Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: NaPoWriMo Day 25

Dear Readers,

Soon I plan on writing a post that better addresses my return to the blogging world, but for today’s confines of time and “cares” (substitute more colorful language if you wish) given, this is what I’ve got.

For now, I’ll just come back slowly, with a very very rough draft of a poem in celebration of National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo for short.

Today is technically Day 26 of NaPoWriMo, but the optional prompt fits a poem I wrote over a decade ago, and I wanted to stretch myself a little bit, so I’m using yesterday’s prompt.

To summarize, the prompt asks

to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

So here’s what I’ve got. (Remember, it’s extremely rough.)

This is the beginning of me processing through writing the passing of my dear doggie Dexter. (And yes, he did actually die on an autumn day.) I started about a week after he died, but couldn’t finish, so this was nice and therapeutic for me. Enjoy (or not…I’m not forcing you to do anything), and I’ll be back soon with a happier, lighter topic!

To Unassuming Returns,

Violet

The Space of an Autumn Day

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My Autumn Day

smells like calm after getting the news of your kidneys failing,

your head leaning on my chest,

breath warm against my face,

long black fur fuzzy and soft beneath my fingers.

Dex and Gem

It smells like the pumpkin patch

where you went through slowly, exhausted from your body not cooperating.

It smells like sudden sadness

When I fed you a hot dog from the stand,

Thinking it might be one of the last times I’d get to treat you.

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The fragrance trapped in the space of that cornflower blue jar

is so much more than “crisp red apple,

Green fig, white birch, cedar”

Like it reads on the bottom.

It’s eleven and a half years together

coming to an end,

it’s giving you a modified sponge bath,

half-joking that “I don’t want you to get kicked out of heaven

for being stinky.”

It’s one last hurrah,

Summoning strength to give us the gift

Of a beautiful walk, your spirit strong,

Determined to get through the woods,

Across the street,

Dip your toes in the water,

Fall breeze heralding a storm,

But holding off for three more days.

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It’s the scent

of taking you in my arms,

telling you of the wonderful memories we’d collected,

not just during the year,

but during the span of your entire wonderful life,

telling you it’s okay

and that I was right here

while you shook with violent spasms,

most likely convincing myself more than you

not to be afraid.

It’s the scent

of lighting Autumn Day

on what would’ve been your 13th birthday,

remembering your sweet soul,

your head leaning on my chest,

breath warm against my face,

long black fur fuzzy and soft beneath my fingers.

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Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: My Own Truth

*taps microphone* Ahem…ahem.  Is this thing on???

Dear Readers!!!

I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty with this whole writing a blog post thing, so this may be a bit sloppy.  BUT, I am writing, and that is something. How have you all been? I know for me it has been almost a full year and a half since I’ve written anything, and boy, has my life been a whirlwind since I last wrote!

I have to say that I’ve been out of sorts for awhile.  Those who know me know how much I love reading and writing. I don’t think I’ve written anything significant since at least September of last year (it’s most likely longer). It is almost March–three months into 2016–and I have yet to finish my first book of the new year (I’m about halfway through). Not good enough, I say. Not. Good. Enough.

Mr Lemoncello Library
If any of you were curious, here’s the book I’m halfway done with. It’s marked as ages 8-12, and honestly, that’s all I can deal with right now. It’s been quite entertaining so far, though!

I’ve been trying to get the willpower up to do a new blog post for at least the last several months. A couple days ago, inspiration struck. I saw a link on The Daily Post, and I immediately thought, “Okay. I’m ready to start blogging again”:

Emerson Blast of a Trumpet
BAM. There it is. If any of you have been following me since the beginning of my blog where the background was the Sticky Notes on my desktop, you’d know why this spoke to me so much.

Probably since around October or November, I’ve hit what some might call a quarter-life crisis.  Problem is, I’m 8 years past the quarter-life crisis age.  I was basically given an ultimatum to figure out the ONE SPECIFIC THING I wanted to do with my life. No Plan B-Z. No different paths to choose from. No “umbrella” goal where I can branch out into different possibilities.  “It’s too many options,” my ultimatum-giver (who shall remain nameless) said.  “Nothing else has worked so far, so it’s time to put all your eggs in one basket and just go for it.”

