(Un)Expectations #Writing #IWSG

This month’s question: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

 

When I penned my very first story at the age of eleven, I had no expectations on where writing would take me. What started out as a challenge ended up being a lifeline that I’ve used time and time again.

Writing took me on a journey to places I never dreamed I visit. Experiences I never thought I’d ever partake in. It enabled me to meet like-minded individuals from all over the world, from all walks of life.

Writing changed me.

In fact, I think it might have saved my life more times than I care to admit. Whether or not it kept me from insanity…well, that depends on who you ask!

Writing has been the one constant in my life while the rest has been full of chaos and changes.

I guess what I never expected when I wrote that fateful story all those years ago was how writing would change my life.

Something it’s still doing.

As I sit here at my desk, I see a future that holds more changes and yes, even heartaches. But knowing that I have my writing to hold on to as I travel through the possible dark path ahead, I believe I will be just fine.

 

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Isolation #microfiction

The cold, sinking, sickening feeling sweep through my body.

Again.

My palms, sweaty. The pounding in my chest is making me dizzy, breathless.

It’s that knowing that there are things you can’t control, or things you just don’t want to face or deal with yet…

Why can’t it all just go away? Why can’t I hide in that recess of my mind where everything’s sunny and happy? Where the responsibilities and burdens are not pressing down on me so that I’m unable to breathe or function?

Oh, how I long for the days of innocence! When the evils of this world haven’t touched me yet. When life was blissful, and I was so naïve.

Where has she gone? Will I ever find her again?

Do I want to?

Time keeps marching forward.  The world passing by as I sit here at the window, watching out.

The desire to interact long gone.

Here, where I sit, familiarity’s my friend, my comfort.

Out there?

Chaos.  Fear.

The unknown. The pain of the past.

My heart’s splintering as my mind. Torn between wanting to remain here, and stepping out there.

Freedom. Oh to be free.

The better question is–to be freed of what? 

 

 

 

 

Does Free Time Increase/Decrease Your #Writing Productivity? #IWSG

*This post for the monthly IWSG is a bit late but hey, better late than never!  

 

From where I’m sitting, it’s the 4th of July.  The house is quiet.  My guys are off in New York for another week so I have the place all to myself.

Now, it’s just a matter of getting myself focused enough to work on a few projects that I know I should be working on.

Alas, distractions abound!

The silence is too loud. The house too empty.

So, I’ve been binging on rom-com movies as well as all of the Jaws films. Oh, and don’t forget the Bourne’s saga.

Sheesh.

And the few times I did manage to sit my butt down, the cats acted up.

Meaning, they’ve been staging break-outs by busting through the window screens in the sunroom. And I mean, they destroyed all three screens! I was so livid.

How do I explain this to hubby?

Anyhoo, I’ve spent at least two to three hours of my time in the past three days hunting down and rounding up the cats that did get outside.  Now, I’m faced with having to keep my house closed up (and the weather’s gorgeous outdoors!) for fear of them busting through other window screens.

Distractions. And more distractions.

I’d thought that with the guys gone and my having all this abundant free time to spend on writing would enable me to be very productive.

In fact, it’s been totally the opposite!

Grr…

I’m finding that having certain constraints with the guys around actually kept me more focused and in line.  Being busier with life actually yielded more fruits where with too much free time and no constraints whatsoever have caused me to be so — lazy.

Now, I’m down to the last five plus days to get done what I should have been working on all along. Question is, will I be able to stay focused long enough to do it?

What about you? Does having free time inhibits your productivity rather than enhances it?

Life’s Just A Dream #Poetry

Life
Its dark path’s a mystery
Full of hidden dangers & wonders

Eyes
Concealed within the shadowy woods
They know I’ve gone astray

Lost
In my mind home’s just beyond that bend
Alas, it’s only a mirage

Heavy
The mist encases each bared limb
Drowning me in despair

 

*Author’s Note: this poem was written for a prompt given by #BardBits on Twitter —

Marvelous Monday!

prompt 294: Midnight/Moon/Sea/Dock/Stroll/Reflect/Light/Clarity
Our Guest Hosts:
&

Write a short story or poem inspired by or using the word(s) and/or image.

Learning To Cope

It’s been nearly two weeks since I arrived at the School for the Blind for my week of training and support.  I’d meant to write up a post earlier than this, but I’ve been a busy body all this past week.

A good thing really!

I have people asking me what kinds of things visually impaired adults do at the School for the Blind. This post, I hope, will answer some of their questions.

The School for the Blind in Grand Forks (North Dakota) is mostly geared for school-aged kids but the ND Vision Services offers quarterly week-long training sessions for adults at the school each year.

Awesome’s my humble opinion.

What types of training do they offer for adults?

