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Author: lsware

People Suck. Don’t Let Them Suck You In.

Why am I a Stoic? What does that even mean? Good questions! Here is one of seventy-billion answers.

The below excerpt is how Marcus Aurelius wraps up Book 9 of his Meditations, one of the key texts in the Stoic cannon. And this is how I try to live my life. Knowing that people are people and some of them are going to suck.

Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Perhaps only in these situations and not those. Also, my version of suck does not necessarily match anyone else’s version of suck.

Not everyone is going to like you, you aren’t going to like everyone. This is simply reality. Accepting it and moving on makes life a lot easier.

By accepting this reality, by “remembering that the whole class has to exist will make you more tolerant of its members,” one can carry on with life despite of, regardless of, the behavior of other people. Leave them to their ways and worry about yourself instead. Their insensitivity, negativity, untrustworthiness, ungratefulness, or whatever does not need to impact you unless you allow it to. It certainly does not give you leave to behave as such yourself.

It all circles back to the saying many of my narrator friends abide by — Don’t be a Dick. AKA – DBaD.

Be you. Be OK with you. Let others be themselves. Be OK with that. It doesn’t mean you have to like them, but then again, they don’t have to like you either.

There will always be people I love to hang out with but wouldn’t want to work with. Or people I love working with who wouldn’t be on my party invite list. (If I threw parties.) And every other possible configuration.

So – how about we all stop worrying about how person A, B, or Q is perceiving us and just be ourselves – whatever guise that takes.

How about we all stop worrying about how person A, B, or Q is behaving and just let them be themselves, too. (Unless, of course, they are clubbing baby seals or something. Then the gloves are off.)

Perform your function. Perform it with good intentions and as well as you can. Be a Good Human.

On a side note, this segment is number 42 in book 9. The nerd in me adores that this is number 42. Because, in many ways, this is the answer to much, at least for Life. The Universe and Everything are still a bit ephemeral.

“When you run up against someone else’s shamelessness, ask yourself this: Is a world without shamelessness possible?


Then don’t ask the impossible. There have to be shameless people in the world. This is one of them.

The same for someone vicious or untrustworthy, or with any other defect. Remembering that the whole class has to exist will make you more tolerant of its members.

Another useful point to bear in mind: What qualities has nature given us to counter that defect? As an antidote to unkindness it gave us kindness. And other qualities to balance the other flaws.

And when others stray off course, you can always try to set them straight, because every wrongdoer is doing something wrong — doing something the wrong way.

And how does it injure you anyway? You’ll find that none of the people you’re upset about has done anything that could do damage to your mind. But that’s all that “harm” or “injury” could mean. Yes, boorish people do boorish things. What’s strange or unheard-of about that? Isn’t it yourself you should reproach — for not anticipating that they’d act this way? The logos gave you the means to see it — that a given person would act a given way — but you paid no attention. And now you’re astonished that he’s gone and done it. So when you call someone “untrustworthy” or “ungrateful,” turn the reproach on yourself. It was you who did wrong. By assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust. Or by doing them a favor and expecting something in return, instead of looking to the action itself for your reward. What else did you expect from helping someone out? Isn’t it enough that you’ve done what your nature demands? You want a salary for it too? As if your eyes expected a reward for seeing, or your feet for walking. That’s what they were made for. By doing what they were designed to do, they’re performing their function. Whereas humans were made to help others. And when we do help others — or help them to do something — we’re doing what we were designed for. We perform our function.” (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 9, Segment 42.)


P.S. If anyone is wondering where all the pretty pictures are – Going forward, blogs and other writings will have minimal imagery. I have recently begun my journey into Audio Description and it has made me realize that much of the content on the web these days excludes anyone with visual impairment. As much as I can, I intend to make everything I post or publish as inclusive as I know how to do. There is plenty of ‘pretty stuff’ already. There needs to be more substantial stuff.

An image of two hands reaching towards each other with an orange and red sky in the background. Text overlays this with the quote: "Humans were made to help others." by Marcus Aurelius
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A Dark Queen Rises

An image of a warrior on a camel in a red desert. The sky is full of stars with a sun rising through golden clouds and a city in the distance. The title 'A dark queen rises' is above the man with 'the burnt empire saga book 2, ashok K. Banker, narrated by Vikas Adam' underneath.

The Saga Continues

Leaves you wanting more.

