I like ’em short

I’ve been reading and writing novel length works lately. I belong to a few online book groups and people are always posting great reviews of this book or that. Sometimes I pick them up, sometimes I like them. It’s hard for me to find that book that hits the sweet spot – the perfect mix of good writing and a good story.

I love the exceptional use of language. That’s a talent.

In my literature and writing classes, I use Best American Short Stories. I chanced upon an old copy the other day. I read half of the first story and felt engaged, awakened!

Picking up the book of short stories immediately energized me with ideas for short fiction.

The joy of reading a short story happens because they’re tight, no nonsense needed, straight to the point, well written and excellently executed niblets of fiction.

The joy of writing a short story is the challenge. The point, the characters, the setting all expertly set up in concise wording in a small period of time. The use of language is easier to control, the beauty and rhythm easier to accomplish.

I once belonged to a short story group. It was so gratifying to read the short fiction. If you didn’t like what someone chose, you could still read the ten or twenty pages and talk about it. It’s not 300 pages of silently cursing your book group.

So… I’m going to recommend some books of short fiction. Of course, I recommend the Best American Short Story Series. Wonderful writing by newbies and scholars alike!

And mine: But also – I’m a huge fan of Jo Rousseau and Ron Terranova.

Jo Rousseau and Ron Terranova also have websites/blog. Stop by and check them out!

Recharge, Recover, Release.

Recharge, Recover, Release

There are all kinds of tired. Some of which I sleep well, some of which I do not.

Sometimes I’m physically tired. I worked out. I hiked. I did enough manual labor to make my body exhausted. I sleep well on these nights.

There’s mentally tired. My brain wore out from working facts and figures into some sort of rhythmic sense in my world. Sometimes, on these nights, I do not sleep well. I’m disturbed, wondering if it formed into a smooth shape of being.

Then there’s emotionally tired. Dealing with people – angry, upset, unhappy, or even large groups of chaotic masses wear me out. I do not sleep well on these nights. I toss and turn, trying to work out the ugly aura left around me.

But – I never get any of those types of tired from writing. Writing is recharging, recovering, releasing. I let go of the day, the facts and figures, the angry masses, the physical exhaustion, and I’m able to create something that is life giving, soul soothing, and has meaning.

Writing is a way of living free from outside infections.

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Similar Topics:

Create to Relieve Pain

The Healing Power of Story

Healing Through Writing

The Haunting Effects of Childhood

I have refrained for the most part from talking about my family here or on social media. Family issues are a little taboo to talk about in public. Some people let it all hang out, others post angry messages and complaints, others take revenge by posting private messages or other things in regards to the family member with whom they are upset.

We’ve probably all had to deal with this at one point or another given social media and the desire for attention that it brings.

But if I am putting myself out there and trying to be as authentic as possible, I have to tell you I have family issues that go for miles and miles and miles. Books have not been written because no one would read anything so long and repetitive.

The very reason I seek joy and serenity these days is because my childhood was filled with incredible chaos. I back away from anyone who has a flair for dramatics that involve unpredictable antics. I will never go back and relive those days.

The problem most people face is repeating patterns because there is comfort in the familiar, even if it’s crazy.

But not for me. I start shaking. I get ill. I can not handle the chaos or the craziness.

The very sad thing is that some of my family members have not broken those patterns. Many people I knew from childhood passed too young. Some have chosen a path of chemical denial. Many have served time for their errors. Some continue those behaviors.

I got out. And I am thankful for that every day.

When one gets out, however, there is always an effort to drag them back in, drag them back down.

When I was young, considering college, considering change, one of my mother’s friends said, “Sounds like someone thinks she’s better than us.”

That wasn’t it. I wasn’t better than them. I just wanted more or maybe something different.

There are times I have experienced backlash. Harassing phone calls and text messages, threats and name calling – I continue to try to back away, block, lose those from my past who want to drag me down with them.

It’s been 30 years and 3000 miles. The past doesn’t want to let me go. The past, or those in it, are angry that they’ve been left behind in a misery of their own making.

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Change is hard. Change is scary. It needs to be continually worked. Some people are not up to the task, they don’t know where to begin, so they lash out at those who somehow found a way.

While my childhood most likely inspired my desire to write, and the chaos does lend fodder for writing, the craziness haunts. It’s a ghost whose touch, long and unyielding, chills me still.

Someday, there will be a book.

Passion Comes in Waves

Writing is like passion, coming in bursts, wrapping us up, and pulling us forward toward some unknown destination.

Untended passion wanes, loses it’s spark, leaves us alone on the beach, gazing at the sand.

Commitment to job and kids and groceries seems so mundane in comparison with that flow that drags us away from life and onto better places, but we pay that so much more mind. We have to work, and kids have to be fed, and groceries need to be bought.

If only we could commit to that passion, carve out those wee hours, those tiny moments, hidden away from responsibility and live our lives enthralled and in love with that story, poem, act of writing it all out.

Passion can not survive on promises of some day. Passion thrives on action. Write. Write. Write like there’s no tomorrow and no day will ever be wasted.

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Check out other entries:

Your Journal is Important

The Myth of Writer’s Block

The Healing Power of Writing

As Winter Wanes

We laughed over coffee in the wide, wide windows of 85*.

We tempted each other with strawberry buns and green matcha pastries.

We shopped like there was no tomorrow. We planned like there were guarantees to life.

March purred like a kitten. We waited for promise of ideas in showers of moonlight.

As winter waned, we rushed home in fear.

This week, last year.

We learned to love each other deeper. We learned to be kind.

We changed direction within four stiff walls and built cities in our minds.

As winter wanes, this week, this year,

kiss every dawn, treasure every happy tear.

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Inspired creativity

A Statement Of Poetics

Gratitude

I am four, standing in the doorway of a pawn broker’s shop at the corner of E.152nd and St. Clair Avenue. My brother is kicking the door frame while my mother throws words over her shoulder. There’s a younger sister in the stroller next to my mother, and another in her belly. My mother is young, younger than I will ever remember.

She’s pawning her wedding ring – again – because we are out of milk and bread – again – .

I am giddy. Standing in front of my refrigerator. Grateful for a life in which my children will never go hungry.

Memories are said to play favorites. The more you think of one thing, the better you’ll remember it. The less you think of another thing, you’re likely to forget.

I rarely visit the past. Maybe I’m trying to forget. But there’s enough snippets left to keep me basking in gratitude for the life I have.

Up All Night

Half past the witching hour and before the break of angels, I’m awake in the shadows of 3am. My mind dances in between words and ideas. The darkness grows. The air chills. I write on spirits with invisible ink.

And, every time I close my eyes, those words make sentences, and those sentences fall into lines, those lines grow into meaning.

Dawn tugs at my lashes. I pull the blanket close, the notebook closer, scribble in nonsensical rhythms promising reason and form in the writhing lines squirming to get out of my mind.

The Soul is Sold One Piece at a Time

Do you remember who you were so many years ago when you began this journey so full of dreams? MTV was novel and the world was wide open.

The first pinch might be the hardest. It’s such a small, small thing. A tiny piece of flesh in exchange for what seemed like so much.

What’s another pinch?

Because the world is so big.

The city is made of blocks and on those blocks are neighborhoods, and somewhere in those neighborhoods you stopped feeling the pain,

around the corner is where you began to buy in. You didn’t even realized you had wandered so far from the home of your soul.

The world is four walls with an internet connection. We travel so far without going anywhere at all. It’s safe and warm and full proof. The commercialism of promise. The bindings of success.

Within, that child waits for second life.

My mind is a dry, dry desert

The waters cease to flow and my mind becomes a dry desert, void of any green and brown or dreams. Words fail me. Dedication wanes. I posture in contention with an empty screen, my silence doing little to reach resolution.

The tea pot whistles, the phone pings, a dog barks in the distance and I remove myself to interject where wanted or needed. Anywhere but that blank screen and my vacuous mind which refuses to fill it.

The dry times are the hardest. I remind myself it’s temporary; I list the ways, committed to memory, of how to overcome, outdo, move forward. But I am uncooperative.

I need new stimuli, a piece of starlight dropped at my feet, the feather floating before my eyes, but it’s all just lies.

I blame the hostility of empty souls, the long blankness of lock down, the right light, the wrong pen, but it’s meaningless.

Streams create rivers which become lakes and flow into oceans. Water wedges into openings, fills spaces, creates movement.

Stay open. Always stay open.

It’s all over now

The long covid winter has has taken so much. Our days languish. Our nights persist.

And I have adopted men’s pajamas.

The need for attractive shoes disappeared within weeks of the lock-down; the stylish pants and dresses went soon after. By summer, we donned our yoga pants and tennies. When the first chill of autumn blew the leaves from the trees, we switched to sweats where we have lived quietly, but not quieted, through the holidays – unveiling pretty sweaters in our above the waist zoom camera-shots.

January sprung confidence in the new year. But February rolled in, hope stilled in the cold snow, and it happened. The wind chill dropped and the dryer broke. Sitting on the coffee table, a forgotten gift, still wrapped – I tugged the ribbon and unpacked the thermal flannels. I studied them begrudgingly for a single moment before I slipped them on.

Warmth.

The lust for spring freedom is shackled. It can waste away in dreams now.

I have donned men’s pajamas and may never leave my writing desk ever again.