Newest Flash Fiction Piece

This is a quick entry to sort of self promote. Part of my new website is pieces of Flash Fiction, which I put up every Friday. It’s great, for me, any way. It forces me to write so that I fulfill a promise to my readership (which is a laugh, if you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time at all!), but it also makes me write as a result, and write fiction. Really, that’s where my heart is.

So I have a variety of genres. I did a fantasy piece last week, about a little dragon girl, I have a science fiction bit, a contemporary piece about a man alone on a couch (but seriously, you should really read that one!!!), though recently I’ve been centering around horror a bit. I think that’s because of my recent writing gig with Carpe Nocturne.

This week is horror. I’m starting a series. I’m thinking it’ll be once a month, perhaps a bonus episode every so often? I haven’t quite got the gist of how I’m going to go about releasing it all yet. Either way! Allow the direct promotion of this episode to ensue!

In this piece, Eve is driving with her partner, and sees that familiar, yet still chilling woman walking down the side of the road. Eve remembers the haunting story she was told by a few hitchhikers weeks before hand, about that very woman. And from there, you will just have to read on!

The Walker: Episode 1
A story from Snowdonia National Forest
to you, dear reader.

Road to Trawsfynydd 2

Silly Nostaliga

It’s all happening I suppose.

Tomorrow my mom and I and a few others are having a garage sale. The idea is for me to be able to get rid of all of my stuff. That includes the desk on which the computer sits from which I write this entry.

I”m on my desk top, and I realized that this is probably going to be the last time I use it before I go to the UK. Probably not until I get back, and we’ll see if it still works at that point. I Really like this keyboard, and I really like this computer. I’m sad I didn’t put it to more use.

The things we leave behind to move forward.

Why Readers Read Blogs

I’ve been wondering why I’m doing this, keeping to this blog. Any of my followers know that I’m not the most…scheduled of bloggers. I kind of write when I have time and motivation, and when those align is few and far between.

However, while I was working the Sunday market with the girl who is going to take over for me when I leave, she asked if she could follow my blog. I of course was flattered, but followed with, “It’s not very interesting. I’m not really sure why I have it.” Again, any of my followers know somewhere in them that this is the truth. I only started this thing becuase on my first day with an advisor at Whatocom Community College he told me I needed to start a blog if I wanted to be a writer.

So here I am.

Then our market neighbor, Denise (man I hope I’m spelling that right), piped up, and explained that the whole reason people follow blogs is becuase the blogger is doing something that the reader is not, and it’s an interesting peer into another person’s life, which Valarie, the girl I was working with, agreed with.

I was surprised. I’m so used to following blogs becuase they have information that I need. I completely forgot the personal touch, the sort of written TV show that these can be. I just don’t feel like my life is anything really worth writing about (which I’m sure is an awful thing for a writer to say, but then again, that’s why I write fiction). While I felt inspired in that moment to stick to my blog a bit more, try and get more enteries more often (how many times have you seen me say that?), I also felt guilty. I haven’t been doing that. I haven’t been letting the reader into my life. I’ve been keeping everyone at a several yards distance. I think that’s in part due to my ex, who was around when I started this blog, and said he hated it when I mentioned him or the video production company.

However, I suppose more personal things could be filled within these digital pages. More rants, more rages. Though, when I rant, I like to make sure that I’m making sense, I’m not just spouting steam, that I’m actually releasing a message rather than a temper. I should muse more in here, though I’m so protective of my musing lest they turn into….memories of musings? I donk’t know.

So perhaps I will write more, you will get more garbage out of me. But then again, as mentioned before, this isn’t the first time I’ve promised more writing. I’m sure I can do it. It’s just a matter of being able to schedule my tiem wisely.

But then again, things are now getting a little more heated up as far as my activites go. BUt perhaps more on that in a later entry.

Considering Poetry

As I’ve mentioned several times, I’m a podcast junkie. Especially since I drive so much for my goat cheese gig. One of the newer podcasts that I’ve come across is called Examining Ethics. I’ve only listened to about an episode and a half of it so far, and from my understanding is run by students at DePauw University in Indiana. The episode that I listened to in full was called “What Good is Poetry?” In it, they interview poet Tarfia Faizullah, who wrote a book of poetry called Seam. The poems are written about the women she interviewed in Bangladesh who were raped during their war with Pakistan in 1971.

After listening to this episode, I was completely blown away by poetry. It has never been my thing, never really been anything I’ve wanted to pursue (except when I was nine and wanted to be a singer and tried to write my own songs, but I don’t know how much that counts).  This woman told a story through her poems.

Of course, this is nothing new. I’ve taken plenty of literature classes that I’ve read old poems that were the telling of stories (“Epic of Gilgamesh”, “Beowulf”, etc). However, this was so different, so simple, so perfectly formed. I fell in love with it.

