Don’t Mess with Momma

The Chronicles of Esther and Mel.”

EXTRA…EXTRA…THIS JUST IN…LATEST UPDATE

Esther sighting. Taking a stroll the day before Mother’s Day.

On this glorious Mother’s Day, one little duckling hatched.

A FEW DAYS AGO…

We had a scare. Esther was gone. Several of her feathers were strewn all over the red mulch, and one of our solar lamps was cracked in half. It looked like there had been a brawl of some sort. The worst of it; a broken piece of egg shell lay near the nest.

There was more. I followed the trail of shell pieces on my lawn. At the bottom of the hill, the remains of a cracked-open duckling egg.

I ran to it and bent to inspect it. There inside, I saw matted black feathers and a little yellow beak peeking out. There was no movement and I knew it was long dead. I stood up and turned my head, it was a gruesome sight, too gruesome for pictures.

I walked back up and peered over the nest. It looked like the other eggs were still there, and they appeared intact.

Phew. Thank God! But, where was Esther?

I prayed she was okay. The problem now was who would take care of the rest of the eggs if Esther was not around?

My daughters came home from school and I had to tell them the news.

My older one bawled her eyes out. “Esther’s babies will die! She won’t have a Mother’s Day.”

My younger daughter had a different perspective. “What did the baby duck look like? Was the egg bloody? Can I see the egg, Momma?”

On and on, the girls went. Each with their own analysis of what might have happened.

What if a coyote had gotten her and her egg? What if she was hurt? And, where the hell was Mel? He’s the protector.

I spent the remaining afternoon trying to distract my girls from thoughts of Esther. Truly, I was just as sad. She chose our house to create her nest, and she didn’t mind us walking by and peeking at her. It was cool to visit with her too.

Gosh, it was just the other day I had witnessed a lesson in love.

It had rained for days and finally the sun came out. I was inside with the windows open when I heard a lot of quacking. I came rushing out to check on her.

Hey, what’s the matter?”

She quacked. “Mel is supposed to be here and he’s not.”

“He’ll come, don’t worry.”

Esther huffed. “He probably went ponding.”

Ponding???

I crouched down beside her. “What’s ‘ponding’?”

Esther kicked up her webbed feet. “Seriously?”

I nodded. “Yes, seriously. I have no idea what ‘ponding’ is.”

She proceeded to tell me that it was male-duck game played on a pond where the ducks have to balance wet leaves on their beaks without dropping them, and then paddle to a make-shift basket in the water. The first duck with the most leaves in a basket wins.

I started laughing. Strangely, it reminded me of golf because most male-humans play the game.

Esther snorted. “It’s not funny. He’s supposed watch the eggs while I go and do my business, and he’s still not here.”

I was about to say…maybe he had good reason, maybe he was running behind…maybe he forgot…maybe…when suddenly, we see Mel fly through air and land a few feet away. He strode up all dapper and manly.

Esther began quacking loudly and pacing. It startled Mel and he hurried over.

“Where have you been? You’re late!” She blurted.

Mel puffed out his chest. “Ponding, like I told you.”

She shouted back. “You did not!”

“Yes, I did.”

“Did not!”

Mel looked at me as if noticing me for the first time. I happen to be standing between them when the shouting match began. Aware of the awkwardness, I quickly got out of the way. It’s not good getting in the middle of couple fights.

Mel snuggled up against Esther’s neck. She seemed to relax. “I’m sorry for making you upset,” he whispered. “But, I did tell you, yesterday.”

Esther put her head down. “You’re right. I just remembered. You did tell me. My mind has been fogged lately. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. Me too. You’ve got a lot on your mind.” Mel then nudged her away. “Get going. I’ve got the eggs.”

“Are you…”

“Yes, now go.”

Esther quacked and flapped her wings and away she went.

I gave Mel a thumbs up. “Good hubby.”

I momentarily closed my eyes and wished Esther would come back. This was her home.

“Momma, Momma, I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?”

And, just like that, I was back to reality.

Later that evening, after dinner, I decided to go for a walk. It was almost eight, but still light out. I strolled around our block. I couldn’t get the vision of the little cracked duckling egg out of my mind.

Just as I approached our house, I thought to look at Esther’s nest again. As I approached, I saw Esther making her way towards me.

Oh, my Goodness! I marched up to her.

“Esther, Esther, you’re back! Are you okay?” She looked alright.

The duck ignored me and went to her nest where she was squatting to get comfortable.

I waited until she was settled.

“I’ve been worried about you. Where have you been?”

