Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Beginning at the end, an ending where we begin....

Tonight will mark the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. 2011 will be ushered in, fresh and expectant while 2010 will be carried out, feeble and worn.

It's strange, the need for the passing of time to be marked, by the hour, by the day, by the year..... Even if we never knew what a Wednesday was, the days would still pass. If we'd never known that today was the end of the year, we would never have been surprised or amazed at its passing.

This is also the time to mark other new beginnings--- the resolutions each person makes with themselves, whether spoken or unspoken, are laid out at the threshold of the new year (with every honest intention of carrying them through).
For some, they want to lose weight or lose a bad habit, like smoking...
For others, they want to gain something-- a promotion, a fat savings account....

Whether you want to lose something or add something, just the idea that you have taken the time to decide on something to change about yourself is t…

You'll shoot your eye out.... or, what I want for Christmas.....

In the inevitable struggle between parents and children--- between what the children know they want and what the parents know they need---between what the children deem worthy and what the parents deem unsafe--- there never has been, and never will be, a clear winner.

Christmas has always been a time of magic and miracles---especially for children. Their small lives revolve around what is happening immediately around them and what is happening immediately to them. So, something as magical as an unknown man bringing presents to their house while they sleep, only serves to convince these youngsters that miracles, do indeed, exist. Who wouldn't want someone to grant their innermost heart's desire? And, does it really matter if we know that someone? Does it really matter if anyone else gets what they want for Christmas, so long as we get what we want?

The split between the unbridled avarice and the true meaning of Christmas isn't easily argued between adults and children. Ther…

So many firsts....so much hope for seconds

I've placed in my first contest..... I've received my first prize-money check.....I've had my first interview...... and all of this from one small, 741-word flash fiction piece, Charon's Lament.

Had I known when I was writing and re-writing what I thought I would never be able to shave down below the 750-word max---that the piece and contest I almost gave up on---would land a 2nd place win, and on-line publication, I might have cursed my wordy sentences and my befuddled brain a little less.

There was a point, somewhere in the middle of one of those sleepless nights where I almost said, to hell with it. I almost tore my red-inked pages to shreds, almost slammed my laptop shut caring not to save whatever I had just typed, almost flopped back onto my bed--relishing the sour mood of defeat, which would have been far easier to endure. Almost. Almost.

What it was that kept me going, I don't know if I'll ever know. It certainly wasn't confidence in my writing abil…

And the identity of the person behind the mask is.....

Today my identity as a writer/author was confirmed and validated.

Knowing that the actual writing is what defines a writer is easy enough to say, but it is immensely more difficult to believe. I have been a writer since I was eleven years old because I have actually written since I was eleven years old. But, until today, I have never FELT like a writer.

Today, though, I received my prize money from the WOW! Women on Writing! contest in which my story placed 2nd. Today, I can call myself a writer.

It's horrible to think that it takes a piece of paper with my name on it to assure me that I am, in fact, a writer.

It's not enough that I have composed hundreds of poems, that I've written half a dozen novels, that I've created dozens of characters and given those characters names and lives of their own. It's not enough that I bleed ink from my veins.

I must have a single slip of paper---with writing on it that I did not compose myself---to give myself the name of writer…

And the after that follows......

Once again, I have come out of NaNoWrimo triumphant!

Triumphant, that is, as far as word count goes.

Year 4 found me completing my entry in a Baton Rouge hotel room. But, exactly what it is that I completed, I have not, as yet, figured out. I squeaked out a 50,023-word victory on Nov. 29th. I had hoped to be finished long before then, but life--as it always does--had other plans.

But, I did finish....though what I'm left with is FAR from complete.

"Tangle of Matter Ghost" had started as a tragic Victorian-ghost love-story, with a not-so-subtle nod to Gothic Lit....that was my intent anyway. Buuuuuuut.....

somewhere along the way, about 5 or 10 thousand words into it, the story suddenly became a Civil War novel, centering on Voodoo, the horrors of war and what can happen if you take more than you can pay for....and what can happen if you take magic and you can not pay for that either.

