The Almost Empty Nest

So I am down to one child left living at home. My 9 year old. I still have another child that’s only 15 but she lives with my ex husband. But as of April 27, my  third child is an adult. He moved out this past weekend to live with his cousin. A few days before that, my daughter, her boyfriend and their baby moved into their own apartment. And my oldest has been married and living in Texas with her husband and her children for several years now.

So the house has been very quiet and empty. Not that it’s a bad thing. Its kinda nice. We have already started putting plans for the empty rooms into action. The one my daughter was using was originally a dining room. Years ago we walled it off from the living room and hung a door in the doorway to the kitchen and used it as a bedroom, then an office for me and then a bedroom again, and back and forth a few times. This weekend we tore the wall down and took off the door and have returned it to a dining room again. We ate dinner in there Saturday night for the first time in about 5 or 6 years.

My son’s old bedroom I have claimed for my own. It is the smallest bedroom in the house and the only one located on the first floor. It’s too small to put in anything larger than a twin bed so really its too small for a proper guest room. And we don’t ever have guests overnight anyways. I used the room for my office once before when my son went to live with his father temporarily. It’s a much cozier and warmer room then the dining room, and I liked it better.

I’m looking forward to having a space of my own again. My boyfriend already moved my secretary and file cabinet and all my bookshelves in, now I just have to bring all my boxes of books up from the basement and unpack them. Which is no small task let me tall ya. I have alot of books. Oh, and my chair, which is buried in the storage room in the basement. It will be fun digging that out.

I’m hoping that now that I will have a place to go where I can shut the door and block out the noise and distractions of the house that maybe I can get back to some serious work on my book and my short stories. I always work better when I can be completely alone. Put on some music, light some incense or scented candles, pop open one of them bright blue Calypso Colada wine cooler I love so much (hey I never claimed to have any class) and I’ll be all set. Really get into the zone in a way I can’t when I’m trying to write in the living room, with people around and the tv on and all sorts of things competing for my attention.

I’m starting to get alot of anxiety surrounding my book. About not working on it. About it not being finished. About whether or not I’ll be able to get it published once it is finished. If I end up having to self publish how I’ll get it marketed so people will buy it. I’m almost 40 years old and I’ve done nothing yet as a professional writer. I just feel like the time is running out on me if I want a career as a writer. Especially with the health problems I have. I’m afraid I’m gonna die before I accomplish anything.

Inside Out

The universe inside my head is infinitely larger than the one outside. Sometimes I feel downright overwhelmed by everything going on in there. Being a writer I constantly feel driven to get all these thoughts and ideas out on paper.

This may sound like a groovy way of life. However, I continuously find it frustrating.

I don’t feel like I have the ability to express myself. No matter how much I write and rewrite, my words pale in comparison to the vivid world that I want to share with people. Every sentence I write seems weak and pointless. No matter how many words I know, I never seem to have the vocabulary I need to project my thoughts effectively. I get these ideas, and I get so excited about them that I get restless and have trouble concentrating on anything else, and I get irritable with anyone or anything that distracts me from thinking. But then when I go to write, everything just fizzles out like rain on a fire.

I think the biggest problem is that I don’t think in words, I think in images. I don’t think, “The girl walked down the street.” I see a moving image of a girl walking down a street, as detailed and complete as if I were standing there watching her. I see her face, her hair, her clothes, the street, the houses, the trees, the weeds growing thru the cracks in the sidewalk, I hear her voice and the sound of cars driving by and birds chirping in the trees. My stories don’t form in my head as words. It’s like watching a movie playing in my mind. I just can’t seem to translate the images into words. Do all writers do this? Or is it just me? Or do I just suck that much?

Sometimes I wonder if I should try a more visual medium, like film. But that still requires writing a script, which I know nothing about, and making a film, which I don’t know how to do, or have the means to finance. Or perhaps a graphic novel. I used to draw very well, however I know nothing about creating commercial/graphic arts.

