Some announcements

Standard

‘Ola, my friends!! Greetings to you from me here in slighly windy and chilly Philadelphia on this fine, beautiful Saturday! I’ve been slacking terribly for the last couple of months, which is all on me. I take full responsibility for my current laziness, and I’m going to do what I can to turn things around.

To start with, I’m giving an update about The Sons of Thor. First of all, the story is still in progress, much to my chagrin. My days are long, I’ve recently recovered from both a cold and a sinus infection, but I’m doing what I can to not let that deter me from reaching the goals I’ve set for myself. My Midwest work ethic is kicking in, and idling about is no longer becoming my style and fast. I’m ready to get out, get some work, get the writing done and find a place to live. I want to enjoy my days, even when they’re cold and even when I have my grumpy moments. I’ve got friends here who are supportive of me, who believe I’m going to make it and go very far in this city. It’s quite refreshing, and I truly love them for it. That’s why this long process of getting The Sons of Thor done is driving me nuts and why I’m grateful that I like to pick up pens and notebooks when and where I can. It’s going to be a pain to do all of that typing, but it’s also going to be worth it to get that story ready for critique and editing and for publication. I feel very good about this story. I feel good about Portal to Gaming and The King and Queen of Wands as well.

That said, I don’t know when precisely I will be publishing The Sons of Thor. It isn’t something I really want to say, but I know that I need to say it. I have a bit of a publishing model in mind for this year. I want to follow it as best I can. I do thank everyone for being patient. I know Portal to Gaming left off in a strange way. What’s going to happen next, and The Sons of Thor is definitely an answer to that question.

Second, The King and Queen of Wands is available on Smashwords. It isn’t in their premium catalog just yet – got a few hoops to jump through – but it is available for purchase at $2.99. Portal to Gaming will be following suit before too much longer.

Third, I hope to be able to at least attend Otakon in Baltimore this July. It’s probably going to take a lot of fancy footwork to get it done, but I have it slated as a goal for this year. It’s one part of promoting myself as an author and the works I’ve published.

In addition to the ebooks, I’ll be working towards publishing Portal to Gaming and The King and Queen of Wands in paperback, hard cover, and audio book formats. It’s going to be a slow process and a hectic one. I have more goals for publishing beyond what I’ve mentioned, but I’m keeping things simple for the moment. One step, one day at a time.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday and weekend, my friends! I’ll be catching up with you again soon!

Next up: About Arc of Fantasy and The Sons of Thor

A Lesson in Encouragement

Standard

I’m sure this is nothing new to most people, how they’ve been told they can’t do this, that the’re not going to be happy in that particular chosen field. I know that there are people who get told this because I’ve been told this in the past. I refuse to believe I’m on the only one.

And I find it interesting. Yeah, there are people out there who will say, “Oh, ignore that.They’re just afraid that you’ll succeed” and a whole bunch of other things. I know it’s said because I’ve come across the encouragement saying, “Do it anyway”. It isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Now, I’m sure there are some out there who are going to say, “Why would you say that?” or “Sure, it is. You just gotta (insert helpful advice here)”. The thing is, when we hear it for so long, despite being defiant, despite wanting to be true what it is we’d love to do, we still have that niggling doubt in our heads. I know because I’ve recently realized that a part of me has heard it for so long that I’ve lost a tad bit of hope and faith in myself and my abilities. It’s always been, Be practical. Do something that will pay the bills. Be a nurse. (Coming from someone who also knew I hated working in healthcare. I give major kudos to those who enter the field and not only can withstand it but enjoy their work. It was just something not meant for me.) Even harder is to undo the subconscious damage being done because the truth is we hear we can’t do something far more often than we do “You can do it. Go for it”. It is pressed upon us more to have a well-paying job so we can afford to buy a house or pay rent, buy a car, travel, and so on. To be practical.

This line of thinking is for the unremarkably average person, for the pipe dreamers who keep saying, “One day . . .” instead of saying, “Why not now?” In this internet age, we’ve gone accustomed to instant gratification when real life, when success doesn’t work that way. And I can argue that life requires the unremarkably average person because life requires practicality.

