A Break From

Sweet Spring Break.   You will mostly be a break from my day job although I have work to do there for which I will be sneaking into school and completing later this week.  Not that I really want to, but lesson plans have to be written and prep.  Such is the life of a teacher.

The life of a writer is also similarly never ending cycle of work.  This week, I make no promises on what I will be accomplishing on various writing projects.  I will be writing, but school breaks tend to be horrible times for me to write as everything I put off during the school year gets shoved into a break.  I do promise to do a lot of reading.

Recently, I finished the “Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer.  I own both the book and the audio book.  I can’t recommend the audio book by enough.  It is like having Amanda Palmer speak directly to you.

Currently, I am listening to the audio book of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and narrated by Scott Brick.  And reading the Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead by Heather Pringle which is an invigorating look into the lives of the preserved dead.

After that, I am not sure. I have a lovely stack of to be read books waiting for my attention.  Although, I expect to be distracted by the latest offering by Edward Medina. Bones, Crowns and Gaman is the second novella in the Adventures of the X Pirates series.  The first book is the Demise of Foxy Jack which is available on Amazon Kindle. There is also a prolog entitled a Murder of Crows.

Alethea Kontis will be releasing the next book in her Arilland series on the 28th.  Sadly, this is the day that I go back to work so I will have to wait to dig into it.

If you need something for your reading list, check out my book, Blood Child, on Amazon.

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The Work

The work is hard, but I do it. I try to complain less and listen more. I try to do my best.

I try and do my best.

But, lately the work of my life seems to be bring me down. One of my students confided in me today that she just wanted her struggles to be over. I didn’t want to tell her that they were only beginning.

She is about to graduate from high school.  Things are about to get real for her.

My students love me.  I know this to be true. They may not always like me. Once or twice a year, a student will come in to the classroom and announce that we are no longer friends.  That’s ok, I respond. I am good with being their teacher.

The one thing that bugs me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me is that they don’t see their teachers as a success.

All the complaints made by teachers (including myself) and the media about teacher pay have led them to believe that teaching isn’t a good career choice.  The thing is even with a budget I am struggling  to make ends meat.  There are no summers off for me.  I have to find work or go deeper into debt.  Most of the time both things happen.

In the meantime between lesson planning  and general life maintenance, I write. Lately the maintenance has been taking more and more of my time.  The cold, I wrote about over a month ago never really went away.  It is now a sinus infection.

My body pleads for sleep and my mind denies it.

The work has gotten muddled for me in politics. The politics of having male bosses with a mostly female workforce.  Being denied a promotion because the principal likes people he can talk to.  Not even granting me an interview for the position I worked so hard for.

Everything has gotten lost in my  inability to find a way to make all the things work.  Maybe I need to get a roommate again and give up the office that I took so long to create for myself. The office whose door is still undone.

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Maybe it is time to give up writing and worrying about making it a career. I have my book.  It has been moderately successful.

Maybe it is time to retired to an ordinary life.  Not the one I attempt to live.

Maybe, but let’s be honest. I have never taken the easy road. I have been back down from a challenge without a plan to regroup.

This is where I am now.

Here in the muck.

And that is ok.

Writing is hard.  Really hard. But it is always something that fills me with joy when I am not indulging  the fraud police (thank you, Amanda Palmer for that and so much more).  As does teaching.

Ignorance has I tell my students is not cute. You will learn things in this class whether you like to or not.  It is a lot like life.  You are going to learn something whether you intended to do so or not.

Good night all. Good luck in your work what ever it is.

Love,

Lu

P.S. . Check out my book, Blood Child, on Amazon.

Anxiety and the Writer

It is no secret that I have anxiety, a tricky little beast inside my head that is the captain of the Fraud Police squad that lives in my head.  Captain A has been incredibly successful recently at getting me to stop what I love and live in fear.

I feel confident in saying that there are a lot of writers and creative people out there with anxiety, a lot of them.  They live with it from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed and all through out the night. It is the reality of many creative types. Creating the thing we live for is often times the thing that creates the most them.   I don’t often have writer’s block, I have writer’s anxiety .

A million things flood into my mind. Every nasty thing that I have ever told myself. Every piece of self doubt. Every ounce of criticism level at me from parents, teachers, siblings and well meaning friends. Every whispered insult.   So I avoid being creating. I avoid sitting down to write and work through the demons that tell me that I am useless and I will be a failure.  I think that is the reason that I often have wine while I am writing.  It is an attempt to get the bastards drunk.

It doesn’t always work.

Sometimes it does and the story takes hold.

Sometimes I am the one who gets drunk as Captain A laughs at me.  For the record, his laugh is similar to a hyena both evil and juvenile.

So let me tell you a story.  Don’t worry it has pictures.

A picture of the main stage courtesy of Gretchen H.

A picture of the main stage courtesy of Gretchen H.

Once a upon a Wednesday afternoon a plan was hatched. A conspiracy among myself and one other teacher.  It was simple, attend the Eddie Izzard concert and then stay home the next day.  Teachers are dedicated individuals.  We give 110% every day. Some days that effort is easy to achieve. Others it is a struggle, but that struggle on only a couple of hours of sleep one thing that this time around neither myself or my co-worker were prepared to take on.

Much of Thursday was spent like this in p.j.'s and with a puppy dog on my lap.

Much of Thursday was spent like this in p.j.’s and with a puppy dog on my lap.

So when the alarm went off, I got up and took the dogs for their walk then promptly went back to sleep.   There had been a plan to call the doctor and see about moving up my ankle appointment. I wasn’t awake long enough to implement any part of it.  I sleep all day and when I woke up it was only for a couple of hours before heading back to bed. The next day another day of hooky for me. My coworker went back to school or at least that is I what I assume happened.  Friday morning, I took off  for Sanibel Island to meet some friends who were vacationing there.  It was heaven.  The whole adventure. Even when I was pulled over for speeding. It wasn’t the brightest part but it wasn’t awful.

Normally, being pulled over would have reduced to me tears. The budget is already tight.  The concert and the trip to the coast were special treats.  A three hundred dollar ticket would have crushed my little ragtag budget .

Yes, that is right. I was pulled over.

And I wasn’t nervous.

And I was in the wrong. I was speeding.  I was guilty.

I didn’t fuss at the officer or cuss. I just apologized. And you know what I was happy that he pulled me over. I was on unfamiliar roads. Speeding really and truly wasn’t a wise idea. I didn’t know what was coming up. It was an easy way to get in an accident.

The officer left me with a warning and a ticket for my registration being out of date.  I didn’t even panic when I called my boyfriend to tell him about the ticket.  It was weird that all of these things that aren’t normally in my routine didn’t set my anxiety off into over drive.  In fact, the only part of the trip that tickled it was the drive back to Orlando in the dark and rain.  I got nervous a couple of times could feel myself on the edge and then nothing. I teetered but never went off and had a melt down or panic attack.

I picked sea shells by the sea shore

I picked sea shells by the sea shore

Instead, I went on to have a wonderful afternoon and evening with two of my dearest friends from college.  There was lunch at the Island Cow and shell collecting as well as a tour of Crow Wildlife rescue.  It was a quiet day with no fussing or mussing. And no fraud police.

Now, I am sure that the Fraud Police and Captain A will be back. I am sure that the next time I go to sit down I will be struck by what a failure I am, but for nearly three days they weren’t with me and it was heaven or close to it.

And if I can get there once, I can get there again.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

A New Year’s Message

How you begin this year should not indicate how the rest of it is going to go.  A few bad days doesn’t mean that the whole year is going to suck.

Please remember that as you move through these first couple of weeks of 2016.  It is a new year, but the only magical thing that happens at midnight on December 31st every year is an agreed change in our perceptions.

Universally,  the decision was made that when the clock strikes midnight everyone gets a chance to start over.   Articles are published about New Year’s Resolutions, people share their hopes and dreams,  and we all move forward as if something momentous has changed for all of us.

The problem is that we wake up the same people that we were when we went to bed. We have accepted the narrative that while New Year’s is a great time to make changes while also accepting  no one is really going to hold you to those resolutions.

Sometime in February the articles on why we didn’t succeed in our resolutions and we will feel better about letting ourselves down.

We have gotten use to disappointing ourselves and looking to others for inspiration.  We tell ourselves that if  others can do it we can do it and then we beat ourselves up for not doing it.

My 2016 has been a little rough. Yep, three days in and things are a little bumpy.

Sick Lu

Sick again?

My first day of 2016 found me in bed after being sent home from my mother’s house for being sick. My family looked at me, declared that I was deathly pale and sent me packing. Not the best way to begin the year, but it is how I began my year.

On the second day of 2016, I tried to dye my hair purple and ended up dying the bathtub and my finger nails. Don’t ask me how, just know that I really did this things.

