Category Archives: My Experiences

I’m here!

It’s tough juggling all kinds of tasks and activities, as you’re probably aware of in your own life. And, it seems the more social media sites that go up, the thinner my time spreads. While I know it’s important to stay connected in as many ways as I possibly can, I spend the majority of my time writing my stories, researching good places to send them too, and taking care of my family, and I’ll bet you’re just the same!

It’s hard to figure out how to spend each minute of the day, and I promise you, I am doing my very best. Like you, I have a lot of issues demanding my attention, but ultimately, I’m a writer and I must write, not just to get words on the paper, but to purge my mind and soul, and bleed the whisperings of my heart onto the pages.

Right now, I’m finishing up a Flash Fiction piece for the upcoming MashStories Competition, I’m working on a piece of fiction for my website here, I have a horror Short Story in progress for another upcoming Competition, I’m cutting down a 4000 word Short Story to 3000 words so I’m basically deconstructing it and putting it all back together for yet another Competition, and still researching Agents for my Memoir, all the while inching slowly forward on two WIP full-length novels and an untitled horror Novella that’s approaching novel status. That’s a lot to juggle around my Westie, Angel, my family and this piddly thing I call extra curricular activities such as, going out to dinner, or spending the night out with friends! Like you, I’m one busy girl, but you know what? I like it like that!

Pop back often to see what other craziness my life is full of, and in the meantime, you stay your glorious you, because I’m Just Me . . .

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Anchored, but not sunk

morguefile sailboatAnchors away . . .

 

Every December 1st of every single year, I feel as if an anchor weighs me down. Not just the physical aspects of time constraints during the holidays, but mental and emotional as well, and it’s something I must learn to figure out and squelch, because it’s so damned hard to wrap my head around jumping back into writing.

 

The other week, I read a quote that said, “You can tell the difference between an experienced Writer and an inexperienced one, because the experienced Writer writes every day in spite of what’s going on around them, or whether or not they’re having an ‘off’ day, and the inexperienced Writer puts off writing.” Well, I’ve come to realize I am the latter, and I really need to figure out how to not allow the holidays to derail me or weigh me down. And, I dislike that about me, I really do. I get so darned busy at the holidays, just like everybody else does, but I let it weight me to the point where I put my writing on the back burner and allow the busyness of the holidays to take control. I must learn how to take control and not stop writing. It hurts and shames me to admit this, but just like in anything else, recognizing there’s a problem is the first step towards correcting and resolving the issue, and so, I’m discussing this publicly as a sort of confession, public shame even, I suppose, in the hopes that I can turn myself around by the next major holiday season. And so, I’m working on it.

 

I always knew the Spring, Summer and most of the Fall seasons are my prime writing times, and I well know why too, I can sit outside and write in peace and solitude.  I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but I live in a very full household where there’s lots of visitors for medical reasons and goings-on. There are four other women here (all family), and my little dog, Angel, who, for the record is extremely high maintenance in himself, but all that to say, it’s a busy household. During the colder months, I find it a challenge where to go to write that’s not only a comfortable space for me, but a peaceful one too. I don’t expect anyone not to have their conversations or their visitors and the like, but my mind has no peace and I haven’t anywhere to go to disconnect from the internal house noise and happenings and so I find myself floundering at a crucial writing time. Crucial because I want to have back lists of my stories ready to roll for submissions in the prime seasons. And, just so you understand, it’s not an excuse to stop writing, but because of my O.C.D., when the world around me is chaotic, when my surroundings are chaotic and messy, my mind is chaotic and I can’t think straight and I can’t write straight. That is, putting two words together that make sense to me is a challenge. It’s already hard enough to write when afflicted with O.C.D., always fiddling with this and fussing with that, and if you have it, I’m sure you can relate. I eventually finish all my projects; it just takes me a little longer to write, “The End,” but I DO get to the ending, and the bright side is, there’s less to edit when I reach the end of a story, novella or novel. I’s bad enough writing with O.C.D., but it’s even worse getting sidelined, or rather, allowing myself to get sidelined due to the holidays, and it’s after, when I’m floundering; when I’m moored at the dock with my anchor dug deep into the sands of stillness and infertility, my sails flat and dormant because I’ve been away from my writing for a month or more and I’m trying to force myself to start again, it’s harder than bedrock to get my momentum up again when there’s so much noise around me stuck inside a busy household with nowhere to really go.

