The Good with the Bad

The day began with insomnia

drifted into lateness

and fell into despair

One found dead, the news feed reads

the reaper’s  prize

at last

sorrows grips friends

still other silent cheer the end of the road

two kids in a doctor’s office sick with the flu

 

two strangers cling to life

victims of happenstance

attended by the best

No news is good news or so the fellows say

No news is bad news worries the friends

beloved ones

Victory arrives late

lesson learned, acceptance obtained

a child born

new shoes,  credit extended ,

then end of an abusive relationship

 

No clever words need

or cliques expressed

Just another day

the good with the bad

the bad with good

perspective the only means of definition

 

 

An Old Friend Returns…Anxiety

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Lion's Mouth.. wait a second???

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Lion’s Mouth.. wait a second???

It would be nice to think that when things are going well that Captain A  would have no cause to come visiting.  The Fraud Police would stay in their precinct and every thing would be hunky dory.

But, Anxiety is an A-hole and doesn’t care about failure the way that it does about success.  Success provides it with so much fuel for doubt.

My fellow writers and creative friends know this to be true.  We are afraid to do what is most authentic at time because we are afraid of how people will react.  How they will see us? Will we face harassment ? For our art, personal appearance or both? Will be reject wholesale for sharing?

Captain A also doesn’t play the same game every time. Sometimes it speaks in whispers. Sometimes it brings us panic attacks.  More than one friend of mine, it has brought on the horrors of agoraphobia.   For the past couple of months, I have been afraid to see how my book sales have been going convinced that looking would just confirm that my book was a failure.   I have advertised here or there, but no plan of attack.   I just kept hoping that someone would see it and buy it.  Once or twice a month some did.

And slowly but surely, reviews came in. All good.  Friends told me how much they liked. One sweet lady who was brought to my book signing by friends has passed the book on to all of her friends who equally loved it.  Her words of encouragement have brighten more than one sad day for me.

But, still I thought I was a failure.  Or the next book will be and I will be found out.  When my new bossed bragged about all of his Amazon offerings, I thought of Blood Child as a sad little book. Nothing to brag about.

Then Bowie died and  I made the decision to work more on my writing, my art. Life is too short to wait for the right time. So on a whim, I offered my book, Blood Child for free on Amazon.  I didn’t expect much as a result of this as I done this before with mediocre results.  Mr. Anxiety predicted that I would get the same results.

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Then I checked the unit numbers and over a hundred and fifty people had downloaded my book.   Overnight, Blood Child   made the top ten on Amazon’s list of Short Reads for Mystery Thrillers.  And it stayed there for three days.  Over 503 people downloaded it.

For three days,  I was a Best Selling Author on Amazon.  On day two, Mr. A and his companions, the Fraud Police stopped in.  They stayed most of Sunday and only really departed today around noon.  I did very little promoting on Saturday. My mind was set on cleaning up my grandmother’s thread case.  Sunday, things happened, but I don’t remember working much. There was an attempt at work.  Some posts here and there. Monday was spent in the doctor’s off and a last minute push to get my book into more people’s hands.  More hands means more reviews and eventually more sales in theory.

I could have done more.  A dear friend of mine gave me so advice to help Blood Child stay on top and I didn’t do it. I hear it and didn’t act on it. I was too much in my head.  Everything seemed like it was too much.  There was a weight on my mind.  I felt like I was swimming through my own day.  I spend hours not working just watching TV and feeling like I messing up. And I was.  Sunday night, I tried to sleep in my new bed and ended up fleeing to the sofa.

My dogs came with me, which was awkward since they out weigh me.  Laying there in the chilly winter air being half smothered by dogs I felt ok. Not great, but ok. The kind of ok that you get after you have been crying. I hadn’t been crying.  Just beating myself up mentally for all my mistakes.

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Like waiting to long to pay my traffic ticket and incurring another fine.  For not doing more to promote my book and work on other projects.  Not speaking up enough at work and not holding my tongue when it counts.

I could have done so much that weekend and I didn’t.   And Captain A and his friends would have me believe that it wasn’t a success that it wasn’t a big deal and in the grand scheme of things it might not be, but you know what I did something. I said “Hey, Universe, here is my book. Check it out.” And it did.

It doesn’t matter what Mr. A and the fraud police think.  Seeing my book climb in the ratings even for a couple of days made me feel good.  Thinking about it now, I am smiling. I am ready to brag, no, because I still have a long way to go in my writing career.

A long, long way, but I did something this weekend it was a success.

