First the Hill. Next the Mountain.

In about four days I will be heading in to the city to spend a week at the School for the Blind. It’s been two years since I was last there (or was it three?). I figured it was high time to had back for additional training and support.

ND Vision Services, Grand Forks

 

I’m sitting here, staring at the screen, and it sort of dawned on me that it’s been 27 years since the diagnosis that completely changed my life. I’ve spent so many years angry at myself, angry at the world, feeling sorry for myself instead of fighting back and pursuing my dreams inspite of this disease.

Regrets. Pain. Losses.

They have controlled my life for far too long.

I’m tired of my allowing this to dictate my every action (or inaction rather). I’m tired of feeling like a shut-in cut off from being able to get out there and interact with the world (instead of doing it all via internet even though that’s been really helpful).

The worst part about the past 27 years?

I allowed myself to just give up on everything.

It has taken me this long to come to this point of now wanting to get back out there, and even pursuing a few of the dreams I’d let go.

But, is it too late?

I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that sitting around at the house all day long will not get me anywhere.

So, here I go, trying to make the most of what I have left, and to see if I can finally get somewhere with my life.

School for the Blind

At the moment, I feel like I’m trying to run up a steep hill, unsure if I’ll be able to gain any kind of momentum. Will I reach the top, or will I run out of steam and have to turn back?

I am so full of fears and doubts about myself and my abilities. Yet, I know that life is precious, and time’s growing shorter by the day, I can’t allow myself to give up.

Not anymore.

I want to be someone that my son would be proud of. Someone I will no longer be ashamed of.

Sunday is the day I will head for the School. I hope to be able to update you all on what goes on during my week while there.

Fingers crossed on all accounts…

 

 

 

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X Marks the Spot

Nearing the end of April, I find myself reading over the poems I’ve written for both NaPoWriMo and A to Z Challenge, and it kind of struck me how dark some of them sounded.

This must be me in some kind of funk (aka depression). The poem, Lonely, kind of nailed it on the head –

I sit at the window
And watch

As the world
Leaves me
Behind

This is exactly how I feel. Long story short, my hubby works long hours and travels out of state much of the time, and a son who’s busy with high school, sports, and hanging with his friends, so I am alone at home most of the time.

When I “retired” in 2015, I was looking forward to being home, and to be able to write without any time restraints. That same year we left the hectic city life that was Raleigh, NC and moved up to a farmstead just outside Grand Forks, it was just what I needed. I’d been battling anxiety which was steadily worsening and meds were not helping. With wide open spaces, I felt I was finally able to breathe.

Nearly four years later, anxiety is almost non-existent but depression is starting to take over my life. I mean, I am only in my 40s, and I feel I still have much to live for.

Everything that has happened to me, all the crap I went through, and the losses I’ve experienced, and they all come down to this—me, sitting at home, alone with just my laptop and nine cats.

I write, a lot. I interact with people via internet. But, I want more. I want to get back out into the world. I no longer want to hide and be left behind.

But, I am hampered with limitations of all kinds.

I don’t drive. There is public transportation but it’s limited to certain days and to certain places (none of where I’d love to go).

In the time I’ve lived here, I haven’t been able to establish any real friendships within the community (they tend to be quite “clicky” when it comes to “outsiders”).

Yet, with my hubby and son who practically can fend for themselves, I have no limit as to what I can do and where to go as far as time and availability. How do I narrow the chasm and break through to the other side?

As I sit here typing, there is a window next to the desk where I can watch birds pecking away on a pile of seeds my guys threw down weeks earlier, I am struck by how free they are to fly wherever they want yet they are limited. Limited by weather conditions and availability of food. These two determine where and when they fly. These limitations though do not seem to affect their attitude as they sing and flitter to and fro. Why? They take what they have in whatever condition things are and fly and sing anyway.

Yes, they have limitations but these do not stop them from being birds who still find ways to fly and sing to their little heart’s desire.

I want to do the same.

So, I will start with what I have and where I am at, and go from there. It’s time that I fly free regardless of my current limitations, and see where the sky leads me.

