I was born without fingernails. Eh, not really, but I bet I nabbed your attention and at least a split second of your sympathy. Admit it. You were picturing me thumping away at this keyboard with my nubby little fingers and their fleshy raw tips. Truth be told, I did come with fingernails. They were just nothing to speak of…or to show anyone for that matter. Ridged and wavy, they were thinner than paper and peeled easier than the fine layer of skin that flakes off after a blistery sunburn.
I was forever ashamed of them. Always finding reasons to have the tips of my fingers curled into the shelter of my palms or my hands hidden deep inside my pockets. Yes, there are worse things. Much worse things and we all know shoddy fingernails aren’t among them, but hey, they’re good blog material. (We won’t mention that that is probably a matter of opinion)
After trying vitamins, supplements and various potions over the years, I’d given up on my nails. They were what they were and when that wasn’t appropriate, at times like holidays or Christmas parties, I learned to cover them with esthetically pleasing plastic.
Alas, I’m veering off the path of this posting.
As you know, I managed to transfer 798 of you over to my new .org site and I’d really like to know how you feel about that. I need to know because maybe that will help me figure out how I feel. Right now, I’m not too sure. I was really looking forward to seeing you use the new plug-in “Comment Luv” (not allowed on .com) and to just having more freedom for things like that in general, but I’m second-guessing myself. Help me out. Let me know.
When I asked my “Wordpress Happy Engineer” Sam (we’ll call him Sam because well, that’s actually his name) if transferring you back is an option, he said that can be confusing for you guys and that multiple transfers lead to unhappy followers. I should mention that he also said that if I came to the conclusion that that’s what’s best for all of us, he’d do it in a heartbeat.
As for my nails, I decided they giving up wasn’t an option. That they still mattered. So I chose to try one last thing. And guess what? It worked. My nails became, by some miracle, long and strong. I’ve even had to cut them back or file them down a few times. I seriously can’t believe it.
I take it as proof that we just need to keep trying new things. There’s something out there that will work for everyone.
“This is the worst writing ever,” my husband says one lazy morning as we were lying in bed watching “Message in a Bottle” on the tube.
“You’re calling Nicholas Sparks the worst writer?”
It was that moment when Robin Wright is walking away from Kevin Costner and he says; “I don’t want to lose you,” and she replies; “Then don’t,” and keeps right on walking.
“Okay,” I prop myself up on one elbow. “But you know he’s like, extremely successful, right? He’s published seventeen novels and one super awesome non-fiction book.”
“Yeah, but this is garbage. It’s written for women. It’s just what women want to hear.”
I won’t lie. I get what he’s hinting at. Even I could almost smell the cheese while watching that movie, but does that mean it’s the worst writing ever?
Nicholas Sparks is clearly a massive success. Almost half of his books have been adapted to film and there aren’t many people out there who don’t know his name. So, the question comes to mind – if he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, does that make him an awful writer? Ugh, did I just say that out loud? Not a question. Never even should’ve come up because the answer is an emphatic no. We all write in different styles and different genres and there’s always going to be that doubt. Will people like it? Will anyone think it’s stupid? If Nicholas Sparks can’t woo absolutely everyone, how will I?
You don’t need to.
Don’t listen. Keep writing. Be you. As much as I, as a general rule, feel that saying preachy stuff like “be your authentic stuff” is redundant, I think in this case it holds some meaning. Don’t change your voice because you think it may not appeal to an entire world. Doing so will lead you away from where you’re meant to end up and you will not be happy. And what is true success when all is said and done? Happiness.
Nick Sparks is a former full scholarship athlete so I’m sure being razzed about writing girly stories isn’t new to him. I’m also pretty sure he’s darn glad he didn’t stop.
After all, everybody has different tastes, but most people appreciate a little cheese with their whine.
*Message in a Bottle opened at #1 on the Valentine Day‘s weekend of 1999 with an estimated $16.7 million. It grossed $52.8 million domestically with an additional $66 million overseas to a total of $118.8 million worldwide. – courtesy of Wikipedia
*”Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 97 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 65 million copies in the United States alone.” – a snippet from Nicholas Sparks’ Biography.
I blogged this post over on my new Hazy Shades of Me site and let me tell you, it’s all crickets. Granted, it was a Saturday evening, but there’s gotta be someone out there besides me with nothing to do on a potential party night, right?
I’ve managed to perform a magic trick. And, because I’m not a good magician, or a magician at all for that matter, I won’t be breaking any wizardish ways when I tell you what I did and how.
It happened, somewhat, by accident. I was just kicking back, playing my enchanted flute as one does and suddenly, you all stood up, as if in a trance, and followed me over to my new website. It was, after a few clicks, a couple of downloads, an export, an import and a generous dousing of fairy dust, as easy as rattling off a few spellbinding lyrics in the shower.
Now, don’t be shocked. As I said, it all just happened so quickly and sort of, unexpectedly. Oh, I admit it had been on my mind lately because, well, you may have read that I attended a Blogging Conference at the beginning of this month. That is where I sat in on a “microsession” with a WordPress expert and it was her advice that put the idea in my head. She told us that at .org we are much more in control of our site, much less restricted and, as a result, able to have a lot more fun. (This is yet to be determined)
So, as I say, the decision was definitely already brewing. My cauldron was bubbling and steaming, however things weren’t fully seasoned yet. But this is where the surprise comes in. The spell overtook even me. I became light-headed and when I came to, PRESTO KAZINGA & POOF, we were all under one roof, kneeling at the great org’s feet. (You should be taking notes, people. I just morphed from a magician to a witch right under your nose)
Anyway, that’s my big news. All of you are now following me on hazyshadesofme.org … unless you just followed me on .com in very recent days. That’s right. Eight of you were, through no fault of your own, a little late to the under-advertised party. Yes, there are eight stragglers left hanging all by their lonesomes over at .com
This is because you followed me post mystical import and, as we know, no good mamma wants to leave even one precious duckling behind. For this reason, I’d love it if you made the mortal (now that the spell has ended) effort to swim over to my (apparently) much brighter side.
I know it’s a lot to ask and if the mere thought of this is exhausting for you, I will look into stoking the fire under the now cold pot of water and see if I can’t conjure up another batch of magic to fly you over here myself.
Although hazyshadesofme.org is still in need of a good scrub and polish, I will be posting here from now on and hope we can all continue the pretty cool bond we currently have simmering over the coals.
And now, in case they have no idea they’re home alone, the last eight to make the leap are as follows:
by Joe Warnimont
by Drew Iaconis
by Kendall F Pearson
by Keith Garrett
by Stephanie Eusebi
by Nickie Brooke
by Remora Philipppines
Bippity, boppity, boo!
Posted in Blogging, Creative Writing, Inspiration, Life, Non-Fiction, Our Moments, Parenting, Pregnancy, Relationships, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, tagged Dreams, Kids on October 17, 2014 | 3 Comments »
I dreamt all three of my children before they were born.
Now don’t click that little x. I am the most skeptical, non-hocus-pocus person you’ll ever meet. Promise. It comes standard with my RBF. (That was for a special friend, but I figure you may as well enjoy a laugh at my expense too.)
So, sanity aside, I did dream up all three of my kids before I ever met them. At three different stages of pregnancy, I had three different dreams about three different babies, at three different ages. My oldest was a newborn in my dream, my middle, three months and my daughter was just shy of a year.
Of course I dream all the time, but these dreams were different. They were tangible. In them, I could see, hear and taste as if awake. I could feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck as the downy silk of their cheeks brushed mine, I understood their dispositions and knew who I’d be meeting when the day finally came.
I would wake changed from when I’d gone to sleep. I’d come to know the tots forming in my belly. I’d been privy to what my future held. I’d been blessed with an extra day of their lives.
I can tell you there were no surprises. My first came early, slipping into our world as quietly as any living, breathing thing could. Our second, on his due date, with a head full of ebony hair and enough breath in his lungs to make up for his brother. The third, our daughter, swooped in on a magic carpet large enough to carry her and her big personality.
And I’d met them all before.
I am reminded of this because I was given another gift last night. Again, an extra day. Needless to say (I hope really hope it’s needless to say) I am not pregnant, but I had one of these dreams. Different, tangible, unmistakable.
Ava was about three years old. Her hair was cut into the short bob she used to wear and she wore a baseball cap. I could only see the back of her. Her squidgy little feet were covered in sand and she was struggling to get across a rocky patch. I asked her if she wanted me to pick her up and she said; “Could you, mumma,” in that tiny little voice she used to have.
My heart skipped and as I scooped her up, she melted in just like she was a part of me. It was one of those good holds. My arms wrapped under her teeny tushe and air could not have come between us.
“You’re the best mumma. I love you so much.” She whispered. And with the bubbles on her lips popping in my ear and the warmth of her comforting breaths, I felt the hair, once again, stand on the back of my neck.
I used to chalk my unique imaginings up to the whacky hormones of pregnancy, but after last night I know, dreams are just wishes your heart makes.
Posted in Blogging, Chick Lit, Creative Writing, Fiction, Inspiration, Life, Relationships, Short Stories, Uncategorized, Women's Literature, Writers, Writing, tagged Coping, Death, Husbands, Illness, Siblings on September 29, 2014 | 4 Comments »
A solution for nothing and not a thing to be solved, death loses him.
From the top of the hill, the tall fawn grass waves in the wind like the fringes we used to cut into the bottoms of our brown-bag puppets. We’d slice deep into the paper openings, my sister and I, making long hula skirts for the girls and stunted choppy shorts for the boys. Our stage, a bent up box, fashioned a Broadway buzz we’d only ever heard of, with its wide-open flaps draped in red.
The audience, made of the few neighborhood kids we’d manage to rope in, would wait while we tried desperately to remember our lines. More often than not, we’d end up filling the theatre that was our backyard with unplanned garbles and hysterical giggles ⎯both theirs and ours.
I look down at him now, from my perch on the hill, and although his feet are firmly set in the dark tousled dirt, he doesn’t know where he stands. He can’t fix this, so his hands are lost at his sides, compulsively ducking in and out of his trouser pockets. Weight shifts from one side to the other, but stays with him. Unable to shake it, he glances uphill, towards me.
We’d fought this morning⎯today of all days. Awakened from my fitful sleep by haunting catheter fuck-ups, I was tired and beyond sensible words, dreaming of broken needle tips, embedded and unreachable beneath her veiny skin. I’d envisioned the consequential surgeries and probable infections they would cause and the nightmare had stirred my sleepy heart, sending it stampeding through my ribs.
My eyes raced to find his for comfort, but as soon as he’d seen my sweat-glazed face shrouded in twisted sheets, impatience had crossed his own.
“You don’t have to worry about this anymore, Syd,” he’d said. “No more long days or late nights. We should move past it. We can move on.”
I’d looked away, sobbing. Crying until my softened soul frosted into a hard shell, like melted chocolate over ice cream.
“We?” We can move on?”
“We can’t do anything, Mark. Including care for my sister. That was me, not we.”
“That’s not fair, Sydney. I was here.”
“Yeah, here. Not there.”
I’d wanted to run. Put a literal distance between us, but I couldn’t. The day had different plans.
He became unrecognizable through my tear-clouded gaze and I’d dug my heels deep into the mattress, pushing against the headboard as tight as I could.
I’d buried myself in the useless warmth of the duvet, hoping he’d slide under and hold me, but when I heard the shower running, I’d dragged myself out to face the black buttoned blouse and matching skirt that darkened my closet door.
The stalky grass tickles my legs and I lift my bare feet up in the air. My toenails, normally primped and polished, are chipped and ragged⎯the skin on my shins, dry and scaly and suddenly, I can’t remember the last time I’d had more than a sip of water to wash down a Valium. My mouth is as dry as the Sahara.
“Do they make me look fat?” Stacey had joked as she slipped them over her long, twiggy fingers. I’d spent hours picking them out. Trying on pair after pair, imagining how they’d feel if my fingers were half the width. Finding a pair slim enough had been a challenging task and I’d taken great care so as not to stretch the fine black leather. But when she’d pulled them over her own hands, they’d fit, quite compassionately, like a glove.
“Well, they’re beautiful, but so are your hands.” I’d said. “I don’t think you have anything to cover up.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Stacey had balked. “I could be a hand double for Skeletor.”
As dramatic as she was, she’d earned it.
And, it was the truth.
I hold my hands up to the sun and study the opaque bones nestled inside the tangerine translucence of my own plump flesh⎯like Stacey’s hands are a part of mine. I slide back into my shoes, slap my sister’s well-worn gloves across my palm and for the first time in months, I’m light as I walk down the hillside.
After all, death is a solution for nothing and not a thing to be solved.
I can move on.