This latest brush with Captain  A  and his Fraud Police was a light one. I didn’t descent into a full panic attack or depression.

When I wrote “Anxiety and the Writer”, I was a little afraid to put myself out there. Things were going good so why ruin it by talking about good days.  Especially when you know that bad ones are coming.

I think the answer is in what author and poet, Cecilia Rodriguez Millanes, has said over and over to her students and readers, “If you are afraid to something, that is what you need to write about.”

When you do that you are finding your voice that authentic voice that all writers and author dream out. The voice that will pull readers into your stories, into the worlds that you have created for them and you create space for others to express themselves.

Thanks for listening.

Much love and best of luck,

Lu Lu, just Lu

 

Aftermath

 

Professional and fun.

Thank goodness, I wasn’t wearing this.

Friday, seventh period, screams ring out and I go running into a classroom.  Not my own.

Not a minute later, it is over and it is time to clean up the chaos.

There are lots of things to say about the forty-five seconds or so of fighting that took place that it is hard to describe the aftermath.  Shoes, earrings and weave scattered about the classroom, way too many people looking at us like were were exhibits at the zoo and the expectation that I automatically knew what to do next. I wanted to stay and comfort the senior who might have tossed her education out the door.

Instead, I gave my seventh period a quiz.

The two combatants were largely unhurt. I came out of Room 130 with a few scratches and a kick to the stomach.  One of the student’s who intervened ended up dealing with the aftereffects of a punch to the face. It was  a turbulent end to a largely uneventfully week.

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A peaceful classroom

The weekend was beginning to look like I needed a stiff drink and some quality time with my friend, Jim Bean. I ended up getting a nice long shower, an hour and a half drive to Lake Wales and a down home Southern dinner. There my problems didn’t have any traction and I was forced just to relax and let myself experience the here and now.

Bad things happen everyday.  Friday, two students had their emotions erupted and the lava flow took over the science classroom.  It could have been the start to a very bad weekend.  I had already burnt my hand; the fight at the end of the day just seemed like the icing on a very dry cake.

Then I was given the gift of time. Time to decompress and not think. Not think about the papers that need to be graded or the repercussions for the students involved. There was time for me to take a deep breath. There was nothing I could do for the students after I gave my statement.  Their fate is in the hands of administration.

I could be still recounting the fight, instead I am living my life.

I think I made the right choice.

Book Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Read this book today... seriously go to Amazon and buy it.

Read this book today… seriously go to Amazon and buy it.

Several months ago, I brought Enchanted by Alethea Kontis in anticipation of reading shortly after I had the pleasure of meeting her at a Barnes N’ Noble event in Orlando, Florida.  Needless to say that life intervened and I didn’t crack open the book until this past week.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I have been waiting for a book like this. A book to spark the imagination of both myself and my students. I told them about the book shortly after I started reading it and now they are eager to read it.

So let’s get to the good stuff.

Enchanted is the tale of Sunday Woodcutter who lives in the magical kingdom of Arilland where fairies and fairy tales are woven into everyone’s lives.  Sunday is the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter and being the youngest of the youngest has left her feeling like she is the leftover child in the family.  She and her other sister are each named for a day of the week by their mother, Seven Woodcutter.

Each sister takes on the attributes of the day on which she was born.  Kontis weaves the stories of the Woodcutter family together seamlessly hinting at the mysteries and secrets that all families have.  They may live in a magical land where talking animals are common place, but they have real problems and concerns.

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

From the beginning of this enchanting tale (punt intended) to the last line, you are taken on a journey through everything you think you know about classic fairy tales isn’t just turned on its head, but pulled into reality.  And it all begins with a lonely girl named Sunday sitting by a well and reading her journal to a frog named Grumble who will become her friend.  But what happens when that friendship turns into love?

The blending of classic Fairy Tales and modern humor carries the reader to a new realm where the Princess and the Pea meets Cinderella, the Frog Prince and reality head on for the win.

Visit her website and you can find out more about her and her books.I promise you that you won’t regret it.  You can also purchase the books from Amazon or Barnes  and Noble 

 

Anxiety and the Writer

It is no secret that I have anxiety, a tricky little beast inside my head that is the captain of the Fraud Police squad that lives in my head.  Captain A has been incredibly successful recently at getting me to stop what I love and live in fear.

I feel confident in saying that there are a lot of writers and creative people out there with anxiety, a lot of them.  They live with it from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed and all through out the night. It is the reality of many creative types. Creating the thing we live for is often times the thing that creates the most them.   I don’t often have writer’s block, I have writer’s anxiety .

