Why Write?

But Words WillSometimes I wonder why I write.

There are so many other ways I could occupy my time. I could get a massage, go out with friends or watch a movie. Instead, every free moment of my life is, and always has been, occupied by words. My life is measured in sentences and word count rather than moments.

When anything happens the reality is held up to the light of  retelling it whether it be a new recipe I came up with or some thought glistening under the fairy dust of fiction. A strange noise in the house at night launches twenty lurid tails of death and dismemberment while a strange-looking old woman on the beach is surely a magical sea hag that will trade wishes for a gelato.

I’ve tried to quit. I’ve done other jobs, but they always came back to words… recording the experience for someone I don’t know. The act of the reader is an aside to the act of writing. I hope there are readers, but were I alone on this planet I would still be writing. It’s the punctuation that marks my hours. It’s my delicately woven existence, created and colored by syntax and syllable, dependent on words.

Writing is the distilled evidence of time and the definition of humanity. Were it not for words scribbled on parchment there would be no history. The past is nothing without symbols, deceptively simple, carving out reality we can share. Were it not for words, we would be islands of humanity, isolated in ignorance of a universe.

Why do I write? Because no matter what I do, it always comes down to words that bubble up inside me, repeating themselves incessantly until I’m compelled to put fingers on the keyboard, my modern Ouija, and translate. I write because I have to.

Why do you?

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A Pause for Claws… er clause?

From my Facebook wall today…

image

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Do You Really Like Me?

478px-William_John_Hennessy_-_The_Dandelion_ClockThe oddest things pop through my head when I’m walking the dog. This little chant started echoing in time with my steps tonight as we took our usual trot. No idea what it means, if anything, but thought I’d share. Does it mean anything to you?

I swear… what the heck is with all these kid rhymes?

Do You Like Me?

Do you really like me?

Because I don’t really care

if you think I’m nice or funny

or if I’m in clean underwear.

Do you really like me?

It doesn’t matter either way

because I know I like me

and that’s what makes my day.

 

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And just like that… I’m Back :)

Having the good camera back is awesome :D

Having the good camera back is awesome :D

After our holiday I needed a holiday to recoup :) I’ve been taking a few weeks off to refocus and rest.

That doesn’t mean things aren’t happening though – I have word that End of Mae and Mr. Bonejangles will both be published under the Three Fates imprint in 2015. I’ve partnered with Mary-Anne Leslie to bring out a picture book called Monsters are Everywhere. I have another picture book in the works with another artist that I’ll tell about as soon as I can.

Work has been wonderful. Ever challenging, now that I’m pretty decent at Quark and layout I’ve been given the green light to get creative. Best of all, I’ve been sans camera for the last few weeks but it’s been replaced so I am back to snapping photos like a fiend :D

As summer moves towards it’s demise, I’ve decided to take up archery to relax. The kids are doing fabulous with one of them moving into a beautiful new apartment (two pools, etc.), one of them getting asked to join gifted English (after he scored 5 on his FCATs), one of them getting a fantastic new girlfriend and the last one raising the two most beautiful babies on the planet.

It’s been a nice break, but as August moves closer I will be getting back into things. It’s been nice to have a break :)

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Heading Home

imageLast day of the vacation and today was tournament day. This was Mr. Smith’s first tournament of this caliber.

Competitors came from Australia, Brazil, Korea, Sweden, Europe and all over the U.S. Over 6,000 people showed up to Little Rock, Arkansas to honor the martial art of Songahm Taekwondo.

imageMr. Smith won a bronze medal for Traditional Weapons and a silver medal for Combat Weapons Sparrring. He did amazing! Best part, this was his first tournament and there was a steep learning curve with how things work. Next tournament will be Panama City next month.

Tomorrow we head home and as fun as this trip was, we will be glad to get home.

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Ghost in the Hallway

Is that a ghost in the hallway or somene fooling around with a Photoshop app?

Is that a ghost in the hallway or somene fooling around with a Photoshop app?

Vacation going well… lots of rest with some writing sprinkled in. It hasn’t been the unbridled writing fest I planned on but we are definitely recharging our batteries.

Tomorrow Mr. Smith competes so I’ll be reporting on that. Tonight, we are on holiday.

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Journal Jabber On Summer Break

imageJournal Jabber is going to take a summer break. Since the move to Youtube I’ve lost my laptop, Ember Sparks lost her computer to a lightening surge and I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this on an iPad.

On top of it, I’ve had a small flood of writing projects of my own to finish, work has reached a new level of intensity as I do work in both production and editorial (now called the “preditorial” department by me) and I have a slew of personal issues to figure out.

I’ve talked to the show’s founder, Amy Eye, and she agrees that a summer break is in order. That gives me a chance to re group, get the technology back in line and wrap up all these annoying life things that have cropped up, not to mention clear my writing projects back down to one.

I promise the show will come back, better than ever, this fall. Stay tuned!

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Where I’m Working on my WIP

Where I'm Writing my Work In Progress #WIWWIP

Where I’m Writing my Work In Progress #WIWWIP

We are still in the hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas and today I was feeling cranky. It always hits me when I realize that all my clothes are dirty, this isn’t free and I can’t get any work done. Yes, I realize I have problems ;p

This afternoon I finally got some time to sit and work on my current project, a non fiction piece on finding true freedom, surviving anything and living a life of joy. During this session of scribbling I found myself wandering back to the first night I ever slept outside on the streets and I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for my life.

That morning I was dirty, starved and had nothing. While I wrote I was munching on cracker crust gourmet pizza made by the hotel bar and typing away with a view of the city spread out before me. That’s one reason I am writing this book; so I don’t forget the lessons I’ve learned.

Here’s a sample from what I wrote today:

I learned appreciation the first night I slept on the streets. Often the term “on the streets” means you don’t have an address and bounce between shelters. This town in New Hampshire didn’t have any shelters, so I mean literally sleeping on the concrete street. The first night, as dark fell, I experienced not belonging anywhere for the first time. I wandered for awhile, wondering where I would find a safe bed before it finally hit me that there wasn’t one. I was completely on my own, and my survival was in my hands.

It was thrilling and frightening. I thought of all the rules that no longer applied to me on my own. I thought of all the protection and comforts that also no longer applied to me. I found a recessed doorway that offered me some privacy from the street and lay on the dirty sidewalk with my back pressed against the locked door. I listened to cars passing by, people talking inside through their open windows. Once or twice someone walked past my shadowed doorway and a held my breath that they wouldn’t notice me. I thought I’d never sleep, but I did.

I woke up the next morning as the sun was just thinking about making an appearance. It was early fall and the days were still warm but the night had been chilly. My joints were completely stiffened up. I was only 18 but I uncurled and got to my feet like I was 80. I hobbled to a nearby parking lot and sat on a wooden post trying to figure out what to do now. I was frozen, I was starving and I had not a penny. The sun rose up over the buildings at that moment, and one ray covered me.

That subtle warmth was as good as a fire to my chilled body. I closed my eyes and was stunned to think how I had never noticed a sunbeam before. In that moment, it was the loveliest thing I had ever experienced. I closed my eyes and cried. I’m sure I was a strange sight that morning; a ratty looking girl perched on a post and smiling up at the dawn, tears streaming down my cheeks. In my decades of life since, few pleasures have come close to eclipsing that early morning ray of sunshine.

It made me grateful for the cold night laying on cement. It made me appreciate the fear I had felt. I was even happy for the gnawing hunger in my belly because I suddenly realized how amazing my next meal was going to be.

I had a rough childhood in some ways, but I had never experienced deprivation and hunger before. I accepted them that morning as a gift and left that parking lot better equipped to survive because I had learned appreciation. Appreciation became one of the filters that I began to view the world through.

That situation could have gone much differently. I could have woken up that morning and stumbled into the same parking lot, waited on the same post and experienced the same sun beam. Instead of looking at the situation as a unique experience to be treasured later, I could have seen the situation in a negative light.

The sun beam wasn’t nearly warm enough to loosen up my stiff body, it wasn’t feeding me and the whole parking lot was seedy and covered in trash. There were many more reasons to look at that morning as a bad one than there were good but my choice to appreciate the minute blessing made the difference between a memory that still buoys me through hard times or one that breaks me down.

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Vacation!

The view from our window...

The view from our window…

We are in day one of our vacation in Little Rock, Arkansas… we are here because Mr. Smith is participating in the ATA World Expo.

I’m armed with the iPad/keyboard set up and the plan is that I will catch up on a lot of writing during the downtime.

So far today we’ve been doing a lot of resting and just enjoying each other’s company with one brief foray into downtown Little Rock to visit an Army Surplus store and eat at Subway. Tonight I’ll be setting up manuscripts and wrapping some things up.

Tomorrow it’s to work :)

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Peek at my W.I.P. ‘Finding Freedom’

dandelion on black compassJune was a busy month. I signed book contracts with Three Fates Press, Dandilyon Fluff turned 4 years old and I started and finished some new projects closing some chapters in my life while opening new ones.

For my latest WIP I am going back to my roots to a genre I lovingly call  revolutionary non fiction. The working title is Finding Freedom, and here’s an excerpt, raw and unedited:

From Finding Freedom: I see people suffering all around me and I wish there was something I could say.

I see people caught in bondage, held captive by their fears. They fear the illusion they wear will drop off and the rest of us will see them for who they really are. Is that so bad? It is when you hate who you are.

A lot of us don’t like the person closest to us – ourselves. We know what we are supposed to be, who we have been told we should be, and we can’t live up to that standard. We will always be too fat, too skinny, too bold, too shy, too silly, too serious. The evidence of our shortcomings are paraded before us constantly by the media. Our parents, teachers, scout masters, pastors and loving family have worked together to  build a foundation of failure for us. Like Sleeping Beauty locked in a tower, we remain imprisoned by the impositions of others.

It’s important not to be angry at these prison builders. Often, they are prisoners themselves trying to show us how to escape, how to transcend, our barriers. They are working on partial truths, having never been free themselves, and can’t direct us to a freedom they’ve never experienced. Like model prisoners, they try to help by telling us how to be better prisoners. They don’t have directions to fly since their idea of the sky is the limited patch of blue they have been allowed to see.

The prison is one we carry with us. Once they have built it up, we carefully take it wherever we go. It keeps us from reaching out to each other. It keeps us drinking too much and debasing ourselves. It keeps us from living. The prison has been built so carefully, it camouflages itself and becomes a part of us until most people don’t know what is them and what is containing them.

Like good inmates, we work to keep each other trapped. We encourage fear, low self esteem and self loathing. We are told to be proud of who we are, but conform to preset standards. We should be individual, like everyone else. Think outside the box but never color outside of the lines. This mindset is designed to hobble us, limit our potential and encourages mediocrity. Who are the evil puppet masters behind this facade of failure? The truth is that we are.

We are gregarious herd creatures. Not particularly proficient in the physical attribute department that sports fang and claw, and yet we have become the most feared hunters on the planet. We did that by being smart and cooperating. We conformed for survival.

We don’t need to conform anymore. At the top of our food chain, it’s time for us to enlighten and expand. There will always be mediocrity, and there is nothing wrong with it. The sin is in forced conformity.

Time to be free.

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