So, I have some 15 characters, 137 pages of mixed plot-lines, which is interspersed with…

Enter the "Tangle"

Two months can seem forever when so many things happen. 60 short days since my last post and suddenly we are at the end of October. Tomorrow is Halloween and for those of us that are NaNoWriMo regulars, it is our last "free" day until November 30th. Once the final bell rings at midnight on Halloween, we will be off and running in this year's race to complete our 50,000- word masterpieces---well, our 50,000-word first drafts :-)

This month has been a roller coaster ride of emotion--- excitement with the impending NaNo adventure, doubt about completing the word quota, fear about the contest results from recent entries, elation about the results of one contest. Seems impossible to hold everything in perspective, impossible to continue the forward movement. But, it will continue, nonetheless.

"Tangle of Matter and Ghost" is this year's NaNo title. The tiny kernel of a Southern Victorian Ghost/Voodoo story of cursed love and soul currency. I have a handful of ch…

No rest for the weary, no holiday for the wicked, no hope for the fallen....

Tonight marks the completion of another round of contest-entering. Two stories were submitted, one to the Once Written website, for their Midnight Hour "Halloween" short story competition....the other was a Flash Fiction piece submitted to the WOW! (women on writing) Website.

After the initial rush that I had hit the "submit" button and could in no way retrieve what I had sent out, the realization that other contest deadlines were impending invaded.

As I pulled 3 more stories out of my pile for the next 3 contests--- all of which have an October 1st deadline--- I suddenly realized something about my writing.......

I have an increasingly morbid fixation on death....

Every story I've ever written, ever thought of, has been centered around death---- the tragic death, the lonely death, the vengeful death, the grievous death, the hopeful death--- if there can be a "hopeful" death....

I'm not sure where my writing disposition comes from, but, it is clea…

There and back again....and what happened after.....

Funny how life throws you for a loop sometimes. You think you have everything under control, you have the last detail planned, and then suddenly you're off doing something else and you can't figure out why. You can't even figure out when you changed directions.

You're certain, positive, without a doubt, for sure, that you want to do one thing with your life, but then, some morning you wake up with a completely different vocation in mind---- a vocation that you've done no working toward, but one that feels like your whole life has been working with only that goal in mind.

I guess, though, life really is just one big circuitous plane of existence--- one obstacle leading to another goal leading to another obstacle. Seems that life isn't so much a straight path of survival so much as it is a spiral path always leading you back to your original self.

It's a pretty lofty thought that everything we do in life, though it seems to be leading us farther from what we …

And so it is written, and so shall it be....

Seems no matter how hard you try, how carefully you plan, life has a way of intruding, of sticking its big nose in the middle of things, throwing more than just a wrench into the works.

Dreams of where you'll be in 5 years, in 10 years, these seem so achievable.... at least they seem achievable at the time of their inception. But, let little things like a couple of weeks or a few months get in the way and suddenly those dreams aren't so easily reached:

---- I'll be married by the time I'm 25
----I'll have a career (i.e. Published Author) by the time I'm 30
----I'll have a family by the time I'm 35
----I'll have a house by the time I'm 40

Funny how time, life, opportunities, etc changes things....

So, here I am--- 31 years old---

I did get married, though I was 26....
I am currently still unpublished, but hoping that will change shortly, maybe this year...
So, if I'm to follow my current average, I should back plan for everything to take at l…

The unseen, the ever-present, the inevitable, the unwelcome....

Death.

The end. The final curtain call. The endpoint of our finite existence. The one thing we want the most to avoid, but the only thing from which we cannot escape.

It is the one thing we can have absolutely no control over-- and this uncontrollable aspect is what produces the immense fear that overcomes us all when we are at last faced with its coming.

The death of a loved one, a family member, a friend, brings so many things to the surface that for so long may have been hidden-- the regrets, the betrayals, the guilt, the anguish. We are at once reminded of our own mortality...our own tenuous hold on life...our own fragile finger-hold to this life, slick with sweat, sliding away from us with every breath.