 

A couple of friends suggested I go outside of the house to a coffee shop or the library to write and although those are great suggestions, they do not work for me, since my lil’ Angel has a decidedly strict feeding schedule because of the health issues he’s always had. I need to be close at hand to my responsibilities so I don’t place my workload on others in the house who have enough of their own responsibilities to meet.  In the long run, I’ll figure it all out, I always do. I just needed to vent a bit, and I suppose, confess. Eventually what will happen is what happens every year. I’ll find a way to block out the noise and the busy and get back to business. It happens just like that every year, it’s just that I’ve been noticing it’s taking me longer and longer to do that each time I run through this awful cycle, so I need to break the cyclic nature of my O.C.D. and maintain my writing life, because that is what it is for me – my life – and it sustains me like nothing else, (aside from my Angel), which puts another spin on this terrible cycle. If I’m not writing, I’m not really breathing; if I’m not creating, I’m not really living. I get extremely grumpy when I’m not writing because for me, it’s my outlet. It’s my haven where I run to when my world turns gray and dark. I know that writing outside allows me to disconnect from the household with little distraction, yet still be close by in case I’m needed, but since it’s cold outside, I must find a place of no distraction inside until the weather breaks.

 

I’ve tried writing in my bedroom where my desk is, and I hope I can help you understand this, but, I can’t work where I sleep. It makes me feel icky, like when I’m sick, stuck in my pajamas because I feel too awful to get dressed, and squirreled away in my room and I don’t care for that feeling at all. That’s another part of my O.C.D.. It’s the same as having different foods touching on my plate; I can’t deal with it. No, I don’t holler and go ballistic, I  just rearrange things on my plate, and until I do, I can’t begin eating. If the foods are touching . . . well, I just can’t have it happen when I can control the situation by simply moving things around a bit. And I suppose that’s what I’m doing now that the holidays are over and needing to get back to writing my stories. I’m rearranging things in my head and trying out different spaces in the house looking for a place where I can find the outward and internal peace to write. That isn’t to say I’m not writing at all. I am, somewhat; I’m writing this blog at this moment at least, but it’s not enough to sustain me, and it’s not enough to satisfy me either. I need, have to get back to the lands of my fertile imagination and full-time writing or I’m going to burst! So, while I’m standing on the deck of my writers’ boat puffing away at the sail like I’m blowing on a dandelion, hoping to fill it with wind, I try to keep myself immersed at least, in learning new ways to enhance my trade and praying for early warm days to arrive so I can go outside and disconnect from the mundane and go back to my make-believe land of magic and fantasy. In the meantime, I’m going to keep puffing into my sails and pray I find an Island inside the house where I can frolic in unknown, uncharted lands unabated and finally pull the anchor up and set sail across the sea of my imagination.

 

lavaflows

by Tahoe1231

How many times have you heard someone say to you, “I could write a book,” or, “I always wanted to write a book. How hard can it be?”

Let me answer that last in one word. “Hard.”

The truth is, nearly everyone has a book inside him or her. It’s what you choose to do with that information that makes you a writer, or no. With writing, it’s more than just having the story inside you, and it’s more than just having a desire to tell your story. It’s much more than having an understanding of grammar, spelling, punctuation usage, sentence structure, syntax, descriptive vocabulary, pagination, styles, and formats and so many other things that make a sentence a sentence, a story, a story, and a book, a book.

Writing a story, or a book is hard work. There are a thousand things that must stay in your mind as you describe your story. Notice I didn’t say, ‘tell.’ You’ve heard that old adage; show your story, don’t tell, haven’t you? It’s the type of story we all challenge ourselves to write; one that shows the vividness of the story, not just tells the story with uninteresting words that lie flat on the page. We writer’s want our stories to engage our readers, to draw them into our stories and dare I say it, even become one of the characters in our stories. We writers want our readers to feel our stories and to remember them, eat at them, and then talk to all their friends about them. And the sad fact is, nearly every writer starts out by telling their stories that are swirling around in their minds, instead of showing their stories. Now me? I write as the lava flows. Let me tell you what I mean by that.

When I first began to write many years ago, I wrote crap. I did. And, that was okay. Because that’s pretty much how all writer’s start out, writing trash. Nary have a few of us written fluidly and poetically with descriptive vocabulary flowing from our minds and through our fingertips to our pens or laptops. There may be savants that pick up pen and tablet and write perfectly the first time, but I’m not one of those people, and neither are most of us. Most writer’s start out just like I have, writing trash, crap, or garbage. But that’s a part of the joy of writing for me, learning to become better. As time goes on, and I continue to write, I find the greatest joy in growing, pushing myself to be a better writer, and it’s a feeling like no other when people who’ve been reading my stories tell me they see tremendous growth from my first story to the stories I write today. It’s quite an exhilarating head rush. All that said, here’s how I identify with the lava flow.

