Category Archives: stories

Too Long Behind the Curtain

The secrets of the universe: Silken threads th...Of late, I’ve wondered about some things.  Then as if the Universe was speaking to me, answers to the questions I’d been asking myself keep appearing.

Of course, a lot of what the Universe tells me seems to come from blog posts.  Yeah, I need to get out more.  🙂

So what are some of these revelations?

Somewhere down the roads I’ve traveled, I made a wrongheaded choice.  I always thought so, but I didn’t know what the choice was.  I had some suspicions, but I needed proof.  It came from reading this post on Seth Godin’s blog.

I watch too much, and I participate too little.  I don’t act.  I don’t step out.

Sometimes I don’t because I really am not interested in the activity–that’s okay.  We shouldn’t all be interested in every little thing.  But in another way I make the wrong choice…  because I don’t want to look bad.  It’s silly of me, I guess (I use that word, that silly word so casually, but it’s not silly; the word is the right word, but it’s not too), but I cringe at the possibility of humiliation.

When there is a risk of being humiliated, my head and stomach roil, a ball of grade school and high school memories that I have to drag myself out from.   Alive once more come the days when I felt I had nowhere safe to be, days I would hide in my parent’s car when the bus went by, even though I knew what would happen when my parents found out I would skipped school because the thought of going there hurt so much.

I have a story of a knife-shaped letter opener, the Hudson River and my dog that I might be able to tell someday.  I’m not there yet… it’s as much because I find my failure that day nearly as humiliating and painful as the reasons that brought me to that place.

Last week I read this article from the New York Times online magazine…  Some of the research in it was eye-opening.   I thought about the people I still knew from high school, about the things they posted on their Facebook statuses, how I was afraid to even post the link to my Writer Page for fear I would draw their attention to me and who I was–who I was over 25 years ago.

Yes, it’s been that long.  It’s been that long, and it doesn’t take more than a few status messages to remind me of something:  I managed to get through high school with little more than a missing letter opener and some visits to those nice people in the clean white suits because I had a few “people who didn’t know me for me” experiences.

Being around people who didn’t know my past allowed me to be myself and didn’t laugh.  A summer camp, a chorus filled with adults who were well past the high school “fluff” (though at the time I believed they knew all my horrid secrets and were humoring me)…  I had a mostly amazing experience at NYSSSA between grades 11 and 12 (mostly, because it was also my first “real” experience with a boyfriend beyond handholding and some kisses…and it ended badly).

I’m not complaining.

In the grand scheme of things, I have a wonderful life that I never could have imagined (well, beyond childhood fantasies of being a queen who ruled the world and lived in a department store where all the jewelry and pretty clothes were there for me to enjoy…).  Yes, life is in general good.  But it’s only as good as I have allowed myself to avoid letting myself be a risk taker.

I need to take risks if I want to actually be more than just a homemaker, just a wife and a mother.  Those things are good things, but I’ve always wanted more.  I want more for me.  My husband wishes more for me.  He knows that I am not doing things that make me feel fulfilled.

So doing matters.

Baby stepsFor the moment, it’s about writing this blog post.    It’s about admitting things that scare me about myself and the future.  It’s not about waiting for someone else to say they accept me before I act.  It’s about finishing Release and publishing it.  It’s about putting my photos out there for the world to see.  And it’s about doing it…again and again and again.

I don’t actually know where the future will lead me.  I do know that my journeys in challenges such as the ROW80 and the2013 Goodreads Challenge are steps along the way.  I know that trying things like the Facebook 365 Project where I must post and take a picture a day offers another way to step out from behind the curtain.

I’ve made progress in all three of those.  Perhaps I haven’t reached all the bullet marks on my goals list…  I did plenty.  Plus I’ve taken out my drawing supplies and tried something new.  I’ve committed to joining a writing challenge… tomorrow.

More than just baby steps…

And that leads me to close with this post by Kristen Lamb about feeling overwhelmed by Social Media and how we can survive it by being honest about our limitations.  I haven’t figured out all my limitations, but I am starting to learn how to plan things better, to check before I commit, to say yes with confidence and not hope and uncertainty…   I’m even learning how to say no on occasion.

Photo credits:

  • The secrets of the universe: Silken threads that knit heaven and earth together part 2 (Photo credit: pb photoworks)
  • Myself

Where do our ideas come from?

"Writing on the wood is prohibited."...

“Writing on the wood is prohibited.” DSC07600 (Photo credit: Nicolas Karim)

Quite a while back a fellow ROWer asked our Facebook group where he might find more prompts for short fiction.  He’d been using Chuck Wendig’s TerribleMinds Friday prompts but wanted to expand his focus.  There, of course, are the wonderful photo prompts that several of us use on the Five Minute Getaway, the Three Word Wednesday prompts on Twitter for poets, as well as others…  But it got me thinking.  What others are there?  Hundreds upon hundreds.  So, I’m starting a list (which, of course, will never EVER be complete):

Online, televised and print news sites….  I won’t list any here since we’re bombarded with these cues and all have our own perspectives on what qualifies as news.  But there is so much there to write about.  And yes, writing about something someone else has written about is perfectly valid in my opinion.

And on that vein there is Fanfiction.

Add in the shows we love to watch!  Even shows we don’t love make excellent writing fodder.  If you don’t like the way it was written, write your own story!  Introduce characters into these fictional worlds that stir things up in your own unique way.  (Cavaet Emptor: Fanfiction, while gaining respect in some areas, is likely to remain controversial for a long time to come.  Use with discretion.)

