Letters to the famous

     So Friday June 8th, 2018 was a sucky day. I was out driving my friends around and as I sat in a parking lot of a grocery store my friend, who’s always playing on his phone, tells me that Anthony Bourdain died. I was like “No way man. That’s got to be one of those fake news things.” He said he was pretty sure it was real.

     When I finally got home that night I looked it up and sure enough it was all over the news that he truly had died. I was shocked to say the least. I only started watching him a few years ago but immediately fell in love with his imperfections, the way he spoke, looked and acted, his past, how he overcame his demons. He had visited a town that was only 15 mins away from where I lived shortly after I first started watching him but I didn’t go see him. I’m not a foodie and it was a foodie event. I just liked how he showed culture through the back streets of places that I know I’ll never get to visit.

     I watched news broadcasts about him. Seen how his friends, co-workers, spoke about him. Apparently, how he acted on tv was the way he was in real life, there was nothing fake about him, he was so real all the time. I read about him. Found out that he had wrote some novels (I will eventually buy them and read them, just out of curiosity). And he wrote some books on food too. I like the way he spoke and broke the 4th wall.  His narratives were dreamy. If the cinematography of his shows hadn’t been so awe inspiring I could have closed my eyes and just listened to him talk about what he was experiencing. He had a voice that, if he had recorded any audio books, I would have listened to them intentle. (I don’t like audio books, they become background noise, like music, and I end up thinking about something else other than what I’m listening to.)

     Josh Gates and Anthony Bourdain are my modern day Indiana Jones’s. They go places and have adventures I only dream of. And since I dream of such adventures I had planned to write a story/novel about such adventures one day. I just have notes for now. And I make more notes as I watch their shows and read about them and places they’ve been as I know I’ll never get there to experience it myself.

      When Josh Gates was new I was afraid he would stop being on air because of his newness and uniqueness but fortunately he keeps coming up with new shows on new channels and I get to keep watching. Unfortunately there will be no new Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown shows. He was so inspiring to me, I’ve DVR’d as many episodes as I can. For now I watch them in sadness. Eventually I’ll watch them again with the dreamyness of joining him and imagining what it would be like for me to be there with him as I did before.

     Having read about Anthony Bourdain brought back memories from August 2014 when I found out that Robin Williams had passed away. I loved the movies of his that I have seen, and no I haven’t seen them all, yet. His humor made me laugh, not every comedian has that ability. I’m as much into comedy as I am a foodie (I screwed up jello the other day, apparently you can’t put jello in the freezer to make it set faster). I get odd looks from people when I try to be funny. These are not my things therefore I admire the people who have these talents. Each of these men had and has a way with words, facial expressions and body language that brought about many emotions in many people, me included. They were unique. They did their own thing. They were themselves. They took that risk (of being themselves) that put them out in front of people and people loved them for it.

     In the days after Anthony Bourdain passed away I felt like writing a letter to Josh Gates to let him know how special he is to people. He’s more than just an entertainer, he is the embodiment of inspiration for so many. Like Anthony Bourdain, Josh Gates does an amazing narrative on his shows and occasionally also breaks the 4th wall as well. They both also show their crewe to us, once in a while, so we get that behind the scenes feel from an episode. Lots of people like to feel that they are getting that sneak peek at something others don’t get to see, it make us, the audience, feel special. But I never wrote that letter. I hope he’ll be ok. I’m shy, I like to stay behind the scenes.

     I got thinking about writing letters to all the entertainers that have inspired me so far in my life. Making sure they were all ok too and that they knew how much their fans adored them. But I’m sure they all get tons of fan mail everyday telling them that. One more, or one less letter, isn’t going to make a difference. Or will it? If I had wrote letters to all my favorite actors, authors, musicians, friends and relatives, (who have passed away) would it have made a difference in any of their lives? Would they still be here today? If I write letters to those still alive will it keep them from dying? My guess is no, not a letter from me can make that big of a difference. We never know the struggles that people are going through. Most likely my letter would show up on a good day for them and they would just toss it aside. If the big stars even read their own fan mail, which I’m guessing most don’t, they have staff for that. All the letters I did write to my relatives didn’t keep them alive, the letters may have made them happy, but death still came. Though my relatives died of natural causes, maybe it did keep suicide away, I know many suffered with their ailments but they all pushed through to their natural ends. I don’t write many letters any more, mainly because I feel we keep in touch enough through social media, but I know my friends and family still like getting letters in the mail. So a few times a year I still write letters to a select few but I’ve never written a letter to someone I’ve never met and only admired by watching them on television or reading about them. I don’t think I have the power to make that big of a difference in a person’s life who lives in the limelight. What do you think? Do you write fan mail or letters to friends and relatives just to say hi and that you’re thinking about them?