I do know how to write tho. I do. I’ve done it. I’ve written very good stuff. Sometimes I read over what I’ve written and every word seems perfect, every description and piece of dialogue portrays exactly what I want the reader to see and feel. I just feel like those moments are so few and far between. 99% of the time I feel like I’m just banging my head against a brick wall when I sit down to write. When I was younger I would write until I passed out, altho for all the quantity, I dunno if the quality was as good. I think I am a better writer now, even if I can’t write as much.

But sometimes I think I would trade the quality to be able to feel like that again, even for just a few days, to feel that endless, tireless flow of words. I was much less of a perfectionist, the OCD hadn’t taken hold yet. I didn’t agonize over every word. I just wrote, and whatever came out was good enough. I knew I could always go back and edit later. Now it takes me half an hour just to write a status update on Facebook. And, yes, the reason I only post on my blog once a week is because weekends are the only days I have enough time for all the writing and rewriting a do just to create a simple blog post. It’s currently Sunday at 11pm. It took me three hours to write this. I will schedule this to post tomorrow during the day tho, when it will hopefully get more traffic then it will late on a Sunday night.

I spoze some people might read my blog and think, wow, if this is any indication of her writing skill, no wonder she is failing as a writer. But no, what you read here is similar to what you would hear if you were talking to me in person. Altho here I can edit. Unfortunately there is no such ability to filter the things that come out of my mouth sometimes (Saggitarians aren’t exactly known for their tact). My writing is much different. It’s still me, but its different.

Cabin Fever

I dunno about anybody else, but I’m done with winter. Not that its been a particularly cold or snowy winter here in Massachusetts, but it’s still been too cold to enjoy being outside. I can’t tolerate cold due to some chronic health issues, so I’m not a big fan of winter. And I’m tired of being cooped up in this house. Tired of the stagnant air that’s been re-circulating thru my ventilation system all winter. Tired of breathing animal hair and dry dust. I want to open all the widows and doors and let a spring breeze sweep thru the house and blow all the stale air out. I went out and bought some new house plants this weekend. Just to have something fresh and green around me. I used to have some really nice house plants a couple of years ago, but when I went to Texas to visit my grandchildren, a certain person who shall remain nameless *cough*myboyfriend*cough* forgot to water them and they were all dead when I came back.

I love being outside, especially when it comes to reading. I have two places outside my house where I like to sit and read. My boyfriend and his friend built a big deck on the back of our house a couple of years ago and we have a patio table and chairs where I can sit when its nice out. If its raining out I have my front porch with a couple rocking chairs and a coffee table. I cant wait to grab a book and go outside and read with the warmth of the sun on my back to get rid of the chill in my bones that never seems to leave me these days. Unfortunately I can’t tolerate extreme heat any better than the cold so once we get into July and August I’ll be just as miserable as I am now. I get overheated or chilled very easily. My boyfriend says I’m like a lizard. The only way I can warm up or cool down is by going to a warmer or cooler area. I think I may be the world’s only living cold-blooded mammal.

My favorite outdoor place to read, when I can get there, is on the beach. I love to lay on the warm sand with the seagulls crying overhead, and the sound and scent of the sea all around me (score extra points if a fruity rum drink is involved). The ocean is the one place where I feel truly at peace and spiritually recharged. I love books about the sea or that take place on or near the ocean. My two most recent book purchases relating to the sea are Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau and The Outermost House by Henry Beston, both about Cape Cod, which is my favorite place on earth.

Of course now I have Sailing by Christopher Cross stuck in my head.

Another beautiful place to read outdoors is at the top of Mount Greylock. It is located in the north-western corner of Massachusetts and is the highest point in the state. You can see for hundreds of miles, all the way into upstate New York. The air up there is the freshest air I’ve ever breathed. It’s really a spectacular place. I would love to pack a lunch and go up there and spread a blanket out on the mountain top and read all day. Herman Melville had a home near the base of Mount Greylock where he wrote Moby Dick. Nathaniel Hawthorne also lived in the area for a short time and it was there that he wrote The House of Seven Gables.

