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Will to Write

Petting Chloe (Memoir Expirament)

​There was nothing like summer at Uncle Joe’s. Cooling off in Balston Lake, enjoying the fruits of the grill, boardgames with the cousins, sparklers, bonfires, and fireworks sometimes. In short, a cornucopia for any child. However….life is made up of archs, one might even say story archs, the greatest of joys often being followed by the worst struggles. 

I was an early riser, climbing the stairs from the basement room we stayed in at typically six thirty AM. The house was at its quietest and the sunshine was always so warm and welcoming. Snoozing in the hallway near the front door was Chloe, one of uncle Joe’s big, goofy golden retrievers. As I came up her shaggy tail thumped on the floor in greeting. I sat next to her and started running my hands through that warm, plushy fur.  

“We’ll be leaving now. I’d tell you where we’re going but you wouldn’t understand.”

I wanted the arch to go in reverse. Before arriving at uncle Joe’s all I had to think about was Uncle Joe’s. What came after could take a backseat. But now, our time here was over and there was nothing left to serve as a distraction. I wanted to go home. 

   As the clocked ticked forward everyone else began stirring. Bags were brought up to be loaded into the car and find farewells were said. Before leaving I gave the sweet dog and goodbye hug and tried not to cry. Tears came searing out anyway and kept flowing as I got into the backseat of our Ford Escort. My sister Monica, mom, and dad joined me and we drove off. Aside from a few left over sniffles and sobs the mood in the car was cheerful. We joked around and chit chatted. It would be over before I knew it and there was so much to look forward to afterward. But the arch couldn’t leap forward either. The only way out was straight through. 

We drove to Boston, Massachusettes and we weren’t going for the sites. 

 

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My Journey as an Author

Want to be an author? Well, the first thing you’ve got to do is get that nice, clean, linear path to success out of your head. You know the one: write my book, get it published, and sell millions! Ha. That’s a sugar story and you’re in for a cavity.

expectation-verses-reality Yup, this picture pretty much says is all. Another visual even more true to reality is sailing a ship in stormy waters. You’re doing your very best, but you don’t know if you’ll get there alive.

ship-with-wave

I knew it wouldn’t be easy in such a way that I expected knowing it wouldn’t be easy would make the struggles somehow less substantial. If that makes any sense. I submitted my novel to a publisher and guess what….they wanted it! Great! Well, as it turns out it wasn’t so great. It’s true I didn’t get the steady current of rejection notices that pelt continuously at a writer’s self confidence until they are reduced to mumbling wrecks wallowing in those foggy alleys between resolve and the plummets of self pity. What I got was taken. That’s right, I fell into the trap of vanity publishing.
mirror-mirror-3

Yup, that’s pretty much what it is. They make it look real pretty for you and then you’re on your own. It’s great if you just want something to sell to family and friends. But in the end, if you want to get anywhere else with it the prices are just too outrageous with the exception of the price you set on those copies you buy from the publisher to peddle around your neighborhood. This is the stern warning part of my post. If you’re considering a publisher who has at any time been called a vanity press, LOOK OUT!

Anyway, my faith in Jesus Christ is the center of my fantasy project. Back in 2011 I was looking for inspiration for my next writing project. Writing was my chief hobby at the time. Also at this time, I was wondering what purpose the Lord had for me. Everyone around me seemed to know exactly what they were doing. On a whim I prayed, “Lord, the pen is yours. What do you want me to do?”

This was the beginning. The moment when a little fire was lit inside.

pen-on-fire

 

Shortly after the prayer was said a new idea came up and it took off like a bullet out of a gun. Now, you’re probably wondering, if God were really behind it why would he let me fall into that trap I mentioned earlier? Heck, why does he allow any kind of trouble anyway?

 

First of all, a life with Christ is no bed of roses, nor was such ease ever promised. In fact, he warned us of exactly the opposite.

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

John 15:19

Second, we in the physical tend to jump the gun, or try to take control of the situation because we like to see all the steps right in front of us, nice and tidy. Whereas, the Lord is outside of time, aware of variables you can’t see when making your own analysis of the situation. But a tremendous comes when I remember,

“All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called for his purpose.” 

Romans 8:28

 When he says all things, he really means all things be it mistake or hardship. Nothing is too big for Jesus Christ.

Back in October of 2016, while I was contemplating the future of my second book I felt led to take a step backward: to leave the vanity press, put the first book through a revamp, and resubmit it elsewhere. I was terrified of letting go of what I had. I was published. But after much prayer and seeking, I finally filled out the necessary paperwork. 

The vanity publisher went out of business four months later. 

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air, but this story is far from over. 

