In The Night

Night holds no comfort for me.

She holds no solice from the torments of the day.

She taunts me.

She haunts me.

She sneaks into my dreams.

Her spiny black fingers creep into the corners of my mind.

The corners that are reserved for rest.

They clutch at my tranquility and rip it from my mind.

Her wicked thoughts replace the sweetness of my dreams.

Violence and terror.

Fear and horror.

Loathing, hatred, war, suffering.

These are those things which she leaves behind.

Where once peaceful light filled my nights,

Now thick blackness invades.

I can’t escape.

I can’t run.

I can’t hide.

I can’t stay awake.

My eyes and body betray me.

They give in to her sultry whispers.

Her promises of warmth and comfort.

My mind slips into that sardonic grasp.

I’m lost.

I’m broken.

She has me.

She won’t let go.

At my most vulnerable,

In the night.

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Pros & Cons of An Analytical Mind

Having an analytical & restless mind can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Pros:

  • You are good at problem solving.
  • You enjoy any type of puzzle.
  • You remember events and conversations because they play over and over in your head.
  • You can find the best in a situation.
  • You’re never bored because you observe things that need done.
  • You know within a matter of minutes what type of personality someone has.

Cons:

  • You remember events and conversations because they play over and over in your head.
  • You can find the worst in a situation.
  • Because you always see stuff that needs done, you become overwhelmed easily.
  • You read into things too often and see things that aren’t there.
  • You stay conscious during tramatic events because your brain knows you couldn’t handle not knowing what happened.
  • You have a hard time falling asleep at night.
  • You over-analyze meaningless conversations.
  • You try to figure out what people are thinking about you.
  • You want it all to stop.

I just want the images to go away. I want to stop seeing them. I want to stop seeing the face that is so red it matches his hair. I want to stop seeing her gray face and hearing her moan. I want to stop hearing the sound of metal on metal. I want to stop feeling the sharp pain in my hip. I want to stop hearing the pain in his voice as he says those three simple words; I’m so sorry.

I want to forget the sound of the airbag exploding in my face. I want to forget the panic of not being able to find my phone to call my husband. I want to forget the terror that filled my heart when I saw the car in my rearview mirror. I want to forget how helpless I felt. I want to forget how hard it was to breathe; how hard it still is. I want to forget the ringing in my ears, the blood in my nose, the cut inside my lip, the burn on my arm, the bruise on my chest.

It only took seconds but so much went through my head as I stopped and looked in the rearview. I knew it was coming before I even looked. I could already hear the sound. I could already feel the jar. Seeing that car in my rearview was just confirmation. My worst fear was happening. I kept telling myself I was ok. I keep repeating that I walked away. But I also keep hearing that sound. I keep feeling that fear. I keep feeling the panic of not being able to breathe. I feel crazy. 

Sure, my car got towed. I walked away, however, with what most would consider minor injuries. I keep telling myself it’s not like the first accident where I had a hospital stay. I walked into the ER. I walked out of the ER. I am sore as hell, but I’m walking. And yet, I can’t think about it for too long without breaking down. I try distractions to keep my mind busy. I try so hard to avoid the thoughts, but they come anyway.

Every move reminds me of what happened. Every time my arm rubs against something, I remember the details. When the bruise on my leg rests against something hard, I’m taken back. Every breath I take reminds me of the jolt my body felt. When I wake up with my head throbbing, I hear the ringing in my ears. I see the white airbag. I smell the sulfur. I feel the rough fabric of the curtain airbags. I feel my hands shaking so much I can barely hold the phone to talk to my husband, can barely write my statement. Tears pool in my eyes and blur my view. My head pounds all day.

It’s not like the other accident; I know that. It just takes me back. Why did this happen? Why did the vehicle have to be a Jeep? Why did it have to be within a mile from home? Why do there have to be similarities? Am I being overdramatic? Am I analyzing this too closely? Why won’t my brain shut up?

Then comes what scares me even more. I’m repeating myself. I’m forgetting things. I’m writing the same thing twice on the same piece of paper. I’m writing the wrong dates and not just a day or two off, but months off. When I meant to write 7/31, I wrote 12/31 without a second thought. 

I’m frustrated. I’m hurting. I’m tired. I’m sore. I’m scared. For the first time in my life I’m scared to drive. For the first time in my life I’m scared to go back to work. I don’t want to write the wrong thing or repeat myself. I don’t want to forget who I’m supposed to call or what kind of help they need.

How do I heal? What do I do? I feel so confused and lost. Why do I wake up with those images in my mind? Why do they repeat over and over? Why do I have to hear the sound over and over? What do I do? How do I find my way again?

Nieces and Nephews

Their smiles are brighter than the sun.

Their hugs are warmer than the hottest day of summer.

The sound of your name on their lips for the first time is as beautiful as a symphony.

Their giggle fills the air like fog on a cool morning.

The drawing they give you is more precious than gems.

Their eyes shine when they see you coming up the drive.

Their flat out run to your arms can bring a smile to your face no matter the day you’ve had.

They take you back to being a kid yourself.

They bring out your inner goofball.

They confide in you like you’re their best friend.

They share their secrets and dreams.

They fill your heart with so much love you feel there’s no room for any other emotion.

They are the light of the moon on the darkest of nights.

They are the children you didn’t give birth to.

They are the friends you never knew you needed.

They are the sweetness that dissolves the bitter.

They are nieces and nephews.

My nieces and nephews bring so much joy to my life. Growing up I always wanted kids of my own. Then slowly, the older I got, my mind began to change. The path my life was headed down didn’t really have room for kids. I became a stepmom and that began to fill my need for children of my own. Why have a child of my own when I have such a beautiful, loving, and intelligent stepdaughter that I consider my own? 

Then came more nieces and nephews, my decision to go to school, my decision to try to make a living writing, and my realization that I like my freedom to go where I want, when I want without the need to find a babysitter. Now I’ve completely made up my mind to not have a child of my own. 

That being said, I can’t even begin to describe how much I love my nieces, nephews, and daughter. They make me laugh. They make me shake my head. They make me want to scream. They frustrate me. They bring out the best in me. When I hear my nephew tell me to hug the neighbor kids because “you give hugs and they need hugs too”, my heart practically explodes. When my daughter gives me a drawing with a bubble of words describing me and in the middle is “never hurts”, it brings peace to my soul. When my niece tells me that she feels  most comfortable talking to me about the tough situations in her life, I feel proud. If these are the things that come to mind when they think of me, then that’s all that matters.

I pour all the love I have on these children that are not my own and am rewarded with more than I could have ever asked. They may be part of the family, but they are so much more to me. They are the reason I am comfortable not having children of my own. They bring me so much joy and love that my mommy heart is full to the brim.

If You Knew

If you knew how much I love you, you would never doubt

If you knew how much I love you, you would never feel fear

If you knew how much I love you, you would never ask why

If you knew how much I love you, you would understand

You would understand that no one in this world compares to you

You would understand no one in this world can take your place

You would understand you are my best friend

You would understand you are my reason

You would understand you have my heart

You have my heart like no one has ever had it before

You have my heart like the flowers have petals

You have my heart like the Earth has a core

You have my heart like I never knew was possible

I never knew it was possible to love this much

I never knew it was possible to be this happy

I never knew it was possible to feel what I feel

What I feel is love

What I feel is support

What I feel is encouragement

What I feel is safe

What I feel is a love like no other

A love that beats within my soul

A love that moves through my being

A love that resonates in my mind

A love that echos through my heart

If you only knew how much I love you

Author Promotion – Support Your Local Authors!

A few weeks ago I went to an author event at a local library. Although I haven’t had the chance to read their books yet, I feel the need to highlight them. These authors were very nice and offered me advice and talked to me about their own experiences. I have each of their books on my wish list and will be buying them over time. School is making it hard to read anything for pleasure, but each of these authors has something to offer and I’m making it my goal to read through each book within a year.

