Planned UnParenthood. Continuing The Dialogue About Not Having Kids

book Cover

Originally released in 2012 and revised this year, my book is continuing to be a launch pad for topics of discussion surrounding the choice not to have children. I never intended to re-read the book again but was encouraged by the idea that even a slight revision could maybe redefine the discussion.

I have used many of the topics within the book to bring about further writings and discussions via contributions at

Non Parents has a tremendous amount of variable content that is worth reading. There is a forum set up where registered users can start and contribute to discussion. Commenting on articles is highly encouraged. Readers may find themselves relating to the stories of those who could not have children. Many readers who are choosing to live childfree may find themselves more encouraged to speak out about their choice.

Planned UnParenthood was written to be an easy, educational and entertaining read. Many readers I have heard from told me they have read the book in one sitting. Others have told me about having shared the book with family members as a way to tell them that they are not planning to have kids. One of the best rewards of having written this book so far has been the feedback from parents. I’ve been contacted on numerous occasions by parents who have said things like “I understand now”.

The book is available through most Amazon websites worldwide, as well as many other online book retailers. Interested in further reading on the topic? Head over to Non Parents at

 Join the discussion and share your stories with readers.




Ron Hynes – The Man of a Thousand Songs

Ron Hynes

If you do not know who Ron Hynes is, then let me give you a few lines about him.  Read on, then keep reading on beyond these pages. Open a new browser and find some of his songs to listen to. Go to iTunes and buy ones that you like.

Ron Hynes was a true hero. A true contributor to the fabric of the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, and indeed the rest of Canada.

Ron really was the man of a thousand songs. An artist who wrote well, sang well and reached millions in the process. Anyone who grew up in Atlantic Canada knows the song “Sonny’s Dream”. Whether they heard it on the radio or in their school music classes. They’ve heard it. They may have been forced to sing it, and not even realize the importance of it. There are several hundred covers of this great classic around the world now. Still, no one sang it better than the man who wrote it. The song was taught to me as a kid by my Dad. I have a fond memory of Dad and I playing the song from start to finish in a Prince Edward Island music store. It was where my Dad really could see that I played bass rather well. So that song forever attaches to a great personal memory.  Frankly, I could make a mix CD of just versions of this song.

As a founding member of The Wonderful Grand Band, Ron and his colleagues brought a great mix of comedy and music to the television screen and radio. The short-lived variety show in my opinion, is the very absolute root of Newfoundland and Labrador comedy. There are many clips of this show on YouTube, and it is worth a watch.

Ron’s singing and playing crossed over into different music genres. That never really mattered considering he reached people from all walks of life. Other artists will speak highly of him. He was known for his generosity and appreciation of the people he worked with.

Ron’s passing this week has been felt across the country and indeed across the world. His music is important, his words deep and far-reaching. He is an icon of folk music, and of music in general. 



Writing Through It and Research Inclusion

May 2015 office

This past Friday night, I submitted a piece for a website that I regularly contribute to. As I was working I felt a bit of a struggle to have the article sound the way it should when I read it back. It was a real sense of being stuck on something for the first time in weeks. I was determined to push through and write through it.

As I read each line back to myself, I revised as I was reviewing, wiped out some sentences and replaced a few where needed. Wrote it out. Worked it out. Attached it to an email and hit send to the editor. I’m grateful this editor thought it fit for publication. The editor did respond with the suggestion that it would be helpful to include links to some of the research for the piece where the piece involves policy. Makes complete sense to me.

If you are writing something for the web that discusses something policy or procedure wise, links to that information is helpful. It will give your readers some expanded reading to companion your writing with. That extra content could also encourage readers to engage and discuss your topic in a comment response section.

If you find yourself stuck, write through it. Walk away if you must. Refresh and recharge, then return.


Slot Machines and Spinning Dreams

slot machines

Lights & Sights still fascinate me. A row of one-armed bandits awaken the senses. I don’t even need to throw money away in them to check them out. Just to walk by, see what they do and how they work. My interest in these things dates back to my kid days. Seeing them on television in the backdrops of Las Vegas hotel scenes was incredible to me. Knowing that in amongst the tables people were playing cards and throwing dice.

I wanted to be there. I wanted to be in the thick of it all. As part of those kid days I would awaken from dreams of being in the casino playing the machines and throwing down a perfect blackjack. The reels that spun in my dreams were always weird ones that I would invent on my own with my overactive imagination. Stuff I know would not likely ever be dreamed up by the modern programmers and designers of the modern machines today. As I grew older, I witnessed the introduction to Video Lottery Terminals. These things were popping up at corner stores, bowling alleys and other places. The touch screen bandits gave an insight into gambling at a more local level. But these things were not the real deal. As fun as some of them were to play, they were just not the real thing.

The first few Casinos I visited were in Calgary while I lived there. The places there had real machines. The kinds that lined the rows in Vegas making them look light electronic gardens full of games.

I’ve been to Las Vegas twice now. I’ve seen the very backdrops that I once saw on television as a kid. Stood in awe of the golden lights that define the Wynn and The Encore. Looked on in sheer amazement as the newer places come to life along the Vegas Strip. Having recently looked at some pics from the most recent trip and reading up on some history of the old machines, a few ideas started to generate. Ideas and inspirations that may lead to more writing on the subject down the road. Playing these machines is like life in some ways. You need to take risks and hope for the best possible payout. The payout of a modern slot machine is completely random. As one plays a spin, a random number generator is picking out a the outcome of a spin, while generating over a thousand possible combinations every second. If you spin the reels at the right second, you could score a great line and receive a payout be it large or small.