The Emford Dictionary of Real Life

a-dult

/uh-dul-t/

noun

1.A person who gives the impression of being fully grown and developed, but in reality is barely holding it together.

verb

1. Putting on clothes, going to work, and paying for stuff.

adjective (according to children)

1.  Doing whatever you want, whenever you want, how ever you want because you’re finally old enough.

What Christmas Means to Me

Christmas means to me,

The arrival of our savior long ago on that night,

It means the love of God in his sacrifice.
Christmas means to me,

Music and snow,

Lights in contrast both bright and low,
Christmas means to me,

Joys of giving and receiving,

Warmth of a fire,

Gathering round both table a tree

While as a family we just be.

All this is what Christmas means to me.

Be Encouraged

“The advice I continually give to young writers is this, “Learn to paint pictures with words.” Not just once upon a time, but … In the long secret dust of ages, beneath a blue forgotten sky, where trade winds caress the sun bleached shores of unknown realms … See, as much as there are words in poetry, there is a poetry in words. Use it, stay faithful to the path you have set your heart upon and follow it.” – Brian Jacques

I hope that all you fellow writers out there find this as encouraging and inspiring as I do. Brian Jacques is a favorite writer of mine, who taught me a great deal about writing. He wrote his internationally acclaimed Redwall series he wrote The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, Ribbajack, and a collection of ghost stories. He was a jack of all trades some of which include milk delivery, bus driver, police man, radio show host, and a member of the British Navy. I highly recommend you pick up one of his many adventures.

Web of Thieves Part 6

vyla-for-blog

Do you believe in ghosts? I know I don’t. But tonight I nearly changed my mind.

There I was, in my pitch black apartment with my pistol loaded. I stood in one corner that gave me a good view of both the window and the door and waited. Still as stone was I and silent until a familiar, silky smooth voice came to my ears.

“Hello Clive.”

My heart jolted, then raced as I processed what I was hearing. Just when I thought I’d imagined it, her voice came again.

“Come on, Clive. I know you’re in there. You’re so predictable, where is the challenge?”

I had to restrain myself from pulling the trigger for no reason. Her spooky voice wasn’t a legit target. I kept waiting. She wouldn’t get me this time. Then a gloved fist flew out of the darkness and hit me right in the jaw. I saw stars and the next thing I knew I was on the ground, scrambling for the gun. She gave me a swift kick to the ribs while I was still dazed and put her other foot on my wrist. I lied there, coughing, writhing, and cussing her out.

“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” She pressed a knife right on the artery in my neck, “Don’t move.”

“Why would I do that?” I finally replied, “I’m not stupid.”

“Oh yes you are.You’re doing it again.”

“Doing? Doing what?”

She put all her weight on my wrist and pressed harder on the knife.

“You’re meddling. This case you’re investigating is under our jurisdiction.”

Now that was interesting.

“Oh really? And what interest would the Circle of Justice have in actual justice for Milly Jonison. Man, for you scum to be in on this and for them to send you, this has got to be big.”

“Nobody sent me. I came on my own to warn you, Clive.”

I laughed with all my might even though I knew I’d pay for it in a minute.

“Warn me! Don’t give me that trash!”

She hit me again. Her other fist had brass knuckles and as I laid there with the right half of my face throbbing I wondered if the laugh was worth it.

“Shut up. I know the inspector is paying you. We’ll triple his offer for you to stay out of it.”

Blood was trickling down my chin and the knife was biting at my skin a little.

“If you came on your own, you can’t make promises for the circle. I knew you were lying. No deal.”

“You’re going to regret that,” she warned.

I let pure, wholesome hate seep into my words,

“I stopped being bothered by regrets a long time ago. Go tell your puppet masters I’m not dropping anything. In fact, if they’d kept their warnings to themselves I might have lost interest. I’m really hooked now.”

She let me go and I heard the window open. I jumped up and tried to go after her, but she’d already vanished. Her final cry came from somewhere below.

“I’ll bring flowers to your grave every day, Clive! I’d rather you be there to laugh about it. You know who to call.”

I snatched the gun off the floor and fired into the alley below my window. The bullets flashed into the darkness, clanging off metal and stone, but no flesh. I sighed and murmured.

“What do you keep coming back for, Vyla? Could you really miss me as much as I miss you?”

For once I wished I wasn’t a living lie detector.

Web of Thieves Part 5

At my earliest convenience I logged on to the We’ve got the News that Bruises website. It looked great with eye grabbing colors and live videos.  Though it was committed to digging the dirt out of society there were a great number of positive articles and pages as well. All in all,  a good well rounded effort to make the world a better place via the power of words and anyone was free to contribute (at the administrators discretion of course.) 

      Anyway, appearances were great,organization not so much. Logically what I was looking for should be under past articles right? Wrong. Past articles brought me to some grammatical rubbish on how to write in the past tense. Ok….I’m not in kindergarten. Inwardly I hastened to remind myself that the population of that district were uneducated people. Oops, so sorry for mentally belittling the less fortunate. I moved on to past posts and found myself sifting through article after article on hundreds of different subjects from lost cat and dead goldfish  all the way up to the latest dictator conspiracy theories. 

“Oh for pete sake” I muttered, “Dictator Horrace Hanes isn’t Satan, all right? He got where he is today because the Triad of Representatives accurately put our interests on the table. Just because it doesn’t go your way doesn’t mean the system is rigged. It’s people like you who screwed us up in the first place idiot!”

Click. Factory Fire. Finally! This was great, it had videos as well written interviews. One can get just as much information if not more from the way something is said than fromthe actual words. The first interview was from the associate manager. He stood in front of the camera, his face patched with soot and his clothes in tatters. He was wrapped in a blanket and quivering from shock and sustained stress.

“I don’t know what happened. The inspector was just here and everything was fine.”

“Do you know where it started?” The interviewer asked.

“No! I don’t know anything!”

With that he brushed out of the cameras view. I leaned back, stroking my chin thoughtfully. Then I leaned forward and replayed the segment. I watched, eyes narrowed, taking in every last iota of detail. When I first started working with the police I got a nickname, the living lie detector. Though I prided myself on it I never let it go to my head. After watching awhile I made up my mind.

“No. You’re not lying. Just scared.”

I let the video continue. The camera zoomed in on a female employee sitting in the ambulance. She was rocking back and forth and crying. 

“Did you see how it started, ma’am?” The interviewer asked.

She bit her lip.

“No”

“You were said to be in the vicinity”

“Maybe a fuel line or somebody messed up. I don’t know, I don’t know.”

I watched that about fifty times and got one impression. She was masking something she saw by throwing it out as an assumption. No was a lie. She saw what happened, but wanted to sound just as unsure as everybody else. I reviewed what she said. Maybe a fuel line or somebody messed up.   Who messed up what? 

That’s when the lights went out along with my computer. I got a sick feeling in my stomach as adrenalin rushed through my veins. This could’ve been something totally unrelated to what I was doing. But my gut said otherwise. Every fiber of my being screamed, “Get your gun”
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Opposition

​How do you react when faced with opposition? Most of us, myself included react with anger or irritation. We then proceed to talk down to those arguing against us and it can be over the most trivial subjects. What does the bible say about this?

A great deal. I’m paraphrasing this one, but the apostle Paul said that when witnessing for Christ in a city and your message is rejected, dust yourself off and move on. 

And a more recent example I’ve run into is that of Daniel. Yes, we’ve all heard the story off how he and his friends obeyed God rather then break down under pressure to eat the royal food which violated God’s law. That is a very important point, but equally important is the nature of their resistance. 

“Please test your servants for ten days : Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see” Daniel 1:12-13 

Let us be reminded that Daniel is speaking to one of his captors overseeing him and his friends after their homeland was conquered. Once taken away their names were changed, their clothes, right down to their language. Yet, his request was polite and leaving plenty of room for his beliefs to speak for themselves. Oh how much we have to learn today.

Once Upon a November

Once the ghosts and goblins have come and gone, to me that’s the real start of the holidays. First, Thanksgiving, the poor under rated holiday. Yes, I think Thanksgiving is more important than Halloween (gasp!) Why? Well, I know it sounds kind of corny, but there really is so much for us to be thankful for and yet we’re taking less and less time to appreciate it. Stores in our local mall are beginning to stay open on Thanksgiving day and Christmas ads are already everywhere. Even just that one day to gather around the table with family or friends is too much of a nuisance to their marketing plans. Ok, I know I’m ranting a bit but this really does drive me crazy. So, stop. It’s not December yet. There’s still plenty of time. 

                                 What are you thankful for?

I know I’m grateful to live in this country. We aren’t without problems but there’s still many blessings to appreciate. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to practice my faith. I sure am thankful for my loving family and all they do for me. I get such encouragement in my writing and in pursuing a career. I’m grateful for good friends and my current employment as a cashier. And of course I’m grateful for my mom’s good cooking (haha)

On Thanksgiving day, I open my door and am struck by the sensational, savory aromas of our epic feed. Usually, a plump turkey, sausage stuffing, potatoes and squash, green bean casserole, smooth silky gravy, warm buttery dinner rolls, and of course an apple crisp with sweet clouds of cool whip. Hungry? I know I am. It’s one of those rare occasions when we’re all in the house. No work, no school, nothing but us in the cozy warm house enjoying good food, each others company, and all those good blessings. How about you, what are you most looking forward to this once upon a November? 

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