So I’ve gone on a sometimes-painful, sometimes-exhausting, always-terrifying soul search these last several months.

Truth? I’ve come up pretty empty. I started a Pinterest board entitled “Who I Want to Be”, and I have to admit I almost broke down in tears because I couldn’t come up with one single pin for at least a month. (That’s saying a lot, considering that I have a total of over 8,000 pins for all my other boards. So yeah, obviously no problems there.) I’m nearly done with the newest edition of “What Color is Your Parachute?” (this is the third time I’ve attempted to finish this book over the years, and this time is the closest I’ve gotten to actually finishing it), and that’s helping a bit. We’ll see where that goes.

Loooooooooong story short, after nearly 34 years of life, I’ve come back to the horrifying question of “Who Am I?”.

I thought I knew. I came out of college, a bit overconfident in my success of figuring out what I wanted to do, while others my age had no freaking clue what they wanted to do or who they wanted to be.

Now I’m struggling with that.

What I do know–the one, universal thing; the compass that has remained true for what I feel has been my entire life–is that I love words.  I have always loved words, and I will always love words.  So that’s a start.  Let’s start with that, and go from there, shall we?

Here are some of my favorite quotes. My “trumpet blasts”, if you will:

Another Emerson quote:

What is Success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

 

This one is my very favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. Confession: I first came upon it while reading Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl’s “Beautiful Creatures”. But I loved it so much that I’ve been strongly considering getting it as a tattoo.  I even went so far as to take some Sharpies and writing it on my thigh to see if I liked the look of it on my body. I did. 🙂

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.

I have so many favorite quotes, but these have been the ones I’ve gone to over and over again throughout the years; the ones that give me strength; the ones I share with others time and time again. So yes, I suppose you could say these are my “Bible verses” of sorts.

Now comes the hard part: my own truth. The message I’d like to share and have others put in their inspirational journals. Well, I think that would take a lot of searching through my old journals and poems. For now, I’ll leave these quotes from a poem I wrote during my whirlwind last year, when a lot of my writing came from when I was a mentor for kiddos (more specifics later):

I’ll be a warrior of confidence,
turn the careful stippling on of my face paint
into a definitive slap so forceful
that wet specks splatter onto my eyelashes,
and I don’t blink.

 

an arrogant sword is made stronger
by tempering it with humility

 

I think at this point in my life, those two speak to my truth more than anything right now.  I’m striving to be confident. In so many aspects of my life: myself, my future, my goals, my opinions. I’m not there yet, but I hope to work on getting to that “definitive slap” level.

As far as the arrogance, I’d like to think I’m far from that. But I’ve run into a lot of arrogant people, and I hope to bring them the humility to temper their arrogant sword.

And there it is!  Whoa! A completed blog post! My first in almost a year and a half. I’m going to click publish now, before I lose the nerve.

But before I do that, some questions to answer in the comments:  what is YOUR own truth? What are your favorite quotes that get you through life?  What are you struggling with right now?  Are you going through a crisis of some sort?  Do you know what you want to do with your life?  What inspires you?  Or if anything, just give me a big ol’ hello and let me know how it’s going. I’ve missed you all. ❤

To Finding Your Own Truth,

Violet

 

Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: Just Getting Something on the Page

A friend of mine, both in real life and in the blogging world (check out her blog, The Glittered Pterodactyl.  It’s pretty spiffy!), is an inspiration to me because she practices her craft on a regular basis.  I love her artwork, even though it’s “just” the ones in her art journal.  For reals, guys, if she made them into prints and/or notecards?  I would easily run out of money.

Why am I bringing this up?  Well, for one, I really do think her artwork is awesome.  Secondly, I’ve been a bad writer lately.  I’ve fallen out of the habit of practicing my craft.  I used to make it a point to write in my journal at least ten minutes a day, and if it wasn’t that, then at least do a blog post.  Obviously I haven’t been doing well on the latter, but I’m just so disappointed in myself that I’ve (in my mind) turned my back and ignored one of the things I love the most.

Today I hope to break that cycle.  I’m not feeling inspired, but I did make a goal for myself to post every day this week, and I also miss writing.  So I’m going to respond to one of the daily prompts from The Daily Post (just fyi it’s not the current one–it’s a few days back).  I’m going to warn you right now:  it’s not my best, by any means, and I’m not putting much effort into it.  That’s why I’m not going to do a pingback, because I would be ashamed to put my rushed work amongst those who have put a lot more into it.

But I wrote something.  And for that I’m damn proud.  Here it is!

PROMPT:

Greetings, Stranger

You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?

I felt like a glutton, double-fisting a sour cream lemon bar and tuxedo mocha.  It had been a long time since I’d treated myself to something that actually involved spending any money.  While placing my order, I told myself that I’d savor the mini luxuries, making both last for as long as I could.

I failed at the first bite and sip, trying to figure out how much and how quickly I could fit into my maw without choking.  I must’ve looked like the beginnings of a soft core porn, coffee dribbling down my neck and forming a muted caramel-colored circular stain on the white-and-lavender polka dot scarf I threw on in an attempt to look equal parts sophisticated and artsy, streusel crumbs sticking to my lip glossed smirk.

With as much decorum as I could muster, I grabbed the balled-up napkin I used as a coaster and dabbed at the corners of my lips before I responded.

“Have you, now?  And who sent for me?”

He takes his right hand out of his pocket and extends it towards mine to shake, his left hand displaying a text conversation.

“You said Violet, right?  Is this you?”

I glance quickly at his phone, skimming the important pieces and careful not to linger too much on what was obviously a private affair.  My eyes focus on the last two lines:

NMAllen:  7PM at Central Perk sound good?

ViVaVoom: Perfect.  See you there.

I think about this, look at my watch–6:55.  Wow.  Punctual.

“Hate to tell you this, dude, but one, I’m married, and two, I don’t even have a Tinder account.  For obvious reasons.  Good luck, though.”

Before he had the chance to look embarrassed, an obviously-extroverted woman burst through the door, red hair seeming to glow with the intensity of neon, bangles making a metallic clanking song with her movement.

“Allen?”

“Nope.  Neil Matthew.  My last name is Allen.”

“Either way, I’m pretty sure you’re who I’m looking for.  I’m Vivian Vanessa?  ViVaVoom?”

The stranger looks relieved, and gives Vivian a warm hug.  “Ha!  Isn’t it crazy how we never even double-checked each others’ names?  Oh well.  We’re both here now.  Shall we?”  He opens up his elbow in a window for Vivian to insert her arm.  “Sorry about the mix up,” he says, tilting his head my way.

“Understandable.  Have fun!” 

As I watch them sit down to a table of their own, I giggle behind my cup, and resolve to try to make the last drops count.  Who knew what other potential amusement could happen in the next few minutes?

To Pushing Through It!

~Violet~

Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: Crossroads (Daily Post Prompt)

From The Daily Post:

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CROSSROADS.

Isn’t it interesting how certain prompts come at just the right time?  This feels like one of those times.  Then again, I have the feeling that no matter what point of life I was at, this prompt would be appropriate.  People are always going through transitions, making decisions that create changes that are both big and small.

Right before I sat down to write this post, I replied to an email from a friend I hadn’t heard from in about three years.  We (actually I) reestablished contact about a month ago, and our subsequent back and forths, though slow to come, have been consistent.

I’m not gonna lie.  Those three years of no contact were rough.  This was a person whom I’ve considered one of my very best friends for over ten years.  To have a contact and confidant like that taken away can be quite the shock to system, and I was no exception.

That brings me to today’s prompt.

I’ve contemplated leaving the relationship, the attachment I had to this friend, leaving behind the memories of the past since they were too painful to recall.

One of the biggest strengths I think I possess, at least when it comes to my relationships, is that I’m fiercely loyal.  Sometimes, though, I’m loyal to a fault.  I stay loyal even when I’ve been hurt, long after the other person in the relationship remains loyal to me.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve moved so much in my life so I fight hard to have any semblance of a constant in my life, including relationships.  Maybe it was something I was taught–after all, my family comes with me everywhere and I remain loyal to them, even though we inevitably get on each other’s nerves.  Maybe loyalty is just in my nature–I give what I expect in return.

Unfortunately, I don’t always get that loyalty in return, and I feel as if that was the case in this friendship.  Somehow, somewhere along the line, distance took its toll and contact was broken.  Keep in mind, the friendship was long distance for years already, and that didn’t seem to cause problems in the past.  I don’t think it was really a transgression on anybody’s part; I just think laziness set in and there simply wasn’t enough care to keep in contact.  I’m guilty of the same when it comes to other friendships, I must admit, but I’ve been trying to make up for it.

Pros and Cons:  Ah, the ever-popular pro and con list.  I’ve been known to write pro-con lists many pages long, especially when it came to big decisions.  Weirdly enough, though, I didn’t write one for this particular big decision.  I think putting the words onto paper would make it real that I really thought hard about ending a relationship that had meant so much to me.  I just don’t think I was ready to face that quite yet.  But here I am, and here I go:

 PROS:

  1. The freedom of letting go and not allowing the situation hurt me any longer.
  2. Letting the other person move on with their life (which I don’t think I need to try so hard to do, as it seems as if they’ve moved on long ago).
  3. Learning that I’m strong enough to let go.

CONS:

  1. Pain.  Lots.
  2. The lingering knowledge of how I could’ve tried harder to save it, and feeling like maybe I failed.
  3. Not having that friend in my life anymore (again, not that this person is much a part of my life anymore anyway).

Have you made up your mind?  You know, every time I think I’ve made up the decision to leave, memories of how good the friendship was come and attack my mind, and my loyalty gives in and I can’t quite let go.  Horrible, isn’t it?

What will you choose?  I’ve chosen to work on reworking the relationship in a way that I’m not left disappointed.  This was largely inspired by the advice my hubby gave me when I told him how frustrated and hurt I was by the situation.  I’m learning to let go of any expectations, seeing any contact at all as a pleasant surprise.  And you know what?  It’s been working.  The sting of it all is slowly going away, and I’m keeping my propensity to care too much in check.  This makes for some highly impersonal emails from me, and that’s just going to have to be okay for the time being, and possibly even forever.  And if contact is lost again?  I will be thankful for the gift, and (try to) graciously let it go in love.

***

I have so many other things I’m considering letting go, and maybe I’ll discuss them at a later time.  This was just the first thing that came to mind.  🙂

To Learning How to Let Go Gracefully,

Violet

Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: 2 for 1, in More Ways than One!

So if you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a big fan of Hulu.  Seeing as I don’t have cable, it’s a good way to catch up on most shows I would watch.  I’m also a big fan of Netflix.  Having both of those subscriptions in my possession, I don’t miss cable much at all.  Maybe the only thing I do miss is the Rachael Ray Show.  (Don’t judge.  I stumbled upon it one day and it became a routine of sorts.  I’ve gotten to know most of Rachael’s “Rachael-isms” and cooking shortcuts, such as adding nutmeg to most things, grating the garlic into the dish, scoring meat for burgers with the side of your hand, and making the centers of burgers thinner than the outside for even cooking.  Thanks, Rach!)  But they moved it to an earlier time (9am, I believe, from 2pm), and reading’s better anyway, so it’s not that big of a loss.

Hm.  Where was I?

Oh yeah.  Hulu.  About a month ago, I started seeing ads on Hulu for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “new” show HitRecord on TV.  I checked out the first episode, and someone on the show had mentioned that they’d used the prompts that were given as writing prompts, and I thought that was a genius idea!  So that’s what I’ll be doing today.

In addition, I spoke yesterday about doing link ups.  I found WordPress’s Daily Prompt, which I’ll be using a second writing prompt for today.  One of these days I’ll do a link up to the website, but it seems as if I didn’t act fast enough to do so.  Next time, then.  So that’s your twofer.  My other twofer also has to do with link ups.  I found a really fun series that has to do with music, and you know I gotta jump on that!  So not only am I responding to two writing prompts today, I’m also going to do two posts!  Can you handle it?!?  Well, let’s see, shall we?  🙂
(c) Copyright VC/GS listlovelaugh.wordpress.com
Writing Prompt #1 (inspired by HitRecord on TV): Re: The Number One

The phrase, “looking out for number one” has always been an insulting one for me to hear.  It’s bathed in utter selfishness, and whenever I see it on TV or in a movie, it’s always some jerk who used dirty methods to claw his/her way to the top.  It’s usually said with a sneer, in response to utterances of concern from someone said jerk stepped on to receive his/her glory.  I can’t think of anyone but a villain with a dark soul to actually say this.  It’s the epitome of caring for no one else but yourself.