That is A Dark Queen Rises (Banker, 2021) in a nutshell. Prior to listening to Vikas Adam narrate this gem, I was unfamiliar with The Burnt Empire Saga. But I’m hooked now! Good thing the series is planned for 9 or so titles – this is a vivid world.

“They came to watch the children burn.”

With an opening line like that, Book #1 should be a wild ride also. I’m curious to see how much I missed by not listening to the first book before this one, but I was able to catch up reasonably easily. The characters and world are exceptionally well-developed. I suppose I shall just have to listen again after I get through Upon a Burning Throne. With all of the action and interwoven plots, a second read or listen would certainly not be amiss.

The tale of Queen Agreen fleeing her husband Jarsun across the desert and the ensuing chase, Tyrak’s tyranny and following journey, and Vessa’s maneuverings weave together to form a fascinating web. The queen’s daughter must learn about herself and her powers. The champion foretold to destroy Tyrak must be protected.

Enter the Desert for Yourself

There is so much to discuss and unpack that I am loathe to make any attempt to do so. I don’t think I could be clear and concise. This is one you must read or listen to for yourself. It would take a novel to dig into everything and there is no way to tell you about it all without spoilers. And everybody hates spoilers.

So I’ll just leave it at the below. Short and sweet, but all you need to know. This one is a winner. If you are into Fantasy, especially epic, political fantasy, then A Dark Queen Rises is for you!

Ashok K. Banker takes us on a thrilling ride with A Dark Queen Rises. The Burnt Empire Saga continues on, weaving an intricate tale of intrigue. It is hard to tell what is more enjoyable, the writing or the narration. Vikas Adam does a magnificent job bringing each character to life. His pacing is superbly matched to the text and kept me riveted. Then there is Adam’s skill with characters and his ability to make you forget anything else you may be trying to do while listening. Putting this down was difficult!

Check out other reviews on GoodReads and pick up your copy. 

(Thanks to NetGalley and RB Media for providing me with an advanced copy of this title. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.)

Now to dive into Upon a Burning Throne…

A drawing of a warrior riding an elephant through a stylized desert full of red snakes under a purple night sky filled with stars, some shooting. The title 'Upon a burning throne' is above the man and 'The burnt empire saga book 1, Ashok K. Banker' is underneath.
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The Introvert’s Edge to Networking

A Review.

OMG I’ve got to do what? 

Networking: the plot of every introverted business person’s horror movie, am I right? There is nothing like a room full of strangers who may or may not want to work with you that you HAVE to interact with to pursue your dreams. The nerves, the fear, the panic attacks, the butterflies, the inability to remember your own name.

Well, what if it didn’t have to be like this? What if we – the introverts of the world – could use our innate skills to network naturally and leave an event with a smile instead of a cringe? We can. Absolutely. The Introvert’s Edge to Networking has shown me how. In fact, I am starting to see my introversion as a strength where it has been historically perceived as a weakness. 

"To truly succeed in strategic networking, YOU CAN'T BEND YOURSELF TO WHAT OTHERS WANT, or even what you mean to sell: they must bend to you." Matthew Pollard

Turns out, some of those natural abilities that help define me as an introvert are some of the best networking skills available. Matthew Pollard’s second book, The Introvert’s Edge to Networking not only showed me how to see this as reality, it also showed me how to use them to my advantage. 

The Gist

Throughout my life in assorted businesses, networking has always been my nemesis. I’m no good with too many people around, there’s too much information to gather. My brain always gathers data whether I ask it to or not. Who’s there, what’s going on, what’s on the buffet, the atmosphere, good discussions, bad discussions, secrets, people to seek out, people to avoid, and on and on – and the bigger the room, the harder my poor little brain works. So by the end of any event, I’m exhausted even if I just sit in a corner and don’t say a word. 

Now I know that this can be mitigated, if not alleviated, by one simple trick Matthew discusses: being prepared. The depth to which he clarifies his methodology and how he got to it is wonderful and illuminating. A number of tips and tricks are elucidated for us to take, modify, or discard as appropriate. Now I can gather the data in advance, and only have to worry about being in the moment with people like I prefer. 

Good thing, too, because now that I am all narration, all the time, networking is more relevant to my business. Potential corporate narration and eLearning clients are everywhere, as are authors looking to get into audiobooks. They all need a narrator, and if it’s not me, there’s a good chance I know another awesome narrator who would be ideal. Gaining new tools to truly become the Intent Facilitator that I have always innately been is, oddly enough, fun.

Introverted Networking 101

It’s not like he’s reinvented the wheel or achieved Networking Enlightenment (well, maybe he has, but that’s another story). Matthew has simply seen what is in front of us and packaged it in a lovely little present for us to open. He provides stories, suggestions, thoughts, inspiration, templates. There is woo-woo stuff and full-stop logical stuff. Bottom line, the way Matthew presents his information works for all sorts of people, probably even those weird extraverts. 

Perhaps the biggest thing I have gotten out of Matthew’s books is comfort with my introversion. Today, I am not just OK with being a borderline hermit, I am beginning to embrace it and use it to my advantage. Especially in marketing and networking. 

"When you speak about something you really care about, you can't help speaking with passion and excitement." Matthew Pollard

Even though they are about all I’ve ever known, ‘Spray & Pray’ and ‘If you Build it They will Come’ are not valid marketing strategies. Who’da thunk it? 

So I’ve learned I have hitherto been what Matthew terms an ‘aimless networker’, which really explains a lot. I’m unwilling to be smarmy and transactional and unable to be a social butterfly. For an introvert, hustle like is so often the norm at networking events, like ‘regular’ people do and enjoy and rock at, this hustle equals burnout. And minimal results. So networking has often been seen as lose-lose and hence ignored, discounted, and done under duress.

He says to “focus on strategy and preparation, not trying to be charismatic and engaging.” This is helping me to break the belief that I have to be Brilliant and Wonderful at all times. It also is helping me to remember my roots as a researcher and that it is a Good Thing to know what I’m heading into. Be it an online workshop with acting coaches and directors, an in-person conference with the whole audiobook world, or a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Between this quote and working to delineate my mission and define my passion, my confidence levels are skyrocketing. And not crashing back down like they usually do.

The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Now I am (almost) looking forward to networking. Part of it is because I freaking love, Love, LOVE research, but it is also because The Introvert’s Edge to Networking has given me the freedom and permission to be myself at all times. Yay! For so long, I have tried to mold myself to match what all of my clients, regardless of the industry, want. The goal now is to match my narration clients to what I want, to who I am. I don’t have to be someone else’s idea of good. The Real Me is perfect for plenty of people. 

"Success doesn't come from being everything to everyone but being the only logical choice to a select few." Matthew Pollard

The Bottom Line

Matthew GETS introverts because he is one of us. His success, and the success of innumerable other introverts throughout the world and history, proves we can all get where we want to go. We just have to play to our strengths and not try to force our square selves into round holes. Until this whole global pandemic thing subsides, I’ll have to wait to test my new found theories in full force, but even the tiny forays have shown me that Matthew knows what he’s talking about. 

If you, like me, are an introvert who has always struggled with networking but has to do it to live your best life, this book is worth acquiring. I am sooooooooooooooo grateful to have received an ARC – advanced review copy, that is – of The Introvert’s Edge to Networking and be a part of the launch. (Every word of this review is my own and voluntary.) Thanks, Matthew.

Check it out on Amazon here (releases Jan 19, 2021).

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : for audiobooks and for corporate narration/eLearning.

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Welcome 2021, it’s About Time You Got Here!

My Words About It

Over. It’s almost over. One small miracle came of that dumpster fire of a year… The whole world agrees on one thing: Good riddance, 2020!

Although I do wonder why we are all so fixated on changing the calendar. Nothing changes other than a page, a date, a number, a word. Reality will remain. The BS will continue, it always does. (It would be nice if changing the date would change things, fix everything but I am not holding my breath.)

But we can choose how we deal with the BS. Do we swim in it? Do we throw it at others? Do we pretend it doesn’t exist? Do we leave it in the sun to dry? Do we use it as fertilizer? So many options! Pick what works for you. If that doesn’t work for me, that’s fine. I have my tribe. And together we can conquer all.

Which is why I am here today, to shout out about the wonders of my tribe. 

Crossing Paths

The path I am on has led me to so many amazing people. The past couple of years learning the Ways of the Audiobook Narrator have been beautiful. The narration community is possibly the best I have ever come across. So open, so kind, so helpful, so real, so loving, so beautiful, so fun, so true. This includes the authors, the narrators, the coaches, the casting directors, the publishers, the engineers. Everyone. 

And so, for the first time in some time, I have expanded my tribe. 2020 may have been one of the worst years in recorded history, but I’m choosing to revel in the silver lining of that black cloud. The fact that we all had to go online and virtual meant that I was able to participate in way more events than I would have otherwise. This meant that even my ultra-introverted self interacted with other humans and made connections. Like, real connections. And it’s wonderful.

