The Not Quite So Lost Writer

Issues, I have them.

But, they aren’t as bad as I thought.  I made a mountain out of a foot hill.

I felt so lost because I didn’t know where I wanted to be.  My heart, my love was in New York and I wanted to be with him.  I also wanted to be in the mountains.   My last message to him didn’t go well.    Now,  I still don’t know where I want to be as I look around  but I know where I am going and things aren’t so bad. Don’t get me wrong my heart is broken.  Tears are pretty constant right now.  I wake up wanting to have another conversation and re-write my last messages to him.  I wanted him to see my intents were good and change the narrative he has about me.

These are things I have no control over.  The control I do have is where my focus is.

My narrative. What I tell myself about myself.  The way I see things.  I don’t see him as a villian or myself a victim.  I won’t paint him that way or myself for that matter.

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My life, my narrative. Not a victim or a villian.

I live with depression and anixety.  They are constant companions.  Sometimises they invite friends. A panic attack came to visit last night and ended ump staying for hours.  It pressed on chest while I was trying to sleep. Flashed images on my mind that forced my eyes open.  So I wrote for hours and got most of the way through today’s word count goal.

The moment where I felt so lost I couldn’t take it anymore happened twice.  Once for the things I could talk about and once for the things I couldn’t talk about which ironically I can talk about now.  Both moments were poured into writing.

Yes, I don’t love the fuck out of my job, anymore.  But, I know this and I know the reasons why.  I needed to admit how lost I was to be able to come up with a plan.  It is a ever evolving thing.

Quitting just because I am not in love with it or because I am stressed out isn’t an option. It goes against everything I was taught growing up.  And I have prided myself for my increased ability to take care of my own messes.

A year from now, I plan on quitting my job.  Why a year? Why not now? Well, I need to put some things in order before I quit and go on the the next chapter.  I have some serious life editing to do.  Not everything I want to do is going to get done.

Change is painful and taking a year to make this change isn’t going to make it any less painful.  What it will do with a little luck and a whole bunch of work is give me a few more things to deal with that pain.

 

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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 Day with Verbs

Up with the throbbing  head again

No wine to blame

stumbled out the door

into the world

locking myself out

meandered my way back in

set to work

putting things here and there

walked the dog

recycling to the bin

errands ran

dishes to the sink

clothes to the hamper

litter to the bin

walked the dog again

finished the dishes

three pills

then off to bed

little moments building a day

a life

Writer and the Cold

Writing was slow this weekend. Not because Captain A returned, but thanks to a lovely winter cold.

I spent most of Saturday in a hazy followed by a nap. Then another nap.  I did make it in to the land of the cognizant for a couple of hours to watch Deadpool with a friend.  (Great movie, but please don’t take your kids. Seriously, don’t do it!)  I thought about writing, even opened the notebook to begin writing.  It was a fail.  I ended up crawling into bed and staying there.

Sick Lu

Sunday wasn’t much better.  Although I did watch two more movies while I was at my sister’s house enjoying some homemade treats and doing pretty much nothing.  (Thanks, Zee-Mama)  I came home and went straight to bed.

This writer has been laying in bed all morning trying to summon the energy to get into gear.   And you know what it isn’t happening.

The dishes aren’t going to get done.  The laundry will stay slightly stinky and I will spend most of the day drifting in and out of napping.

And that’s alright. It is ok, to take care of myself and not to push myself.  It is ok to let my house get a little messy.

It isn’t a permanent state.

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What I can do right now is get some rest and take care of myself.  Burning the candle at both ends won’t help the next book get written or grade the student papers. All it will help do is give my cold a lease to stay longer.

Taking care of yourself isn’t a waste of time. It is necessary.

So, it is back to bed for me.

Love and Sneezes,

Lu

P.S. Check out my book, Blood Child, on Amazon.  It is only .99 cents for the month of February.

A Good Man Died

A good man died today, or maybe it was yesterday.

News of his passing just reached me today

A good man died

And in his honor I’m drinking some whiskey

Some sweet Jack that he would have liked

My heart weeps and my world quakes

But its foundations still hold firm

I may weep and I may wail

But my world has not been shattered.

My grief does sting , but it cannot, will not eclipse

That of those

Who held his heart their hands

Who lost their sun and moon today

To them and for them

I hold my glass up high

And weep still more tears

For grief, I cannot comprehend.

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I will miss you, Chris.  Be at peace, you are loved. You are remembered. 

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

 

 

An Old Friend Returns…Anxiety

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Lion's Mouth.. wait a second???

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Lion’s Mouth.. wait a second???

It would be nice to think that when things are going well that Captain A  would have no cause to come visiting.  The Fraud Police would stay in their precinct and every thing would be hunky dory.

But, Anxiety is an A-hole and doesn’t care about failure the way that it does about success.  Success provides it with so much fuel for doubt.

My fellow writers and creative friends know this to be true.  We are afraid to do what is most authentic at time because we are afraid of how people will react.  How they will see us? Will we face harassment ? For our art, personal appearance or both? Will be reject wholesale for sharing?

Captain A also doesn’t play the same game every time. Sometimes it speaks in whispers. Sometimes it brings us panic attacks.  More than one friend of mine, it has brought on the horrors of agoraphobia.   For the past couple of months, I have been afraid to see how my book sales have been going convinced that looking would just confirm that my book was a failure.   I have advertised here or there, but no plan of attack.   I just kept hoping that someone would see it and buy it.  Once or twice a month some did.

And slowly but surely, reviews came in. All good.  Friends told me how much they liked. One sweet lady who was brought to my book signing by friends has passed the book on to all of her friends who equally loved it.  Her words of encouragement have brighten more than one sad day for me.

But, still I thought I was a failure.  Or the next book will be and I will be found out.  When my new bossed bragged about all of his Amazon offerings, I thought of Blood Child as a sad little book. Nothing to brag about.

Then Bowie died and  I made the decision to work more on my writing, my art. Life is too short to wait for the right time. So on a whim, I offered my book, Blood Child for free on Amazon.  I didn’t expect much as a result of this as I done this before with mediocre results.  Mr. Anxiety predicted that I would get the same results.

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Then I checked the unit numbers and over a hundred and fifty people had downloaded my book.   Overnight, Blood Child   made the top ten on Amazon’s list of Short Reads for Mystery Thrillers.  And it stayed there for three days.  Over 503 people downloaded it.

For three days,  I was a Best Selling Author on Amazon.  On day two, Mr. A and his companions, the Fraud Police stopped in.  They stayed most of Sunday and only really departed today around noon.  I did very little promoting on Saturday. My mind was set on cleaning up my grandmother’s thread case.  Sunday, things happened, but I don’t remember working much. There was an attempt at work.  Some posts here and there. Monday was spent in the doctor’s off and a last minute push to get my book into more people’s hands.  More hands means more reviews and eventually more sales in theory.

I could have done more.  A dear friend of mine gave me so advice to help Blood Child stay on top and I didn’t do it. I hear it and didn’t act on it. I was too much in my head.  Everything seemed like it was too much.  There was a weight on my mind.  I felt like I was swimming through my own day.  I spend hours not working just watching TV and feeling like I messing up. And I was.  Sunday night, I tried to sleep in my new bed and ended up fleeing to the sofa.

My dogs came with me, which was awkward since they out weigh me.  Laying there in the chilly winter air being half smothered by dogs I felt ok. Not great, but ok. The kind of ok that you get after you have been crying. I hadn’t been crying.  Just beating myself up mentally for all my mistakes.

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Like waiting to long to pay my traffic ticket and incurring another fine.  For not doing more to promote my book and work on other projects.  Not speaking up enough at work and not holding my tongue when it counts.

I could have done so much that weekend and I didn’t.   And Captain A and his friends would have me believe that it wasn’t a success that it wasn’t a big deal and in the grand scheme of things it might not be, but you know what I did something. I said “Hey, Universe, here is my book. Check it out.” And it did.

It doesn’t matter what Mr. A and the fraud police think.  Seeing my book climb in the ratings even for a couple of days made me feel good.  Thinking about it now, I am smiling. I am ready to brag, no, because I still have a long way to go in my writing career.

A long, long way, but I did something this weekend it was a success.

This latest brush with Captain  A  and his Fraud Police was a light one. I didn’t descent into a full panic attack or depression.

When I wrote “Anxiety and the Writer”, I was a little afraid to put myself out there. Things were going good so why ruin it by talking about good days.  Especially when you know that bad ones are coming.

I think the answer is in what author and poet, Cecilia Rodriguez Millanes, has said over and over to her students and readers, “If you are afraid to something, that is what you need to write about.”

When you do that you are finding your voice that authentic voice that all writers and author dream out. The voice that will pull readers into your stories, into the worlds that you have created for them and you create space for others to express themselves.

Thanks for listening.

Much love and best of luck,

Lu Lu, just Lu

 

Aftermath

 

Professional and fun.

Thank goodness, I wasn’t wearing this.

Friday, seventh period, screams ring out and I go running into a classroom.  Not my own.

Not a minute later, it is over and it is time to clean up the chaos.

There are lots of things to say about the forty-five seconds or so of fighting that took place that it is hard to describe the aftermath.  Shoes, earrings and weave scattered about the classroom, way too many people looking at us like were were exhibits at the zoo and the expectation that I automatically knew what to do next. I wanted to stay and comfort the senior who might have tossed her education out the door.

Instead, I gave my seventh period a quiz.

The two combatants were largely unhurt. I came out of Room 130 with a few scratches and a kick to the stomach.  One of the student’s who intervened ended up dealing with the aftereffects of a punch to the face. It was  a turbulent end to a largely uneventfully week.

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A peaceful classroom

The weekend was beginning to look like I needed a stiff drink and some quality time with my friend, Jim Bean. I ended up getting a nice long shower, an hour and a half drive to Lake Wales and a down home Southern dinner. There my problems didn’t have any traction and I was forced just to relax and let myself experience the here and now.

Bad things happen everyday.  Friday, two students had their emotions erupted and the lava flow took over the science classroom.  It could have been the start to a very bad weekend.  I had already burnt my hand; the fight at the end of the day just seemed like the icing on a very dry cake.

Then I was given the gift of time. Time to decompress and not think. Not think about the papers that need to be graded or the repercussions for the students involved. There was time for me to take a deep breath. There was nothing I could do for the students after I gave my statement.  Their fate is in the hands of administration.

I could be still recounting the fight, instead I am living my life.

I think I made the right choice.

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