A Writer’s Journey To Slow Fashion

My transition into slow everything, food, fashion, fitness, has been, well…slow. My evolution into a conscious consumer a work-in-progress. Good habits take time to cultivate, after all. And it’s not always easy. Improving my health, my carbon footprint, or my writing craft takes effort and a great deal of planning. Oh, the planning! I find I’m no longer the jump right in and get it done sort. The older I get the more planning becomes one of my cornerstones to achieving my goals

Cue my foray into slowing things down and letting go of Fast Fashion. I read a truly alarming statistic the other day in an article discussing the movie: The True Cost.  In a conversation with Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age, a fashion activist (also the wife of Mr. Darcy, sometimes known as Colin Firth), she mentioned The average garment remains in a person’s closet for an average of five weeks. What!?!

My first thought was the amazing amount of time some people must spend shopping. Yikes! If you’re throwing away clothes at that rate, you must be really like the mall. I’m also wondering about the amount of money being spent. But when you can buy a t-shirt for $4.99, who cares if you throw it out when it falls apart after one wash. So much of what we consume is disposable. Unfortunately, it’s not biodegradable.

Livia Firth is also a force behind the 30 Wear Challenge. When you buy an article of clothing commit to wearing it a minimum of thirty times. I know some of you are already a pro at this concept. But some of you, like me, might want to check out your closet, or take a look in your daughter’s closet. Or at her floor. What about that one-time-wear adorable holiday outfit you bought for your grandchild? Or your dog?

An estimated 1 million tons of textile waste is dumped into landfills around the world each year.

Armed with that tragic stat, I did a little research and learned what I could do to be more conscious about my wardrobe choices and my shopping habits. Enter the words: eco, ethical, and sustainable.

Me? I’m a terrible impulse shopper. So that’s one of the habits I need break. Turns out it’s not that hard to do when you have to keep an ear to those three ideals and the commitment to 30 wears. Shopping then becomes a little overwhelming, to be honest. But not impossible. Hence the planning part and also the realization I have to take it slow. Ease my way towards my end goal of an ethical wardrobe.

Five Ways To Becoming A More Thoughtful, Slower Consumer:

  • Buy local.
  • Buy less.
  • Buy used.
  • Buy from independent designers.
  • Buy quality garments that last.

My discoveries so far: Miik (A 100% Canadian Company), Tonle (A Zero Waste Fashion Line) and SlumLove Sweater Company (Ethically Handmade in Kenya).

Personally, it’s also about improving the lives of people at the very beginning of the supply chain. The majority of garment workers are women who work and reside in some of the most underdeveloped countries in the world working for factories and brands who have little regard for safety and labour protection issues.

A dress from Tonle, a zero waste fashion line.

Someone complimented me on my Tonle shirt (my new favourite) the other day and after I said thanks I asked if they wanted to hear the story behind my shirt? As a writer and teller of stories, why not wear one?

What’s in your wardrobe?

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Learning New Things! And a Giveaway!

*************THE WINNER is Lorrie!******************

A reminder that from now until the 28th of October I’m hosting a giveaway! Sign up for my newsletter and be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. The winner will be announced on October 29th!

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I promise not to overwhelm your inbox! You’ll receive cover reveals, release date announcements and be eligible for member only giveaways.

Learning New Things

I’m also fooling around with Canva and trying my hand at designing some of my own marketing graphics. It’s a relatively straightforward process, but still involves a learning curve and takes some practicing. I love taking photos, thus my love of Instagram, so I have a fairly sizeable supply of images. Although Canva has some very easy to follow tutorials, I went searching tips and tricks.

20 Tips & Tricks For Making Awesome Canva Graphics

25 Epic Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Canva: An Easy How To Guide

I’m not sure what happened with the formatting above. WordPress sometimes stymies me. I wish I was a whiz at this kind of thing but I’m not, but I do like playing around. Often to the point of using it as a distraction. Like bullet journalling which I love but am trying to develop a system for using.

Bullet Journaling

Who knew I would develop and deep and abiding love of stickers at this age! And then there’s my addiction to washi tape. And markers. The good news is I’m no longer surrounded by bits of paper and sticky notes. My desk is neater and tidier than it’s ever been. Hallelujah!

Here’s to learning new things! What are you learning these days? What are you thinking about attempting?

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Off The Grid 99c Until January 22nd

Off The Grid is on sale for 99c!

It’s a steal of a deal for 99 cents until January 22nd! Set in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Off The Grid is the story of two people snared in the net cast by one man in a quest for power and dominance.

