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Archive for the ‘Writer’s Block’ Category

Some time back I held an “appreciation” for the growing audience my blog was accumulating. I had hit 400 followers and in my euphoria I offered Stephen King’s book “On Writing” to the first person to like and comment on that particular post.

A man named Jim over at “Life Choice” won, but when I contacted him for an address, he, very generously, asked if I could please donate the book to someone who may not be able to buy it for themselves. He also asked that I name him and myself, and include the story of how the book found its home.

I was thrilled. And then…

I waited.

Why? I don’t know. Procrastination, had a headache, needed coffee, had to go buy gum.

It took me way too long a while, but with the help of a friend, I decided to gift it to our local library. The way I see it, many, many people will then have access to a wonderful book they otherwise might have never come across.

February 2nd, 2014 Dear Reader, This book was gifted to you by a man named Jim. We both have blogs on WordPress and a while back, I held a contest of sorts ~ the prize being this book. Well, Jim was the winner, but when I contacted him for an address, he, very generously, asked that I give this book to someone who may not be able to buy it for themselves.  The library was decided upon as it may now fall into the hands of many who might otherwise have never come across it. It’s one of my favorite books on writing and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading from: Jim  http://jimlifechoice.wordpress.com/  and  Hazy  www.hazyshadesofme.com

February 2nd, 2014
Dear Reader,
This book was gifted to you by a man named Jim. We both have blogs on WordPress and a while back, I held a contest of sorts ~ the prize being this book. Well, Jim was the winner, but when I contacted him for an address, he, very generously, asked that I give this book to someone who may not be able to buy it for themselves.
The library was decided upon as it may now fall into the hands of many who might otherwise have never come across it.
It’s one of my favorite books on writing and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Happy reading from:
Jim http://jimlifechoice.wordpress.com/
and
Hazy http://www.hazyshadesofme.com

I’m happy with this and I hope Jim is too.

The air is cold and crisp, the sun is bright and I literally woke to birds singing. It’s a stunning day. The kind of day that shouldn’t be taken for granted because tomorrow there is a Celebration for a life that ended far too soon.

Appreciate today. Don’t live to wait.

 

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I believe the past, oh, two weeks, have been a warm-up. I ‘ve been running on the spot, swimming laps, stretching sore muscles and working out the kinks. Trying to breath. Priming for the pistol.

As of this morning, I’m at the starting line, prepped, but not ready, for the gun to go off. The sun is hot and I’m trickling sweat. That may be my fever and sinus drip but I digress.

I’m in position, squinting into the distance, trying to make out the finish line.

However, despite all my training, I know I won’t come out a winner. I’ve seen how this goes down…everyone goes down. I’ve been watching the others as they trot along, thinking they’re picking up steam, believing they have it beat and then wham, their shoelace comes undone and and they’re faced in the dirt, inhaling the dust of all those before them.

There’s a lesson in here somewhere, but I’m far too focused on my unfocussedness to go searching for it at this very moment. But right now, I’m sure it must have something to do with this:

Writing is the best pastime in the world, as you can do it in any position or condition and still see it through to fruition.

Happy Friday, peeps.

Fetal position

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She wrote thousands of words.

Unlike most other times, it took very little effort. They flowed as quickly as her willowy fingers could scroll them over the page. She didn’t look them up or second-guess, she simply wrote and wrote and as she did, her heart pounded with euphoric anticipation.

Within minutes the story had taken on a life and turned into something she alone never could have conjured. The characters were vivid smudges of color on the chalky paper, each one weird, wild and wonderful. Much to her delight, they twittered, twirled and twinkled in front of her very eyes.

Descriptions were riveting and the plot, engrossing. All awakened at her fingertips and she relinquished control of what was happening.

They took over. Grew more animated, more tangible. She felt a draft as they hurried past, saw the pores on their skin, smelled the booze on their breath, heard them swallow as they ate the food from their plates.

She reached out, wanting to touch what seemed real, but her hand was slapped away. A feeling hard to describe, covered her like sheets of ice.  Her skin erupted in fear and her heart, still pounding, skipped a beat, maybe two, in shock.

As she stared in horror, the longhand scroll she’d so relished penning, rose up off the page united, and slowly, deliberately made its way around her thin, long neck.

“This is our story.” she heard the robust rope seethe. “We’re not going to do as you say.

The linked words were frayed at the edges and as they tightened, the delicate skin on her neck began to burn with the friction.