Well, when you first express interest in attending, you have the option of selecting any of (or all) the following six types of training/support:

Adjustment (coping skills, therapy, etc.)

Daily Living Skills (cooking, housekeeping, organization, etc.)

Technology (learn about all types of accessibility options with computers, phones/cells, etc.)

Orientation/Mobility (cane training, learning skills of getting around at home or in the community, etc.)

Braille

Vocation/Career (what’s out there for a visually impaired person, job training, career preparation, etc.)

 

The week began at 8:30am Monday; but first, I arrived there Sunday evening where I was greeted by the House Parent, Amy.  My “room” for the week was actually an “apartment.”

My “room” at the School

The School has two “apartments” reserved for teens where they can learn Independent Living Skills. They are equipped with a full kitchen, one bedroom, full bath, living/dining room which has an extra bed and TV w/ cable. I lucked out and was assigned to one of these rooms.

Awesome.

During the week, there’s a House Parent on duty between 3 and 11pm, and then another one for the overnight hours until the instructors arrive usually around 7am.

Each week day began with breakfast at 8am held in the large kitchen/dining area where in order to get there from your room is by maneuvering through a series of thinly carpeted hallways (in my mind have always been a sort of maze with strange series of tiled, checkered-style blocks at certain sections throughout each hallway).  But this time I learned their purpose! For an individual who’s completely/mostly blind, as he/she walks with the White Cane, each block signifies there is an office or room located at that area. And in order to know which room was which is by counting the blocks. Block #3 is the Technology room, or Block #4 is where the kitchen’s at.  When you cross an extremely large block, that means you’re at an intersection where two hallways meet.

You get the idea (I hope).

At the first/initial breakfast, you’d receive your scheduled classes for the week. For this day (Monday), you’d have an instructor aiding you to each class so you’d know where it’s located.  For the rest of the week, the help to each class gradually decreased until you are independently getting around to each class, meal, and your room.

This is the ultimate goal for all the training at the School…to enable a visually impaired person to become as independent and self-reliant as possible.

There are generally three classes in the morning, and three classes in the afternoon (each session is one hour long where you meet one-on-one with the instructor) running from 8:30am until 4pm with a lunch-break at 11:45.

My schedule was as followed:

8:30 Daily Living Skills

9:30 Technology

10:45 Mobility

11:45 Lunch

1pm Adjustment

2pm Daily Living Skills

3pm Technology

I opted out of the rest while the other attendees participated in all areas.

Dinner (set up by the House Parent) usually began around 5:45pm. The rest of the evening was your own time.

The classes were great, but for me, I absolutely enjoyed the interaction with the people (both the instructors and peers).

The first time I attended here was in June 2016 where there were seven of us total. This time there were just 3 of us.

Harley was the youngest at age 26. She completely lost her vision two years prior due to diabetes. This was her first time here.

Jewel was the oldest at 53, and as local, she’s a frequent visitor. She’s in the process of losing her sight also due to diabetes.

And of course, there was me, right smacked in the middle.

The camaraderie between the three of us was awesome and inspiring.

Just what I sorely needed.

The days were intense but fast. When Friday came, I found I wasn’t really ready to head home.

I felt safe here. I felt like I mattered. And the people I hung with truly get me whereas my family struggled to do just that.

But, I’ve learned new skills, and have been introduced to new possibilities that I’m truly excited about and hope to bring to fruition soon.

 

 

 

 

 

#IWSG The Horror and Suspense of Life

This post is for IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group), and this month’s question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

 

Right from the get-go, I’ve always been drawn to the darker sides of things. My first story I ever wrote (around eleven years old) was about a creepy house where a girl entered on a dare and discovered a decapitated head in a fridge.

Pretty morbid, eh?

So, I started with horror, then it became horror-paranormal to horror-apocalyptic, and now it’s mainly suspense.  Through these genres, the common theme always centered around death.

When my cousin (and best friend at the time) Darren passed away just before our fourteenth birthdays, I was hit with the stark reality that we were not invincible or immortal.  That even kids die.

Since then, I have experienced several other deaths of family members and friends.  Many of them died well before they were at the peak of their lives, or even able to realized their dreams.

This have always weighed heavily on me.

And showed up in pretty much whatever I wrote be it a short story or a poem.

A loss of some form. The darkness that’s constantly there.   .

I enjoy writing both horror and suspense mainly because it’s cathartic for my broken heart, and it’s my way of dealing with the pain.

What about you? What’s your favorite genre to write/read? Why? I love to know!

 

In the Seams of Being #Suspense

The breeze. Its touch on my skin is warm, the scent sweet and rich with pine and lavender.

The songs of robins, sparrows and blue jays fill my ears as they flutter from tree limb to tree limb.

I feel strange though. As if the world has shifted, unnaturally. There is nothing solid under my feet, but the smell of dirt is so close to my face.

If I really concentrate, I’d swear the earth’s under my back.

My nostrils detect another smell. One that’s metallic–like rusted iron. I’m trying to move my head but it will not budge. My body has become one solid leadening object that refuses my mental orders.

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I move?

The lids of my eyes are heavy as they slowly slide down. Soon, all I see is the blackness which is being accompanied by an iciness that goes straight to the bones.

The chirpings of the birds are fading. I feel a pull in that I want to fly away with them.

Oh please, don’t leave me!

Instead, my head feels like it’s sinking while spinning around and around like some child’s toy top. Like a slithering blanket, a deep chill spreads through my legs, and soon it’s creeping for my hips.

Flashes of images filter through my mind. Of faces and places, I can no longer name.

Just as the icy tendrils slid towards the sternum area, a loud snap rang through my head as my eyes sprang open.

A moaning wheeze escapes my mouth and it is at this moment I finally realize what is truly going on…

I’m dying.

Confusion fills my mind.

What happened to me? How did I get here?

Only to be answered with images of shining metal objects as I heard my skin ripping like a zipper followed by fire.

Through the billowing fog, I quickly become aware of the burning pain in my gut as my mouth fills with the thick salty liquid.

“I see you’re still hanging on,” a man’s voice whispers near my left ear.

Choking on my own blood, I’m trying to find this man. He has to be standing right beside me, but my eyes no longer see anything. It is as if I’m in a tiny room and someone has turned off the lights.

Something hits the ground disturbing the dirt just enough that I felt the movement under my left leg. Then I catch a whiff of him.

Rotten fish.

“No one will be looking for you,” I hear him say, “they all think you’ve gone on your retreat in the mountains!”

He guffawed as sounds of metal and wooden objects clinking together echoing over me, and another rumbling thud to the ground.

“Your boyfriend won’t miss you either!” I can hear the creaking of rubber soles, “he’s fishing with his Army buddies the next state over.” He lets out a sigh that tells me just how sick this man really is, “Yeah, it’s just you and I — soon to be just me. Ha!”

Suddenly, an awful stench washes over my face as I feel him pressing against my shoulder.

“You know the longer you hold on, the more painful it’ll be,” he pauses for a second, “but, I hope you do ‘cause I have special plans just for you!”

 

 

*End of Part One*

You’re My Miracle #Poetry

*Author Note: If my husband could tell his story within the framework of a poem, this might be it. Everything you read is true.

Childhood, innocence
Taken by my father’s fists
Who snatched me away from Momma
Hopping state to state – slumming in trailer parks

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Echoed the themes of my whole life

Daddy didn’t care,
Momma, nonexistent
Step mom, drug user
Not one who gave a damn

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Then I met you on the college green,
You were that life-line I held on to
But those words refused to let me go–

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Don’t even bother – you’re unworthy

I believed them, oh I believed
Never telling you how I truly felt
Letting you go – my greatest regret
As I watched you walk away

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Continents and wars separated
Us until one day I learned
Someone’s stolen your heart

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Without a care in the world High Risk became my game
No one would even know if
I’d died in some god-forsaken desert

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Son of bitch, I survived
Like a cockroach I kept returning
Unwillingly, oh so what was the point?

They kept chanting–
No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Time blurred – broken dreams, heartaches
My constant reality as I wandered
The wasted land called Life

Perhaps there were some truth to the words–
No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

One day, out of the blue
An email by you asking–
“Do you still remember me?”

Battles I’ve fought but never one as great
as on that day when in my heart
I truly wanted to hope —

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser

Life was just as cruel to you
With your own battles
Losing your love, your sight

Do I remember you?

Oh, yes…

No one wants you, they say
You’re nothing but a loser
Slowly fading, fading till only a whisper

Twenty years have since passed
I still hold you in my arms and
You hold my heart

You accepted me as I am
You loved me inspite of my
Brokenness

You saved a boy no one wanted
And instead of a loser
You made me the man I am today

You are my miracle

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.

Urn #Poetry

There is a box
Mother keeps close
Next to her bed

Half of her heart
Now in ashes
Love of her life

If possible
I’d give her my
Splintered portion

Daddy, you were
Gone way too soon

An angel you
Keep watch o’er us

Amongst all the
Other souls who
Once filled our lives

Life may only
Be teardrops in
The pouring rain

But you’re the sun
Waiting to break
Thru the gray clouds

Tho I can’t see
I can feel your
Love shining down

And that alone
Will be enough
‘Till we meet on–

That golden shore

 

This poem is for my Daddy who passed much too soon