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

Advertisements

An Update

Hello everyone. Long time, no chat. I know, I really should post more often but I did post a warning about my time being eaten by school, work, and kids.

So remember when I said I was going back to school in hopes that it would help me improve my writing? Well, I have managed to learn a few things.

  1.  I prefer writing for myself instead of my class and my teachers.
  2. I have to unlearn how to simplify.
  3. Teachers seem to want long exploratory paragraphs and information dumps rather than just sticking to the point.

Number 3 somewhat baffles me. I mean, part of me understands. They want to A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_wordsknow that you really know what you are talking about. Maybe I have learned to simplify too much? I used to read books that warned against information dumps in stories. I am beginning to fear I fixed something that wasn’t broken and now I have to unfix it.

I have to go to work in a few minutes and I have an exam tonight so that’s all for now. I just wanted to let people know I am still alive and my hiatus from my blog is only temporary. My posts may be irregular but they will still happen from time to time.

No Brakes?

rails-253134_1280Sometimes life moves so fast it feels as if you are going down hill on a runaway train. I keep thinking things are going to mellow out. My kids started back to school last week. I am still waiting for the newness to turn into routine. I need it to soon because next week I start back to school for the first time in years.

How am I supposed to toss another ball into the air when I am not certain that I can juggle what I have? Ready or not, my time in training at work will be over Thursday and I get to see if I can fend for myself in the wild…er I mean call center. (The wild would probably be easier.)

My new job will depend on what team I am picked for. Some people already know which study-1355437_1280teams they will be on. I don’t yet.  It kind of feels like I am back in middle school; the short, glasses wearing asthmatic everyone picked last.

I still feel like I am faking my way through knowing what I am doing. I do my best and make my best guesses but I’ve had a few moments where I’ve been pulled aside and had my mistakes pointed out. It isn’t malicious. I am glad they let me know. How else am I to learn?

It’s just that I have spent a long time more or less knowing how to do my job. This however, is all new and there is so much to absorb. Going in I did not realize it was going to be such an information dump. I worry that I am not up to the challenge.

So recap: The kids are back in school. New  work responsibilities start Thursday. ( I can’t even prepare because I don’t know what clown-587234_1280they will be.) Monday my classes start. The following Monday my schedule work changes.

If I can’t manage to juggle all of these responsibility balls, then I may run away and join the circus. Surely physical objects would be easier.

To write a book…

charlie-chaplin-392926_1280When I was in school I hated American History. I thought it was boring. I thought that since other countries had been around so much longer, they were obviously much more interesting.

Now that I am older, I am no longer so excluding. For the past few weeks I’ve been focused on the American Civil War. My attention was peaked last year when I did some family history research. It was more recently that I received a book of local ghost stories that pinged that interest again.

Then I spoke with another writer who I greatly admire. I told him that I had been thinking about writing a book that takes place during the civil war. I recounted what I had found out about my family, and he said: That sounds like a good place to start. Why don’t you?

That “Why don’t you?” Has been echoing around the empty cavern of my skull for weeks.

I tried to use the excuse, “Well, life has so many changes going on right now, with the new job and going back to school…”

My inner writer answered with, “You don’t work on the weekends and part of your degree is going to be in History anyway.”

Then the dragon of self doubt raised its head and said, “Do you really think you can find anime_dragon_1024x768-634320the time to write a book? Look how well that has worked in the past. You have three unfinished novels sitting on your computer right now. And remember that rejection letter. The one that hit the mark so well.”

The dragon almost got me. Then I remembered the rejection letter it was reminding me of was the catalyst I needed to pull up my boots and march back to school. The three unfinished novels reminded me that my current way of writing isn’t working very well and I need to try something new. (Not that those three will never be finished. Two are honestly in a rewrite stage but I changed things and got stuck in the muddle in the middle. Then proceeded to wallow in the muck.)

So now, with so many things already on my plate and with so many new challenges to face, I find myself stacking yet another task on top. I’m going to write a book. Sanderson Quote-800wi

The Only Constant Is Change

doctor wibbilyThe only constant is change. I am sure that is a quote from someone much smarter than I am. I cannot recall who it may have been. It is a truth that my life feels like it is trying to prove these last couple of months though.

I lost the best boss I’ve ever had, but was able to reposition her into a ‘awesome friend‘ slot. So she isn’t gone from my life, just from that one spot. I left the job I have spent nearly 7 years of my life at. The place that ate up half of my nights every year. I left behind good friends and routine. I even stopped writing for a period of time.

I had a moment of evaluation and came to the conclusion that things were not as they indianashould be and that I was not happy. Then I came up with a plan to fix that. It sounds easy but it was not. It was terrifying. It was a doubt filled tangle of What if’s. It was a massive black hole of: But how do/will I…

Then I took a step. And then another step. I am still scooting along, one step at a time. The ground still feels unstable beneath my feet but that hasn’t stopped me yet. The changes are probably not all over yet either. I am in transitional limbo. In September or October things should feel more solid.

hobbitI have a new job now. I am still in training and have five more weeks of it to go. I love it so far. My kids are signed up for a new school. I signed up to go back to school and my classes start mid August.  I no longer work nights. I no longer have to drag stacks of totes larger than I am. I started writing again.

I have no doubt that my writing will be the slowest thing to advance simply because of all the other obligations. Not because it isn’t important, but because it is. I have to learn patience with my writing.

I get in a hurry and I often don’t do the best job I can. I want the story told. However, I also Writing-furiously[1]need to tell the story right. I need to let go of the rush, rush, get-it-done and just tell the story. It’s like turning the oven up as high as it can go. Yeah, it will cook the pizza but it probably won’t be very tasty. I want to make tasty pizzas…er stories. (I am writing this too close to dinner time.)

Anyway, the point is I am taking more time with my writing and therefore I will hopefully be churning out a better quality of fiction. As a result of this and my other obligations I may not be updating my blog as often. My normal routine has been to post once a week on Mondays. From now on it may be once a month or once every two weeks. I am not sure yet.  I will try it until I decide that the schedule doesn’t work, and then change it again. Or life will change it for me.

Writer-once-upon-a-time-1024x576

Changes come to Camelot

Hello everyone. I’ve been slacking a bit lately when it comes to blog posts. The truth is life
has been full of changes recently, which has left my mind foggy. It is hard to pick one thing to write about when there is so much going on and it is even harder when you are smack dab in the middle of all the changes that are happening.

Change is one of the constants in life. Things always change. Today is a big day for change too. Today I say good bye to the best boss I’ve ever had the pleasure of working for. She is off to greener pastures (and hopefully better pay).

It isn’t good bye forever of course. It is just the boss/employee part of our life journey has come to an end. Now, I hope we will stay connected as friends.

There will be more at a later date of the other changes going on in my life, but for the moment I will leave you with a poem that pretty much sums up how I am feeling.castle-195105_1280

Camelot Falls

By Tammi A. Miller

Camelot has fallen

Mordred is at the gate

The table is now splintered

And our lives left up to fate

Our Royal leader must depart

To travel Avalon’s golden shores

We are knights without direction,

Boats who have come unmoored

We will not long stay adrift

Using knowledge our leader taught

Yet a bit of worldly good is gone

Such a truth can not be fought

Our banner has been trampled

The staff broken by unnamed foes

The colors stained and tarnished

Our morale crushed by heavy blows

We still have our beaten armor

And with it, weapons sharp

We can battle by strength and mind

Though what we lack is heart

We are without a sovereign true

Without a mentor to guide the path

We must choose all on our own

How to miss mistake’s quick lash

Camelot has fallen

Mordred is at the gate

The table is now splintered

And our lives left up to fate.

Snake tale

Yesterday my parents were sitting in their front yard enjoying the cooling evening. My mom saw movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to see their large black and white cat attacking something behind her car. She pointed it out to my dad, thinking the cat had found a beetle or something.

They watched for a moment as the cat swatted at whatever it was then leaped back before going on the offensive again. His retreat was out of proportion for a battle with something small like a bug and made my parents suspect he was fighting something bigger. Taking a shovel with him, my dad walked around the end of the car just as a snake struck at the cat.

The cat avoids the attack and my dad brought the sharp end of the shovel down hard on the back of the snake’s head, severing it from the body. ( It was a poisonous copper head or he wouldn’t have killed it.) Then he scooped the still wriggling snake pieces up with the shovel and carried them off to the edge of the woods, knowing a hawk or crow would eventually find them and enjoy the snack.

Remember to watch your step if you are outside or in your garage. Many snakes like shady spots as much as they like warm places.