Weekend Coffee Share…Of Walter Dean Myers, bucket lists, baby goats, and writing goals.

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share!  Please don’t hate me because I live in Florida, and it will be close to 80 degrees today.  At least my iced coffee is pumpkin spice flavor!  😉

First, I’d like to ask, which rings true for you?  Here are two alternate skits:

Child:  Grandpa, why are we here?

Grandfather:  To love one another and care for this great Earth.

Alternate:

Child:  Grandpa, why are we here?

Grandfather:  To compete with each other, destroy our enemies, and turn a profit.

I will not deny that this may seem a little political.  I have a hard time verbalizing such things.  I love people regardless of their political beliefs.  But I am having such a hard time lately dealing with recent policy changes, seeing the earth pilfered, people hurt, and families torn apart.  I may seem like a pipe dreamer, but I have long ago realized that was my place on this Earth.  If we all saw things in black and red (monetarily and us vs. them), it would be an ugly world indeed.  I’ve also accepted that, if I were alive in the Middle Ages, I would have been an artisan, poor indeed, but I would make people smile or cry, and they’d throw me enough crumbs to keep me alive.  I’d also be least likely to get beheaded.  I obviously would dress for comfort and not to impress some king into putting jewels on my head.  I’m perfectly fine with my place in life.  If I should ever make it big as an author, I’ll wear what the heck I want to book signings, just like Stephen King.

Now, off of my soapbox.  I have not participated in Weekend Coffee Share in a while!  Part of that is due to neglecting to blog more than once a week.  I’ve been doing the flash fiction entries since it’s tickles my fancy, but only once a week.  It’s good to be back, even if for once in a blue moon.  I love my writers’ community, and I’m glad you all are still here in this space!

Work has kept me busy, busy, while I try to promote my published books.  I’m not writing a book for NANOWRIMO, but I am fleshing out and revising the one I wrote last November.  It is a sequel to my time travel novel, Detours in Time .  This sequel has gone from 45,000 words to 56,000 when I last checked, so I am making progress.  Still, some nights, I get home from work and just want to read and relax.  It may not be completely revised at the end of November, and that’s okay.  I get achy in my hands and arms at times, either due to arthritis or the way I manage stress (internalizing).  So, I’m not pushing it.  All will happen in due time.  I don’t see myself quitting the job to just write until I most likely legitimately retire from teaching.

The workplace has given me more challenges than last year, I believe.  My family life is calmer, but I come home from work good and tired.  I won’t complain about the job; there are good days and bad days.  Sometimes, you can know just what to say to tell a student you’ve “got their number,” and it may work.  Other days, it’s quite overwhelming and you just wonder why they have to be manipulated or pleaded with to do the right thing?  Ah, the nature of middle-schoolers.  They don’t always know who they are.

At least I get to teach one of my favorite books again:  Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers.  Talk about a struggle for identity.  This book is about his life, and he sure went through some hard times regarding: poverty, race, identity, growing up in Harlem, family issues, and adolescence in general.  I know I mentioned this last week in my Stream of Consciousness post.  This book stays with me.  We are starting to study author’s point of view in a memoir.  I’m hoping I have enough artistic kids, because what I’d like to do is have posters of his head opening like a box with a hinge, and his thoughts on paper strips coming out.  Truly, isn’t that what a writer does?  We open it up for others to see what is inside.  Usually, there is an end goal.  He obviously wants to inspire kids of today to stop making excuses and go for their dreams.  I know Myers inspires me.

Well, Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is coming soon.  We’re going to NC to see my brother and sister-in-law.  The cooler weather will be nice.  I think I’ll gain weight.  I do yoga once or twice a week, but my cardio is faltering.  I blame it on weather fluctuations and writing goals.  I just have to do enough to make sure my clothes still fit.  Buying a whole new wardrobe doesn’t appeal to me like it used to.  I guess I’m getting more practical as I move toward fifty.  It’s gonna be awesome.  I will make it awesome.  I’ve added beer yoga, baby-goat yoga, trying helium beer with my high-school best friend, and still have sky-diving on my bucket list.  Wish me luck in these endeavors!      (Seriously, find a video of baby goat yoga.  They jump all over the place and look so light-weight.  It just seems like a joyful, laughter-filled experience I’d love to try.  Watch it and feel your blood pressure drop)!

-Pamela

#WeekendCoffeeShare is now hosted at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ Please visit the blog to view other weekend coffee shares and to enter your own.

How was your week?  What’s going on in your life and your artistic/ blogging endeavors?

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Stream of Consciousness…Nov. 2017

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One idea after the other has flooded into my head today and I am not able to act upon a single one in completion.  Yet, that’s okay.  My brain is working, and I’m thankful.  I wrote an added chapter to my work in progress which

has opened doors and avenues for more ideas….