     This past week I found out that Anthony Bourdain wasn’t the only one who had passed away on June 8th, 2018. My friends uncle had also passed away that day but I never found out until the middle of the following week. I had met his uncle a few times, he taught me some good life lessons back in the day. Their family and mine had been friends way before I was ever born, not close but enough to call them friends and not just acquaintances.

     I have been waiting, no, dreading, for the news of the third. I find deaths come in 3’s. Less than three months ago was the first funeral of friend, then last month another. I know there would be one more and it sucks knowing that death is coming and having no idea who for. I start visiting people I haven’t seen in a while or at least calling them to see how they are doing. It gets me thinking about mortality and how death decides who goes next. Several friends have had close calls but beat death away. They worry me. They are living on borrowed time.

     The way I deal with things in life that bother me is that I write. Being shy makes it hard for me to talk to people to say how I’m feeling. I find it easier to say what’s on my mind if I hide behind my pen and paper. Writing is a slower process than speaking and it gives me time to adjust my words before others hear them. I’m presently ½ way through an online short story writing course so I used my emotions to write a short story for one of the assignments in the course, killing two birds with one stone.

     My progress on my novel has been, ok, well, there has been no progress since May and I didn’t even write much in May. I still carry it with me to work every shift, I now refer to my briefcase as my glorified lunch box. I still have all the same old excuses, life just got busy – funeral, awards nights, banquets, Fathers Day, teaching son to drive, extra courses to do for work, the poetry and short story courses I decided to do online and I’m still part of the writers group at the library. My biggest excuse was waiting for the third death as I placed the two previous obituaries on my writing desk and claimed it to be superstitious if I put them away before I had the third, they are put away now, now I have my writing desk in my closet back to work at. I am anticipating next month will be much better for writing as the only things on my agenda is to take a relative to the airport and lots of extra hours at work as I fill in for people on vacation now that it is summer.

     On a more positive note I did write this blog, a poem and one, and half of another short stories, plus jotted down some ideas for new stories and more notes to go along with already formed ideas for stories. I also read (I didn’t read them cover to cover, I flipped through and read what parts looked interesting) four books that I borrowed from the library on poetry and short stories. I’m writing this to justify to myself that I still did some reading and writing. I also thought about my novel and the process of writing it. I think I’ll be sad when I’m done writing my novel. It’s a place I can escape and look forward to and think about to get my mind off things. Plus the main character is about to get into trouble and be hurt and I really like my main character and don’t want to see anything bad to happen to her so if I don’t write the bad stuff then she’ll be ok. I think I’m too attached to my main character. Is that such a thing?

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I don’t have to write that

     To be honest, I haven’t written anything new in the past month.

     I did finish reading Tommyknockers and am over ½ way through Dolores Claiborne. Plus I’ve read over ½ a dozen short stories to try and get use to their way of being.

     I’ve been trying to come up with new ideas for more short stories but am just beating my head off a brick wall in frustration. Every story idea I come up with needs to have more detail and depth and back story than what I’m able to put in a short story.

     Multiple places that I’ve read online, in Stephen King’s book on writing and even the leader at the writers group I attend, said that if I want to write novels and get them published, I need to start by writing short stories and getting them published first in order to establish my presence as a writer in this world. But I finally found a writer who has published novels and didn’t start by writing short stories. So all this hype about HAVING to write short stories, that I’ve been fretting about for the past month, is not for everyone. So if I’m not good at writing short stories but am good at writing novels why should I keep trying so hard to write short stories when writing longer pieces comes to me so much more easier?

