Z is for Zone. #AtoZChallenge

narrative-794978_12801 Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

I am in the zone lately, reading and writing like a maniac, learning marketing ideas as an indie author, and escaping into fiction reading just as often.

I wanted to write about something Zen for Z,  but let’s be honest, I have no true idea about Zen.  My home life is a little chaotic.  Work is terribly busy, so I just escape into a book.  It’s nothing new; I’ve done it all my life.  I had my phases where I’d binge watch certain things on Netflix, but I can’t seem to make myself a passive recipient of others’ ideas right now.  I don’t think reading someone’s book is passive at all.

“Zone out” means you become inattentive or unbothered, and I have to use that in my life right now.  There have been many changes in my home, and I have to accept them. Know what helps?  Getting in my zone.  Every now and then I have to reconnect with those around me, though.

I look forward to telling you more about what’s happening in my zone in the next few weeks.

*For the month of April, I’ve participated in the April A to Z Blogger’s Challenge!  Can you believe it’s just about over?  I’ve done it!  Each day this month, I have written something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been challenging and fun while giving me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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#weekendcoffeeshare Writing Setbacks, a.k.a – No, Reality Won’t Stop Me

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee share, hosted by parttimemonsterblog.com.  If we were having coffee, on this foggy morning of January 21st, we’d sit outdoors, as the Florida sun is just starting to peak through.  Not to mention, it is a pleasant 70 degrees!  This has been quite a week, heck, it has already been quite a month.  There have been way too many challenges and obstacles to overcome.  But I’m doing it.  I am not a quitter, and I don’t say that lightly.

Still, my goals have been affected by setbacks.  My goals are not as clear anymore, either, due to many dramatic events in my family life lately.  I have a full-length manuscript that someone is editing for me, after which I’ll need to make some changes I’d already planned on.  Then, I have two other spin-off ideas, yet, I don’t have the focus to really dive into them right now, as I’m also taking a required online course for work that involves a lot of reading and responding.  It’s just 3 months!  *sigh* At least I have started typing up or writing the general ideas so they won’t be lost forever.  (This used to happen to me before I seriously committed myself to being a writer).

Heh, that sounds cool.  I have committed myself to being a writer!  Hey, guys, I’m a writer!  It was only a dream two years ago!  I had ideas floating around that were lost to the aether because I never wrote them down.  Fortunately, I changed that habit.  I can be glad for that, but still,  I am frustrated lately by the intense details that have dropped into my life since my son had an accident that put him in the hospital for three days.  Now, there is so much paperwork and follow-up.  He is better, though his employment situation changed recently, and that’s another concern.  We will get through this.

If my paragraphs seem to be all over the place, I apologize.  That is my life lately.  I deal with what I must, then I inject the writing wherever I can.  I did do some writing this week, however.  Although I haven’t worked on any of my manuscripts or novel in progress, I entered my response to a flash fiction photo prompt.  You can find it at https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/travel-my-way-fridayfictioneers/  Please give it a read and I’d love it if you have a comment!  I just love flash fiction, though I hated it at first.  But I realized that open-ended stories have their own merit, and I learned to love that beast.  Not to mention, I completed it before work on Tuesday as I let my hair dry.  What an excellent way to start the day!  I have also written poetry lately, in dealing with my overwhelming emotions and the overwhelming events of life.  I think it was this week I wrote my “Tenuous Grasp” prayer/poem, see http://bit.ly/2kciqvT.  Aha, yes, it was this week, 1/17/17.  Sometimes I write because I love writing, other times, I do it to survive emotionally.  I mean that.

I wish I had more to share on my status as a writer.  This week also consisted of busy activities at work, learning (and then teaching) a way my students can submit their writing to me online for grading, and, yes, hospital visits.  A hospital is the last place I ever want to be.  However, since insurance requires certain forms being filled out for my son’s accident, and I’d hate spending an hour on the phone to find out where to fax or mail them, my son and I went up there.  Twice.  First, on MLK day since I was off.  He is not driving now, so I had to go, too.  Well, the necessary department was closed that day. Or, that is, what we thought was the necessary department.

