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Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Heart Shaped Pebble in a Parking Lot Full of Rocks

November and December are, by their very definition, months of reflection.

We're meant to ponder what we're thankful for-focus on what the holidays are truly about. We're meant to embrace kindness and love, and to tap into that thing that for most of the year, remains elusive-our own humanity.

But sometimes it harder than it should be.

Sometimes we remember that November is the month that our father died-that this is the first holiday season without our figurehead, our clan leader, our reason for celebrating in the first place.

Instead we as a culture declare the day after we're supposed to be our most thankful, Black Friday, and we start the first day of the Christmas season by celebrating commercialism instead. We want more for less and we want to be first in line, no matter how nasty and mean it may make us.

When my father died, nine years ago this month, it was hard to remember that the holidays weren't just about food, football, and shopping, but he managed to show us, and he continues to show us that we aren't alone. We can't hear his laugh or watch his belly shake like the famous fat man himself. We can't hug him or be encouraged by him (or enraged at him either.) We can't watch a grown man brought to tears by the reading of the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, but in his own way he lets us know he's near.

He sends us hearts.

Hearts in the oddest places. Our pancakes come out heart shaped or the reflection from sunlight hitting a piece of glass will show up on the wall in the shape of a heart. We'll see heart shaped knots of wood in furniture and in trees, in potato chips and the pepperoni on our pizza.

The last few months for me have felt like I tripped into an open grave, in the rain. I keep trying to climb out of the pit I've admittedly dug for myself, and the walls turn to mud in my hands. It seems like everytime I make a little progress I slip back down again.

I've been pretty discouraged. I've complained about my job, I've complained about my life. I've complained about missed oppurtunities, even as I stand on the corner and wave as they pass me by.

But it's days like today, a day as normal and bland as any other, where I cleaned my house with my husband and we played with our son, to remind me that it's not always the big moments, it's not always the weddings and births and celebrations that matter.

Sometimes it's just a hand to hold- a shoulder to lean on- a smile from a stranger- that's what we live for-that makes life living.

So here's what I'm I'm thankful for this holiday season.

I'm thankful for a good book.

A well written poem.

I'm thankful that I'm a woman. Because being a woman sometimes means that you're sick for months at a time and tired and cranky and tearful and sometimes whiny. But I'm thankful that I'm a woman because it means I'm strong enough to create life- and then nurture that life with love and laughter.

I'm thankful that I have a home and that it's more than just brick and mortar.

I'm thankful for friends and family- even the ones who aren't here physically but whose spirit does surround us. Even if somedays their spirit isn't enough, I'm thankful that today it is.

I'm thankful for heart shaped pebbles in a parking lot full of rocks and red birds that sit in your driveway and wait patiently while you scurry around her in preparation for a funeral.

And above all else- I'm thankful for oppurtunity (and for those who give their lives for us to take it.)

I'm thankful for an unspoken thought that suddenly becomes a dream, that a dream can take root and become reality, and that that possibility -even if it remains unfullfilled-means that there is never too far to fall before you pick yourself up again and move forward.

I'm thankful that there is no better time than the closing of one year, to remind us that there is always a new beginning, a new chapter, a new oppurtunity to be human, to be happy, and to be thankful.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beneath the Skin

So I'm having a strange week. A good week, but a strange one none the less. First off, my mom makes this comment. "I just finished reading this book by "insert best-selling author here" and I couldn't stop thinking that I wish you'd finish your book. You're so much better than he/she is."

Now I don't put too much stock in the comment since it came from my mother, but it gave me a little flutter in my stomach anyway.

Then Monday morning I wake up at 5am and Braden and Alex are tormenting me. For 2 hours they keep asking me questions. What if this, what if that? You know if you wrote this, this might happen.

Again I shrugged it off. See I haven't so much as doodled my name on a scratch piece of paper in months, and every time I see my notebook laying there, I kinda cringe, and truth be told get slightly nauseas. this could be due to the pregnancy, mind you, but I don't think so.