 

I met with friends who inspire me and nurture my brain, as we talk on one topic and then another which leads to even another.  Then, we decide on a general time frame for our next meet, all of which enriches my soul.

It is comforting to know there are many more ideas waiting to come to life when this current goal comes to its fruition.

To my delight, my doctor’s visit today included discussion about Quentin Tarantino movies.  Dark and disturbing, but nothing I’d walk out on.  Darkness lives among us.  We cannot run from it, but we can try to shine our light into its corners.  I also tend to take a muscle relaxer when it creeps up on me like some of those Tarantino scenes…They creep up on you and blow up immediately.  Case in point:  The Hateful Eight.

There is awe-inspiring literature still to be discovered, and though I am in between books, I am once again teaching the wonderful novel by Walter Dean Myers, titled Bad Boy.  At the heart of it is his struggle for identity, his longing to be a writer like Shelly or Byron, existing right beside his love for ‘playing ball’ and his increasing awareness that race and his place in society (back in his time) may not fit with his desire to write like Yeats.  His struggle for identity touches me.  Portions of this novel are very dark, but I can say that I have been there.  I went through that.  It had nothing to do with race, but more with my place in society, living in a mobile home park with a divorced mother who worked very hard to make ends meet.  Living with the memories of my dad as an angry alcoholic and later, talking with him on the phone, a converted stranger trying to get to know me as a sober dad, long-distance.  I never felt college was really within reach until my dad made it clear to me in 12th grade that I really needed to try it, and that he would help.  There were dark days where I trusted no one, lots of awkward social experiences,  days I had lunch alone (before I remembered to take a book everywhere), and bright days when I earned an A in College Algebra because I studied three hours the night before.  When I read of Myers’ dark days, I feel it.  There were times, as a teen, when I was cutting, thinking of suicide, or partying with other lost teens.  It is such a soul-searching venture to dig deeply into this novel.  It also makes me relive some of my son’s teen angst years, all of which is fodder for an entirely separate entry or story.

And then it is time to come back above water.  I know how it ends.  Myers finds his identity and place as a writer.  I am, as an adult, of the mindset that believes there is always hope.  I’ve found my place in society, and I’ve used the dark moments of my life to fuel my writing.  I am still emerging as a writer.  Maybe I’m a fledgling.  I don’t think I’ll ever rest on my laurels.  This makes me feel young, and I pray, pray, pray with all my might that my mental capacities will allow me to spin tales for years to come.

This is what’s on my mind lately.  What’s on yours?

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Turn off the News! #poetry

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Diana at parttimemonsterblog.com. If we were having coffee today, on August 18, I’d tell you I’m glad for a new school year in a job that I love, but I’m tired. I dream about distant shores, maybe since I didn’t travel much this summer, and my writing projects are on hold until I have the energy.
I’d tell you to stay safe during the upcoming eclipse, but to enjoy this natural phenomenon, because nature is the greatest thing in this world, and we should all appreciate it much more.
I’d also tell you I’m terribly sad for our world, and I am praying for peace while I avoid the news today. I just can’t take anymore of it today. I penned a poem expressing my frustration.

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(c) Pamela Schloesser Canepa, 2017.

On that note, I am signing off to spend some time with a loved one, enjoy some play with my dog, and hopefully have time for reading and appreciating nature! I suggest you all do something today that makes you appreciate this world.
Does anyone have a different hobby that gets them away from reality?
Have a great weekend, and check out the other coffee shares at parttimemonsterblog.com! You may even want to add your own.

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Another Soulful Sunday. #WeeklySmile

SunflowerBuddingIMG_0335Photo taken Friday morning.

The natural/animal world makes me smile.  I get to see this sunflower budding while I walk my dog.  He always aims for the bushes surrounding it, but never for the sunflower plant.  I think this is a type of respect in the natural world.  Yes, I think he purposely does not aim at the sunflower plant,  as he knows it is higher in the pecking order of plant life.

Am I right?  I respect him more for it.  Seeing this thing grow makes me smile.  I’ll certainly share a picture when the flower blooms!  My smile this week is a quiet one.  A smile of acceptance and gratitude.  I am so thankful for my little dog monster that gets me out of the house and looking at these things.  I might not otherwise!  This little dog/monster that pulls on the leash and would chase every cat and squirrel if I let him….He’d also come home with deep scratches, I am sure.  He is quiet around me, just like me son is, but we enjoy a walk out in nature together,  my son and I, or my dog and I.  My son doesn’t chase after cats or squirrels, though.  🙂  My point is, the outdoor walks are very healthy for me and whoever is accompanying.

The natural world is so good for one’s mind.  This week at my workplace, we said goodbye to a co-worker who taught Science at my school for many years.  A dedicated teacher, she also took in and adopted several small critters into her classroom over the years.  She had such a respect for nature.  That’s what I’ll most remember, her nurturing and curiosity.  She was also friendly and always had a smile when I took my then younger son to work on an off day or after school.  She was about 60 and it was recently discovered she had cancer.  I want to go on about how her death didn’t have to happen.  Instead, I’ll just remember the stories of her outdoors adventures studying nature and her smile and, at times, sardonic wit.  My smile is a smile of acceptance, and even though that is hard, there is something worth smiling about, that I was privileged to know her.  Nature will reinforce our belief that life goes on.  I think Deb would appreciate that.  Always remember, but don’t tarnish your remembrance with regret.

IMG_0338  Photo taken Saturday evening.

***Weekly smile is a blogger’s challenge started by Trent.  Visit his blog and his Weekly Smile post at  https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/i-want-your-smiles-weeklysmile-83-reminder/

Have a great week!

Soulful Sunday, #weeklysmile, 7/30

Squirrelanimal-1296944_1280.jpg Image credit, Pixabay.com

Here’s a weekly smile based on gratitude:

I’m going to take a Soulful Sunday moment to reflect on the positives: the healing my family has encountered, the second chances, the support with my latest book, the friends I’ve made at work and church, and the long-time friends who still keep in touch. Let’s include my significant other, Kenny, who appreciates my art and respects my time, as he brightens the world with his own creations and remains steadfast through my many dramas. Those who say they “don’t like drama” are just denying their own. We’ve all got it, and it makes us stronger, as long as you’re not creating “the drama.” So I am thankful for that too, as well as the rain at my window and this dog curled at my feet whom I would not have brought home five years ago for fear of allergies and responsibility. My heart is becoming more capable with each possibility I let in. You’ve seen my patron animal here, (the flying squirrel) and you’ll see him again. Every time I’m walking the dog and he sees a squirrel, he chases after it until he’s stuck at the base of a tree, looking up at the squirrel high in its branches, wondering why he can’t just climb up to that high place as well.  I imagine the squirrel felt the same when one of his kin just flew off the branch and glided.  My dog can do something those squirrels can’t: he can mend a hurting heart and be the most loyal friend ever.  Still, when I think of that flying squirrel, I think of the endless possibilities present in this universe, some that we haven’t even yet discovered.  We all can soar, we just need to discover our own traits that will make that possible.  

The natural/animal world is an endless source of smiles for me!

Share Your World. #bloggerschallenge

 

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

List some of your favorites types of teas.  1.  Detox tea, raspberry flavor.  2.  Thai tea.  They drink milk in their tea; it’s quite pleasant.  3.  Vanilla chai tea.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?  See the photo above.  I am on summer break, so I have time to do things I want to do.  The problem is prioritizing which I will do first.  I am starting to lack focus.  I am reading a good detective mystery book and I am 80% in.  I’ll likely finish it today, but I am breaking a lot to check Amazon KDP to see how my book is selling on Kindle Countdown.  I’ve also decided I’ll work on that conflict scene for my WIP, then I saw this blog challenge and felt it would be a good release.  I also want to, and think I will set up an Amazon ad.  Later.  🙂   At any rate, this sign is , um, okay, it’s many signs….but sometimes there’s a signpost with all these places and it points in different directions; that’s what I was thinking of.  It’s like taking a vacation somewhere and seeing all these options and not being able to decide which one to pursue.  So today, I’m just sticking my toes into each option.  I do really hope I’ll finish one of them.  I do believe I’ll get more focused when I’m back to work again.

What are a couple of things people could do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?  Buy me lunch or coffee and just sit and talk to me.  We all get so busy that we have to share updates by text or social media these days.  It’s not the same as it is in person.

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do do?   Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.  I would be a ballroom dancer and a trapeze artist on the side.  Imagine the glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles I would have!  This is just dreaming though, because I have a few arthritis and tension issues, but I do yoga to help that. 

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?  Next week I volunteered to help out with something at work, so I am giving two extra days before school starts.  The thing I look forward to is seeing some co-workers that I haven’t seen in over a month.  I also plan to walk on the beach at least once next week!

Share Your World is a challenge run by Cee’s Photography blog at  https://ceenphotography.com/2017/07/24/share-your-world-july-24-2017/

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Ice, Please.

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Diana at partimemonsterblog.com.  If we were having coffee today, on July 23rd, I’d tell you that I have iced mocha or regular coffee, with creamer and two ice cubes in mine, how about you?  I’d also tell you–

My son has been working his job regularly, and this is a good thing.  It gives him a sense of purpose, even though it may not seem like a “career” job, but he is getting a good number of hours, despite coming home early when it storms.  It is an outdoor job, and he loves that sort of thing.  I worry about him less when he works, since his mind is occupied and he loves physical work.  Wednesday he was off, and we took a nice little walk at the beach, stopping at a quaint coffee shop afterward.  I posted a few photos of things seen on our walk Thursday in a post titled, “Echoes of My Neighborhood.”

On the author front, I am trying out Hootsuite for my social media.  There was one day I couldn’t post because it had a glitch.  But I have set up some posts to start this Weds.  We’ll see how it runs!  I won’t use it for WordPress, though, because I believe that my voice is more authentic if I write, edit when I can, and post when I am ready.  Yes, sometimes that means posting in the moment.  I also have been running a Kindle Countdown offer for my latest sci-fi book, Detours in Time, which will be just $1.99 in Kindle format until 7/25, with a comparable savings in the UK.  So far, I can say I’ve sold more books than I would have otherwise.  That’s the goal!  Feel free to check out the preview of my book or to get your own copy at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ZW6XF   I will not reduce this book any lower or put it on free promo. for a while, because I have spent a good amount of money on editing, promo., cover, and marketing materials.  A fellow author, Carol James Marshall, wrote a blog post on that, titled “Art is Not Free.”  She’s right.  Seriously.  Imagine if pro- athletes spent the first year of their career earning less money than they spent to get into the game.  In fact, a Time.com article states rookies get a “league minimum base salary of $450,000.” * Unreal, right?  Our priorities are messed up, when you also consider beginning teachers’ or police officers’ salaries.  Ugh.  Okay, rant over.  Reviews for my book are coming in at an overall average of 4 stars for my first 8 reviews.  That’s even good for a batting average, right?

DetoursinTimeAdIMG_0329  Detours in Time, a sci-fi, time-travel tale.

On that subject of art not being free, I thought of my own reading and buying habits.  If something is advertised for free, yes, I’m likely to load it on my Kindle.  Heck, I may see two different free books and load them.  Will I hurry to read them? No, not unless someone else has recommended.  Does anyone value something that is being given away?  I’m also less likely to give a review on a free book.  I also might likely speed through it.  So, I am trying to spread the news and make it seen, so that buyers are more likely to purchase it and value it.  This also means I need to learn to use AMS Amazon ads, which is a whole other blog post.  🙂

I had a great weekend with some work buddies at a cookout that was relaxing and led to much over-eating.  I am not doing much cardio this summer, just yoga.  It’s so hot for cardio!  (I live in Florida).I’m also spending a lot of time learning about my avocation as an author, jotting down ideas, spreading news of my book, and honing my writing skill.  I love the Flash fiction challenges here on WordPress!   This week, I joined in on a Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Challenge and wrote my own, titled “Stairway to Heaven.”  You may find it here at https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/stairway-to-heaven-flash-fiction-for-aspiring-writers-fffaw/  for a short escape!

Last night, my boyfriend and I watched the movie, Memento, with Guy Pearce.  It came out about fifteen years ago.  I recently read a blog post about Christopher Nolan movies, and it was mentioned.  I remember that this movie struck me and had an impression on me.  It was highly acclaimed in this blog post.  I regard it highly as well.  While watching, it didn’t seem like my boyfriend liked it.  He found it confusing.  Well, yes it is.  A lot of it goes in reverse order.  Not only that, you get glimpses of an event, but not all of the event, so you really can’t figure it out until the end.  This movie will disorient you, and I think that is the goal.  The main character had a brain injury and has a short-term memory disorder.  He can’t make new memories.  So, as he’s trying to find out who his wife’s killer is, he is putting together clues that he will forget about moments later unless he takes snapshots, makes notes, or tattoos them on his body.  And these brief glimpses we get are probably much like those that a person with such a memory disorder would have.  I felt sad for him, because for such a person, it is almost impossible to put the big picture together, much like any viewer of the movie will have trouble predicting where it’s going or even knowing for sure who villains are.  Again, the movie does make a point, a very sharp, cutting point.  I’m sure that’s the intent.

Thanks for tuning in to my Weekend Coffee Share. It turned out longer than intended, but it does sum up my week.  I couldn’t help but get on a tangent with the “Art is not Free” statement.  I truly respect the arts and would like to see them elevated in status in our society once again, to include Literature, Art, Poetry, Oral Storytelling ( where people would pay $20 without batting an eye to hear a really good storyteller, just like they pay $50-100 or more for famous musicians and far beyond that for sports games).  Ah, maybe I’m just a dreamer.  🙂

If we were having coffee, I’d also ask you about your week.  Feel free to share with me, or visit Diana’s blog and add your link to your written coffee share by clicking on the blue button at http://parttimemonsterblog.com/2017/07/22/weekendcoffeeshare-in-which-i-am-a-wee-lazy/   Have a great week!

  • The referenced Time article can be found at http://time.com/money/4626448/heres-the-salary-of-every-quarterback-in-the-nfl-playoffs/