Seemingly separately, I posted on my author Facebook page that I wanted to write a page a day for August, since I failed so direly at my attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo (I think I only made it to 27k of my 50k word count goal). I sat down this morning, and decided I’d get going on that page-a-day goal. Except that I had no idea what to write. All I could think about was the half-written novels I’ve been working on, whether or not I should continue them for my page-a-day, or if I should start something new–and if something new, then what? I couldn’t really stomach working on my stories any more, not right now. I would get sucked into the editing of them rather than the continuation of them, and my most recent project is such a mess that I can’t bare to look at it.

But…

But…..

This poetry thing was kind of ringing in my ears.

I began thinking about the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2014, and my most recent project. There’s a shared theme to both of them…If I could only just tap into that….

Before I knew it there was a poem on the page.

Not a good one. Well, it might be a good one. I don’t know. I’m terrible with reading, writing and analyzing poetry. It’s never been my thing. However, I’m quite inspired by Tarfia Faizullah to try my hand at it. So my goal is to take my stories that I’m struggling with, and see if I can summarize each chapter into a poem. That’s my goal for the month.

And no, you can’t see the poems.

The Pokémon Effect

I gave in. I downloaded PokémonGo. I’ve had it for about ten days now. There are a few things to keep in mind before I go on about my experience:

The majority of the reason that I have a smartphone to begin with is so that I can keep on top of work/school/blogging related things. I don’t really listen to music (though I’m huge on podcasts), and I really, really don’t play games. I don’t play games on my phone, computer, or even own a console of any type. Games are just not my thing.

As far as Pokémon goes, I remember when it first came out in the US twenty years ago. I was far more into pogs than I was Pokémon. I didn’t (and for the most part, still don’t) like animé, and thus really had no interest in this ridiculous thing with silly words attached to it (like “jigglypuff” and “rattata”). I thought that it was just another fad that would fade away, like the giga pets so sadly did. Clearly pogs were far more superior.

Well, that just goes to show how my prediction for trends goes (but you know, I was also nine years old).

Now, that being said, when I started hearing about PokémonGo, I had no interest, and tuned it out like I do the rest of the game fads. Again, I don’t really play video games, or any games aside from poker or chess. But when my friend asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him while he hunted Pokémon, and insisted that I do the same, I gave in to see what the hype is about.

It’s not that great of a game.

You catch these things and they go in a digital ball. Sometimes you can battle. Blah blah blah. It’s not that great.

Except that it’s awesome.

I’m on team Mystic, and level ten at this point. I just catch the dumb things because that’s what I should be doing. But really, I’m in it for the PokéStops, because maybe they’ll give me an egg that I can put in an incubator, which will give me reason to walk 2-10 kilometers. I want to hatch the eggs because it tells me how far I’ve walked, and then I get a prize.

Sure, I can walk without that. I can get a pedometer to let me know how far I’ve walked. No problem. However, having the goal helps. But what helps even more is having the direction.

There have been a great many times when I think that I’d like to go out and do something, go for a walk or whatever. I don’t do it because I don’t know where to go. Washington State, and Bellingham, especially, is phenomenal for forestry, beaches, mountains, and all the trails that go along wit it. It attracts so many out-doorsy people. However, I don’t want to be one of those people, and I get intimidated by people who are. It’s not that I don’t like the woods–I freaking love the woods. But I want to go into the woods to get away from people, not have to worry about getting out of the way of cyclists and watching out for joggers and other peoples’ dogs. I simply want to go and relax and breathe in. Plus, the parking is insane at all the trail heads.

So because of this, I often find myself not going out and not going for walks because I have no direction. Now, PokémonGo does not get me out into the woods. But it gives me direction. I can go wherever the most PokéStops are, and just follow those. I walked nearly four miles yesterday, and nearly another three this morning before I came into work–just because I wanted to hatch the eggs and had direction.

What’s more, after I came home yesterday from my long day of Pokémon hunting, I ate some dinner, relaxed for an hour, and then wanted to go back out and keep walking. It’s not the Pokémon I want, I simply wanted the movement.

That, right there, is why I fully endorse PokémonGo. It’s gotten me off my ass and hooked on the exercise.

And I feel fantastic!

Usually, after working at the farmers market on Saturdays and Sundays, involving 100 miles of driving each day, plus setting up and packing up, loading and unloading, as well as the general drain of customer service, I’m exhausted. But both days I went out and went walking around. Saturday I went to beautiful Boulivard Park and discovered that there’s free live music on Saturdays. I heard a fantastic mamba band and discovered some trails leading to the park that I didn’t know existed.

Yesterday a friend of mine tried to walk from down town to this same park, using a trail I hadn’t been on in six years. We ended up taking the wrong trail which took us through the trees, and we discovered veils of vines dangling from trees in a beautiful display of intermingling life and death. We also discovered a homeless camp, which was fine. We tried not to disturb anyone there. The trail ended up dumping us out on the train tracks. I was mostly certain of where we were, but not 100%. After following the tracks, I figured it out pretty quick.