So let’s move back to less known ideas:

The Weekend Theme from View From the Side:

There is (not so much a prompt site, but some creative process discussion and therapy can help inspire you) the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (a redundant name if you ask me, since most writers I know are insecure writers)  (Do not post links on this page.  You post on your own blog, which means, yes, you need a blog.)

Here’s an idea that I might never have considered save thanks to Brett Myers for posting this link on Facebook…  Yes, weather plays a role in our writing  But are we making the best use of it possible?  In this light, the weather almost acts as a character itself, guiding and altering the behavior and choices of whole communities.

When you think about it– how much do we deal with on a day-to-day basis that we fully take in or pay attention to anymore.

  • For those of us who walk to work, walking is second nature.  Now break that character’s foot (I don’t know how, that’s for you to write in) and write how his commute changes.
  • What about the traveler who loses his luggage and gets held up by the TSA because the person who processed his ticket misspelled his name?
  • Even the most organizationally minded of us (I am definitely not one of those) occasionally have clutter in our homes–what happens when discover something that had been misplaced and it changes our lives?
Swords from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries

Swords from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Centuries (Photo credit: One lucky guy)

And now, a bit late, here’s my Row80 check-in to round this out:

It’s been a good week in general.  I’m sure I could take out a pen and paper and get an exact count of what I’ve written, but the word count is well over my 1,500 min.  I could wish that more involved my WiPs, but it’s been spent more on process.  I’ve given in to the need to deal with a ten year-old…  So, I am officially asking for beta readers for my long quiet novel length WiP Release and am also looking for someone who might be able help me with some cover art.  I will be self-publishing it by the end of the year.  Please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me by email if beta reading a futuristic fantasy novel appeals to you.  If you’d like a sample of the writing style, here’s a post (or two) I wrote last year with small snippets included: Who Would Have Guessed and A Lucky 7 Row

My other goal pieces, the social media, the blogging, the reading…  all of those are going well.  I posted another book review on Goodreads the other day and an in the midst of a few other books.

That’s enough for now.  Time for lunch…  and therein lies a hundred more prompts.

My Day? Mabee not…

Oh, today….

Yeah, it was Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day would have been a lot nicer if it hadn’t involved most of the things I didn’t want to happen, happening.  It also would have been better with steak.  Instead it came with Chinese-American buffet food and an still unsatisfied craving for a Dunkin Donut’s Coffee Coolata (two days running…if I still want one tomorrow, I am getting a large).

The car worked though.  Counting my blessings.  The car worked, and I got a lot of hugs from the awesome people.  LOTS of hugs!

Traditional Devil's Food Birthday Cake

Oh…  pooh!  I guess it’s not that bad.  I just am frustrated with myself because I’m sunburned, migrainy and behind now on my stories for Story A Day.  I hate being behind on stories…

Yesterday we held the Boodle’s Birthday Party at Hoffman’s Playland.  I got no writing done.  My 750 words came out more a stream of consciousness garble that said nothing.  It certainly wasn’t a story.  The party was a huge success though.  Exhausting, but a lot of fun too.

Does anyone want any birthday cake?

And I’m still behind. I hate being behind.  Only by one story now, as I managed something in my 750words tonight.  So as you can see, all my goals for the ROW80 are moving along fairly well.  I am close to all caught up on all the check-ins.  I’ve got another fifteen minutes to finish the other story idea I have floating in my head.  I can be done by minute if I sign off now.

But allow me to share the story I did finish today.  I haven’t been doing much composing on the computer lately.  It’s nice to share something without “writing it twice”.  Handwriting stories does feel more natural, but typing things in all the time gets tired.

Card Play

Charlie knew…  He knew as soon as the card turned over what its image would be.  He knew all about the big losses he faced.   He’d been right the last three times.   He knew how much his wife would complain if Tina knew he was wasting money like this.  Spending money for an extra pack of cigarettes, a six-pack of store-brand soda or a new set of press-on nails…  Oh, she could see that.  Even when Tina was fretting over the lack of cash in the checking account, she had no problem spending cash on those.

“I work too, you know,” she’d say.  Her head would tip just that little way that he was so fond of.  “I know I don’t make nearly as much as you, but I need this things to keep me going each day.  You know how it is.”

Charlie did know how it was.  That’s why he was here, sitting across this large felt-covered table, a small stack of money–his money–now sitting at the elbow of the woman across from him.  She had been looking grimly at him, as if waiting for his approval to turn over the next card.  Not that she needed to hesitate…  Here she was in charge.  She held all the cards.

She held all the money too at the moment.

Charlie nibbled at his lip a little.  He wasn’t really that sure he wanted to see that card really.  How could so much depend on a little piece of paper, he wondered, not for the first time.  A little piece of paper…  He’d spent most of a day’s pay to watch and see the cards that turned up.  Was it his number?  Was hers?  How much would he have to apologize to his wife for this time?

The woman across the table flicked the corner of the card closest to her up so she could see the result.  Her lips pursed.  She’d done that the last time too.

He felt the blood drain from his face.  “Let’s see it,” Charlie croaked before he lost his nerve.

Dutifully, the woman eased the card over, revealing it’s face, and the crumbling Tower that filled it.

For those who know anything about tarot, the Tower Card is self-explanatory.  For those who do not, here is a nice, simple explanation of the meaning:  This little story came out of a day dream I started having about my son and a small three card “reading” I did on him (yes, I had him do the cutting of the deck for this “Past Present Future” mini).   My son’s reading, fit him frighteningly well (all descriptions are made for the Thoth Deck since that is my main deck of use):

As any who know the Boodle in person can vouch, I don’t think I could have chosen better cards for him if I’d looked into the deck and picked the cards out by hand.  I’m reminded of why I’d stopped doing readings about 15 years ago.

Photo credit:

  • Traditional Devil’s Food Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)