Why All Adults Should Strive To Be Someone A Child Can Trust

I had an eventful weekend. It didn’t start that way. On Friday I wasn’t feeling very good so I stayed home and spent all day alternating between sitting in my desk chair for 20 minutes and laying down for a while. I couldn’t figure out if I was having massive allergy issues or if I was sick. I erred on the side of caution by taking it easy.

On Saturday I was still a little sluggish but better so I guess it was allergies. I decided to stay home again just in case. I was so bored! I tried for a while to plan my new novel but I was unsuccessful. I did manage to cook dinner, clean off my bathroom counter, and  some dusting.

My daughter planned to have a friend, who I’ll call “M,” come over to spend the night. It was her best friend, who is practically a part of the family, so even though I didn’t feel good I didn’t mind.

At some point in the evening my daughter comes into my room alone looking nervous. I need to insert some back story here. M has an awful, controlling boyfriend. This guy made her delete all her social media accounts except Facebook and only allowed her to use it if he had the password. He wouldn’t let her see her friends often and cheated constantly. I was terrified it would get worse.

So back to that night, it took her a while, but eventually my kid started talking. She said M’s boyfriend had hit M, multiple times. For a few moments I couldn’t speak. I’ve been pretty angry many times in my life, I admit to a hot temper. But I’ve never felt anger like I did in that moment.

The first thing I asked was if M knew she was telling me, she did. I asked a few questions but quickly realized I needed to be asking M. I had my daughter go get her. She came in with her head down and sat on the end of my bed facing me. This kid looked like she was prepared to get in trouble! My heart broke.

I asked a lot of questions, like how many times, what else did he do, how long, etc. She was hesitant but once she started answering the floodgates opened. It took every bit of self-control I had in me to not demand we go to her mom and call the cops NOW. The problem was she had already said she didn’t want him to go to jail, she wanted him to get help. I also realized if she was ready to tell her mother she wouldn’t have come to me first.

So I controlled my impulse and gently steered her in the direction I thought she should go. I felt, and still feel guilty about it. I felt like I manipulated her and she’d had enough of that crap.

Anyway, she told stories of how when she tried to leave the guy he would cry and beg or if that didn’t work he would hit her. One day he punched her in the stomach repeatedly and hurt her hand when she tried to block him. I could go on and on at what this little bastard did but it’s getting me all worked up again so I’ll stop. Suffice it to say, he was abusive, in all the ways.

As the conversation continued I was searching for ways to get through to her and finally found the two triggers. First I said, “I bet you haven’t felt like yourself in a long time.” She was shocked and agreed. Then I asked her what she would want to happen if it was my daughter who’d been abused. It was a lightbulb moment. She looked at my daughter, then for the first time met my eyes. “I would want you to go to the cops.”

She agreed going to the police was the right thing to do but was nervous at the idea of facing him in court. I couldn’t advise her. She’s 15, old enough to be questioned in court, but maybe young enough that she can’t be forced. I just told her to tell the police how she felt about it. Did I mention the boyfriend is 18?

Then came the hardest part of all. I had to talk her into telling her mother. She didn’t want to but knew she should. She said she would tell her in the morning. I said “I think you should tell her tonight.”

She balked. I offered to do the talking and she agreed. As guilty as I feel for pushing her to tell her mom, I know in the back of her mind it’s what she wanted. So the three of us got in the car and drove to her house. On the way there she said she felt guilty. I told her it was okay to feel that way as no one can turn off feelings. She seemed relieved to hear it.

It was hard to tell her mother but I imagine it was easier for me than it would have been for M. Obviously the woman was very upset but it went as well as it could have. She said the best thing she could have at one point. When she asked M why she hadn’t come to her, M said she was afraid to tell an adult and she’d only barely told my daughter that night. Her mom said “I understand but it was telling an adult that is going to get you the help you need.” It was another lightbulb moment for M. I wanted to fist pump at the mom!

We went back to my house and on the way I asked M if she felt relieved. She said she did.

I haven’t heard anything yet about what they have done. I know M’s mom planned to go up the school and I hope she went to the police. M didn’t go to school today because she didn’t want to face the boyfriend. I do know he already knows she told her mom about him thanks to her idiotic sister telling him.

The night she told me all this I managed to get her to change her password on Facebook. While she was at my house he logged onto her account, pretended to be her, and asked both my daughters what ‘she’ should do about him.

We talked about ways to avoid this guy and to never be alone in the halls.  I also told her I would be more than happy to drive her to and from school because she normally rides a bike. It’s the only time she’ll be alone.

I’m worried about what’s she’s about to go through but I’m so happy she’s took steps to escape the situation. I’ve always been the ‘understanding’ mom of my daughter’s friend group. So thankfully she trusted me enough to tell me, the poor kid has been so scared and confused for so long.

The rest of the weekend was taken up by writing group stuff and Batman vs. Superman ultimate edition. I am still not feeling great but I was able to get out of the house today to work on planning my novel for Nanowrimo.

I’m a little distracted thinking about M but I plan to do some writing this afternoon. I’ll keep you all updated on my progress.

P.S. Should I feel guilty for thinking about going to M’s mom or the police even if she didn’t agree? When I thought she wouldn’t do it, I was sorely tempted to do it myself.

Everything Update (Mostly A Writing Update)

Writing: I’m in the home stretch! There are only four scenes I absolutely have to write to finish the first draft of book one of my fantasy trilogy, plus any scenes they inspire.