We discovered that every quarter moon, there is an Astronomy Enthusiast group which meets up and brings a giant telescope out so that people can look at the moon up close. We discovered people playing a Viking game in the park. I have been finding pieces of art that I didn’t even know existed. I have been looking at buildings differently, seeing the graffiti, and realizing that these are pieces of Bellingham that I have been neglecting over the last seven years that I’ve living here.

PokémonGo has brought forth a new awareness of myself and my surroundings that I am very grateful for. No, I don’t battle my Pokémon. No, I don’t evolve them. But I do get outside. I do walk–enough that right now my ass and calves are hurting–and I am remembering why Bellingham is so amazing.

On Monday, a friend and I are talking about hunting around Seattle, and seeing what other fun destinations we can find. It’s giving me something to do this summer. What’s more, I think that when I get to Durham, it’ll be a fantastic way for me to get out and explore my new surroundings.

One of the selling points for me, before I agreed to try it (or rather, what made me decide to try it rather than rebel against my friend and say that I would just walk with him minus the app), was that I had heard of its effects against depression. I go through my bouts, and have my ways to deter it, however, I thought that it might act as another tool. Now that I’ve had it for over a week, I realized that I was depressed and didn’t even know it. Getting out, getting those endorphin from movement–it’s all elevated my mood entirely.

Another fun fact about it, my dad, who’s about to be 70 next month (shh, I didn’t tell you that), is even participating in it–and is not that many levels behind me. I’m looking forward to going to see him in Palm Springs in September so we can go out hunting together (I never thought I’d say I was looking forward to hunting).

Yep. PokémonGo is truly amazing.

Making Independence Day About Me: A Writer’s Declaration

With all my time off, I’ve been able to focus on my writing, which has been a really productive thing. I’ve been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, setting my own goal to be 50,000 words in July, and writing 15,000 in two days.

And today, as it is Independence Day, I’d like to celebrate not by chugging beer and barbecuing things and causing things to explode, but rather by focusing on my writing and celebrating my own Independence.

When I decided to go back to school, it was because I was tired of being laid off from jobs because I was disposable or the business flat out died. I also wanted to get out of video production, since that was just not my passion. I wanted a job that revolved around what I love: writing. So I disguised my education as something thoughtful and smart: a very useful and versatile English degree. But really, I just want to write, and have something to help me get my foot in the door of a publisher.

For two years I worked hard in school and took on two jobs outside of school. All my time went to studying and working. Sure, I wrote, and tried to participate in any of the NaNoWriMo events. But it was an activity divided between other obligations and distractions. As soon as I graduated from the community college in December, I picked up a job as well as kept my other two jobs, giving a grand total of 70 hour work weeks, leaving me too exhausted to even contemplate writing of any form.

Now I am down to two jobs again, one giving my only 4 hours a week while the other job is just on weekends. This has left me with ample time to think and discover what it is I really want. The answer to that is simple: to write.

And I have so much time to do it!

So this is my writing Independence Day. It is the day that I know my life needs to revolve around writing to get to be where I want to be. It’s the day I make sure to schedule time for my writing every day. It’s the day that I know that it is what is important for me to grow and to put that growth first. It is the day that I separate myself from the working world and the obsessive manner to which I participated in it. I am a writer, and thus my life will be about writing, from here on out.

Being Still

Sitting on my ten minute break at the coffee warehouse, I’m indulging in the excitement that my first cup of coffee in three days is bringing me. In theory, today is my last day here (though I volunteered to work on Monday, due to scheduling conflicts, if they need me), and my manager asked me what it is I plan to do during the summer now that I’ll actually have days off.

I’ll still be working my farmers market gig, and putting in a very few hours in the Writing Center, but over all, my plan is to learn how to be still again.

A few weeks ago, I was attacked by anxiety. I couldn’t sleep, I was in pain from my warehouse job, and I knew I had to go in the next morning at 5 a.m.. I ended up taking the day off, though I was still riddled with anxiety of not being productive. I was hurting, couldn’t walk very well, and yet I scolded myself vigorously for not utilizing my time off in a productive manner. It prompted further anxiety until I was in a full blown panic, from which my boyfriend had to calm me down (and did a remarkable job, I might add). After talking for a long time, we came to the conclusion that I have been so stressed for so long that I don’t know how to be still any more.

So this is my goal for the summer: stillness, though still meeting my productivity standards. 

I want to do yoga in the morning, to strengthen my core, help my hip and back whose pain has been brought on (again) by the repetitive motions of my warehouse job, read two fiction books (at least), finish writing my novel and editing it. Also, go dancing least once every other week. 

It’s shocking to me that I can’t get through fiction any more. The only time I’ve completed a book has been if it was assigned to me. The last fiction book I read on my own was The Exorcist, two summers ago. I’m currently reading Watership Down with my boyfriend, but I’ve already read it. I think that allowing myself to read fiction has gone against my definition of productive, and thus hasn’t been done. If it’s homework, the  I have to read it. Butts it’s lesurely, then I could be doing something that needs to be done.

As a writer, I need to remember that reading fiction needs to be done! It is productive! And it’s also important for me to allow myself that enjoyment as well.