I think this book weighs in higher on the suspense side. Bad things happen in this book. Just so you know. It’s honest, emotional, and fast paced. If you love gritty romantic suspense, this is the book for you!

Poverty, Privilege and Power

Off The Grid by Karyn Good

Off The Grid by Karyn Good 99c until January 22nd

A committed doctor to Vancouver’s inner city, nothing fazes Sophie Monroe—until a pregnant teenager shows up at her clinic on Christmas Eve requesting sanctuary and claiming the baby’s father is one of the city’s most influential businessmen. Sophie is in over her head and thankful when aid shows up in the form of an attorney who’s a little too confident and a lot too sexy.

Family Law expert Caleb Quinn just wants a date, a chance to prove he isn’t the elitist jerk Sophie assumes. Helping deliver a baby is not what he has in mind. But before long protecting a traumatized teenager and her son become his first priority. Even if saving them pits him against the baby’s father, a childhood friend. A man who will do anything to keep his dark side private.

But justice never comes cheap. Will doing the right thing cost Sophie and Caleb their reputations? Or their lives?

The Wild Rose Press * Amazon * Kobo * Barnes and Noble * iBooks

A Bit About The Inspiration Behind Off The Grid

The first time I heard about the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, famously dubbed Canada’s poorest postal code, I knew I wanted to set a story there. In a tough environment where I could explore the incredibly difficult choices some women are forced to make in order to survive. Not pretty ones, but real ones. I wanted a heroine who was compassionate, smart, and driven and a hero who was the product of privilege, ambition, and character. Two protagonists caught up in something bigger than themselves who must decide on which side of the line they are going to stand.

“These people, they aren’t invisible, and acknowledging that is worth something.” Eastside Stories

The video below is a powerful reminder that we’re all equal, that poverty isn’t catching, and that how we care for each other matters.

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Filling The Creative Well

Just back from a trip to Toronto, Canada to see my sister and the Adorables. I’ve not spent much time in Toronto and I can honestly say it was a marvelous place to visit. Especially the Riverdale area where they live. Artsy, trendy, and culturally diverse. And the people I met were so friendly and welcoming. It was wonderful to have a break and spend some time filling the creative well which felt much depleted.

Let’s face it, we all need to regroup sometimes. We need to do the things that foster the creative process and ignite the fire that fuels productivity.

Some highlights and ways I refilled my well.

Trip to the Art Galley of Ontario! My sister is an artist. I’m a writer. We’re creative people. I LOVED it! It was impossible to not be inspired.

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Because, oh my gosh, Emily Carr. Her modern style was ill-received at the beginning of the 19th century but she went on to become a Canadian icon and a leading modernist known for capturing the spirit of Canada, particularly the Pacific Northwest Coast. A sculpture by Henry Moore. It’s huge! The vision required to complete a project like this always amazes me. I was also amazed by Lawren S. Harris, a founding member of the the Group of Seven. Who was also a mentor to Emily Carr. Very austere and lacking in detail, his landscapes just pull you in and make you wonder.

The Royal Ontario Museum. This is a favourite of my nephews. Of course, we had to go. We only managed to see a fraction of the place. It’s immense. Which means I’ll have to go back and see more of it!

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The Rotunda! Magnificent and part of the Stair of Wonders. Which we went past on the way to Earth’s Treasures. A favourite of my nephews! Every rock, gem, and mineral known to humanity. A collection guaranteed to fascinate anyone. The ROM is currently showcasing a beautiful and vibrant Mexican textiles exhibit. The blouse (not the proper name, my apologies) was embroidered by an award-winning artist, who’s name I didn’t write down, but the the flawless detail is exordinary. I can only imagine the length of time required to create such a piece. And finally a Tiffany lamp, which is about as close to a Tiffany anything as I’m likely to get, found in the Evolution of Style section.

That’s only a couple of the things that helped me feel inspired. There were many, not the least of which was spending time with a most adored sister and my nephews!

What inspires you? How do you refill the creative well?

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Holidays, Inspiration, and The Best Of Times

We all need to fill that creative well so I guess it only makes sense that being on holiday inspires creativity. We absorb inspiration in through sight, sound, taste, and touch. We make memories. Have good times. If we’re lucky, the best of times. And sometimes the rough ones when things don’t turn out as planned make the most memorable holidays.

Back in 2010 we camped at Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. Hauling our trailer around has been one of our favourite ways to holiday. And I would call camping at Writing-On-Stone one of our best times. The Milk River runs through the campground. I guess, for us, that was unique because we’re used to camping by lakes. The Milk River was given its name by Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who described it like this:

“the water of this river possesses a peculiar whiteness, being about the colour of a cup of tea with the admixture of a tablespoonfull of milk. from the colour of its water we called it Milk river.”