 

1. Jocelyn Dabney.

Jocelyn’s book Nana Bea and Me is a story about the love between a granddaughter and her grandmother. Jocelyn is a retired librarian and a member of The National Association of Black Storytellers among others. When I met her, she was very open about her writing and about her publishing process. The more I read about her online, the more surprised I am by how much I’m discovering. Not only is she the author of such a loving story, but she has conducted workshops and has accomplished quite a bit in her life. She was so down to earth and such a pleasure to meet.

 

2. Todd Cole.

Todd is a teacher and uses his job to encourage children to believe in themselves. His book, You are a Masterpiece, follows a young boy who discovers what it means to gain satisfaction in your own work and the inner peace of accomplishment. He doesn’t have a webpage as of yet, but I really enjoyed hearing his story of what it took to get published. I also could tell from our short time talking that he really does have a passion for teaching children to be happy with themselves and not rely on grand gestures to confirm their worth. He works to teach his students to appreciate themselves as they are.

 

3. Bob Whited.

Bob served in the Navy for 4 years and saw a lot during that time. He wrote Navy Grass to put his interesting stories on paper. I appreciated learning a little bit about his time in the service. Of course he couldn’t reveal too much or that would ruin the book ;-). The following link gives more information about Mr. Whited and his book. Robert Whited’s New Book “Navy Grass” is a Tell-All Memoir that Chronicles One Man’s Experience of Enlistment in the U.S. Navy During the Turbulent Early 1960’s.

 

4. M.E. Rich.

M.E. was really sweet. I could tell within a minute of talking to her how much helping children means to her. She works with children regularly on finding what makes them unique and even has a yoga class for kids. Freckles the Fabulous Fish is not only an excellent book for teaching children to find their inner strength and what makes them special, but some of the proceeds go to Juvenile Arthritis. It also includes illustrations from children at a local rehabilitation center; sweet drawings of each child’s interpretation of Freckles. Books can only be purchased at Three Sheep Gallery. Click here to read an article detailing more about Freckles and M.E. Rich.

As a bonus, M.E. sent home a couple hearts (that double as fish) and a baggie of decorations so that a special child in my life could make their own Freckles. Here are a couple pictures of two Freckles that my own nephews made:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Jackson Horvat.

Jackson is only 17 years old, but has already published two books in his series. His father was with him at the event and explained that Jackson has been writing stories since he learned to write. He was very energetic and showed passion for his writing. It was really encouraging to see someone so young chasing his dream and accomplishing so much! His series falls into the sci-fi category. So far he has published The Vortex Entrance and The Healer Enchantment which tell of a young man who discovers he has powers and is on a search for his mom.

 

6. Hugh G. Earnhart

The first thing I feel a need to mention about this author is that, along with two children’s books, he has published two recipe books; one of which is dedicated entirely to hot dogs! Hot dogs! Growing up on a solid diet of hot dogs, mac ‘n cheese, and PB&J, I was thrilled to see so many ways to cook a hot dog. Him and his wife were really sweet. He originally wrote The Forgotten Pumpkin for his grandkids. He was inspired by a single pumpkin in the back of a pumpkin patch that sat alone for a long time, no one venturing to pick it. He was convinced to turn it into a series by sending “The Forest Gang” to Washington, D.C. in A Day in D.C. with the Forest Friends.

 

7. David Kohut and Kathy Palumbo

Standing in the Presence of Greatness is David’s story put to text with Kathy’s help. Kathy had to leave so I only met her long enough to be introduced and shake her hand. I spoke with David for a bit longer and learned about the book they had written together. He spoke very highly of Kathy which impressed me because, even while talking about his book, he didn’t put much emphasis on himself. Their book is a sort of self-help book for turning bad situations into opportunities and seeing the greatness within yourself.

