#WeekendCoffeeShare: Out of Chaos…

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Happy Saturday, fellow bloggers.  What a much needed Saturday it is!  Work has been hectic lately, life has been hectic, even my writing has felt hectic.  Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share!  If we were having coffee today, on the 13th of May, I’d tell you:

Somedays work is really a challenge as we move closer to the end of the year.  However, I did something with my students to end out the week:  Collaborative Discussion.  I am pleased to say that I enjoyed it!  Yes, they’re still antsy because of Spring and the impending end of the school year, yes, I had to remind some of them to stop being silly, but they even made me laugh at some points.  I got to see that some of them have really grown in their thinking about our texts and in their self-expression.  That was priceless.

Life is, well, life.  I miss the A to Z Blogging Challenge, but I wouldn’t have time to blog every day anyhow.  I’ve had a hard time with my son turning 21.  I had to set some rules in writing for the household, which took some thought.  Still, I’m glad I did it.  It’s not easy seeing your child make mistakes or bad choices, and it’s also not easy standing back to see them fall flat on their face just to learn their lesson.  I had many years to teach those lessons, but he had two different households and two totally different parents influencing him.  I’ll go no further so as not to make this a venting session about my ex.  🙂

Writing.  I said it was hectic.  I regret not having time to enter the short story challenges here on WordPress.  It’s easy to meet other inspired writers that way, and it’s so rewarding to create a little world within 100-250 worlds.  I guess I miss that, too.  I’ll have to miss it because I’m working on editing my full-length time travel novel in the hopes of publishing it this summer.  It’ll be self-published, of course, because that is the way I do things right now.  Over the last month or two, I’ve read two books about self-publishing and promotion, one by Derek Murphy, which was very helpful and packed with ideas.  I recommend it.  The title is Guerrilla Publishing.

In the Writing/Author world, I have published a short story on Smashwords about a stray dog’s life until meeting his forever home called From Lost to Loved, A Stray Dog’s Tale for free download.  I have two freebie programs going on in the effort to get my name out there a little further.  One is a limited time Instafreebie where people can get my first novella, Made for Me, in digital form free when they sign up for my newsletter.  See it and sign up at https://instafreebie.com/free/UsMtE . The other is an Amazon giveaway of the e-book, Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes, the darker, more dangerous progeny of Made for Me.  It only runs until about 9 p.m. tonight (May 13th), EST. This giveaway is aimed at getting more Amazon followers.  Plus, two more people will be reading my sci-fi, coming of age tale of a young woman whose dad wasn’t fully human.  Before tonight, you can enter at https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/35b50ae59e6ba24d

Why all of this at once?  I started the Amazon giveaway last night when I just had no energy for editing.  The brain must be in the right place, you know, and I was tired. When I am ready to release my full-length novel, I won’t have time for the rest of this.  These freebies can only help to get my name and my work out there.  I’ve had 74 entries for the Amazon giveaway since last night!  When I do the novel release, I may have to invest in a Twitter service for my other novels.  Plus, who knows if I may be editing and getting these last minute ideas for the novel right up until publishing?  I’ve never done so many stages of a novel for publication.  Some tell me this is how it’s really done.  I’m learning, though.  Now, I should stop talking about editing, and go back to actually editing!  I hope everyone has a great week!

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Emily at nerdinthebrain.com.  I urge you to write your own #weekendcoffeeshare.  Be sure to use the hashtag in your post, then visit Emily’s latest at http://www.nerdinthebrain.com/weekendcoffeeshare-the-one-where-im-off-exploring-wacky-stuff/  and add your own to her link-up.

*If you’re wondering about my “chaotic” title, it’s just something jumping around in my brain that hasn’t found a place to land.  I couldn’t hold it in, though.  It sort of needs to take root before becoming a full idea.  I hope it didn’t cause confusion or leave you disappointed in the details of my week.  🙂  Hectic/ Chaotic.  All different shades of meaning.

#weekendcoffeeshare A New Year’s rollercoaster

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If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you how I don’t like rollercoasters anymore.  They make me feel whiplashed.  Well, whiplash (a metaphorical kind) is what my life gave me this last week.From watching a rented movie New Years Eve to time spent in an ER New Years Day, to spreading news of my first book now in paperback, I don’t think normal is meant for me.  Even keel?  I have to try hard to maintain it these days.

I am so grateful that through this last week that I’ve had the support of my mom, my significant other, and my church family.  Because New Year day was horrible, getting a call from Shands hospital that my son had been in a bad car accident.  They couldn’t tell me anything else, so I went down there.  And sat, and waited, for at least an hour before someone could tell me his status since nurses and doctors were really busy in the ER.  Let me tell you, that hour is the worst.  Shands is the leading trauma center in our city.  I knew that, and it made me even more worried, not knowing the extent of the accident.

Finally, I got details, and when I saw him they had him sedated and in a neck brace.  I worried about his state of mind.  The next day, when he was in a regular room, he was awake.  Thank God! A day later he was discharged, and he has a concussion.  Considering all of my worries, we are blessed that he got nothing worse.  My writing this week has been seriously affected by this event;  I didn’t work on any writing projects or add to any flash fiction challenges, but I did post a free verse poem that acknowledges the process and pain of a fellow traveler in the ER that day and my struggle of being between two places, grief and relief.  https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/10117/

After resting at home a day,  he went back to work, and so did I.  That evening, I got an uplifting piece of news.  The work I did over Christmas break paid off!  I had gone into KDP at Amazon and converted my first ebook into a paperback.  I had to re-do it a few times, and then after hitting publish, it took a few days to go “live.”  My mother ordered one, and I wasn’t telling anyone until I saw that the finished product was presentable.  It was a lot of hard work to figure out the formatting and their requirements; formatting is not my forte.  But I persevered!  It looks good! I think I should have gone with a smaller trim size (or whatever it’s called).  My mom’s excited because many of her friends love reading but don’t have a Kindle.  Therefore, my writing is getting into the hands of more people, which excites me immensely!  You may view or purchase the paperback of my sci-fi romance, Made for Me, at  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1520250215, and here’s what it looks like:

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I had kept getting error messages about the text possibly getting cut off at the edges.  Well, it’s all there!  It was nice to get some good news after all that went on this week.  While I was a little down about not being able to work on any current writing projects, this came up and reminded me:  “Pam, this is who you are and what you do.  Nothing can take that away.  Rest if you need to, and then come on back to it.  You’ve achieved many things so far, and when ready, you’ll continue.”   That’s my self-talk to get me through the rest of the year.  *sighs with relief.

weekendcoffeesharelogo  Weekend Coffee Share is hosted at parttimemonsterblog.com and is a community effort shared by bloggers worldwide, where we share our insights, our comings-and-goings of the week, latest projects, or anything else under the sun.  Join the chat and add your link at parttimemonsterblog.com, while visiting some of the other posts.  I have met all types of writers and creative types through this effort!

 

1/01/17 Waiting. #freeverse #poetry

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Purgatory
Is the hospital waiting room
On New Year’s day.
News does not arrive, so I wait an hour.

Then wait some more.

A woman in the next room howls with grief.                                                                                      Her son is gone.

Her shock rings in my bones.

And I am stuck in between two places,

praying my emotions will soon soar with relief, yet feeling her pain.

I still wait.

A mother does this for her child…..              Still hoping the news is good,

I will go to the bowels of grief and unknowing pain for you, if that is the place to find you

Every time, when one time is too many to bear.                                                                            Even when torn apart, only to be pieced back together,                                                              these pieces of my heart.

I pray they won’t be broken again                                                                                                            while raising my chin to the heavens in thanks.

 

I am Mother. #Poetry

Photo taken in 2008. That’s my son and I; he was twelve at the time.  (And that’s 425 steps)!  A happy memory. 🙂 I have witnessed my son growing up drastically lately.  All part of the process.  I brought out this poem while reflecting on how much he has changed.

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copyright 2015, Pamela Schloesser Canepa

I am Mother.

I feed you, clothe you, house you.

I shield you from harm.

You are my child.

I am Mother.

I stand back and let you fall,

Teetering and learning how to get back up.