And today, the third day of 2016, I am cleaning the house with a headache and trying to write a new blog.  True, I am sick. True I still have the bills that I didn’t pay staring at me and a house that really needs to me to attend to it. Oh, and I forgot to pay a traffic fine in 2016.

Sweet Potatoes from my garden. I grew a thing.

Sweet Potatoes from my garden. I grew a thing.

However, it is also true that yesterday, I baked two sweet potatoes that came right out of my garden, that last night I was able to spend time with a dear friend on her birthday and that there is still a pretty comfortable roof, albeit a messy one, over my head. I have gotten myself up every day even when not feeling well and gone for a walk, done some stretches and done some writing.

The good is mixed in with the not so good.  Oh and there is a nice pot of chili on the stove.

I think it is important to note not how you begin a thing, but how you finished it and all the little steps in between.  And it can’t hurt to listen to the wise words of Julie Garland. Have a great 2016. Make it a great one.

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A Note Before The New Year

A lot of awesome things have happened this year.  And some not so awesome.  It’s the Saturday before Christmas and the only decoration up at my house is a Darth Vader door knocker that I found at the dollar store. just haven’t felt like making the drive to storage to get everything.  And I am fine with it.  I am not going to have a Crank level Christmas rejection of the season, but I think it is alright to take a break from what is expected to do what is best for yourself.

My mobility has been composed for the last couple of months by tendonitis. I am mostly better have been clear to go back to some of my usual activities. I just can’t jump back into them at full speed. I am not so good at standing but I can walk my dogs and go for a swim when I want. Now, all I have to do is find a pool.

As I slowly make my way back to a healthier and happier year, I hope to get things going on this blog again. I have already scheduled two blogs for the upcoming year and between then and now when I get stuck on my next novel, I will be working on this blog. reviewing books, sharing scattered bits of poetry and my thoughts about life.

The New Year brings hope, but so does every dawn. We have the power to change our lives everyday not just when the calendar fits.

If you are not happy, then do what makes you happy. Find a way to bring happiness back into your life.  I started this year by changing my own story and getting out of the house and doing stuff. I also gave away a ton of stuff that I didn’t need or want.  It feels good, but I have a lot more work to do.

For myself and my life, less stuff means more time out and about with friends and love ones.  I don’t have any miraculous resolutions for the coming year.  2015 was better than 2014 for me and 2016 is going to be better than 2015 because I am going to make it so.

See you next year, my friends,

Lu

Season of Giving

For the past six years, I have had the honor of working with the students at the BETA center in Orlando. The young women I work with are amazing and it isn’t a cliche to say that that inspire me everyday.    Yes, sometimes they frustrate me.  But, they always make it worth it.   Their stories would break your heart, but those are their stories and not mine to tell.   There is a lot more to the BETA center than my school.  A lot more. They help 1,000’s of families every year in Central Florida each year.   They really do change lives.

Please consider giving or at least sharing this link with others.   BETA Center Go-Fund-Me .   These beautiful young women are trying to do what is best for their children like all of us they could use some help.

 

Starting and Stopping

For the last year, I have been starting to get better: better at writing daily, at exercising, and at this game called life. And then I stopped. I would love to rationalize my behavior, but I am closing in on my fortieth year of life and frankly, I’m tired. Tired of being too scared to make the changes in my life that I need and want to make. Tired of not being happy at the end of the day. Tired of feeling like I am letting the people I love down.

Today, I am adding being in pain to the list of things I am done with. Yesterday, I received an answer to why my foot and ankle have been hurting for the last couple of months. I have a bit of bone under the arch of my foot, as well as a bone spur on the heel of the same foot. On Monday I see the podiatrist and, hopefully, work out a plan that will let me get back to exercising and feeling better physically and mentally. It is hard to work out when you hurt whenever you move.

It seems like every time I get going in one direction something happens to stop my forward momentum. After 39 years of this happening repeatedly, the reason became clear. Like most people, I am my own worst enemy.

I am the one who hasn’t spent enough time writing, exercising, or choosing joy. I made those choices and now I am burnt out, constantly exhausted, and out of options. I get up and go through my day looking for magical escape hatches that don’t exist.

Do I have a plan to change? Yes.

Will it work? I don’t know.

Part of my plan to write more is to enlist some help in editing and promoting my work. Thanks to a good friend and talented editor, Cat B. of Catalyst Editing and Consulting, for agreeing to work with me. She is going to help with this blog, and also with upcoming projects. The second part of the writing plan is for me to get off my bum and just write. No more excuses, just writing.

As for the rest of my life, I have a lot of shredding to do so I can start living my own joy. Life is too short to do otherwise.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

 

 

 

Four Years Ago…

Four years ago, I started this blog. And as one can imagine a lot as happened.  I moved, got my own home office and published a book after years of dreaming.  I also got up the courage to have myself filmed while I performed some of my poetry.  It was scary, but worth it. You can watch my YouTube debut by clicking here.

It was a brave moment for me in many ways.  First, I am still very new to performing and second, I have gained weight over the last couple of years that have made me hesitant to have photos or film taken.  I really do fear the backlash against my weight despite all the people that surround me with their love. They tell me that I am beautiful and I believe them, but I still fear the hateful comments.

There are some cool things about the video.  The writing that you see at the beginning and end of the film is me actually working on the poetry that I am about to share.

The fall equinox is approaching and I feel the return to a more balanced approach in life. One in which I live and write more. new photos 002  Over the last few months, I have taken an unscheduled break from this blog. Life kept going while I struggled to keep up; good things mostly, some bad of course, but that is life.

Although today is not the equinox, it is the beginning of my journey to re-balance my life and my writing. Too much time has been spend on planning to write and not actually writing. I have to thank my fellow sloths for helping me realize that I need to get back to creating.

Thank you, dear readers and any of my beloved Sloths who have joined us, for reading this and sticking with me.

Love,

Lu

Character Revelations

This weekend, I learned that my protagonist doesn’t like air conditioning and habitually collects pennies. Strangely this is the hump that I know I have been waiting to cross. After months of wrestling with Rae, I now know enough to go forward with the story and stop tinkering with it. She is finally her own creature and not a reflection of all my favorite female characters. I feared that her story wasn’t going to be genuine and unique.

I read the books that I want to write, but the biggest fear that I have is that my books are going to get lost in the crowd because they are too much like my favorites. I want to create my own stories and worlds. This summer, I have also been working on some research to help give the worlds I create more flavor.

I have to thank my friend, Kathy, for messing me in the middle of night about her own tinkering dilemma and the ensuing conversation. I needed it.

Now, I am back at it. Thirty thousand words in and a killer to catch.

 

Eight things

Months ago, I was tagged to write one of those things you didn’t know about me posts.  I delayed, procrastinated and then finally decided to turn it into a blog. And then I delayed, procrastinated and repeated until today.

Sorry, Lisa A. that it took me so long to do this.

And thank you for giving me something to help work my way out of my current writing funk.

1) Wishlist Obsessed ~ When I want to shop and can’t, I make wishlists on Amazon and now Modcloth. It distracts that party of my brain that keeps attempting to destroy my budget.  Sometimes it back fires when friends find these lists and obtain for me the item desired in a moment of on-line passion which seemed like a good idea at the time.  Luckily it has only produced one embarrassing Yuletide moment when I didn’t know what the item was.

2) Gardening Reduces My Stress ~ Taking care plants or playing in the dirt has always been soothing for me.  I like having dirt under my nails and grass between my toes.garden4

3) Complaining LessI am working on complaining less and being grateful for all the things I have in my life.  This isn’t so much of a goal as it a life philosophy. And you know what I am really happier than I was a year ago. My depression is still with me, but it has less power.

4) Dancing ~ I love to dance, but going to clubs for me is scary so I haven’t been out to one in a long time.  My anxiety makes it difficult for me to go out as much as I would like especially if I think people will be looking at me.  I still dance nearly everyday, just not when people are looking. This also makes attending dance class tricky.

5) Reading ~ I re-read the Anita Blake series from start to finish at least once a year. Twice if I a new book comes out.  Currently, I am re-reading Skin Trade before I read Dead Ice. There are books in every room of my house and a special shelf for my signed books. DSC_1640

6) Skulls ~ I have a collection of skulls which my mother started when I was a teenager.  I still have that skull pendant that she and Poppa gave me. At one point, we all had one. Now I think I am the only one who managed to keep hold of it over the the years. Being a pack rat helps. There are probably thirty or more skulls in the collection. They also remind me that life is precious and fragile. DSC_1643

7) Year-round Halloween ~ If you come in my house, you will notice right away that something a bit spooky is going on. This has lead some people to speculate that I never put my Halloween decorations away. This isn’t true. There are five boxes in storage that prove otherwise.

8) Minister ~ I have been an ordained minister for the last sixteen years.  It all started in college when some friends asked me to marry them. Since then I have officiated at over a dozen weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to watch couples begin their lives together and to stand with families as they say goodbye to their love ones.