Esther lifted her head toward me. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“But, but, you little egg? You feathers?”

“Leave me alone. I’m really tired.”

I nodded and took it as my queue to leave. “Okay, okay, I understand. We can talk another time.” I didn’t want to mess with this Momma. She gave me the look, you know…

I turned and left. A pain had been lifted from my heart. Esther was back. She’s okay. The girls will be relieved. And, it will be a wonderful Mother’s Day, after all.

As to what happened to her? I don’t know. Whatever it was, it had to be.

 

The Nature of Life

Today, I met my new neighbor. It was by accident. Hidden behind a bush and sitting on top of red mulch, I noticed a female duck. I must have startled her as I strode past because her feathers fluffed up and she squawked, or quacked. I couldn’t tell the difference, for I too, was taken by surprise, and jumped back.

We acknowledged each other and politely said our hellos. I proceeded to tip-toe on by, when she called after me to come back and sit with her awhile.

I hesitated. This is weird. What if she bites me? But, then I obliged and sat down about a foot away, on one of the retaining wall’s stone pavers. Didn’t want to crowd her.

It was windy and warm out, so I brushed aside the bangs from my eyes. I could smell the White Callery Pear Blossoms, and rain. It would rain later.

At first we just sat there, gazing at one another. We were strangers of course, and trying to figure out what to talk about.

It was awkward, but not really. I turned my attention to my feet. I adjusted the toe strap of the right flip-flop and then began to scrutinize the pink color on my toe nails, when she spoke.

“Thank you for joining me. I haven’t had an opportunity for any ‘grown-up’ conversation, in well…quite some time. You see, I’m expecting the hatching of five little ducklings, soon.” She chuckled. “It kind of gets lonely out here, if you know what I mean.”

I smiled. “Well, congratulations are definitely in order. This is exciting news.”

She ruffled her feathers. “I appreciate it. Oh, I’m Esther, by the way.”

“I’m Chiara.”

I looked around my property, having strolled around it often, and wondered. “How long have you been here?”

“A few weeks.”

“Hmm…Never seen you before. You camouflage pretty good.”

Esther quaked. “Ah…that’s my job.”

We talked some more. She was originally from Ohio, but her “duck” husband, Mel, was born in Chicago. They met down south and together, migrated back here in December. They married, and well, the rest is history.

I told her about my daughters, but Esther already knew about them; having seen the girls running around the backyard.

She shook her head in disgust. “Your children are loud and rambunctious.”

I apologized, embarrassed for my wild little kids. Esther quacked again, admitting she was only kidding.

We became quiet again, and I went back to studying my toes. Gosh, I have to get my toes done soon.

Esther spoke up. “Ah…silence is golden.”

I snorted. “Get your rest because it won’t be quiet for long.”

She sighed. “You’re right.”

“In fact,” I continued, “do all the sleeping now because once those little ducklings are out, forget about ever sleeping.”

Esther quacked. “I remember the good ol’ days of freedom.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. Freedom, huh? It’s so long ago. But then I gestured with my hand. “It’s all worth it. Bringing life into the world.”

“I’m scared,” she revealed.

I shrugged. “I understand. I’m scared every single day too. There are no guarantees in life. You do your best in protecting, and loving and feeding your children. The rest is up to God.”

Esther turned away. I could tell she was emotional.

She looked back at me. “I’m sorry. My hormones are out of whack.”

I laughed. A duck having hormone issues. “Having ducklings will do that to you.”

We giggled.

I then wondered about something else. “Do you get up? Walk around? You know, stretch, and go to the bathroom?”

Esther fluffed her feathers. “Are you kidding? Of course. My butt feels like a rock after sitting here all day long, not to mention my legs are so stiff.”

I nodded. “That’s good. What about the eggs? Are they okay being left alone?”

She stretched her neck. “Mel comes and guards the nest while I go and do my personal affairs, if you know what I mean?”

I grinned. Yes, private time is important.

Silence fell upon us again, and I was getting antsy. My own butt was hurting from sitting on the retaining wall.

Esther yawned. “Well, if you’ll excuse me, it’ time for a nap.”

Got it. So, I stood up.

She quaked. “I liked our conversation.”

I waved. “Me too.”

“Hope to see you soon. Please, stop by again.”

I said my goodbye, and strutted away.

The conversation left my heart filled. Filled in such a way one feels after having enjoyed the company of someone else. Content. Did I really just talk to a duck?

I realized fiction or not, one point was true. We were different, very different. Esther was a duck, an animal, and I was a human. However, we held a common bond—motherhood.

