joannebest











{January 3, 2018}   2018 : The Year Of Me

butterfly1

“For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon! Make a move!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

 

I hereby declare 2018 to be The Year Of Me.

If you either know me or “know” me, you understand this is a big deal.

I do not put myself first.

I do not put myself second.

It’s actually a miracle if I make my own list at all so to attempt to devote an entire year to me and my own selfish whims way of doing things, you know, thinking of myself for a change, well that is a huge deal.

Huge enough that I’ve been writing this since January 1st but have been intimidated, by myself no less, because it’s not very polite to make it all about me.

Well, after a lifetime of devoting myself to those around me I finally realized you kinda get treated in a way somewhat similar to the way you treat yourself.

Yeah, fuck that anymore. Oh, and any and all grammar Nazis can piss off too. Mangling words is one of the few pleasures of life so, uh, there. Now back to me.

I, as is common knowledge, am a trifecta of guilt. Middle and only girl child? Check. Catholic School education? Check. Born under the sign of Cancer? Check. Don’t get all picky, it’s a trifecta, take my word for it. I’m also Irish, believe me, there’s guilt in there somewhere as well.

I’m not going to re-live all the stuff that kept me running in place getting nowhere, suffice it to say I was a caretaker for various Family members, blood or otherwise, for a good 10 years. The odd thing about it all is I was born to take care of others and I actually enjoy it. Making others feel good, helping others out in times of trouble, doing any little thing to makes someone else’s life even a little bit easier, these are things that make me feel good. The problem is I’m an all-in kinda gal. Once I dip a toe in, before I know it I’m in over my head while everyone else is just floating.

I wanna float for awhile too.

I should have been a nurse. Or a teacher. Or a Mother to human babies instead of only fur babies. Sometimes I just want to hug the world and everyone in it. But it would be nice, I imagine, if somebody wanted to return the favor once in awhile.

Shake it off Suzy, this ain’t no pity party. Grow a spine and deal with it. That was me giving myself a pep talk. I tend to open my mouth and my Mother’s words come out of it lately. That, well, that is a good thing.

Back on topic, 2018 will be is the year of Me with a capital “M”.

I resolve to start thinking about myself for a change. To stop leaving myself out of the loop and start living. Socializing. Getting out of the damn house and doing stuff. Write. Write some more. Keep writing. But, also, most importantly, live. And if living includes doing things for other people, even better, I just have to remind myself daily that I count too.

I have a plan. Sorta.

Of course I’ve picked the worst time of the year to become all about me because it’s damn near freezing outside and we’re due for another snowstorm but I can’t let that be an excuse stop me from reaching my goals. Sure, I can strap on my Fitbit and walk around in circles but that’s not the same as walking outside and getting in a few miles a day. So instead of beating myself up as per usual, I’ve decided to accept the fact that I won’t be getting anywhere near 7 miles a day until Springtime and that’s okay.

I resolve to go with the flow yet make sure that flow includes me at the top, or whatever the correct terminology is when referring to a flow.

I resolve to remove myself from the floor and stop allowing people to walk all over me.

I resolve to laugh more and cry less, although a good hard cry now and then is a good thing.

I resolve to do things that may be expected of me, as long as I do things my way.

I resolve to finish writing this stupid blog-type thing I’m writing which, by my own admission, is kinda boring but guess what? It’s my blog and I get to write whatever I want.

It is also my life. It’s time for me to take it back and live it.

 

 

 

“I used to have this toy, a magic slate. You wrote or drew on it and then, just by pulling up the plastic cover, everything you did disappeared and you could start new. Maybe everyone feels that on New Year’s Eve: They can pull up the magic sheet and rewrite their lives.”

― V.C. Andrews

magic slate

 

 

 

 

 

 

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{December 29, 2017}   The Plot Bunny Hop

plot bunny

Oh boy.

Wait. Is that considered sexist these days? I can’t keep up with the ever-changing rearranging list of words we may or may not use, but that’s a bunny for another day. This day? Well this day has my head full of ideas, like ideas are multiplying and I’m hopping from one to another, unable to settle on just one.

Is it an embarrassment of riches when you have eleventy twelve plots-to-be and you can’t figure out which way to go? I have so many almost-done stories I need to finish while new ideas keep hopping through my brain yelling “pick me! pick me!” and that’s where the embarrassment comes in. Because I’m having trouble figuring out who to give my rose to and my Muse is about ready to smack me upside the head, so to speak.

Focus.

Easier said than done.