While it’s true that one needs to treat themselves now and then (or often, if life/finances/time allow), having no regard for anyone else’s feelings is such a shameful act.

With that said, it makes me wonder who “number one” in my life is.  Who am I looking out for?  Who I protect and treat, making sure their life is the best it can be, no matter what the circumstance?

If I had a human child, I’m sure their name would be the answer I’d give.  But I don’t.  I do, however, have my dog.  It may sound silly, but I would do anything for my dog.  He’s a part of my family, and I do “look out for number one” in his case.  I make sure he has the best quality of life he can possibly get, and I show him my love every single day.  When I walk him on the shoulder of a road as I sometimes do, I make sure I’m the one standing on the outside in case we’re hit by a car.  I want him to have the better chance of surviving, even though statistically I’m supposed to outlive him.

There’s also my husband, who should probably be number one, but might be a touch under my dog.  Before you judge, let me explain.  My hubby has more of a capability of fending for himself and keeping himself safe than my dog does.  He doesn’t depend on me to feed him, to open doors for him, to take him on walks.  He does expect love from me, and that I hope I provide to him to the best of my ability.  Since my dog is a bit more dependent, though, perhaps he has my place as number one.

What about you?  Have you come across an instance where it’s a good thing to think of yourself as “number one”?  Or, if not, who’s the number one in your life?

Writing Prompt #2 (from Daily Prompt):  Talking in Your Sleep

“Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

I have to say that I’ve probably eavesdropped on way more conversations than I was supposed to.  When I was little, I wanted to be Harriet the Spy (to this day, that remains to be my very favorite book of all time).  As such, I’d carry around a green notebook and snoop into people’s lives.  If I’m to be honest, though, I can’t recall any of the conversations I eavesdropped on without the help of that notebook.

The only conversation I remember vividly is one I happened upon when I was older, when I was more mature and had grown out of my Harriet the Spy phase; a time where my world felt a bit more fragile:  a late teenager.

I was somewhere between 15 and 17.  I was walking to my room to get some homework done, when I heard some commotion coming from my parents’ room.  My mother was yelling something incomprehensible.  By this point, my parents were fighting a lot anyways, so it wasn’t really anything new.  But their fights usually surfaced at night, when they thought their kids were asleep.  Let me assure you, though, there’s no kid on the planet, not even a deaf one, who couldn’t hear the rage that shook the walls during their late-night arguments.

The part that was new was that it was only afternoon, and they were so in the heat of the fight that they didn’t even bother to care who heard.  They probably didn’t even know.

I wanted to know what was going on, thinking as I always did that somehow the fight was my fault.  So I lingered by their door and pressed my ear to the door.  More loud, anger-filled screams from my mother filled the air, followed by something I almost never heard:  my father yelling.

I have to say right here that my father never yells, and when he does, it’s as timid and quiet as a field mouse.  Those late-night arguments I spoke of earlier?  It was always my mother’s voice that roared and made the ceiling vibrate.  My father’s mumble-yell would follow at maybe one-quarter the volume.  This time, though, I heard what he was saying loud and clear:

“Hit me!  Hit me instead!”

My mother wailed in agony and I heard a few half-hearted thumps.  There was a slight crack in the door.  From what I could see, she was hitting his open palms.

At that point, I walked away.  Whatever they were fighting about, it was between the two of them.  But it was something that always stuck with me.

A few months later, my mother had been invited to go to Las Vegas with a friend of hers.  She made it a point to ask me how to do her makeup in a sultry way, and she asked me to choose which of the two outfits she had laid out on the bed was sexier.  She planned to go dancing at a night club.

My father wasn’t invited, and she wasn’t planning on wearing her wedding ring during the trip.

To say the least, that conversation has stuck with me to this day, and the mystery behind it still lingers.  I’ve never asked about it, mostly because they didn’t know I was listening, but also partly because those are the kinds of conversations I simply don’t have with my parents.  Much too awkward.  Way too many emotions.

(c) Copyright VC/GS listlovelaugh.wordpress.com

Ahem.  Anyways, that’s enough writing for today, I think.  My next post for today will be much, much lighter and happier.  Promise.  🙂

To Awesome Things that Come in Pairs,
Violet