit them to the Inland Revenue for me.  It's another year of financial loss but I hope things pick up this year.

Preperation for the exhibition is still ongoing with regard to my side of things but I need to find support from the funding application side of the project.  I'll try to make contact with someone at a relevant body today.

The writing has dried up completely for a while but I reckon that's bound to happen now and then.  The next book will be one about using travel and photography as a coping mechanism for PTSD ... so it'll continue the theme of using creative skills to bring some peace into one's existence.  I'm about 2 chapters in on this book at the moment but I'm hoping the energy levels rise up to a productive level again soon.

The poetry book, 'Words of a Wolf' is still selling off my website (http://www.wolf-photography.com/html/woaw/woaw.html) and Waterstones have copies in stock if you fancy getting a copy while out shopping.

New photographs will be appearing on the website soon.  I've been knocked low for the last couple of months.  I've had a cough for a month now but it's easing up.  Apparently some people have had this cough for 4 months now!  I'm not sure whether it's the evolution of bugs to 'super-bugs' or the high levels of pollution in the area.

My thoughts turn to this year's travel.  Most of the focus has been on local wildlife, which I think was necessary this year.  It's allowed me to work within my means and catch up with local species that I've always enjoyed watching ... BUT a big trip is needed for the autumn.  Something with wildlife and a natural sight to awe the senses.

I've started doing search engine submissions for self employed people and businesses to try to ease the financial burden of my business a little.  This is where I submit your company's details to thousands of search engines every month to help raise your online profile.  The cost is very economical:  £20 setup fee, plus £10 per month.  Your rating WILL go up if you follow other recomendations that I make through the process, however, anyone that tells you that they can get you to page 1 of any listings without paying for additional services (eg 'Adwords') is lying.  All payments are made through 'Paypal' for our mutual protection.  You can either pay monthly or annually.  Drop me an email on wolf (at) wolf-photography.com for more details.  If you'd like to see the results of my own campaign, do searches on any of the following words within any search engine and see what comes up?  'wolf photography' - 'Villayat' - 'SnowMoon Wolf' - 'Sunkmanitu'.   This service can benefit customers in Canada, Europe and the USA.  It will also help businesses in other parts of the world but to a slightly lesser degree but would be beneficial if you're trying to bring your business or service to the attention of these other nations.

I hope you're enjoying the good weather ... all the best,

Wolf

Friday, 18 June 2010

Guidelines for mental health professionals interviewing veterans with PTSD ...

You could probably alter that title to 'Guidelines for mental health professionals interviewing anyone with PTSD'; some of the guidelines are probably relevant to people with other disorders.

1.  Layout of the room 

Ensure that the seating is arranged so that the person you're interviewing isn't sat with their back to the door or a window.  Let them pick where they want to sit.  Your seating should be arranged so that neither of you are made to feel vulnerable and that you can both exit the room promptly and safely should the interview become uncomfortable, or in the worst case scenario, should either of you feel you are at risk of physical attack.  Think about what you can do to facilitate this change the next time you walk into the interview room.


2.  Preperation

If someone has provided you with reports from other mental health practitioners because they have just moved areas, do the person the courtesy of reading them before the interview.


3.  During the interview

Mental health problems related to PTSD tend to be about a single or multiple traumatic experiences, don't do anything to trigger a reaction.  You're a professional, act like one.  Make sure you are facing the person that you are talking with.  Make sure that they know that you have their attention.  Do not sit sideways on to them, ignoring them while shuffling through their reports, having asked them a question.  A person without a mental health problem would probably find your manner rude and insulting.  Imagine how a person with PTSD is likely to act?

Do not expect an intelligent person that has been getting treatment for a number of years for PTSD to sit there and open up all their scars for you in a 40 minute interview.  They know the system, but more importantly, they know themselves and will not open up to you in that format of interview.  It takes time and patience for a professional interviewer to be successful.  You have to build a bridge and earn that person's confidence and trust.  If you're not prepared to do this, you have failed in your role as a mental health professional.  Try instead to discuss the symptoms that they are experiencing and be gentle with the person you're interviewing; after all, you're there to provide 'care and support'.


4. The last stage of the interview

Make sure you allow sufficient time for the person to be able to walk out of the interview room in a calm a state as possible.  Remember that you have been probing scars during the interview that, for veterans, could result in a reaction of higher levels of stress and possible physical violence, depending on the severity of the condition and the sufferers 'individual' experience.  Don't prime an emotional bomb with inappropriate behaviour as an interviewer and then send it out onto the street.  If something bad happpens as a result of your inappropriate behaviour as a mental health professional during an appointment with a patient, you are partly responsible for whatever it is and should be either formally disciplined and or/re-trained, or if you are unwilling to be re-trained - your services should be dispensed with.


5. Mental Health Professionals' attitudes towards PTSD

Some practitioners, mainly psychiatrists, from the many people that I've discussed matters with over the years as a PTSD sufferer, believe that PTSD doesn't exist and that it is therefore not a recognised mental health condition.

If you, as a mental health professional, fit that bracket - it's time to find another profession.  It takes a lot for a veteran to open up about PTSD contracted as a result of their duties.  We were conditioned to cope and carry on doing our various jobs.  To lock our emotions down and to face dangerous circumstances without thought for our own safety.  It took me 12 years to be able to start to open up about my experiences.  If a veteran comes up to you and opens up, show a little respect and understanding and don't write a dismissive report saying that they're fine when you have quite a few reports consitently diagnosing their condition.


6.  Policies for continuation of care for people moving from different regions to yours

This paragraph is for chief executives, managers and other departmental policy makers.  You don't need to make a fresh start on cases where a person has been getting support for PTSD where it's well documented in their file, especially where mental health professionals, as well GPs have written a report underlining the situation specifically to ensure the continuation of care.  Taking this step causes great difficulty and you risk alienating the patient. Stop using the policy of 'fresh starts'.  It's nothing more than a way to present a barrier against receiving care from the NHS in order to help your budgetary matters.

I strongly recomend that where a person has moved areas and has well documented reports confirming the diagnosis of PTSD that you undertake your duty of care as soon as possible.  Please remember that in the case of veterans that have war pensions for their disability, they are to be treated as a priority patient under the guidelines and arrangements between the NHS and the Veterans Agency.

In my experience,  not one mental health professional was aware of this long standing agreement.  You need to raise awareness of this policy.


Thanks for taking the time to read this, especially if you work with people that suffer with PTSD.

If you suffer with PTSD, please feel free to add your own comments and observations.

Wolf

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Playing with making an ad for the book and an update re Barnes & Noble...

I have to say that using Flash8 is a bit infuriating.  I wanted to make a simple advert for my book and have been trying to find a way to do it for ages.  I finally found a site that makes the creation of flash movies a doddle - INTRODUUUCIIING: http://www.toufee.com/! I've shoved the video on the top of this blog - it'll only play if activated by you.

They have some nice and easy video tutorials if you get stuck.  I like programs to be a little smart in the way they work.  If you've used certain types of programs you get a feel for what should happen and how a program should work.  Sorry Adobe - Flash didn't do it for me.

So, Barnes & Noble decided not to stock my book but didn't give me any reasons for the rejection, initially.  It took some perseverance and it gave me a huge insight into the journey of a 'writer' ... any writer!  I personally don't like unprofessional attitudes in business - full stop.  The more I have to do with the likes of big distributors, the more I cringe.  I don't think I could do the 'self publishing' lark for a living - or the promoting for that matter. 

So, the review process for Barnes & Noble is this (this took 3 emails to get so I hope it's useful if you're considering approaching them) ...

I wrote to their submissions address by email and then went to the trouble of posting a copy of the book to them for review - this had its problems as well as Barnes & Noble in the USA don't seem to use manners and good business ethics with regard to communicaition. 

I had been waiting for the review.  I was told that someone would review it and that the information I forwarded onto the help desk could not be forwarded on to the reviewer and that all necessary information had to be sent with the book.  Help desk ... really?  I had to insist that they pass the emailed information along and I insisted on a named contact and email address of the person that would be reviewing my book.

Heres' the decision of the reviewer:


'The buyer decided not to stock the title, citing, the market is narrow.'  That is all the replying email sent.  No salutation, no explanation and surprisingly, no actual review of the book.

So I wrote back and asked:

Yes, I received that message Evelyn. If we submit a book for a review in the for purchase, we usually get an opinion on the book - hence it being 'reviewed'?


Has anyone done that and am I going to get a copy? Otherwise there would be no point in sending the title to you guys...

Wolf

The reply to this email was the best yet:

'I can send you a letter in writing, informing you of our decision and letting you know why we passed.


It would be the same as the email I sent to you, but a bit more formal.

Evelyn'
 
I gently explained that I didn't want a 'formal' kick in the nuts by writing:
 
It's not that Evelyn and you don't have to go to that trouble.


I'm trying to find out what you thought about the book - it's content, as you presumably did read it?

Wolf.

Her reply:

No, I do not read the books. It would be impossible. I get about 400 submissions a month.


I make sure the book meets all the B&N requirements. I give the book and material to the category buyer and he or she takes a look at the book.

They usually read a few pages, check out the layout, cover, price and marketing. Also look for sales on previous titles if the author has written other books and make their determination based on the market and its salability.

I certainly have an opinion, but it doesn't really matter for your purposes.

Hope this helps.

Evelyn


The reply begged the following questions:

Ok, (they'd sucked me in to dropping salutations too at this point - crafty buggers!)


so did the book meet the B&N requirements?

I am curious as to your opinion of the book?

Wolf
 
 
Having read that I need you to visualise me sat on a chair with my legs spread open, tied to the chair on a massive runaway that seems to end around the region of my gonads.  Part of my head asked the other, 'Did you REALLY just ask this person to comment on a book that she hasn't read?'
 

Her reply:
 
I found the cover unappealing.


I was also confused by the synopsis in the back of the book.

Is it poetry or is it a memoir?

If its both..... who is the target audience?

Didn't make sense to me.

But, art is seldom, liked by everyone.

I did enjoy the photography.

Best of luck.

Evelyn


It didn't make sense to her , but to be fair, you'd have to have read the book for that to happen.  It might have made things gel a bit more.  C'est la vie.  I feel for the writers that are dependent on their art for a living, especially as this sort of unprofessional behaviour is the norm.  I don't know how you cope.

All I can say is thank feck for Waterstones' open approach towards independent writers and publishers.

The video above isn't finalised yet, but I'd be interested in your feedback, especially as I've managed to leave that chair on the end of the gonad runway.  :o)

Wolf

What is it about a good latin dance that invigorates me?

I cleared up some more before salsa on Friday night.  It was a really good night, the best I've had at salsa for ages.  Sunday night followed it up nicely  - again, a goodnight with some familiar faces.  You dance the dance, have a laugh and then head home.

I heard a couple of tracks that I really want - there's one particular song where the tempo varies from really slow and smoochy to just a little up beat - the tone of the singers voice leaves you under no illusion that it's a passionate love song.  Great voice.

Did I spell 'invigorate' correctly?  :o)

If you're a veteran and want to try some music therapy but are wary of feeling or looking daft - don't!  Just go and find a salsa club ... no pissheads - normally, just great music and lovely ladies to dance with.  Do a search and find classes and clubs in your area by going to: http://www.salsajive.co.uk/.

Happy dancing, if you decide to go ...

Wolf

Monday, 7 June 2010

Levelling out ...

I started levelling out a bit yesterday.  I got that huge pile of clean clothing folded and stowed away and tidied up the kitchen a little - well, did the washing up!

I also took time to sit in silence and smudge myself with some dried white sage.  You'd think that silence is something I have plenty of but I thinks it's more about a state of stillness ... complete, empty but so full at the same time.  Leading to the feeling of being connected to the Earth and the Universe - yeah - gimme a tree and I'll gladly hug it.

I'm trying to tidy things up in my home in manageable chunks, so it's the office space next.  The accounts paperwork has gone to the accountant, now I need to get up to date with all the general paperwork lying around and the bits and pieces that need to be thrown away.

I went to the doctor today as I've been coughing a lot and it won't shift.  The doc said that I need to use my inhalers more as the last man cold (my phrase) left my airways clogged up a little.  I have to go back in 4 weeks if it doesn't clear.  I couldn't remeber to tell her about feeling tired all the time.  C'est la vie :o)

Time for a quick nap I think.

Later

Wolf

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Trying to motivate myself ...

Part of me looks at what's happening from outside of myself ... the objective part of me.  That part recognises the downward spiral and how the different elements are connected.  How the smallest thing can tip the balance and make me shut down and put me in the place that I'm in right now.

It usually take me a while to get my gear stowed away after a trip ... but not as long as it's taking this time.  The gear's all over the place and not unpacked.  One of the cameras went down this trip, a canon 40D and I haven't even contacted the authorised repairers yet.  Luckily, I'd taken a backup with me just in case of something like this happening.

There's a huge pile of clean clothing and bedding that's been gathering on my sofa or over a month now.  I've got to get that all tidied up and stowed too.  The washing up's going to be tackled today.  I need to find someone reliable to trim my trees down ... and I want to find some bushes with lovely scents to waft into my house from the garden.

The work around selling the book and getting the exhibition together has come to a temporary halt.  There seems to be no way of getting assistance unless you're connected.  Barnes and Noble in the USA have been very cagey about getting the title in.  They don't want to pay the price it's being offered at, even though it's been explained that this is a project to help Veterans and their families rather to line my pockets, and to help other people understand PTSD.  They have a trading relationship with Gardners books here in the UK.  I agreed to give Gardners a bigger discount and now they're playing funny games too because I've had a change of contact person.  The new contact person doesn't seem to have even looked at the book or have any awareness of the fact that Veterans Week is coming up and that the title was meant to be available for then.  I have to find people that are connected that want to help sell this book.

Perhaps the most disappointing news of the week was to hear that the Royal Photographic Society don't want to be involved with the PTSD awareness project.  They wouldn't want their logo on the same banner as the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes, Combat Stress and the actual War Veterans Agency ( a govenrment organisation), all of whom want to help raise awareness of PTSD in veterans and to provide them with avenues of support.  They haven't given a reason for their refusal.

The photography business is ambling along.  No prints have sold in this new financial year, yet.  I get contacts saying, 'I love your work and want to buy something for my home/office', and it seems to stop there.  Businesses that I have supported don't seem to want to return the favour.  Saying that, there are 2 local businesses that are trying to sell my book for me:  Mucho Cuadros in Hockley and a bathroom suite outlet in Bullwell that's run by Grenville.  So the last financial year is another trading loss.

I've also been ripped off by a restaurant who wanted to purchase some of my work for their restaurant that's opening soon.  2 hours of free consultation and they went to get the prints from another source - having taken my ideas along with them.  That's made me re-think stuff with regard to consulting ... they get invoiced for any time spent with them from the start.

My kids and photography, together with the time we spent at Heather and Mike's place was the only saving grace this last month ... and meeting up with Derek. Joshua, my son, wanted to be photographed doing some of his free-running.  Laila, my daughter, has taken a camera off me - she wants to get back into photography.  Will she do it?  I'll have to wait and see :o)  She also wanted to be photographed riding a horse at one of her lessons.


I got some lovely shots in a few different locations.   It's been good to just stick with nature photography this year and to tap into that natural energy.  I went and re-acquainted myself with the ocean.  For those of you that have read 'Words of a Wolf', the poem 'Leaving the Storm' on page 32 is about the last time I spent 'communing' with the ocean.  I still carry that stone with me wherever I go.

The foxes and cubs were a joy to watch.  The mother had markings that looked like mange or something at a distance but up close I saw that she just had very unusual but beautiful markings.

I spent time sitting in a space near them and letting them get used to me and seeing how close they would come to me.  I wasn't disappointed. 



Time for my morning bath. 

Later

Wolf



Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
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