joannebest











sick

 

I was all kinds of proud of me and my declaration of independence and freedom for the Brand New Year numbered 2018.

I even made plans to (gasp) leave the house and go out.

On a Saturday night.

With my favorite person in the world.

I was giddy with anticipation and delighted at the idea of spending time with my Not-Daughter. We were going to some really cool coffee house type place to talk and do girl stuff aka I have Christmas gifts that arrived late which is really just an excuse for me to spend time with my Not-Daughter.

Then came the Great Collision of 2018, The Bombogenisis named Grayson and a nasty cold on the verge of turning into bronchitis. Because I can’t have nice things.

After the latest storm dumped a whole lotta snow and dragged the temperatures down so low that single digits felt warm compared to the wind chill factor, I, of course, started getting sick. Anyone with fibromyalgia knows what that means, it means a simple head cold can turn into bronchitis, pneumonia, you name it, the possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, it also means I had a choice to make, should I stay or should I go?

I spent half the day pro and con-ing in between going through boxes of tissues at an alarming rate and attempting to sleep my sickness away.

It didn’t work.

I had to cancel.

And cancelling plans with my Not-Daughter damn near broke my heart. She’s a sweetheart and understood but I still feel awful having to cancel our attempt at getting together. Because I worry and worry and worry due to years of cancelled plans and the reactions of whoever I’ve had to cancel plans with. That’s probably not even close to being grammatically correct but I can’t care about grammar right now. I’ve been writing this for 2 days because I’ve spent more time sleeping than I have being awake. Saturday I slept from 7:30pm until 7:30am Sunday morning, when I woke up feeling worse. I drank a few cups of tea and went back to sleep around noon and woke up a little after 5pm, still sick. One bowl of chicken soup, one cup of tea and a small handful of vitamins later and I was back in bed, asleep before 8pm.

And now, here I am. Still sick, still feeling awful about cancelled plans and still wishing I was a time traveler.

Did I forget to mention I wish I was a time traveler? Is my fevered brain making nonsense out of nonsense? Will all these cups of tea and bowls of chicken soup finally make me feel better? Will I ever get rid of this flu-like thing that does nothing but make me want to sleep? Will I ever get to spend quality time with my Not-Daughter? Will I ever stop babbling guiltily and end this nonsensical post?

I love you Not-Daughter, I hope some day I can grow up and be just like you. And also, I hope I can sleep more and wake up feeling all better.

Until then, due to circumstances beyond my control, in the almost-words of Not-Helen Reddy, I am woman, hear me snore.

 

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

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“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

 

 

 

 

 

 



{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.

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{December 8, 2017}   Breaking The Ice

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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

 



writing6writing8

 

The sweetest alien fell to the earth and man, can she write! Last week Ali asked me to participate in a Blog Tour. I said yes before I knew what I was saying yes to, that’s how much I love Ali. I didn’t realize what an honor it was to be asked until I realized I was going to be writing about my writing process. I am very honored to involved in The Writing Process Blog Tour, and delighted to be able to pass it on. Here’s a link to Ali’s blog, and with no further ado, let us commence.
http://alienorajt.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/my-writing-process-blog-tour-part-2-adelie-and-joanne/

1.) What are you working on?
Too many things at once! Oh wait, sorry, I think I’m supposed to keep that to myself so I don’t sound scatterbrained and unorganized. Ahem.
Truth is I have a few irons in the fire right now, I’m spending a lot of my fiction-writing time fine tuning a novel length urban fantasy about a girl and her Muse who get caught up in an Apocalyptic war amongst the Djinn. I’m also working on a vampire romance as well as my own version of the Persephone Myth but no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep myself away from writing poetry/prose. I just love to write, and writing here, on my blog, gives me an opportunity to play with words. Ok I cannot tell a lie, my most serious, now off-line project I’m working on is The Tower Story, about a girl surviving the apocalypse in Cape May NJ and I was afraid I’d jinx it if I said it. I think there’s a special unjinx thingy if you’re being honest though. Did I mention I’m unemployed and allocate my time? Still sound scatterbrained? I’m more organized than I sound. Really!

2.) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
In my opinion, regardless of what we write, we can’t help but be influenced by our own life experiences. Does that mean I’ve had experiences with vampires or Djinn? While I’d love to answer that with a resounding yes, unfortunately I haven’t, so that’s where the making-stuff-up part comes into play. I know that there are countless excellent books out there written in the same genre that I’m drawn to and it’s important that my own style shines through. I believe the sum of my parts have given me a multifaceted unique view of the world, therefore I believe I have a multifaceted unique voice. It’s important to me that the words I write be relatable to each reader, so while I may be writing about vampires or Djinn or crazy mad Muses, I try to humanize them to a certain degree.