Milk River is a slow moving river that you can raft lazyly along. There’s a beach and the mixture of clay and sand makes for awesome sandcastle building. There are sandstone cliffs called hoodoos to climb all over. It’s peaceful and quiet with a first class interpretive center/museum that gives a wonderful look at the history of the area. The perfect holiday.

It’s a beautiful spot, where people have been camping there for 3,000 years. For centuries native people camped along the Milk River, where they found shelter, water, and an abundance of food. They also found inspiration here. They believed this wide, lush valley with its hoodoos was charged with supernatural powers and was home to powerful spirits with the ability to help the people who journeyed to this scared place to pray.

They were so inspired that they documented the importance of this place. Writing-On-Stone park is home to petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) that tell explain their history, beliefs and way of life on the sandstone cliffs.

If ever there was a place to inspire a story…

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Where have you found inspiration? What are some of your favourite holiday locations?

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The Act May Seem Random, But Kindness Is Purposeful

It’s true, don’t you think?

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“Practice random acts of kindess and senseless acts of beauty.” Anne Herbert

Kindness is considered a virture. In that it is defined as being “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped”. Or so Wikipedia insists. But I don’t think anyone would dispute it.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Lao Tzu

But when I got out of bed this morning my first thoughts weren’t how can I be randomly kind today. They ran more along the lines of the huge rash my daughter has, the dishes from the Father’s Day celebration held here yesterday that are still spread all over my kitchen. I remembered I had to pay the Weed Man. Make a doctor’s appointment. That I have a another appointment later on today. A meeting tonight.

And random acts of seneless beauty? What is that even? I thought I should be checking Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. And how I really needed to write a blog post. So people will notice me and like me and I’ll sell more books.

Me. Me. Me.

Good gravy, marketing is exhausting.

Sounds a tad whiny, doesn’t it?

It’s okay, you don’t lose points for agreeing. Then I saw something about kindness. A light bulb went on and I was all “Thank you, Universe. For providing.” I needed to work some kindness into my day. For others. And myself. Attitude adjustment time.

I scrolled through websites and Pinterest, in the name of research of course, and I came across what I thought was a gem of an idea from a 30 Day Kindess Challenge. It suggested you “Leave a funny note or a little bit of cash in your favourite library book.”

Isn’t that the sweetest idea? Perhaps not the cash bit. A little bit of cash would probably be considered a dollar or two. I’m from Canada, we don’t have one dollar bills anymore. We have one dollar coins we call loonies and two dollar coins we call toonies. I don’t think that would work, nor would the library police enjoy coins taped to the inside of their books. And call me cheap, but leaving a fiver or a ten seems a bit much. But a note? Or a quote? Or why this particular page is your favourite? Or if you like this book you should try this other book? Or just a scribble. I think that’s an awesome idea. You could slip a note in books you loan out. I could slip them in books I sell. In fact, I think I will.

Kindness doesn’t have to be complicated. (Unless your Miriam Toews and your novel is called A Complicated Kindness and the story has to have conflict and be, you know, complicated. AWESOME book by the way!) It just has to be heartfelt. It has to be about the other person. And maybe that’s what marketing myself should be about, with the focus being the reader. What helps them? What would make their day better? Make them smile? Feel engaged. Connected. Important.

In case you’re wondering where to begin you can go here: How to Practice Random Acts of Kindness.

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Inspiration and Bathtubs

Sexy Suspense

A person can find inspiration everywhere, in the smallest or biggest of places. Or anywhere in between. One source of inspiration for me is live theater. I adore it. I live in a small city, with a population of 200,000(ish). The largest theater company here is the Globe Theatre, and its performances are done in-the-round, meaning the audience surrounds the stage. The latest production was called The Drowning Girls.

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The Drowning Girls is inspired by a 19th century serial murder case where three women in succession where found dead in their respective bathtubs. Bessie Mundy, Alice Burnham, and Margaret Lofty were all married to George Joseph Smith who used many aliases to cover his tracks as a conman, bigamist, and murderer. The case became known as “The Brides in the Bath Murders”.

One of the things I loved about this play is its focus on the lives of these three women, on their histories instead of making it about the murderer. It gave us insight into how these women found themselves at the mercy of George Smith. It is the victims’ story. A cautionary tale of what can happen, be it the 19th century or the 21st. There was plenty of pathos, sincerity, and humour. Cleverly written and beautifully acted, with three bathtubs and water as the setting.

