December 17, 2018: Pumpkins Need to Eat Too
Believe it or not, I started this as a short story in 2016. My goal was to write about human eating pumpkins in a sort of Grimm’s fairy tale kind of way. It never got to that point, but here it is as flash fiction.)
I know what you’re thinking. It’s something along the line of “no way, there are not human eating pumpkins. They don’t exist. Quite fooling around.” Trust me when I say they do exist. You don’t have to believe me. I don’t really care. I know what I saw. I know what I heard. I know what I felt. I know what I smelled long after the pumpkins banded together and left the remaining victims to die. There were few survivors, and if you haven’t figured it out already, you can lump me into that pile.
My name is not important. I’m not handing it out so you can’t stop wondering if I will say it. I’m never giving it to you no matter how much you beg either. All you need to know is there are some pumpkin patches that like the taste of flesh. I’m not going to say they prefer one type of skin over the other. They are equal opportunists. They don’t care what color you are. They don’t care how tall you are. They don’t care how heavy you are. They only care about catching someone and like it when you hear your own bones crunching between their large teeth.
If you live anywhere near a tiny town called True Wisdom, start being afraid. This is where my parents were born, where I was born, where my siblings were born, and where my children will be born if I ever make it through another year. You ask yourself why I don’t move. Tell me where? How? When? With who? Besides, I’m too comfortable here despite having to fight to stay alive during the last day of October. You see this is the time when pumpkins are given free rein to eat as many humans as possible. Call it a compromise. Call it weeding out the weak so the strong get stronger.
Some pumpkins die every year, but the survivors come back with a vengeance. The one that chased me was about at big as I’ve ever seen and it moved faster than the previous year. Luck was on my side when it didn’t see the pitch fork. It ran right into it at such a high-speed that surviving it wasn’t going to happen. I watched its insides spill out, and as it was moaning I gave it a good kick in the head. A dead pumpkin makes this town a little safer. Only followers want leaders, and I’m their new leader now. It’s always been that same. You either live or die. There is no middle ground.
December 17, 2018: I Wanted a Sunny Day
(This is the first time in a long time I’ve just written something without thinking about it. I didn’t edit throughout nor will I edit this. Another flash fiction.)
It was dark that day. Actually, it was really dark that day. The sky wasn’t letting any sunlight through the clouds. Sure, it had rained prior to this, but when it remained dark each morning I realized something was wrong, like really, really wrong. This wasn’t one of those shrug your shoulders and move on with your life wrong. This was what the hell is wrong with you, what the hell is wrong with your head, and what the hell made you think you could do that moment.
This was that dark day when I found out the person I thought would remain loyal to me forever wasn’t so loyal. He wasn’t the person I thought he was and while it was foolish of me to think he had an ounce of good in him still, the lesson still had to be learned whether I liked it or not. I didn’t know him when we first set eyes on each other. I wondered about him yes, but not enough to want to talk to him. It was him that made the first move, him the one to say hello, and him the one to use up my precious time.
It was innocent from the get go, but as time went on I didn’t like what I saw or heard. He wasn’t vicious outright, but he had a mean streak to him. He was someone you didn’t cross when he was angry or happy for that matter. He had a type of walk that intimidated people because they knew if you stepped too close, there would be a certain kind of hell to pay. He was good at dispensing it however he felt. This I know because I was at the receiving end of it. My whole body was hurting from all his wrath on that dark day.
Because of this experience, I have a hard time trusting people now. I’m not sure if I will ever trust anyone again. I very much doubt I will, but if a day ever comes again when I do, I will have him to thank for it in a twisted sort of way. I’m not there yet, but time will tell. People who go through this are resilient types. I have to be one of those. I think I’m one of them. I hope so as I continue to sit in my own darkness, in the dark, in the darkest depths of singular pain. Sometimes the absence of an apology is just that, sometimes it means much more, and sometimes it’s all in your imagination.
November 27, 2018: Some Dreams Don’t Come True
(This is based from two dreams I had recently. You can decide how crazy they are.)
It all started with a sugar glider. Actually, it started with a dream of a sugar glider. I was minding my own business on my way to the hospital. My best friend was having a necessary surgery, and I was the one to pick her up. She was busted, if you want to be utterly frank. Her parts weren’t working. It wasn’t as if she cared about them because she was always the type of person not to give a damn about this kind of stuff. If she stood next to a person with his arm ripped off and he didn’t ask for help, she’d glance at his pool of blood and walk away. She only helped you if you asked, and even if you asked for help, it didn’t mean she would spend a few minutes of her time with you. Often, she thought it was a waste. You could call her a nihilist in some ways, but since I popped into her life, she isn’t so boastful anymore. I’m hoping during her recovery, she isn’t so brutal with her words.
I learned a long time ago not to expect her to be aware of my needs. My other friends wonder why I stick around and why I keep her as a friend when she clearly is mentally absent when I need a shoulder to lean on. I thought about this, but concluded it wasn’t that big of a deal when you have nothing else going on in your life. I was a giver, not a taker so on that night when I locked eyes with this nocturnal marsupial, I couldn’t look away. His eyes were big, tempting me to come closer as if speaking to me. Actually, they might have been speaking because it came out sounding like one letter at a time.
I had made the decision to scoop him up and bring him home if he would let me, but the longer I studied his face, the more it blended into the face of someone I recognized from my past. A past boyfriend? My crush in high school? Was my mind playing tricks on me now? I wasn’t certain because this seemed like a dream, and people aren’t supposed to have dream when they are awake. I turned away from him, not sure why, and when I turned back he was even closer. He walked onto my hands when I put them out, staring at me with his black eyes.
My watch chimed. He jumped. It was two o’clock and my friend was ready to be out of surgery soon. I decided my sturdy legs were good enough to run the rest of the way. I cupped him in my hands and hurried to the nearest window when he clawed at my palms. He turned his head to a bigger window a little further down. I went to that window, hoping people wouldn’t think I was crazy, and lifted him to the top. Good thing I had parents who were tall. Hesitant to let him go, I did. He could’ve been laughing all the way down, and when it was done he had the biggest grin on his face although it might have been my imagination. Standing on his hind feet, I told him my friend was expecting me.
He turned and scrambled his way up the brick wall. I watched him slide down until he contorted and landed on the ledge. He had that goofy smile again. He scrambled his way up again and slid down but faster this time. This sugar glider was a user. It warranted a disapproving look. His face blended into a dark circle and begged me to come back tomorrow. I was never one to question the oddities in life, but this one remained with me as I opened the hospital door.
November 26, 2018: The Secret Within
(In order to get these done and not have them sit in my queue for another year, I’ve made these short stories even shorter so they are basically flash fiction. I warn you they are written without really any planning in mind. Let’s just say they won’t go down as being one of my strongest writing examples.)
I have a little secret. I have never told it to anyone for fear what people might think of me, but it’s time to reveal the authentic me. Everyone thought I was such a nice person. There were no bad bones in my body and no evil bones to break in others. You will find out I am not nice, and I break bones. In fact, I had most of my family fooled including my parents. I fought the urges, becoming what I am today, but an impressionable child will covet the wrong toys because they need them to become the rotten adult with power.
Family friends and strangers grew up thinking, quite stupidly, their well-being was my highest priority. I twisted the truth in every encounter, far and near. They ate out of my palms willingly. I shudder to think how easy it was to get them to do things they never would think of doing had it not been for my influence. They feared and hated me, but never realized why. Observers with their curious expressions came to me for answers, only to be disappointed when they arrived home that the emptiness inside them was still there.
People told me they knew things. They boasted how many languages they spoke. People told me they owned expensive items. They hopped in their high-priced cars only they could afford, cutting off others because they drove jalopy cars. Speed doesn’t matter when you’re a fraud. These people will never be aware of the truth during any part of their life. It isn’t written in books or passed down from generation to generation by speaking. This wisdom can only be spread and that is by looking inward. If you don’t know how to kill something inside you without a pained look on your face, then you will never be ready to kill something around you when it escapes.
This had become a certain kind of survival from man-made establishments. We all seek to gain independence from these people who I hope to destroy one by one. There can be no change without destruction of the cowards acting as victims. Good judgment is hard to come by these days, and I hope to change this even if it means alienating every friend and crushing every foe. Power is a silent best friend or your worst chattering enemy. I never believed my purpose until you shoved your way into the spotlight. First prize went to you. Second prize to everyone else. Waiting is one of my strong points. Open your eyes and you will see. I will not only take third prize, but every ribbon that already has been cut.
November 25, 2018: Rewriting Can be a Lonely Place
I’ve reconnected with my rewriting after a long hiatus. I’ve learned a few things even in the time it went on the back burner. Because I’m a slow writer, it takes longer than probably the average writer to churn out something people want to read. I’ve done an equal amount of rewriting this story idea and even more obsessing about it in my head. Jeez, the mental spinning I can do will make anyone want to stick a pencil in his or her eye. Many times I have wanted to give up and do something else, ANYTHING ELSE BUT REWRITING. Yet, if I didn’t commit to this task to the end, then I will be even more pissed because I gave up. I wouldn’t have taken the risks of putting my hard work out there. I want to take the risks. Yes, there will be critics. I know there will be. Probably too many of them. I’ve had many conversations about this with my roommate and how certain people are pegged into being the poster child or adult for a cause, and even worse if they don’t want this kind of attention. I’m not saying I will forced into this category, but I’ve played defense in possible scenarios because the subject I’m writing about might come across as cliché. I’m hoping it won’t be viewed this way, but if it is, then so be it. I am my own worst critic and I am the only one who I answer to at the end of the day (human wise). The passion has always been there, but as my writing goals including the number of stories I want to write change, the end result is the same no matter if I’m rewriting, writing, or journaling. Be confident in your decisions and try to straddle your life with as much ease as possible. Sure, shit doesn’t get done if you don’t do it. Shit also doesn’t get done if you stew about it day and night. I’ve been known to do both. I can be lazy as all hell, unmotivated to the core, but I can also be energized and have the desire to kick the stones out of the way. So on that note, carry on with your writing endeavors because if you’re anything like me, you won’t stop because you can’t stop when all is said and done.
November 15, 2018: Pisaries Creator’s Book Ideas Modified
The Forever Stairs will be a novel about two individuals who find attraction to each other despite their cultural differences in mid 1950s. I am currently in the re-write stage and hope to be done with the final draft by the end of 2017.
Update: I’m still rewriting it, but it’s for the better. I hope to be done with the rewrite by the middle of 2019 and hopefully self published by early 2020. This is why even if I could get an agent, I probably wouldn’t. Too many deadlines. Not enough time.
Jagged Korean Lines will be a novel about two sisters and how they connect as adults. I plan on writing this after my trilogy.
Update: This will be written after I’m done with the working title (The Forever Stairs). I’m hoping it doesn’t take so long to write this story, but doing more internal debate on how to write it than I’d like. Time will tell.
War of the Rouvels will be my biggest novel to tackle because it is my trilogy idea. It will fall under the genre of fantasy. I’m outlining it and hoping to be done with the first book by the end of year 2018, the second book by 2019, and third book by 2020, and by this I mean the first draft with each book.
Update: This won’t happen until I finish my Jagged Korean Lines story. I need to go back and see about my outline, make some changes, then write it. I’m hoping to start writing this in later 2020 or early 2021. Two years for each book so 2021 to 2026. This will bring me into my early 50s or early grave when I’m done.
Sequoia in the Sky will be a novel about a character named Sequoia during the hay day of the circus business. I plan on writing this after my two sisters story.
Update: I plan on writing this after my trilogy. This will be my nod to the circus world and all that came and went.
Confessions of J Woman will be my revenge story. I also have no idea when I will write this, but it will get done eventually too.
Update: This will be my last need to write story. The below now belong into the category of maybe.
Untitled Novel will be my serial killer and detective story. It may become one of my novellas.
Revelations of Five will be a novel about five people coming together. It may become one of my novellas.
Untitled Novel will be about two brothers choosing a profession that tests their loyalty. It may become one of my novellas.
If there’s anything else, this will be done after all the above is achieved. This will probably include a children’s book, compilation of poetry, and a sort of tell all book relating to life.
November 9: 2018: Possibilities, Action, and Success
November 9, 2018: Time to Get them All Done
I’ve decided to push out my short stories and make them short, short stories (also known as flash fiction). I plan on writing a lot of them, starting this weekend, so I can finish them and be done with these ideas once and for all. Then, I can focus solely on my rewrite and then have the guinea pigs I’ve already asked to read it/critique it before I decide what to do next. I’m not sure if it will ever be released beyond those closest to me although it might a shame for others not to read it after all the hard work I’ve put into it. I will say I hope my next three story ideas/trilogy/four story ideas/last three ideas move a lot quicker. Yes, I’ve broken down my stories in segments. Cheers and happy writing.
October 22, 2018: Spare Tire
I bent over and looked at my flat tire. I was officially stranded. I wasn’t about to admit, not yet, I was lost. What I wouldn’t have given for anyone to hear me. Not even the animals showed their concern, but what can a few squirrels do. They didn’t have any special powers, but neither did I. This was just my luck to be in stuck in a state I wouldn’t be caught living in.
I sat down on a log, thinking what I could do, but more hoping the ants wouldn’t come close to me. I hated ants back then. I hate them now. This was the time before cellphones were glued to everyone’s palms. I wasn’t into watches back then and was too angry to check the stereo clock.
I had no idea how much time had passed when a truck came into view. It was one of those trucks with larger than life wheels. You know the one with the stereotype of the driver who wears a cap with a phrase like ‘I’m a redneck and proud of it.’ I imagined the truck had a Confederate flag somewhere, but when it was close enough it was just as bad. It was a decal of a woman holding onto a wrench with one hand with her body positioned in a suggestive pose.
The truck slowed down as it approached. When it stopped, a man about six-foot three got out. His boots kicked up dust with each step. He crossed the road to get to me. It appeared he had a tiny belly, almost not worth mentioning because it might have had to do with the angle of his shirt. His trimmed mustache wasn’t the best option for his face although his large hands complimented his long fingers. Either way, I wasn’t impressed and didn’t like that he had stopped.
He couldn’t have been older than twenty-three when I got a good look of his face. His skin was youthful, but there was a scar on his cheek. His black and blue cap with white stitching hugged tightly on his head. Surprisingly there was no catchphrase on it, but he was getting much too close to me.
“Looks like you’re having trouble,” he said.
His finger ran over the deflated rubber that used to be a functioning tire. I stood up, brushing away the remnants of dead wood from my pants.
“Have a spare in your car?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“You should always carry a spare. You never know when you might need one.”
“I already used it when my tire went flat a few weeks ago.”
“This’s some bad luck you’re having then.”
“That’s why I don’t gamble.”
“Except with tires.”
“Have any ideas on how to get my car up and running?” I asked with an edge to my voice. He probably didn’t mean anything by his last comment, but still. I wanted to ask who the hell was he to criticize me. He might as well have let the air out from my other tires too at the rate he was going.
“If you drove a truck, there’d be no problem. I got a spare in the back,” he looked through my car’s windshield, “but since you seem to prefer convenience, I’ll have to go to my buddy’s shop. Don’t worry, it’s not too far away.” He pointed in the direction he came. “Just around the bend. You can join me, if you want.”
My father’s lecture of not getting into cars with strangers came flooding back, but I wasn’t in first grade anymore. Going with him would break up the boredom of waiting, but my life was more important. I didn’t want to die by the hands of a reincarnated Ted Bundy. His dress style wasn’t refined in any sense, but his face was attractive enough to get by with his looks alone. I could see how a gullible woman might hop into his passenger seat, thinking it was an adventure, but blind to becoming number 78 on some violence statistic list.
“I better stay here.”
“It’s your call. Don’t worry, I’ll get a cheap tire for ‘ya. Good enough to take ‘ya where ‘ya need to go, but you’ll probably want to replace it once you’re home.”
“I don’t have enough to pay you, but if you give me your address, I’ll send you the money once I’m back.”
“Consider it a gift. Besides, you look a little frazzled by the whole thing.”
“I want to get back on the road, and I will pay you. Cash is okay, I take it.”
“No need to pay me. Where you headed?”
“Visiting a friend.”
“I see, catching up.”
“She’s getting married.”
“Ah, the old ball and chain.” He must’ve expected me to laugh because when I didn’t he took a step back. “I’m only kidding.”
“I got that.”
“Listen, I think we got off on the wrong foot,” he said, stretching his arm out to shake my hand. When I didn’t reciprocate, he gave a slight nod. “My apologies.”
Halfway back to his truck, I heard him shout, “Last chance. You comin’ or stayin’?”
My answer should’ve been obvious. I should’ve stayed put and waited for the tire. The only thing nagging at me was what if he didn’t come back. I might not get another chance to get my car working again. I certainly didn’t want to spend another minute longer in this place.
I followed him, my pace quickening and thinking of all the ways the ride could go wrong. His door could be rigged where once it closes, it never opens again unless he wanted it open. The inside smelled somewhat fresh, but not as if he had cleaned all the evidence of his last victim away. I searched for a warning inside, one that told me this was a dangerous man with dangerous intentions, but there was none. His truck looked about as normal as could be, but everything looks normal from a certain angle.
“Don’t be shy. She doesn’t bite,” he said.
A man who refers to his car as a she doesn’t make him a serial killer but it doesn’t reassure me, I thought, as I got into his truck. I prayed that in my moment of weakness I didn’t just give him the easiest path to his next victim.
“I hate to sound like a father, but buckle up.”
“Oh, right. Sorry.”
“No need to be sorry, just safe.”
I wasn’t sure why I said that because I wasn’t sorry. I purposely left the seatbelt off in case I needed to make a quick getaway. I didn’t want to jump out of a moving truck, but if it meant not dying, then I would do it. I strapped in, and kept my finger on the release button. He glanced at me more than once during the ride, probably wondering why I wasn’t looking around.
When the truck slowed, I looked up and saw a plain-looking building. It was in the shape of a rectangular box. The sign on the post wasn’t hard to miss. It read Timothy’s Tires in red and white, and below it Expect the Best in blue and white. It reminded me of the American flag.
This time he turned off the engine and got out. I watched him circle in front of the truck and open my door. He put his hand out. I thought he had gotten the hint I didn’t want to touch his hand or any part of him. I said as politely as I could muster. “Thanks anyway.”
“Just trying to be the gentleman.”
“Again, thanks, but no thanks.”
He backed up. “Want me to get you anything to drink before we get to business?”
“I doubt your friend will have what want,” I said as I got out of the truck.
“Ever heard of Voss?”
“Sparkling or plain.”
“I don’t joke about water. Not when it’s this hot.”
“Coming right up unless you want to look at magazines.”
“I’ll stay here.”
He nodded and disappeared into the tire shop. I tried to see what was happening through the window, but there was too much glare.
He came out with my water, with his friend trailing behind him. Timothy was shorter, but not by much, maybe a few inches. He was a bit heavier, and had tattoo sleeves on both arms.
“Here’s your water.”
I took it without touching him and took a long sip.
“Yes, the sign.”
“Heard you’re tryin’ to get somewhere in a hurry,” Tim said.
“Just trying to get to my friend’s place before nightfall.”
“Can’t fault a woman for that.” Tim winked at his friend. “Once Jer pays me, I’ll give him the tire, and you’ll be all set.”
“You know I’ll pay you later.”
“That’s what you said the last time.”
“Quit holding us up. Get the tire.”
“Hold your damn horses.” He took a swig from his Coke and looked at her. “I didn’t catch your name?”
“Katy,” I said, reluctantly.
“That’s my sister’s name. You spell it K-a-t-i-e?”
“How’d you spell it?”
“With a y.”
“Well, I better go get that tire for ‘ya.”
After Tim left, there was awkward silence between us. I expected him to say something, but he never did.
“Your name is Jer?”
“Great-great granddad. Not the best name, I know.”
“I’ve heard worse.”
“Try Katherine Alexandra.”
“Well, Katherine Alexandra, it seems you got a yourself a tire.”
I looked up and saw Tim carrying a tire. I felt a twinge of guilt for thinking less of these people. This is all they would know in their lives: tires and tattoos. I took another sip of water, wondering if I should say something in the form of an apology. Instead, I watched Tim and Jer say their brotherly goodbyes.
Jer pulled up close to my car, removed a jack from the back, and traded my flat tire for the new one. The whole process from start to finish was quick. I thought how foolish I had been to think he was out to hurt me. He gave me his address, but I didn’t look at it until I got home from the wedding. This is when I noticed he had written his phone number beneath it. I never called him although I did send him cash the following week without a return address. I’m not sure he ever got it. I hope he did, but if not he must’ve realized by now some things are meant to go only so far.
October 19, 2018: Types of Stories
September 30, 2018: Three Quotes from Writers
September 19, 2018: Writing Exercise
You are a loser who lives alone with a cat and have for quite some time. One day your cat can’t take it anymore and starts talking. What does it say?
Why did you adopt me? This is worse than when I lived in the pound. My last owner never bitched day in and day out about stupid things. Jeez, I can’t believe you focus on such stupid things. Just because I’ve been silent about this for the two long years I’ve lived with you doesn’t mean I like listening to you complain about your ex-boyfriend and how your friends did X or Y to you. This is what your human friends are for or maybe a therapist of some kind.
Your inability to move on in your life is getting old. It’s not like there aren’t other people walking around. You don’t see me crying when you come home with new cat food because you think it’s a good idea to change things and add a little spice into my life. You should be lucky I’m able to show restraint and use my litter box when nature is pounding on my belly walls because of it. I show you the courtesy to not crap on your rug so would it hurt you to stick to one kind of food or wash my bed once a while or even buy me a bigger one? I’m not stretching out my legs for my health. It was hoping you’d get all the cues I was giving you, but I guess not. Now you know. Buy me a new bed. Quit buying me the fancy food.
Oh jeez, are you crying now? Please lady, don’t go there. It’s not that I think you’re a horrible person, but you’ve been spending way too much time alone and feeling sorry for yourself. I used to enjoy being around you, but you’ve become too much. I’ve noticed hardly anyone calls you anymore. You used to be glued to your phone. I used to look forward to our routine when you’d come home from work. You’d eventually sit on the couch with a glass of wine, and I’d curl onto your lap and fall asleep to you rubbing my ears. Those were the good old times. The best I can get now is a “hey whiskers” and that isn’t even my name.
Listen, I can rub up against your leg to try to make you feel better, but that isn’t my style. You need to do this for yourself. If you want to take me back to the pound, go ahead. I’m not afraid to protect myself. I know I might not come out of there alive. Would I rather stay with you? Sure, but you’ve got to pull your head from the damn clouds and start seeing the sunshine. Can you do that? I hope so because I might hide and never come back out.
September 7, 2018: Thoughts About Hollywood, Life, and Social Media
Ever since accusations have been flung left and right at Hollywood actors and actresses about alleged abuse (some worse than others), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the perceived vigilante justice on social media (those not intimately affected by the offender), and the effects of it such as the person being condemned whether they are actually guilty or not. While there usually is some truth in every accusation made, I also believe certain people find the appeal to take part in the circus no matter what the consequences might be with much care. They distort the reality of what happened and find it okay if the person’s name is further obliterated.
We have all skewed incidents to look more favorable to our friends and family. We have all felt wronged at some point in our lives. We have told the big fat lie and the little white lies. I wasn’t going to write anything about this, but over the last months, it kept gnawing at me. I’ve been conflicted about social media lately especially the negative effects that come with it. I’m not entirely convinced if the power of self entitlement has become emboldened over the years because of social media or if it was there all along within people. I recognize the positive effects such as bringing light onto subjects and principles that might have remain hidden, but does this outweigh the rest? I’m not quite sure, but once sliced bread was discovered, there was no going back. The same goes for the never-ending Facebook threads.
It’s been a large pill for me to swallow that as much as I want to believe I know what happened in certain situations I read or watch, I don’t. The best I can offer is educated guesses based on past observances and gathered information. No matter how the stone is cut, I wasn’t there and neither was any of the general public. We can scream, yell, pick fights, and agree all we want, but this signals we’re all operating more from our personal convictions and beliefs than any other thing. There has to be some medium in there although probably not much right now. I’ve noticed an increasing divide in Hollywood and elsewhere because of social media. In many ways it’s become an all or none where you are either for or against depending on what side you stand, and if you happen to be somewhere else on the line, then forget you.
The seeming bubble waiting to burst within the last few years have reinforced what I will not budge on for personal and humane reasons. I’ve become less sympathetic to the nonsense ripe for the picking and more thankful for those whose outlook values community. Yet, I haven’t ditched my Mel Gibson movies in light of his terrible views on anyone not like him, but I won’t shop at certain stores based on past actions. There’s no easy answer to all the problems facing the myriads of different people. It almost seems a moot point to be writing about this. Yet, I did because if I didn’t, I’d have another night thinking I should really write a short blog on this even if no one reads it and won’t be as I imagined. So there you have it, the thoughts in my head.
September 3, 2018: Three Writing Quotes
September 2, 2018: What Will You Write About?
It seems this book came out a lot earlier than six years ago, but I’ve probably had it sitting on my shelf right after it came out. I’ve done a few entries in there, but most of it is blank white pages. This book is a good way to get the writing juices flowing again. I admit I’ve been very lazy in terms of having the motivation to write anything, whether it be blogging, poetry, short stories, or writing my novel ideas. It seems all I want to do is everything else but writing. I’ve pushed my deadline for 2018 of my rewrite to the end of 2019. I’m not even focusing on my rewrite until I get some other things in order, mentally and physically, despite it sometimes gnawing at me. I plan on dabbling in these book exercises and writing whatever comes to mind. I’ve had a problem lately with wanting everything I do to be perfect. I’m not the only one who struggles with this, but thought I’d let writers and creative people out there know about this book. Enjoy and happy writing and the struggles that come with it.
August 10, 2018: Mark Twain Quote
June 6, 2018: Pisaries Creator’s Thoughts Right Now
April 14, 2018: Three Writing Quotes From the Book I’m Reading
March 27, 2018: Write Simply or Like You Walked Out of a Thesaurus?!
“I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to. I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not ‘audience.’ Not ‘readership.’ Just the reader.”
This quote by Jeffrey Eugenides, which he tells his students in his creative writing classes begs the question of how smart exactly is the average reader. I would like think the average reader is smarter than most, even me. I mean I’m average in so many ways, and not ashamed by it. I’m an Asian un-gifted in the math and sciences. This is why I’m not a doctor or dentist or anything related to medicine. If I was, guess what? I’d probably be somewhere walking down the halls of some hospital or clinic, maybe wishing I was doing something else. There were no brainy individuals in my bloodline, and accepted this a long time ago.
This doesn’t mean my biological parents didn’t give me anything. They gave me other things besides a brain that belongs in Mensa or near Mensa. You might say I’m viewing myself as stupid, but that’s not the case. I’m seeing myself as realistic. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve adopted realistic goals and centralized viewpoints with many different topics. Basically, I’ve become less focused on how others view me and more on what I can do improve myself within my own life. I’ve become less competitive with others including myself. Unless you’re writing in the academic world or for a specific age group (preteen or teens), I think a happy medium should be adopted when you write the average novel.
I’ve purposely left out things in past stories or scripts to not hit the reader over the head with the obvious. This led to my roommate, often my guinea pig, to say what are you trying to say or do in this paragraph or description. I learned when you border on being cryptic, misunderstanding can occur and does as the pages increase. Therefore, I have added necessary information to the reader so there is no guessing for the reader in my current rewrite. I suspect I’ll learn even more as I rewrite more, and hoping my next rewrite doesn’t take as long. Writing should feel as natural as can be, but still keeping objectivity as much as possible. I suspect most of us are smarter than we let on in some cases, while in others we play stupid silly. This is all I have to say about this for now.
March 22, 2018: Update on My Writing
I’ve been spending more time on my rewrite. I guess this is a good thing. After talking to my roommate/partner, he told me that the reason one of my main characters decides to do X is not very strong. In other words, it needs to be more compelling so I’m going to add in another scene that drives the arrow straight into the target. I’ve said it before that I can’t wait to finish this rewrite, but I’m done apologizing for being a slow writer. This is just who I am. I hope all my learning and relearning paves the way for a quicker write next time, but even more a quicker rewrite. I have a few guinea pigs willing to read my story when it is done to see how they like it. I’m eventually going to self publish it when the time is right. I hope everyone is doing whatever that makes them happy in this often crazy life.
March 7, 2018: Albertine and Josephine
I placed twenty-dollar bills into his hand, making sure he saw each one. BB looked at me, showing a little bit of sorrow on his face. He knew who they truly belonged to. He also missed her as much as I did. I should’ve invited him to the river when I sprinkled the last of Josephine’s ashes. We frequented this area since we were in grade school. We shared our deepest secrets underneath the trees. It seemed not long ago we were ten years old.
I was asking Josephine to braid her hair. She didn’t like others messing with her auburn locks, and would tell me no. She’d leap up and run off. Her legs were faster than mine. I would still chase her until we found ourselves bumping into each other and laughing as we fell onto the grass.
It was incredibly hard to watch my best friend submerge into the water, be carried away, and all the while I heard our last conversation.
“Albertine, how much I will miss you. Saying your name. Hearing you say mine. You know how much I love my hair, but giving you a lock of it might be a good thing.”
I had been waiting for her to say that since the beginning of our friendship. I had decided if she wasn’t willing to give me a piece of her hair, I was going to take some of it after she died. Thankfully, it never came to that, but I was always ready. I pulled out a scissors from my coat pocket.
“Here, let me do it,” I said. “I’ll be sure to only take a little bit.”
“Take it near my face, but not too close. I don’t want you to accidentally nick me. And I want to see it.”
After I had separated the strands I was taking, I further separated it with string.
“Hold still now,” I said.
She gasped a little bit when she heard the scissors close shut. For the first time in her life, Josephine was asymmetrical when it came to her hair. I held it out in front of her face, but not before tugging on the tiny knot.
“Not even enough to miss.”
She nodded slightly, picked up the mirror beside her, and inspected the area where I clipped her hair.
“I could always count on you to do things right,” said Josephine. “I hope you know that.”
“I do.” I said with some sass. “Isn’t that why you kept me around all these years?”
“Stop it.” She wiped her misty eyes. “I’m going to miss you so much. Your words. Your face. You know I love you like a sister.”
These words lingered in my memory as she took her last breaths. She was unable to speak during her last days. It was excruciating for me. I had difficulty concentrating. All I could do was hold her hand during this time. Of course, I loved her in return, and told her this every morning and night. We had been best friends for most of our lives. I placed her hands on her chest when she was gone. I kissed her forehead and recited her favorite prayer. She had already closed her eyes for me.
There were a handful still alive from our high school class. We used to wonder who would die first between us. I now knew the answer.
Josephine did have some surprises even as she reached her golden years. The night she invited me for a nice car ride comes to mind. She had recently turned seventy. She wouldn’t tell me where we were going when I asked her. I followed her into a building, and found myself standing behind her in a semi-lit room. It was spacious enough to put your arms out, but as the night progressed, it became crowded.
This was my introduction to the secret world of gambling of a different kind. I watched her give money to a stranger. I later learned his name was Bruce Bowman. My friend had gone from the innocent girl of a farmer father and stay at home mother to taking part in shady activity. She blamed it on her second cousin, half-joking.
“That’s not fair to Harold.” I said, half-joking too.
Harold had gotten into trouble with the local authorities for letting nearby farm livestock run wild. He said cows should run free once in a while, but he really only wanted to laugh at their confusion once the gate was open and after he took a swipe at their backside. He was known around town as a troublemaker. While he never did anything serious, it was enough for people to never give him a chance. He worked on her father’s farm, and even survived an accident that took his left leg from the knee down.
It was no surprise that she gave him a sizable chunk to him when she sold her father’s farm and surrounding land. He gave her a handmade card. It never said thanks, but told her she had done the right thing of spreading some of the family butter onto his bread. He lived out his remaining years exceptionally close to his cousin. She confided in him as much as me about her troubled marriage. He gave her advice while strumming his four-stringed guitar. His advice never amounted to much of anything because her marriage was doomed from the start. He eagerly listened, and she appreciated this. We all agreed it had been a good thing when Edgar died from a car accident.
As winter thawed into spring, Harold ended up dying in the summer. She invited me to the funeral, just the two of us, and we buried him in the local cemetery. There was no one left alive from her immediate family and her extended family were far removed. She had no one to leave her inheritance with so she left it to me, her best friend, and it served me well.
It took several attempts for me to withdraw any amount of money from her account. The closest I got was the bank door the first time. I couldn’t even put my fingers around the handle. The feeling of irresponsibility stopped me. When I got the courage to finally enter the bank, I asked for one hundred one dollar bills. The teller gave me what I asked for, but not without giving me a funny look. I sat in my car making sure the top of George Washington’s head was to the right before I left the parking lot.
I know the exact time when I was reminded time was limited. It was 7:03 on a Saturday night when I asked Josephine why she was giving away her money to a stranger in a strange room.
“I’m not going to live forever,” she said in a matter of fact tone, “and my only wish is to live the remaining years having fun. You might think it’s silly, but it keeps me going.”
She started gambling ones, went to fives, later tens, and only used twenties by the end. She won more than she lost. I encouraged her to find another way to live the good life, which made her sour. She finally admitted she found parts of it ghastly. The body odor that lingered in the air. She used to stuff cotton into her nose, but the smells often went right through it. We both learned to deal with it. The longer you stayed, the less it was an annoyance. Stick around long enough, you win more, which was the whole reason for being there.
I watched people with their body odor give their money to BB. I was amazed at how Josephine hardly looked at him during their exchanges. Most of their talk was through gestures. Before they departed, he gave her a tiny smile. She then grabbed my hand, and moved me through the crowd. I learned the first names of certain people, warned about the unsavory ones, discovered who won the big jackpot the last time, and the unfortunate person named Cliff who wasn’t liked by anyone. He had a habit of eating Rice Crispy Bars and touching people with his sticky fingers.
I learned what “dinner time” meant. It started when the lights dimmed. The predator appeared with its owner. They varied as much as the prey. The first time I saw dinner time I was shocked. The hawk was normal size, but one of the mice was small and the other large. Josephine had bet the larger mouse would be eaten first in the enclosure. She was right. Raptors were just as popular as the snakes.
There had been one anomaly where a falcon had killed both mice at the same time. They had huddled together, almost paralyzed, and neither made a sound until they were both snatched up. Things changed, the main one being a divider preventing the prey from meeting in the middle. People claimed it was confusing to the predator. Josephine pitied the person who kept track of which side it was released each time.
She had a good eye for winners. I had even a better one. I made it a habit of being near the entrance when the predator was ushered into the room. It allowed me to see how it was acting and responding especially when released from its cage or given a little more freedom. I didn’t go to school for this, but observation goes a long way. I owe all my winnings to taking mental notes, and maybe, a tiny fraction of luck. I seldom gave bad advice to Josephine, and now that I frequent this room alone, it turned out I was the better gambler. Not too shabby for a person who thought this whole thing was farcical on her first visit.
Josephine’s final appearance and goodbye left a bitter taste in her mouth. She was leaving familiar faces behind, but not one of them she could call a true friend. They were only acquaintances. Yet, she would still miss the multiple conversations buzzing all around. It softened the blow upon learning her biggest regret was partly her fault. This I know because she told me that same night as I forced her to be a passenger in her own car.
Since her death, BB and I became friends. He took my money inside the room, but outside of it we only talked. We ate lunch at the local diner each month. I gave him stories. He gave me laughter. I respected him more when I learned he was struggling to make ends meet after his wife left him. His two daughters often had to take care of themselves. It didn’t take long for me to sign the remaining money Josephine had left me and all my gambling profits to BB.
I could live off the remaining money I had, and still I felt sadness when he hugged me. I wanted it to be Josephine’s hands. She would never know what I withheld from her year after year. I should have said more, but misgivings are wasted time when you’re old like me. The only thing that mattered now were my ashes. I instructed BB to put them in the same spot Josephine had entered. Our friendship was evolving into something else. There was nothing more for me to do except wait and be patient because that is the final definition of life and death.
February 27, 2018: Two Quotes by Writers
January 7, 2018: OFF WITH A BANG
Get a New Hobby
Spend Time with Family
We’ve all heard the common New Year resolutions. Every year they creep into our minds only to leave our minds before January ends. It looks great on paper. Some even write them down. I do before the New Year hits, and then every month to see if I’m on point, and 2017 I was off point more than on. Yes, things happen to get in the way along your path, but as we all know, you must keep moving forward. While I will always have specific resolutions and/or goals, I realize there’s something more important to focus on and it’s something within myself in 2018.
Because I’ve done quite a bit of promising something over and over and over again and often not committing to it or doing it in a timely manner, I realize I’m married to the word “promise” instead of the word “performance” when it comes to my personal life. I’ve done mind games, if you will, to shock my brain into a new way of thinking, in the hopes I will be able to view the action it takes to achieve my resolutions/goals as something natural and essential versus something forced and pointless. There are times I feel as if I’m a robot just going through the motions to get to my goals. I’d like to get away from this feeling completely, but being a human being comes with stubbornness. It takes time to change the way one thinks.
People often need to hear more than “take control” or “just do it” for it to sink in and then set in permanently. People have such a hard time with the top two resolutions of losing weight and exercising because the mental urgency and necessity isn’t there even when our body appearance and ailments tell us otherwise. It’s as if many of us are just trying to hang onto life by a thread, and therefore, junk food and sugary drinks are the only things bringing us the little comfort we seek. Yet, in the long run it proves to be more troublesome. Instant gratification comes to mind. We live in a society of “I want it now” instead of “I want it when the time is right.” I’ve done this before, both bad eating and impatience, when I’m not in the right mindset. Most all of us have all been there because humans are complex.
Resolutions and goals are good tools to use, but using them in the right way is necessary if they are to work at their best optimum. We walk a fine line between hopes and dreams on one side and despair and heartache on the other. How do you navigate when mentally you see parts of your life resemble a scene out of a bad horror movie? How do you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and not just live but really LIVE? How do you prevent falling further into the traps of the past? These are the questions I ponder as I’m gaining another year. I offer no easy solutions because there are none. Yes, there are some anomalies, but most of us are in the middle of the pack.
Life has never been “easy” for me. I’ve been through hell and back, and this was all before I was even adopted. Then, I spent the next thirty years trying to get back what I lost as as child, regaining some back, and other things will never be restored. The last eleven years is when I did the most personal growth, but it’s been hard at times. It takes damn hard work to be brutally honest with yourself. It takes even harder work to realize it isn’t all one person’s fault. There comes a time when you need to take responsibility for your beliefs and actions. I’m gaining even more acceptance of my shortcomings, forgiveness for those who betrayed me, and distancing myself from people and/or places that are toxic. As my head rests on my pillow, no one knows what is best for me except me (to an extent).
While there are some goals I didn’t accomplish in 2017, I intend to work weekly on them to get to that point of completion in 2018. Wishing and wanting something fall into your lap without any kind of work isn’t how it’s done. There are times what you want doesn’t happen. There are times what you try to prevent does happen. You need to be prepared for disappointment. I definitely learned this and accepted it (to an extent). You better love doing whatever you’re doing because the ultimate reality might be different from your vision. Let’s face it that life is tough, but this doesn’t mean you don’t go out there and give it your all. You should for many reasons. I know I am in 2018.
I leave this on a lighter note with a fashion no no. I learned while watching the news of a trend in 2017 I hope turns into a fad really soon. Since I’m past 40 now, fashion has to be practical for me, but not that I was ever a fashionista. These jeans aren’t practical. The Clear Knee Mom Jean? This is just stupid. Please make these plastic jeans go away. They aren’t attractive by any means. Now that I’ve said my peace, go out and by some jeans, but please NOT these.
January 3, 2018: More Production and Less Promising
I feel like George R.R. Martin right now. I’m having trouble producing anything substantial with my short stories or novel ideas. I was having trouble period where I didn’t want to even work on my blog. I’m slowly finding the energy, motivation, and urge to get to busy again. Writing is a lonely hobby and/or interest. You do it alone. You have to or else you won’t get anything done. I’m going to try my best to keep the momentum with my life goals this year. No more excuses. You either do it or not. There’s something to be said when your mentality actually mirrors your actions. I still have a ways to go, but I’ll get there. I was born a fighter and doer. There’s still a lot more to do. Charging ahead.
January 3, 2018: Rewriting Quotes