So, I arranged to take Wednesday morning off and we went again.  After speaking to about 5 people, starting with E.R. on the first floor,  where he had been first treated, we were sent to many different departments to include: Medical Records, (basement), Case Management (1st floor, I think; it got confusing), then, Trauma Admin (8th floor) where a cute young Doogie Houser/Will Smith intern helped us find the right office.  Finally, someone took our form and said it would be ready in 7-10 days.  All that, in addition to getting lost down a long, dark, hall with blank gray walls.   I could imagine being lost there, never to return.  Maybe I’ve seen that in a movie.  Did I mention I hate hospitals?  The long hidden corridors, the smells…I’ll stop there.  At least there was an end to our endless loop.

At any rate, I slept in today, as I so needed it.  I get arm pain and muscle aches, so I’ll modify diet this week and see how it helps.  Next Dr. visit is in 1-2 months.  No need to hurry there.  I am so glad it’s Saturday.  I am hoping to work on my writing projects next week.  Enjoy your weekend, my friends!                                                                                            *The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster .  You can join this week’s Coffee Share on her blog or by clicking on the “Linkup Linky“.  In fact, I encourage you to click on the “linky” to see what’s been going on in the lives of other bloggers and even join us if you haven’t before. (I’ll make the links hot later)

Inspiration, When it Comes Knocking… #amwriting

Featured on http://www.kathycecala.com/

narrative-794978_1280Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

If you’re one of those who sometimes wonders why you ever published, or you feel you are in an endless loop of writing, then trying to get your writing noticed, then writing more, rest assured, you’re not alone.  I feel that at times.  But two years ago, the writing bug hit me, maybe because of hard times at home and the desire to escape;  I decided I was going to write, finish what I started, and stop being afraid to show people what I wrote.  After all, I am a grown up.  I’m also not getting any younger. To this day, I don’t regret that decision. 🙂 I took to hanging out in writers’ forums on Facebook, took a James Patterson online class, and entered some contests on Wattpad.  Now, my college degree was English Literature and I wrote about many authors, but   something had to get me up to bat as a writer of my own material. This post is in honor of the many things that make me write and keep me writing.

My favorite writers.  A favored quote by Stephen King: “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”  He is one daring author.   Nor does he feel like he has to put on some fake persona for the fact that he is an author.  I like that.  He keeps on writing.   If he can, so can I, and he seems to think the same thing.

Joyce Carol Oates:  She angered me so in her book “Wonderland,” but it spurred me to write a whole book full of poetry that brought out many issues from my past.  It is not published.  Her main character was utterly detestable, and perhaps a little of a sociopath, but his treatment of women disturbed me so much that I could no longer empathize with his horrible past once I got past 3/4 of the book.  I’ll look back on my poetry and see when I’m ready to share it.  I am not knocking Oates for “wonderland,”, this simply shows how good she was at hitting a raw nerve.  Her book, “Freaky Green Eyes,” totally championed women’s rights by showing just how wrong a patriarchal relationship could go.  “Wonderland” disturbed me.  What does that mean?  I’ll never forget it.

James Patterson:  Some people have argued that he’s not really that good at the art of writing.  I THINK THEY READ THE WRONG BOOKS.  He’s no Shakespeare, but if he’s no good, then, why can’t I put his books down?  He’s a master of suspense who can write in the perspective of male, female, protagonist, or villain and is convincing in each one.

Writers inspire new writers to write.   By just writing and daring to get it “out there” you could provide inspiration to a new writer!  One of the few times I allowed myself to be moved to tears as a teacher was in response to a student’s poem about her dear, departed father.  I told her my tears were a real compliment, and she smiled.  If you are a writer, you should inspire others to write.  Writing is forever evolving, this is why we always need new literature and, or course, new writers.

Dreams.  Of Reptiles and Dragons…

fairy-tale-1653150_1280 Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

The most recent dream I’ve had is supposedly foreboding, according to dream interpretation books.  I say they’re just narrow-minded.  Hard times are coming?  I’ve already had them.  Reptilian eggs hatching to tadpoles, growing into snakes that morph into raptors or dragons?  No problem.  Here is an idea of what I’ll make of that, and yes, it reflects my reality of having a family member who suffered a mental breakdown in the last two years.

 

Little girl:  Hey, you’re that boy who sees dragons all the time, aren’t you?

Boy nods his head and looks at her warily.

Girl:  Well, some people see angels.  Grandma says you can’t see them, but Momma says my baby brother sees angels, that’s why he smiles all the time.  Did you see angels when you were a baby?

Boy: Nope.  Mom says I’ve been seeing dragons since I was a little one. ( Looks back down at his toy truck.)

Girl:  Do you see one right now?

Boy:  Yep.  He’s right next to you.

Girl:  Do they help you?  Do they keep you company?

Boy:  Yeah.

Girl:  Well, maybe you just have angels that look like dragons, then.

Boy:  (Smiles.)

Girl:  Can I play with your truck, too?  Tell your dragon I’m a good person, okay?

Boy:  (Shrugs).  Yeah, okay.

© copyright 2016

Now, if only every oddball was accepted so easily, and differences could be normalized.  I’m not sure where the dragon theme is leading, but it seems to be here to stay until I figure that out.

Reality.  Events happen.  Sometimes life sucks.  See my last section on my inspiration for writing about dragons.  My writing motto over the last 1-2 years has been, “I Fiction because Reality Sucks.” (Bites, etc.).  But doesn’t a troubled or confusing reality fuel one’s fiction?  Yes, I say it does. It certainly has fueled my poetry which is a source for expressing my emotions.  Anxiety over what may happen to a loved one has wrecked me time and again.  I wrote about it in this poem, written after a sleepless night:

https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/anxiety-the-phantom-poetry/

Yes, things are better now in my family, and should stay that way, as long as terrible drivers don’t come near me ever again.  It may seem irrelevant, but that has been my main source of anxiety lately.  Deep breaths.

I’ve also used my past experience in a troubled marriage, dissolved eighteen years ago, to develop the perfect man in my novel, Made for Me.  (Well, almost perfect) 🙂  My second, Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes, focused on a side character from the first, who turned out to be a kick-ass chick at just twenty years old.  If interested, you can find out more about my self-published novellas by clicking on the About section of my WordPress site.

Faith and Beliefs.

I am fortunate enough to be in a church where I feel I am good enough.  I feel totally accepted, and there are many opportunities to serve the Lord whether in brief skits, Advent devotions, or the traditional ushering, liturgist, elder duties.  I have posted my entry for the Advent devotional here on my blog as well.  https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/christmas-memories-no-im-no-angel-but-sometimes-my-prayers-are-answered-advent-faith-christmas-memories/

I also devoted several posts to the application of Bible verses to my life during Lent this past year.  If that is your thing, please take a look!

https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/a-new-morning/

Faith has been an important part of my life, so it is right that I should write about it.

Morning and Evening Walks with the Dog.

This is one time when I cannot multi-task.  I have to see where I’m going!  I can observe thins around me, such as the arc of the sun ascending or a full moon at night.  I love watching my dog’s antics when he sees a squirrel.  I got many ideas for a time travel novel as I walked him around and glanced at the night sky.  For the last two years, he has been such a blessing in many ways.  I should mention yoga.  It clears my mind and then marvelous thoughts enter.  In other words, my mind doesn’t stay clear.  And that’s okay.  I’m different.  Yes, I’ve written on this topic also in posts titled “My Exercise Evolution, Yoga Stream of Consciousness.”

wp-1480187201702.jpg“Halt!  Who Goes There?”

Popular Culture.  Songs, books, movies.  Let’s talk movies, shall we?
Among the most inspiring:  The Martian.  (I read it and saw the movie).  Interstellar.  Another Earth (you likely haven’t seen that one, but you should.  Go rent it).  Fight Club.  Being Flynn.  Some of the more obscure movies are simply obscure because they don’t appeal to the mainstream.  That is why you should see them!  It is also why they make my brain want to explode with ideas.  Songs?  There are many, but I’ll only mention one.  “Wow,” by Beck.  He is groundbreaking in many of his songs, but this one takes me to so many places, probably because it sounds like a blend of so many different music genres.  I recommend it if you are open-minded in music choices.

In a nutshell, I keep writing because there is so much out there; there are so many ideas just waiting to be caught!  Do you see them in the air?  Do you hear them in between your friends’ conversations?  There are so many ways to go with writing and sometimes, I want to do it all!  Maybe, I’ll find one area that is really my niche, or maybe not, because I am such a moody little filly that I must write to stay sane and because anything I write expresses my mood at that time. Perhaps one day, I’ll figure it out!

 

Worry, and Impossible Things

When life is hectic and people are dumping too much on you, and you’re not getting enough sleep, you just want to escape or at least get your hair done, but there is not enough time…..What can  you do?!  Short of pharmaceuticals, that is, which are wrought with their own problems… I have to try a “cocktail” of strategies to keep myself from cracking.  Here is my recent mixture:

* I am strengthened by biblical scripture and have tried to get closer to this since the beginning of the Lenten season.  I believe my pastor discussed this scripture at the beginning of Lent, and it is a staple of my spiritual diet lately.

Matthew 19:26: “But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men  [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

I have lived through parenting a teenager and being faced with realities I did not want to be a part of.  He has been in the E.R three times in his life  due to his playing with danger, and I prayed furiously, fighting the worry.  Yet, here he is.  After wavering and wallowing over his confusion after high school, when it seemed impossible to motivate him, he is taking a test today that will determine if he can get into trade school.  It involves some Algebra, and yes, I want to worry, but instead I’ll write my blog entry, which is actually a sort of prayer.  I am going to have faith, even if things don’t turn out the way I want, that things will work out just fine.

*I am rewarded when I look to Literature for an escape.  It is fairly inexpensive, and there is no hangover.  To believe in impossible things, one must be an optimist, and may even be a scientist.  I am probably a dreamer.  But guess what, someone has to dream up the ideas in the first place!  And it nourishes my soul.  From Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass: 

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I had abandoned this book long ago, because it seemed so out there, it just lost me.  Well, it must be just what I need right now, because it is sticking to me like a well-balanced meal sticks to your sides.  I lick my lips in delight like a full Cheshire Cat after reading a chapter of this outrageous masterpiece of wordplay and riddles.  It’s the escape I needed from worry over my son who is a grown-up now, and over my job where I sometimes feel I am given an impossible task, where what I do is never enough.  But guess what, I am doing fine and I need to remember that.

*Music.  It relaxes me, it awakens me, it pumps me up, and helps me forget the little nit-picky things that can really bother me.  I especially need it when driving in traffic to get to work in the morning.  Case in point, horrible traffic on the way to work yesterday.  I was playing Coldplay’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head.”  Just the right song makes me not care that I am getting to work later than I had hoped (For Pete’s sake I am always  there before my contract time anyhow)!  So, I sat in a line of cars at the light yesterday jamming to Coldplay’s Politik, enthralled in the notes that went higher and higher, trying to sing with the notes (I was singing “eyes” in every note up the ladder while Chris Martin was holding and breathing through that word….Eyyyyyyessssssssssssssssssss).  I hope I looked as crazy to those around me as I felt, since I truly did not care what they thought.

 

*It has been too long since I had a true vacation, and I am feeling that one will be in order pretty soon.  Therefore, my photo with this entry is of another time, in another place, when I was on vacation with family, including my nine year old son who was amazed at the beauty of the mountainside he had never seen before.  It was a place where you think of the silence or the birds singing around you, and what beautiful wonders are just ahead as you make your way through the trees or up the hill.  That is the best.  Those memories also help me to hang on, but they are certainly helped along by prayer, song, and a steady diet of just the right reading at the right moment.

 

So, I sit here after dropping my son off early for his test, knowing he just wanted to get out of the car and away from my questions or reminders.  I know how my worry bothers him; I dealt with the same thing from my mother.  I am working on it, as I know it is to my physical detriment, in other words, not very good for my health.  Heck, my worry bothers me too.  But I have sent out my prayers for things to work out, and for him to never give up, which I hope he has learned from me.  Now I think I can fill my mind with something else.  It is a beautiful day, and there is still more to read about Alice!

 

 

 

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Ah, Nature!  Nothing to worry about if you just know what to hold onto.  Colorado Mts. , 2005.