Imagine a volcano, and that the stories I have inside me are the magma in its core. The magma comes bubbling up to the surface and percolates there for a while until the pressure inside the core builds to a crescendo and forces the magma over the rim of the volcano. This is when I’m compelled to write my story. As the magma spills its viscous glowing fire over the rim of the crater, all the words I’ve written in my story lie on the ground down and around the sides of the volcano, and many of my words are good, but some are crap, and like I’ve said, “that’s okay,” because as the lava begins to flow slowly over the words I’ve written, it scorches them and burns them to ashes, editing out those that aren’t very good and polishing the surfaces of those that are strong enough to withstand the fire.

After the slow process of burning the words, and editing out those that needed to burn is finished, I climb back up on top of the hardened lava to the crater and allow the lava to flow again and again. In the end, when the lava flows cease and harden into landscape, what I have left is a sparkling manuscript that is as fluid as the lava and shined to perfection that will withstand the test of time. Now that’s what I mean when I say, “I write as the lava flows.”

Hiya!

I know I need to get something new on here and it’s coming, I promise, but these last five days I’ve been working on a new novella of horror fiction based on a recurring nightmare I’ve had over the last ten years or so, and which at this very second stands at 12353 words and is in an extremely fertile place at the moment, and I can’t let up on the pulse. I don’t want to lose it while I’ve got it, and so, I’m going back in!

Short Stories, Novellas and Novels, Oh MY!

This year alone, I’ve completed a humorous Memoir, two novella’s and nine short stories and I have two novels in progress, plus I edited a full-length novel for a close friend and I’ve been submitting short stories and flash fiction to competitions, so it’s been a busy year so far, and all that while, I’m living as normal a life as possible, just like every one else. To say, I love what I do would be the understatement of the year, because I far more than love it. I eat, breathe, sleep, and even shower with it and I don’t regret any of it. I find it takes a great deal of commitment to write daily and a ton of discipline, and I take the greatest joy in having deadlines. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to share with you what I’m learning while writing in different genre’s and different styles as I travel along in this journey.

I’ll begin with the short stories, and I’ll tell you why I love writing them so much. At first, the process was frightening to me. Always being a wordy creature ever since I was a teensy child I thought I’d find it difficult to write something with a boundary, in most cases, of three-thousand words. If you’re a writer, you know how limiting that can be, because it is, but here’s the thing; a beautiful full-length story focused on a single issue can be shown in just three-thousand words. And it doesn’t have to sound contrived. The organic process can flow just as easily here as it can in a full-length novel. The only difference is, the writing of short stories literally forces you to think about what the story is, and what it isn’t. There’s no room for the fluffy stuff if it isn’t necessary and there’s no room for useless words. It commands you to narrow your focus on the main intention of your story and for whom the story is about and what’s their final outcome, and it forces you to cut those people or things that the story isn’t about. And it can be as melodious or restricted as you choose; that is to say, it can be a beautifully painted portrait of your character and his or her dilemma, or starkly written and succinct. It’s your choice. And I love too that I can play with multiple genre’s here. So far, I’ve done human interest fiction, horror, supernatural, Christian fiction and non-fiction as well, and it’s a fantastic feeling to have so many choices.

I’ve taken stories I’ve written that were much longer than three-thousand words, some as many as six-thousand words, and cut them to bare bones. Continue reading

WOWZA!

Wow, what a ride!

Over the course of the last few months I’ve been furiously working on my humorous memoir, ‘TTITC’ and I’m happy, no, exhilarated to say, “It. Is. Finished.” I wrote the last word two days ago and I still can’t breathe. Though to tell you the truth, I didn’t think I would feel so sad over it at the same time. I’m happy and ecstatic, true, but those emotions are tinged with a feeling of sadness. Perhaps this is a natural reaction in saying farewell to a book that I’ve nurtured and coddled over the last six or seven years. One that I’ve cried and laughed over, hated and loved, treated carefully and ignored for months on end, but in the end, one that I always came back to. Working day and night, many a night burning the midnight oil over and not truly knowing if I’d ever finish or not. I don’t really know, beings it’s the first full-length novel I’ve completed and one that is so intensely and personally connected to me. And so I wonder, is this a normal reaction?