I took a break from writing, a very long unproductive break. The reasons, legitimate as they are, are no longer acceptable to me. I can no longer not write, it’s inexcusable to allow life to keep me from doing the thing I love most. Not that thing, that thing is a plot bunny of a different color, but writing? Well, writing snuck up on me without my knowledge, I was a reader, not a writer. But I could write letters easily as I draw breath, and when I won a reading with a psychic astrologer-stop laughing please and thank you- he told me he saw writing in my future. Ok, this is the part where you can laugh because that was my reaction.

Blah blah blah and the next thing I know, I’m writing a fiction column for a summer newspaper, somewhere around 24 short pieces of beach/family-friendly horror stories that I actually got paid to write before the paper folded.

I work best under pressure.

What do you do when you no longer have a deadline to meet? In my case, I once again found myself thrown into something completely unexpected, song writing. Oh, but that wasn’t enough, I also, through no fault of my own, was pushed right up front, a lead singer singing songs I wrote.

I started to like this thing called writing and short version, I found myself here, blogging.

The problem with blogging was I had nobody pushing me, I had to push myself. So push I did until I didn’t, which brings me back to my point; too many ideas and not enough fingers to type with because 10 fingers can only type so fast. So I find myself with a bookshelf’s worth of almost finished novel-length stories because I keep hopping from one to another.

What do I do now?

Do I start something completely brandy new? Do I pull out my unfinished words and, say, finish something already started?

I can picture my Muse, standing over me, her arms folded, tapping a foot impatiently, that look of dominant disappointment on her face because she wants me to finish her story. She doesn’t care that I’ve got an apocalyptic survivor waiting for me to continue her adventures. She doesn’t care about Lizzie and James, two vampires hanging out at a human club while Liam, James’s twin brother is wreaking havoc just for fun. She doesn’t care about Persephone leaving Hades and his desperate attempts to get her back, never mind the Djinn, who happens to be part of my Muse’s story. She’s all about me, me, me!!! She’s also really pissed that I’m even considering doing the bunny hop with a new plot bunny instead of dancing with her.

Did I mention she can be really scary when she doesn’t get her way?

Did I just figure out where I should stop hopping and start writing?

Did my Muse just command me to give more attention to her?

You bet your pretty neck she did.

museleather



{December 28, 2017}   Uncomfortably Numb

cant care

I’m not sure of the exact moment it happened but it hit me without leaving a mark this morning when I woke up.

I can’t care.

About anything.

It’s not that I don’t want to care, it’s that I can’t care. I’m numb. Uncomfortably numb because I don’t very much love this feeling, but I can’t seem to care enough to do anything about it. And therein lies the problem. It’s one of those circular chicken and egg things. You know, where did it start? What came first?

Apparently I can’t seem to care enough to figure it out.

Or can I?

That’s one of the reasons I’m here right now instead of say, going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head hoping to slip back into a deep sleep, perchance to live in a dream world where it doesn’t matter whether I care or not.

It’s pathetic.

Check this out, when I lift my head from my laptop I see an 8 foot tree blazing with colored lights and shiny decorations, each one either hand-picked by me or hand-made by my Mom. There are several huge piles of gifts, wonderful beautiful gifts we’ve all picked out for each other I mean Santa left under the tree on Christmas Eve, practical needed gifts as well as dream gifts, you know, the stuff you want but wouldn’t buy for yourself. Yet still, I can’t care.

I mean, there’s a Buffy The Vampire Slayer Board Game I’ve wanted since before it existed. I can be Buffy and slay the day away. I swear I even heard Spike call me out I mean call my name and I’m ignoring that lovely British accent because, well, the caring is gone. Again.

I tend to be a reactionary sponge. I soak up all the emotion around me and usually let it all take over, get in the driver’s seat, so to speak. Puppet-like, my strings get yanked to and fro but recently, an imaginary pair of scissors has cut nearly every damn string leaving me motionless, emotionless, just plain less. Still, knowing all of this, I can’t muster up even one drop of caring.

Listen, I’m not stupid, I’ve been through many years of therapy, I recognize that nobody can save me except me but, say it with me, I can’t care. There are a myriad of reasons, real, true, valid reasons for my non-caring. I get it. I understand that the last 5 or 6 years have blown up my world and changed the me I used to be.
I can visualize it in my mind like falling dominos; the hurricane crashing the house, my Mom dying the following year just 5 months after moving back home, my Dad dying the year after that, the house being sold and my brother dying the same week, basically my entire support system yanked away from me and me trying to not talk about it because nobody wants to hear it anymore, hell, don’t want to hear it anymore.

