A Little Bit of Everything

Good morning y’all.  I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted, but things have been, for lack of a better word, slightly depressing.  Some changes have occurred where my family is concerned, and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it.  To sum it up, my dad quit talking to me for reasons only he knows.  At first, I didn’t know how to deal with it, but then I had an epiphany.  If he doesn’t want to talk to me, that’s his choice, not mine.  He’ll come around in his own time.

So, moving on.

After more than a month, last week, I finally heard from my publication coordinator, via email, that my manuscript is ready for me to review the edits the editing department has proposed in my manuscript.  Since this past weekend was 4th of July weekend, I took that time away from work, and now, today, I’ll begin reviewing the edits in depth.  This should be fun.

In other news, about 5 years ago, I gave up my Facebook account.  Why?  It was the only way I could disassociate myself from select people I no longer wanted anything to do with.  It was the only way I could seek the solitude I needed to overcome the dramas and stresses of my own life.  While Facebook is a great way to keep in contact and communicate with select friends and family, I didn’t want any part of any of it.  Recently, I’ve been thinking that now might be the right time to regroup and restart.  I admit, part of me is fearful of Facebook because of the people I once knew.  Like the movie “Cyberbully” with actress Emily Osment, I couldn’t escape, but I wasn’t being bullied.  People just would not leave me alone.  However, with my book in publishing and ‘Moore’ Books Free Library slowly coming together, I think those two things are reason enough to restart a Facebook account, but rather than a personal account, I’m thinking more along the lines of ‘Public Figure’ account.  With coronavirus cases still on the rise, Facebook will be an avenue that I would not otherwise have for online book signings and other such events.  Actor and author, Chris Colfer did it, so why can’t I do similar?

The entirety of it will take time, but that’s okay because all of the best things in life take time.

On a totally different note, I gave gardening another shot.  My first time didn’t go so well.  While I tried my hand at growing green beans, cucumbers, peppers, squash, and a couple other vegetables, things were going good until I transferred them to bigger planters, then they all died.  This time, some friends and neighbors gave me a few a tomato plants, and I’m very pleased to say that I have 8 tomatoes producing so far.  They’re still green, but they are growing.  My ‘bae’ has to craft together some stakes to help my roma tomato plant stand more upright, but it’s doing well and that’s all I can ask for right now.  Roma hasn’t yet produced anything, but it’s early yet.  I do have a few pictures to post of my budding tomatoes, and I’ll post them soon, but I have to first transfer the pictures from my phone to my computer.  Then I’ll be able to share them with you.  If things continue to grow as well as they are, this time next year, I’m going to try for a raised personal garden.  Time will tell.

Finally, the Georgia heat has really kicked in full swing since summer officially began.  The humidity is practically through the roof, making it harder for my ‘bae’ to breathe when outside what with his heart condition.  Heck, I’m perfectly healthy and the humidity is even getting to me.  The only time I’m really going outside is to feed and water my plants, or to take out the garbage.  It’s so hot out, we don’t even feel like grilling.

So, that pretty much sums up the essence of my life currently.  A little of this, a little of that, but not much of anything else.  I’m doing what I can, and practicing patience by working on the inside.  More or less cleaning, rearranging, and reorganizing.

Well y’all, I guess that’s it for this post.  As always, thank you all for reading and following my blog.  By the way, is there anything y’all would like me to write about?  I’m always open to suggestions; something new to talk about.

Until next time!

Thinking, Writing, and Reflecting About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Hey y’all!

I am a writer and because I am a writer, I think a lot.  A Lot.  I think about my past and I think about my future and all the things I want to do.  Most of it has to wait until after my daughter graduates from high school which will be in another three years, but at the same time, I can do many of the things I want to do now, in the present time, because I’ve been blessed with the ability to work from home, as an English teacher.

One of the things I want to do is publish.  I want this about as much as I’ve wanted everything else I’ve been blessed with in my life because I love writing so much.  I love sketching to, but writing allows me to bare a piece of my soul that I can’t do in creating artwork.  Yes, I know writing is just another form of artwork, but writing is also different from sketching.  In writing, I can talk about the many obstacles I’ve overcome and what I learned from those obstacles.  When I sketch, I create pictures that make me happy.  Writing also makes me happy, but differently than sketching does.

