Tag Archives: writing

Is This Thing Still On?

Song Lyric of the Day:

I guess I can’t believe you really came / And that we’re sitting on this pier / See, I’m smiling / That means I’m happy that you’re here

Sherie René Scott / “See I’m Smiling

I haven’t blogged in months. I haven’t even read blogs in months. Not that I haven’t wanted to, but life has been busybusybusy, which is nothing new, right? Regardless, I’m still alive. That’s something, right? So what’s been going on?


In early September I was in lovely Toronto, Ontario, for the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. I first went to the festival in 2009, and after much hemming and hawing for the past several months, Rich finally convinced me to go ahead and take the trip. So off I went. And yes, I was boo-hooing just a few months ago that I didn’t think I’d get to go anywhere this year. I had, however, been saving for several months for a new camera, which is the money I used to pay for my trip, which turned out to be as much fun as I’d hoped and then some. I will *try* to write about it more in depth soon. The Wi-Fi situation was not good, to put it mildly, while I was in Toronto, so I didn’t get to post anything here and barely managed to FaceTime and/or Skype with Rich and Coraline. In between seeing all those movies, that is.

This Is (Insert Old Age Here)

I hit a milestone birthday not long after I got back from Toronto, one which I have yet to celebrate with any sort of party because I was focused on a certain curly-haired bambina’s upcoming 4th birthday. Besides, my Toronto trip was pretty much my early birthday present to myself.

In honor of my 56th* birthday, I took a selfie. *Would you believe ... 57?

In honor of my 56th* birthday, I took a selfie.
*Would you believe … 57?

She’s 4 Now

Coraline turned 4 six days after my birthday. We celebrated with a bounce house party here at our house, which was a relief. Coraline has been to every kind of birthday party imaginable this year — Chuck E. Cheese, Ijams Nature Center, The Little Gym, The Pony Party, The Knoxville Zoo, to name a few — so Rich and I were surprised that she really wanted a party at home. And who were we to argue? She’s 4 now, after all, which she constantly reminds us of. Constantly. Did I mention she’s 4 now? Because she’s 4 now.

Coraline clowning around on her 4th birthday

Coraline clowning around on her 4th birthday

Working Title

One of the main things that has kept me from blogging and reading blogs these last several weeks is that I have been writing. As in really writing and working on my book. I’ve made good progress and am happy with the direction it’s taking. It’s fiction, so I’m really enjoying letting my imagination run wild. I’ve been researching PTSD in combat veterans — triggers and treatments — so that my main character is believable, although I’m putting the poor bastard through the wringer. Now I just need a title that’s not complete crap like the one I originally slapped on it.

Did I mention that in my head this is what my main character looks like? I'm already casting the movie version. Image of this hot man courtesy of a Google search and Sebastian Stan's mother.

Did I mention that in my head this is what my main character looks like? I’m already casting the movie version.
Image courtesy of a Google search and beautiful man courtesy of Sebastian Stan’s mother.

I also have a new baby niece, Adriana, and Rich started a new job with a new company today. So now you know some of the main highlights of the last few months. Really, though, I’ve enjoyed spending time with my two favorite peeps and focusing more on living life offline. Or as the old-timers called it back in the day, life.


Finn decided to photobomb the family portrait we took on Coraline’s 4th birthday (9/23/14).

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Write On

Song Lyric of the Day:

It’s time to begin, isn’t it? / I get a little bit bigger, but then I’ll admit / I’m just the same as I was / Now don’t you understand / That I’m never changing who I am

Imagine Dragons / “It’s Time

I’ve written some here about my writing aspirations and countless failed attempts at bringing them to fruition. So despite the chaos going on in my life right now (my stomach is eating itself from stress at this point), I’ve decided to try and make myself accountable. To myself, anyway: I took the plunge and signed up for National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. As of tonight, day 1 of the project, my word count is only 830. Baby steps, right? The goal is to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. I chose the story that’s been on my mind (in my imagination?) the most lately versus the one which I’ve written more of (8700+ words so far). We’ll see how far I get. If an impending nervous breakdown doesn’t get me first.

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When It’s Time to Stop Reading

Song Lyric of the Day:

I hear you laughing at me when I’m up / I see you when you’re crying for me when I’m down / I see you when you laugh at me when I’m up / I see you when you’re crying for me / All you do to me is talk, talk

Talk Talk / “Talk Talk

Lately I’ve noticed that while I’ve been reading some of the blogs I’ve read for years, I haven’t been enjoying them like I used to. I originally started reading these particular blogs because they were funny, insightful, poignant, entertaining, and, most importantly to me, relatable. But lately something’s changed –in place of those great, well-written posts I used to enjoy there’s filler. Granted, I think most of us bloggers have occasionally used filler posts just to throw something up there (I’m raising my hand — guilty as charged). But most of us don’t have the type of readership and communities — or, in those rare cases, livelihood — tied to our blogs that these blogs in question do. I know I have a loyal little core of about 30 readers (see what I did there? I subtracted a few). So what’s changed? The majority of posts I’m reading are complete one-eighties from what the blogs used to be about; where one blogger was known for, say, baking, suddenly they’re posting about homing pigeons. I’ve lost my connection to them, that relatability that drew me to them in the first place and kept me a loyal reader for many years. Which is why I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been hate-reading them. (Somewhere my husband just said, “Well, duh.”)

In all honesty, I’ve never been so enamored of any blogger that I idealized them, put them on a pedestal, whatever.  But I did really, truly enjoy their writing for many years. These days? I find that more often than not their posts are about nothing — and not in that funny, clever Seinfeld about-nothing way. Just about nothing, as if they’re going through the motions. Granted, some of them (but not all) have pretty big life issues they’re dealing with these days, but when you’ve made a living/created your blog brand, as it were, based on your brutal honesty and outspokeness and willingness to share personal things, well … it’s quite an adjustment when you clam up and instead post a picture of a homing pigeon. I know there’s plenty of other stuff they could be writing about that would entertain/satisfy their readers (myself included) that wouldn’t even have to touch on subjects they’d rather not be blogging about at this time. And the ones who are closing/deleting/altering comments just because they don’t like dissenting opinions? So much for encouraging honest feedback.

But it’s not up to me to dictate what anyone else can do, you know? Except for Coraline — I’m bossing that kid around until the day I die. Will she listen? Well, that remains to be seen. I do expect some pushback, though.

So what’s my solution to my hate-reading problem? I’m going to stop reading those blogs, cold-turkey. That’s the goal, anyway; after years of lunchtime reading, it’s going to be a hard habit to break. It is going to be an adjustment, though, since I really did enjoy the stories and glimpses into their lives that these bloggers shared over the years. But all good things have to come to an end, right?


Filed under bloggers, blogging, blogs, personal

Addressing the Monkey on My Back

Song Lyric of the Day:

You never use words you can’t afford / A house of cards and it’s a sign / So wait up / You never get nervous anymore / So wait up / You never get nervous anymore / What did you want me to say?


What a crazy couple of days it’s been, huh? Thanks to poor Coraline’s teething pains (tooth #6) Sunday night, Rich and I were still awake when news of Osama Bin Laden’s death first broke across all the TV stations. I’m still processing the news, like trying to make sense of the fact that the monster who physically and emotionally decimated my hometown, the city where I was born, was finally killed almost 10 long years after 9/11. I can’t say I felt joy upon hearing the news, but I certainly felt relief. And a kind of shock that we finally got him. I think it’s impossible for me to feel genuine joy or happiness about it since him being dead won’t bring back any of the thousands of people he killed, won’t make things go back to how they used to be, won’t instantly end wars, won’t return us to a more innocent existence. But it’s certainly a relief.


Remember how I finally took the plunge and joined LinkedIn awhile back to start networking in the hopes of landing freelance writing work? Well, I’ve also finally started to deal with the writing monkey on my back. Which is good since you need to write to get published. I put pen to paper, as it were (OK, I typed on my MacBook), and knocked out a personal essay I’ve been wanting to write for a little while now. Rich liked it — he’s a great, supportive hubby that way — and my best friend and fabulously gifted writer Caren also liked it. Caren also gave me invaluable feedback which will help me refine it over the next few days so it’ll be in great shape for submission to the website I’ve got my eye on. Me being a superstitious dork, that’s all I’ll say about it for now. But I feel really good that I finally wrote something besides a blog post — it’s been too long. And in the hopes of real-life networking and general motivation and inspiration to write more, I’m going to go to the monthly Knoxville Writers’ Guild meeting tomorrow night. (If you’re there, I’ll be the quiet one hiding in the back row.) Just the fact that the Guild has the apostrophe in the right place — and that they used an apostrophe at all — warms this word nerd’s heart and gives me confidence that I’ll be around genuine, bona-fide writers. Should be interesting.

Who knows? I might be so inspired by the meeting tomorrow night that I’ll relight the fire under my ass and get back to work on my novel. You know — since I have all the words up in my head already. Now to get them out onto some paper.

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Song Lyric of the Day:


I’ve / Become so numb / I can’t feel you there / Become so tired / So much more aware / I’m becoming this / All I want to do / Is be more like me / And be less like you

Linkin Park / “Numb”

Last month I celebrated a milestone birthday. The epiphany that has been gestating for a few months crystallized. I am no longer satisfied just working for a living. I want a career that challenges me, fulfills me, and interests me. For almost a year I had that as a Technical Writer at my company’s corporate office in Virginia Beach. I was given the opportunity to learn different graphics programs, including Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, and ClearEdge. I not only enjoyed learning these programs, I enjoyed using what I learned to finalize technical manuals for delivery to our client. Not only did I have a fun job that I loved, I worked closely with three great people with whom I am still good friends.

Now I work in our Hampton office. I am still a Technical Writer, but I do not actually get to write anything. Or edit anything, for that matter. I certainly don’t work with any graphics programs. Transferring to this office was not something I wanted to do, but had to do. In government contracting, there are no guarantees. You go where the contracts take you. In my case, that’s a 52-mile round trip drive every day.

If I could go back in time, I’d find my college advisor and beat the sh!t out of him for encouraging me to pursue my English degree in Technical Writing. If I could have seen into the future and known this kind of professional malaise and ennui was what my degree would get me, I would have studied something else.

Granted, I am not living in an area known as a hotbed of magazine or book publishing. Moving to New York City or Chicago to pursue that is out of the question at this time. So I make do with this.

What would I go back and study instead of Technical Writing?

Forensics, maybe. I’ve been interested in forensics since high school, long before The New Detectives and CSI became a part of our pop culture.

Drama, maybe. In the past year I have acted in a couple of locally filmed TV shows filmed at New Dominion Pictures in Suffolk. Turns out that pretending to be a Medical Examiner’s Clerk and a Bad Guy’s Girlfriend is infinitely more interesting than being in a cube all day.

Maybe I’d just do what I’d wanted to do in the first place and major in Creative Writing. Again, a pox on my advisor for advising me to switch to Technical Writing. “No one will hire you if they see ‘B.A. in Creative Writing’ listed on your resume,” he said. Sigh.

Some people feel a calling to help others and become teachers, cops, nurses, doctors. Others want to serve our judicial system and become lawyers or judges. Still others find work to suit their mechanical skills and abilities.

Me, I can tell you who directed, wrote, starred in, and produced a movie or TV show. More often than not, I can even tell you what year it was released or aired.

What am I supposed to do with that? Other than play lots of trivia games and visit IMDB.com a lot.

That is my big dilemma: what to be when I grow up.

Hopefully, I’ll figure that out soon enough.

Fear not. I will not use this blog solely to whine about my lot in my professional life.

I have plenty of other stuff to talk about. Really.


Filed under personal, technical writing, work, writing