So what do I do? Being born under the sign of Cancer, I can cry my eyeballs out but I’m sick to death of tears. I can pull into my shell and I do, more than anyone knows because I pretend. I turned myself into an actress playing a part. Those smiles you see on my face? Fake. Those cute little sarcastic quips I throw out like I’m channeling my Mother? Fake. Those prescription RayBan sunglasses I wear whenever I leave the house? Not fake but useful because they hide my eyes, the windows to my battered soul. My damn eyes give me away every damn time, but only to those who care to look. And hell, if I don’t care, why should anyone else?

This is not a cry for help, a plea for understanding, a desperate attempt looking for attention. Those things would require me caring, but my capacity to really care somehow slipped away when I wasn’t paying attention.

And please don’t get me wrong, I care about other people I love, I just can’t care when it comes to myself. A therapist would probably say I just summed it up in that last bit of words, a therapist would probably say I have to love myself in order to care about myself. But a therapist isn’t walking around in this shell of a body, I am. I am the one in the driver’s seat and apparently I’ve stalled. I need a jump start, a new battery, something to bring me back to life and that is all on me. I get it logically, I can diagnose and fix anybody’s life, but when I look in the mirror and see the blank look in my baby blues, all I feel is colder.

So is that all there is? Am I to be forever stuck in neutral, idling and wasting gas as the world passes me by? Will I forever be in a constant state of nope, not even caring enough to take all my wonderful gifts sitting under the tree out of the boxes? Will I remain uncomfortably numb for the rest of my life?

Perhaps being uncomfortably numb isn’t the worst thing in the world. Uncomfortably numb implies I’m not comfortable with the numbness, I’m not a Pink Floyd song, I’m not comfortably numb, so maybe there’s hope for me after all.

Stay tuned, as we end this year and move on to another. Maybe I can resolve to shake off this numbness and start feeling something, anything even. At the least, I can hope.

Or, as someone much more proficient with words than I once said:

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
― Alfred Tennyson



{December 8, 2017}   Breaking The Ice

breaking ice1

Is it possible to forget how to write?

It’s 3:42am EST as I type these words, I woke up half an hour ago and found myself unable to go back to sleep. You know how your mind switches on and no matter what you do, you can’t stop those thoughts from swirling and cluttering? It’s usually your worst fears or insecurities that seem to pop up most around those hours, I heard that 3am is the Devil’s hour, it was in some article talking about a weird phenomena where a whole bunch of people around the world wake up during the 3am hour, like the Devil has an alarm clock somewhere and it wakes up those who are susceptible.

The major flaw I find in that theory is time zones. Does everyone wake up at the same time, or does everyone wake up at 3am local time? Either Hell is full of alarm clocks all set for the same time or my mind is scrambling for something to write about.

Because it’s been a long time.

I hate to play the death card again but those of you who have followed my blog previously,you all know I had that Trifecta of Death, the domino effect that began with a hurricane acting all “I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down”, followed by the year of rebuilding, then the Trifecta of Death which was actually more like Double Digits of Death because almost my entire Family got wiped out one by one leaving me with one older brother who has no use I mean love I mean, well, he doesn’t really know me nor does he want to, one Aunt I love who lives far away and a handful of cousins, most of who live across the country, and no more Family home I worked so hard to save, which I did with the help of many, but since the sale after my Parents died, I’ve yet to drive by the house, I’m afraid I’ll break down and bawl like a baby.

I just wanted to get that out of the way, for those of you at home playing along for the first time.

So much has changed, I seem to find myself lost and aimless, the only person able to understand me is a 19 year old daughter of friends of mine. She’s me when I was 19 and the daughter I never had, only way cooler than me.

I’m doing that thing I do, ramble, babble, talk too much.

I hear that accusation a lot these days which is pretty ironic seeing as I talk to no one except my husband and his sister, we all still live in the same house, they go to work and I have no job which is all good when I’m writing but I haven’t been writing so I’ve been feeling pretty useless/worthless/all-the-less-words.

Maybe I have Stockholm Syndrome.

Hey, that’s a thing you know!

I talk to myself, my cats, an occasional few minutes on the phone with my bestie who’s life is pretty much the same as mine so our contact is more textual than vocal. I’m the girl who would talk to her Mother 5 times a day, even my Dad and deceased Brother would call me all they time but they were more like 16 times a day.

So when you’re backed against the wall you might as well give in and hope your Muse wakes up and smacks you awake. Because I’ve been sleepwalking through life and it’s time to WAKE UP!!!

Silence isn’t always golden, sometimes silence sucks.

 

breaking ice

 



catfight

Okay folks, let’s break this whole thing down as succinctly as possible without offending anyone since that seems to be the criteria for friendship these days.