***I’ve come to the realization today that I don’t have to write short stories.***

     Sure if an idea comes to me I’ll write it but I’m just going to stop trying to write short stories and go back to writing my novel. What flows flows and what doesn’t flow I’m not going to force.

Short Stories vs. Novel, how I spend my time

I still think of myself as the Queen, ruling over the land of Percastination. When I would much rather be someone lower in the court, like maybe the Jester of Percastination! Ha, Ha! Then eventually I’ll move into my rightful place as the Town Scribe. Oh metaphores, how I love thee.

The up date on my “novel” is 74 pages written now, with a goal of at least 200 pages.

My monthly break down of pages written each month:

Sept – 4

Oct – 22

Nov – 13

Dec – 6

Jan – 5

Feb – 9

March – 8

Mid April (so far) – 7

I look at those numbers and hang my head, I know I can do so much better.

Back on March 10th I had a list of things I was going to change, here is what happened to each of those so far:

  1. I couldn’t say no to those 3 people all the time. I really need to work on getting rid of them from my life. It will be easier in a couple of years when I plan to move. I think one of the reason I find it so hard to stop associating with them is because they are so far out of whack from normal society that everytime I see them I make notes about them and I plan to eventually write a book where my characters live that way.
  2. Work schedule is not steady yet. Lousy excuse, I know. But it is hard to plan and look forward to sitting down to write then getting called into work. Sure the money is great to have and the job is easy but I don’t live for money, I live to write.
  3. I did join my first writers group. We meet the first Saturday of each month and I volunteered to be one of the first three members to share some writing. Not sure how it is going to go as most of the participants rolled their eyes and gave a little tis-tis sound when during my introduction I said I liked Stephen King. As usual when I meet someone new and I want to pick their brain I stayed back after the first meeting and talked with the leader about what piece I should share as he was looking for something short. I suggested the first chapter of my novel and he suggested that if I want to get published (as in my novel published) I need to start small and write short stories and send them into magazines and journals to get published small first then work my way to something bigger, basically to establish my presence as a writer in this world. (Funny, Stephen King said the same thing in his book on writing.) SO the next day I wrote the first draft of a short story. Left it for a couple of days and let a few friends read it and give feedback (feedback was not overwhelmingly great) so I worked on the second draft before sending it into the writers group leader. What I take away from this writers group will be something I hope I can share each month in my blog. So now I’m looking at writing more short stories while trying to write a bit each month on my novel.
  4. I didn’t make it very far with Nora Roberts. Nothing wrong with her writing. I just want more Stephen King, when I figure out why I like his writing I’ll let you know. Now I’m reading Tommyknockers and it’s going great! Love falling asleep cuddled up with a book.
  5. I posted two blogs this month, as one I had written last month but never got around to publishing it. With the writers group and reading more books and now trying my hand at short stories I feel I’ll have more to write about each month on here.
  6. I haven’t been storm stayed at the hotel anymore and I occasionally do use my writing desk in my closet. I haven’t been to any coffee shops lately as I got a “new to me” car a couple of months ago and nothing has gone wrong with it;  tire season is approaching, I’d say in about 2 weeks or so will be a good time to get them switched over, then I will go early to a coffee shop to write while I give them a few hours to get the tires switched over.

I am working on changing so I can write more and better. I’ve even lessened the time I spend on the internet. I feel I’ve read all articles from the websites I like about writing, that I think partaine to me and where I’m at. Although I have been looking up info on how to write short and horror stories lately.

Please share your favorite writing websites or blogs and any info you have on writing short stories, horror stories and publishing in magazines, as this is where I’m at with my writing and don’t want to waste time researching for good articles to read, you can do that research for me (please and thank you). And if you have any favorite magazines that contain short stories please let me know that too so I can read what others are writing and getting published. Thanks in advance for helping me.

A plan to change

I wrote this post on March 10th but didn’t get around to posting it until now, so ya, I’m playing catch up.

I started writing my “book” on Sept. 18 last year (2017) and as of March 10th this year I only have 60 pages down on paper. That’s 60 pages in a little over 6 months. Or average it out to 10 pages per month. Not the amounts I was hoping for. This blog hasn’t being going that great either, I seem to have missed a few months. Sorry.

So what am I going to do to change that?

(1) I’ve stopped associating with 3 people in my already short list of friends.