It seems to me like it’s taken a very long time to finish and I think part of it was my fear of finishing it. I think I became complacent with it, because I wanted to have something to love and not love at the same time, and it gave me something to feel excited over and yet complain about every day, but it also gave me motivation knowing I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t finish it. Perhaps I’m feeling sad over writing the last word because I have to find a way to let go of my child? Because that’s what the books and stories I write are, children. I’ve loved and nurtured my stories just like I’ve done for my human children, and it took years to get them (my human children) to a place of independence so I’m guessing it might be the same for a book or story that I’ve created and bore from my creative pool!

So now I find I must figure out how to let it go and move on to the next chapter (pun intended) of my writing life which is already in progress with a horror fiction I’ve been working on. I’ve been looking forward to getting back to those friends of mine who have been patiently waiting for me while I finished the memoir, and now with ‘TTITC’ finally finished I can turn my full and undivided attention back to them and their lives! I look forward to getting reacquainted with the friends I have there, and I hope they are willing to move forward with me once again. That is to say, I hope I have the chops to change gears and move from the memoir into the fiction and do it well. I’m pretty certain it’s going to be a painless transition, I just need to do some heavy reviewing and get my mind back to that temperament and I can’t wait to see how the horror fiction turns out!

Continue reading

Resurrecting Blog!

“Okay everyone, on my mark. Ready with the paddles? Clear!” PaCHA.
Blogs body jumps with the jolt, but remains lifeless.
“Again! Ready? Clear!” PaCHA.
Blogs body jumps yet again, but still nothing is happening.
“One more time. Ready? Clear!” PaCHA.
“Okay, that’s great everyone. Good job! I think Blog’s got a pulse now, and welcome back . . .”

I know I’ve been away for quite awhile and there’s no excuse, but you knew I’d be back, didn’t you? Of course you did. Well, here I am. My apologies to you all if you have missed me. I’ll give you a brief rundown. Life happened. Life handed me too many curve balls to keep up with since last Summer and something had to give and my social platforms were the targets, especially my Twitter and blogging habits, but the good news is, I’ve dealt with all that was handed to me, successfully, might I add and now I’m here again, and it’s good to be back!

So you know, I didn’t give up on everything, I’ve kept up with my writing and in fact, I’ve written quite a few short stories during my absence from you and the most exciting thing is, I’ve worked diligently writing and reworking my humorous memoir ‘TTITC’ and it is nearly finished. One little epilogue to write and few little surprise additions to go into the book, a line edit through a few of the most recent chapters and then it will be completed! And can I tell you how excited I am about this? Now I simply need to do a bit of research and more importantly, grow a pair of testicles to actually send my book to people! This is all new and uncharted territory for me, and I don’t mind telling you, I’m scared to death. But don’t you worry. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. After all, I’ve figured out how to get from a blank page to the end of my first almost completed book through trial and error, learning and then learning some more, and in many cases through sheer terror, filled with doubts and self-criticism and lots of bleeding on my pages. I’ve learned the hard way, if I’m going to write, I’m going to bleed – a lot! Which is what I’ve been doing. Bleeding the truth as I know it, bleeding emotion as I feel it and continuing to work through all of it!

My other novel, the horror fiction is still in progress though I took a hiatus from it to concentrate on my memoir since it’s been a WIP for the last six or seven years, and truth told, its time has come to move on from it, and since I can’t leave something unfinished, ever, I have no choice within me but to finish it and I’m glad, ecstatic I’m doing just that! Though I’m chomping at the bit to get back to the horror fiction. Ideas and more plot comes to me daily and if I’m being honest, I miss my friends that are waiting for me in there. Soon.

Once I’m back to that one full-time, I have another that I need to start, again. There’s a book in me, and I’ve shared with you about it once before, that I had written a very long time ago and was counseled to burn, which if you remember, I did like an idiot, but the story remains in me so it must be one I have to tell, and I will. It seems that I can’t ever write just one thing at a time! I know it would be better for me if I could learn how to do that, scale down to just one WIP, but I have to tell you, I don’t roll that way and there are reasons for it which I think I’ll address in another blog. It’ll be a bit scary to share those reasons with you, but so you’ll understand why I always seem to have two full-length novels and a short story or two going on at the same time, I ought to share, and I hope that it will help some other soul out there struggling with the same issues, so look for that in an upcoming Blog of mine.

For now, know that I’m working hard for my passion, for my craft, for me and remember I write the way I write, and I roll the way I roll because . . . I’m Just Me.

Close Encounters With ‘MY” Mashed Potatoes In Two Parts

Last night, I had an epiphany for a new short story, and I’m very excited about this! It isn’t that I don’t have ideas for stories all the time, because I do. No. The epiphany came because, well, I realized my mashed potatoes are finally looking ‘right’ to me!