In case you haven’t heard, we had a Presidential Election over here in the good old US of A. It’s something we do every 4 years and it comes with a 2 term limit. (In my opinion, every political position should have term limits but that’s for another day or, perhaps, never)
We The People cast our ballot then we cross our fingers hoping “our” candidate wins. There is a peaceful transfer of power on Inauguration Day and then we all go on with our lives.

Nah. I’m only kidding because it doesn’t work that way anymore.

Now it’s a free-for-all regardless of the outcome. I’ve lived through quite a few Presidential elections, I was a baby when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated but I have a memory of crying adults and a sense of unity, then again, to my mini-brain, it was the exact day my cousin was born so I felt only happiness and love.
Until a few terms ago, I never paid attention to politics, it was something the adults talked about in quiet tones while my older brother and I would play “The Six O’clock News”, where we’d take turns making believe we were newscasters by coming up with our own news stories. It was one of the few times we’d take advantage and use the bed as a stage to stand on when it was our turn to announce the news of the day. Of course it always turned into an excuse to jump up and down on the bed, a children’s game I never understood but took full advantage of until I jumped so high I banged my head on the ceiling but again, another story for another day.

We The People are now tearing each other apart in the name of politics and it is breaking my heart. I look at the usual suspects of social media, Facebook, Twitter,and just about every comment section in nearly every site that allows comments. Not only is it scary, it’s a bloody blood-filled bloodbath everywhere I turn.

Lifelong friendships are being reduced to rubble, families are falling apart, and I’d wager the “unfollow” button has never been used as much as it has these days, all a result of this latest election.

I am not here to talk about who won, who lost, which Party has power, which Party is right on whatever the issue of the day is, although I believe these things are important to discuss.
What concerns me now is We The People and how we are treating each other.
And how we are treating each other right now is, dare I say, deplorable.

Personally, I have gone out of my way to keep my opinions to myself. I remember a time when who you voted for was pretty much a private thing, much like your religious beliefs. We were lulled into a deceptive sense of free speech meaning just that, freedom to say what you want short of yelling “fire” in a public place when there is no fire.

This is no longer the case in my opinion. Now we must first weigh our options, think about what we want to say, think it over again, and, at least in my case, wind up saying nothing.
Believe me, there isn’t much I love more than a good debate backed up by facts. I even enjoy playing “devil’s advocate” because I want to know all sides of whatever it is we’re talking about. I always thought it was a good thing to discuss different issues because usually, I learn something new I wasn’t previously aware of.
Now? As the kids say, NFW. No f***ing way.

I have good friends on both sides of the aisle. I don’t judge anyone by their vote as I believe we all have our own personal reasons for who we vote for. There is a reason we are given privacy when we cast our ballot. We have an obligation and a right to vote our conscience. There aren’t that many countries afforded the freedoms we have/had. We are lucky to be living here and yes, nearly every single one of us have ancestors who came through Ellis Island seeking a better life. I know mine did, most left Ireland and were greeted with signs that said “Irish need not apply” as well as other things too hostile to say. But that was the way of the world, so they did what they could to feed their family, inevitably working in the bowels of the earth coal mining. Black Lung disease took out quite a few of my people back then. But that was my experience, we all have our own stories.
Every single one of us is different, and every single one of us have different reasons for who we may or may not support.

What I don’t understand is this new test of friendship, if you voted for X then you are a racist bigot. If you voted for Y then you are a racist bigot. If you voted for X then you don’t know what you’re talking about and you are directly responsible for this, that, and the other thing. If you voted for Y then you don’t know what you’re talking about and you are directly responsible for this, that, and the other thing. If you voted for X you are “unfriended”. If you voted for Y then you are “unfriended”.
I’ve been watching silently as friends and family are giving up people they claim to love, but that love is not unconditional, that love is contingent, subject to change at the snap of a finger, that love now comes with a questionnaire that requires 100% agreement or you’re an evil racist bigot and that applies to both sides.

Think about it, imagine you were in a life threatening situation and needed a blood transfusion, or perhaps an organ donor.
Would you thank whoever that someone is willing to donate whatever it is you need to survive, or would you first ask their political affiliation and if it wasn’t the same as yours, would you turn down their offer to help save your life?
If your next door neighbor fell down in front of you, perhaps suffering a heart attack or a stroke, would you help them only if they voted the same way as you or would you step over their body and leave them to possibly die because they voted for Y when you voted for X?