You are an adult.

How did it come to this?

It seems it happened overnight.

I am supposed to let go.

But what if something bad happens?

I am confused.

As you wallow in the mud,

how can I not reach in to help?

But then how would you learn,

to help yourself?

I am Mother.

I no longer make the rules.

Life won’t tell me what is next.

Nor will you.  Nor do you know.

I feel destined to fail.

I am  still Mother.

Though I will sometimes fail.

And you’ll tell me I’m wrong.

I still love you always,

Even when I gracefully lose.

I am still your Mother.

And I will never quit. 

 

 

Time Travel, Mom Style #throwback, 2014

 

 

HandMold2IMG_0003   Written June, 2014.  Ready to share~

To my left is a wax mold of my son’s hand, done on his birthday when he was just turning 8, ten years ago.  I touch it, and hold it in my hand.  It is not his hand, yet, exactly the mold of his eight-year-old hand, and it sure takes  me back.  Some souvenirs and items saved are simply an open door to the past, to some wonderful memories a parent would love to revisit.  Are they worth remembering?  You bet!

In ode to all the current movies focused on time travel, such as the latest X-men movie and the latest Tom Cruise movie (I didn’t even remember the name of it, just knew it as the latest Tom Cruise movie with a heavy sci-fi influence and part of his huge pattern, in which he, of course, wins the audience over despite his usual cockiness), which I found out is called “Edge of Tomorrow” when I bought the ticket.  Sorry for the run-on…..it’s just coincidental  that there are so many excellent time travel movies right now, when my son’s high school years have ended and that long-awaited graduation has occurred, and he is spending a summer growing as a human being far away from me.  The passage of time has confounded me.  All of which has prompted me to think back, think forward, just think, of my son and the years that have flown past us.

He is away right now, for the summer or longer, and so,  I have time to do this and do it fondly.  There are no teenage mood swings in the house at the moment.  I have had time to do things I wanted to do for a while but had put off due to concern about getting him places or keeping him fed.  Things like trying hot yoga, doing regular volunteering, and getting out late for dancing one night.

But I still miss him,  I miss the boy he was, the moody teen he has been, and the man he is becoming.  Kids don’t get why we like to keep all these souvenirs of their baby days, their toddler years, their youth.  I think I have learned that we do this because it all flies by so quickly.  So I hold this wax hand replica and trace the details.  The chubby fingers, bigger than mine but shorter, the meaty hand that reminds one of the paws of a puppy that just hasn’t grown into them yet, but is destined to grow much bigger and taller, leaving its puppyhood behind.  I recall those years so well.  He was getting taller, but not really tall for his age, just average.  Yet he’d had a growth spurt and was all legs and skinny arms.  Not much fat on him at all, yet he still had those adorable chubby cheeks.  Some may call that an awkward stage, as it was, but it was so adorable to me!

Funny enough, one of his favorite movies that he loved to watch and rewatch, sometimes countless times in a week or even a day, was Back to the Future, from age 7 to 10.  He loved the concept of time travel and really had an imagination for the same kinds of movies that sparked my interest!  This brings me to my next open door item, found while cleaning up his room to find old un-needed items for a yard sale.  Boy, this takes me back, to a different kid, when we lived in a different house.  I was even a different person then.  It is a once blank journal, which he undertook to fill with chapters and chapters of an amazing, you guessed it, time travel book!  Being a teacher of English whose hobby is writing, you can imagine how this pleased me!  It is titled “The Book’s Been Under the Chair for a Long Time!”  It stars Tom and Huck, who happen to find a time machine and go back to World War II (one of Austen’s favorite eras) and forward to 2007.  He wrote a start date of 2003, going up to 3003.  He even used dialogue, and he gave every chapter a name.  Extra points!  In the front, he wrote:  “Who does this book belong to?”  and wrote my name.  Did he perhaps know I would always want to keep it?  He got up to Chapter 21 (short chapters) and, wouldn’t you know it, the book has now been under something or stashed away in the back of his closet “for a very long time!”  My guess is at age 10 or 11, when puberty started setting in.  And isn’t that how it goes?  We start to consider old hobbies or goals to be childish and no longer useful to us.    We hide them away, in exchange for video games (most boys I know), facebook (these days) , or trips to the mall (that was the young me)….

I don’t know if he would understand how much it meant to me to find this.  I am so proud of him for so many things.  He has quite an interest in conspiracy theories and could write on that topic.  He  excelled in Senior English and probably wrote great things I won’t see.  I am proud of his word skill and where it may take him.  I look back, and I am proud to say it was always there.  I  hope that, upon his return home, whether it be for a temporary or extended amount of time, that he will think back on the memory of this undertaking fondly, and understand how it warms my spirit to look through the pages.   Perhaps it will take him back as well, warming his spirit with glimpses of a child with confidence and hope.  I plan to encourage him to continue the story!

Shared today at “Meet and Greet,” http://dreambigdreamoften.co

Shared on 6/20 at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/2016/06/17/featured-posts-78-share-your-post-links/

When I Write, I Share Myself #sequel #communication

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I have realized, thanks to a friend’s suggestion, that writing can be a way to foster my relationship with my son, who is slightly uncommunicative. Please understand that when I write some weird stuff! He just gave me advice on knives. 🙂 This may also just keep me from being restricted in my genres. I like seeing things from many different perspectives.  I have had to, in order to understand things my son has gone through.  I am trying to communicate to him that I accept him as he is, even when silent,  but he is part of my world, and I will share my world with him.  (Even though much of it is in my head, but I chalk that up to healthy imagination).  We all carry around stories.      #‎amwriting‬ #workingonsequeltomadeforme  ‪#‎sampsonseyesholdthesecret‬ ‪#‎grittyshortstoryonthewaytoo‬ #scifi

With Credit to the Bard, while the storm rages, around and within #Mentalhealthmonth

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***May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  This month is also the two year mark since my son’s graduation from high school.  It was a stormy time.  He was changing, going through some crises, and caused an awful lot of worry in me.  I don’t think I always handled it well.  But I am learning and growing, working on my mindset and ways of thinking.  I previously wrote this elsewhere, and would like to share.  This is my story to tell.  One day, he will process the events in his life, and tell his own story.***

~2014~”Nothing is good or bad, but that thinking makes it so.”  This quote by Shakespeare sums up a lot of my lessons learned from life.  A break-up with a boyfriend, a change of schools, a dad who saw me once a year from age ten on.  A mom trying to keep it all together for her two kids and not always hiding it well.  An outwardly gregarious husband (now known as “the ex”) who was loved by everyone when he drank, except me.

Yes, so much has made me strong and laid the groundwork for the life of an independent woman.  Let’s look at some of these words and how simply the spin we put on them makes the world of difference:  strong.  Known to some as harsh.  Bitter.  Tough.  I have been called some of those, simply when someone did not like what I was saying.  It is all in perception.  I have been tired of being strong.  It is all in how you see it.  Now, independent.  Called, by some, lonely.  Alone.  Self-centered.  Sad  (well that’s just interpretation).   Wait, let me take self-centered and put it in a neutral category.  There are sometimes when that is not bad at all!  Self-centeredness is only bad if you think it is.  Thank you, Shakespeare!  Sure, it can be selfish, but other times, it is simply knowing oneself and it is powerful.  When you are way too centered on others you cannot know yourself too well.  In fact, you can easily lose yourself.   This brings me to the subject of WORRYING.

Sure, these events were all only two weeks ago.  But a lot has changed since then.  I have been given the gift of loneliness, self-reflection, and time to be self-centered since my son went out of state to work for the summer.  It was a tough transition at first.  Now I feel that I can say I am getting there.  It is nice to wake up in the morning and think “What do I want to do today?”  Or to know that if I am going to the beach, I will stay as long as I want, and if I want to silently watch the waves and passersby, I will do that as long as I want until I feel hungry or tired.  Not until someone else says, “Mom, let’s go.  I’m hungry.”    So, while there have been more things to worry about, such as, how he gets along with me ex, accidents at his job, his decisions regarding school in the fall, I am learning to worry less.

I have thought a lot about the power and the effects of worrying in the last few months.  My son became argumentative, turned 18, didn’t like being told what to do.  Got a $200 speeding ticket in MY car, while I was at his side warning him repeatedly.  He was starting to hang with the wrong crowd and some bad habits were involved, some flirting with danger, even.  He had one crisis that resulted in an ER visit.  I did not like comments I found on his instant messages.  But I raised him well…..says every good parent.  Doesn’t matter.  At some point they do things because we told them not to.  Turning 18 brought some bad attitudes back in him.  Luckily, he did get all his credits and was eligible to graduate. We won’t talk about the dual enrollment class he blew off….because he “didn’t need it to graduate.”  He walked away from school and blew off the last day of classes which could have brought up two grades for him.  I kept telling him to get a job and he kept saying, “I have a headache,”    “I’m too stressed, let me wait until after graduation,” or the best, most annoying:  “You can’t push me.  It’s not motivating me.”  Needless to say I worried a lot.  Sometimes in arguments, he would say, “I’m not going to the graduation.”  This was after I had sent out invitations and had family members making travel arrangements to be here for the event.  Such emotional blackmail.  He’d say that because he was tired of me getting after him about a job, cleaning his room, etc.  The last few weeks he was here, I disapproved of his laptop addiction, and dropped it off at my boyfriend’s house.  That was a little bit of worry off my shoulders.  All this worrying was stressful.  It made me tightly wound and sometimes I felt ready to explode.  But what I did was more like imploding.  I made forgetful mistakes, totally air-headed blunders that co-workers noticed (harmless, I swear!).  I obviously needed a rest.  I was worrying too much about what would happen, based on the things that had gone wrong in the preceding weeks.  Yet, all that had gone wrong was a learning experience, and actually could have been good.  It all depends on how you looked at it.  I saw the negative, and feared more bad things to come.

I knew I would be so much better once the graduation actually happened.  Yes, I got sick of my son, leading up to the event, but there was no way we would miss this culmination of so much hard work, frustration, and persistence…..on both our parts.  Of course, he did Senior year all on his own.  No tutors, no after school sessions.  He did it.  I always, unfailingly, told him he could do it.  I deserved this celebration as much as he did.  For him not to go to graduation would have hurt me deeply.

The day of graduation was intense and left lots of doors open for worry and anxiety.  My father and brother were on the road and I’d have to meet them an hour before my son was due at the graduation venue, as they did not have the official entrance tickets yet.  My ex-husband was here the night before and it was decided he would take my son to the “required” rehearsal that morning, downtown.  One less thing off my plate.  Instead of showing up at our house at 8 am as requested, he showed at 8:20.  Stood outside talking to the neighbor in Spanish for 5-10 minutes.  I respect our neighbor and chose not to interrupt.  It gave my son time to find his socks and shoes.  Still, a nagging worked at the back of my mind.  Rehearsal time was 9 am.  A graduate memo had stated doors would be locked at 9:20 and no one could enter after that.  And this blasted man, that I used to be married to, was taking his sweet time.  I finally opened the front door and just stood there.  He finally came to the door and collected our son then left.  My worry was working up a storm in my mind.  Would they make it on time?  There was nothing, nothing I could do about it now.   So I was worrying.  Worrying is probably defined, somewhere, as our attempt to control things or people that we CANNOT control or change.  We just don’t want to give it up.  Let me tell you, over the years, this inward storm of worry has caused emotional and physical havoc in me.  I know this.

There is a writer I have just started reading; his name is Greg Braden, who writes about God, spirituality,  and Science.  The book is called The Divine Matrix.  In the first chapter, he discusses other researchers and scientists and their theory that consciousness works on the ebb and flow of the whole universe and nature.  Not that humans control it all, but we are part of it, as we have consciousness.  So do animals, plants, all living things.  He also says we are all part of one ebb and flow.  Amazing, huh?  In addition, he says that our consciousness causes living things to respond.  I am seriously buying into this.  Here is the problem I see.  They do not always respond as we want them to.  Hence, the destructive property of worry.  Worry is so repetitive and seems to pick up power the more you entertain it.  It has turned inward on me and caused anxiety, digestive issues, back and neck pain, etc., etc.  Do you know how many illnesses are stress-related?  If you are a teacher I am sure you have a good idea…..

So if our consciousness causes other people or living things to respond, and they do not respond as we wished, this can be very dangerous.  Worrying never changed how another person reacted in my life.  It only turned my intense concentration inward, and therein lies the power of negative thinking.     Telling my teenager that he worried me only made him more intent on getting out of my house, finding his freedom, oh, and on not listening to me.  Teens don’t like guilt.  Who does, anyway?   I have developed a theory ( probably already proposed by someone more important), that intense worry, when you really focus on it and give in to it, can really cause damage.  It may not make the thing happen that you worried over, but it is going to damage the thinker.   That is one disastrous possibility.  And a part of me thinks that this storm in my mind may cause something else undesirable to happen.  Maybe I’ve seen too many movies.  But if damaging my mental state is the only negative outcome, that is still bad enough.  As the writer says, consciousness affects the world around us.  Our consciousness,is in many ways, our perception of the things around us.  Which reminds me of perceiving the proverbial glass as either half-empty, or half-full.  I’ve lived with worry all my life.  When I was 20, my dad went in to AA for a drinking problem I only remembered when looking back.  He took me to some meetings.  I learned a lot from that.  I also learned that worrying over someone else’s problem isn’t good for anyone, nor will it solve it.  It interferes with your own growth as a person.  I have known this a long time.  Yet I still worry, and I constantly fight against it.

So there I was,  9 am the day of the graduation.  Lying still on the floor.  Taking deep breaths.  I was incapable of doing anything else.  I had to calm down.  I knew I was too worried.  Got a call from my ex.  “Traffic is really bad.  What time did you say they lock the doors?”
“At 9:20.  Just GET him there!  And call me when you all are there.”  That gave me twenty more minutes to worry about this one little start of the day.  Or to work on not worrying.  Without rehearsal he could not attend graduation.  But I had to stop thinking about that.   Deep breaths, some stretching.  I also said a few prayers…for them to get there safely, for my sanity.  I had so many things to do that day.  Looked out the window at the plants outside.  Did NOT look at the clock.  (That was hard).  Lots of deep breaths.  Never did I holler “Serenity Now!”  In hindsight, that may have helped. 🙂  I did not want to go crazy with worry.  I wanted the strength and clarity to face my day.

I finally got the call that they had made it!  I was so relieved.  So glad I had relaxed, and ready to go conquer the first thing on my to-do list.  The day continued to test me.  My ex called about the hotel he wanted to stay in, the same hotel my dad had made reservations at.  It was closed due to water damage.  My dad was still on the road and when he tried to call, they did not answer.  I went and got my hair done anyway, then swung over there to see them personally.  I put them on the phone with him and they arranged something at another hotel.  I did not lose my temper with them.  Maybe he did; I actually hope so.  Then, I was informed my son needed a black tie 10 minutes before time to leave and get him to the Veteran’s Arena.  I was not going to the mall.  “A Goodwill tie will have to be good enough,”  I said.  (Thanks for telling me at the last minute!) Well, Goodwill saved the day for $3.20!  We made it, a little late, but he wasn’t the latest.  All of my son’s and my loved ones made it there eventually; at least I was on time.  Giddy with excitement, I made my dad and my boyfriend laugh at me.    Mom was giddy too, so we tried sign language instead of our loud, nervous, geeky excitement.  My son got his diploma, wearing the ROTC stole and a cord indicating “College Ready.”   This moment, all two hours of the program, was nothing but good, and it was worth all the hassle of the day.  All of which I could handle only because I started the day by letting the worry go.    I later told my dad what a stressful day it was.  In typical form, he says, “What was so stressful?”  I wanted to feel frustrated at that, you know, the lack of empathy, but I wasn’t going to let that upset my day.  So I changed my stance.  It had been a wonderful day;  my son had graduated and we were surrounded by family.  I smiled, and said,  “Dad, today I solved every problem that came across my plate.”  You see, it truly was a wonderful day.