Someday, I want to see my written short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul because Chicken Soup for the Soul is the most widely known nonfiction short story compilations book around the world.  I began reading them when I was just 14 years old.  I recommend then to anyone I know and everyone I meet.  I recommended Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul to my daughter’s best friend in gymnastics.  She’s a couple years younger than my daughter, but she loves to read, according to her grandparents.  Not only did I lend them my copy, but after reading the book and returning it to me, her grandmother went out and bought herself a copy of a more recent title, Chicken Soup for the Grandparents Soul.  I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but it was a first for me.

I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to them for the last two years and one thing I can say for sure is my ability to write is improving.  When I first started trying, yes, I wrote crap.  Boring and unacceptable for publication; and obviously not what they were looking for.  Now, two years later, reading my own work chokes me up, but maybe I’m just partial to my own work.  Rather than being my own worst critic, I’m over complimentary to myself.  I used to have my husband simply proofread my material, then I click the submit button and off it went to their inbox.  Now, I’ve improved the writing process, asking him to critique my material, not once, but twice.  The first critique is always for direction.  The second critique is to fix anything which doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t fit.  If and when he gives me an all-clear, I then ask him to proofread it for me to clear my grammatical mistakes.

I know publishing is a hit and miss no matter who you’re trying to publish with.  When it comes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my single short story entry is only 1 in about 5000.  As of current, the only time I’ve ever received a personal message from Amy Newmark herself, it was to ask for my mailing address to mail me a couple signed books, per winning a book drawing.  It was an incredible experience, but nothing like I imagine it’s going to be when the day comes I receive an email, that my short story has been chosen for publication in a future title.

So far, I’ve submitted a short story to each of these future titles; ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, ‘Listen to Your Dreams’, ‘Stories About Christmas’, ‘Stories About Self-Care and Me Time’, and ‘You Go, Girl’.  The short story I wrote for ‘You Go, Girl’ is, in my opinion, my personal best.

In closing, I write to clear my head of the most concentrated thought swirling inside.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my most favorite book series.  I can’t deny that and I won’t deny it.  I know my day will come, and when it does, I’ll laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ll jump up and down like a crazy high school girl finding out that the boy she likes, likes her back.  I’ll probably run to my neighbors and share with them this most exciting news of my life, but I am not going to deny myself the emotion of finally accomplishing what I’ve been working so hard to do since I began my writing journey.  I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to do, when sharing my news with my parents, who don’t completely understand the lengthy time and amount of patience writing a single story can take, regardless of story length, nor the hit and miss of publicating, I am not going to allow their happy-so-so attitude to clash with my over-the-moon-top-of-the-world-basking-in-personal-accomplished-glory attitude.  After all, this isn’t about them, this is about me.  They will be happy for me, supportive, and accepting, and that’s all I really can ask for.

Thank you for reading y’all!

 

The Saturday After

Good morning y’all!

I took Thanksgiving off.  I didn’t work (except for in the kitchen), I didn’t write, I didn’t read, I wasn’t on social media, and it was the perfect day.

Mom and dad invited some friends over to have Thanksgiving with us, our daughter made a new friendly acquaintance, I socialized while keeping up with the kitchen, and we all enjoyed ourselves (with the exception of the fracture currently in dad’s back between his shoulder blades).

My husband cooks the turkey every year while I’m in charge of cooking and baking the rest of it–the fried collard greens with little smokies, green bean casserole, savory herb stuffing, ranch-infused mashed potatoes, gravy I made from the turkey drippings, King’s Hawaiian rolls, canned yams, jellied cranberry sauce, homemade deep-dish pumpkin pie, and homemade sugar-free peach cobbler.

Normally, Thanksgiving leftovers take days to finish up, and there’s still a good chance you’ll throw something out.  Somehow I pulled off the opposite and made the perfect amount for everyone.  I made Thanksgiving lunch/dinner, eating around 2pm, then ate leftovers for dinner/snack that evening.  Yesterday we ate leftovers for lunch, and then again for dinner.  Now, the pumpkin pie is gone, the peach cobbler is gone, and I’ve gotta make more cobbler.  It was delicious!

Yesterday, my husband helped me bring up our Christmas decorations from the basement.  We decorated our office, doing a ‘Christmas Around the World’ theme this year.  My husband set his village up along a high shelf, I set my late-grandmother’s Native American Nativity scene up on a shelf below that, and on another side shelf, I placed my Nativity scene of Bethlehem, Egypt.  Christmas around the world.