What has become of us? When did we allow personal points of view to transform us into this mob mentality?
There is nothing in this world that 100% of people agree on. We are all different, we all have different needs and different ideas. The world is burning and We The People are being controlled, not by politicians as much as by the media.
The media is stirring up as much turmoil as they can in the name of money, going so far as to intentionally lie to further their own agenda, and their own agenda sure as hell isn’t We The People.
Celebrities, being paid obscene amounts of money are lecturing us, chiding us, encouraging civil discourse and who is suffering the most for this? We The People are, innocent Mom and Pop stores being set on fire, looted, destroyed just because people are riled up and taking their anger out on whatever is nearest to them, both sides of the aisle rumbling like they’re acting out West Side Story, not caring that this is real life being destroyed. Not seeing that we all bleed the same color. Not caring that we are being used, distracted by a media who no longer report facts without bias, and somehow all media outlets use the exact same buzzwords, the exact same phrases because they believe they are all knowing. They are the ones sitting in their expensive towers looking down at us, patting each other on the back because they’re stirring the pot so much we are reverting to primates, beating people to a bloody pulp on nothing more than an assumption that if you love your country you are a racist bigot.

Let’s face it, for the most part, people in power do not care about us. We The People have been reduced to voting blocks to further the agenda of the powers that be.
They don’t care that we are fighting amongst ourselves, in my opinion they are happy, the more discord, the more “news” they can report, leading to more discord, more fighting, more separation, more hatred and I’m sorry, but this is not who we are. They are controlling us and we are letting them get away with it.

Do you want to be politically involved? If so, it begins at the bottom. It begins with your local government. I live in a town where we have had the same Mayor for 16 years. Sure, he cares for the people so much he is driven around in a limousine everywhere he goes. He has bought up more than half the town, owning a good portion of local businesses but you have to dig deep to find out this information. We can’t just wake up every four years for the Presidential election, we should be involved from the bottom up if we truly care about the political system.
But most importantly, we need to stop the hostility towards each other. It’s ugly and accomplishes nothing but more division, more hatred and zero tolerance.

We The People need to realize we are one family. Yes, we can disagree, yes we can get frustrated, but I see nothing good coming out of the behavior I see grown adults engaging in, what kind of example are we setting for our children?
School age kids are fighting each other over politics because that is what they are seeing around them. Parents, teachers, neighbors being nasty to each other, these are some of the examples being set for young minds unable to completely understand the complexity involved in making that decision we make when we enter a voting booth.
They will have a lifetime of worry ahead of them, but we are taking away some of the pleasures of childhood and frankly, scaring the hell out of some of these innocent young minds.

When did we become so unaccepting of other points of view?
Are we going to continue down this path until we kill each other because we may disagree on one issue?

I used to believe we were a tolerant, accepting people. I used to believe we could have vigorous debates without being blacklisted, discarded, unfriended, ridiculed by people we thought were friends.

You may have noticed I have not stated who I voted for. Why? Because I am not here to endorse anyone, I am here to express my disappointment in We The People. You may think you know who I voted for, but you may be wrong.
You see, I personally don’t care who you voted for, you voted your conscience, you voted in your best interest as it should be. I will never judge you for who you vote for.
All I ask is that we all try to do the same.

catfight1

My name is Joanne Best and I approve this message.



{November 6, 2015}   Letting Go, Slowly

dadmomDad and Mom pre-marriage
bestparentsMom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ

I have two choices.
I can either continue to wallow in grief and despair or I can move on and try something else like, say, living my life before I myself drop dead.
I’m starting to lean towards the second, more alive version of me.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart is killing me, I could easily curl up into a ball and cry for a few years, but I’m starting to make even my own self sick with the Poor Me Parade banging ’round my head.

I cast thee out! Be gone unclean spirit! Away with you Evil Monster of Unending Grief! Enough!

Okay, so I’m not making light of death and grief, and with all these major life changes happening one after another in the course of three or so years, well, the burden is decidedly weighty.
But.
I have to let it go.
Not the love, not the memories, but the sadness.
It’s not healthy and I can imagine my Mom’s face, giving me the patented Carey-Look-Of-Disapproval, a Medusa-like look capable of stopping you in your tracks and possibly turning you to stone.
“Joanne Bridget,” I can imagine her saying, “don’t you dare stop living just because I’m not right there with you. I’m in your heart, now stop grieving and start doing. And don’t even think for a minute I’m not watching over you, get your ass moving, keep writing, and for the love of God, get yourself back down to Cape May and enjoy yourself. Live. For me. For you. You’ll see me again one day and FYI, they have wooden spoons up here in Heaven, don’t make me have to use it on you missy. Now go and live your dreams and for God’s sake, stop feeling guilty, you are my daughter, act like it before I send your Father down there to ground you!”

I’ve been grounded enough times to know I better start living and stop, well, not.

My brothers and I have mended fences and are once again we three instead of strangers.
The last few days were spent talking together, the way we used to once upon a time.
We shared memories and some family secrets were revealed, things that made our past a little more understandable. Looking back on things from an adult perspective instead of the eyes of a broken child. None of us were ever really broken, we were just kids raised by Parents who did the best they could and I can honestly say they did a damn good job.
I wouldn’t trade either of my Parents for anyone in the world. They made me who I am, they made me me and it’s long past time I live up to myself.

I will never completely stop grieving, I will never not miss them like crazy, but it’s time to move on and live again. For Mom, for Dad, and for the three of us, two brothers and a sister, a small, but loving Family.
We will never forget you Mom and Dad, but we will love you forever and honor your memory by remaining your children, forever.

bestfamily1Mom, Dad, and baby brother Tommy

bestfamily2Brother Donald, me, Mom with brother Tommy in her belly

bestfanilyMom, Tommy, me, Dad, Donald took the picture
3ofusDonald, Tommy, me in the Poconos

bestfamilyThe three of us, once upon a time



{October 11, 2015}   Is This Hell?

hell2

I ate my anger last night,
as if the instigators of my fury would disappear
swallow by swallow, bite by bite,
me furiously chewing without pleasure,
like an alcoholic slamming down drink after drink
until they don’t consider themselves drunk,
but they consider you the cause of every wrong thing in the world,

Carmelo bars, caramel wrapped lovingly in chocolate followed by another bar,
piece after piece popped in a mouthful of sand where everything tastes like the desert,
eating without thought, without taste or pleasure, mindless zombie chomping on chocolate flesh,
Kisses, the chocolate ones, I grab that tag and yank, exposed chocolate in the palm of my handy waiting to melt in my mouth, not in my hands, call my name seductive,
no melt danger there when you eat so fast you don’t taste a thing,
stress eating they call it, but I just call it stupid, a lack of control on my part,
because I hurt no one but me and my favorite skinny jeans

I smoked too many cigarettes again,
after promising myself and my doctor I would quit,
I did quit once, for maybe a year but then my life fell apart so I grabbed onto the nearest mentholated excuse
and drew that acrid smoke into my lungs like it was clean healthy air,
knowing in my mind that just because I roll my own cigarettes doesn’t make it less hazardous to my health
the cost may be less for a carton of machine-rolled than a carton of store bought cigarettes
yet the cost to my health is beyond my means,
all the psychological games I play in my mind to stop me from smoking disappear along with the menthol smoke
and I feel disgust as I look at the wreckage I’ve left in my wake,
empty candy wrappers and an overflowing ashtray adds to my self-loathing
and I wonder when I lost control of my self

infighting and passive aggressive words thrown at me,
and how do you defend yourself against imagined sins when your accuser throws back another shot
as the mental flogging goes on and on and on,
only to be forgotten in the light of day as my self esteem shrinks till my heart is shriveled and Grinch-like
and I flinch at the slightest side-look, waiting for another shoe to drop
knowing all the while I am shoeless, guilty of nothing other than
someone else’s paranoia,
imagined sins and baseless accusations, all courtesy of Mr. Daniels, but you can call him Jack,
he comes with a title you see, but I only know him as the Court Jester
because it’s all a joke you know, those words weren’t meant I’m told, where is my sense of humor and
why don’t I have a drink and calm down

why don’t I have a drink and calm down for
nothing matters you see,
the rollercoaster ride continues and I’m not buckled in,
I twist and turn and morph into a dumpster,
come one, come all, give me your tired, your weary, your problems
bigger than mine, for I am Jan Brady and the middle child gets all the garbage
while trying to keep the boat afloat,
all those years of taking care reduced to ashes
as the trophy boys hold their hands open, waiting for their due
and me?
I just want my Mother.
I want that unconditional love but it is gone for all time and
I must carry on, carry them, carry the guilt for nothing until I wonder,
is this Hell?

