Story Saturday: Dreams (Poetry)

Photo by Konrad Odhiambo

 

*Written for #StorySaturday (Twitter)

 

 

Dreams

As sure as the sun rises in the morn

and the moon greets the stars at night

as I am with dreams meant to be alive and true

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How I Became a Writer

 

***Would you like to join in this virtual Book Club?  Click here.

 

Becoming a writer (for me) didn’t happen overnight; but, the seeds were planted at an early age.  As a young kid, I felt different, acted different, and was treated different.  Why? Because of my inability to communicate with the world around me.  In fact, my Kindergarten teacher approached my parents to have me pulled from school as I was deemed as “unteachable.”

This all occurred during the mid-1970s in rural upstate New York.  My parents had just spent two years taking me to various specialists all across the state as well as Vermont; but, no one could definitively find what was wrong with me.  In the end, they told my parents that I had behavioral issues which should be directed at a psychiatrist.

Faced with one school unable to teach me, they decided to have an audiologist, Aubrey, to check me out as a second opinion.  She discovered that I had moderate hearing loss in both ears (over 65% loss) due to nerve damage.

After being fitted with hearing aids, I spent the next two years attending speech therapy in an effort to get me “caught up” as I was quite behind in speech development.   School was still a challenge not just in learning; but with having friends.  As a loner with maybe one or two good friends, I spent much of my free time with imaginary friends and creating various scenarios and settings for myself.   The only thing these tend to get me in trouble; one time it actually landed me in the ER!

In 5th grade, a classmate challenged a bunch of us to a contest to see who could write the scariest story.  I concocted one about a girl going into an old house and discovering a decapitated head in a fridge.   Everyone seemed truly unnerved by that one.  🙂

Just watching everyone’s reaction to my story made me feel good about myself for once; like I was actually good at something.  I also found that writing enabled me to bring the stuff I had in my head to life on a piece of paper.  Not to mention that it was much safer!

This one experience planted the seed within me to become the writer I am today.

 

What about you?  How did you become a writer?

 

Another Year Is Ending

 

In review…

Now that’s Christmas is over it’s time to focus on the New Year.   2017 was a fairly good year overall both personally and as a writer.

I saw a few of my writings published:

The Hungry Chimera Literary Journal (two poems)

Doll Hospital Journal  (essay)

Motionpoems, Inc (film credit/interviewed both poet & film-maker)

Piker Press (poem)

 

I took on a role as a moderator (in a team of four) for Tuesday Serial; as well as a moderator for the weekly THURSDAY TALK SHOP over at Facebook with We PAW Bloggers (of which I plan to step down to a lesser role for the coming year).  I’ve created and am trying to grow (hopefully to add a few volunteers to help) Serial Fiction Digest (Twitter, Facebook, blog).

Looking ahead…

2018 is looking to be a year of crossroads for me as a writer.  I plan to work on a romance (clean) novel as well as continue to plan out another.  In the past, I’ve focused mainly on flash fiction, poetry and serial fiction.  I will continue with these forms, but gradually shifting some of my attention/time to writing a book-length story.  My goal is to be not just a writer, but an author.

I will be taking on a role as a citizen journalist for The Crossover Alliance (a Christian publishing company) of which I am very excited about.

 

What about you?  How was 2017 for you as a writer?  Have any specific goals for the new year?

(for each comment, I will stop by and read your most recent blog post! 🙂 )

 

#WEPFF December Challenge: With Every End There Is A New Beginning

 

Below is my poem for #WEPFF December Challenge- The End is the Beginning

Enjoy!

 

 

 

The End…

for all things, there is a season

this we’ve been taught

though we rarely dwell on

until it’s standing

dauntingly, devastatingly

before us

 

 

To let go…

the hardest of all to do

of those we love, cherish

for the heart, the flesh,

pain is undeniably real

as the knife

 

 

Look…

to the horizon,

the sky ablaze with vibrant morn colors

and remember, that for every night

there is a dawn,

and a time for new beginning

 

 

All that’s required of us

is not giving up

for the night will end

as any season

and with a new day,

healing and hope

Writing: Would You Do Things Differently If You Could Go Back In Time?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month IWSG question is: if you could backtrack and do things differently as a writer, would you? 

 

Wow, this is a loaded question.  One I have pondered on and wondered about from time to time.  Who hasn’t?  Especially now that I’m in my mid (ish) 40s, this question keeps popping up in my mind.

My first inclination is to say “Yes!”

I’d have attended SUNY Potsdam (only) majoring in Journalism instead of bouncing around at least six different colleges and ending up with a degree in Physical Education (which I barely used).

As a journalist, I would have traveled the world.  In this reality, I’ve only visited one other country…Canada.

Perhaps I’d even started my own magazine or newspaper company.  Or, maybe even branched off into the publishing industry and became an editor or something.

And just perhaps I’d ended up living in Boston (one of my fave cities) where I’d pen my first and break-through novel that landed me on the New York Times’ Bestselling List.

If I’d done all the above, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

As a writer.  As a poet.

A mother.

A wife.

Living on a small farmstead in eastern North Dakota of all places 🙂  Writing full-time at home.

I’m richly blessed.  I don’t think I would give this life up to relive it as a different person.  It’s nice to dream about it, but that’s it, just a dream.

I like this reality better.

What about you?  If you had the opportunity to go back and do anything differently as a writer, would you do it?

 

 

 

Thankful Tuesday

 

Hard to believe that it’s nearly Thanksgiving (US).  Where has the year gone?  Since I may go “quiet” here for the next few days, I’d like to list some of the things I’m thankful for.

First, the usual:

*Family

*Faith

*Friends/Community

Without any of these, I would not be where I am today.

 

Next, the more contemplative ones 🙂

  1. I am so grateful to be living in the rural country now instead of the city.  Here, my anxiety level has dropped dramatically, and I feel that my life has been more enriched and healthier.  I love seeing my son reveling in the freedom to play outside and not worry about various dangers.
  2. Here I can immerse myself in nature and the seasons which all fertilize my imagination, and allow me to create more abundantly.  No booming rap music next door.  No noisy traffic outside our front door.  No fighting neighbors over POA regulations.  Just peace and quiet.

Also…

 

My struggles fuel my writing.   They enable me to be a more compassionate and empathetic person.  To be more thoughtful of others.  They also help in creating more realistic characters.

In other words,

 


 

The next chapter of the interactive story will post on Friday!

December 1st!

Here are the two previous chapters:

A Snowy Reunion  (chapter one)
A Catch-Up Affair  (chapter two)

 

Thursday Thoughts: On Writing Life

 

Back when I worked full-time in the Banking industry, I used to complain how I never had enough time to write.  I’d get up each weekday morning by 4am to get myself ready first, and then get hubby and son up before hitting the road by 5:45am for over an hour’s drive (in 35 miles) into downtown Raleigh.  I’d work 7am till 6pm (most days).  By the time dinner and homework are done, it’s easily 9pm and by that point, I’m ready to crawl in bed.   Weekends were usually reserved for catch-ups, house chores, and errands.  I’d managed maybe an hour of writing time each week.

Now?

With being “retired’ from the work force (am only 46) due to disabilities, I have loads of free time on my hands.   I’ve discovered, though, I waste a lot of time doing pretty much “nothing.”

Nothing being spending way too much time on social media, and watching internet-stream tv shows and movies.  Well, these were what I was doing for the past year and a half before depression hit me hard.

Or, perhaps mid-life crisis?

I found myself looking back, and wondering what did I have to show for being here on this world?  I really didn’t find a career I enjoyed (long story) so ended up in the Banking industry for the last 15 years of my working life basically as a glorified paper-shuffler.

Family put aside, I had nothing tangible.

I wanted more.  I desired to leave a legacy.

At this point, I’ve published several short stories, essays, and poems; but 99.9% are online magazines.

I now want more.

Something solid, concrete.  Something I can hold in my hands.  And smell.

This means I need to get serious, and smart with my time management.  I figure a way to start doing that is by tracking every word I write.

Daily.

This means less time with social media and other forms of entertainment.

I value my writing gift, and feel I have at least one book within me, enough so that I need to start valuing my time more than I’ve done in the past.

So, this is where I’m at in my writing life.  At a cross-road, and I’ve decided on the path to take.  Now, let’s see where it takes me.

Got to love adventures, eh?  🙂

What about you?  Where are you at in your writing life?  Are you happy with it?  If not, what changes could you make?

 

A Catch-Up Affair (Interactive Story Continues)

 

Chapter Two

 

 

The four-some now seated in chairs around the large oval oak table as the waiter retrieves the menus.

“I will get your orders in.” And the short black man walks away.

Julie’s brown eyes carefully study the faces around the table as she slowly sips at her wine. “So, Brad,” and turns them solely to the man sitting to her right, “What on earth have you been up to since I last saw you?”

Brad grins as he leans back. “Nothing exciting.  Just work.”

“Doing what?”

“Integrated marketing.”

“Marketing, huh?” She purses her lips, “For whom?”

“Altvision Communications.” He replies as he bit into a breadstick.

“Wow, one of the four media giants.” Her smile widen as she fingers her glass.  “You must be one of the lowly assistants working his way up the career rung by now.”

He chuckles, “Hardly. Try the Director of the Marketing Department.”

“Di-rec-tor…my heavens, that’s a far cry from being a lab rat with Dalton Co-Op.”

“A lab rat?” Eddie’s hazel-green eyes sparkle as he stares at Brad across the table.

Brad lets out a laugh, “That’s Julie’s way of calling any desk clerk who worked for Dalton back in the day.”

“They were directly responsible for polluting all the lakes upstate which cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars.”

“And you don’t feel the least bit guilty for forcing them out of business and driving hundreds of people out of work?”  Brad asks, the smile now gone.

“What they were doing was criminal, and it was my job to expose them.” Julie’s eyes now slits.

“Yeah, well, the timing couldn’t have been worse.” Brad grabs another breadstick. “You could have at least waited until after Christmas to break the story.”

“Are you a reporter?” Eddie’s interest now piqued as he focuses on the curly red head between Brad and Laura.

Julie shrugs, “Yeah, a crime beat reporter,” and takes another sip of the red wine.

“You don’t sound very enthused.” He says.

“It’s a job.”

“Don’t let her fool you, Ed.” Brad points a half-eaten breadstick at his friend. “Journalism’s in her blood just like her father, and her grandfather.”

“I see.” Eddie drinks from a bottle of beer. “A generational legacy that you don’t seem to relish much of.”

“It comes natural, and it made sense at the time.” She says.

“Writing comes natural to Julie all right.  Did you know she’s also a published author?” Laura smiles at Julie who frowns back.

“Oh, really?” Brad says, “What do you write?”

“Guilty pleasure.  Let’s not make a big deal out of it.” Julie replies.

“She writes horror.” Laura answers for her friend.

“A crime beat reporter slash horror writer.  Wow, never saw that one coming.” Brad sneers.

“Whatever.” Julie flicks her long hair off her shoulders and turns to face Eddie. “What of you?  Let me guess, an international spy?” She asks in a leering tone.

“You’re not too far off the mark.” Eddie replies. “I’m a freelance Threat Analyst.”

“What the heck is that?” Julie’s nose crinkles at him.

“Mainly I hunt the web for any malicious activities, and put a stop to them.”

“That sounds–interesting I suppose.” Julie says.

It was Eddie’s turn to laugh as he drinks more of the beer. “Oh, it can get very interesting.”

“What about you, Laura?” Brad asks.

Laura leans forward as she studies the flickering candle at the table’s center which casts shadows across her fair face. “I’m currently doing my Forensic Pathology Residency at North Peak’s Regional Medical Center.”

“Fascinating.  We have a budding doctor with us.” Brad smiles at her.