This draft will be very bare bones. It has little in the way of description and setting. I used placeholder words such as forest, tundra, ocean, ship, dragon, etc so I could get the story on paper as quickly as possible.

When I get to the revision stage I’ll add all of the details in. Once upon a time I would put in every detail as I wrote the story and it would take forever to get anything accomplished. I finally learned to trust my muse and just get the important stuff out of my head. I can embellish to my heart’s content later.

I don’t need to describe the type of trees in the forest in the first draft (unless it’s plot relevant, which it’s not in this book). I know what it looks like in my head so it can wait while I write the action. I concentrate on the conflict and dialog in the beginning.

Maybe it’s because I find description tedious. Even when reading a book, I tend to scan over the description of places and buildings. Once I have a mental image I don’t need all the fluff and I refuse to add a lot of fluff to my novels.

There were some exceptions of course. The desert in this story is important, as are the magic creatures who attack my main characters (which will be referred to as MC’s from now on) while they cross it. So they got detailed descriptions. I spent some time on the mother of one of my MC’s because she interested me. I described all my MC’s and one of the bad guys. I haven’t spent much time on the big bad but I will before I finish this draft.

Being this close to the end makes me nervous, and excited, and scared. I have finished first drafts before but this one is different. It’s more important to me than any other. This book, the whole trilogy really, have been in my head and trying to be written for too many years.

It began in 2003, on a plane, on my way to make one of the biggest mistakes of my life. All I started with was a character in a scene who could hear dragons. The story has grown and changed a lot over the years, mostly because I kept putting it to the side. I was discouraged from writing it at times, and afraid to write it at other times.

I picked it back up two years ago and wrote a lot during Nanowrimo but something was wrong with it. I didn’t know how to fix it and it was weighing me down so I decided I would write it when I believed I could and it didn’t matter how long it took or if it never got written.

After that I wrote around 80 short stories and several first drafts of other novels, to varying degrees of completion. Clearly I made the right decision.

Not too long ago I found myself thinking a lot about one of the characters from the trilogy. I don’t know how it happened but something clicked and I knew how to fix the story. I replotted the entire thing. Part of the issue was the order in which certain events happened. Once I did some rearranging, removed things that didn’t work and added some new ideas it all fell into place.

I sat down and started writing it again. Instead of fixing what was already written I just made a new file in Scrivener and got to work. When I got to a scene I wanted to keep I skipped it with the intention of copy and pasting it later. If I reached one that had parts I wanted to save then I rewrote it. I was so scared I would slip into editing mode so I didn’t mess with fixing bits and pieces in the old file.

That brings me to today and my last four scenes. I suspect I’ll write more than that but those four are the only planned ones. My nerves were getting to me so I am writing this post to try to shake it off before getting to the real work.

I don’t know if I’ll finish today but it could happen. I do know I’ll finish this week, which is my true goal. Afterwards I will not start revising it. I need to step away and let it all settle in first.

The best course of action may be to start writing something else. Not book two. Maybe I’ll write some short stuff for a couple of weeks. Nanowrimo is coming up soon so during the last half of October I plan to plan. I don’t know what story I’ll work on. I have several in process I could choose from or I might do something new.

I’d really like to have something plotted out to work on in November. Book two of the trilogy might tell me I’ve picked it to write for the month. It was my original plan after all. Still, I wonder if I need a short break from the story. I don’t want to get bogged down again and end up putting it aside for too long.

I’ll let you all know what I decide and keep everyone updated on any other writing that happens anytime soon.

Medical: I went to the pain doctor today. I’ve been putting it off hoping the pain I’m in is a result of my surgery. What I’m feeling is almost exactly what I felt back when all this trouble started. It’s disk pain and I suspect it’s the disk above the fusion. The neurosurgeon and the pain doctor suspect the same.

The plan is to go in for an MRI whenever my insurance approves it. If the results are what everyone thinks they will be then I’ll have an injection. There is also a possibility of burning off some of the nerves, just like they did with the other disk. I hope it works because the idea of having another surgery is horrifying.

I also recently learned the fusion hasn’t bridged which basically means I’m healing very slowly. There can be all kinds of complications in this situation. So medically it all sucks but there is a smidgen of hope.

On Friday I got a call from the Physical Therapy place. I rolled my eyes so hard I was afraid they heard it! They want me to come in for at least one more visit to talk about how I’m doing and to be officially discharged from their care. They should have done that on my previous visit. I think they did a good job but they were determined to drag my therapy out for as long as they could, months longer than I needed because my insurance authorized so many visits.

I understand they are a business and profit matters but for that last month they were wasting my time and theirs. I had made as much progress as I was going to and the only reason they kept me coming was money. I implied as much and no one disagreed. I’m not mad at them, I’m simply done and it’s unlikely I’ll return to them if I ever need PT again.

Okay, I’ve put off working on my story long enough. I’m going to go eat lunch then try to write 1500 words. Expect a post when I finish the draft as I’ll probably be freaking out!

I Can’t Wait Until I’m Old So I Can Be An (*$#%@&^)

When I was younger, a few months or so ago, I often wondered if people getting close to the age they consider old said that to themselves. Lately I’ve encountered so many mean, irritable, grumpy, rude, insertcurseword-ish elderly people it was like a plague had hit.

