Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

Welcome to the G.O.T.H. Series!

Each Wednesday, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Rising Strong by Dr. Brené Brown, I find myself rereading several passages, including the poem by Nayyirah Waheed that inspired the book’s title.

My favorite lines…We are the authors of our lives/We write our own daring endings.

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.

Movie Review: Victoria & Abdul

The opening credit—Based on real events mostly—sets the tone for this delightful tale of affection between an aging queen and a handsome Indian clerk.

Twenty years after delivering a captivating performance as a younger Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown, Judi Dench returns to the role and succeeds in capturing all the nuances of the bored, sharp-tempered monarch. At least, that’s how Queen Victoria appears at the beginning of the film.

The arrival of Abdul Karim, portrayed by Bollywood star Ali Fazal, changes everything. Ignoring instructions, Abdul boldly makes eye contact and kisses the Queen’s feet at a dinner commemorating the Golden Jubilee. Flattered, Victoria returns his gaze and brings him into her service.

A friendship develops as Abdul, now called Munshi (teacher), meets regularly with Victoria and offers a form of escape from her tedious duties. Fascinated, Victoria listens as Abdul introduces her to the foods, languages, and customs of India. Hoping to keep Abdul in England, Victoria arranges for the arrival of his burqa-wearing wife and mother-in-law.

Her family and ministers are not amused by this relationship. Comments are whispered about “Munshi mania” and “the brown John Brown” as members of the household plot to rid themselves of the royal interloper.

While history suggests a maternal relationship, there appears to be lust in Victoria’s eyes. As for Abdul, his motivations are never fully revealed. Was he smitten or simply scheming to curry more favor?

A well-crafted film worthy of several Oscar nominations.

Easy Avgolemono

After all her guests stormed out of the restaurant, Gilda Greco (protagonist of Too Many Women in the Room) took refuge in the steaming goodness of Chef David Korba’s Avgolemeno, a Greek lemon chicken soup that warms up body and soul while releasing endorphins.

Find out more about Too Many Women in the Room and get the tried-and-true recipe for Easy Avgolemono on Peggy Jaeger’s blog.

At the Waterloo County Quilters’ Guild Exhibit

This past Friday, I attended the Waterloo County Quilters’ Guild Exhibit at the RIM Park in Waterloo, a short thirty-five minute drive away. Comprised of more than 200 members, the Waterloo Guild is one of the largest in the country. Each years, hundreds of their quilts are donated to Grand River Hospital, Vera’s Place, Ronald McDonald House Alzheimer’s Society, New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale, and other non-profit organizations.

While the guild has been active for more than three decades, the style of quilting has evolved beyond traditional techniques and fabrics. I was impressed by the variety of styles and circled the room several times, stopping to read the story cards on each quilt and snap pictures.

Here are my favorites from this year’s exhibit:

On Sale for 99¢ – Too Many Women in the Room


When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?


“A tale which far exceeds the bare bones of storytelling convention, offering the reader well-rounded characters and a narrative that doesn’t skimp on the details.” InD’Tale Magazine

“Too Many Women in the Room is the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, romance, and humor. The premise is intriguing and kept me guessing.”
Jane Reads Blog

“The plot moves along at a steady pace with subplots adding to the tension.” Christa Reads and Writes Blog

“Filled with delicious cuisine, complex characters, and a murder mystery, this story will leave you guessing until the very end!” Jacquie Biggar

“Guidoccio masterly pulls the reader in with her finely detailed scenes, a strong and very likable female lead, and an intriguing plot.”
Jo-Ann Carson

“This story is so well written; love the first person narrative and the nicely layered plot. This is cozy mystery writing at its best.” Beth Dale

“What’s not to love? Spicy food and an even spicier mystery. The book is peppered with both intrigue and recipes!” Nancy Fraser

“Once again, Joanne Guidoccio has given her readers a plumb good mystery. I can usually figure out who the killer is in most mysteries, but this one had me guessing and guessing again until the killer was revealed.” Margaret-Mary Jaeger


Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | Kobo | Indigo | The Wild Rose Press

On Sale for 99¢ Until October 27