Mindless Rantings on Life

Are we living in a land of confusion?  When up is down, right is wrong, good is evil; can we ever get right-side up again?  The world is a terrifying place and especially, I imagine, for those who are alone.  When you have to fall asleep by yourself, and when you awake there is no one there beside you to kiss you good morning, it must not only be scary but depressing as well, at least to me when I was single.  But more on singleness below.

Isn’t that why most people are desperate to find a mate; to not have to go through this life alone?  Don’t get me wrong, you needn’t find someone to make yourself content, or happy, but I believe it is a warm fuzzy feeling to have that strength and comfort next to you in bed.  Or is it just me?

I like being married.  Okay, maybe I wasn’t originally planning on taking this post in this direction but now I feel led to.  Maybe you are happy and satisfied with your singleness, and that’s all well and good.  Some people enjoy that status.  There isn’t any judgment here; just like for those who rather not have children.  It’s cool.  It’s your choice.  It’s the status of being a widow or widower that breaks my heart.  I’ve known people who had to live with that; the loneliness, the sadness, the void that the surviving spouse must deal with.  All I can say is:  Hold on to those beautiful memories and embrace them, cherish them.  Don’t ever forget that person you loved so completely.  And onto the divorced; some may even feel that you are better off divorced; no chains to bind you, freedom to do whatever you want, go whenever you want.  Sometimes, yes, we marry the wrong person.  They presented themselves during the dating phase to be something other than what you discovered after marrying them.  Perhaps they have some horrible addiction, are abusive, a cheater, or whatever you want to fill in the blank with. And in that case, it is wiser to escape that cage.  (Or try counseling, if both parties agree.  There is always hope for the person to turn their life around).

But stretching that thought out, I think we all present ourselves differently in the dating phase.  Don’t we all love putting our best foot forward, our happy faces on?  Normally the person we are dating doesn’t get the opportunity to see us at our worst, do they?  We wouldn’t reveal that ugly side of ourselves in fear of running them off; screaming into the night.

Yes, that would be awkward, wouldn’t it?  Does this have anything to do with writing, you may ask?  Well, not really.  Sometimes I just enjoy writing out my thoughts because I love to write.  This is my outlet.  This is my stress reliever.

And having Asperger’s, sometimes my thoughts get a little jumbled, so please forgive me.  It can seem like a rant at times, like a deranged women’s viewpoint.  But trust me; I am pretty good at being sane. So here is my post for this week.  A little flighty perhaps, but it is also my birthday as well.  And I had a desire to write something on marriage and the pluses of the institution.  I love being married.  It is all about shared experiences; both good and bad.  It is about children, if you have any, and the joys and struggles of raising them.  It is cold feet, and warm hearts; corny jokes and laughter(even if mine sounds like a mix between snorting and a percolator); and shared hopes and dreams for the future; for you and your spouse.

So with that, I bid you a pleasant weekend, and a very safe and enjoyable Labor Day.  Man, I can’t believe summer is technically over with the arrival of Labor Day.  Summer always seems to fly on by for me.  Well, love to you all, my readers.  Until next time; happy writing.

Eva

 

Good Intentions; Bad Planning

Back at the end of May I had quit my day job of janitorial cleaning to focus all of my attention on my writing; actual writing, revising, fretting, more writing, reading, and getting things ready to be sent off.

Well, I started off with good intentions, as we all do at the start of something new.  The prospect of finally being allowed to put all my energy into my writing was exhilarating.  Finally, time to just write.  No worrying about my job.  No more trying to remember codes.  No more driving in the dark.  Just the sheer bliss of doing something I’ve longed to do since I was a child.

But things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, do they?  I was very focused in the beginning; diligently writing for 3 to 4 hours a day, taking time to revise pieces I had already finished, reading articles on the writing craft, and how to publish; etc.(sigh).  I had even joined a writers’ group.  But as time went on, something began to take my focus off of my writing.  It was a television show here, just one or two chapters more in the book I was currently engrossed in, and, the biggest time suck, Social Media.

Ah yes, I allowed myself to get sucked in, again.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Baird & Warner Real Estate.  Yes, I have this problem, this addiction, to view homes for sale.  Why, you may ask?  Since I was small I’ve always been fascinated by how the insides of other people’s houses looked.  Yes, weird.  No, I won’t stop.  I’ll even go as far as to admit that when I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, I still like to peek inside homes as we drive by just to see how they look on the inside.  No, I haven’t seen anything weird.

Now I have to confess my biggest weakness.  I am a horrible planner.  Not only do I have poor organizational skills, I can’t plan to save my life.  All good intentions to be at my desk writing away, but getting easily, so easily, distracted by the little nuances of life.  I wanted to remain vigil at my laptop until the end of the year and return to work then.  But alas I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain.  And I have been kicking myself.  I wanted to blame others for this.  But who else can I blame but myself?

So I vow to forge ahead, with whatever time I can carve out of a ‘busy’ schedule to write.  No excuses because I have none.  I need to plan, yes plan, when and where to send off my short stories.  And I don’t even have to make a trip to the post office either.  Most literary magazines allow you to send through their submissions manager, or email, and snail mail as last resort.  As I hang my head in shame for not having done what I had so eagerly hoped to do, I asked forgiveness from my husband, my family, and those who have supported my efforts, fragile as they are, so that I can regain my vision and continue on.

Life is short and I need to realize this dream before it slips through these fingers of mine.  I need to have this dream realized!  I don’t want to be on my deathbed, regretting I didn’t accomplish all that I believe God created me to do.  No one wants regrets.  So here I go…again.  Until next time.

 

My Oh My Writers’ Group Experience

Okay, so I did it.  I finally attended my first ever writers’ group.  It was held at my local Barnes and Noble, and we met in the cafe area.  I brought along my daughter-in-law Kayla for moral support(I’m an introvert, so it’s difficult to go to things like this alone).  I was this close to chickening out and saying I don’t feel like going but I wrote about attending in the last blog, to hold myself accountable.  So off I went.

When we arrived, there weren’t too many people there yet.  I looked around anxiously to see who might be involved with the group.  I saw a couple of men sitting alone at tables with an open laptop so I asked one if this was where the writers’ group met and he said yes.  I was relieved I had asked the person who was actually part of the group.  We introduced ourselves and Kayla and I sat waiting for the others.

After some time passing, the rest of the group slowly filtered in and sat at a back table as others pulled a few smaller tables and chairs over to accommodate overflow.  I had seen on the group’s online site that 16 people had signed up to be there that night and I was impressed that we could squeeze so many people in a corner, and impressed with the loyalty of group members to attend.  I wasn’t the only new person, there was one other who had traveled a distance to get there.

As we sat, no one knew who we were, Kayla and I, until they asked if we were with the group and I informed them that, yes, we were new.  They warmly welcomed us over and we sat, a bit cramped, but they were very friendly.  At one point, after noticing the age range of the members, Kayla leaned over and whispered to me, “They’re all old.  Why do you keep taking me to old people stuff?”  She’s 18 and I’m sure anyone over 30 would be old to her.  I’m ancient because I’m on the cusp on 53.  Side story, when my son, Josh, and Kayla were dating, we were at a Chinese buffet restaurant and we had decided that her and I should hang out together.  And the lovely Kayla agreed and said, “Yeah, I love hanging out with old people.”  Ouch.

Anyway, I did not submit a chapter to the group’s site for critique because I wanted to see how everything worked first.  They went around and introduced themselves and then they starting discussing each other’s work.  I noticed that I did not share the same writing that they did.  I am a more modern-day literary or romance writer and have a plethora of short fiction and not novels in the works, though I do have a couple of NaNoWriMo works.  Most wrote historical, or fantasy pieces.  I did find it interesting how they kindly critique each other’s work and I felt confident, after hearing their comments, that I could do this as well.

After two hours, they were finished, and mentioned that normally there was usually a group of three or four that met every two weeks or so.  I have to say they were a very eclectic group.  Wasn’t sure what I was expecting but what I saw I felt comfortable being around, me being an Aspie and an introvert.  My husband asked me later if I was going back and I said yes but maybe only once a month or so.  I am looking forward to the group critiquing some of my work.  There are several published writers in the group and others who just have a life-time love of the written word.

So I survived my first writers’ group experience.  Now I need to work on my grammar since I’ve been told I use too many commas.  Thanks for reading.  Until next time, my friends, happy writing.  Oh, and reading because it was reported on the news this week that those who read live longer lives.  Go books!

 

Off To A Writers’ Group

I am about to embark on a terrifying journey, to a place most introverts would tremble at doing:  meet new people.  In early August I will be attending my first writers’ group at a local Barnes & Noble and I am petrified!  As an Aspie and an introvert, I figured I’ve got two strikes against me already.  A third would be if they all disliked me; one of my biggest fears.  I’m always worrying whether this person or that person likes me.  My younger son thinks I’m silly to be so concerned whether I’m liked or not.  Unfortunately after years of horrible school experiences I’ve developed this irrational fear of being disliked.

Okay, I got to admit I’ve been out of school since 1981 but the embarrassment due to my peer’s rejection still haunt me and keep me from achieving more in life.  And, yes, I know that I should just brush it off and get on with my life.  All well and true.  But this silly fear nags at me and is the reason I don’t get involved in outside activities, even with the other ladies at my church.  I recently had attended a women’s function at church and, as usual, took a seat at an empty table and proceeded to fret if anyone would care to join me.  And alas, no one dared to sit with me at my table.  Maybe I didn’t have a smile on my face, or perhaps my nervousness showed but thankfully a lady at one of the tables next to me invited me to sit at their table and I gladly did.  I wouldn’t want to appear even more standoff-ish by rejecting her generous offer.  It was a church function, you know.

Now that I revealed my bizarre side to you all, I want to convey how important it is for me to join this local group.  I’ve been told to join a writers’ group and have earnestly wanted to find one in the area.  Step One was completed.  I also have a fear of bringing my laptop to the store since I’ve never had to sign in to anyone’s WiFi but my own before.  And I’m not even sure if it’s called that!  I am so not with the program here, people.  I am highly technology-illiterate.  Again not sure if that’s even the proper term.  Silly me.

So do I go days before and figure out how to set up at said store or have one of my darling sons show me how to do it?  I don’t want to look like a fool in front of total strangers.  As a woman, this is one of my greatest fears:  To look like an idiot.  This fear, unfortunately, goes way back to childhood.  But I won’t get into that now.

I truly love to write but it’s done in the safety of my home, in a little room which used to be my younger son’s bedroom.  All my books are neatly(okay, not so neatly) arranged on bookshelves, my desk is in front of the window, and I have a handy two-drawer file cabinet, and a rocking chair that my husband & I found along someone’s curb.  Sometimes I enjoy listening to music while I tap away at the keys; mostly Country but other times I like Classical music.  It doesn’t seem to distract me as much as Country does.

But if I want to make a living, or at least pay off our yearly property taxes, I need to find other like-minded individuals who will help be reach my goals.  Along the way I’m hoping that I will be of some use to them as well.  I write on Wattpad and Scripophile and have this blog but as a writer one needs to, no, must write.  Like air, words on a page are a necessity to a writer.  I am not happy unless I’m writing something.  I feel lost and not fully alive when I’m not tapping away.  Sometimes as an Aspie I struggle with the right words to show how much I love this writing process.  I sink into a depressive state whenever I’m not writing, or even reading about the writing process.  I will push myself to attend the group, probably developing a headache or a stomach ache before heading out the door like a woman off to her death.  Okay, maybe not that dramatic.

I will keep all of you lovely people informed on how it all went in upcoming weeks.  Thanks for allowing me to vent and reveal my fears, as silly as they sound.  Until next time, keep on writing.

Another Day in the Life of a Writer

I was always worried about calling myself a writer.  I have never been paid for my work and I’ve only been published in church newsletters, Letter to the Editor in magazines and newspapers, and had some poetry published in the local paper.  So I was unsure whether labeling myself a writer might be a mistake.

But I’ve been reassured by many writing sites that it’s okay to label myself a writer.  If you write, then you are a writer.  Simple as that.  And yes, I love to write.  It’s not something that I do, it’s actually something I need to do!  Like breathing, or drinking coffee, it’s something that if I don’t do it I feel like part of me isn’t alive.  Okay, maybe coffee isn’t the best example, but I’m sure you understand.  Well, other coffee drinkers for sure.

There are days that I can’t get enough of sitting in front of my laptop clicking away at the keys, watching in wonder as the words appear before me, like they are now.  It’s almost like my fingers can’t keep up with my brain, as the creativity flows from my fingers, making contact with the keyboard.

Other days, I find it a drudgery to sit down and write.  Not that I’m blocked, but because sometimes I just need my brain to have a breather.  So on those days I decide to do other things like read a good piece of fiction.  Currently I’m reading Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh.  Great author, by the way.  If you’re looking for a fantastic writer, there’s one right there.  You’re welcome.  Or I will go through my Writer’s Market for short fiction publications and take an index card and jot down the pertinent info about the journal, for later use.  I try and figure out the best outlets for my work.  Or I’ll go watch t.v. for a bit.  One of my favorite shows is the new Hawaii Five-O, and I’ll catch an episode on Netflix.

So there are very productive days and others maybe not so much.  But as I look at both types of days, I realize that both are needed, to keep me from losing it, my mind that is.  Sometimes us writers need to step back from the laptop or notepad and just take a deep cleansing breath.  Maybe go for a long walk, or just sit outside for a bit and soak up some Vitamin D.

Just relax, fellow writers, and take a break when you need one, unless you are on a deadline, then maybe my advice wouldn’t be the best one for you.  But I haven’t run into that issue yet; but it will happen someday.  Hopefully I won’t be complaining when I have a deadline to meet because a novel needs a little tweaking or a short story has to be sent out to an interested journal.  I am looking forward to having that shot someday, and I feel that it is only a matter of time.  Happy writing, my friends.

 

 

Fear of the News

Every morning when my husband & I awake, after praying together before rising, the first thing we do is turn on the local news station.  I’ve developed a growing fear of the news lately.  With an increase in overnight violence, turning on the news can induce a panic attack in people.  We live in a Chicago suburb, and as everyone probably knows, there’s much violence in the inner city, and like a fire, is spreading out further.

I am for ‘every life matters’, not just black, or white, or Hispanic, but all life.  I don’t know what it feels like to be a different race, since I’m white, and maybe be racially profiled.  I desire for all to get the respect they deserve.  I mourn with those who mourn, especially around the nation currently.  I want truth to be revealed and everyone not to jump to conclusions.  Everyone needs to be able to tell their side of the story.

But I go back to the start of my piece and add, that as a writer, I have much to pick and choose from lately.  Life is happening out there.  People are living, dying, struggling, loving, and trying to survive in this world.  I tend to clip articles from the daily newspaper to hold onto for future reference in case I need it for a piece of fiction.  They provide me with ideas; reminders of what life in America is like.  From weather disasters to social issues, from politics to injustice; it’s all there in front of my eyes.

I can’t even begin to wonder how parents explain these horrible events to their young children.  Yes, life is scary, and I think this world is becoming more and more frightening as the years go by.  But as a writer, one needs to keep an open mind, not to judge too quickly.  I love being able to look at everyone’s point of view, to try and understand how others see the world, where they’re coming from; what their mindset is.  I don’t want to be anyone’s judge and jury.  I want to learn about things; how they work, how they sound, how they feel.  That’s the writer in me.

Yet the fear is growing to the point that I don’t want to look at the news, or read a newspaper anymore.  It sickens and saddens me what others have the ability to do to other human being; the pain that can be inflicted. My heart breaks with those who have lost loved ones to violence.  I weep with those who have lost children, spouses, siblings, parents…but when does it end?

As writers, we need to have topics to write about, to be able to view life through other people’s eyes. We need to grow in our knowledge, and embrace all that life has to offer, whether good or bad.  That’s the sad part, I think, that as a writer, I need to have things to write about.  But I wish, and pray, that there wouldn’t be this horror, and pain, running rampant in society.  I don’t want to see a child wailing the loss of a parent, or a spouse breaking down in tears.

So I hope that the days ahead are brighter for all, not that I’ll be holding my breath.  Writers can be cynics as well, but I can only dream of peace and unity.  What about you?

 

 

 

 

Falling Into A Routine 

Writing can be tedious, sometimes even mind numbing after hours of sitting at the computer.  Your brain longs to shut down, at least for a little while.

And other times you wake up excited, ready to let those fingers fly over the keyboard, anticipating the magic you know is under there.  Words spill out of your brain and it’s nearly impossible to keep up.

And there’s the days you wake up a bit groggy, heading for the bathroom and then the coffee pot.  You stretch yourself awake, debating where to begin, what piece should be worked on.  And, grabbing your mug, you head into wherever you create the magic, plop your butt in chair, turn on laptop, or whatever you may write with, sighing, maybe even set a timer like I do, and get down to business.

And you write.  Flip through a dictionary, thesaurus, or online search when necessary, and keep on going.  A routine, I believe, is necessary as a writer.  So don’t kick yourself if you miss a day, just get back on the ball the next day and do the best you can.  Create and love what you do.  It’s who you are.