 

I hope you get a chance to check out their books and websites.  If you’ve already ready their work, let me know in the comments. Thanks for taking the time to support locally known authors! If you have authors near you that you would like me to know about, send me a link to their page and I’ll make sure to check them out!

As I like to make sure my information is correct – If you are one of the authors listed and see I have incorrect information listed, please Contact Me and I will update it!

The Small Things

When people say it’s the small things that matter, I don’t think they’re wrong. The big picture matters to an extent, but when you really think about it, without the little things, there would be no big picture. 

When you think of your childhood it’s usually in bits and pieces. You don’t remember every single minute. You remember that day at the park. You remember that rainy day when you had to stay inside. Maybe you think of that one time your parent beat you so bad it was hard to move. Maybe you think about that night when he or she tucked you into bed and made you giggle before kissing you goodnight. Whatever the memories that come to mind, they are bits and pieces that, when put together, make up the picture of how you feel about your childhood.

When you picture people of your past, do you remember them in their entirety or do you remember the specifics; A warm smile, calloused hands, dark eyes, a gruff voice? The memories are usually the parts of them that affected you the most. It’s the details and how they made you feel that shape your memory of them.

When you think of the places you’ve been, every single detail is not defined. When you think of that unusual building from ten years ago you don’t remember everything. You remember the details you chose to focus on. You remember the details that left an impression.

I like macro photography because it focuses on the tiny details that people tend to overlook. Everyone gets so caught up in the bouquet that they forget to study the petals. Take a moment to stop and think about someone from your past that you were fond of. Don’t think about their person as a whole, but focus in on something small, something that makes you smile.

For me it’s something as small as the shake of his hand while playing cards. It’s her soft, plump, and wrinkled cheek against mine. It’s the energetic smile that reaches his eyes more than his mouth. It’s the feel of her hair in my hands for the last time.

The small things in life are beautiful. They are the pieces that make us what we are. They are the cornerstone of our memories; whether we realize it or not.

A last note on this: it can help when writing characters. Adding small details (maybe even based on people in your life) can make them come more alive for the reader. I’ve found that when I’m reading a book and the author includes a small detail about their character, the character sticks in my mind more.

Tap Tap Tap

He sits at his desk tapping the pen against the wood. His eyes are glazed, looking through his computer screen. The rhythmic tap, tap, tap of his pen is echoing in his mind. Somewhere in the distance a copier hums to life and spits out warm pages.

He’s thinking about nothing, about everything. He’s thinking about what it was like to be a kid, free and unbound. He’s thinking about what it’s like to be an adult, chained and captive. Tap, tap, tap. He hears metal against metal instead of plastic against wood. The clank of a hammer as it slams onto the link of a chain.

His kids would be getting off the bus soon. His wife would be arranging them at the table for “homework hour”. She’d prep dinner as their tired faces look over pencil and paper. Steak was on tonight’s menu. Tendorized by his wife’s  vicious pounding. Tap. Tap. Tap.

When did his life get so boring, so predictable? Get up, work, eat dinner, watch TV, sleep, repeat. Mix in the occasional obligatory barbeque and you’ve got his life in a glass case. He can hear the fingernail tapping against the viewing glass as some giant spectator chuckles at his dull life. Tap. Tap. Tap.

There’s a phone ringing. Are we all just robots, going through the motions? We do what’s expected of us. How many can really say they’ve lived outside the box? How many, at death’s door can say they’ve done everything they ever wanted? As the coffin is nailed shut, how many can say they have no regrets? Tap. Tap. Tap.

He realizes the phone ringing is his. The spell is broken. The tapping stops. The office sounds return.

“Copper’s Paper Products. Marketing your brand one page at a time, Trent speaking.”

Heavy

My heart is heavy, I don’t know how much more beit can sink.

My soul is weary, one more step may be its end.

My eyes sting, reddened and dry.

My chest burns, coals igniting in the scorched cavity.

My body aches, sore from all the tests and trials.

My throat is raw, scratched and unrested.

Is there an end?

If it ends, will my heart recover?

Will my soul feel free and light?

Will my eyes soften and long for sleep no more?

Will the fire in my chest give way to an autumn wind?

Will my body wonder tireless, fatigue only a memory?

Will my throat rejoice in song?

Too much to think about

Too much to do

Too tired to care

Too anxious to sleep

Cool Water

She sat alone in her office, swiveling back and forth in her chair. The fan above her head rocked a rythmyic tune as she waited for her computer to load. The blue screen in front of her displaying circling dots. She let her head fall back against the chair and she stared at the ceiling. Stucco patterns overlapped in ugly clumps.

The walls were pale blue, too pale. It would probably be considered sky blue, but the sky never seemed this shade. She noted the many nail holes that dotted the walls as she swiveled back and forth. The holes were remnants of the previous resident who appeared to like hanging things.

As she swiveled left and right and left again, she stopped and lifted the edge of the blinds to peek outside. All she saw was black. She swiveled right again. A pool of water was collecting at the bottom of her glass. A drop of condensation slid down the plastic to join the other fallen drops.

After seeing that her screen had still not changed, she lifted herself from the seat and went to the bathroom to splash some cold water on her face; to wash the sleep from her eyes. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. It was not a reflection she was particularly proud of, but it also wasn’t horrible. She turned her head right, then left, shrugged and turned her attention to the faucet.

She let the cool water pool in her hands before bringing them up to splash the water on her face. It felt good. She scooped some onto her neck as she leaned over the sink. It was refreshing and calming. She straightened and dabbed her face and neck with her hand towel. As she hung it back in its place she glanced at her reflection then turned to walk away.

She stopped before she had fully taken a step. She turned and faced the mirror. A red mark was on her neck where none had been before. She leaned over the counter to get a closer look. She rubbed the mark. It was flush with her skin, not raised as she might have expected. It felt no different than her skin. It wasn’t warm or tender to the touch.

She turned on the hot water and rubbed the mark with soap and water. It didn’t change. She heard the sound of Windows loading and decided to worry about the mark later. Her fingers lingered on the spot as she walked back into the office. 

Her cat looked up at her with a pitiful expression when she found him in her seat. She laughed and picked him up, setting him on her lap as she sat down. He lept from her lap to find his own place of comfort. She logged into the computer and played the waiting game again as the updates finished installing.

There was a tickle at the back of her throat. She coughed and tried to it. Her desktop loaded and she clicked on her browser, ready to work on her client’s webpage. The tickle was persistent and she rubbed her throat, trying to massage it away.

She updated the banner images and went to work on updating the “contact us” page. She took a long drink of her water hoping that would clear her throat. She tried to ignore it, but the itch became more intense. It began to feel as if her throat were closing. She rubbed it again with no change.

She stood and went to the bathroom. The mark had grown. It spread across the entire right side of her neck. She coughed again trying to get rid of the ball that seemed to be lodged in her throat. She watched the mark crawl along the front of her neck and toward the left. 

She could barely breath now. She clutched at her throat. She scratched at the mysterious mark, but only began to bleed when she scratched too deep. She watched her face darken and her eyes redden. As she silently choked for air, the edges of her vision started to darken. She began to feel weak and grasped the counter for support. She stared at her reflection in the mirror and had just a second to see the red mark completely cover her neck before her world went to black.

Find Time

Will you find time for me?

Will you tell time that I need more?

I need more time in the day.

I need more time in the week.

How do you find time?

I look for it everywhere I go.

At work it slips away from my grasp.

While I study for school it crawls into the shadows.

As soon as I sit down with my family it seems to disappear.

How, then, can I tell it that I need more time to write?

I need time to slow for me.

I need time to expand for me.

How do you find time?

How do you make it bend to your will?

Can you find time for me?

Can you make it wait a bit longer?

If you find time, tell it to stop.

If only for a moment here and there.

If you find time, tell it to slow down at least.

Is it possible to make time?

Can it be manufactured?

Can I just make more when I need it?

If you find time, please let me know.