Quote For The Day 6-9-2016

I no longer could tell reality from fantasy, and I walked in a world no longer my own.”
Alyssa Reyans, Letters from a Bipolar Mother

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Daily Post One Word Prompt – Disappointment

They say disappointment doesn’t hurt if it isn’t ‘real;’ if one shouldn’t have expected more from the beginning.  If those words sounds bitter, they are. I’ve lived a long line of disappointments that, according to folks around, I shouldn’t have expected to go any other way. Can’t depend on other folks, they said, sadly shaking their mop-heads. Seems I continue to disappoint, just as they disappoint me. Who’d of thought this world was such a wash of disappointment?

Started when I was a child. Ma and Pa never much cared for me or my sisters. Grew up poor, stuck in the backwater of the hills, hungry most every day. Don’t take me wrong.  I never hated my upbringing, nor the fact we was hungry. I just hated the lies.

‘We might be poor, son, but we’re too proud to take from them more better off than us.’

‘Don’t you know your Pop is doing the best he can?  Ain’t easy life isn’t. Takes a lot from a man.’

‘Your Ma’s a religious woman, son. Just like an angel.’

Well, no. We might have been poor but it was cause Pa spent his time and money drinking. Never did the best lessin he couldn’t help it. The less you do, the better, was his motto. Besides, why work when the government will take care of you?

And Ma? Angel from Hell maybe. It was her strong with the strap, not Pa. I feared her more than I ever feared anybody else. She killed Tash. Might just as well, anyway, cause she wouldn’t give her no food. We tried to sneaking in, but Ma always caught us. Strapped us bad. Her feeling was every child gone left more food or the rest of us, meaning her.

Left home at 12, figuring I’d do better on my own. Worked hard, took my punches, my disappointments, kept moving. The one right thing I did – never going home again.

“Nolan Briar Tate.”

I rose, walking up the steps and across the stage.  President Monroe held out his hand and we shook.

“Congratulations, Nolan,” he said then moved to his seat.

For a moment, I stood there, staring out over the thousands of faces watching me. Susan was there, front row, cheering louder than all the others. Hers were the only cheers I heard.

Stepping up, I lay my hands on the wood of the podium, cleared my throat. “I’ve been thinking about disappointment lately; how we let our lives disappoint us, blame others for our hurts, when we’re the ones responsible for shaping the life we want. If you learn to trust yourself, trust those who love you, disappointment no longer has any power over you… It is, after all, just another word for fear…..”

Disappointment

What Kind of Writer Are You?

I don’t mean do your write fiction or nonfiction, fantasy, thriller, romance.  I’m asking a more fundamental question to you, and to myself. What kind of writer am I?

For one, I am the kind of writer and person, who needs physical evidence of my accomplishments. I can’t look at my computer and say, “Wow, I have 54,000 words. I’m the bomb.” 54,000 words isn’t a real measure for me. One thousand words a day is a goal, an accomplishment, but I still need something physical.

I am the kind of writer who needs physical proof. I need printed pages in front of me so I can see and hold and understand, which is why I am one of those writers who print out all my blogs. To know I have written 600 and some posts is one thing. To see the two huge binders full of those 600 and some posts is another.

Some would say printing my posts is a waste of paper, but it isn’t. I’m failed most often by those things that cannot be physically seen. Math. You can write problems down to solve them, but you have to understand them in your head. My head doesn’t work that way. Instructions on how to do most anything mechanical. Written down but understood in the mind.

Again, my mind doesn’t work like that. Do you remember those math problems which began:

Trains A and B are traveling in the same direction on parallel tracks. Train A is traveling at 60 mph and train B is traveling at 70 mph. Train A passesa station at 12:20 P.M. If train B passes the same station at 12:32 P.M., at what time will train B catch up to train A?”

 

I can read the words, but my mind has no idea how to arrange the words and numbers to find a solution. I can’t see progress. I can’t stand back, even if I solve it, miracle of miracles, filled with pride at what I’ve done because there is nothing to see.

Put it this way.  At one of my jobs, I chose to work in the warehouse instead of answering phones.  In the warehouse, I could stand back at the end of the day and see what I had physically accomplished. ‘I moved all the Portmerion (china patterns) to this set of shelves including all the boxes from the new shipment.’  On the phones, I could talk to fifty bitchy customers, unable (mostly) to offer them any solution. (It was a factor of the business at the time so move along). All I had to show was scribbled notes, exhaustion and frustration.

I would be exhausted after slumping all that china from here to there, but I would be content.  Happy, even.

So what does that say about me as a writer? I need concrete. I needs solid pages to hold onto so when I don’t print them I feel as if I’ve done nothing.  5000 words or not, I have no way to understand what I accomplished. So if I’m not printing pages (as I haven’t been), I need to.

If I don’t have a tangible grasp on my characters and plots, then I need to find physical markers of their reality. There are some characters in my world that, if you asked me what they had for breakfast, I could tell you without thinking. There are other characters for whom I would be stumped. So why am I trying to write about characters that aren’t so physically real that I can feel them, that their brain answers questions before I even need to think?

And here is what I am getting at with all this talk. If I am the kind of writer that needs physical closeness, physical proof, then why would I try to write without it? All I can do is fail because I am not allowing myself the chance to succeed. If I know how to succeed, why don’t I?

This goes much beyond writing. It’s what life is about.  If I know how to make my life work, why aren’t I doing it? Why do I fail myself by doing the very things I know won’t help me, won’t get me to where I want to be?  To where I am meant to be just because I am alive? There is no entrance fee for being whole or being human.

It comes down to fear. Most of us are afraid of failing , but we are more afraid of succeeding. We do the very things we shouldn’t in order to make ourselves fail. Succeeding is too much like hubris; putting ourselves too far above those around us and they might be hurt or anger at our successes. So we fail and tell ourselves we were never meant to have a good job or find love or live in peace or get that car or…… fulfill the promise inside us.

So, I ask myself again, what kind of writer am I? Am I the writer who will allow herself to fail out of fear of success? Am I the successful writer who is just too afraid to claim my own gifts? Think about that for a moment.  I know I do. A lot.

So what kind of writer are you?  What kind of writer do you want to be? How are you going to fearlessly claim your gifts and shine your light out into a failure-ridden world?

JSW Prompt – Which Door Would You Choose?

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The postcard arrived in the afternoon mail, addressed with a spidery script and a 5 cents stamp. Five cents? Been a long time since a stamp cost 5 cents. Nowadays, stamps start at 47 cents and up. This stamp was old, faded, with the image of a horse front and center. Or a unicorn. Hard to tell. On the postcard’s flip side, was the picture. A voice from above? Funny thing to put on a postcard.

Being in the midst of cooking and cleaning and soon-to-be-picking-up-kids from various activities, I tossed the postcard on the hall table and forgot about it. Hours later, kids home, meal eaten and kitchen cleaned, kids bathed, homeworked and in bed, floors swept, I headed into the living room to watch a few minutes of TV. I had some checks to write, emails to answer, and I could do them just as well in front of the TV as in bed. Hopefully, the TV would keep me from falling sleep, tumbling headfirst into the midst of my papers.

Even so, I began to yawn. Getting up at 4:30 am, working 12 hours then dialing up the chores of motherhood was exhausting. I was hoping, come summer,to find a place in the country and a simpler life. I’ve always wanted to plant a garden, to live off the land, but the right opportunity had never risen at the right time. I could do my consulting work from home as long as we had internet and lack thereof wasn’t very likely anywhere in this age.

A cottage in the country would be a dream come true.

Coming awake on the couch, I clicked off the TV, piled up the endless papers of my life, and headed off towards bed. As I stepped into the hallway, I stopped, rubbing my eyes sleepily.

A dream? Had to be. I was no longer standing in my entrance hall, but in a circular room with seven doors. Seven? I suddenly remembered the postcard. Automatically, I looked towards the hall table no longer there.  he postcard, however, lay on the floor.

Fingers trembling, I snatched it up, read it again and then again. Seven doors to seven places, all places I knew and loved as a child. Places I had always dreamed I might go, step into a world so much realer than the faded world around me.

What should I do? I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to open one of those doors and step inside. I wanted to get lost. But what if I really got lost? What if I stepped into a door and was unable to return to my comfortably-used house on the edge of the city.

And if I did enter one door… which one? I loved the Narnia series as a child. Now, as an adult, I like them, but I didn’t love them anymore. One down.

Neverland. Ditto the last. I love the thought of Peter Pan but I never wanted to step into his world. Two down.

Wonderland?  I love the thought of moving through a mirror into another world. When I was a child, I used to pretend I could looked through a mirror and see another world. The world I saw, however, was not Wonderland but the world inside my own head. Three.

Hogwarts? I like the idea of the books and I like that the books lured more kids to read, but honestly, I never read them all. Maybe by then, I was simply too old to open another window to another world. Or maybe that world was too simple for me, lacking the depth of the world alive inside me. Four.

Camelot. I love the image of Camelot. That time in history connects to my soul, at least the  fantasy of Camelot. Realistically, I know I’d never last long without a shower and indoor toilet. Can’t go a day without washing my hair. Is this the legacy of my time? Five.

Middle Earth. This would be my door. I read the books in the sixth grade and fell in love. Strider…. my kind of guy. The images of Middle Earth, my ideal of Middle Earth, helped to shape the reality of the world inside me. Of all the fantasy worlds, this one was… me. The start of a life-long love.

Westeros. I know the books, but again, this was never my world. Too old, too set in my ways or too many worlds and I just couldn’t admit yet one more world into my multi-verse. I admit I have never any of the books. Being told over and over that I will love a book, stubborns me into not reading it.

What to do? Children here? Freedom there? Or this all might be a joke. A dream. Too many dreams have vanished upon my waking.

Too frightened to choose, I turn back to the entrance hall blooming around me like a bed of strangled weeds. I kept the postcard, tucked away in my tattered old copy of The Hobbit.

Someday……


“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”