Reflections

Charlie Lucky…

Many years ago (back in the mid-90’s) I lived in an apartment with my husband and daughter. It was located in a small village set neatly in the middle of farm country. I loved the pastoral setting, the slow, diligent pace of country folk, and the peace of rural living. It was a time of great creativity for me, during which most of my current belief systems were discovered and explored, as well as the time when all of the full length books I’ve written (published or not) were authored. It was, in essence, the time that I evolved into me…

I have since refined that sense of self, of course, expanding my understanding and scope, while simultaneously letting go of all that does not fit anymore. But it was during that crucial time in my life that I learned to re-label my delusions (hallucinations?) as visions, that I gave myself permission to speak my “truth” rather than hide it, that I first started wrestling with Time and time magic. That I dedicated all of my resources toward understanding the “true” nature of reality…

And it was then that I first met Charlie Lucky. He was both teacher and test for me. He brought both unbelievable joy and unfathomable sorrow. He was every contradiction I’ve ever encountered, and yet he was as stable a presence as I’ve ever met. He opened my eyes to so many possibilities I might not have had the courage to consider on my own. And he shattered my heart when he left me. I learned what real heartache felt like. I learned I could survive it. But I could never close my heart to love again. No matter how much it hurt, I would never again be able to close off that secret inner place, to protect myself by hiding behind walls and masks, to block what might not feel right…

Without my realizing it, Charlie Lucky had cracked open my inner core and left it exposed to the world. Shielding techniques would no longer serve me. And so, the empath that I am today was forged, and would only progress from there…

Charlie Lucky was a cat…

To be fair, he was a very special cat, but he was still a cat. When I first met Charlie Lucky he was a ghost cat, a blurry white shape that crossed my peripheral vision from time to time. I wasn’t the only one to “see” him, thank goodness, which is one of the reasons I started to suspect that not all my delusions were false. His presence visited our apartment quite often, seen by both family members and guests who would often remark, “I didn’t know you had a white cat!”

To which we could only respond, “we don’t.”

Then one day I opened the back door to get something, and there he was. Mostly white with gray around both ears, and a fluffy gray tail stuck on his butt that appeared to be stolen from some other cat, for he was neither fluffy nor gray as a rule. But what really stood out was the large gray diamond on either side which marked him as both recognizable and unique.

When I opened the door that day, he was just laying there in that enclosed space (we never knew how he got in), looking sleepy eyed and comfortable, as though he’d always been. He rose when he saw me, stretched lazily, walked the few steps to the door, then sat and meowed softly, greeting me. I was instantly in love! I asked him, “are you waiting for an invitation, or do you need something else?”

He just stared at me, willing me to do something.

I stepped aside, spread my arm in welcome, and said, “come on in if you like. Of course you are welcome here.”

He blinked slowly at me, then pranced into the apartment as if he owned it…

Charlie was unique in many ways that we would discover in the short time we knew him. For example, he never required proper transitioning or introduction to our other cats; they accepted him without rancor, jealousy, or need to test him for his rank in the hierarchy. Charlie Lucky was in his own world mostly, and the other cats greeted him as a long lost friend, instantly cuddling with and grooming him. It was odd. But then, everything about Charlie was odd… Wonderfully, memorably, heartwarmingly (and wrenchingly) odd…

We soon discovered that Charlie had been born with a congenital heart defect, and a very poor prognosis. The vet warned us he wouldn’t stay with us long. And while it might of been wise to withhold a bit in preparation for the inevitable, it turned out to be impossible. He was too lovable, and too loving and wise to ignore. In the end we had about three years together. Three years that would change my life. Three years during which ghost kitty was not to be seen. Three years when every flash of white seen from the corner of my eye transformed into warm, furry, purring joy…

And then he was gone…

And ghost kitty returned… Only this time we knew his name.

When I left my husband in 2000, I found leaving my cats behind the hardest. But they were a family unit, and I knew my husband would care for them. Leaving Charlie’s ghost behind was a whole different level of heartache for me. But I packed up my courage and set out to begin the next phase of my life, leaving behind the peace and pace of country living to embrace a whole new set of unknowns in an unforgiving city. It was necessary, but terrifying and exhilarating all at once. And when I would think back on those transformative years in the country, I would remember them fondly.

More recently I would view them with a sense of wonder and awe, as so many of the things I “discovered” back then began revealing themselves in real time and space; not only had I evolved my self in that country haven, but much had been revealed to me that only needed a proper context in time to become relevant. That time has come. The threads that caught my eye in the tapestry of reality are only just now becoming visible again to my naked eye. And it is both welcomed and resisted, all at the same time…

I have grown more stable in my sense of self over the intervening years, and less vulnerable to the influence of others’ points of view. I have also become more capable of embracing others more completely as they are, without unduly trying to influence them. I have learned to love more, to hate less, to hurt more and blame less. I have more compassion and less expectation for others. I own my space, real and imagined, and grant it all the same level of authority to change my point of view. I genuinely like me today, in spite of flaws, shortcomings, mistakes, failures and lost hopes. I accept me. And so I am in a much better frame of mind to accept you…

So why this long eulogy for a cat two decades dead? Good question…

I’ve had other cats since Charlie Lucky, cats I’ve raised from near-birth to death. And while my relationships with each were unique and special, none have ever had the same impact on me, save one perhaps. That would be Shilo, my all black current partner with whom I share much of the “connectedness” I felt with Charlie. It was also love at first sight when I met Shilo, and though it would be a year or so before we could be together (he belonged to someone else at the time), our relationship has shared much of the same magic. We are empathically bonded, responding to each others’ needs without speaking, sharing dreams, and growing old together.

Shilo often comes outside with me when I smoke, exploring the back yard, checking for scent markers to see who’s been by to visit, hanging out with me like a loyal hound. But he is a cat, so more accurate perhaps to think of him as a peer, a companion, a friend. Last night, late, I went out back, and he joined me as is our routine. He explored, while I looked around, both of us seeking first around the area of our shed, where many visitors appear. There was no one there last night, so he came up to sit calmly beside me, waiting as only cats can do.

Suddenly he panicked and raced for the back door! As is our way, I was reaching for the door to let him in before my conscious mind could even grasp the change. Once he was safe inside I caught my breath, and started looking around for what might have startled him. It was then I noticed the pool of white by the shed. I stared, knowing it hadn’t been there before, and trying to identify it. It was too big to be my possum friend, and too white to be our skunk. It wasn’t the all grey tabby or the orange and white tom cat that often visit. As I stared, the animal turned to look me squarely in the eyes.

Sleepy eyed and comfortable, there sat a mostly white cat, with grey around his ears, and a fluffy grey tail wrapped around his loaf-like body. Watching him, I would have sworn that he was home, perfectly content, like he had always lived in that exact spot. My mind immediately ran through a picture list of all the neighborhood cats I’ve seen over the 4+ years I’ve lived here, but I couldn’t recall ever encountering this cat before. Then I thought of Charlie Lucky…

I called out his name softly. “Charlie, is that you?”

Two slow blinks and nothing else…

I thought of approaching him, but I was afraid I’d scare him off. So I stared. And remembered. And felt. A familiar mixture of joy and sorrow washed through me. And then I left…

When I got upstairs, I instantly fell asleep with Shilo in my lap. And I dreamed…

I dreamed of traveling with a group of co-workers, all around the world. I don’t remember now what we were doing, but it was a purposeful tour. I remember packing for it and thinking I should grab one or two more things; nothing I strictly needed for the trip, but rather sentimental and irreplaceable. I chastised myself, not wanting to over pack, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wouldn’t be coming back. In the end I left them behind, focusing on the more immediate needs of what lay ahead rather than behind.

Months later, we returned to this house, our tour completed successfully. But I soon discovered it was infested with ants and other insects, and completely unlivable. I knew we could probably bring out what we’d brought back with us, but nothing else, and I was angry at myself for not having grabbed those two small things I’d wanted to bring. But it was too late… I left, single suitcase in hand, wondering where I should hole up while planning out the next phase of my existence…

Upon waking, my first thought was of Charlie Lucky. And as I write these words today I am sobbing as though my grief is new and raw still…

Was that Charlie who came to visit me last night? Why? And why now? For one who seems so comfortable in crossing that Rainbow Bridge, in both directions apparently, he could have come to me at any time since leaving that apartment in the country behind. But he never did. Until last night…

And to show up now, when my life seems to be transitioning into something I do not fully recognize, seems significant somehow. On the surface I expect change; I am, in fact, looking forward to it. However, there is within me an almost certainty that, in spite of appearances, that change is not what I anticipated. Something is off. Not wrong, just off. Different. Unexpected. Unknown…

And I am motivated to record it here. And so I have…

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Conversations, Reflections

A conversation with An’Other About…the Four of Cups?

Whas’sup?

I’m sorry… Did we have a meeting scheduled for today?

(Laughing…). Oh, do I need an appointment to drop in these days?

[A steady stare and nothing more…]

Feeling a little off?

Could that be why I’m here?

I don’t know. And honestly, I don’t know why you’d expect me to!

Umm… Hmmm… Avoiding the obvious. This can’t be a happy sign.

(Settling down on the edge of the bed…). Want to talk about it?

Nothing to talk about, really. Everything is progressing as planned… Mostly, anyway. At least they seem to be moving in the proper direction anyway…

But…?

[Chuckling softly…]. No “but’s”; I’m supposed to be working on eliminating those, remember?

Sometimes “but’s” are necessary. How else would you sit so comfortably? Or open and close doors?

[A half smile is the only response…]

Wow, you are in a mood, aren’t you?

Feel free to leave at any time…

So… what exactly are you feeling? Sensing? Anticipating?

[A long pause before answering slowly and reluctantly…] I feel like the walls are closing in…

Explain?

Work posted my job as open, looking for my replacement. All well and good, and a necessary change I’ve been pushing for, in spite of being reluctant to move on… BUT, so far as I can see, they’ve made no move toward clearing out the position I’m supposed to be moving into…

It makes sense, sort of, as the transition should be done slowly (per my request) to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible, with as little disruption to operations as necessary. I mean, obviously I can’t do both jobs (that was the breaking point, after all), and I have to train my replacement. Still… I feel uneasy that the person I’m replacing doesn’t seem to have any clue whatsoever that it’s about to happen…

My daughter is finally in a position to look for a house, BUT her options are severely limited. Any hope of an in-law suite for me is out of the question, meaning best case scenario puts me in the house with them. Not sure I’m up for that; very much a case of jumping from the pan into the fire. And my roommate is already considering potential replacements for me…

Yeah… So it feels a bit like the walls are closing in, and the door to leave this space has not yet been revealed…

So… you’re getting what you want, but not the way you want it?

[A long glance at the Other without any animosity. Curiosity wins out…]

Is that what it is? Could it be that simple?… It feels much heavier than that. It feels like I’ve set myself up to fail again, pushing forward too soon, not insisting on guarantees… Trusting too much again.

Or not trusting enough, maybe?

[A long pause to contemplate…] Yeah, maybe… Just doesn’t really feel that way, but I tend to be biased towards worst case scenarios, as you know…

Are you truly worried?

No. And that’s the weirdest part. I’m certainly not convinced it’s going to play out the way it’s been planned, but I’ve no doubt I’ll weather it ok. And most likely wind up in a better place in the end. Just maybe not where I expect to be, is all…

The Four of Cups messing with you again?

[Genuine laughter responds…] Yeah, maybe that’s all it is!

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#BlogBattles

The Senior’s Menu (#BlogBattles – Shift) (Attempt #2)

Here’s my second attempt at this month’s topic, aiming at being under the limit… And the link.

https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/blogbattle-shift/

True story…

I turned 55 last month. Might not seem like a big deal to many people, but I’ve been waiting for this moment since I turned 50. Why? Because now I qualify for some senior discounts!!

The last 5 years have been downright traumatic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a restaurant or store when some well-meaning (and young!) cashier asked me if I was 55 yet. After struggling to do the math in my head, and answering no, I would be compelled to ask why?

“Oh. That’s too bad,” they would answer with predictable sweetness. “We have discounts for seniors here if you’re 55 or older.” The sad smile that followed would get me every time!

Grrrr…. “Senior?! Me?! No way!… I may be a grandmother of two, true. I may hobble around like my 91 year old co-worker. But I don’t think like an old person! At most, my maturity level can’t be much over 45, right?!”

“Have a nice day, ma’m,” they’d add, to get me to move along. The fact that I was already moving as fast as I could didn’t even occur to them…

So… Now it’s happened! I’m finally 55! Woohoo! Discounts, here I come…

I’m out to dinner with a friend of mine this past weekend, perusing the menu, trying to decide what looks good, but nothing is appealing to me. I close the menu and set it aside for a moment while I contemplate my choices. And that’s when I notice the back cover.

“Senior’s Menu – 55 and Older”

Oh yeah! I’d forgotten all about that! After all, my birthday had been a couple of weeks ago by then…

“Hey, I can order off the Senior’s Menu!,” I tell my friend excitedly. “Let’s see what they’ve got…

“One egg, 2 slices of bacon or sausage, and a slice of toast…

“A half sandwich and a cup of soup…

“Wait! What is this about?!,” I cried out.

My friend laughed at me. “The Senior’s Menu is about smaller portion sizes. You didn’t know that?”

“Well, no,” I responded honestly. “I wasn’t 55 yet, so it didn’t apply to me.”

It was in that moment that so many hopeful expectations came crashing down around me…

Reality check: I may be 55 years old now, but I still have the appetite of a rotund 54 year old…

With a sad sigh, I started flipping pages in the regular menu again, all thoughts of discounts fleeing from me…

Sometimes life is just cruel… And some of us are born to lose…

Oh, wait!… There’s more!

I’ve heard there’s a chance I qualify for a discount on my cell phone bill now. IF I can remember to call during regular business hours!

Fat chance of that happening, right?! (Yes, pun intended.)

***** ***** *****

(507 words)

Pssst… Sha’Tara. May I have my author’s license back now?

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#BlogBattles, Stories...

”But, But, But…” (#BlogBattles – Shift)

Rebecca and Bob Davis approached the receptionist’s desk with some trepidation. “Umm… hi,” began Rebecca. “We have an 11 o’clock with Dr. Appen-Hauser…?”

“Of course,” responded Sarah brightly. “She’s expecting you and should be along shortly. Go right on in.” She smiled directly at them. “Would you like some coffee or tea before you settle in? The Keurig is right behind you. Help yourselves!”

Bob shook his head briefly, the curt gesture revealing his nervous tension. Rebecca smiled as sincerely as she could, “Thanks, but we’re good, I think.”

The couple turned to enter the open door together, unconsciously leaning into one another for strength and courage. Sarah nodded slightly, recognizing the signs. Another marriage in trouble, full of doubt, expecting (even hoping?) to fail, so they can move on…

Rebecca realized she was too close to Bob the instant they crossed the threshold together. She pushed away from him and started wandering slowly around the room. Her eyes darted nervously about, as though trying to catch faeries in flight. Bob cleared his throat, stepping silently aside to study the wall, carefully keeping his back toward Rebecca.

For Rebecca, the bright sunshine streaming in the too-large windows, the warm goldenrod colored walls, the beige couch with matching chair, and gold-leafed accent pieces seemed too cheery and optimistic to be comfortable. The faint scent of lavender mocked her anxiety…

Bob noted the artwork on the wall in front of him. Nature scenes and abstract pieces, splashes of color without any real meaning. He felt instantly out of his depth…

A door slammed in the distance, claiming the couple’s attention. A moment later, a short, rotund woman bustled in, the gardener by all appearances. She was dressed in worn jeans, dirt smudged into the upper thighs as though she’d wiped her hands there at least a hundred times, and a worn purple sweatshirt that read “gardeners like it dirty”, with a floppy straw hat and a freshly potted lavender plant to complete her outfit. She smiled encouragingly at the couple before speaking.

“Ah, good, I see you’re ready to go. Why don’t you two get settled on the couch and I’ll be right with you. I just need to wash up a bit.” She chuckled at herself, set the plant on a small stand near the window, and headed back out again…

Rebecca and Bob watched her go, then looked at each other, wide-eyed and alarmed. “Is that her?,” Bob asked, almost angrily. “Is that the doctor you insisted we had to see to save our marriage?!”

Rebecca looked confused for a moment before straightening her shoulders defiantly. “I don’t know, but it seems likely she is. At least she seemed to be expecting us.”

“What have you gotten us into, Rebecca?! Did you do any research at all before making this appointment? I mean look around here; there’s no diplomas, no desk, no computer… absolutely nothing here to indicate a professional of any kind works here, much less a marriage counselor!”

“Oh relax, Robert! You’re always so hung up on appearances! Dr. Appen-Hauser comes highly recommended. And we’ve tried everything else, so if this doesn’t work, we’re done,” she snapped. “But then, that’s probably what you’re hoping for, isn’t it?”

***** ***** *****

“No, no, no, no, no!,” the writer snaps in frustration. Only the fact that she can’t wad the phone up like an offensive piece of paper prevents her from chucking it into the trash. “This isn’t working! It’s boring, trite, predictable… and slow! You’re almost halfway through and haven’t even gotten to the point yet!”

“Walk away… walk away,” a softer voice echoes in her mind. “Give it time. Inspiration may yet appear. But not if you’re constricted this way. Just walk away…”

“Gladly!,” replies the irritated author. “I have other things to do today!”

***** ***** *****

Dr. Anna Appen-Hauser returned, minus the straw hat and sweatshirt. She reached for Rebecca’s hand, revealing the traces of dirt still lingering under her blunt fingernails. “Welcome, welcome!,” she gushed. “I’m Anna. So good to meet you, Rebecca!” She smiled warmly.

Rebecca couldn’t help but return that smile.

Anna turned to face Bob, still standing off to one side…

“This is what you’re wearing to our session?!,” he exclaimed irritably. “A t-shirt and dirty jeans?!”

Anna glanced down briefly at her attire. Smiling still, she dropped her hands. “Well they were clean when I put them on this morning.” She chuckled softly. “One of the ‘problems’ with late morning appointments, I guess,” she added, emphasizing the word “problems” as though it held some secret significance. “I have to keep busy while I wait, after all.”

“Please sit down, Bob, so we can get started…”

“Why are you here, Bob?,” Anna asked directly, as soon as he was seated.

He hesitated but a moment before squaring his shoulders. “My wife insisted,” he explained.

She raised her eyebrows, surprise shining in clear blue eyes. Glancing briefly at Rebecca’s downcast head and cold, clasped hands, she tried again. “No, no, no. I mean why are you really here?”

Bob, uncertain now, also glanced Rebecca’s way. Finding no outward sign of support, he shifted his focus back to the counselor. “We’re here to try and save our marriage, I guess.” Blame and discouragement dripped from every word.

“Do you want to save your marriage?,” Anna asked sincerely.

“Of course!,” he snapped.

No one responded. Confused by the long silence, Bob stuttered on. “It’s just… you know… well, the thing is…”

“Do you love her?” Anna asked pointedly.

“Of course I do!,” he snapped again, without hesitation. “Why else would I be here?!”

“Do you love her?,” Anna tried again.

Bob stared at her, muscles rigid, face frozen in a contemptuous snarl.

“Do you love her?,” Anna tried for the third time. “Do you love Rebecca?” She gestured briefly at his wife, who was studying him closely now.

He looked long and hard at Rebecca. Gradually his muscles relaxed. Shifting his gaze to the floor in front of him, he answered softly, defeated. “Yes.”

Anna shifted her attention to Rebecca. “Do you love Bob?”

Rebecca looked at Bob. Sadness, disillusionment, distress oozed from her teary gaze. Her eyes narrowed. Turning back toward Anna, she answered carefully. “Yes, but…”

Anna held up a hand to silence her. “I’ve heard enough, thanks.”

***** ***** *****

“You’re over your word count,” a gentle voice intrudes, breaking the spell.

“I know, I know!,” snaps the author. “But they must tell the story in their own voices. I’m not going to take words out of their mouths!”

“Ok… just sayin’ is all.” Her shrug is almost audible.

***** ***** *****

The doctor squared her shoulders, slipped into her lecturing voice and went to work…

“Let me begin by telling you what I’m not. I am not a mediator to stand between you while you fight. I am not a negotiator to help you sort out your assets for the divorce. I am not your potential witness to be dragged into court for any custody contentions. And I am not your friend, offering silent support and comfort while you decide what to do…

“What I am is a communication specialist, here to help you reframe your ‘problems’ by altering the language you use… What you do with any new insight you gain is entirely up to you!”

Anna paused long enough to let her words sink in. Anger flashed briefly in Rebecca’s eyes, quickly covered by lashed lids. Bob’s glance darted about the room, as if looking for a way out. The doctor continued…

“The first word we need to eliminate from your vocabulary is ‘but,’ both spoken and implied. But always precedes an excuse, and whether or not that excuse is justified, it solidifies your personal perspective; you aren’t communicating with each other if you’re fortifying your own position…

“So go home. Work on that. Let that be a test of your true commitment. If you both make some progress at it…,” she looked pointedly at Bob, before allowing her eyes to linger on Rebecca. “Well… then you can call Sarah and set up a time for regular appointments.”

Anna rose and walked over to open the door, encouraging the couple to leave. She called out softly to her receptionist.

“Sarah, dear. Don’t charge them for this consultation…” As the stunned couple shuffled by, she added coyly, “after all, I didn’t dress appropriately for it, as it turns out.”

When Rebecca and Bob were gone, Sarah turned to Anna. “What was that about?”

“Expectations, of course,” the doctor replied, her smile never dimming.

“Do you think they’ll come back?,” Sarah asked curiously.

Dr. Appen-Hauser considered for a moment. “Hmm… only if Bob can convince his wife to want to save their marriage. Rebecca has already left it.”

Sarah couldn’t disguise her surprise. “Really?!… I would have thought it was the other way around!”

“Most people would,” Anna agreed. “And they would be wrong as well.” She chuckled softly.

Sarah leaned in to kiss Anna fully on the lips, eyes alight with secret mischief. “That must be why they call you Dr. AAHA!” Twining her arms around her wife’s, Sarah led Anna down the hall. “Lunch, my love?”

“Yes, please!,” Anna responded warmly. “I’m starving!”

***** ***** *****

“Umm… you’re over 1500 words,” a soft voice intones.

Irritated, the author snaps. “Don’t you think I know that? But really, why should our voices even count, since no one else can hear them?”

The visitor raises a finger to point out the obvious, then thinks better of it.

“Unless… Do you think they have some program or something that automatically cuts a story off at a 1000 words?” Worry creeps into the writer’s tone as she speaks… “Well, their loss if they do,” she answers herself, “because they won’t know how the story ends!”

“Ahhh, I knew this one was my kind of writer,” the visitor muses silently. “Just enough insecurity to question everything, and more than enough arrogance to express it defiantly!”

“Although…,” the writer continues thoughtfully, “that does give me an idea. What if we created a world where people could only communicate in short verbal bursts? We could call it The Twitterverse, and explore how such truncated speech patterns affect how they frame their reality!” She turns back toward her phone. “What do you think? 145 characters or so limit for each bit of dialogue?”

“Umm…,” the Muse begins, finger raised against the obvious again.

But the writer is no longer listening, as her fingers type furiously on her virtual keyboard. Dusting off her invisible hands in an unconscious gesture of completion, the Muse turns to go, in search of another artist in need of inspiration today. Her retreating laughter sounds suspiciously like the chimes hanging from the author’s shelves…

***** ***** *****

(April’s BlogBattle entry – and fail – at 1819 words. 😫 See the rules, and links to the non-fails here: https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/blogbattle-shift/ )

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Reflections

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is difficult. All true…

But not always, and not necessarily at the same time. The trick is knowing when to change, what to change, how to change, and perhaps most importantly, how to prioritize those changes…

Yeah, I’m Heidi-ing you all! Lol!

(I have a coworker who can speak seriously for several minutes on a topic of some concern to her, and when she’s done, you realize you have absolutely no idea what she was trying to say. Her name is Heidi. And when your name has been adopted as a verb where I work, your immortality is ensured; it’s kind of a back-handed compliment, an acknowledgement of legendary status.)

My problem is that change is upon me, but my brain can’t disentangle one change from another, leaving me feeling frustrated and confused. I had hoped that writing about change would help me sort it out, but I’m not saying anything helpful at all…

I’ve been speaking to change for the past week or so, and while I have accumulated quite a bit of it, I now resent the extra weight in my life. And still, the larger fortunes touch the lives of those around me, though it’s certainly closer to home (including my daughter and my roommate)…

Change is upon me at work, as well, one I’ve been waiting years to see happen. It seems to be progressing slowly now, but only because the need for such change has grown exponentially. And now that it might finally be happening, I’m not sure I want to see it through…

I’m trying to broaden my writing abilities by participating in these challenges. Fun at first, when I wrote like me, but not so much while I’m trying to write differently. The flash fiction challenge (blogbattles) is especially challenging. I have always been an “inspired” writer, meaning I take a simple idea, title or prompt of some sort and start typing to see where it goes. When it’s done, it’s done, except for copyediting to correct spelling and grammar, and perhaps smooth over some rough spots.

But now I have to let the whole story play out before writing a single word, then try to craft what I remember of it into something coherent and smooth. Working backwards from the end is frustrating, and boring, since I already know the whole story. So I’m struggling to maintain my interest in an effort to broaden my skills. I expect it to be difficult because it’s so different, but at what point do you simply give up?

One of the reasons (excuses?) I gave up on ever being published again (by self or other) is that I didn’t want to work that hard at it. Writing has always been my release, my comfort, and one of many paths I’ve found that lead to peace. Is it possible to maintain that love and passion when the effort becomes too strenuous? Can there be both pleasure writing and work writing co-existing in my heart and mind?

Hmm…

I’ve read many blog accounts of writing struggles, of how authors pore over every word, multiple times, tweaking, re-writing, agonizing… They sit with a piece for days or weeks, sometimes years (!) before calling a work finished and publishing it. That’s not me. I’m too lazy for that, especially since I started blogging; it’s far too easy to hit that publish button and be done with it. And while it’s certainly possible to go back later and update it, when I realize another word or approach might improve it, I rarely bother. I mean, if my followers receive my posts by email, then they only see my first published draft anyway. About the only time I make changes after publication is to correct spelling errors, and then, only because I’m too embarrassed to let them stand…

I wasn’t always so lazy about writing, of course, though my style has always been inspired. The difference is the technology. I used to write everything long hand, then make necessary changes when I typed it up. If I wanted a printed copy, more tweaks might occur before pressing that print button. If I then had someone translate it into a PDF type file for easier digital sharing, it would undergo more revisions. The reformatting process itself was the editing that most authors practice automatically. The work wasn’t complete until it was contained in a read only file somewhere…

But not anymore…

Things change. And so have I…

And now that you’ve been Lisa-d (assaulted with too many words of too little value, creating a sense of time wasted in pointless pursuit of nothing), only one question remains:

Do I press that publish button or let this moulder in my draft file with so many other pointless and/or unfinished works…?

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#BlogBattle: Shift

New month, new topic! 😀

BlogBattle

9

April 2019 Blog Battle

Our word this month is:

Shift

You can start writing at any time, but make sure you post your story by the 30th of the month to have your story shared here and on social media.

Once you’ve posted your story to your blog, put a link to it in the comments section, and we’ll add your story to the Battle Stories Line-up post.

Make sure to check back and read some of the stories of your fellow battlers. Leave comments to encourage these writers, and share each other’s stories!

Basic Rules:

The Prompt Word will be given the First Tuesday of Every Month.

Post your story by the 30th of the Same Month.

RULES

  1. 1000 words max (give or take a few)
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. Any genre that fits within PG-13 (or less) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!

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Standard
Poetry

Defiance…

When the Earth erupts in flame and fire

I shall stand and burn.

When the Earth is washed with deep flood waters

I shall stand and drown.

When the Earth is shaken to its core,

a trap of stone and rubble,

I shall stand and dance.

When the Earth is cleansed with winds of change,

cyclonic storms that rupture and rend,

I shall stand and breathe.

When all that I have ever known is gone and lost forever,

then…

and only then…

to the flow of Time I shall at last surrender

and still be Me…

whenever!

** Offered in response to the poetry challenge from Cafe Philos…

http://cafephilos.blog/2019/03/31/the-cafe-philos-poetry-prompt-for-them-that-be-wild-things-march-31-2019/

Standard