“You did it.” Eddie says. “You’ve accomplished one of your dreams.” His warm smile causes Laura’s cheeks to color.

“It’s still a work in progress, but yeah, I’m getting there.” She returns his smile.

His expression then grows more somber. “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch. I never meant to leave like that.”

Laura shrugs, “You had a family emergency that required you to leave the country.  Besides, it was for the best.  For us, anyway.”

Eddie nods. “You’ve always been so understanding, Laurie.  You deserve someone to be equally so.”  His accent now more pronounced.

“Oh my, here’s our dinner!” Julie blurts out as the waiter came to their table with a tray full of food.  “I’m starving!”

 

End of Chapter Two

 

Be sure to vote below!

 

 

*Note: You can also follow this story over at my other site — Story Interactive  🙂

You Tube Tuesday: Black Heart

 

For many years, I had this guilty pleasure of seeing my written words come alive with images and music.  Instead of waiting to have someone else produce it in to a short film, I created my own videos using Kizoa 🙂

This particular poem I wrote for a contest (October).  It’s meant to be a horror poem, but it is especially horrifying for me as it is taken from my distant past of a person I once was.  Long story.  Perhaps one day I will be brave enough to write about it in more detail.

If you’d like to participate in YouTube Tuesday, post something from YouTube that you enjoyed and tell us a bit about it.  Don’t forget to include the link to this post in yours so I can check it out.  Also, if you’re on Twitter, tweet about it using the hashtag #YouTubeTuesday.

Dark Places #WEPFF: Black Heart

 

Today, I’m participating in the above contest/bloghop for WEP (aka Write…Edit…Publish).

 

Black Heart

 

Real love I’m undeserving of 

as torment and abuse 

are all I’m able to offer 

 

 

Such a sweet angelic soul 

he was 

I allowed fear and envy 

to rule 

 

 

Now standing at his final  

resting place 

pain, regret, tears fill my core  

 

 

Darkness now my only 

companion 

life ever fleeting 

death 

can’t come soon enough 

for this black-hearted bitch

You Tube Tuesday: Dead Poets Society

 

Over at my other site, Only the Lonely Press, I started a new video series called, Dead Poets Society, where I will take a poem of a given poet (long since passed on) and create a video for it.  This one above is one of my favorite Robert Frost’s poems.

Below is a bit of a morbid poem written by Emily Dickinson which I absolutely love.

 

I plan to create more videos for this particular series in the near future.

Do you have any (short) poems by your favorite poets to suggest?  If I like it (a lot), I may just create a video for it!

 

Writing: Finishing a Draft Dilemma

 

October.

This means that fall’s foliage is at its’ peak, and the sugar beet harvest is in full swing up here in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.

I woke up this morning to the ground covered in a thin layer of frost.  Even had to turn on the heat briefly.  With the warm air blowing through the vents, I counted at least four of my ten indoor cats huddled on top of them.

Darn, should have snapped a pic.

Next time.

October is also the month to prepare for NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month) so I’m taking a month-long course with Beth and Ezra Barany to help me plan a novel idea I have.

 

Like I said in a previous post, I have little problem with finishing short pieces, but a book-length?  It IS like running a marathon (I’ve ran 5-ks in the past so I can only imagine what 20-plus miles would be like!) where I almost always fizzle out by the middle, and that’s it.

Finito.

I either lose interest, or life gets in the way, or writer’s block sets it.

Excuses…excuses.

Excuses won’t get the book written.

I need to really look at why I’m not finishing.

Am I meant to be just a short story writer?

A poet?

I’m unable to accept that.

I can’t.

I won’t.

I may never be a prolific novelist like Stephen King or Nora Roberts, and that’s okay.   I just believe that I have at least one book in me that I must write.  And this what’s been driving me to try again and again.

A quote by Maya Angelou keeps haunting me:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Now that I’m middle-aged, I have this growing fear of dying before I’m able to complete the kind of writing I was meant to do.

It’s a horrible feeling.

One that’s growing worse by the day.

