Life and Life Stuff

A copy photograph of the portrait painted by O...

A copy photograph of the portrait painted by Oscar Halling in the late 1860’s of Edgar Allan Poe.

God willing, I will have a 7th Anniversary of being clean and sober on May 26th of this year.  I haven’t been blogging consistently, and I am truly sorry for that.  I have so much stuff going on in terms of kids, other writing obligations and “life stuff.”

But for now, I am going to focus on the writing aspect of my life.  Pull up a chair and a cup of your favorite beverage if you wish.

I started writing around the age of nine or ten I guess.  I remember writing my first book report about “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe in grade school.  I fell in love with the story, and Poe, and looked forward to writing more book reports (yes I was a geeky child)!  I started keeping a diary and wrote silly little stories about my friends inside.

As I grew and matured (using that term loosely), I stopped writing unless it was a letter in school to one of my BFF’s or a boy.

In my early twenties, I actually wrote my first novel.  It is unpublished to this date and only a lone printed, bound copy remains.  Most of that novel was written while drunk because I inherently felt I could only write when I was chemically altered.

Fast forward about four years and I decided to go to college at night as an English Major and wound up switching my major to Behavioral Health with a focus on addiction for the rest of my term.  Ironic.

So I wrote off and on, off and on for a number of years.  I kept many journals and diaries both hard copy and internet bound.  I wrote a lot of poetry.  Dark disturbing words (again always drunk and angry) I wrote steady over the course of a week.  I wrote about 130 poems in those seven days.  That is floating around somewhere as well.

I even had one published in a local newspaper!

Here it is:

Reality and fantasy, truth and lies.

When I’m awake I forget real, and fantasize.

When I speak my mind, I speak it well.

When I talk back, I listen even better.

When I hear other voices, I try to ignore.

Don’t tell me what to say, don’t tell me what to do.

I’m done listening to you; all you speak is tainted.

I’m stained with lies, marked by deceit.

My eyes are wicked, my grin is cold.

You look at me, but you can’t look long.

You’re so weak.  Ha!

Try to tell me you’re strong.

I laugh so loud inside, you can’t hear me.

But I can.

Reality and fantasy, I like to fantasize.

Reality is too much for me, I like my peace.

I like to be alone whenever I can.

So no one hears my whispers as I answer myself…

Again and again.

That is my first official published piece of anything.  I remember how excited I felt.  My mom got a bunch of the papers and framed a copy of the poem for me.  That copy sits on my dresser today and I look at it sometimes because I get caught up in life stuff and my dreams slip away.

So that’s it for me… for now.  Hope everyone is doing well.. maybe you’d like to tell me what is going on in your neck of the woods?  I’d sure like to hear about you!

Advertisements

Coping In Sobriety

Clean and Sober

Clean and Sober (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I first got sober, it was pretty easy for me.  I’m not bragging, but I had hit such a low point that I figured getting clean and sober might well be worth a shot.  The one thing I hadn’t discovered in my new sobriety was ways to cope with life on life’s terms. This was definitely something I needed to figure out quickly.

See, life just kept on happening to me. It didn’t matter that I was clean and sober, or that I was trying to do the next right thing.  It didn’t matter that I was making a valiant effort to see my kids, to stay away from people, places and things or that I was working a rigorous twelve-step program.

My car still broke down, I still got yelled at by my boss and I still had (very) bad hair days.

Of course I would go into the “poor me” cloud.  “Hey, I’m doing the right thing… what’s this crap all about?” I had this grandiose sense of self (huge ego!) that since I finally started to do the right thing (after years of doing very wrong things) that I should get a reprieve of sorts and nothing bad should ever happen to me ever again.  Ever.

Reality check: shit happens. I had to deal with life on life’s terms and I had to find out pronto how to do that.

The only way I could do that was to go to meetings, be around other sober people who had serious clean time and work a good program.

I learned that drinking or drugging was not a coping tool.  It just added fuel to the already out of control fire that raged inside me.

I learned that I should start writing again and that I am a pretty good photographer.  I learned my triggers and how to avoid them most of the time.  Sometimes triggers still invaded my head space (usually when my mind was idle) and I learned that the best thing to do in that situation was to call another alcoholic in recovery. Maybe they could help me.  Turns out, I was helping them just as much as they were helping me.

I couldn’t wrap my head around that one.  How the hell could I possibly help someone with years of sobriety when I was so new? Now that I have over six years clean and sober, I know how.  Because when I talk to someone new in sobriety it puts things in perspective and reminds me of the way I used to think. I no longer think that way.

Some of the ways I learned to cope:

  • Go to a meeting. Talk to another alcoholic in recovery.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Write.
  • Go for a drive.
  • Listen to music.
  • Go to a park.

I can always come back to the problem later.  Obsessing and keeping the problem at the forefront of my mind will not help me.  And trust me, I am huge on obsession.  After all, I am an alcoholic and everything is about me.

If I had a dollar for every time I asked someone “What’s wrong?” with the presumption that it had to be something I did, I would be retired and living in my dream cabin in the mountains.

See, another HUGE thing I had to learn to cope with was myself.  I had to learn that people pleasing was not a coping tool, rather a way to mask whatever guilt or remorse I was feeling. I had to cope with that.  I had to learn how to recognize the difference between actually coping and sweeping the problem under the rug or enabling someone or using other poor methods:

  • drinking
  • drugging
  • silent scorn
  • blame
  • defensiveness
  • ignoring the feeling
  • manipulation

None of these ways worked!  These were not coping tools, these were character defects that I used to hurt people to get my way, pretending I was right (when I knew I was wrong).  Because as long as I was sure other people knew I was right, I felt better, if only for a short time.

How do you cope with day-to-day life or problems that come down your road?

A – Z Challenge ~ D is for Details

Image: ourmarketingmastery.com

Details.  We notice them whether we realize it or not, when we drive, walk, talk, read and watch a movie.  One of the most important aspects of paying attention to detail is in writing.  Well, dismantling bombs may require quite a bit of attention to detail, but that isn’t my forte.

Writing is my forte, and I confess, I am not a writer that uses an entire page to describe a room.  If it pertains to my story and I need it known (because it propels the story forward) I let it be known.  Otherwise, I leave a lot to the reader’s imagination.  Is this good?  Is it bad?  I don’t know.

I guess that is why I had such a hard time writing my novel for NaNoWriMo.

Details are amazing!  When stumped on a scene or a flash fiction piece, I make sure I pay a little extra attention to people the next time I am out.  Every single one of my characters has a trait or quality from a real live human bean, er, being.

The next time you are out and about, look around the street you drive down or the mall you walk through.  Find someone and really give them a once over.  What are they wearing around their neck?  Does she only have one earring on?  Is his shoelace broken?  Does he smell like cigarettes, cologne or both? Make up a story about a car in the gas station that has a dent in the back-end.  Look closer:  are they teeth marks?

Are there times when you pay attention to detail more than others?

And ROWing Right Along… ROW80 Update

Ah, good old ROW80… I have been keeping up on some goals while others found a piece of driftwood and floated out of my reach. I am loving all the blogs I have been reading.  I am not one hundred percent sure if my blog reading/commenting is a problem or not.  I really think I just love to read other blogs and comment on them. Is that so wrong? Is it?! I didn’t think so.

I reprinted my manuscript with half the edits I made.  It was a difficult decision, but the other manuscript (print version) was so befuddled that I had a difficult time concentrating on it.  So out of disgust and confusion I would stare at until I became cross-eyed and then throw it on the floor.  Yeah, not going to become a big time author that way.  So I started from my personal version of scratch.

In new news, I restarted my Parenting Blog.  I had this idea last year that with the homecoming of my sixteen year old daughter (after being estranged for five years), I would keep a log of how things went and do a daily journal of sorts. Well, things did not go according to plan (do they ever?) and I let it hop on that piece of driftwood.

The other day after getting into it with my teenage dream I was very frustrated and decided to hash it out on my Parent Life blog.  If you are interested or know someone who might be, you can find it by clicking The Parent Life. Like I said, it is kind of new and I only have one follower on the blog.  Maybe some other mommies or want to be mommies might want to swing by.  Or, if you are looking for a deterrent on parenting, it could behoove you as well. 😉

Revamped ROW80 goals are as follows:

  • Read/comment blogs – I am doing at least ten a day.  Not too shabby.
  • Triberr – was going strong for a while.  I stop by at least once a day.
  • Facebook – I am on there way too much (damn that Words With Friends!).
  • Twitter – I do a lot of my tweets through Triberr, so I am not on there as much as before.  Aim for once a day.
  • Health/wellness – I am officially back to the gym! Squee!!  I am digging it and already have visions of me being bikini model ready by June.
  • MANUSCRIPT – Will dedicate thirty minutes or ten pages a day editing (which ever comes first).

So that is it for now.  How are your goals coming along?  Looking forward to seeing everyone’s progress.. 🙂 Check out fellow ROWer progress or link your own here!

Happy ROWing!

Back to Our Regulary Scheduled Programming

Today was  quite a ruckus, eh?  A lot of webpages (including all of my blogs) were blacked out as a protest to the PIPA/SOPA Act. Apparently, we may be moving something along according to this report here.

Way to go protesters!!  Man, how far have we come! We the people of the United States of America don’t even have to get off our asses to protest something… Niiiice.

Hopefully the lot of us have stirred the fire.  And to the lot of you who had no idea what was going on (Facebook updates like: What the hell is up with Wikipedia?) shame on you.

What do you think?  How would you feel if you wanted to share an article or a song with someone on the internet and all of a sudden a steel door slammed over your screen, thereby smashing you fingers into the keyboard because it is FORBIDDEN to share the interesting with a fellow computer friend?  I mean, in this new age, it is all about sharing.  Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, Blogger, WordPress… all of these sites share information, pictures, videos, music, blog posts and opinions.

SOPA/PIPA would be like an ugly little gremlin (no offense 80’s Gremlins and car Gremlins) sitting on your screen and blacking out your screen anytime you wanted to view something forbidden.  It would look something like this:

███ ████████ ██████ ██████████ ██ ████ ██ ████ ██████████ ██. ███ ███ This comment has been found in violation of H.R. 3261, S.O.P.A and has been removed.

SERIOUSLY?? It’s almost like Bizarro World.. but, more bizarro-er.  Check out this link here to get updated on all this garb.

Now.  Onto ROW80.

This week is STELLAR so far.  I got a lot of posting done, got a lot of writing done with the help of 750words.com and commented on a slue of blogs.  I slacked on editing my current WIP.  But it’s all good.  I am catching up on it tonight.

This Sunday is the New York Motorcycle Show! Sa-weet! I will be taking loads of pictures and posting mega content on the hottest new bikes and gear for 2012.  So be sure to look for that.

In other news, someone approached me about covering their heavy metal band doing a gig in Trenton, NJ in March.  😀 I am super stoked about that.  Yes, the article will be on my blog.  I am hoping good things will come from this!

GOALS FOR THE WEEK

  • Write
  • Read
  • Comment
  • Blog
  • Exercise

Happy ROWing my wonderful blogger/writer/ROWer peeps!

The Woods – Flash Fiction

The distant waterfall seemed quieter as Charlie tugged on the rope. She had been in the woods for three days. Her tummy growled as she thought of cartoon characters that used to tie belts around their bellies as if somehow it would save them from hunger.
Something woke her up last night that sounded like a train whistle and a chimpanzee. It didn’t matter. This rope trick would get her food.
Satisfied with the knot, she ducked behind the tree and waited. The woods grew quiet. A kind of quiet that made her hum to make sure she could still hear.
And then it came from behind her. That awful chimpanzee being bludgeoned by a train whistle sound. Charlie dashed out of the trees toward her rope trap. She could climb to safety. Her hand slipped on the rope and she felt it wrap around her ankle before it whisked up the tree limb. It was too fast. The rope; that noise. That wicked sound came again as Charlie hung there. She wished she had brought her gun.

Scraps

I have the ROW80 spirit. However, if I write another “catchy title” that has the word ROW in it, I most likely will dye my hair green and join a circus.

I finished the first edit on my NaNo novel. After that, on lunch breaks at work, I began a re-write in a few places. There was a squiggle here and there. A dash or two, a little “^” mark with illegible words scribbled above. I crossed out some lines, corrected a few typos (NOTE: typos can be found after you’ve become a stranger to your work. If you’re reading like someone else wrote it, the mistakes jump off the page) and changed one character’s name.

After reading the first chapter of my WIP, I took a deep breath, said an expletive and scrapped my entire first scene. Yes. The opening scene is lying at the bottom of a cold, filthy barrel along with other scenes that were scrapped over the decades. Ok, not really. I just deleted it. But where is the drama in that?

Scraps of Scrappiness

Ok, so the picture isn’t actually scraps of anything but that’s my point. It is scraps in a way because it is a bunch of random items that aren’t helping each other.

That is where the opening scene in my WIP was. It was a bunch of words strewn together with mash potato glue in a desperate attempt at… a hook? empathy? a vomit bag? Probably the latter. Since I started this whole “serious shot at writing” deal, I have read a lot of “first chapters.” Mostly in critique groups on the Critique Corner of Writers Digest. Some of them are good. Some of them are the equivalent of drunken love notes. But that’s why we have our stuff critiqued. That’s why we put our work away and go back to it. We’ve all written drunken love notes – literally or figuratively.

I wrote my NaNoWriMo work in thirty days, and threw it in a drawer for another thirty. I jotted down all the notes of the story my characters wanted to tell. 50,000+ words of notes. Now I am back in the scraps of the first draft and telling the story.

Got any scraps stories?

Six Sentence Sunday

I have never done a Six Sentence Sunday before.. but here I am to join in the fun!  The following six sentences are from the first draft of my WIP.  I wrote this WIP in November for NaNoWriMo and will be pulling it out of the drawer on December 30th for its first edit.

WARNING: Crude Language.

Celeste stayed stone faced.  She was in way over her head this time.  She used to get fronted five or six bags of cocaine every other night, then turn a few tricks and pay it back.  Everything was okie dokie.

In the last six months she was snorting more coke than she could suck dick to cover.   

“Mama, I need a little more time,” she said and flashed her tired smile.

Please check it out and let me know what you think.  I may get into this SSS thing.

Happy Sunday!

Thank You to the Things I Need to Thank

The end of the year calls for some serious reflection.  Guide to Career Education has valuable articles and forecasts for anyone wanting
to return to college to finish a degree or anyone seeking a career change in the new year. Mostly we reflect on all the things we said we’d do during the year that were swept under carpets of screaming kids, deadlines, broken alternators and cat poop (please don’t make me explain).

I follow a wonderful blog called Mary and Bob’s Journal. A while back I read a post simply called, GRATITUDE.

In that post there is gratitude for socks… socks!  I thought about it.  I love socks.  I mean, without socks, I would not get a lick of sleep.  Honest.  So I am grateful for socks as well. And coffee.

I bow to the coffee bean.

Coffee!!

Well, this is not exactly how I take my coffee.  But if not for this little brown bean, I would be a slobbering mess spouting obscenities each morning. So I am grateful for coffee.

I am grateful for music.  More importantly, I am grateful for my grandmother who always let me have music on no matter what time of day or night.  I am grateful for a mother who always had music on when she cleaned (which was a lot!).

Then we have the birds, the bees, the snakes, the flowers, the mountains, the streams.. all the worldly creations made by my Higher Power that I stand in awe of each day.  Like the red-tail hawk perched on the tree outside my apartment this morning.  I am always grateful for nature.

There are so many things to be grateful for, thankful for, appreciative for. Things like:

  • fresh notebooks and sharpened pencils
  • a pleasant teenage daughter (truly a blessing!)
  • cold water
  • an open treadmill at the gym
  • light traffic
  • a found dollar
  • finding the last sweetener packet
  • a slow day at the office so I can get caught up on blogging (writing and reading)
  • when my car runs good (please get me home my sweet automobile!)

These are just a few of the things that make me say, “Hey now.. that is super cool.”  Maybe you have some of the same things to be thankful for.. maybe you are scratching your head as you read my list and say, “uh, this chic is cookoo!”

Please.. feel free to share some of the things you might take for granted each day, but when you really think about it… you are oh so grateful to have them.

😀

Life: A Memoir of Embarrassing Moments

So….. I have been told by many people that my life has been interesting.  Well, mostly my children have told me this.  And I also noticed, that for every story someone has I have a counter story that is much, much better.

I bought a book six or so months ago about “How To Write Your Life Story” or some crap like that.  I read through most of it (I get through most of anything).  In the book they said “everyone’s life can be turned into a memoir.” I don’t think I necessarily agree with that.  There are certain people I wouldn’t really dig reading about, just as I am sure there are many people who wouldn’t dig reading about my life events.

And there there is the fame factor.

Like, if I wrote, “Today I had tuna on toast but decided to leave the crusts on because my horoscope said live on the edge” people would be like, “Wow. Lame.”

Buuut.. if say, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue fame or Beyonce ate the same thing that day and blogged or tweeted about it or even threw it in an exclusive tell all book.. “This Is What I EAT!” people would be buying out the tuna and bread on the grocery aisle shelves.

I’m not sure why things go the way they do.  I just know that they go.

When I sit down to really think about it… I have had quite an interesting ride so far.  I have many stories that not only would be entertaining to people… but I really think people could get something out of them.  Kind of like, “wow I need to remember to never do that.  Ever.”

A couple of examples:

  • Never throw a cigarette butt in a trash can under a tree .. especially if the can is filled with paper.
  • When you’re seven, don’t put toothpaste on your eyelids. In fact, never do that at any age.
  • Listen to your grandmother when she tells you to never leave your drink unattended.  You could almost wind up dead somewhere.
  • If you really have to pee, just go to the bathroom.  Don’t stand in the classroom doing the wiggle jiggle dance while the teacher talks and ignores you.  The end result is embarrassing.

These are just a few instances that are fond memories of my past.  Ok, not 100% fond, but I lived through them and came out a stronger person for it.

Got any great stories? 😀

%d bloggers like this: