Mess up – Own Up

1476558_687247004632783_1297819023_nYesterday, I made a mistake that could have gotten me fired today.  I knew it within a few minutes of getting in.  Check and verified that I was suppose work yesterday and didn’t show up. In the end it was my fault and once I realized what happen, I felt terrible.

I sat there, wondering for a moment, if I should say anything. Then how I should say it. Fear and anxiety making me twist myself into knots.  I knew it wasn’t really a choice. It was the right thing to do and I would hate a piece of myself if I didn’t come forward.

Finally I got to my boss’s desk right when someone was coming up to let her know that no one covered the phones.  Not a good thing for the water park  or my future employment. Owning up for your actions is one of the lessons every child is suppose to learn. I think back to my own childhood and things generally did go better for me if I fessed up. The reaction and/or punishment was dependent on which parent or grandparent received the news.

My birth father was a strict and incredibly adept at layering guilt. He learned from his mother. It didn’t matter if when I realized my mistake, I confessed. All crimes were treated with an equally with an unfair punishment. I am still not sure what I did to warn building a deck, but I do remember the time that my brother had to shovel all the driveways in the neighborhood for driving our stepmother’s car in a blizzard.   Disappointment at virtually everything I did oozed over every action through my teenage years and the fear of punishment, no matter what the consequences walks with me.

It sat with me this morning and screamed at me as made my way to my bosses desk.

And then it sheepishly hid its face in the corner when my bosses handled the news and accepted my apology.  It helps that in the four summers, I have worked her I have always communicated with her my supervisor.  This summer, I am their go to person for back-up.  All of these and my willingness to own my actions helped.

I firmly believe that as an adult, we have to own our actions.  We can’t blame our parents or others for the things we do; even if they influence us or misinform us.

Owning up or as one of my co-worker’s says “Putting on your big girl drawers and get to it.”

 

About these ads

Leave a comment

Filed under Life & other interesting questions

Book Review: I Will Hold My Death Close

10502254_592407747547506_7740250097570509581_nI Will Hold My Death Close by Stant Litore

Available for pre-order on Amazon for your Kindle

Circa 1120 BC – Israel -

The story is based loosely on the events of Judges 11 where Jephthah (Yeptha) promises to sacrifice the first thing he sees upon his return home for victory over his enemies.  The first thing, he sees his daughter and only child.

So one might expect that the story to be told from the father’s perspective and involve his internal struggle keeping such a horrible promise.  This is however an installment of the Zombie Bible and Stant Litore has a way of turning the story you know into something beautifully different. Something powerful.

Jephthah’s daughter is marked for death and flees to the hills where she has to fight for her life from the unburied dead (zombies).    She fights off the dead knowing that at any moment, her father could appear with his stone blade in hand to take her life on the sacrificial alter.   Through the course of her struggles, she remembers the songs of her mother and how she stood again the unburied dead with only a stick.  She fights to keep her death close and her own.

The centuries to come will not remember her name. But generations of young women will climb the hills to remember her.

Litore once again proves that he is a master storyteller.  This story didn’t let me go for a moment and literally left me grasping for breath at end.  He has taken the story of Jephthah’s daughter and elevated beyond the scanty lines in Judges 11 to something incredibly powerful.  No matter what your faith or spiritual path, there is something that you will find to love in this book.  I really am in awe of Litore at this moment and can’t wait to see what he writes next.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Comfort

Today 068Comfort found in the bottle

isn’t comfort all at

or so they say

and plead their case

though looks and passing remarks

Comfort found through lies

and sweaty deeds

isn’t comfort all at

so let me take the comfort that is honest after all,

I can’t lie to a bottle.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

Upside Down and Turned About

Life has a way of complicating and un-winding itself all at once, which way it goes is up to the user. Sometimes a day goes both ways at once.

This summer, I have been struggling to finish my first book, make enough money to pay my bills, complete multiple on-line classes and work on other writing projects. I had this idea that I could finish a second book before August.  I haven’t been doing very well or at least I don’t think so.  What I was doing was moving slowly but surely forward.

Then the bottom fell out of my emotional world last Thursday.  Everything seemed hopeless and I slid back into the depression that I have been fighting most of my adult life slammed into me.  I struggled for most the day to get myself together.

My roommate’s husband tip-toed around me as the tears just poured out.  I called the colleague who I am collaborating with on a unit plan and told her that I was sending her what I had and won’t be up to working on it anymore that day.  It was hard, but I just couldn’t text what I needed to say.  I donned thick sun-glasses and when out to run some errands including laundry which really couldn’t wait.

And that is when the narrative changed.  My support system kicked in and even though I am still struggling to figure things out, I feel better equipped now to hand things then I did the last time I was spirit slammed by depression.  And I am writing.

No excuses.

I am writing and I finished a chapter on a project entitled Eden, last night.  It feels good.

My heart still aches and I know that depression is lurking ready to pounce, still, there is something to be said for throwing yourself into work at times like theses and trusting that some how everything will work out.

4 Comments

Filed under Life & other interesting questions

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

bookcoverThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green 

Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

As a reader, I am rather picky when it comes to reading books that others recommend.  It took me about five years before I picked up any of the Harry Potter books and that was the result of being stranded in an airport pre-Kindle.  Mainly, because everyone I talked to about the series loved it like crack and I don’t do drugs.  So as I was reading the Fault in Our Stars and ran across the quote below,  it was easy to fall in love with the book and its two protagonists, Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. ” (pg  33)

This was the type of zeal that I have been running from most of my life in making my reading selections.  And Hazel Grace understood it and put it into words that make sense to others. Because let’s be honest, telling people that the book they love is crack and you don’t do drugs is a metaphor that most find difficult to comprehend, which leads me another thing that helped me to fall in love with the book.  The metaphors.

Augustus Waters, the male protagonist, loves them.  His favorite is placing an unlit cigarette between his lips and never lights it. He doesn’t give it the power to kill him. A metaphor like the sad swing set that resides in Esther’s backyard that has never been used.

The antagonist in the book is cancer, non-discriminating cancer.  Cancer that takes the lives of children as well as adults.  Yet, it is cancer that brings Hazel and Augustus together.  They met at a cancer kid support group that Hazel’s mom makes her go to in order to help her deal with her depression, a side effect of as Hazel would say dying.  Did you expect me to say cancer? Sorry, no, the book is quite direct when it tells you that Hazel Grace Lancaster is dying.  She will never be cancer free. It is also quite direct when it comes to the reality that cancer kids experience.

It is Hazel Grace’s love of a book entitled Imperial Affliction that leads the two on their greatest adventure, a trip to Amsterdam to meet with the author.  The book is about a young woman like herself who has cancer and it ends in mid-sentence.  The implication being that the book’s protagonist, Anna, has surcome to her cancer.  Now, both Hazel Grace and Augustus want answers to their questions about happens to the characters after the book ends.  Did the Dutch Tulip man marry Anna’s mother? Was he really a con-artist? And what about the hamster?  Unfortunately, for the two of them, the author one, Peter Von Houten, is a miserable drunk who only cares to dwell in his own misanthropy.  There are no answers in Amsterdam.

There is however love to be kindled and passion to be set on fire.  This is where Hazel Grace falls in love with Augustus.  You knew it was going to happen, but Green lets the love affair between these two build slow so you connect to them.  You want them to have their happily ever after.  But, cancer, our ever present antagonist, doesn’t care.  You will and you may end up crying. As another reviewer put it, this book will break your heart. It won’t do it in the way that you think it will which is why this book made the New York Times Bestseller list.

While I can appreciate that an emotional book like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars isn’t for everyone, I cannot appreciate some of the critiques of it. Do we really have to criticize because it involves deeper emotions in order to promote other books?

Yes, there are other YA authors out there that people will enjoy and there are a ton of books that don’t get the attention they deserve. Bashing one book in order to promote another or more importantly bashing people’s genuine reaction to the book just seems wrong to me. And a little like bullying. There is nothing wrong with crying. I think it actually speaks to John Green’s talent as a writer that he invokes just deep responses in readers. I love books that help me escape my day to day, but books also have the power to do other things like make us think, feel and sometimes, cry.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Life & other interesting questions

Twisted Up

Everything gets

turned

inside out

by words

and assumptions

twisted

right side

wrong side

striking like a knife

leaving

marks on hearts

give me

sticks and stones

spare me

words

&

their shallow

intentions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

The Writer’s Mind

A writer’s mind can’t be contained in a meme.

Successful writers share some traits with unsuccessful writers.

What makes one successful and the other not could be a matter of skill or it could just be luck.

Writing remains both a skill and an art form.

It is taming madness.

It bring chaos to a thousand thoughts, but most of all it is work.

A lot of work.

And it is time for this writer to get back to it.

10404229_529324107172908_6506994543337300993_nWrite well my friends, write well.

2 Comments

Filed under Life & other interesting questions

Book Review: This Star Won’t Go Out!

star

Esther Earl

This Star Won’t Go Out

By  Esther Earl, Lori Earl & Wayne Earl with John Green

Available on Amazon in both hardback and Kindle formats.

 

A while back, my friend, Kevin, gave me a formula to use for reviews.  It goes something like this one-third summary, one-third what others have thought of it and one-third positive or negative critique.  He told me not to be afraid to criticize the books I read. It makes the review more authentic. You can’t like every book you read or everything about a book. Except, there is nothing I didn’t like about this book. Even when it made me cry. And it did. Several times.

There were days when I was reading this book that I didn’t pick it up because I knew I would cry.  There is no denying the emotional impact of its pages.  I can’t imagine anyone reading this and not falling in love with Esther Grace Earl.  One would have to be heartless not to cry or at the very least tear up at her lost.  And the book makes no bones about it. This book is about a young woman who lost her battle with cancer.

Esther Grace Earl died on August, 25th, 2010.

So why should you read a book that is guaranteed to make you cry? Why should you read a book about someone who dies ? Who lost her battle with cancer?

Because this is a book that needs to be read.

tumblr_m871hfnT8A1r0s208o2_r1_250 (1)

John Green and Esther Earl

You need to read this book because it brings both reality and humanity back to cancer. It reminds us that even the brave die. Even good people die.  It doesn’t make Esther out to be a saint, although if anyone deserves to be one, she does. It does put a face on cancer.  A real and imperfect face, though  a compilation of Esther’s journals, letters, photographs and v-blogs, Esther comes to life and enters your heart.  Her words are aided with entries from her family’s blog  and more personal reflections from friends and her siblings.

Blog July 196

One of Esther’s drawing. Her cat, Blueberry, relaxing.

The introduction is written by John Green, author of the Fault in Our Stars. Green makes it quite clear that his now famous book was not written about Esther or her life.  She inspired it, but it isn’t about her. After Esther’s death, Green began to write and write.  As a writer, I know that sometimes an idea is sparked by an event and what follows becomes its own. So when Green tells us that his book turned movie isn’t about Esther, I believe him. Are their similarities? Yes, but they are few and far in between. Esther Grace Earl and Hazel Grace Lancaster are two different people who will steal your hearts. One real and one fictional.  Both powerful.

After reading this book, it is easy to see how Esther could have inspired someone to write a book. She certainly inspired me and I never met her. I just read about her, but somehow through the book I felt like I was laughing along with her. She inspired so many because she was a genuine person who honestly cared about others.  She was real with herself and others.  When she was brave, she wasn’t trying to be brave she just was. She went through depression and normal teenage things like wondering when her first kiss would happen if ever.

The book is a compilation of Esther’s journals, letters, photographs and v-blogs. Along with entries from her family’s Caringbridge blog (Please note this is a link to site not the family’s blog ) and more personal reflections.  It is well organized and the color coding is brilliant, it lets you know which are entries of her diaries, letters to her folks and the aforementioned Caringbridge entries.

My favorite part of the book was when Esther received her wish from the Make a Foundation. Something that Esther took her time in choosing. She didn’t want Disney or to meet a celebrity.  She felt for much of her life that she had want she needed.  When she finally did choose something, it was as unique as her. Something what allowed her to touch the lives of others. (Sorry, no spoilers.)

Towards the end of the book when I realized that we were getting to the end of Esther’s life,  I thought that they didn’t give us enough, but then I got to the final section – Esther’s own fiction. It was beautiful and amazing.  She wrote about her own cancer, bullying and the last romantic piece.  This is not to diminish contribute of all of Esther’s friends and family.  They were truly amazing and helped round off the book.

Since her death, her family and friends have begun an organization entitled The Stars Won’t Go Out foundation which is dedicated to helping relief the financial pressures for families who children have cancer. They help families to focus on their child’s treatment by providing funds to take care of bills or cover travel expenses. It began the day after her funeral when a young man stopped by her parent’s home with a note and five dollars.  The note read as follows:

In my experience, in times of need, every bit helps. Although I don’t have much, I still would like to donate $5 to the Friends of Esther Fund. Esther was an inspiration to many. And no matter what adversity she was faced with, she always maintained a happy outlook on life. She never forgot to be awesome. She will be remembered forever. – Nerdfighter Jarid from Braintree

Another mandate of the TSWGO is to give funds towards other causes and projects that Esther would have supported.  If you are curious as to what a nerdfighter is or want to learn more about TSWGO check out the links below or read the book.

More Link

Esther’s YouTube

Caring Bridge 

Wayne’s blog 

Nerdfighters 

NPR Interview with the Earl’s

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Life & other interesting questions

Moments

A simple word or two and all the pieces fall in place

A simple word or two and everything is clear

for a moment, a whisper.

Everything seems possible

And it is

for a moment and a whisper

which doesn’t last forever

but in that moment

everything is clear

the horizon seems just a bit

shinier

And this so called

Real life

The spoken threat of

a thousand “adults”

Sets itself in

and a

moment

a

whisper

isn’t

just isn’t

all we need

if only we could add

And use those lessons

our elementary teachers beg us

to us

in our Real lives.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

Manic Monday

Where should my efforts go? A month into summer and I am still working on three different stories at once.  I write pieces everyday and try my best to map them out so I know where things are going. I fret about not having the discipline to finish a full length novel.

I worry that in an effort to pay my bills this summer, I won’t be able to finish any of the projects on my plate.

I worry that my first book, Blood Child, will be a failure.

I worry about a lot of things.

And then I go back to writing. As much as I can, hoping that the spirit that possessed me until I finished Blood Child will happen again.  Then I think to myself, I need to work on my craft. And I go back to writing.

You always have to go back to the writing that is what makes you a writer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life & other interesting questions