Yes, these three young actors spent a solid hour and a half dripping wet. There was water in those three bathtubs and the play opens with each of them submerged. Water fell from the ceiling, there was a moat of sorts surrounding the small stage. It splashed on the floor, on the actors, and maybe even the first row. Not only that but they don weddings dresses, veils, and silk stockings while soaked to the skin. The choregraphy of movement and body language was perfection. They were in and out of those tubs, danced on the slippery wet wooden floor, and they entranced the audience.

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If it comes to an area near you, you should check it out! Do you enjoy live theater

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The Winter Not-So Blues: Reading, Writing, and Photographs

Sexy Suspense

Off The Grid will be touring around in February and the first part of March on a review tour.

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Come join the party at The Romance Reviews for a chance to win great giveaways including books and gift certificates, play games and meet authors. The Grand Prize is a $100 gift card.

*****

On the homefront, January was filled with books and writing. The sun is rising earlier and setting later. But there is still much writing to be done and many books to be read. The weekends are for reading the paper, omfort food, and shoveling snow. It is for digging in and perserving against harsh conditions. At least, in my neck of the woods. Although to be fair, the conditions have been rather pleasant for January.

Over my Saturday morning cup of tea I open the Weekender section of my local paper and head to the Books page. I check out the best sellers in hardcover and paperback. Then I read the article of the week which is usually an interview with an author. I love learning where other writers get their ideas, what their process looks like, and I love it when they share their opinions. On occasion they are forced to defend their writing.

One such interesting article stayed with me. It was an interview with Val McDermid, a crime novelist who addressed the notion of female crime novelists and the voilent subject matter of their books. Or more to the point, the suggestion that because she is female, it is somehow wrong for her to write about such matters. These questions arose, perhaps in part, due to the backlash against the overwhelming number of faceless female victims in books in which their only role is to be beaten, violated, and then hacked to pieces.

What I found interesting, however, was her perspective on the psychology of females writing crime fiction.

“It’s because of the way society conditions us growing up. We’re told that there are bad men out there who will hurt us given half the chance. We are brought up to imagine our victimhood even before it happens to us. I don’t think there is a woman alive who hasn’t walked down a street late at night and heard footsteps, who hasn’t immediately thought about the terrible things that can happen to her. So when we come to this subject (violence), we have  imagined it already. We have lived it in our heads. Men don’t grow up with that sense of themselves in the world.”

I know know I have walked and listened and wondered. Now I’m wondering how much my gender affects my writing, perhaps not when it comes to my vicitms but when it comes to the villains in my story. To this point, they are one hundred percent male. All dominant personalities in positions of power with violent tendancies. Not that women can’t be all those things. But maybe the things I’ve been conditioned to fear and protect myself against manifest themselves in these characters. Something to think about…and maybe think about mixing it up a little!

How about you? Any book recommendations with regards to crime fiction? Have you read any books with a fascinating female villain?

TheSkeletonRoad

Set in McDermid’s hometown of Edinburgh, The Skeleton Road centres on a Cold Case investigation. A skeleton is discovered, hidden at the top of a soon-to-be renovated Gothic building. Detective Karen Pirie is tasked with identifying the decades-old bones and soon finds herself unearthing a series of past conflicts, false identities and secrets that have long been buried.

This month I’m happy to be visiting the Laughing Ladies Literary Book Club who’ve chosen OFF THE GRID for their January read. I’ve had a blast oming up with discussion questions and anticipating more questions about the characters and the setting and the inspiration behind the book. I’m also hard at work writing the third book in my Aspen Lake Series. Mike and Grace’s is coming along. For me, the hard part of writing is getting down the first draft. I love revising. Taking the bare bones of a story and turning it into something someone might want to read someday.

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I love taking photos. I’m not very good at it and definitely fall in the amateur department. But I decided to take part in a photo challenge this year. You can read more about it here. There is a prompts to help you out every day. Here’s a sampling of mine and you can find me on Instagram @karyngoodauthor.

Prompt: Circle So...me in a circle.

Prompt: Circle
So…me in a circle.

Prompt: Morning My desk!

Prompt: Morning
My desk!

Hope the weather is being kind to you. And if you’re being subjected to nasty weather and storms I hope you have plenty of good books to keep you entertained.

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Feeding Your Ego

A road trip with girlfriends is a good thing! Listening to one of my favorite celebrities speak at the end of it is even better. Jann Arden is a seriously talented singer, songwriter, and author. She’s is also one funny individual. She talked about many things Monday night at The Silver Spoon Dinner with Jann Arden event. That’s the wonderful thing about Jann Arden. Her honesty and the feeling your making a personal connection with her through her very personal stories.

