The Writer, the Move and Death

This last year has been rockiest of my life.  In early July 2017,  I wrote about my heartbreak when my relationship of over a decade ended.  By early August, I had decided to move.

It was a long time coming; little of the move had to do with my Ex. He only helped in determining the place.  My beloved fairy godfathers had offered several times to help me move back to Virginia and get settled.   Looking around, I realized that there was nothing holding me back anymore.  Well one thing, telling Papa that I was going.

September came with Hurricane Irma.  My little yellow house, my precious little house survived the night. The power lasted until 5:20 am.  It flickered on and off until going out with a crack. It stayed off for four days, I was out of work for a week while they worked to restore power.

On the second day after the hurricane, I got a roommate and lost my office. It’s a long story and only parts of it are mine.

One causality of the hurricane was my purple PT cruiser.  The hurricane froze the brakes then electrical system decided it wanted attention.  For two weeks, I had to pop the hood every time I stopped the car to remove a fuse.

My incredibly wise sister convinced to go looking for a car.  I came home that day with a new car.   The man who sold it to me turned out to be a distant cousin. (thanks again, Cousin Martin)    Papa was there helping me make one of the biggest purchases of my life. It was one of the last times we went out.  The next time would be my birthday.

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Momma, Papa and Me – October 2017

Since May 2017, Papa’s was growing worse.  His cirrhosis which we were lead to believe was treatable was not so willing to be treated.  He was and out of the hospital. The road ahead for my parents looked bleak and was bleak.

My second year as a middle school teacher wasn’t going any smoother than the first year.  Mentally, I was checking in and out at work knowing that I won’t be at the school for another year. Professionally, I had a lot of things to do to prepare for my move. Motivation to move was strong. The motivation to do the things necessary for the move was not.   The paperwork for my new teaching license was left to the last minute.

Eventually all the change meant putting my plans to start a page on Patreon on hold.  I was writing, but not finishing much of anything. I couldn’t see myself asking for me to support my heart if I wasn’t producing it.  Starting and not finishing projects.  My mind was too scattered.  My life was being to be summarized by a series of things that I couldn’t get myself to do.

Thanksgiving came and Papa was in the hospital.  We celebrated our last Christmas as a family and then Papa went into the hospital for the last time.

He passed on January 8th of this year. Momma, my brother Eric and I were with him.  The whole night remains surreal.

img_4296Two weeks after he passed, I reconnected with an old friend. Not only did I have a mini adventure on Sanibel Island, but I am now planning on going to France next summer.

 

June 15th, I moved back to Virginia. Papa wasn’t told I was going. It was an open secret before his death.  Before I left Momma handed a framed picture of Papa to me.  It sits on my writing desk.

I feel at peace here in my new writing nook looking out the mountains. There are walks everyday. The writing routine that was pushed aside is coming back.

I still miss Papa. I don’t think I will ever stop missing the man who choose to be my father.

This Thursday, Papa will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery.  Our family hero will be laid to rest with dignity and respect.  I can not thank my friends and family enough for their patience, love and understanding this last year.  The brightest spots in the year were because of all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Writer and Her Papa

1926734_10204222512019405_7922414794304983180_nThis is my Papa. I met my Papa when I was thirteen years old. I was already taller than him. And he still had some color in his hair.  Since then we have both grown quite a crop of steely gray hair.

According to legend, he fell in love with Momma over homemade spaghetti.  She didn’t cook it mind you.  He did and he had forgotten to stock up on red pepper flakes.  When he mentioned it, Momma pulled a large container of them out of her purse. .

I am not sure how a large container of pepper flakes made it into her purse.  Maybe she was using them as a cheap version of pepper spray? Throwing the whole container at would be assailants and hoping that her aim was true to hit them in the eye or at least the shock of seeing a flying pepper flake container would slow them down.

A few weeks or months later, Momma came by to pick me up for an outing with Denny.  After Denny came into her life I saw Momma more and more.  If he did nothing else he brought my mother back into my life.  (But, he did do more)

You see a year earlier, we lost our house.  Momma went to stay with friends and I returned from my annual stay at my grandmothers house to live with my father. The separation would last nearly a year.  It wasn’t by choice on either of our parts.  In the meantime, life became a serious of events where I tried and failed to win the approval of my birth father and stepmother.  Every decision I made questioned and denounced as immature and lacking thought.   My interests were weird and I was disrespectful. I didn’t know how to please them and eventually just retreated to my books and imagination.

My father and mother had divorced when I was six.  He told my mother that he didn’t love her anymore.  And she told him to leave. I don’t know what it cost her to do it;  to go against everything that she had been taught about life and marriage. She came from the work it out generation. Her parents were married for over fifty years.  The only way out of marriage was death.  And she let my father go alive. She could have killed him for cheating on him.  She could have raged against him. She never did at least not in front of us kids. She told him to go.  Told him that he had to go that they weren’t just going to go through a divorce sleeping in the same bed or living in the same roof .  She told him to go and where the boundaries were.  I love her for that and everything she did that followed to do right by us. We never made it easy.

Sadly in the months following the divorce I blamed my mother and tried to fight her.  She rocked and held me close until I calmed down.  She didn’t understand that my father had just told me he was going on a business trip not that he was leaving permanently.

My father is not a man known for his sense of humor or love of literature. Actually, I don’t know why people like my father. I do know that he hated my nose was always in a book and wanted me to get out and do things.   I wanted to do things. The things in the books I was reading.  The characters had horrible lives to be sure (I was a huge VC Andrews fan), but their lives were filled with excitement and love.

Love is something  my father still has difficultly communicating to his nearly forty-year old daughter. He rarely says it and every time I hear it, I question whether he is sick or not.  Dying being the event that would induce an out pouring of emotion from his tight lips.

Papa has never had trouble communicating his love, frustration or anger with me.  It hasn’t always been smooth and he has been so angry at me that I am sure he was seeing cross eyed.   I was never the rebellious teen. No, I did all my stupid, worry the parents stuff in my mid to late twenties after I came home to live with them.  When I was a pain in the butt, he let me know.  And while we will never agree on politics completely (so far we both hate Trump), we always agree on the fact that I am his daughter.

Maybe he didn’t provide half my genetic sequence, but he did provide all the love and support a child could wish for. He showed me what it was like to have two loving and strong parents in the home.  He gave me what I missed as a child of divorce the feeling of a strong family unit.

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Father’s day is hard on a lot of people.  Some people like my Papa didn’t know their fathers or have fathers like mine who won’t accept them for who they are.  Papa doesn’t always understand me, but he loves and accepts me.  All of me. It is what a father does.

 

The Good with the Bad

The day began with insomnia

drifted into lateness

and fell into despair

One found dead, the news feed reads

the reaper’s  prize

at last

sorrows grips friends

still other silent cheer the end of the road

two kids in a doctor’s office sick with the flu

 

two strangers cling to life

victims of happenstance

attended by the best

No news is good news or so the fellows say

No news is bad news worries the friends

beloved ones

Victory arrives late

lesson learned, acceptance obtained

a child born

new shoes,  credit extended ,

then end of an abusive relationship

 

No clever words need

or cliques expressed

Just another day

the good with the bad

the bad with good

perspective the only means of definition

 

 

Why Support Patreon?

Last month my royalties for my book, Blood Child, were less than $5.00.  That’s right. I made less than a fiver for a book that took me nearly two years to produce, not including the time it took to write. And you know what I am overjoyed… seriously. I am happy about it. My writing is bringing in money.Is it the amount that I need to quit my day job or even one of my second jobs? No, but it means that people are buying my work which makes me smile. It takes a long time to build an audience/fan base.

So why do I support Patreon? Why I am writing this to convince you to support it? It is simple. It takes time to produce art whether it is music, books or a mural. It takes time to perfect the skills that make that art something of beauty and value. There is value in an artist’s ability to create. Patreon  is a crowd funding platform that allows artists and patrons to interact and engage.  Like in days of old, Patrons are treated to exclusive content from the artists as well as sneak peeks on new projects. Patreon says that it is empowering a new generation content creators.

Amanda Palmer 's photo from her famous Kickstarter campaign -

Amanda Palmer ‘s photo from her famous Kickstarter campaign -Now, Palmer is on Patreon.

That’s the key phrase, content creators, artists of all types create content that we enjoy. We, the patrons, pay them for that content. Just like we buy songs on i-Tunes or books on Amazon, we can buy content from our favorite artists. The difference is that you are contributing to that content being created. You are helping your favorite artist have the time to create their content. You are contributing to the art you love. You are giving them the breathing room that they need to create.And all the while you are communicating with them and creating a community.

Stant Litore

Stant Litore- Master Storyteller

Stant Litore was the first person that I have supported on Patreon.  His goals were small and have grown with the support of the community he has help to build. He gives inside looks into his writing process, the ups and downs of the writing life as well as what they funds have helped do for him and his family.

In his words, “it puts the community back in storytelling. Patreon is perfect for those writers and readers who are very social. It lets readers get involved in the process and lets writers share more of the process with readers. It takes us back to when telling stories was something that happened around a community fire, rather than in an isolated study. It also represents an opportunity for readers to fund more of the work they like most and for writers to make a more sustainable income.”

That sustainable income allows patrons to get more of the content that they want. It is a win-win for artists and other content creators. I support Patreon not as a writer, but a reader and lover of music and games. I support it because it inspires me to continue creating. Inspiring me to keep working through the all obstacles in front of me.

These are the people that are currently inspiring me – Amanda Palmer, Stant Litore and The Galaxy Next Door . Check it out…

*A special thank to Stant Litore for taking the time out of his schedule to talk to me. Check out his books on Amazon.

Sometimes I….

Sometimes I write bad poetry and sometimes I write stories that don’t make sense.

Sometimes I just write and write for hours in my head. Lately, I have been working really hard to set a schedule up for myself and it hasn’t been working really well.  I did good up until last Thursday and then I fell off the writing wagon last Thursday and didn’t get back to it until today. Writers must write and they have to write things that sometimes scare them and push the boundaries. Something that I haven’t done a lot of in my own writing. I have tried to stick to safe topics so as not to offend people especially the people I love.

I have tried to be a pillar of strength, but really feel most days like I am falling apart and the duct tape isn’t sticking anymore.  This past weekend, I looked back after a phone call from Momma and my sister, Tish, that I realized that my strength doesn’t come from being strong, but each and every time I got myself back up and kept going.

So I am back at it, but with a difference. I am going to write the stories I see around me. The ones that have been pleading with me to finish them. The ones that scare me.  I will be finishing my April Page A Day posts and then going back to work on next book along with other projects. I want to have it finished by the end of summer and begin the editing process.  There are two or three more books, I have notes for but I am going to focus on the one that began this journey.

 

Not A Real Family (April Page 18 )

He’s not your real father.  So don’t expect him to care. She’s not your real kid so don’t expect her to love you. Step-kids aren’t really kids. And Step-parents are just playing a game that they can stop at any time.

But my Papa loves me. He shows me everyday and has always got my back.

Years ago, Papa made a choice to be a father to my siblings and myself. He didn’t have to do it as I have said many times before, but he did and we are a stronger family for it.   My sister and I needed him in more ways than we can count.

Our birth father is a good man, just not an emotional one. He loves us in his own way.  Sometimes however that way is toxic to his children who want love without judgment and strings. Believe when I tell you that your kids need your love more than anything else. They need to show them how to love, how to maintain healthy relationships and how to stick with it.  They also need forgiveness and second and third chances. They need to be told no a times as well.

I know my birth father loves me and is proud of me, but there is a seed of doubt in me when it comes to accepting that it is real.

With my Papa, there is no doubt. None at all.

Last night, I was blessed to be able to take my parents out to dinner for Papa’s birthday which was earlier this week.  It was a new level of adulthood, paying for their dinner without them fretting at me.  Momma told me how proud he was of what I wrote on Tuesday and that he was going to take a copy of it to the family reunion. Some of our northern family has told him that stepchildren aren’t real kids. They have even gone so far as to tell my Papa that we will abandon him if something happens to Momma.

My sister and I aren’t going anywhere. His grandkids, his grandkids, will not abandon him. He is family and he has made us a strong family by supporting us, guiding us and loving us unconditionally.

It is sad that some people have to hate on the happiness of others. I know that our family is unique and not every blended family is like ours, but we work and we are happy. In the end, isn’t that all that should matter.

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.

April Page 11

In the mix of all that life offers, it is easy to get caught up and go along for the ride. Seven hours in a math class today and my brain was real and truly fried. It crispy and crunch and best served with tarter sauce.

We all get caught up on the roller coaster of life. Sometimes it is fun. Tonight with wine in hand, I was dancing again. It wasn’t the wine, but the way that today ended that inspired the dancing. Freedom and safety cause me to start dancing. And also to sing. I don’t do enough of either these days, making a living and staying a head of the bill collector’s girl.

The spring for me is a time for balancing and balancing, a time to figure out what I need to bring into my life.  This spring, I feel the need for clarity. There are a lot of things I want and need.

Sometimes the two get confused. Sometimes, they seem like they are the same thing. Maybe they are.

Maybe by taking moments to breathe, we can figure out the difference.

Momma

When Momma goes down

We all go down

When Momma’s not happy

no one is happy

Because Mommas are the glue

that holds us all together

And when they go down

we all go down

Til one of us rises

and the Momma we become.

 

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 Well Lived Life

I don’t know how many mistakes I have made in publishing my first book, but walking back from the Audubon Park Farmer’s Market I realize just how happy I am and that things are good. Not always great, but pretty good. I was able to deliver another one of my books to one of my Kickstarter patrons.  I got a hug in return.

It is always nice when something you wrote is received with a hug and a lot of love.

There is love and laughter everywhere. Even if our expectations of life get in the way of seeing it.

And the past isn’t as bad or as good as I once believed.  It is a mixture of the two. It is a gray area in between.

Some friends of mine posted a link to a video taken back when I was in college. It was good to be reminded of days when I was daring. If you watch the video you will discover that once I was an evil minion.  Maybe that should be the subject my next book, My Life As an Evil Minion.

Good night all.

 

Thank You, Santa!!!

The best gift this year came with a gold bow on top and wrapped in a DAV (Disabled American Veteran) blanket found in a thrift store.  My Papa put a gold bow on his head on Christmas and it was awesome. Not that my father has never done anything cool or cute before. At 4’11”, he can’t help being adorable although at times he is the charming bad ass.

 I call him Cranky.  He started yelling at the TV a couple years ago and hasn’t stopped.  He is a Fox News addict and while I am grateful that he has started voting, his renewed interest in politics has been some what distressing.

When he is in the hospital, I call him, Sir Crank Pants. I don’t care what the nurses thought of our banter, making my dad smile is one of the best things in life.  One nurse told the doctor that my dad was delusional.  He isn’t. Stubborn as hell, set in his ways but not delusional.  He can learn and grow.  He is slow to trust and loyal to the core; mess with one of his kids then you are in trouble.

 Two weeks ago, Momma and I were sitting down to eat lunch and drink mojitos, our little tradition, when my sister called.  The message which came to us was that Papa had fallen. Our order was cancelled as we rushed out the door waving goodbye to our mojitos.  And not caring in the slightest.

We arrived at the hospital and discovered that he hadn’t fallen. His sodium was so low that our family doctor (yes, we actually have one doctor for all of us) called and told him to go directly to the Emergency Room where we found him. He looked so small draped in a hospital gown. He may be short, but predictably he has never been small.

He has always been huge in my life. A giant.

When I first met Papa, I was already taller than him. He was dating Momma and I was living with my birth father.  Papa’s arrival meant that she could be a physically part of my life. She didn’t have a car and was living in a closet, not a small apartment in New York. She had no way to get to me. No way to see me.  It also meant that Momma had the support that she needed to prosper once again. She got the spark back and started her own craft business.

 He came into my life and I got Momma back. All of her.

 And he is still here.

 My Papa is still here, living and breathing and stirring up trouble and driving us all blessedly nuts.

Thank you, Santa.