Whether its’ a decision to change jobs, move, or any possible things, I’ve thought of those moments as a pull on the machine. I look back at where things have landed me. Taking risks has been beneficial in many ways. It’s also set me back in some instances. Such is life. No matter what the next spin is in life, I am just happy to be playing the game.

Enjoy it. Get as many spins in as you can. Dream for the biggest payout. Work towards it. Live life well.


Social Media – Facebook’s “Identity” Crisis

Social Media

Over the summer I gradually was reducing my use of Facebook and spending more time on Twitter. Many of the articles I was reading were pieces found through the tweet feed. That certainly accounts for more of my time writing out things in 140 characters or less.

A short time ago, I changed my name on Facebook more or less for fun but also security reasons. My privacy settings were all set to a point where I thought my personal page was something that could not be found. As it turns out I was wrong. So I shut down my author page and started limiting my presence even more. Somewhere during that security settings discovery I changed my name again.

Less than a few hours after changing my name, I received an email from Facebook saying they had suspended my account. Somehow I was in violation of the terms of use. In order for this to be cleared up, I was to send a copy of my personal identification to them in order to be able to access my account. To me this felt like some privacy violation and that they were holding my information and data hostage. Since I knew the email was legit, I sent them a copy of my identification with my address and license number vetted out. A few minutes after sending it, they allowed me to access my account again.

Check out the Wikipedia Article about the Criticism of Facebook .  The firs section summarizes the wrongful account suspensions and coercion of private identification out of users.

I wrote to support to complain about this and how I felt it was a privacy violation. I explained why I changed my name. From their form-letter like responses , it seemed like a fight that I would not be able to win. On top of that, THEY changed my name for me to reflect “more accurately who I was”. I shut down my writer page (which was in a hold mode anyway), have stopped promoting and posting on my personal page, and now only peek in once a week, if that. I’m just not entirely comfortable using it any more because of these violations of privacy.

During the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or fear, put on in October 2010 by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Colbert presented Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg with the”Medal of Fear “because he values his privacy much more than he values yours”…..

Facebook, let alone any social media platform, has no business holding the data of its’ users hostage. Especially when they are not actually violating the terms of use. Facebook’s grip on social media is still strong. It remains the strongest, most popular and profitable social media platform.

Regrettably, their position in the market appears to have turned them into a social media bully. It is my hope that more people will echo mine and others’ concerns about their abuse of legitimate users’ data and privacy settings. As bullies tend to respond to strength, this kind of response may eventually make them look at how they treat those who have Facebook accounts. Businesses who advertise on Facebook need to consider this information and ask themselves a couple of questions.

Do we value the privacy of our customers? What if it was my information and privacy settings being compromised?

So if you are one of the many who use Facebook, give this article some consideration and share it with anyone you know. You could even share it on Facebook..

See you on Twitter @WriterDann

Mindful Writing


It was a few months ago when I was looking to bring a new focus into all aspects of my life. On somewhat of a whim, I wrote to one of my favourite word warriors with a view to seeing if she would recommend something. A book, an essay, anything.

To my delight, she wrote back quicker than I expected. She recommended I read “Full Catastrophe Living” by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Within a few days I purchased the audio book version and started to absorb. It has been my introduction to mindfulness. It is an introduction I am again going through with a view to incorporating more awareness in my life. I’ve been hesitant to even approach meditation with an open mind.

Meditation does not have to be sitting on the floor in a comfortable position chanting some mantra. Mindfulness is about being aware and being in the moment. There are several exercises that can be translated into forms of meditation that do not necessarily involve sitting or kneeling. The walking meditation has been the easiest one to relate to so far. It’s simply being aware of each step and stride. Being aware of each sound as your foot hits the ground. Being aware of the act of walking and focusing on it.

Mindfulness can be applied to anything. My constant brainstorm of ideas has led me to believe that it can be applied to what I enjoy doing most of all. Working the word trade. Writing has always been a release for me and almost meditative in nature. My planned approach is to look at all aspects of writing as I work and think about the moments as the creativity flows. For most in the trade, writing is about getting the words out. Having them flow through from thought to page or screen through the fingertips. It is the collection and organization of thoughts into words in order to convey an interpretation for the reader.

My preliminary observations when writing mindfully are a collection of small moments of awareness. Those moments all lead me back to the process of writing.  Here are a few examples of what might be referred to as writing mindfully or writing meditation.

  1. Noticing the ability to effortlessly strike keys on the computer as those thoughts and ideas are released to the screen.
  2. For note booking, noticing how you write things down and the movement of the pen or pencil. The sounds of the pages turning on those notebooks as you move to a fresh page.
  3.  Mindful revisions. Accepting that you have written something and how you might really want to change it a thousand times to get it just right. As you make each revision, accepting that you are working to improve on what you have worked on.

These are just a few thoughts I have been inspired with as I work through the possibility of combining mindfulness and writing. As a final observation, it is more likely that I will still write with the usual stream of consciousness flow that results in 99% of the content I’ve written. Be it for myself, or freelance clients. Still, having felt stuck on a sentence, or a piece, I’ve found that using examples such as the ones above have helped me keep things going. Even writing this very post has been a mindful exercise.

While this will not work for everyone, I hope this concept offers some insight into a way to make your writing even more enjoyable.