Do you remember the movie, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind?’ Remember the scene where Richard Dreyfus was building a plate full of mashed potatoes trying to make something he knew in his spirit was correct, but couldn’t put into words, or a plate of mashed potatoes what it was he was trying to show to his wife? Well, last night, I was playing the role of Richard Dreyfus!

A few years ago, I gained knowledge of a place that I know inside of me is real, and yet, in a sense, not real at the same time. Inside of me, I know what it is I want to show you, but I can’t quite make it connect with my words, because I realize, there are no words to describe the essence of that place. For years, I have been trying to find a word that encapsulates the essence of that realm, and maybe I’m not intelligent enough to come up with a description for it. I write, and write about it, but no mere words that I have in my arsenal, or in Webster’s Dictionary can capture what that place is, or to be more exact, what it isn’t. My words are inadequate. I almost feel as though I need to create a new word that will enable me to share the essence of that world, but I haven’t stumbled upon it, or thought of it yet. I’m still working on it, and I’m not going to give up until I find it, and tell the World what I know of that place. Can you say, “tortured Artist?” I know! Talk about obsessive, right? But, that’s me, and I’ve been on a quest for a word, or phrase, something that would capture the essence of that realm, and dang it, I’m going to do it!

Now, all of that to say, last night, as I was talking to my family about this other place I know of, I realized, I’ve been trying to make my mashed potatoes look right so that I can capture the true essence of that realm, and now, remember when Richard Dreyfus finally saw ‘Devils Tower’ (that thing he was trying to build out of his mashed potatoes) with his own eyes for the first time? How it clicked in his spirit that he wasn’t crazy? That the place he sought to show to his wife truly existed? He was vindicated and relieved to know Devils Tower was a real physical place he was being led to, and it was the place where the Alien’s were going to land their Spaceship!

No. I’m not talking about Alien’s here in my World, but the example is befitting the torture I’ve endured in trying to show a picture of this ‘World’ I know of. It does sound a little Sci-Fi, Supernatural, doesn’t it? And . . . well, maybe it’s part of both of those genres! I’m supposing that’s okay, though what I want to tell you are all these years, I’ve been trying to come up with a description of what that place looks like, and show you what it ‘feels’ like there, or to be more exact, what it doesn’t feel like there, and I realized I’ve known all along! And therein is my epiphany! I’ve always known a description for it, because it’s been inside of me all along.

Well now, doesn’t that feel great?

Now here’s the second part of my mashed potatoes, and something that doesn’t feel so great:

When people assume you are not a Writer simply because you haven’t had anything published . . . yet. Irks me to no end. Having a published novel is my mashed potato! I’m working on it, and building my mound of potatoes daily. It’s a small wonder why those who are just starting out in this crazy Artistic world have little confidence, and doubt themselves continually.

Here’s how that would sound:

You: “Hi! So, what do you do for a living?”
Me: “Hi to you! I’m a Writer!”
You: “Oh wow, that’s so cool. Would I have read anything of yours?”
ME: “Well, no. I haven’t had anything published yet, but I’m working towards it.”
YOU: “Oh. Well . . .”

And then comes the self-doubt that an unpublished Writer endures, simply because they haven’t reached that apex yet.

Why is it that most individuals feel that if a Writer isn’t published, they aren’t truly a Writer? Doesn’t the act of writing every day, or as often as one has time for, qualify them, in fact, justify them, to call themselves a Writer?

I struggle every day to squeeze time in for writing. There are days, like yesterday, when I spend thirteen hours at my laptop, writing, and really digging into my story, my piece of Art, enjoying every second of it, and then there are those days when I eke out whatever time I can to get a sentence or two written. But that’s a sentence or two more than I had the day before! Hey? Guess what? I’m writing! Guess what else? That makes me a Writer! Published or not!

Unfortunately, my worst days are the days when I don’t have an hour to spend devoted to my craft. Those are trying, sad days for me. I can’t stand the thought of not writing. (I know, that’s a double negative, but it seems appropriate here, if inaccurate.) I feel empty inside when I can’t get fingers to keys, or pen to paper, but you want to know something else? Even on those days I’m not actively writing, I’m still playing with words, names, phrases, plots, themes, story boards, grammar and so on in my head. Sometimes I create little mnemonics to help me remember things I want to add to my stories that I may not have time to jot down before I forget.