“Your words are ours now. Your ours now.”

As she lay limp, breathless and a minute from lifeless, her once enraptured heart finally stopped beating as she herself, became a part of the story that was once hers.

Rope 3

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Today, I’m struggling.  Okay, I struggle most days, but we don’t need to go there.

Today, I am specifically struggling with my blog and what, if anything, to do with it.  I took the appropriate steps in warning you that my premise would be murky and I think I was right on the mark there, but now, I’m wondering if that’s a problem.  It may be a little too hazy…even for me.

I definitely love being able to write whatever it is I’m feeling that day or hone in on something that’s inspired me, but I now find myself contemplating whether or not I need to be more specific.

I’m toying with a second blog; a blog explicitly for fiction.  A glass house in which my stories can live.  Is this a good idea?  Are blogs more fruitful when focused?  Is it a no brainer?  Am I slow off the line or is this a normal rate of progression?  Is this progression?  Or would I be spreading myself too thin?

Is there such a thing as too thin when it comes to writing?

Is this even something to worry about?  Probably not.  I know that, but worry and me…we’re kinda tight.

Do you have input?   Anything?  Anything at all…

Some things are more tender when slightly out of focus…

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Writing…anywhere, anytime, anyplace…

We all take pride in having interests, hobbies and passions.  Further to that, we enjoy feeling like we’re good at something.  Writing does this for me.  (Easy in the comment section, please)

Writing has lurked in my blood and traveled through my bones year after year, but I had no time for it.  Ooh, I dabbled in this and dipped into that.  I took my fair share of writing courses and participated in an assortment of online classes, but actual writing?  Meh.  It’s easy to find distractions from the nitty gritty…get your hands dirty…prove you can write business.

I was busy working, dating, getting married, being pregnant, raising kids, cleaning, cooking, going for coffee, washing my hair…you name it.

But, writing lingered.  Well, actually it poked, prodded, pressured and pushed me.  Everywhere I went, everything I did, writing was there, strategically changing life’s events into type on a page and punctuating dialogue dangling in my mind.

I could blame myself.  Say I didn’t put in the effort.  Rake myself over the coals.  But really, we both knew, writing and me, that it wasn’t my time.   I wasn’t ready.

What do I love most about writing?  It waited.

Thank you to Writing Tips, Thoughts and Whims and Lit and Scribbles for the inspiration.

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This is the fourth and final instalment.  (the story is below in its entirety)

Destiny’s betrayed me, I think as I slam my breakfast into the sink. The spoon clangs in protest and milk lashes out over the rim of the bowl and onto my hand.

I should’ve been a shoe-in.  No, I was a shoe-in. Heavy rain made angry pangs on the balcony’s cement and I focused on the miniature water bombs.

I’d put in for a new job placement two weeks ago; Head of Displays.

The Box, a large designer store, had employed me for six years and I’d snailed my way up and over the shelves from part-time stock girl to full-time smock girl while slogging through an upper echelon school for which I was still making hefty monthly payments. It had taken me four years to attain my Bachelor’s and I felt I’d more than proven my commitment to fashion.

“And along comes Denise”, I pretty much spit as I paw at the milk dots on the cuff of my blazer with a damp cloth. “Or ‘Denise the piece’ as she’s known amongst the male lunch crew when they think no one sporting alternative equipment is around.

“Piece…my ass!” I chuck the cloth into the sink to join the bowl and spoon. It stares me down while sullenly sucking up the spilled milk.

Denise appeared about a year ago. I’d choked on her perfume before she’d even hit the lunchroom, decked in a low cut blouse, red hot mini and leopard stilettos; complete with ballooning bosom and legs all aglow.

I had to admit I’d known in that instant that I was doomed. If Nigel had gotten any closer she could’ve breast fed him and every other male in the room would’ve stood in line behind him.

My boss is a lady’s man. At least, he tries to be. Nigel is tall and lanky, never having surpassed his high school physique and in his skinny ties he reminds me of a zipper, his tongue, the toggle. His black hair is a little too shiny and his thickly rimmed glasses don’t quite depict a scholar. He’s always been nice enough to me, but I’m not his type and to show my gratitude for that, I try not to step back when his spit bubbles burst onto my face. Nigel’s a bit of a close-talker.

I look around the kitchen. It’s clean and tidy and for ridiculous reasons this brings me some peace and the strength to head into work.

Snatching my satchel from the velour chair in my entry, I check for my phone.  Straightening my slim-cut cargos, I slip my feet into well-worn combat boots and take a deep breath. Grabbing an umbrella, I swing it like a sword and march out the door.

I don’t make my usual stop for a skinny macchiato.   It’s raining too hard and my hands are too full, one gripping my swaying umbrella, and the other, my slippery phone.  Aware that any sensible person would ignore a text under these conditions, I swipe away, trying to access Nikki’s message but my fingers are wet and slide uselessly over the slick screen.

I’d vented to her last night over the phone after she’d told me what Denise had said and she was probably worried I was about to do something crazy.

My attempt futile, I slip the phone back in my pocket and wish I’d made a java stop after all.  Now I’d be forced to drink the ‘coffee’ Troy made every morning.  Bless his little stock boy heart.

The store is quiet and everything, as it always does when The Box is closed, seems surreal.  I know a lot of the staff feel eerie in the big store when it’s not open for business, but not me. My spirits lift the moment that warm whoosh of air escapes the big glass doors and meets my face.  There’s something about the white, high-glossed floors and the atmosphere fused with leather, lavender, lotions and limitless blood, sweat and tears.  It’s home to me.

Taking a moment to right myself, pulling in the calm and pushing out the clutter, I feel my heart rate slow as drops of water meander off my boots and onto the gleaming floor.

“Mornin’ Lenore,” Seth greets me as he places a bold Caution: Wet Floor sign on the tile. “Jeez, yer soakin’ the place.   Dry up, would ya?”

“Very funny,” I reply. “Don’t push my buttons today Seth, cuz I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”

“Aww, the weather ain’t that bad!  Chin up, doll face.”

Seth, you’re pushing…” I walk away smiling.  “I’ll see you at lunch.”

The ride up the arced escalator is soothing and the view from half way is simply stunning.  I drift up backwards, taking it in.  The Swarovski handrails glisten and magnificent flecks are scattered throughout the store.  Billowing silk screens, blown by forced air, almost lick me as I glide by and Jalisse, a raven-haired black beauty looks like she’s swooning to the piped-in Musak as she greets me at the top.  Draped in a royal blue Maxi dress, she smiles gracefully, letting me know I made the right choice.  Her new attire pleases her.

I’m almost completely pacified by the time I step off.  My ‘you didn’t get the promotion because I’m in love with Denise’ worries nearly forgotten, I pass Jalisse and notice a dot on her chin, a little white chip marring her beautiful milk chocolate complexion.

Tiny, but enough to drive me right back to crazy town.

Vigor returning, I head to the lunchroom sporting blinders to all around me.

“Nigel, I need to talk to you.”  I look directly at him and head for the coffee pot.

He’s sitting in a fuchsia chair at the lunch table, long fingers wrapped around a cup of sludge.  His dark, thin brows lift when he hears my tone.

“Well, you’re all business bright n’ early, love.  Not even a mornin’ for your crackerjack boss, then eh?”  Nigel’s British lilt, though normally one of his few redeeming qualities, borders on annoying this particular day.

“I’m not kidding, boss.  A serious face to face – when are you free?”

I look down at the dark liquid spilling out of the carafe.  With bits and pieces of brown substance bobbing up and over the spout, I swear I see an entire bean pass through the flow and into my mug, Espresso, stock boy style.

His fingers punctuate his words and as he stands, Nigel’s tie uncurls like a snake’s tongue.  “I may have time post lunch,” he grazes on my attire, tasting his way from my boots up to my shabby but chicly ‘bunned’ hair.  “You do have a way when it comes to assembling”, he observes.  “An eclectic ensemble indeed.

Reluctant to portray self-doubt, I don’t review my outfit in front of him, but resurrect a mental image of my full-length mirror from this morning; Meh, I was good.

“I do like to think outside The Box once in a while, you know Nige…?  There are options beyond…” Small pools of sweat form in my pits as I wonder if my metaphor is over his head, but I continue to doctor my coffee, now morphing into a latte as I add more and more milk.

“As I say,” he sprays, slipping silently up beside me; “I’ll text you after my lunch.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be with Denise,” Was it my imagination or did he hiss the S?  “But it won’t be quick, I’m sure.”

“Actually,” I venture, “I don’t think I can make it ‘til lunch.  I need to talk now.”

My phone buzzes like an angry hornet trapped in my pocket.  The pools of sweat begin trickling down my sides and the waist of my Cargos becomes Martina Navratilova’s headband.

Nigel tries peering at me without turning his head, but the arm of his specs proves too wide to see past.

Lenore, love.  It wouldn’t be prudent until I’ve taken care of the other business, yeah? Sensitivity’s of the utmost…I wouldn’t like her to be the last to know.”

A snap of his tongue and he slithers away.  I toss his cold mug into the sink and use my still damp cuff to wipe his venom off my forehead.

Unable to ignore it any longer, I swat to squash the mad buzz but when I see I have twenty-two notifications from Nikki, my heart drops.

“Red alert,” most of them begin.  “It was a set-up – promo yours. Abort, abort!”

The urge to slap Denise was fierce, nothing new there, but absolutely foreign to me was wanting to kiss Nigel.  In the blink of a text his snake’s skin had shed and he’d emerged a Superhero, complete with tight blue suit and red cape.

As quickly as the thought came, I let it go.  I’d almost quit a job I loved over a rumor and I wasn’t about to start another.

I’d quietly stroke the snake.  No skin off my back.

 

Okay, so I couldn’t find a Superhero snake…

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*This is the 3rd instalment of a short – you can find the 2nd one here:

Vigor returning to my step, I head to the lunchroom now sporting blinders to all around me.

“Nigel, I need to talk to you.”  I look directly at him and head for the coffee pot.

He’s sitting in a fuchsia chair at the lunch table, his long fingers wrapped around a cup of sludge.  His dark, thin eyebrows lift when he hears my tone.

“Well, you’re all business bright n’ early, love.  Not even a good mornin’ for your crackerjack boss, then eh?”  Nigel’s British lilt, although normally one of his few redeeming qualities, is bordering on annoying this particular day.

“I’m not kidding, boss.  A serious face to face – when are you free?”

I look down at the dark liquid spilling out of the carafe.  With bits and pieces of brown substance bobbing up and over the spout, I swear I see an entire bean pass through the flow and into my mug.  Espresso, stock boy style.

His fingers punctuate his words and as he stands, Nigel’s tie uncurls like a snake’s tongue.  “I may have some time post lunch,” he grazes on my attire, tasting his way from my boots up to my shabbily-chic ‘bunned’ hair.  “You do have a way when it comes assembling”, he observes.  “Quite an eclectic ensemble.

Not wanting to portray any self-doubt, I do not look my outfit over in front of him, but rather resurrect a mental image of my full-length mirror from this morning; Meh, I was good.

“I do like to think outside The Box once in a while, you know Nige…?  There are options beyond…” Small pools of sweat form in my pits as I wonder if my metaphor is over his head, but I continue to doctor my coffee, now morphing into a latte, as I add more and more milk.

“As I say,” he sprays, “I’ll text you after my lunch.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be with Denise,” Was it my imagination or did he hiss the S?  “But we do have a lot to go over.”

With a snap of his tongue he slithers away.  I put his cold mug in the sink and use my still damp cuff to wipe his venom off my forehead.

*To be continued

*Constructive criticism encouraged!

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Continuation – you can find first instalment here:

I don’t make my usual stop for a skinny macchiato.   It’s raining too hard and my hands are too full, one gripping my swaying umbrella, and the other, my slippery phone.  Aware that any sensible person would ignore a text under these conditions, I swipe away, trying to access Nikki’s message but my fingers are wet and slide uselessly over the slick screen.  My attempt futile, I slip the phone back in my pocket and wish I’d made a java stop after all.  Now I’d be forced to drink the ‘coffee’ Troy made every morning.  Bless his little stock boy heart.

The store is quiet and everything, as it always does when The Box is closed, feels surreal.  I know a lot of the staff feel eery in the big store when it’s not open for business, but not me. My spirits lift the moment that warm whoosh of air escapes the big glass doors and meets my face.  There’s something about the white, high-glossed floors and the atmosphere fused with leather, lavender, lotions and limitless blood, sweat and tears.  It’s home to me.

Taking a moment to right myself, pulling in the calm and pushing out the clutter, I feel my heart rate slow as drops of water meander off my boots and onto the gleaming floor.

“Mornin’ Lenore,” Seth greets me as he places a bold Caution: Wet Floor sign on the tile. “Jeez, you’re soakin’ the place.   Dry up, would ya?”

“Very funny,” I reply. “Don’t push my buttons today, Seth cuz I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”

“Aww, the weather ain’t that bad!  Chin up, doll face.”

“Seth, you’re pushing…” I smile and walk away, telling him I’ll see him at lunch.

The ride up the arced escalator is soothing and the view from half way is simply stunning.  I drift up backwards to take it all in.  The Swarovski handrails glisten and their magnificent flecks are scattered throughout the store.  The billowing silk screens, blown by forced air, almost lick me as I glide by and Jalisse, the raven-haired black beauty looks like she’s swooning to the piped in Musak as she greets me at the top.  Draped in a royal blue Maxi dress, she smiles gracefully, letting me know I’ve made the right choice and that the new attire pleases her.

I’m almost completely pacified by the time I step off.  My you didn’t get the promotion because I’m giving it to Denise worries nearly forgotten.  But just as I’m passing Jalisse I notice a dot on her chin, a white chip marring her beautiful milk chocolate complexion.

It was just enough to drive me right back to crazy town.

*To (possibly) be continued

**Please feel free to comment – all constructive criticism encouraged!

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Did you ever play “What If?”  I did.

My friends and me sat around in the ripping hot sun, pulling blades of grass, blowing out dried dandelions and chucking rocks into the clear creek while contemplating guileless scenarios;

What if we snuck out at three in the morning and jogged to 7-Eleven?  Ah ha ha”, we’d snicker.  “That’d be sooo cool.”

Kids are a force to be reckoned with.  My daughter reminds me of that consistently.  She’s a bona fide combo of her Dad’s entrepreneurial spirit and my crafty, creative quirks.  Not a day goes by where she hasn’t got a moneymaking question, a business idea or a project on the go.  We sometimes joke that she was born to the wrong parents.  She exhausts us.

But, being a kid, she does not possess that limiting quality; you know, the chastising one that imposes restrictions and crushes dreams; it says cruelly; “You can’t do that.  Don’t be ridiculous!”

And it’s because of that, kids have no fear.  They aren’t afraid to take the “What If” game a step further.  In fact, if so inclined, they can knock it right out of the park:

“Yeah, so we jog to 7-Eleven and we’re freezing so we decide to hang out inside and get warm.” I suggest.

“And then, like, the manager gets mad and makes us work.” Suzie chimes in.

“Yeah, so he thinks he’s punishing us, but we actually like it, so we like, start working there for real and we never go back home.” Lisa adds.

“And our parents are searching for us and everything, but we, like, just start living at the 7-11 manager’s house and just, like, become a part of his family!” Kate exclaims, quite pleased with herself.

“Truly awesome”, Jack sighs.  “But I’d sure miss my dog.”

“Don’t worry,” I console him.  “I’m sure the manager will buy you a new one.”

Free of inhibitions and limitations, kids just throw it down.  And because they’re all on the same page, they are confident peers won’t deem their contributions unreasonable.

I’ve previously pondered the idea that impossible can be transformed to plausible provided it’s crafted with care.  I stand by that notion but need to supplement;

Hold tightly the compassionate ignorance of youth and once in while, dare to play “What If.”

Hopefully Ava did get the right mom and dad after all.

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We’re not always at our best.  I should speak for myself, I suppose, but I like to think I’m not alone.

We get busy, we get tired and we get sick.  We. Get. Swamped.

But, for some reason, we plod on.  Why?  Perpetual responsibility looms, but we can skirt it.  Obligation drags us out the door, but we know we can avoid it.  We can hide from those things for a day or two.  Heck, some people manage to hole up a lifetime shirking the albatrosses of society.

Nope.  Although we bear those crosses, they are not why we get out of bed every day.

The mover, the maker, the motivator and shaker is purpose. Purpose comes home, slumps into a chair and says; “I’m rusty. Anoint me.”  Oil it and it’ll stay.

We can direct it.  We can twist it.  We can stretch it to the ends of the earth. It’s ours to dress in cute little hats.  We own it.

Its varieties are infinite; a drive to stand on top of the corporate world, an itch to ‘pwn’ domesticity (go figure), a stubborn bug to travel from country to country, a will to be a fighter pilot or an itch to be…oh, I don’t know…the greatest writer there ever was.  Ring a bell?

No matter what it is, whatever it may be that floats our boats and has us hanging on (if only by a slowly tearing page) our individual purpose which, by the way, magically translates into passion, is what keeps us going when the chips are down.

No, we may not always be at our best, but when purpose knocks, wet its whistle and you can’t ever be at your worst.

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