(2) I’ve started working on a schedule of times to write each day. Hoping that my work schedule doesn’t change again and I can stay away from the 3 previously mentioned friends.

(3) Making my writing a priority. So I can use my writing as an excuse to say no to people who want me to do things for them on the spare of the moment. I do like to help people  but there comes a time when I feel I’m getting used so it’s time for me to say no to things that I don’t want to do and stop letting people make me feel guilty for not “helping” them every time they call.

(4) I have been reading more and watching tv/surfing the net less. So far this year I have read: Gerald’s Game, Gwendy’s Button Box, Hearts in Atlantis, and am switching things up right now with a book by Nora Roberts. I plan to keep this up. I want to read as much Stephen King as I can, I’ve liked his work ever since I was in middle school and first read Pet Sematary.

(5) Get back to my goal of 1 blog post a month. If I’m writing and reading more then I’ll have topics to talk about, even if it is just a book review for a post, I’m going to write that.

(6) I “built” a writing space. I reorganized my small walkin closet at my house and there wasn’t enough room for a “real” desk so I layed a board across some storage totes and it works very well. You can see a picture of it at the top of this post. The other picture is of a desk I like to work at, it’s in my hotel room where I stay once in a while when I get storm stayed going to and from work. Hopefully winter is over and I won’t get storm stayed any more but if I do I will take full advantage of the desk at the hotel. When I’m at home I now have a place to write; I still have to use headphones to block out sounds from the house but at least I now have a desk of sorts.

If you, me dear reader, have any suggestions on ways for me to write more and stop calling myself the Queen of Percastination, please let me know in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you at anytime. Also, if you have any topics you’d like my opinion on or any ideas for blog topics (other than my journey starting out as a writer), I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments as well. I’m also open to new types of music and/or YouTube playlists to listen to while I write.

Thank you for reading.

Feeling Stuck – But Tomorrow is a New Year

I wanted to get in one more post before the New Year. Maybe it’s the month of December, maybe it’s me, either way I’ve not been writing as much as I have wanted or hoped to.

It’s like a new version of writer’s block. I use to think of writer’s block as being when words wouldn’t come to me but now I think of it as when the words in are in me but won’t come out.

Why is it so hard for some writers to put their words on a page?

I know where my story is going.

I know how to write.

I have the time.

I own pens and lots of paper.

I’m not at a loss for words.

I have this story I’m working on and ideas, outlines and notes for over a dozen more.

Yet, I find myself sabotaging my own writing efforts.

I make time to do chores, you know, those things we have to do as adults to keep the world revolving: sleeping, eating, cooking, working, cleaning, laundry, looking after others. I have my one night a week of recreation I look forward to. For some reason my writing isn’t in that list, yet.

Is it that these modern inventions we call the internet and television are really that addictive? Does the internet’s endless arms of knowledge keep me wrapped up so tight that I can’t make my own mark on the world? Why do I prefer to watch other people interact on TV rather than in person?

Or deep down am I shy and really don’t want people to read my work after all?

Maybe I just really hate getting in the zone and then being interrupted. – (Have you read the book The Shining?)

I know I’m not the only one going through this, whatever this is. There are all kinds of encouraging pictures, websites and books out there to help writers get through what I’m hoping is just a phase. But I’ve not found a reason why we go through this.

The book I’m presently reading is Stephen King’s book On Writing. The first part of the book tells of his start in the writing world. Starting as a kid and into his adult years he used to write wherever and whenever he could. He had a stack of rejection letters from places where he submitted his work. Then he caught a brake with his first book being published and from then on he could work as a writer and didn’t have to have another job to worry about and he could buy a house with a room in it just for writing. If I may be so bold as to compare myself to this great writer: I too started writing as a kid, writing anywhere and everywhere and even purposely getting sent to the principal’s office just so I could have time and space to write. As an adult I occasionally write at work and at coffee shops. For some reason I don’t write at home. I want to be able to write at home and I’m not sure what is stopping me. Is it that I get tired and frustrated after having to clean a spot to sit down at? Or that I get distracted by access to the internet and TV? Perhaps it is the interruptions I know that will happen once I get started because I never have alone time. I rarely go to coffee shops, usually only when my car is being worked on, I’m an introvert with social anxiety so going into public is scary if there are a lot of people around. At work I do have an hour or two to write, but that is only three nights a week and I do tend to find other things to do instead of writing. I’ve never submitted my work anywhere.I think this part will come latter, I just want to write for a while.

Maybe I’m not a real writer if I can’t commit, schedule and follow through with a plan to write everyday, no matter the people around me or the interruptions that might happen. Maybe that is ok. Maybe I’m not as dedicated as people like Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Dean Koontz or Lee Child. It’s Ok not to be like them because I’m not them, I am me. Perhaps in the New Year I will find more time and confidence to write every day. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry that I’m not writing or reading everyday and I should just be comfortable with being me. I know I’m not satisfied with the amount of time I’ve put into my writing in the past year. I want to make more time for my writing. I want to limit my TV/internet time more. I want to schedule my time better and stop being so flexible to others schedules and become more committed to what I want to become. I want a room to write in and I just want to write, and eventually have others read my work.

First blog post – why I write

I started this blog because I read on several web sites that writers should have a blog in this day and age.

I like to put words on paper so I guess that means I’m writer. I do wish to someday be published so to increase my presence on the web, as it’s been suggested that I do if I want my work to be more widely known/read, I’m starting a blog.

I’m presently working on a novel/novella (depends on how many words it ends up being when finished) that is in the young adult genera. I’ll let you know when it is finished.

I was worried about the content of my writing pushing the envelope of what would be acceptable in today’s society. I came across the article http://www.punchnels.com/2014/09/18/10-reasons-for-banning-books-and-5-much-better-reasons-not-to/ and a couple others like it that lead me to believe that no matter what people write some people are going to like it and some people are not. I found a lot of web sites that just encourage people to write, so that is what I do now, I write.

I’ve had/tried many hobbies (and volunteering) in my life: woodworking, painting, drawing, arts and crafts, filmmaking, working on race cars/hanging out in garages, police related volunteer work, Cub Scout Leader, playing touch football, playing guitar, playing darts, playing pool, and the list goes on. Writing seems to be what I keep coming back to.

                “When I was in my youth I had an uncle that lived about a four hour drive away, though we didn’t get to visit often. I thought he was awesome because he was always interested in what I was writing, and he played the bag pipes. Whenever he saw me, or called my dad, he would ask me about my writing. He was the only one who ever did.

I don’t think my parents even knew I liked to write and my older sister once read a piece and got mad because she thought it was about her when it wasn’t. I’m the youngest of all my cousins and basically no one paid any attention to me and what I did, I was kept out of sight, out of mind, at any family gatherings.

Late in my high school years my uncle grew sick. He had cancer. It was the mid 1990’s and not much was known back then about cancer. I researched it as much as I could and wrote papers for school projects about it because it affected me in was I didn’t yet understand.

I was a youth still deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had a strong interest in police work, one of my other uncles was a State Trooper and I had made several friends with officers in my town’s police force, as well I had a history teacher who also was influencing me greatly into this occupation. I was also interested in science because of my uncle’s cancer but trying to understand it didn’t come easy to me, chemistry class and I just didn’t get along. Writing was a hobby at this point, I was able to use it to get good grades in school because liked to write in details.

I had signed up for a free high school science seminar at a local university for a long weekend in May, hoping it would help me better understand cancer and decide which career path I wanted to go down. While attending the High School Huggins Science Seminar I was pulled out of one my classes to call home right away. It was my uncle. He had only days left and he wanted to see me at his bed side. My parents said they were leaving that evening and we could see my uncle the next morning.

At the hospital we each had a turn to go in and talk privately with him. I don’t remember how many of us or who all was there to see him. I do remember being at his bed side. I remember his exact words “Don’t stop writing.”. We exchanged I love you’s and I gave him a hug. He passed away only a few days later, at home, with his wife at his side.”

Unfortunately life has a way of happening, and my writing did stop for bit here there over the years. Sure I’ve learned and experienced a lot over those years but now I’m back to writing again. Writing, it just seems to be something that flows for me and I can come back to it at any time. I have a day job to pay the bills, but now I write for enjoyment and on a regular basis.