Funny, that

I read so much… when I’m not busy with children; housekeeping; Face Booking; working; miscellaneous creative projects, or most of all recently- yes, writing. I read books on historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy fiction; some books in the way of biographical persuasion have also hit my shelves. I also read books on meditation, religion and philosophy, psychology, photography, different animals, how to better understand what you read, and how to write, among others. I read books that I hadn’t thought of since I was a child, since I now read to my kids. I look up information on line, and read up on subjects that peak my curiosity, and I am reading a lot of what is written here in WordPress, also.

 Some of us sound SO SMART when we write, it’s like we’re all geniuses. And then I do something like make a comment. It seems, then, that all that reading and logging information into that big ole’ computer of a brain just goes out the window. I make a pampering idiot of myself. Or perhaps I’m unintentionally condescending. Or perhaps I just didn’t get it and realize that I went on a tangent– just after hitting the “publish post” button.

So if you happen to read my comments, and just HAPPEN to come here, please know– as much of an idiot I seem, I’m not, really. I just get so excited when I see that someone else has the same voice– or perhaps a different voice, than mine, that I just can’t hide it. And I refuse to. Because one day, my idocy will really make someone feel good. Or laugh. Or just shake their head and grin. Whatever.

 I want you to know, however, that I have come to admire each and every one of you. I understand what it means to put who you are into words, and share it with strangers.  It is something that takes a certain kind of determination, maybe a titch of desperation, a strange combo of humility and pride, and perhaps a bit of naivete, as well …  as well as the deepest of needs- to connect in a meaningful way with others- that we all are driven to fulfill.

 I salute you, fellow readers, AND writers!

Waking the artist

 So I’ve figured out now how easy it was, once upon a time, to give up my writing- I was homeless, no place to keep anything except a backpack which, as I remember, quickly filled and choosing which items to toss became agonizing. I was young, foolish and made spontaneous choices that nearly always ended in some lesson learned the hard way. But as I got older, as I somehow took advantage of friends’ good graces and other resources, and got myself settled down. Took a long time. But then what?

 I had a few kids… the entire time thinking that as I was deemed smart enough, there HAD to be something I could do with myself, other than be a glorified calculator, input data entry, be a part-time book keeper. Something that took all the “stuff” I’d learned and the creativity I knew I had, the inventiveness that got me noticed as a young adult, before I left the real world for less tangible experiences. There had to be SOMEthing that I could apply myself to. Never once realizing I had one tool that never left, even though I threw away the evidence- I can write. Even the stuff I don’t like that much has in it the possibilities for great stories.

 I’ve always been able to pump out that 5 page essay hours before the deadline, with little effort, and still get a better-than-passing grade. I’ve always enjoyed the exercises I learned from creative writing classes I took in San Francisco. I inherently use many tools used for writing in other parts of my life, but never thought twice about it. Until suddenly, the idea of actually going beyond a short story no longer daunted me. Somehow, coming here and finding so many writers of so many different backgrounds and talents, has woken that dormant beast. Now I’m a slave… and now it’s so much FUN – it’s better than that ultimate earthly pleasure, sex. Really.

 I’m never stopping, until I have no use of my hands or mouth. Making up a fantasy world and story line this last week has been the most gratifying experience, and taking ONE day off was the strangest thing- I don’t think I could give it up for more than that again … not now- not ever. Not willingly.

 Here’s to waking an artist; evoking emotional responses from readers, and creating a reality that overwhelms their own when they sink into the pages. Here’s to writing the book I always wanted to read…

Muse!

So after a few attempts at more of my short stories, even going through old works and hoping to breathe new life into them, I began to realize I started telling the same story in three different, shorter stories… I lost all the writing books I used to have, over the many years in between when I used to actually write and now, so I purchased a few more off of Amazon.com to read in bed with my phone… okay, six more. What can I say- I believe getting a well-rounded education in each subject of choice is important.

So many light bulbs went off. Here were SO many things I’d forgotten to use to help focus my writing. Things I’ve even instinctively done, but because I wasn’t focusing on it, those wonderful moments have been few and far between. My favorite game so far: The What If Game– what if your character was a–? what if the hero was a–? what if? What if? Wee! The ride gets fun, then!

Now I sit down and the sounds of glee coming from my bedroom where I keep my writing desk, sounds almost obscene. And really, it’s almost exquisite, that feeling of knowing you’re doing it right. I have to stop repeatedly for many things, and an hour or six isn’t usually possible in one of my days until night time- especially with kids home from school on vacation! So these tools and tips really help further what at first began as a simple exercise to revamp my writing abilities. I know there’s something more, here. Perhaps that something I always wanted to tell but stopped myself and wrote shorter sections for. Whatever it was that I stopped writing for, I’m not sure I remember… but I hope it never happens again!

First Class

First Class

Yep. A cute little certificate. Not good for a lot, other than to say, Hey! I did it! And guess what? I did? ;)

Yep. A cute little certificate. Not good for a lot, other than to say, Hey! I did it! And guess what? I did? 😉

I just finished my first class in so many years I don’t want to count them… This week I took Elixir: A History of Water and Humans via Udemy Online

I listened to the same tones prick my ears over and over, it seemed. Monotonous? No, that wasn’t it. He spoke well, even enthusiastically- in a very reserved way. No moving parts to distract from his speech, such as arms gesticulating about, like so many speakers tend to do. His breath, he took great care to ensure didn’t interfere with what you were hearing, so there was no funny noises. He did happen to stumble on his words occasionally, or cough but I’m not sure I can not find fault in that.

I just don’t know what it was. I had a hard time paying attention. There were fascinating facts when I was able to fully tune in, and he did a fine job orating various scenes of ancient peoples toiling away to bring the life-giving water to the areas they either farmed or lived. Really.

I know that I tend to learn better by reading, rather than listening to a lecture – I can recall the sentence and paragraph, and place on the page, easier than I can remember the expression on someone’s face or separate the sounds their mouths make in my memory. I probably have some insidious learning disability lurking behind these spectacled eyebrows … That’s probably just some conceited form of wishful thinking, though. But persistence is becoming a friend of mine, so I went back and (many times regretted not being more careful with the clicking, as I listened to some of the same parts more than a few times, before – ) I finished it.

I did it. The entire course. I think it’s the first course I’ve ever finished, since early high school. Actually, since junior high, shamefully so. I’ve started many courses over the years – Tai Chi, psychology, philosophy, math, biology, creative writing classes, even … But I’ve always let myself become the bad student I was before. So here I sat, wrestling with the needs to fold laundry and clean the bathroom, the desire to write, the urge to hop on Facebook and find out what people were up to (I gave in to writing, the only concession I can think of … ) and instead I listened to this man talk about water and history. For three days. My house is a wreck.

My husband asked, “Why are we watching this guy talk about China?”

I answered, “Because it was free, it’s convenient, and I might just learn something I didn’t know, I guess.” I smirked and shrugged, not really having a better reason – I’m kinda strange in my choice of movies and documentaries, anyway, so it wasn’t that odd… for me. Thinking about it now, it seems as good a reason as any, so maybe really not that lame.

What did I learn? I wasn’t sure at first – it was a strange topic, in my opinion, and I took it on a whim so didn’t have any expectations, per se. But as I reflected, I realized that all around the world, human beings have overcome obstacles such as scarcity, gravity, war and other trials, and have used copious amounts of manpower and now machinery and soon even further complicated technologies to continue what is these days an alarmingly accelerated, and steady access to water – a finite resource. We’ve used ingenuity and intelligence to rise above, and in our history, did so with reverence and in honor of the fickle nature of water’s dual ability to nourish or destroy. Today it is wasted and polluted on a daily basis, and some see a world-wide problem arising from such misuse and general lackluster concern for this life-giving elixir that we cannot replace, and use for more and more purposes.

Short story: I gained at least a small measure of perspective of water in our history, mentally visited a few ancient locales and discovered their rituals surrounding water, and learned of the rigors involved in taming a reliable source. I was also reminded of it’s importance in our lives and the dangers present for all of us when abused. I am reminded again, of the idea that somehow, we need to come up with some better ways of thinking so we can dig ourselves out of the problems we’ve been creating around us.

So I learned something. I had to threaten to practically pull my own eyeteeth out to do so, but I sat myself down and became the obstinate little witch I knew I could be; and now I’m glad I did it, if for no other reason than I taught myself something: I can do it. Whatever it is, I can do it. And when I want to, I will – amazing little monkey-things, we strange and mysterious human beings.

Tomorrow, I pick another class… May the learning NEVER cease!

Life Happens

 I have endeavored to improve myself, my interests and knowledge and skills that I have neglected for too long. I promised myself, suddenly and without prompting, something that has begun to change my life. I look back on all the little things I’ve done this past year to further this idea of mine, and I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. But the part that I’ve begun recently has had, so far, the largest of returns. I’ve begun to write- and to edit, and censor and renew old ideas and imaginary friendships.

 

It’s an awesome feeling when I begin to experience the flow of a story- the need and drive to continue on and not stop for distractions- don’t go to the bathroom, yet; let the kids watch a movie today; the plants can wait until later; the laundry will still be there tomorrow … It’s been a long over-due visit from a dear friend, this feeling.

 

As another writer, you might get it- what is falling out of your mind just won’t let you go, and you don’t want it to; it feels like there’s a hidden purpose behind the mad intent to stay locked to the computer screen for hours on end, ignoring bodily needs and outside disturbances. And once you are locked into your world of choice, everything else is truly “outside” for a while.

 

Unfortunately, it also seems that every time I get there then something that CAN’T be put off happens. How’s that saying go? “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” Yep- or when you’re really just having the time of your life up in your own little world. It barges in like a bull in a china shop then, too.

 

I have promised myself something, though- I will not give up. I will come back. And I will find another idea, if the first no longer wishes to “play” for me, although I hope to make each and every one sound out beautiful little notes before it’s death. Beat it to death with grammar, tease it with punctuation until it hurts, then restructure it until it becomes a different tale- make it sing. And sadistically cherish every moment with it, for it is truly my own creation. That’s my promise.

Therapy in Waiting

 From the time I read The 2,000 Pound Goldfish and wanted to become a play writer or film director, to the time I read Ramona Quimby and imagined my life as a living video blog ,(this was before reality t.v. shows, OR blogging, mind you) I imagined myself as the star of my own life story. And I secretly wondered if other people did it, too… I guess these blogging sites go to show me that I’m not alone, eh? 😉

 

If you’d watched Cher and Winona Ryder in Mermaids; or perhaps Riding in Cars With Boys, with Drew Barrymore; or even maybe a little of Boys on the Side with Whoopi Goldberg; then you’d have a small idea of what my life was really like- not something I’d want to share publicly unless I felt like inviting pity. Or proving how much stronger than events I felt I was. Or how dramatic my life could be.

Although these experiences helped to shape who I am today, for a long time I felt they defined me. In other words, I thought that the fact that I came from such rough backgrounds made me viewable by others a predictable type of person, totally not understanding how you change when the real “you” is extruded through some hardship in life. There have been times I’ve self-censored myself to death, and times I’ve bled out onto my friends and into their lives.

 

Sometimes, it is in the telling that therapy and true healing begin, as we explore our own motives for past actions in a third-party view. Sometimes stories beg telling with persevering insistence, regardless of your ideas of who you are, or were, or how well they’re expressed. And it’s high-time this one was told, I suppose … Among others. So here I leave off, saying that the so-far-just-a-short-story, Waiting, is therapeutic; half true, and half bad memory, a dash of fancy and a smidgeon shameless self-promotion.

-MommaC

Excerpt from short story, Unfortunate Animal

Well, I finished it… for now. There’ll be more to tell some day, I’m sure, if I wanted to elaborate. But for now, I think I wrapped it up fairly tight.  This is just a teaser, from somewhere in the middle- for more, hit up the page on my blog and read the whole thing! 

Shayna’s insides quivered. The woman in front of her- for it was obviously a woman’s shape, face covered or not, and there was a glimpse of wavy brown hair underneath the hat she was wearing- was shaking, so much so that Shayna was afraid she’d be shot accidentally. The barrel of the gun was dark and staring at her from a mere three inches away, daring her to flinch just once before lights-out. She knew she didn’t have long on this Earth before this morning, but fighting cancer was more honorable a death than the move of a stupid, scared chit who obviously didn’t plan things beyond holding her hostage.

“You don’t have to shoot me,” Shayna whispered, barely audible. “I don’t know what hellhole chewed you up and spit you out, but this job isn’t worth my life, nor your going to prison- or worse. You don’t have to do this to get what you need.” So quiet, so low, so soft- yet Cathy heard each and every word. She moved her gun up and to the side, just a little, hesitating for a brief moment. She considered it- if she came clean to the cops on all the stuff she’d done, would they really just let her have her son back? Or is it really better to give Roller his money and hope her son was still alive after a little further “payment” had been received? She wasn’t sure which was worse.

Cathy saw a shadow approaching out of the corner of her eye and she stepped back further into the shadowy corner, managing to keep hold of the gun she had almost let go of in her indecision. She was still shaking, and as the shadow stepped into a room across the hall and closed the door, she fumbled with the gun. Her worst fear was coming true, she was about to be found out for sure… and as the gun hit her thumb, the cocked trigger let loose it’s payload, flying not in the direction of poor Shayna, but instead toward the coffee counter in the opposite direction, breaking one of the pots in the process.

A loud commotion ensued, with what appeared to be a stack of cases of sodas falling over on it’s own propulsion and cans of soup rolling into the viewable part of the aisle. They could hear someone grunting in the aisle a mere thirty feet away. Soon, there would be more people coming in and she’d be done for.

To be continued…

Short Story (no title)

Part 1

Cathy didn’t know what to do. Neither did the white-haired store clerk; her gum, white against her teeth and pale pink lipstick, was frozen in place as they stared at each other. The safe was there. Easy pickings. This frail woman ought to give her no problem; she must be malnourished, she’s so thin and wiry. Her hair was pinched back into a sloppy wad at the nape of her neck, teeny wire glasses barely hanging on her nose, as her eyes widened, realizing Cathy wasn’t going to let her just go. Not yet.
Cathy motioned to the woman’s right with the gun she was holding. Not saying a word, the two of them played the game the way it was supposed to be played. The seemingly older woman knelt down, hands behind her head, and squirmed against the wall as Cathy closed in, gun closer to the woman’s forehead than she’d ever held a gun before. In all seriousness, Cathy was just hoping that this would be over soon, that she could get out of here, not get seen on camera, and leave with nobody caring about much more than the fact that they were still alive. She checked her hat to make sure it still covered her face – it was still there.
She knew it was dark in this corner, having seen the place the day before when she came in to look for chips and a soda and use the restroom, just across the walkway. She also saw how much foot traffic came by and how many people came in from this busy sidewalk. This tiny place must do a lot of business, she thought. She knew if she was going to make her deadline, tonight was the night, and this was the place.
She truly hoped she wouldn’t have to do anything that might hurt this old woman. Or herself. She needed to keep up her strength so she could deal with her fence – “Roller” was how he was known here – and she was already tired having spent a near-sleepless night in the practically unused janitorial closet. He wasn’t exactly happy with her already, and had collateral; her son was too vulnerable and too young, to know who to trust right now, and he was giving the boy everything he wanted. For the moment. She just had to get into this safe.
With the woman down on her knees and unarmed, she glanced sideways and contemplated the next step – she wondered how she could force someone to open it for her – she’d caught her a few moments early, just before she played with those damn buttons. Her jaw clenched and she drew her eyebrows together, as a desperate feeling grew in the pit of her stomach. The other employee was in front, completely oblivious to what was going on in the office room. But it wouldn’t be long before he asked for help out there – it really did get jumping first thing in the morning in this busy city.

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To see more, click on the page Short Story (no title) 

Ongoing project.

Inspiration


Next 24 hours, I’ll do some more writing- What’s it going to be?