Category Archives: Writing

The Perfect Night’s Sleep

To Sleep
O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

I have to admit I have been on a massively long creative hiatus. I have been sick with a few neurological disorders and frankly, I have been feeling sorry for myself for quite a while. However, a pity-party of one can only last so long. So here I am once again trying to start life anew.

My husband unit, who I affectionally call Yoda, received a king size mattress set from some sweet and generous people at work. We have two queen size beds in our little apartment so right now, as there is no king-sized bed frame, the majority of the living room floor is filled with a king size mattress.(The box springs are standing on end “out of the way” in the rarely used dining room.)  The actual reason for this was we wanted to try it out and see if we were going to really like it despite the fact the bed I sleep in has mattresses going on 20 years old and there is some serious divoting in the bed. Seriously, there is a huge mountain in the middle and the rest looks like a truck has driven repeatedly down a muddy alleyway in springtime.

Despite the lack of room to walk or play with the dogs, there is something supremely gratifying about comfortably laying down in the living room and watching a movie or playing the X-Box. (Yes, I’m a nerd. Get over it.) I’m actually considering getting a day bed with a trundle for the living room. (Which would also help when family comes to visit.)  We shall see how that goes.

The bed will contribute to a much better night’s sleep. However, I have no cure yet for the people who live in the apartment to our north. I want to shoot them every weekday morning about 6am when there is a crap-ton of yelling and screaming at the kids to get up, get ready for school and all that jazz. I may actually have to stumble out of bed and go over there in my jammies one of these mornings and give them a small piece of what’s left of my mind. Five days a week, I pray for uninterrupted sleep. It doesn’t happen. I think I will have to break out the ear-plugs again. (Highly recommended: Flents / 29db.) And I wonder if it would be wrong to break out older Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park.  Metallica. Led Zeppelin etc. about 2am every morning for a week or two? It would definitely have to be something with a great bass beat. (And rap music is out. I’m not a fan. Why torture myself?)

Of course, these are the same relatively nice people who brought a “rescued by the side of the road” puppy home and they have no earthly business owning a dog. Seriously. The mom actually admitted they know nothing about raising a puppy. (Buy a book?) The pup is cute, but has no discipline and no training. They also bought the pup, who is now probably 5 months old tops, a shock collar because he’s biting. I have no problem with shock collars; however, if you don’t know how to use them you are going to create a problem with the animal. The little girl who lives there was playing outside with the dog and when I let my dogs out (on leashes mind you) the dog would not leave mine alone. She threatened to get the shock collar because he wasn’t minding. I nicely told her to put the dog on a leash and work on commands – the shock collar isn’t going to work when you don’t have any idea how to properly use it. It’s so frustrating.

They also just let the dog outside by himself to go potty. No leash. No nothing. He wanders by the creek and we have all sorts of wildlife that could harm the animal including (but not limited to) coyotes, possums, raccoons, snakes and more. And without watching the animal, it would also be very easy for someone to steal their pet. It’s pretty sad. But what can I do? Not much I’m afraid.

In other news, I have found a few local radio stations (after living in the Metroplex for a few years) that I totally dig. One is a classic rock station that reminds me of my years in broadcasting. Right now, Bog Seger’s “Turn the Page” is playing.  My word. I love this song. I brings back so many memories. The downside is I’m singing along and my German Shepard is not amused. To make her howl some more is the question. The aforementioned neighbors are home so the answer: I’m singing.  Heh.

(Insert quick bathroom break here.) 

Oh heck. I just broke out Fall Out Boy, who is not my favorite band, but I really love their music. “I Don’t Care” is cranked to 100 (and the dogs are hiding in the other room.) Patrick has such a cool voice and Pete Wentz plays a pretty solid bass line. I know I shouldn’t feel this pleased, but I just looked outside and the neighbor’s dog is running amok again. After this comes Zeppelin. Yeah, it’s going to be a good day, I think.

Fall Out Boy – “I Don’t Care”

Checking In and Some Thoughts on Current Events

Hello, my friend!  It sure has been awhile. I don’t know where the time has gone, but I’ve really missed your smile. 

~ Nelson ~ 

My oh my. It has been awhile.  The last few months have been filled with job hunts, landing a job and dealing with hosts of medical issues I hadn’t thought possible. I’ve thought a thousand times about sitting down at the computer to write, but the serious lack of energy / inspiration / motivation has kept me away. So I thought I would play a little catch up and hopefully it won’t be such a long time before my fingers grace the keyboard again.

First: What in the heck is going on in the world? I mean… SERIOUSLY?

In the past few months, it seems there has been a triple-dose of crazy run amok. I normally try to steer clear of more of the political hot-bed topics as this is more or less a me / writing type of blog. But let’s just get down to brass tacks here. This could be the bones of some great writing material.  In coming up with ideas for writing, I like to call my idea-file the “What If File.” Don’t laugh. I’m only creative on the page, not in my organizational skills. I leave that to my youngest daughter who is an organizational Jedi Master.  But I digress.  Back to the original thought of the here and now lunacy.

What if – the world actually thought it was okay to let Iran play with nukes?

What if – a once great Olympic athlete were given an award for courage, not for his athleticism, but for his, now her, transgendering to the masses and there was no public outcry, it was just another day at the office because no one cared?

What if – after a mass murderer is sentenced for killing a bunch of people in a theatre, a copy cat hundreds of miles away in another state lathers, rinses and repeats the same horrific crime?

What if – we all lived in a world where we didn’t have to listen to the latest “news” about Kim / Kanye or any other stupid “celebrity” and everyone minded their own business?  (And I say to myself… what a wonderful world.)

You see where I’m going with this? Take today’s headlines and ask yourself, “What if…” It’s a beautiful concept.


I have always loved astronomy and while I admittedly played with Barbie’s as a young girl, I also used my telescope to look up to the stars and wondered about what was out there. It’s a vast universe and the Hubble Telescope, long-range scans and other missions to the great beyond are showing us just how much. This brings me to a couple of points.

Pluto. I don’t care what NASA or any other scientist says. To me, it’s still a planet and the visual images recently released are spectacular.

BN-JN955_PLUTO0_P_20150724131944
NASA’s enhanced color image of Pluto was transmitted from the New Horizons spacecraft this week. PHOTO: NASA/REUTERS

Apparently there is another little Earth out there. It’s probably not habitable (in my opinion), but Kepler-452b has it’s own little orbit around a star that’s older than our sun. It was actually “discovered” in 2014, I believe. But things like this take time to get out.  (Please forgive me if my date is erroneous – reading technical jargon always puts me to sleep.)


My last thought of the day and love me or hate me, this is what I believe.

There’s this ugly thing in the world today called “racism.” I’m going to say this straight up, it’s not going to stop. It’s an issue that runs deeper than the color of one’s skin. It’s an engrained mental process and it’s an issue of the heart. A person has to want to change their thinking, their beliefs, their heart and so many people don’t believe they have a problem. This holds true for whites, blacks, reds, yellows, oranges, greens, blues…. you know what I mean. It’s not a black and white problem. It’s a human problem.

The only solution is to learn to love and love unconditionally. It would stop a lot of the hate and violence in the world.  But there will always be hate and violence in the world because that’s part of the greatest story ever told.

On that note, I bid you a good night. Adieu!

The Dragon’s Kiss

In case some of you were wondering what I’m working on. It’s a fantasy novel tenatively entitled “The Dragon’s Kiss.”

I have had the idea for this work running through my head since I was 16 years old. Names, places and the plot have changed over such a vast period of time; however, the constant has been the nagging to get the story “out.”  Over these long years, I have learned to hate the question, “What’s it about?”  As this book will be part of a planned trilogy and there are several plots and setups, here’s what I can say with concrete certainty.

In a time of war live the daughters of the Dragon Lord, Ruler of Strakath. Oathbound to protect her land and Soulbound to the dragon she rides, the youngest must make a choice – to save her sisters and those they love or the heir of their sworn enemy, the king of Osenfal, in an attempt to gain peace for all.

This piece of “art” is a hybrid of sorts. Combining contemporary fantasy with high fantasy is my challenge and it’s taking a while to actually make sure all of the plot points aren’t left to die in some great writer’s wilderness somewhere.

I’ve pretty much decided Word is the program I do my best work in; however, Scrivener can be rather helpful as well.  My problem with Scrivener is that it is overly cumbersome and I haven’t found a program that I like to help with the outlining, character charts and whatnot. I used to use index cards which were not at all helpful to me.  I also keep a notebook where I jot down the who is who and what is what. I found that may actually be more helpful than software because I can take it with me wherever I go and note things as they come to mind.

Now as it’s NaNoWriMo, I must leave you be and carry on with the real task at hand.  If you are interested in reading excerpts, let me know and I’ll share with you The Dragon’s Kiss.

Let the Games Begin!

” There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ”  – E. Hemingway –

Photograph: Sarah Reid
Photograph: Sarah Reid

As Mother Nature puts all her babies to rest and the world sees the greens turn to brown and the skies turn gray, writers must learn to pull upon inner resources for creativity and dedication. Today is the beginning of an important period of time – NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo.

For the uninformed, those are acronyms not gibberish. They are National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Post Month. Both are month-long challenges for writers and pretty daunting ones at that.

NaNoWriMo is the mother of them all. 30 Days. 50 thousand words. This averages out to around 1,666 words a day. Putting this into perspective, an average blog post for most people is 400-500 words. Basically triple or quadruple that and make it part of a continuous story – the bones of writing an entire novel in a month.

The novel won’t be pretty. There’s not much time for editing or refinement during November. However it is about getting the novel out of you – projectile vomiting it on the page. The cleanup comes later.

NaBloPoMo is a lesser “evil.” 30 blogs in 30 days. This contest actually makes you dedicate time to writing for a month. It’s far more lenient in its rules and regulations and is a great start for people who want to get into the habit of writing – sitting down at the keyboard (typewriter) and bleeding, but for shorter periods of time.

For the past couple of weeks, I have debated entering one or both contests. Honestly, NaBloPoMo is a pretty easy decision. It’s an automatic “game on.” But the novel… it’s had me up at night thinking about it.

I’m more than a few pages into the piece I have been working on for a while. Do I dare challenge myself to get the 50 thousand words in that would bring that novel closer to completion… in a month? I’ll be honest. The prospect rather terrifies me.  I’m the queen of procrastination and it’s so much easier to not run that guantlet. Can I balance home, a job search (potentially starting a new one) and writing for 30 days? A lot of people can. Can I really do it?

The answer is yes. Yes I can. I can do anything I set my mind to. I just have to do it.

So welcome to November… a month for writers and authors. As I go through this month, I’m sure you will be hearing about what’s happening, but more importantly the amount of Band-Aids needed as my fingers bleed from the constant pounding of the craft.  Let the games begin!

http://www.nanowrimo.org/ 

http://www.blogher.com/blogher-topics/blogging-social-media/nablopomo

Thoughts on “The Book Thief”

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Book Thief

Apologies for the delay in communication. I have spent quite a bit of time as of late with the new grandson. Small. Cute. Easy baby. All in all, I will give him a 10.

It was during my travels to and from my hometown to my new home I encountered “The Book Thief.” I wanted to watch the movie, but I tend to read the books prior to watching a film as films can only grasp a tenuous amount of plot-line  However, I have to say this time I took it a step further and listened to the book narrated by Allan Corduner during the long, straight drives through the plains under blue or starry skies.

I have listened to some other books on tape including “Watership Down” and “Storm Front” (Dresden files by Jim Butcher-awesome), but while both were excellent stories, this one entangled me. Zusak wrote a great novel and Mr. Corduner’s read is delightful, moving and spot-on with the German, which is a necessity in a book of this magnitude.

Set in WWII Germany, we learn about Nazi fanaticism, a Jewish fist-fighter, thievery, friendship and death. They are all intertwined in the story of a girl seeking out an existence. We learn, we laugh and we cry. We learn that death indeed has a heart.

Liesel Meminger is a character I shall not soon forget. Deep. Well-rounded. Flawed and yet still flawless. She inspires me in ways I have not yet fully realized as she is each of us in our own unique ways. How did Zusak do that?

Beyond the well-scripted plot, the word economy and the descriptions of things seen yet unseen, I found Zusak to not be a writer or an author, but a natural story-teller.  And to add to this, Allan Corduner is a BRILLIANT talent who brought to life this poignant story.

Now, there are some who have trouble getting into the book as Zusak’s writing style is unique. It flips and flops until it settles into a rhythm such as a cha-cha or something of that nature. By the end of the first hour of listening, you are well into the story and transformation has indeed begun.

I generally steer clear of writing about books I have read, but “The Book Thief” changed that for me. I hope you will take the time to delve deep into the pages or the audio-book and breathe in a fresh and inspiring look at the beautiful piece of work Zusak shared with us all.

Metamorphosis.

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
Robert Frost 

stop-writing

For the past couple of months, I have taken a sabattical of sorts and pulled away from the normal hum-drum, work-a-day life. It has done me a world of good mentally and physically, but financially, it’s taken a bit of a bite out of the bank-book.

However, I think I can say I think I finally feel more alive than I have felt in a long time.  I see things with a clarity I hadn’t seen in a while and I appreciate people and places again. While that may sound strange, I had “turned off” many relationships and just didn’t want to communicate. This may be the best blessing of all. I am once again breaking out of the protective shell I had built up around me. 

When I write, I have to write from an emotional place or the scenes ring false and mechanical. Robert Frost hit the nail on the head. You have to bleed onto the page and let your emotions out. I held them too tight and let them fester and boil inside, but letting them out – well, I wasn’t going to do that. That would have been having to admit I actually HAD emotions. Fear, angst, loathing, hurt, love, joy, happiness… all of them I had kept bottled up for a while and I couldn’t express any of them. You know something? That’s not a way to live.

I thought I did it to protect myself. I thought if I insulated myself enough, I couldn’t be hurt by all of the changes brought about this year – that I wouldn’t be affected by “life” and it’s ebb and flow. I was wrong.

As a result, for the past few months, I couldn’t write. Physically, it was just painful. I couldn’t bring myself to actually look at the screen and put my fingers on the keys. Why? Because I write with emotion and I just knew that if I did, all of the bottled up feelings would unleash in a torrent and I wouldn’t be able to put a cap on it. I was “afraid.” Isn’t it bizarre to admit fear? Bizarre, but oh so true. 

Over the past week, I have read about nine different books and some of them were REALLY good.  The writing was tight, the characters were outstanding, the plots were well scripted. Slowly, the bottle on my emotions shook and as I closed the last book, the cork popped and everything I thought was contained released in a small explosion. 

This time away from everyone and everything has done me a world of good. I see things differently now. Today, I am a writer once again. 

The Old Man and Me

2978360981_416357d8a7_o
Photo Credit: Chaval Brasil via Compfight cc

I saw this picture earlier today and remembered my dad, the old man.  Pop’s spirit never waivered. Age never diminished his sense of humor nor did it take away his mind as it does many old men and women. As his youth faded, his back stooped and his steps became slower, shorter. Weight fell off of him in a way my fluffy frame could only envy. His eyes faded from blue to gray and time bleached his hair so that as he took his last breaths, it was as white as freshly fallen snow.

My father was born in 1918. I used to tell him he was born when dinosaurs roamed Earth and mentioned more than once I believed he must have had a pet stegosaurus named Clive.  Occasionally I’d regale him with tales of “Clive’s Amazing Adventures” which included WWI and WWII, a trip with Amelia Earhart, Clive’s Moonwalk, standing outside the Dakota with John Lennon and listening to Lou Gehrig say “goodbye” to name a few.

Pops was a story-teller and while some of these tales were outlandish, I think he enjoyed them and came right back with his tales steeped in historical truth.  He lived the events and his emotion brought those memories to life.

There’s a couple of reasons I wanted to speak about this today.

First, I got to thinking about all of the “old” characters in the movies, on television and in books. Frankly, there aren’t that many. I find they are few and far between. There is something that can be said about having an elderly character in a story – no matter what medium that character is in.  I would like to see more “old” characters in books, movies and on television and ones that are not the butt of the joke (which I’m truly afraid would happen on TV.)

Second is the “why” I would like to see them.  There are two reasons. One is because older characters bring a “wisdom” that generally does come with age. They have truly been there / done that and especially in books, sage advice is always a good thing. The other reason is for electronic media I think there is a lack of “aging actors.” Rene Russo said something along the lines when shooting Thor that when she came back to acting she was used to being the leading lady kissing all the gorgeous guys (Mel Gibson) and now she was playing Thor’s mother. What was wrong with that? Ageism exists in Hollywood and I would personally like to see the industry embrace older actors instead of shipping them out to pasture or limiting roles and scripts to what I consider are mundane or demeaning positions. There are exceptions, but seriously I must ask – how many actors over 65 (or 45 or 55) do you see on TV or in the movies?

My challenge to you today is when writing your piece, consider adding someone who is more advanced in years. You just might find they add something to your story that’s missing… color, wisdom and maybe my dad’s dinosaur, Clive, too.