What have I done with my life and where did I leave myself?
Because I am gone, I look in a mirror and wonder who is in there, peering back at me,
eyes so sad I could cry from the mere sight of me,
stability ripped away like a rug yanked from beneath me
metaphorically battered and interior bruising,
my previous protectors an illusion shattered,
my desire to sleep forever whispers in my ear like a song stuck in your head
an effort to shake it away, and so much easier to continue wearing my mask…

Don’t let them in, don’t let them too close,
the knife you feel in your back is real, but ignore the blood as you slowly bleed out
play the game and you lose, don’t play along and still, you lose it all,
alone, lost, afraid, a path of darkness ahead and darker still in my rearview mirror
Is anything real? Did I imagine all the good that has left me standing alone,
fighting for nothing
fearing everything
I am swept into a corner and still I wonder,
is this Hell?

depression3



{September 11, 2015}   I Can Never Forget

9 11abb

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having a hard time getting through another September 11th. I tried desperately to write today but found myself staring at a near blank page and clicking back and forth between writing and looking at Facebook.

Basically wasting time.

I can’t even muster up the ability to write about that day in 2001 from my perspective, but it nags at me, to post something. I can’t ignore the day without acknowledging it some way,  yet I can’t write anything today, the words are stuck in my heart because my head is filled with all the what-ifs, all the lives that were touched that day, and how there was a ripple effect that day. You didn’t have to live in New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Washington DC or Boston, it doesn’t matter where you lived, the World changed that day and Innocence became a memory the instant that first plane hit the first Tower.

I dug out some of my blank books, the books I use to keep track of rehearsals and write lyrics. I also tend to doodle when there’s lead singer down time, and it just so happened we had rehearsal on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I wanted to cancel but in the end we decided to go to the studio and try to not think for two hours. We had a gig coming up where we had to add a few cover songs to usual original set so I had a bit of doodle time while the musicians musicianed other people’s songs.

So I decided to take a few photographs of my doodles, and the lyrics to a song I wrote that night called “Lay Me Down”, just my feelings about that day jotted down quickly in a blank book as the horrifying terrible smell was everywhere and the smoke continued to take over the sky no matter where you turned.

This year was worse for me. Don’t know why, it just was.

So I shall share some pages from journals written and doodled on Tuesday, September 11th,2001 at Stage Right Studios while our Innocence disappeared slowly, nearly unnoticed, like that tragic scent and the never-ending smoke. I never claimed to be an artist, but I just needed to share this, and hope to sleep tonight nightmare-less, unlike last night when I had one of those same nightmares where I’m lost in New York City alone in the dark.

If you click on this photo you can see a scribbled NYC skyline, the one I saw every single day.

911a

If you click on this you can see my mental me unravel a bit, writing down words to songs my Mom sang to me when I would cry and she’d sing “Why oh why oh why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?” Neither one of us ever went to Ohio but it became our code song, kind of like clicking your ruby slippers three times or Calgon, take me away type stuff.

Just me then? [shrugs]

 

911b

These are the lyrics to Lay Me Down, the song I wrote that night, the song sitting in another studio waiting for me to finish some vocals and a few other touchups. If you click on the photo I was surprised to find the words legible. Um, just me then? Either way, I believe I may have posted them previously, if not, perhaps I will.  Right this moment, this is all I can do.

I’ll get back to my WIP tomorrow after Dad Duty. How do you make an almost 89 year old ex Navy Man who was actually there on D Day let you help him? He doesn’t want my help, he wants my Mom back and so do I but that isn’t possible. So I shall visit and clean and do laundry and go food shopping, shout louder than I sing so he can hear me, and bite my tongue near in half at the way he talks to me and the fight he gives me about cleaning. He can do it himself you know. That translates into what I call Covert Cleaning. I’m getting better at it. Oh, my point, I will have to remember to post my lyrics if I already haven’t. I think I may have but my head is telling me to watch Anthony Stewart Head in Dominion then sleep. Without lost in NYC dreams please.

911d

Well would you look at that! Over 700 words, much more than I thought I had in me.

I have to thank Kate Richards and Nina Cooper, their collective words to me on Facebook healed me enough to post this. Thank you both, you are truly amazing women I am extremely Blessed to know in any capacity, this virtual world we gather in really does make miles disappear. For that I am very grateful ❤



wills8
I’m trying.

I really am, but there seems to be a conspiracy surrounding me and everything I attempt to do.

Example: I’ve been working on a piece of writing, you know how it goes, you write, you save to draft, you edit, you delete and rewrite because suddenly every perfect word, every luscious phrase you previously wished you could come up with finally hits you all at once and you write like a fiend, fingers flying, things you didn’t even realize you were capable of reveal themselves on the page fast and furious and you’re happy, pleased with yourself, words spitting out so quickly you don’t take that tiny second to hit “save draft” because after all, you’re nearly done and won’t need to hit anything but “publish”.

And then the dog scratches on the door to come in so you turn away for a split second to open the door and bam! William the Siamese cat decides he wants to jump on your desk, sit on your computer and inadvertently/intentionally deletes every word you just wrote, goes on Facebook and pulls up things on your computer you didn’t even know existed.