It seemed everywhere I went they were to be found. At my favorite writing spot hogging tables. At the grocery store mumbling obscenities at everyone they passed when the other people didn’t move out of their way quickly enough. Driving through town causing road rage wherever they very slowly went. There was the guy at the convenience store who cut in a long line and glared at the young girl who dared to question him, or at least started to dare before his frightening expression shut her down.

Oh, I can’t forget to mention the lady in a department store parking lot whose car somehow managed to take up three spaces. When I noticed I shook my head and she jumped out of her car and screamed at me as I walked by.

During some of these, and other, encounters, I’ve said what was stated in the title to myself. Or wondered if I’d be a jerk to everyone around me with impunity once I hit a certain age.

Every time I encountered one of these people it would irritate me and I’d piss and moan about it to my husband or friends, sometimes even my kids, but I wouldn’t do anything.

Then something happened.

I wish I knew what my trigger was but I don’t . One day I realized my bullshit detector was on super sensitive while my tolerance of said bullshit was at an all time low. At times, like with the lady in the parking lot, I snapped back. All I said was “Look at your parking lady.” when she was yelling and questioning my right to shake my head. However, while I know I didn’t say it in a nasty tone, I’m quite sure I delivered it in a way that would irritate her the most. Not very nice on my part.

Or at the grocery store when an extremely older woman tried to herd me out of her way with her cart and I didn’t budge. In all fairness, in this case I couldn’t have moved due to other shoppers but I know damn well I wouldn’t have anyway.

So this brings me to my point. It’s a vicious cycle. These pissed off elderly folk were probably treated poorly by people they thought of as old and now that it’s their turn, they are doing the same to the ones of us who are younger.


There I was, reacting the way we all eventually end up reacting  when others are jerk faces to us. It’s like the ones who were pissing me off were gradually passing the torch to me. I’ll admit, at the rate these encounters were happening, my goal-age for being an old asshole was going to end up being much younger than the ones I watched behave badly. Not only that, but I was contributing to the anger these perpetrators already had too much of.

A strange, and all too often occurrence (at least the start of it) today made me really think about what I was doing. A lady deliberately cut me off with her cart several times at a drug store. I don’t know why she singled me out or what prompted her to keep it up but I was getting pretty irritated. Not the first time she did it. I hardly noticed, just a minor blip on my ‘oh look another a-hole’ radar. I can’t tell you what my expression so I don’t know if it contributed. A few rows in she did it a second time, with eye contact.

I remember thinking, man what’s up with this lady, but I kept searching for what I needed to buy. You know that feeling you get when someone is staring at you? I kept feeling it and every time I looked up I saw her over the short displays and she would quickly look away. It was so weird but I said “It’s not all about you Kristi” over and over. But it was all about me this time.

We were in the vitamins section and there are four or five rows of the stuff. Each time I left the row I was on, there she was, her cart almost colliding with mine, along with a nasty look, then a satisfied smile for her friend looking at end caps.

After several times I was beginning to wonder if she was playing some kind of game since she seemed to be enjoying herself. Then it hit me. Was I really taking the time to wonder if some pissy old lady was messing with me? Yep. As this had never happened to me before I was quite surprised. It was a little funny and I found myself smiling. I glanced at my nemesis  and instead of quickly turning her headthis time she glared at me. Guess the smile rubbed her the wrong way. Oops!

I giggled. A lot. It was just so ridiculous. I couldn’t help myself, every time I looked at her, I laughed harder. She got madder, then I guess confused based on her expression. Somehow through my giggle fit I found my vitamins and started to leave. She moved to cut me off again.

I let her. Then I left.

Once in my car I felt guilty because I know me laughing made it worse. Then I got mad because I didn’t think I should have to feel guilty for her being an ass and I hadn’t done it on purpose.

Then I made a decision. From now on I’m going to do whatever it takes to avoid people like her. I don’t have to bite back, or in this case laugh (which is another form of fighting back at times). I can keep my head shakes to myself and just get out of the way when needed. This doesn’t just apply to the well aged, I’ll stay away from jerks of all ages.

I can’t control my face (when I amused mostly) so I’ll keep my head down when others act like toddlers. I’m not really a petty person and I don’t like how someone being nasty brings it out in me. I can’t fix them, but I can try to be a better me.

Most important, I’m not going to let the anger infect me. And when I’m old enough to act like an asshole and get away with it, I won’t. Even when I want to.


Sidenote: Somehow some aspects of the lady from the drugstore must becomea part of my novel. I’m in need of minor characters.

Remembering The First Day Of School Ever

The people who run the Nanowrimo Facebook page posted a writing prompt asking us to write about our first day of school ever. I had to think about it for a while because it was many moons ago. All I remember was sitting at a little table with a girl named Renee and I had to go to the bathroom. I must have been pretty antsy because she eventually said “Just do what I do. If you don’t think about it you will forget you have to go.”

That little gem turned out to be the best and worst advice. It worked in elementary school, for me. There were plenty of other little kids who followed this edict and had to suffer through accidents. I learned to go when I was allowed and it served me well through life.

I don’t remember anything else from the first day of kindergarten but I do recall little bits from later in the year. There were little gender biased areas set up around the room. When it was play time we were called up in random order to an easel where colored clothespins hung. Each station had room for four kids so being called first mattered. All the little boys, and the teacher, would get so irritated with me when I went first because I always picked the Hot Wheels area.