Building Tribes

I am a hermit. I like being alone. I enjoy my solitude and quiet. Too many people and I break. Too much interaction and I must recoup for days. Yet I would do anything and go anywhere if my tribe asked, and love it.

Not everyone in my tribe is new. Many have been a part of me for eons, some for lifetimes. I love my tribe for accepting me and all of my flaws. I am bad at social anything and even worse at anything that doesn’t require an unvarnished response. 

This year, my poetry writing (and writing in general) has started to return. (yay!) And as we wind down the year and everyone does their holiday things, I found myself pondering my people. Thinking about how much I care about them, how wonderful they are, and how bad I am at conveying this. Then the below fell out. It may not be fancy but it’s from the heart. 

The Words

So here are some words from me to my tribe. You know who you are. If you are of my tribe, this is for you. Whether we know each other (yet) or not. Whether we’ve spoken lately or not. 

Tribes are eternal.

Tribes have no boundaries.

Tribes persist. 

Tribes abide. 

Words often fail me, but sometimes they do flow... And as I look back on 2020, waiting for it to go, I find that there are things I'd like for you to know. I am always grateful for you. I always think of you. I always wish the best for you. This is not said enough. I don't know how, this is not one of my skills. It is not Logical to be Sentimental. But I am, and I love you. Your Soul brings me Light. Your Light gives me Hope. Hope gives me Solace. Solace gives me Faith. I have faith in you. I have faith in me. I have ultimate faith in We. For we are the champions, my friends. Thank you for being part of my tribe.

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : for audiobooks and for corporate narration/eLearning.

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Learning to Fly – Doctor Ordered

Life is Messy

How do you view your past? Is it something you rejoice in or something you ignore? Did your past happen to you or is your past a part of you? Do you let it guide you or let it rule you? Do you accept that all the bits and pieces that make up your past coalesce to make up you? 

“What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny. … There is a single harmony. Just as the world forms a single body comprising all bodies, so fate forms a single purpose, comprising all purposes.” 

There is causality. Nothing has no effect. Without the past, we would not be where we are now. To be human is to be a mess of thoughts and feelings with no guide book. Tossed off a cliff and told to fly – figure it out on the way down. 

Okay… So How Do We Fly?

We are made up of everything that has come before now. And will add tidbits as time passes. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the fun, the scary, the funny, the annoying, the easy, the hard. EVERY. THING. The people. The places. The events. 

All of it snowballs to become the person you are today. The pieces fit together to form the picture of you.

Two wooden animatronic figures each holding a puzzle piece, nearly connecting. In the background is a multicolored, vertically striped background.

Take all of these bits and pieces and use them to form your Self. If you can do then then you will be cohesive, smooth, and solid – and ready to fly. If you try to leave out pieces or pretend they aren’t there, then you’ll just be a spiky mess – and fall quickly to the ground. There aren’t many spiked aircraft… just sayin’.

All too often we want to hide, deny, ignore, or change our pasts. What we did. What was done to us. Who we did it with. Why. 

While we should not dwell on the past – that is as unproductive as pretending it doesn’t exist – we should embrace it as part of us.

You’re Joking Right? 

Not kidding. Totally serious. And believe me, I know how unpleasant that can be. If all the trauma and drama of my life went away, so would my personality as it is today. If everything had always been rosy and gentle, then I would not be the me I am. 

  • I would not be as strong.
  • I would not be as knowledgeable.
  • I would not be as solid.
  • I would not be as real.

Marcus uses the doctor analogy – take your medicine, do your exercises. “It may not always be pleasant, but we embrace it – because we want to get well.” Accept what is prescribed, “Accept it because of what it leads to: the good health of the work.”

How do you know pleasure if you’ve never experienced pain? The good, the bad, and the indifferent are all relevant and necessary parts of life. You can’t skip one just because you wanna. They will all be there no matter what you do or who you are. 

So, we can reject our pasts and be sharp, jagged souls, resentful and angry. Or we can accept our pasts and be smooth, settled sound, not perfect but content. Use your past to inform your future. 

Don’t dwell on it. Don’t deny it. Just be the you it has made you. “No nature would bring something about that wasn’t beneficial to what it governed.” 

Does this have ANYTHING to do with Narration?

Yep. Indubitably.

That messy life?

All those experiences? The good times and the craptastic days? They all led me here. To narration. And not only did they bring me here, they will help me in my performances. They give me the ability to instill authenticity to my reads in ways I wouldn’t be capable of had I enjoyed a life free of my experiences. 