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Jann talked about finding your passion. The thing that fills you up. She talked about letting your spirit guide your actions not your ego. About redefining your goals by reaching out instead of looking inward. Ego is about survival and battling for the future insist you see for yourself. Spirit is about effecting change in the world around you and letting your future find you.

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I get stuck in the rut of thinking about others egos. Scoffing and muttering over others who seem to wear it like a comfortable coat. But what about my own ego? Am I catering to it and harming my creative process?

Ego is not all about a negative boosting of our confidence and creating an over inflated version of our worth. Ego is also the thing that worries about what other people think of our efforts. It’s the measuring stick of worth that often comes up short. It stifles the creative process with a wet blanket of this isn’t good enough. Been there, felt that.

Jann gave me lots to think about. When we truly listen, when we open up to connections with others and their ideas, when we interact with the world around us in a meaningful way we are less on our own. When we pay less attention to our mind’s worries but settle ourselves and feel more with our gut we’re on the right track.

So I’ll work on it and worry less and create more. May the rest of the week be kind to you. May you find peace in a way that fills you up.

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Tilting At Windmills

Sanity is a slippery slope at times. We all know this. We’ve all fought our share of four armed giants and lost. None of us as innocent as when we started out. Certainly, as supporters of the romance genre, whether as reader or writer, we’ve defended against countless giants in the form of cynics and naysayers. Some might say we are the Don Quixote of the literary world. The laughingstock. The discounted. The delusional.

Romantic ideals don’t put food on the table. No matter the ideal is food for the mind. Reality must be dealt with. But how we deal with it is up to us.

man of la manchaI saw Man of La Mancha at Globe Theatre last night. Can you tell? In case, like me, you’re unfamiliar, it’s a play within a play. Tax collector, writer, soldier, and unfortunate poet, Miguel de Cervantes, is tossed into prison and is waiting his hearing by the Spanish Inquisition. First, however, he must defend himself against his follow prisoners to save his most precious possession. His unfinished novel, Don Quixote. The trials and tribulations of a mad knight.

Don Quixote is a lot bonkers. He’s read too many books about chivalry and knights and romance. Poor sot. Determined to resurrect the notion of chivalry, he sets out on a journey.

I shall impersonate a man. His name is Alonso Quijana, a country squire no longer young. Being retired, he has much time for books. He studies them from morn till night and often through the night and morn again, and all he reads oppresses him; fills him with indignation at man’s murderous ways toward man. He ponders the problem of how to make better a world where evil brings profit and virtue none at all; where fraud and deceit are mingled with truth and sincerity. He broods and broods and broods and broods and finally his brains dry up. He lays down the melancholy burden of sanity and conceives the strangest project ever imagined…. to become a knight-errant, and sally forth into the world in search of adventures; to mount a crusade; to raise up the weak and those in need. No longer will he be plain Alonso Quijana, but a dauntless knight known as Don Quixote de La Mancha. – Miguel de Cervantes, Man of La Mancha

Yeah, there are days I’d like to lay down the melancholy burden of sanity too. Then again, I am a romance writer and reader. So…there you go. Fortunately, I haven’t read so many romance novels my brains have dried up. Or given me unrealistic expectations, a familiar taunt and most insulting insinuation by the way.

Here’s the thing. You know he’s nuts. But…you can’t help but root for him, even if there’s a little pity mixed in. He sees the world, not how it is, but how he wishes. In this age of text messages and the illusion of 750 Facebook friends, why not dip your toe into the pool of delusion. Not as a full time job, of course.

I come in a world of iron to make a world of gold.- Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha

I loved this play. It inspired me to think and wonder. I’m not quite sure I understood it all, but that only makes me want to see it performed again. Because, you see, I couldn’t help but relate to Don Quixote. And that’s the thing about this play. There’s a little Don Quixote in all of us. Reality can break a person. Therefore, we must bend it a little to suit ourselves.

Which loops me back to romance. Romantic fiction is necessary. Stories filled with sole purpose of traveling the winding, uphill road to a happily-ever-after are important.When reality presses in, pick up a romance novel. Immerse yourself in modern acts of chivalry. Spend some times with heroes or heroines who you know will fight to figure it out. Let them inspire you. Give you a few precious moments of peace. Of adventure. Turn the pages, dream the impossible dream. At least for awhile.

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!  – Miguel de Cervantes, Man of La Mancha

If you get a chance to see Man of La Mancha I hope you take it. I hope it inspires you. I hope it brings out the Don Quixote in you, my fellow travelers.

 

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