Writing Lessons: Steering the Course, Staying True

I don’t like my country very much lately. Since late 2016, a fissure emerged in America’s lands and everyone jumped eagerly to either side. Trump being elected was like a trumpet blown by the Republicans and all of their party supporters. The supporters were portrayed as frustrated, forgotten, worn out voters who put Trump into power to “Make America Great Again”–their version of greatness, anyway. Many of these voters had been affected by the lack of working class jobs, ones shipped overseas or replaced by technology. Trump was their secret weapon; he was their line drawn in the sand. They wanted to turn back time and have their old way of life back.

I’ve been sick for the past week and have had time to reflect. I attended classes and counseling sessions last month to jump start my writing platform. And to be honest, I found that I hated these sessions. I was asked questions like “What makes¬†your writing special?” and “Why should I pick up your book?” I answered their questions, in my typical straightforward fashion, but none of my answers seemed to appease. I sensed my words weren’t flashy enough, weren’t meeting the elusive standards of good marketing. I wasn’t attracting attention in the American, shallow way of enticement. I came away feeling I needed to change and become a saleswoman.

And I found myself simply not caring.

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Things Overhead in a Restaurant: Mosques, Loud Neighbors & Bigotry

The saint* and I have a true penchant for being seated next to loud people in restaurants. It reminds me of being assigned the seat next to the noisy kid in grade school. The logic of the teachers, and perhaps the hostess, must be the sound/lack of sound will balance out. But it never works. All it does is annoy us quiet, reflective people and grates on our patience. And if we’re polite, we think we need to make conversation back to the class clown. (I have.) Come, now. Let’s rethink this maneuver.

Today was such an occasion. The two dudes (and dudes is a fitting term) appeared to be employed by some sort of military contract and were talking shop. Loudly. Dude One asked lots of questions, talked most of the time and appeared to encourage Dude Two in his career aspirations. Dude Two appeared to want to move someday and continue his military career elsewhere. Dude One began describing a potential place to Dude Two in punctuated interest:

“…They’ve got everything there, it’s a nice area. They even have a mosque so it’s good for finding terrorists.”

I looked up, startled. The man was in his 30’s or less, possibly Hispanic, but spoke with a jock/valley boy like accent. When he ordered from the South American menu, he had a refined Spanish accent.

I poured my Coca Cola over his $40 polo shirt and left.

Continue reading “Things Overhead in a Restaurant: Mosques, Loud Neighbors & Bigotry”

Changing of the Winds: Mary Poppins

I’ve always been entranced by a line in Disney’s original Mary Poppins movie. Julie Andrews says this line very quietly to the children at their bedtime when asked how long she’ll stay.

“I’ll stay until the wind changes,” she announces delicately to the children. As a child, that means only one thing: she’s going away. Mary is not permanent.

This perplexed me as a child and still rattles me a little as an adult. How brave Disney was to keep this element of the story, of change and letting go. Waiting periods and change are two of the hardest things for kids to understand. I’m not sure adults win the blue ribbon, either.

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Disenchanted: American Christianity

Sometimes I feel as if America has “signed on” Jesus at the White House to become their spokesman and undersigner–their “yes” man. This Jesus is Caucasian, always Conservative Republican, is allowed to have an “acceptable” beard, and goes around in sandals and a billowing white tunic, shaking hands with politicians while flashing a Crest sponsored smile. He hands out little medals to those who oppose abortion and easily excuses marital affairs, vulgarity and any covered up sex or child trafficking. He gives flowers to women wearing Gucci and busily writing out checks to avoid taxes at tax time. He kisses white babies and applauds business owners for forming jobs and trickling down a meager sustenance to the undeserving, wretched poor.

And then, if he has enough time in his daily itinerary, he hops onto a book signing by any number of white evangelicals in the blessed world of Christian Marketing and Business. He sits proudly behind the desk and recites pitches dutifully, saying “Yep, buy this book for $29.95. Don’t bother talking with me too much or accepting pain and trials–I sure don’t have the time when there are Senate seats to be won! American Christianity is pain free, pleasure filled with blessings upon blessings–but only if you buy this book and decide you’re worth it. Say, have you seen the latest Hallmark movie? They’re all white–just like me. White, blue eyed and blonde haired, mostly…Reminds me of growing up in the Middle East…”

Is it a wonder I feel disenchanted? It’s enough to make anyone gag on their Chick-Fil-A Coke…

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Broken Glass & Writing

I broke a drinking glass this morning, right next to my Labrador walking alongside of me in our dining room. My groggy brain fired information; I saw the spray pattern and I grabbed my dog’s collar. We performed a very quick, prayer filled maneuvering around the glass shards. All I thought of was her paw pads, calloused but delicate and sensitive, being cut open and bleeding. We both escaped harm and the glass was cleaned up, with multiple passes of the broom, vacuum and a damp cloth.

I’m awake now, life. And thank you, gravity. You made life interesting once more.

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Some Funny Thoughts & Ponderings…

I’m working behind the scenes currently in securing an editor for my latest novel, M.B. She was recommended to me by an author in my area whom I’ve come to know in the past few months. On the outside I am the professional, helpful writer–listening and waiting patiently, hoping my novel portrays itself well. Inside I am a giddy seven year old, hyped up on cotton candy and screaming for more sugar, RIGHT NOW, MISTER!

I am calm. All is bright.

Crack on! Continue reading “Some Funny Thoughts & Ponderings…”

INTJ Memes: Some Personal Favorites

If you don’t know about Myers Briggs or INTJs, start here and here and also here. Do some more research on your own, then come back. Happy trails, but bring a sword. It is the internet after all–the wild, wild web.

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Why I Write & Goals Ahead

As I mature, a primary reason for my writing becomes clearer: I write for my sanity.

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Baby Showers: An INTJ Female Writer’s Perspective

I hate baby showers. More specifically, I detest being around large groups of women. They smack their lips, gossip, compliment each other on their blouses, their charm bracelets and delicately ask about family affairs while devouring every dripping detail. Surgery stories are swapped, pill brands and doctor’s advice exchanged and everyone secretly ranks themselves against each other.¬† The news gathered up is stored away in their overstuffed purses giving them neck aches and back problems, stalwart, steadfast symbols of their socioeconomic status and success. In the car, they ask their sisters and nieces what they thought of the awful food, the cute decorations and just what the hostess was thinking. I do not exaggerate. Women are subtly, and artfully, vicious. Cue harpies, banshees and the like.

Parties are grand acts and I am the jester, acting the innocent fool and observing it all quietly, hitting up the buffet line for thirds. No wonder Jesus made more wine at the wedding. Maybe it helped him get through it, too.

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Firm Women & Firm Men: Perspective

Did you like how I listed women first in the title? The order rank of the genders is apparent in our culture, day in, day out. It seems only when we’re trying to be polite (“Ladies and gentlemen…”) or heroic (“Women and children first!”) does the order get reversed. In medical school, I’ve heard the male body is studied first, female second. Why, I query? No response. Doesn’t one have the babies and the other not, I continue? I learned in college “his” represents both “his” and “her” in academic writing, no need to bother with “they” or “them”. So why not “her” represent “his” and “her”, then, if it’s all the same? No response.

I don’t believe the genders were made to contradict each other and compete for survival. I think the idea should be laughable. Being different is okay; it’s not an invitation for some twisted version of this week’s “Survival of the Fittest.” Don’t make me wear shoulder pads, be aggressive, or take only two weeks for maternity leave. I believe we were made to complement each other and work alongside one another, each of our work important no matter how it’s parceled out and done. I think this compassion and respect became lost eons ago. And here we are. Ending sentences with verbs.

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