The deaths of my parents taught me tragedy, visceral pain, unmitigated aloneness, and all sorts of stuff about living.

All those bad relationships taught me (eventually) to believe in myself and not take crap from anyone.

All those random research clients and jobs taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to and that there are more ways to do anything than you would expect. 

The kidney transplant (I was the donor side) taught me what it feels like to Fulfill a Purpose. 

When I am in the booth, I am able to pull up each and every experience to help me convey my author’s intent. There is a memory for everything. Some may need to be repurposed or embellished, of course. I haven’t experienced all the things everywhere. I mean, I’ve never killed anyone, so there will have to be some license there, but  have studied candlestick charting and was a day trader briefly so I can speak authoritatively as such. And on and on and on.

So embrace your past. Don’t dwell on it and relive it all the time, but use it to learn from and to inform your future self. You would not be the beautiful you you are without all that stuff you try to hide. Be messy. Be real. Be human.

Goodness knows I’m trying to do so!

"What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny." Marcus Aurelius
We all have our own path to our own mountain.

(All quotes are from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.)

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads :

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Being a Generous Narrator: Live Open-handed

Questioning Generosity

Are you generous? (Whether you’re a narrator or not.)

How do you respond when someone needs your help? A favor, big or small? Maybe they are asking for a ride to the airport at 5am or they need someone to watch their adorable, but psychotic, pet for a week. Perhaps they are looking for a place to stay or money. Or an opinion on their new shoes or their relationship. Your expertise in a certain subject. Even something as simple as for you to do a good job. Be it time, physical or mental energy, money, or material goods – we all are called upon to do things for other people. Regularly. And we call upon others. 

When I first began exploring the world of audiobooks and corporate narration, I discovered the most wonderful thing! Besides the fact it is the first job I have ever considered a career, this industry is chock full of amazing, wonderful, kind, and generous people. I mean, not everyone is a peach, but that’s life. There are surely people who dislike me. Again, that’s life. But The Generous Narrator seemed real.

I wondered, was it truly possible that there are that many truly kind-hearted souls doing narration? Spoiler alert: Yes. Yes, it is. After a couple of years, I’ve stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the facade to fall and started accepting the genuine nature of most of my fellow narrators.

So what does Marcus Aurelieus say about generosity and living open handed in his Meditations that sent me down this rabbit hole? 

Thinking about Helping

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it – still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return. A horse at the end of the race… A dog when the hunt is over… A bee with its honey stored… And a human being after helping others…”

Four images overlaid with the words “Role Models”. Clockwise starting from the top left: a brindle dog with a toy, bunches of grapes on the vine, a muscled horse races to the left, and a wasp on a yellow flower.

So many are one of the first two types of people: always waiting for favors to come back to them or keeping tally of who owes what to whom. Sadly, it is a small percentage of humanity as a whole who lives as the third type of person: giving of themselves where and when they can.

My narration family, my audiobook peeps especially, are the grapevine. They share and spread the love however and wherever they can. They live open handed. (I don’t think they do it just for the grapes, though most of them do enjoy a good glass of wine.)

Bonus days? Most even avoid the pitfall Stoicism warns about when being a Good Human: what is often called virtue signaling these days. (VIRTUE SIGNALLING | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary) All too often, people fall into this and exert energy making sure everyone knows how amazing they are since they did X, Y, or Q.

Basically, when you see someone who needs assistance you can provide, do not think of the effect on you or to you – for better or worse. Think of the effect on THEM if you hold back. Give of yourself, however that manifests, without expectation. Live more than fairly. 

If we all just live fairly, then the world will indeed be a miserable place. While it sounds good in theory, in practice, we must live MORE than fairly if we want to be the race horse, the hunting dog, the honey bee. Otherwise, no one would ever strive, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, help when they know it cannot/will not be returned.

The Kindest Industry

Finding a career where being generous isn’t met with ridicule and being taken advantage of is a dream come true. Is everything sausage and rainbows? Of course not, don’t be silly. But there is a higher percentage of genuinely generous narrators than, say, generous lawyers. 

Does narrating create the open-handedness or does the tendency to live open-handed make one more likely to be a narrator? Is it just that creatives like actors and artists are more likely to share and help without regard to themselves than the more business-minded soul?

Hard to say. We don’t have enough time here to debate the level of emotional intelligence in different types of people and whether or not this has any bearing here. (Though it is a rather interesting rabbit hole in itself.)

