I’m going to Blog for Peace. Will You?

One month from today, on November 4th, people all over the world will blog for peace. Blog4Peace was created and founded by Mimi Lenox, who believes that because words are powerful, blogging for peace is important.

Mimi began blogging for peace in November, 2006. Thirteen years and thousands of peace bloggers later she — and all those she inspired — are still blogging for peace. On every continent. In 214 countries and territories. In war-torn countries and peaceful villages. Whole families. Babies in utero (yes, really!) Teenagers. Senior citizens. Veterans of war. Poets and singers. Teachers. Classrooms. Authors and artists. Doctors. Lawyers. Cats (many, many cat bloggers). Dogs. Gerbils. Birds. Goats and Bunnies. Scientists. Designers. Researchers. Stay-at-home-parents. Kids. Baby Boomers. From the Netherlands to Kansas. And everywhere in between.

I joined the peace bloggers in 2012. And I still blog for peace. 

This year’s theme is “Peace in the time of quarantine,” and that is a theme I can adopt. Although I do not believe in the possibility of world peace (because war and stressful times are never our personal choice but are fostered by others or foisted on us by circumstances) I do believe in personal peace, in finding peace within ourselves no matter what happens to provoke us into chaos.

And yes, words are powerful. And yes, this matters.

How To Blog For Peace:

  1. Choose a graphic from the peace globe gallery http://peaceglobegallery.blogspot.com/p/get-your-own-peace-globe.htmlor from the photos on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BlogBlastForPeace#!/BlogBlastForPeace/app_153284594738391 Right click and Save. Decorate it and sign it, or leave as is.
  2. Send the finished globe to blog4peace@yahoo.com
  3. Post it anywhere online November 4 and title your post Dona Nobis Pacem (Latin for Grant us Peace)

Sounds cool, doesn’t it? See you on November 4!


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Thirty Days Hath September

Am I the only one who has to recite the ditty whenever I need to know how many days in a month? Thirty days hath September, April, June and November . . .

I thought the above was a clever way to begin a blog on this last day of September, but I have no more cleverness with which to follow it up. The month is almost over and tomorrow begins another month, but that’s nothing new or clever. It generally happens every thirty or thirty-one days. Though I must admit, turning over a clean page on my calendar is rather nice.

Not on a lot is written on my calendar for October yet — a couple of birthdays, a notation of when I next need to turn in my time sheet, a reminder to post a pre-blog-for-peace blog on the fourth. (Every year, bloggers all over the world blog for peace on the fourth of November; and this year is no exception.) I also have a note that at the end of the month, my sister will be 21,000 days old. I’m trying to think of something special to celebrate the day, but in the end, I’ll probably just send a text. Since it’s not exactly a Hallmark occasion, no cards or gifts for the special day are readily available.

Missing as yet from October’s calendar is the day of publication, the day my newest novel will be available for sale. When I get that date, I can assure you, it won’t just go on my calendar, but will be blasted all over the internet. Well, blast might not be the word, but I will announce it especially since I know people will want to read a book about God deciding s/he’s fed up with humanity and decides to recreate the world. To be honest, with all that’s going on, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened in real life rather than simply in my febrile imagination.

This upcoming novel is a real departure for me — no mystery or suspense other than the suspense of wondering what God and his right-hand entity are going to do next to our luckless hero and how the poor guy is going to survive the re-creation. But maybe it’s not that big of a departure now that I think of it. A minister once told me, “You have a marvelous ability to write the longest parables in all of literature. You unglue the world as it is perceived and rebuild it in a wiser and more beautiful way.”

This new novel is definitely about ungluing the world and rebuilding it (though whether wiser and more beautiful is still to be determined), so the parable nature is one way it ties in with all my other books. It also has an underlying humor to it, maybe more so than my other books. In earlier blogs, I referred to it as a whimsically ironic apocalyptic novel, also as Humor Metamorphosing into Horror Metamorphosing into Allegory. My publisher is classifying the novel variously as absurdist, urban fantasy, humorous science fiction. Which is another sign of a Pat Bertram novel — one that can’t be easily categorized.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is still the old month, even if it is on its deathbed. I still have September time left to water my plants, walk, work my few hours, and read.

Sounds like a nice way to spend a lovely fall day. Hope you too enjoy your thirtieth day of September. Toodaloo until next month.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Writing a Book Summary

Blogging is easy for me. It’s mostly a matter of letting my stream of consciousness flow through my finger tips onto the page. There’s not a lot of thinking, because either the thinking has been done or my thoughts are being processed as I write. The only time it’s hard is when my mind is blank — it’s hard to stream something that isn’t there. Often, though, I can start writing and an idea will show up that I can develop into a blog post, even if it’s only to say that my mind is blank.

Writing novels isn’t that difficult once I get started. It’s more a matter of sitting down and working out the puzzle and trying not to get bored by the necessary scenes. (The scenes that are necessary to the story, but that have been in my head so long it seems as if they’ve already been written.) What’s hard is getting started. To me, writing a novel is about finally getting the story out of my head, but if there is no story caroming around trying to get out, I have no real impetus to write.

Writing at someone else’s request is whole other situation. It feels too much like homework, and although I never minded homework when I was young, at least I don’t think I did, my mind now balks at having to do something by request.

This latest “something” isn’t onerous. It just feels like it because of the aforesaid balky mind. I’m supposed to be writing a summary of my soon-to-be-published book (my publisher is aiming for October 20!). Even though it’s been a while since I last worked on the book, I mostly remember it. (I’m looking forward to the day I completely forget so I can read it as if it’s new to me.) I just need to summarize it in a way that will entice everyone to read it. Because of course everyone will want to read the book, they just don’t know it yet. And it’s not as if I have to write a synopsis of the whole thing to get a publisher interested, because he already is interested and working on putting the book together. All I need is a short 300 word blurb and a longer 3000 word summary.

Shouldn’t be difficult, right? But apparently, I prefer to write about writing the blurb than to actually write it.

You’d think I would have been smart enough to have already written it, knowing the book was going to be published, but somehow, just like with homework, I’ve put it off until the last minute. (Actually, that’s not true. For the most part, I think I did homework right away so I wouldn’t have it hanging over me.) In this way, at least, I was much more disciplined as a child.

But I am thinking about the synopsis, so that’s something, right? Maybe if I think about it long enough, it will pretend to be a blog post and I can just let it flow through my fingers onto the page.

Then the real work starts: a bio. You’d think after almost 3,000 blog posts, many of them about my life, it would be easy to come up with something interesting to say in a bio, but nope. Total blank.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Everyday Magic

After the past four days of enumerating and celebrating my blog accomplishments, I woke this morning feeling uneasy. I have spent the past ten and a half years talking about my life, my grief, my feelings, my traumas, and the dramas that seem to follow me. (Before that, I mostly talked about reading and writing, but Jeff’s death blew me wide open, and that was reflected here on this blog.) Suddenly, after all this time, I’m uneasy, unsure that I like people knowing so much about me. It makes me vulnerable, and seems to put me at a disadvantage with people I see in real life. Do I really want them to know my innermost thoughts? Do I really want them to see my soul bared? It doesn’t seem a smart thing to do.

For example, too many people here have guessed the identity of the one person in town I try to avoid (this person’s insulting remarks were the last straw for me and Facebook), and that’s more than I want anyone to know. I’m also not sure how comfortable I am discussing things that bother me when I know the people involved will be reading what I write. I’ve been censoring myself to an extent because of this, but even so, I tend to think I say too much. Still, whatever a person says to an author and blogger is fair game for a writing topic. That’s what I do — I write about what happens in my life and try to find a lesson or gratitude or some sort of accommodation with the occurrence.

But it does make me vulnerable, and I wonder how wise I am to continue with my way of blogging.

One thing in particular happened, a minor occurrence for sure, but I took it to heart. This added to my confusion about continuing the blog path I’m on, mostly because I wanted to write about it and wasn’t sure if I should. And yet, it is a bloggable situation.

The other day, I was driving back from a nearby town when I happened to see a vehicle ready to pull onto the highway. After I passed, it pulled in behind me, and it stayed behind me as we headed into town. This tickled me because it was only the day before that I had seen the vehicle for the first time, and I knew who was driving. It seemed a bit of serendipity, even solidarity, on what is normally a faceless and friendless highway. One of life’s small miracles. Everyday magic.

The other driver’s reaction? That I drive slowly.

Huh? When is driving the speed limit slowly? Well, to be honest, it almost always is. Several cars had passed me, crossing a double-yellow line to get ahead of me shortly before I met up with this particular driver. I wonder what all those drivers would have done if I had been driving 55mph the way I’m supposed to. Driving 65mph is not a good idea for a car with such a small, air-cooled engine, and my mechanic cautioned me about burning out the engine. Still, I sailed along at 65 until we hit town, and then I slowed way down to the new speed limit, and then way, way down when it came time to turn.

I tend to forget that people don’t know there are cars without power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmissions. If you’ve ever driven such a car, you know you can’t slow at the last minute and then careen around a corner. You have to brake in plenty of time, and then downshift to make a safe turn.

Still, this wasn’t the point. The point is that I thought the drive into town was something special, a bit of magic, and the other driver thought I drove too slowly.

I just realized I answered my dilemma. This episode is not a reason to back off from telling my truth, the only thing unique I have to write about, but is instead a reason to keep going. Someone needs to point out the minor miracles, the everyday magic, the important lessons, and the serendipitous moments on the road of life that would otherwise pass unnoticed.

I’m sure my uneasiness will eventually dissipate. After all, considering the myriad heartfelt grief posts I’ve written, I’m no stranger to vulnerability.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Who Visits My Blog

Someone asked me yesterday if anyone reads my blog. She seemed shocked when I told her people all around the world have visited this blog. Most come from the USA and other English speaking countries. Others come from countries I’ve never even heard of, and yet, someone in those countries has heard of me. What an amazing thing the internet is!

Here is a map showing where my visitors originate:

Pink shows visitors, and the darker the pink, the more visitors. Apparently, if I am reading the map correctly, the only places from which no visitors have come are Svalbard, Turkmenistan, Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, and Central African Republic. I find this utterly astonishing. Not to be disingenuous, but I simply can’t imagine being interesting enough to attract so many different people.

Here is the incredible list of countries where visitors have come from. (The number represents visitations only, not views, since often people click on more than one blog entry, and each click is a view):

United States400,695
United Kingdom71,399
South Africa5,205
New Zealand4,548
European Union2,706
United Arab Emirates1,670
Hong Kong SAR China1,434
Saudi Arabia1,153
South Korea839
Sri Lanka601
Trinidad & Tobago473
Czech Republic314
Puerto Rico236
American Samoa233
Palestinian Territories148
Myanmar (Burma)148
British Virgin Islands123
Costa Rica106
Bosnia & Herzegovina98
Isle of Man90
Dominican Republic67
Antigua & Barbuda59
Papua New Guinea53
Macau SAR China50
St. Lucia49
Cayman Islands47
St. Vincent & Grenadines45
El Salvador43
U.S. Virgin Islands25
St. Kitts & Nevis20
Côte d’Ivoire17
Northern Mariana Islands16
Åland Islands14
Congo – Kinshasa12
Solomon Islands6
Caribbean Netherlands6
Faroe Islands6
Sierra Leone6
Turks & Caicos Islands4
Cook Islands4
French Polynesia3
Sint Maarten2
Falkland Islands1
French Guiana1
St. Helena1
Vatican City1
Burkina Faso1
South Sudan1
Netherlands Antilles1
Congo – Brazzaville1
Cape Verde1
Marshall Islands1


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Happy Thirteenth Bloggiversary to Me!

I created this blog exactly thirteen years ago today, back when I hadn’t yet become a published author, back when I had just acquired my first computer and didn’t even know what a blog was. I had read how important blogging was for authors, both as a way of getting known and as a way of connecting with readers, so I decided to “act as if” I were going to be published in the hopes of making it happen. I had nothing to say, no one to say it to, no reason to say anything, but I didn’t let that stop me. I started blogging on September 24, 2007, and haven’t stopped since.

Did acting as if I were going to get published work? Perhaps, though there is no direct connection that I know of. Still, one and a half years after starting this blog, my first two books were published. I now have eight books available: five suspense novels, one mystery, and two non-fiction books about grief. A ninth book will soon be published, a novel that my publisher said, “is playful, fun and well-written. It spans genres, so I’m not sure if there is an exploitable target audience. I don’t care. I like it.”

Two-and-half years after I started this blog, my life mate/soul mate died, and his death catapulted me into a world of such pain that it bled over into my posts. This blog became a place where I could try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life. And I struck a chord with people who were also dealing with grief. It’s no wonder my top posts are grief related: What Do You Say to Someone Who is Grieving at Christmas? with 82,261 views and The Five Major Challenges We Face During the Second Year of Grief with 38,122 views.

This blog sustained me during the years I cared for my father after Jeff’s death, and it gave me a place to rest when my father died four years later, and I was thrown out into the world, alone and orphaned.

And this blog offered me a place to call home when I set out alone on a five-month, 12,000 mile cross-country road trip, gave me a place where I could talk about all the wonders I was seeing. Often on that trip, when I was between visits with online friends, I thought of William Cowper’s words: How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude! But grant me still a friend in my retreat, whom I may whisper, solitude is sweet. And this blog became a place where I could whisper, “Solitude is sweet.”

Currently, as I am continuing to settle into a house of my own, it’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges and adventures — and joys — come my way, this blog will be here for me.

During the past thirteen years, I have written 2,842 blogs, received 19,481 comments, and garnered 873,352 views. It amazes me that anyone wants to read anything that I write here. This is so much a place for just letting my thoughts roam, for thinking through problems, and (I admit it) for pontificating a bit. It’s been a kick, writing this blog, and I want to thank all of you for indulging my whims and whimsys.

Thank you for reading. Thank you all for your comments, your likes, your support. They have meant more to me (especially this past ten and a half years) than you can ever imagine.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

100 Days

There are one hundred days until the end of the year. What are you going to do with those days? Will you finally get around to the New Year’s resolutions you made and promptly forgot? Are you going to slack off, giving yourself permission to take a break from the breakneck speed of your life? Are you going to get going on that novel you wanted to start, continue, finish, or edit? Are you going to make inroads in the pile of to-be-read books on your nightstand, or finally read some of those ebooks you downloaded? Are you going attempt the photography project you always wanted to do? Are you going to blog every day?

That’s what I’m going to do — recommit to blogging every day. I’ve been blogging every day for the past 365 days, and I intend to extend that commitment to the end of the year. (I’ll try to make the blogs interesting because posting something just to post something sort of negates the “challenge” part.) Feel free to join me! We can help each other, offering encouragement or topics when the will begins to wane. And it does. When I was grieving, it was easier to come up with topics than it is now when I am in a more comfortable situation. It’s hard to find lesson in being at peace. I suppose peace is a lesson in itself, but what can you say beyond that you’re at peace?

Still, I do manage to find something to write about. My sincere apologies for the more mindless posts and my eternal gratitude to everyone who reads what I write. A special thank you to those who comment, and a heartfelt appreciation for the thought-provoking responses. It’s always good to have more thoughts in my head than simply those I put there.

Even in a year as difficult and as slow as this one, the days do pass. And in 100 days it will be over. I have no great belief that next year will be better, so it’s not as though I’m counting down to the end of the year in order to get rid of this one. It’s more about taking something besides fear and isolation out of this year. It’s about making this year count, or at least making the last 100 days count. How are you going to make your days count?


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Celebrating Milestones

Today is my 365th straight day of blogging. A whole year’s worth of posts! That is certainly a milestone worth celebrating.

Tomorrow marks 100 days until the end of the year, another milestone worth celebrating. That is the day I make resolutions, if I need to make any. New Year’s resolutions are complicated because a year is so very long, especially this year. I can do 100 days. Maybe not easily, but it is possible. So, my resolutions are the same ones I always make — to blog each of those days, to try to lose a few pounds, to exercise more. And I’m sure I’ll continue my tarot studies, one card at a time.

Thursday, the final of these three milestones, will be my bloggiversary — the thirteenth anniversary of when I started this blog. That first blog post was a short one. It said simply:

Am I an aspiring writer? I have written 4 books, rewritten them, and will continue rewriting them until they are perfected.

No. I am not an aspiring writer. I am aspiring to be a published writer.

And that is what I became — a published writer. Soon, maybe even by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, my ninth book will be published. This particular work of fiction will be a real departure for me, not suspense (except to the extent that all novels are suspenseful), not a book about grief. Maybe it could be considered an allegory, maybe fantasy, maybe a lot of things. But always a Pat Bertram story.

It was a hard book to write because it was the last one Jeff brainstormed with me, and he died before it could be finished. It sat for years with only an occasional word being added because it was simply too painful to write. Every time I looked at the manuscript I was reminded he was gone.

But I did finish the book. And it will be published.

Although I haven’t been interested in writing (except this blog, of course), the first paragraph of a sequel to this special book recently popped into my head. And the novel does demand a sequel. With two children being born, one named Adam and one Eve, the book cries out for a second installment to the story.

Oops. Maybe I gave too much away with those names. Since there are religious overtones, I worried people would think it sacrilegious considering my — at times — irreverent outlook, so I had some of my religious friends read it, and they assured me it’s fine. As one reader emailed me, “As to your question about offending Christian readers, any Christian reader who gets beyond the title (which is perfect — enticing, with just the right level of warning, like one of those TVMALV ratings) will most likely delight in spotting Biblical echoes, enjoy the broken-creation and God/god themes, and eagerly wonder how on earth you’re going to end it. Your final scene is a perfect surprise — a beautifully apt and satisfying end to the tale, which really doesn’t need to fit any religious conviction; it creates and completes its own convincing artifice. I love it!

I can hardly wait for you to be able to read the book. And no, I won’t mention the title just yet — it will tell too much about the story, and I don’t want to give anyone else the idea for a story of their own before the book is safely in print.

The book was never supposed to have any religious overtones or undertones. The theme is actually more of a political one, eternally apropos, and never more so than today: How much freedom we are willing to give up for safety, how much safety we are willing to give up for freedom, and in the end, since freedom tends to be an illusion, it’s about embracing responsibility.

I got off the track of milestones for a bit there, but chalk it up to enthusiasm for my new book.

I have much to be grateful for this first day of autumn, which, come to think of it, is another milestone to celebrate. We made it through this endless summer and are now heading for more glorious days.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator