Writing: The Art of Romanticizing Life

I’ll be the first to admit that my life is, by no means, glamorous. I am in, in no way, the best at anything. I have many talents but am a master of none, as the saying goes.

But when I tell people stories of my life, they listen. Or they read, because I am a writer and all. I lived a life that was very clumsy, but for that I have stories to tell. I did not live them so that I could make a profit or for the attention. Many of the stories I have to tell about my life, I truly wish I could take back and never live through again.

But why do you even bring them up, if you wished they never happened?

I am who I am today, because of those events. Because of my mistakes. While there is a teeny bit of satisfaction from people being interested in what I have to say, I honestly want people to learn from my life.

How do you get people to listen?

As a writer, stories are told in a way that place people in the moment. I put them there with me in the emergency room in Baghdad, in the concrete shelter of a bunker in Talil, in a helicopter over Mosul, on the seas of the Persian Gulf.  They listen as if they were on the receiving end of the phone call, the bad news, the heartbreak, the fear. Things that they have felt before but claim “I can’t even begin to imagine.”

Oh, but you can. And I will help you.

Writing is taking my day, mundane and routine, giving the details of what would normally go unnoticed, and changing the perspective of the person reading (or listening. I tell a lot of stories, too).

Writers church up the details, regardless of their intent. We make things darker, bolder, sexier, more precious. We put makeup on the pig, and fool them all.

This is kind of embarrassing but I’ll admit to it:

I have a habit of commentating my life as I go through my day. It makes me more conscious of my emotions, easier to control because I imagine people are listening to my thoughts and watching me throughout my day. This exercise also helps me to search out those romantic details of my day, and explore them.

Disclaimer: By romance, I am not referring to any type of relationship with people. I am referring to the ability to make something ordinary or otherwise a footnote and showing it in a light that makes it appear desirable.

Example: I have recently resigned from my job. I will, more or less, be a stay at home mom. For those who live there, they know it’s not as exciting as it sounds. But the writer in me divulges more, because heaven forbid anyone think my life is boring or mundane. I’m quitting my job to write full time and focus on my children. My book is finally finished and I have begun seeking representation. I should be published by the summer of 2018.

See how romantic that sounds? Not once did I mention dirty dishes or poopy diapers. Scrubbing the toilet or folding an endless pile of laundry. My hope was that you would imagine me, in my business casual, typing in my home office while my children play quietly on the floor in their clean day clothes (I just laughed so hard I snorted).

So you, writer, can you “church up” your day to day? Can you paint a sexy picture of your #bedhairdontcare? Can you fool us into believing Beyonce ACTUALLY woke up like that? That is my challenge for you today. Tweet it, FaceBook it, Instagram it.

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#myromanticlife

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Yeah- I’m into Fitness… Fitn’ess Crazy Schedule into 24 hours!

Geez Louis I have been a busy lady. I’ve come back to work this week after a couple stays in the hospital with my littlest little. Since September sucked so bad, I decided to change a few things. One of these things is my health. After baby number 2 and a long and drawn out Postpartum Depression, I have found myself 20 lbs overweight, and 30 lbs from where I’d like to be. Dammit.

So now I have to try fitn’ess terrible hectic schedule into 24 hours and be successful at EVERYTHING- because what’s the point of all the stress if I’m not?

Just for your peace of mind, there is a list- in order- of the things i do 4 of 5 days a week.

Get the kids to the sitter on time

Get to work on time

Leave 1/2 way through and get my son to afternoon preschool on time

Work on my book

Make 2 calls for sponsorship for the nonprofit I support

Workout

Get kid from School on time

MAYBE go to the grocery store (this is like 3 of 5 days)

Get daughter from the sitter on time

3 different dinners because heaven forbid everyone have to eat the same thing

Feed children and entertain them for 1-3 hours

Bed time for Tiny

Work on book

Bed time for son

More book? Snuggle with the mister (because he needs attention too!!)

Sleep….

Up at 5am and try again

I am constantly moving and juggling. I am hoping to make a few extra changes in the coming weeks, but until then this is my life. I am excited to not be fat anymore, though. So I have that going for me.

A few things that have helped me stay on track with my fitn’ess:

  1. Stick to a strict eating schedule. Even if it’s an off day like a weekend or a Wednesday when I work all day and son doesn’t have school. I also leave most of my eating to the afternoon because I do not like to work out after eating too much and the evening is when I snack. So if I know I have a few hundred calories of food I can eat, I don’t feel as guilty. I don’t eat after 8 because I’m usually dead tired by then.
  2. Giving myself time to get “ready” for my workout. I take about 30 minutes to drink a preworkout magic motivation potion, change my clothes, set up the TV, get my weights out and I don’t feel rushed. When I am stressed, I am completely unmotivated and feel like I can only do so much of the whole workout and I ultimately talk myself out of doing the whole thing. SO… letting myself get ready helps me.
  3. Scheduling the same time to do it! That way I know I have enough time between book and preschool pick up to get ready and do the whole work out.
  4. Friends, accountability and community. I love having people in my corner to pump me up and cheer me on while they are going through their journey as well. I’m a bit competitive so I don’t want to be the one that is slacking. I love the motivation it gives me and could not do it without you guys. (Because I know you love me and read my blogs too).

 

My goal is fitn’ess @ss into a certain dress by a certain date in January. My baby factory is closed and there is no reason for me to ever be fat ever again. Here’s to a healthier and fitter me.

 

Thank October- I’m Awake!!!

September was a horrible month for me and my house and I am thankful that it is over. I had every intention on doing amazing things in September to include pitching my book, but none of those things happened.

I had a slew of family visit me, which in itself is not a bad thing. My sister came to visit from KCMO for a weekend and then days later my husband’s entire immediate family came for my daughter’s first birthday. My dad and his family made it to her celebration as well.

After her party, I rushed her to the emergency room. My poor little girl was admitted to the ICU right away. What my family and I assumed was just a cold, was a virus and pneumonia. She barely skirted getting a breathing tube. After a few days, she bounced back and released after 5 days. A week later, we were back, readmitted but not nearly as bad as the first time. The doctors could not determine if it was the same illness that was complicated by another on top of it, or if she simply caught the same illness again. We were discharged and things are looking up for my little miss.

I had some pretty big personal struggles going on through all of that that weighed heavy on me and my family, but have since cleared up as well. The past is the past and we plan on leaving it there.

What does October bring?

Struggles probably. Final edits. Work with the Ghost Town Writer’s Retreat which I am really excited about. Juggling work and kids. You know, more of the same.

I have quite a few blog posts actually scheduled for the month to keep everyone engaged in what’s going on. Thank you all for your support through these struggles and encouragement to meet my goals.

My hopes that your October is significantly better than last month. Even if September was not all that bad for you. Cheers!

The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants- A Book Review

This is a middle level reader for 3rd grade and up. You can purchase this chapter book HERE.

I loved this book. It is written as the secret spy log of three neighborhood kids trying to solve multiple mysteries. They end up getting into quite a bit of trouble along the way.

This book brought me back to the days of my childhood and the radical adventures my friends and I would send ourselves on. What I really loved was the ease of reading. The author alternates narrators between each member of the spy team, and it is incredibly fun and easy to keep up with.

As an American reader, I found that sometimes I was having to reread some lines to get a better grasp of what was happening or what the narrator meant, but I would 100% encourage my son to read this to expand his knowledge of English cultures and reading within context. Nothing was far from deduction.

Nikki Young, thank you for writing such a rich adventure for the growing generations. I cannot wait until my children are old enough to devour this book as quickly as I did.

I’m Writing a New Book

I know how much most everyone LOOOVES Apparent Power and Valerie’s journey, but I am taking a much needed break from my first loves. I have decided to write a dark paranormal story and exercise what I learned from the Ghost Town Writer’s Retreat a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, it is nothing like what I have written to date.

I came upon this idea in bed when I got the vision for the opening scene. It is horrifying and beautiful and creepy. Aside from that, I have a basic idea of how this will play out, but not too sure exactly what the story will hold. Last night I thought about it so much, I started to creep myself out.

Like Apparent Power, Cam and Neph (a working title) will be available in its very rough stages on ChapterBuzz.com. This will probably be my subject matter for the October 10,000 word challenge as well as my first NaNoWriMo entry.

All feedback is appreciated.

Cam and Neph is an Adult Paranormal novel about a brother and sister that are demi-demon/demi-angel twins. During birth, each were touched by the other transferring a small amount of the opposite qualities to the other. The demon holds a little light; the angel holds a little darkness. This is how their story begins.

She moaned, shook, and rolled to her left and right in the pitch black. Lying on the cold, dank concrete in a basement, her swollen abdomen contracted. Black tar poured onto the floor, covering the red inked pentagram drawing that she lay on. The girl’s legs opened wide and her moan escalated to a scream of excruciating pain. From her birth canal came both light and darkness. Louder her scream grew until the light and dark burst from between her thighs.

The light filled most of the room, banishing the damp cold and mildew from what it touched. The cherub she birthed rose into the air and stretched its thick baby arms and legs. Small lips parted into a yawn and then to a smile as it looked down at its surrogate. The girl lay motionless staring at the tiny baby with wings that radiated purity, warmth, and light. The girl raised her hand to it as a tear fell from the corner of her eye in awe and fear of it.

A black liquid leaked from her womb. In the dark pool lay a ball of thin limbs, a scant torso and a head too large in proportion to the tiny black body. Instead of a cry, a hoarse screech came from the ugly being on the floor. Many arms reached from a still dark corner of the room, clawing toward the mass, grabbing arms, legs, and pulling the defiled fetus into the darkness with them. Light extended to the corner and the dark beings were banished from the room, but not before the light touched the new demon’s right knee, paling the once black surface. Then it disappeared to the place where the others hide. The black liquid began to boil on the ground, fighting against the light. It bubbled and popped in its turbulence. When touched by the light, it splashed into the air, licking the cherub on its right knee, leaving a dark mark where the skin had once been pale.

Light prevailed against the dark, cleansing the floor of the black tarry-like fluid, the pentagram faded, even dirt held no place. The cherub reached back and lifted the girl from the floor. Water and light enveloped her, cleansing her body and soul of the treachery done to her for this purpose. She was wrapped in a white cloth and lowered gently to the ground, purified and made anew. The angelic creature lowered as well, into the girls arms. Its wings faded and he nestled against the girl’s breast. The light faded into a dim glow of morning. The girl was a mother. The once cherub, a helpless babe with a dark mark on his right knee.

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Spooky Story- “A Foot Off The Ground”

I am not a horror writer, but I was inspired this weekend by the lovely Donna Munro to write a creepy little short while attending the Ghost Town Writers Retreat. Equipped with strange pictures, we were told to choose one. I sat by this one and began writing the story from the moment I sat down.20545563_10155296442645932_5708798476515760127_o

Then we had to title the picture by what stood out to us. To me, this girl is levitating, but she could easily be standing awkwardly on one tip-toe. Good enough for me… Enjoy!

“A Foot Off The Ground”

Angela Gibbons caused her family a fright from the moment she was conceived. While in her mother’s womb each week would go by, causing her mother very unusual symptoms. Little Angie was born on August 17th, 1972 at 11:23pm. Hours later, when the nurses did their nightly rounds at exactly 2:15am, they found the babe flowing exactly one foot above her assigned crib. Once they were brave enough to approach the child, no amount of force could ground the child. As quickly as she rose, at 2:16am she lowered gently back to her bed. And so it was every single night.

Later, it was discovered, after months of studying the phenomenon that Angela Gibbons consistently levitated exactly one foot from where she lay at exactly 2:15am for exactly one minute. For months they tried to tie her down, but anything, no matter how heavy, would levitate exactly one foot off the ground at exactly 2:15am for exactly one minute every single night. When Angie got to be seven years old she pleaded with her parents to remove the rope from her while she slept. The heavier the object, the more tired she was the next day. It was affecting her  studies at school. They reluctantly agreed, but someone had to stay and watch over her every night at exactly 2:15am for exactly one minute. After a month they were comfortable that she would go no higher than exactly one foot from her bed and allowed her to sleep without watchful eyes.

For three years Angie lived as a normal child aside from her nocturnal flights. Until she disappeared. With the doors and windows locked tight, no one had any idea where Little Angie could have gone. Authorities, being privy to her odd condition, did not spend much time or resources searching for her. They checked her tree house, the neighborhood park, and her friend’s houses all of which were unfruitful.

It was not until years later when her parents were preparing to sell their home after giving up hope for her return. A few family friends came to help them repair damage on the roof, they found Angie’s shoe hanging from the highest point of the chimney just out of sight from the ground.

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Momming

It seems to be the trend with my fellow bloggers today, to talk about the condition of their “Momming” or “Wifing” or “Womaning” in general. Although I do a pretty darn good job at juggling, I am not satisfied with about 40% of what makes me, Me. Please walk with me, I’m sure you’ll recognize the scenery.

  1. I’m a working mom. I work full time and it makes me feel like a jerk to my kids and husband. But once I tried being a stay at home mom, and I hated it. Part-Time is not an option, as my husband’s job on the rail, though it makes very good money, is inconsistent. We were once furloughed (a temporary lay-off) for almost a year. The grass is always greener, but it often makes me unsettled. I am a hyper-performer at work and feel validated by the product I am able to present. But I get home and my sitter has put a hairband in my teeny baby daughters hair. I am thankful but it broke my heart that her mama wasn’t the first person to do her hair. Or when my son says or does something amazing and new or learns a new joke, my husband will say “Oh I taught him that.” or “He’s been doing that for a while.”
  2. Working 5 days a week, I feel guilty for wanting to be alone because I have been away from my family for so long. But my sanity is worn so thin. I get resentful of my husband who will take a train to another state and sit in a hotel for a day, IN SILENCE! With no responsibility, no one to clean up after or cook for or feed. I have been begging for this since before Mother’s Day. Just a day off. But then for all the reasons of #1, I take both kids out somewhere by myself so that my mister can get some sleep.
  3. I am fat. I’m so damn fat. I am not attracted to me and it makes me unhappy. I’m going to leave it at that. I have lost weight in the past but baby #2 and my aging metabolism has changed and now I must as well to get this under control. That’s all I’ll say about the subject.
  4. MY HOUSE IS ALWAYS FREAKING DIRTY!!! I cannot stand it. My freaking dog cannot hold his pee, my base boards haven’t been touched in over a year I am sure, and I could bake a cake with the amount of dust is on my ceiling fan. But Working 5 days a week away from my family, the last thing I want to do is ignore them to address these things.

But then there are the things I love about my life

5. My husband does his share of chores, and watching of children. He stays home and cleans, does dishes and laundry and doesn’t complain about playing all day with our babies. I am extremely fortunate to have this man.

6. I have a hobby that I love and have the opportunity to escape to this writing world pretty regularly, if not daily.

7. I have good, easy kids that I don’t feel ashamed for finding a sitter for. My son is so sweet and loving. He is still learning to navigate social interactions with peers, but he has learned so much and come so far. Just this morning, although I desperately needed to sleep in, he woke up and came to my room to snuggle. I could not pass up the opportunity. My daughter’s face when I come home from work is probably the single most rewarding thing I have ever experienced in my life.

8. I have an awesome steady job that pays well for what I do. I have my own office and a lunch break that I can spend with readers. My benefits are awesome and I truly believe in the organization I work for. They do amazing things and create honest miracles for the people in our community. I’m humbled daily by the strength and diligence of the people I work with.

9. I like me. I really do. I think I am funny, and fair, and just, and nice. I would want to be my friend. I have big strong feelings and am passionate about the people in my life. I am cannot stay angry for too long. I absolutely have to work things out in order to get back to the happy me that I am. Even if that means telling hard truths, but only in constructive ways. Even though what I see in the mirror is not how I feel inside, at least my insides are pretty.

10. I can say that I have made the most of every opportunity that I have ever been handed. This is in regards to ever aspect of my life. I never let the horrible, terrible things that I have seen and experienced get me down. I might cry with my head up, but I have never stopped moving forward to better myself for me and my family.

 

So all that being said, I will leave you with this. Last night I attended a comedy show put on by a couple of Nebraskan ladies who are hilarious. It was a late night show an hour away. I had planned the trip, bought the tickets, and I drove to and from the venue. Stone.Sober. All I could think about was how cute all these skinny moms looked, how tired I would be for work, and how much more funny it would have been if I had maybe even one glass of wine. Instead I felt awkward, uncomfortable, and wanted no more than to be home with my two booger factories. But there were somethings that I needed to hear last night. I needed to know that other women had my back. The two ladies that came with me did not drink either out of solidarity. My sitter(s) who are my dear good friends at work had unloaded my dishwasher and washed all the baby bottles (a task the husband and I both hate.. Dr Brown’s bottles are completely  impractical to wash). I was floored. The woman who usually watches my kids while I work, was on vacation this week and took it upon herself to find a back up rather than leaving me to figure it out on my own. I could go on and on and on. (Happy Birthday, Swamp Witch). My network of help is endless even though I live an hour and a half from family and moved to Denver three years ago knowing absolutely no one.

Women really do have each other’s backs. All my railroad wives stick together. No one “gets it” but us. All my Veteran friends stick together. No one “gets it” but us. Moms stick together. No one “gets it” but us. So find your tribe and hold on. It will save you. 😉