I placed Santa under our tree, to portray him waiting patiently for Christmas, to make his yearly trip ‘around the world’, delivering the childish spirit of the holiday.

I spent the rest of the day decorating the rest of the house, putting the other tree up in the living room for my parents.  I hung the stockings for show, some garland for sparkle effect, and put the place mats out just because.

Now it’s Saturday.  This afternoon our Georgia ‘Bulldawgs’ play the Techies (Georgia Tech).  Our dawgs are aiming for another awesome year being 10-1!

I’m still waiting to hear back about the writing sample I submitted for review.  I think I did well on the assignment, but I’m not reviewing myself.  As long as they can see that I know what I’m doing, that I can tutor their way with their paperwork, and I will only improve with time and practice, then I have my case made.  I wasn’t thrilled with the sample assignment, but I’m glad for having done it because now I have the idea, and I think that’s the point.

At first I looked at the assignment like it was in a foreign language.  I think I read everything 10 times over before finally wrapping my mind around the system; I was trying too hard.  Once I relaxed and let myself fall into the assignment, comments, remarks, and direction came easier.  When I felt like I’d completed it properly and to the best of my current ability (as my APA/MLA formatting is a little out of practice) I sent it off for review.

Now I’ve taken a step further than I normally get.  All I can do now is wait patiently, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

Thanks for reading with me and I’ll write again Monday!

Attitude is Patience

Hey y’all.

Ever since I sent the paperwork back, this past Friday night, I’m sitting on edge, waiting patiently for an email response.  I hate playing the waiting game, but I find I’m feeling more like “I can’t wait to begin”, instead of the traditional “I hope I got it”.  I know my ability to perform giving written direction when reading and reviewing papers; that’s what I’m excited for.

My husband and I took our daughter to her weekly gymnastics class recently.  While there, the lobby was filled with several mothers, waiting for their children to finish up class sessions.  I noticed one of the mothers was grading papers; what appeared to be perhaps, Elementary math?  When I was in middle school, possibly early high school, I would volunteer during my lunch time to help elementary teachers grade students work.  I’d sit and have lunch with the teacher, using the answer keys, and grade a couple stacks of completed worksheets.  It was so much fun!

I didn’t expect I’d hear anything back through the weekend, but now that the weekend is over and Monday is passing, I could receive at any moment.  I remember how I felt when I received they’re first response to my application and cover letter.  The further I read into the email, the more my heart pounded, and the faster it felt making my hands shaky.  I know it sounds drastic, but it was good news for a change.  I just hope I haven’t jinxed myself… because I really want this.

Tomorrow is another day.

Today, I finished and submitted “Chicken Slick of the Soul” to a writing contest, and I also printed it out for myself.  That’s one story for my book.

Now I’m focusing on a piece I’m submitting to Chicken Soup for the Soul, titled “Christmas Crash Site” which I’ll also print for my book, and I’m brainstorming my next piece for another ‘Chicken Soup’ submission.

“Patience is not just about waiting for something.  It’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.”  –Joyce Meyer

I’m waiting and I’m writing my way through it.  Thanks for reading with me.

Discouragement and Persistence in a Literary World

It is so hard to concentrate and get things done at the office when your entire body feels like ‘poo’.

I’ve also felt a little discouraged because my literary magazine isn’t kicking off the way I thought it would.  The reality is that I’m not doing my research and reaching out to the right places to show off my creativity.  So, both yesterday and the day before, I did do some reaching out to a couple of places, mainly libraries and ‘mom and pop’ bookstores, but I haven’t yet heard back from any of them.  That’s the hardest part of being a writer, having enough patience to play the waiting game.

On a more positive note, I can finally share our company logo since I finished coloring it in.  I still think the pink needs to be a shade darker, but this is only the beginning.  20180620_090103

For the rest of the week, I’ll be putting as much time and energy into finishing up our July issue.  Then come July, I’ll have copies of May, June, and July’s magazine issues available for purchase.

I believe in this magazine and I want to see it succeed.  If I didn’t, I would have stopped after May, but I didn’t.  I continued on, creating a magazine issue for June, and now July.  I’m going to keep creating them because it’s something I love to do, and one day it’ll happen.  One day they will sell.  Until then, persistence and patience is the key.