It was cool so it was not my fault! I was a tomboy with two older brothers. It never occurred to me to stick with the ‘girl’ stuff. I did enjoy playing in the kitchen corner but only as a second choice and I never once pretended to clean it!

Another choice was cleaning erasers. I only did it a few times. I despise cleaning but I equally hate being dirty so it wasn’t nearly as fun as it sounded, even if it meant being unsupervised out of the room. There was one area no one liked getting stuck in. Oddly, I have no clue what it was.

I remember kissing a boy on the cheek and wondering what the fuss was about. All the other little girls talked about wanting to kiss boys all the time. If they had understood how much grossness can accumulate on a young male’s face at recess they wouldn’t have been so keen on the idea. That kid was my teacher’s son and she treated me differently after the incident. I suspect she felt sorry for me because she became extra nice.

The only other stand out moment was when this kid named Sean and I were searching for worms (tomboy remember). We were digging behind a bush under a window sill and above us was a wasp nest. We didn’t know it until the buzzing started. Sean freaked out! He started running and screaming and I had no idea what was happening but he kept saying if he got stung he would die. His terror was contagious and it didn’t take long before most of the other kids were running and screaming as well. Not me, I was one of the few who were frozen in fear.

A couple of teachers grabbed him and got him inside, running top speed. Later he explained he was allergic and described in detail what happened the first time he was stung. Besides a recurring nightmare I had when I was even younger, this was the first time I remember feeling real fear.

Averted bathroom woes, Hot Wheels, toy kitchens, erasers, and wasps are what kindergarten was for me. I’m sure I learned a lot of important things and it set me up for the next twelve years of my life but we remember what we remember.

Do you remember your first day of school ever?

Photo by Ryan McGuire

Everything Update – 8/22/2016

Writing: I’m writing! This weekend I went to two different writing things. The first was on Saturday. The leader of the Nanowrimo group in my region sets up a write-in once a month throughout the year so we can all keep in touch beyond November. Sadly, I’ve missed every single one, until this month.

I thought I would have to drag my friend but he wanted to go as much as I did. Sometimes I need a little push and the fact he wanted to go insured I went. I’m not saying I haven’t wanted to go in the past. In fact I would have loved to go but life conspired against me. Severe back pain, a couple of major surgeries and a hellish recovery put a stop to most of my extracurricular activities.

There was a point where I decided the pain wasn’t going to strip me of my writing anymore. So, in spite of the consequences, I went to my favorite writing spot (I’m there now) and wrote for as long as I could. What ended up happening was I was so sore from my stubbornness that I couldn’t handle much in the way of extra outings. As I eventually joined a new writing group and went to it every Sunday, the write-ins were off the table.

Now, all these months later, I’ve gone through physical therapy and while I’m not in perfect condition, I am much better and more determined than ever.

The result of making up my mind was unexpected: writer’s block. For a while I thought it was more writer’s funk but nope, I was fully blocked. I have a couple of stories completely plotted and the writing part should have been easy but the tank was empty. I did write a bit but it was all crap.

I tried changing projects and it didn’t work. I came up with something new but then stalled quickly. Writing prompts were a bust. Even my well of undeveloped ideas gave me nothing.

The new idea was slowly forming. When I say slow, I mean slug crossed with sloth slow. It will probably be my project for November at this rate.

Then something sparked. Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt. Within minutes I had the most ridiculous bad story idea. When I say bad, I mean deliberately bad, because it was funny that way, well at least I think so. Click here to read it. It was the first thing I wrote in weeks.

After I was still not coming up with much but tiny ideas were sprouting. I went to the write-in and after bouncing ideas off my friend and listening to suggestions my new story started growing. I’m still not ready to write it but I’ll develop it a bit and shelve it until November.

Yesterday at the writing group meeting the second spark occurred. Someone saved me from having to give the group a picture prompt by offering to post one. I was thrilled because I would have over thought it and agonized about which picture to use. She found a photo and posted it to our Facebook group right away.

I looked at it and was instantly intrigued. I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s a person, somewhat androgynous made of smoke or more accurately: going up in smoke. My muse metaphorically clapped in glee and my first idea formed. Then the second took over. Next the two ideas merged and a story was born. I’ll be working on it today, maybe for several days.

The length of this one is undetermined. At this point I think it will be flash fiction – 500 words or so, but it has the potential to become a longer short story. Perhaps even a novel. It’s hard to know because I’m in love with the idea. For all I know this could be like a rebound relationship after being dumped. People always jump into them and it rarely works out. That’s probably a bad comparison since my muse took me back after dumping me and watching me suffer for a while. Believe me, I appreciate it more than I ever did now!

If the short version of the story doesn’t suck I’ll post it when I’m finished. Wish me luck, I think I might need it this time!

Physical Therapy: Today I told the guy working with me I was done. I’m not giving up, it just isn’t doing anything for me I can’t do on my own. I’ll admit I feel like they were willing to keep me there as long as my insurance paid, which was for an astonishing 30 visits, whether I needed it or not. Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t have been bad for me but if it’s not helping then it’s silly to keep milking the insurance.

I said it nicely and the guy was disappointed but understood. He wasn’t my regular therapist but I work with him a lot. He told me he would talk to my therapist and on Wednesday I’ll go in and talk about what exercises I can and can’t do.

Crunches are out of the question and anything requiring I lean back or twist are a no as well. I know I can’t do anything requiring I lift weight over my head, but I can do ones where I pull down. Basically anything forcing me to put a lot of pressure on my lower back needs to be avoided. I’ll bring a notepad and ask a lot of questions.

My biggest concern is I want to tone my arms but some of the best arm exercises affect the back too. I still won’t be able to do a ton of cardio but if I’m patient I can build into it.

I still have pain but not constant. I know what makes me feel better and what doesn’t. Sometimes I might push it too far but I’m learning to live with it. The surgery didn’t completely fix me but it certainly helped. So I’ll figure out what daily life is going to be like now.

Everything Else: There isn’t anything to report. I drew an awesome dragon and I’ll eventually work on coloring it in. I haven’t done any photography related activities since my vacation but I will soon, unless writing takes over (fingers crossed this happens).

I have an abscessed tooth and need a root canal. I was in agony last weekend but they gave me antibiotics so I’m okay now. I’m just waiting on the insurance company to say yes and figure out how much it’s going to cost and how I’m going to pay for it.

If this update had been written while I was still in pain it would have contained a lot more whining.

Shockingly, since I’m a big wimp with pain, I went to my writing group last week even though I was miserable. This new-found determination is disconcerting haha.

I’ll post the story and another update when I have something to report.

My Vacation So Far

Well, flying was terrible and wonderful. It was terrible because my back was killing me but wonderful because it took half a day to get to my in-laws house instead of a three day drive.

We haven’t done much yet for three reasons:

  1. It was rainy, which was a nice change for us after coming from dry west Texas.
  2. We we exhausted.
  3. I forgot most of my medication.

Number one had the effect of making spectacular photo ops. I got a really cool shot of a wet spider Web.

Two meant we went to bed early.

Number three started a stressful escapade that ended with a pharmacy here giving me a small amount of the nerve medicine. I’m SOL on the muscle relaxers but I did have a few with me so I’ll use them when I’m desperate.
We’re going to Philadelphia for a couple of days soon. I’ll be taking thousands of pictures there. We’re going to the aquarium and the zoo. I hope to find tacky souvenirs for my kids.

We are also going to a local place with waterfalls. From what I understand, there are multiple levels. Pictures will be forthcoming.

I haven’t written anything but I did draw a decent dragon. I’m not posting a photo of it! Well, not until I’m completely finished.

I’ll post another update when I can.


Everything Update

Writing Personal: I’ll save writing for the end of the post so I don’t humiliate myself immediately. I’m going on vacation soon. I’ll be in another state for a week and a half. The regular Wednesday and Saturday posts will go up but I’m not sure I will be able to post anything else while I’m gone.

We’re going to New Jersey to visit my husband’s family. We’ll also spend a couple of days in Philadelphia. I’ve never been there (with the exception of the airport and a drive through on the way to the beach). We’re going to do touristy things like go to the zoo, the aquarium and the art museum. I’ll buy silly souvenirs for my kids and take massive amounts of pictures.

There is a chance I’ll post some of these photos if I fall in love any of them but I doubt anyone wants to see hundreds of shots of historical sites and ocean life.

Also, my husband says there is an abandoned summer camp near his parent’s house. I’m crossing my fingers we can get in there so I can take creepy pictures.

Photography: Speaking of photos, I’ve taken close to none lately. It was a choice but not one I wanted to make. Since I’m in physical therapy I decided I better not do anything to mess with it. I’m putting in a lot of hard work and I don’t want to sabotage my efforts by getting down on the pavement to take pictures of bugs or climb through foliage to find just the right shot and end up hurting myself.

The last time I pulled out the camera was the 4th of July. Most of those photos were of family. I really should edit those and send them out the people I told I would. Maybe after vacation.

Physical Therapy: Honestly, I don’t know how it’s going. In the beginning there was slow and steady progress. Then I felt like I hit a plateau. They increased the intensity on a couple of things but my back was in a phase of wanting to cause trouble so we didn’t push too far. The last two times I went I asked for more weights on a couple of exercises and it worked out well. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be doing this.

I also don’t think it’s helping the way my neurosurgeon hoped it would. I know he didn’t really think it would do the trick. I suspect he wanted me to try it just in case it worked.

At a recent appointment with the pain management doctor I was told something I didn’t want to hear but was also relieved to find out. After physical therapy if I still had pain they want to do another injection. The doctor said it will be more difficult (for him, not me) because of the fusion but ‘could’ work for me.

The relief was due to remembering the surgeon’s concern about the disk above the fusion. If none of this works I either put up with the pain (says the woman with the minuscule amount of pain tolerance) or start down the surgery road again. The first few weeks after the fusion were the worst of my life (pain-wise) so I hope to avoid going there again.

Reading: I finally finished the quad I’ve tried to read for months. I’ll probably start something new while on vacation when there is downtime and on the plane.

How did I find the time to read? Well, that brings me to my biggest problem…

Writing: What writing? My muse is MIA with no hint of where she went, how she’s avoiding detection or when she’ll be back. I use the word ‘she’ because she is me and I refuse to use the word ‘it’ when referring to my creativity.

I don’t know if I’m simply flighty or if this is a true case of writer’s block. Sometimes I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think it’s possible to be blocked on certain stories but there are always things to write about. They might not be the things you want to write but you can still write.

Other times, like the last couple of weeks, I believe you can be blocked from writing everything. This was the case for me. I tried working on my WIP. I attempted to plot a new story idea. I even searched through writing prompts – my own and others. Nothing worked. My lack of belief in writer’s block was tested.

Hell, I couldn’t even write a blog post until this one (which gives me hope)!

The one thing I have been able to do is think about writing. It didn’t get me doing the physical act but I know myself well enough to know there are seeds planted and eventually they will turn into words on a page.

There is one thing I believe will help the most with pulling me out of this slump. I’m not taking my laptop on vacation. I only packed one composition book, my Moleskine notebook and pocket journal. If I get inspired I will have to physically write stuff down. This is good for me. It’s a completely different creative process putting pen to paper than sitting staring at a screen.

I’ve tried writing freehand during this impasse and it didn’t work but I’ll be in a different environment for 9 days. Something is bound to happen. I live in the flattest place you can imagine with few trees and plenty of wide open spaces.

For a time I’ll be surrounded by hills and forest. I’ll visit historic sites and see animals that aren’t dogs and house cats. Maybe the abandoned boy scouts camp will inspire a creepy story or the threat of bears will make for a great suspenseful piece. My in-laws see bears in their backyard all the time so this is a real possibility and yes I’m terrified about it haha.

Street photography could bring up some ideas as well. Either way, the potential is there. Still, I type faster than I write with a pen. I hope to regret leaving my computer at home. I’d rather have the problem of too much to say to only use paper than the issues I’m having now.

Potential disaster/amazingness: The end of July and beginning of August every year is something I fear. Traditionally during this time something big happens, normally a bad and expensive something.

One year it was lightning striking the apartment we lived in and its subsequent destruction. The next year a lady destroyed our fence while trying to run down her husband with her car. There was the time we woke up to find our car had been totaled while parked in front of the house (something we normally don’t do). Last year my appendix tried its very hardest to rupture and I was forced to have emergency surgery while on vacation. Ugh, I could go on and on.

This year I’m due for something big and good to happen. Five years ago I married the most amazing man on the planet. It even rained on our wedding day. Not only is that considered good luck but it was during an awful drought and it was the first rain my area had in four months.

Since the good things seem to happen every five years, I’m hopeful. I’ll settle for a nice, uninterrupted vacation and the return of my muse.

Photo taken by me. I can’t believe I’m putting something up here with my awful handwriting! I wrote slow and this is as good as it gets. Also, look at the detail on the leather journal! I picked it up during an Art’s Festival in my home town. It was expensive and worth every penny. I was going to make the picture black and white, and I still might if I decide to use it again, but this first time I wanted it unedited so you all could see why I love this journal.

Sidenote: I’ve never had a Philly cheesesteak. I hate onions so I’m not going to get an authentic representation but I’ll try it and report back.

Another sidenote: It isn’t fiction but I just wrote almost 1400 words for this post. I think my muse is thinking about returning! That said, pardon the lengthy post!

To The Pokemon Party Poopers Out There

Does what others do in their free time really matter to you? What is it about someone having fun with something you don’t care for that bothers you so much?

It’s amazing to me to see so many aggressively uninterested people on the attack. Maybe it’s me. I don’t like watching golf, nor playing it, but I don’t get on Facebook and write long posts about how awful it is that others like it and play all the time. I am not into racing but I don’t tweet negative crap about the people who are.

There are things out there I actively despise, such as really badly written books some women obsess over that get made into really bad movies. But I don’t hate the authors or write about how terrible the obsessed ladies are just because I don’t understand the appeal. So yeah, it could be I simply have no experience with this kind of nastiness, except what I’m seeing.

Someone I know recently posted a rant on Facebook. It consisted of all the things they were fed up with, including politics, hatred, etc. In the list was Pokemon Go (which inspired this post). Now this particular person had a negative experience with someone playing the game so I understand her frustration and I want to address the bad stuff about it, especially because I expect to be yelled at for all this.

Any leisure activity taken to extremes is bad. Obsession to the point of neglecting responsibilities is stupid and destructive. When I gripe about Pokemon haters I am not talking about the ones who are upset because someone took it too far.

I’m talking to the casual haters. Like the older lady at the gym who gave me the dirtiest look as she watched me catch a Pokemon in the locker room. I was standing in front of my locker, nowhere near anyone or blocking anything. I was hurting no one and affecting no one. She looked at my phone, glared and turned to her friend to piss and moan about how kids these days should find better hobbies. She talked about some girly things and they walked out in a huff.

First and foremost, I wanted to thank her for calling me a kid. I said she was older but I mean maybe 20 years older, not old. As a 40 something woman, I will never be upset at being thought of as younger.

Second, piss off lady! I can’t stand to do needle work or crotchet. I don’t want to make quilts or play whatever the hell card game she mentioned. I didn’t give her a dirty look and disparage her hobbies.

I just don’t see how playing a game, any game, for fun is any different from what others do for entertainment/hobbies. Do you come home from work every day and watch an hour or three of TV? What are you accomplishing while sitting on the couch for so long? Relaxation and fun is what you’re accomplishing, just like me when I’m playing games.

Are you watching every baseball/basketball/hockey/football game of the season? What do you get out of it? Recreation, fun, excitement, whatever, same as me and my family when we’re playing or talking about our games.

Do you play golf? You know what I’m going to ask here. Well, my son and his friends, including the new ones he’s made playing, get what you get, they have fun, competition, exercise in the form of walking and possible sunburns, just like you!

So why are people so irritated? Sometimes I think most simply want something to be pissed off about. Other times I think it’s misinformation. Such as the assumption it’s only young people who play the game.

My whole family plays. One of my writer friends posted about seeing a group of nurses who roamed around the park for part of their lunch break catching Pokemon and having a blast. I caught two at the gym, taking all of 30 seconds before I began my work out. Another writer friend played when she couldn’t write and wasn’t at work, affecting no one. I personally saw a man pull up to a Poke Stop with his family in the car. They all were clearly having fun as they played. Oh and the man old enough to be my father I saw playing seemed to enjoy himself too. I should ask him to come to the gym and meet quilting lady.

So to all the Pokemon party poopers out there, you do you’re thing, I’ll do mine. I promise not to get angry at your hobbies and you will probably continue to be negative and unhappy (and I’ll keep not understanding you). All the while I’ll have fun and bond with my children and enjoy the silly times with my husband as we keep playing Pokemon Go until we get tired of it, if we do.

The picture is of the beauty I caught at the gym, Planet Fitness, not a Pokemon gym.



Everything Update 7/12/2016

Writing: I’m struggling a bit. I want to write, I need to, but once again, names are distracting me from the actual act of writing. This time it’s place names. I started with placeholder names such as: the central realm, the desert city/state, the glass desert, the forgotten race’s valley, Vanaiya’s realm (west), the northern realm and the icy wastes.

I figured if some good names came to me I would find and replace those. There was no hurry as I know it’s hard for me to come up with the perfect names (yes, I overthink and I’m picky). However, today all I can think about are these places.

I’m logical/experienced enough to know this is fear. I’ve spent so much time preparing to write, I’m nervous about getting on with it.So my muse throws out new novel ideas, stuff from books I’ve put on hold, short story plot seeds, and now, after dodging those roadblocks, out comes the desire for details in this project. I don’t need to do this right now, but I want to!

Did I mention I also keep thinking about object and smaller place names? For example: the seaport town, the twin trading villages and the capitol. There is an important scepter in this work. At present I refer to it as the God Scepter. I’m not going to keep the name but it works for now. I also refer to a group of horses as the God Herd and where they live is the God Herd grazing grounds. There are several more places and items beginning with ‘God’ as well. Again, this is so I can go back later and just find/replace when I figure out their real names. I guess today could be the day.

Now I know some of you out there will be appalled these people, animals, places, and things didn’t have names from the beginning. First, we all write different and there is no correct way or order to do it. Second, this story is fairly sprawling and I was exciting to jump in. I didn’t want to spend weeks trying to figure out every detail first. Third. I started this story in 2003, back when I was still afraid to write and being actively discouraged from doing so. All I really wanted was to write as much as possible before I inevitably gave up on writing again. Thankfully I’ve changed and kicked the discourager (probably not a word) out of my life.

The story is nothing like the idea I had all those years ago, which is good. I’ve said this before and I maintain I was not good enough to write the story I wanted to write back then. Once I let myself just be a writer, the story evolved and now I can finally write it. I’m actually glad it was on the back-burner for so long as my fear has lessened while my skill has grown. If I’d stuck with it I wouldn’t have written 80 short stories and 12 novels (at various degrees of completion).

So back to the names issue. I don’t know what I’ll do about it. Maybe I’ll spend some time this morning trying to figure out a few and then try to write some scenes involving whatever I’ve named. I might do some short stories involving these places/things just to give me a feel for what they want to be named. If I do, I’ll post some soon.

What is clear is I’m not ready to jump just writing the story today. At least not in a linear fashion. Perhaps if I jump around to write about my trouble places or items, I can trick my muse. If you are also a writer then you know you can’t bully a muse. It has to be enticed, cajoled, placated or tricked. If you’re not a writer, trust me on this. Forcing one’s muse is a good way to ensure writer’s block.

I definitely will not be working on any other project. The triple E story is calling to me but it will have to wait. Even The Order of Life is trying to worm its way into my head but I’m shutting it down. Today is The Glass Desert day, no matter what part of it I do.

Photography: I decided not to do the advanced photography class until after my vacation. With my writing work in progress going mostly well, I know I won’t have time to dedicate to an involved class. I believe the next time it’s available is September. That’s actually perfect because by then my kid will be back in school and I should (fingers crossed) be finished with the first draft of my novel and hopefully be working on revision.

I signed up for a Photoshop and a Lightroom class. Both start right before my vacation but they are work at your own pace classes so it will be fine. What is not fine is my copy of Lightroom is the devil. It won’t load, it won’t uninstall and I can’t figure out how to fix it. I’ve tried so many things I want to scream. Hmm, perhaps this annoyance is why I’m so distracted with my writing today. I shouldn’t have tried with the damn program again this morning.

I haven’t been out to take pictures in weeks but I have the very best excuse. I live in west Texas (south plains, but more northern), and it’s been hot. We’ve had days top out at 109, but mostly around 105. I’m not only a wimp in the heat (look up weird facts about redheads) but I also burn easily, even with sunscreen on. No picture is worth that!

Reading: I read a little last week but not what I thought I would. I have a novel by a friend to read but I was in the middle of a long series when I got it. I had put the series down but when I wasn’t feeling good last week I picked it back up. One day I read half a book. I never have time to read that much!

I read for 15 minutes twice a week after physical therapy when they hook me up to the stim machine and have me lay on the hottest heating pad thing on the planet (and if I’m early I read in the waiting room). If my back starts hurting during the day while I’m at home, I’ll pick up my book and read for 10-20 minutes while I lay down. If I have an appointment I’ll take a book and read while sitting there. Oh and occasionally for a bit before bed. That’s it. The rest of my time alone is spent working on my own book. It was nice to read a little more than normal though.

Working out: I still go to the gym every day, except the day I was feeling so yicky last week and I haven’t gone yet today. Since I’m still in physical therapy I only do cardio, mostly on an elliptical, but occasionally I get on the recumbent bike. To keep from hurting my back I do 10 minutes at a time, then pace around for a minute or two. I always do at least two sets of that time but the third depends on how I’m feeling. If I feel no pain I do another 10 minutes or get on the bike for five (it hurts my tailbone to do longer).

If I do the bike then I tend to get back on the elliptical afterward for 6 minutes. If I’m in pain then, depending on how much, I either stop or do one more set for 6-8 minutes.

It’s so complicated with back pain. Sometimes the pain means I haven’t done enough and other times it’s too much. I can normally tell the difference but I’ve been wrong and in this case, being wrong seriously sucks!

Physical Therapy: Speaking of sucks, PT is not going well. In the beginning I felt pain from between my shoulder blades down to my surgical site (lowest disk). The higher pain is only occasional now but the mid back pain (muscular) is about the same. The lower back pain hasn’t gotten better since the initial week or two. Therapy works but only to a point. I’m almost at 6 weeks and I’m disheartened at the fact that it no longer works for me.

I did have a little setback when one of the therapist did some stuff that hurt me. I’m hoping this is the issue because a setback doesn’t mean I’m done, it only means I have to keep going a little longer. However, I don’t believe it’s the problem, but we’ll see. Oh, and that guy won’t even look at me now.

Other Writing: NO! At least not for today. I’m sticking to my WIP! Maybe later in the week I’ll try to write some flash fiction. What I need is some really good ideas or writing prompts. Even my own prompts aren’t working for me. I think I’m simply not in flash fiction mode.

Everything else: I got to see my Grandmother last night. I don’t see her very often so it was great. I’m in pain from sitting on her couch, which desperately needs to be replaced but it was worth it. Actually, that couch is the reason I went out to write before going to work out. I was getting ready and kept thinking maybe I would just work out and go home. Then I thought maybe I would just stay home. These thoughts kept evolving, making me stand in the middle of my bedroom hesitating.

When I realized there was a chance I might do only one thing this morning, I chose writing. If I don’t go to the gym I’ll survive because I have physical therapy today. I’m due for them to make it harder anyway. If I didn’t write, well, everything from writer’s guilt to getting further behind would be the result. Not happening! So I took some Tylenol and got in the car.

Before I started writing I caught a Pokemon lol. I got curious so I downloaded the silly game. The one I caught was sitting on my laptop. I took it as a sign to put the phone down and get to work!

My daughters are playing the game and since I’m a cool mom, I took the youngest around to all the stops so she could get stuff, which meant I got stuff too! I won’t play for long but for now it’s cute and fun.




Two Days Ago Was The Day…

I thought today was the day, but I was wrong. My plan was to finish up with characters after the gym. I knew I only had a few more things to do and was excited to get to work.

The smile on my face as I walked into my writing spot made strangers stare. They probably thought I was crazy but I made them smile too. I pulled out my laptop and my notebook. While waiting for the computer to boot up I turned to the page I knew I was on and stopped in surprise. I’d already finished up that character Tuesday, cool right? So I went to the next one. It was done too. Man I must have lost my mind between then and now. I completely forgot I’d gotten so far.

It meant there was only two more characters to work on. Or not. On the third discovery I was laughing (again with making strangers question my sanity). On the final guy I just sat back and stared at nothing, actually some random stranger but I was zoned and didn’t know it until he smiled hahaha.

How on earth could I not remember I finally reached a major goal? Pain, as it turns out. On Tuesday I was still in a lot of pain from whatever I did to mess up my middle back and I had physical therapy late in the afternoon. It went okay until the doctor worked on my back. I went home sore and grumpy. To be honest, when I finished writing for the day and had to stop to go to therapy I was already grumpy.

I wrote in a new, miserable place that day. The chairs sucked, not helping the pain at all and there were bugs. Two flies made it their life mission to irritate me for the duration and I was forced to murder the weirdest looking ant I’ve ever seen, on a page I was writing on. Afterwards I kept thinking there were ants on me, just like every time a bug gets closer than 20 feet. I was miserable and distracted by the time my “stop what you’re doing and leave now” alarm went off.

Now looking back through those last few things I wrote, I can see my mood reflected. My handwriting is readable, but only to me, and with a lot of effort. The last sentence I wrote was: “It’s very upsetting!” I’m almost positive I groaned when I read it. First, I try not to use the word very, especially not in dialogue, because I’m only going to edit it out later. Second, it was said in this characters adopted persona (a big baby, and super annoying), but I was writing from his real viewpoint. Still, I’m not disappointed with what was written.

The most important thing is I’m done with character building! Now it’s time to write. Hopefully what I write will be nothing like this post. I’m glad I’m not writing this in Word, which would yell at me for how many passive sentences I used.

Wish me luck. I’ll need it because I’m nervous about digging into this story again after so long. It’s changed so much since it was first conceived, I hope I know where I’m going with it. I’ll roll with it and knock this story out!

Sidenote: This is day four of my eye twitch!

Photo by Ryan McGuire