In the daily grind of managing a home, nourishing the young, handling of the homework duty, and being a referee, comes the rewards of nurturing life and sharing wisdom with the ones you love.

Raising children is one of the hardest duties of a woman’s life. Sometimes, we too, need a good conversation with another being.

That evening, I peeked out my window and saw Mel standing guard. Esther had gone out to do her duties.

I snickered. “Good Mel. Take care of your bride, buddy.”

And, that’s the nature of life.

#motherhood #raisingkids #momconversation #momsdayout #natureoflife #amwriting #readlocal

Call Me – The Telephone

Just off of I-65, about forty miles from downtown Indianapolis is an ordinary McDonalds. There, I was greeted by this pay phone. Remember these? Immediately, two songs from my childhood pop in my head.

“867-5309/Jenny” By Tommy Tutone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WTdTwcmxyo

“Call Me” By Skyy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYpNQXK6lpM

Yes, I’m dating myself here, but that’s okay. You see, ironically enough, both songs were from 1981. The early 80s was an era where disco was slowly fading, hard rock still dominated the music scene, and electronic dance and funk were coming on, as well as a new kind of music, soft rock. Go figure.

And, I got to tell you, the wonderful mix of music was very influential to my coming of age. Ah, the good ol’ days…Okay, back to task…

So, let’s fast forward to McDonalds. I’m humming the tunes. Each taking their turn in my brain, while I’m standing in line to order a medium coffee and oatmeal to go. Finally, with the bag of my paid purchases in hand, I pass by this dinosaur of a communication machine again.

Pushing the songs in the background of my mind, I got to thinking. Today, we are living in such a fast world where technical companies are at war on who can make the fastest, sleekest phone with all the gadgets from tracking your steps, food intake, and mood modeling, all at your fingertips, 24/7.

In my youth, one had to drive, walk, or ride a bike to find a pay phone. They were usually at gas stations or grocery stores. If you look back at some of the television shows/movies of the 1980’s, you’ll notice that secret conversations were often held at pay phones, rendezvous happened near the pay phones, and arrests and burglary heists were made at those spots.

These days, I just have to pull out my cell phone out of my purse, and I can make a call, read a book, and track the happenings of the world, with just a few clicks.

Are we better off as a result of this great technology? Are we more connected to family and friends? Are we more available to those in need? The biggest question currently rocking in my brain (ha, did you get that, “rocking”) is: are we more sincere in the time we give of ourselves to others?

The pay phone reminds me of the lack of relationship-building we’ve lost due to things being instantaneously available. People at that time made an effort to call someone. They spent the $0. 25 cents or more to talk and hear someone’s voice, and really listen. They had to physically get to the pay phone, maybe grab a snack or buy food on the way in or way out of the establishment, and usually their mood would change as a result of a good or bad conversation.

We can’t go back, but maybe the next time you see a pay phone, let it be your reminder to connect with others in a way of sincerity and compassion for the human race because that’s all we got left.

#payphone #connecting #callme #8675309 #the80s #Onehitwonders #stayconnected #besincere #payphoneversuscellphone

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Tutone

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/867-5309/Jenny

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyy_(band)

http://www.slantmagazine.com/features/article/best-singles-of-the-1980s

http://pitchfork.com/features/pitchfork-essentials/9696-early-80s-disco/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980s_in_music

https://www.yahoo.com/music/bp/summer-songs-early-1980s-010105123.html

http://www.vh1.com/news/1243/100-greatest-one-hit-wonders-of-the-80s/

Love is the Ultimate Law of Life

I found this tag attached to my Ginger tea bag. I spent a little time and stared at each word:

Love

Is

The

Ultimate

Law

Of

Life

In the U.S. and all over the rest of the world, countries, states, cities, towns, and communities, all have laws. Laws are what keep our world and society working seamlessly in a crazy, sort of pattern. Laws protect you. Laws make sure there is some consistency and process. Laws have rules that must be followed and adhered to.

But, what if there were no laws? What if there were no rules? How would everything run?

My first thought goes to enforcing the law of speed limits. Just imagine there were no speed limits on a regular road? Some would drive over the speed limit and others below. Would you risk crossing the street where cars don’t have to yield to pedestrians, or even stop at Stop lights? Not me!

What if there weren’t any laws to how your meat and poultry were regulated? Or, even your fruits and vegetables? I’d be very fearful on what I eat, that is for sure.