A million things flood into my mind. Every nasty thing that I have ever told myself. Every piece of self doubt. Every ounce of criticism level at me from parents, teachers, siblings and well meaning friends. Every whispered insult.   So I avoid being creating. I avoid sitting down to write and work through the demons that tell me that I am useless and I will be a failure.  I think that is the reason that I often have wine while I am writing.  It is an attempt to get the bastards drunk.

It doesn’t always work.

Sometimes it does and the story takes hold.

Sometimes I am the one who gets drunk as Captain A laughs at me.  For the record, his laugh is similar to a hyena both evil and juvenile.

So let me tell you a story.  Don’t worry it has pictures.

A picture of the main stage courtesy of Gretchen H.

A picture of the main stage courtesy of Gretchen H.

Once a upon a Wednesday afternoon a plan was hatched. A conspiracy among myself and one other teacher.  It was simple, attend the Eddie Izzard concert and then stay home the next day.  Teachers are dedicated individuals.  We give 110% every day. Some days that effort is easy to achieve. Others it is a struggle, but that struggle on only a couple of hours of sleep one thing that this time around neither myself or my co-worker were prepared to take on.

Much of Thursday was spent like this in p.j.'s and with a puppy dog on my lap.

Much of Thursday was spent like this in p.j.’s and with a puppy dog on my lap.

So when the alarm went off, I got up and took the dogs for their walk then promptly went back to sleep.   There had been a plan to call the doctor and see about moving up my ankle appointment. I wasn’t awake long enough to implement any part of it.  I sleep all day and when I woke up it was only for a couple of hours before heading back to bed. The next day another day of hooky for me. My coworker went back to school or at least that is I what I assume happened.  Friday morning, I took off  for Sanibel Island to meet some friends who were vacationing there.  It was heaven.  The whole adventure. Even when I was pulled over for speeding. It wasn’t the brightest part but it wasn’t awful.

Normally, being pulled over would have reduced to me tears. The budget is already tight.  The concert and the trip to the coast were special treats.  A three hundred dollar ticket would have crushed my little ragtag budget .

Yes, that is right. I was pulled over.

And I wasn’t nervous.

And I was in the wrong. I was speeding.  I was guilty.

I didn’t fuss at the officer or cuss. I just apologized. And you know what I was happy that he pulled me over. I was on unfamiliar roads. Speeding really and truly wasn’t a wise idea. I didn’t know what was coming up. It was an easy way to get in an accident.

The officer left me with a warning and a ticket for my registration being out of date.  I didn’t even panic when I called my boyfriend to tell him about the ticket.  It was weird that all of these things that aren’t normally in my routine didn’t set my anxiety off into over drive.  In fact, the only part of the trip that tickled it was the drive back to Orlando in the dark and rain.  I got nervous a couple of times could feel myself on the edge and then nothing. I teetered but never went off and had a melt down or panic attack.

I picked sea shells by the sea shore

I picked sea shells by the sea shore

Instead, I went on to have a wonderful afternoon and evening with two of my dearest friends from college.  There was lunch at the Island Cow and shell collecting as well as a tour of Crow Wildlife rescue.  It was a quiet day with no fussing or mussing. And no fraud police.

Now, I am sure that the Fraud Police and Captain A will be back. I am sure that the next time I go to sit down I will be struck by what a failure I am, but for nearly three days they weren’t with me and it was heaven or close to it.

And if I can get there once, I can get there again.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

A New Year’s Message

How you begin this year should not indicate how the rest of it is going to go.  A few bad days doesn’t mean that the whole year is going to suck.

Please remember that as you move through these first couple of weeks of 2016.  It is a new year, but the only magical thing that happens at midnight on December 31st every year is an agreed change in our perceptions.

Universally,  the decision was made that when the clock strikes midnight everyone gets a chance to start over.   Articles are published about New Year’s Resolutions, people share their hopes and dreams,  and we all move forward as if something momentous has changed for all of us.

The problem is that we wake up the same people that we were when we went to bed. We have accepted the narrative that while New Year’s is a great time to make changes while also accepting  no one is really going to hold you to those resolutions.

Sometime in February the articles on why we didn’t succeed in our resolutions and we will feel better about letting ourselves down.

We have gotten use to disappointing ourselves and looking to others for inspiration.  We tell ourselves that if  others can do it we can do it and then we beat ourselves up for not doing it.