3.) Why do you write what you do?
I guess for the most part I write what I would like to read. I’ve been an avid reader from the start and was lucky enough to have access to an endless amount of books. Most of my employment history consists of managing bookstores but even as a kid I always had a book with me wherever I went. I’ve been known to sit alone in a corner reading while a loud band was playing in a club. Those novels later turned to blank books as I began to write song lyrics. A lot of what I write comes from observing anything and everything, then filling in the blanks, but I’ve always been drawn to all things paranormal and apocalyptic. Maybe it’s partly from being a Baby Boomer who remembers getting into position under my school desk when we had Air Raid Drills, or some of the apocalyptic images burned in my brain from Catholic School and Revelations. I still remember being a kid and dreaming about the end of the world and thinking about surviving it, going so far as to dig myself a little shelter in the clay pits up the street, complete with shelves, tables, and a sleeping area. When I was really young, maybe 7 or 8 years old I would kneel on the backseat of the car on the drive back from Grandma’s house and pretend the car lights behind us were dragons or monsters chasing after us and all the cars ahead of us had already gotten away safe and we were the next in line. In my tiny little mind I knew the only way we’d get home safe was if I kept watching them so I wouldn’t take my eyes off those monster-lights till we got off the Parkway, for some reason, off the Parkway was the safe zone. I’d dream of Angels and then I’d dream of vampires. One vampire dream was so real I actually checked my neck the following morning as the dream took place in my room with me dressed in the same clothes I fell asleep in, and I woke up feeling drained. I was only 16 when I had that dream. Although I would read anything about anything when I was a kid, I gravitated towards the paranormal direction, so I guess it’s only natural that my writing is influenced by my favorite books. If I had to pick one book that influenced my writing choices/needs, it would be The Stand by Steven King; it’s got all my favorites, an apocalypse, a battle between Good and Evil, mystical magical happenings… yeah, that book left a big impression on me.

4.) How does your writing process work?
My writing process is pretty simple, I just write. I write what I want to read for the most part. My blog is a big part of my writing process because I can experiment, try different things as I search for my voice. I try to push myself to do things I’m not comfortable with, for example, dialogue: it’s been a fear of mine so I force myself to write dialogue as much as possible. I’m also grateful for the theater classes I took throughout high school because I’m able to step into my characters shoes, so to speak, it helps me especially with dialogue and enables me to look at things in a different way than the actual “me” might. I’ve heard writers talk about whether the plot drives the character or the character drives the plot, I try to let the characters move the plot along rather than the other way around. Oh who am I kidding, the characters usually don’t give me a choice! When I’m doing some of my best writing it’s like the characters are just using my fingers to tell their story. And when things like that happen, it’s a very good thing.

5.) Say who is on next week (up to three people you would tag), and provide a bio and link to their website).
I hate to be a copycat, but as with sweet Ali, I’m still on the waiting part with my fellow hoppers, and will unfortunately have to add them here or write another post tomorrow. I didn’t want to wait to post this so I’m looking at it this way; now we have more time to read sweet Ali’s post, as well as Silverleaf’s, and hop around their blogs before hopping around some others 😀 Although it may be a day late, I guarantee it’ll be worth the wait.
http://alienorajt.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/my-writing-process-blog-tour/
http://silverleafjournal.wordpress.com/

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1useforwp
I have a confession to make.
My name is Joanne and I have CommentPhobia. It is too an actual thing, I looked it up!
Ok, I didn’t really look it up, I made it up but I think it’s a real thing, don’t you? Please?
See it’s like this: I went to Catholic School. Also, I’m a middle child. And a girl born under the overly sensitive sign of Cancer plus, I’m Irish.
Mathematics have never been my strong suit but I kinda think that all adds up to one guilty apologetic people-pleasing self-ignoring, well, hell of a woman now that I think about it!
Psst, I’m trying this thing where I make believe I’m confidant and stuff, did it work yet? Hmph. Things take time ok?
See?
This is what happens, I zig-zag.
It isn’t intentional, in fact I wake up every morning ready to take on the world, also known as my To Do list but I have too many balls to juggle so I fumble. And something has to hit the floor when you’ve got too many balls in the air and what winds up suffering in my little world is replying to your comments in anything resembling a timely manner.
Truth: I have nightmares about it. For real.
Because it means so much to me, at a time I need it most, the fact that you take the time out of your own busy day to talk to me is such a gift I treasure, and I truly feel love and gratitude for each and every one of you. Honored is too small a word.
I keep telling myself “tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and reply as I wake up slow with my three cups of tea” but… all the buts show up at the same time, more balls flying my way, so many I lost count.
Then I think “tonight, when I’m cozied under comforting fleece, I’ll do nothing other than reply” and emergencies bust through the walls crashing all over my intentions.
Betcha’d never guess I love talking to you as much as I love writing and reading by my recent behavior, rather, my lack thereof.
I hate excuses.
Especially when they’re coming out of my mouth.
That’s why I’m not gonna give you a list of reasons I haven’t been keeping up. As you may or may not know, I’m coming up on my one year mark writing here on Word Press, at the same time I’m coming up on the one year mark without my Mom.
That’s not an excuse, a reason, it’s just truth.
So why am I babbling about something I haven’t been able to do instead of, oh I don’t know, doing it?
Because my name is Joanne and I am a CommentPhobaholic.
Because I feel dumb replying to comments left previously when it takes me this extra-long amount of time to reply, and I will reply to each and every unanswered comment no matter how long it takes. Nor how dumb I feel.
You know, guilty middle-child Catholic School Irish Cancer. With a temper. Which I’m aiming at myself if I don’t keep my word.
If I say it I mean it.
Except when I don’t but I tag that ‘fiction’.
~
I guess I just want to say I’m sorry and I am very grateful to you, over there, with the eyes reading this right this very second. Yeah, I’m talking to you, every single one of you. If your eyes are seeing these words, know that I am blessed, because of you.
You have helped me through the most traumatic year of my life, I can’t imagine what the past year would have looked like without you.
I won’t allow myself to imagine that.
I will though, imagine getting up to date with my comments.
If you can imagine it, you can make it so.
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et cetera