Yes, I know there is the automatic save to draft but that does no good when you’ve just changed every word you wrote in the previous draft. Every. Single. Word.

Of course it doesn’t help that your mind blanks out and you can’t remember what you just wrote a few moments ago.

You try, or rather, I try desperately to rewrite using my last saved draft but it’s gone, like that first little puff of smoke when you relight a candle, your thoughts dissipate into the ether, never to return.

It’s discouraging to say the least, but I’ve been so out of touch with the world recently that to just give up is unacceptable.
I want it back, a poem living in my head for days, finally formed to my satisfaction, but it’s gone.

So what do I do?
I need to get back into the habit of writing every day, I can’t let another day go by without writing something post-worthy and I can’t pull those thoughts back into my brain, I can’t reach them anymore, they’ve moved onto another plane of existence, as everything that has meant the most to me in my life has done.
And I don’t mean only those who have left this life, but also my lifelines, the one(s) who have let me cry when I needed to and lifted me up when I was nearly underground.
I understand life goes on and things change in the blink of an eye, with or without our permission or knowledge until it’s too late.
I understand we all have our own baggage to carry around, hidden or out in the open.
I understand that empathy, which may be considered a good thing, can sometimes bring me to my knees as I’m overwhelmed on occasion with understanding, overwhelmed with thoughts of the burdens others live each day, overwhelmed with the fact that I care and worry more about others than I do myself.
Overwhelmed with being overwhelmed.

So I shall compromise.
Let it go because perhaps, for some unknown reason, it wasn’t meant to be.

Hence, a blog post.
Sure, it’s certainly nothing award winning, but it sure as hell feels good to write something again.
I’ve been lost you see, all summer long I’ve been without direction, without inspiration, my head full of nothing but how to take care of my Dad and his dwindling finances, as well as his fading health.
If I don’t write something down it flees my mind, and even when I do make my numerous lists, like Sisyphus, just when I seem to get to the top of the hill, everything I’ve done rolls right back down, taking me with it.
Yet still, I continue to try.

Soon a day will come when I reach the top of the hill and I will be able to look down and say something I haven’t said in far too long: Life Is Good.
Because contrary to the odds, I still believe that Life Is Good, and I have every intention of proving that to myself.
One way or another.

sisaphus1



Mistress on Her KneesMistress on Her Knees by Anastasia Vitsky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mistress on Her Knees is one of those books that live on in your mind long after you’ve read the last sentence.
I should know, I’ve read it four times already.
Once lovers, Mistress Graciela, a tough professional Domme and young Trinity, used to nothing more than an abusive painful home life, begin a life together. Submissive Trinity and her beloved Domme Graciela’s lives are turned upside down when betrayal steps in.

Ten years later, Trinity is working at The Castle, an exclusive BSDM Club. As Nurse Trinity, no longer submissive, now a Domme herself, Trinity crosses a boundary with submissive Mira (from Mira’s Miracle) and knows the only person in the world who can help her fix it is her ex-lover and Domme, Graciela.
What happens when two headstrong women try to work together to right a wrong, and will they ever be able to re-ignite the flame that never really died? Should they?
The book goes back and forth through time, from when Trinity and Gracie first met to the present, which is something I love.

Anastasia Vitsky is a master at both character and world building. The dialogue is witty and beautifully descriptive, I sometimes forget I’m reading a book and feel like I know these characters.
One of the things I love is the way Ms. Vitsky has her characters from different books interact, she writes in a way that enables you to read a good many of them as stand-alones, but why would you want to? Her characters are rich, real, and makes me wish I had a Trinity and Graciela, a Mira and Hana in my life.

https://governingana.wordpress.com/
Anastasia Vitsky’s blog has some delightful stories continuing more adventures of her characters. Did I mention they’re free 😀 ?
This is an author to keep an eye on. She’s the first f/f author I ever read, she writes in a way that makes me wonder why there are so many categories of books. A great fiction writer is a great fiction writer.
Anastasia Vitsky is a great fiction writer.

hi lovelies, I’ve been in a super-secret bunker trying something called a 2nd draft…but that’s a lame excuse for not writing here, on my girl scout’s honor, I pledge to do my duty and all that, aka writing here and there, here, and there….ok, i’m sorry, because I isually am about something, and remember, support local artists/writers/musicians/local, I just discovered today that there’s websites out there stealing people’s books and selling them at a discount price and that’s bullshit (NSFA!) so knock it off stealers, and buyers, don’t do that, because it’s wrong!
because

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et cetera