Omen #WEPFF

Dead birds
Circled the base of the oak tree
Like some morbid decorated rug

Frozen
Bodies, eyes as black as onyx
Like mini-devils in disguise

Dirtied
Snow lined the opalescent horizon
Like some smeared prismatic lense

Winter
My heart’s an icicle waiting to break
Like the diamond under a hammer

Like a message from some deep dungeon

I know what awaits me
-a box in shape of the reaper

*Author’s Note: This poem was written for the #WEPFF’s April Challenge (Click on image below).

Mental Illness & Writing (My Story Part One)

“Being different and thinking differently make a person unforgettable.” –Suzy Kassem

My mental illness is definitely not something I generally like to talk about; however, it’s probably one of the main reasons why I write.

I saw this quote on the internet the other day, and it got me thinking about things.  Lots of things.

“No matter what we make, creativity always changes the creator.” -anonymous

Anyone who creates, whether you’re a photographer, musician, or writer (the list can go on and on), not only do you have the ability to change your own life through the act of creating, but other people’s lives as well.

How do creatives have such powerful impact?  One of the best answers I found was in this explanation:

“Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.” -Olafur Eliasson, Why Art Has the Power To Change the World

To create is to connect. And in this day and age, we as the whole seemed to have lost the ability to truly connect with ourselves, to people, and to the world that surrounds us.

Is it a wonder to why we feel so lonely? So disconnected?

Yes, we have this thing called technology in abundance but it can NOT fully step into the role of the connector. While there is that feeling of being connected to someone on the other side of the digital barrier, it still feels artificial. Not real or alive.

On the other hand, creative arts have the ability to do just that.

Through music, paintings, sculptures, photographs, poetry, and on and on.  So, while art has the power to bring people together, it also has the power to heal especially for the creator (aka artist, songwriter, poet, etc…you get the idea).

How does art heal us?

Art and music affect every cell in the body instantly to create a healing physiology that changes the immune system and blood flow to all the organs. Art and Music also immediately change a person’s perceptions of their world. They change attitude, emotional state, and pain perception. They create hope and positivity and they help people cope with difficulties. They transform a person’s outlook and way of being in the world.” –How Art Heals-Mind/Body Physiology

Music has always been in my family especially on my mother’s side which yielded several musicians including an uncle who went on to play with an award-winning Native American-Folk band, December Wind.  As a girl, I can remember many occasions when family members gathered together at my Grandmother’s house for a “jam session” completed with guitars, banjo, fiddle, accordion, harmonica and even a set of spoons.  I was at an age where I was misunderstood (no one knew I was partially deaf until later) and music was something I understood. I’d sit on the floor, and “listened” to the beats and deep bass sounds for hours.

Although I loved music, I never learned to play an instrument (the desire was there though), I ended up singing in the school and church choirs for several years (I’d harmonized through the “beats” and reading music).

Since I couldn’t be a musician, I found myself drawn to words.  Words I also understood so I delved deep in the worlds created by words.  Here I connected with characters who became my friends since I had so few in the real world (byproduct of being “different”).  After accidentally discovering writing (the story behind this discovery can be found here), I’d took my favorite characters (Scooby Doo and Shaggy were among those) and created my own world with them in it.

Writing became a lifeline to the intense loneliness I’d felt.

When I was in college, I took to writing journals as a way of dealing with the stress and pressures that went with being a student living away from home.

In 1992, I stopped writing altogether.  This was the year I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (a form of Retinitis Pigmentosa-progressive blindness-which included hearing loss).

Depression really emerged at this point in my life though I was never diagnosed.  And when I married my first husband, Aaron, anger replaced everything else I was feeling and he bore, unfortunately, the brunt of it.  The depression and anger steadily grew worse over time, and then the worst happened.

He was killed in a car accident.

Grief and regrets overwhelmed me, and I nearly did the unthinkable.  I backed out just before it was too late as I realized that this would be the ultimate regret that I could never return from.  Worse of all, it would hurt my family as well as Aaron’s.

I just couldn’t do it.

Instead, I poured all my attention and strength into finishing college (which I did over a year after Aaron’s death). By this time, I’d moved out in my own apartment, but also had regressed from all social activities becoming a hermit with very little contact to the outside world.

Then Jay came into my life (actually he returned to my life, but that is another story of its own).  He changed everything by not only marrying me, but by reintroducing writing back into my life through a gift of a leather-bound journal.

In this journal, I spew all my anger and pain like vomit.  When the pages were all full, I closed the book and packed it away (even to this day I have not gone back to read it).

Now being emptied, the healing can begin.

(This is just part one of my story.  I plan to continue in the near future)

Caged #IWSG

“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage.”
― Richard Lovelace

For those of us who are attempting or have attempted to write our story (I’m referring to the story of our lives whether it’s a memoir or through short stories or poems), something always seem to stop us from finishing it (or in my case, starting).  It’s like there this solid wall blocking my way, more specifically my pen, from getting the words out of my head.

The words are there and so are the images, but I feel like my head (or something else altogether) is like a cage keeping them within invisible bars.

It is so utterly frustrating.

I keep asking myself – what’s holding me back?

Fear.

Fear of what? 

Of hurting someone who I love? Or, hurting myself?

Maybe both.

Fear of the truth. Of finally allowing myself to be freed of all the pain I kept locked in

A writer who’s caged by past regrets and unwilling to let them go because she believes she deserves all the pain she feels.

How messed up is that?

My heart knows I must write my story, but convincing whatever part of me that’s holding the words back has been a battle I’ve fought for years.

A battle I fear I will ultimately lose.

What about you? Are you struggling to free your words?

April

 

As I sit here at my desk, looking out of the nearby window, all I see are trees and snow.  No, hold on a minute…I spy a Chickadee  on the huge pile of bird seeds that my guys dumped over a month ago.  Oh wait, here comes another one.  This time it’s a large Blue Jay.

Seeing them means that Spring is finally coming (even though the calendar says it’s already officially spring).  Living this far north, the weather’s bound to do anything it pleases.  Who knows, maybe next week we’ll have a huge snow storm. Or then again maybe a thunderstorm.  Mother nature tends to be somewhat unpredictable this time of year; but, being that it is spring, there is hope.  The snow will eventually go away, and the earth will green up and sprout wild flowers.

I can’t wait to be able to open a window or two and air out my house.  I miss the smell of the fresh, sweet air.

In the meantime, so that I don’t drive myself too crazy with being cooped up for months on end, I plan to keep myself busy throughout the month of April.

With poetry mainly and a healthy dose of flash stories as well as other tidbits (pretty much whatever the muse decides to throw at me).

I’d originally wanted to do Camp NaNoWriMo to work on two current WIPs, but my soul has been urging me to write poems.

That it needs poetry.

Why?

For the pain.

No, not physical pain, but for the emotional anguish that seems to be building within; and poetry has always been the only way to relieve this.

I am going to attempt to do not one, but two separate challenges:

National Poetry Writing Month
and
A to Z Blog Challenge

And I will do these between three of my blogs. In order to limit the confusion, I created a landing page so you can follow what I write on a daily basis if you so choose.  Here is the link for that page.

I have no definite theme but what I plan to write will revolve around poetry for most of the time.

Will you be participating in any challenges in April? If so, I’d love to follow your journey!

 

The #Blogging Poll Results

Last Monday, I put out a poll asking writers if they saw any advantages to blogging on a daily basis.

*45% believed that writing daily posts will enable the blog to thrive

*36% did not

*18% selected “other

-“I think it depends on the content more than the frequency.”

-“Probably not, though sometimes these month long challenges do bring new people.

 

Here are various other comments that were included with the reponses:

“Quality vs quantity. I’d rather post once a week with something that followers want to read instead of posting daily and have followers delete it.” –Darnell Cureton, Fictionista

 

“I think putting out too much material can be overwhelming for readers. I find that the blogs whose writers post just once or twice a week are the ones I read religiously and look forward to.” –Susan Richardson, Stories From the Edge of Blindness

 

“Writing every day doesn’t mean your blog will thrive. In order to have a thriving blog, we have to interact in a meaningful way and that means we have to support the blogs that support us. Unless, of course, our blog is for information purposes or we are selling something to someone, then it may be different. Perhaps it comes down to relevant content, whatever the genre of the blog. ” –Poetry From the Inkwell

 

“I do post everyday, I think if it helps me, then it could someone else. I write a lot in advance and whatever is on my heart. And I even go back and read what I wrote last week or month even year. It may be different with everyone.” –Rebecca Jones, A Daughter’s Gift of Love

 

“I think writing every day helps … maybe not posting them every day. I loved the accountability of the #Write28Days and knowing that I had committed to posting daily made me do it. But as someone mentioned … the quality does suffer — unless you are a professional journalist.” –Hulda Bennett, Hearts Fully Alive

 

What about you? Do you have any other thoughts on this poll and its results/comments?

An Insecured Writer’s Rambles: Will My Writing Have Meaning?

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like to participate.

 

Just celebrated a birthday last month. My 48th one. I’m finding it difficult to believe that I am almost the big 5-0 when most of the time my mind thinks I’m still in my 20’s.

Where on earth did the time go?

I can clearly remember my parents saying the same thing to me when they were in their 40’s.  The sad reality is, my father’s no longer with us. He passed away in 2014. He was only 67.

In my eyes, he was the true steward of God using his carpentry skills (he was so gifted with his hands especially in woodworking, crafting beautiful things) and his time for the church.  Those who knew my father always commented on how cheerful he was, all smiles and loved to whistle tunes from the 60’s as he worked.

Now, I’m looking at myself and wondering, what will people remember about me when I am gone from this earth? How have I used my talent/gift and time to reach others?

After a lifetime with disabilities (hearing and vision loss), I still struggle with my self-worth and whether my writing has any value (especially when most of what I write, both poetry and fiction, tend to be dark). It doesn’t help either when my husband and son think of my writing as just a “hobby” or “fantasy writing.”  And it also doesn’t help when my husband have discouraged me from ever publishing books since I am on disability benefits (there are other factors for his paranoia other than this one reason) when I have many, many stories and poetry within that I wish to share with the world.  So, I have resorted to having my short fiction and poetry published in non-paying zines a few times each year with the remaining items posted on this blog.

Is this me experiencing the dreaded “mid-life crisis?”  Is this me being vain as I worried if all that I’ve written will be lost forever once I am no longer here? How will people remember me? Just a woman who is so and so wife and mother?

I have been given this gift (writing) for a reason, and I don’t want to squander it.  So, no matter what, I will continue to write what’s on my heart and mind through whatever means I can find in the hope of reaching those who need reaching.

 

#WEPFF Requisition (Science Fiction #Story)

Pixabay

*Author’s Note: This post will serve a dual purpose. One, to satisfy the word prompt for today’s Write28Days Challenge (Glory). Second, to participate in WEP’s February’s Story Challenge (theme: 28 Days). 

 

Requisition

 

Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards. A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch. The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.

“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.

She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”

He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.

“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here,” he said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues, “it makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”

“You know that’s not how it works,” she muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.

“Yes, but it is unfair, not to mention unjust,” the man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.

With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice.  Really nice.”

The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”

“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much,” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town, “but you don’t have to stay any longer.”

Jessup let out a long exhale, “Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”

She smiled, “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”

His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head, “As you wish,” and within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.

Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky. The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black.  The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.

A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.

Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.

The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.

Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.

Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.

*****

 

Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.

The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.

A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.

“Dr. Cruz?” came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.

“I will never get used to this,” he said, “extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”

“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness,” the same woman replied.

He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words. Then, he shook it.

“Those are just the Company’s taglines.  We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”

“Dr. Cruz,” the woman’s tone now stern, “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”

He clenched his jaw, “Time of conscious death, 23:02,” his fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.

To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.

“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body already prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02,”