Well, this one statement of love, got me thinking about the “law of love”.

http://www.Dictionary.com defines Love as:

  1. A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
  3. Sexual passion or desire.
  4. A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
  5. (Used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
  6. A love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
  7. Sexual intercourse; copulation.

Numbers 1, 3, and 4 resonate to me the most. I believe these statements insinuate that love is granted freely, love is bequeathed toward a person/human, love is tender and love is rough.

Laws don’t generally have “feelings” associated with them. Laws are factual in nature and are usually in some kind of systematic order.

Love has no order and no facts. It is given and it is received, love is felt and love is spoken, love is joyful and but it can also be hurtful.

What if we had another law? To love one another regardless of color, creed, or religion, but rather done by an act of civility to flourish our human prosperity? What if, we made… “Love the ultimate law of life?

How would our world be then?

“Mom and Pop” Bookstores – Rare Gems

I almost passed it up driving south on Oak toward downtown Bartlett. Turning back, I pulled onto a blacktop drive and parked in front of the Bartlett Coin Shop.

The Booklady’s Book Attic was situated on the corner of a house which was also occupied by a women’s fashion boutique, Little Shop on Oak.

At the entrance, I hesitated a bit before turning the knob. You see, I’m a sucker for bookstores and even though I couldn’t resist going in, there was this exciting apprehension surging through my body of discovering the unknown behind the steel-framed door.

When I pulled open the door, a long, brown staircase greeted me. To the right, stood a black rolling cart with numerous books, all organized by height. A colorful sign announced that the books were $1.00 each. On my left, there was a bronze stand with three rows of books. These were the free copies.


 

 

 

I placed my booted shoe on the first step. It creaked as I began my ascent up the stairs. The walls were painted an egg-shell white, and brightly colored sticky notes of testimonials and customer signatures, provided a warm accent in the vestibule.

At the first landing, hand-crafted fishing signs hung from the wall. And, when I reached the top floor, a small, dark brown and beige-topped wooden desk stood in front of crowded shelves of books, toy figurines, and store advertisements.

The surroundings felt familiar and homey to me. Having worked at a Barnes and Noble bookstore, the smell of wood, leather, and cardboard boxes filled my senses. A radio played light rock music in the background.

My heart began to beat with excitement. This was my territory. Books, books, and books.

A memory suddenly materialized in my mind. It was the summer of 2002, and my husband and I had taken a long weekend vacation to San Francisco. While exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, we ended up walking onto Columbus Ave. to experience the many Italian restaurants and sit “al fresco” for a double-shot of espresso. Dizzy from people-watching, we continued our trek further up Columbus where we happened to stumble upon a bookstore called City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

Strolling into the retailer, it was as if I had been transported to another time period—a very different time. This bookstore has been a literary meeting place since 1953. City Lights is a landmark general bookstore, internationally known for its expert selection of books and for its commitment to free intellectual inquiry.

I later researched City Lights. It was founded by poet/author, Laurence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin (who left two years later). Mr. Ferlinghetti is the author of many works, including, poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, but his most famous written work was “A Coney Island of the Mind”—a collection of poetry published in 1958.

City Lights also became a famous hangout for many authors but especially Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs who frequented the establishment and started what became the “Beat Generation”. City Lights has also been named as one of the top ten independent bookstores in America.

The floors were worn and uneven, the air was dusty and I must have sneezed at least twenty times, but the place was filled with the most eccentric/eclectic books I have ever thumbed through. I shivered with pleasure.

Ah yes, when I close my eyes, I can still picture the dust particles dancing in the air.

But, I digress. Back at the Booklady’s Book Attic, my eyes glanced about, taking in this little book store in what resembled an oversized attic, hence the name.


 

 

 

There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to look first. And, I have to admit, I was the experiencing the same exhilaration of City Lights—beating heart and sweaty palms, and mind you, I hadn’t even browsed any of the books.

The cluttered hallway beckoned me. There were stacks of books: books on the floor, books in boxes, and books in different color bags.

The Proprietor, Ms. Pam, enthusiastically greeted me. We got to chatting. I told her about my published books. Pam is also a great supporter of all local writers. Thank you, Pam!

 

 

Here we are pictured together…

She’s been at this location for about two years. Previously, this space was formerly occupied by accountants, contractors, a flooring business, and meeting room rentals. However, prior to the various businesses, this property has had some history of its own. According to Pam and a little investigating on my own (watch out Magnum P.I.), this “house” currently located at 138 S. Oak was once referred to as Block 2, lot 9-10.

Thanks to the Bartlett History Museum, here’s an abbreviated rundown of some its history…

  • In 1874, the very first owners, Mr. and Mrs. John Carr bought the property and they build a home. This property was part of the original 40 acres that established Bartlett in 1873. Sometime later, Mr. Carr builds another home on the same lot. So, the house that stands there today is not the original one that the Carrs first built.
  • The Carrs eventually move to Aurora.
  • Lots 9-10 change ownership back and forth from 1883 to 1893.
  • In 1893, the Carrs sell the lots 9-10 to Mr. Louis Stumpf for $1,800.
  • In 1918, Mr. Stumpf sells his lot to Mr. August Schick for $3,600.
  • In 1921, Mr. Schick sells lots 9-10 to Mr. Fred Brandt. No info on how much it was sold for. And, because house numbers didn’t exist at that time, it is still unclear if lots 9-10 is 138 S. Oak, where the bookstore and boutique are currently located.
  • According to a 1930 census, it showed the Brandts are living elsewhere.
  • In June of 1977, the property was zoned for commercial and since then, has been home to many businesses.

Caption: Here’s a picture of the Stumpf family. Historical information and image provided by the Bartlett History Museum, Bartlett, IL. To learn more about Bartlett history visit, go to: www.villageofbartlettmuseums.org.

 

 

But, now it is Pam’s book haven. She is a connoisseur of novel genres who is putting her imprint on her own history and preserving a dying brick and mortar business of bookselling.

The floor creaks; it’s pretty tight—watch for the angled/sloping ceilings. There are secret doors, and maybe even some ghosts lurking around—ask Pam about “Mr. Poe”.

Above all else, there are books for all ages with shelves overflowing with stories that defy time. So many classics; new and old, and forgotten books, to peruse and enjoy. This place is for the book enthusiast….

Just read what some of the patrons have said about the Booklady’s Book Attic from her Facebook page (see link below under References).

The testimonials themselves speak volumes as to the care that Ms. Pam has taken for every author’s written word.

This store is everything I would want and more! Great service, awesome selection, great prices, and Pam gives back and helps others. I will always support someone with a heart like hers!

I finally stopped in at the BookLady’s Book Attic after driving past it everyday on my way to work. What an amazing shop!! A great selection of books that should appeal to everyone! I was particularly impressed by the large and interesting collection of children’s and young adult books. Pam is super friendly and was really great to talk to. I can’t wait to visit again!

Truly a charming and must-see little shop in downtown Bartlett. There are a wide variety of books in all genres and for all-ages available, all in perfect shape and at rock-bottom prices. The owner is probably one of the most friendly people you will ever meet.

This place is amazing!! I feel in love from the moment I walked in, I was in book heaven!!!  Pam is super friendly and so easy to approach. My girls loved getting all their new books and can’t wait to go back.”

I hope you get to visit this place. If so, tell Pam I sent you.

Booklady’s Book Attic

138 S. Oak Ave.

Bartlett, IL.

 

Until next time…

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.

References:

http://www.village.bartlett.il.us/our-community/history

http://villageofbartlettmuseums.org/BartHist.html

http://bartlettchamber.com/pages/Home

https://www.facebook.com/BookLadys-Book-Attic-768094143237893/

https://local.yahoo.com/info-193133470-booklady-s-book-attic-bartlett

http://www.citylights.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Lights_Bookstore

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Ferlinghetti

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_Generation

https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/10-of-the-best-indie-bookstores-in-america

https://www.wheretraveler.com/10-best-independent-bookstores-across-us

#Supportlocalbusiness, #read, #readlocal, #localbusiness, #somethingaboutBartlett, #Stumpfhomeinfo, #bookladysbookattic, #indiebookstores, #loveindiebookstores, #writershaven, #write

 

Do Small Things with Great Love – A New Year Wish

If you haven’t noticed, we are at the end of the 2016 year, lots of things to reflect upon:

  • Was it a good year for you?
  • Did you accomplish “all” that you intended?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • What were the things that didn’t go as planned?
  • What were the things you are most proud of?

A brand new year is coming. Some can’t wait and others are stressing and worrying about the “to do” lists. Whether you are ready or not, 2017 will be here. You might find solitude in the final days of this year to putting aside your political agendas, differences, and just winding down.

It’s hard, I know. We live in a world of accomplishments and failures. Always with our feet to the ground, and in a sprint mode. But maybe this time around, you may want to take a different tactic.

Let me explain…

This Christmas, my husband and daughters gave me a Wonder Woman doll. Yes, you read correctly, a doll. No diamond, no new pair of leather boots, or a brand new purse. A doll. I got to tell you though, it is one of the best gifts I have ever received.

You see, as a young child, one of my favorite television shows to watch was Wonder Woman. It aired from 1975 to 1979, and it only had three seasons. The show was based off of the popular DC Comic, “The Adventures of Wonder Woman.”

I never got into the comic books, but I really enjoyed the TV show. Lynda Carter, the actress who played Diana Prince, was a normal person who epitomized for me a super-willed woman, fighting the “bad guys”, and solving everyday situations in a grand fashion. And then, turning into a civilian again.

Recently, Queen Elizabeth II aired a 2016 Christmas speech. One of the things she mentioned was… “I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things…”

That line alone has resonated with me as I ponder about the final days of the 2016 year, all the while cherishing my precious Wonder Woman doll.

You see, I’m no “wonder woman”. I certainly am not armed with a magic belt that gives me strength, gold bracelets that can stop any bullet, a tiara that can be thrown as a returning weapon, and an unbreakable lasso that can force anyone to tell the truth. I’m a human being with many, many flaws.

I am an ordinary person with the potential to do extraordinary things. And, that “thing” doesn’t have to be big, either. The same can apply to you.

The greatest act anyone can give is love. But, in order to have love, you must be kind and have the courage to love.

Like Queen Elizabeth II, the extraordinary can be found in people and in common things. Like Wonder Woman, strength is derived from doing what’s right and just for your fellow humans.

So, have courage friends, put love as one of your “to do” lists. Battle for a worthy cause. And always, always, be kind.

Happy New Year! May it be a great ending to a new beginning for your 2017 year.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_II

http://www.biography.com/people/queen-elizabeth-ii-9286165#synopsis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman_%28TV_series%29

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074074/

http://punchng.com/queen-elizabeth-hails-unsung-heroes-christmas-speech/

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=queen+elizabeth+speech+for+2016&view=detail&mid=0B05375A569A26E927110B05375A569A26E92711&FORM=VIRE

#smallthingswithgreatlove, #happynewyear2017, #bekind, #Loveoneanother, #prayingforagoodyear #endoftheyearwishforyou, #my2016goodbye, #welcome2017

Writer Depression: Fact or Fiction?

A few weeks ago, I launched my second book, Petrella, the Gillian Princess. A middle-grade fairy tale aimed at children between the ages of eight to thirteen. It was supposed to be what I call my “interim” book. A filler book before my full-length, Women’s Fiction, Make it Right; Make it Matter.

I thought this book would have been a three-to-four month project with a hired illustrator, and some minor tweaks of a story that I had written back in 2012 for an anthology book, but it never made the cut. Instead, it turned out to be much, much more.

In fact, I resurrected the story, late 2014, for my daughters—a little gem for them. I began working on smoothing out the storyline. I was bored. I had just launched my debut Christian Romance, Love’s Perfect Surrender, and was doing author events, but I was itching to write again.

And so, I started rereading it; several times to myself and then to my daughters, hired a professional editor, and put together a launch team of readers. Forty-seven versions later, I completed Petrella, the Gillian Princess.

During the last three weeks before the reveal, I worked well into the night, finalizing the story, sending out communication, setting up distribution channels, and marketing the release of the story.

(I can attest. This is the rigorous process of an Indie Author. Wearing multiple hats and handling all aspects of writing and promotion for each and every book, he/she wants to publish.)

Exhausted and fatigued, and sometimes delirious, I plugged away at completing this project to the best I knew how. I made a commitment to myself and my daughters, and I was going to accomplish it no matter what. So, why did I put myself through such emotional stress for a just a 96-page tale?

In a recent interview with Mundus Media Ink, whom I used to help me convert my book into paperback and ebook format, I had this to say about my writing passion:

“I write for the euphoric desire and need to transfer spiraling thoughts into words that move people emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I love taking everyday life situations and circumstances that people encounter, struggle and conquer, and turn it into creative storylines.”

On my website’s Welcome page, I say…

“People often ask me what it’s like to write. I tell them the effect of living and breathing your character’s lives is like immersing yourself underwater for an indefinite amount of time. Time being the key word. When I know I’ve captured all the details required, that’s when I come up for air. You got to have a good set of lungs to be a writer.”

On my About page of my website, this is the root reason for writing…

“I have two addictions: reading and writing. I feel restless and empty when I can’t read fiction, write my deepest thoughts in my journal, or even write down story ideas. Writing calms me, centers me, and provides a healthy outlet to my communication of imaginary friends.”

I can’t explain it, but I got to think that the fastest Marathon runners like Dennis Kimetto and Emmanuel Mutai, Olympians like Michael Phelp, renowned scientists like Albert Einstein, and inventors like Steve Jobs, would understand about passion, going beyond to find solutions, experiencing hopelessness when something goes wrong, and wondering, where do you go next when you’ve accomplished the highest record achievable?

I can’t break world records in running or swimming; I am definitely not a scientist; and I really haven’t invented anything. But, I can personally understand “post-partum” emotion. Growing and nurturing something inside me, talking to it, feeling the heartbeat and kicks, and going through all sorts of sensations for nine months, not really seeing what that “final” creation looks like, but loving it, no less. Even though, seeing your baby live when it is born is the most awesome, blessed miracle; it’s just not the point here. Keep reading (wink…wink)

Which leads me to this…

Petrella, the Gillian Princess was released to the world on November 23rd, 2016, two weeks later from my original launch date. A story dedicated to my daughters who were the inspiration behind the main characters: Princess Petrella, King Hermas, and Finerd.

Oh, the many nights of conversation I had in my head with all my characters. And now, poof…Done. No more tweaking or changing the storyline. Conversations ceasing altogether because they’ve been documented, transcribed, and are now printed.

And so, right after the book launched, I felt myself plummet into a dark hole of isolation, realizing this ugly feeling of finality.

Going online, I did a Google search on “Writer Depression/Why Writers are Depressed?” I discovered there were over thirteen million hits on the key words.

I started reading up on well-known writers who have suffered depression during their writing career. A few are listed here.

  • Sylvia Plath
  • William Styron
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Anne Sexton

I then started researching ways to overcome these dark feelings. And I learned the importance of …

  • Setting a regular schedule of writing—Doesn’t always happen with me. I’m a mom first and the “CEO” of my home; so chores and errands sometimes take precedence over writing.
  • Exercising—Yep, every day…I have too even for 15-20 minutes a day.
  • Getting enough sleep—Love this one! How? Most of my creativity happens after 9 p.m., and I write in the middle of the night.
  • Talking with others or joining various social groups; Do volunteer work—I try and am involved in groups and organizations.
  • Even taking a break from writing altogether—Eh, maybe?

We are in the last month of the year. Lots to do and accomplish. I’m a little burnt out of writing and have reluctantly decided to give myself time to relax (hard to do as I am a type “A” personality), celebrate having written and published two books, and do a little of selling/promo for Petrella, the Gillian Princess. Importantly, I want to focus on the Advent Season/Christmas.

I have two projects waiting in the wings. A short-story, a Dystopian-type tale that I had written back in 2007 which I want to resurrect again. And, a Woman’s fiction in which I have a ton of edits to work through. At this point, I am not sure when I’ll start those projects. Time will tell. I need to pause.

One of my favorite up and coming Country singers these days is Brett Eldredge.  A fellow Illinoian and Cubs fan too, I had the joy of seeing him perform live in October with Keith Urban.

His song, “Wanna Be” is a perfect anthem for where I am with writing these days. It’s a song probably better suited for weddings, but none-the-less, I’ll make it my own. Check out his video here.

It’s my muse to the Lord that I “wanna be” that messenger of words for Him. He has given me a gift of writing and I must surrender to accomplishing that task. I “wanna be” that writer for my readers—by writing stories about people who struggle with decisions and conflicts that arise in their lives. Things that we can all relate to. And, I “wanna be” that role-model for my daughters—tell honest and compelling stories, show them what it takes to work hard and persevere, and never give up for the right cause.

Because in the end…this is what sums it up. “When you’re standing in the moment, every life has a sound track…” Every character has a voice, an action, and thought.

I don’t know what the next chapter of my life is going to be, but I now understand (finally, after two books), that it’s okay to grieve when I finish a book, and that I can slowly begin to wean myself from the story and let it flourish—Just like a newborn baby, there is a need to let it become.

“Sometimes it’s the unseen experience that helps one understand the seen potential.”

If you or someone you love is experiencing feelings of depression or isolation, please contact:

Resources:

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline

http://www.alternativedepressiontherapy.com/free-hotlines.html

http://www.depression-chat-rooms.org/depression-helplines.htm

References:

http://www.runnersworld.com/newswire/the-worlds-fastest-marathons-and-marathoners.

http://www.biography.com/people/michael-phelps-345192.

http://listverse.com/2009/02/24/top-10-most-influential-scientists/.

http://www.biography.com/people/steve-jobs-9354805

http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/why-writers-are-prone-to-depression-6709.aspx

http://www.elizabethmoon.com/writing-depression.html

https://mythicscribes.com/writing-life/writers-and-depression/

https://litreactor.com/interviews/writers-and-depression-an-interview-with-psychotherapist-and-author-philip-kenney

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/14/books/exploring-the-links-between-depression-writers-and-suicide.html

http://www.writingandwellness.com/2016/11/08/why-writers-feel-depressed-and-how-to-deal/

https://mishaherwin.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/why-writers-get-depressed/

 

The Story Behind the Story…Behind the Story: Publishing My First Middle-Grade Fairy Tale

authorinterview

What constitutes a successful book launch?

How does one write a compelling story that readers will fall in love and read over and over again?

What type of discipline is involved in writing a book of any length?

Why did you write what you wrote in the first place?

How long does it take to write a book?

There are so many questions to how a book is written, drafted, produced, and published. But, one needs to go back to the root of why a writer writes in the first place.

Today marks the launch of my very first middle-grade fairy tale: Petrella, the Gillian Princess. A story about a courageous young princess who defies rank and authority to follow her heart. Click here for full synopsis.

This short story was written in the fall of 2012 with the intention of it being part of an anthology. It never made the cut. Placed in a drawer, it sat patiently, waiting. I didn’t find it until the fall of 2014 while rummaging through old paperwork. After rereading it several times to myself and then to my daughters, I decided to bring the magic and imagination of Petrella, the Gillian Princess back to life. I spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 enhancing and streamlining the story, which I now have 47 versions of the tale.

NOTE: So, to answer the question on how long does it take to write a book? Well, as long as it takes to make it right in the writer’s mind.

Recently, I sat down with Michelle Rene Goodhew from Mundus Media Ink. We worked together on creating the paperback and ebook format for the book.

Click here for the interview.

Until next time…

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.

 

There Goes My Life

There goes my life_photo

“…There goes my life, there goes my future, my everything…”

It’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down, the weather is changing, fall clothes are already in department stores, and many kids are in school already, or returning back to school this week.

Another grade, another year of growing, and another year of homework. Ugh…

Some parents are breathing a sigh of relief; their children needing routine and discipline after a summer of freedom and fighting.

For me, the worries are just beginning. Call me a “mother hen” but I’ve felt the most secure while my girls are in my care.

Yes, I need time for myself. Who doesn’t? The noise of life and children’s chatter can overwhelm anyone.

However, I know my kids better than anyone and I pray every day for their well-being and safety, as well as for those teachers and grown-ups who are taking care of my loved ones during the day.

Nowadays, the world is not as safe as it once was. And maybe, we weren’t as safe twenty, thirty, or even forty years ago, as we thought we were.

For those short hours that I am alone, my little girls are never far from my thoughts. Yes, I have more time to write and take care of me, but still…you know…

  • For every picture drawn…there goes my life
  • For every tear shed…there goes my life
  • For every giggle…there goes my life
  • For every silly story I am told…there goes my life
  • For every tantrum…there goes my life
  • For every hug and kiss…there goes my life
  • For every single “I love you, mama”…there goes my life

Cherish them while they are little.

Cherish them while they are older.

Give them guidance while you can because life is fleeting, so I’m told.

Lord, protect your precious treasures…please keep all the kids, your children, safe during this school year.

Until next time…

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.

Today’s inspirational song: There Goes My Life, by Kenny Chesney. You can click here to see the video. The lyrics to the song are below.

All he could think about was I’m too young for this Got my whole life ahead Hell I’m just a kid myself How’m I gonna raise one

 All he could see were his dreams going up in smoke So much for ditching this town and hanging out on the coast Oh well, those plans are long gone 

And he said

There goes my life

There goes my future, my everything

Might as well kiss it all good-bye

There goes my life 

A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later

That mistake he thought he made covers up the refrigerator

Oh yeah…he loves that little girl 

Momma’s waiting to tuck her in as she stumbles up those stairs

She smiles back at him dragging that teddy bear

Sleep tight, blue eyes and bouncing curls 

He smiles

There goes my life

There goes my future, my everything,

I love you, daddy goodnight

 There goes my life

She had that Honda loaded down

With Abercrombie clothes and fifteen pairs of shoes and his American express

He checked the oil and slammed the hood, said your good to go

She hugged them both and headed off to the west coast

 He cried

There goes my life

There goes my future, my everything

I love you

Baby good-bye