The only one book-length manuscript I managed came during the 2008 NaNoWriMo, and that’s because of my curiosity to see if I could actually write at least 50,000 words.

Since then, all my attempts to write another book have failed.

I think it may be because those stories were not meaningful to me.  They were just stories that I had a vague interest in, but as I laid down word after word, I lost interest.

I find that I can’t devote hours and days to something I have no real passion for.  Life is just too short.

In my heart, I’ve always wanted to write a story that revolved around fatherhood and daughters.  This desire…no, need have grown exponentially since my Daddy’s death in September 2014.

Three weeks ago, I saw a particular news article that gave birth to a story idea for such a book.   In taking the above course, I’m working to develop this idea, flesh out the plot/subplots as well as create my two main characters.  I plan to use NaNoWriMo as a jump-start to write as many words as I can, but the goal isn’t to win, but to ultimately have a finished first draft by the end of the year.

I believe I have found the reason and motivation to drive me to be successful this time.

Stay tuned for more later.

 

 

 

 

Writing: How Much Of “Me” Actually Goes in the Stories?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month’s question: “Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?”

 

 

Hmm, an intriguing question posed by IWSG.  “Personal” could mean just about anything in my mind so I’d have to answer this honestly with a YES.

Many of my main characters have pieces of me injected in them which make the stories I write personal and meaningful to me.   They entice me to finish each story so not to leave them incomplete which borders tragic in my mind.

The characters may have some of my physical attributes, but mostly I inject events and emotions that I’ve experienced in hope to make the stories more dramatic and real to the reader.

Granted, majority of the stories I write are short so it’s relatively easy to finish.  Writing a book-length story is a different matter in that I’ve yet to complete a full first draft since 2008 (my first and only full draft from NaNoWriMo which still sits on my hard-drive).    However, this year I hope to change that.   I will post more about this later this week.

 

What about you?  How much of yourself do you include in your writing?

Life Imitating Art (or is it the other way?)

Click on image for original source

 

The other day I posted a poll that asked a question on whether you believed life imitated art, or art imitated life.   If you like to voice your opinion, here’s the poll.

 

Oscar Wilde believed that-

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”

But, I believe Fyodor Dostoevsky hit closer to the truth –

“At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art.Then life will find its very existence from the arts.”

Here’s what Aristotle had to say about this:

“Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.”

“Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature’s unrealized ends.”

 

What are your thoughts and opinion?

Art and Life (Poll)

Story Sunday: The Ocean

The oceans” was the prompt for this week’s #StorySaturday (Twitter).  I wrote this micro-story kind of as a memoir of my personal experiences with water, and how it impacted me.

The Ocean

 

Photo Credit: Stephanie Vincent Lawrence

I grew up around water

in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks

the river ran wild

its’ roars beat within me like a hammer

 

Then came the ocean of the Outer Banks

its rolling waves on the sandy shore

calm the racing of that heart

and created a sense of peace

I’ve never experienced

 

Now I live in the open expanse of the plains

where the ocean is only a memory

but a memory that I can revisit

for as long as this heart beats

 

“Water is the driving force of all nature.”  – Leonardo da Vinci

 

 

Hopeless

 

Anger and pain

the norm in a young lifetime

Dreams and hopes

unattainable

due to unyielding sabotages

True love

fleeting

as there is no

happily ever after

So what’s the point

of fighting, persevering

when the darkness

is all that awaits?

 

“There is darkness inside all of us, though mine is more dangerous than most. Still, we all have it—that part of our soul that is irreparably damaged by the very trials and tribulations of life. We are what we are because of it, or perhaps in spite of it.” -Jenna Maclaine, Bound By Sin

#ThursdayThoughts: What IS Success?

 

Many writers feel that touching even one life is success.  Not by how many books one published, or by how many awards one garnered; although these are VERY nice to have.

For some writers, writing goes much deeper than any physical items or accolades.   It’s about using their gifts as storytellers,  healers, change-makers for the sake of others.

Success is based on the number of lives impacted.

What about you?  How do you view success as a writer?