Sunday Yard Sales and Writing

Right now I am sitting on my front porch with my computer open before me. It is pleasant and sunny with a strong breeze blowing the wind chimes. Two tables are set up at the end of my driveway with various items decorating the tops in the hopes of enticing some random person into handing over cash.  This was not my idea.

54514151_10210688318363354_3942095613344088064_oYesterday I went to a small convention in Chattanooga. Even though I was running on only a couple of hours of sleep, I had a good time. I picked up a couple of graphic novels and a nine-tailed plushy of a kitsune in glasses. It was fun. It was Metrotham Con’s inaugural year and I think I just may return for year two if they manage it.

My weekends are usually divided up into a day where I actually go out among the masses and accomplish things like socializing or grocery shopping, and a day where I stay home and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Yesterday was my do things day. Today was supposed to be my stay home and do-nothing-unless-it-involves-a-creative-endeavor day.

Then my mom decided she wanted to have a yard sale. At my house. On a Sunday. At one o’clock in the afternoon. label-2016248_1280

She is having a bad depression day too which isn’t making life any easier. Signs weren’t put up to advertise her impromptu yard sale until 2 o’clock. We haven’t had anyone stop by yet but I am still sitting here waiting. She decided to run home and see if she could convince my dad to come back with her, so now I am temporarily in charge. I put a few of my books on the table with her stuff because, why not?

If she does manage to get my dad to return with her maybe I will cook dinner for all of us or something. I highly suspect that no one will return and in about an hour I will be packing away her yard sale. That is okay too, I guess.

So far this yard sale hasn’t generated any revenue unless you count words. I started a new story and have been fighting formatting for the new poetry book I’ve been trying to get out. I also managed to write this post. If this day had gone the way I planned, I probably would have never changed out of my pajamas and would have stayed inside reading. I consider that a perfectly reasonable way to spend a day off. However, this has maybe turned out better. Sitting out here is rather relaxing and peaceful. Duke

 

Advertisements

Back to School and Bad Days

road-sign-940644_1280I’ve had a couple of unpleasant days in a row.  An inability to sleep at night has caused me to oversleep the past couple of days. Which means I have woken up late and the dog didn’t get to go out to do her business on time. So I have quite literally woken up to shit for two days.

As you can imagine cleaning up such a mess isn’t something I want to do before coffee. However, it is necessary. It isn’t the dog’s fault.

I am not sure if it is this unpleasant chore that sets my mood for the day or the lack of Exhaustedproper sleep but I have definitely been a grouch. Fighting the crowds to get the kids ready for school hasn’t helped. My youngest is in middle school and on the autism spectrum. He is high functioning so when he is having a good day you can hardly tell. But he is always very particular about things

For example, he will only wear khakis and shirts with Sonic the Hedgehog on them to school. It is his self-imposed uniform. Finding Sonic the Hedgehog shirts, until recently, has been an issue all on its own. Finding them in his size is an even greater challenge. Fortunately, he has a grandmother on his dad’s side with an embroidery machine.

doomSchool starts tomorrow. I am as prepared as I can be. I will be up by five in the morning because I know that if I want him to school on time that is when I must begin the day. I had nightmares all last night about being late and losing things.

Today I am trying to relax. There is a Native American thing going on at a local park that I want to go to but I am honestly peopled out. I also don’t have money to spare. School supplies and fees took more than I was expecting and I have to come up with a new way to juggle bills.

Right now I am watching a documentary series called Underworld At War. It is all about crime in Britain during World War II. The second episode was an account of Neville Heath; a conman and killer. It also covered the thoughts and challenges facing a school girl named Daphne, who fought to get an education during the turbulent times and realize her dream of becoming a teacher.

The now-retired Headmistress read excerpts from the diary she

vintage_childrens_reading_collection_poster-re1e1e6aba9b4490db9a80226b548ae57_26gc_400

kept during 1940. She spoke of doing homework during air raids and by oil lamp. She mentioned the time a bomb went off just as her father opened a door and how the blast blew him back onto the stove.

It made me think about how valuable that once school girl’s diary is to history and how it now gives us a more complete picture of the era. Of course, that wasn’t why she kept her journal. She just used it to record her thoughts. She probably never intended to share those thoughts with anyone else.

Today we write blogs and share them with the world. We keep online journals that are accessible to people in countries we will probably never see. It is an immediate transfer of information on daily life.

My ramblings of a couple of bad days don’t hold a candle to watching your father get blown back by an enemy’s explosive device. The information I am sharing isn’t all that useful from my current standpoint. I share it anyway because it allows me to get thoughts and worries out of my own head. I doubt they will even be of any use to future generations, but it does make you pause to think. Daphne didn’t expect her words to hold much value either.

o'connor

Tied up in stress knots

cat-320537_1920My brain feels like dirty, knotted, tangled string. Usually when I get out of work for the week I am eventually able to shake off work like pool water and focus on the part of my life that is the reason I work like I do. Even though I am free from my night job today and I slept last night, I feel depressed. I don’t know if it was the extra work day, the busy week, or the constant feeling that I carry most of my shift after all the day people leave.

My daughter is doing her teenaged angst thing again because she is having trouble at school with grades and other kids. I imagine she feels the same about school as I do work. I wish I could fix it all.

I wish I could write. I know as a writer, unless you are a giant name, it is a struggle to make art-89198_1920a living. I know that if I do get all the books that I have in progress finished and out, and even if they do well, I would not be making more that I do now. I would still be balancing bills and paying late fees. However, I think that would be better.
I don’t know how to explain it. I would still be under pressure and stress. I would be working without a safety net. There would be no guarantee I would bring in money. However, being able to pay bills without my shoulders being partially dislocated from heavy stock and my upper back in constant pain from spending hours bent over hanging stickers has its appeal.

road-sign-940644_1280I know this isn’t very cheerful for a blog post. I didn’t really intend to write a post but this is where my fingers lead me when I decided to try to write out my current problems. I could have tucked it away in a writing folder or scribbled it out in my journal, but I thought maybe if I put it here I might get some feed back. Maybe someone might have an idea. At the very least if there is someone else out there feeling the same they will know they are not alone.

 

A Monday For Facing Fears

Hello. It is Monday again. The sky is overcast and the grass is still damp with dew. I have been up for a bit but I am just now sitting down to write this. I have been stalling.

You see, if I sit down and write a blog post that means it is really Monday. This Monday. The Monday where I once again have to do something that I don’t really want to do because it scares me a little.

Now before any of you get ideas of doctor appointments or tightrope walking into your heads, it really isn’t that big of a deal to the rest of the world. Once I go and get things over with it won’t seem like a big deal to me either. It is the time before I actually step out of my door that is the worst.

I have to go out into the world and adult today. Yes adult can be used as a verb. If you don’t think so, just wait. One day you will do a thing and it will be something that is necessary but not really something you want to do. In fact you would probably like to avoid that thing all together. However, you will take a deep breath and do it anyway. That is adulting. (In some cases “adulting” can be not doing a thing you do really want to do.)

I have to put on my adult costume and go pretend to be something I’m not. I am an adult. I have bills, pets, kids, laundry and everything. It all gets paid, fed, or washed. But to the rest of the world I get the feeling that I am just not quite adult enough. I have to go confront the local school board over my son today. I may even be home schooling before the day is out.

(Summary of the issue is that they want my social anxiety afflicted son to move schools during his last year of primary because he is not zoned for the school he has attended since kindergarten. Makes sense except for the fact he has never been zoned for that school but it hasn’t been a problem until now.)

Sometimes I feel I have to over adult because once someone in power find out I am a single mom, for some reason my adult meter drops. I watch it happen. There is this little smirk that comes up in the corner of their mouths and their eyes say “Oh, that’s what we are dealing with.”

If they find out I am pursuing the dream of being a writer the meter drops even more. It is like I am a little kid dressed up in her mom’s shoes and no longer have to be taken seriously. I hate, hate, hate being humored or patronized. If you are going to look down on me at least do it in a way that gives me a chance to fight back.

I am not on welfare. I am paying my own mortgage. I work 72 hours in one week, then come home and do all the other stuff people have to do and be mom.  (Okay my incredibly wonderful mother helps me out with some of that.) Then I write because I am a writer. I can and I will pursue that dream. Just because I happen to not have a mate does not mean I have to give up on everything and go wallow in how hard life is.

I even have a freaking vegetable garden in the back yard! If anything I feel like they should be taking me more serious or at least trying help me out a little. But that is not the way it goes. Instead I am silently put into a stereotype box and anything I say from that point on will be viewed wearing shades colored by that box.

It is incredibly frustrating and I don’t like confrontation to begin with. Writing it all out here has helped. I don’t feel so uneasy now. I am going to go forth into battle before my courage fades. Wish me luck.

Beware The Writer/ My Ego

coffee mugThere are  times when being a writer goes to my head. Like this morning for example. My daughter has a big test today and asked if I would take her by a coffee shop before school. Since coffee sounded good to me too I agreed. So I dropped my son of at his primary school and took my daughter out for caffeine.

Yes, I know. Some of you are saying that is  horrible parenting, but there is  more sugar than caffeine in her drink. It is like glorified chocolate milk. She thinks she is drinking coffee and feels adult, while I con her into eating breakfast which is really what wakes her up. (Shhh that is parental trickery.)

Anyway, the line at the drive through was roughly 140,000 cars long so I decided to go in. My hair was pulled back in a pony tail and I was wearing sweats because it was chilly this morning. I originally had no plans of getting out of the car. I was just going to drop the kids off and come home to work in the garden.

(Before I continue, I should  mention that I have worked as a barista before. I understand what it is like on the other side of the counter. I did it for years.)

So I walked inside and I am the third person in line. Waiting patiently, I pick out the food I am going to order and watch the antics of the a very enthusiastic child in line ahead of me. Then suddenly it is my turn and I order, pay, leave a tip, and step to the side to await my food and drink.

Usually, they go over and bag up the food first. Instead the young man took the next person in line. Which I was okay with because it is Monday morning and all. People need their coffee or tea. Fifteen minutes later my drinks were ready at the other counter but I still hadn’t received my food.

I watched the young man rush around and prepare things for the other customers who came after me. I tried to catch his eye but he refused to look up. That was when I started to get annoyed.

In my head I was having a conversation along the lines of: Yes I am dressed down. If you give me my stuff I will leave! I have work to do. Oh no you did not just ignore me! You do not realize who you are dealing with my young man! Do you want that receding hair line immortalized forever in words?…tumblr_mlkf0pWOiX1s0x8bxo1_500

It went like that for another few minutes until I came to the realization that I sounded  like Chaucer from the movie A Knight’s Tale. Fortunately, a nice young lady came up and asked if she could be of assistance so I got my food and my daughter to school on time, even if she had to eat a bit hurriedly.

The saying is: “Writer’s get their revenge in print.”

I will not say I have never written people who have ticked me off into a story. Those annoying people are a valuable resource for a writer because they bring out strong emotions that translate to page and then to the reader. However, not  even that person’s mother would recognize them in my prose, because it is more that I write the feeling of them rather than the actual person. Writer’s draw on personal experience. That means both the good and the bad.

I even have a t-shirt that offers a disclaimer. It warns: “Be careful or you could end up in my novel.”

P.S.

For those interested, here is the quote from the character Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale.

“I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.”~ Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale

Shooting myself in the creative foot

LibertyCon is this weekend and I am really looking forward to it.  I need a motivation boost.  I watched a movie recently, called Author’s Anonymous.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you keep it that way.

I know some people who have watched and liked it. To me it was like a two hour writer’s soul sucking vampire in digital form.  I was extremely depressed after I forced myself to watch it all the way through.  I paid money to rent it so I was too stubborn to turn the thing off like I should have.

The movie was about a writing group.  It was filmed like a camera crew following each of the characters around for a documentary.  You had the older man, a Tom Clancy wanna be. (Who hated Tom Clancy) You had they younger guy who worked two jobs and had major writer’s block and too focused on the pretty blonde girl in the group. (She was the actress who plays Penny on the show Big Bang Theory.)

There was the married couple; a bad romance writer with one manuscript and her optometrist husband who only recorded ideas for novels on a digital recorder.  Then there was the undereducated pretty blonde who lived with her mother, did nothing but write and ended up with a book contract before everyone else.

I don’t remember any of the character’s names. I could look them up but I am trying to forget the whole movie.  Really, it could be a good example of what not to do as a writer. It does a good job of portraying jealously and back biting.  The older man even falls for a Vanity Publisher.  His book turns out awful with a bad cover and the blurb in Chinese instead of English.

I still haven’t pinpointed exactly why the movie affected me so much. It felt like food poisoning only for writing.  Maybe because of the way it portrayed writers?  But then a lot of what they showed was true. Extreme versions maybe, but I have met people similar.

Maybe it’s because I can identify with some of the characters. I am educated. I read a lot. But I am not as well educated as others and I am writing in between life.  I have to work because I have kids and cats to feed and so far no one has bought any of my stories.

My goal is to be a hybrid author. To both self publish and traditionally publish. The movie certainly showed self publishing in the worst light. Vanity publishers are to be avoided. There are other ways, but those were not even mentioned.

Showing all the options is too much to be expected of a movie that is not a documentary. I do realize that. I am just trying to figure out why watching Author’s Anonymous felt like shooting myself in the creative foot.

So perhaps it is because I can see a little bits of the more vulnerable sides of my own life in three of the five main characters.  I’ve never read the Great Gatsby, I self publish, and I work a job not related to writing.  I never considered these really bad things until this movie. It made me feel like a charlatan or a fraud to call myself a writer.

And if I share faults with three of the five then what about the other two?  Are there things that I don’t see in myself?  Maybe I don’t write as well as I thought I did?

Yeah this movie really crushed my ego.  Hopefully I will be able to shake off the effects of it soon.

 

Bad neighbors, a rant

Sunday morning dawned wearing a foggy cloak and with air thick enough you could drink it.  The temperature outside was pleasant enough that the humidity wasn’t choking. I greeted the day with a smile.

It took two hours for that smile to be wiped from my face.  I have a neighbor; a bony thin, shaved head, scarecrow of a man who owns a pelt gun and likes to shoot doves.  Now, I am mourning_dove_sim_2well aware that mourning doves are considered game birds.  I understand people hunt them to eat.  I don’t have much of a problem with that. (Especially with the way grocery prices have risen.)

However, I live in a subdivision inside city limits. The elderly woman directly across the street, has a bird feeder in her front yard and I some times toss out old bread for whatever wants it.  There are many birds in my neighborhood and almost just as many cats.  The two seem to mostly coexist except for the occasional blue jay corpse I find half eaten on my door step.  (The blue jays delight in stealing cat food off the porch. So this may be a case of it’s in my bowl, I’m going to eat it.)

I looked up from my computer and out the window Sunday morning. I was not happy to see my scarecrow of a neighbor walking down the street, swing his pelt gun around like a color guard from a bad marching band.  In fact I saw red.  I don’t like people shooting any type of gun in near my home, but especially if they don’t respect the weapon.  And yes, a pelt gun is a weapon. It can kill, as Mr. Dove-killer proved.

I watched from my window as he looked to the power lines searching for prey.  Finally sighting a target, he shot at a dove two houses down. It took him at least four tries to kill the poor thing. (I know he hit it a couple of times before he killed it because I saw feathers fly.)

Mourning doves mate for life.  Life for them, in the wild, can be up to 10 years but they mdovem1have a high mortality rate. Often chicks don’t make it through their first year but they are not endangered or anything.

I would like to say that I stepped out of the house and confronted the man.  This isn’t the first time I’ve wanted to.  But calmer heads than mine have cautioned me otherwise, because if he can kill a bird what is to stop him from killing a cat?  So instead I seethed from inside the house and sat down to write about it.

I should also say that I have other reasons to dislike this neighbor and those reasons may also be fueling the anger I feel.

Him and his family have a black mongrel on a chain in their front yard.  My mom has sneaked over to their house to untangle the animal from its chain and to give it water in the Summer.  Its a sweet dog but not cared for.  I like animals. I don’t like people who neglect them.

There is a low speed limit in residential areas for a reason. Children play up and down my street.  My children play in our drive way. These neighbors however, like to squeal tires and burn out of their drive way getting up to 50 mph.

At 2am, 3am, 4am, ect. I am often woken up by revving motors.  There are always three to four cars in their driveway.  I used to like to sit on my front porch steps and star gaze. I can’t do that any more because of the spot light in the yard across the street.  My dad was a mechanic. I understand about late nights trying to get a car fixed…but every night?

Right now my hope is that they will move.  I think they are renting the house rather than have bought it.  If they actually own the  home and are planning on staying for boilinggood…*sigh* I pot can only boil so long before it over flows.