Then there are those days I sit to write, and I sit, and I sit and stare at a blinking accusing cursor, urging me to write something, anything, and nothing comes out that seems correct or appropriate for my stories. So, rather than allow that cursor to frustrate me because I’m having an ‘off’ day and feel blocked, I go and learn something related to my craft, and then I feel a little better knowing I didn’t waste my day doing nothing but staring at an accusatory cursor. But guess what? I’m still learning, working, and maybe not doing the act of writing itself, but I’ve immersed myself in the realm, in the Art of writing, and for me, that still makes me a Writer.

And, because of all of that, I’m growing stronger in my craft daily. I love the act itself, of creating something out of nothing, and building my mashed potatoes! And then to have people enjoy what I wrote, well, there’s no greater feeling that I’ve found than seeing the emotion I’ve injected into my story reflected in someone’s eyes, on their face, or laughing aloud because of the words I have written. Talk about satisfaction and validation! And I’m growing in confidence every day.

That’s not to say, I still don’t have doubts, because, I do. Many of them. But here’s the thing I’m learning about doubting my own work and ability; that doubt causes me to reexamine something I’ve written and rework it a little bit to make it better than it was before. I’m learning to use the doubts I feel to improve myself as a Writer, and the stories that I’m writing. So, take that ‘doubt’! In your face!

Now, doesn’t that sound like a Writer to you? It does to me. And maybe I’m not published yet, but I’m working on it, because that’s what I do, since . . . I’m just me!

Aren’t We Supposed To?

I was recently told ‘I think too much.’ Aren’t we supposed to be thinking? Digesting? Conversing? Communicating? And thinking some more? Isn’t that the silliest statement ever? I mean, think about it?

I think so. I think thinking is the only way to resolve issues, make decisions, live our lives wholly. Thinking is the basic core of ourselves. Without thoughts, how does one know anything? Without thinking, how does anyone ever solve an issue, create a new product, or write a book? Wars have been started because someone didn’t think of the consequences. People have died, because no one thought about the cost of a life. Without thinking, how does anyone put one foot in front of the other and decide to take a step; either backwards or forward? One must think about which direction to travel. Don’t you think? Do you agree?

And so, I’ve been thinking.

It’s been an interesting year so far. As of today, a great deal of eye-opening conclusions have been drawn. And why? Because I have been thinking. I’ve been dealing with a great deal of conflict as of late, and the only way I can muster the energy to climb out from under my fluffy, warm comforter on my bed, is to think about how I’m going to deal with my day. I have to think about whether I want to keep my head down for the day, and stay under the radar, or confront an issue head-on. Lately, I’ve been choosing the under the radar method, and it seems to be working, at least for the time being, I think. However, that’s a diatribe for another time; the whole ‘under the radar’ thing. But here’s what I’ve been digesting, or, if you will, thinking about…

Thinking has given me the option to know what it is I want for myself, and more importantly, what it is I don’t want! I don’t want to not write! I know. That’s a double negative, but you get my point, yes? I see the steps laid out clearly before me to get to where I want to go with my life, and I see the steps I don’t want to follow. Does that even make any sense to you? The thing of it is, every day, I start off thinking.

At first, my head tells me- why in the hell would you want to sit at a blank screen all day, and write a book that no one will ever read because you’re not good enough to tell the story?
And then I say back to myself, “I am a good storyteller. I’m a great Writer. I’m intelligent, creative, funny, deep, emotional, connected to my center of being, and I am good enough, no, better than good enough to write a book and tell my story!”
And then my mind shoots back, “Who are you fooling? You’re an idiot, blah, blah, blah…”
And then I realize that negative thinking is still thinking, but it’s negative, and I don’t have to listen to that garbage! I spend half my day telling myself, thinking to myself- I can do this, I can do this, I can… I am doing this, I am doing this, I am…

It’s a difficult struggle, and one that I battle with every single day, and one that I overcome by mid-morning, and then wake up the next morning to do all over again.

I’ve come to realize this through thinking too…
I understand why I write. It’s not because I have a lot to say, I mean, I do, of course, but, it’s more because I want to understand what it is I am saying. What I’m feeling. And I want to understand what I feel, but maybe am not saying. Writing does that for me. It clarifies my thoughts. It gives me an insight into my deeper self, and even if my story is fiction, there’s still a piece of me, a part of my soul in those sentences, and I understand that what I’m writing through my fiction is my unspoken dreams, my hopes, my memories, my deepest darkest fears, nightmares I haven’t been able to consciously digest, people that I don’t feel connected to, or understand, and those I do. It’s all of my relationships in the characters I create, and all of the relationships I long for but haven’t found yet, and all of the relationships I never want to find. Do you understand what I’m saying?