Life also requires people to be daring, to break free from the status quo, and to be remarkable. Life requires the dreamers, the writers, the artists, and the musicians, for if we didn’t have such people, we’d have nothing to reach for, to attain for ourselves. Yes, we’re entertained, we’re shown life’s beauty and hideousness through their works, but that’s the great thing about creativity. It allows us to express that which needs to be expressed, but we also need to understand that, in order to be successful, we mustn’t give up on expressing ourselves. It’s going to be a lot of work, and it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not that work is enjoyable. You see, I believe people can enjoy what they do in life. Yes, work can be aggravating, stressful, frustrating, but there are always those moments that just . . . make the day brighter, happier. My lack of enjoyment in healthcare wasn’t due to the people I cared for – I loved them as though they were family. I admit. I had my favorites, and I loved it when they laughed and smiled. I knew I had done something to make their day better. I just didn’t care for a lot of the politics. My heart wasn’t truly into the work. I became a C.N.A. because someone else had suggested I do so.

I have a lot of work ahead of me. I have hope and faith to rebuild in myself, and I also have a new life to build for myself, starting out as a homeless woman. I’m going to trip up and have those days where my energy levels are low and I won’t want to do anything. That’s normal. That’s human. I just have to plow through those days, reminding myself that I can do what I need and want to do, that I need to do what is necessary.

To everyone who reads this, yes, you can write a story. You can paint a picture, you can play an instrument, and you can sing. Keep writing, keep painting, keep playing, and keep singing. Never doubt for a moment about your ability to improve, and remember you need not strive for validation from someone who is unwilling to give it to you. Don’t be afraid to be in this for the long haul. The personal satisfaction of putting your work out there, knowing you accomplished something you’d dreamed about far outweighs what those in your life have told you can’t do.

You can do it. Tell yourself that every day, several times a day, and you’ll go far in this life.

Regaining the Lost Pieces of My Soul – The Homeless Experience, Part 6

Standard

As I’m sure most everone is aware, we are in the month of March, in the year of 2015. A lot has changed for me in the course of one year. However, unless you’re someone who talks to me n a near daily basis, these changes are hard to detect. Unless you’re someone really close to me and who has known me for a long time, you wouldn’t know the true danger I faced last year.

I’m not speaking of a life-threatening situation where I feared for my physical safety. No one was threatening to harm me or to kill me. While there is crime of all kinds in Northern Michigan, it isn’t quite on the same level as places like Detroit, Seattle, or Philadelphia. I lived in the country and rarely left the house when I wasn’t working. No money and no transportation will do that for a person. The only physical dangers to my health were a lack of exercise and not always eating as healthy as I should. I still don’t always eat as healthy as I should – I have a caffeine addiction I love to feed with Coca-Cola, coffee, and chocolate. (I also have to eat cheap sometimes so I eat more ramen noodles than what I used to do.)

Rather, the danger I face was far more personal. It affected my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I was losing a few things that were and are quite dear to me: my empathy and compassion for others and my ability to love the life I have, enjoy the life I have, and to just love others. Period. I’d also lost my appreciation for family and for home. I actually realized I was losing some of those vital bits around this time last year and feared that I was losing myself in this process. This was something I didn’t want but didn’t know how to stop or to fix. I felt stuck in a hopeless situation, despite knowing that we needed to move, to go somewhere, that upcoming summer.

My family wasn’t helping my personal plight at all, either. They were actually part of why I was losing those bits and pieces of myself. Unaware and unintentional, for the most part, but not completely inexcusable, either. I never spoke of this to them, and they never asked me about anything. Towards the very end, it was hard for anyone to really care about anything or to say anything, even on fun stuff, beyond getting away to start all over again. We’d lived together for far too long and grated and wore each other out.

Because the place I called home wasn’t all that happy nor was it truly home, I had no appreciation for home. Home was something I took for granted and something of a prison and a personal hell. I remember my best friend chewing me out for not being better prepared for the move. This was in either July or August, with the deadlines looming, and she chewed me out long before anyone else did, before I actually became homeless. I told her that maybe being homeless was what I needed, that I didn’t have that much needed appreciation for home anymore. It was devastating to say, but it was true all the same. I felt if I was meant to be homeless, I would be homeless. And, like my family, she didn’t know about that personal fear, of losing myself, my empathy, and my compassion. She never asked, and I’d quite honestly had forgotten them by that point.