Death will always be there for us, waiting around the corner, holding a place for us at eternity's table.....

"Because I could not stop for Death--
He kindly stopped for me--"

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor...

The rhyming games of children, the innocent divining the future....
Known to be darker than at once imagined--- the so-called "haunting children's rhyme".

Most divining rhymes are counted out--- the number of buttons on a dress, the number of daisy petals plucked, the number of skips a stone makes, the number of uninterrupted turns of a jump rope. "Whom shall I wed? Whom shall it be? Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich man, Poor man, Beggar man, Thief?"

Most are innocent, or intended to be innocent.....

Yet, there are those rhymes that are believed to be innocent, until the darker histories are revealed. Case in point-- "Ring around the Rosie"

 Who hasn't heard the connection of this "innocent" rhyme to the Great Plague or the Black Death?? The symptoms of "rosy rings", the need of posies to cover the stench of death, the violent sneezing episodes before the falling down of the dead.....

There is such a desire from adults for…

Horror that is seen or the unseen horror....

What is more horrific....seeing that which terrifies you most, or imagining what terrifies you most though you cannot see it???

There are varying degrees of terror in any manner of horror flick...everything from the most gruesome, gory, flesh-destroying monster to the psychological torturer bent on crushing a person from the inside out.

The success of the horror genre is its ability to terrify individuals to the point of panic. The best horror brings the strongest of us to tears. The fear is palpable, the sweat is real, the blood pressure spikes and plummets, you have to remind yourself to breathe. Your heart pounds as if you've just finished a marathon, gasping, you are left reeling, trying to pull yourself back into the reality of the non-horror world.

If you're lucky, the return is uneventful, peaceful even, a wondrous reminder that your own life is not, in fact, a horror film. You go about your daily activities just as you did before watching/reading the latest in the worl…

Friday the 13th...unlucky for some...

It's always intrigued me, the superstitions that we as humans hold true--- even after decades of time and scientific advancement have proven they are, in fact, not true. Of course, most superstitions have their ORIGINS in fact....it probably only took a few people getting injured from items falling from ladders for it to be deemed unlucky to walk under them.

But, triskaidekaphobia? How is somebody hurt by a number?? The fear of the number 13 runs so deep that some buildings refuse to have a "13th" floor...evident by the lack of "13" in their elevator numbers---- there's a 12 and a 14, but no 13. Forget the fact that the floor just above the 12th, though it is labeled 14, is in fact the 13th floor.....

And to further the query.... where did the fear of Friday the 13th originate? Friggatriskaidekaphobia, to quote the technical term....Most beliefs of the "unlucky-ness" of Friday the 13th seems to stem from Old Christian thinking. Christ was crucifie…

If I can't see you, you can't see me....or, what to do if you want to be the first one to die in a horror film....

Were you ever one of those kids, like me, who knew that as long as you kept your eyes open at night, the boogeyman wouldn't get you---- because the bad things only come out when the lights go off and you've shut your eyes. So, you lie in bed, heart pounding at every sound, your eyes wide and drying out, terrified that once you close them, the nasties in the night will have the chance to pounce. Or, worse, you're petrified of closing your eyes when you're washing your hair for fear of what might be standing in the shower with you once you open your eyes again.


Of course, this might just be me and certain memories from childhood movies.....


The other school of thought follows the philosophy that so long as you keep your eyes shut tight, nothing will ever get you. As long as you can't see the spookies, the spookies can't see you.


This idea never worked for me, I'd seen too much to the contrary....weren't the unsuspecting snatched from their beds when they …

Guilty of being....human???

Emotions that make us so-called "human" could just as easily be used to define us as "in-human".

Fear, cowardice, anxiety....all the emotions that drive our mechanism of self-preservation, can just as easily be used to point out our weaknesses and failings. How strong are we if we stand by and watch someone else suffer or die because we are too afraid to step in and help....too afraid that we might be the one suddenly suffering or....dying? Does this in fact make us weak? Does being human automatically make us guilty?

Are we just as guilty as the villain who pulled the trigger?

Is a dead hero better than a living coward?

What of the opposite attributes? What makes someone's strength, bravery, self-sacrifice outweigh their need for self-preservation? What gives someone the courage? strength? fear? to die for someone else?

Surely, on their own, those willing to sacrifice themselves for others would have just as strong a drive for self-preservation...what is it ab…

...nothing the matter with his eyesight, he's wearing shades cause he's cool....

Funny how certain things...certain completely random things...can suddenly be considered "cool"--- or whatever generational term is synonymous with "cool". How are these things determined to be the new status indicators???

Shades....clothing(or lack thereof) ....body art....jewelry....body modification....

Obviously there are trend-setters...celebrities, artists, etc. But what makes these trend-setters decide which items in the world are worth trumpeting as the new "in"-thing?? And what is it about these celebrities, artists, etc. that has given them the authority to be the trend trumpeters???

Fashions and fads have a way of being either extremely functional or beyond weird, but far be it for the fads to be intentionally functional--- this, of course, is the complete antithesis to fad-worthiness!

I've never given any intentional thought to keeping up with the fashions of the day. As quickly as fashions and fads change, it would be a full-time career t…

A time to every purpose under heaven....

So, I've been pondering an idea for a "short" fiction competition in December. There won't be any word about the last contest I entered until October, so what better way to pass the time than by preparing another piece for the next contest.

I've never really limited my writing by classifying it to any specific genre, but I have found that most of what I write has a definite bent toward magical realism....more specifically, the darker side of magical realism. Is there such a thing as the macabre magical realism genre???

I don't normally consider myself overly preoccupied with death, but it does have a strong role in most of the themes of my writing. I've mostly attributed it to my upbringing. There aren't too many children that I know of that spent their formative years wandering the halls and rooms of a skilled-patient nursing home. But the lonely, pathetic halls of such a place is exactly where my brother and I spent many an after-school hour, waitin…

For Greener Grass: Attention Required.....

The saying may be true that the grass is always greener on the other side, but with a bit of personal attention, who's to say your own grass couldn't be the greenest in the neighborhood.

There will always be something or someone that is.... in your own opinion....better than you or what you have. This OPINION does not have to remain the concrete truth of the universe. Status and popularity are relative. And anything that is relative can most-assuredly be made to be insignificant. The only thing required is a change in mind-set or perspective.

If you are happy with who you are and where you are...then why would you allow anyone or anything to change that???

Just because your neighbor has a different/bigger television, does not make it a better television...just a different/bigger television. If the desire to have exactly what your neighbor has is so overwhelming that you stay depressed until you have exactly what he has, then you were never satisfied with your life in the first…

What's it like being.....

What's it like being_______?

.... fill in the blank any way you like and you'd probably still get the same answer--- "I don't know"

At least it's the answer you'd get if the person you'd asked had never known anything different. What's it like being a woman? What's it like being blind? What's it like being rich? If the woman had never been a man, if the blind person had never been sighted and if the one who was rich had never been poor, then they would have no way of explaining exactly what it was like. How can the known be explained in relation to the unknown??

I've often wondered what it's like to be everything that I'm not. Maybe it's my inquisitive mind, or perhaps my multi-personality imagination or my innate writer. Most likely it's the delirious daydreams of someone bored/fed up with their state in life. Whatever the explanation, the end result is the same---- what's it like being_____?

Whether the answer I provi…

Full of Mysterious Promise....

....life, that is.

The unknown waiting for you around the corner, the unknown waiting for you the next day....just like a can of tinned food that's lost its label, you never know what you've got until you open the tin.

If we knew exactly where our life would lead us, there would be no mystery to life...and definitely no promise. There would be nothing to look forward to, or dream about, because everything would already be known. We would know precisely where we would end up---what's the use of "dreaming" if you already know the ending to the plot???

At least with the future being unknown, there's always a chance of ending up better than you originally planned--- a bit like expecting tinned carrots and finding out you've got a sweet fruit cocktail.

But, the reverse is always possible. And the ever-present fear of ending off worse than we imagined can keep us petrified, unable to move forward, unable to open the tin lest we are faced with a pile of mushy cr…

The Worm in Life.....

There you are, you've got a fresh, crisp, lovely apple in your hand. The skin's all bright and smooth and enticing. One sweet bite, rolling around on your tongue, the sugary juices running across your lips. Then suddenly, you turn the apple around and all your pleasure is cut short.... you weren't the first to enjoy this apple.

The hole is small, but it is there nonetheless. The producer of the hole has moved on, but it was there nonetheless.

Seems that life is full of worm-holes. Every time you've got hold of something good, you find a worm-hole. You can't get your teeth around any part of anything good for fear of finding half a worm still inside the apple.

But, to the practiced apple muncher, the occasional worm-hole is nothing to be bothered about. To the practiced apple muncher, it becomes a skill, an art--if you will-- to find the worm intact.

We should all be practiced apple munchers....practiced munchers of life----hoping always to find the worm intact.

karma-karma-karma-karma-karma chameleon, you come and go...

"What goes around comes around..."
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..."
"An eye for an eye..."
"You reap what you sow..."


The world is filled with more than one adage about the future being a direct result of present actions. Whatever we do now has an impact on whatever is done to us tomorrow.

Karma is the ubiquitous catch-all term for all these ideas---- when something happens to someone, who most assuredly "deserved" it....there is no better word to describe it. Though most times it is associated with the bad things that people often do, surely the reverse must be true also.

If someone fills their life with only good deeds and only does well for/to others, wouldn't their life be filled with the same happy, good deeds from others in return??? I'd like to think so, in fact, I need to believe so. Otherwise, what's the point in doing anything at all....

"What you do to me is your karma, ho…

Waiting, waiting......and still waiting.....

The absolute hardest thing that a writer has to deal with, aside from endless edits, is the weeks and months of waiting. Query letters, submission responses, competitions.....the total wait time for every piece sent off can potentially add up to years of thumb-twiddling--- oh, the injustice of it all.

Of course, this time can so often be filled with the moans of self-pity, doubt, nail-biting, etc. This is even more true if there is no work-in-progress or project to occupy the mind and imagination. I'm in the midst of one of those wait times right now. I have about 3 months of waiting to see if I manage to place in the Writer's Digest Annual Short Story Competition....fingers crossed. :-D

In the meantime, I'm trying not to think about the possibility of placing/failing and am trying to fill my time with constructive endeavors. I'm currently working on another short story for a competition in a couple of months.

Having a full-time day job helps also take my mind off the …

Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt and Sent it Back....

The circle of life is a misnomer.

There isn't merely one circle of life, but a series of concentric circles all spiraling inward, with the intent of collapsing the universe in on itself....or failing that, with the intent of driving us all mad. The number of times in the past year I can remember uttering the phrase--"Here we go again"-- is staggering. Seems the older I get, the more repetitious the doldrums of life become.

And it isn't that I am against routine...quite the contrary. What I am against, however, is the mind-numbing, soul-sucking, time-wasting monotony of stagnation----both physical and mental. It seems every time I stop and look around, I find myself back on the same collapsing spiral. All forward motion only serves to sling-shot me back to the ever-sinking center of the circle.

This isn't intended as a depressive missive or even a manic rant....just a statement of fact, an observation of life as I see it...

I was never a fan…

New Year, New Changes...

It's always surprising the amount of time that can pass without us ever being aware. In the four months since my last post, so many things have happened in both my personal life and at work... many things happened even without my realizing it, some for good, others for the not-so-good. But, such is life. We are forced to take the good with the bad or to take nothing at all.

As things change around me, it has forced me to re-evaluate my place in everything. I have had to make some decisions concerning which path in life I am best suited for. And, it has convinced me to refocus my attention to my writing and the direction I would like to see my creative endeavors take.

It is clear to me, more now than ever, that writing is the path I want to take in my life. There are so many things that are welled up inside me, so many emotions, so many ideas, that I'm afraid I will tear myself apart if I do not find a way of expressing it all.

With publication in mind, I've taken several, …