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Posts tagged ‘Maria Thompson Corley’

Malcolm Corley – Superhero! | by Linda Brendle

Marias FamilyMaria Thompson-Corley is an amazing woman. She modestly describes herself on Facebook this way: “Busy! Single mother of two, musician, arranger, writer–well, that’s enough explanation.” On the contrary, that’s not nearly enough to explain the inner and outer beauty of this talented woman and her two talented children.

Maria is a gifted pianist, composer, and arranger who doesn’t simply dabble in music in her spare time but is in great demand on the concert stage. She is also a gifted writer. Letting Go, her first novel, and is a five-star read. She describes it as “a long-distance love story that also examines race, religion, and the difficult choices we make following our passions.” However, she would probably tell you that her greatest accomplishment is her two children. Kiana and Malcolm take after their mother in their love of the arts. Her daughter Kiana has used her talent as a singer and guitarist to develop quite a presence on You Tube. Her son Malcolm, like his mother and sister, loves music, but his first love is art, and this is his story.

At three years of age, Malcolm was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. There are long, involved Malcolmexplanations of those initials on the Internet, but the short version is that he is on the autism spectrum. Maria explains that he takes in and understands information, both verbally and the written word, but he sometimes has difficulty expressing himself – except through his art.

Around the time his challenges were recognized, he began to exhibit his strengths. His first drawings were recreations of pictures he had seen on Blues Clues, a children’s program that was popular on Nickelodeon at the time. With the encouragement of family and teachers, his art progressed, and in the 9th grade he began to decorate tiles.

Malcolms TilesIn 2015, Malcolm saw a YouTube video of Julianatoren, an amusement park in Amsterdam, and he became obsessed with the idea of visiting it. The people in his life do not believe in limits, and they set about helping him earn the money to go. Through a Facebook site called Malcolm’s Tiles and a website by the same name, he began to market exquisite hand-designed decorative tiles, and last summer, Malcolm, Maria, and Kiana visited The Netherlands.

Maria and I met several years ago through our mutual writing connections, and although we have never met in person, I consider her a dear friend. Early last fall, when I was beginning to think about Christmas gifts for my son and his family, I approached her with a question. As Malcolm continues to expand his artistic repertoire, he has painted several stunning oil portraits, and I asked Maria if he could do portraits on tiles. She said he had never tried, but she would ask him about it. He agreed, and I emailed several pictures of Christian, Amy, Mattias, and Zoe and waited for the results. They were amazing.

Piatt portraits

In Malcolm’s story as told on his site, there are some details about the creative process:

It’s difficult to overstate the care and precision required to finish these tiles. The colors can’t be erased, since they are oil-based. The circles are traced, but everything within them is done freehand. As a result, no two are exactly alike. They are never completely symmetrical, but I think there is a message in this: that “perfection” isn’t a requirement for beauty.

Malcolm is now 18 and, after making a huge dream come true, he continues to develop his gifts as a means of earning his way in life. In a world where heroes are valued, this young man who faces challenges each day and overcomes them qualifies as a superhero. If you need a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one, pay a visit to Malcolm’s Tiles. You might see something you like, or you might make a suggestion like I did and spark a completely different line of tiles. On the other hand, you might just need a little bit of inspiration from someone who knows what it means to overcome. Either way, everyone wins!

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: Letting Go: A Novel by Maria Thompson Corley

letting-go-cover

Blurb: Even though she lives hundreds of miles away, when Langston, who dreams of being a chef, meets Cecile, a Juilliard-trained pianist, he is sure that his history of being a sidekick, instead of a love interest, is finally over. Their connection is real and full of potential for a deeper bond, but the obstacles between them turn out to be greater than distance. Can these busy, complicated people be ready for each other at the same time? Does it even matter? Before they can answer these questions, each must do battle with the ultimate demon–fear.  (more…)

Launch Minus Two – Review by Maria Corley

???????Another free day was on the blog tour schedule for A Long and Winding Road, but you might want to make a quick visit to Broad Street Review to read a review written by Maria Corley.  Tomorrow we’re scheduled for a spotlight by Chuck Allen.

Tuesday is the big day—the launch of both Anaiah Press and my memoir, A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos. Anaiah is hosting Twitter Chat #AnaiahLaunch from 12-1 pm (EDT) and a launch party on Facebook from 6-8 pm (EDT) featuring “meet and greet” sessions with Anaiah authors.  I’ll be available to chat on Twitter, and my time slot for the Facebook party is from 6:45-7:00. Join us to chat, ask questions, or just to say hello.

There are more reviews, interviews, and guest posts scheduled for the two weeks following the launch. To see the complete itinerary, CLICK HERE.

Pre-Order Links: B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Release Date: July 1, 2014

Blessings,

Linda

A Long and Winding RoadAbout the BookSometimes reality really bites. Alzheimer’s has wrapped Mom’s brain into knots, vascular dementia has attacked Dad, and, instead of carefree retirees, we have become caregivers. Regardless, dreams die hard, and we somehow stumbled into the purchase of a forty-foot motor home. That’s when all four of us set out on this seven-week trek across sixteen U.S. states. Now, Dad stopped-up the toilet again, Mom wet her last pair of clean jeans, and David just announced that he was hungry. My head is beginning to pound, and I know this isn’t going to be the easygoing retirement we’d imagined for ourselves.

Linda Brendle takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotional and spiritual challenges that many families are facing right now. Co-dependency, mental breakdowns, and finding love after divorce are just a few of the issues weaved into this journey of caregiving. Whether you’re looking for an inspirational story to help teach you how to “let go and let God,” considering becoming the caregiver for one of your own parents, or are just looking for an entertaining travel book, this story is sure to strike a tender nerve.

How to Make Special People Feel Special | by Linda Brendle

Maria Thompson Corley and her son Malcolm

Maria Thompson Corley and her son Malcolm

When my son Christian first graduated from college, he worked for a company that helped children who had learning issues. Some of them had actual disabilities, but some simply learned in a different way than the majority of people do–in a special way, so to speak. When Christian worked with a child, it was his job to discover how that child learned and to set up a program tailored to his needs–a program that would make him feel special instead of dumb or disabled. Christian was good at what he did and was soon asked to train some of the newer tutors. One day as he checked on one of his trainees, he found her trying unsuccessfully to coax her student out from under the table. Rather than becoming frustrated with the reluctant student, Christian crawled under the table with him. The student finished his lesson and, in the process, probably felt pretty special. (more…)

Music Frees the Spirit and the Children | by Guest Blogger Maria Thompson Corley

I believe in the healing power of music, and I also believe it is our responsibility to care for “the least of these.” Maria Corley, one of my fellow AKA authors, asked for help in raising awareness about a new organization that combines the two. How could I say anything but yes.

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Children of incarcerated parents have a 72% chance of being incarcerated themselves.  One in twenty-eight children in America falls into this category.  While Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and other charitable organizations are actively involved in serving children with imprisoned parents, there is only one charity in the country specifically devoted to breaking the cycle.  Even more shocking:  SWAN (Scaling Walls A Note at a Time) has only existed since December of 2011. (more…)

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