A brief story: The Argument (rough)

He adjusted his tie. Dad always tied it too tight. Especially when he was wrought with worry. He coughed when the pressure released itself from his Adam’s apple.

Such a peculiar term, he thought. He opened his mouth and faced the passenger seat as if he were to process that thought into words, but his mouth dried. And in his forgetfulness, he sighed a very sad sigh. His shoulders slumped heavily and he readjusted his grip to the steering wheel of their very old but very loved Ford Focus.

Light stung his eyes in his awful posture, so he lowered the visor. The CD sleeve still held all of their favorite albums and even a couple of burned mixes. Taking the disc most decorated with pastel sharpie, he shoved it into the aftermarket player in the ash-covered dash.

“Ooh La La” by the Faces boomed from the old speakers. The very first song. The most important song. It reminded him to never leave angry, but he did anyway. The silence after their argument was deafening. Maybe this will drown it out, he hoped.

I love this song, she thought while staring out the window and hummed. Her clenched, interloping fingers loosened as the wave of the song’s chorus softened her anger. She sat in the passenger seat, in silence with her twin who was dressed, “to the nines.”

Arguments between them were rare. They were twins after all.  They knew each other more than anyone else. However few, their arguments were vicious. Mostly because neither wanted to believe that they didn’t agree to something — that the other couldn’t understand one’s reasoning. This argument was just that.

She felt compelled to apologize and make amends. The day was dreary enough. The fog was so thick it clung to the windows like wisps of cotton candy. The buildings and traffic lights barely pierced its veil once within a certain distance. It was like something from a bad horror movie using too much dry ice.

She turned to her brother with a shabby smile and asked, “Why so gloomy?”

Startled, he slammed the brakes and jerked his sight to the passenger seat. His sister’s grin faded like fog in the sunlight and an unexplainable wind pushed the remaining funeral programs from the seat to the floorboard.

His chest heaved as his breath caught up with him, panting as the papers all flipped to the picture of him and his sister.

 

 

Why I stopped the sale of my book.

Happy Valentine’s day, my loves! It’s been a few weeks since my last post, but do not fret. I have been busy with getting this second book entirely finished and working on all the fun things that come with self publishing. I plan to write an article on what I have found to be the trials of self publishing and why I didn’t traditionally publish.

I digress…

I’m sure the title of this post has you a bit alarmed and you may think terrible things like sales were awful and I became discouraged. Quite the opposite, actually. I sold quite a few books in my first year which isn’t bad for having to do all the ground work yourself. As you have read and I have documented, 2016 & 2017 were years that forced my life to take routes that I wasn’t expecting. I was absent from here and much of my writing life (which hurt my heart so much).

While I was out fighting battles and waging war, something funny happened to my book.

You see, there are a number of ways to self publish, but one of the most convenient ways is to publish with the best online book seller out there; Amazon. CreateSpace is fantastic when it comes to helping people like me get the job done. I have several critique partners and other authors who have used this service and find it to be the best option for writers like me. Unlike B&N you don’t have to pay someone to read your stuff and anxiously await approval for it to hit the shelf. They print to order rather than printing a pile of books and killing the environment. Amazing, right? Well, sort of.

One of the biggest headaches with their site at the time was the downloadable template and the actual template in which they used to upload your book into their database. If you had already formatted your book, be prepared to format six additional times. I spent two weeks on BTC to clean her up just as the Internal Viewer suggested. It was tedious work, but I had come that far and wasn’t going to let this one tiny, meticulous act get in the way.

The good news? Enough reports forced Amazon to update their template. The bad news? Every single one of us who had already published with the old one were now out of format. The results were multiple blank pages, sentences in places they didn’t belong, chopped up paragraphs and chapters, et cetera. I didn’t find out until the beginning of January 2017 with a review that informed me there was an issue. When I asked my abused critique partner, she knew all about it and had assumed I did as well.

Whoops!

I immediately pulled the book off the shelf and have set it aside to correct the errors, but it looks like the damage was already done. Some of you have emailed or messaged me on Facebook asking where you could buy the book. I apologize that I did it without warning and I should have posted about it much sooner. Never the less, she will be back! Charlee is my baby! She’s just getting a face lift 🙂

In the meantime, I have revamped my website HERE. There, you can see the cover of my new book that’s coming out this year as well as the new cover for Charlee! Check it out!

Stay safe. Be well. Love with everything.

So, you want to be a writer…

Hey! So, you want to be a writer! Fantastic! Go you, you Wordy-Wordsmith-Wendy, you! Not only are you talented in the art of typing or jiggling a stick around on a piece of paper, but you create elaborate pictures in someone’s mind and take them on amazing, heart-wrenching adventures! Hooray for no commercials! You and the Thesaurus are in a long-term, heavily involved relationship and everyone knows it. Congratulations!

But hold up, you hopeless romantic day-dreamer! Sure, you have fallen in love with a writing career and have often fantasize being stuck in a mahogany study, filled with walls of your favorite authors (and maybe a few of your own pieces on display). Possibly including an antique type writer, a bubble pipe, tweed coat, and horn-rimmed glasses to profoundly state your chosen profession. Nerd <3! I’m sure that novel is going to be a best seller one day, but to obtain things of this magnitude, have you thought about all the logistics? Have you thought about the hard work, long hours, and what it will take to force yourself to write every day, even when you’re eyes start to cross at 6,000 words? Editing can be a rough process. Can you do it yourself, or are you emotionally stable enough to pay someone else to critique you? Be honest. Do you know what genre you’re aiming for? Do you know what a beta reader is? What about your marketing skills?

The truth is: The writing is probably the easiest part. Especially if writing is a natural talent for you. It won’t be easy if you’re an introvert. You’ll have to learn how to market not just your work, but yourself as an author. Unfortunately, it’s all a business. You have to sell your art to people. Even if you only ever dream to just write purely for the  entertainment of others. If you wish to publish, you have to determine if you and your work should go through traditional publishing, or self publish. Either way, you’re going to suffer through a lot of rejection, criticism, and disappointment. Be prepared, my darlings.

All of those things only make you a better writer, though. Never take critiques personally. Accept and build upon them to make your work better; to make you better at what you love to do. No one ever writes their first piece and have it fly off the shelves the instant it prints on a page. You will struggle, and you will need to keep your expectations low.

Do not let this discourage you. EVER. I will promise you this: When you receive your first amazing review from a complete stranger, you will instantly feel that validation high. And you will want to keep striving. It will be a glorious rainbow built on coffee, lack of sleep, stress, and your fantasmical talent. It is totally worth every single bit.

Keep going. Strive on, you nerdiful pencil artists. Happy New Year! XO

Bizarre Prosperity

I don’t know how to describe the past two years, honestly. The title of this blog is all that I could come up with. It’s true, I haven’t been doing so well with the upkeep of this author blog, but that’s because my life has been evolving so dramatically since April of last year. I have grown so much as a person (as told by my previous blog). I have been dragged through the mud quite a bit, but I can tell you that my viewpoint has shifted since shedding that old skin and rising into a phoenix. Whenever I get shoved back down, I have my moment of self pity, but it is quickly over taken by thoughts of progress. Looking for every possible route or every possible outcome from that moment forward. There’s that word. Forward.

Somewhere along this road, I realized that the only person who would be holding me back in times like these, was me. I would wallow and induce episodes of self loathing. I was the one making my life miserable. And somehow, I figured it out. It dawned on me that life is honestly too short to short yourself. I want what I want because they mean something to me. I have to put in the work to get it.

About a decade ago, I had dreamed of living in a city where there was always movement. I wanted to be taken in by its current and move with it, breathe with it, thrive. I had spent my early years learning the value of everything I’m given. Everything in a much slower pace where people were complacent on staying right where they were because it never changed. But I didn’t want that. I wanted change. The curious little girl who stood in those woods behind my house and monitored plants and the earth as it changed with the seasons. I understood then that change was inevitable. Change is as inevitable as death. You can’t choose to die. You can’t choose to change. And while others are so happy with shielding their eyes and missing out on change, I craved it.

I have gone back to Kentucky several times since my move back to the South. Probably more so than any year I lived in Michigan. Each time, though it’s comforting to go back to some place that is familiar and you feel love, I don’t really feel like I belong there. Don’t get me wrong, it will always be home, but I feel somewhat like I’ve outgrown it. I worry that I may not ever feel comfortable with the idea of going back permanently. My gypsy spirit kicks into overdrive with the mere thought.

So, here I am. Living in another large city where no one here is from here. I rarely encounter Atlanta natives. Everyone has their own stories of why they are here, in this moment, and it’s all because of change. That must be why it feels more like home.

 

10am

Same as it has been for the past few months

My mind is somewhere else when I’m stolen from a dream

Haunted by feelings that don’t seem to leave

Two different lives lived and divided by sea

I’ll never know if this is real; a subject you’ll never speak

But what if I wanted to do something?

But what if I didn’t want to dismiss it?

You’ve found a part of me that I’ve never seen.

I can’t.

I won’t.

I refuse.

Glitter Pot

If you ever want to feel truly loved; truly adored
Make an artist fall in love with you
Their unique adulations are never fake
Never created for the own self indulgence
They seek and will find that one shimmery, glimmery,  glamorous pot of glitter
That resides inside all of us
All of you.
And they will caress it and embrace it into their warmth
You will not be placed on a pedestal, no
Because they will feel it safe and better cared for
By the depths of their being
Protected by their rib cage and the rest of the lifespan they carry
And sung into their every day cadence, taught to everyone they greet
Because you deserve to live eternally
To be known and remembered
Yes, if you ever want to feel deep, meaningful, and real love
Love them back…

Purpose VS Experience

Belle Isle Fountain 3
Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan

I love people, places, things. I love to smell the salt of the sea, the fresh rain in a hay field, my childhood memories that fill the room when I brew a pot of Folgers. It’s safe to say that, even though it can be incredibly difficult and painful, I love to live life. Most of all, I love that word: Live.

As I have hinted in previous blogs, I struggle with depression. I have been suicidal a few times, even as a child. It is an illness that is coded within my DNA. I have moments that my brain misfires and I lose control. Even now, I still fight. But every day, I put on a smile, throw out some jokes, and my friends make everything better. They remind me that my life is worth it, the day was worth it, I am worth it. They’ve saved my life multiple times and are completely oblivious to it. So, to repay them, I give them everything that I have. It’s what they deserve. It’s what I deserve (even when that’s hard to say).

Lately, there have been an influx of closed minded people crossing my path. Well… Not necessarily closed minded. They just haven’t opened their curtains yet. Some never will. Some like being ignorant of things and need structure to obtain stability and control. Change frightens them and that can be okay, but change is as inevitable as death. Death is also frightening. So much so, that I’ve started looking away from it. I know it’s there, slobbering all over my shoulder while it whispers sullen desires, but I choose to look at the brighter side. I chase after it, really.

I choose to live my life by experiences. Sure, I have goals, but I don’t discredit my life between them. I don’t need to reach my goals to be happy. It’s my journey and what I make of it. I want to experience the most I can out of life so that when it’s all over, my hunger will be satiated. Saying or requesting to have a purpose in life is too much of a burden, I think. There are no guidebooks to tell you which path to take. No Oz behind a curtain telling you that he plans for you to work at Burger King the rest of your life. At the most, let the wind guide you and take in all the sights and people you pass along the way. Touch as many hearts and minds as you can, but don’t be afraid to let them do the same. You’ll never know what you’ll learn and you get to experience so many kinds of love. It sounds like a fortune cookie or some silly philosophy, but I’ve found that this is the best way I can be. And trust me, it is utterly freeing.

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