For an example, in my book of horror fiction, one of my main protagonists is a man named Niki, and one that I have been looking for my entire lifetime. I haven’t found him in the real world yet, but he does exist now, even if he exists only in my book. And I can say with absolute certainty, I love him. I love the idea of him. I love his quirks and idiosyncrasies, his look, his tender spirit, his bravery, the way he speaks, the way his eyes sparkle when he smiles, and the sunshine that radiates from his face when he does. I love his imperfections and his humanness. I love everything about him. Is it unreasonable to think that that man truly does exist? I don’t think that’s far-fetched at all! Do I expect a man like that to come waltzing into my life? Maybe. Maybe not, but I’m hopeful. But even if I never get to meet the real Niki who’s probably out there somewhere, if he never comes into my life in the flesh, I realize I have met him because I’ve created him!

And no, I’m not crazy, or off the wall. I write because I have this need to create something out of nothing. I write to understand all the parts of me. I write to create a person who represents some part of my psyche, my make-up. I write to tell myself a story. Do I want other people to read my stories? Sure. What writer doesn’t? But I don’t live to write for my readers, I live to write for the sake of creating! I write to understand myself on a deeper level, and I have to think before I’m able to do that, so, thinking isn’t a terrible thing after all, is it? Aren’t we supposed to think?

Maybe the person who made that statement to me ought to realize that in thinking, there is creativity. Maybe what you perceive me as being a negative thinker, has nothing to do with you at all. Maybe I’m thinking through my own self-doubts, thinking about my next sentence, or my next step on this journey, maybe I’m thinking of how terrifying this all is to me and I’m thinking of ways to push myself to keep doing it day after day, and without a safety net to catch me if I should fall flat on my face. Maybe if everyone thought a bit more, there would be less conflict in our lives.

I think thinking is a good thing to think about, and I’m going to keep thinking because… I’m Just Me!

Sharing Just a Skosh, and Then Some . .

Okay. I know I’ve been absent for a few weeks, but, as with everyone else, life is busy, as usual. I won’t bore you with all the tasks which begged for attention, and all the issues that have cropped up, but there is one very special task I’ve been tending to, which to me, is one of the most important of all, and that’s my ‘works in progress’! Yes. I said, “works.” I’m not going to share the title of these two books just yet. I’m not ready to fully unveil or disclose them at this time, but I’ll tell you a bit about each, and, to the one which is a humorous memoir, I’ve given an acronym. And that is, ‘TTITC’. I know you don’t understand what it stands for, and for now, that’s okay, but I have no doubt that when the title is shared, you will enjoy it!

Let me start with the book that has the farthest to go, and is taking the back burner temporarily, solely for the purpose of allowing me time to finish final edits on TTITC.

This novel is a story of fiction in the horror genre, or at least, I think I have the chops to make it really and truly ‘horror'(fying). I think I do, but I suppose that will come down to you Dear Reader, and you will tell me whether or not you think it worthy of that classification. I have quite a way to go in that story and I’m only on chapter eight. And that is only the bare bones of it. Of course, being the anal retentive perfectionist I am, I’m re-writing and finagling as I go along, which, as you know if you are a Writer, eats up more time. So, loooooong way to go.

The horror is about an unusual Witch, who has multiple gifts, and multiple enemies! I know every great story has antagonists, but this poor auburn-haired Witch doesn’t just have one or two antagonists, but a whole Coven full of them; twelve to be exact, all belonging to ‘The Children Of The Light.’ And all because she did something naughty! At least in the their eyes she did. Don’t let the name of the Coven fool you either, these women are anything other than filled with light! And it’s not just her they come against, but anyone who gets in their path.

There are also a few protagonists other than the auburn-haired Witch; everyone needs supporting actors, and then, many minor characters and locations. The story is set in Philadelphia, PA., which happens to be my hometown and one that I miss. I’ve managed to incorporate a little of Philly’s reality into my make-believe scenery from the realm of my imagination. There are twists and turns, multiple plots with strands going here and there and then tie-up nicely with a surprise ending!

I know I really haven’t told you much, have I? I have my reasons, the main one is simply because my story is only at chapter eight, and anything can happen in between here and the end. I’m not an overly outline driven kind-of-gal. Oh, don’t you worry, I have one, I just don’t always adhere to its form. That is to say, if the story starts to go another direction, I’ll usually run with it! I know what it is that I want you to know, and those things I want to show you, and I know the scenes I have to have in the story to drive the plot to its successful and creepy finale, but what I don’t know in an outline, is about the little nuances the story develops on its own. In other words, what the story wants to show you, and I’m a-okay with that! I like when even I am surprised! I love when the sick and twisted, or the horrifying comes frothing to the top, rearing its ugly head and screams to be written! When my stories start to write themselves, and I’m simply the fingers the characters and plots use to get their words out, that to me, is the very best kind of writing! I don’t mind taking a back seat to my story, just so long as you, Dear Reader will enjoy it, and if you’re into the horror genre, I have every faith that you will!

Now because that story has a long way to go, I’ve decided to change gears a little bit, and concentrate on my memoir, which in reality, was my first book to begin with. Well, not really my first. There have been many stories written over my lifetime, just none that I; A: Either didn’t finish, and shelved entirely, or B: Grew bored with, and discarded, or just didn’t like or enjoy very much, or C: (And this is the really hurtful one, borne entirely from my own immaturity and stupidity..) Had a finished manuscript ready to be pitched and marketed, was counseled by some old, narrow-minded ninny who claimed to be my friend, and, because she didn’t like my subject matter because it offended her sensibilities, suggested that I “BURN” said manuscript, because she felt it was only therapeutic to my mental status to do so! And, I, believed that she, being an elder and mature Christian mentor to me in my Church home thought she knew best, and I burnt my beloved, my first, and entirely un-duplicatable -(I know that’s not a word, but it seems to be the only accurate one at the moment!)- book!!! BURNT it! To cinders.. ashes to ashes.. never to be written the same again.. !!!

Phew! Glad to get that off my chesticles. (Yes, yes, I know that’s not a word either, but ahem, this is my story I’m telling, so…) That’s been bugging me for twenty-some odd years! I’ve carried the guilt of burning my first fully-written book (my baby), the burden of my stupidity, the stress of trying to replicate it for two decades, and it sucks to admit, that I should have known better. Period. (Just warranted repeating.) Thank God and all that’s holy, that after all these years, I still possess and retain the only known proof that that book ever existed at all; I still have all of the character profiles I’d created back then. I remember exactly how the book opened in its first paragraph -your first sentence is not something you easily forget about, is it?- and I remember how the book ended, but, what I absolutely cannot remember, is the main body of that book! I sort of remember, but not quite. Yes, yes. I hear all of you out there reading and who are feeling my pain, screaming at me to not try to replicate it, but write something else with those profiles, and I’m going to scream back at you, “Don’t you think I’ve tried???” I have. Nothing seems to be good enough! Twenty plus years, twenty-plus new and different story plots, outlines, versions, and nada. Nothing. Zilch! Maybe one day, but today is not that day! It’s a pitiful and sad excuse, but that’s what I’ve been doing with my time for these twenty years, well, until four or five years ago anyway.

Ha! Do you see what I mean about not following outlines. I had no intention w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r of telling you any of that, but since this, the writing, and sometimes ranting of my blog is my therapy, I’m thinking maybe I needed to tell you that story, and I have to say, I do feel a bit better, thanks! Maybe that’s what I needed to find closure with the issue? Maybe.

Now, on to the humorous memoir, ‘TTITC’. This novel is an easier story for me to tell you about! I’ve been working at it on again, off again over the last four or five years, and the story is one that I have a love-hate relationship with. Actually, there are times when I hate myself for putting pen to paper, and then there are times when I feel it is well-deserved, and one that I know thousands of you out there can, and will relate to. I’m quite familiar with the impetus for this story which is not necessarily a good thing, but I try to find the silver lining in all situations, even when the issue itself may be wrought with tears, or anger, or disgust, and I prefer to laugh. So I’ve made something hysterical, to me at least, and to the others that have read or reviewed it, out of something that wasn’t really funny to begin with. Having told you that, you should know, each chapter in my story paints and portrays a different picture over the course of the novel and all culminates to a perfect conclusion!

And so, out of the ashes of a marriage, ‘TTITC’ was birthed! Like a Phoenix rising up from the cinders to a renewed life, so ‘TTITC’ has renewed my spirit, my way of thinking, and a renewed sight for my future!

A close personal friend of mine, Christopher Clawson, (you can find him here.http://christophereclawson.weebly.com/ ) a Published Author of ‘Bless Me Father,’ and ‘TheTrade,’ and has two WIP, sent me a text after he read ‘TTITC’ and described how he tried to read it to his partner, but was laughing so hard he cried, and had to have his partner read it for himself because he couldn’t see! He described ‘TTITC’ as “A read me on a nasty day, and don’t put me down until I’m finished book!” I am honored and grateful for his words!

Thanks for reading my meanderings. Remember, I write because, I’m Just Me…