Remembering that fear and telling her about it would come later, around Christmastime after a bit of a fallout with one of my uncles and me putting some emotional distance up between me and my mother. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but the physical distance wasn’t enough. I love my mother. I love her a lot, but I also knew I needed healing. I couldn’t keep doing what she wanted of me and for me any longer. She’d had a say about a lot of things for my life that should have ended far sooner than what it did. She wasn’t a super control freak like the way some others become, but I would apply to places I never wanted to on her suggestion. Something would happen, I would lose the job, and I ended up miserable because I didn’t like what I was doing. At the time, I held the attitude that work was work, and the better paying the job, the better off I’d be. I should have been happy with some of the places she recommended, but I never was. Not truly happy, anyway. While the one afforded me the ability to travel, to meet up with online friends, I knew within a year that being a C.N.A. wasn’t something I wanted to do for the next twenty years of my life. I was actually a lot happier working at the places I chose to apply to for work, the ones that had no input from anyone else. It’s why I’m thrilled to living in Philadelphia, the one place that has, so far, spoken to my heart on so many levels, despite being homeless at the moment.

And being homeless has given back to me the very things I feared losing. I’ve remembered what it feels like to be sympathetic towards others without being told I should be sympathetic, that I need to be sympathetic towards others. I’ve remember what it feels like to want to fight for change, to want to find love and to be loved for who I am, not what I am or what I can provide on a financial basis.

Tonight, I sleep on the floor of an emergency shelter, a mat and a personal blanket my only cushioning. Tonight, I sleep among addicts, recovering addicts, the mentally ill, hustlers, and the general down but not completely out souls; men and women, young and old, of different skin tones and ethnicities. Some will rise above their situations, make it out of the shelter system, and remember what it was like to be on that floor. Others will not. Tonight, I will go to sleep, knowing that tomorrow is another day. My situation will not be forever, but I will be eternally grateful for all that I have learned and gained from this experience.

Learning How to Love Life – The Homeless Experience, Part 5

Standard

There is a certain amount of stigma attached to being homeless. Unwashed. Lazy. Drug addict. Alcoholic. Mentally ill. You name it, it’s probably been applied. And there is a certain amount of shame amongst the homeless people because many of them don’t want to be in this position. They really don’t. I really don’t be in this position – some days are worse than others when it comes to staying out of the elements –  but, at the same time, I’m glad that I am. I’ve met many interesting and caring people. I’ve learned that, not only does the system have to change, but there needs to be some kind of rehabilitation for the homeless.

I’ve also learned and remembered what it was like to feel happy, to love life for all that it has to offer. I’m remembering what it was like just to feel high on fresh air and sunshine in a springtime atmosphere. I’m remembering what it’s like to love who I am and where I’m at, how to smile, and just be happy. Maybe it’s just because I’m finally in Philadelphia after twelve years of dreaming and longing to move here, but I love being outside. I know I’ve said it before, how much I love this city, and I just can’t proclaim it enough. It’s one of the oldest cities in the United States. History feels alive here. Some would say it’s all commercialism, and they’re not entirely wrong. But, for me, this city is alive. It has a feel like no other. I’m inspired. When the weather starts to break, warm up, and stay warmed up, I feel like I could just walk for hours and explore or find a nice little park bench and sit down and just write.

To me, this is how life is supposed to be – doing what you love, living where you love, despite the ups and downs of life. This is home, this is heaven, this is hell, this is everything that makes life worth living.

Being homeless isn’t going to last forever. This is just a transition in my life, something I needed to see with my own eyes and experience for myself.

I know I keep teasing people with this, but I will be announcing the release date for The Sons of Thor soon! Most everything is written on paper and coming along nicely. It’s a matter of transcribing, filling in a couple of blanks, and getting it critiqued for editing and polishing. I do mosty sincerely apologize for the delay. I just want to deliver the best story that I can.

Until the next time, my friends! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!!