Then last night my husband gets a new TV, so he's busy putting it together. *Yawn*
So I grab a book that's been on my bookshelf for months. I have no idea who the author is (Nikki French) and I can't remember why I picked it up at the half priced bookstore in the first place, except perhaps that I liked the title (Beneath the Skin)

By page 3 I'm saying "wow", by page eleven the world around me has started to blur around the edges,I'm vaguely conscious of the fact that my husband is speaking to me, but the words are muffled as if I'm wearing earmuffs.

I'm in the story.

I'm standing on the streets of London watching a man and woman jumping off a moving bus. I can smell the smells of summer, and I can taste the cherries Zoe is eating. I hear the thud of the woman's head as she hits the pavement, can feel the thick sticky blood pouring out of her mouth, the broken tooth scraping my fingers.

For the next 419 pages I'll be walking the streets of London, being stalked by a madmen, and I'm going to love every minute.

So thank you Nikki French for getting under my skin. For making me want to study writing again, not just pass the time with a good book.

Opening Line Chapter One

"I wouldn't have been famous if it weren't for the watermelon."

Setting

"It was hot, but that may give you the wrong impression. It may make you think of the Mediterranean and deserted beaches and long drinks with colorful paper parasols dangling out of them. Nothing like that. The heat was like a big old smelly mangy greasy farty dying dog that had settled down on London at the beginning of June and hadn't moved for three horrible weeks."

Character

"Normally the choice of books that I read to my class is dictated according to facist totalitarian principles imposed by the government, but this morning I'd rebelled just for once and read them a Brer Rabbit story I'd found in a cardboard box of battered childhood books when I'd cleared out my Dad's flat. I'd lingered over old school reports, letters written before I'd been born, tacky China ornaments that brought with them a flood of sentimental memories. I'd kept all the books because I thought one day I might have children myself and then I could read them the books that Mum had read to me before she had died and left it to Dad to tuck me into bed each night, and reading aloud just became another of those things that were lost, and so in my memory had become something precious and wonderful. Whenever I read aloud to kids there's a bit of me feels as if I've turned into a soft, blurred version of my mother;that I'm reading to the child I once was."

All in 15 pages.

That's what I'm talking about.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Que Sera, Sera

So I've been away for awhile, and no one missed me too much, except for my (count them-2) loyal fans who've both made comments about how long its been.

Thanks for that, by the way!

I've been off on the Great American Freelancing Adventure. And like all adventures this one had good things, it had bad things, exciting things and things that weren't that fun at all.

But throughout my journey I learned a ton about myself, my career as a writer, what is and isn't so important in making your life a good one.

So here's a breakdown:

THE GOOD

1. I really felt like a writer! I was getting paid for articles- and one guy even asked me to repeat jobs so that I had a few months of a pretty steady paycheck. It wasn't enough to set me for life, but the extra spending money sure was nice.

2. I got immediate feedback once you've completed a job (100% feedback so far *Cough*)

3. My work was validated when people started requesting me for proposals instead of me looking for work.

THE BAD

1. I was busy ALL the time

2. No sleep and an unfortunate addiction to monster energy drinks.

3. I had to turn down social engagements, which I'm sure made everyone think I was a real snob. (Besides I miss movie nights with Nette-who else would wear pajamas to the movie theater in the middle of the night!)

THE UGLY

1. No one's ever going to know that those articles came from me. I won't get "Credit" for an of it except to pat my own back.

2. I didn't get paid enough (which has been pointed out to me mainly by my current bosses)

3. I'm still working on a job that should have been finished almost 3 months ago. It's driving me crazy because my gut feeling that I should never have taken the job in the first place, I wanted to do as much as possible as soon as possible. It's certainly taken a toll on my Moral and its horrible for my reputation, so I'll just chock it up to a lesson learned.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE EXPERIENCE

1. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

2. Slow and steady really does win the race.

3. I am above all else a fiction writer, and while freelancing sometimes felt like an albatross around my neck, my novel is a siren's song that constantly calls me home.

Freelancing isn't done for me (the extra money is nice) but I promise to treat it more a lifestyle change than a fad diet.

I promise to never let my motto be "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans," but I promise instead to be the person who says Que Sera Sera, Whatever will be-Will be.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Town Music Monday

It kinda fits in both categories since what I'm featuring today is an original song by Lacey Brown who lives here in Amarillo. I first heard her sing at christmas at the church my brother attends.

Not long after he introduced me to her, we found out she had auditioned for American Idol. I followed even more religiously than usual, getting excited every time I spotted her on the show. She made it up until the top 36, where she didn't quite make the cut. I've been watching the show for the last few weeks and I for one don't know what the hell the judges were thinking:

Accompanied by Ryan Culwell who co-wrote Give Me a Heart with her:



Don't forget to head over to Travis's site for more My Town Monday goodness!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When can I quit my job?

Okay, so here's the deal.

I don;t know whether to be so excited I could pee my pants (jumping up and down in excietment as we speak,) Or nervous as hell.

I go between - "this is so awesome, I can't contain myself", to "I don't know what the hell I've done to myself."

I was over the moon with myself because someone accepted my bid for a freelance writing job. I haven't even started that one yet. I got another bid, for 10 articles in a week." Friday about 2 am I felt so accomplished, even though I'd slept very few hours during the week, while taking care of my family and going to my "real" job

Then the guy who hired me for the blog posts, decides he needs a job done with a higher priority. So now two jobs have suddenly turned into 3 with a promise that if this job works out I'll have "a ton of work" sent my way.

Then, this was in my email this more. From the guy with the 10 articles...."I appreciate your work. Could use 20 more articles. Are you interested?"

Holy Hell, I'm now a Professional Writer!

Monday, February 16, 2009

JAMBI

nothing like a little Tool to get you going in the morning.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Phallic Friday

I promise not to make this a weekly thing!

I have always understood that men have deep rooted "Attachment" to their genitals. All day long you're scratching and shifting and yanking on "the boys" But I never got how early it happened in your development.

My son is not even a year old. I've never seen him happier than the few minutes it takes to change the dirty diaper to a clean one. And if he can run off before the clean one gets put on he's ecstatic!

I buy the boy bath toys, but does he pay with them? NO. He's too busy pulling and pinching the little bits. He could play with the thing for hours!

But this morning was too much. I was changing his diaper and wiggled IT at me. Wiggled it! I could hear the words "Helicopter,helicopter..." echoing in the dark corners of my mind...

He WIGGLED he willy at me!

The little shit takes after his father... It just goes to show that men NEVER grow up!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This is why I write

On the way to the sitter's this morning I was thinking about how nice it would be to have the freedom of a child again.

I remembered what it was like to watch my cousin climb up the back of the football bleachers in Kress, and how even though my grandmas chewed her ass- she smiled. It was worth it to her to feel the fear of falling, to feel the wind in her face-to feel the victory of conquering such an obstacle.

I want to feel that again. I want to play tackle football in the rain, to feel the wind in my hair going ninety down the highway.

I want to make a magic potion of milk, pickle juice and ketchup because if I drink it-I can stay up until the sun rises.

I want to play capture the flag and use the whole block for hide and seek. Or if we have to be banished inside-upgrade hide and seek to murder in the dark.

I want to steal garden gnomes and pumpkins and then send ransom notes to their owners, I want to play Charlie's Angels.

I want to swing, and jump, to fly, even if for half a second, and then feel my feet buried in the sand.

I want to be a boxer.

I want to transfer the pool in the backyard to the sea, and when I duck under the water I want to grow a fish tail and wear seashells over my breasts, and braided into my hair.

Anyone want to play with me?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blog Whore

Yep. I'm a blog whore.

I go back and forth-back and forth. When one blogger fails to post for the day I get antsy-feels like little ants are crawling under my skin. It started off simply enough. I'll start a blog site so my friends who give a damn can read my demented ramblings. But then I read someone else's and had to comment. They in return commented back and now I've created a monster. My list of one blog to read has become over ten and I keep finding MORE!

I start reading one and suddenly its 3'clock in the afternoon and I've wasted my day! I'm at work trying not to call people the "Stupid cow" I wanted to call them and I reach in my pocket and find my phone. "I have unlimited access to the internet," I think and I wonder if I just poke my head in to see what so and so has to say... and then the pharmacist is throwing empty bottles at my head.

I'm an addict-with an endless supply. DAMN.

But the last few days people have been slacking. 2-3 days with no post! You slay me!

And then I look at my own empty pages. What if I'm the crack in someone else's literary crack pipe? What if my whopping 4 followers feel the same? Have I let you down,my faithful followers?

Let the demented ramblings resume...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Two-Line Tuesday

From Christina Dodd's Touch of Darkness

As the Ferry closed on the island, he could see more detail-the blush of summer grass,the few trees, bent and blasted by wind, the white sand beaches beneath the cliffs. The place was a haven for seabirds; they wheeled through the air, crying of long migrations and short summers, and a single golden eagle flew high above them all, hunting...always hunting.

And mine:

It was still dark in the room, and though I couldn't hear the rain, I could see the shimmer of it against the glass of the window. From the chair next to my bed, a slumped figure snored softly.

Remember to head over to women of mystery for more two-lines.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two-Line Tuesday

Here's two lines from Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd:

It dwarfed the mighty trees around it, and it sat too close to the edge of the cliff. To her stunned gaze, it looked like a monster, the last of its species,hovering on the edge of lonely suicide.

And mine:

It was extremely satisfying to know exactly how much power was still left in my upper body. Extremely satisfying to hear the shattering of the glass on the tile floor, to know that I could break as well as be broken.

Head over to Women of Mystery for more two-lines...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Music Mondays

I've been thinking about doing My Town Mondays, but I don't want to steal Travis's thunder.

HA! (translation: I can't ever think of anything to write.) So, I've been thinking about something else to fill the gap. It'd be nice to think of something for every day of the week to keep me focused and writing something everyday, and that will come, but for now: Music Mondays.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. Whenever we have family functions, someone always brings out the instruments and starts singing. This could be anything from guitars, to piano's to spoons and washboards. But there is always music. Not from me-the only thing I can play is the radio. But my mom started playing piano when she was 6. She plays by ear. She can hear a song once and play it. That always amazed me.

My dad's uncle and cousin spent a majority of their life in honky-tonks and Bo even has a couple of CD's. He never made it big, but the man was talented. I'm even related in a round about way to Kevin Fowler.

Our favorite movie when we were kids was footloose.

And sadly enough, My cousin and I, even at 30 years old, have been caught in the kitchen letting loose to brown eyed girl by Van Morrison.

Music to me has always been another form of creativity, a way to express what you want to say, but don't know how to say it. You pour your feelings into the music, and you even get something back from it.

I've often said that I listen to all types of music, from classical to the heaviest hard rock, and that whatever I'm listening to depends on my mood. That's true. So here's another way to say, without having to say it, exactly what's on my mind.

Today, this is how I feel:

Joss Stone - Right to Be Wrong

Friday, January 23, 2009

I wasn't going to write today, because of the way I'm feeling. But I remember a promise I made to write (cough*cough) everyday, no matter what

Today is one of the days I was talking about, I woke up sad. By the time I dropped Steven off at the sitter's, I was in tears. I didn't stop until about 30 minutes before work.

I don't know about you, but explaining what depression feels like to someone who doesn't suffer from it, is not easy. Make it your distraught husband who is suddenly worried about the number of guns he has in the house and it becomes a nightmare.

I was diagnosed with depression a long time ago, when I was still in college. And again when My father passed away.

Once when things got really bad, I packed a bag and didn't tell anyone I was leaving. I was gone for 3 days. Granted I was at my moms house, So I didn't disappear completely. But at my worst, I'd be driving and wonder what would happen if I just turned the wheel enough to head into ongoing traffic. Who would notice? Would it make any difference at all?

I felt that way again this morning, not with the ongoing traffice, but really who would care if I wasn't around. Wouldn't they be better off without me anyway?

I put a lot of pressure on myself to be strong. I hate feeling weak, of feeling incapable of anything. I've felt completely lost lately. Mediocre things have become extremely difficult for me to handle. I can't focus, I can't concentrate. I could be told something one minute and the next completely forget what I was supossed to be doing.

Maybe it's time to admit that Ineed more help than just allowing it pass on it's own. Does succumbing to medication make me weak? What do you think?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two-Line Tuesday

Here are my two lines from Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag.

Behind them, on the banks, the weeping willows, boughs bowed as if by grief,and the live oak with their twisted trunks and gnarled branches, looking like enchanted things eternally frozen in a moment of agony. And from their contorted limbs hangs the moss, gray and dusty and tattered, like old feather boas left to rot in the attic of some long-forgotten,long-ruined mansion.

And my two lines:

I stared at the red angry wounds of my face, stitched together like some macabre quilt. My usually long, graceful legs encased in cold steel had been rendered useless.

For more Two line Tuesdays head over to the Women of Mystery.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Rush

So I've got this new story rolling around in my head...

And it scares me because, apparenlty I have great openings... I wouldn't know if I have great endings, because I've never had one... So I'm kinda reluctant to do anything with it.

But it won't leave me alone. I close my eyes and I see it.. I'm washing the dishes and its whispering to me.

Alex and her crew are missing in action right now. I try to think about what happens next and their off playing in the wheat fields...

And my hockey players apparently have a test to study for because I get shushed every time I try to hang out with them.

I think the answer's obvious. I don't hold the reins here people, I have no control. And she who will, so far, remain nameless is whipping me into action...

It stings a little, but I relish the rush...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dollhouse

As you all know, I'm a huge fan f Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly.

He's back with a new Series. I've been waiting for this for years and now it's finally here. Check out the new creation from the mind of what I consider sheer genius....


http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1554364106/bctid1554394250



First episode Feb. 13 at 8:00p

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hope

After two weeks of moping around the house trying to solve the mysteries of the universe, I finally wrote down my feelings. I've felt much better. Of course it helped to see all the support Travis is getting-And seeing the cleanup process was extremely cathartic for me- I can't imagine how it must have felt for him.

So I've come from the despair that life can bring to realizing that the universe holds many wonders as well. Trouble may come-disaster may happen, but we clean up the mess and get on with living. It's people like my cousins Justin and Jason, My friends, John Paul and Crystal, and Sarah, and Sheila-Travis, and even people I've never met, like Tanis Miller who teach me that. May I have half the strength of any one of them if I ever do meet with adversity.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to the Black Hole of Despair

I've been dreading this post.

I don't know what to say. And what I do have to say seems so insignificant in the whole scheme of things.

I don't understand this life. I don't understand it at all.

I don't understand how one moment a man could kiss his wife and child goodbye and head of to work thinking everything was going to be okay and the next he's in a wheelchair, paralyzed and unable to speak. No longer physically able to pick up his child and hug her, or tell her that he loves her.

I don't understand how someone could survive the loss of their child (at 4, at 10-does it really matter?)

I don't understand how a woman can have so much love in her heart that she wants to care for someone else's child. I don't understand how her best friend could destroy that dream.

I don't understand how a man can celebrate his life on vacation one day, and the next mourns the loss of everything he owns.

I don't understand how I'm supposed to congratulate one friend on her engagement while consoling the other on an unexpected pregnancy termination.

I don't understand how I'm exempt from all of these things.

I'm a Cancer, so naturally I'm sensitive but I don't think anyone knows to what extend I feel these things.

I feel like I'm in the eye of a storm. I'm safe. I'm in my home, I have my legs, I have a husband whose never broken my heart... I have a son who is beautiful and healthy. And I don't deserve any of it.

I'm in the eye of a Tornado, but the wind is whipping me around, the debris is slashing me. It's cutting me to the bone.

Thank you, God, for everything you've given me. Thank you, God, for sustaining me, for protecting me-Thank you, God, For blessing me.