All I know is I have spent much of my life with more people who live with a closed fist than an open hand. They hold every iota of data, every ounce of emotion close to the vest, sharing only when they see what’s in it for them. When interacting with someone who does have the openness, these people grab and grab with zero consideration for recompense or the impact of their actions.

Now I am surrounded in audiobook and corporate narration land by people who care. People who will pick you up if they can or send someone if they can’t. I am honored and privileged to call these people my family. Yes, family. My blood will always be my blood, but some of these people are kindred spirits in every sense. The universe has been kind. I’ll take it!

“Some people, when they do someone a favor are like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return.” Marcus Aurelius

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads :

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Nurture your Nature

Know Thyself & Be Thyself

Greetings! Today’s quote for discussion from Marcus Aurelius is a good one! Granted, they all are, or I wouldn’t use them. But that’s beside the point. This one nails down one of the foundations of my philosophy as a narrator with a business background. Being Yourself is Always the Best Person to Be. To top it off, the rewards of nurturing your nature include confidence and contentment!

“If an action or utterance is appropriate, then it’s appropriate for you. Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism. … The others obey their own lead, follow their own impulses. Don’t be distracted. Keep walking. Follow your own nature and follow Nature – along the road they share.”

We all too often ignore our own selves and proceed based on other people’s realities. There will always be someone telling us we should things their way, behave as they want or expect. Sometimes that isn’t a problem, but sometimes we have to stand up for ourselves, our beliefs, and how our paths align with Nature (the kind with a capital ‘N’).

While there are certainly times for compromise and change, that does not mean that it’s a good idea to let others dictate your nature – your personality and way of being. We are all special little snowflakes in our own way. Embrace it before you melt.

“If it is right to say or do it, then it's the right thing for you to do or to say.” Marcus Aurelius
  • We have to do what works for us.
  • If it is not detrimental to yourself or others, do it.
  • If it is right, then it is right for you.
  • If it is wrong, then it is wrong for you.

A Mantra for any Storm

Now, I’m not going to get into the whole what is or isn’t right v wrong or good v evil debate here; that is a much different discussion! And one that is greatly subjective. For our purposes here, there is a simple mantra that can help keep you in check. 

Basically, don’t be a dick. (Sorry if that word offends you. But if it does, you may want to not read my blogs because I will assuredly let slip the occasionally appropriate curse word or so. Or otherwise inappropriate comment. This ain’t nuthin’. ) 

As long as I can answer the question “are you being a dick?” in the negative, then I feel free to carry on with my bad self. Every industry has expert voices and some of these should be listened to while others… not so much.

Recently, I watched a webinar – I wish I could remember which one so I could credit the amazing woman who said it – that instilled a phrase into me that has helped solidify the whole concept even more. “I am the authority on what works in my life.” This. Is. Brilliant. So simple and yet so mindblowing.

Do I do my gosh-dilly-darndest to adhere to Best Practices in everything I do? Absolutely. Am I willing to adjust my mindset, workflows, methodology, or whatever to grow and improve? Most definitely. Will I change my personality to make it work? Nope.

Nor would I expect it of anyone else. I am here to help some, not all. Some are here to help me, not all. That’s cool. Anything else would be overwhelming or suck. 😉

Lessons from Popeye

I am who I am. There was a time when I thought that wasn’t enough, wasn’t good enough, wasn’t right, wasn’t wasn’t wasn’t. When I spent my time conforming to whatever world I was in and playing by rules set by the infamous ‘Them’. So I ended up (throughout many a project, client, and job) learning all about the stock markets and trading, real estate from every conceivable angle, and the legal industry. I ran an IT company and helped a number of small businesses in a number of ways.

A vintage black and white comic with Olive Oil on the left looking at Popeye as he says “I yam what I yam an' tha's all I yam.”
Thanks, Popeye!

Yet all that time, I felt adrift, lost. Never settled, always unsatisfied. Because I was existing the THEIR world, living by THEIR parameters and promptly ignoring any desires not to do so. Then I stopped letting the Undue Influences in my life have their say and have been re-finding myself ever since. 

Breaking free from this wasn’t, at least initially, a conscious decision. I was merely finished with not being Me. It wasn’t, isn’t, and won’t be easy. It’s another part of the whole being human thing. There is always pressure. From peers, from family, from society. To keep up with the Jones (or the Kardashians), to be like Mike, to stay in the lines. This pressure can be intense and unrelenting. But winning this battle is worth it. 

Being Human

Learning about and nurturing my nature has been the best thing I’ve done in forever. The biggest trick has been realizing and re-realizing that what worked before, may not now. What works now, may not work later. The things that I value, want, desire, need, etc. all shift and change and that is okay. As long as I am true to myself to the best of my ability, I will be well on my way wherever I want to go. 

All those past things, though? All that experience and expertise gained? All of it can now be applied to the wonderful world of narration. All those years in small business land taught me TONS. Perhaps the extensive business background I have is why I lean toward nonfiction audiobooks and corporate narration. Just another piece of the beautiful puzzle of my life. 

Takeaways? Be yourself. Be open. Be real. Be true. But don’t be a dick.

Two plastic figurines, Space Godzilla on the left and original Godzilla on the right. They are holding a sticker that says “Basically, don't be a dick.”
Godzilla & Space Godzilla say so.

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads :

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Stoicism: Not Just for Ancients Anymore

(Not So) Deep Thoughts

A picture of Lisa's favorite translantion of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. The creased black cover has a red crow silhouette with a white feather in the foreground containing the title and author.

Today, we are re-embarking on a journey through Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations! (Well, I am. You can if you want to.) This book, in all of its translations, has been my go-to since the first time I read a snippet eons before narration, storytelling, and creation in general became my thing. In college, I acquired a pocket sized copy that I quite literally loved to pieces. Now, my shelves are graced with at least four different versions in varied stages of dog-earedness. Each translation has a slightly different slant on the interpretation of the original text and I’ve rotated through them over the years. 

The snippets, or stanzas, have taught me everything from patience to acceptance to motivation to self-love. The battlefield writings of an Ancient Roman general have given me more tools to work with everyday life than I can ever convey. Having lost my parents at 16, I was anchor-less for some time. Stoicism, and especially the Meditations, became my anchor and has guided me through some dark & stormy times. It has also been around to put a spotlight on the good times and help keep me from becoming complacent during a calm. 

So What?

Everyone has a philosophy they live by, even if it is to have no philosophy. (Rush’s ‘Free Will’, anyone?) Knowing how and where to apply your philosophy, much less how to internalize it enough to live by, it is often the challenge. Stoicism applies everywhere, you just have to look. Or pay attention. 🙂 

As with most of Marcus’ writings, the opening stanza of Book Five applies no matter who you are. Another commonality is that it is something many people don’t want to listen to.

When you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself, “I have to go to work – as a human being.”

This is enough of a beast to unpack that most will shut down here and not keep reading to get to the meaty part where he explains that we don’t trust ourselves, we don’t follow our own guts. We discount and dismiss things we see as not worth our time and energy. And end up self-centered black holes of lameness. What you should do is –

  • Trust yourself.
  • Be yourself.
  • Know yourself.
  • Then do.

Too much time is spent doing what we are ‘supposed’ to do that we miss out on what we truly should be doing.

We forget to be happy.

We forget to be kind. (To ourselves and to others!)

We forget to be ourselves.

We live as automatons, humanoid but not fully human. An image of a robot skeleton  from the waist up with humanoid skin forming face, ears, neck and shoulders.

It is so easy to do. Society tends to reward it, recommend it, even seem to require it sometimes. Goodness knows, I existed like this for most of my life. Despite best efforts otherwise, even. 

Ok… So What’s That MEAN?

“You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature, too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it. … Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for the money, or the social climber for status?”

It has taken me years to internalize even a portion of this second bit, and is an ongoing, never-ending battle with myself. One I never plan on winning because I never plan to stop learning and growing. 

Yet we all should do what we love so that we love what we do. I never got that. It never made a lick of sense to me. Until I started narrating. Now, every single day, I wake up with a smile, knowing that I go to work as what I am intended to be – a human. A human whose purpose it is to bring enjoyment to others, to assist, and to teach. 

Narration allows me to do all of this and more. Corporate narration and eLearning give me opportunities to inform, to share knowledge, and to train people to help them succeed. Audiobooks are just magic and allow me to express any iteration of Self I could ever conceive. I can be the narrator in a 30 character Superhero Fantasy one day and an inspirational self-help storyteller the next. 

Bottom Line

Philosophy in general, and Stoicism in particular, can really help a soul find itself. When you find yourself, even a little bit, everything starts to come together. If you pay attention and don’t let yourself get too caught up in the pieces you cannot impact or control, those other pieces – the ones you CAN impact and control – will soon show you the picture of your Nature. Then – You do you. 

You do you, boo.

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads :

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Becoming a Narrator: Philosophy made me do it

Origins of a Stoic Storyteller

Welcome to my very first official blog post! This space will be used to provide (not so) Deep Thoughts and random commentary, generally about or tied to audiobooks or corporate narration (a.k.a e-Learning). But first, I need to get my writing muscles stretched. That means an origin story! Because what can one write about more easily than one’s self? 

Two lattes sit on a wooden table. Leaning against the cup in the foreground is a black and white name badge sticker that says "hello, my name is (blank)".

My name is not Slim Shady.

My name is, however, Lisa. I’m snarky and sarcastic and laugh a lot, often inappropriately.  Also, Stoicism made me a Narrator.

Stoicism, for those who are unfamiliar, is a school of philosophy from Ancient Greek & Rome. has an excellent article for a deep dive, but the gist (also from their website) is as follows: 

In short, Stoicism is a tool set that helps us direct our thoughts and actions in an unpredictable world. We don’t control and cannot rely on external events, but we can (to a certain extent) control our mind and choose our behavior. In the end, it’s not what happens to us but our reactions to it that matter.

The Beginning

Once upon a time – ya know, way back in 2018 – life forced me to figure out how to work from home on a varying schedule. I needed to be 100% remote at least 99% of the time. Not wanting to be tied to a headset and a time-clock or to clients of unknown and unreliable origin, I delved deep into my soul and the search results. A side-hustle/work-from-home blog post mentioned voiceover work and/or audiobook narration as a way to make some scratch from the comfort of wherever. 

I started digging a bit. Discovered it was, amazingly enough, perfectly reasonable to consider converting a closet to a sound booth and recording voiceovers and narrating audiobooks in my home. As I have the privilege to live in the woods, in a log cabin, with a single neighbor, creating a quality space in which to record was no problem. 

All that time spent playing with oscilloscopes, sound equipment, and other assorted electronics came in handy! Configuring a workstation and setting up the interface and mic were nothing compared to some of the systems I put together back In The Day. Besides all of my tech know how, all of the skills developed in Life Before Narration seemed to coalesce to form an ideal potion. 

  • Years of experience in small businesses doing everything from answering the phones to installing software to running the company (and most all tasks in between).
  • Research and text analysis skills – see??? there IS a use for BAs in philosophy and English!
  • Love of reading and all knowledge and learning in general. (Philosophy degree, duh.)
  • Just. Everything. 

So I dove in.

An image of four penguins standing on a rock over azure water. The foremost one is diving into the water.
Me. Diving in the deep end, like I do.

Next thing I knew, it was 2020, the world was insane(-r), and I had narrated over 30 audiobooks. 

So narration is THAT easy?

No. Not even close.

Becoming a narrator wasn’t something that happened overnight. The constant learning and growing is honestly one of the things that draws me to voice acting so much. There’s been research and coaching and workshops and webinars and mistakes and experiments and fear and excitement and becoming a narrator is undoubtedly the best decision I’ve ever made. 

All because I applied philosophy to my situation. I didn’t allow circumstances to dictate what happened to me. I assessed, reviewed, reassessed, discussed, questioned, considered. THEN I chose. And I did. (Am doing!) 

Philosophy and Narration

This whole new career thing isn’t working because of fairy godmothers or pixie dust. It isn’t working because I whined a lot or simpered enough to gain immediate yet fleeting ground. Nope. Audiobook and corporate narration are working because I work hard. They work because I want it and am willing to do whatever it takes to Make it So. Perhaps most importantly, I am willing to take the time it may or may not take to reach my goals as I set them. 

The Stoic virtues of courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom have always served me well and now is no different. In fact, they are indispensable as I build my business. 

A narrator (especially in audiobooks) must: love learning, 

love reading,

desire the ends and not mind the means,

not be claustrophobic. 

A picture of the inside of Lisa's booth. The inside of the door has a tie-dyed sheet covering it, there is a blue stool with a cushion, a stuffed kidney and a Woodstock adorn the monitor and notestand. A moon tapestry is the ceiling and fairy lights spell “Flow” on the acoustic foam on the wall.
A little slice of heaven.

She must be diligent, tenacious, meticulous, kind, and passionate. Yes, passionate. Stoicism totally allows for passion. Being a Stoic doesn’t mean being emotionless, it just means that the emotions aren’t in control. They do not dictate my thoughts and actions. I control THEM. Then I channel them in the booth. 


Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads :