It Is Finished #IWSG #Writing

Click on image for site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a writer, it is a good feeling when you can declare a draft of your book finished.  At least until it’s time to begin the edit and revision process.

How many times are you able to do this?

A dozen of times? More?

For me, I was able to do this once.

One time.

It was a book I wrote back in 2008 for the National Novel Writing Month. It was titled Hope Falls.  It was a science fiction-horror story.

I still have this draft although I am not sure if it will ever be published.

The story and the characters remain in my head. They want their story to be told.

But there are so many plot holes and changes that must be made.

So much…

Yeah, I’m intimidated as heck.

So, it continues to sit.  I may get to it. Then again, I may not.

Wait, my muse is telling that I did complete one other book.

I wouldn’t call it a book; it was more of a novelette sized story. A romance one that I wrote specifically for Wattpad. Okay, okay I finished two books.

Drafts.

This newest story may have more hope to see publication of some form. And since it was so short, I don’t feel quite so intimidated to go back and start revising.

Does size really matters? Does this means that the bigger the project the more intimidating it appears when you begin the editing phase?

Hmm..it is true that I tend to focus the majority of my time on the short stories, and more often than not, they are released into the world for others to read. And in fact, just about every book I’ve attempted have been abandoned before I even get to the middle part.

What does this mean for me?

Perhaps I’m not cut out (or destined) to be that prolific writer who could churn out more than two books each year (Nora Roberts is the first to come to mind), and I’m really okay with that. After writing for as long as I have, I have learned to take the middle ground in that I really enjoy (and prefer) to write the shorter stories, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

What about you? Do you find it challenging to complete a long story (or a book)?

 

Today Begins Spooky Season!

Today begins one of my favorite times of the year! Mainly because I love all-things spooky and scary!

I’m planning to write a few short stuff for here so be on the look out!

Will you be writing scary short stories or creating spine-chilling videos/short films? Please let me know via in the comment section below so I can check them out!

To start off the season, I’m posting a spooky video I created two years ago (one-liner story so it’s very, very short!). Enjoy!!!

 

What Is Life Like As An #Usher? #UshDay #Disability #Awareness

I have talked some in past posts about my disabilities; but I don’t recall ever going into detail about them. This post will do just that.

September 21st will be the 5th Annual Usher Syndrome Awareness Day. (Click here for more information) To celebrate, if you will, I wanted to share with you some of what it is like being an Usher.

In a nutshell, an Usher is both deaf and blind.

What gets most people confused is that they assume that being deaf/blind is that you see/hear absolutely nothing.

For most of us with Usher Syndrome, this is not the case.

Usher Syndrome has basically three types:

I: born with profound deafness; vision loss begins before age 10

II: born with moderate to severe hearing loss;  vision loss noticeable by late teens

III: born seemingly normal but progressive hearing loss by early childhood; vision loss begins in early teens or earlier

For a small percentage, Ushers will lose all sight (complete loss of light perception) and hearing. For the remainder, we will maintain some usable vision (all peripheral would be lost but many will retain some degree of central vision) with varying degrees of hearing.

I have Type II.

I was born with moderate to severe hearing loss though this was not diagnosed until I was in Kindergarten.  At that time it was determined that I only had about 35 percent hearing in each ear. Because of this, I was quite behind in speech development which speech therapy for two years helped remedy.

When I was a freshman in college, I began to notice increasing problems getting around campus at night. Two years later, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (which explained the progressive vision loss).  Shortly after I visited the Ear and Eye Infirmary in Boston where I underwent two days of various intense testing which determined that I had Type II Usher Syndrome (RP with hearing loss).

These all occurred between 1977 and 1992.  Medical experts in these two fields (hearing/vision) were great for trying to pin point exactly what was wrong with me; but, they did little to nothing in helping me find ways to cope with these progressive losses which for many of us tend to lead to severe anxiety and depression.  This, I’ve noticed, still continue today for many however I am seeing a gradual change in the right direction.

So, along with roughly (now) 30 to 32 percent of hearing, I have very little peripheral vision left. I have no night vision whatsoever. Sun light and various indoor lighting hurt my eyes so I need to wear sunglasses nearly all the time. Colors are challenging to tell apart (if you put navy, brown and black beside one another, I cannot tell the difference.  The same for green-blue, orange-yellow, etc.). My depth perception is gradually declining (instead of seeing layers and edges, everything is meshed together. Simply put is that I no longer see things in 3-D instead everything is  in 1-D).  I can still read, but that is growing more difficult. I have tried to use audio books but with hearing loss, that at times has been frustrating.

I am now using a walking cane to help keep me mobile and out and about but at times this is also quite challenging as I really cannot rely on my hearing to pick up hidden dangers.

Over time, I have become more of a recluse and this does not help my depression; however, whenever I do have plans to head out of the house, I am besieged with anxiety that have oftentimes kept me house bound more times than not.

I “retired” from the workforce over four years ago.  At first, it was nice. Now, I’m so tired of staring at the walls and of being so isolated and uninvolved.  The internet has helped but I need to actually get out more. The challenge is finding things and ways to go about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Forget: Looking Back (a 9/11 story)

September 11, 2001. 

The day that changed America.

I know it changed me, and my perspective on the duality of mankind (evil vs. good).

I’m finding it difficult to believe that it’s been eighteen years when it feels like it just happened.  Even now, certain images or sounds still evoke all those terrifying feelings and thoughts I had on that fateful day.

An airplane flying over my house.  A fireman on a street corner.  Any high rise structure.

It took me sixteen years to step back on a plane.  I have flown a few more times since; however I am still unable to shake the uneasiness that disaster can strike at any given moment.

In 2017, the events of 9/11 continued to haunt me so I decided to write a micro-story and eventually turned it into a video, The Bench. In a way, I did this to try and purge some of the feelings of intense sadness and of the anger over what we all had lost that day. I wrote this from a fireman’s perspective drawing upon a specific story I saw on one of the many 9/11 documentaries.

 

 

The actual photo that inspired my story:

(Someone took the iconic picture of a fireman sitting on the bench when he couldn’t find his wife anywhere)

Article detailing his story — Husband and Wife Survive World Trade Center on 9/11

Although his story had a happier ending, I wrote my story with the thought of so many others who’d lost their loved ones. And even worst, never to have their remains found.

 

My Story

 

9/11 had a profound effect on me. For several months afterward, I struggled with depression.

Perhaps in part it had to do with the fact I am from New York state. Born and raised upstate, my hometown was about five hours north of the Big Apple.  I’d spent time among those enormous high rises (yes, including the Twin Towers), roamed many of its streets, and walked along the boardwalks admiring great ships of war.

My husband and I had just relocated from New York to Raleigh, North Carolina in May of 2001.  I’d flew on an American Airline plane back to New York in July for my sister’s wedding.

On that day, a Tuesday, I was a teller working for RBC Centura in one of their branches near REX hospital (only a few short miles from the RDU airport).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annette, another teller, was there initially as we got ready to open the bank. But just before opening, she received a phone call that her grandmother was taken to the ER so she had to leave.

It was a few minutes before opening, Waller, the branch manager, got a call on his cell from his mother to turn on the news.  A plane had crashed into one of the Towers.  We quickly went back to the break room and turned on the small television and sure enough, we could see plumes of smoke rolling out of the North Tower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first thought was that a commercial plane had accidentally hit the Tower.

An accident. That’s all it was.

With that, we opened the bank for the day.

As there were no customers yet, I rushed back to the break room to continue following the breaking news when I witnessed the second plane hitting South Tower.

I’d felt like something had knocked the wind out of me as I found myself holding my breath unable to take another.

Oh my god…that was no accident.

When the third plane hit Pentagon less than 20 minutes later, I was thinking, my god, we’re under attack.

My heart was racing. I couldn’t help but wonder – where will they hit next?

Unbeknowst to me at the time, my brother, Rick, was working that very morning at the American Airlines Southeastern Reservation Center in Cary, NC.  He personally knew the coworker who took that agonizing call by one of the flight attendants (Betty Ong) from Flight 11 (the plane that hit the North Tower). But when the call initially came in (between 8 and 8:30am), no one (including him) except for the supervisors knew of the tragic events unfolding.  The coworker was told to keep the call discreet as not to spread panic through the center.  Unfortunately, no one was able to get help in time for her and the passengers of Flight 11.  Rick said that this coworker was so distraught, they had to resigned.

It was sometime before 10am when I began hearing that the FAA were grounding all flights. I also remember hearing that all planes were accounted for…all except for one. That one, Flight 93, crashed in Pennsylvania.

Throughout this whole first hour of being opened, not one single customer came to the branch.  The main phone did not ring. At. All.

I was still the only teller.  Annette was gone.  Remi, the part timer, wasn’t due in for another hour. Throughout this entire building there were only myself and the branch manager.

It felt so eerily strange.

Up to this point, I was feeling a little frantic and unnerved, but managed to keep myself together.

A little before 10am,  I decided to go back and check on the news for any new information and watched disbelievingly as the South Tower collapsed.

 

Oh. My. God. Did I just see an entire high rise crumble to the ground?  How was that even possible?

Less than 30 minutes later, North Tower fell.

There was a loud buzzing in my head as my mind tried to decipher all that had happened. This was such craziness! Who would do such horrific acts?

I was stunned.  I was afraid. Then I became angry.

Whoever was responsible, needed to pay for all those lives lost.

I was so livid, I really wanted to smash something.

Anything.

The phone rang.

It was my husband, Jay, who’s a teller at another bank across town. A former soldier who fought in Desert Storm in 1991, it was his calm voice that snapped me back from the edge I was about to fall from.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

I had to take several deep breaths before I could answer, “Yes.”

After all that had happened up to this point, the bank decided to keep their branches opened; but the rest of the day was a blur for me.  I don’t remember if Remi ever did come in.  I’m sure he did. I do remember the only two customers who came.  One of them took the drive-through, the former owner and CEO of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Everything felt so surreal.  I couldn’t tell if I was awake or asleep. I suppose I was in shock, but I can remember the utter relief I felt when we finally locked the doors, and seeing my husband waiting in the parking lot.

Thank god, I can finally get away from here!

For the next week or so, the skies over us were empty. Silent. The RDU airport nearby was practically barren of all life.  Rick was given nearly a week off before returning to the Reservation Center.

Our lives, everything, had changed forever.

Feeling secured in our country had only been an illusion.

Even today, I can’t help looking over my shoulder every once in a while for the next disaster to strike.

 

What about you? Where were you on September 11, 2001? How did that day change your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#IWSG #Writing #Writerslife Where I’d Love To Write My Next Story

This month’s question for IWSG (for more  info on the Insecure Writer’s Support Group click here): If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

 

There are so many places around the world I’d love to visit and use as inspiration for a story; but, I kept going back to one general area.

Adirondack Mountains. 

And a place where I would write that story?

Mirror Lake Inn. 

These mountains are where I grew up. A place I will always call home no matter where I live. It’s a place where my heart and soul are constantly longing to return to. And it’s a place I haven’t been back to for twenty years.

*Sigh*

Mirror Lake Inn is a resort located in Lake Placid.

Lake Placid, New York
Site of 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Placid is a quaint but magical village just a short seventeen miles from my childhood home.

Downtown Lake Placid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And why Mirror Lake Inn?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I grew up in the area, I’ve always heard how great this place was.  And being a resort, I’d love to come here where all my needs are met so I can focus on the writing while basking in the beauty of my surroundings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judging from the pics, this place is gorgeous!

Spending a week here would do wonders for my muse and for my mental health. I’d be outdoors every moment of the day for sure!  Best time to visit?  These mountains are simply breathtaking in the fall so that would be my first choice.

Can I afford this?

Mmm, at this point, not really. But who says I can’t dream about visiting one day?

*Sigh*

 

 

(I apologize if you see huge gaps in between images and paragraphs.  WordPress won’t allow me to format them any closer).

 

Nightingale #Poetry #Spoken #Poem

This short poem was written for a group on Facebook – WE PAW Bloggers

 

 

 

 

Nightingale

 

The nightingale weeps a lonely song

Its mournful tune filling the forest

Splintering every branch and bark

While shedding pieces of a broken heart

As beacon for its lost mate

(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.