My 2016 has been a little rough. Yep, three days in and things are a little bumpy.

Sick Lu

Sick again?

My first day of 2016 found me in bed after being sent home from my mother’s house for being sick. My family looked at me, declared that I was deathly pale and sent me packing. Not the best way to begin the year, but it is how I began my year.

On the second day of 2016, I tried to dye my hair purple and ended up dying the bathtub and my finger nails. Don’t ask me how, just know that I really did this things.

And today, the third day of 2016, I am cleaning the house with a headache and trying to write a new blog.  True, I am sick. True I still have the bills that I didn’t pay staring at me and a house that really needs to me to attend to it. Oh, and I forgot to pay a traffic fine in 2016.

Sweet Potatoes from my garden. I grew a thing.

Sweet Potatoes from my garden. I grew a thing.

However, it is also true that yesterday, I baked two sweet potatoes that came right out of my garden, that last night I was able to spend time with a dear friend on her birthday and that there is still a pretty comfortable roof, albeit a messy one, over my head. I have gotten myself up every day even when not feeling well and gone for a walk, done some stretches and done some writing.

The good is mixed in with the not so good.  Oh and there is a nice pot of chili on the stove.

I think it is important to note not how you begin a thing, but how you finished it and all the little steps in between.  And it can’t hurt to listen to the wise words of Julie Garland. Have a great 2016. Make it a great one.

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A Note Before The New Year

A lot of awesome things have happened this year.  And some not so awesome.  It’s the Saturday before Christmas and the only decoration up at my house is a Darth Vader door knocker that I found at the dollar store. just haven’t felt like making the drive to storage to get everything.  And I am fine with it.  I am not going to have a Crank level Christmas rejection of the season, but I think it is alright to take a break from what is expected to do what is best for yourself.

My mobility has been composed for the last couple of months by tendonitis. I am mostly better have been clear to go back to some of my usual activities. I just can’t jump back into them at full speed. I am not so good at standing but I can walk my dogs and go for a swim when I want. Now, all I have to do is find a pool.

As I slowly make my way back to a healthier and happier year, I hope to get things going on this blog again. I have already scheduled two blogs for the upcoming year and between then and now when I get stuck on my next novel, I will be working on this blog. reviewing books, sharing scattered bits of poetry and my thoughts about life.

The New Year brings hope, but so does every dawn. We have the power to change our lives everyday not just when the calendar fits.

If you are not happy, then do what makes you happy. Find a way to bring happiness back into your life.  I started this year by changing my own story and getting out of the house and doing stuff. I also gave away a ton of stuff that I didn’t need or want.  It feels good, but I have a lot more work to do.

For myself and my life, less stuff means more time out and about with friends and love ones.  I don’t have any miraculous resolutions for the coming year.  2015 was better than 2014 for me and 2016 is going to be better than 2015 because I am going to make it so.

See you next year, my friends,

Lu

Writing Exercise – I am Poem #1

Every nine weeks, my students write a new I-Am poem to help build  their writing portfolio and so they can see how they changed over the course of the year.  It is interesting to read them because often times even though they know that their poems will be read by me they confess little truths about themselves.  The format is simple and can be altered easily to let them express themselves more freely.  Tonight, I decided to write my own to get my creative thoughts flowing. 

I am tired and burnt out

I wonder if I will ever cease being living in a state of permanent exhaustion

I hear the not so quiet sounds of students working

I see myself getting older and wondering where all the time went

I want to do so much more than I am

I am constantly working to find a way out

I pretend that I have it handle, but I’ve never really been good at this game

I believe there has to be a way, a better way than the one I am living

I touch the brace on my leg and count the days until it is off

I feel the pain between my shoulder blades taunting me

I worry that there will never be another book and the thing my body has become will be permanent

I cry too often

I understand the cycle and know that tomorrow or tonight I will find my fight again.

I am myself and this is only temporary

Season of Giving

For the past six years, I have had the honor of working with the students at the BETA center in Orlando. The young women I work with are amazing and it isn’t a cliche to say that that inspire me everyday.    Yes, sometimes they frustrate me.  But, they always make it worth it.   Their stories would break your heart, but those are their stories and not mine to tell.   There is a lot more to the BETA center than my school.  A lot more. They help 1,000’s of families every year in Central Florida each year.   They really do change lives.

Please consider giving or at least sharing this link with others.   BETA Center Go-Fund-Me .   These beautiful young women are trying to do what is best for their children like all of us they could use some help.