Posted in Blogging, books, Goals, Learning, Life, Musings, reading, story telling, Uncategorized, writing

The Writer’s Dilemma…

blogshakespearecomic

I have started working on a new story, so what is happening is what always happens- I am finding it harder to come up with the time and energy to devote to this blog. It’s funny, because they are such different things, and both of them give me something I want. Blogging has the immediate reward that I love- I have the ability to see who has read what I have written, who I have reached, who enjoys my writing. I get that immediate gratification that I love so much.

When I am writing a story, though, it is different. The story starts to materialize in my mind before I ever sit down to start sketching it out. It always starts like this- I am washing dishes, or walking my dog, or sitting on the toilet, and my mind goes “what if…say a girl was walking her dog early in the morning, like this, and they were by a cemetery…and the dog dragged her into the cemetery, and she lost the leash, and when she was trying to grab it, she fell…into an open grave…” Or maybe I start to see other parts of the story first, and then that first part comes to me. Eventually, it becomes almost painful not to start writing it out. I don’t get any immediate feedback on it, and most of the stories I have started, I haven’t even finished, for one reason or another. I lose interest, or something happens in my life that takes me away from writing, and when I come back, I just want to start something new.

I want to develop better habits, a solid writing routine, because- I have finally realized- this is everything to me. If I don’t get on the ball now, when will I? When I was very young, I already knew that writing was my calling in life, but I thought I had all the time in the world. I don’t know what I was waiting for. I don’t want to wait anymore. So, here I am, back to getting up at four every morning, so that I can have this time to write. I’m two chapters in on my new story, and I intend to finish this one. I also have decided to finish the editing of my first finished novel, and start sending it off again. I figure one of two things can happen- it will be rejected, or it won’t. I don’t need to get all nutty over it, I just need to do it. If no one wants it, then I will come up with something else. I don’t need to be afraid. I should be more afraid of doing nothing.

I plan on continuing blogging, and actually, I wrote a really good one earlier this week, but decided not  to publish it in the interest of not pissing off everybody in the world who disagrees with me…especially a few particular people whom the blog was aimed at. If they weren’t people I knew personally, I probably would have gone ahead with it, but I am trying to be responsible with my words these days, and not go around stabbing people with my literary sword. Although it sure is tempting sometimes.

I am very interested to hear about your writing routine- are you dedicated to it? Is there a time of day that works best for you? Do you have a hard time blogging when you are caught up in other literary pursuits?

I know this is a short one today, but I really just wanted to check in, let everyone know what is going on with me. I’ll be back before you know it!

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Posted in Blogging, friendship, fun, Holidays, Learning, Life, Musings, People, psychic abilities, random, spirit, story telling, the occult

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

ghosts

So, the seasons are changing, the nights are getting colder, perhaps fires are being lit in your living room (or if you are super lucky, your bedroom) hearths. Your front step may show evidence of the fast approaching Halloween, little pumpkins waiting to be carved into smiles and grimaces. I even have a scarecrow this year! What better time, then, to bring up a subject that almost everyone loves to chime in on- GHOSTS! If you don’t have a story of your own, you definitely have heard plenty over the years, right?

My question to you is, do you believe in ghosts? Like, REALLY believe in them? My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will share their stories in the comments below, or on my Facebook page, because, on top of the fact that I LOVE to tell my own personal ghost story, I SO love hearing other people’s personal encounters with the paranormal. Now, I am going to tell you mine, and it is 100% true! If you don’t believe me, you can totally ask my mother, as she was there and lived through it, too. Some of her memories will be different than mine- this all started when I was eight years old- but I can promise you that it was an experience neither of us will ever forget.
So, when I was 8, my mother was pregnant with my brother, and we moved into a bigger house, a pretty nondescript, standard, home at 530 W. Dayton, in Fresno. It was a hideous mustard color, at least when we got there, but it had a huge backyard. Anyway, within our first few days there, the first thing happened, and it is the one that I am the most confident of all of. I was laying on my twin bed in my little room, and my mom and grandma had just walked out a few moments before. I was reading (of course), when suddenly, the top drawer of my dresser, right next to the bed, just slid open, all the way. Quickly, as if someone had yanked it, hard. I remember being SO terrified that I couldn’t scream- I opened my mouth to yell for my mom, and nothing came out. By the time I could make a sound, I felt quite wild and deranged. The women came running back in, and I told them what had happened, but I could tell they didn’t believe me.
Pretty soon, though, my mom and my step dad, and eventually, even my little brother, were quite aware that we were not living in that house alone. There was tons of regular poltergeist activity, ranging from footsteps in the hall, to glasses and dishes rattling in the cupboard, to entire boxes of cereal flying across the room. No Shit. The rocking chair would rock with no one in it, and no breeze to explain it, things would disappear and then show up in impossible places.
If that had been all of it, I think it would have been bearable. But it seemed to escalate, and the atmosphere in that house became truly unbearable. I don’t know how to explain it to you- if you have ever lived in a house with an unhappy spirit, you will know exactly what I mean…I was eleven, and I couldn’t be alone in that house. I would walk home from school, unlock the front door, and try to sit on the couch to watch TV. Most of the time, the feeling in that place was so oppressive, so terrifying, that I would wind up sitting on the front step until my parents got home. I couldn’t even be in there. You were never alone, and whatever lived there, unseen, did not want me there.
My mother was up late one night, and she heard my brother walking ( he was a toddler, then) down the hall towards her room. She was reading, and she didn’t look up until the footsteps stopped at the foot of her bed, and a strange voice said “Mama!”. Then, her head snapped up, and no one was there. My brother was asleep in his bed. Eventually, he refused to go into his room at night, screaming in terror, and pointing into the corners, hysterical. I will let my mom finish that story, though, because I don’t really remember it well.
We later learned, from our amazing neighbors, Jack and Hazel, who had lived there since the beginning of time, that a small child had died of Leukemia or something in our very house. So that explains the little footsteps we heard often, and the voice in my mom’s room. But I have always felt like there was something much older and more negative in that place than any lost little child’s soul could ever be. I will probably never know the whole story, since we moved many years ago…but I have always wondered if the people who lived there after us had any similar experiences.
I have had other things happen in my life, but that one was definitely the longest…and for sure, the scariest. So, How about you? Do you believe in Ghosts? And if so, why? Tell me your story! I am so excited, I can’t wait!
Happy Almost Halloween!

Posted in beauty, escape, family, friendship, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random

Everything That is Right With Me.

negative-self-talk-picture

 

I’m feeling rather chipper this afternoon, and thought I would sit down here for a second and write. Nothing special has happened, no great new career has fallen out of the sky and into my lap. I’m still chubby. My house is still kinda messy. I am still struggling with these goddamned cigarettes, goddammit.

But yesterday and today, I have really asked the Universe, or God, or whomever it is out there listening to me, to help me be okay with it- “it” being the many, many things that are, whether I have a hand in it, or any control over it, or not. Whatever “it” is, God, can you help me be okay with it? That is the big prayer I am sending up, day after day. And it seems like I am getting my answer.

Because every time that cruel, hypercritical, mean, awful voice in my head starts to verbally abuse me, another, WAY more believable voice says “NO.” This kinder voice shuts that mean voice DOWN. As I am pulling on my jeans, the mean voice goes “What the fuck, porky? Are you kidding me? ” And the kind voice goes “You are beautiful. It’s fine. Go take your walk, enjoy your life.” And the mean voice, it just sort of fades away.

I think to myself “I should really put some make up on before I go outside.”  And this gentle voice pipes up, before the mean voice even has a chance- “Look at yourself. There is nothing you need to cover up…get out there and take in the afternoon.” (in case you are confused, yes, there are three voices happening here- Me, the mean voice and the kind voice. If you can’t grasp that, you are probably a man. So go hug your girlfriend, because she is probably having a hell of a time with HER voices.)

Do you guys have any idea how wonderful it feels to have someone sticking up for me? I mean, even if it is just me, it’s about damn time. Because let me tell you something- I am a pretty good person. I love my kids, I show up every day, I try like hell to do the best I can. I am nearly forty, and my life sure doesn’t look the way I thought it would, but it’s a good life. I am making the most of it, or at least trying to. I sure the heck don’t appreciate this critical voice that no one else hears busting my balls twenty four hours a day. I am tired of it. I am sure I am not alone.

So you know what? I took my walk, without any makeup, and I had a wonderful time. My dogs were thrilled, and no one stopped their car to point at me and laugh. I saw woodpeckers and Monarchs, and stretched my legs, cleared my head.

I have spent years and years beating myself up for my shortcomings- I am far harder on myself than I would ever be on anyone else. That needs to stop…because I am lovely (said the kind voice.)

Posted in escape, Goals, humor, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random, writing

Restless

restless

 

You know that feeling, that one where you wake up in the morning, already stressing about something that could or could not be happening later that day? Already worrying about that weird, and totally rude, letter you received from the IRS, or about the paycheck that you already spent, even though it won’t be deposited into your bank account for over a week…you know, that feeling? Or how about, even worse, that awful feeling that you woke up in the middle of a life that is a total mystery to you, and you suddenly understand that Talking Heads song, where he’s all “Where is my beautiful wife?”, except you are a woman, so…you get the picture.

I am all about being grateful, you guys, I really am. But there are some days when it feels like there is a very fine line between being grateful and settling, and I think, at least for me, it is hard to discern one from the other. I wake up three hours before I need to start work every day, just so I can be me for a little while before I force myself into my role as a responsible member of the working world. Even with all those hours to myself, I am nearly crushed with despair when I must log in and get started. Like, I literally feel as if I cannot bear to sit and do my easy, well paying, job for the next eight hours. I feel like a trapped animal.

Then I feel guilty for feeling that way. I mean, MOST people would (or at least say, and probably believe they would) love to have my job. I make decent money (not that it matters, it’s so freaking expensive to live where I live, not to mention have two kids and get no child support), I get to work from home, I have great benefits. The truth is, I love the people I work for, and the people I work with. It’s the work itself that is a problem. I am so bored I could just sob. I have tried every thing I can think of to make it interesting, setting daily challenges for myself, taking on different tasks, learning new things. After seven years, I am out of ideas. And I feel really guilty about not being grateful, because, on a certain level, I am. I know without this paycheck coming in, I’d be in big trouble…right? I KNOW it would be hard to go back below the poverty line, after having it somewhat better for all these years. But there is a little part of me that wonders how bad it would really be.

There is a certain amount of sacrifice involved in joining the grown up world. You lose a lot of freedom, the possibility of what may be next dwindles, you begin to worry about what you could lose now that you actually have something. Sometimes, you get everything you worked for, and then figure out that you never even wanted it in the first place. You did the thing that would make everyone else feel better. So,  now your mother is sleeping peacefully at night and you, my friend, are fucking empty inside. Or am I just projecting? ( 🙂 )

As I was writing this, it occurred to me that perhaps I am thinking of this incorrectly, in that black and white manner I have that has no place in reality. Here I am, thinking, “life that is killing me, OR, life of destitution”. Hmm…thoughts like that are the very reason I have a therapist.  The only fact about my thoughts, sometimes, is that they are really, really messed up.  Maybe there is a middle ground? Maybe I could, I don’t know, continue pursuing my other dreams while simultaneously keeping my job? I mean, I’m a writer, it’s not like I need to go anywhere…I don’t even really need to change chairs, to be honest with you.

I am really glad I wrote this, this morning. You may not get a damn thing out of it, but I certainly needed to map out some way out of my miserable thinking. Little change of perspective, Court. One foot in front of the other. I may not know exactly what my options are, or exactly how to get from where I am to the life I want to wind up in, but I do know this much- right now, I have a better chance of getting there than I would without ANY resources. I may be restless, but I can deal with that. Restless, with a direction.

Well, I guess I need to start my “real” job now. Say a little prayer for me.

Posted in Life, Musings, People, random

Happy Monday!

I know, I know- this is not a popular sentiment.

monday

Mondays are the days when we must drag ourselves out of bed at an unreasonable hour, and suit up for jobs that may or may not be sucking the life right out of us. We have to deal with our ungrateful children at ungodly hours, and make them do things THEY don’t want to do, while simultaneously preparing to do things WE don’t want to do. Life is tough.

But what if- and bear with me, here- what if, instead of being all pissy and moany about it, we decided to be grateful. Grateful for our jobs, because we have them, and grateful for our ungrateful children. Because they are healthy and perfectly imperfect, and because, really, who would you be without them? Gratitude for our messy houses and disgusting pets. Gratitude for the hot water in our shower, and the coffee in our cups.

Every day of the week, I begin with the intention of doing my absolute best that day, no matter how I feel. It doesn’t always work out, but I mean for it to. It gives me something to shoot for. It gives me a baseline to come back to, when I feel a bad attitude creeping up on me.

Wherever you are, if you are reading this, you are blessed. You are doing something right. You may not be living the life you imagined, but the life you ARE living is good, and filled with possibility.

So, Happy Monday! Make it a great one.

Posted in family, friendship, kids, Learning, Life, love, Musings, People, relationships

Fallout

Fallout: 2. A secondary and often lingering effect, result, or set of consequences.

THE-PAST (1)

 

I have been dealing, lately, with the next wave of fallout from my choice to end my relationship. It’s weird, because it’s been nearly a year now, and I often think that if I am not totally over it, I am pretty close. Then, something will happen- a song will come on the radio, my daughter will ask me an innocent question, and a wave of grief so startling will roll over me that it is nearly panic. It leaves me questioning my entire set of choices between now and then…which is, of course, ridiculous. Anyone with eyes can see I have been a million times happier since I finally put an end to all of the chaos and fighting, the drugs and the lies, the anger and upheaval.

I am proud of myself for trying so hard, out of real love, to make something difficult work. Sometimes I beat myself up for pouring so much into something that could never have worked, but I didn’t believe that while it was happening, and the truth is, I had to know that I did everything within my power before I walked away. I think before he and I were together, I really believed that if two people loved each other, that was all that really needed to be true for a relationship to work out. I had to learn that there is so much more to it than that- for two people to be happy and healthy together, they first need to be happy and healthy as individuals, and then they are charged with the very difficult task of somehow managing to maintain that, while figuring out how to build a life together. You can love the shit out of each other, and if one or both of you is a mess, or wanting a different version of the same thing, or can’t see eye to eye in certain critical ways, it just won’t work.

I am even more proud of myself for finally finding the strength to get out. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life, much harder than the familiar misery of staying together. I was used to hating who I was when I was with him. I was used to being angry, insecure, mean, erratic, volatile, and sad. But it was killing me. I don’t think that when he moved out the last time I really thought it would stick- how many times had we been down that road? But I kept holding out another day, then another and another, until finally I even started believing myself when I would say ” We are never getting back together.” (Credit: Taylor Swift, LOL)

I would not have it any other way, now. As I said in the beginning- I am so much happier now. I could not undo what has been done if I wanted to, anyway. What we were, for better or worse, is over. We couldn’t go back if we wanted to.

But Autumn is upon us- my first one alone in over seven years. I don’t know about you, but Autumn is the season for families, in my mind. Spring and Summer are fantastic times to be single, but the minute Autumn rolls around, I start looking around for my security blanket. In this case, I guess mine is a two hundred pound man. Who knew?

I woke up two days ago, thinking…maybe I am ready to start dating again. Maybe it is time. That night, I was at a meeting, watching the fire crackle in the hearth, and the candles flicker on the mantle, and I thought how nice it would be to go home and crawl in bed with someone…but not really someone. Him.  Yesterday, I was out with our daughter, and I picked up some food and headed to the beach. I pulled into the parking lot just as a song came on that reminded me of him, and some horrible times he put me through. I realized that the beach we were at just then was where he had been working a construction job when we first started dating, and I would bring him lunch, we would sit on the beach and flirt with each other.

We had no idea, then, that seven years down the road we would be this- more broken than we started out. A child between us that we both loved desperately. A mountain of bad choices  and broken promises trailing behind us. A bad taste in our mouths over each other, and two broken hearts. I sat in my car and cried facing forward so my daughter didn’t see me. And I realized that I wasn’t really ready to date, not yet. I am still in mourning for what I gave up, as hard as it was, and as sad as it was, it was still very significant to me, and it was a loss I felt, and still feel deeply.

I certainly will not go back. But I will honor my grief and myself until I am ready to move on.

Posted in Addiction, inner peace, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random

Seeking…

WhatYouAreSeekingIsYou

 

When you first get clean and sober after a bad run- no matter how many times you do it- there is, for me at least, this stretch of time that is perfect and beautiful. Right after the withdrawals dissipate, and right before reality comes crashing in, with all its boredom and mediocrity. I have been suspicious, for quite some time, that one could actually become addicted to that little space in time, the unadulterated bliss that comes right after another brush with disaster. I have dubbed it the “Phoenix Syndrome”, because it feels so good to rise up from the ashes.

But there comes a time when you just aren’t willing to destroy yourself one more time, even knowing how good it might feel to get back down in your addiction again, and how amazing it feels to get out. Because, here’s the thing- you can’t stop remembering, anymore, how hard it was to get out. How you thought you might never get out, last time. How you barely did. And maybe you just don’t have it in you to live a double life anymore, or have worse than no life at all- just an endless string of days in limbo, years flashing by in a minute. Maybe you just can’t bear the thought of laying waste, once more, to the relationships you have been trying to breathe life back into…maybe you can’t bear the thought of destroying the trust you are finally building, the trust that never should have been called into question in the first place.

This is kind of where I am- my feral side straining at the leash of my domesticated existence. It’s not that I want to get high, I don’t. I just want to feel alive, feel lively…and I have never learned, really, how to do this in a way that isn’t destructive. I am not willing to self destruct anymore, I just don’t have it in me. So I am seeking…something. Some new way, some GOOD way, to feel lively. I don’t want to go backwards, I want to be happy.

I suspect that perhaps, I need to change my idea of what happiness is. It doesn’t always have to be wild, and leave you breathless and half crazy. I have seen and experienced for myself, happiness as quiet and peace- the rain on the roof, a baby asleep in the crook of your arm. Happiness as a gray morning, fogging up the windows, and a day with nothing to do.

Perhaps I am just resistant to the changes in my life, and maybe it is because I am afraid. Afraid of the unknown…but it’s really ALL the unknown, isn’t it? There are no guarantees. Maybe it is just in my nature to seek, to always be seeking, though. Maybe that is what I need to do to feel alive, to be lively, huh? And maybe this is not such a terrible thing.