Unfortunately the coast and the mountains are both several hours drive from my house and not someplace I can go on a regular basis. Closer to home there are a few places I like to go to read outdoors. The closest is in downtown Springfield, in the courtyard of the Quadrangle, where the museums and library are. There is a grassy lawn and benches and in the middle is the Dr. Seuss memorial (for those of you who don’t know, Dr. Seuss was born here in Springfield). Stanley Park in Westfield is also a nice place to go. There are fields and a large garden and a duck pond and woods that offer a variety of settings to settle down for a day of outdoor reading. And there is the Village Commons in South Hadley. A collection of shops and restaurants with brick paved walkways and steps and terraces and fountains and plenty of benches and outdoor cafe tables with umbrellas to sit at and enjoy a book and a drink or a meal. There are also some grassy areas perfect for spreading a blanket. And there’s a nice book store and a used book store/coffee and wine bar there as well.

And I think it goes without saying that all the places I’ve talked about are perfect places to write as well. Unless your me. My writer’s block isn’t picky about location. It tags along and prevents me from writing no matter where I go.

Exposing Your Prose In Public

I’ve noticed a big trend towards writing in public, specifically coffee shops, cafes and bookstores. Now that all of these places have wi-fi and everyone has a laptop or netbook or tablet, more and more people are taking their computers out to these places. When I go to Barnes & Noble or Starbucks or even Dunkin Donuts, they’re chock full of people tapping away on their keyboards, and I think its safe to guess that at least one or two of them are working on a book or dissertation or some other form of writing. Do these type of environments really help people write? Or do people just think it looks cool to be seen working on some great scholarly masterpiece. Personally, I find it distracting, the noise and people and music. I have the attention span of a six month old child, so its difficult for me to focus in that type of setting.

My creative writing group is held at B&N and I often wish we could gather somewhere quieter and more private. My writing group is one of the few occurrences where I find I am able to write these days, and its very frustrating for me when I can’t concentrate because some kid is playing their Nintendo DS at full volume or some idiot doesn’t understand they’re not in a sound proof phone booth when they’re SCREAMING INTO THEIR CELL PHONE for an hour. And what is it about a group of writers gathered around a table that draws these inconsiderate cretins like moths to a flame????

I think a lot of people like the idea of bein a writer more than they like actually writing. They like the idea of sitting in the corner of some quaint, cozy little cafe on a Saturday morning, wearing a turtleneck sweater, sipping a latte, as they scribble away in their Moleskine journal with a gold monogrammed fountain pen, smiling to themselves as they hear the people around them whisper behind their coffee cups, “oooooh look at that writer over there…”

Like they think they’re goddamn Hemingway in 1920’s Paris.

Ok, hold on I suddenly have the urge to look at Moleskine’s website. They really do make nice stuff…..

Ok I’m back. Where was I?

Oh yeah.

But that’s not what makes you a writer. Not cafes or lattes or leather-bound journals and fountain pens or sitting around letting people see you looking like a writer. Writers write, usually alone. When I do get into that writing groove (which is unfortunately rare these days), I don’t want any contact with the outside world. It kills me to have to stop writing so I can sleep or go to work or clean my house or go grocery shopping so my family doesn’t starve to death. Back when I was single and unemployed I would stay locked inside my apartment with the blinds drawn and do nothing but write for twenty hours a day. I looked like a pasty-skinned, red-eyed, tweaked out junkie. My parents would have to come by once a week to make sure I wasnt dead and being eaten by my cat.

But I guess for some people, that image and aura of mystique is needed to feel like a “real” writer or to feel inspired to write. Maybe they’re an exhibitionist and they need that audience in order to perform. But they just come across as really fake, because while I see them doing a lot of latte sipping and a lot of iPhone checking and a lot of looking around at what other people are doing, I see them doing very little actual writing.

Co-Dependant Writing

Years and years ago, I used to smoke. I know, pretty gross. I started when I was about 11 years old (it was the 80’s dammit) and I was maybe 26 or 27 when I stopped. I didn’t smoke steadily thru all those years, sometimes I would go a year or two without touching them and then relapse back again, mostly because I was around a lot of smokers all the time. But its been over ten years now since I quit.

I especially used to smoke a lot while writing. Even now when I write I sometimes still get the occasional urge to light up a cigarette. Not a craving for nicotine, that passed over a decade ago. And definitely not for the smell or taste, which I find completely repulsive now. But just for the ritual of it. It was an integral part of the writing process for me. When I was thinking of the next sentence or trying to find that perfect word or phrase, I would put down my pen or, once I got a computer, lean back from the keyboard and light up a cigarette and smoke until I was ready to continue writing.

I never feel like smoking at any other time other than when I’m writing tho. I would never actually take up smoking again, even if I thought it would help me write. I can’t stand cigarettes or cigarette smoke. The smell of it actually makes me nauseous now. I avoid smokers like the plague. Very few of my friends or family members smoke and nobody is allowed to smoke inside my house. If I am forced to spend time in a smokey environment I have to go home and take a shower afterwards to get the smell off. So there is no danger of me ever becoming a smoker again.

But I wish there was a way for me to recreate that ritual that’s less disgusting and wont give me cancer. I know some people substitute candy or something, but because I also have a compulsive eating problem, replacing the cigarettes with something like lollipops will only result in me eating the whole package of lollipops and not getting any writing done at all. I don’t want to replace one unhealthy writing ritual with another. Especially since I have the activity level and metabolic rate of a boulder.

I think I need something tho. As somebody with OCD, rituals and systematic processes to doing things are a very important part of getting anything done. And I think that may be part of the reason I am having so much trouble writing. I have no process anymore. I always had a process, whether it was a time of day, or the place I sat, or smoking a cigarette, or using the same pen and notebook, there was always something. The closest thing I have to a process right now is the creative writing group I go to twice a month. Which is really the only time I can guarantee that I will definitely get any writing done. But, lets face it, I’m not gonna get a book written writing for an hour twice a month, not unless I want to be writing it until im eighty.

At the moment I also have no writing space that’s just mine to write in. I have my office, but its in complete disarray right now. Last spring I packed all my belongings up so the room could be used temporarily as a bedroom by my daughter and her husband, and even before that it was more a guest room then an office. There was always a bed in there and since at least one of my children lived with my ex-husband at any given time, that room was used by them whenever they came to visit. And it looks like I might possibly have to re-pack it up in the near future to use as a bedroom again, which is why I havent bothered to finish unpacking it. So it’s still never really been my own space. In a house as small as mine, personal space is very hard for me to come by. And I need a space that is mine to do things my way. As an only child with two working parents and virtually no friends, I grew up alone with a lot of privacy and personal space in which I could do pretty much whatever I wanted in whatever way I wanted to do it with very little outside interference. I know it’s not realistic to expect that kind of space and freedom when I live with so many people.

But right now everything is chaos.

And I need something to enable me to write again. I just have to figure out what it is.

Once Upon A Time

I was twenty year old when I started writing with the idea that I would like to be a professional writer. And, uh, we all see how well that’s been working out for me. I mean, I always liked writing, as I mentioned in a previous post, and I had considered writing before. But I dunno, I guess I always figured I would still need to have a “real” job too. I have a “real” job now that I go to five days a week so I can pay the bills, because obviously I’m not making any money writing.

I was always very interested in medicine, criminology and forensics when I was growing up. It was once my plan to go into forensics either as a medical examiner or a psychiatrist. I still find those subjects very interesting and have many books and watch programs on tv about them all the time. You should see the looks you get from the cashiers at Barnes and Noble when you walk up with stacks of books about things like serial killers, human decomposition, cannibalism and autopsies on a regular basis. I’m surprised they havent called the FBI on me yet.

So anyways. Things happened and I ended up having to drop out of high school, and last I knew they didn’t just let you walk out of tenth grade and into Harvard Medical School so……yeah, that was the end of that plan.

After several years of being a mindless drone and forgetting I had any interests or personality I suddenly remembered, hey! I like writing! So I dug an old spiral bound notebook and a pen out of a drawer (I was too poor for one of them newfangled personal computers) and started writing.

(This is also about the time I developed a hopeless addiction to RSVP Fine Point Pens. I still keep them stashed all over my house, in my car, in my purse and I stockpile them in my desk. There is always one within arms reach no matter where I am in case I feel the need for one. I shudder when I think of how much money I’ve spent on those pens in the past twenty years. I probly could have bought a Mercedes by now if I put all that money in a jar instead of buying pens.)

Well it wasnt long before I had notebooks piling up in my apartment. I had no idea what to do with them. They were all rough scribbled drafts of short stories and pieces of book ideas. The short stories I edited into finals drafts and copied carefully onto loose leaf paper and kept in three-ring binders. Not that that made any difference. They still just sat around my apartment.

I had absolutely no idea how to get a story or book published, no clue about submission guidelines, or where to find them, query letters, agents, slush piles, unsolicited or solicited material, I was completely ignorant of the process. I didn’t know anybody who was in the writing industry who could help me and I had no access to a computer or the internet to look any of this information up, even if I knew what I was looking for.

So for years I just wrote and it sat on a shelf or in a drawer or under the bed or in a box. Then one day I found a book called The Idiots Guide to Getting Published and rather than giving me hope, it made me realize how nearly impossible it is to get published these days. That getting published was more about luck than talent. I was just about ready to set everything I wrote on fire and give up. But I didn’t (altho I’m sure there are plenty of people who have read my work and think I should) and all those old handwritten stories are now stuffed in an accordion file and crammed into the back of a drawer in my desk.

Now I write on a laptop or an iPad and print my stuff out and store it in a file cabinet like a real grown up. I figured out years ago how to use book and magazine publishers’ websites to find submissions guidelines and addresses and have been submitting my work, some short stories and a book, to different places over the past few years. I haven’t been successful yet but I’m still trying. I know a lot of it is the luck of the draw, to have the right editor or agent pull your submission out of the slush pile at the right time, but it also has a lot to do with talent, cuz if the right person does find your story and it sucks, they’ll just chuck it in the….actually no I take that back. There are a lot of really bad books out there *cough*teenparanormalromance*cough*.

Cool Things That Aren’t In Western Massachusetts

You would be surprised to know that Massachusetts was quite the literary hot spot in the nineteenth century. Well the eastern half of the state anyways. Where all the cool stuff is.

Concord, MA in particular was like the Las Vegas of the nineteenth century writing world. (What happened in Concord stayed in Concord)

Some of the biggest names in literature lived and wrote in Concord. Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne to name the most well-known.

(Yes, yes I know everybody associates Hawthorne with Salem and the House of Seven Gables, and indeed Hawthorne was born in Salem, but he did not live there his whole life and NO he did NOT live in the House of Seven Gables.)

I had the pleasure of visiting Concord on two occasions last year. Once in July because my youngest son wanted to spend his birthday at Minutemen National Park and once in October when I brought my kids there for a night-time reading of old New England ghost stories at the park.

Minuteman National Park is a pretty cool place. For those of you who know your American history, you will know that the Battle of Lexington and Concord was the first battle of the Revolutionary War and you can walk the path that was the main road at the time, that Paul Revere used for his famous midnight ride and that the British troops marched along, and where some of the houses and taverns still stand that the Minuteman army gathered in as they prepared to go to war. If you’re an American history buff, this place is a place you don’t want to miss.

So anyways, back to writers in Concord.

In between exploring the park I was able to visit some very cool places of interest for someone who is a big fan of nineteenth century classic literature, which I happen to be. I did take some pictures of the houses altho unfortunately they don’t allow you to photograph when you’re inside. I did manage to get one photo from inside tho. Our tour guide was very cool about conveniently looking away while we were in that one room. Haha.

I plan to take more trips back to Concord. There are still some more literary landmarks Id like to explore. But for now these are some of the places I’ve visited so far.

Orchard House

Orchard House. The real Orchard House. Not the one from the Little Women movie. This is the house Louisa May Alcott lived in. In her bedroom is the desk where she wrote Little Women. There is a trunk of costumes that the Alcott girls used to dress up in when putting on plays that Louisa wrote. In the trunk are the treasured pair of tall boots that were Louisa’s favorite costume accessory. On the walls and woodwork all over the house are the pencil sketches done by her sister May, who inspired the character of Amy March. One thing about these “little women” is that there was nothing little about them. They Alcott sisters were TALL. Like circus freak tall for women of their time.

The Old Manse

The Old Manse, build by Ralph Waldo Emerson’ grandfather in 1770 and used by subsequent generations of the Emerson family until the early 20th century. Emerson himself lived in it, of course, and Nathaniel Hawthorne and his new wife rented the property and lived there for several years. Henry David Thoreau planted a large heirloom vegetable garden there as a wedding gift for the Hawthornes.

Wayside House

Wayside House. A house where Louisa May Alcott lived as a girl and where Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family lived in later years. The house was known as Hillside when the Alcotts owned it. As you may know, Little Women was highly autobiographical, and many of the adventures that the March girls experience in Little Women happened in reality to the Alcott sisters while they lived here.  Nathaniel Hawthorne purchased it from the Alcott family and it is the only house he ever owned and where he wrote his last works. He renamed it Wayside and owned the house until he died. Author Margaret Sidney also lived at here and she and her husband and daughter are responsible for much of the restoration and preservation of Wayside House as well as Orchard House (which is right next door).

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Desk

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing desk, inside his study at the top of the three-story turret of Wayside House. Where he wrote. The desk where Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote. The desk that I was able to touch that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote at. Sorry I still feel a bit faint when I think about it. So, anyways, as you can see, it is a podium style desk, because Hawthorne wrote while standing. He wrote masterpieces while standing. In an attic. With no lights. Or heat. Or air conditioning. With a a quill pen.

Which makes me an even bigger loser cuz I can barely concentrate on writing while laying nestled comfortably in bed on a tempur-pedic mattress propped up on a pile of pillows using a lap-top in a well-lit, perfectly temperature controlled room. Yeah. That’s why he’s Nathaniel Hawthorne. And I’m me.

My Lack Of Motivation To Write…

…Is quite possibly to blame on where I live. Have you been to Western Massachusetts? I’m not talking about the mountainous majesty of the Berkshires or the scholarly art scene of the collegiate community or the gentle rural farmlands of the northern section of the Connecticut River valley. No I’m talking about the urban cess pool that is Springfield. An area defined by polluted water and a rancid stench-factory of a sewer treatment plant, drug infested neighborhoods full of boarded up or burned down houses covered with graffiti, homeless people pushing shopping carts full of soda cans, a commercial district completely devoid of small businesses in favor of chains and franchises. A blight upon the earth made all the more scenic by an F3 tornado that ripped thru here back in June and completely destroyed the entire south end of the city.

I'll give you a hint: This used to be a house.

Tornado? But I thought you said you live in Massachusetts? Yes, we do get tornadoes here. More frequently then you would think. Altho rarely as bad as the one we had recently. And that’s not all! In 2011 we also had a hurricane/tropical storm which caused massive flooding, an earth quake, a giant hail storm and a Halloween nor’easter that dropped 3 feet of snow overnight and brought down about half of whatever trees weren’t already knocked down by the tornado and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity (including me) for up to a week. Yep, Western Mass was the place to be in 2011.

Happy Halloween!

Where was I? Oh yeah, I live in a shit hole. I am a strong believer that environment affects one’s ability to create art, whether it be writing, painting, music, dancing or whatever artistic outlet your brain uses. I do admit I am fortunate enough that my neighborhood looks almost (but really not quite) suburban, with tree lined streets and single family houses, mostly due to the fact that we are surrounded by a small woodsy nature conservation area that has spared us from being bulldozed into condo oblivion. But if you go a quarter-mile in any direction its nothing but trash littered strip malls and gas stations and fast food restaurants. The only remotely scenic area in the city is the Quadrangle, where the art, history and science museums, the central library and the Dr. Seuss memorial are located:

Pretty Christmas lights! Ignore the ugly high-rise apartment building in the background.

In my workin-class/lower middle-class neighborhood, I wouldn’t exactly call the scenery a beauty to behold. This is the view I have from my home office:

Garage or termite mound? Sixteen year old Toyota or violation of the Clean Air Act? You be the judge.

That’s even assuming I could use my office which I can’t because this is what it looks like right now:

No that's not a rummage sale, that's about half of my personal library and boxes full of knickknacks that I'm too lazy to finish putting on my shelves.

I know I could write so much better if I could look out my window and see this every day, like I did on my vacation to Cape Cod back in September:

North Truro, Ma. Where you can't smell a sewer treatment plant.

So I figured…

…I would share with you everything that makes me such an awesome writer. Besides the fact that I’m awesome. And a writer. Or would be if I could actually get around to writing. Not that I havent ever done any writing. I have. Lots of it. I actually wrote a book. Really. You can ask all the publishers that rejected it if you don’t believe me. It’s now sitting in my file cabinet giving a previously empty and useless hanging file folder a reason to live.

As for my credentials, well here they are:

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Yeah, there’s really nothing. No MFA, no editor of the school newspaper, no third grade creative writing contest first place trophy. I have a GED and 9 community college credits. Altho 3 of those credits are from an English Composition class in which I had a 4.0 GPA. And my professor said I was one of the best students he ever had. Not bad considering I didn’t even know how to write an essay when I walked into his classroom. (How did I manage to get a GED without knowing how to write an essay considering that writing an essay is like one-third of the test? I have absolutely no idea.) I also attempted going to tech/trade school for drafting, but all I got out of that experience was a giant student loan that I still havent finished paying off yet.

I don’t remember quite when I started writing stories down on paper for fun. I always remember having a vivid imagination and making up stories. I was an only child with two working parents and no social skill whatsoever so my imagination was my life. I also read a lot of books which helped fuel my fantasy world. I think it was somewhere between the age of 10 and 12 that I discovered Stephen King. Finding him was like finding God! His books took my breath away. He was the first writer I fell in love with and that made me contemplate what it was to be a writer.

The very first Stephen King book I read was Cujo. It made me want to get a Saint Bernard for a pet. Haha. I was a weird kid.

What was such a young child doing reading King you ask? Well it was the early 80s and like most kids in the 80s I was a free spirit with little adult supervision and the librarians never seemed to question my choices. My parents never really seems to believe much in censoring what I read. Even before discovering King I was reading adult novels on a regular basis which is probly why I tested at a college reading level by the time I reached sixth grade.

So I guess I have to thank Stephen King for igniting that spark in me to write, altho it would be many years later before I finally allowed myself to believe I might be able to write and start seriously writing. As a woman and a mother I also find great inspiration in Anne Rice and J. K. Rowling and as a great lover of classic literature by women writers I find inspiration in Jane Austen, the Brontes and Virgina Woolf.

Hard At Work Tonight

Not really but it sounded good. Haha.

So, things I’m doing tonight to avoid writing:

*Checking my Facebook news feed.

*Reading articles on Cracked.com. I love Cracked. Its hilarious. It really caters to my lowbrow and vulgar sense of humor.

*Watching reruns of UFC fights. Did I mention I’m a HUGE fan of MMA fighting?

For those of you not familiar with the term, MMA = mixed martial arts, as in the fighters use a combination of different styles of martial arts, most commonly Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) and Jiu Jitsu (Brazilian grappling), but it all depends on the individual’s preference and expertise. In a fight, two fighters use a combination of kicking, punching and grappling until one fighter “taps out” (taps his hand against anything to show defeat), loses consciousness or the referee deems no longer fit to continue fighting. Its awesome. My favorite fighters are Frank Mir, Lyoto Machida and Mayhem Miller. Not that Miller fights much anymore. But he did have that great show on Mtv called Bully Beatdown (bring us your bullies and we’ll beat ’em up!) which I never get tired of watching when they play the reruns.

Something about watching bullies getting the shit kicked out of them by MMA fighters just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And it makes me giggle.But I guess when you grow up being the victim of bullies it makes you a little twisted like that 😀

That’s actually what my books is about. A girl who is a victim of bullying, inspired by my own experiences. Its veeeeeery tragic and dramatic. Which is probly why I sometimes have panic attacks when I work on it hahaha. But I figure writing is cheaper than therapy.